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Title: The Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Europe: William II, Germany; Francis Joseph, Austria-Hungary, Volume I. (of 2)
Author: Fontenoy, Mme. la Marquise de
Language: English
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SECRET MEMOIRS


William II and Francis Joseph


VOLUME I


[Illustration: _WILLIAM II EMPEROR OF GERMANY_
_From Life_]



SECRET MEMOIRS
OF THE
COURTS OF EUROPE


William II
_Germany_

Francis Joseph
_Austria Hungary_


BY

MME. LA MARQUISE DE FONTENOY



IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. I

ILLUSTRATED

1900



PUBLISHERS' NOTE


The essential qualifications for an author of such a work as the
present are an actual acquaintance with the persons mentioned, an
intimate knowledge of their daily lives, and a personal familiarity
with the scenes described.

The author of William II. and Francis-Joseph, sheltered under the _nom
de plume_ of Marquise de Fontenoy, is a lady of distinguished birth
and title. Her work consists largely of personal reminiscences, and
descriptions of events with which she is perfectly familiar; a sort of
panoramic view of the characteristic happenings and striking features
of court life, such as will best give a true picture of persons and
their conduct.

There has been no attempt to trammel the subject,--which embraces
religious, official, social and domestic life,--by following a
strictly sequential form in the narrative, but the writer's aim has
been to present her facts in a familiar way, impressing them with
characteristic naturalness and lifelike reality.

To this task the author has brought the habits of a watchful observer,
the candor of a conscientious narrator, and the refinement of a
writer who respects her subject. Hence she presents a true, vivid
and interesting picture of court life in Germany and Austria. If such
merely sensational, and too often fictitious, unsavory tales as crowd
the so-called court narratives expressly concocted for the "society"
columns of the periodical press are not the most prominent features
of the present work, it is because they receive only a truthful
recognition and place in its pages.



WILLIAM II

AND

FRANCIS-JOSEPH



CHAPTER I


"If only Emperor William would be true to himself--be natural,
in fact!" exclaimed Count S----, a Prussian nobleman, high in the
diplomatic service of his country, with whom I was discussing the
German Emperor a year or so ago. Then my friend, who had, a short
time previously, been brought into frequent personal contact with his
sovereign, in connection with his official duties, went on to say:

"There are really two distinct characters, one might almost say
two personalities, in the kaiser. When he is himself he is the most
charming companion that it is possible to conceive. His manners are as
genial and as winning as those of his father and grandfather, both
of whom he surpasses in brilliancy of intellect, and in quickness
of repartee, as well as in a keen sense of humor. He gives one
the impression of possessing a heart full of the most generous
impulses,--aye, of a generosity carried even to excess, and this,
together with a species of indescribable magnetism which appears to
radiate from him in these moments, contributes to render him a most
sympathetic man."

"But," interposed an Englishman who was present, "that is not how he
is portrayed to the outer world. Nor is that the impression which he
made upon me and upon others when he was at Cowes."

"That is precisely why I deplore so much that the emperor should
fail to appear in his true colors," continued Count S----. "All
the qualities which I have just now ascribed to him are too often
concealed beneath a mantle of reserve, self-consciousness, nay,
even pose. During my recent interviews with his majesty, whenever we
happened to be alone, he would show himself in the light which I
have just described to you. But let a third person appear upon the
scene--be it even a mere servant--at once his entire manner would
change. The magnetic current so pleasantly established between us
would be cut through, his eyes would lose their kindly, friendly
light, and become hard, his attitude self-conscious and constrained,
the very tone of his speech sharp, abrupt, commanding, I would almost
say arrogant. In fact he would give one the impression that he was
playing a rôle--the rôle of emperor--that he was, in one word, posing,
even if it were only for the benefit of the menial who had interrupted
us. But when the intruder had vanished, William would, like a flash,
become his own charming self again. That is what made me exclaim just
now, 'if only the kaiser would be true to himself!--be natural, in
fact.'"

"I fully agree with you, my dear S----," I remarked, after a short
pause. "If the emperor has remained anything like what he was prior
to his ascension to the throne, your estimate of his character is
correct." And I went on to relate a little incident which occurred on
the occasion of my first meeting with the emperor many years ago.

This meeting took place on that particular spot where the empires of
Germany, Austria, and Russia may be said to meet, the frontier guards
of each of those three nations being within hail of one another.
The great autumnal military manoeuvres were in progress, and a merry
party, including a number of ladies, were riding home from the mimic
battlefield. We passed through a narrow lane, bordered on each side by
groups of stunted willows and birch trees, under the sparse shadow of
which nestled a few cottages painted in blue, pink, or yellow, in
true Polish fashion. Suddenly our progress was arrested by terrifying
screams proceeding from one of these hovels. Several of us were out of
our saddles in an instant and rushed in at the low door.

Before the hearth, where a huge peat-fire was burning, stood a young
peasant woman, her face distorted with agonized grief, and holding in
her arms a bundle of blackened rags. We found that her baby had fallen
into the glowing embers, while she herself was occupied out of doors,
and the poor mite was so badly burned that there seemed but little
hope of its ever reviving from its state of almost complete coma. We
were all busying ourselves eagerly about the child and its distraught
mother, when raising my eyes from the palpitating form of the child,
I caught sight of "Prince William," as the kaiser was then called,
standing near the door, apparently quite undisturbed and unmoved by
this tragedy in lowly life. It even seemed to me in the dim light as
if he were smiling derisively at our efforts to relieve the sufferings
of the little one, and to soothe the grief of its mother. But my
indignation vanished quickly when a slanting ray of the setting sun,
piercing through the grime of the little window, revealed the presence
on his cheek of two very large and _bona-fide_ tears, which had
welled up in his eyes, to which the lad was endeavoring to impart an
expression of callous indifference; and when at last we left the hut
to seek a doctor for the tiny sufferer it was Prince William's own
military coat, none too new, and even, to say the truth, much worn,
that remained as an additional coverlet upon the roughly-hewn wooden
cot, over which the sobbing mother was bending.

"Nobody," I added, "will, therefore, make me believe that Emperor
William has not got a very soft spot in his heart, and that beneath
the mannerisms which he considers it necessary to affect in order to
maintain the dignity of his position as emperor,--those mannerisms
which have given rise to so much misapprehension about his
character,--there is not concealed a very kindly spirit, literally
brimming over with generous impulses, which, if more widely known,
would serve to render the kaiser the most popular, as he is the most
interesting figure of Old World royalty."

It is because Emperor Francis-Joseph and the veteran King of Saxony
are so thoroughly acquainted with his real nature, that they are truly
and honestly fond of him. Both of them old men, with no sons in whom
to seek support for the eventide of lives that have been saddened by
many a public and private sorrow, they entertain a fatherly affection
for William, who as emperor treats them in public as brother
sovereigns, and as equals, but accords to them in private the most
touching filial deference and regard, remembering full well the
kindness which both of them showed to him when he was still the
much-snubbed, and not altogether justly-treated "Prince William." They
on their side are led by his behavior towards them to regard him in
the light of a son. Of course they cannot be blind to his faults, but
they are disposed to treat them with an indulgence that is even more
than paternal, and to see in them relatively trivial defects, due
to the manner in which he was brought up, and which are certain to
disappear with advancing years and experience.

During his early manhood, Prince William was by no means a favorite
either at his grandfather's court or at that of any other foreign
sovereign which he was occasionally allowed to visit. Pale-faced and
delicate-looking, very severely treated by his mother, who is what one
is bound to call _une maîtresse femme_, the boy at seventeen was by no
manner of means prepossessing, and his efforts to assert himself, and
to crush down a good deal of natural awkwardness and timidity added to
his singularly unlikeable appearance.

In those days it could clearly be seen that everything that he did or
said was meant to create an impression of dignity and of grandeur, to
which his physique did not lend itself very easily, and the contrast
between him and his bosom friend the courteous, graceful and dashing
Crown Prince of Austria, was very marked.

Good-hearted and endowed with a great many truly generous instincts
the young fellow was, however, sorely handicapped by his education,
the abnormal strictness displayed towards him at the Court of Berlin,
and also by a continually and most distressingly empty purse. It is a
hard and almost pitiful thing for the heir apparent of a great empire
to find himself often without the necessary amount with which to cut
the figure which his social rank forces him to adopt, and it must have
been especially galling to the overbearing and proud nature of this
boy to be continually obliged to borrow from his friends, nay even
from his _aides de camp_, small sums wherewith to pay his way wherever
he went. Nevertheless his father and mother, then Crown Prince and
Crown Princess of Germany, believed it to be a thoroughly wholesome
thing for the young man to have to humble his pride, should he not be
content with the very small allowance made to him, this unfortunate
idea being, however, the cause of a great deal of bitterness, which to
this day has not completely faded from the heart of the now omnipotent
ruler of the German Empire.

It is undeniable that many eccentricities and false moves on the part
of William II. have been grossly exaggerated and placed before the
public in a false light, showing him up as a conceited, bumptious
and silly person, whereas not only his state of health, but his
_entourage_ should have been blamed for whatever he did that was out
of place. During a great many years the young prince suffered from
what is called technically _otitis media_, namely, a disease of the
middle ear, very painful, exasperating and even somewhat humiliating
to endure, and which he must have inherited in some extraordinary way
from his great-uncle, King William IV. of Prussia, who died insane.
There are certainly some traits of resemblance between this hapless
monarch and the present occupant of the German throne, for in both
there exists and has existed the same exaggerated and narrow-minded
religious beliefs, bordering on mysticism, and also an all-embracing
faith in their absolute and unquestionable infallibility.

It has long since become a well-anchored creed that William II. has
occasional fits of insanity. This is by no means the case, but it must
be admitted that the peculiar malady to which I referred above, and
which is as yet not eradicated from his system, causes him, at times,
days of the most excruciating pains all over the back and side of his
head, and it is scarcely surprising that at such moments the emperor
should act in a way which astonishes the uninitiated. Indeed, William
II. displays extraordinary force of character in suppressing physical
agony, when the duties he owes to the state force him to come forward
when unfit for anything else but the sick room.

The truth of the matter is that there are but few who can boast of
knowing him well, and the masses as well as the classes both at home
and abroad seem to take a peculiarly keen delight in accepting for
gospel truth any sweeping statements made about him by the press of
all civilized countries.

Although twenty-nine years of age when he ascended the throne on June
15, 1888, he may be said to have been at that time still but a raw
youth, continually kept in the background, and treated more or less
like a child, without any consequence or weight. It is, therefore,
not remarkable that the first years of his reign should have been
signalized by many errors of judgment; for it is not with impunity
that one suddenly releases a person, locked up for years in a dark
room and drives him into dazzlingly-lighted spaces without a guide,
a philosopher, or a friend by his side to lead him on the way.
The mental, as well as the physical optic has to gradually become
accustomed to so complete a change, and this fact was not sufficiently
taken into consideration by all the detractors of the young monarch,
when he, to speak very familiarly, leaped over the saddle in his
anxiety to secure for himself a firm seat on the throne of his
forefathers.

It is well to mention also that Emperor Frederick III., who reigned
alas! but for a few weeks, was positively worshipped by the German
people, and not without cause, for he was undoubtedly one of the
finest personalities of this century. His appearance, his demeanor,
his unaffected dignity, kindness of heart, and loftiness of purpose
were difficult to surpass, and it was a bitter disappointment to his
subjects when death snatched him away before he had had time to carry
out the grand plans and ideas which he had long cherished and reserved
for the time when he would have the reins of government in his own
hands.

Speaking with all kindness and good-will, one cannot but after
a fashion understand the disappointment of the Germans when this
towering military figure, this magnificent specimen of perfect
physical and mental manhood, vanished from their ken, to be replaced
by the slender, pale-faced, somewhat arrogant and despotic young man,
who resembled this father so little.

Emperor William II. is an extremely intelligent personage, in spite
of all that may have been said to the contrary. He thinks for himself
when he has a mind to do so, and, what is more, thinks logically, and
is quite capable of following a thus logically-attained conclusion to
its furthermost point. He feels keenly his enormous responsibilities,
and the tremendous international importance of his position as the
ruler of over 50,000,000 people, for he well knows that any man
wearing on his head the double crown of King of Prussia, and of German
Emperor, is a being endowed with powers which are bound to compel
attention from every point of the European Continent. Being given, as
I have just remarked, that his health and his physique are neither of
them of a kind to aid him in the tremendous task which belongs to him
by right of birth, it is easily explainable that his self-assertive
ways and imperious manners should often be mistaken for posing and
posturing. Moreover, his imperfect left arm--a misfortune which has
been a source of great distress to him ever since his birth--is but
another one of those physical troubles which his pride makes him
anxious to conceal, this only adding to his stilted and repellent
attitude. In spite of all these drawbacks, the emperor fences
exceedingly well, rides with pluck, and even skill, managing to hold
his reins with his poor withered left hand when in uniform, in order
to keep his sword-arm free, and during his visit to Austrian Poland,
which I referred to at the beginning of this chapter, I more than once
saw him with my own eyes, whilst we were riding across country, take
obstacles which would have made a far older and more experienced
hunter pause and reflect on.

Nobody, even the best-intentioned, can deny that Emperor William has
many faults; those are, however, either ignored altogether, or else
exaggerated to an extent that eclipses all his good qualities, by his
various biographers. Very few pen-portraits of royal personages that
pass through the hands of the publishers can be said to present a true
picture of their subject. Either the writer holds up the object of his
literary effort as a person so blameless as to suggest the idea that
he is an impossible prig, or else every piece of malevolent gossip is
construed into a positive fact, his shortcomings magnified until they
lose all touch of resemblance, while every word and action capable of
misrepresentation is construed in the manner most detrimental to his
reputation. In one word, he is either glorified as a preposterous
saint, or else held up to public execration as an equally impossible
villain. Now, in pictorial art, a portrait, in order to present a
satisfactory and successful resemblance to its subject, must contain
lights and shadows. You cannot have all light, or all shadow, but it
is necessary to have a judicious mixture of both. So it is with the
art of biography. If one wishes to give in print a true, and above
all, a human picture of one's subject, it is necessary to mingle the
shadows with the lights. In fact, the former may be said to set off
the latter, and there are many shortcomings, especially those
which the French, so graphically describe as _petits vices_,--small
vices--which, resulting from a generous and impulsive temperament,
serve, like the Rembrandt shadow of a portrait, to render the subject
more attractive to the eye.

It is my object, not to give a definitive biography of either of the
two kaisers, or even a mere record of their _vie intime_, but rather
to present to my readers a series of incidents, full of lights and
full of shadows, showing their surroundings, describing as far as
possible the atmosphere in which they move, the conditions of life
which they are obliged to consider, the temptations to which they
are exposed--and to which they sometimes succumb--and when I have
completed my task I venture to believe that the readers of these
volumes, while they may find the two emperors neither quite so
blameless, nor yet quite so bad as they expected, may nevertheless
experience a greater degree of sympathy and regard for them as being
after all so extremely human.



CHAPTER II


While Emperor Francis-Joseph is justly reputed to have played sad
havoc with the hearts of the fair sex in his dominions, especially in
his younger days, having inherited that frivolity with regard to women
which is a traditional characteristic of the illustrious House of
Hapsburg, he has never at any moment during his long reign permitted
his susceptibility to feminine charms to go to the length of
influencing his political conduct, or the action of his government.

Emperor William, on the other hand, whose married life has been, from
a domestic point of view, singularly blameless, and who has been
an exceptionally faithful husband, has, in at least two instances,
permitted himself to be swayed in his rôle of sovereign by ladies,
who for a time figured as his "Egerias." One of them was a woman of
extraordinary cleverness, and an American by birth, who while she has
long since ceased to exercise any influence upon him, has retained the
affection and the regard of both his consort and himself. She is the
Countess Waldersee, daughter of the late David Lee, a wholesale
grocer of New York, and who at the time that she became the wife of
Field-marshal Count Waldersee, was the widow of the present German
empress's uncle, Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein. The latter
abandoned his royal rank and titles, and assumed the merely nobiliary
status of a Prince of Noer, in order to make her his consort.

The countess is treated as an aunt by both William and the kaiserin,
and she may be said to have swayed her imperial nephew by her
cleverness and intellectual brilliancy, rather than by her looks, for
she is a woman already well-advanced in years.

Different in this respect was the influence of the emperor's other
Egeria, namely, the Polish baroness, Jenny Koscielska, a woman of rare
elegance and beauty, whose political importance during the time
she reigned supreme at the Court of Berlin, was attributable to her
personal fascination rather than to her sagacity or statecraft. She
is the wife of that Baron Kosciol-Koscielski, who was one of the most
celebrated leaders of the Polish party in the Russian House of Lords,
and perhaps, also, the most popular of all modern Polish poets and
playwrights.

It would be going too far to assert that William was infatuated by her
loveliness. Yet there Is no doubt that as long as she figured at the
Court of Berlin, he not only paid her the most marked attention, but
likewise allowed himself to be advised by her in political matters.
It was during the so-called "reign of the baroness" that the kaiser
showed such an extraordinary degree of favor to his Polish subjects as
to excite the jealousy and ill-will of the people in many other parts
of his dominions. He reestablished the Polish language in the schools
and churches of Posen, that is of Prussian-Poland, nominated a Polish
ecclesiastic to the archbishopric of that province, and conferred so
many court dignities, government offices, and decorations upon the
compatriots of the fair Jenny, as to give rise to the remark that the
best road to imperial preferment at Berlin was to add the Polish and
feminine termination of "ska" to one's name. Old Prince Bismarck, who
was at the time at daggers-drawn with his young sovereign, at length
gave public utterance to the popular ill-will, excited by the rôle
of Egeria, which the baroness was accused of playing to the "Numa
Pompilius" of Emperor William. For, in the course of an address
delivered by the old ex-chancellor at Friedrichsrüh, and reproduced in
extenso in the press, he declared among other things that: "The Polish
influence in political affairs increases always in the measure that
some Polish family obtains of more or less influence at Court. I need
not allude here to the rôle formerly played by the princely house of
Radziwill. To-day we have exactly the same state of affairs, which
is to be deplored!" Bismarck's allusion to the Radziwills was an
ungenerous reference to the romantic attachment of old Emperor William
for that Princess Elize Radziwill, whom he was so determined to marry
that he offered his father to abandon his rights of succession to the
throne on her account. This King Frederick-William would not permit,
and William was compelled to wed Goethe's pupil, Princess Augusta
of Saxe-Weimar. A loveless match in every sense of the word, for he
remained until the day of Princess Elize's death her most devoted
friend and admirer, seeking her advice in many a difficulty, to the
great annoyance of Prince Bismarck, who detested her, and after her
death the old emperor continued to show the utmost favor and good-will
to the members of her family in honor of her memory. Of course this
speech of Prince Bismarck created no end of a sensation throughout the
empire, as well as abroad, the press being encouraged thereby to
print in cold type what had until that time been merely whispered
in official and court circles. It is possible that the young emperor
might have remained indifferent to popular clamor about the matter,
had not two other incidents occurred about the same time to cool his
liking for the fair Jenny.

In the first place, she felt herself so much encouraged by the
influence which she believed that she exercised over the emperor, that
when during the annual army manoeuvres Field Marshal Prince George of
Saxony, and other Prussian and foreign royalties were quartered under
her roof, she absolutely declined to hoist either the German flag, or
the Royal Saxon standard, but insisted upon flying the national
colors of Poland from the flag staff that surmounted the turret of
her château. Naturally, Prince George and his fellow royal guests
complained of this breach of etiquette to the kaiser, and protested
strongly against it.

Almost at the same time, her husband, the baron, having been invited
to attend the opening of a provincial exhibition in the neighboring
Empire of Austria, was so carried away by enthusiasm, due to the
kindness with which the Poles present were treated by Emperor
Francis-Joseph, that forgetting all he owed to Emperor William,
he publicly hailed Francis-Joseph as "sole sovereign of all Polish
hearts," and as "Poland's future king!" About this time too, the
empress paid a couple of rather mysterious visits to her mother-in-law
at Friedrichkron. Court gossip ascribed these hurried trips to
the fact that the empress had been prompted by her jealousy of the
baroness to invoke the intervention of the strong-minded widow of
Frederick the Noble. But it is far more likely that the empress
visited the Dowager Kaiserin in order that she should call the
attention of her son to the harm which the association of the name of
the baroness with his own was doing him in a political sense both at
home and abroad.

Whatever the cause of these consultations between the two
empresses may have been, the fact remains that almost immediately
afterwards Baron and Baroness Koscielski received from the
Grand-Master-of-the-Court, Count Eulenburg, an official intimation
that their presence at court was not desired in highest quarters until
further notice, and that under the circumstances they would do well
to remain at their country seat. In fact they were virtually banished,
and when both husband and wife travelled all the way to Berlin with
the object of asking for an explanation from the emperor, he declined
to receive either the one or the other. He had apparently come to the
conclusion that the game was not worth the candle, and that in view
of the fact that his intimacy with the baroness had never gone beyond
platonic friendship and mild flirtation, it was ridiculous to incur
the ill-will of his subjects and expose himself to slanderous stories
concocted by his enemies on her account.

The influence of the American born Countess Waldersee was of a far
more lasting character, and may be said to have been inaugurated
very shortly after his marriage. Prior to becoming a benedict, Prince
William was as gay as his very limited financial means would permit.
In fact, he was charged with playing the rôle of Don Juan to at least
half a dozen beauties of the Prussian Court, while at Vienna he became
involved in a scandal of a feminine character, from which he was only
extricated with the utmost difficulty by the then German Ambassador to
the Austrian Court, namely, Prince Reuss. The presumption is that he
had allowed himself to become the prey of an adventuress, and with the
object of avoiding publicity he was practically compelled to provide
for the welfare and future of a child which may or may not have been
his offspring. But as soon as he married, he turned over a new leaf,
and became the very model of husbands.

It has always been my conviction that this was due in part to the
influence of the Countess Waldersee, and largely also to the unkindly
treatment which his consort received during the early years of
her marriage at the hands of his family. Although a nice and
gentle-looking girl, Augusta-Victoria was far from shining either by
her beauty or her elegance at a court which is one of the most cruelly
critical and satirical in all Europe. Moreover, she labored under the
disadvantage of being the daughter of the Duchess of Augustenburg, who
is not credited with a robust intellect, and, in fact has passed
the greater part of her life in retirement, and of the Duke of
Augustenburg, who was famed thirty years ago for the dullness of his
mind. In fact, after Prussia had undertaken in his behalf the conquest
of the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, to which he was entitled by right
of inheritance, and which had been unlawfully seized by Denmark,
Prince Bismarck refused to permit the duke to assume the sovereignty
thereof, on the publicly expressed ground that it would be an act of
the most outrageous tyranny to subject any state to the rule of so
intensely stupid a man as the duke.

This utterance on the part of Bismarck, which may be found in most
of the German histories printed prior to the accession of the present
Emperor, was naturally recalled to mind at the Court of Berlin, when
the daughter of the duke became the bride of Prince William, and the
widespread belief in her inherited dullness of intellect was further
increased by the mingled impatience and pity which characterized the
behavior of her husband's mother and sisters towards her.

There is much that is chivalrous in the nature of the present German
emperor, and it was precisely the unkindness and slights to which his
bride was subjected that had the effect of drawing him more closely
to her. He did not conceal the fact that he strongly resented the
attitude of his family towards her, and his friendship with Countess
Waldersee owes its origin to the motherly way in which she behaved
to his wife, acting as her mentor, as her adviser and guide in the
intricate maze of Berlin society, and of court life. Debarred from all
intimacy with her sisters-in-law, who were ever ready to scoff at, and
to make fun of her, Augusta-Victoria was wont to have recourse to
the countess in all her difficulties, and inasmuch as Count Waldersee
himself is the most brilliant soldier of the German army, and was
designated at the time by the great Moltke as his successor and his
principal lieutenant, Prince William and his wife ended by becoming
very intimate indeed with the Waldersees, and almost daily visitors at
their house.

The countess is of a deeply religious turn of mind, with a strong
disposition towards evangelism, and already before the marriage
of Prince William, she had become conspicuous as one of the most
influential leaders of the anti-Semite party in Prussia. It was in her
salons at Berlin that the great Jew-baiter Stoecker was wont to hold
his politico-religious meetings, denouncing the Jews, and it was
through her influence, too, that he obtained appointment as court
chaplain, in spite of the opposition of the father and the mother of
Prince William. It was also under the roof of the Countess Waldersee
that the present emperor became imbued with that very religious,--one
might almost say pietist--disposition, which has since been so marked
a feature of his character.

True, the hereditary tendency of the sovereign house of Prussia is
distinctly religious, leaning in fact towards fanaticism, and King
Frederick-William III., his son Frederick-William IV., and likewise
old Emperor William, entertained the most extraordinary ideas on the
subject of Providence, with which they believed themselves to be in
constant communion, as well as its principal agent here on earth.
In fact, there is hardly a public utterance of any of these three
sovereigns, which is not marked throughout by a deep religious tone,
and by a degree of familiarity with the Almighty which would be
blasphemous were it not so manifestly sincere. This hereditary
tendency towards religion was, to a certain extent, obliterated by the
education which William received, and which was of a nature to dispose
him to be both a materialist and a free-thinker. He may be said
in fact to have been brought up in an atmosphere of Renan-ism and
Strauss-ism, for which his extraordinary and mercilessly clever
mother, Empress Frederick, was largely responsible, and at the moment
of his marriage it looked as if he were destined to figure in history
as quite as much of a philosopher, and even atheist, as Frederick the
Great, for whom he professed the most profound veneration.

It was Countess Waldersee who revived all the inherited and latent
religious tendencies of his character.

Up to the time when he ascended the throne, Prince William and his
consort were constant and devout attendants at the prayer-meetings
held in the salons of the countess, and if he remains to this day
a remarkably religious man, with a sufficient regard for scriptural
commands to have shown himself a more faithful husband than any other
prince of his house, either living or dead--if, to-day, piety is
fashionable at the court of Berlin instead of being bad form, if the
building or endowment of a church, or of a charitable institution,
is regarded as the surest road to imperial favor, it is due to the
influence of William's American aunt, the daughter of that New
York grocer, the first Princess Noer, and who is to-day Countess of
Waldersee.

It is natural that the influence exercised over William and his
wife by the countess should have given rise to the utmost jealousy,
especially on the part of his mother, Empress Frederick, and during
the hundred days' reign of her lamented husband, she availed herself
of her brief spell of power to secure the virtual banishment of the
count and the countess from Berlin, by causing the field marshal to
be transferred from the chieftaincy of the headquarter staff to
the command of the army stationed in Altona. Moreover, she did not
hesitate to denounce the influence of the Waldersees as disastrous,
as illiberal, and in every sense of the word reactionary, and if her
husband, Emperor Frederick, was led to share her views concerning
them, it was because of his disapproval of the movement against the
Jews in which the countess had figured so conspicuously. It is a
peculiar fact that although Emperor William has always remained on
the most affectionate terms with the Waldersees, and never loses any
opportunity of manifesting the warmth of his affection for them,
he has never repealed the decree of banishment to which they were
virtually subjected during his father's reign. He has transferred the
field marshal from one post to another, but he has never appointed
him to one which would admit of his coming back to live in Berlin. I
cannot help thinking that the emperor resented the imputation that he
was subject to the sway of his wife's aunt, and was offended by the
articles which appeared at one moment both in the German and foreign
press intimating that she was the power behind the throne. He is
sufficiently jealous of his dignity to object to be considered as
subject to the influence of anyone, be it man or woman, and one of
the chief causes of the dismissal of old Prince Bismarck was precisely
because so long as he remained in office there was a disposition to
regard the kaiser as a mere puppet in the hands of the old statesman.

It is this aversion to being considered as swayed by any other
influence than his own that has led the emperor on so many occasions
to adopt a course diametrically opposed to that urged upon him by his
clever and masterful mother, a woman with the most powerful intellect
and the least tact to be found in all Old World royalties. It was
this, too, that led the emperor to banish, just a trifle unjustly,
the pretty and dashing Countess Hohenau from his court. She had been
guilty of no indiscretion with regard to him. She had done nothing
wrong, and she was not only a brilliant ornament of the imperial
_entourage_, but likewise a relative of the family. But he banished
both her husband and herself almost at a moment's notice, owing to
the fact that in the anonymous letters circulated at the time of the
so-called Kotze scandal, he was mentioned as altogether infatuated and
subjugated by her beauty.

Count Hohenau is the half-brother of that Prince Albert of Prussia,
who is now Regent of the Grand Duchy of Brunswick. Old Prince Albert
of Prussia, his father, was married to the eccentric and half-crazy
Princess Marianne of the Netherlands. Not long after the birth of
the present Prince Albert, she lost her heart to such an extent to a
chamberlain in her household that her husband was compelled to divorce
her, whereupon she contracted a morganatic marriage with the gentleman
in question, and lived and died at an advanced age only about twelve
years ago.

Prince Albert, the elder, thereupon married morganatically a young
girl of noble birth of the name of Baroness Rauch, whose family had
for more than one hundred and fifty years occupied leading positions
at the Court of Berlin. On the occasion of her marriage to the prince,
she received from the Prussian Crown the title of Countess of Hohenau,
and the children whom she bore to Prince Albert the elder are now
known as Counts and Countesses of Hohenau. The elder of these Counts
Hohenau bears the name of Fritz, and his wife, before their banishment
from the capital, was one of the most dashing and brilliant figures
in the ultra-aristocratic society of Berlin. No entertainment was
regarded as complete without her presence, and in every social
enterprise, no matter whether it was a flower corso, a charity fair,
a hunt, a picnic, or amateur theatricals, she was always to the
fore, besides being the leader in every new fashion, and in every new
extravagance. Although eccentric--she was the first member of her sex
to show herself astride on horseback in the Thiergarten--and in spite
of her being famed as a thorough-paced coquette, and as a flirt,
yet no one ventured to impugn her good name, until the disgraceful
anonymous letter scandal; and both her husband and herself naturally
resent most keenly that without any hearing or explanation they should
have been banished from the court, and sent to live, first at Hanover,
then at Dresden, but always away from Berlin and Potsdam, solely on
account of an anonymous letter.

The sympathy of society in the affair was all with the Hohenaus, who
although absent from Berlin, may be said to have taken the leading
part in that great controversy which is known to this day as "the
anonymous letter scandal," and which not only divided all Berlin
society into separate hostile camps, but led to innumerable duels,
some of them with fatal results; to the imprisonment of some great
personages; to the ruin of others, and in one word to one of the
most talked of court scandals of the present century. In fact, the
anonymous letter affair, many of the features of which remain shrouded
in mystery to this day, played so important a part in the history of
the Court of Berlin during the first decade of the present emperor's
reign, that it deserves a chapter to itself.

What, however, I wish specially to impress upon my readers is that in
spite of the many scurrilous stories that have been circulated on both
sides of the ocean concerning the alleged intrigues of Emperor William
with the fair sex, since his marriage, nearly eighteen years ago, his
wedded life has been singularly free from storms, and exceptionally
happy. In fact, there are few more thoroughly-devoted couples than
William and Augusta-Victoria, who is to-day far more comely as a woman
than she was as a young girl. So domestic, indeed, are the tastes of
the kaiser, so excellent is he both as a husband and a father, that
his home life may be said to atone for many of his political errors
and shortcomings as a monarch. His loyalty towards his consort is all
the more to his credit, as the Anointed of the Lord in the Old World
are exposed to feminine temptations in a degree of which no conception
can be formed in this country. In most of the capitals of Europe it
is in the power of the sovereign to make or mar the social position
of any man, and of any woman. Social ambitions coupled with an
exaggerated degree of loyalty will lead many a beautiful woman
to cross that border line which separates mere indiscretion from
something worse, all the more that the reputation of being the fair
favorite of a monarch, and able to influence his conduct, is regarded
as a title to prestige, and has the effect of converting the fair one
into one of the acknowledged powers of the land.

For an ambitious woman it is something to be treated by statesmen and
the representatives of foreign governments, as the power behind the
throne, and provided this power is wisely exercised, the intimacy of
the lady with the monarch is regarded by high and low with something
more than mere indulgence.

History has given so lofty a pedestal to Madame de Maintenon, that
there are many women who are eager to emulate her rôle in present
times, and to likewise figure in history. That is why royal
personages, and especially kings and emperors, are exposed to such
extraordinary temptations.

Most women put forth all their charms and powers of fascination
to captivate the attention, and, if possible, the heart of their
sovereign, who is, after all, but human. That is why Emperor William
deserves so much credit for having remained true to his wife, and
why Emperor Francis-Joseph of Austria merits so much indulgence in
connection with the indiscretions which had the effect of keeping him
for so many years parted and estranged from his lovely consort, the
late Empress Elizabeth.

While on this subject, it should be stated that for many years past,
probably for the last decade, the life of Francis-Joseph has been free
from affairs of this kind, for it is hardly possible to treat in the
light of a scandal his association with that now elderly actress,
Mlle. Schratt, since it is virtually tolerated, accepted and, so to
speak, recognized both by the imperial family and by the Austrian
people. Indeed the only persons who have ever taken exception to
this intimacy have been Herr Schoenerer, and some of his anti-Semite
colleagues who, to the indignation of every one, gave vent three
years ago to their spite against their kindly old sovereign by calling
attention in the Reichsrath to the alleged questionable relations
between the sovereign and the popular and veteran star-actress of the
Burg Theatre.

Herr Schoenerer, who was formerly a baron, but who was deprived of
his title by the emperor at the time when he was sentenced to a
year's imprisonment for a violent and unprovoked assault upon a Jewish
newspaper proprietor, declared in the legislature, to which he had
been elected on emerging from jail, that public opinion was becoming
outraged by the impropriety of the conduct of the emperor. The scene
which ensued defied description. Schoenerer was suspended, and had not
steps been taken to assure his protection, would have been subjected
to very violent treatment by the vast majority of the house, which
is intensely loyal to the emperor, and the members of which resented
criticism of his majesty's twenty years' friendship with old Frau
Schratt Even the late empress herself did not regard as serious or
dangerous her husband's association with the actress. This is shown by
the fact that on two separate occasions she honored Frau Schratt with
a visit at the actress's villa near Ischl. At the Austrian Court it
is generally understood that whatever may have been the nature of the
intimacy of the monarch and the actress in the past, it is now nothing
more than a platonic affection between two old friends, the emperor
being accustomed to spend half an hour or so with this witty and
amiable lady nearly every day. The actress is a great favorite with
the people at large, on account of her devotion to the emperor, and
for her tact in declining to take any undue advantage of the favor
which he accords to her. Indeed, the degree of indulgence with which
Austrian society, as well as the masses, look upon this intimacy maybe
gathered from the fact that one of the most--popular photographs on
exhibition in the windows of the leading picture-shops at Vienna, and
at Pesth, is a snapshot, showing the kindly-faced old emperor and
the sunny-tempered old actress seated in the most domestic fashion
opposite one another at a breakfast table with the actress's pet dog
on a chair midway between stage and throne.



CHAPTER III


It was on the evening of June 7th, 1894, that a carriage, the servants
of which wore court liveries, drew up at the entrance of that old
building on the avenue known as "Unter Den Linden," which serves as
a military prison of the Berlin garrison. From this equipage alighted
two men, each of them a well-known figure in the great world of the
Prussian metropolis. The one in uniform was General Count von Hahnke,
chief of the military household of the emperor, while the other, who
was in civilian attire, was Baron von Kotze, master of ceremonies at
the court of Berlin, one of the most well-to-do and jovial of _bons
vivants_, and who up to that time had stood so high in the favor of
the reigning family that his sovereign was accustomed to address him
by his Christian name, and by the so familiar equivalent pronoun in
German of "thou."

Shortly afterwards General von Hahnke reappeared alone, entered the
carriage hurriedly, and drove back to the palace. On the following
morning it became known that Baron von Kotze had been suddenly
arrested, and lodged in the military prison by personal order of the
kaiser, and without the warrant of any tribunal or magistrate, either
military or civil.

While the general public was speculating as to the cause of this
mysterious and startling disciplinary measure against a nobleman so
well known and so prominent in every way as Baron von Kotze, the court
gossips were rubbing their hands, chuckling with satisfaction, and
congratulating themselves on the fact that success had at length
crowned the efforts made to bring to book the author of the hundreds
of anonymous letters that had been circulated in the great world of
Berlin during the two preceding years.

Gradually the circumstances which had led to the arrest of Baron Kotze
became public property, and people both at home and abroad were made
aware for the first time of the existence of a scandal which for over
four-and-twenty months had set court and society by the ears, and
which had caused every man and woman to regard with suspicion not
merely their acquaintances, but even their most intimate friends and
nearest relatives. No one, with the exception of the emperor, the
empress, and the widow of Emperor Frederick, can be said to have been
altogether exempt from this reflection on their honor. For among those
who were at one time most strongly suspected of being the author
of these letters were the eldest sister of the kaiser, Princess
Charlotte, and the only brother of the empress, Duke Ernest-Gunther of
Schleswig-Holstein.

Color was given to these suspicions by the fact that many of the
anonymous letters contained remarks and information that manifestly
emanated from the imperial family, while some of the views expressed
in the letters were known not merely to have been shared, but even
to have been uttered in conversation by the prince and princess in
question. What gave still further weight to these suppositions was the
extraordinary fact that incidents which had occurred within what may
be described as the most intimate circle of the court,--incidents,
indeed, of which no one could be aware, save royal personages
themselves and those few chosen friends and associates who were
with them at the time when the incidents in question occurred,--were
revealed a few days later in the anonymous letters, twisted and
distorted in such a manner as to admit only of the most shameful
interpretation.

Added to this was the knowledge that there are few women at the Court
of Berlin more cruelly satirical or have a keener sense of ridicule
than Princess Charlotte, or any more inveterate gossip than Duke
Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein.

The anonymous letters had literally spared no one, not even that most
blameless and excellent of women, the Empress Augusta-Victoria; nor
was there anybody of mark who had not received at least several of
them. But for some reason or other which was not understood at the
time, they seemed to be imbued with an especially relentless and
savage animosity against the charming Countess "Fritz" von Hohenau,
who must not be confounded with her less attractive sister-in-law,
Countess "Willy" von Hohenau; for whereas the latter is by birth a
princess of Hohenlohe and a niece of the imperial chancellor of
that ilk, Countess Fritz is by birth a Countess von der Decken, and
rejoices in the Christian name of Charlotte.

If Countess Fritz has one weakness which in any degree lends itself to
unfriendly criticism and ridicule it is the pride which she manifests
in her relationship through marriage to the reigning house of Prussia,
and in her being the sister-in-law of that Prince Albert of Prussia,
who is regent of the Duchy of Brunswick, her husband, Count Fritz von
Hohenau, being a half-brother to Prince Albert. It is owing to
this very innocent weakness of the countess that she was nicknamed
"_Lottchen von Preussen_," or "_Die Preussiche Lotte_" that is to say
"_Lotte of Prussia_" and at least a third of the hundreds of anonymous
letters confided to the mails during the period extending between 1892
and 1896 were filled with the most scurrilous remarks concerning the
unfortunate "_Lottchen von Preussen_."

The letters imputed to the countess almost every crime under the sun.
Inasmuch as her husband's principal friend was Baron Schrader, who
was of course frequently seen in her company at the races and at the
opera, it naturally followed that she was charged with an altogether
questionable intimacy with him. In fact, she was accused of sharing
her favors between him and the emperor, and in the letters that
reached both the kaiser and his consort, it was asserted that she was,
moreover, in the habit of constantly boasting among her friends about
the influence which as "_Sultana"_ she was able to exercise over the
ruler of the German Empire.

It was on the receipt of one of these letters that the emperor without
a moment's warning abruptly ordered Count and Countess Fritz Hohenau
to leave Berlin and to transfer their residence to Hanover. The count
and countess were not long in discovering the cause of their disgrace,
and bitterly incensed, at once resolved to leave no stone unturned in
their efforts to discover the culprit.

In this determination they were supported by the "Willy" von Hohenaus,
by the various members of the Hohenlohe family, by Baron Schrader,
Baron Hugo Reischach, chamberlain to the Empress Frederick, Prince and
Princess Aribert of Anhalt, the latter being a granddaughter of Queen
Victoria, Prince and Princess Albert of Saxe-Altenburg, and last, but
not least, Baron von Tausch, the chief of the secret police attached
to the particular service of the emperor.

I have already mentioned that suspicions had at first been
directed against the empress's only brother, Duke Ernest-Gunther of
Schleswig-Holstein. Somehow or other, probably through reading the
detective novels of Gaboriau, Baron Schrader became imbued with the
idea that the most successful manner of discovering the identity of
the suspected writer of the anonymous letters would be to carefully
examine the blotting-pads which either he or she were in the habit of
using. Accordingly, Countess Fritz von Hohenau took advantage of the
admiration and devotion entertained for her by Count Augustus Bismarck
to induce him to bring to her the blotting-pad habitually used by the
duke, to whose household he belonged, as chief aid-de-camp. The count,
very reluctantly, it is true, brought to Madame von Hohenau, the said
blotting-pad, and it was immediately submitted to a most careful and
even microscopical examination by her husband, herself, and their
friends. But in spite of every effort it was impossible to discover
the slightest analogy between the writing of the anonymous letters and
the impressions left on the blotting-pad of the duke. The countess and
her assistants in this queer task, therefore, came to the conclusion
that they would have to search in a different direction.

It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty how suspicion was
then directed towards Baron Kotze. But I am under the impression that
his name was first mentioned in connection with the affair by Baron
Schrader, who like himself was a Master of Ceremonies of the Court
of Berlin. The vast wealth enjoyed by the Kotzes, as well as the
extraordinary favor manifested towards them by the emperor and the
members of the reigning family, had not unnaturally rendered them
objects of no little jealousy on the part of other personages
belonging to the court circle. The exceedingly sarcastic and
malevolent tongue of the Baroness Kotze, and the somewhat coarse
flavor of the ever-ready jest and quip of her jovial, loud-voiced,
hail-fellow-well-met mannered husband did not tend to render the
couple very popular.

Baron Kotze's mother had been an heiress in her own right as the
daughter of the court banker, Krause, while the baron's wife is the
daughter of that extraordinary old General von Treskow, who for so
long commanded the division of Guards, and whose reputation as one of
the bravest and most dashing officers of the war of 1870, alone saved
him from the ridicule which his corseted waist, his painted cheeks,
his dyed moustache, and his youthful wig, would otherwise have
excited. While he himself has no drop of Jewish blood in his veins,
both his daughter, Madame Kotze, and her brother possess the facial
features of the Semitic race in a most marked degree, and despite
their protestations to the contrary, have undoubtedly Hebrew
ancestors, if not on the father's side, at any rate on that of the
mother. Old General Treskow was very rich indeed, his country seat at
Friedrichsfeld being one of the most magnificent country seats in the
neighborhood of Berlin.

