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country.” Her Majesty's initiative was distinctly acknowledged in the first official circular which raised the question of National Education. In 1846, she, with the Prince Consort, was much interested in Dean Hook's proposal to establish a system of national education on the broad basis of universal State-supported Elementary Schools on a strictly secular basis. One day in the week, however, was to be set apart for religious instruction, to be given by each denomination to the children of its own members.
Of the zeal of the Queen and of the Prince Consort for higher education I need not speak.
The Queen's letter to the railway companies in 1865 is interesting as illustrating the desire of Her Majesty to level up the comfort and safety of the masses to that which she herself enjoys. A succession of serious railway accidents led her to reflect upon the difference between her own safely-guarded journeys and the risks run by the general public. So without more ado she sat down and launched a letter to the railcompanies in which she urged them to take more care of her subjects :
“The Queen hopes it is unnecessary for her to recall to the recollection of railway directors the heavy responsibility they have assumed since they have succeeded in securing the monopoly of the means of travelling of almost the entire population of the country.”
It is pleasant to hear a reminder from such exalted quarters of the responsibilities of monopolists—it is a reminder which is quite as much needed in the uncrowned Republic across the sea.
The Queen has democratised the distribution of honours. The Victoria Cross is distributed without regard to rank. The Albert Medal is equally given to rich and poor, noble and plebeian, if so be that they have merited the distinction by some heroic act of self-sacrifice in the saving of life. Whether in devising medals, distributing them, inditing telegrams, or taking part in public reviews or receptions, Her Majesty has been assiduous in praising those that do well, and encouraging all that is best in Church and in State.
So great and signal a continued series of services rendered by the Queen suggests the thought whether it might not be possible to localise the Victorian tradition by creating in every parish and town and county and colony something that would be equivalent within the locality to the Monarchy in its wider range. The Civic Centre, the Civic Federation, represent an attempt to create, in the village or the city, a centre which would be to the community what the Queen is to the Empire.
It is true that such a body would have none of the great prestige of the Crown. It could distribute no honours and reward no services. But although without such instruments of influence and of authority, it might nevertheless be greatly serviceable if it were but to take Her Majesty's conduct as its example, and try to do in its own restricted area what she does in her more exalted sphere.
It is of course presumptuous, and ridiculous withal, to compare so puny and insignificant an effort as the organising of the altruistic forces of the community as has been made by the proposed Association of Helpers with the imposing and glorious Monarchy of Britain. But the greatest may help the smallest, and in the principles and practice of the Sovereign the least of subjects may find much to encourage and to guide. What is wanted is that in every centre of population within her Empire, the Helpful who desire to help their fellow-men should be in some way or other banded together so as to enable the local community to enjoy the advantage of a centre where sits some one at least who is above parties and sects, and whose one desire is to discourage evil and to encourage those that do well. And that community will be the healthiest and most progressive which succeeds most perfectly in establishing either on an aristocratic or democratic basis the most efficient local representative of the principles and practice of Her Majesty the Queen.
V.-THE QUEEN AS DOMESTIC EXEMPLAR.
ER MAJESTY is a Queen, ay, every inch a Queen. But before she was a
Queen she was a woman. Her reign as Sovereign has been protracted
beyond the longest reign of English monarchs; but her sixty years of sovereignty fall short of her seventy-eight years of womanhood. As sixty is to seventyeight, so is--no, the rule of three does not apply. For there is no comparison. Victoria as Woman is o immeasurably more important to the majority of her subjects than Her Maiesty the Queen and Empress, that no arithmetical comparison can express the difference.
The reason is obvious. Among the four hundred million subjects of the Queen of Britain and Empress of India there may be, perhaps—it is an outside allowancefour millions who have any adequate idea of the real every-day work of our Sovereign Lady the Queen. It is probably nearer the mark to say that only four hundred thousand persons, at the very utmost, have even an elementary conception of the part which she has played as Monarch in the modern State. Of those who really understand how diligent and useful the Queen has been all these sixty years of her reign as Ruler and Sovereign, as inspirer of Imperial policies, and as peacemaker and general manager in last resort of all great controversies, it is doubtful whether there are four thousand all told. I have some means of gauging this by the bewildered
amazement and blank incredulous denials which have been evoked by the four pre- ceding articles of this series. We never knew, say my readers—we had no idea before that the Queen really counted for so much in the State. The evidence that she has inspired great Colonial and Indian policies, that she has prevented wars and averted great crises-all these things, even after sixty years, are practically unknown to the vast majority of her subjects. To display the real workings of the Monarchy in the modern State, to unveil the secret influence of the Sovereign in our Democratic age, has been a veritable revelation to thousands—a revelation the authenticity of which _even now is frankly questioned by many of those who ought to know better. But
while only four thousand, or at the outside four millions, appreciate the Queen as Sovereign, there is not one among all the four hundred millions who is not more or less qualified to appreciate the woman who, for sixty years, has been the foremost figure in the greatest Empire in the world.
We are all of woman born, and one-half of us are born women. Every one of us worshipped a woman in the days when in earliest infancy mother was to us the soul Incarnation of all the Gods—the Love of Heaven come down to earth for our exclusive benefit. Of the moiety of the race who attain man's estate, hardly one but has worshipped some other woman, and most of us more than one. As maiden, daughter, sister, bride, mother, aunt, grandmother and widow, there is none of us so utterly forlorn and orphaned by destiny but has at one time or another had practical personal experience of the Angel in the House. She has either fascinated us with her charm, ministered to us with her love, soothed us with her sympathy, awed us by her resignation, or if she has done none of these things she has in some miraculous fashion by her very failures and imperfections made more vivid and more adorable the ideal woman which she, alas ! was not. Hence there is not one of us but feels that he is more or less competent to appreciate, to understand, or to criticise the Queen regarded from the point of view of her womanhood. We all of us obey the poet's injunc
tion to the Prince Consort on his wedding-day,
than for ring, And hold her uncrowned womanhood to be the
Into affairs of State, the complexities of treaties, the mysteries of diplomacy, and the intrigues of factions, the majority of people never enter. But we all have to live our lives and to make our homes, and it is because the Queen has lived her life and made her home for sixty years before the gaze of all her subjects who were doing the same thing in their cottages and villas, that she is known and loved and revered throughout the world.
Whatever may be said against Monarchy, this supreme service it renders to society. It substitutes for the person of a President, who may be soldier or politician, but who is always an individual and invariably a man, the spectacle of a Family, always composed of men and women, and sometimes, as in the PRINCESS VICTORIA IN 1835. present instance, presided over by a woman.
(From a miniature by H. Collen.) Everything that takes us out of ourselves and excites human sympathy for others makes
for righteousness. Even the gossip of the village taproom and of the society paper is not without its uses. It links us with our kind, testifies to the reality of relationship, makes us in a real sense our brother's keeper, and helps us to realise that we are all neighbours one of another. Of all agencies devised by the ingenuity of man, nothing exceeds the Monarchy for stimulating interest in another family besides our own.
The Royal Family is the only family besides our own into all the intimacies of which we are permitted to gaze. The naturalists who study bees in a glass hive fina an absorbing interest even in the drones, providing they are under constant observation. In the Royal hive our Queen Bee lives always under glass. She is everybody's neighbour. The prayer for the Queen and all the Royal Family is a constant reproof of the selfish, exclusive anxiety for our own families which found such apt expression in the familiar litany of the north country pitman :
“ O Lord, bless me and my wife,
Our Jack and his wife,
Us four, and more,
For His mercy's sake. Amen."