Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Childhood of Queen Victoria

George IV. left no children, so his crown passed on to his brother, William IV. As he was once in the navy, he is often called the "Sailor King." He was a good and able man, although somewhat rough in manner, and he was much liked because he was in favour of reform.

During his short reign England prospered greatly. With the building of the first English railway, in 183o, the way was opened for making travel much more rapid and easy. A change was also made in the mode of elections, and when a new House of Commons assembled, there were members from all parts of the country, and all the nation was at last fairly represented.

By the efforts of a man named Wilberforce, slavery was abolished in the colonies. Parliament also made many laws in favour of the poor, and reduced the rate of letter postage.

William IV. and good Queen Adelaide had no children, so their niece Victoria was considered the future Queen of Great Britain. But the crown of Hanover, which had been worn by five kings of England, could not be inherited by a woman; so when William IV. died, his youngest brother, Ernest, became King of Hanover. This separation of the two kingdoms pleased the British, because the possession of land in Germany had often forced them to take more part than they wished in European wars, and had thus put them to great expense.

From early childhood Victoria was educated for the great position she was to occupy, and taught to be conscientious, kind, and affable to all. She was a happy little girl, although her father died when she was a mere baby, for she was constantly with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, a very good woman.

No one was allowed to tell Victoria that she might some day be queen, and she was brought up very plainly. We are told that she had a small allowance, and that she had to keep strict account of every penny she spent. Every one was forbidden to give or lend her any money, so that when she wanted to buy something, she had to wait and save up, if her allowance was already gone.

One day when she was out with her governess, she saw a doll which pleased her much, and she felt badly because she could not buy it at once. The shopkeeper, however, put it aside for her; and as soon as Victoria had saved up enough money, she hastened to the place to secure the coveted treasure. But as she stepped out of the shop, a poor woman begged her for something to eat. Victoria, whose money was all gone, hesitated a moment; then, turning around, she begged the merchant to take back the doll and give her her money, which she immediately bestowed upon the starving woman.

When Victoria was about twelve years old, her mother thought it was time that she should be told that she was heir to the crown. So her teacher made her trace a genealogical table of the kings of England, such as you will find at the end of this book. The little girl finally came to her uncles, and then, looking up, said that she could not see who should come after her uncle William, unless it were she.

Her mother gently told her she was right, and after a few moments' deep silence and thought, little Victoria slipped her hand into her mother's, and solemnly said: "I will be good." This resolution, made by so small a girl, has been faithfully kept. She has been a good daughter, a good pupil, a good wife, a good mother, a good queen, and, what is best of all, a thoroughly good woman.

At five o'clock in the morning, on a beautiful June day in 1837, Victoria was roused from her slumbers to receive the visit of the ministers of state. After a very hasty toilet, she went into the room where they were, and these grave men humbly bent the knee before her, calling her their queen. Although only eighteen years old, Victoria received their homage gently and with great dignity, and made them a little speech, in which she expressed her sorrow for her uncle's death, and her earnest desire to rule her people wisely.

Ever since that day, although Queen Victoria has stood alone, the observed of all observers, she has proved so good and earnest that she has won the respect of all the civilized world.