“Don’t talk railway at me.” -Victoria
This is the sixth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.
What’s more relaxing than enjoying a private concert with your closest companions and frenemies? Well, probably a lot of things, considering how uncomfortable those chairs looked. But that’s not Victoria’s world.
“The Engine of Change” follows Victoria through her early, nausea-filled stages of her pregnancy, explores Albert’s continued quest for independence, and generally showcases that the times are a-changin’ – and if the royals are going to keep up, they’re going to have to change, too.
Rumbles of change
Victoria’s first bout of sickness during the concert inspires rude comments. But the “Women are queer cattle” talk is abruptly followed by them stammering “… The music, sir… It is very well constructed …” when Albert overhears.
Later, in the bedroom, Victoria is slightly embarrassed by her nauseous spell — move along, nothing to see here! – but cleverly notes that “It was nothing compared the spectacle of Peel perspiring at the effort of being charming.”
Victoria keeps the zingers coming when Albert gets revved up about innovation. In addition to “Don’t talk railway at me,” she also delivers one of my favorite lines: “You say ‘manufacturing’ and my soul shrivels with boredom.”
Despite the hilarity of Victoria’s spectacular one-liners, Albert maintains that Victoria “should be the champion of what is coming,” and I tend to agree with him.
The Queen’s “indisposed”
Victoria keeps feeling “off,” but refuses to let Albert call her a doctor. But then she goes behind his back and calls a doctor, anyway. Between a rock and a hard place, Albert resorts to his signature hallway muttering: “She says no doctor, and then she sends for the doctor …”
Meanwhile, downstairs, these amazing conversations happen:
“Your Queen is sick!”
“We don’t say ‘sick,’ we say ‘indisposed.”
“Well she is ‘indisposed’ out of her mouth”
Skerrett: “What is that?”
Francatelli: “The cure to every ailment known to woman: chocolate!”
But Mrs. Jenkins knows the truth: “You can’t fix what she’s got with chocolate …”
An official announcement
The baby-on-board truth finally comes out, and Albert is over the moon: “You’re with child? That’s magnificent; you’re magnificent.”
But Victoria’s terrified. And you can’t really blame her.
Regardless, Victoria has to make an official pregnancy announcement. Quote of the day: “HRH didn’t dilly dally.” It took me two seconds to realize that he was making an acronym out of “Her Royal Highness,” and once I did, I was impressed.
HRH’s announcement opened the motherly advice floodgates again; Albert finds Duchess Mom making Victoria gulp down some strange concoction.
Mom: “Brandy mixed with cream. It eliminates nausea.”
Albert: “Is it medically demonstrable?”
Mom: “Ask any woman who has conceived.”
OK, mom. But that is NOT where her advice ends.
Mom: “Listen to me: Your nurse is a virgin. Your husband is a man. Your doctor is a fool. Directly after lunch, you must go to bed. Lay down on your back without moving till dinner. Dinner shall be preparations of the vital organs: The brain, the liver, the lungs.”
Romance and regents
Albert is extremely romantic, which slightly offsets the super gross pregnancy food. Victoria is worried about what a baby will do to her body; Albert reassures her and says: “A love like ours can burn down a city.”
Then he invents a secret love signal: When they’re out in public and want to say they love each other, they should rub their own ear. (Alternately, they could just wait till they’re home. But, young love is young love.)
All this romance can’t hide the drama, though. There’s a very real chance that Victoria could die in childbirth. Therefore, she has to nominate a regent for the approval of parliament.
Victoria knows who to nominate: Albert! But no one likes this idea. Not one bit. Generally, all of Victoria’s ideas are shattered like the top of one of Francatelli’s “Bomb Surprises.” Even mom’s in on it!
Victoria on her mom: “One day, I’ll put her on a donkey and pack her off to Carlisle.”
Albert, who’s ears perked up at the mention of Carlisle, starts spouting out all off these Cumberland facts and urges her to send him to Cumberland.
