The following interesting story is told in an English paper, the incident on which it is founded having occurred at Cuckfield:
A lady was collecting subscriptions for the ‘Women’s present’ to her Majesty in the jubilee year. In the course of her round she called on an infirm old widow and asked her if she would like to contribute.
She found that the poor woman was entirely dependent for her livelihood on a very unsteady son - with the help of a loaf and 2s 6d a week from the parish. But she readily answered ‘Yea’ and gave a penny, and after a moment’s consideration she took from an old handkerchief another penny, saying:
‘This penny belonged to my poor son, who has been dead this ten year. I will give this also to the Queen, for she is such a good Queen to us, that she is’.
The lady collector determined that, if in any way possible, the story should be told to the Queen, and, even better still, that the self-same coin should be presented to her Majesty. To this end the precious penny was kept carefully, but not till this year (1892) did an opportunity occur for presenting it.
The story was told and the penny given to our beloved Queen, who was much touched, and was graciously pleased to send the old widow £1 to signify her gratification. On receiving it old Mrs. A was overwhelmed with surprise and exclaimed, ‘Oh, thank you, ma’am, thank you. I shall never be able to thank the Queen, but you must thank her lots and lots of times’.
Photograph: English: Portrait of Queen Victoria (1887) by Alexandro Bassano. Wikimedia public domain image.
Croydon Times, 17 August 1892.
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.