« PreviousContinue »
rounded by a small park, and in a pleasant rural neighbourhood. This was the holiday place of the children, and here the Princess, by her amiability and attractive manners, gained the affection and respect of the simple country folk, in whose cottages she was no stranger, and who, before her marriage, presented her with a porcelain vase, which, no doubt, she did not consider as one of the least interesting, if among the least in intrinsic value, of all the gifts she received.
In this quiet manner passed the youth of the Princess, differing in few respects from the life of many a young lady in provincial towns. Of court life she knew little, for the court of Denmark was rather peculiarly constituted. King Frederick VII., who came to the throne when she was four years old, had married, at a very early age, his cousin Wilhelmina, daughter of Frederick VI. The marriage resulted in unhappiness, and the young wife obtained a divorce, on the ground of incompatibility of temper, and married Duke Charles, the elder brother of Prince Christian. In 1841, Frederick married a second time, Princess Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz being the lady selected. After five years there was another divorce, and the Prince appeared to be resolved henceforth to avoid the matrimonial condition. He took great pleasure in acting as an amateur fireman, and attending one night a conflagration in Copenhagen, was struck with the energy of a very pretty girl, who was handing buckets of water to the men. He addressed her, and an acquaintance commenced. She was Louise Rosmunser, a girl of poor parentage, who had been a ballet-dancer, and who was at that time shopwoman to a dressmaker. In a few days she gave up attendance at the counter, and took up her residence in a pretty little villa just outside Copenhagen. In 1848 Prince Frederick succeeded to the throne, and one of his first acts was to give her considerable estates, and create her Countess Danver. Four years afterwards he married her; and although, of course, she was not recognized as Queen of Denmark, she for several years virtually held that position, exercising great influence over the king, and holding drawing-rooms, at which the pobility attended, the Prince and Princess Christian among them. But the young Princess was never permitted to breathe the atmosphere of the court of Countess Danver—" the Queen-Countess," as she was commonly styled.
Frederick VII, having no children, the question of succession to the throne was agitated in foreign courts, and, of course, intrigues resulted. The old Scandinavian law, which permitted succession in the female line, was repealed centuries ago, and the Salic law substituted. Notwithstanding this, a claim was made on behalf of the brother of Princess Christian, Prince Frederick of HesseCassel, whose mother was the daughter of the late Crown Prince of Denmark. The powerful influence of Russia was exerted on his behalf, he having married a daughter of the Czar Nicholas. But she died, and the Prince showing more independence than Russia thought becom.
ing, he was “shunted”, in favour of Prince Christian ; who, in a protocol signed in London by the representatives of the great Powers, in May, 1852, was recognized as the heir-apparent, an arrangement by no means agreeable to the Danish people, who—of course, very unreasonably.-thought they should have been consulted in the matter. Twice the Rigsdag, or Parliament, refused to sanction the choice; but a fresh election returned a more complaisant house, and the succession of the Prince was accepted. There is no reason to suppose that the country has since had any reason to regret the decision.
When, therefore, the Prince of Wales was struck with the bright beauty of the young Princess, as they strolled together among the ruins of Heidelberg, looking down upon the Rhine, she was not a king's daughter; for Frederick VII. did not die until November, 1863. The announcement that the Prince had chosen as he did was the occasion of sincere rejoicing. The engagement was announced in the Queen's specch on the meeting of Parment, and a vote of £10,000 a year, and L30,000 in the event of her surviving the Prince, was enthusiastically passed. The Princess, accompanied by her father, mother, and eldest brother, left Copenhagen on the 26th of February, 1863, making an almost triumphal procession, by way of Kiel, Hanover, and Cologne, to Brussels, which she reached on the 2nd of March, being received by the Duchess of Brabant, the Count of Flanders, the English and Danish Ambassadors, and the Burgomaster and civic officials of Brussels. After a stay of three days, she quitted Brussels for Antwerp, where the party embarked on board the royal yacht, “ Victoria and Albert," escorted by the English Channel Squadron. The night of the 5th and a part of the 6th was spent in Margate Roads; and at noon on Saturday the 7th of March, a day made memorable in history, the royal yacht reached the Terrace Pier, Gravesend. The Prince of Wales was waiting to receive his bride, and, stepping quickly on board, met her at the door of the saloon, welcoming her with a hearty kiss, which was seen by the assembled thousands; and a cheer such as only Englishmen can give told the blushing girl how that salute was taken as a symbol of national welcome. On the pier, little girls strewed flowers before the Princess, who leant on her lover's arm on the way to the railway-station. At the Bricklayers' Arms Station in London, the Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Prussia, the Count of Flanders, and other royal and distinguished personages, and the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Corporation of London, were waiting to receive her. Then began that memorable progress through London. At least a million of people thronged the streets and housetops. It was with difficulty a way could be made for the carriages. Once, indeed, in Cheapside, so great was the throng, that the Princess experienced a not unnatural apprehension of danger, as the mighty mass actually stopped the carriage she rode in, and there seemed no passage through that upturned sea of eager human faces. She rode with her father and mother and the Prince of Wales, who calmed her apprehensions; and soon the yielding crowd gave way, and once again the carriages were moving. The decorations in the City and all along the line of route were superb. It had been proposed that an escort of noble ladies, mounted, and in white riding habits, should bave met the Princess; but the difficulty of riding through such a crowd was taken into account, and the idea was abandoned. In Hyde Park the representatives of a hundred volunteer corps saluted the Princess; and late in the afternoon the Great Western Station was reached, and in another hour the Princess was at Windsor, enfolded in the embrace of the Queen.