Albert is worried that people won’t accept him as Regent. He wants a little power when Victoria’s alive. Victoria says power must be seen to come from her.
… so she “orders” that he travels. Mom has to stay home. As Victoria says: “I am not a German woman. I am the Queen of England.”
On the road
Everyone other than mom is loaded into carriages and onto horses.
Two seconds into said road trip and Victoria’s “indisposed” again …
OK, take two …
Albert spends most of the road trip talking about railroads until they finally arrive at their destination: Torie-ville! Their welcome committee makes a few jokes about Victoria’s height, and then it’s time for an awkward dinner.
Victoria: “So how does one pass one’s time in Staffordshire?”
Albert: “Ceramics. That’s the industry of the region.”
ALBERT! Give it a rest already.
These people are PROPER, so they’re not about to do ceramics or even look at how they’re made. Rather, the hosts reveal that their hobby of choice is hunting. The only problem is, Albert doesn’t hunt, he SHOOTS.
This revelation that he doesn’t hunt is rather shocking to everyone present, but when it comes time to shoot, Albert is impressive. Victoria is super proud of him. Then Peel shows up, which makes Victoria’s proud smile abruptly turn to a scowl.
Peel’s arrival leads to a lot of awkward talk under the shooters’ party tent. Victoria gets tired of it pretty quickly and decides to go exploring “alone,” though she turns to Lehzen and says “You count as alone.” That’s true friendship.
Meanwhile, the butler at this house is a prankster! He’s trying to get Albert’s staff to make him wear white hunting pants and sing “God Save the Queen” while getting dressed. He meddles so much that he gets slapped, and Mrs. Jenkins is not about to rush to his aid: “Yes, I saw everything! You just slapped yourself in the face!”
Victoria’s main complaint, which she shares with Lehzen during their walk, is that Albert “doesn’t know how to talk” in these situations. She even tells him “Please, from now on, let me guide the conversation.”
After this comment, against her wishes, Albert takes off to go see the locomotive. And let me tell you: the man is going to LOSE HIS MIND over this train.
… and, of course, he starts telling the conductor how the train works. This IS know-it-all Albert we’re talking about. Amongst all this train talk, Albert turns to Peel and says “My wife does not care for you … (the Queen).” Albert, I hate to say it, but perhaps Victoria really is right about your conversation skills.
Meanwhile, Victoria wakes up alone in bed. Needless to say, she is not happy. When Albert gets back from his joy ride, it’s time for a royal fight. Said royal fight actually packed some pretty witty insults, including but not limited to:
“I decide what is the future!”
“You look like a peasant!”
“I’m not the one drinking beetroot — It’s peasant food!”
But then, surprise, surprise, after all of this naysaying, Victoria rides a train and loses it, too. Seriously, this locomotive is the best thing she’s EVER seen, too! Victoria is warming up to change … but it needs to happen on HER terms.
That’s another Torie
At the time, it seemed like Albert’s conversation with Peel was out of line, but perhaps it was a turning point for Peel. After the conversation, Peel sees Albert as more powerful than others think.
In a surprising turn, Peel endorses Albert as regent, gives a great speech, and says the Tories endorse him, too! (Yes, that engine was a true engine of change. )
Victoria is happy to hear the news, but remains confident that a Regent is just a formality: “As you see, I am far too busy to die.”
At the end of all the bickering, adventuring and frequent nausea, we find Victoria at her desk taking care of business. Albert joins her, and when she finds a stack of papers that mostly contain industry, she passes it off to Albert, signifying an important turn of events.
Side by side, the couple are working toward common goals … with a little one on the way! Aw.
Victoria: “The Scotch, you know, they have a curious expression: ‘softly, softly, catchee monkey.”
Albert: “Who is this monkey?”Victoria: “You are my monkey.”
I’ll be back next week to talk about Episode 7, “Young England,” which continues to follow Victoria during her pregnancy journey and sees what happens when she spurns advice.
Until then, what was your favorite part of this week’s episode? Comment below!