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Studies in Character :

H.R.H. Princess Victoria Mary of Teck ...

Marshal MacMahon ...
Study, In Defence of Classical. By Professor Jebb

449 494

Tactics of the Opposition : A Defence. By T. M. Healy, M.P. .
Tollemache, Lord : The Labourers' Lord. By Frederic Impey...
Town or Country? By Mrs. Lynn Linton...

94 299 373

Unemployed, The Problem of the. By J. A. Murray Macdonall, M.I'.

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Verlaine, Paul. By Arthur Symons ...
Victoria Mary of Teck, H.R.H. Princess : Study in Character
Visit to the Monasteries of Crete, A. By Rennell Rodd
Wales, The Liberal Party and the Claims of. By S. T. Evans, M.P.
Weather Forecasts. By R. H. Scott ..
What can the Government do for the Poor at Once ? By J. Theodore Dodd
Will England Become Roman Catholic ? By “Gallio"
William Cobbett. By Leslie Stephen
Winter Sport. By the Hon. Gerald Loscelles
Woman's Sphere in Art. By Professor William Ferrero ...
Women, New Employments for Educated. By Lady Knightley of l'awsley..
Women, The Brain of. By Professor Ludwig Büchner

191

182 362, 482

655 554 577 116

Zadkiels, Our Sporting. By the Rev. J. W. Horsley

515

THE

NEW REVIEW.

No. 50.—JULY, 1893.

STUDY IN CHARACTER: H.R.H. PRINCESS

VICTORIA MARY OF TECK.

I.

А

VERY few days after these lines appear in print Princess Victoria

Mary of Teck, better known as Princess May, will become the wise of Prince George of Wales, heir to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland. In every sense of the word the marriage is a popular one. Of this no greater proof can be found than the way in which high and low, rich and poor, in all parts of the Empire, are vying with each other in selecting and presenting wedding gifts to the bride and bridegroom. Concerning Prince George much has been written. But of Princess May the outside world knows very little. This is but natural, seeing the retired life she has always led, and the peculiar sadness attending her first public introduction. Apart from this, however, the life of a young Princess is so very much more secluded than that of a sailor Prince in the direct line of succession that the difficulty of finding anyone sufficiently well acquainted with it has probably prevented any account of Princess May's girlhood hitherto appearing in print. And if she were to remain Princess May it is probable that these lines would not have been penned. But the fact that the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Teck is about to occupy a new and more exalted position, the position belonging to the wife of the Prince of Wales' only son, will, I think, be taken as sufficient reason for putting on paper a few conclusions drawn from personal observation of the Princess's every-day life.

Of course it is not intended to go minutely into all the incidents of her girlish days : such a task would fill a book, and probably be little

VOL. IX.-No. 50.

B

more than a catalogue of what other girls do at the same age. What I propose to do is to try and give a general idea of the Princess's chief characteristics.

A model baby, that is if you mean by that a baby that never cries, Princess May certainly was not. Indeed, if report says truly, the little Princess, although a very pretty baby, was very much given to tears. Doubtless, too, the young nursery governess who looked after her early childhood did not have altogether a very happy time of it, as the little Princess dearly loved her own way, and, like many other children, was seldom happy till she got it.

Princess May lived with her parents at Kensington till she was fifteen years old, and during that time her education was entrusted to foreign resident governesses. It must not, however, be supposed that she was left solely to the care of nursemaids and governesses. Her Royal mother took an active part in her bringing up, and always showed the greatest interest in all her childish amusements. At the age of nine, the nursery governess was succeeded by a German lady, who for two years devoted her time to teaching the Princess the rudiments of elementary booklearning Two years later her education was entrusted to Mdlle. Gutmann, who remained with the Princess until she was fifteen. It was then considered advisable to engage the services of masters. About this time, the Duke and Duchess of Teck left Kensington for Florence, where they passed several winters. During the stay of the family in the northern capital of Italy, Princess May took lessons from Italian professors, and began to cultivate her taste for music, art and literature, a taste which developed very much under the tuition of Malle. Bricka, who had succeeded Mdlle. Gutmann, and still remains as companion to her late pupil.

