Tuesday, January 06, 2009

20Jan1864, Dining With the Queen Again, So Sad

OSBORNE, Wednesday, January 20th, 1864.
—A 2nd time I have dined with the Queen ; this time I felt a good deal of trepidation, for in the 1st place I was the only one who received the order, and after waiting in vain for the Princesses as long as I dared, I had to march down all alone, when to my relief I found Ly. Biddulph sitting in the drawing-room. And she, Pr. Leiningen, and I got on cheerfully till the Queen appeared abt ¼ 9. She goes straight into the dining-room now without entering the dr. room. Well, in the next place, I had 2 speeches hanging over my head, one respecting a tinted photogr. of myself for the Queen : the other, to tell her I was going to-morrow. I sat opposite the Queen, and was much moved and taken out of by her expression of sadness. It was as if she had had to go thro' something which had stirred up the grief : her eyes reminded me of Mme. de Sévigné's description "des yeux qui ont pleures," and her whole look had a pathetic and patient sadness in it. And it touched one more from her affecting nothing. At first she was rather silent, but she spoke and smiled. And after a time she cheered up again ; but it has put before my very eyes something of the sorrow which hitherto I cd only picture to myself ; and this did go deep into my heart. She accepted the photograph and admired it. And then came her goodbye, and I felt I cd not help pressing her hand as I kissed it ; for what wouldn't I do for her?

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