Victoria Confesses (9781442422469)

Victoria Confesses (9781442422469) by Carolyn Meyer

Book: Victoria Confesses (9781442422469) by Carolyn Meyer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carolyn Meyer
before I come of age.”
    Once started, I could hardly stop.
    Uncle Leopold strode to the window and stared out toward the sea, frills of whitecaps now under heavy gray clouds. “We are aware that the king is in failing health. We pray for his strength to endure until you are of age—and well beyond, if it be God’s will. In the event that he dies before your eighteenth birthday, your mother will rule in your stead as regent, but it is Sir John who will pull the levers. Even after you’re of age, he’ll look for ways to control you.”
    â€œMamma says I may not come of age until I am twenty-one.”
    â€œShe said that?” Uncle Leopold let out a bark of laughter. “It is not your mamma’s place to decide!” he exclaimed and continued his restless pacing. “I shall have a frank talk with my sister. And with Sir John Conroy as well.”
    I nearly wept with gratitude. I hoped Mamma would see that I was becoming more capable every day and took my duties VERY seriously, that I was not a silly, foolish child but a young woman with my eyes fixed on my future responsibilities. I did not need her lectures, and I most certainly did not need Sir John’s.
    I was still exhausted from our tour and had felt poorly for several days. My throat was sore and my head ached. Daisy had given me a dose of tincture of rhubarb—nasty stuff—that was her usual treatment when I complained of being unwell, but it did little to improve me. Worried, Daisy had suggested that my physician, Dr. Clark, should be called down from London to examine me. Mamma and Sir John had disagreed, and I was determined not to allow my fatigue or my illness to interfere with my time with my DEAR uncle and aunt. But now, in the midst of this VERY important conversation with my uncle, the room began to spin.
    â€œVictoria? Can you hear me, dear niece?”
    Uncle’s voice seemed to be coming from a great distance. Somewhere a bell rang, and another voice called out, “Send for Dr. Clark!” Uncle Leopold murmured close to my ear. “I will not allow him to be turned away without examining you.”
    I slept, and time passed. The physician came and sat by my bedside, peering down at me. Mamma was with him. He asked me how I felt.
    â€œI feel so very tired,” I began.
    â€œThe princess is given to whims,” Mamma quickly interrupted. “And her companion Baroness Lehzen has a vivid imagination.”
    I closed my eyes. How can she say that ? But I felt too ill, too dispirited, to argue.
    â€œAllow me, your highness,” said Dr. Clark, and placed his ear against my chest. “Nothing to be concerned about,” he concluded after listening for a moment. “A dose or two of rhubarb tincture and she will be right as rain.”
    He went away, even when Daisy told him she had already tried that remedy.
    Mamma still insisted there was nothing wrong with me.
    In a day or two I began to feel somewhat recovered; no doubt it was the relief of having Uncle Leopold and his delightful wife there with me. Aunt Louise had completely won my heart during their short visit. One afternoon she brought her French hairdresser to try arranging my hair in several different ways, “in the style of the Continent,” she said. A maid followed with her arms full of dresses from Aunt Louise’s own wardrobe.
    â€œThat is the perfect color for you,” Aunt Louise announced when I held up a rich ruby velvet. “It goes beautifully with your fair skin.”
    â€œMamma favors very pale colors, and she prefers white above all,” I told her. “To emphasize my youth and innocence.”
    â€œYou are sixteen, are you not? Perhaps it is time to emphasize your maturity and elegance, as the French would,” said Aunt Louise. “No doubt your mother will dislike this purple gown as well.” She spread out the rustling taffeta skirt.
    I laughed. “She’ll hate

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