Rather more than one mortal lifetime, as we average life in these later days, has elapsed since that June morning of 1837, when Victoria of England, then a fair young princess of eighteen, was roused from her tranquil sleep in the old palace at Kensington, and bidden to rise and meet the Primate, and his dignified associates the Lord Chamberlain and the royal physician, who ''were come on business of state to the Queen''--words of startling import, for they meant that, while the royal maiden lay sleeping, the aged King, whose heiress she was, had passed into the deeper sleep of death.
. He was faithful in a great and difficult trust; let his memory have due honour.
[Footnote: C. C. F. Greville: "A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria."]
Under Melbourne's pilotage the first months of the new reign went by with some serenity, though the political horizon remained threatening enough, and the temper of the nation appeared sullen. "The people of England seem inclined to hurrah no more," wrote Greville of one of the Queen's earliest public appearances, when "not a hat was raised nor a voice heard" among the coldly curious crowd of spectators. But the splendid show of her coronation a half-year later awakened great enthusiasm--enthusiasm most natural and inevitable. It was youth and grace and goodness, all the freshness and the infinite promise of spring, that wore the crimson and the ermine and the gold, that sat enthroned amid the ancient glories of the Abbey to receive the homage of all that was venerable and all that was great in a mighty kingdom, and that bowed in meek devoti