During the early years of the reign of Emperor William, his eldest
sister, Princess Charlotte, and her husband, Prince Bernhardt of
Saxe-Meiningen, occupied a lovely little palace, or rather, I should
say large and roomy villa on the outskirts of the Thiergarten, at
Berlin. Among their near neighbors were Baron and Baroness Kotze.
Little Ursula Kotze, the daughter of the baroness, was precisely of
the same age as Princess Fedora of Saxe-Meiningen, the only child of
Princess Charlotte, and the two young girls soon became inseparable
friends. The relations thus established soon extended to the parents,
and while Princess Charlotte,--herself disposed to satirizing and
ridiculing everybody, and like many royal personages, passionately
fond of gossip, especially when spiced with scandal,--found
never-ceasing entertainment in the witty comments of the baroness
about the social events of the day, and in her reports of the latest
stories current concerning mutual acquaintances and friends, Prince
Bernhardt, in spite of his seriousness, and his fond predilection
for Hellenic research, could not help laughing and enjoying the merry
sallies of Baron Kotze. In fact, the Kotzes ended by becoming the most
intimate friends of the princely Saxe-Meiningen couple, whose taste
for their society was eventually shared by the Empress Frederick to
a degree that excited the utmost jealousy and ill-will of her
chamberlain, Baron Reischach. The latter was, therefore, only too
ready to accept the view expressed by his friend. Baron Schrader, to
the effect that Baron Kotze was the author of the anonymous letters.

I think that it was in the latter part of 1892 that the Prince and
Princess of Saxe-Meiningen, having made up their minds to visit Greece
and the Holy Land, invited Baron and Baroness Kotze to accompany
them. Some quarrel, however, took place between the princess and the
baroness during this trip, which they did not complete together, and
when they took up their residence once more at Berlin the formerly so
intimate relations between the two families ceased absolutely. It was
about this time that it became known that Princess Charlotte either
during her trip to the Orient, or just before she started, had in some
unexplainable manner lost the diary in which she had, like so many
members of the fair sex, been accustomed to describe her daily
impressions, and to the pages of which she was wont to impart
sentiments and opinions that she did not venture to confide to anybody
else.

For a considerable time after the return of the princess from the
Orient the anonymous letters contained phrases and peculiarities of
expression that clearly indicated Princess Charlotte, and to such an
extent was this the case that those in pursuit of the sender of the
missives would have ascribed their authorship to the princess, had it
not been that she herself was referred to in many of the letters in
a particularly savage and scurrilous manner. Baron Schrader, the
Hohenaus and their friends, being aware of the existence of the
quarrel between the Kotzes and the Saxe-Meiningens, naturally became
more convinced than ever that it was either Baron Kotze, or his
"viper-tongued" wife, as they described her, who were the culprits,
and insisted that it was the baroness who had taken advantage of her
intimacy with the princess to get possession of her royal highness's
diary, the contents of which were now being used in so many of the
letters.

What has now become of the diary it is impossible to say, but
judging by the excerpts used in the anonymous letters, it must have
constituted a particularly piquant volume or series of volumes!
Thus there was one remark about the emperor which ridiculed "his
intolerable swagger." There were also some comical references to
Princess Victoria of Prussia, who was jilted by the late Prince
Alexander of Battenberg, on the very eve of the day appointed for the
wedding, and that for the sake of a little actress. This princess
has since then married Prince Adolph of Schaumburg, who was recently
ousted from the regency of the tiny principality of Lippe. "_Poor
Vicky_" was described as being "_many-sided_" owing to the number of
her _affaires de coeur_, notably those with Baron Hugo von Reischach,
at that time a very handsome lieutenant of the "Garde-du-Corps,"
but who afterward became gentleman-in-waiting to the widowed Empress
Frederick, and married one of the princesses of Hohenlohe. This
flirtation between Baron Reischach and Princess Victoria formed
the theme of quite a number of the anonymous letters, in which
the princess was charged with every kind of indelicacy, while the
unfortunate baron was ridiculed in connection with the modernity
of his nobility. Other love affairs of "_poor Vicky_" were likewise
discussed in no friendly manner, and she was represented as being to
such a degree infatuated for Count Andrassy, the eldest son of the
famous Austro-Hungarian statesman, that the young fellow, it
is declared, was forced to resign his secretaryship to the
Austro-Hungarian Embassy, at Berlin, and to flee from the Prussian
Court, in order to escape from the demonstrative attentions of the
princess: "If it is like this now," said one of the letters, "what in
Heaven's name will it be when '_Vicky_' marries!"

There were, moreover, all sorts of matters relating to the _vie
intime_ of the imperial family discussed in these anonymous
communications, such as bickerings between the emperor and his mother,
quarrels with his English relatives, flirtations of the younger
princesses, etc., which no one could possibly have known about, save
members of the imperial family, and which were just the sort of thing
that Princess Charlotte would have written in her diary, in her witty
and sarcastic manner.

In fact there was so much of the phraseology and style habitual to
Princess Charlotte in the letters, that they would inevitably have
been, as I remarked above, positively ascribed to her had it not been
for the grossly improper and even disgusting twist and construction
that was invariably added to her well-known manner of writing.
Although a terrible flirt as well as a daring coquette, the princess
has never been charged with anything more serious than trivial
_affaires de coeur_, excepting by the writer of the anonymous letters.

Then too, as I have also already stated many of these letters assailed
the princess herself, in the most unscrupulous fashion; an abominable
and impossible story, picked up from the filthiest of Berlin gutters,
impugning the legitimacy of the only child of the princess, being thus
circulated far and wide. This vile fabrication alleged that Charlotte
had been married off in a hurry to Prince Bernhardt of Saxe-Meiningen,
in order to avoid a public scandal. It is only necessary to recall the
fact that the sole child of Princess Charlotte, Princess Fedora, now
married to Prince Henry of Reuss, was born twelve months after her
mother's marriage, in order to show how utterly without foundation was
this shameful slander. At least a dozen anonymous letters sent to the
emperor and to various other personages dealt with an episode said to
have taken place during a trip undertaken by the princess in Norway
and Sweden. She was attended on that occasion by a Captain von Berger,
and his wife, who were her gentleman and lady-in-waiting, and there
was also in her suite a diminutive officer holding the rank of
lieutenant, and bearing the old Silesian name of Count Schack, who
acted as aid-de-camp.

According to the anonymous letters, Princess Charlotte made a kind
of toy of the little officer, and behaved in a most volatile manner.
There was evidence of such intense malignity in these letters against
Princess Charlotte that they were attributed to a jealous woman,
and that if not actually written by one, they had at any rate been
inspired by a member of the fair sex.

There can be no doubt that Princess Charlotte and her husband ended by
sharing the opinion entertained by the Schrader-Hohenau clique, about
the letters being inspired by Baroness Kotze, and written by her
husband, and it must be confessed that there was a certain amount of
ground for their doing so. The blotting pads used by Baron Kotze,
both at the Union Club and elsewhere, were subjected to much the
same microscopic examination as those of Duke Ernest-Gunther of
Schleswig-Holstein, and when at length a distinct degree of similarity
was discovered to exist between the caligraphy of the anonymous
letter writer and the impressions which figured on the blotting pads
habitually used by Baron Kotze, Baron Schrader drew up a report on the
subject, charging Baron Kotze with being the author of the letters,
and presented it to the emperor. The latter hesitated a little before
taking any action in the matter, and would doubtless have yielded
to the advice of the minister of the imperial household, Prince
Stolberg-Wernigrode, who urged him to institute a very careful secret
investigation of his own before rushing the _denouement_, cautioning
him that Baron Schrader's evidence was inadequate, had it not been for
the pressure brought to bear upon his majesty by the Saxe-Meiningens
and other members of his family, who were all convinced that Baron
Kotze was the guilty party.

It was due entirely to this pressure that the kaiser, incensed beyond
measure at the persistency and the malignity of these letters, took
the extraordinary step of having Baron von Kotze arrested by the chief
of his military household, General von Hahnke merely on the strength
of his imperial order, dispensing with any legal warrant. That Count
Hahnke should have been selected for this duty, and that a military
prison, rather than the ordinary house of detention, should have been
chosen for the incarceration of Baron Kotze, must be ascribed to
the fact that the latter was at the time a captain of cavalry on the
reserve lists, and that in a military prison the authority of the
emperor, as head of the army, is supreme and absolute, which cannot be
said of the ordinary civil prisons, the officers of which are subject
above everything else to the tribunals and to the laws of the land.

Of course, from the very moment when the baron was arrested, the
entire scandal, that is to say the existence of a conspiracy for the
writing and distribution of anonymous letters, became public, and
served to furnish material for articles both in the German and the
foreign press on the alleged moral rottenness of the Court of Berlin.
At first there is no doubt that society, and even the ordinary public,
accepted the guilt of Baron Kotze as assured, and were further led
to believe the story about the baroness having been the instigator of
many of the letters, by her at once withdrawing to her country-seat at
Friedrichsfeld, and refusing to receive anyone.

Doubts as to the baron's guilt, however, commenced to arise when it
was found that in spite of his incarceration, the anonymous letters
continued to be sent as before, without any interruption, while all
efforts to bring home the guilt to the baron completely failed in
every sense of the word. Not only did the famous expert in caligraphy,
Langenbuch, declare that the handwriting of the letters had nothing
whatsoever in common with that of Baron Kotze, but that those written
during his incarceration were exactly similar to the others. The
emperor himself received anonymous letters, describing him to be a
fool for having unjustly imprisoned an altogether innocent man, and
recommending him to look after his brother-in-law, Duke Ernest-Gunther
of Schleswig-Holstein.

At the end of a fortnight, therefore, the military governor of Berlin,
old Field Marshal Count Pape, declared to his majesty that he would
do well to immediately set Baron Kotze at liberty, since there was
no adequate ground for keeping him under arrest. The field marshal,
however, suggested that in view of the seriousness of the charge that
had been made against the baron, the only thing to do would be to
hold a court-martial, permitting the baron meanwhile to reside "_on
parole_" at Friedrichsfeld. The whole matter was thereupon turned over
to General Prince Frederick of Hohenzollern, brother of the King
of Roumania, commanding the metropolitan division of troops, to the
reserve force of which Baron Kotze belonged.

Nine months after his arrest. Baron Kotze appeared before a
court-martial, composed of a colonel, who acted as president, and
eight other officers, and after a lengthy trial, during the course of
which Baron Schrader acted not merely as witness against Kotze,
but likewise as prosecutor, endeavoring to show analogy between the
writing of the anonymous letters, and the caligraphy, not merely of
Baron Kotze, but also of the baroness, the court-martial acquitted
the prisoner, and the emperor not only signified his approval of the
verdict, but a week later took the occasion of the Easter festivities
to send to his former favorite Kotze, a huge floral piece in the shape
of an Easter egg, bound with ribbons in the national colors.

William, however, refrained from intimating to Kotze his desire that
he should resume his service at court as master of ceremonies, and
this taken in conjunction with the fact that the procedure of the
court-martial remained a secret, left a painful degree of suspicion
resting upon the character of the unfortunate Baron Kotze. It is
perfectly true that many of those members of the court, and of
society, who had been most bitter in their denunciation of him,
left cards at his residence, but the Hohenau clique still remained
obdurate, and in spite of every possible intervention, persisted
in regarding Baron Kotze as having been unable to clear himself
completely. His most obdurate detractor remained Baron Schrader.

Kotze learning the part which Schrader had played in the entire
affair, after having consulted with his friends, came to the
conclusion that the injury done to him by his fellow master of
ceremonies, was far too great to admit of its being expiated, or
atoned for by a mere exchange of bullets on the duelling field, and
he accordingly instituted criminal proceedings against him. The
preliminaries to this sort of thing are exceedingly intricate and
tedious in Germany, and the legal authorities having received the
impression in one way or another that the public trial in connection
with the scandal would be viewed with displeasure in high quarters,
naturally placed every obstacle in Baron Kotze's way. Of course,
having instituted legal proceedings against Schrader, he was
debarred by the so-called code of honor from challenging Schrader, a
circumstance of which the latter took advantage to insinuate that if
Kotze had refrained from calling him to account on the field of honor,
it was because he did not feel sufficiently sure of his ground.

This insinuation was taken up by Kotze's cousin, Captain Dietrich
Kotze, who challenged Schrader and fought a duel with him, slightly
wounding him. Kotze himself meanwhile challenged, and fought a duel
with another of his persecutors, Baron Hugo Reischach, the chamberlain
of Empress Frederick, and received a rather severe wound, which kept
him in bed for several weeks.

As legal proceedings were pending, which were expected to eventually
clear up the entire scandal, and show who was the author of the
anonymous letters, it was generally assumed that Baron von Kotze could
not be regarded as altogether cleared from the suspicion which rested
upon him, until the case had come up for trial. Meanwhile poor Kotze
remained under a cloud. Nearly nine months elapsed before the criminal
authorities declared that there was no ground for a criminal suit
against Schrader. Kotze thereupon endeavored to institute a civil
suit, this requiring still more time, and when at length the matter
came into court, Kotze was non-suited virtually without any hearing,
on the ground that the statutes of limitation had disqualified him
from any civil redress against Baron Schrader.

Kotze being thus frustrated in his efforts to obtain punishment
for his foe and persecutor through the courts of law, came to the
conclusion that there was no other means left him to vindicate his
honor, but a challenge to fight a duel. His demand for satisfaction,
however, was declined by Baron Schrader, on the ground that it was too
late for Kotze to resort to arms, and that if he had stood in need of
satisfaction of this kind, he should not have allowed so long a period
to elapse before demanding it. The matter was referred to a so-called
court of honor, which sustained the contention of Baron Schrader, and
declared that inasmuch as Baron Kotze had by his dilatoriness placed
himself beyond the power of exacting satisfaction from Baron Schrader
for the indignities to which he had been subjected, he was no longer
worthy to wear the uniform of a Prussian officer. This decision of the
court of honor was ratified by Prince Frederick of Hohenzollern, the
general commanding the division of Guards, to the reserve force of
which Baron Kotze belonged, but it was annulled by the emperor, an
action on the part of his majesty which led Prince Frederick to resign
his command, and to withdraw for the time from the Court of Berlin.

The emperor thereupon entrusted the affair to another jury of honor
at Hanover, which rendered a decision, blaming Baron Kotze for
his dilatoriness in demanding satisfaction of Baron Schrader, but
authorizing him to continue to wear the uniform, and to remain in the
service of the emperor as an officer. This verdict was ratified by the
emperor himself and on the strength thereof the long delayed duel
took place between the two barons. In June, 1896, Baron Schrader was
wounded in the abdomen by Baron Kotze, a wound to which he succumbed
on the following day. That seemed to settle, in the minds of all, the
innocence of Baron Kotze, for after spending the customary few months
in nominal imprisonment for infraction of the civil laws, which
prohibit the fighting of those very duels which are prescribed by the
military code, he was invited to resume his service as master of the
ceremonies at court, was treated once more with the utmost distinction
by the emperor, while his wife spent several weeks in the autumn of
that year as the guest of Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen, at the
latter's country seat.

But who was the author of the anonymous letters?

That is a question with which I propose to deal in the following
chapter, at the same time showing how this most sensational court
scandal of the latter half of the nineteenth century led to the
exodus from Berlin, and the desertion of its court by numerous royal
personages and great nobles.



CHAPTER IV


To this day the identity of the writer of the anonymous letters
remains a secret to the general public in Germany, as well as abroad,
but it is pretty generally known in court circles at Berlin and at
Vienna; and if steps have been taken by the authorities to prevent the
true facts from getting into print, and the writer was merely expelled
from Germany, instead of being brought to justice and sentenced to a
long term of imprisonment, it is only because the culprit could not
have been tried and convicted without the name of one of the greatest
personages in Germany being dragged into the case.

Needless to add that the anonymous letter writer was a woman--a
foreign lady of title--who for a time was one of the most admired
beauties at the Court of Berlin, where, thanks to her inimitable chic,
elegance and brilliancy of wit, everybody, men and women alike, were
charmed. Old Emperor William, who was always very attentive to the
fair sex, up to the very last, and easily smitten by a pretty face,
had introduced the lady to his court without taking much trouble to
investigate her antecedents or character, and of course, with such
a sponsor, everyone took it for granted that she was above reproach,
socially, as well as morally. She became very intimate with many of
the court people, notably with the Hohenaus, the Kotzes, etc., and was
even admitted to the intimacy of Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen,
the emperor's eldest sister. She possibly might have, in spite of
all, retained her social eminence, had she not allowed herself to be
compromised, first, in the eyes of a few, and subsequently, in a
more general fashion, by the only brother of the empress, Duke
Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein-Augustenburg. The association of
their names ultimately became such that the great ladies of the
Berlin Court, commenced to cut adrift from the fair foreigner, whose
resentment at this treatment naturally became particularly bitter
against precisely those with whom she had been most intimate.

Her animosity against Countess Fritz Hohenau was especially
intensified by the particularly offensive manner in which she was
cut by "Charlotte of Prussia," whose bitter and contemptuous remarks
concerning her were naturally communicated to the foreign lady by
the men who still frequented her salons. Through these noblemen and
princes she was kept _au courant_ of everything that went on at court,
and there is no doubt that she was able to extract much information
concerning the emperor and his family from the duke, who visited her
daily, and who was infatuated by her potent and undeniable charms
beyond all reason.

Of course, no one dreams to-day of accusing the duke of having
knowingly played any part in the fabrication of the anonymous letters;
but there is no doubt that, with his utter absence of discretion, his
lack of intellectual brilliancy, and the thoroughly royal predilection
for gossip and tittle-tattle, which monopolize to this day his
interest, he imparted to her, in the course of his daily visits, a
vast amount of news and information which she could not possibly have
obtained from any one else. Dissipated, foolish and indiscreet to an
incredible extent, the duke is nevertheless an honorable man, and in
spite of the suspicions entertained at one time concerning him by the
Schraders, the Hohenaus, the Anhalts, and the Reischachs, there is no
doubt that he had not the slightest conception of the manner in which
the gossip which he retailed day by day to his _inamorata_ was used by
her for the fabrication of her anonymous letters.

It was Baron von Kotze's cousin, Captain Dietrich Kotze, mentioned in
the preceding chapter as having espoused the cause of his unfortunate
relative with particular vigor, to whom belongs the credit of having
discovered the culprit. He accomplished this more through a piece of
good fortune than by design, for he was put on the right scent by a
mere chance remark which he happened to overhear at a dinner party in
Paris. The information which he obtained was imparted to the emperor,
and the latter without a moment's hesitation gave orders that his
palace police should visit the "Grande Dame's" residence during the
following night, take possession of all her papers and correspondence,
and convey her to a small town, near the Belgian frontier, where she
was to be kept by the police under strict surveillance, without being
permitted to see any one, until further orders.

It is impossible to say exactly what was discovered among these
papers, but it is generally understood that the police recovered
possession of the missing diary of Princess Charlotte, and obtained
ample proofs of the fact that the fair foreigner was the author of all
the anonymous letters.

After a twenty-four hours' detention, she was conducted to the
frontier by the police, and warned against returning to Germany. If no
severer measures were taken against her, it is because it would have
resulted in a more or less public disclosure of the indiscreet rôle
played by the duke in the matter, and likewise because she really
knew too much! In fact, there is scarcely a secret pertaining to the
reigning family, or to the Court of Prussia, with which she is not
acquainted, and the fact that she should have refrained from
making any attempt to publish them to the world, gives rise to the
presumption that means of a financial character, or else some threats
of terrorism, have been used to insure her silence.

At the time of the descent of the police upon her house, Duke
Ernest-Gunther was staying at Lowther Castle, in Westmoreland,
England, as the guest of Lord Lonsdale, and was to have gone on at the
end of the week to Sandringham, to stay with the Prince and Princess
of Wales. On receiving telegrams, however, from his beautiful friend,
notifying him of her expulsion from Germany, he left Lowther Castle,
literally at an hour's notice, and without taking leave of his host,
proceeded immediately to Paris for the purpose of meeting her, in
order to find out to what extent the situation was compromised. There
is every reason to believe that it was not until then that he realized
that the writer of the long series of anonymous letters was no
other than the lady by whose fascinations he had been so completely
captivated. A considerable time elapsed before he returned to Berlin.
In fact, a very serious estrangement between himself and the emperor
ensued, William declining to hold any intercourse with a relative
whose susceptibility to feminine charms, and whose extraordinary
absence of even the most elementary discretion, had contributed to one
of the most painful scandals that have overtaken the Prussian Court
since the close of the last century.

Not even the Kaiser's fondness for his wife, nor his anxiety to please
her, could soften the anger which he felt against his brother-in-law,
and when after a prolonged voyage to India and elsewhere, the duke
on landing at Trieste, ran over from there to the neighboring seaside
resort of Abbazia, for the purpose of visiting the German imperial
couple, who were spending the early spring there with their children,
the kaiser declined to receive his brother-in-law and went out
shooting, so as to avoid an interview with him, the princely prodigal
meeting with no one except his sister, the empress, with whom he had
an interview of a couple of hours.

It is generally believed that Princess Charlotte's missing diary is
to-day in the possession of the emperor, after having been seized
by the police among the correspondence of Duke Ernest-Gunther's fair
friend; for the former very warm affection manifested by William for
his eldest sister, arising from the belief that she had been subjected
to as harsh treatment as he imagined himself to have received at the
hands of their mother, the imperious, masterful and immensely clever
Empress Frederick, appears since the anonymous letter episode to
have given way to feelings of distrust, and even dislike. Princess
Charlotte and her husband have been ever since that time virtually
banished from the Court of Berlin, at which they are rarely if ever
seen. Prince Bernhardt of Saxe-Meiningen, was transferred to the
command of the troops at Breslau, although he has but little taste for
a military career, and is far more devoted to art, literature, music,
and the drama, than to soldiering. At Berlin his duties as a general
were more or less titular, and he had all the leisure which he
required for the researches into the affairs of modern and ancient
Greece, which have won for him celebrity as one of the most erudite
Hellenists of the present time. He was surrounded by a congenial
circle of friends possessed of the same disposition as himself, and
had access to some of the finest libraries and museums in the world,
while his still charming wife was the most conspicuous figure in a
circle composed of all that was most elegant, witty, brilliant and
clever in the so-called "_Athens on the Spree_" Indeed, her palace
in the Thiergarten was the centre of everything that was eclectic and
brilliant, and her salons were the rendezvous of all that was best in
Berlin society.

Imagine, therefore, a prince and princess with tastes and dispositions
such as these compelled to close up their lovely home, to bid adieu to
all their friends, and to take up their residence in the dullest,
most uninteresting and provincial of cities, situated in the least
picturesque portion of the empire; where the only society consists
of bureaucrats of the most starchy description, with no ideas
beyond their office, or of impoverished landowners, belonging to the
district, whose nobiliary pretensions can only be compared with the
paucity of their resources, and whose conversation and even intellect
is restricted to mangelwurzels, potatoes, and the different grades of
fertilizers.

Breslau, to say the whole truth, is a city utterly without any
attractions, either social or intellectual; the only other royal
personage in the place is an eccentric Wurtemberg princess, a cousin
of the now reigning King of Wurtemberg. This lady sacrificed her royal
rank and prerogatives in order to marry a physician of the name of
Dr. Willim, who had attended her father in his last illness. She could
not, however, bring herself to descend to the social level of her
husband, who is of plebeian origin, and a mere commoner, but thought
that she had done enough in that direction when she contented herself
with the name and title of Baroness Kirchbach, which she now bears. Of
late years she has become a convert to socialism, much to the dismay
and distress of her eminently respectable husband, and at the last
Socialist Congress held at Breslau, took a very prominent part in the
proceedings, arrayed in a blouse of flaming red.

I am very sorry to have to destroy the romance by which the name of
this Princess Wilhelmina of Wurtemberg has until now been surrounded,
especially that portion thereof which represents her as a lovely and
interesting woman. The truth is that she is fearfully homely, both in
face and figure, while her eccentricities are such that in America,
for instance, she would be described as a "crank." Thus she
distinguishes herself through her inordinate fondness for cats, goats
and rabbits; escorted by whole herds of which she is wont to wander
through the gloomy streets of Breslau. Her costumes are invariably
as queer as the one in which she appeared on the platform of the
Socialist Congress. Compare this strange figure so utterly unfeminine
in its lack of all elegance, with the dainty, spirituelle Princess
Charlotte! Yet Baroness von Kirchbach is the only lady of sufficiently
lofty birth either in Breslau or in the vicinity to associate with
Princess Charlotte on terms of any thing like equality!

It is probable that Princess Charlotte and her husband will be kept
at Breslau, virtually exiled from the Court of Berlin, until the
accession of Prince Bernhardt to the throne of Saxe-Meiningen, through
the death of his aged father. It is naturally surprising that Prince
Bernhardt, as heir to his father's crown, should not take up his
residence in the capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, instead of
being condemned to vegetate at Breslau. The fact of the matter is,
however, that the atmosphere of the Saxe-Meiningen capital is even
less congenial than that of Breslau to Prince Bernhardt and Princess
Charlotte, for the old duke is morganatically married to an actress
of the local theatre, upon whom he has conferred the title of Baroness
Helburg, and the princess finds it difficult to associate with this
person.

How unrelenting William remains with regard to his sister, may be
gathered from the fact that when her only daughter, Princess Fedora,
was married the other day at Breslau, he himself, and the empress,
pointedly avoided being present at the ceremony, although they were
within a couple of hours' distance of Breslau at the time, spending
the day in shooting. The slight thus placed upon Princess Charlotte
and her husband was all the more marked, as not only were all the
other members of the reigning house of Prussia present, but even the
aged King of Saxony, the King of Wurtemberg and the Grand Duke of
Hesse, had all three taken the trouble to come from long distances in
order to attend the wedding, at which Queen Victoria was represented
by several members of her family, who had travelled from England for
the purpose. The sensation created, not only over all Germany, but
even throughout Europe by the absence of the emperor and empress from
the wedding of the only child of the hereditary Prince and Princess
of Saxe-Meiningen, when they were actually in the neighborhood, was so
great that it can only be assumed that the emperor intended to give a
public manifestation of his continued ill-will towards his sister;
and that his so kind-hearted and good-natured consort should have thus
joined him in this act of public discourtesy, can be explained by a
story current at Berlin to the effect that she, too, feels that she
can neither forget nor forgive the mingled ridicule, satire and even
downright contempt expressed not only about herself, but about the
emperor, her sisters, and her mother in the missing diary of Princess
Charlotte.

Another reason why Princess Charlotte and her husband are forced to
conform themselves to the command, by means of which the sovereign
keeps them almost permanently at Breslau, is that Prince Bernhardt has
little or no money at all, as long as his father lives, and that the
couple are, therefore, almost entirely dependent upon the allowance
which the princess receives as a member of the reigning house
of Prussia. Now it is the kaiser who, as chief of the family of
Hohenzollern, controls all its vast private possessions, and, if at
any time, a member of the House of Prussia declines to yield obedience
to his orders, he is empowered by the statutes of the Hohenzollern
family to suspend the allowances of those guilty of such
insubordination. Thus it is greatly because they are so poor that the
prince and princess invariably travel incognito when they go abroad,
although it has been asserted that the kaiser carries his irritation
against his sister to the extent of declining to permit her to leave
Germany, save on the understanding that neither she nor her husband
will anywhere exact, or receive the honors due to their royal rank.

At the time of the visit of the Emperor and Empress of Germany to
Rome, during the silver-wedding festivities of King Humbert and Queen
Marguerite of Italy, Prince Bernhardt and Princess Charlotte were in
the Eternal City, entirely ignored by the Italian court, as well as by
all the foreign royalties present. Indeed, while the emperor, and even
the pettiest foreign princelets invited for the occasion, were driving
about the streets and parks in royal equipages, the kaiser's sister
and brother-in-law had to content themselves with the dingiest of hack
cabs, and also with the rôle of ordinary sight-seers.

Those who imagine that Princess Charlotte prefers an incognito rôle
to that of a royal princess are singularly mistaken. No one is fonder
than she is of the prerogatives of rank, and like all clever and
pretty women, she is ever eager to be the centre of attraction, and
the object of much homage. She cannot, therefore, be said to relish
the treatment and neglect to which she is subjected through her
brother's displeasure.

In the Berlin great world the princess has always been popular, not
merely by reason of her devotion to society, but because a certain
amount of sympathy was felt for her in connection with the treatment
which she had received at the hands of her mother. For some strange
reason or other, Princess Charlotte was never appreciated by her
mother, who showed her preference for her younger daughters in a very
marked manner. Charlotte was always treated with a far greater degree
of strictness than any of the other girls, in spite of her being
vastly superior to them in intellect and in looks. Princess Charlotte
is still a very charming woman, and was in her younger days a
singularly attractive girl, one of the fairest indeed of all Queen
Victoria's numerous descendants, but her sisters are inclined to be
homely, absolutely deficient in feminine elegance or chic, and, while
accomplished, are extremely dull, and not a bit sparkling or witty.

Empress Frederick always declared that her daughter Charlotte was
frivolous, and as much inclined to be forward and rebellious to
discipline and control as her eldest son, the present emperor.
Therefore, as I have already stated, Charlotte and William were
treated by their mother with exceptional severity, were snubbed on
every occasion, often in the most humiliating manner, and were made to
feel that Prince Henry and their younger sisters held a higher place
in the maternal heart than they.

Sad is it to add that the youth of neither William nor Charlotte was
a particularly happy one, and thus it is not astonishing that one as
well as the other should have felt inclined to run a bit wild, like
young colts, when first emancipated from the school-room. It was
during the very few years that intervened between his leaving the
university at Bonn and his marriage, that William obtained his
reputation for dissipation. His shortcomings, due to the exuberance of
youth, were exaggerated until they were transformed from very venial
offences into the most mortal of sins, while in the same way the
delight manifested by Princess Charlotte at the admiration and homage
to which her comeliness gave rise--a very natural feeling when one
recalls the snubbings and humiliations to which she had been subjected
until then--were construed into frivolity and deep-dyed coquetry,
altogether unworthy of a royal princess. She was taxed, too, with an
absence of that simpering modesty, more or less affected, which is
_de mise_ with so many young girls in Germany and in France, when they
make their début in society, and even her most harmless flirtations
were condemned by her mother as grave indiscretions.

Empress Frederick became very soon imbued with the idea that it was
necessary to marry off Charlotte without delay, in order to avert
the danger, as she conceived it, of one or another of these girlish
flirtations developing into something calculated to compromise both
her dignity and her fair name. Had the princess been less hurried in
this matter, it is probable that she would have found a more suitable
husband, and above all one calculated to capture the fancy of a
young girl, reared at a court which can boast of some of the finest
specimens of manhood in the world. But she was married to the first
princelet who happened to catch the eye of Empress Frederick, namely
Prince Bernhardt of Saxe-Meiningen--aye, and she was hustled into
matrimony in such a hurry, too, as to give a sort of foundation for
some shameful and base slanders, cruelly unmerited, but which one
hears even Germans who profess loyalty to the crown repeating to this
day. Prince Bernhardt, though an excellent man in his way, was very
far from meeting the requirements of the "Prince Charmant" fit to
be mated to a princess so gay and so brilliant as Charlotte of
Hohenzollern. His appearance is effeminate, his manner finicky and
old-maidish to a degree. He is neither stalwart nor good-looking; he
excels neither as a dancer nor as a rider, nor yet as an athlete, and
he gives one at first sight the impression of being an artist or a
composer, rather than a son of that grand looking old fellow, the
reigning Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Indeed, there was at the time of the marriage but one voice in Berlin
society, condemning it as having been forced upon Princess Charlotte
against her inclinations by her mother. And after the marriage the
poverty of the prince rendered him to such an extent dependent upon
the financial assistance of his mother-in-law, that he, as well as
his wife, was compelled to remain subservient in every respect to
her wishes. Nor was it until William came to the throne and availed
himself of his position as head of the family to grant Princess
Charlotte an allowance suitable to her rank, that the princess and
her husband were emancipated from the strict control of her mother,
Empress Frederick.

Young married folks in America can form no conception of the extent of
such tyranny, and when, some time after the wedding, Prince Bernhardt
and Princess Charlotte secured permission from Empress Frederick--then
only crown princess--to visit Paris, and to make a stay there of three
weeks, she only gave her consent on the condition that they should
be accompanied by one of her chamberlains, and one of her
ladies-in-waiting who had known the princess from childhood, and whose
behests the prince and princess were obliged to obey throughout their
sojourn in the French capital, just as if they had been a little
boy and girl, instead of grown-up and married people. Probably the
happiest time of Princess Charlotte's life was the period which
elapsed between the death of her lamented father and her exile to
Breslau. She amused herself to her heart's content, fluttered about in
Berlin like a butterfly, took a leading part in every social movement,
was admired, fêted and petted by everyone, but gave her worthy husband
no cause whatsoever for uneasiness, and avoided all scandals, save
those contained in the anonymous letters, for which she cannot really
be held responsible.

To-day she must feel that she has exchanged the unbearable tyranny of
Empress Frederick for the yet infinitely more oppressive despotism of
her eldest brother, Emperor William,--a despotism so harsh that it has
won for her, somewhat late it is true, the kindly sympathy of her own
mother,--a severity which may be said to have its source in that most
dangerous of all the intimate friends and confidants of the princess,
namely, that diary of hers which was stolen from her, and which is
believed to be now in the possession of the kaiser.



CHAPTER V


I am thoroughly aware that the point which is likely to excite the
attention of my readers to a greater degree than any other in the
previous chapter, is the reference contained therein to the tyranny
exercised by the monarchs of the Old World upon their relatives. In
fact, it is far better in Europe to be a mere subject than a kinsman
or kinswoman of the sovereign.

Even the lowliest of the lieges of the anointed of the Lord has
certain constitutional rights and prerogatives which may be said
to safeguard him from oppression and persecution, but princes and
princesses of the blood have no such rights, and are exposed to every
caprice and every whim of the head of their family, defiance of whose
wishes entails exile, loss of property, even poverty and outlawry,
without any redress.

Royal and imperial personages, in addition to being subjected to
the ordinary laws of the land, are expected to yield blind and
unquestioned obedience to another code, comprising what are officially
styled the "Family Statutes" of the dynasty to which they belong.
These are administered by the head of the family, who is free to
construe them as he sees fit, and while they are binding upon the
members of his house, they in no way can be said to constitute any
limitation to the exercise of his authority. In fact, the latter is
absolutely unrestricted, and extends to every phase of the life of a
royal personage. Thus, a prince or princess of the blood is debarred
from contracting a marriage without the consent of the sovereign, and
if any union has taken place without the sanction of the head of the
family, it is regarded, not only at court, but even by the tribunals
of the land, as invalid, and children that may be born of the marriage
bear the stigma of illegitimacy. If a marriage has received the full
authorization of the ruler, and there is any issue, the children
cannot be educated without the sovereign's wishes being consulted.
The parents, in fact, are regarded much as if they were either minors,
outlaws, or demented people, unfitted to be entrusted with the control
and bringing up of their offspring, for the sovereign is _ex officio_
the guardian of all children who are under age, belonging to the
married members of his family, and his rights over the children are
superior to those of the latter's father and mother.

If the boy is to have a tutor, or the girl a governess, the
appointment cannot be made by the parents without their previously
obtaining the permission of the sovereign, and he has it in his power
to reject their nominee, and to assign some candidate of his own,
who may possibly be regarded as most objectionable to the unfortunate
parents, for the duty of taking charge of the education of the young
people in question. The royal or imperial mother, indeed, may esteem
herself fortunate if the sovereign does not insist on personally
selecting the nurses of her infants: when the present kaiser was
born, not merely the late Empress Augusta, but likewise all the other
members of the reigning house of Prussia, and of the Court of Berlin,
thought it quite right and natural that the old Emperor William should
exercise his authority for the purpose of prohibiting the young mother
from herself nursing her baby; on the ground that it was contrary to
the traditions of the House of Hohenzollern, and a quite undignified
proceeding. Fortunately, the late Emperor Frederick, who had spent
much of his time at the court of his mother-in-law, Queen Victoria,
and who was aware that she had nursed every one of her numerous
children herself, without permitting this motherly duty to interfere
with the arduous official business of the State, expostulated with
his father, and persuaded him to withdraw his prohibition, much to the
horror of the courtiers, and greatly to the satisfaction of the royal
lady, who is now Empress Frederick.

In Austria one of the principal sources of the domestic unhappiness
of the lamented Empress of Austria, was the small voice that she was
allowed by the sovereign--her husband--to have in the management and
the control of her own children, as long as her mother-in-law, the
late Archduchess Sophia, was alive. It was only after the demise of
the archduchess that Empress Elizabeth first realized in their full
measure the joys of motherhood.

While on the subject of Austria, I may cite the case of the widowed
Crown Princess Stephanie as another illustration of the extent to
which royal parents are deprived of all authority over their children.
Thus when Crown Prince Rudolph died at Mayerling, his little
daughter, at that time barely six years of age, was assigned to the
guardianship, not of her widowed mother, but of her grandfather. A
very general belief prevails that this arrangement about the care of
the little Archduchess Elizabeth, was due to a piece of animosity on
the part of the ill-fated crown prince against his wife, and I have
seen it stated in print that he had left a will confiding his only
child to his father, and directing that its mother should be allowed
no voice in its education. There is no official authority for any such
statement, but no matter whether the crown prince expressed any such
testamentary wish or not, the fact remains that at his death his child
was bound by the statutes of the House of Hapsburg, to become the ward
of the sovereign, who in this case happened to be her grandfather.
Gentle and soft-hearted as is Emperor Francis-Joseph, he nevertheless
exercised his authority over his grandchild in a way that cannot but
have been galling in the extreme to its mother, a way, in fact, which
I imagine would be beyond the endurance of any American woman. Thus
he insisted upon himself appointing and selecting her governesses and
teachers; he nominated her entire household without consulting her
mother, and its members, as well as the girl's instructors made their
reports not to Crown Princess Stephanie, but to him, from whom, also,
they alone took their instructions.

It was the emperor who decided where his grandchild was to stay, where
she was to spend this part of the year, and where another season, and
finally he strictly prohibited her from leaving his dominions. The
position of the Crown Princess of Austria since the death of her
husband has been so extremely unpleasant and painful, that she has
spent much of her time--indeed, at least nine months of the year--in
foreign travel. The imperial family, the court and the people, hold
her responsible for that domestic wretchedness which drove her so
universally popular husband to his tragic death at Mayerling. Of
a jealous disposition and of a temper that even at its best is
difficult, she is generally understood to have driven him by her
violence and injustice to seek, away from his home, the pleasures that
he could not find by his own fireside.

It had been known that she had been strangely lacking in dignity in
her complaints concerning his behavior, and after his death she gave
cruel offence both to his parents and to the people of her adopted
country by her indifference to his terrible fate, and by the frivolity
with which she bore her widowhood, not a little of which was spent
at the gaming tables of Monte-Carlo in the gayest mourning costumes
possible; a circumstance which horrified Queen Victoria, who was at
that time at Nice, and naturally cruelly embittered the bereaved and
sorrowing mother, Empress Elizabeth, who, robed in deepest black,
was at Cap-Martin, endeavoring to recover her health, which had been
absolutely shattered by the tragedy.

All these things led to the crown princess being regarded with deep
disfavor in Austria. Difficulties were raised with regard to her rank
and precedence at court, and the animosity manifested towards her was
such at Vienna, and elsewhere in the dual empire, that she found it
preferable to spend the greater part of her time abroad. She was not,
however, permitted to take her little daughter with her, and thus the
young archduchess may be said to have grown up altogether away from
her mother, whom she saw for barely two months of the year, and then
more as a visitor and a stranger, than as a relative who had any voice
in the ordering of her life.

If, then, this control of the minor princes and princesses of his
dynasty is insisted upon to such an extent by the aged Emperor of
Austria, the kindliest, most warm-hearted and sympathetic of old men,
always prone to patient forbearance and indulgence, it will be readily
understood that it is exercised to its fullest extent by Emperor
William, in whose character the tendency to autocracy, and the spirit
of command, is far more developed than in his brother monarch. Indeed,
he not only claims the right to act as the chief guardian of the
junior members of the reigning house of Prussia, of which he is the
head, but likewise of the children of all those sovereign families of
Germany which have acknowledged him as their emperor. Thus he insisted
upon having entire control of his young cousin, the only son of
the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, declaring that his own
authority must be substituted for that of the lad's father, in spite
of the latter being himself a reigning sovereign, and an ally rather
than a vassal.

The tragic fate of the young prince will be too fresh in the memory of
my readers to need more than passing reference here. The boy, removed
from parental care, was transferred by Emperor William to Berlin, with
the avowed purpose of being under his own imperial eye. Unfortunately,
the duties and occupations of William are so multifarious that he was
unable to fulfil his very excellent intentions with regard to Prince
Alfred. The latter fell into bad hands, squandered large sums of
money at cards, became involved in pecuniary difficulties, and in
his endeavors to retrieve them, sunk deeper and deeper into the mire,
until finally Emperor William, suddenly alive to the results of his
wholly-unintentional neglect of the royal lad, sent him back to
his heart-broken parents, discredited, implicated in all sorts of
unpleasant gambling transactions, and shattered alike in health and
mind. In the midst of their silver-wedding festivities, they were
forced to send their only boy off to a sanitarium in Austria, where,
in spite of the close restraint under which he was kept, he managed
to put an end to his life, only a few days after his arrival, prompted
thereto by either physical or mental agony, no one knows which.

Small wonder, when it became necessary to find a likely successor to
the present reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg, and his younger brother,
Prince Arthur of Great Britain, Duke of Connaught, was proclaimed
heir, that the prince decided that it would be preferable to sacrifice
his rights to this throne, rather than his rights over his only son.
On being given to understand that if he accepted the position of heir
apparent, his sixteen-year-old boy would become the ward of Emperor
William, and that the authority of the kaiser would be superior to his
own over the lad, Prince Arthur declined to have anything to do with
the Saxe-Coburg succession, and abandoned both his own claims thereto
and those of his son, in favor of his young nephew, the fatherless
Duke of Albany. It was precisely on the same ground that the Duke of
Cumberland declined to complete the agreement whereby a reconciliation
was to be effected between himself and the kaiser. Born crown prince
of the now defunct Kingdom of Hanover, he should have succeeded to the
throne of the Duchy of Brunswick on the death of his kinsman, the late
Duke of Brunswick, in 1884. The German Emperor, however, decided that
he could not be permitted to take possession of the sovereignty of the
duchy, nor to assume the status of one of the federal rulers of the
confederation known as the German Empire, unless he recognized the
latter, as now constituted, that is to say with his father's Kingdom
of Hanover incorporated with Prussia. For a long time he refused to
do this, but was ultimately persuaded by his brother-in-law, the late
czar, and the Prince of Wales, to consent to a reconciliation
with Prussia, and to accept the present condition of affairs. The
arrangements were on the eve of being completed when a conflict arose
between the duke and the kaiser, as to the education of the former's
eldest son, Prince George. The duke wished to send him to the Vizhum
College, at Dresden, where so many members of the sovereign families,
and of the great houses of the nobility, have received their
instruction, while the kaiser objected to this particular school on
the ground that its teachings were calculated to increase instead
of to diminish particularist and anti-Prussian sentiments. The duke
thereupon declared that he alone was competent to judge and determine
how his boy should be educated, whereupon the kaiser put forth his
pretension to the guardianship of all the junior members of the
sovereign houses comprised in the German Empire. Rather than consent
to this, the Duke of Cumberland, who has inherited much of the
obstinacy for which his great-grandfather, King George III. of Great
Britain, was so celebrated, broke off all negotiations with Emperor
William, and refused to have anything more to do with him, for, like
his cousin, the Duke of Connaught, he would rather sacrifice his
rights to a German throne than his parental rights over a much-loved
boy.

