Lord Melbourne has a daydream he indulges in now and then. It’s an innocent dream which harms no one. In it his Queen decides to never marry. She will rule her country in splendour, but alone, growing wiser and greater. Though not a wife, she will be content with being the mother of an empire. In this dream he will stay at her side forever. Her trusted advisor, her friend and protector. Her lifelong companion, the man she cannot do without. The thought of spending his remaining days in her shadow is blissful.
He had not been prepared to be so utterly taken by this girl queen. He had come to her to offer his faithful service, but to his surprise, he had left their first meeting completely devoted. And soon he is a man in love, the dry well of his heart, suddenly overflowing, filling him with longings and needs he had thought gone forever. It’s ridiculous. She is the Queen, a being belonging to a circle he can never enter. And, she is so very young, and he is an old man. In ten years time she will still be a young woman and he will be even older, perhaps even dead. And the span of years which divides them are too wide, it is winter longing for a spring, which will never come again for him.
Victoria is not a great beauty. She possesses the fresh prettiness of youth and she has a charming directness about her which makes her appealing. She is short and slender, but she devours her meals with a hearty appetite, which indicate she may become quite stout in a few years time. An attractive young woman, in short, but nothing out of the ordinary. Caroline had been exquisite, a delicate porcelain doll, and he had loved her dearly. But their marriage had only made them miserable. His wife had been frail, in body and mind, and time had deteriorated both into a shadow of the radiant girl he had married.
But there is nothing delicate about Victoria. There are those who insist she has a nervous constitution, unable to make up her own mind. The claim is ridiculous, especially when it comes from those who actually know her. There is a robustness about her, in frame as well as mind. It’s true she is thoughtless, willful and passionate, but it is merely youth, not character flaws. He can lament her lack of education, but her quick mind grows and learn by the day. It’s everything about her that he loves. How she looks, the way she moves. Her keen brain, her energy, her eyes, which shines with intelligence and render her more attractive than any other woman he has ever known.
But then there is this other fantasy, darker, perhaps even dangerous. He tries not to think of it, but there are those days when they have spent hours alone, deeply immersed in the state of affairs. He is sure she knows nothing yet of the ultimate intimate act between men and women, but he is a man of the world. There have been many women in his life, not only the wife she knows about. He sees and recognizes the signs of arousal in her. How her eyes grows darker and her breathing shallow. Her mouth and cheeks grows a rosier hue, her lips parting a little as if waiting to be kissed. If he, almost by chance, or at least never beyond of the borders of respectability, touches her, her breath seems to stop for a moment. It makes her grow restless and irritable. She has a quick temper and at those times it grows very short. She finds faults in him, her objections are small, petty and her barbs without sting. They are born out of a frustration she has no name for, and he forgives her. Those meetings invariably end with her walking restlessly around the room, then an abrupt declaration she needs fresh air. It would be amusing to see her almost galloping out of the room, fist clenched and her colour high, if he hadn’t been so affected himself. And he, he goes home those days to drink more than usual. And sometimes he yields to his imagination, even if he knows it will give no lasting satisfaction.
In this dream he walks into her bedchamber at night. Nevermind it would be impossible to achieve, in his imagination, he walks in and there is no one to stop him. She sleeps, her nightgown crisply white, her breathing deep, making her bosom rise and fall. Brown hair like silk, not bound into its customary chignon, but spilling freely around her face. He wakes her up, very gently, by kissing her forehead. She is frightened at first- which young women wouldn’t be when she finds a man in her bed chamber? But when she sees it’s him, the fear disappears.. She smiles and he finally kiss her small mouth. The thought of being the man who teaches her about the joys of the flesh makes him shiver in a way more befitting a much younger man. His reflections grow chaotic, images of white limbs and a plump bosom tumbling through his mind.
When he is the master of himself again, he thinks it’s lucky he isn’t a young man anymore. The foolishness of youth may have been cocky enough to believe a meeting like this could be within the realm of possibility. Even a man in his prime may convince himself he is the man to rebel against fate. But now he is old, and he knows his dreams will never be more than figments of an imagination which really ought to know better. His beloved Victoria will marry, one of those suitable princes her family shakes up from all corners of Europe. Then she will transfer her misguided and mostly unconscious feelings for him into the love of a husband. She will blossom into full womanhood and he, he will fade away. It’s the natural and proper way. It’s the only way.
Still, it will harm no one if he, occasionally, imagines a future where the Queen does not marry.