“Victoria, I must say, this has to be the greatest idea of my life! Nay, it must be the greatest idea of this entire country!”
“I believe you may be exaggerating Albert, but I must say you are a genius.” the Queen responded. “I will make sure you get whatever materials are necessary for this project.”
“Thank you, my Queen.” Prince Albert said, bowing as he exited the room.
And so it began, all of England hurried around at the Queen's order. Hundreds were working fervently to make Albert's idea a success. When the Queen commissioned Joseph Paxton, the head gardener of the Duke, to design the Crystal Palace, he finished the plan in just ten days. Paxton had designed the first building that could be prefabricated and taken apart.
“Ha,” my father sternly stated.
“Ha! Ha!” my mother said, just barely cracking a smile.
“He! He! He!” my sister, Susan, said with a smile full of teeth.
At this point, I lost it, much to the relief of my family. They had conquered me in “The Laughing Game.” All I had to do was not say “ha! ha! ha! ha!” without actually laughing. Trust me, it sounds much easier than it actually is. I sat down with a plop on the chair in the parlor. As my family members continued with the game to find the winner – I always am the first to go out, my mother said it's because I have a cheerful heart.
Beside me there was a newspaper dated for today, August 1, 1850, with the heading “Queen Announces New Project to Proclaim Britain's Power.” This immediately picked up my attention and I continued reading with excitement. I could barely contain myself when I read that this “Crystal Palace” was to be opened in nine months! Although I was unsure what type of things would be displayed, I knew they would be magnificent and reveal the true power of our great nation. Thankfully, my mother had just gotten eliminated from the game, giving me time to interrupt them.
“Father,” I said, “Have you read the newspaper today? There is a fascinating article.”
“Well, no, Byron, I have not yet had the opportunity,” he casually responded. My father is not one to respond casually; he must be in a very good mood today.
I proceeded to tell my family all about this new “Great Exhibition” that Prince Albert envisioned. Making sure to give extra credit to Prince Albert, who previously was not very popular in England. The people did not appreciate his attempts at moral reforms and his extreme influence over the Queen. This was the first positive article I had seen about him since he married Queen Victoria. My mother and sister left to go make tea once they realized that I was not planning to stop talking any time soon.
My father interrupted my elaborate praise of the Prince with a simple question, “What is the Great Exhibition even going to exhibit?” He smirked as he reached for the article.
I handed the article to him and my face turning beat red with embarrasement. I realized that I had not gotten past the first paragraph of the page. He briefly scanned the...