But the despotism of the monarchs of the Old World is by no means
restricted to this question of the control and custody of the junior
members of their respective families. Every prince and princess of
the latter, no matter what his or her age, or superiority in point of
years to the sovereign may be, is subjected to the will of the head
of the house. For instance, no Russian grand duke or grand duchess can
leave the Muscovite empire without previously asking and obtaining the
permission of the czar, and in the same way, the Austrian
archdukes and archduchesses have to crave the sanction of Emperor
Francis-Joseph, and the Prussian princes and princesses, that of the
kaiser, before they can leave their respective countries for a foreign
trip. Even Empress Frederick is compelled to obtain the permission
of her son, the emperor, before taking her departure from Germany for
England or Italy, and a few years ago when quietly enjoying herself in
Paris, she was forced by a peremptory command from her son to suddenly
cut short her stay in the French capital, and to betake herself to
England.

To such an extent is this despotism carried that when Prince Henry
of Prussia was stationed at Kiel, he had to ask his elder brother's
permission before he could run up to Berlin, although Kiel is only
a few hours' trip from the capital; and, as stated in the previous
chapter, Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen and her husband,
are kept at Breslau, except when their brother William graciously
condescends to permit them to leave their home. Two years ago the
emperor, for reasons which can only be surmised, and which were of
a personal rather than of a political character--of which more
anon--suddenly ordered his only brother Henry off to China, and a
little later, possibly with the object of showing to the world that
his authority extended to the ladies of his house, as well as to the
men, he directed Princess Henry to join her husband at Hong Kong. As
the two little boys of the princess are exceedingly delicate, owing
possibly to the fact that their parents are first cousins, the poor
mother was very reluctant to undertake the trip, but she was forced
by the emperor to go, and had scarcely reached Hong Kong before
she learnt by cable that both her little ones were prostrated by a
terrible attack of diphtheria. She was not, however, permitted to
return, but was kept out in China away from her children until late
in the spring, and reached home well on towards autumn, to find her
little ones--the youngest was but two years old--more delicate than
ever, but fortunately alive.

In the memoirs of Bismarck published by Dr. Busch, there is reproduced
one of Emperor William's letters, written prior to his accession
to the throne, in the course of which he asks the great chancellor
whether he approves of his "commanding" (the German word is
"_befehlen_") his brother Prince Henry to make certain inquiries of
the late Prince Alexander of Battenberg. William in this letter does
not talk of "requesting" his brother, but of ordering him to do this.
If then William, as crown prince, already took upon himself the right
of ordering his brother and his sisters to do this and to do that, it
may be readily imagined that he is not less peremptory in his dealings
with them now that he is their emperor and king.

If they disobey him, he has various means of punishment at his
command. He can banish them from court for a long term; he can
deprive them temporarily, or for all time, of the prerogatives, the
privileges, and the honors due to their rank; he can suspend their
allowances from the national treasury, or from the family property,
or can stop it altogether; he can take from them the control of any
estates which they may have inherited, and confide the administration
thereof to curators appointed for the purpose; finally, he can subject
them to various forms of arrest, as he once did in the case of his
brother-in-law, Prince Frederick-Leopold; while in very extreme cases
he can place the offending relative under restraint in an asylum for
the insane on the pretext of dementia, as has been done in the case
of Princess Louise of Coburg, daughter of King Leopold of Belgium,
and mother of Princess "Dolly" of Coburg, who is now the wife of Duke
Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein.

"_Aux arrêts_," or confinement to one's quarters, is the most common
form of punishment inflicted by Old World monarchs upon those of their
kith and kin who have failed to comply with their behests, and there
is scarcely a single sovereign or prince of the blood, who has not
been subjected to this species of discipline at one time or another of
his career. Thus the late Emperor Frederick, prior to his accession
to the throne, but long after his marriage, was sentenced to several
weeks' detention in his palace under strict arrest, as a punishment
for a little joke which he had played during the course of a military
inspection.

He had been protesting for a long time against the tightness of the
uniforms, and of the belts of the rank and file of the infantry,
declaring that it impeded the movements and play of the muscles of the
men, to such an extent as to deprive them of more than fifty per cent,
of their usefulness. One day, during an inspection of the division of
guards at Potsdam, while the troops happened to be standing at ease,
he walked along the front rank of the first regiment, accompanied by
a number of officers, with whom he had just been discussing this very
question of equipment; suddenly, he stopped short in his walk, and
extracting a piece of gold from his pocket, dropped it on the ground,
and told the men nearest him to pick it up, adding that whoever got
hold of it first, might keep it! Several of them made frantic attempts
to bend down in order to get the money, but so tight were their
uniforms and belts that they found it absolutely impossible to reach,
the coin, which Emperor Frederick ultimately picked up himself, and
handed to them.

"And how do you expect to win battles with soldiers hampered to such
an extent as that in their movements?" he exclaimed contemptuously
to the officers around him. "What greater demonstration than this is
needed to prove the justice of my argument?"

The incident was reported to the then Minister of War, who immediately
lodged a complaint with Frederick's father, the result being that
"Unser Fritz," at that time Crown Prince of Prussia, was placed by old
Emperor William for several weeks under arrest in his palace!

Prince Rupert of Bavaria, the heir apparent to the ancient throne of
the Wittelsbachs, was sentenced by his grandfather, the prince regent,
to no less than three months' close arrest in his quarters at Munich,
for having left the kingdom without permission, in order to spend
three days at Paris, in fair but frail company; while the widowed
Duchess of Aosta on one occasion was placed under arrest in her palace
of Turin by her brother-in-law, King Humbert, because she had ventured
to appear in public on her wheel wearing a pair of bloomers!

Prince and Princess Frederick-Leopold, the latter a younger sister of
the Empress of Germany, have both been condemned on several occasions
by the kaiser to close confinement in their palace under the most
stringent kind of arrest, for having disobeyed his majesty's commands
with regard to the management of their household. Duke Ernest-Gunther
of Schleswig-Holstein, the brother of the empress, has been subjected
to more numerous orders of arrest by his imperial kinsman than any
prince of the blood now living.

Severe as are European monarchs nowadays in punishing the disobedience
of the members of their families, they do not, however, venture any
longer to proceed to such extremities as the father of Frederick the
Great, who when the latter was still crown prince, cast his son into
prison, and ordered him to be shot, merely because he discovered
that he was about to leave the kingdom without his permission for the
purpose of undertaking a trip to England; and there is no doubt that
the crown prince would have been put to death, and thus shared the
fate of his two aids-de-camp, who were beheaded before his very
eyes, in the fortress prison of Küstrin, had it not been for the
intervention of the ambassadors of Austria, Great Britain, Russia and
France in behalf of his royal highness.

Yet another phase of this despotism, which the two kaisers,--namely
their majesties of Germany and of Austria,--exercise over the members
of their respective families, is the right which they claim to select
and appoint the officers and ladies-in-waiting of every prince and
princess of the blood. In order to appreciate what this means it
must be explained that it is not merely contrary to etiquette, but
absolutely forbidden by the rules and regulations instituted by
Emperor William and his brother sovereigns, that any such princes or
princesses should venture to appear anywhere in public without being
escorted either by a gentleman or a lady-in-waiting. These attendants,
who are, it is needless to state, of noble birth, may be said to
constitute the very shadow of the personage to whose household they
are attached. In fact a royal or imperial prince or princess cannot
even cross the street, far less leave home for a ride, a drive, a
walk, or for the purpose of paying a visit, or of doing some shopping
without being escorted, if a prince, by a gentleman-in-waiting, and
if a princess, by a lady-in-waiting, and possibly by a chamberlain as
well.

Nor are the duties of the ladies and gentlemen-in-waiting confined to
attendance upon their royal charges in public, for they form part and
parcel of the royal or imperial household to which they are attached,
and if they do not occupy quarters in the palace, at any rate they
take all their meals there, since their duties commence in the early
morning, and only cease late at night.

Now, human shadows of this kind are all very well when one is at
liberty to choose them one's self; but it is very different when
one has no voice whatsoever in the matter, and when one is forced to
submit to close and intimate attendance of this kind by ladies and
gentlemen whom one neither likes nor trusts. In such cases as these,
the gentlemen or ladies-in-waiting are apt to be regarded in the
light of spies by their royal charges, and as people appointed by the
sovereign to keep watch upon their actions. It is probable that no
one has suffered so cruelly in this connection as the widowed
Empress Frederick of Germany. Possessed of extremely liberal views in
political matters--ideas which she imparted to her consort, she found
herself, within a few years after her marriage, in complete opposition
to Prince Bismarck. The latter regarded her as a very dangerous
opponent, and responded to her openly avowed disapproval of his
political methods by using his influence with her father-in-law, old
Emperor William, urging him to interfere with her management of
her children; and above all, to appoint as members of her household
personages with whom she could have no possible sympathy, political
or otherwise, and who were, in every sense of the word, devoted to
the Iron Chancellor. In fact, Prince Bismarck acknowledges in his
reminiscences, as published by his Boswell, Dr. Busch, that he caused
the crown princess--as Empress Frederick was then--to shed many a
bitter tear, by his interference, through her father-in-law, in her
domestic affairs.

Bismarck made no secret of his enmity towards Empress Frederick and
her husband before the latter ascended the throne, and it is on record
that he even officially insisted that secrets of state should not be
confided to "Unser Fritz," for fear that the latter's consort might
communicate them to her English relatives. He even went so far as to
accuse her of having, during the war of 1870, betrayed to non-German
relatives Prussian military secrets, which were used by the French
against her adopted country, and served to prolong the conflict. These
odious charges, "_which have been abundantly disproved_" and for which
"_there was not even the shadow of a foundation_," are merely referred
to here in order to show the intense bitterness of the personal
animosity entertained by the chancellor towards Empress Frederick. Yet
it was he, Bismarck, who, through the old emperor, had the right of
selecting and nominating, not merely the instructors and attendants of
her boys, but her own gentlemen and ladies-in-waiting--nay, even the
physicians and surgeons to be called in cases of illness.



CHAPTER VI


It is to the part played by Prince Bismarck in selecting the
attendants and tutors of the present emperor that must be ascribed the
strained relations that notoriously existed between the kaiser and his
mother during the few years immediately preceding and following his
accession to the throne; while there is no doubt whatsoever that the
last eighteen months of Emperor Frederick's so prematurely-ended life,
were saddened and embittered by the feeling that a conspiracy was
on foot to prevent his succession to the throne on the ground of the
incurable malady from which he was suffering--a conspiracy in which
some of the principal participants were members of his household and
physicians who had been forced upon him by his father at instigation
of Prince Bismarck.

If I mention this, it is not so much with the idea of evoking a very
painful chapter of the history of the Court Berlin, as it is for the
purpose of explaining, and in a measure of excusing, the charges
of unfilial conduct brought against the present emperor, and which
contributed so much to his unpopularity both at home and abroad during
the early years of his reign.

I have related in a previous chapter how William, while a boy, was
snubbed by his parents, and treated with considerable strictness.
His father, like so many good-looking giants, utterly free from
affectation and pose, believed that he saw in his eldest boy a
tendency to posture, a forwardness of manner, and a disposition
towards pride of rank, amounting to arrogance, which it was necessary,
at all costs, to repress. Prince William, therefore, was constantly
receiving setbacks, often of a most humiliating character, from his
parents, and I am sorry to say that this practice of regarding him as
a presumptuous youth whom it was necessary to check, extended to other
European courts, so that poor William can not be said to have had an
altogether enjoyable time; and in this connection it is just as well
to state that the Prince of Wales and his other English relatives,
took their cue from his mother in their treatment of him, a
circumstance which he has neither forgiven nor forgotten. Indeed the
notorious absence of cordiality between the Prince of Wales and his
imperial nephew of Berlin originates with the snubs which the
British heir apparent, in his capacity of uncle, felt it necessary to
administer to William, when the latter was a lad, and even when he had
reached manhood.

Yet it would be unfair to ascribe any undue blame in the matter to the
parents of Emperor William. The responsibility must rest rather
with those people with whom Prince Bismarck, acting through the old
emperor, surrounded the young prince. The mission of these nominees
of the chancellor was to counteract the influence of the then crown
prince and crown princess over their eldest son, and this was achieved
by setting the boy against his parents. Every direction or command
given by Frederick or by his consort to their son was made the subject
of critical discussion by the personages with whom Bismarck had
surrounded him, until the latter became convinced that the judgment of
his parents was at fault in almost everything that could be imagined,
and that all their views, political as well as social, were thoroughly
out of keeping with Prussian traditions and German patriotism.

This in itself was bad enough: but what made matters infinitely worse,
was that whenever William was subjected to any reproof or discipline
by either his father or mother, those composing his immediate
_entourage_ at once impressed upon the royal youth that he was the
victim of the most gross and unpardonable injustice, that both
his father and mother were inordinately jealous of his striking
individuality, that the unmerited severity to which he was subjected
was brought about by their consciousness that his intellect was
superior to theirs, and that his ideas were too thoroughly Prussian to
constitute anything but a serious danger to their English liberalism.
The effect of influences such as these upon a high-spirited and
impulsive youth, at the time entirely devoid of experience or of
knowledge of the world, may readily be conceived. It naturally led to
an increase of what his parents regarded as his presumptuousness and
forwardness of manner, and consequently to a growth of their severity
towards him. He, on the other hand, became more and more embittered
by the unduly harsh and rather unjust treatment to which he was being
subjected by both his father and his mother.

The persons in attendance on the imperial family, with the conspicuous
exceptions of Count Seckendorff and Countess Hedwig Brühl, were
careful to fan the embers of bitterness rankling in the bosom of young
William whenever any opportunity offered, and thus it happened that
when Emperor Frederick, while still crown prince, was discovered to be
suffering from that cancer of the larynx which ultimately carried him
off, the relations between parents and son were so strained as to give
rise to the very widespread belief that William was the ally of his
father's enemies, and a participator in the disgraceful conspiracy
which ensued for the purpose of barring him from succession to the
throne on the ground of his fearful malady.

As soon as the nature of the disease from which Frederick was
suffering had been ascertained, his opponents, Prince Bismarck first
and foremost, dug out from the most remote recesses of the family
archives of the house of Hohenzollern an obsolete and forgotten law
barring from the succession to the throne of Prussia any prince of
the blood who was afflicted with an incurable malady. Of course,
the original object of the statute in question was to enable the
elimination from the line of succession of princes afflicted with
hopeless insanity, or some such disease as would prevent them from
administering the government, thus rendering the institution of a
regency necessary. In one word, the purpose of the measure was to
prevent such a situation from arising in Prussia as prevails now in
Bavaria, where, since 1886 the throne has been occupied by a lunatic
prince, who was incurably insane for many years before his accession
to the crown, and whose dementia takes that peculiar form, which is
described in the Bible as having overtaken Nebuchadnezzar. King Otto
of Bavaria imagines himself to be alternately a quadruped or a bird,
and when he is not browsing on leaves and grass in the gardens of his
prison palace at Fürstenried, under the impression that he is a sheep
or goat, he will stand on one leg in the centre of a shallow pond,
firmly convinced that he is a stork, occasionally flapping his long
coat-tails in lieu of wings, and greedily attempting to devour any
frogs or tadpoles that may come within his reach, unless prevented by
his attendants from doing so.

There have been, alas! numerous cases of insanity in the reigning
house of Prussia. Old Emperor William's elder brother and predecessor,
King Frederick-William IV., spent the last few years of his life
under restraint, hopelessly insane, his brother and ultimate successor
administering the government as regent. The late Princess Frederick
of Prussia was afflicted like her brother, the last Duke of
Anhalt-Bernburg, with a peculiar kind of lunacy which took the form of
an invincible objection to clothing of any kind whatsoever; while one
of her two sons, Prince Alexander, who died only a few months ago,
suffered from a species of good-natured imbecility, which led him
to offer his heart and his hand to every woman or young girl that
he encountered, no matter what her age, or looks, or rank, sometimes
making as many as thirty or forty offers of marriage in the same day!
The above-mentioned law was created for the purpose of preventing a
prince thus situated from ascending the throne of Prussia, but the
family statutes evoked by Prince Bismarck and his followers certainly
never contemplated the deprival of a prince of his hereditary rights
of succession to the throne because of some physical ailment or
infirmity. This would have been entirely contrary to the spirit and
ethics of the monarchical system of the Old World; as will be readily
seen when attention is called to the fact that both the late King of
Hanover, and the present reigning Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,
were absolutely and totally blind at the time they succeeded to their
present thrones.

Prince Bismarck took the view, however, that the statute in question
was sufficient to bar "Unser Fritz" from succeeding to his father, if
it were once medically admitted that his malady was incurable, or if
curable, that it was liable to permanently destroy the vocal chords,
thus abolishing forever the power of speech.

Prince Bismarck declared that in a matter of such extreme importance,
where the succession to the throne, and the life of the heir apparent
were at stake, the surgeons and physicians should be selected by the
State--that is, by himself--and that their verdict should be final.
Chief among the medical experts whom he nominated for the purpose, was
the celebrated German surgeon, Professor von Bergmann, who is as famed
for his skill in the use of the knife as for his fondness in applying
it in cases where it might possibly be dispensed with. Having
convinced himself that the malady from which Crown Prince Frederick
suffered was a cancer, he decreed that the only manner of saving the
life of the illustrious patient was the extremely dangerous and almost
certainly fatal operation of removing the entire portion of the larynx
that was affected. This, as stated above, would have left the crown
prince dumb for the remainder of his days, and according to the
views of Prince Bismarck would have barred him from succession to the
throne.

It is related in court circles at Berlin, that Professor Bergmann was
on the point of operating upon the crown prince unknown to the crown
princess, and under the pretext of making a very radical examination,
for which anaesthetics were necessary, when, he was prevented at the
very last moment by her imperial highness. It is even stated that she
tore the instruments from his hands, and turned him out of the room
with the most bitter and cutting reproaches. Whatever may be true in
this bit of court gossip, it is certain that a fierce quarrel did take
place between the crown princess and the great surgeon, and that the
cause of this quarrel was the decision taken by the latter to operate
upon the crown prince as the only means of saving his life.

[Illustration:
_THE CROWN PRINCESS AND PROFESSOR VON BERGMANN_
_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

The crown princess thereupon summoned to her assistance Sir Morel
MacKenzie, the greatest throat specialist in England, who throughout
his long career was consulted by all the leading singers and orators
of his day. MacKenzie came to Berlin, examined the crown prince,
and utterly rejected the diagnosis of Professor Bergmann, and of the
German physicians. He declared that the affection of the larynx, while
cancerous, would not be bettered by using the knife, at any rate at
that time, and that he believed the malady to be curable by treatment.
Needless to add that his opinion was reviled in Germany as that of
a charlatan, and that the Teuton specialists declared that the crown
prince was doomed to certain death within six months, unless the
operation was performed.

Fearing that some further attempt might be made at Berlin to operate
upon her husband without her knowledge, or in spite of her opposition,
the crown princess took him off to England, and from thence to
the Tyrol, from which place they eventually migrated to San Remo.
Meanwhile, the German newspapers, that is to say, those which were
believed to be receiving their inspiration from Bismarckian sources,
were filled with abuse of the crown princess, who was charged openly
with being willing to sacrifice the life of her husband rather than
her chances of becoming German Empress.

Meanwhile the crown prince became worse and worse, and while at San
Remo had several fits of agonizing suffocation, to which he almost
succumbed, and from the worst of which he was virtually saved by
the late Dr. Thomas Evans, of Philadelphia, who displayed the utmost
devotion and intelligence of treatment in the case of the imperial
sufferer.

It was at this juncture that one of the most dramatic scenes which can
be imagined took place in the antechamber of the illustrious patient.
The crown princess received letters which informed her that Prince
Bismarck had submitted to the old emperor, then himself near death, a
decree for signature, transferring the succession of the throne from
Crown Prince Frederick to the latter's son, Prince William, a decree
which, by the by, the old emperor could not bring himself to sign.
Furthermore, she learnt through the same sources that one of the
principal members of her household at San Remo, in fact, one of the
chamberlains in attendance, was sending daily reports of the most
venomous character to Berlin, and to Prince Bismarck particularly,
about everything that went on around the unhappy crown prince. Not a
thing was said, not a thing done, not a change for the worse or the
better in the condition of the hapless crown prince, that was not
instantly reported to the chancellor, in a sense most detrimental and
inimical to the imperial couple at San Remo. This traitor in the camp
owed his appointment to the imperial household to Prince Bismarck, but
by his charming manners, his professions of loyalty and of devotion,
and his denunciations of Prince Bismarck, and of the latter's policy
and ways, had completely captured the confidence of both the crown
prince and crown princess.

Empress Frederick has inherited from her mother, Queen Victoria, a
singularly fiery temper. Her passionate anger when she realized
the base treachery to which her sick husband and herself had been
subjected in their time of cruel tribulation and trouble can only be
imagined by those who have the privilege of knowing her, and the scene
that took place between herself and the offending chamberlain was not
merely dramatical, but tragical in its fierce intensity.

It was very shortly after this that the old emperor died. If Prince
Bismarck entertained any further hopes of preventing the accession of
Crown Prince Frederick to the throne, they were frustrated by Prince
William, who declined to be a party to any such conspiracy. Indeed, in
spite of all that has been said to the contrary, I am firmly convinced
that William at no time took any part, either directly or indirectly,
in the Bismarckian plot to oust his so sadly afflicted father from his
rights to the crown. But, on the other hand, it is certain that he was
suspected by his parents and relatives of being privy to the scheme,
and that he was treated with still greater hostility and lack of
affection by them than previously, which naturally served to embitter
him more than ever before.

Emperor Frederick's reign lasted not quite one hundred days, and
throughout that period a conflict may be said to have raged around the
bedside of the dying man. Both he and his wife, aware how brief his
tenure of the throne was destined to be, were bent on inaugurating
some of those liberal reforms and popular measures which had been the
dream of their entire married life, and which they wished to see put
in force, as a lasting memorial of that monarch who figures in German
history to-day as "Frederick the Noble."

Prince Bismarck, and all the leading statesmen of Prussia, it must be
admitted, ranged themselves against the imperial couple in the matter.
They expressed profound pity for the dying emperor, but they denounced
the empress with the utmost virulence for taking advantage, as they
described it, of his condition to endow Germany with some of the most
pernicious features of English political life, which, while all very
well for Britons, were destined to prove disastrous in the extreme if
applied to Prussia. The fiercer the opposition, the more resolute did
both the emperor and empress become in their determination to attain
their aim, before death once more rendered the throne vacant; and
the position of William, who was now crown prince, became even more
difficult than it had hitherto been. His political sympathies were, it
is impossible to deny, with Prince Bismarck and his followers, and he
could not with his training and with the influences by which he had
been surrounded, ever since he had left school, but disapprove of
the measures which his father and mother wished to adopt. This very
naturally added to their distrust of him, and while they lavished
every token of affection upon their other children, he was treated by
them more as a political adversary and a personal foe than as a friend
or a son.

At length the end came. The pitiful sufferings of "Unser Fritz,"
uncomplainingly and patiently borne, were brought to a close by a
death which in his case must have been a longed-for release; and
within an hour afterwards, William, the present emperor, had
startled his subjects and the entire civilized world, by taking an
extraordinary step, which for a long time afterwards served as a theme
for the denunciation of unfilial character hurled against him both
in Germany and abroad; this step being the giving of an order to the
effect that the guards placed at all the entrances of the Palace of
Potsdam, in which his father had breathed his last, should be doubled,
that a cordon of troops should be drawn around the park walls, and
that no one should be allowed to enter or leave the palace without his
permission.

While there is every reason to believe that this measure was suggested
to him by Prince Bismarck, yet it must be admitted that it was to a
certain extent justified by the circumstances. Emperor Frederick
was known to have kept a most exhaustive diary throughout his entire
married life, dealing day by day with all the political questions of
the hour, the secrets of the Prussian State, the incidents of court
life, etc., just as they occurred. From a German point of view it
was a matter of the most extreme importance that this collection
of diaries should not be permitted to leave Prussia, or to reach a
foreign country, for it would practically have meant the placing at
the mercy of a foreign land all the state secrets of Prussia during
the previous thirty years. Emperor William and Prince Bismarck had
both been led to believe that Empress Frederick had made arrangements
to have these books conveyed to England by Sir Morel MacKenzie, whom
they both disliked as much as they distrusted him. The idea that
these volumes should be in the care of MacKenzie, even during the
twenty-four hours journey separating Berlin from London, was to them
quite intolerable.

Before many hours had elapsed, however, the measures were relaxed. It
was discovered that the diaries were no longer in the palace, and that
they had been taken over to England either knowingly or unknowingly by
Queen Victoria on the occasion of her visit to Potsdam, when she came
to bid adieu to her dying son-in-law.

Let me add that some time later, after a considerable amount of
explanation and negotiation, Queen Victoria, of her own accord,
returned the cases containing Emperor Frederick's diaries to her
grandson at Berlin, with the seals unbroken, taking the very sensible
ground that inasmuch as there were many Prussian state secrets
therein contained, their place was in the archives of the House of
Hohenzollern, rather than in England.

Emperor William has never forgotten the course adopted by his
grandmother in the matter, and by his manner towards her has
repeatedly shown since then that he feels how greatly he can rely
upon having his actions appreciated with perfect impartiality and all
absence of prejudice at Windsor.

Empress Frederick was naturally deeply offended by the precautionary
measures adopted by the emperor on his father's death, and saw therein
a new and most insulting indication of his unfilial conduct towards
herself. Nor were the relations between the mother and the son
improved, but on the contrary rather aggravated by the presence of the
Prince of Wales at Berlin. The latter remained in the Prussian capital
for a number of weeks after the funeral of Emperor Frederick, and the
English newspapers, which had been most outspoken in their criticisms
of the young emperor's attitude towards his parents, did not hesitate
to declare openly that if the prince was continuing his stay in
Berlin, it was for the purpose of championing the interests of his
favorite sister, and of protecting her from the insults of her son,
and of the latter's mentor and chief counsellor, Prince Bismarck.

There were all sorts of troublesome questions cropping up between the
mother and the son during the first few months of her widowhood, many
of which were inevitable; for certain courses of policy upon
which Emperor Frederick had embarked were disapproved by the young
sovereign's constitutional advisers. Then, too, it would appear that
Frederick III. had taken advantage of his brief tenure of power to
unduly favor his wife and his younger children at the expense of the
Hohenzollern family property in a manner that was not in consonance
with the traditions of the reigning house. It was also whispered
that the late emperor had lent a very large sum of money to his
brother-in-law, the Prince of Wales, and it was further asserted that
the then minister of the imperial household had preferred resigning
his post to countenancing such a use of the money belonging to
the Hohenzollern family. There was the question, moreover, of the
distribution of the palaces. While William was perfectly ready to
permit his mother to keep her residence at Berlin, he felt that he
was entitled, as emperor and chief of the family, to the new palace of
Potsdam, the finest of the lot, and the only one roomy enough for the
abode of a reigning sovereign. It was, therefore, necessary that he
should have possession thereof. His mother, on the other hand, took
the ground that inasmuch as it had been her principal home throughout
her married life, that nearly all her children had been born there,
and that it was in many respects a creation of her husband's, she
ought to be allowed to retain it. Of course the emperor had his way,
and this but served to increase the bitterness, particularly when
he issued an order to the effect that its old name of "Neues Palais"
should be restored in the place of "Friedrichskron," which had been
given to it by the widowed empress during her husband's brief reign.

Of course all these differences of opinion between the mother and the
son were carefully intensified by Prince Bismarck, and aggravated
by the continued presence of the Prince of Wales, who was regarded,
probably unjustly, as largely responsible for the animosity which it
was claimed was entertained and manifested by the imperial widow for
her son. The newspapers took sides in the matter, and the press being
very active, there is every reason to believe, in view of the wide
field of German and foreign journalism over which the influences of
the chancellor extended at the time, that he had a finger, not alone
in the denunciation on the one hand of Empress Frederick as grasping,
mercenary, and too much of an Englishwoman to be a patriotic German,
but likewise in the abuse of Emperor William for unfilial conduct.
Every act of his that could possibly be construed as such, was painted
in the blackest of colors, especially in the English press, manifestly
with the idea of conveying to the kaiser the impression that the
attacks originated with his English relatives, possibly with his
mother herself; and I can recall seeing at the time a story to which
the London papers devoted columns, and which was made the theme of
editorials, the subject of which was that the emperor had sold to a
carpenter the pony-carriage and pony used by his father daring the few
weeks immediately preceding his death, for his drives in the palace
gardens. The story related with much detail about how the pony trap
was to be seen during the week in the streets of Potsdam, laden with
window-sashes, etc., while on Sunday and holidays the seat where
formerly the dying emperor reclined was occupied by the "Herr
Tischlermeister" and his frowsy, vulgar-looking "frau." Yet there was
not a word of truth in this story. The pony-carriage used by "Unser
Fritz" during the closing days of his life is preserved as a species
of sacred relic in the imperial coach-house at Potsdam, while the pony
leads a life of ease, idleness and equine luxury, out of regard for
the fact that it had the honor of drawing the moribund monarch around
the grounds of Charlottenburg and Potsdam. Inasmuch as this precious
story about Emperor William's selling the pony-carriage in question
first made its appearance in a London newspaper, which, as long as
Bismarck remained in office, was regarded as his particular organ in
the British press, being owned by a gentleman bearing a distinctly
German name, there is every reason to believe that the tale in
question originated with some of the journalistic myrmidons employed
by the chancellor, and that its object was to embitter William against
the English, against his British kinsfolk, and, above all, against his
mother.

It is not without significance that the mother and the eldest son have
understood one another only since the dismissal from office of Prince
Bismarck. From that time the relations between the two have been of
the most affectionate and cordial character. Perhaps at first there
was at times a little difference of opinion, owing to the difficulty
experienced by a woman of the imperious character of Empress Frederick
in realizing the fact that her eldest son was no longer "her boy
Willie," to be ordered about and controlled, but that he had become,
not merely emancipated from her control, but her sovereign master,
whose commands she is now forced to obey, and whose wishes she is
obliged to consult and consider. But every year since the fall of
Bismarck has had the effect of bringing the mother and the son nearer
to each other.

The empress seems to have come to the conclusion that she has judged
her son harshly and unjustly, prejudiced by appearances which were
frequently against him; while he, on the other hand, demonstrated to
Prince Bismarck that, while he was grateful to him for his services
to the empire, he found difficulty in pardoning him for the advantage
which he had taken of his--the emperor's--youth and inexperience to
estrange him from both his father and his mother.

If I have repeated in this chapter some history that may be regarded
as ancient, since it dates back to eleven and twelve years ago, it
is for the purpose of relieving Emperor William of much unmerited
reproach heaped upon him, as the most unfilial of royal and imperial
princes in modern times. William has a warm heart, and an affectionate
disposition. He shows this in the happiness of his home life, and by
the tenderness of his devotion to his wife and children. If he was for
a time estranged from his parents, and in particular from his mother,
it was less through any fault of his, or of theirs--I repeat it--than
through the intrigues of Bismarck, and of the latter's friends within
and without the imperial household, who fondly imagined that they were
serving the "vaterland" by keeping the parents and their son estranged
from one another.



CHAPTER VII


Everyone, I presume, is acquainted with that old French saying, "_Dis
moi qui tu hantes et je te dirai qui tu es!_" which may be rendered in
English: "Tell me with whom you associate and I will tell you who
you are!" While this adage is almost invariably true in the case of
ordinary people, it would hardly be just to apply it where monarchs
and princes of the blood are concerned. Given that every form of
pleasure, of entertainment and of amusement is always within their
reach, thanks to the loftiness of their station, their wealth, and
facilitated furthermore by the anxiety of their courtiers both to
please them and to retain their favor, they naturally soon become
blasé to such an extent that they become a prey to ennui--a thoroughly
royal malady, from which few, if any, of the scions of the reigning
houses of Europe are exempt. "Ennui," like "chic," is a French
word difficult to translate and subject to much misinterpretation,
especially in the United States, where it is practically unknown. The
majority of Americans are far too busy, and are environed by too much
bustle and activity to experience such a thing as ennui, and even the
American leisure class, still in an embryo condition, as a rule are
too new to their privileges to have that feeling. To suffer from ennui
implies so deep a knowledge of life, and a corresponding satiety of
its pleasures, that all the ordinary routine events of existence have
no longer any power to interest the mind. Ennui is not weariness nor
tediousness, as described in the dictionary; neither is it boredom,
for the latter differs therefrom in its not necessarily being the
outcome of a high degree of civilization, which ennui certainly is.

An untutored savage of Central Africa, or of the wilds of Australia
may be bored; so are many of the ignorant houris of Oriental harems
and zenanas. Nay, even an energetic business man may feel
temporarily bored by enforced bodily or mental inaction, or by dreary
associations; but that can scarcely be described as _ennui_, a feeling
which in the true sense of the word means being thoroughly _blasé_
and oppressed by moral and physical satiety. You must know everything,
have tried everything, have had all your personal wishes and desires
satisfied, all obstacles removed from your path, and pass your way
through life with the firm conviction that there remains nothing to
interest or arouse your ambition in order to be a victim of _ennui_.
The greatest sufferers from this disagreeable sensation are, as I
have just remarked, the royal and imperial personages of Europe, and
although the emperors of Germany and Austria have the greater
portion of their time taken up by the business of the State, and the
administration of the government of their respective countries, yet
neither of them is exempt from ennui. Indeed, there are no princes
whose features betray to such an extent unmistakable evidence of
ennui, as those of the imperial house of Hapsburg, while Emperor
William's choice of many of his friends is guided by the powers which
they may possess to entertain him, and to deliver him in his hours of
leisure from that dreaded complaint. Of course there are exceptions to
this rule, and there are several of Emperor William's cronies who owe
the friendship of their sovereign to kindnesses which they rendered,
and devotion which they displayed to him, in the days prior to
his accession to the throne. But in the majority of instances,
the sometimes strange selection of friends made by the emperor is
attributable to the fact that the personages to whom he accords his
favor succeed in amusing and entertaining him during the time that he
is not occupied with the cares of his empire.

Conspicuous among friends of this particular character, is Baron von
Kiderlen-Waechter, who holds the rank of minister plenipotentiary in
the diplomatic service of Germany, and who was recently, and possibly
still remains, Prussian envoy to the Court of Denmark, but who is
known in the imperial circle at Berlin by the nickname of "August,"
that being the "sobriquet" given to the clowns belonging to
variety-shows and circuses in England, Austria, and France. In fact,
he certainly occupies among William's immediate circle of cronies and
associates the position of court jester, and the emperor makes a point
of taking the baron along with him whenever he goes on his annual
yachting trips along the coast of Sweden and Norway. The latter is the
life and soul of these imperial yachting parties, his witticisms, his
antics, and, above all, his inimitable talent for mimicry keeping even
the sailors of the _Hohenzollern_ in continual roars of laughter. Yet
he can be grave and dignified on state occasions, and when one sees
him at the Court of Berlin arrayed in full uniform, his breast
covered with decorations, it is difficult to realize that this
imposing-looking diplomat is the principal partner of the autocrat
of Germany in such juvenile games as "Hot Cockles," which is a very
favorite game on board the _Hohenzollern_, and in which the kneeling
and blindfolded victim receives a terrific spank or smack, and then
has to guess, under the penalty of ridiculous forfeits, who it is that
struck him!

No one would ever have dreamt of finding any fault with this intimacy
between the emperor and the baron, had it not been for the fact that
the latter laid himself open to charges of having taken advantage of
the imperial favor won by mimicry and practical joking, to further
political and personal intrigues in which he was interested. Indeed,
he was repeatedly accused in the German press of being largely
responsible for the manifestation of animosity between the Court of
Berlin and Friedrichsrüh that characterized the last eight or nine
years of the life of Prince Bismarck. The newspapers did not
hesitate to assert that the baron, who had formerly been one of the
confidential secretaries of the old chancellor, had deliberately
fomented the irritation of the kaiser against the veteran statesman,
believing that any reconciliation between the monarch and his former
chancellor would entail the baron's disgrace. Finally, the abuse
of the baron in the Berlin press became so pronounced that he
was virtually obliged to challenge the editor of one of the most
vituperative of the metropolitan sheets, and very gallantly lodged a
bullet through the shoulder of this "knight of the quill!"

For this escapade the baron was condemned to three months'
imprisonment by the courts, duelling, as has been intimated already,
being forbidden by law in Germany. His incarceration in the military
fortress of Ehrenbreitstein on the Rhine was absolutely unprecedented.
Ambassadors and envoys have in times gone by been imprisoned by
sovereigns to whose courts they were accredited, in defiance of all
the laws of international right regulating the intercourse between
civilized powers, but this was the first occasion of a government
taking the unheard-of step of jailing one of its own envoys.

Fortunately for the baron, the King of Denmark was, before his
accession to the throne, an officer of the German army, and as such
was disposed to regard with the utmost leniency the offence for which
his excellency was condemned to imprisonment. He realized that
the baron had no alternative but to fight, his honor having been
questioned by the paper whose editor he challenged. Although duelling
is forbidden by the criminal law of Germany, under the penalty of
imprisonment, yet, had the baron failed to fight, and taken shelter
behind the law, he would not only have been compelled to resign his
diplomatic office, his position at court, and his rank in the army,
but he would have subjected himself to such odium as to have become
to all intents and purposes a social outcast, and compelled to leave
Germany.

Appreciating this, old King Christian raised no objections to the
appointment of a chargé d'affaires, to represent the diplomatic
interests of Germany at his court, during the term of imprisonment
served by the minister plenipotentiary, and from the moment when the
latter completed his term, and was liberated from prison, he resumed
his duties as envoy at the Court of Copenhagen, just as if nothing had
happened.

Another intimate friend of the kaiser, who possesses much the same
_talents de société_ as Baron Kiderlen-Waechter, and whose position
in the high favor of the kaiser has been a subject of much unfavorable
comment, and even of open abuse in Berlin, is Baron Holstein,
popularly known as the "_Austern-Freund"_ or "Oyster-Friend," owing to
his altogether phenomenal capacity for the absorption of bivalves, and
his strongly developed fondness for good cheer! Baron Holstein,
like Baron Kiderlen-Waechter, was formerly one of the confidential
secretaries of Prince Bismarck, and a daily guest at his table, and
was treated as a member of the old chancellor's family for years, yet
he became one of the most relentless foes of the Bismarck family as
soon as the prince was dismissed from office.

Prince Bismarck was not the sort of man to submit in silence to the
enmity of his former secretary, and a few years after his retirement
to Friedrichsrüh he took occasion, during the course of a public
discussion of the circumstances which led to the disgrace and ruin
of Count Harry Arnim, for a long time German ambassador at Paris, to
disclose for the first time in speech, and in print, the part which
Baron Holstein had played in the affair. According to the prince,
Baron Holstein, while first secretary of the German embassy at Paris,
and though treated by Count Arnim as an inmate of his home, living
in fact under his roof, and eating at his table, was in the habit
throughout an entire year of sending secret reports to Berlin against
the chief under whom he was serving--reports which subsequently
furnished the basis of the charges upon which Count Arnim was tried,
convicted and disgraced.

It is true that some mention was made in the Parisian and English
press at the time of the Arnim trial of the questionable rôle which
Baron Holstein had played in the affair, and there were a number of
Parisian papers that did not hesitate to hold up the baron to, at
any rate, French obloquy, as a man guilty of the base betrayal of the
kindest and most indulgent of chiefs. The only person on that occasion
who had the courage to take up the baron's defence was M. de Blowitz,
French correspondent of the London _Times_, of which he is described
on the banks of the Seine, as the "ambassador," and who possesses
an immense amount of influence with the Parisian press. Blowitz's
championship of the baron's cause was sincerely appreciated by the
latter. He called upon the correspondent, thanked him effusively, and
declared that it was his intervention alone that had made his stay at
Paris possible.

During the conversation that followed, Blowitz opened his heart to his
visitor, telling him that his own position as the Paris correspondent
of the _Times_ was in danger owing to some changes in the
administration of the London office. A fortnight later, Blowitz
received from the managing editor of the _Times_ in London a letter
sixteen pages long, addressed to Printing-House Square, and entirely
written and signed by Baron Holstein. It denounced Blowitz as being
one of the creatures of the late Duc Decazes, as wilfully ignoring
and concealing for interested purposes of his own, a number of matters
that should have found their way into the columns of the _Times_, and
urging the managers of the latter to send to Paris some fitter and
more impartial person, who would be better able to keep the great
English newspaper _au courant_ of what was going on below as well as
above the surface, than so unscrupulous a person as M. de Blowitz.
This letter was dated exactly three days after the latter's visit of
gratitude to the correspondent, and the incident may be regarded as
being in perfect harmony with the behavior of this favorite of the
kaiser to both Count Harry Arnim and subsequently to Prince Bismarck.

The third of these cronies of the kaiser, to whom his subjects take
objection on the ground that they are in the habit of using the favor
shown to them by his majesty to further their own interests, and
to injure those who, for one reason or another, have incurred their
animosity, is Count Philip Eulenburg, who has been again and again
referred to in the Berlin newspapers as "the Troubadour." He is at the
present moment German ambassador at Vienna, whence his predecessor,
Prince Reuss, was ousted in spite of the eminent services of a
personal character which he had rendered to the emperor, in order to
make way for the count. The latter's intimacy with his sovereign is
largely due to his cleverness as a poet, a dramatist, and a
composer, and while he has furnished the words to many of the musical
compositions of the kaiser, William has, in turn, had much of his own
poetry set to music by the count.

Philip Eulenburg has been clever enough to foster William's very
pardonable weakness as to his gifts as a musician and a poet, and
being a man of the most charming manners, possessed of an unusual
supply of tact, and extremely accomplished in many respects, he has
acquired an extraordinary degree of influence over his sovereign.
Indeed it may be doubted whether there is any member of the imperial
entourage who stands as high in the good graces of the German ruler as
does his ambassador to the Court of Vienna.

Each year the emperor makes a point of spending a week at Liebenberg,
the country-seat of the count, and it has long been a matter
of comment that these visits are invariably signalized by the
inauguration of some political or administrative move on the part of
the kaiser. It was, indeed, at Liebenberg that the emperor decided
upon the dismissal from the chancellorship of General Count Caprivi,
who had been unfortunate enough to incur the enmity of the Eulenburgs.

Count Philip, who possesses a fine voice, and who during the
annual yachting trip of the emperor on board the _Hohenzollern_, is
accustomed to sing duets with the monarch, and to play the latter's
accompaniments, is not, as is generally supposed, the brother,
but merely the cousin of Botho, Augustus, and the late Count Wend
Eulenburg. His career was almost wrecked at its very outset by
an incident which developed into an international question. While
stationed as a young sub-lieutenant of cavalry at Bonn, he was one day
inadvertently jostled in the street by a gray-haired and rather portly
stranger, whom he at once addressed in the most insulting manner. Upon
the stranger responding in kind, the count drew his sabre and cut the
man down, inflicting upon him such a wound that he expired a short
time afterwards at the hospital. There it was discovered that he
was one Ott, a Frenchman, and one of the chefs of Queen Victoria,
momentarily detached from his duties at Windsor Castle, in order
to attend her majesty's second son, the Duke of Edinburgh,--now the
reigning sovereign of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha,--during his stay on the
continent. Both the queen and Prince Alfred were indignant at the
outrage, which was made the subject of an acrimonious correspondence
between the English, French and Prussian Governments, the result being
that Count Philip was sentenced to pay heavy damages to the widow
and to the orphaned children of his victim, and to undergo a year's
imprisonment in a fortress.