Signor Tosti, at that time a great friend of the late Duchess of Cambridge, was engaged to teach the young Princess music and singing, and under his tuition she proved an apt pupil. The popular composer took a keen interest in the Princess's progress, and devoted much time and attention to her musical studies, with the result that she is now a good musician, The Duchess of Teck always encourages musical people, and of late years the Princess has had every opportunity of mecting the most accomplished artists of the day at White Lodge. She is very fond of singing, and her voice, although not strong or of great volume, is sweet and sympathetic. For the modern love-song the Princess has no fancy, but prefers words more in keeping with her

every-day thoughts. “ The Lost Chord” and “The Convent Gate” are among her favourite songs. She very often gets up concerts in the surrounding villages, and is exceedingly kind to struggling professionals.

As a child the Princess was extremely sensitive, and although the extra freedom that naturally attaches to Continental life could scarcely fail to lessen the nervousness that of necessity belongs to a highly sensitive temperament, still no amount of contact with the world seemed to remove that love of retirement so noticeable in her as a young girl. But although extreme sensitiveness is still one of her characteristics, only her most intimate friends are able to detect any trace of nervousness underlying her natural charm of manner. Once the ice is broken her easy way of conversing and expression of interest soon puts a stranger at ease, and if the conversation flags it is certainly not the fault of the Princess. She can of course talk about the weather, the last dance, and the general run of drawing-room gossip, if such things please her guests. But it is in her work and in her mother's work that she is really interested. This subject she will discuss with animation and a knowledge seldom to be found in so young a Princess. In State schemes for the poor of the country she is also greatly interested. During the time the House of Lords' Sweating Committee was sitting she carefully read the evidence given, and evinced the greatest sympathy with the hard lives of poor seamstresses and nail and chain workers.

Although a good listener, Princess May never hesitates to ask questions if she does not thoroughly understand the line of argument. She seldom discusses a charity scheme without securing a supporter. No matter whether it be in a country house or at home, if the opportunity offers the wants and wishes of her protégés are always put forward, and the result is generally a cheque or a promise of help. But it must not be supposed that she accepts other people's facts and figures. On the contrary, she makes her own inquiries, and marshals them in a way that would do credit to a financier or a statesman.

Order and regularity are with her principles of life-never is anything out of place, never is an appointment missed. There is a time for getting up in the morning, and, when possible, a time for retiring to rest at night. Part of the day is always set aside for reading and being read to. No matter how distasteful the task, if it be necessary to do it, it is done, and done, too, in time and in proper form and order. In her boudoir you will find the books properly classified. Pens and pencils are neatly arranged on the writing-table. In short, there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. These are qualities indispensable to people of great position, and it must be very gratifying to the public to know that Princess May possesses them. Method, too, is another of her qualities. With her there is no such thing as hurry; each duty has its own time apportioned to it, and these times are never allowed to overlap unless it be on the occasion of some public function or under the pressing necessity of a domestic call. One occupation, however, always commands the Princess's time, and that is amusing her brothers. No matter whether it be to play an accompaniment, to take a drive, go for a walk, or join in a game, Princess May is always ready to fall in with her brothers' plans, or take part in their conversation.

Not long ago I was staying in a country house with Princess May and was much struck with her wish to fall in with every plan of her hostess and her anxiety not to give any trouble. She was always one of the first down to breakfast, and never late for dinner. Of course these are small matters, but they go far to show how she carries her love of order and method into every-day life, and her constant consideration for others. In the evening her conversation would generally turn upon some topic of the day, and the knowledge she displayed showed that she had carefully read her newspapers and was much interested in public affairs. She would frequently wander off with a daughter of the house to see some poor person in the neighbourhood. When others were idle Princess May was always busy. Time, which seemed to hang so heavily on the hands of many of the visitors, seemed to be all too short for her. She was never bored, but took an interest in everything. When others wanted to stay at home the Princess would always be ready to accompany the hostess to garden parties or functions in the neighbourhood. She did not, like so many guests, expect that everyone was to amuse her. On the contrary, she did her part of the entertaining, and in the evening would sing a song, play the piano, or join in a game.

Driving is a favourite occupation, and the surrounding districts are well acquainted with her little carriage, Richmond's gift to her when she came of age. She is a first-class whip, and although she does not hunt, understands more about horses than many so-called hunting women. Of dancing she is fairly fond, but the late hours and the long drive home after London balls have to a great extent shaken her taste for that amusement. Like her father, the Princess is fond of flowers. At White Lodge she looks after her own garden and

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