Page:The Yellow Book - 03.djvu/283

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A Note on George the Fourth


THEY say that when King George was dying, a special form of prayer for his recovery, composed by one of the Archbishops, was read aloud to him, and that his Majesty, after saying Amen "thrice, with great fervour," begged that his thanks might be conveyed to its author. To the student of royalty in modern times there is something rather suggestive in this incident. I like to think of the drug-scented room at Windsor,, and of the King, livid and immobile among his pillows, waiting, in superstitious awe, for the near moment when he must stand, a spirit, in the presence of a perpetual King. I like to think of him following the futile prayer with eyes and lips, and then, custom resurgent in him and a touch of pride that, so long as the blood moved ever so little in his veins, he was still a king, expressing a desire that the dutiful feeling and admirable taste of the Prelate should receive a suitable acknowledgment. It would have been impossible for a real monarch like George, even after the gout had turned his thoughts heavenward, really to abase himself before his Maker. But he could, so to say, treat with him, as he might have treated with a fellow-sovereign, long after diplomacy was quite useless. How strange it must be to be a king! How delicate and difficult a task it is to judge him! So far

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