He only joined the diplomatic profession in 1881, when he was
appointed as third secretary to the German embassy at Paris, and he
occupied very inferior rôles in the diplomatic service of his country
until the accession to the throne of his friend and patron, Emperor
William, who promoted him a few weeks later, at one bound, from the
post of second secretary of the legation at Munich to the rank
of Prussian minister-plenipotentiary at Aldenberg, whence he was
transferred a year later to Stuttgart, then, to The Hague, and then
back to Munich, as chief of the legation, which post he retained until
his nomination in 1892 to the German ambassadorship at Vienna, that is
to say, to the blue ribbon of the diplomatic service of the kaiser.

He is generally regarded as destined in course of time to become
chancellor of the empire, in spite of the human blood with which his
hands are stained.

Both the court and the public object far less to the intimacy that
exists between Count Augustus Eulenburg and his imperial friend, for
Augustus, who is the grand master of the imperial household and the
chief executive dignitary of the court, has been the closest associate
of William since the latter's earliest boyhood. He was one of those
officials whom Prince Bismarck forced upon the then crown prince
and crown princess, in order to keep watch over their actions and
to counteract their influence on their eldest son. It was he, Count
Augustus, who acted as the comforter of William whenever he was
subjected to reproof or to disciplinary measures by his father or
mother; who invariably espoused the lad's cause, and who contributed
more than anyone else to convince William that he was a victim of the
most cruel and unmerited form of parental severity and persecution. He
constituted himself the mentor and the guide of the prince, initiated
him into all the intricacies of the imperial court, as well as into
the secrets of its most prominent members. In one word, he rendered
himself so indispensable to the prince, that as soon as the latter
succeeded to the throne he at once appointed Count Augustus Eulenburg
to the grand mastership of the court and household.

To what extent Emperor and Empress Frederick were aware of the spirit
characterizing the count's relations with their eldest son, it is
difficult to say, but there is no doubt that during the last two or
three years of Emperor Frederick's life, the position of Augustus in
the household of "Unser Fritz" was vastly improved and facilitated by
the sensational quarrels of his elder brother, Count Botho Eulenburg,
the celebrated statesman, with Prince Bismarck, for both Frederick
and his wife, from, that time forth, ceased to look upon Augustus as a
creature and a spy of the chancellor.

How great was the intimacy between William and the count, may be
gathered from the fact that Augustus was the invariable and sole
companion of the emperor in that species of Haroun-al-Raschid
nocturnal expeditions which his majesty was wont to undertake in the
slums of his capital, for the purpose of learning what his people were
saying about him. At that time, his features were far less familiar
to the public than they are to-day, and by giving his moustache
a different twist, and his hair another turn, he experienced no
difficulty in disguising himself. The adventures which he met with
during the course of these nightly prowls in the company of Count
Augustus are numerous enough to fill a book. Still, while they
furnished plenty of amusement, excitement, and experiences not
altogether unpleasant, they involved his majesty, on one or two
occasions, in so much personal danger, that the count, realizing the
responsibility which would rest upon his shoulders in the eyes not
merely of the nation, but of the entire world, if anything untoward
happened to the monarch, induced him, though with difficulty, to
abandon this species of pastime so dear to crowned heads.

Let me add that it was on the occasion of one of these expeditions
that the emperor met with a very severe injury to his hand. There
is an old established usage in Berlin, on New Year's eve, which
prescribed that any man appearing in the street in a high or stiff hat
should be incontinently bonneted, that is to say, have his hat crushed
down over his eyes and ears by a blow of the fist. Emperor William,
who is somewhat fond of rough horse-play, used to delight in this form
of amusement, and on the first New Year's eve after his accession
to the throne, he sallied forth with Augustus Eulenburg in search of
adventures. Catching sight of a portly citizen of mature years walking
along under the shadows of the trees that line the magnificent avenue
known as "Unter den Linden," he immediately proceeded to crush
the high silk hat which the man wore by a tremendous blow from his
imperial fist! He was unable, however, to refrain from a cry of pain,
and his companion the count, on seeing that his sovereign's hand was
drenched with blood, at once summoned the two detectives who were
following discreetly in the rear, and caused them to arrest the
citizen. The man on being searched at the palace police station, was
found to be a merchant of high standing, who, determined to get even
with the practical jokers from whose brutality he himself had suffered
on previous New Year's eves, had devised a sort of thick leather
hat-lining, armed with long and sharp prongs, pointed outward like the
quills of a porcupine. The emperor, on smashing the hat, naturally had
his hand dreadfully lacerated. The citizen was kept under arrest
for twenty-four hours, during which the question was discussed as to
whether he should be prosecuted and punished for inflicting personal
injury upon the sovereign, or not. Finally, William himself, with
that good sense which so often characterizes him, gave orders for his
liberation, on the ground that he could not possibly have dreamt that
he would be bonneted by his sovereign, that he was, therefore, quite
innocent of any intention to inflict injury upon the person of the
emperor, and that he, William, had, after all, got nothing but what
he deserved for playing such a prank. Moreover, in order to show the
citizen that he bore him no grudge, he sent him, by way of consolation
for his arrest and the destruction of his hat, a portrait bearing the
autograph signature of the kaiser, as well as the words: "In memory of
_Sylvester-nacht_."--New Year's eve is sacred to Saint Sylvester.

Count Botho Eulenburg, the elder brother of Augustus, has repeatedly
held the offices of cabinet minister and Premier of Prussia. He
happened to be at the head of the Department of the Interior at
the time when the attempts were made by Nobiling to assassinate old
Emperor William, and ever since that time has been the sworn foe of
socialism, and identified with everything that is reactionary and
despotic in Prussian legislation. His influence with the emperor is
very great, and there is no doubt that he has contributed in a great
measure to the somewhat extravagant views which the kaiser entertains
with regard to the Divine Rights of monarchs, and especially
concerning their responsibility, not towards their people alone, but
also towards the Almighty.

Count Botho's quarrel with Prince Bismarck, originated in the
following manner. The count, in accordance with a decision reached at
a cabinet meeting, spoke as Minister of the Interior in the Prussian
Diet in favor of placing the communal councils under the provincial
board, instead of under the central government. He had no sooner sat
down than a member arose and said that he was instructed by the Prime
Minister, Prince Bismarck, to disavow the view taken by the Minister
of the Interior. This extraordinary action of the prince was due
to the fact that he had suddenly decided upon coquetting with the
Liberals, for the sake of obtaining their support upon the subject of
another of his little inaugurations. Count Botho immediately sent in
his resignation, and did not resume office until after the disgrace of
Prince Bismarck. Previous to this quarrel, however, as I have
already stated, the most intimate relations had subsisted between the
Eulenburgs and the Bismarcks. Indeed, Countess Marie, only daughter
of Prince Bismarck, was at one time betrothed to Wend, the youngest of
the three Eulenburg brothers. Three days before the day fixed for
the wedding, the young man was suddenly seized with typhus, and
forty-eight hours later succumbed to this awful disease. Countess
Marie, it may be added, subsequently married Count Rantzau, after
having been between times engaged to Baron Eisendecker, once German
envoy at Washington, and now the kaiser's adviser in yachting matters,
whom she jilted in consequence of differences of religious opinion.

So much for the Eulenburgs, who may be said to constitute the most
influential family at the Court of Berlin, and without a description
of whom no history of the life and surroundings of Emperor William
could possibly be regarded as complete.

Other cronies of the kaiser, who are less influential in a political
sense, and, therefore, less obnoxious to the people, are Counts
Douglas, Count Dohna, and Count Goertz. Public attention, however, has
often been drawn to the friendship of the kaiser for the Dohnas by
the frequency of the imperial visit with which Count Richard Dohna
is honored at his superb old château of Schlobitten, and likewise by
reason of the fact that on two occasions William almost lost his life
through carriage accidents which he sustained while out driving with
the count.

[Illustration: _THE RUNAWAY AT PROECKELWITZ_
_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

The Dohnas are one of the most ancient houses of the old German
nobility, and Schlobitten, with its grand old park, shaded by glorious
trees, has been in the possession of the family since the fourteenth
century. The castle, as now arranged, is only two hundred years old,
having been reconstructed on the site, and with the ruins, of an
ancient monastery and dwelling. The name of Dohna is recorded in the
most important pages of Prussian history. Statesmen, generals, and
in particular, confidants and cronies of their successive rulers have
borne that name, and there is not a king who has reigned over Prussia,
and previous to that an elector who has ruled over Brandenburg,
who has not stayed at the castle of Schlobitten and occupied the
antiquated four-poster bed, in which the present emperor sleeps
whenever he makes a visit there.

Count Richard Dohna is a great breeder of blooded horses, a
magnificent whip, and the accidents which happened to the kaiser,
while out driving with him, were merely due to the fact that in each
case the horses were too young, and not sufficiently broken in. On one
occasion, the drag was upset into a ditch not far from Schlobitten,
the kaiser and the count being severely bruised and shaken up; while
at another time a splendid team got beyond the control of the count,
smashed harnesses and pole, and dashed helter-skelter into the little
town of Proeckelwitz, where they were fortunately stopped without
further mishap.

The intimacy of the kaiser with the Dohna family serves to recall the
fact that there was a daughter of this house, Countess Anna Dohna, who
claimed to have become the wife of the late Emperor William. She lived
for a time in London, Geneva, and then in New York, and was wont to
style herself Countess Dohna-Brandenburg, having added the name of
Brandenburg to that of Dohna by reason of this alleged marriage.

While in New York she lived in a large house in Lexington Avenue,
which she furnished handsomely, and she never seemed to be in want of
money. According to her own story she met the late Emperor William in
1825, during the lifetime of his father, King Frederick-William III.,
when she was sixteen years of age. After several clandestine meetings,
she claimed that they were married late one night at Clegnitz, in
Silesia, by a young country parson. The latter did not know the
prince, who gave the name of William Count Brandenburg, and his
occupation as that of an officer of the Royal Guards. The marriage
certificate was duly made out, and then her husband told her that it
would be expedient to keep their union secret for a time. To this she
reluctantly assented.

When at length, urged by her entreaties, her husband revealed their
marriage to his father, King Frederick-William III., he flew into a
terrible rage, forced him to sign a renunciation of the countess's
hand, and she was conveyed to a small castle near Königsberg, in
East-Prussia, where she was kept a close prisoner for years. In 1837,
always according to her story, she succeeded in escaping, and crossing
the Polish frontier reached Warsaw, where in the following year she
was recognized at a state performance of the opera given by Czar
Nicholas, in honor of the King of Prussia and Prince William, who were
visiting the Russian Court.

She was arrested at the theatre, and on the following morning conveyed
to Eastern Russia, where she was kept under strict surveillance until
the death of Frederick-William III., in 1840, led to her release.
She was then permitted to return to Prussia, and the new king,
Frederick-William IV., offered to compromise the matter with her. This
she refused to do. Her father's death placed her in possession of a
large fortune, and she spent several years in travelling.

In 1848 she intended to appeal to the Prussian National Assembly for
justice, but the police got wind of it, and she was interned in her
château in Silesia. On William becoming King of Prussia, she was given
the alternative of leaving the country or of becoming an inmate of
a lunatic asylum, so she transferred her abode to Paris, and after
living for awhile in London and Geneva, came to New York in 1876.

The truth of this story having been questioned, it may be mentioned
that the Prussian _Staats Anzeiger_, or official Berlin Gazette, of
June 4, 1829, contains the following royal decree:


"By order of his majesty the king, Anna Countess Dohna having claimed
to be the wife of Prince William of Prussia, I hereby decree that such
a union if it ever took place, be null and void.


  "FREDERICK WILLIAM, Rex.

  "ANTHONY VON ALTENSTEIN,
  "Secretary of State."


I have seen it mentioned both in German and foreign publications that
the three Counts of Brandenburg, two of them distinguished generals,
and the third for many years Prussian envoy at Brussels, were the
issue of the union of Countess Anna Dohna and old Emperor William of
Germany. But this is not true; for their father, a famous premier and
soldier, of whom a fine statue exists at Berlin, was the son of
King Frederick-William II. of Prussia, and his morganatic wife, the
Countess of Dohenhoff.

With regard to Count Douglas, I may state that the kaiser's intimacy
with him dates back to many years prior to his accession to the
throne. Like his twin brother, Count Louis Douglas, the Swedish
statesman, who until a few weeks ago occupied the post of minister of
foreign affairs at Stockholm, Count Willie Douglas may be said to have
royal blood in his veins, for his father, old Count Douglas, now dead,
married the morganatic daughter of a royal princess of the reigning
house of Baden. On the old count's death, William, the elder of the
twins, inherited his mother's vast property, while Louis, the younger,
took possession of his father's estates in Sweden.

William was educated in Germany, is an officer of the Prussian army,
as well as a member of the Prussian House of Lords: Louis was brought
up in Sweden, entered the Swedish army, became chamberlain to the
Crown Prince of Sweden, married the daughter of Count Ehrensward, late
minister of foreign affairs at Stockholm, and eventually succeeded to
his father-in-law's post at the head of Sweden's foreign office. Like
his twin brother in Prussia, he is exceedingly conservative, imbued
with the necessity of retaining the old feudal prerogatives, and of
placing every obstacle in the way of the rising tide of democracy.
Indeed, whatever influence he exercises over the King and Crown Prince
of Sweden, is as reactionary as any influence which his German brother
may be said to enjoy over the kaiser.

The Douglas twins are descended from the great Scotch family of
Douglas, and are therefore allied to the Duke of Hamilton and the
Marquis of Queensberry. Their ancestors emigrated to Prussia
from Scotland at the time of the Thirty Years' War, fought under
Gustavus-Adolphus, and afterwards returned with him to Sweden, where
they became members of the Swedish nobility. Count Willie, like his
brother, displays all the hereditary traits of the Scotch house that
bears his name, having the peculiar jaw, falling underlip, and dark
complexion of the celebrated "Black Douglas." Yet neither of the twins
speaks a word of English, nor has ever visited the land of his sire,
though they bear the Douglas motto of "Do or Die." Count Willie has
few British sympathies, but some British tastes, being famous as
a four-in-hand whip, and as a magnificent shot. He is also very
hospitable, and entertains at Berlin in a right royal fashion, his
wealth, derived from the mines which he owns in the Hartz Mountains,
enabling him to do so without hesitation on the score of expense.

It is no secret that Emperor William has, on two or three occasions,
offered a cabinet office to his friend William Douglas, who has,
however, invariably declined it, much to the relief of those who are
convinced that the same peculiar moral and psychological affinity
exists between the Douglas twins as that attributed to the Corsican
brothers. It would have been, they declare, a dangerous experiment to
have had one of them directing the foreign policy of Germany, and the
other that of the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway.

It may interest my American readers to add that a few years ago Count
Willie Douglas was the defendant in an extraordinary lawsuit at Berlin
which had an American end to it. It seems that some thirty years ago a
man of the name of Brandt died in the United States, leaving a fortune
of several millions of dollars. Having no near relatives in America,
the lawyers advertised for any heirs that he might have left
behind him in Germany. The father of Count Douglas was at the time
burgomaster of the little town of Aschersleben, and one day some of
the inhabitants of the place bearing the name of Brandt placed a lot
of papers in his hands, asking him to glance over them, and to see
whether there was any truth in the statement that they were heirs
to an immense fortune in America. The old count, in his capacity of
burgomaster, declared that the affair looked to him very questionable,
that he believed it was a mere swindle, and that there was surely
nothing in it for them. Whether he returned to them the papers or
not, is unknown, but he declared to the day of his death that he had
restored them, whereas the Brandts of Aschersleben swear that he did
not. Eventually, they brought suit against his son, not merely for
the recovery of the documents, but likewise for the fortune, actually
alleging that the latter had been appropriated by old Count Douglas,
with the connivance of the late Prince Bismarck, who had received a
large share of the plunder. It is scarcely necessary to state that
they were non-suited.

Emperor William's intimacy with Count and Countess Goertz may be said
to be a sort of inherited friendship, the count's father, president
of the Hessian House of Lords, and his consort, a princess of
Sayn-Wittgenstein, having been the most intimate friends of Emperor
and Empress Frederick, whose acquaintance they made through the
late Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hesse. In order to show the
affectionate relations existing between the parents of the kaiser
and those of the present head of the ancient and illustrious house of
Goertz, it is merely necessary to state that Professor Hintzpeter, who
for a number of years directed the education of Emperor William and
his brother Henry, and who, as their old tutor, retains much influence
over both the imperial brothers, was selected by Emperor and Empress
Frederick for the purpose, on the personal recommendation of the late
Count and Countess Goertz, in whose family he had resided for a number
of years as tutor to their son.

In fact, the present Count Goertz, who is some eight or nine years the
senior of the emperor, can boast, like the latter, of having been
a pupil of old Hintzpeter, who in some respects is the German
counterpart of the late Czar Alexander's tutor, M. Pobietnotzoff.
That William shares the confidence placed by his parents in the Goertz
family is shown by the fact that when he found it necessary, at
one time, to obtain the services of a tutor for one of his young
relatives, in a case, it must be added, of particular delicacy, he
at once nominated to the post Professor Krenge, who at the time was
tutoring the sons of the present Count Goertz. Countess Goertz is a
woman of great beauty, which she may be said to have inherited from
her mother, the so-celebrated Countess of Villeneuve, wife to the
Brazilian envoy to the Court of Brussels, and renowned throughout
Europe on account of her loveliness.

Although the admiration which the kaiser displays for the fascinating
countess is of the most undisguised character, it fails to excite the
jealousy either of his consort or the count, and the relations between
the empress and the countess are so close that the former has been
known to lend to her friend articles of jewelry, and even of dress,
for use at fancy dress balls and elsewhere. The emperor and the count
are also as united and unrestrained with each other as two men can be
who have the same tastes, who have been intimately acquainted since
childhood, and whose parents have been close friends before them. It
is doubtful whether William ever enjoys himself so much, or feels so
thoroughly at home, as when visiting the Goertzes at Schlitz. There
his days are spent in shooting and hunting with the count, and the
evenings in composing new melodies, and setting songs to music with
the countess. The emperor's children and the young Goertzes are bound
by equal ties of affection, and are old-time playmates, so that there
seems every likelihood of this friendship between the Hohenzollerns
and the former reigning sovereign house of Goertz being continued in
the third generation.

No account of the emperor's private life can be properly written
without including a brief sketch of General Count von Hahnke, and of
Baron von Lucanus. The former is the chief of the military cabinet of
the emperor, and the other is at the head of his civil cabinet, that
is to say, he occupies the post of principal private secretary. Both
of them accompany the emperor wherever he goes, and in fact constitute
his very shadow, enjoying by reason of their proximity to the
sovereign, and by their close association with him, a far greater
degree of power and influence than any cabinet minister.

Baron Lucanus is an extremely good-looking man, whose popular nickname
at Berlin, namely, "the emperor's Blackie Man," is in nowise due to
any swarthiness of complexion, but to the fact that among the great
dignitaries in attendance on the emperor, he is the only one in
civilian attire, while moreover he is invariably selected by the
sovereign to convey to any cabinet minister, whose resignation is
required, the imperial intimation "_that he has ceased to please_."

It was Baron von Lucanus who communicated to Prince Bismarck the
emperor's request and subsequent peremptory command for the surrender
of the chancellorship of the empire, and it was he, too, who was
sent to ask Bismarck's successor, General Count Caprivi, for his
resignation; in fact, there has not been a single ministerial head
to fall during the last ten years--and they have been very numerous
during the present reign--where Herr von Lucanus has not been the
imperial emissary of these evil tidings. This is so well known
in Berlin that the moment the baron is seen to be calling at the
residence of any distinguished statesman who happens to be in office,
it is at once taken for granted that the axe has once more fallen, and
that it is another case of a ministerial downfall.

The Berliners declare that Emperor William pitches upon Lucanus
for these particular jobs in consequence of his being the son of a
Halberstadt druggist, and as such, more likely to be proficient in the
art of sugar-coating the bitter pills than any mere military officer!
He owes his patent of nobility to the late Emperor Frederick, who
entertained a very high opinion of his intelligence, and it is worthy
of note that he first came to the fore in the entourage of the emperor
when Prince Bismarck's power as chancellor commenced to wane. He is
a man of about fifty, and served for a quarter of a century in the
Department of Public Worship. It was, however, as an expert in art
matters, and as an intelligent assistant in the organization of the
Imperial Museum of Science and Art at Berlin, that he first attracted
the notice and good-will of the late emperor, and particularly of the
Empress Frederick.

His military colleague, General Count von Hahnke, although a charming
man, is, nevertheless, one of the most bitterly-hated officers of the
German army; this is due to the fact that he has virtually usurped
the prerogatives and the power of the minister of war, who has been
reduced to a mere instrument of his wishes. This is not altogether the
fault of the general, for the emperor insists on retaining absolute
control of the army in his own hands, and of exercising its command in
every particular, no appointment being made without his initiative
and sanction, while everything is done through Count Hahnke as supreme
head of the military cabinet of his majesty.

A few years ago the general lost his son under singularly tragical and
somewhat mysterious circumstances. The misfortune occurred during
one of the annual yachting trips of the kaiser, young Hahnke being a
lieutenant on board the yacht. According to the official version, the
young officer met with his death while coasting down a mountain road
at one of the Norwegian ports at which the yacht had touched, his
bicycle getting beyond his control, and precipitating itself with its
rider over a low stone parapet into a fierce torrent hundreds of feet
below. The emperor happened at the time to have a bruise on the face,
caused by a block and tackle swinging against him during a squall,
while on deck, and on the strength of this temporary disfigurement,
a story most painful to the emperor was circulated to the effect that
his black eye was due to a blow from young Hahnke, who resented some
indignity in connection with the practical jokes and rough horse-play
so frequent on board the _Hohenzollern_ during the emperor's annual
holiday. It was added that the young officer had been given by
military and naval etiquette the alternative of blowing out his
brains, or of taking his life in some other way, as the only means of
saving his name from disgrace and his honor from loss; and a certain
degree of color was given to the tale by the fact that it was
published at full length in a London society newspaper, at the very
time when its proprietor and editor was sojourning at Marienbad with
the Prince of Wales, and in daily intercourse with the British heir
apparent, who was naturally supposed to know the truth about young
Hahnke's death. Perhaps the most striking and convincing evidence of
the absurd fabrication of this story, which has given much sorrow,
both to the emperor and empress, is to be found in the fact that the
young officer's father remained at the head of the emperor's military
cabinet, and has never abandoned, even temporarily, his service near
the kaiser; this the general would certainly not have done had William
been in any sense of the word responsible for the death of his boy.
In fact it was the kindly and tactful sympathy of both the emperor
and the empress that enabled the bereaved father to bear his loss
with fortitude, and his gratitude for the kindness shown to him by his
sovereign is of a deep and undying quality.



CHAPTER VIII


Great is the contrast between the Court of Berlin to-day and the
aspect which it presented during the closing years of the reign of old
Emperor William, and were any of the latter's familiars to return to
the place where so much of their existence had been spent, they would
indeed find themselves amidst strange surroundings and strange faces.
In those days, grey and white hair were the rule rather than the
exception. To-day the contrary is the case, and not merely do
the dignitaries of the court and of the army belong to a younger
generation, but also the members of the imperial circle, that is to
say, the princes and princesses of the blood, with whom the emperor
and empress associate as kinsfolk and near relatives.

The few older members of the reigning house of Prussia who
survive--the contemporaries of the grandfather and father of William
II.--find the atmosphere of the court so different from what they have
been accustomed to in the past, so out of keeping with their ideas--in
one word, feel themselves so little at home there, that they prefer to
stay away as much as they can. Thus Prince Albert of Prussia, one of
the grandest looking soldiers of the imperial army, and certainly one
of the most gigantic in stature, divides his time between Brunswick,
where he holds a court of his own as regent, and England, where he
is accustomed to spend his holidays. The widowed Princess
Frederick-Charles lives nearly all the year round in Italy with
her chamberlain, Baron Wangenheim, whom she is understood to have
morganatically married, and in whose company she occasionally visits
the pope, a circumstance which has led to the rumor that she has
joined the Church of Rome. The widowed Empress Frederick is either
at her lovely castle of Kronberg, near Homburg, which is stocked from
garret to cellar with those art treasures of which she is one of the
finest _connaisseuses_ in Europe, or else is traveling about in Italy,
Austria or England. Indeed the only contemporary of the old Emperor
who still remains at Berlin, and who is occasionally to be seen at
court, giving one the impression of a spectre of the past, is
Prince George, who bears a startling resemblance to the old kaiser
particularly when arrayed in uniform.

While slightly eccentric, he is remarkably accomplished, and has not
only written a number of German plays over the pen-name of "George
Conrad," which have been successfully staged in Germany, but is even
the author of a drama written in the purest and most exquisitely
correct French, sparkling with Parisian wit and brilliancy, which has
had long runs in many theatres without either the actors or the public
being aware that it was from the pen of a prince of Prussia.

Until the war of 1870, Prince George was on terms of the utmost
intimacy with the de Goncourts, the Dumases, de Girardin, and all
the principal literary lights of France, with whom he was wont to
foregather on a footing of artistic equality each year at Ems, a
German watering-place much frequented by the French prior to the great
struggle of 1870; of course, since that time his intercourse with
French people has been much more restricted, and through a feeling
of delicacy and tact, with which he is not usually credited, he has
refrained from visiting Paris, or even from setting his foot on French
territory since the war. This, however, has not prevented him from
keeping himself _au courant_ of every literary and dramatic event that
takes place on the banks of the Seine, and a French academician of
my acquaintance who was presented to him last summer at Ems, and
who spent several days there in his company, could not sufficiently
express his amazement, not merely at the extraordinary purity of the
prince's French, but likewise at the amazing manner in which he seems
to have kept track of everything that has happened at Paris in the
world of letters and art, as well as of the French idioms, figures of
speech, and even witticisms of the present day.

The delicacy which Prince George manifests with regard to the
French people, and his fear lest his admiration for them should be
misinterpreted, is largely due to the treatment that he received at
the hands of Empress Eugénie at Carlsbad, in 1874 or 1875. Having
been a frequent and welcome guest at the Tuileries during the reign of
Napoleon III., the prince, when he found that the widowed empress had
arrived at Carlsbad, and had taken up her residence at the very hotel
at which he was staying, naturally considered that he could not do
otherwise than take some notice of her presence; if he affected to
ignore her, he would have exposed himself to the reproach of gross
discourtesy; at the same time he felt that any public form of
attention might prove unwelcome to her, and might possibly serve to
impair her son's prospects of recovering his father's throne; so he
contented himself with sending her every day magnificent baskets of
flowers, and with bowing to her with the utmost deference, but without
attempting to accost her when he met her in the gardens or park. He
likewise caused it to be intimated to her secretary, M. Pietri, that
if at any moment she felt disposed to accord him an audience, he would
be only too glad of the opportunity to "lay his homage at the feet of
her majesty." That was all. Yet such as it was, the empress managed to
turn it to political account, for she suddenly left Carlsbad, making
it known throughout France, by means of the press, that she had been
compelled to quit the baths, and to interrupt the cure, in consequence
of the undesirable attentions which Prince George of Prussia persisted
in forcing upon her. Naturally, the newspapers made the most of her
story, and were filled with denunciations and abuse of the prince,
some of the sheets asserting, by way of explanation of his
conduct, that he was mentally unbalanced, his mother having been an
acknowledged lunatic, and his brother. Prince Alexander, an imbecile.
Nothing can be further from the truth. It cannot be denied that he
has a few harmless and kindly eccentricities which would attract no
attention whatever in an ordinary septuagenarian, but which excite
comment merely by reason of his rank as a prince of the blood. He is
a gentle, brilliantly accomplished, chivalrous old fellow, without
an enemy in the world, and is a great favorite with the emperor's
children, who will deeply miss him when he passes over to the
majority, and is laid to rest in the family vault of the house of
Hohenzollern.

With this exception, the princes and princesses of the blood of the
Court of Berlin are all of much the same age as the emperor. They
comprise Prince Henry, his only brother, who is due home from China in
the spring of 1900, and his consort, Princess Irene of Hesse, sister
of the young czarina. Then there is Prince Frederick-Leopold, the
extremely wealthy son of Prussia's celebrated cavalry general, Prince
Frederick-Charles, to whom belonged the credit of taking the French
stronghold of Metz, in the war of 1870. He is married to a younger
sister of the empress, and is, therefore, not only the cousin, but
likewise the brother-in-law of the kaiser.

Prince Adolph, of Schaumburg-Lippe, although nominally stationed at
Bonn, is also accustomed to spend the entire season at Berlin, with
his wife, Princess Victoria of Prussia, a sister of the kaiser. The
latter is credited with the intention of investing Prince Adolph with
the regency of Brunswick, should it be vacated by Prince Albert, or
else of appointing him Viceroy of Alsace-Lorraine. Princess Aribert
of Anhalt and her husband, too, are very conspicuous figures in the
imperial circle, the princess being a special favorite of the kaiser.
She is his first cousin, being the offspring of Queen Victoria's
daughter Helena, who married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein,
the guardian of the present empress, who spent much of her girlhood
in England with Prince and Princess Christian, so that her friendship
with Princess Aribert may be said to date from childhood. Duke
Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein, the only brother of the empress,
has quieted down to a great extent since his marriage a year ago to
Princess Dorothy of Coburg, and inasmuch as his eighteen-year-old wife
appears to be supremely happy, there is every reason to believe that
he has demonstrated the truth of the good old adage, according to
which "reformed rakes make the best husbands!" The only daughter of
the King of Wurtemberg has made her home at Potsdam and at Berlin
since her marriage to the Prince of Wied, and as she is not only the
cousin, but likewise the most intimate friend of the young Queen
of Holland, the kaiser finds considerable political advantage in
lavishing tokens of his affection and regard upon both her and her
husband.

Another young couple belonging to the Court of Berlin are Prince and
Princess William of Hohenzollern. The princess is a daughter of the
Sicilian branch of the house of Bourbon, while her husband is the
eldest son of that Leopold of Hohenzollern, on account of whose
election to the throne of Spain in 1870, France embarked upon her
disastrous war with Germany. Young Prince William of Hohenzollern, it
may be added, figured for a time as Crown Prince of Roumania, and as
heir to the throne of his uncle, King Charles; but after living
for some time at Bucharest, he came to the conclusion that life in
Roumania as crown prince was infinitely less agreeable than that of
a scion of the house of Hohenzollern at Berlin, so he renounced his
rights to the Roumanian throne, and came back to Berlin to live.

His younger brother, Charles of Hohenzollern, divides his time between
Berlin and Potsdam; he is married to Princess Josephine of Belgium,
daughter of that Count of Flanders, who is brother and next heir to
King Leopold. Besides these, there are Prince and Princess Albert
of Saxe-Altenburg, and several other young couples belonging to the
junior sovereign houses of the German empire, who prefer to make
their home at Berlin, and at Potsdam, rather than in the smaller and
infinitely less brilliant capitals of their respective countries.
Moreover, it has now become the fashion among the various non-Prussian
rulers of the German Confederation, to send the junior members of
their families--the young men--to Berlin for a time, in order to
complete their military education under the eyes of the kaiser, and
to be in touch with that general staff which is virtually the Supreme
Council of War of the German army.

It is for this reason that Prince Louis of Bavaria, although he
notoriously dislikes the kaiser and resents his assumption of
superiority, claiming that the members of the Wittelsbach family are
not the vassals, but the allies of the emperor, nevertheless has sent
first his eldest son, and then each of his younger ones in turn,
to spend a year or two at the Court of Berlin, under the immediate
direction and eye of the kaiser. Prince Louis was particularly anxious
that his eldest son, Rupert, as future King of Bavaria, should get
in touch with the emperor, and become thoroughly acquainted, not
only with Prussian methods, but also with the leading statesmen and
generals, and with the trend of political aims and aspirations at
Berlin. The example of Prince Louis has been followed by all the other
petty German sovereigns, so that there are always about a score of
non-Prussian but German young princes of the blood, giving life and
gayety to the Courts of Berlin, and Potsdam, and taking a leading part
in Berlin society.

Among the princes there is none, however, who possesses so striking an
individuality as William's only brother, Henry. His assignment to the
command of the German naval forces in the far Orient a couple of years
ago, created much comment and speculation, being construed by many,
both in Germany and abroad, as a banishment resulting from the
kaiser's jealousy and dislike of the very popular Sailor Prince. I
do not believe for one moment that this supposed jealousy exists,
although everything that can possibly be conceived has been done,
unintentionally and intentionally, to create it, in a manner which I
will describe a little further on.

The reason of Prince Henry's being sent to the far Orient was of a
twofold character. In the first place, the Chinese Empire seemed to
be on the eve of a break-up, and each of the various Great Powers of
Europe, was exerting its utmost energies to secure the lion's share in
the game of grab in progress at Pekin. Scions of European royalty who
visit China and Japan are few and far between, and the emperor very
naturally thought that the presence of Prince Henry at the head of
the German naval forces in Chinese waters--a prince who in addition
to being the kaiser's only brother, is brother-in-law to the Russian
czar, and a grandson of the Queen of England,--would have the effect
of giving to the cause of Germany in the Orient an importance and a
prestige which would atone for the inferiority of its naval strength
in that part of the globe. Then, too, the emperor is generally
believed to have foreseen the conflict between Spain and the United
States, and to have known beforehand of the intention of the latter to
make a dash upon Manila, in order to secure possession of the rich and
fertile Philippine archipelago at the first outbreak of hostilities.
Germany's navy is of such relatively recent origin that its
flag-officers are far from possessing either the spirit of resource,
or the cleverness and diplomacy for which the commanding generals of
the German army are so distinguished. They are men who, officially,
intellectually, and socially, are of an inferior calibre, the majority
of them being of plebeian birth. The emperor held, therefore, that it
was all-important that Germany's squadron in the far Orient should be,
at that particular juncture, under the command of an officer such
as Prince Henry, who, by reason of his royal rank and his intimate
knowledge of his brother's views and wishes, would have the necessary
boldness, tact, and presence of mind to know exactly how to deal with
any crisis that might arise.

I am perfectly aware that there is a disposition in the United States
to blame Prince Henry for the bad feeling which was caused by the
attitude of the German warships at Manila during the few months that
followed the great American naval victory gained under the guns of
that city, but the trouble was due to the Prussian rear-admiral,
Diederichs, who, to use the expressive phrase of the English captain,
Sir Edward Chichester, in endeavoring to excuse him in the eyes of
Admiral Dewey, "had no sea-manners," and there is no doubt that had
Prince Henry been at Manila, instead of Diederichs, at that moment,
there would have been no friction whatsoever, either between the naval
commanders, or subsequently between the two nations, for Prince Henry
possesses precisely those qualities which would have resulted in
feelings of good-will and friendship with Admiral Dewey. He is modest,
honest, broad-minded, speaks English perfectly, and is entirely free
from any affectation or pose. He is a man, indeed, who has so many
qualities in common with Dewey that it is impossible that they should
not have understood each other, and under the circumstances it is most
unfortunate that the prince happened to be in the northernmost portion
of the China seas at the very time that the battle of Manila was
fought. It may be remembered that matters went on very much more
smoothly between the Germans and the Americans at Manila after the
withdrawal of Admiral Diederichs.

There was another very important reason for sending Prince Henry to
Manila; he is, of all the members of his house, the one most strongly
imbued with liberal and progressive ideas in political affairs. In
fact, he seems to have inherited all those political views of his
father, Emperor Frederick, which were a source of so much concern
and apprehension to the late Prince Bismarck. To tell the truth, the
political views and aspirations of Henry are diametrically opposed to
those of his elder brother, a circumstance which does not, however, in
any way impair the affection existing between the two.

At the time when he sent off Prince Henry to China, the kaiser was far
from well, and was suffering more than usually from the painful
malady of the ear already referred to, and which is identical with
the disease which first of all wrecked the mind and then killed his
grand-uncle, King Frederick William IV. Added to this, he is firmly
imbued with the idea that he is destined to meet with a sudden death
at the hands of an assassin, a conviction which never leaves him,
and which is perhaps responsible for that species of stern and even
aggressive air with which he, gazes at the cheering crowds when he
rides home at the head of his troops through the streets of Berlin
or of Potsdam after a day spent in military manoeuvres on the great
plains of Tempelhof.

If any of my readers feel disposed to condemn him for this
apprehension,--it would be unjust to style it fear,--let them try to
imagine how they themselves would feel if they knew that there were
scores of desperate men and women who had sworn to take their lives by
means of bullets or explosive bombs, fired or hurled from the centre
of some dense crowd, which would destroy the life of the victim of
such an outrage without a moment's warning, or without being able to
even so much as raise a hand in self-defense.

Now at the time when Prince Henry sailed for China, the young crown
prince was sixteen years of age; that is to say, he lacked two years
of the attainment of his majority. Had anything untoward happened
to the kaiser during the minority of the crown prince, Prince Henry
would, according to the laws of the house of Hohenzollern and of the
Prussian constitution, have been appointed as regent until his nephew
came of age. Prince Henry's right to the regency, as nearest
male relative, was one of which he could not be deprived, save by
altogether exceptional and questionable methods, which both policy
and fraternal affection forbade the emperor to employ. Yet he realized
that were Henry to be entrusted with the regency he would change
in the most radical fashion the course of the ship of state; would
introduce measures dear to the late Emperor Frederick, but to which
he, the kaiser, was unalterably opposed, and would, in short, undo
everything that he himself had done; so that when eventually the crown
prince came of age there would be no longer any possibility of his
continuing his father's policy, a policy which the emperor has been at
great pains to inculcate into his boy.

With Prince Henry at the Antipodes, there was an excuse for vesting
the regency either in the harmless hands of Frederick-Leopold, or in
those of Prince Albert, whose ideas on the subject of government are
to a great extent in keeping with those of the kaiser. That was one
of the reasons why Henry was sent off to China, and any doubt upon the
subject will be removed by remembering the fact that his sojourn in
the far East will terminate with the eighteenth birthday,--the coming
of age--of his nephew, the young crown prince.

That such real and lasting affection should subsist between
William and Henry is indeed surprising, and speaks volumes for the
warm-heartedness, and I might almost say magnanimity of the kaiser's
character. For everything that could possibly have contributed to
render him jealous of his brother, has been done, as I remarked above.

Henry was always favored at the expense of William by his father and
mother, as well as by the entire imperial family. In fact, the late
emperor gave a striking expression of his preference for his younger
son, when at the time of the prince's marriage to Princess Irene of
Hesse, he pressed into Henry's hand a slip of paper--he could not
speak any longer, owing to the awful malady which carried him off,--on
which he had written, "_You at least have never given me a moment's
sorrow, and will make as good a husband as you have been a loving
son_;" and when soon after this Emperor Frederick breathed his last,
it was found that he had left the major part of his fortune either
to Henry directly, or to Empress Frederick, in trust for this, his
favorite son.

This privileged position in the affection of his parents, aye, and
it may be added in the hearts of the German people, is due in a large
measure to Prince Henry's education. He was brought up, so to speak,
at sea, and the moral profession is of all others the one which
calls forth all the best qualities of a man, develops manliness, and
diminishes pride and affectation. Before he was twenty years of age,
he had twice circumnavigated the globe, visiting every corner of the
earth, and carrying the flag of Germany into regions where it had
never been seen before. This in itself was sufficient to interest
Germans in the young prince, the first of his house to seek adventures
in such far distant climes; and this healthy, manly, interesting mode
of life was compared to his advantage with the somewhat dissipated
existence of a young army officer, which his elder brother, prior to
his marriage, indulged in at Berlin.

Occasionally, stories reached the public through the press of feats
of gallantry performed by the royal sailor, such as the plunging
overboard once in a squall, and at another time in shark-infested
waters, to save drowning sailors; while every incident which thus
became known concerning the young prince served to confirm his
countrymen in the belief that he was endowed in an altogether
exceptional degree with those qualities which we are so fond of
ascribing to "those who go down to the sea in ships." These long sea
voyages had, moreover, the effect of keeping him clear of all
those court and political intrigues with which Emperor William was
surrounded, as if with a very network, prior to his accession to the
throne; intrigues, I may add, which since William became emperor, have
been devoted to many a futile endeavor designed to create mischief
between the two brothers. It is probable that they will have less
effect than ever from henceforth, since William, now that his eldest
boy has attained his majority, will have no longer any reason to
apprehend the possibility of Henry's undoing, in the capacity of
regent, all the work that he, the kaiser, has accomplished during the
eleven years of his reign; indeed, now that this danger is eliminated,
the two brothers are likely to become more intimate than ever, and the
Court of Berlin will probably see much more of the sailor prince than
heretofore. Henry is the very life of his brother's court, as he is
not only extremely fond of making fun, even at the expense sometimes
of his majesty, especially about the excessively earnest attitude
which the emperor assumes, with regard to the most trivial questions.
Absolutely unconventional, save on his own quarter-deck, he carries
about with him an atmosphere of brightness and breeziness which is
almost as infectious and as bracing as a whiff of sea air.

For all his love of skylarking, and the freedom of his manners, his
name has never been associated with any questionable story, save by
the gutter element of the Parisian press, which endeavored to drag him
into the Dreyfus case by declaring that Germany's strange attitude in
the affair was due to the alleged knowledge the French War Department
of terrible immorality proved to have been committed by Prince Henry
during frequent secret visits to Paris. Of course there is not a word
of truth in these contemptible stories, and the prince's reputation as
a perfect husband and a healthy-minded gentleman, stands high, even
in Berlin, where people are overfond of scandalous gossip. Certainly
there are plenty of stories current about the pranks that he has
played, but these are all of an innocent and boyish character. The
prince creates the impression of the most complete wholesomeness; his
six feet of well set up manhood, his bright eyes and clear, tanned
skin, seem the outward and visible sign of a thoroughly clean and
sound mind; common sense, frankness, fearlessness, dignity and
kindness, are written in his every feature in a way that reminds
people vividly of his lamented father; while the easy movements of
an athletic body, always apparently in the pink of condition, are
evidently allied to the smooth serenity of a mind confident in itself,
but modest with the humility of knowledge.

After having said so much that is pleasant of the prince, I must,
in pursuance of my determination to give the shadows as well as the
lights of my portraits, admit that there are two particulars in which
Prince Henry cannot be said to shine. One of these is public speaking,
and the other is shooting; he is as unfortunate in the one respect as
in the other.