The marriage took place on the following Tuesday, the 10th of March, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. The Queen did not intrude her widow's robes into the joyful ceremony, but watched it from her closet near the altar. The honeymoon was shortened to about a fortnight's seclusion at Osborne, and then the young couple emerged into the brilliancy of Royal and Court life.
It is sad to have to add that on the occasion of the rejoicings in the City several lives were lost in the crowd which witnessed the illuminations; but there was no other circumstance to cast a gloom over the festivities.
As time passed on, and the new year approached, it was natural that interest should be felt in the probability of an event of importance not only to the happy young couple, but to the nation generally; but the blessing came to hand with rather amusing precipitancy. On the 8th of January, 1864, the Princess had been watching the Prince and others skating in Windsor Great Park, and op her return in the evening to Frogmore Lodge, it became evident that the expected event was imminent. The chosen physicians were not in attendance, and Dr. Brown, a private practitioner of Windsor, and medical attendant to the Royal household, was hastily summoned. The Countess of Macclesfield and other ladies assisted with their maternal experience, and almost before the
Prince could be informed that he was about to become a father, a little Prince was ushered into the world, the Countess of Macclesfield, it is said, divesting herself of her petticoat to wrap up the illustrious little stranger.
Since then, four other children have added to the happiness of the Prince and Princess, whose wedded life, however, has not been without its clouds.
In 1867 the Princess suffered from a rheumatic affection which threatened to contract her leg and make her a cripple. For about a year she was compelled to maintain a recumbent position, with the limb in a splint. Surgical skill triumphed, but for some time after her reappearance in public she walked with a slight limp, immediately imitated by some of those silly persons who are always ready to copy even the infirmities of distinguished people, and the “ Alexandra limp" became an object of ridicule.
The Princess bore her long and painful seclusion with courage; but a harder trial was in reserve—the dangerous illness of her illustrious husband in the winter of 1871. During those weeks of terrible suspense, the devoted wife sat watching by the Prince's bedside and rendering those offices of love which none but a wife can make so welcome, and when convalescence came, it was leaning on the arm of his wife supporting his feeble steps, that the Prince once more breathed the open air.
In 1868 and 1869, the Princess accompanied the Prince on an Eastern tour, visiting Egypt, and has made several continental trips. In Court ceremonies her graceful presence has, in some measure, compensated for the occasional absence of the Sovereign. In private life, , we believe, we are justified in saying that her amiability, her many acts of kindness, her domestic nature, make her generally beloved. She has schools at Sandringham, and is always ready to give her assistance to any good work; is, indeed, a Royal lady of whom her adopted country may well be proud.
THE YOUNG HOUSEKEEPER.
exercises a powerful influence on both mind and body, and as we should like our home to be “a dearer, sweeter place than all the rest,” it may not be amiss, before entering into the details of housekeeping, to offer a few hints that may be useful in the choice of a house.
However charming may be the aspect of a pretty home, covered with roses, wisteria, or honeysuckle, it will not be a really pleasant home if the necessary conditions of health have been overlooked ; neither can we attain that exquisite cleanliness and purity which ought to be the characteristic of an English home, the place
“ Where woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet." We must be careful in making our choice that the aspect of the house is good. As light and sunshine are as necessary to health as air itself, we must try and secure a pleasant aspect, as in a house facing the north, the rooms are darker, colder, and more likely to be damp. We need scarcely remind our readers that a damp house can never be a perfectly healthy one; it not only causes colds and rheumatic attacks, but, by lowering the tone of the system, predisposes to other diseases. The north walls of houses in the country should be planted with ivy, as it is not only useful in keeping out wet and cold, but the ivy roots will absorb moisture. A good supply of pure water and thorough drainage will be all that is absolutely necessary to health in the choice of a house, but these are as indispensable to the mansion as to the cottage.
