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CASE OF REAL DISTRESS.

ROYALTY in decadence and adversity,
although it may be occasionally magnanimous,
is at all times a melancholy spectacle. A
seedy prince, a duke out at elbows, a shabby
lord even, are objects of pity and compassion;
but a bankrupt sovereign, a queen at a
discount, a king " hard up," are, I take it,
superlatively pitiable. Women, it is true,
can bear adversity better than men. Without
misery it would seem to be impossible
for some of the dear creatures to " come out
so strong" (to use a vulgar phrase) in the
way of patience, of long suffering, of love, of
mercy, of self-abnegation, as under the
pressure of adverse circumstances. Marie
Antoinette, we will wager, was ofttimes as
cheerful while washing and combing the
little dauphin (before he, poor child, was
taken from her), in the gloomy donjon of the
Temple, as she had been, in the days of her
glory, in the golden galleries of Versailles.
Queen Margaret, in the forest with her son,
mollifying the robber, is a pleasanter sight to
view than Queen Margaret the Cruel, an
intriguing politician, decorating the Duke of
York's head with a paper crown. Who would
not sooner form unto himself an image
of the Scottish Mary weeping in her first,
innocent, French widowhood, or partaking of
her last melancholy repast at Fotheringay
among her mourning domestics, than that
same Scottish Mary battling with Ruthven for
Rizzio's life, or listening in the grey morning
for the awful sound which was to tell her that
the deed of blood at the Kirk of Field was done,
and that Henry Lord Darnley was dead?

Still for one Porphyrogenitus, as it were
born in the purplelapped in the velvet of a
throne, with an orb for a plaything, and a
sceptre for a lollipop, to come to poverty and
meanness, to utter decay and loss of consideration
be he king, or be she queenis very
wretched and pity-moving to view. Dionysius
keeping school (and dwelling on the verb
tupto, you may be sure); Boadicea widowed,
scourged, dishonoured, wandering up and
down in search of vengeance; Lear, old, mad,
and worse than childish, in the forest;
Zenobia ruined and in chains; Darius

      " Deserted in his utmost need
        By those his former bounty fed;"

Theodore of Corsica filing his schedule in the
Insolvent Debtors' Court; Caroline of Prussia
bullied by Napoleon; Murat waiting for a
file of grenadiers to dispatch him; for those
who have once been " your majesty," before
whom chamberlains have walked backward,
to be poor, to be despised, to be forgotten,
must be awful, should be instructive, is
pitiable.

A case of this description, and which I have
been emboldened to call one of real distress,
has lately come under the notice of the writer
of this article. He happens to be acquainted
with a Queen, once powerful, once rich, once
respected, once admired, whose dominions
were almost boundless, the foundations of
whose empire were certainly of antediluvian,
and possibly of pre-Adamite date. Assyria,
Babylon, Egypt, Phœnicia, Carthage, Rome,
Greece, Macedon, were all baby dynasties
compared with that of QUEEN MAB.

Not always known under this title, perhaps,
but still recognised in all time as a queen, as
an empress, a sultanathe autocrat of
imagination, the mistress of magic, the czarina of
fancy, poetry, beauty, — the queen of the
fairies and fairyland.

Her chronicles were writ with a diamond
pen upon the wing of a butterfly, before ever
Confucius had penned a line, or Egyptian
hieroglyphics were thought of. She animated
all nature when, for millions of miles, there
had not been known one living thing, and
there was nothing howling but the desert.
She peopled the heavens, the air, the earth,
the waters, with innumerable tribes of
imaginary beings, arrayed in tints borrowed
from the flowers, the rainbow and the sun.
She converted every virtue into a divinity,
every vice into a demon. Far, far superior
to mythology, her sovereignty was tributary
only to religion.

When Theseus reigned in Athenslet
William Shakespeare settle whenQueen
Mab, under the name and garb of Titania,
reigned lady paramount in all the woods and
wilds near the city. She was wedded to one
Oberon: of whose moral character, whatever
people may say, I have always thought but
very lightly. She knew a bank whereon the
wild thyme grew; she had a court of dancing
fays and glittering sprites; at her call, came
from the brown forest glades, from the

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