His only public utterance of any importance was made at the time
of his departure for China, when he addressed the emperor in such
extravagant terms, referring to his "consecrated majesty," and so on,
that it created mingled feelings of amazement and amusement from one
end of the civilized world to the other! There has always been an
impression in my mind that there was in this extraordinary speech just
a suspicion of a disposition to guy his brother: for not only were the
terms that he used entirely foreign to his character,--their _outré_
tenor bordering on the ridiculous,--but it is impossible for anyone
who has ever heard him chaffing his seasick brother while out
yachting, putting his head in at the cabin door every now and again,
and calling out, "Well, Willie, how do you feel now, and what has
become of your imperial dignity?" to believe that he was really
serious when he so solemnly ascribed divine attributes to this
selfsame Willie.

I heard that after the prince's arrival in China, where banquets were
given in his honor by the German and English leading colonists, he was
repeatedly asked to make a few remarks in reply to the toasts drunk
in his honor, but that on each occasion he politely informed his hosts
that he would see them in Jericho before he got on his feet to address
them. "Only once in my life," he was wont to say, "did I make a
speech, and I shall never hear the end of that to the close of my
days!" A little later on, when the Shanghai correspondent of the
London _Times_ was presented to him, he himself referred to this most
celebrated and oft-quoted speech by inquiring good-humoredly, and
withal plaintively, "By the way, don't you think your newspapers have
roasted me enough about it?"

With regard to his shooting, there is no scion of royalty who has been
the cause of more gun accidents than the prince. He had not attained
his majority before he managed, while shooting in the game preserves
of his uncle, the Grand Duke of Baden, to wound a gamekeeper so
severely that the man was crippled for life, and has since been in the
receipt of a generous pension from the prince. Then in Corfu, while
clambering up a steep hill, he had the misfortune to unintentionally
discharge his gun, the lead lodging in a Greek gentleman who was
following a few feet behind him and grievously injuring him; while
at a later period he succeeded in inflicting serious damage upon a
Turkish dignitary appointed by the Sultan to attend him during his
shooting trips in Syria. It is of him, too, that is related the story
of how, when asked as a youth of twenty, by Queen Victoria, during
one of his stays at Balmoral, what sport he had had while out deer
stalking, he replied proudly: "Well, grandma, I did not succeed in
killing a stag, but I hit quite a number." It is recorded that there
was a painful silence after this remark, and that the prince was not
again urged to go out deer stalking during his stay at Balmoral!

Princess Henry is probably the least favored, both as to beauty and
brilliancy of intellect, of the daughters of the late Grand Duke of
Hesse, and of his consort, Princess Alice, second daughter of Queen
Victoria. Her three sisters, the Grand Duchess Sergius of Russia,
Princess Louis of Battenberg, and the young czarina, are renowned for
their loveliness and their cleverness, the latter inherited from their
talented mother; whereas Princess Irene and her brother, the reigning
Grand Duke of Hesse, take far more after their father. Princess Irene
was born in 1866, during the Seven Weeks' War, when her father was
called upon to fight his own brothers in the Prussian army, and his
brother-in-law, the late Emperor Frederick, then Crown Prince of
Prussia. Her baptismal sponsors were the officers and men belonging
to the two cavalry regiments under her father's special command during
that war:--there is no other princess in Europe who has ever had two
entire regiments of cavalry for godfathers! The name of Irene was
bestowed upon her by way of gratitude for the restoration of peace,
and she used always to be known in her young days at Darmstadt as the
"Friedenskind," or "child of peace." After her mother's death from
diphtheria, it was the latter's eldest sister, the now widowed Empress
Frederick, who endeavored, as far as possible, to look after the
children, and it was perhaps this that led to Prince Henry's falling
in love with his cousin. The match was strongly opposed by Prince
Bismarck, partly upon the ground of the close relationship of the
parties, but mainly on account of his hatred for the reigning house of
Hesse. But when Prince Henry declared that he would remain single all
his life unless he were allowed to marry Princess Irene, consent was
given, and the wedding took place at Charlottenburg in the presence
of the dying Emperor Frederick, this being the last public ceremony at
which he was present. One of the saddest of sights, indeed, was that
presented by "Unser Fritz," almost too weak to stand, giving his
voiceless blessing after the ceremony to his favorite son, and to
his new daughter-in-law, who, having been born in a time of war and
misery, was entering upon her new life as a wife at a time when the
whole nation was once more sorrowing. While Princess Irene is
perhaps less attractive than her sisters, she is more interested in
philanthropic movements than any other member of her family, and at
Kiel, where she makes her home, she is greatly liked, especially by
the poor. She is a magnificent equestrienne, and a very clever shot,
being infinitely more successful in this respect than her husband, who
is so devoted to her that he bears this superiority with the greatest
equanimity.

Although Prince Frederick-Leopold has certainly relieved himself from
any imputation of effeminacy by the conspicuous part he took in the
long-distance rides between Berlin and Vienna, and by his magnificent
horsemanship, yet he does not convey to people the impression of
manliness that constitutes so distinguishing a characteristic of his
cousins, Prince Henry and the kaiser. He is lacking alike in virility
and intellect, and seems to have no other aim and aspiration in life
than to live up to his name and reputation as the leader of masculine
fashion or "Gigerl König," which may be rendered into English as
"king of the dudes." They say at the Court of Berlin that he is so
particular about the fit of his clothes that he will never remain
seated for more than five minutes at a time, not even when traveling,
for fear of spoiling the crease in his trousers or of making them
baggy at the knees! He does not attempt to disguise the fact that
the faultlessness of his coats or of his uniforms is an object of
paramount importance. These are, however, very harmless weaknesses,
which are more than atoned for by the fact that he is an excellent
father and husband, but the obstinacy of his temper and his vagaries
as a leader of masculine fashion at Berlin have often been a source of
impatience and irritation to the kaiser. It is only just to lay stress
on his excellence both as a husband and a father, as all sorts of
stories have been circulated, not merely in the foreign press, but
also in the German newspapers, charging him with intemperance and with
brutality towards his wife, who is a younger sister of the empress,
such as to necessitate the intervention of the kaiser.

These stories are pure calumnies, and originate in a confusion between
the prince and his father, the celebrated cavalry general. The latter,
popularly known as the "Red Prince," was the commander to whom Metz
capitulated in 1870, and was not only noted for his hard drinking,
but likewise for his rough usage of his amiable and formerly lovely
consort when he was in his cups. He is credited with having frequently
beaten her, either with his fist or with his riding whip, when crazed
with drink; and it is no secret that she left him on three occasions
with the avowed intention of securing a separation and even divorce,
and was only persuaded to return to her husband by the entreaties of
the old emperor.

Of course all this was a matter of court gossip at the time, and three
or four years ago the stories formerly current concerning the father,
who has been dead for more than a decade, were revived with regard to
his son, for no other reason than that the prince had quite frequently
rendered himself subject to disciplinary measures by the kaiser. If
the latter has, however, ordered him to remain under arrest in his
palace at various times, it has not been as a punishment for having
horsewhipped his wife when drunk, as some foreign illustrated papers
would have the world believe, but only because the prince had been
guilty of some neglect in military duty, or had disobeyed the wishes
of the emperor in connection with the management of his household.

Thus, some two or three winters ago, Princess Frederick-Leopold was
almost drowned while out skating near Potsdam; she broke through the
ice, was completely unconscious when miraculously rescued by four
peasants who happened to be in the neighborhood, and was only brought
back to life with the utmost difficulty. The emperor and empress
were naturally much concerned and distressed by this accident; but
William's sympathy changed into very serious anger when he learnt that
the princess had remained so long under the ice and had been dependent
on the courage and bravery of the peasants who rescued her, only
because neither her husband nor any of the gentlemen of his household
had been in attendance upon her. In fact, she was quite alone with a
lady-in-waiting, who lost her head, and was completely unable to offer
any assistance when the mishap occurred. The emperor also discovered
that on the previous day the princess had, without any escort
whatsoever, skated alone all the way from Potsdam to Brandenburg and
back, a remarkable feat, calling for much endurance and attended by
no little danger. Now, as I have already stated, it is contrary to the
rules of court etiquette and usage for any prince or princess of the
blood to leave their residence, unattended, and it was on account of
the infraction of this regulation that the kaiser sentenced both the
prince and his consort to several weeks' arrest in their palace. It
was this circumstance that gave rise to the ridiculous and sensational
tale of the prince having been punished by the emperor in consequence
of the latter having caught him in the act of beating the princess
while in a fit of drunken fury.

Prince Frederick-Leopold is a great traveller, and has not only spent
a considerable time in India as the guest of his brother-in-law, the
Duke of Connaught, when the latter was in military command at Bombay,
but, moreover, he has visited China and Japan, and devoted several
months to a tour in the United States, which was wound up by some
rather exciting events at Coney Island before his return home to
Berlin.

[Illustration: _SCENE IN DUKE ERNEST GUNTHER'S QUARTERS_
_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

Of the bachelorhood days of the kaiser's other brother-in-law, Duke
Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein, already mentioned several times
in these pages, especially in connection with the anonymous letter
scandal, the least said the better. A hard-drinking, dissipated, and
somewhat coarse-mannered cavalry officer, he has often been a source
of perpetual anger to the kaiser and of distress to his sister, the
excellent empress. He managed to get his name involved in all sorts of
unsavory speculations on the stock exchange and in gambling scandals,
invariably, it is true, as a victim; while at least three foreign
footlight favorites were expelled from Germany by the police on
account of the scandals created by his association with them. On one
occasion, he even had the audacity to appear at Charlottenburg with a
notorious American "_demi-mondaine_" seated beside him on the box of
his drag, although his sister, the empress, was present at the races,
as well as a large number of ladies of the court and many great
dignitaries. Seeing the servants of his coach arrayed in the familiar
liveries of his house, they all naturally imagined that the
lady beside the duke was one of his sisters, either Princess
Frederick-Leopold or Princess Fedora, and accorded to her the homage
which would have belonged by right to either of these two princesses,
but which was totally misplaced when conceded to a woman of such
unenviable notoriety as the fair stranger who sat beside the duke.
Needless to add that the emperor was furious when he heard of the
affair, and after giving orders for the immediate expulsion of the
woman, directed the prince to leave Berlin, and to remain at his
castle of Prinkenau until he had expiated his gross and flagrant
breach of the proprieties.

Duke Ernest-Gunther was a suitor for the hand of quite a large number
of princesses, and among those to whom he proposed were the daughters
of the Prince of Wales and of the latter's brother, the Duke of
Coburg, his suit being rejected with touching unanimity in each
instance, in consequence of his unenviable reputation. Yet strangely
enough, as stated previously, he seems to have developed into
an exemplary husband, although his marriage was contracted under
circumstances which, verged on a tragedy; for his wife, a mere
seventeen-year-old girl, just issuing from the school-room when he
made an offer for her hand, was literally flung into his arms by both
her parents, who were determined to separate from each other, and who
had been informed by Emperor Francis-Joseph of Austria, and by King
Leopold of Belgium, that no such step could be tolerated until after
the marriage of little Princess "Dolly," the only daughter of this
ill-matched couple. The betrothal took place in due course at Vienna.
But before the marriage could follow, the young girl's mother, namely,
Princess Louise of Coburg and of Belgium, deliberately eloped from the
Austrian capital with her husband's chamberlain, the Hungarian Count
Keglewitch; and what was worse, took her daughter with her. The trio
fled to Nice, where they were visited by King Leopold, who after
endeavoring in vain to persuade the princess to return to her husband
at Vienna, discarded her in hot anger, declaring that she was no
longer his daughter!

The next act in the drama was a challenge issued by Prince Philip of
Coburg against Count Keglewitch, who left Nice for the encounter: the
duel was fought in the army riding-school at Vienna, the commander of
the metropolitan garrison and the minister of war acting as seconds
to Prince Philip, although duelling is strictly forbidden by law in
Austria, as it is in Germany. Prince Philip received a painful wound
in the hand, and the count forthwith left to rejoin the princess at
Nice. The publicity given to this duel had the unfortunate result,
however, of calling attention to the presence of poor little Princess
Dorothy at Nice with her misguided mother and the count, and the
princess having been warned by the Austrian authorities and the French
police that her daughter would be taken from her by force unless she
relinquished her hold upon the child, she sent her back to Vienna,
whence the girl was immediately dispatched to Dresden and placed under
the care of the mother and the unmarried sister of the German empress,
with whom she remained until her marriage.

Shortly after her departure from Nice, her mother was forced to take
flight in consequence of the persecution to which she was subjected by
her creditors; and with a shamelessness that can only be explained on
the score of an unbalanced mind, she deliberately returned to Austria
with her lover, and coolly took up her residence at his castle near
Agram, where the count actually made preparations for a siege, in
order to resist by force any attempt on the part of the authorities to
take the princess from him.

Ultimately, both were captured by strategy, and while the princess was
conveyed under police escort to Vienna, and lodged at the request of
her husband in a lunatic asylum, on the sworn statements of two court
physicians concerning her insanity, the count was placed under close
arrest at Agram on the charge of grossly immoral conduct, unbecoming
an officer and a gentleman. Before he had been very long in the
military prison, this charge was changed to one of forgery; for it was
discovered that there were notes in circulation at Vienna and Paris
to the extent of more than a million dollars, which the count had
negotiated, and which bore the forged signature of Princess Louise's
sister, the widowed Crown Princess Stephanie of Austria.

The count of course denied that he had forged the signature, but
as the fact remains that he negotiated the notes, and that Princess
Louise, who, failing himself, can alone have been the culprit, is
officially declared insane, and legally irresponsible, he has had to
bear the brunt of the affair, and is now, after having undergone the
terrible ceremony of military degradation, working out a sentence of
five years' penal servitude in a fortress; doubtless comparing his
fate with that of the celebrated Baron Trench, who was imprisoned
for years in the dungeons of Spandau, and of Magdeburg, for having
compromised the fair name of the sister of Frederick the Great by
indiscreet attentions.

Princess Louise is now under strict restraint in an asylum for the
insane near Dresden, and inasmuch as both her father, King Leopold of
the Belgians, and her husband, have declined to pay any of her
debts, public sales of her belongings, even of her dresses and her
under-garments, were permitted to take place at Vienna and at Nice
for the benefit of her creditors. It is only fair to the unfortunate
princess to state that her entire married life has been one of
uninterrupted misery, owing to the brutality and drunken habits of
her husband, who is noted as one of the most dissolute princes in
all Europe. In fact if court gossip at Berlin and Vienna is to be
believed, the princess first became enamored of Count Keglewitch when
the latter, in attendance on the princely couple as their chamberlain,
interfered one day to protect her from the blows of her husband.

It was amidst circumstances such as these that Princess Dorothy was
married to Duke Ernest-Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein, neither her
father nor her mother being present at her marriage; the reigning Duke
of Coburg, as chief of the Coburg family figuring in the place of her
parents, and giving her away at the altar. That with such a father,
such a mother, and with a husband of such a past reputation for
dissipation and wildness, the little princess should have found
happiness in marriage, is, to say the least, surprising. But the duke
seems devoted to his little wife, while she on her side is completely
wrapped up in her husband, and thinks him perfect, in every way.

Yet another brother-in-law of the kaiser who is a conspicuous figure
at the Court of Berlin, is Prince Adolphus of Schaumburg-Lippe,
married to Princess Victoria, the least attractive and least
popular of William's sisters. After several flirtations of a rather
sensational character with young Count Andrassy, and several other gay
diplomats and noblemen, which were a source of amusement to the court,
although of great concern to her mother, she ultimately fell in love
with Prince Alexander of Battenburg, who at the time had just been
forced to abandon the throne of Bulgaria, and who was certainly one of
the handsomest and most fascinating of European princes. The prince,
who was at the time, to put matters plainly, out of a job, being
without fortune or future, was persuaded by his relatives, notably by
his brother Henry, who had married Princess Beatrice of England,
to apply for her hand; this he did, on the understanding that his
marriage to her would facilitate his restoration to the German army,
from which he had resigned on ascending the throne of Bulgaria; for as
a general of the Prussian army, he anticipated retrieving the prestige
and fame which he had lost as ruler of Bulgaria.

Prince Bismarck, however, set his face strongly against the match on
the ground that it would impair the friendly relations between the
Courts of Berlin and St. Petersburg, Prince Alexander being for
personal reasons an object of the most intense animosity to the late
czar. Indeed, it was this hatred on the part of the late Emperor of
Russia that had rendered it impossible for Prince Alexander to retain
his throne of Bulgaria. Old Emperor William, supported his chancellor
in the matter, and while the late Emperor Frederick, at that time
merely crown prince, remained quite passive, the cause of Princess
Victoria and Prince Alexander was strongly championed by Empress
Frederick and Queen Victoria. The controversy continued even after the
death of old Emperor William, and finally, in face of the persistent
hostility in the matter displayed by Prince Bismarck, and by the
present kaiser, it was arranged that the couple should be married, not
in Germany, but in England, at Windsor Castle, and that they should
make their home elsewhere than in Germany. This, however, did not meet
the views of Prince Alexander, who thus saw all his ambition for a
military career in the German army frustrated instead of promoted by
the union. So at the very last moment, within a few days of the date
appointed for the wedding at Windsor, and after all the trousseau had
been purchased and the wedding presents bought, he deliberately
jilted his royal fiancee, and married at Nice, an actress named Mlle.
Lösinger, an offspring of the valet and the cook of the old Austrian
General Faviani.

The prince, it may be remembered, subsequently abandoned the title
and status of a Prince Battenberg, secured the title of Count Hartenau
from his father's old friend and comrade, the Emperor of Austria, as
well as a colonelcy in the Austrian army, and died as major-general in
command of a brigade at Gratz.

It was more than a year after this, that Princess Victoria found a
husband in the insignificant-looking and inoffensive Prince Adolph of
Schaumburg-Lippe, son of Prince George of that ilk, the prince at that
time serving as Captain of Hussars at Bonn. Soon afterwards, Emperor
William learning that Prince Waldemar of Lippe was dying, took
advantage of the fact that he was rather weak-minded to induce him to
sign a species of will bequeathing the regency of the principality at
his death to Prince Adolph of Schaumburg-Lippe, the next heir to the
throne of Lippe; his brother Alexander of Lippe being an incurable
lunatic. On the strength of this document, which was of a purely
personal character, and which was neither ratified by the legislature
of the principality of Lippe, nor recognized by the federal council of
the German empire, Prince Adolph, with the assistance of a couple
of Prussian regiments, coolly took possession of the principality of
Lippe, proclaimed himself regent, and assumed the reins of government.

According to the laws of Germany governing the succession of its
sovereign houses, the regency in such a case as that presented by the
principality of Lippe, should have fallen to the lot of the nearest
living agnate. The latter happened to be Count Ernest of Lippe, chief
of the Beisterfeld branch of the Lippe family. Prince Adolph, however,
and his brother-in-law, Emperor William, took the ground that Count
Ernest was debarred from the regency, and from succession to the
throne on the death of the crazy Prince Alexander, by the fact
that sometime in the early part of the last century one of his male
ancestors had contracted a mésalliance, and thus brought a plebeian
strain into the family. This contention was accepted neither by the
people of Lippe, nor by the count; they appealed to the tribunals
of the empire, and to every reigning family of Germany in turn, the
entire non-Prussian press, as well as many newspapers in Prussia
itself, espousing their cause.

Finally, the emperor and his brother-in-law were forced by
popular clamor to consent to bring the matter before a tribunal of
arbitration, composed of the principal judges of the Supreme Federal
Court at Leipzig, presided over for the occasion by the dean and
veteran of German sovereigns, King Albert of Saxony. The tribunal,
after due deliberation, rendered a decision against the emperor and
Prince Adolph; directing the latter to at once surrender the regency
and the Lippe estates, which are immensely valuable, yielding an
income of eight hundred thousand dollars, to Count Ernest of Lippe,
on the ground that if a mésalliance such as the one contracted by the
count's eighteenth-century ancestor were to be considered sufficient
to invalidate his rights to the regency and to the succession to the
throne, as the nearest living male relative of the crazy reigning
prince, half the thrones of Germany would have to be vacated by their
present occupants.

It was pointed out by the arbitrators that if the contention of Prince
Adolph and the kaiser were admitted, the Grand Duke of Baden would
have to abandon his throne; the branch of the Baden family to which
he belonged being descended from a prince of Baden who contracted a
mésalliance at the close of the last century; that all the children of
the emperor himself would be barred from succession to the throne of
Germany, since the great-grandfather of the present Empress of Germany
was the offspring of a terrible mésalliance; while last, but not
least, Prince Adolph himself was descended from a prince of Lippe who
towards the close of the last century, fell in love with and married
the daughter of a mere writ-server, whose blood flows in the veins of
the emperor's brother-in-law.

Emperor William and Prince Adolph bitterly resented the setback to
which they were subjected by this decree of the King of Saxony; and
although they were forced to yield in the present instance, they
threatened to reopen the entire question should anything untoward
happen to the present regent, Count Lippe, for they insist that under
no circumstances can any of his sons be permitted to inherit either
his rights or his honors, owing to the fact that his wife, the
Countess of Lippe, is also the issue of a mésalliance, her mother
having been an American girl, a native of Philadelphia, who married
Count Leopold Wartensleben. On the strength of this, Prussian
authorities, military as well as civilian, while directed to accord
to the Count of Lippe the honors due to the regent of a German
sovereignty, are forbidden to recognize in any way either the count's
consort or his children, on the ground that these can only be regarded
as morganatic, and as such debarred from the tokens of respect due to
full-fledged members of a sovereign house.

Naturally, all this has served to render Prince Adolph and his wife
extremely unpopular throughout the length and breadth of Germany; and
when a short time ago there was a question of appointing the prince
as regent of the Duchy of Brunswick in succession to Prince Albert
of Prussia, who is tired of the post, or as a stadtholder of
Alsace-Lorraine in the place of Prince Herman Hohenlohe, the press
throughout Germany, and even in Prussia, raised its voice in protest
against the emperor's forcing his brother-in-law into places for which
he was in no sense of the word fitted, either by his talents, his
administrative skill, his tact, or his intellectual abilities.



CHAPTER IX


Although Germany's young crown prince has until now been more or less
of a stranger to court functions and gaieties at Berlin, his time
being absorbed by his studies at the military academy of Plön, and his
holidays spent in travel and Alpine expeditions, yet, as he is about
to celebrate his majority, and has passed from the stages of boyhood
to those of manhood, he will be from henceforth a personage of the
utmost importance--second only in rank to the emperor.

Destined, in course of time, to succeed to the throne and to the
immense responsibilities of his father, and to become virtually the
autocratic ruler of a nation of fifty million people, as well as the
absolute master of the greatest military power on the face of the
globe, every scrap of information concerning this youth must naturally
be of vast interest, not only to his future subjects, but also to
the entire civilized world. Under the circumstances, therefore, it is
satisfactory to be able to say truthfully that Germany's future kaiser
is a fine, healthy-minded, healthy-bodied lad, disposed to take an
extremely serious view of his duties and his obligations, and who,
thanks to the excellent education which he has received both from his
parents and his teachers, seems destined to prove a wise as well as a
popular monarch.

It seems but the other day that the young crown prince, as a chubby
ten-year-old lad, was being introduced by his father to the officers
and men of the first regiment of Foot Guards at Potsdam, to which,
in accordance with traditional usage, he was appointed on his tenth
birthday as lieutenant. There may be some of my readers who were
present on that occasion, and who may remember the spectacle presented
by the little fellow, vainly endeavoring to keep step with the giant
strides of these huge grenadiers, the tallest men in the German army,
during the march-past that followed the ceremony. Since then there
have been so many portraits of the crown prince published, as he
appeared at that time, that this taken in conjunction with the rapid
flight of years, renders it difficult to realize that he is now no
longer a little boy, but a youth considerably taller and almost as
broad and stalwart as his father, whose best friend he has become.

William and his eldest boy are fondly devoted to each other. To the
crown prince, his father is in every sense of the word "William second
to none;" while the kaiser himself is entirely wrapped up in his heir.
For the last few years the emperor has given every spare moment that
he could snatch away from his multifarious occupations to the task of
instilling his ideas and views into the crown prince. In talking
and reasoning with him, he has treated the lad as far older than his
years, has discussed with him, in fact, as if he were a man; and it
is due to this that Germany's future emperor is at the present moment
remarkably mature for his age, and really in a position to view
matters with a degree of experience and knowledge that are unrivalled
in so young a man. As a general rule, young people are unwilling to
accept the advice of their elders, or to benefit by their experience,
convinced that their seniors are behind the spirit of the age, and in
no sense of the word up to date. But with the German crown prince this
is different: he is so imbued with the idea that his father is wiser
and better than anyone else in the world, that he is willing and glad
to accept the paternal recommendations and to benefit by paternal
advice.

Yet with all this the lad is not a prig, nor is he forward or
presumptuous. True, he has a keen sense of his own dignity, but it
takes the form of an extreme simplicity, and of an absolute lack of
affectation, since he is intelligent enough to realize that his rank
and position are sufficiently assured to render it unnecessary that he
should call attention thereto either by his manner or by his speech.
He is modest too, very frank, particularly courteous to old people,
boyishly chivalrous to women, and firmly convinced that there is no
member of the fair sex in the entire world who is so ideally perfect
in appearance, as well as in character, as his mother.

I would not for all the world that this description of the crown
prince should in any way convey the impression to my readers that he
is a milksop or an overgrown child! Devoted to every form of sport, a
splendid gymnast, a clever oarsman, a skilful driver and a bold rider,
an excellent shot, he is in every sense of the word a manly young
fellow, who, however, has been kept free from all contact with the
darker sides of life, and who still retains, therefore, mingled with
the experience of a grown man, much of the innocence and freshness of
mind of a mere boy. Indeed, he is a son of whom any father and mother
might well be proud!

Fair-haired and blue-eyed, with the down of a blond moustache upon his
upper lip, the young prince is a typical Hohenzollern, and resembles
his grandfather, Emperor Frederick, more than he does his father. He
is passionately devoted to everything military, and keenly relishes
the idea that the six months following the attainment of his majority
are to be devoted to military duties at Potsdam, for although he has
held a commission of lieutenant of the first regiment of Foot Guards
since his tenth year, he is only now about to be called upon to fulfil
the duties of his rank with the regiment.

It will be in every sense of the word an arduous training, for the
first regiment of Guards being considered all the world over as the
crack corps of the German army, and as the embodiment of military
perfection in every sense of the word, its officers, realizing that
it is, so to speak, the star phalanx of Germany, are engaged, morning,
noon and night, in maintaining it at its proper standard, and there
are no officers anywhere in Europe who are so hard worked as those
of the first regiment of Prussian Guards;--that regiment which in the
days of Frederick the Great's father was composed entirely of giants,
recruited, or rather purchased often, at a cost of several thousand
dollars apiece, from all parts of the world!

The prince must be on the drill grounds and the manoeuvre fields as
early as four o'clock in the morning, returning for a sort of luncheon
towards ten or eleven; he must devote his afternoon to military
studies of one kind or another; while from four o'clock till seven his
time will be taken up by barrack-room inspections, company reports,
and the other thousand and one duties incidental to regimental life
in Germany. In the case of the crown prince the work will be
exceptionally heavy, as he is expected to acquire in the course of six
months an experience which other subalterns take years to obtain. At
the end of the term in question he is to go to Bonn, there to take
his seat, like his father before him, on the benches of the celebrated
university as an ordinary student.

From his eighteenth birthday the crown prince will have an
establishment and a civil list of his own. He will have his court
marshal, who will be at the same time the treasurer, governor, and
chief officer of his household. He will have his aids-de-camp, who
will, as far as possible, be young men of his own age and alive to the
responsibilities of their office; he will also have a palace of his
own, stables of his own, and his own shooting. Indeed the forest of
Spandau has already been for some time past strictly preserved in view
of his coming of age.

This particular forest has from time immemorial been assigned as the
particular game-park of the heir to the crown. The crown prince is
to make his home in the so-called "Stadtschloss" at Potsdam, where
he will occupy the same suite of apartments that was tenanted by his
parents during the alterations that recently took place at the "Neues
Palais." This palace was erected at the close of the seventeenth
century, and contains, among other objects of interest, the furniture
used by Frederick the Great, the coverings of which were nearly all
torn to shreds by the claws of his dog; his writing-table covered with
ink-stains, his library filled with Trench books, music composed by
himself, etc. The various halls and rooms are kept nearly in the same
manner, indeed, as when he used them. Adjoining his bedroom there is
a small cabinet, where he used to dine alone or with Voltaire, without
attendants, everything coming through the floor on a dumbwaiter, the
king himself placing the dishes on the table.

It is in this palace, haunted, one might almost say, at every point
by memories and by the spirit of the most famous of Prussian kings,
a monarch distinguished as a general, as an administrator and as a
philosopher, that Germany's future emperor will from henceforth make
his home until he in turn, on the death of his father, will migrate,
as did the latter, from the so-called Stadtschloss to the "Neues
Palais," two miles and a half distant. The crown prince is also to
have a residence of his own at Berlin, where he is to occupy the
Bellevue Palace during the court season.

Among other characteristics of the young crown prince is his fondness
for animals, and the extraordinary influence which, even as a child,
he has always seemed to exercise over them. He succeeded in training
his ponies, his dogs and other domestic pets to perform such clever
tricks that on several occasions he managed, with the assistance of
his brothers, to organize very creditable circus performances, usually
in honor of the birthday of his father or his mother. There was one
instance especially that I may recall, which took place some years
ago. This particular performance began in the afternoon at three, with
a prologue spoken by Prince August William, in which he mentioned the
different items of the programme. Then each of the royal lads led his
pony in front of the box in which the imperial couple sat with their
guests, and the crown prince put his horse "Daretz," through all kinds
of tricks, of a high school character, winding up by making the horse
kneel in token of salute before the emperor and empress. More trick
riding on another horse named "Puck," belonging to the crown prince,
followed, and thereupon there was a comical _intermezzo_, in which
Prince Adalbert and Prince Eitel took the part of two clowns. Later
on, the crown prince's dogs were brought on the scene, and his
favorite "Tom" went through some extraordinary antics, walking about
all over the ring on his hind legs, tolling bells, driving other of
the prince's dogs with reins, and jumping through hoops covered
with tissue paper. The whole affair lasted over two hours, was very
entertaining, even to grown-up people who did not happen to be related
to the organizers of the entertainment, and did great credit to
the cleverness of the crown prince, and above all to the marvellous
influence which he exercises over animals of every description.

Military tastes in the royal lad have been developed by the games
and pastimes in which he and his brothers were encouraged to indulge;
hence, in the grounds of the Bellevue Palace at Berlin, as well as in
a corner of the great park of the Neues Palais at Potsdam, the boys
constructed full-fledged forts with water-filled moats, and cleverly
constructed bastions, which were stormed from time to time in due
form, and being defended with the utmost tenacity, hard knocks were
ofttimes given and received. The playmates of the crown prince and his
brothers have been not merely the sons of nobles forming part of the
imperial household and court, but likewise the children of employés of
much less exalted rank, such as the sons of lodge-keepers, gardeners,
game-keepers, etc., who all played and tumbled with the young princes
on a footing of the most perfect equality, drubbing one another
totally irrespective of rank. It is a pleasant thing to know that
friendships thus formed subsist in after life; as an instance, when
the kaiser's sister, now crown princess of Greece, sent to Germany
some time ago for a nursery governess for her young children, she
was able to acquire the services of her old girlhood playmate, the
daughter of one of the gardeners employed at the "Neues Palais."

The crown prince may be said to have traveled over all Germany, and
that, too, in the most democratic and sensible fashion. In Germany,
and, in fact, all over the continent of Europe, a pedestrian tour,
domestic and foreign, constitutes part and parcel of the education
of every youth, especially those of the industrial classes. No
apprenticeship is considered complete without the accomplishment of a
trip of this kind, which is usually performed with a knapsack on the
back, and in the most economical manner imaginable. This portion of
the youth's life is known as his "_wanderjahr_" and the traveler is
known by the name of "_wanderbürsche_" The trip serves to broaden the
mind of the "_bürsche,_" to render him self-reliant, and to give him
a knowledge and experience of the world--aye, and of his craft as
well--that he could never obtain if he remained at home. Emperor
William, who in many things is so exceedingly reactionary, and
so apparently assured that royalty is constructed of an entirely
different clay than that used for ordinary folks, gave a manifestation
of those democratic notions which constitute such a paradox to the
remainder of his character by sending forth his three eldest boys each
year during their holidays on a pedestrian tour through the length and
breadth of his dominions, just as if they were the sons of artisans,
and were compelled to learn a trade for a living. The crown prince and
his brothers traveled, not in a palace-car, nor in carriages, but on
foot, with knapsacks on their backs, and spending the nights at mere
roadside inns. They had no servant with them, only their military
governor, Colonel von Falkenheyn, and his assistant, the latter a
lieutenant of the guards, and the name tinder which they journeyed was
an incognito one; indeed, so cleverly did they manage to conceal their
identity that it was hardly ever revealed.

It is difficult to imagine anything that appealed more to the masses
in Germany than this manner adopted by the kaiser for making his sons
acquainted with the world. It was felt that the royal lads, with their
knapsacks on their backs, afoot, and with no indication of their rank,
would obtain by actual experience a contact with the people and a
knowledge which they could never hope to acquire if they had
toured through the land in special trains, on horseback, or in
splendidly-appointed carriages. Moreover, it makes every German youth,
trudging along the dusty roads, and ignorant for the most part of
where and how he is to sup and sleep that night, feel that after
all his lot is not such a very unenviable one, since even his future
monarch has been a "_wanderbürsche_," like himself.

It is probable that before the education of the crown prince is
considered complete, he will be sent on a trip around the world,
mainly with the object of endowing him with that breadth of mind
which foreign travel alone can give, and partly also with the idea of
reviving the dormant loyalty of Germans who have settled in foreign
lands. Emperor William has frequently expressed the opinion that
among the hitherto unused factors in German politics, are the Germans
established in the United States, in Australia, and in other equally
distant climes. While he does not in any way expect or imagine that
Germans who have thus emigrated from the Fatherland, will render
themselves guilty of any disloyalty to the land of their adoption, yet
he believes that by keeping alive their memories of the old country,
and their affection for its reigning house they may help Germany by
using their political influence in their new home for the benefit
of Germany. Thus William, in spite of all that has been said to the
contrary, has in contemplation an eventual understanding if not an
actual alliance with the United States; this result to be brought
about largely through the influence of the immense and prosperous
German population in America, and he believes that the project is
likely to be promoted and fostered by a visit of his eldest son, the
crown prince, to the United States for the purpose of making himself
acquainted, not only with the country, but above all with its German
inhabitants.

In making the grand tour of the world, the crown prince will be but
following in the footsteps of the heirs to the thrones of Austria and
Belgium, who have both visited the United States for the purpose of
improving their minds, and of fitting themselves more thoroughly
for their duties as twentieth century rulers. The present Emperor of
Russia, and his younger brother, the late Czarevitch George, likewise
started on a tour round the world, which in the case of George was cut
short at Bombay by that sickness to which he subsequently succumbed,
while the globe-trotting tour of Nicholas was brought to a sudden
close through his attempted assassination in Japan.

No pen-sketch of the young Crown Prince of Germany would be complete
without a reference to his remarkable skill as a violinist, an
instrument which he has been studying steadily ever since his eighth
year, under the direction of the Berlin court violinist Von Exner. He
seems to have inherited all the musical talent for which the reigning
house of Prussia is so celebrated, and to which I propose to devote at
least a part of the following chapter.



CHAPTER X


If it is observable that the taste, ear, and talent for music prevail
among the inhabitants of the mountain districts of the world far more
extensively than among the populations of the plains, it is no less
true that nearly all persons belonging to the exalted spheres of
life, for instance, emperors and kings and their consorts, as well as
princes and princesses of the blood, are not only passionately fond
of music, but frequently absolute melomaniacs. In none of the reigning
houses, however, is this particular branch of art developed to such
an extent as in the Hohenzollern family. Thus the collection of the
compositions for the flute by Frederick the Great discovered some ten
years ago in the lumber rooms of the "Neues Palais" at Potsdam, and
recently published after being edited by Professor Spitta, proves that
the royal patron of Voltaire, and the founder of Prussia's military
power was no mere dilettante, but a real genius in the art of
composition. Prince Louis Ferdinand, the son of Frederick the Great's
brother, who courted and met with a premature death at Saalfeld, while
rashly engaging the French enemy, against strict orders, showed, with
all his eccentricities, remarkable musical gifts, leaving in fact
behind him a variety of compositions for orchestras. He also wrote a
march which is published under his name.

Among the collection of marches constantly used in the Prussian army,
is one composed by Frederick-William III. in 1806, which occupies a
place between that of Frederick the Great, written in 1741, and
the well-known Dessauer march. In that very same collection are the
so-called _"Geschwind Marsch," No. 148, for infantry_, the _"Parade
Marsch" No. 51, for cavalry_, and the _"Marsch Für Cavallerie" No.
55_, which emanate from the pen of Princess Charlotte of Prussia,
niece of old Emperor William, and first wife of the present reigning
Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. It is doubtless from her that Prince Bernhardt
of Saxe-Meiningen, married to the eldest sister of the present kaiser,
has inherited his powers of composition, for his name figures on
the title page of many a piece of music; and among his other more
important works has been the setting to music of _"the Persians of
Aeschylus,"_ which has been most successfully staged at Athens. This
is published under the initials of _"E.B." (Erbprinz Bernhardt)_.

Though King Frederick-William IV. did not himself add anything to
royal musical literature, as did his predecessors on the throne, he
devoted much attention to ecclesiastical melody and song. The Berlin
cathedral choir of men and boys--trained to sing without musical
accompaniments--owes its origin to his ambition for having a choir in
his own Protestant basilica at Berlin, corresponding more or less
to the Pope's in the Sistine Chapel of Rome. It was he who engaged
Mendelssohn as director of this choir, as well as composer; and it was
the latter's successor, the director of the music of the Chapel Royal
at the Prussian court, who compiled a collection of volumes containing
settings of many of the Psalms of David, most beautifully arranged.

Among living Hohenzollerns, musical talent is most strongly developed.
Prince Albert, regent of Brunswick, is not only a composer of rare
genius, but likewise a most talented organist. His son, Prince
Joachim, has inherited his talent for composition, and is the author
of some eight works, which have been printed for circulation, in court
circles only, and have not become the property of the public; the
cleverest of them being a festal march, written for his father's
birthday, and a grand funeral march. He shares his father's intense
devotion to Bach and Handel, as well as his fondness for the works
of Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mozart, and is a most accomplished
performer on the violoncello, being a pupil of the well-known master
of that instrument, Professor Luedemann. Prince Albert's sister, the
widowed Duchess William of Mecklenberg-Schwerin, has been particularly
active as a composer of songs for mezzo soprano, but none of her
works, which are printed for private circulation under the initials of
"A.H.M.", have been placed on public sale. Her songs, some thirty in
number, are melodious and full of feeling. She seems to thoroughly
understand how to bring out the meaning of the words of her
composition, the melody of one of them, _"Ein Duerres Blatt"_
furnishing a particularly striking illustration of this peculiarity;
they left a very lasting impression upon my mind. Among her
collections is an English song, beginning with the words:

  "No ditch is too deep,
  And no wall is too high,
  If two love each other
  They'll meet by-and-by."

The music of this is particularly sweet, graceful and tender.

Prince Henry, the sailor brother of the kaiser, has written a number
of pieces, one of the best known and most popular of which is called
the _"Matrosen Marsch,"_ which is to be purchased in all large music
stores. He also holds his own as a first-class amateur performer, both
on the violin and the piano. His sister, the crown princess of Greece,
a pupil of Rufer, excels on the organ, as does also the widowed
Empress Frederick, while there is not one of the children of the
present kaiser who does not possess musical gifts of a high order,
which are being developed both in theory and in practice by celebrated
professors and masters.

There is no doubt that, but for the weakness of his left arm, Emperor
William would have been as skilful a performer as the other members
of his family. As it is, his devotion to music is restricted to
composition and to conducting. The kaiser is very fond of acting
as bandmaster during the musical soirées given at court, and other
entertainments of this kind honored by the presence of the reigning
family. It has been claimed that he is the first Prussian ruler to
thus wield the bâton since the days of Frederick the Great. But this
is not the case, for I recall being present, many years ago, at a
dinner at the palace of Koblenz, given by Empress Augusta in honor of
her consort, old Emperor William, who had come over from Ems for the
purpose, when during the dinner the old emperor remarked that the band
of the Augusta regiment, which was playing at the further end of the
White Hall, had played the ballet melody of _"Satanella"_ in too
fast a time. Rising from his seat, and pushing aside the screen which
concealed the band from view, he took the bâton from the hand of the
bandmaster, and after exclaiming: "Very quietly and slowly, gentlemen,
if you please," he tapped twice on the music-stand in front of him,
and then commenced to conduct with as much skill and art as if he had
never done anything else in his life. Several times during the course
of the piece he exclaimed "Noch rühiger," (still more gently) and
when the end of the piece was reached he laid down the bâton with
the remark, "Now, that was fine," and, thanking the band with a very
friendly and kindly smile, returned to his seat at table.

The present kaiser's principal contribution to music is undoubtedly
his composition of the melody to the "_Sang am Aegir,_" a poem
of considerable power by his friend Count Philipp Eulenburg. The
composition begins as follows:

[Illustration: O Ae-gir Herr der Flu-then dem Nix und Nex sich beugt!]

The words may be rendered as:

  "Of Aegir, Lord of the Waves,
  Whom mermaids and mermen revere."

The bars that follow rivet the attention of the listener on account of
their weird originality. They are full of feeling, very melodious,
and easily caught by the ear. Towards the close, the melody breaks off
into a purely military strain, so that the final bars are suggestive
of the sound of trumpets, recalling to mind some ancient martial
fanfare.

William has a very marked predilection for Wagnerian music, and is the
life and soul of the "Potsdam-Berlin Wagner Society," which is one of
the most influential social institutions of the Prussian capital.
His principal lieutenant and Adlatus in the management of this
association, which is in every sense of the word a court institution,
is Major von Chelius, who holds a commission in the kaiser's own body
regiment of Hussars of the Guard. The major is a particular favorite
of both the emperor and the empress, and he takes a very prominent
part in all the musical entertainments at court, almost invariably
playing the piano accompaniments for the singing of Princess Albert
of Saxe-Altenburg, and of Prince Max of Baden, who possesses a
rich baritone voice. The major is the composer of the popular opera
"_Haschisch,_" and has inherited his musical talents from his mother,
a Hamburger by birth. His father is a dignitary of the Court of Baden,
while his wife, a most charming woman, was, prior to her marriage, a
Fraulein von Puttkamer, a member, therefore, of the same family as the
late Princess Bismarck.

But although manifesting a preference for Wagner, the kaiser is not
averse to Mozart, or to the Italian school. "_Der Freischuetz_" is one
of his favorite operas, and while he does not care for Falstaff, he
is very fond of "_I Medici_," and greatly admires Leon Cavallo. He
possesses a very correct ear, and a most pleasing voice, and many
of his evenings are passed in trying new songs, his wife, who is an
excellent pianist, playing the accompaniment.