The interesting subject of furnishing demands some attention; but as each house requires a different style, as well as a different scale of expenditure, it is obvious that we can only touch lightly on this varied question. One golden rule applies to all-whatever may be spent in furnishing, let everything that is bought be good of its kind, and, in case economy is an object; it will be found. very advantageous to deal with the manufacturers, where that is possible. This particularly applies to mattresses, bedding, and all solid furniture. Young housekeepers are cautioned against buying cheap showy furniture, as, however attractive it may appear when quite new, it loses its beauty, and becomes, if not unfit for use, at least a constant source of expense in repairs.
The care and thought given to the choice and selection of paper, carpets, and curtains will be well repaid, as, without the exercise of such care and taste, it will be impossible to give that pleasant and attractive air of comfort and harmony which is so much to be desired.
The choice of papers should depend upon the aspect of the room ; for example, if your room has a northerly aspect, you will find it requires a bright paper of warm tone; if papered with blue, green, or greenish-grey, it will have a poor, cold effect that nothing will brighten.
The green-grey paper, with plenty of gold in it, looks remarkably well in a dining-room, as it throws up the gold frames of oil paintings, and does not destroy the effect of the pictures. A rich Turkey carpet with this paper will give all the colour that is necessary.
A charming effect of harmony is produced by suiting the carpets carefully to the paper ; as a rule, the carpets should be of richer, darker colours than those chosen for the walls. As it is absolutely necessary that the drawing room paper be of a pale, delicate tint, nearly approaching white, a very good effect may be produced by the richlycoloured carpet on black ground, newly introduced. If there should be much gold colour in the carpet, amber curtains will look best. If the drawing-room is not very lofty, it will be better to have a narrow gold moulding, · instead of the wider border generally used. It is scarcely necessary to suggest that the curtains should be of the prevailing tint of the carpet.
It sometimes happens in arranging a house, we have to deal with rooms that are already furnished, and are unfortunately not always in the best taste. It may be they are only dull and sombre looking; in this case much may be done by a lady of taste who knows the value of a little well-disposed colour. Some bright
needle-work, fresh white curtains, and a stand of tastefully arranged flowers, will do wonders. Most ladies know how charmingly a, dark dull-looking toilet may be relieved by means of bright ribbons. The same principle of taste may be applied to the house. The fresh cleanliness which is, or ought to be, indispensable, will add another charm to a well-furnished, tastefully arranged house.
Thus, even in a simple home, there is often to be found a pleasant air of refinement and comfort, due to the taste and industry of the ladies of the house, that is not always to be gained by the most extravagant expenditure.
To obtain and keep up the cleanliness of the house with proper and judicious care of furniture, it will be necessary to choose servants with care. It is better, if possible, to take them from houses, where the mistress is “particular," and where the household duties are carried on with order and regularity, otherwise the young housekeeper will have much to teach, and the servant much trouble in getting into habits of regularity. When engaging a servant, the necessity of keeping all under her charge in perfect order must be impressed on her. Some ladies give a card with the duties and routine work of each day in the week clearly written on it. This is useful to housemaids, as it gives them no excuse for "forgetting," as it is quite impossible a mistress can make a constant inspection of everything. The daily rubbing steel stoves and fenders is often forgotten unless the card acts as a reminder. A short time each morning will suffice to keep steel perfectly bright, but hours of labour will be required if once neglected. The same rule applies to furniture, brasses—in fact, to everything that requires to be kept bright. When engaging a servant, the hour you expect her to rise should be mentioned, and no excuse except that of sickness should be admitted. If the servants are required to rise at six o'clock in summer, they should be allowed to retire to rest at ten o'clock. The excuse generally made, that of oversleeping themselves, should be met by having a bell communicating with their rooms, which can be rung at the required hour.
