On Tour with Queen Marie


En Train


To-day is the Queen's birthday, and I sent her the silver vase and loving cup filled with lilies early this morning. Her day begins about seven o'clock, when her maid brings her first cup of tea. She is usually dressed and working by eight, and her mornings are occupied in writing letters and articles, and in interviews with people on the train in connection with her tour. She is never idle a moment, hardly ever rests during the day, but I have yet to hear her confess to being really fatigued. Frequently she has had to speak from the rear platform four and five times during the day, to the crowds that collect around the train at railway stations wherever we stop.

I envy her the cheer of that disposition which I have never seen ruffled. I think the most spontaneous proof of this is in her servants' love for her. One maid, the head one, who is in charge of all her clothes and jewels, has been about her twenty years and couldn't be dislodged now with dynamite, I do believe. The Queen's children have for her that delightful intimacy and companionship which denotes friendship and understanding as well as mere motherhood. I like to hear them call her "Mummy" and fly to her with all their interests.

The black spaniel, "Craggie," hardly stirs a foot from her, and sleeps at night, a ball of black fluff, on her bed. Her ladies-in-waiting have been with her many years and would make any sacrifice in her be half. I have heard her take their counsel time and again, but I have seen her, too, stand firm when she was deeply convinced of her position. My respect for her increases day by day as I watch her undeviating stand in the midst of the turmoil which has arisen among the members of her party from diverging ideas of place and position. I have no other feeling but that she will be able to smooth it all out.

To-day I asked her to see me, as I had something to discuss with her. Of course, she did not refuse me. We are to be on the train two whole days now before reaching Winnipeg, which is our next long stop. It is cold and snowing outside. We have passed through miles of waste lands marked only with stumps of trees, the result of forest fires. At intervals, we saw trappers outside of their huts, and the log cabins of the Hudson Bay Company in the woods near the tracks. I was told the forests are full of wild fur-bearing animals here, and this part of Canada has been the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company for many generations. The landscape is desolate. There are many lonely lakes and only a few crude habitations. It is not cheerful— this pioneer country of Canada,

We have all received an invitation from Colonel Carroll to lunch in the dining-car to-day in honor of the Queen's birthday. The luncheon was very cheerful, and, of course, this being Canada, we had champagne to celebrate the occasion. The Queen had at her table Mr. Shipley, who is manager of the train, an experienced railroad man of sterling character and ability. Colonel Carroll and the representative of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, who is now on the train, were also at her table. I was seated at the Prince's table, and Mr. Morris was at Princess Ileana's. A Canadian official and Mme. Procopiu were at the same table with the Prince. I am told that there are now eighty-five persons traveling on this train. This, of course, includes all the entourage of the Queen, Colonel Carroll and his party, all the newspaper men and photographers, the secret service people, and secretaries, and quite a large staff of domestics. It is a very complicated organization. There are seven private cars, most luxuriously furnished, each with a dining-room and its own chef and porters; three compartment cars; two sleepers; and a dining-car which is changed every time we travel over a different railroad. The Queen's private car is called the "Yellowstone Park." We are at present traveling under the auspices of the Canadian Pacific, and the dining-car is excellent. We were served a delicious lunch, and Colonel Carroll toasted the King, the Queen, President Coolidge and His Excellency, the Governor-General of Canada. We all stood and drank to the Queen's health, and she answered with a few words of thanks. She was dressed very simply, and wore a tight-fitting cap made of seed pearls. Both the Queen and Princess Ileana wear these attractive caps continually on the train. Although I must admit it looked simply poisonous, we each took a slice of the Queen's birthday cake, which was decorated most elaborately in the Roumanian colors—red, yellow, and blue.

All of us were happy that day, and quite a peaceful family. The subject most discussed was a possible journey to California. I was told before we started that this was impossible, owing to some intricate railroad questions which I shall not try to solve. After some discussion, the plan was abandoned, much to the regret of many members of the royal party. M. Tirman, and his young secretary, M. Chardon, were exceedingly disappointed. They had come all the way from France in the hope of seeing California.

M. Tirman is, I believe, a member of the French Royal Academy, a noted art connoisseur, and had the consent of the French government to accompany the Queen on this expedition to dedicate the Maryhill Art Museum. I have come to know him quite well, and find him a typical Frenchman with all the alert courtesy and culture that the title implies. He is a middle-aged gentleman, wears a pointed beard, and is very quick in his movements.

That afternoon the Queen sent for me for our talk, and we had a most delightful visit. As women will, we discussed all sorts of things, including our respective children and husbands and households (of course) and branching from these personal things to the wider, but less enthralling, subjects of general interest. I did hope that despite the fatigue and bickerings attendant on any long journey, she was enjoying her visit, and I was happy to hear her say that she did indeed. She was sorry to miss California, and the South which loomed up as a place of romance in her imagination, but perhaps it was as well. Some day she might see them. We spent a pleasant hour together, while she sat knitting a blue silk cap for herself as she talked. I had been with her before so many times in different parts of the world, in Roumania, England, and France, that it seemed very natural to be sitting with her again, even though such vastly different scenery was unrolling before the car windows. The subject came up of someone accused of saying unkind things about her. The most resolute change came over her face. "I will not believe that anybody who has known me as a friend and has broken bread with me would do such a thing. How," she went on, "people can harbor hate for one another and pamper bad feeling is beyond my understanding. It does so much more harm to the one who hates. "

Saturday, October 30.

Snow everywhere. For hours we passed through lonely snow-covered regions with here and there clumps of scrubby trees, mostly pines, a few trappers' huts, and depots of the Hudson Bay Company. The frozen lakes increased the cold power of this bleak landscape. I have the most profound respect for the pioneers of this country, the daring hearts that braved such cruelty of nature, and yet I can feel the virgin charm that drew them there.

To-day we were invited to lunch in Colonel Carroll's car, where we had quite a delightful time. The olive branch was handed to us and we took it. All was harmonious and pleasant on that occasion. Newspapers, as newspapers will, made an exceedingly great mountain out of what was, I must admit, more than a mole-hill of friction between the poor harassed Queen's hosts. None seemed willing to give up to the other a moment of Her Majesty's attention or to abdicate to another for a little time the privilege of doing her favors, but now things seem well adjusted. Colonel Carroll, as he so frequently reminds us, is the Official Host for the train, designated as such by the railroads over which we ride and which are his particular domain. And an absolute monarchy it is. Mr. Morris has charge of the programs and the official entertainments. Having had considerable diplomatic training, he is well able to handle such situations. Most of the programs he arranged before we left New York, but he is carrying on a vigorous telegraphic correspondence with the various governors and mayors to adjust features which must be altered, so that telegrams stream in and are sent out at every station. He and his secretary, Walter Ogden, are kept terribly busy. The whole party seems to be settling down to a good understanding. I wonder how long it will last.

At 5.00 P.M. our long two days' trip to Winnipeg ended.