Though quite as passionately fond of music as the Hohenzollerns, the
Hapsburgs have achieved less distinction as composers, and even as
performers. Indeed, there are but two scions of the reigning house of
Austria, who can be said to have won any kind of fame as composers,
namely, the missing Archduke John, who was the author of an
exceedingly pretty and catchy ballet that still figures on the
repertoire of the imperial opera, and Archduke Joseph, so well known
by the name of the "Gypsy Archduke," who has done more than anyone
else in Europe to place on record, both in writing and in print,
the weird music and extraordinary quaint melodies of the Tziganes,
melodies which he has arranged exquisitely for orchestral use. True,
there is not a single archduke or archduchess in Austria and Hungary,
who does not play with taste and feeling. Indeed, music seems to be
inborn in them, and while the widowed crown princess is devoted to
her piano, on which her performances are characterized by a superb
technique, but coupled alas! with a complete absence of sentiment, her
husband, the lamented Crown Prince Rudolph, was a composer of no
mean power and seemed at times to pour forth his entire soul in the
melodies which he coaxed from this instrument. Indeed he often sat at
the piano for hours, playing, in a manner indescribably expressive and
touching, airs improvised on the spur of the moment, which, while they
remained impressed on the minds and ears of those present, would seem
to fade at once from the memory of the prince himself. His was what
may be called a true genius for music.

The member of the House of Hapsburg most famous in the annals of music
of the present century, was undoubtedly that Archduke Rudolph, son of
Emperor Leopold II., who died a cardinal. He was the protector, the
friend and disciple of Beethoven, many of whose most famous works,
would assuredly have remained unwritten had it not been for the fact
that he received the same powerful support, both material and moral,
from the imperial cardinal as Richard Wagner obtained from King Louis
of Bavaria.

With regard to Archduke Joseph, the above-mentioned "Gypsy Archduke,"
there is no doubt that without him the outer world would still have
been left in ignorance of the incalculably rich mine of Tzigane music.
He is only distantly related to Emperor Francis-Joseph, being the
senior member of a branch of the house of Hapsburg which has been
settled for more than one hundred years in Hungary. His father's
entire life was spent there, where he held the office of Viceroy, and
it is there that Archduke Joseph himself was entirely brought up, and
where he has spent his whole existence.

At an early age he was attracted to the gypsies by their music, and it
was this that led him to think of their welfare, and to devote himself
to the study of the characteristics, the history and the origin of
these mysterious nomads. Until he took them under his protection, they
were regarded more or less as pariahs of Central and Southern Europe,
the hand of every man being against them, and the authorities and
people at large combining to subject them to persecution of the most
cruel character. Their gratitude to the archduke when he obtained
better treatment for them knew no bounds, and was shown, among other
instances, in a notable manner during the Austro-Prussian. war, when
Joseph was at the head of a division of Magyar troops.

"Our retreat," so the archduke tells the story, "before the advance of
the Prussian army, immediately preceding the battle of Sadowa, led
us to camp one night in the neighborhood of a town in Bohemia. I was
lodged in a peasant's cottage, when about midnight I heard the
sentry at my door hoarsely challenging some new-comer. My aid-de-camp
entered, and reported that a gypsy wanted to see me in private.

"On my asking the dusky visitor in Romani what was the matter, he told
me that the enemy was approaching to surprise us.

"'The outposts have not heard anything suspicious?' I remarked.

"'No, your imperial highness,' he replied, 'because the enemy is still
a long way off.'

"'But how do you know this?' I asked.

"'Come to the window,' replied the Zingari, leading me forward to the
narrow glazed opening in the rough wall, and directing my gaze to the
dark sky, lighted by the silver rays of the moon. 'Do you see those
birds flying over the woods towards the south?'

"'Yes, I see them. What of it?'

"'What of it? Do not birds sleep as well as men? They would certainly
not fly about at night-time thus had they not been disturbed. The
enemy is marching through the wood southwards, and has frightened and
driven the birds before it.'

"I at once ordered the outposts to be reinforced, and the camp to be
alarmed. Two hours later, the outposts were fighting fiercely with the
foe, and I was able to realize that my camp and my division had been
saved from surprise and destruction only by the keen observation and
sagacity of a grateful gypsy."

The archduke spent a large sum of money, some years ago, in
endeavoring to turn the gypsies from their nomadic life, and to induce
them to settle down, in order to devote their time and energies to the
practice of the wonderful art of working metal, which they possess to
so marked a degree, instead of roaming aimlessly about, and sometimes
thieving, as is unfortunately their habit. He built a number of
villages for them in the district surrounding Presburg, and organized
gypsy settlements. But the scheme proved a failure. The Tziganes, true
to the instincts that they have inherited from countless generations,
abandoned the comfortable houses, the fields and blossoming gardens
with which they had been provided by their imperial benefactor. They
refused to till the soil, and commenced once more their interminable
wanderings.

In spite of this fiasco, the archduke still continues to consider
himself as the protector of the Romanys, and remains proud of his
title of "Gypsy Prince," being sagacious enough to realize that it
is impossible for a race to eradicate from their character, in a
comparatively short space of time, traits that have been theirs for
hundreds, nay thousands of years; for the origin of these gypsies is
still shrouded in mystery and lost in the gloom of prehistoric ages,
although it is probable that they are of Persian descent.

While Emperor William's taste as regards music meets with very
widespread approval, and his gifts as a composer are very generally
recognized, he has been less fortunate with regard to other branches
of art; notably in the matter of painting, where he finds himself in
frequent conflict with his people, especially with the great painters
of his empire. Of all the muses there is none so truly democratic as
that of pictorial art. The pictorial muse displays a truly republican
intolerance of control on the part of either king or government. Hence
it is only natural that Germany, which has produced in the past,
and still possesses, so many world-famed painters and architectural
designers, should strongly resent the kaiser's assumption of the
supreme arbitership in all matters relating to art. His subjects
submitted to his claim of "_Regis voluntas suprema lex_," in matters
connected with the administration of the government, in diplomacy,
in the drama, in music, and in literature, but they deny his power to
impose upon them his taste in pictorial art.

It is no exaggeration to state that the emperor is in almost perpetual
conflict, and at open war with the great majority of German painters
and designers--a notable exception being the case of Professor von
Menzel. Indeed, their discontent occasionally breaks forth with
an intensity altogether new in the annals of German loyalty to the
throne. A very remarkable instance thereof is the means which they
adopted to show their disapproval of the emperor's treatment of
Wallot, the designer of the palace of the imperial parliament. Wallot
is universally recognized as the foremost architect of the age in
Germany, and his original design for the building, as accepted by
the authorities, was a very grandiose and magnificent conception.
Financial considerations necessitated the modification of some of the
features of the building, while others were forced upon the architect
sorely against his will by the emperor, with the result that the
palace is not quite so superb as originally projected. It remains,
however, a magnificent and imposing pile, well worthy of the purpose
for which it has been erected, and in no way a displeasing monument of
German art and architecture as understood in the nineteenth century.

All the recognized authorities, both Teuton and foreign, in questions
of art and architecture, have pronounced themselves in this sense,
the only discordant note being that to which the emperor has given
utterance. Not only has he publicly declared the new Reichshaus to
be "the very acme of bad taste," but he even went to the length of
striking the designer's name from the list of gold medalists at the
exhibition of art and architecture held at Berlin shortly after the
completion and inauguration of the building. The gold medal had been
voted to Herr Wallot by a jury composed of all the most celebrated
artists in Germany, whose verdict, representing that of the nation,
might have been considered as definite and final. The kaiser, however,
when the list was submitted to him for final approval, substituted,
in lieu of the name of Professor Wallot, that of his favorite
portrait painter, Madame Palma Parlaghy, whose work is, in the eyes of
Germany's leading artists, so execrable that the hanging committee of
the Berlin Academy have repeatedly refused to accord places to any of
her pictures on its walls.

Madame Parlaghy is a pupil of Makart and of Lenbach, and a native of
Hadji-Dóròg, in Hungary. She is between thirty and forty, possessed
of glittering, enigmatic eyes, highly-colored cheeks and lips, and the
almost too profuse head of hair that one sees so often on the shores
of the Danube. Her beauty may, nevertheless, be described as majestic,
and she conveys the idea of being a woman possessed of considerable
strength of mind, as well as much diplomacy. She was first recommended
to the emperor by the present Czarina of Russia, to whom she gave
drawing lessons, prior to the marriage of the empress, and after
William had obtained an idea of her skill by a very pleasing portrait
which she painted of Field Marshal von Moltke, which was, however,
rejected by the hanging committee of an art exhibition at Berlin, he
purchased the picture in question for a large sum, and likewise gave
her an order to paint several portraits of himself, declaring openly
that if the judgment of the leading Berlin artists were to be final in
the matter of admitting paintings to public galleries and exhibitions,
there would never be a single work of art worthy of the name on view.
Madame Parlaghy's portraits of the emperor, though questionable as
works of art, are, it must be confessed, very flattering likenesses of
his majesty.

It was shortly after this slight inflicted by the emperor on Professor
Wallot, and the honor conferred upon Madame Parlaghy, that the
National Society of Architects and the National Association
of Artists, the two principal organizations of the kind in
Germany--composed of all that is most eminent in the realms of
architecture and art--jointly invited Professor Wallot to a great
banquet in Berlin, at which over six hundred guests were present, in
the course of which William was guyed in a most merciless manner! The
chief ornament on the principal table was a model of the Reichshaus in
"Schwarzbrod," cheese and confectionery. The dome consisted of a Dutch
cheese, the "Germania" on the top was represented by a smartly aproned
chambermaid on horseback, the horse being led by a footman in imperial
livery, while the whole was labeled "Der gipfel des geschmack,"--the
acme of taste. Another item of the programme was a sort of automatic
machine, which, when a gold medal was placed in the slot, would
perform "Der gesang an Ihr,"--the song to her--meaning, of course,
Madame Parlaghy.

The joke, I need hardly say, consisted in the parodying of the title
of the emperor's musical composition "Sang am Aegir!" The
lustre hanging from the ceiling, which is known in Germany as a
"Kronleuchter" was in the form of an old crinoline. At the entrance to
the banqueting hall hung the representation of a gold medal, which
a lady painter was trying in vain to grasp. The tone of the speeches
throughout the evening was in thorough keeping with the decorations,
and it is doubtful whether such a bold exhibition of independence,
and even disloyalty towards the sovereign, has ever been seen in the
Prussian capital. It speaks well for William's good sense that he
should have refrained from proceeding against any of the organizers of
the entertainment on the ground of _lése majesté_.

There is, as I stated above, one Prussian painter, however, of whom
the kaiser is exceedingly fond, whose eminence in art is acknowledged,
not only in Germany, but all the world over, and upon whom William
has lavished the highest honors that it is in his power to bestow. The
painter in question is Professor von Menzel; popularly known in Berlin
as "His Little Excellency," owing to his diminutive size, his stature
being about four feet nine inches! Professor Menzel, who is of the
most humble origin, is to-day a Knight of the Order of the Black
Eagle, which is the Prussian equivalent of the English Order of the
Garter, or of the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece, this
decoration carrying with it a patent of hereditary nobility. He is now
considerably over eighty, but from his twelfth year he has earned his
living by means of his brush and palette. All his principal paintings
are devoted to the illustration of historic episodes of Prussian
history and of the reigning house of Hohenzollern. One of his
masterpieces is entitled "The Flute Concert," and represents Frederick
the Great in his palace at Sans-Souci, at a concert with the principal
members of court and his household around him.

One evening the emperor sent for old Menzel, and asked him to join the
royal family at Sans-Souci. When the little painter alighted he was
conducted to the imperial presence, and was somewhat astonished
to notice that the sentinels at the various doors instead of being
arrayed in their ordinary uniform, wore the military garb of the time
of Frederick the Great. But his surprise developed into downright
amazement, when at length two folding-doors were thrown open, and he
found himself in the same apartment which had furnished the scene of
his painting of "The Flute Concert." The room was lighted, as in
olden times, with wax candles, the old-time furniture was disposed
identically as represented in his painting, and, moreover, the company
assembled was composed of men in the costumes of the time of Frederick
the Great, and of ladies attired in the picturesque dress of the
middle of the last century. There advanced to welcome the astounded
artist a personage who, but for the moustache, was the very image
of Frederick the Great, and in whom the little professor had
some difficulty to recognize the kaiser. William greeted him with
old-fashioned courtesy, using the elaborate politeness of our great
grandfathers, and after having presented the little painter to all
the guests, the ladies curtsying deeply in the fashion of the Court of
Versailles, and the men bowing low, Menzel was led by the emperor to
a seat beside the empress, and the emperor's private band, whose
uniforms were in perfect keeping with the costumes of the guests,
played first of all several of Frederick the Great's compositions for
the flute, and then a few of Bach's loveliest _morceaux_. The emperor
himself remained standing beside the little painter's chair throughout
the entire concert, the empress alone and some of her ladies being
seated, while the remainder of the fair guests, as well as all the
men, stood about the apartment endeavoring as far as possible to group
themselves in the same way as the personages figuring in Menzel's
painting. After the concert was finished, the company adjourned to an
adjoining room, Menzel occupying the place of honor to the right of
the empress, while the emperor toasted the little fellow with more
than ordinary eloquence and cordiality.

It is doubtful whether any sovereign has ever gone to such lengths
in order to honor the leading artist of his dominions, and it is
difficult to speak too highly of the delicacy of the compliment, or of
its originality. It might have been sufficient to turn the head of
any other painter than Menzel. But while he is devoted to the reigning
family there is certainly no one who is less of a courtier. In fact he
is terribly outspoken, and never hesitates to speak to his sovereign
with the fearless sincerity of a Diogenes. Of a truth, there is no end
to the stories current, illustrating his independence of character.
Once, having been commissioned by the grandfather of the present
kaiser, namely, old Emperor William, to paint a picture of his
coronation as King of Prussia, he reproduced with too much exactitude,
and too little flattery, the features of the emperor's exceedingly
vain and by no means youthful consort, Empress Augusta. Her majesty
insisted that he should alter his portrait of her, and render it
more attractive, but this Menzel absolutely refused to do, and the
consequence was that the empress on numerous occasions made him feel
the weight of her displeasure.

The old painter bided his time, and eventually got even with her in
a very characteristic fashion. Being entrusted with the task of
reproducing on canvas the scene of the emperor's departure for the
seat of war in 1870, he portrayed the Empress Augusta with her face
entirely concealed in her handkerchief, as if weeping, although she
prided herself on not having shed a single tear on that occasion.

Another time during the life of old Field Marshal Wrangel, a lady of
the court, more famous for her vanity than her beauty, complained
to him that Menzel had done her scant justice in a large picture
representing some important event of contemporary court history.
Wrangel, who was famous as a brow-beating bully of the good old
Prussian type,--people trembling at the mere sight of him,--promised
to see Menzel, and to make him change the portrait of the lady to a
more flattering likeness. Greatly to his surprise, however, when he
broached the subject to Menzel, he discovered that the latter greatly
resented such meddlesomeness. Indeed, Menzel even had the temerity to
suggest that field marshals would do far better to attend to subjects
that they knew something about than to the art of painting, of which
they knew nothing. Wrangel flared up, so did Menzel, and soon the
air was blue with finely characterized and bona-fide Prussian oaths,
punctuated with the angry sarcasms of the enraged painter. The upshot
of the interview was that Wrangel, who had never before turned his
back on an enemy, was compelled to beat an ignominious retreat without
having accomplished his object; but before disappearing through the
door of the studio, he turned and positively yelled at the painter:

"You are a disgusting little toad, and your picture is vile."

While most of the members of the House of Hapsburg paint and sketch
with a good deal of cleverness and skill, there is only one, namely,
the now widowed Archduchess Maria-Theresa, who can be regarded as an
artist in every sense of the word. She excels alike with the chisel
and the brush, while during the lifetime of her husband, her salon
became, in spite of the strictness of Austrian court etiquette,
the one place where eminent artists were certain to find a cordial
welcome, irrespective of birth or social status.

The studio of the archduchess is situated on the second floor of her
palace, in the Favoritenstrasse, and is a very lofty, long and narrow
apartment, looking out on the street. It is particularly remarkable
for its simplicity, presenting therein a powerful contrast to the
magnificence of the two salons through which it is necessary to pass
in order to reach it. The few stools, tabourets, armchairs and divans
therein contained, are upholstered with soft-toned Oriental rugs, the
walls are hidden by some sort of olive-colored velvety fabric, and
the wall opposite the windows is divided in the middle by a species
of gallery, the exquisite wood carvings of which were brought by
the archduchess herself from Meran. The parqueted floors are partly
concealed by the skins of tigers and polar bears, shot in the Arctic
regions and in India by her brother, Dom Miguel, Duke of Braganza, the
legitimist pretender to the throne of Portugal, while on easels, and
suspended from the walls, are oil-color portraits by the archduchess
of Baroness C. Kolmossy, to whom she is indebted for her knowledge of
painting, of her husband, the late Archduke Charles-Louis, and of her
sister-in-law, the lamented Empress Elizabeth, in riding habit and in
ball-dress.

There is also a very pretty picture of a cat in the act of effecting
its escape from the basket in which it had been confined, and
a wonderful crayon sketch of Maria-Theresa's stepson, Archduke
Francis-Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The
colossal fire-place niched in one of the corners of the studio, is
surmounted, not by a mirror, but by a panel of well-nigh priceless
Oriental embroidery, the brilliant colors of which have been softened
and rendered harmonious and mellow by age.

The doors are draped by portieres of Flemish tapestry, and shielded
by Mucharabieh screens of curiously-carved wood from Cairo. Preserved
from dust and damage beneath plate-glass are some unique pieces of
antique Venetian point lace, presented by another brother-in-law, Don
Alfonso of Spain, the younger brother of the Pretender Don Carlos,
while on a huge square writing-table, the equipments of which are
of Oriental gold filigree-work, richly jewelled, are usually
found letters either to or from the favorite brother-in-law of the
archduchess, Duke Charles-Theodore of Bavaria, the celebrated oculist,
who during the course of his practice has performed more than three
thousand successful operations for cataract without accepting a single
penny-piece by way of remuneration.

True, the patients of this royal physician are nearly all of them poor
people, and it is for their benefit that he has converted one of his
castles into an ophthalmic hospital, and another palace into a species
of convalescent home and resort, where poor gentlefolk and government
servants with inadequate means can spend a couple of weeks in the
country free of all cost.

It is difficult to refrain from a deep degree of sympathy for this so
brilliant and accomplished Archduchess Maria-Theresa, whose character
is best illustrated by the fact that she is literally worshipped by
her grown-up step-children. The sudden death of her husband was not
only a cruel bereavement, but was also the destruction of great and
much-cherished ambitions.

Through the death of Crown Prince Rudolph, her husband, as next
brother to Emperor Francis-Joseph, became heir to the throne, and
owing to the refusal of Empress Elizabeth to take any part whatsoever
in court life, the archduchess was from that moment, to all intents
and purposes, the "first lady in the land." It was she who presided
at all court ceremonies and official functions, who received the
presentations, and who filled the post of empress alike at Vienna
and at Pesth. Her husband was entirely swayed by her, and completely
subject to her influence, and it is notorious that she looked for the
day when, through his accession to the throne, she would become
the virtual ruler of the great dual empire, and be in a position to
inaugurate all sorts of political ideas, peculiar to herself, notably
in connection with a reversal of Austria's present foreign policy. She
has never made any secret of her disapproval of the Austrian alliance
with Italy, and has even gone so far as to attend with her husband
public meetings in favor of the restoration of the temporal power of
the Papacy, at which King Humbert was bitterly denounced and abused
as a usurper! There seemed no reason whatsoever why her consort should
not live to succeed his elder brother, and as the archduke possessed
a singularly strong constitution, and had scarcely suffered a single
hour's illness since his childhood, there was no cause to fear any
untoward event. Indeed he might have been alive at the present moment
had it not been for his unfortunate pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where
in some way he contracted the malady which carried him off so very
suddenly. He enjoys the distinction of being the only member of his
house whose whole body reposes in the vault of the Capuchin Church
at Vienna, where so many hundred Hapsburgs sleep, some in coffins of
silver and gold, others in caskets of exquisitely ornamented copper.
According to a very gruesome custom in vogue with the reigning house
of Austria for many centuries, the heart is extracted from the body of
the imperial dead within twenty-four hours after their demise, placed
in a silver urn filled with spirits of wine, hermetically sealed, and
then conveyed with the utmost pomp and ceremony, though at night,
to the old cathedral of St. Stephen, where it is received with much
solemnity by the clergy, and placed in niches of the wall, near the
high altar. The entrails are in the same way removed, and conveyed
with identically the same ceremonies to the ancient church of the
Augustines, and it is only what is left that is buried in the vaults
of the Capuchin Church.

Archduke Charles-Louis did not relish this extraordinary yet
traditional treatment of his remains after death, and fervently
believing in the resurrection of the body in the flesh, thought it
distinctly uncanny that his heart and his entrails should each have
to go hunting through the city for his body on the Day of Judgment.
Accordingly, he was laid to rest just as he died, instead of being
entombed, like all the other members of the House of Hapsburg, in
sections.



CHAPTER XI


If I have refrained in the preceding chapter from making any mention
of the attainments of the Dowager Empress Frederick, either as
a sculptor or as a painter, it is because she is so immeasurably
superior to all other royal personages in the realms of art that she
can no longer be regarded as a mere amateur, no matter how clever.
Besides this, her individuality is so strong, her intellectual gifts
so great, and the part which she has played in German politics so
important that she really deserves separate treatment.

If I link her name with that of her daughter-in-law, Empress
Augusta-Victoria, it is because the latter's influence on German
affairs has been even still more weighty, though she is far less
brilliant and clever than her husband's mother. Indeed my readers
after perusing this chapter may feel disposed to ask themselves
whether ordinary intelligence in high places does not work more
successfully than genius.

It is difficult to describe Empress Frederick as anything else than
a genius. Certainly I have never known a more gifted woman. The
diversity, the scope, and the depth of her knowledge are simply
amazing. In conversation it is difficult to broach any subject, no
matter what it is, that she has not mastered. Her acquaintance with
the mediaeval, Renaissance and modern schools of painting, and with
every form and work of art industry is unsurpassed even by those men
who have devoted their entire lives to these studies. I have on one
and the same evening heard her converse on Venetian art with Ludovic
Passini, proving herself his equal in her astounding knowledge of
Venice, past and present; talk with a distinguished physician, who was
amazed by the theoretical knowledge which she displayed of the throat
and breathing organs, and who declared that if she had only had
practical experience, she would have been the finest throat specialist
in the world; and discuss literature with a celebrated Englishman of
letters, chiding him upon his admitting his inability to cap a passage
from Pope, which she quoted! The late Sir Richard Wallace, than whom
no one possessed a more profound knowledge of the masterpieces of the
painters, goldsmiths, jewelers and potters of bygone centuries, was
wont to declare that Empress Frederick surpassed him as an expert,
although, with unlimited wealth at his disposal, he had devoted more
than half a century of his life to the collection of "chefs d'oeuvre"
in all parts of the world.

The depth of her researches into chemical science exceeds that of Lord
Salisbury, who is her most intimate personal friend in England, and
at whose Elizabethan country seat she invariably visits when in her
native country, most of her time while under his roof being spent with
him in his laboratory. But it is particularly as an artist, both with
brush and chisel, that she excels, and while as a painter she ranks
with some of the leading professional masters of the present day, as a
sculptor she surpasses anything achieved or even attempted as yet by a
woman.

The subject which naturally stimulates her most to artistic effort is
the portraiture of her fondly-loved husband. His memory, although he
has been dead eleven years, is so fresh in her mind, her eye is so
capable of recalling his image, and her hand is so well trained to
follow her impressions, and to reproduce what she can visualize, that
no sculptor could vie with her in reproducing his splendid form and
manly features. She once gave a commission to the celebrated German
sculptor Uphues for a colossal statue of "Unser Fritz," and calling
at the artists' studio, whilst he was at work on his clay model, she
pointed out to him some points in which he had not caught the right
expression. Verbal explanations not adequately conveying her meaning,
she asked permission to use the roughing chisel, set to work, and
in half an hour with a touch here and a touch there, modified the
features to such a degree that the sculptor was astounded at the
striking improvement. The model has since been transferred to marble,
and is universally considered to be the best portrait extant of
Emperor Frederick.

No greater tribute to her brilliancy and penetration in the matter
of statecraft could possibly be given than the undisguised and openly
acknowledged animosity with which she was, throughout her married
life, regarded by the late Prince Bismarck, who feared her more than
all his masculine rivals and opponents together. She was a political
foe worthy in every respect of his steel, for she repeatedly
checkmated his moves; and if he sometimes spoke of her with a
brutality and a degree of vehemence altogether out of place, this
must be regarded as more in the light of a compliment than as an
intentional piece of discourtesy, as it was a virtual admission of
the fact that her opposition to his projects was of altogether too
masculine and virile a character to admit for one moment of his
according to her that forbearance and chivalrous deference which men
as a rule are wont to concede to women as a tribute to their sex. She
fought him unceasingly, from the time when he violated the Prussian
constitution, shortly before the war with Denmark, until the day
when through her efforts and statecraft he was driven from office,--a
vanquished foe. He had used in vain every weapon against her that his
ingenuity could devise. He had even gone so far as to publicly charge
her with treason in betraying to the English, and through them to
the French, military secrets which had been imparted to her by her
husband, during the war of 1870. He had, in short, done everything
that lay in his power to prevent her husband from succeeding to the
crown, mainly, as he admitted, with the object of preventing her from
sharing the throne as empress; and after having grossly insulted
her in the presence of her dying, voiceless and helpless husband
by refusing to transact any state business, or to communicate any
confidential reports to the monarch as long as she was in the room,
he incited her eldest son, whose mind he had deliberately poisoned
against her, to take steps which could only intensify the sorrow of
the grief-stricken woman immediately after her so fondly loved husband
had been taken from her.

Yet she carried the day in the end, and her son is now the very first
to acknowledge his mother's cleverness and the fact that she showed
herself more than a match in statecraft for the man reputed as the
greatest statesman of the century, namely, Bismarck.

One of the cleverest of the many clever things that she did, was the
manner in which she brought about the fall of Bismarck. She was too
shrewd to dream of exercising any direct pressure on her son. It was
done indirectly, and with so much diplomacy, that William never dreamt
at the time of dismissing the iron chancellor that he was playing his
mother's game. Abstaining from any steps towards a reconciliation
with her son, she merely took advantage of the kaiser's visit to
Westphalia, to place in his path his old tutor, Professor Hintzpeter,
a pedagogue of whom William had been very fond, and whose teachings
had left a deep impression upon the mind of his imperial pupil. The
empress knew the professor's characteristics, his fads, and his views.
She likewise recognized and understood, as only a mother can do, the
complex character of her son, and she foresaw the effects that
were likely to be achieved by bringing the two men once more into
communication with each other.

Like William II., Hintzpeter is full of contrasts, for while on the
one hand he has always professed the most advanced radical and even
socialistic doctrines,--doctrines with which he impregnated the mind
of his princely charge,--yet he would tolerate no familiarity or
condescension on his part towards inferiors, and was even wont to
force William to wash his hands when he had so far forgotten himself
as to shake hands with anyone of a subordinate or menial rank. Another
trait of character of Professor Hintzpeter, is his firm conviction
that difficulties, no matter how vast and intricate, are always
capable of being settled and satisfactorily arranged by means of
eloquent phrases and good intentions.

At the time when William renewed his acquaintance, in the capital of
Westphalia, with his old tutor, the socialistic and labor problems
were engaging the attention not merely of Germany, but likewise of
all Europe. Prince Bismarck was in favor of a continuance of harsh
measures with regard to labor, and of persecution of the most
resentless nature so far as the socialists were concerned. Hintzpeter,
full of his former sympathies for autocracy and socialism at one and
the same time, called William's attention to the fact that Bismarck's
policy had merely had the effect of vastly increasing the strength of
the socialists as a factor in German politics, and of rendering the
labor difficulties more acute. He, therefore, suggested to the emperor
the idea that he should endeavor to solve both problems by means of
an international congress, under his own presidency, at which means
should be devised for reconciling the interests of socialism with the
state, and those of capital with labor.

William, with all his common-sense and cleverness, has inherited
from his ancestress, Queen Louise, and one might almost say from his
grand-uncle, King Frederick William IV., a very strongly developed
tendency towards idealism. It was to this phase of his nature that the
recommendation of Professor Hintzpeter particularly appealed, and the
more he considered the matter, the more he discussed it with his old
tutor, the more convinced he became that it was in his power to solve
the difficulties of both socialism and labor, and thus to earn the
gratitude, not only of his own people, but of the entire civilized
world.

Of course, Prince Bismarck immediately realized the Utopian character
of the scheme, saw its impracticability, and proceeded to condemn it
with more than his ordinary irritability and _brusquerie_. Finding,
however, that the emperor was not to be argued out of the idea of
holding a labor conference, he proceeded to ridicule it, and what was
worse, to cause it to be scoffed at and treated with derision as
the vaporings of an inexperienced and altogether too generous-minded
youth, in German as well as foreign papers, which William knew derived
their inspiration from the chancellor's palace in the Wilhelmstrasse.

All this served to embitter the relations between the emperor and the
prince. The latter perceived that the kaiser was getting beyond his
control, and was subject to other influences, while the emperor
now commenced to appreciate the extent to which, he had been made
subservient to the policy and to the wishes of his chancellor.
Meanwhile the necessity became apparent of taking some immediate
step, one way or another, in connection with the prolongation of the
exceptional measures against the socialists which were just expiring.
The chancellor was determined that they should be renewed, while the
emperor felt that, with the international congress coming on, he would
be handicapped in his rôle of arbitrator, and his good faith would
justly be suspected by the socialists were he to consent to the
continuance of repressive measures against them that were extra-legal,
that is to say, beyond the laws of the land, and as such, strictly
speaking, unconstitutional.

Finally, William discovering that Bismarck was negotiating with the
various party leaders, notably with the late Dr. Windhorst, leader of
the Catholic party in the Reichstag, with a view to the prolongation
of the anti-socialist measures, made up his mind to dismiss him, and
called for his resignation for having ventured to negotiate with the
opposition leaders in the Reichstag, without his knowledge or consent,
in order to obtain their support to a measure about which he had
expressed his disapproval. That was the real cause of Bismarck's fall,
despite all other stories current on the subject, and had not Empress
Frederick engineered the meeting in the Westphalian capital between
her son and his former tutor, it is possible that Prince Bismarck
might have died in office.

It is scarcely necessary to remind my readers that, as predicted by
the old chancellor, the international labor congress resulted in
a fiasco, while the emperor ultimately became so embittered by the
failure of the socialists to appreciate his kindly intentions towards
them, that he now regards them as his most bitter enemies, and
practically calls upon every soldier who joins the army to be prepared
to use his rifle, not only against the enemies from without, but also
against the enemies within--that is, the socialists.

Naturally William to-day regrets that he permitted himself to be
talked into any such schemes as the reconciliation of the socialists
with the crown, and of capital with labor, and Professor Hintzpeter,
while retaining the affection of his former pupil, has long ceased to
enjoy his confidence as a political adviser. He is no longer looked
upon in the light of a German Richelieu, as the foreign newspapers
were wont to describe him when he was at the climax of his power,
and he no longer possesses anything in common with his Russian
counterpart, Professor Pobiedenotsoff, except in a singular
peculiarity of appearance. Indeed, Hintzpeter's looks invite
caricature. He is lanky, ungainly and lantern-jawed, and seems like
a man who has never been young, and who has not yet obtained the
venerability of old age. His manners are exceedingly ungracious, and
even repellent, but when once he becomes interested in a discussion
he seems to undergo an entire transformation. He is no longer the same
man, and gives one at that moment the impression of being nothing but
a bundle of seething nerves, the vibrations of which seem to extend
to, as well as to influence, all those who are within range of his
voice.

The Empress Frederick was shrewd enough to keep in the background all
the time! She took no part in the fight between her son and Prince
Bismarck, and was particularly careful to avoid identifying herself in
any way with Professor Hintzpeter. The result was that the kaiser did
not dream of ascribing to her any responsibility for the mistake into
which he had been led by his former tutor.

As foreseen by Empress Frederick, with Prince Bismarck once in
retirement and disgrace, and the emperor disposed to reverse the
entire Bismarckian policy, it commenced to dawn upon his majesty that
among other errors into which he had been led by his ex-chancellor was
his own harshness and unfriendliness towards his mother. It was
while under this impression that he took the first steps towards
a reconciliation with the imperial widow, who, by showing herself
particularly affectionate and amiable, made her son feel still more
bitterly the unfilial nature of the conduct which he had been led
by Bismarck to adopt until then towards his mother. The friendly
relations thus established between mother and son have subsisted
ever since, and the emperor does not disdain now to seek Empress
Frederick's advice in a number of matters, having realized how clever
she is, while there is no one whose approval he values more highly
than hers. Most people are in the habit of portraying the Empress
Frederick as a woman embittered and soured by disappointment. Yet if
the truth were known, there are few whose existence at the present
moment is of a more ideal character, She has lost a noble and devoted
husband, but this bereavement must, to a certain extent, have been
softened by the genuine sorrow manifested by all, not only in his
own country, but throughout the civilized world, when he died. Her
marriage was a singularly happy one, unclouded by even the faintest
difference of opinion with her consort, and she is now enjoying a
delightfully contented eventide of life.

She resides during the greater part of the year in a home constructed
in one of the loveliest portions of Germany, near Homburg, according
to her own designs, and her own ideas; she possesses a vast fortune,
which renders her independent of all her relatives, and which she is
free to spend as she wishes. With all her sons and daughters married,
she has no domestic cares of her own, and is at liberty to order her
mode of existence as she pleases, unhampered by any obligations or
restrictions, save those which her son may see fit to impose. Her rank
is of the highest, for she is the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria,
and the mother of the present German emperor, besides which she has
the status and title of an empress-queen. In fact, she has the rank
of a sovereign, without any of the responsibilities that are
attached thereto, and while she may have experienced, at one moment,
disappointment at being deprived by her husband's premature death
of engineering a number of political, social and economic reforms in
Germany, upon which she had set her heart, yet she cannot but have
realized by this time that her existence as an empress-dowager is
infinitely more agreeable than that of an empress-regent would have
been, for had she been at the present moment seated by her husband's
side on the throne, she would have found no time to devote to those
arts and sciences to which she is so passionately devoted, and which
nowadays occupy the greater portion of her life.

In spite of being a great-grandmother, Empress Frederick is still
in splendid bodily health and vigor. She rides on horseback daily in
summer, and in winter spends a considerable amount of time skating
on the ice. She is not handsome, and, in fact, has never been even
pretty, but has always had a bright, intelligent and pleasing face.
Moreover, she has inherited her mother's peculiarly melodious voice.
Unfortunately, she is imperious, and intolerant of stupidity; it is
this, coupled with her lack of tact, which is responsible for her
unpopularity.

In spite of all her philanthropy, her generosity, and her cleverness,
and notwithstanding the blamelessness of her life, she is not liked
by the people of her adopted country, and this, while it has not
prevented her from playing a preponderant rôle in German politics,
as above described, has proved an obstacle to her exercise of any
influence upon the German people. After all, this absence of tact may
be excused, for it is usually wanting in people of genius. She is very
tender-hearted, and will not, if she can prevent it, allow any living
thing on the estate to be disturbed or killed.

No description of Empress Frederick seems complete without adding
thereto a brief reference to the grand-master of her court, Count
Seckendorff, who may be said to have devoted his entire life to her
service, and to that of her husband. A scion of one of the oldest
houses of the Prussian aristocracy, and bearing a name that figures
frequently in the pages of German history, he was attached to the
household of Empress Frederick as chamberlain in the early days of her
marriage, and the only time since then when he has been absent from
her side was during the war; for the count is no mere drawing-room
soldier, as is the case with so many military men who are in
attendance on royalty. He has seen active service in the wars of
1864, 1866 and 1870, winning the iron cross for bravery in the latter
campaign, and was likewise attached to Lord Napier's expedition to
Abyssinia, which found its climax in the storming of Magdala, and in
the death of Emperor Theodore.

As an artist he may be said to be almost as gifted as Empress
Frederick is herself, and his paintings have won distinctions of the
highest order at many national and foreign exhibitions. Indeed, it
is this sympathy of artistic tastes that has contributed in no small
measure to the altogether exceptional position which he enjoys in
the favor and confidence of the widowed empress. He has seen all her
children grow up around her, has been the confidant of many of her
sorrows, and at a moment when both she and her dying husband were
surrounded by chamberlains and officers who were devoted to the
interests of Bismarck, and virtually traitors in the camp, he alone
remained loyal in evil as well as in happier days. Being a bachelor,
he makes his home with the empress, attends her wherever she goes,
and, after having been the object of much abuse and even calumny,--the
latter originated and circulated by the so-called "reptile
press,"--that is to say, the newspapers, domestic and foreign, drawing
pay and inspiration from Prince Bismarck,--he now enjoys the regard
and the good-will of everyone at the Courts of Berlin and Windsor,
particularly at the latter, where his lifelong devotion to the widowed
empress is keenly appreciated by her mother, Queen Victoria.

No greater contrast can be conceived than that which exists between
Empress Frederick and her daughter-in-law, the empress-regnant. Far
less brilliant than either her husband's mother or grandmother, she
has nevertheless managed to achieve, as I have remarked before, not
only an infinitely greater degree of popularity, but likewise a more
extensive influence upon the German people. Experience and history
show that ordinary sense on the throne is far more beneficial to
the population than a lofty order of intellect, and Empress
Augusta-Victoria merely offers another illustration of the truth of
this assertion. None of the queens of Prussia, nor either of the
first German empresses, can be said to have left any impress upon the
subjects of their respective husbands. There is no doubt that the
so celebrated Queen Louise of Prussia was the cause of Prussia's
receiving infinitely harsher treatment at the hands of Napoleon than
the kingdom would otherwise have experienced; while the consort of
old Emperor William, a pupil of Goethe, and famed for her culture and
accomplishments, was disliked by the people, and was just as little
in touch with them as her still more talented daughter-in-law, Empress
Frederick.

For Empress Augusta-Victoria, however, a most profound sympathy
extends throughout the length and breadth of Germany. Every housewife,
every mother, looks to her as to a model, knows that she is satisfied
to excel in her purely domestic duties, and that she does, not strive
to render herself superior to her sex by intellectual brilliancy and
scientific attainments. Thanks to this sympathy which she inspires,
and to the fact that she is looked upon by men and women alike in her
husband's dominions as the ideal of what a German "_hausfrau_" should
be, she has been able to exercise an influence of infinitely greater
importance upon the nation at large than any other consort of a
Prussian sovereign can have boasted to achieve.

It is to this estimable woman, whom some were disposed at first to
denounce as narrow-minded and witless, that must be attributed
the very strongly developed religious revival apparent throughout
Protestant Germany since the present emperor came to the throne. Prior
to the present reign, church-going was as a rule eschewed by the male
sex, women constituting the backbone of the congregation, while the
clergy of the Lutheran persuasion was looked down upon, being treated
by the territorial nobility much in the same way as upper servants,
that is to say, on a par with the farm bailiffs, the stewards and the
housekeepers In a word, religion and everything pertaining thereto was
not considered fashionable.

To-day all this is changed. Under the guidance of the empress, her
husband, reared by his broad-minded mother in the ideas of Strauss
and of Renan, has become a strict churchman, and court, nobility,
bureaucracy and in fact the middle and lower classes too, have
followed suit. Free-thinking and neglect of religious duties are
at present considered the acme of bad form in Germany. Everybody
professes the most profound interest in questions and enterprises
relating to the church, and a large number of daughters of the most
illustrious houses of the German nobility have conferred their hands
and their hearts upon penniless Lutheran pastors, whose social status
has thereby been entirely changed. Moreover, if during the past ten
years more churches have been built, particularly in Berlin, than had
been the case in the entire previous half-century, this is because
every one has become aware that the most facile way of winning
the good graces of the empress, and the favor of her consort is by
building a church, or endowing some hospital.

The empress is ever ready to help in every good work, and her private
charities are very great, but she does not approve of the higher
education or the emancipation of women, and entertains a holy horror
of everything pertaining to the female suffrage movement. Women,
according to her views, should remain in their own sphere, and should
regard their duties to their husbands, their children, and their homes
as their first and foremost obligations; the nursing of the sick,
the training of young people, and the organization and direction of
charitable institutions, affording plenty of scope for those members
of the fair sex who have no domestic tasks to occupy their time.

[Illustration: _AUGUSTE VICTORIA EMPRESS OF GERMANY_]
_From Life_

She claims that in this way a woman is able to exercise a far more
important and beneficial influence than by endeavoring to supplant
men in professions essentially masculine, and certainly she herself
constitutes a striking illustration of the truth of her contention,
for the influence of the present German empress is felt throughout the
length and breadth of the land--a gracious womanly influence in every
sense of the word.

Among the many philanthropic organizations which owe their origin to
the empress, is the Central Association of German Actresses, which has
of late years done more towards elevating the stage than has ever been
accomplished by members of the aristocracy who have seen fit to join
the dramatic profession with that avowed object in view. The work
of this society is to enable actresses to provide themselves, at the
lowest possible cost, with the costumes considered necessary by the
managers of the theatres. It is well known that while in Germany the
pieces are beautifully put on the stage, the salaries paid to the
actresses do not in many cases cover the expenses of the stage
dresses. The empress makes a point of giving all her court and evening
gowns, which were formerly the perquisites of her dressers and maids,
to the association, and has invited the ladies of the Court of Berlin
to follow her example. Those ladies who feel that they cannot afford
to give the dresses, are asked to sell them to the Association as
cheaply as possible, and the latter then turns them over at a
merely nominal cost to such ladies of the dramatic profession as are
considered worthy of support and assistance.

This organization is managed entirely by great ladies, the empress
herself acting as president, and in this manner they are brought
into personal contact with actresses both of high and low degree. The
intercourse thus established has been most beneficial, for it has
not only helped to place the social status of the stage on a more
agreeable basis, but it also constitutes an incentive to actresses
to keep their names and reputations free from blemish, since they
naturally understand that the empress and the great ladies of the
aristocracy can only treat them as friends, so long as they live up
to the same standard of respectability as that which prevails in the
highest circles of society, and at court.

One of the most valuable qualities of Empress Augusta-Victoria is her
extraordinary tact. It is due to this, more than anything else, that
she has been able to retain, not only a hold upon the affection and
regard of her impulsive and brilliant husband, but also an influence
over him without his being aware of the fact. By the leading members
of his court, and by his principal ministerial advisers, she is
regarded not merely in the light of his guardian angel, but as his
most sensible counsellor. She may be relied upon at all times to
soothe his anger, soften any bitterness which he may entertain towards
this or that person, and call forth at critical moments the most
generous and chivalrous phases of his, on the whole, very attractive
character.

She is claimed by those who know the true state of affairs to act in
the capacity of a brake and a safety-valve to her husband, and it
is no secret that both the classes and the masses feel an additional
sense of security when they know their popular empress to be by the
emperor's side; for every mistake that he has made since he ascended
the throne has taken place during her absence, and he himself is the
first to acknowledge that she is largely responsible for every success
that he has achieved.