If early rising be insisted on by the mistress, it will soon become a habit, and the servants will have time to proceed with the work carefully and thoroughly; it is the habit of late rising which necessitates hurry in the work, and too often causes the breakage of valuable ornaments and articles of furniture. Gloves must be always worn in cleaning stoves, fire-irons, etc., as otherwise finger-marks will soil curtains and chairs. It is usual for the cook to clean the dining-room stove, but this is not always the role, as in families where the breakfast is early and there is much to prepare, the cook would not have time. Before cleaning the dining-room the curtains should be rolled up, all the small articles of furniture placed in the middle of the room, the sofa, arm-chairs, etc., covered with sweeping cloths (large pieces of sheeting or calico). If the room be dusty and the carpet not too light, tea-leaves are to be strewn all round. The carpet broom sweeping lightly all over, attending particularly to the corners, and with a short brush sweeping under the heavy furniture. When the carpet is perfectly swept, remove the leaves and dust in a dust-pan. They must not begin to dust too soon, as otherwise it will settle again, and the process must be repeated. Everything must be taken off the side-board before dusting, and care must be taken to rub all the interstices of the ornamental work; this is best done with a brush. The picture frames must be dusted with a feather brush. The looking-glasses must be cleaned with a little whiting and water, polished, when dry, with a leather, but great care must be used, the hands being never placed on the gilt frame, or it will be soon tarnished. The same process must be used with carpeted bed-rooms, the greatest care being taken to pick up curtains, and cover sweeping cloths over the beds and chairs. Rooms that require scouring should first have the carpets removed, and then be carefully swept. If the paint requires cleaning, it should be done before the floor is cleaned. The scouring must be commenced at the part of the room furthest from the door. Soft soap is the best to be used. The brush must follow the grain of the wood, not scrub across it, or the dirt) will remain in. Plenty of water must be used, and the boards wiped, when quite clean, with a dry cloth. For cleaning oilcloth it is better to use a little soap, and wipe dry as quickly as possible. No soda must be used, as it softens the paint, and causes it to wear very badly. The best way to retain the colour is to wash it rarely, and polish it once a week with bees-wax and turpentine. This very much improves the appearance, and causes it to wear very much longer.
My young friends will not, I hope, be impatient at these details of domestic work, but we wish to give a little help to those who may, perhaps, be obliged to instruct servants who are ignorant of their duties, or who may require the eye of the mistress to remark the manner in which the work is carried on.
In the matter of house cleaning there is one very important thing that must be strictly watched—that is, that no sleeping apartment be washed or scrubbed late in the day, and that the day chosen be a dry one. The dampness hangs about a room after the boards look dry, and would, in that case, be very injurious to the health of children or delicate persons.
The daily inspection of the larder should be the duty of the mistress of the house, perfect cleanliness being necessary to keep meats and all other viands in a proper state. Much waste of food is caused by neglect of the simple precaution, no gravy or pieces of meat that are stale should be allowed to remain in the larder, as the fresh meat would otherwise very soon be spoiled. With a cook who is trustworthy and knows her business, this will be attended to, but we offer these suggestions in
case of ignorant and incompetent service. Having given some attention to the first simple step of house cleaning, the polishing of furniture must be noticed. Nothing is. better than the “ French Polish Reviver" for the articles. of furniture that have been French polished, and almost all are so now, occasionally used and lightly rubbed with soft cloths, the pristine brilliancy can be well kept up.. Looking-glasses require the glass to be lightly washed with whiting and water before polishing with a soft. leather.
Valuable china ornaments should not be trusted to an inexperienced housemaid to wash. Many priceless articles of this kind have been ruthlessly destroyed by the carelessness of ignorant girls, who were not aware of their value. It is not easy to be
"Mistress of herself though china fall."-POPE.) At all events, it is better not to give our virtue such a severe trial.
I should advise my young friends to put away as many of their pretty ornaments as possible when the drawing-room is to be cleaned. It gives some trouble, but they will have the pleasure of preserving their pretty, delicate needlework, beautiful books, and charming trifles in a state of freshness and beauty not to be found in the ornaments and books left to the tender mercies of an ordinary housemaid. Care ought to be taken of all the pretty things with which a woman so naturally surrounds. herself, and which are in a manner part of herself, expressing very often her habits and tastes.
They are worthy of care, not only because they are pretty or valuable in themselves, but because they are, in most cases, the tokens of the love and remembrance of dear friends, some of them, perhaps, absent or lost. They may be reminiscences of foreign or home travel, souvenirs of happy days, wedding gifts, birthday presents, even little childish treasures—all have most likely some special value not to be weighed by silver or gold.
