\ How the Royal Children Help
The Prince of Wales, too, made a very useful contribution in some dozens of pairs of stout socks for lads and men and cloth caps. There were also a number of woollen comforters made on frames by Prince George and Prince Henry, while Princess Mary, who, in I9i0, assumed the vice-presidency of a group largely composed of young ladies about her own age, was responsible for some 700 articles of clothing for boys and girls. For, just as the Duchess of Teck secured the practical help of her daughter, so Queen Mary has enrolled Princess Mary among her helpers in order to increase the usefulness of the guild. Some idea of the work accomplished by the Duchess and Queen Mary in the latter's early days may be gathered from a letter written by her Grace in I887, wherein she speaks of two whole months being occupied in the work, and how the parcels filled the house. May," she wrote, " knelt so long just at first over the huge parcels and bundles that she very nearly gave herself housemaid's knee. Indeed, she worked so energetically that she quite knocked herself up. May contributed 46I articles. Very good for her first year as president."
The Queen was then twenty years of age, and since then, year after year, she has contributed many garments made with her own hands to the guild. In fact, it is said that she makes crochet woollen garments for poor children at the rate of sixty a year, and, on being asked how she could possibly make so large a number, replied :
"I have always one of the little petticoats on hand in each of my sitting-rooms, and I take it up whenever I have a few minutes to spare ; then, in the evenings, my husband reads to me, and I work and get through a great deal."
Apart from the actual giving of clothes, however, the guild fulfils another useful purpose. It has provided hundreds of poor mothers with admirable object lessons as to how children's clothes should be made. The simple patterns which the vice-presidents urge their associates to use can be easily copied, and in materials, work, and trimming the frock or pinafore or baby clothes are practical models that it should be within the powers of any woman, knowing how to use a needle and thread, to copy. Then it is possible to make up outfits for young girls going into service, or to provide a man whose clothes have got shabby while out of work with a suit or boots in which he can take up a new situation.
And here it might be mentioned, as an illustration of her Majesty's enthusiasm, that she personally attends the exhibition and classification of the articles each year, and usually arrives at the Imperial Institute, where the work is generally carried out, early in the morning to begin her task. She does not even leave for luncheon, having that meal served in the building. Sir Clement Kinloch-cooke, in his book, recalls an incident which shows how thoroughly Queen Mary works on behalf of the guild, and also the interest the late King Edward took in the work. Happening to be at the Imperial Institute on one of the days set apart for sorting and unpacking, he was informed that the Princess of Wales was in the room below.
" I will go and see her," he said, and walked towards the door of the room. Gently pushing it open and looking in, King Edward saw his daughter-in-law, her dress covered with a neat apron, and in her hand a pair of scissors with which she was about to attack the formidable parcels in front of her. Her face was radiant with pleasure, proving that her heart was in the work. King Edward did not go in, but said in a voice of evident satisfaction : "Excellent, excellent!"
The same enthusiasm marks Queen Mary's efforts to alleviate distress in other directions.
Years ago, before the many funds for sending children to the country and the seaside had reached their present developments, her Majesty was active in promoting this movement, while for years past she has worked indefatigably on behalf of the Children's Happy Evenings Association. As Lady Grand President of the League of Mercy, too, she has performed duties of a kind particularly congenial to her nature, and those who have attended the annual garden-parties at Marlborough House given to the league have noted the genuine pleasure which her Majesty has taken in promoting the welfare of that excellent organisation.
Their Majesties King George and Queen Mary visiting the patients in the London Hospital. Her Majesty has been renowned from earliest girlhood for her whole-hearted devotion to and unflagging zeal in the sacred cause of charity. Wherever possible, she gives her invaluable personal service and patronage
As Princess of Wales. Her Majesty has more than once visited one of the centres and seen the children. She passed among them and entered into their enjoyments as do the ladies who so cheerfully give their time to this work. To be continued.