The sentiments of the empress towards Bismarck have been much
misunderstood and misconstrued. It is perfectly true that she was
brought up from her earliest childhood to regard him as the enemy
of her house, the prince having, as I have already related, been the
author of the indefensible act of spoliation, by means of which her
father had been deprived of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, now
forming part of the kingdom of Prussia. The manner in which the Iron
Chancellor was viewed in the home of the empress when a young girl,
may best be gathered from the fact that whenever her nurses and
governesses were desirous of putting a stop to her naughtiness and
of frightening her into obedience, they would exclaim: "_Bismarck's
coming! wow! wow!_" This childhood impression has continued so
deep that even to this day, whenever the empress shows any signs of
reluctance to comply with her husband's wishes, or betrays irritation,
the kaiser is in the habit of springing upon her the familiar old cry
of "_Bismarck's coming! wow! wow!_" which at first always makes her
start as she did in infancy and girlhood, and then causes her to burst
into laughter, and restores her to good humor.

These sentiments of aversion to Bismarck were to a great extent
modified at the time of her marriage by the knowledge that it was the
chancellor who had contributed more than anybody else to facilitate
and bring about the match. The latter was opposed by many of Emperor
William's kinsfolk, as well as by influential people at court, on the
ground that her rank was inadequate to render her a suitable match for
the heir to the throne of Germany. Bismarck, however, took the ground
that a marriage between the heir presumptive and the eldest daughter
of the _de jure_ Duke of Schleswig-Holstein would go a long way
to reconcile the inhabitants of the above-named duchies to their
annexation by Prussia, while at the same time it would constitute the
reparation of an act which he himself admitted was extremely unjust,
but to which he was compelled by imperative considerations of policy.

Empress Augusta-Victoria has been so supremely happy in her married
life that she has always felt a certain amount of gratitude to
Bismarck, which tended to obliterate her childhood's impressions
against him; and no more striking indication of her sentiments towards
the famous statesman can be given than the fact that she travelled all
the way to Friedrichsrüh at a moment when the sickness of her children
demanded her presence by their bedside, in order to attend the private
and home funeral of the man who had publicly described her father
as the most stupid prince in all Europe; who had deprived him of his
throne, and who had sent him to an early grave as a broken-spirited
and thoroughly embittered man.

While the empress takes but little part in politics, on her favorite
ground, that women should have no concern whatsoever in the conduct
thereof, she has at least on two occasions, to my knowledge,
intervened in important crises. Thus in 1892, when General Count
Caprivi, having differed with William on the subject of the new
education laws, had written to tender his resignation of the office
of chancellor, the empress at once indicted an autograph letter, in
which, with expressions of mingled pathos and dignity, she appealed to
him so strongly not to desert her husband, or to subject the latter
to the anxiety, the trouble, and even the odium of another ministerial
crisis, that he at once traveled down to Hübertüsstock, where
the emperor was staying, and informed him that he withdrew his
resignation, and would remain in office.

Two years later, when Caprivi again resigned, it was largely the
personal entreaties contained in the letters which she addressed to
old Princess Hohenlohe which led to the latter's withdrawal of
the opposition that, until then, had stood in the way of Prince
Hohenlohe's acceptance of the chancellorship.

Like most other consorts of reigning sovereigns and princesses of the
blood, Empress Augusta-Victoria holds the colonelcy of a number of
Prussian and Russian regiments, whose uniform she occasionally wears
in a somewhat feminized form at those grand military reviews of which
the kaiser is so fond. Her favorite garb of this kind is the uniform
of the second regiment of Pomeranian Cuirassiers, one of the oldest
and most celebrated corps of cavalry of the Prussian army. The
regimental tunic is of snow-white cloth, and held in its place by the
silver shoulder-straps of a colonel is the orange ribbon of the Order
of the Black Eagle, which crosses her breast to the left hip, where
the jewel of the order is attached by a large rosette. The star of the
order is worn on the left breast, while just above it are a number of
smaller decorations. With this white tunic, with its silver buttons,
its silver embroidery and scarlet facings, a white cloth skirt is
worn, while in lieu of the helmet now in use by the regiment, the
empress has adopted the old-fashioned, broad-brimmed cavalier hat,
with the flowing white ostrich plumes which the officers of the corps
were wont to don in the early part of the last century. Thus attired,
the empress takes her place by the side of her husband at the saluting
point at any of the grand reviews at which she may happen to be
present, and as soon as a regiment of which she happens to be colonel
approaches, she at once canters, takes her place at its head as
commanding officer, and leads it past her husband in true military
fashion, saluting with her riding whip before returning to his side.

Sometimes she is accompanied by one or another of the emperor's
sisters, or else by the handsome young Grand Duchess of Hesse, all of
whom hold honorary colonelcies, and who appear on such occasions on
horseback and in uniform. The Grand Duchess of Hesse, who holds the
command of an infantry regiment, wears not merely the tunic, but
likewise the helmet of the corps in question, and looks particularly
fascinating on these occasions.

Empress Augusta-Victoria and her mother-in-law, the Empress Frederick,
are the only two women who have ever been admitted to the Order of the
Black Eagle, the highest order of the kingdom of Prussia, and neither
the consort of Old Emperor William nor any of the earlier queens of
Prussia, not even Queen Louise, ever received this distinction. The
innovation dates from the time of the late Emperor Frederick. The
first thing he did on becoming emperor was to take the ribbon of the
order from his own uniform and hang it across the shoulders of his
wife, in token of gratitude, and in recognition of the fact that, had
it not been for her championship and faithful guard of his interests,
Bismarck would have carried the day, and debarred him from accession
to the crown. While the emperor's action, of course, excited a good
deal of criticism amongst the older dignitaries of the order, and
among the members of the government and court, it was heartily
approved of by the world at large, as being not only well deserved,
but also a singularly pathetic demonstration on the part of the
dying monarch of his profound sense of obligation to his most devoted
consort.

When Emperor William in turn ascended the throne, he at once proceeded
to follow his father's example, and to invest his own wife with the
Black Eagle, in order to place her, as the reigning empress, upon
the same level in this particular respect, as her mother-in-law, the
dowager empress. It may be taken for granted that henceforth the Order
of the Black Eagle will remain a prerogative of all the consorts of
the kings of Prussia and emperors of Germany.

The whole youth of the empress was spent at Prinkenau, the fine
country seat of her parents, which is now owned by her brother. Those
days were varied only by visits to her uncle, Prince Christian of
Schleswig-Holstein, who makes his home in England, where he is married
to Queen Victoria's daughter Helena, and to her relatives, the Prince
and Princess Hohenlohe. The emperor first made her acquaintance during
a day's shooting at Prinkenau. He was _en route_ to the château, when,
having lost his way in the forest, he met a young girl, of whom he
inquired his whereabouts and how to proceed. This was the Princess
Augusta-Victoria, and he always declared that he fell in love with her
from that moment.

She was, therefore, a total stranger to Berlin court life and Berlin
society at the time of her marriage, and at first found it very
difficult to adapt herself to the formal etiquette by which royal
personages are surrounded at Berlin. It was here that her American
aunt, Countess Waldersee, came to her assistance, instructed her, and
acted as her mentor, not only in matters of etiquette and manner, but
in the attitude to be observed towards the various members of Berlin
society as well.

It is as a mother that the empress shows herself in one of her most
charming lights. She is, indeed, an ideal mother, and, in spite of her
manifold duties, personally supervises, not merely the education
of her children, but even every little detail connected with their
comfort and well-being. In fact the empress, as well as the emperor,
are at their best when surrounded by their children, in whose company
they spend far more time than fashionable people in less exalted
spheres of society consider it necessary or pleasant to do.

The empress is extremely economical as regards the clothing of her
children, and the suits of the elder princes are cut down to fit their
younger brothers.

With her own wardrobe the empress is equally careful, and she has a
staff of dressmakers who are always at work remodelling her gowns, so
that it is possible for her to appear in them several times without
their being recognized. On state occasions she is always superbly
dressed, and covered with the most gorgeous jewels, but when in the
country she delights in the simplest costumes; a serge skirt, a pretty
blouse, and a plain straw hat, being her favorite garb. Her
grand court costumes, as a rule, hail from Vienna, and Empress
Augusta-Victoria probably shares with her grandmother, Queen Victoria,
the distinction of being one of the two ladies, occupants of thrones,
who do not patronize any of the great Parisian couturiers.

The empress never orders her dresses herself. That is done by her
principal lady-in-waiting, who has patterns sent to the palace, from
which she selects a certain number to show the empress. When the
imperial lady has made her choice, she settles from plates the way
in which the gown is to be made, after invariably submitting her
selections to the emperor, who has excellent taste in such matters.

The empress usually breakfasts alone with the emperor. In summer,
often at the unearthly hour of six in the morning! The meal is a
substantial one, American and English, rather than Continental in
fashion, and she is apt to declare that it is the only time throughout
the entire day when she is able to discuss matters of a private or
domestic character with her husband. The imperial couple often ride
out on horseback together in the early morning, after breakfast,
before the kaiser repairs to the palace to begin his day's work at
nine o'clock. The empress looks very well on horseback, as she has an
excellent seat, and the plain habit suits her rounded figure extremely
well. Her stable is quite distinct from that of the emperor, and with
the exception of one white horse all the mounts that she uses are
brown in color.

At luncheon the emperor and empress generally have a few guests, and
it is the same at dinner, which takes place at seven in the evening.
On rising from the table, the empress frequently takes her place at
the piano to accompany the emperor, who has a fine baritone and most
expressive voice.

It is asserted by those who know the empress best, that she has kept a
diary since her earliest girlhood, in which she has set down her daily
experiences, although it is claimed that these diaries have been seen
by no one, not even by the emperor. The empress, who never fails to
write her diary every evening, keeps the precious volumes under lock
and key in a large cabinet situated in her bedroom. Perhaps some
day the personal experiences of Empress Augusta-Victoria will be
published, and while they may possibly throw light on many dark places
in the history both of the nation and the court, there is no doubt
that their revelations will be characterized by that kindliness of
heart, that forbearance, and, above all, that sound common sense which
are so conspicuous in Empress Augusta-Victoria.



CHAPTER XII


Since the days of the canonized rulers of Hungary, Bohemia, Russia,
and France, there have been no sovereigns of the Old World who have
been so distinguished for their piety and for the fervor of their
religious belief as the present Emperors of Germany and Austria, for
they both take very seriously to heart their official and liturgical
designation as the Anointed of the Lord.

It is no mere cant or hypocrisy in their case, but a profound belief
in the teachings of the Scripture in which they truly believe is to be
found the most powerful bulwark of the throne against the ever rising
tide of democracy, and the fundamental basis of the entire monarchical
system. Save for this, their manifestations of Christianity may be
said to differ.

Francis-Joseph, now in the eventide of a singularly sad and stormy
life, and of a reign that was inaugurated by a most sanguinary civil
war, reminds one, in spite of the hereditary title of "_Apostolic
Majesty_" conferred upon his forbears by the Papacy, of nothing so
much as of the publican of the parable going up to the temple to pray,
so deep and unaffected is the humility with which he approaches the
altar or kneels at the priedieu in the chapel of his palace, or beside
the tombs of those most near and dear to him.

Emperor William's piety, while equally fervent, does not give one the
same idea of self-abasement in the sight of the Almighty. It would be
unfair to compare him to that other personage of the parable, namely,
the Pharisee, for the latter was obviously lacking in sincerity;
but at the same time, William in his moments of religious fervor,
invariably recalls to mind that pretty story told by the late Alphonse
Daudet, entitled the "Dauphin's Deathbed," in which the little
boy-prince, on the eve of his departure for a happier world, responds
to the exhortations of his chaplain with the exclamation: "But
one thing consoles me, M. l'Abbé, and that is that up there in the
Paradise of the stars I shall still be the Dauphin. I know that the
good God is my cousin, and cannot fail to treat me according to my
rank!"

Emperor Francis-Joseph will be prepared, in, a future existence, to
take his place among the very humblest of his subjects, realizing that
in the eyes of the Divinity all human creatures are equal, whereas
Emperor William, on the other hand, in his heart of hearts, is
certainly convinced that there will be a special place reserved for
him above--a place in keeping with his rank here on earth. True, he
has never actually said this in so many words, but he has assuredly
indicated this belief both by his utterances and his actions. He makes
no attempt to conceal his conviction that personages of royal birth,
and, in particular, reigning sovereigns, are fashioned by the Almighty
with clay of a quality vastly superior to that employed for the
composition of ordinary human creatures.

Notwithstanding all the Spartan rigor and severity to which he was
subjected in his youth, for the purpose of dispelling exaggerated
pride of birth and station, he feels assured that the rights and
privileges which he enjoys above his fellow-men are of Divine origin.
Although a constitutional sovereign, he is never tired of declaring
that he is responsible for the performance of his duties as ruler
of Germany to the Almighty alone, and that God alone is able to
appreciate and to pass judgment upon his actions.

That Emperor William considers himself to be far nearer to the throne
of God, and in an infinitely closer degree of communion with the
Almighty than any ordinary being, is apparent from many of his public
utterances. In fact, the amazing intimacy which he professes with
his Maker, and the strange manner in which he implies that he and the
Creator have interests in common, and joint understandings that are
beyond the comprehension of ordinary mankind, would savor of downright
blasphemy, were it not for the undeniable sincerity of his Teutonic
majesty, who really regards himself as a Divine instrument. Indeed,
there is no doubt that it is this belief which he honestly entertains
that has served to keep his private life, since he ascended the
throne, so thoroughly blameless. For there is no doubt that William
does his utmost to live up to the teachings of his faith, to order
every phase of his existence in conformity with the precepts of
Christianity, and to avoid everything that could tend to impair his
status as a vice-regent of Providence in the eyes of the devout.

Few are the incidents and events of his reign to which he does not
impart a religious flavor. Thus it was only last summer, on the
completion of a new fort at Metz, that he insisted on its inauguration
taking place with much religious pomp and ceremony, and he himself
christened the fortress in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, thus calling down the blessing of the Trinity on
a stronghold, the guns of which are pointed against France, and the
success of which can only consist in the destruction of innumerable
French foes!

It is he, too, who has originated the practice of christening with
religious ceremonies the great guns furnished by Krupp for use afloat
and ashore against Germany's enemies; and on the blades of the swords
which he has presented to his elder sons, and to his favorite generals
and officers, there is invariably inscribed on the one side, "In the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," and on the
other, averse from the Bible, surmounted by the imperial cypher.

William has even gone to the length of drawing up an extraordinary
argument in defence of duelling based upon quotations taken from the
Bible. The emperor takes as the text of his argument that verse of
the writings of St. Paul, in which the Apostle declares that he would
rather die than that anyone should rob him of his good name. William
infers from this that the most eloquent and forcible of all the
fathers of the Church was prepared to fight to the death for the honor
of his name.

"Nowhere in the Bible," adds his majesty, "is there any prohibition
of duelling, not even in the New Testament, which, unlike the Old
Testament, is not a book of law. Indeed, every attempt to use the New
Testament as the basis for a new code of law has resulted in failure."

With regard to the use made by the opponents of duelling of that
law in the Old Testament which proclaims, "Thou shalt not kill,"
the emperor draws attention to another portion of the Old Testament,
wherein is mentioned that the sword shall not be carried in vain. Then
invoking St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians, in which the Apostle
exclaims: "Oh! ye foolish Galatians. This only would I learn of you.
Received ye the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of
the faith? Are ye so foolish, having begun in the spirit, that ye wish
to perfect yourselves in the flesh?"

The emperor declares that to twist the Word of God into a prohibition
of duelling is nothing else than to perfect one's self by the
flesh--that is to say to attribute an altogether material and
common-place interpretation to what is meant spiritually. He adds
that this is just as reprehensible in the eyes of the Almighty as
the attempts by the Pharisees to adapt the Mosaic law to their own
convenience, attempts which were so bitterly denounced by Christ.

Finally, the emperor generally concludes this extraordinary exposition
of his views by the following exordium:

"He who after careful self-examination finds himself compelled to
fight a duel, and whose conscience is clear of sentiments of hatred
and of vengeance, may do so in the conviction that he is in no wise
acting contrary to the Word of God, to the obligations of honor, or
to the accepted customs of society. As in battle, so also in the duel,
which has been forced upon him in one way or another, he may say to
himself: _If we live, we live in the Lord, and if we die, we die in
the Lord, Amen_."

It must be borne in mind that Emperor William delivered himself of
these utterances, not merely in his capacity of Emperor of Germany,
King of Prussia, and commander-in-chief of the entire German army, but
also in his self-assumed rôle of _Summus-Episcopus,_ or spiritual as
well as temporal chief of the Lutheran Church throughout the empire.
Such a speech was delivered on the occasion of the endeavor made by
certain members of the court circles to induce the Lutheran synod to
institute disciplinary measures against the Potsdam pastor who
had declined to accord the rites of Christian burial to Baron von
Schrader, killed in a duel by Baron Kotze, the encounter being the
outcome of the anonymous letter scandal already described. The synod,
however, thoroughly endorsed the attitude of the Lutheran minister in
question, and availed itself of the opportunity to pass a resolution
to the effect that no person killed in a combat of this kind, or even
dying from wounds received in a duel, could be regarded as having met
his death as a Christian, and as such entitled to Christian burial.

Curiously enough this view was endorsed by the gallant old General
Bronsart von Schellendorf, at that time minister of war, who, in
expressing his approval of the resolution, called upon the emperor
as commander-in-chief to take more radical steps for checking the
phenomenal growth of the practice of duelling.

William, however, declined to comply with the request, dismissed
the general shortly afterwards from office, and, on the contrary,
proceeded to condemn both the action of the synod and of the Potsdam
pastor who had declined to officiate at Baron Schrader's obsequies,
giving as the reason for his position in the matter the argument from
which I have just given some extracts.

This was by no means the first time that William found himself in
conflict with the provincial synods of the Lutheran Church in his
dominions. On one occasion the consistory of the Lutheran Church of
the Province of East Prussia, in which the imperial game preserves
of Rominten are situated, passed a unanimous vote of censure upon the
kaiser for having desecrated the Sabbath, and violated the secular
laws with regard to its observance, by giving a big hunting-party on
Sunday at Rominten. It was understood at the time that the consistory
would have abstained from taking this extreme step had it not been
for the comment excited throughout Germany by the somewhat malicious
juxtaposition in most of the newspapers of two articles, one of which
gave an elaborate description of the Sunday shooting-party of the
emperor at Rominten, while in a parallel column was a proclamation
just issued by the civil governor of the province of Westphalia,
calling attention to the lax observance of the Sunday laws, and
reiterating the pains and penalties that are prescribed by statute
for those who shoot, sing, dance, play skittles or indulge in any
recreation, whether in public or in private, that is inconsistent with
repose on Sunday.

Of course, the vote of the consistory of Eastern Prussia was
eventually quashed, and its members disciplined. But the publicity
given to the affair served to call the attention of the people at
large to the emperor's disregard of the laws which he himself had
caused to be enacted. Previous to his reign, Sunday had been looked
upon as a day of recreation, revelry, and festivity throughout
Germany.

In the days of the old emperor all the finest performances of the
court theatres were reserved for Sunday, the principal state banquets
took place on that day, as well as the imperial hunting parties and
battues. Among the _bourgeoisie_, dances, balls and picnics were the
order of the Lord's Day, while the lower classes thronged the beer
gardens and the beer halls that constitute so important a feature
of German life. Regattas, parades, race-meetings, and popular
entertainments and festivals of one kind or another, were, in fact,
all reserved for Sunday.

All this was changed when the emperor came to the throne, and among
the earliest laws enacted on his initiative, were those to which
the Governor of Westphalia called attention in the proclamation just
described, and which prohibited every form of revelry on the Sabbath.
For instance, a few months after William's accession he was invited by
the Berlin Yacht Club to attend the annual regatta, which was to take
place on the following Sunday morning, but he declined on the ground
that it would prevent his going to church, and when the committee
offered to postpone the races until the afternoon he declared that
his principles would not permit him to regard Sunday as a day to be
devoted to regattas, and analogous forms of popular entertainment.
It must be explained that he was at the time strongly imbued with
the evangelistic views which he had derived from his wife's aunt,
the American Countess of Waldersee, and from her protégé, ex-Court
Chaplain Stoecker, who combined with his strict and Puritanical views
on the subject of the Sabbath, the most intense animosity towards the
Jews, and a virulent hatred for the late Emperor Frederick.

This strange divine, so famous for many years as the leader of the
so-called "Jüdenhetz" movement, is one of the most displeasing figures
in German public life, and Emperor William, who has long since turned
his back upon him, and dismissed him from his court chaplaincy, must
bitterly regret that he ever accorded him any favor or intimacy, and
permitted himself to be influenced by his views. How is it possible to
speak with any patience of a minister of the Church who, in a weekly
paper, "The Ecclesiastical Review," of December 10, 1887, actually had
the audacity to write in an editorial article signed with his name the
following cruel sentence? "Let us pray every day and every hour for
our royal family, and in particular for the Old Man (the old kaiser)
and for the Young Man (the present emperor) of this race of heroes.
May God in His mercy grant that the terrible punishment which has
overtaken the sick Prince Frederick (the late Emperor Frederick) bear
fruit, and may it bring resignation to his mind, and peace to his
conscience."

At the moment when the article appeared, in which it was publicly
intimated that the crown prince's malady was a just and well-merited
punishment for his sins, the imperial patient, so sorely afflicted,
whose life had been so blameless, was at death's door, a fact
over which the court chaplain openly rejoiced, proclaiming that "a
brilliant future is about to open up before us."

Since William has cut himself adrift from Pastor Stoecker, the
strictness of his views with regard to the observance of Sunday, has
undergone a change. At any rate, he has modified them in so far as he
himself is concerned, and while he is very regular in his attendance
at church on Sunday morning, he no longer seems to consider it a sin
to go out sailing, shooting or hunting on Sunday afternoons, or to
attend theatrical performances or other kinds of entertainment in
the evening. Inasmuch as the Sunday Observance Laws have not been
repealed, one can only take it for granted that he considers himself
and his consort as being above the law of the land, and in no wise
bound thereby. Yet neither of their majesties has a legal right to any
such immunity. According to the terms of the Prussian constitution the
emperor and empress are just as amenable to the laws that figure in
the statute book, and equally required to obey them as any ordinary
German citizen. The only advantage that the emperor enjoys is that
he possesses certain prerogatives in connection with the giving
of evidence, and with the punishment of offences that are directed
against his person and his honor.

In this obligation to submit to the laws of the land he differs
from his grandmother Queen Victoria, and from his ally, Emperor
Francis-Joseph, the tenure of whose thrones was originally based on
what in olden times was known as the Divine right of kings. Thus, in
England, as in Austria, and even in Spain and Portugal, the mediaeval
theory still prevails that "_the king can do no wrong!_" Queen
Victoria, for instance, is not below the law like Emperor William,
but above it. No court has jurisdiction over her, and legally speaking
there is no jurisdiction upon earth to try her in a civil or criminal
way, much less to condemn her to punishment.

Of all the prerogatives enjoyed by Queen Victoria, the one, however,
of which the kaiser is the most envious is her supremacy of the state
Church of England. His ambition is to acquire the same position with
regard to the whole Lutheran Church as she enjoys over the Anglican
denomination. This dream, difficult of execution for reasons which I
will proceed to explain, originated with his great-grandfather, King
Frederick-William III., who first conceived the idea of a species of
Lutheran Kaliphate, with its headquarters at Berlin, and its Mecca at
Jerusalem.

His successor, King Frederick-William IV., took up the notion with all
the enthusiasm natural to his mystic character, and kept one of his
most trusted statesmen and confidants busily employed for years in
endeavoring to federate all the Reformed Churches, with the exception
of that of England, under the protectorate and supremacy of the
Hohenzollerns. Emperor William goes still further. He aspires to
become, not merely the temporal head of the Lutheran Church throughout
the world, but likewise its spiritual chief, its pontiff, in fact, in
the same manner that the czar is the chief ecclesiastical dignitary
and the duly consecrated spiritual head of the national Church
of Russia. William bases his claims to the dignity of a
_summus-episcopus_ on the fact that he is a titular bishop and
archbishop, some nineteen times over, for his ancestors, when annexing
the various petty states and sovereignties in bygone times, always
made a point of getting the mitre with the crown, and the crozier
with the purple and ermine. Many of the petty states of Germany in
mediaeval days were ruled, not by temporal rulers, but by archbishops
possessing the rank of sovereign and the title of prince.

The ecclesiastical dignity was, in fact, inherent, and part and parcel
of the sovereignty. Consequently, when Emperor William's ancestors
acquired the one, they likewise secured possession of the other, and
thus among his many ecclesiastical titles is that of Prince Archbishop
of Silesia, and it is in his ecclesiastical capacity that he has
conferred canonries and deaneries upon the military and civil members
of his household.

Of course, the difficulty in the way of the emperor's recognition as
the supreme head of the Lutheran Church is the fact that the Lutheran
faith is by no means confined to his dominions. Lutherans constitute
the major part of the population in Würtemberg, Saxony and Baden, as
well as in all the other non-Prussian states of the Confederation,
save Bavaria. Besides this, there are millions of Lutherans in
Austro-Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia and Scandinavia, who could not
recognize his supremacy without disloyalty to their own rulers, all
of whom, with the exception of the king of Saxony, the Czar and the
Austrian emperor, are, like himself, members of the Reformed Church.

His celebrated pilgrimage to Jerusalem a year ago, the first
pilgrimage of a German emperor to the Holy Land since the days of the
Crusades, clearly showed the trend of the kaiser's aspirations. He
had invited all his fellow-Protestant monarchs to accompany him to
Jerusalem, either in person or to send one of the princes of their
houses as their representatives, and to ride in his train when he
made his entry into the Holy City of Christendom. But not one of the
sovereigns thus invited responded to the invitation tendered, and
William had no German or foreign prince with him during this memorable
pilgrimage.

It was the most extraordinary thing of the kind that has ever been
seen, the strangeness of the affair being intensified by that same
mixture of the mediaeval with the intensely modern and up-to-date
ways which constitutes so peculiar a phase of William's character. The
emperor rode into Jerusalem by the same route as that followed by the
Founder of Christianity on the first Palm Sunday, wearing a flowing
white mantle, and mounted on a milk-white steed. He prayed at dusk
with the members of his suite in the Garden of Gethsemane, piously
kneeling on the ground, pronounced a religious discourse on the Mount
of Olives, received the Holy Communion in the Coenaculum, that is to
say, the house in which, according to tradition, Christ celebrated
the Last Supper,--nay, he even preached a full-fledged sermon on the
occasion of the dedication of the Church of the Saviour at Jerusalem,
and traveled by road from Jerusalem to Damascus! And yet, destroying
all the romance and old-time glamor that might otherwise have
surrounded this imperial crusade, was the fact that he was a
"_personally conducted" Cook's tourist_, that his meals were prepared
by French chefs, that champagne was the ordinary beverage at his
table, and that, while tramcars were used to go about Damascus, the
railroad was selected by him to get back from Jerusalem to Jaffa!

Emperor William has a weakness for preaching, and it must be confessed
that he does it well. He possesses a very ready gift of speech,
and his fervent religious belief seems to serve as a species of
inspiration to his eloquence. Thus on board the Hohenzollern, during
his annual yachting cruise along the coast of Norway, he invariably
conducts divine service on Sunday morning, taking his place in front
of an altar erected on deck, upon which the German war-flag is
spread, in lieu of an altar-cloth. Luther's hymns, accompanied by the
trombones of the band, are sung. Then the emperor reads the epistle
and the gospel with great feeling, and recites the liturgical prayers
with considerable fervor. Next he preaches a sermon, which, as a rule,
is of his own composition, and extemporary, though occasionally he
will read the sermon of some well-known pulpit orator.

It has been observed that he is always much more indulgent in cases
of inattention on the part of the congregation when he reads a
sermon than when he preaches one of his own. Any sailor who has the
misfortune to fall asleep during the discourse is disciplined, and
his name figures, of course, on the punishment roll on the following
morning, when the day's report is presented to the emperor as the
commanding officer of the ship. If the sermon has been one of his
majesty's own composition, as a rule he allows the punishment to
stand. But if the discourse happens to have been of less illustrious
origin, he will almost invariably order the penalty to be remitted,
adding, with a smile of indulgence, that "the sermon was rather
dreary, wasn't it?"

At Berlin and at Potsdam the kaiser keeps his court chaplains
under very strict discipline, and they expose themselves to a stern
reprimand if they presume to extend their pulpit orations beyond the
term of ten or, at the most, fifteen minutes. Emperor William very
justly takes the ground that if they are sufficiently concise in their
remarks, they can say all that they have to say within that space of
time, and if their discourse is prolonged beyond the stipulated period
it loses its force and its power of retaining the interest and the
attention of the congregation.

The emperor does not hesitate to call the divines to account when
they enunciate doctrines of which he does not approve, and whereas
in former reigns a court chaplaincy was regarded in the light of
an office for life, it is now considered as a merely temporary
appointment, so frequent are the dismissals.

At the Dome at Berlin, and at the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the
emperor follows the service with an air of mingled devotion and
authority that is rather amusing. While most devout and fervent in his
prayers, and joining in the hymns in such a manner that his ringing
baritone voice is easily discernible above the rest, his eyes wander
in a stern fashion around the church, quick to note any member of the
congregation who is not behaving with proper decorum and reverence. He
conveys the impression that he considers it to be his duty to keep the
congregation in proper order, and if he finds that either he, or the
imperial party is being stared at with any degree of persistency or
curiosity, he at once sends off one of his officers to sharply warn
the offenders. Indeed, he has more than once caused it to be made
known through official communications to the press that he thoroughly
disapproves of being stared at when attending church, and engaged in
his devotions.

Like William, Francis-Joseph has made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and
the Holy Land, but it was without any fuss or pomp. In fact, there are
few persons, save those connected with the Court of Austria, who are
aware that Austria's ruler ever visited the Holy Land. He went there
in 1869, traveling in the strictest incognito, and attended only
by two of his gentlemen-in-waiting and two servants, after the
inauguration of the Suez Canal, at which he had been present. There
was no solemn entry on horseback into the city that witnessed the
foundation of Christianity, and while he prayed at the Holy Places
like Emperor William, he did so quietly and unobtrusively, without
attracting any attention. His pilgrimage was characterized by the same
unaffected humility that distinguishes his religion from that of his
brother monarch at Berlin.

William's faith still retains the enthusiasm and, if I may use the
word, the exuberance of youth, whereas that of Francis-Joseph,
though even more fervent, is chastened, humbled and mellowed by the
experience of many a cruel sorrow and many a hard blow. To some
of these he would have succumbed had it not been for his religious
belief. There have been at least three different occasions during
his fifty years' reign when he would have abandoned his throne,
and abdicated his crown had it not been pointed out to him by his
spiritual adviser that it was his duty--his religious duty--to remain
at his post, and to bear with bravery the trials with which he was
overwhelmed.

The first of these occasions was at the close of the disastrous wars
of 1866, when the march of the Prussians on Vienna was only stayed
within a few hours' distance of the capital by the ignominious peace
of Nicolsburg. The second time was when he lost his only son by the
frightful tragedy of Mayerling, and he saw his boy's body refused even
Christian rites of burial by the church, until he had been able to
convince the kindly old pontiff at Rome that the poor lad's mind was
unbalanced at the time that he took his life. The third occasion was
when his lovely consort, to whom, in spite of all that is said to the
contrary, he was so deeply devoted, was taken from him by the hand
of an assassin in a foreign land, and under peculiarly heartrending
circumstances.

Moreover, he saw the body of his brother Maximilian brought home from
the Mexican plain of Queretaro, where he had been shot down by a file
of soldiers as if a vulgar criminal; he stood by the deathbed of
a favorite niece, burnt to death before his eyes in the palace of
Schoenbrunn, when her dress had caught fire from a lighted cigarette
which she was endeavoring to conceal from him and from her father; he
followed to the grave another favorite of his, a nephew, accidentally
killed while out shooting. Indeed, there is no end to the tragedies
which have gone to sadden the life of this now septuagenarian monarch,
and while on ordinary occasions, especially when engaged in military
inspections or in great court functions, he appears to retain the
elasticity, vigor and temperament of a man still in his prime, yet
when in church or chapel, attending divine service, and so wrapped up
in his devotions that he becomes oblivious to his surroundings, the
restraint which he puts upon his feelings at other times disappears,
and one is able to realize the extent of his sufferings, and how
supreme is the consolation that he finds in his religion.

Vienna is the only capital in the world where one can see a
full-fledged monarch kneeling bareheaded in the streets, and offering
up prayers in the most fervent manner, the spectacle exciting not
ridicule, but sentiments of profound reverence and sympathy on the
part of the people--Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans from Herzegovina
and Bosnia--who throng the thoroughfares of the beautiful city on
the Danube. The sight is witnessed each year, on the occasion of the
_Corpus Christi_ procession. This glorious procession starts out from
the Cathedral of St. Stephen at an early hour in the morning, and the
entire route through the various streets which it traverses Is kid
with boards, over which grass is strewn. At various points along the
way there are altars, or so-called _reposoirs_, where the Sacred Host
is placed for a few moments, the emperor and the great personages with
him kneeling piously on the ground and offering up prayers.

The procession is opened by choristers, then come priests and monks
with hands crossed upon their breasts, next the rectors of the various
metropolitan parishes, displaying their distinctive banners like
the knights of old. The municipal authorities, the officers of the
imperial household, the Knights Grand Cross of the various orders, the
cabinet ministers, and the principal dignitaries of the army, of the
navy, and of the crown. Finally, comes a magnificent canopy borne by
generals, under which walks the tall and stately Cardinal Archbishop
of Vienna, carrying the Host, to which the troops lining the route
bend the knee while presenting arms, the civilians behind them baring
their heads, while the women cross themselves. Immediately behind the
Host, bareheaded and alone, with a lighted candle in his hand, and
wearing the full uniform of an Austrian field marshal,--a snow-white
cloth tunic with scarlet and gold facings,--strides the aged emperor,
still erect as a dart, with all the slender, shapely elegance of a man
of thirty, in spite of his three-score years and ten. He is followed
by the archdukes, conspicuous among them the gigantic Archduke Eugene,
grand master of the Teutonic Order, in the semi-ecclesiastical habits
of his rank, while the procession is brought to a close by escorts of
the superbly arrayed Archer and Hungarian Body Guards.

The spectacle is impressive, and the silence along the route, save for
the chanting of the choristers, and the recitation of prayers in an
undertone by the clergy, adds to the solemnity of the occasion. In
days gone by, the murdered empress used to figure in the procession
in full court dress and followed by her ladies, but now women take no
part therein.

Another remarkable religious ceremony in which the emperor plays the
leading part, and which is only to be witnessed nowadays at the
Court of Vienna, is the washing of the feet of twelve aged men on the
Thursday of Holy Week, in memory of the washing of the feet of
the twelve apostles on the first Holy Thursday by the Founder of
Christianity. The ceremony takes place at the imperial palace, in
the presence of the entire court. The twelve old men, each carefully
dressed for the occasion, who have been brought from their homes to
the palace in imperial carriages, are seated in a row, and, after a
brief religious service celebrated by the cardinal archbishop, the
emperor kneels in front of each, and washes his feet in a golden basin
filled with rose water, the ewer being carried by the heir to the
throne, while the prelate who holds the office of court chaplain hands
to his majesty the gold-embroidered towel with which the feet are
dried after having been washed. When the emperor has reached the end
of the line there are more prayers, and the blessing; then a banquet
is served to the old men, at which they are waited on in person by the
emperor, the various dishes being handed to him by the archdukes and
princes of the blood. The old people are finally sent home, each with
a purse containing gold pieces, and a large hamper, wherein are placed
several bottles of fine wine and the remains of the various dishes and
gastronomical masterpieces which have figured on the table during the
banquet. As a rule, the old men dispose of these for considerable sums
of money to wealthy Viennese, who are only too delighted to purchase
them, and thus to be able to boast of having partaken of the emperor's
hospitality!

Brought up by parents who axe renowned for their religious bigotry,
in the absolutist school of the great Prince Metternich, Emperor
Francis-Joseph has experienced the utmost difficulty in reconciling
his religions belief with his obligations as a constitutional monarch,
for he has been repeatedly obliged to give his sanction as a sovereign
to reforms enacted by the legislature of Austria, and particularly
of Hungary, which were strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church,
fiercely denounced by the clergy, and condemned by the Vatican. That
he should in matters such as these have sacrificed his religious
prejudices and conscientious scruples to what he conceived to be his
duty as a constitutional monarch, speaks volumes for his strength of
character, and for his uprightness as a ruler. There is only one thing
that he has declined to do, in spite of all the pressure brought to
bear upon him by his ministers and by his allies: he has absolutely
declined to visit Rome so long as the Pope remains deprived of his
temporal sovereignty. Ordinarily the most chivalrous and courteous
of monarchs, and extremely punctilious in the fulfilment of all the
obligations imposed by etiquette, he has up to the present moment
refrained from returning the visit paid to his court at Vienna by King
Humbert and Queen Marguerite nearly twenty years ago. Leo XIII., like
his predecessor, has intimated that he would regard any visit paid to
the King of Italy in the former Papal Palace of the Quirinal at Rome,
by a Catholic sovereign, as a cruel affront to the occupant of the
chair of St. Peter. The only Catholic ruler who has visited King
Humbert at the Quirinal, in spite of this papal protest, is Prince
Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who was at the time subject to the ban of
the church, in consequence of the conversion of his little son from
Catholicism to the Greek orthodox rite, in order to insure his
own (Ferdinand's) recognition by Russia as ruler of Bulgaria. But
Francis-Joseph has never consented to set his foot in Rome, although
it has been pointed out to him that the existence of the triple
alliance was imperilled by this slight placed upon King Humbert and
Queen Marguerite. He did not hesitate to declare that he would rather
forego the alliance than affront the Pope by visiting Rome under the
present circumstances.

One little scene, in conclusion, which I witnessed at Vienna, has
always remained impressed upon my mind, illustrating as it does the
democracy of the Catholic Church, if I may use that expression, and
demonstrating the good old emperor's belief,--so different from that
of Emperor William,--that in the eyes of the Almighty all men are
equal.

It transpired at the funeral of Cardinal Gangelbauer, the popular and
universally venerated Archbishop of Vienna. The obsequies took place
in the ancient Cathedral of St. Stephen. Military and ecclesiastical
pomp were combined with the magnificent ceremonial of the Austrian
court for the purpose of rendering the last honors to the dead
prelate. The entire metropolitan garrison was under arms, and lined
the streets through which the funeral procession passed. The bells
of all the churches in the metropolis were tolling throughout the
ceremony, and added to the solemnity of the occasion. The stately
Papal Nuncio performed the funeral service in the most impressive
manner, and when he stood on the step of the high altar, and raised
his hands aloft to pronounce the absolution, the whole of the vast
assemblage bowed down, the wintry sunlight streaming through the rich
stained glass windows, falling alike upon the reverently bent head of
the monarch, and those of the peasant mourners who stood by his side
at the head of the bier. For the dead cardinal was the son of an old
farmer, and his brothers, his sisters, and his nephews, all of them
plain, humble peasants of Upper Austria, were kneeling there in their
peasant garb with the emperor in their midst, and surrounded by the
glittering uniforms of the archdukes, the princes, the generals,
cabinet ministers and ambassadors assembled around the coffin. There
was no undue exaltation or timidity on the part of the peasants,
no undue condescension or contempt on the part either of emperor or
dignitaries for the lowly rank of their fellow mourners. All seemed
thoroughly to realize that they were equal in the face of death, and
in the presence of their Creator.

It is only in a metaphorical sense that William can be described as an
Anointed of the Lord. For whereas Francis-Joseph was both anointed and
crowned as King of Hungary in 1867, Emperor William has never been the
object of either of these ceremonies. The fact of the matter is that
there is a good deal of difference of opinion concerning the dignity
of a German emperor; for while William claims that it is identical
with the status of the emperors of Austria and Russia, the
non-Prussian states of Germany insist that it is merely titular,
inasmuch as he has no control or jurisdiction in the various federal
states which constitute the empire, such as Bavaria, Saxony and
Würtemberg, each of which has an independent king in nowise subject,
but merely allied to the Prussian monarch.

It is only in time of war, and for the sake of successful co-operation
that the supreme command of the united German military forces is by
special agreement vested in the hands of the German emperor--a
tribute to the superiority and pre-eminence of the Prussian military
reorganizations. It is true that Prussia has since then, by degrees,
endeavored to encroach upon the independence of the federal states.
But this is strongly resented, to-day more than ever, and William
is constantly being reminded by the non-Prussian press, by the
non-Prussian governments, and even by the non-Prussian reigning
dynasties that they are not vassals, but allies of Prussia.

The German emperor has no crown as such, nor any civil list, and
with the solitary exception of his eldest son, all the members of his
family figure merely as royal Prussian, not imperial German princes.
Thus, for instance, Prince Henry, the brother of the emperor, is
addressed not as imperial highness, but only as royal highness.

Had William attempted to have himself crowned as German emperor, it
would merely have had the effect of attracting public attention to the
difference existing between his own status as emperor and that of his
fellow-sovereigns of Austria and Russia, besides which it would
have raised all sorts of troublesome questions with the non-Prussian
courts, and intensified their sensibilities and prejudices. If, on the
other hand, he had caused himself to be crowned king of Prussia in
the ancient city of Königsberg, where all Prussian kings have been
crowned, the ceremony would have had the effect of impressing upon the
world at large the fact that the only real crown to which William can
lay claim, and which he is entitled to wear, is the crown of the kings
of Prussia.

That is why he has never been either crowned or anointed, differing in
this respect from Francis-Joseph, Emperor Nicholas and Queen Victoria,
all of whom have experienced both ceremonies, which by the masses of
Europe, especially among the uneducated and ignorant, are considered
indispensable to endow the majesty of the sovereign with a sacred
character. The Hungarians did not consider Francis-Joseph as entitled
to their allegiance and loyalty until he had been crowned at Pesth
with the crown of St. Stephen, and anointed with the sacred oil, and
there is no doubt that the Bohemians would be transformed from the
most turbulent, malcontent, and troublesome of his subjects into his
most devoted lieges, were he to comply with their demands, and have
himself anointed and crowned as King of Bohemia, with the crown of
Saint Wenceslaus.

Nor was Emperor Nicholas of Russia considered a full-fledged Czar
of Russia, nor his consort a czarina, until he had been anointed and
crowned at Moscow, nearly two years after his accession to the throne.
In fact, until the time of his coronation, his mother, the dowager
empress, enjoyed precedence of his wife on all official occasions, on
the ground that she was the widow of a crowned czar, and had herself
been solemnly crowned as the consort of Alexander III., by her
imperial husband, whereas her daughter-in-law, the younger empress,
had enjoyed no such advantage up to that time.

