Not having anything local of special interest to write about this week, and having given a good dose of household matters in my last letter, I think I may be permitted to strike out quite a new line in this one. As I am fond of letter-writing, I naturally | have a large correspondence, for to receive letters it is absolutely necessary to write them, people generally not caring to give something for nothing; though there are, of course, bright exceptions even to this rule, j I have treated my readers occasionally to portions from letters I have received from India, Athens, San Francisco, etc., and now will tak6 them an excursion into Canada for a change, and instead of only giving a short extract I will simply write a few lines myself, and let my correspondent be the piice de resixtance. It has always been a marvel to me how people could be taken in by the things that are said against members of. our Royal Family. For one thing (if they only knew it), the persons that might have anything to tell are just those that would never tell it. Before coming out here I was at times a good deal with people who belonged to the Household, and was always struck with their great reticence about the royalties with whom they were associated, so I am inclined to think that the stories one from time to time hears, or has heard, have aooul as much foundation as the cruel slanders that my friend mentions as having been spread about our good Princess Louise, which grew entirely out of her good deeds. What a cruel irony of Fate! this is the letter:—
Onco upon a time, towards the olose of the nincte-rt hj ceutury, an Imperial Frincess was seut w.th htr husband, who was a patrician proConsul, to a distant and inclement region called Canada. She was good, talented beautiful, loving', and lovable, something ot the Lest part of Mario Antoinette, even in face anl figure, with a Strong dash of the dignity and common sence of Queen Elizabeth fchc knew a proper man when she saw one. Had there been a ! eicester, though, she would never have needed to box his ears, for no maa c-.ver approached to a liberty with her; acd, had Bhe been the Queen, she would have kept 1 eicester at a proper distance, "singeing the King of Spain's whiskers," instead of hinging round her court in fine clothes. But she was no Queen, only the wife of the Governor of a democratic colony. Her husband had a strong dash of the Elizabethan worthy about him, a bit of a Celtic bard by descent, and yet an able and popular administrator. Our Princess devoted herself to her husband and her home, spreading sunshire everywhere. Let us t*ke a liberty and look at her Canadian correspondence. We find a photograph, and a letter which runs thus:—
Dear Prinoeeß,—Do you remember passing through a little village in Western Canada, where a wok girl, a cripple, w.B wheeled out to tea you pas*? You smiled ao kindly on me, I knew you felt for me. I shall never forget you, but please send me your photograph, dear Princess ! I send you mine. lam only a poa' cippled country nitl Mid you are a Princess, but I kuow you feel for thoeo who tuffer.
Every sensible, practical work to alhviato suffering she would go in for. Hear a Canadian doctor say : "I tell you, tin Princess hj»« lier head screwed on the right way. You can't fool her with common places when she comes round the hospitals; it's no slouch. lV.ist not have any ' matter misplace',' then." Think, also, what the Canadian soldiers said of her in camp, on active nervier, when the plugs of tobacco and pipes wcro teived out to them, gifts from tho Princess; and when they saw her ambulance, fitted out and fully r(j'lipped, with doctor and hoi-pital dressers, paid out of her own pin-money. Then a cdppled old (oldier corm a home from the war, and she says "Ah, you have not been properly treated; that may be improved; you must go and consult my own doctor, the best man in London on such matters, and, you know, you must not think abaut tho cost, that is my affair."
And this is the woman that a society paper loved to slander, under the assertion of writing nothing but "truth"—as it also proclaimed H.M.S. Calliope a rotten old tub, One only wonders that anyono paid the least heed to ita stupid and cowardly innuendos.
But I really must tell one more story of her—it is so delightfully naughty. It is about a young Canadian soldier, and very good-looking he was, too. It was really dreadful of her. The withdrawal of the Imperial troops from Canada led to the formation of local levies to take their place as garrisons. Some silly colonial bodies were inclined to look down on the brand new colonial soldiers, especially from a social point of view ; but our patrician pro-Consul and his Princess very soon showed that the colonial troops should be regarded in the same light as their perhaps more distinguished Imperial brothers of the sword had been. The officer on a guard of honor or other ceremony was always invited to dine or lunch (as the case might be) at Government House, as had been the custom with Imperial troops, and their names were never omitted from Government House entertainments. Society, of course, followed suit, so the Governor-General and his royal wife got to know and be interested in the officers personally. When they " went to the front" I have told you how she spent her pin money in equipping an ambulance, and in such thoughtful acts as presents of pipes, and tobacco, for the private soldiers in the field. " When the cruel war was over" she began to ask about "her Canadian soldiers," as she called ihem, and was pleased to hear how gome had distinguished themselves, and how all had done their duty—as she knew they would. Then she inquired about one young officer she had often seen on guards of honor, and was told that he was so eager for a wider field of soldiering that he had come to England, haying been recommended for a commission in Her Majesty's army. Haviog failed to get it, he had enlisted as a trooper in a lancer regiment "The Death or Glory Boys." An old man of the world shook his head and said : " Foolish fellow, what a come-down !" but the Princess looked up with a troubled air and said: " Is it really such a misfortune for a gentleman to wear the Queen's uniform, even as a private soldier ?"' It was explained to her that he was a colonial, without friends in England, and had no chance of promotion. Then she said he ought to bo encouraged and made to feel that his future depended upon his deserts, and could he not be sent for to the palace? Then tho old cynic shook his head and almost chuckled at the vision of a full private marching up to call at Kensington Palace, but he put on a grave face and said "You see, your Royal Elighness, in the story books princesses can do just as they like, and the good fairy always makes it come right; but this is the nineteenth century, and no more was said. But the colonel ot a certain regiment got an order to send Private to Windsor Castle in
1 his uniform, not in plain clothes, and fl Majesty graciously told the trooper that™ future depended on himself, and that I should find his being colonial born a> without friends in the Old Country no fc' to his advancement in the service, it trooper went to India with his regiraec and rose from rank to rank, till now. havi; fairly won his spurs, he wears Her Majesty uniform as a commissioned officer, and 1 adjutant of his regiment—and a smart t-1 he is—and a loyal subject—you bet! as . « Yankees Er.y, if such slang may bo 4 mittcd to j Makt -bf
Permanent link to this item
FEMININE FANCIES., Evening Star, Issue 7946, 29 June 1889, Supplement
FEMININE FANCIES. Evening Star, Issue 7946, 29 June 1889, Supplement
Using This Item
Allied Press Ltd is the copyright owner for the Evening Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Allied Press Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.