We must not forget our music and musical instruments when the drawing-room is to be cleaned and arranged; nothing is more disagreeable to a refined woman than to see dirty finger-marks on her music, or to find, on opening her piano, that the keys are dusty. This unfortunately often bappens even when the exterior has been carefully attended to. Music should never be left to the housemaid to arrange or put away; these are littleduties that a lady can quickly and deftly perform, and thereby have her music fresh and clean, and her pianokeys in the most agreeable state for sensitive fingers.
Having said a few words in a former paper on the necessity of keeping the bed-rooms well aired, I should like to say a few words about the like ventilation of the drawing-room. This is scarcely necessary in the country, where they usually open on the garden or pleasant lawn ;. but in towns it is too much the custom to keep the windows closed, sometimes in the fear of spoiling the curtains or furniture; and it must be admitted that the air of a drawing-room that has been so shut up is anything but favourable to the pleasant conversation that should characterise a morning visit. In such an atmosphere the most brilliant, pleasant person would be dull, and even sometimes ill-natured.
After dinner in summer how delightful is a cool, well ventilated drawing-room- not too brilliantly lighted, with a sweet perfume of flowers, and an all-pervading charm of rest and calm; not all the costly furniture in the world could make a room enjoyable unless it is fresh, sweet, and airy. Conversation flags and is dull, and even music seems to lose its usual charm and falls flat on the ear in a close, stuffy atmosphere. This effect is often strikingly exemplified in the afternoon concerts during the London season, when the great works of the greatest masters are being listened to by people really fond of music; but the drowsy, weary expression seen on
most faces tells the truth that they are not enjoying the music as it deserves. Why are they incapable of appreciating its charm? They cannot enjoy it because the air of the place in which they listen is not pure and fresh. This little illustration will show my lady friends that pure
air in a house is one of the conditions not only of health, but of that happy state of the mind which enables us to enjoy thoroughly and freely the delights of conversation, reading, and music. Not only will our social enjoyments be heightened by the care we give to the cleanliness and beautifying our dwellings, but we shall reap a still higher reward in the healthful influence on the “ workers' of the family. The doctor, so much of whose time is passed in sick-rooms; the merchant, whose time is almost wholly spent in his counting-house, will turn with delight to the refreshing influence of his well-kept, pleasant home.
AN AMERICAN COLLEGE FOR LADIES.
described as unique, has just closed, and it may interest our lady readers, who have met with many discouragements in the endeavour to obtain University education, if we avail ourselves of the description, in a contemporary, of Vassar College, in the State of New York.
The College is the great American female collegean institution of which the aim is to give to women a collegiate education equal in all respects to that which men receive in our first-class colleges. The act of incorporation declares its object and purpose to be“ to promote the education of young women in literature, science, and the arts." The founder—the late Mr. Matthew Vassarspecifies its idea as being “the development and exposition and the marshalling to the front of women, of their powers on every side, demonstrative of their equality with men, demonstrative, indeed, of such capacities as in certain fixed directions surpass those of men.” The College is on a farm of about two hundred acres, two miles east of the city of Poughkeepsie, on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, in the State of New York, about seventyfive miles from the city of New York. The founder of this institution, who not only conceived the plan, but pushed it through with his money and personal energy, was, as stated above, Mr. Matthew Vassar, a native of this state, and for many years a resident of Poughkeepsie. He gave the college in all 778,000 dols. Its available property, productive and unproductive, to-day is 875,577 dols. Other donations, mainly of books and apparatus, but not much money, have been made besides those of
the founder. Mr. Vassar made a fortune by brewing, and, having no direct heirs, conceived this noble scheme, and lived to see it in full operation. The charter for the college is dated 1861; and the exercises of the college were begun in September, 1865.
This institution was begun without a theory as to form of teaching, and as it exists to-day it is the result of numerous experiments. With the general idea to found and perpetuate an institution which should accomplish for young women what our colleges are accomplishing for young men, the trustees elected a president (male), a lady principal, nine professors (seven male and two female), and twenty-one teachers and instructors (one male and twenty females). The chairs were mental and moral philosophy, ancient and modern languages, mathematics and natural philosophy, including chemistry, natural history (geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology, and physical geography), astronomy, and physiology, and hygiene, English language, including rhetoric and belles lettres, music, and drawing, and painting. With this curriculum and this faculty of professors, the institution opened in 1865, with 350 girls between fifteen and twenty-four years old. This mass of material was heterogeneous, the girls having been prepared by various teachers and tutors on various plans, and were in every way different in preparation, and in almost every instance badly prepared. Two years were devoted to organizing this mass, teaching all the branches during all the halfyear sessions, and thus gradually developing classes and working the girls into them with some degree of order.