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fernery. She understands more than a little about botany and knows all the flowers in her own garden. She often plays a game of bowls with her friends when they come over to pay a call. She is a fair player, and quite keen to win.
In dress the taste of the Princess is essentially feminine. No attempt is ever made to copy masculine ways, nor is such a fashion likely to receive any encouragement from her. Dainty and pretty things she delights in. She likes to have her clothes well made and properly fitted, but does not countenance any extravagance of fashion or design. Bonnets seem to please her more than hats. Like her Royal mother, the Princess takes the greatest care that her clothes are purchased from shops that pay fair wages and do not overwork their hands. While not discarding French silks and French artificial flowers, she will, if possible, purchase English silks and English artificial flowers. She inherits the late Duchess of Cambridge's taste for jewellery, and greatly values the jewels she has had presented to her from time to time. With her wedding gifts of this kind she is immensely pleased.
Her natural desire to learn has received careful fostering at the hands of Mdlle. Lricka. Soon after this lady came a course of reading was mapped out, which has been studiously adhered to for the last seven years, with the result that the Princess has an intimate knowledge of history, both p.st and present. French, German, and English are all alike to Princess May. She can converse fluently in either one or the other language. Novel-reading does not interest her very much-that is to say, novels of a frivolous kind. But with the works of the great novelists she is, of course, acquainted. On her book-shelves you will find no uncut and dusty books, but neatly cut edges and well turned pages. Her favourite authors are Tennyson, Carlyle, Emerson, and George Eliot. She is very fond of well-bound books, and values highly all presentation copies. The works of Macaulay, Froude, Lamb, John Morley, Motley, Molière, Goethe, Dante, occupy prominent positions on her book-shelves. Her method is to read something every day, even if it be only a page, and then to discuss what she has read. With her companion-governess she talks French and German, and, according to arrangement, the discussion takes place in either one language or the other. Mdlle. Bricka is a very broad-minded woman, and thinks that as princesses are women, they should know as much as possible about what appertains to women. She does not believe that a book should be put aside because it happens to be a little unconventional. With so sensible a guide and so sympathetic a mother it is not surprising that Princess May's reading has not altogether been confined to books for the "young person." It is possibly in some measure due to this more liberal course of reading that we find Princess May's knowledge of things as they are to be far greater than that of any other Princess of her age. This knowledge can scarcely fail to prove most valuable to her in after-life, seeing the position she may one day be called upon to fill. She has a good memory and remembers most of what she reads. People's faces she seldom forgets, and if the opportunity offers is ever ready with a kindly smile of recognition.
Although proud, her pride is of the kind that belongs to exalted station and is suitable to stately bearing. When performing any public duty she is every inch a queen ; when attending to her domestic concerns she is simple Princess May, and gives her orders just like any other lady who busies herself about her own housekeeping. The servants at White Lodge are devoted to their young mistress, and if ever anything goes wrong it is Princess May to whom the dependant comes and pours out her troubles. No servant is a stranger to the Princess. One and all claim her as a friend, and each is content to accept her judgment in any dispute. At accounts Princess May is quite at home, and the smallest details of housekeeping are well known to her.
The Princess is devoted to her family and is the greatest assistance to her mother. The entire direction of the household devolves upon her, and her marvellous energy enables her to get through an enormous amount of work. With her own hands she ties up and addresses the numerous articles deposited at White Lodge by the members of the Needlework Guild, a task-seeing that the number of things sent in often reaches many thousands—of no mean kind. With her father she is a great pet, and anything that Princess May wants she is sure to get. She is not extravagant, but generous. Anything she can spare is devoted to the objects nearest her heart. She is always thinking of others and how she can best assist her less fortunate sisters. No woman has sunk too low to receive the sympathy of the Princess, who always sees excuse for the degradation and some hope of reformation. A great many people appear to
On the think that it is only the very poor she takes an interest in. contrary, she is as much interested in the poor gentlewoman or broken
down gentleman as in the social outcast or orphan waif. But with idleness and vice she has no sympathy. The man who won't work or the woman who won't reform she leaves to other hands. Her time and money are given to the deserving poor.
