The bloom upon the grape only fully appears when it is ripe for death. Then, at a touch, it passes, delicate and evanescent as the frailest blossoms of spring. Just at this moment the Victorian age has that bloom upon it--autumnal, not spring-like--which, in the nature of things, cannot last. That bloom I have tried to illumine before time wipes it away.
e had a long, tiring journey, I fear.
LORD B. It was long, Madam.
QUEEN. I hope that you slept upon the train?
LORD B. I lay upon it, Ma'am. That is all I can say truly.
QUEEN. Oh, I'm sorry!
LORD B. There were compensations, Ma'am. In my vigil I was able to look forward--to that which is now before me. The morning is beautiful! May I be permitted to enquire if your Majesty's health has benefited?
QUEEN. I'm feeling "bonnie," as we say in Scotland. Life out of doors suits me.
LORD B. Ah! This tent light is charming! Then my eyes had not deceived me; your Majesty is already more than better. The tempered sunlight, so tender in its reflections, gives--an interior, one may say--of almost floral delicacy; making these canvas walls like the white petals of an enfolding flower.
QUEEN. Are you writing another of your novels, Lord Beaconsfield? That sounds like composition.
LORD B. Believe me, Madam, only an impromptu.
QUEEN. Now, my dear Lord, pray sit down! I had that chair specially b
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