9.19.2022 – ameliorations

all of the human lot, these
strivings towards light

Adapted from Victoria of England by Edith Sitwell, 1936, BY FABER AND FABER LIMITED, 24 RUSSELL SQUARE, LONDON.

Dame Sitwell wrote in the final paragraphs, “Hers had been such a long life, and it had seen the beginning of a new era. On the day of the Diamond Jubilee, by means of touching an electric button, her message had been sent to her people of the Dominions. Hers had not been the same world as that which was known by her father and her uncles. She had used a telephone, travelled in a train, her voice had been recorded on a gramophone, her photograph was familiar to those over whom she ruled. The whole of the hospital system had been reformed, the use of chloroform, which had so astonished Mr Greville, was now general; the sanitary system was now in good working order, so that the country was no longer swept by appalling plagues of typhus and cholera. The penal system, too, had been changed, and the horrors of transportation and of public executions were abolished. No longer were the work-houses the People’s Bastille, nor did the terrible Debtors’ Prison exist. The state of the workers was much ameliorated, their wages were put on a better scale; the divorce laws were less cruel, and there was some attempt to ease the hard lives of children born out of wedlock.

All these ameliorations of the human lot, these strivings towards the light, had been brought about in her lifetime. But now the Queen of England was tired, and she wanted rest. The trees were silent because of the secret of the coming spring that they held within them, and as the carriage drove beneath the violet boughs the shadows seemed to grow longer.” 

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any previous British monarch and is known as the Victorian era.

It was the record for almost over 100 years.

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