The Princess's love of children is great. A suffering child at once commands her sympathy. Out of her income she always sets apart a sum to give away to poor children. Her aim and object when dealing with the poor is to make their lives pass as pleasantly as possible. She carries her sympathy into deeds. Every Christmas, New Year, and birthday card is carefully preserved by the Princess, who arranges them in scrap-books for the poor children in homes and hospitals. No cotillion favour is ever thrown away ; each toy and ribbon is put away in a drawer to be used, when the time comes, for her "Sea-shell Mission." Similar odds and ends are collected by her friends, so that often the parcels contain sufficient presents to give something to each child in an institution. Many a sad little heart is made glad and many a young life brightened by the Princess's Mission. She takes a great personal interest in this work of love, and delights to hear either from the matrons or the nurses, and sometimes from the children themselves. Every effort is made to make happy the individual, and if one present is not suitable another is quickly substituted; the change in each case being made by the Princess herself. When the time comes for the wife of Prince George to assume the position which her marriage must one day give her, many a grey-haired subject will be able to say that if they have never seen the face of their Queen, at any rate they were well acquainted with her gracious acts when she was simple Princess May. Thus early in life has the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck won the hearts of the people over whom one day she may be called upon to rule. A crippled boy in a village near White Lodge was dying of consumption. Over and over again Princess May would either drive or walk over to see the little sufferer, and sitting down by the bedside in the cottage, would talk and read to him. Often she carried with her delicacies to keep up his wasting frame. Her last visit to the boy was one day on her way to church, when she knew the end was near. Gently giving him a kiss, she wished him good-bye with tears in her eyes. I could tell of many actions of a similar kind, but this one will suffice to show her tender-heartedness and sympathetic nature.
Princess May is a regular attendant at church and a constant communicant. She is extremely tolerant in her views. All she asks is that whatever religion a person professes he shall act up to it and not make it a sham. She reads her Bible every day, and no matter how many duties she has to perform or how many things have to be got through, the chapter is always read. For choice the Princess prefers a cathedral service-high ritual has no particular attraction for her, and what is known as Low Church does not impress her. She loves the music of the organ and the singing of a well-trained choir.
Always a great favourite with the Queen, she has lately seen much of Her Majesty, whom she resembles in many ways. All the Queen's gists are carefully kept by the Princess in her own boudoir. The Princess of Wales is regarded by the young bride as second only to her own mother. She is devoted to her future mother-in-law. The Princess of Wales in her turn is extremely fond and proud of Princess May, or of Princess Victoria Mary, as it is the wish of the Royal Family that she should now be called. But as it was as Princess May that she gained the heart of the nation, it will take a long time to bring about the change.
STUDY IN CHARACTER: H.R.H. PRINCESS
VICTORIA MARY OF TECK.
N these days of competition and eager struggle for distinction, when
the keenest criticism and sternest tests are applied to everyone's fitness and capabilities, it is remarkable to find not one dissentient voice to the choice that has been made of the person who will have to fill one of the most exalted positions in this great Empire. It is no exaggeration to say that the country has by acclamation welcomed and taken to its heart the bride of its future King. It is a curious freak of fate which has decreed that the hard-working, comparatively unknown sailor Prince and the Princess who has led the simplest and least ostentatious of lives should be called so suddenly to fill one of the greatest if not the greatest position in the world. To wield the sceptre of this Empire, to be a constitutional monarch, and at the same time to have an influence, wisdom, and experience that is possessed by few people now living, is an ideal position, but as such it is filled by the Qucen, who during a long reign has raised the dignity and importance of her office to a point never before attained. The Queen's life, fortunately for her people, is one which seems likely to be prolonged beyond the spell of ordinary lives. Therefore the position of the Duke and Duchess of York will not at first be one of so great importance, but it is impossible for their example and influence ever to be other than one which must affect the future of our country in no ordinary way. The position of Royalty in England has, like every other institution, been affected by the reforming influences of the age, and perhaps in no other has that influence, while weakening in one direction, materially strengthened it in other and more important ones. The sporadic outbursts of disloyalty and criticism which from time to time appear are merely ripples on the great sea of the deep attachment and pride with which