Peggington never lets us down, and today she braced her stiff upper lip with a double and got to work:
‘For the British people, Victoria was more than an individual, more even than the queen,” Robert K. Massie wrote in “Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War.” “She was—and had been as long as most of them could remember—a part of the fabric of their lives. She embodied history, tradition, government, and the structure and morality of their society. They trusted her to remain there, always to do her duty, always to give order to their lives. She did not disappoint them. In return, they gave her their allegiance, their devotion—and their esteem.”
We all knew it was coming yet it feels like a blow. A mighty presence has passed, one who meant more to us perhaps than we’d noticed.
OK, fairly standard issue stuff, but as Noonan goes on (and on) and her writing gets looser, well, Noonan ends up EXACTLY where we thought she would, the weepy drunk at the end of the bar at closing time:
I think of how moved I was by the clip a few months ago of the queen and Paddington Bear, in which she divulged what she kept in her purse—a marmalade sandwich. The royal band outside struck up Freddie Mercury, and she kept time with a spoon on her teacup. I didn’t know when I saw it why it moved me so much, and realized: because my mind was saying don’t go old friend, we’ll miss you.
And that’s how one wins the Pulitzer Prize, folks.