Only those who know William well can realize how deeply he feels this
difference which exists between himself and the rulers of more ancient
dynasties, or how glad he would be to find some means of being crowned
and anointed, not as a mere titular German emperor, but as Emperor
of Germany. It is difficult to see how this ambition of his could be
fulfilled so long as the Austrian empire remains in existence. The
dignity of Emperor of Germany belonged for centuries to the house
of Hapsburg, in relation to the head of which the chief of the
Hohenzollern family ranked merely as a cup-bearer, being compelled to
stand behind the chair of the Hapsburg monarch at all state banquets,
and to keep his cup supplied with wine. The whole of the ancient
insignia of the former Emperors of Germany, including the sceptre,
the orb, and the sword of state, are in the possession of Emperor
Francis-Joseph at Vienna, and are comprised in the imperial Austrian
regalia. Indeed, at the time when King William of Prussia was
proclaimed German Emperor at the palace of Versailles, in 1871, the
Emperor of Austria wrote to the then widowed Queen Marie of Bavaria,
that he protested, "from the very bottom of his heart, against the
dignity and crown of his father being vested in persons without a
shadow of right thereto, and that he had placed his rights in
the hands of Providence." Although he entertains the friendliest
sentiments towards Emperor William, there is no reason to believe that
either he or the members of his house have modified their resentment
in connection with this quasi-usurpation of the dignity of Emperor of
Germany by the Prussian family of Hohenzollern.



CHAPTER XIII


There is no more restless man in all Europe than the kaiser. It is
related of him at the Court of Berlin that when on one occasion he
inquired of his brother, Prince Henry, if he could suggest to him
anything new wherewith to startle both his own subjects and the world
in general, the sailor prince, with a merry laugh, proposed that
his majesty should remain perfectly quiet, without saying or doing
anything, for an entire week! That, he assured his imperial brother,
would amaze and dumbfound the entire universe more than anything else
that could possibly be conceived.

While this lack of repose on the part of William is the source of a
good deal of fun both at home and abroad, there is no doubt that it
has had the effect of strengthening the monarchial system in Prussia
to a far greater degree than in any previous reign. It is not that
the kaiser is more popular than his predecessors on the throne. On
the contrary, it may be doubted whether he holds the same place in the
affections of the German people as did his father and grandfather. But
while it is possible to imagine a Prussia without either of them, it
is difficult to picture to oneself a Germany without William! It seems
as if he were indispensable to the existence of the nation, and that
if anything untoward were to happen to him, everything in Germany
would suddenly stop working, precisely as if the mainspring of a watch
were to break. He conveys the impression of being the source from
which proceeds every action, every phase of activity and every
enterprise, no matter what its character. To such an extent is this
the case, that practically nothing seems to be done throughout the
length and breadth of his dominions without his influence in the
matter being both felt and apparent. There is nothing so trivial that
it does not interest him. He will turn from the greatest and most
important matters of state to the most petty question concerning
court etiquette or domestic mismanagement, and will not hesitate to
interrupt an interview with the chancellor of the empire, or with some
foreign ambassador, to spank one of his youngsters if he happens to
have been misbehaving himself!

He keeps absolute personal control over the army, the navy, the state
administration, and his court, and yet finds time to supervise his
children's lessons and amusements. He attends even to the pulling out
of the milk teeth of his little ones and permits no one else to do it,
as the following little anecdote, concerning Prince Oscar, his fifth
son, will illustrate.

The boys had, and I believe still have, an English governess, who is
very strict and independent with them, and who just on that account,
probably, is highly esteemed and liked by her young pupils, as well as
by their parents. On the occasion of her last anniversary, the empress
with her usual kindness prepared a pretty birthday table for her,
decked out with all kinds of presents from the imperial couple, and
from each of the children. Prince Oscar's gift, which he had carefully
done up himself in ribbons and tinted paper, and inscribed with his
name, turned out to be a small and empty cardboard box. On being taken
to task by his mother as to what he meant by this, he informed her
that the box was destined to hold the first tooth, which he was about
to lose, and which his father, the emperor, was to pull for him with
a string that very afternoon, at the conclusion of a "Kronrath," or
council of the crown, at which his majesty was to preside. The little
prince regarding that tooth as the greatest treasure at his disposal,
was convinced that he could bestow upon his governess no more
acceptable gift. She now wears it in a gold bangle presented to her by
the empress.

Among other domestic affairs which have occupied the kaiser's
attention, has been the tendency of his boys to dyspepsia and
digestive troubles, owing to their habit of eating too rapidly, a
fault which they have certainly inherited from their father, for he
has subjected them to the same process that was adopted in his case
when a child, to make him eat slowly; to wit, whenever apples or pears
are given to the boys they are not permitted to get them whole, and to
munch them, like any ordinary boy, but only to receive them cut into
quarters, each bit being wrapped in a number of pieces of tissue
paper, the unfolding of which requires time, thus preventing the young
princes from eating too fast! The kaiser often alludes to the fact
that he was subjected to the same formalities and will add:

"You see nothing was made easy for me in my youth. Even the matter of
eating an apple was rendered as difficult for me as possible!"

The kaiser is followed wherever he goes by an extremely clever
stenographer, Dr. Weiss, who was formerly official shorthand writer to
the imperial parliament. He now forms part of the emperor's household,
and accompanies his majesty on all his numerous travels. It is the
doctor's duty to place on record and preserve all the pearls that drop
from the imperial lips, or perhaps, to put it more correctly, to give
the emperor and his advisers an opportunity of editing and revising
his public utterances before they find their way into print. Dr.
Weiss has several assistants who help him in the transcription of his
shorthand notes, and none of the emperor's public speeches or casual
remarks find their way into print nowadays except through Dr. Weiss.
Thanks to the tact of this precious secretary, there exists, very
often, a considerable diversity between what the emperor says, and
what he is represented as having said, and it is in consequence of
this wise provision that the imperial speeches appear to have become
so much more discreet, and at the same time less sensational, than was
the case during the early part of his reign.

Quick-tempered, passionate, generous-hearted, and extremely impulsive,
the emperor, often speaking on the spur of the moment, frequently
said more than he intended to say, and thus laid himself open to both
domestic and foreign criticism and abuse. He has not yet outgrown this
fault, although he has become much more cautious than formerly, and
moreover, with Dr. Weiss at his elbow, and with the care that is
observed by the authorities to let none of the imperial utterances
reach the public in print, save through Dr. Weiss, after being duly
edited by him, most of the former perils have been averted. The
emperor is very particular, indeed, about having Dr. Weiss by his
side, and frequently at public functions himself directs the doctor
where to stand and where to sit, so that he may not lose a word of
what his imperial master says.

Like the aged pontiff at Rome, William manifests a great predilection
for the telephone. There are telephonic instruments in his library,
in his workroom, and even in his bed-chamber, and quite a considerable
portion of the day is spent talking over the wires to his ministers,
government officials, relatives, courtiers or mere friends. He
seems to find the same pleasure in calling up the various government
departments that he does in alarming the various garrisons at night
time, being evidently under the impression that by so doing he keeps
the officials strictly attentive to their duties, and convinced that
if not the eye, at any rate the ear of the emperor is on the _qui
vive!_ Nor are the government offices safe from being rung up by his
majesty over the wires even at night time. For the past two or three
years he has insisted that at the ministry of foreign affairs, at the
ministry of the interior, and at the war and naval departments, at
least one of the divisional chiefs and half a dozen clerks should be
kept on duty all night long, in order to attend to any business or
to communicate to him without delay anything that they may regard as
needing his immediate attention.

Berlin is the only capital where the principal government offices
are thus kept open for official business all night long, and
the circumstance serves to furnish another illustration of the
extraordinary activity, energy, and impatience of delay that
distinguish the emperor, who wants everything done right away, without
a moment's waiting!

Emperor William gives the telephone companies at Berlin and at Potsdam
far more trouble than any other of their subscribers, for when he
telephones to any of the government departments, or to dignitaries or
officials of high rank, the operators at the central office are under
the strictest orders to abstain from listening to the conversation,
and are forced to rise from their seats and remove to a distance from
the wires. Anyone caught disobeying in this particular is subject not
only to dismissal, but to serious unpleasantness on the part of the
police.

When the emperor rings up anybody, he does not announce his identity,
taking it for granted that the tones of his voice are sufficiently
well known to reveal it. It has been noted, moreover, that he
commences all his conversations over the wire with the pronoun "I,"
while the verb "command," either in the past or in the present tense,
almost invariably follows. This is quite sufficient to show who is
talking.

William is the first sovereign of his line to accept the hospitality
of his subjects. Prior to his advent to the throne, such a thing as
the monarch attending any private entertainment or dinner given by one
of his lieges was altogether unknown. Neither King Frederick-William
III., King Frederick-William IV., nor old Emperor William, whose
reigns extended over nearly ninety years of the nineteenth century,
ever once honored any member of the nobility, no matter how high in
rank, with their presence for a single evening or night, except
during the course of the annual manoeuvres, when the monarch, as
commander-in-chief of the army, was quartered in some château, much
in the same manner as the officers of minor rank and the soldiers.
Emperor William, however, following the example of his British
relatives, and greatly to the dismay of all the old-fashioned
authorities on the etiquette of the Court of Berlin, has adopted
the practice of inviting himself out to dinner in town, and to
shooting-parties in the country, in a manner that is absolutely
startling, even to his English relatives; for whereas the latter never
dine out anywhere, unless the list of guests invited to meet them is
previously submitted to them for consideration and revision, in
order to avoid being brought into contact with people that are not
congenial, the kaiser, on the other hand, when he hears that a dinner
is about to be given by one of his friends or followers, frequently
invites himself either at the last moment, an hour or two before the
time fixed for the meal, or else arrives unannounced and uninvited,
knowing full well that he will always be welcome, since his coming
can only be regarded as a particular mark of imperial regard and favor
toward the giver of the entertainment.

Thus, while Count Shuvaloff was still Russian ambassador at Berlin,
the emperor was in the habit of dropping in unannounced about luncheon
time, and of sitting down with the count and countess, the latter
being as often as not in the négligée of a mere tea-gown, and more
than once when he had sat with them longer than he intended, and found
that there was no time left to return to the palace before proceeding
to the railroad station to take his departure for Potsdam or some
other place, he would ask leave of the count to use his telephone,
ring up the empress, and not only bid her adieu, but also dispatch her
a kiss over the wires, in the most charmingly domestic fashion.

William prides himself in no small degree on his descent through Queen
Victoria in an unbroken line from the Biblical King David, and claims
that he, therefore, belongs to the same family as the founder of
Christianity. Hanging in a conspicuous position in his workroom in the
"Neues-Palais" at Potsdam, is a copy of the royal family tree, showing
the name of King David engrossed at the root of it, with that of
Emperor William at the top. According to this tree, the reigning house
of England is descended from King David through the eldest daughter
of Zedekiah, who, with her sister, fled to Ireland in charge of the
prophet Jeremiah,--then an old man,--to be married to Heremon, the
king of Ulster of the period.

Curiously enough, a Mr. Glover, a clergyman of the Church of England,
who had devoted the greater portion of his life to the study of
genealogy, wrote to Queen Victoria a letter in 1869, informing her
that he had discovered her to be descended in an unbroken line from
King David. Her majesty sent for him to come to Windsor, and to his
astonishment informed him that what he thought he had been the first
to discover had been known to herself and to the prince consort for
many years.

Naturally, William, with his religious ideas, has always been deeply
interested in this family tree, and soon after his accession to the
throne requested his grandmother to let him have a copy thereof, which
was sent to him most handsomely engrossed and magnificently framed.
Its contemplation has, of course, tended to increase his belief in the
divine origin of his authority, since, if he does not, like the old
kings of France, describe himself as "first cousin of the Almighty,"
he can at any rate claim to be a near kinsman of the founder of
Christianity.

Notwithstanding all the emperor's manifest desire to render himself
agreeable to the French, and his evident eagerness to assuage by
gracious and chivalrous courtesy the bitterness resulting from the
war of 1870 and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, he has absolutely
declined since he ascended the throne to permit France's national
hymn, "The Marseillaise," to be played at his court, at any of the
imperial and royal theatres, or by any German military or naval band.
When he entertains the French ambassador at dinner or receives him in
state and wishes to pay him musical honors, he causes the old "March
of St. Denis," in use at Versailles prior to the great revolution,
which is in every sense of the word a Bourbon hymn, to be played.

The ambassador who now represents France is the Marquis de Noailles, a
scion of one of the oldest ducal houses of the French nobility, whose
origin dates back to the crusades. This being the case, the envoy
naturally offers no objection to the attitude of the emperor with
regard to the "Marseillaise."

The kaiser, after all, acts in the matter with a far greater degree of
logic and reason than any of his fellow-sovereigns, for the strains
of the "Marseillaise" are familiar in the palace of the czar at St.
Petersburg, at Windsor Castle, in the royal palace of Madrid, in
the imperial Hofburg at Vienna, and even at the Vatican, and it is
difficult to conceive anything more paradoxical than a royal band
of music playing for the delectation of royal and imperial ears a
national hymn, the words of which passionately call upon the people
to rise up and to put to death all kings and emperors, queens and
empresses, denounced as bloodthirsty tyrants.

Emperor William, even before his accession to the throne, manifested
such a pronounced hostility towards the practice of gambling at cards,
which is one of the curses of the corps of officers of the German
army, that a very widespread impression prevails to the effect that he
objects to card games in any shape or form. This is a mistake. It is
the gambling and not the game itself to which the kaiser is opposed.
In fact, he is very fond of a game of cards, provided the stakes are
merely nominal, and I have known him to play an entire evening after
a dinner at the castle of Kuckelna, which marked the close of a great
pheasant "drive" organized in his honor by Prince Lichnòwski. The game
which the emperor played was the German one called _Skat_, and the
point was a German penny. The emperor was the principal loser, having
had poor hands dealt to him throughout the entire game, and when he
arose from the table he was out of pocket exactly six cents. In thus
limiting the stakes to a merely nominal amount he has followed the
example of his old friend and adviser, the veteran King of Saxony, who
is accustomed to play every night his game of _skat_ after dinner, his
stakes, like those of the kaiser, never exceeding one penny.

I have often wished that I could see the face of the kaiser's uncle,
the Prince of Wales, were such truly regal stakes as these proposed to
him. His ordinary points and stakes are any sum from five guineas to
fifty, and even a hundred, and the only time that I can recollect his
having played for less than a guinea was at Hughenden when on a visit
to the Earl of Beaconsfield. Bernal Osborne, father of the Duchess of
St. Albans, was one of the party when the prince proposed a game of
whist at five-guinea points. Lord Beaconsfield was a poor man, obliged
to count every penny, and Bernal Osborne caught sight of the manner
in which his face fell when the proposal was made. Grasping the
situation, and remembering that Lord Beaconsfield had but a few weeks
previously added the imperial crown of India to the British regalia,
by causing Queen Victoria to be proclaimed Empress of India, he turned
to the prince and remarked:

"Would it not be more appropriate, sir, to play for crown stakes?" The
prince grasped the situation at once, made a flattering reference to
the old premier, and the points played for were, as suggested, five
shillings instead of five guineas!

Apropos of this question of cards, William has done everything in
his power to check gambling, especially among the army officers, and
before succeeding to the throne, while still only Prince of Prussia,
he actually went to the length of issuing a stringent order to the
officers of the Hussar regiment, of which he was colonel, forbidding
them to cross the threshold of the Union Club, on account of the
high play for which that institution was notorious. The club deeply
resented being thus placed under a ban, and sent its president, the
late Duke of Ratibor, to the aged emperor to entreat him to rescind
his grandson's order, on the ground that it was a reflection upon the
most aristocratic and exclusive club of all Germany, besides being
unjust to the officers of the regiment, some of whom were among the
most brilliant and popular members of that institution. Old Emperor
William, after inquiring whether Prince William had really issued such
an order, shook his head rather seriously for a few minutes, and then
told the duke that he would see what he could do, but that knowing his
grandson well, he feared that there would be a good deal of difficulty
about the matter. On the following morning, when young Prince William
came to pay his daily visit to his grandfather, the latter broached
the subject to him with the utmost caution, and with manifest
expectation of encountering a refusal. Nor was he disappointed. For no
sooner had he mentioned the matter than the young prince declared in
the most positive manner that nothing would induce him to rescind his
order, and that rather than give way, he would resign command of the
regiment, arguing that in such a matter especially he could brook no
interference. The old emperor admitted in a rather shame-faced
way that his grandson was in the right, excused himself for having
mentioned the matter, did all that he could to soothe what he believed
to be the ruffled feelings of the prince, and on the following day
told the Duke of Ratibor that he was very sorry, but that, in spite
of all his efforts, he had been unable to accomplish anything with his
grandson in the way desired.

Immediately after he came to the throne he requested the resignation
of a number of officers, some of them bearing the greatest names
in the empire, for instance, the late Prince Fürstenberg and Prince
George Radziwill, for no other reason than their fondness for
cards, and in consequence of the large sums of money which they were
accustomed to stake. All the princes and nobles thus forced to leave
the army also quitted Berlin, in token of their disapproval of an
emperor who took upon himself to interfere with what they were pleased
to regard as their private amusements, and there is no doubt that for
a time the brilliancy of the Berlin Court and the prosperity of
trade in the Prussian capital suffered through the closing of so many
princely palaces and grand houses.

It is strange that in spite of all that the emperor has done to
stop gambling, the play has been higher, and the card-scandals more
frequent since he became emperor than during any previous reign, with
the exception of that of his grand-uncle, King Frederick-William IV.
The latter's crusade against gambling culminated in the tragic death
of his chief of police, and most intimate friend and crony, Baron
von Hinkelday, whose spectre he was wont to see before him during
his moments of temporary dementia, previous to his becoming entirely
insane.

Emperor William's reign has been saddened much in the same way
through the suicide of his young cousin, Prince Alfred of Coburg; the
self-destruction of the young prince, who had been placed under the
immediate care and guardianship of his majesty, having been due, as
I have intimated, to enormous losses at the card tables of Berlin and
Potsdam. In spite of all the well-meant efforts of the kaiser, and
notwithstanding all his threats and disciplinary measures, gambling
is more rampant to-day among the officers of the German army, and
overwhelming a greater number of illustrious names with ruin and
disgrace than ever before.

With all his keen sense of dignity, his shortness of temper, and his
impulsiveness, the emperor is nevertheless more easily diverted from
anger to good humor by means of a piece of wit than most of his fellow
sovereigns. Some time ago, when old Baron Boetticher, secretary of
state for the interior, was discussing with his majesty the most
suitable nominations to be made in the case of a number of vacant
offices, the latter became greatly irritated by the old statesman's
unanswerable objections to the candidate for whom he himself desired
to obtain a certain post, his anger grew quite violent, and when the
baron inquired if there were no other person upon whom he would like
to confer the appointment, William replied, curtly, "Oh, confer it on
the devil if you like!"

"Very well," replied the old minister, with a twinkle in his eye,
but in his most suave and courtly manner, and with a most unruffled
demeanor: "And shall I allow the patent signed by your majesty in
that case to go out in the usual form, 'To my trusted and well-beloved
cousin and counsellor?'"

The kaiser saw the joke at once, burst into a loud peal of laughter,
his ill-temper having vanished in a moment.

Another amusing incident in which the devil was called upon to play a
part occurred on the occasion of the emperor's inspection of a number
of newly-joined recruits for the first regiment of Foot Guards. In
accordance with his invariable custom, he was examining-them as to
what they would do in this or that emergency. Addressing one burly
Pomeranian grenadier, he inquired what he would say to a man who
annoyed him while on sentry duty.

"Go to the devil! Get out! your majesty," responded the man.

"All right, my friend," exclaimed the emperor, laughing, "I'll get
out; but I'll be hanged if I'll go to the devil," and with that he
turned to the next man.

Military inspections very often furnish the occasion for amusing
and sometimes rather disconcerting episodes. I can recall as an
illustration an inspection of recruits for the navy at Kiel. On that
day the emperor had been holding forth, as he so often does, about the
duty of sailors as well as soldiers to defend the crown against
the foes beyond the frontiers of the empire, as well as against the
enemies within the boundaries of the latter. He then singled out a
stolid-looking recruit, and having ascertained that he was the son
of a Bavarian farmer, with a strongly developed taste for the sea, he
proceeded to question him with regard to the address which he had just
delivered.

"And who are our foreign foes, my good fellow?" he inquired.

"The Russians and the French, your majesty," replied the recruit.

"And who are the enemies within the empire?" proceeded the emperor,
expecting of course that the sailor would say that they were the
socialists.

"The Prussians, your majesty," answered the Jack-tar that was to
be, without apparently realizing that he had said anything wrong or
impolite, and merely giving a frank utterance to the sentiment in
which he, like all his countrymen in Bavaria, had been brought up.

One of the most pleasing features about Emperor William is his
readiness to forgive and forget, and his inability to bear a grudge
for any length of time against those who have either insulted or
injured him. No more striking instance of this can be given than his
treatment of General Baron von Krosick, who expected to be dismissed
from the army, possibly even banished, when William ascended the
throne, but who instead has been overwhelmed by his sovereign with
every conceivable honor, having received not merely his promotion
from the rank of brigadier-general to that of inspector-general of the
army, but also investiture with the exceedingly rare distinction of
the Order of the Black Eagle, which, as I have already stated before,
is the Prussian equivalent to the English Order of the Garter, and
the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece. The baron enjoys the
well-deserved reputation of being the most phenomenally rude and
rough-spoken man in the German army, and was at one time colonel in
command of the hussar regiment in which William, prior to becoming
emperor, received his cavalry training.

On one occasion an almost incredible scene took place. It was at
a regimental mess banquet, to which William, at that time only a
captain, had invited Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, then on a visit
at Berlin. During the course of the dinner, the conversation turned
upon some projected reforms in cavalry drill and movements, which
ultimately turned out to be impracticable and were not carried into
effect. William, in his impulsive, impetuous, and somewhat arrogant
way, declaimed in a loud tone of voice on their superlative merits,
declared himself in their favor, and added that he would do his utmost
to see them carried through, as he regarded them as indispensable to
raise the standard and tone of the German cavalry.

Colonel von Krosick, like the remainder of the officers, had drunk his
fair share of wine. He never liked his royal subaltern, and took
no pains to conceal his sentiments. The arrogance of the prince's
utterances, as well as his assumption of superiority, exasperated him
beyond measure, and, breaking into the conversation, he exclaimed in
tones that were heard throughout the apartment:

"_Aber das ist ja der blödste Unsinn_ [But that is the most ridiculous
nonsense];" and then proceeded to contemptuously ridicule William's
arguments.

Much nettled, and quite as short-tempered as his colonel, William
called out, half jokingly, half bitterly:

"That is all very well, colonel. You are my superior officer at
present, and I am bound to defer to your opinion. But our positions
may change one of these days, and then you will see."

Perfectly frantic and purple in the face, Colonel von Krosick
thundered forth:

"When that day comes to pass, prince, I will rather break my sabre
across my knee than serve under your command."

Immediately the whole place was in an uproar. The Austrian crown
prince being the first to jump from his seat, and a minute later both
princes had left the mess-room and the barracks. Contrary to general
expectation, Prince William made no report about the matter, either to
his father or grandfather, and Colonel von Krosick heard nothing more
about the affair.

Of course he expected to receive his discharge when William ascended
the throne. But to his amazement, he has ever since been made the
object of the most signal favor, kindliness and respect: the respect
that is frequently entertained by a man after he has grown up toward
the head master who caned him when he was at school. Indeed, William
seems never to be able to forget that he was for several years under
the old martinet's direct command.

In spite of Emperor William being at the present moment over forty
years of age, he still retains a great store of boyishness, and in
particular, a liking for practical jokes, though never when they are
at his own expense! It is not so very long ago that he had notified
a number of generals and military dignitaries to meet him at the
railroad station at Potsdam, at half-past eleven in the evening, in
order to accompany him to manoeuvres that were to be held at a place
several hours' distance on the following day. Leaving the palace on
foot shortly after eleven, he entered the railroad station by a back
door, and managed to slip in without being recognized.

Shielded by the darkness, he made his way unobserved to the special
train, which was in waiting, got into his carriage by the door on the
opposite side from the platform. For at least half an hour he amused
himself by peeping at the officers on the platform, whose faces
expressed surprise and vexation that his majesty, ordinarily so
punctual, should be so long in coming. Suddenly he raised the blind,
opened the window, and intimated by loud and prolonged laughter his
presence in the carriage, and the success of his little trick. The
astonishment and the dismay depicted on the visages of those on the
platform can be more easily imagined than described.

Emperor William is not fond of the press, and has never taken any
trouble to conceal his dislike for that branch of the literary
profession. It is true that he has been subjected to a good deal of
abuse at its hands, and that he has been made the object of calumny
sufficient to drive a man so hypersensitive to public comment into a
lunatic asylum. Many of the most intricate troubles and most annoying
episodes of his life and his reign have been in a large measure due to
the press, inasmuch as they were either originated or envenomed by the
newspapers. William is as nervous about what the papers will say as a
young débutante on the stage. Not only does he keep an anxious watch
upon the utterances of all German editors, but he ordains a vigilant
scrutiny of the articles printed in foreign countries from the pens of
correspondents stationed in Berlin, who, if any unfriendly mention
of his name is brought home to them, are ultimately driven out of the
country.

One of the first acts of Emperor William's reign was the expulsion
from Berlin of a number of foreign journalists, whose criticisms
and comments on his attitude towards his mother, as well as on
his opposition to the political views of his dead father, had been
distasteful to the imperial eye. A year later he caused a new series
of press laws to be presented to the Reichstag, which contained such
arbitrary provisions for stamping out the remaining liberties of
the press that even the _Cologne Gazette_ denounced it as "putting
a frightful weapon into the hands of the government for suppressing
freedom of speech and silencing opposition." This measure did not
pass, in spite of all the efforts of his majesty, and its rejection
merely served to embitter the emperor still further against the press.

As far as the German press is concerned William manages to get even
with it by insisting upon the strict execution of the laws concerning
the crime of _Lése majesté_ with a severity that savors of the
middle ages rather than of modern times. Indeed, while there are few
prominent journalists in Germany who have not undergone imprisonment
since he ascended the throne, for writing of him in a manner that he
considered disrespectful, there are some newspapers that are literally
obliged to employ distinguished members of their staff for no other
purpose than doing time in jail, as the penalty of too free utterances
of the sheet with which they are connected.

Of course, William has no such means of dealing with the foreign
press, which being more fearless, thanks to its immunity, has
naturally subjected him to worse treatment than that of Germany.
Occasionally though, he gets even with some of his foreign assailants,
and the following story is told of the manner in which he dealt with
a newspaper proprietor in New York, who after rendering his journal
conspicuous above all others for its personal attacks on his majesty,
had the audacity to write him a letter, asking him for a brief article
from his, the kaiser's, pen.

The editor in question gave as a pretext for his request, the alleged
existence of a widespread belief in the United States that his majesty
was not quite right in his mind, and suggested that a brief message,
for which a check of five thousand dollars was enclosed, might relieve
the anxiety of millions of Germans in America, and convince them that
the kaiser was quite sane. Some weeks later the enterprising editor
received a visit from the German consul-general in New York. On being
admitted to the august presence of the editor the consul-general
extracted an envelope from his pocket, and from the envelope the
five-thousand-dollar check, to the order of his majesty, the German
emperor, and bearing the signature of the editor; the consul-general
then made a bow to the latter, handed him the check, made another bow,
and withdrew without having said a single word, or opened his mouth,
even to greet him!



CHAPTER XIV


Emperor William, like his brother monarch at Vienna, is seldom seen
out of uniform. Soldiers above everything else by profession, it
constitutes the garb to which they have been accustomed from their
boyhood, and both look ill at ease and uncomfortable in civilian
clothes.

Francis-Joseph, in fact, never wears "mufti" except when abroad, and
it is doubtful whether anyone in Switzerland or in the South of France
would have recognized the Emperor of Austro-Hungary in the elderly
gentleman who was there on several occasions, and who wore a black
round hat, and a rather badly-fitting morning or sack suit of dark
cloth, had it not been for the striking appearance of the beautiful
and slender black-garbed empress by his side. In the same way, Emperor
William, although he gets his civilian clothes from some of the
leading London tailors, invariably looks by no means to advantage in
them, and suggests the French description of _endimanché_, that is to
say, like a young man in his Sunday, go-to-meeting attire.

The uniforms ordinarily affected by Francis-Joseph are the undress
regimentals of an Austrian general, the blue-gray short tunic, faced
with scarlet and gold, trousers with broad red stripes, and that
peculiar, oval-shaped, rather high-crowned soft cap, with a small
vizor, which constitutes the undress headgear of officers belonging to
every rank of the Austrian army. The only token of his imperial rank
is the small badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece peeping forth
from between the first and second buttons of his tunic, the cross of
Maria-Theresa, and the medal accorded to every officer and soldier who
has served fifty years in the army attached to his breast. On state
occasions at Vienna the emperor dons the full-dress uniform of an
Austrian general, consisting of a white short tunic or "Atilla," faced
with gold and scarlet, scarlet trousers, with broad gold stripes,
and a general's three-cornered _chapeau_, surmounted by a big tuft of
green plumes.

When Francis-Joseph is in Hungary he invariably wears either the
undress or full-dress uniform of a Hungarian general, and it must be
confessed that, in spite of the somewhat theatrical appearance of the
gold embroidered, tight-fitting scarlet pantaloons and gold-topped
high boots, the scarlet gold-laced tunic of the full dress, with
the heron-plumed kálpàk, or the slightly less gorgeous "shako,"
and blue-grey, gold-laced tunic of the undress uniform, he looks
remarkably well, thanks to the extraordinary elasticity and elegance
which he has retained in spite of his three-score years and ten.

Emperor William's ordinary garb is the familiar undress uniform of a
Prussian general, the dark-blue long frock coat, with its double row
of silver buttons, its scarlet collar, and its silver shoulder-straps.
The trousers are of the same hue as the coat, with broad scarlet
stripes, the latter being worn only by generals. Hanging from the
collar is usually the cross of the Brandenburg Langue of the Order of
St. John of Jerusalem, while on the breast is fastened a sort of star,
consisting of the letter "W" encircled by gold laurel leaves, which
has been accorded to all the officers who formed part of the household
of Old Emperor William. The cap is the ordinary flat, black vizored
undress headgear of all the officers of the German army.

The uniforms which the emperor wears on state occasions are either
the full-dress uniform of a Prussian general, richly-embroidered,
dark-blue tunic, and epaulets, with a helmet surmounted by the
white plumes of a field officer, or else the regimentals of a
colonel-in-chief of the gardes-du-corps. In the latter, the emperor
looks exceedingly well, especially on horseback. The helmet is
surmounted by a silver eagle with outstretched wings, the white tunic
is partly concealed by a silver cuirass, adorned with a gold sun, and
with the white, tight-fitting knee-breeches are worn high jack-boots.
In fact, it is no flattery to Emperor William to declare that his
appearance in this uniform invariably suggests "Lohengrin." At court
entertainments, in the evening, he frequently wears the so-called
gala, or court dress of this regiment. The coat is scarlet instead of
white, while the cuirass is abandoned. Sometimes the emperor attires
himself in the uniform of a colonel of the Hussar regiment which he
commanded at the time of his accession to the throne. It is scarlet,
gold-laced, and the tight-fitting scarlet pantaloons are worn with
knee-boots, topped with gold.

The emperor is likewise very fond of donning naval attire, being
particularly proud of his connection with the fleet of Germany and
those of a number of foreign countries. Indeed, it may be safely
asserted that if there is any one foreign dignity which he cherishes
extremely, it is that of admiral of the fleet in the British navy,
conferred upon him by his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Emperor William was only a brigadier-general at the time of his
accession to the throne. It was not until several months after
becoming emperor that he assumed the insignia of a general of
division. Inasmuch as some curiosity exists as to how a monarch can
promote himself, it may be stated that old Field Marshal Moltke, who
was then possessed of the highest rank in the German army, called
one day upon William, and, presenting him with a pair of silver
shoulder-straps, adorned with the insignia of a general of division,
entreated his majesty in the name of the entire army, and in
particular on behalf of the corps of officers, to assume the rank of a
full general.

The same request was presented to the present czar at the time of
his coronation, but met with a refusal on the part of his Muscovite
majesty, for he pointed out that Peter the Great had throughout his
entire reign contented himself with the rank of colonel. There is also
another reason which Nicholas did not mention officially, but which is
well known to the members of his immediate _entourage_. At the present
moment his name figures on the army list as the principal orderly
officer and personal adjutant of the late czar. This is an office
which can only be held by military men below the rank of general.
The moment young Nicholas acquires that rank his name _ipso-facto_
disappears from the list of his dead father's adjutants, and he is far
too attached to his memory to desire this, preferring the minor rank
of colonel and the association with his beloved predecessor, to all
the pomp and glory of a generalissimo.

Of all the other sovereigns in Europe there is not one who travels
with such an immense amount of luggage as Emperor William. He seldom
undertakes a trip without taking along at least one hundred huge
trunks of the so-called Saratoga pattern, which fill several wagons
of the imperial train; indeed, an entire special train is not
infrequently chartered solely for the conveyance of his luggage. Like
some French _élégantes_ at a fashionable seaside resort, he changes
his garb five, six, and even seven times a day. The consequence is
that it is necessary to have at hand not only a vast number of naval
and military uniforms, but also a diversity of shooting suits, hunting
suits, civilian clothes, Tyrolese jäger costumes, and even the kilt,
sporran and tartan of a Highlander, for he is very proud of the fact
that Stuart blood flows in his veins, and considers that he is quite
as much entitled to wear the Stuart tartan as his uncle, the Prince of
Wales.

All these clothes are not under the charge of a mere valet,
but of a grand dignitary of the Court of Berlin,--Count
Perponcher-Sedlinzky,--who holds the rank of privy councillor, and
who is addressed as "your excellency." The count has a perfect army of
dressers and valets under his orders, but it is he who is responsible,
not only for the uniforms being in good trim, but likewise for their
being on hand whenever the emperor happens to need them.

In order to understand what this entails, it must be remembered
that the kaiser is not only colonel of some hundred or more German
regiments, but also of a very great many foreign corps, belonging to
every country in Europe, except Turkey, Bulgaria and France. Now for
each regiment, there are sometimes six, sometimes eight different
uniforms--one each for parade, fatigue duty, court wear, an undress
uniform, and others too numerous to mention.

When the emperor travels and is likely to be brought into contact with
English princes, with Russians or with Austrians, it is necessary
that he should have within his reach, not merely one of his English,
Austrian or Russian uniforms, but all of them--that is to say, thirty
or forty at least, in addition to his German uniforms and ordinary
clothes.

An immense amount of importance is attached to these sumptuary
questions by the reigning families of Europe. On one occasion an
imperial meeting between the kaiser and the late czar was delayed for
three whole days, while government stocks all over the world declined
in value, and the utmost apprehension prevailed on the score of peace,
merely because the prince who held the office of grand-master of the
czar's wardrobe had neglected to bring with him the German uniforms of
his master. It may be added that he lost his office in consequence.

This peculiar form of royal and imperial courtesy, consisting in the
sovereign and royal princes of one country donning the uniforms or
livery of the foreign monarch whom they wish to compliment, originated
with Frederick the Great. In 1770, he had to pay a visit to the
Emperor of Austria at the castle of Neustadt, in Moravia. Only seven
years before, Prussia had been engaged in her great struggle with the
empire, and had thoroughly beaten Austria. Frederick feared that the
too familiar blue Prussian uniform might awaken unpleasant memories on
the part of the emperor and his court. So, with the utmost delicacy,
he and all his staff appeared at Neustadt in the white Austrian
uniforms, an act of courtesy on the part of the victor to the
vanquished which was warmly appreciated both by Emperor Joseph and all
his Austrian _entourage_. The fashion thus inaugurated has remained
in existence ever since, being facilitated by the fact that every
sovereign in Europe, including even Queen Victoria, the Queen Regent
of Spain, and the two Queens of Holland, holds honorary commands in a
number of foreign regiments.

During the reign of Old Emperor William, those who did not possess
the right to wear any civil or military uniform were permitted to make
their appearance at court in ordinary evening dress, which ultimately
had the effect of giving a sort of _bourgeois_ flavor to imperial
entertainments. The present kaiser, however, proceeded to change all
this before he had been very long on the throne, and having noticed
that at the court of his English grandmother, no one is allowed to
appear at any of the state entertainments or functions in ordinary
evening dress,--the only exception made being in favor of the United
States embassy,--he inaugurated similar regulations at Berlin.

According to these sumptuary decrees gentlemen who are invited to
entertainments at court, and who for any reason have no right to
military, naval or civil service uniform, are compelled to appear in a
species of court dress, consisting of a coat cut after the fashion of
the last, rather than of the present century. Its color is black, or
dark blue, as are also the revers, the collar and the cuffs; with it
are worn black, tight fitting knee breeches, black silk stockings,
and low patent leather shoes with gold buckles. A three-cornered
_chapeau_, without feathers, and a court sword, complete this costume.

The emperor likewise directed that all officials of the court and the
civil service, namely, every man who did not happen to belong either
to the army or to the navy, should wear at court balls and at all
great state entertainments, white knee breeches, and white silk
stockings, with low, gold-buckled shoes, in lieu of the blue, black,
or white gold-laced trousers that had until then been habitually worn
with the gold-embroidered swallow-tail coat, which constitutes the
uniform of the German civil service, and of court officialdom. Until
that time, the only European court at which knee breeches had been
insisted upon at court and state entertainments, was that of Great
Britain. They were likewise _de rigueur_ at the Tuileries during the
reign of Napoleon III. The kaiser, however, came to the conclusion
that continuations of this kind gave a more brilliant and dressy
appearance to court functions than long trousers, and accordingly the
latter are barred, save in the case of officers of the army and navy.

At the imperial court of Berlin there are four types of receptions
or _cours_, the latter being the French word which has clung to these
state functions ever since the reign of Frederick the Great. They
are the "Défiler-Cour," the "Spiel-Cour," the "Sprech-Cour" and the
"Trauer-Cour." The first, namely, the "défiler cour"--from the French
word _défiler_, to file past--is the Berlin counterpart of Queen
Victoria's drawing-rooms at Buckingham Palace in London, and is held
once a year for the purpose of presenting débutantes, brides and
ladies whose husbands have recently been promoted, or raised to the
rank of nobility. They pass one by one before the throne, curtsy
profoundly to each of their majesties, while the grand chamberlain
mentions their names, and then leave the imperial presence by a side
exit. No one kisses the empress's hand, as is the case with Queen
Victoria in England, nor are the presentees compelled to back out of
the imperial presence, as at Buckingham Palace. The court dress of
débutantes at Berlin is not necessarily white, though that is the hue
most affected. The long court train may be of an entirely different
material and color from the dress itself, if the wearer pleases, the
only stipulation made being that the richness and splendor of the
fabric must be beyond question. An indispensable feature of the
toilette is the so-called "barbe," a sort of tiny lace veil, suspended
on each side of the coiffure, about two inches in width. The lace of
course must be real, though the kind is left to the wearer's choice.
It is generally white Spanish point, Alençon, or _Point d'Angleterre_.

The "défiler-cour" almost invariably takes place on New Year's Day,
immediately after Divine service. This service begins at ten o'clock,
the men being in full uniform, and during the benediction a battery of
artillery, stationed in the "Lust-Garten," fires a royal salute of one
hundred and one guns.

As soon as the last gun has been fired, the royal and imperial
procession forms, headed by the grand marshal of the court, Count
Augustus Eulenburg, bearing his wand of office, and leaves the
court chapel. When it reaches the "Weisse-Saal"--one of the grandest
apartments of this ancient palace--the band stationed in the gallery
commences to play, generally the Hohenzollern march. The emperor and
empress thereupon take their places on the dais beneath the great
escutcheoned golden canopy, and in front of the two chairs of state
that represent the thrones. At the right and left are grouped the
various royal and imperial personages present, while at the foot of
the dais stands the grand master of the ceremonies for the purpose of
mentioning to their majesties the names of those who pass before them.
At the back of the royal and imperial party are ranged the palace
guard in their quaint, old-fashioned, and exceedingly picturesque
uniforms. The first to pass before the throne is invariably the
chancellor of the empire, and while the emperor and empress merely
respond with an inclination of the head to the salutations of those of
minor rank, they invariably approach to the edge of the dais in
order to give their hands to be kissed by the octogenarian Prince
of Hohenlohe, who has held the office of chancellor ever since the
retirement of General Count Caprivi. The band plays throughout the
entire ceremony, which is a most magnificent affair.

The so-called "spiel-cour" still keeps its name, implying card
playing, although, as a matter of fact, cards are never played at
court now. In former times they constituted a very important feature
of court entertainment, and the "spiel-cour," or "le jeu de leurs
majestés," was the function to which those whom the anointed of the
Lord desired to honor were most frequently bidden. In earlier days,
as soon as the guests had made their bows to the sovereign and to the
princes and princesses of the blood, card-tables were set out, and
gambling commenced, those to whom their majesties wished to accord
special distinction and honor receiving royal commands, through the
chamberlains-in-waiting to take their places at the card-tables of the
king, or of the queen, as the case might be.

It was these royal games of cards at the Court of Versailles which
contributed in no small measure to the downfall of the old French
monarchy, and to the outbreak of the great revolution in Paris a
hundred years ago. The ill-fated Queen Marie-Antoinette of France
became an inveterate gambler. It was her craze for high play that
led her to admit not only to her court, but also to her card-table,
parvenus of doubtful reputation and of questionable antecedents, such
as the infamous Cagliostro, _soi-disant_ Count of St. Germain, and
others of his class, whose only merit in her eyes was that they were
rich and willing to lose their money without counting it. Indeed,
the celebrated diamond necklace scandal, which compromised to such a
terrible degree the reputation of this French queen, and precipitated
the overthrow of the throne, would have been impossible had it not
been for her gambling propensities.

[Illustration: IN THE WHITE HALL
_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

The "spiel-cour" only takes place on the eve of the wedding of a
member of the Hohenzollern family. It is held in the _weisse-saal_ of
the Berlin _schloss_, or palace. The kaiser and the kaiserin, with the
bridal pair, seat themselves at a card table under a canopy of gold
brocade, adorned with the imperial arms. The other royal personages
sit at card-tables lower down on the dais on each side. The invited
guests then pass before their majesties, precisely as at the
"défiler-cour."

The "sprech-cour" is, as its name signifies, a kind of
_conversazione_. The persons invited are partitioned off, according
to their ranks, in different rooms, through which their majesties
promenade. Those not personally known to the emperor and empress are
introduced by the masters of ceremonies in attendance, and others with
whom their majesties are already acquainted are honored by a short
conversation.

"Trauer-cours," or mourning levées, are held immediately after the
death of the reigning sovereign, and are exceedingly impressive,
mainly by reason of the flowing robes and peculiar sable-hued attire
which the ladies of the royal family of Prussia and of their courts
are compelled by tradition and etiquette to adopt. Moreover, all the
apartments are draped in black, the gilded ornaments being shrouded
in crape. The last of these mourning courts was held by Empress
Frederick, in the place of her dying husband, on the demise of old
Emperor William, and so painful and depressing was this occasion, that
at her urgent request, no ceremony of the kind was held when "_Unser
Fritz_" in his turn, was gathered to his fathers.

Very stately are the court balls, of which a number are given in
the early part of each year, between the First of January and the
beginning of Lent. In fact, court balls at Berlin are infinitely
less amusing, at any rate to young people, than are analogous
entertainments at the Hofburg, at Vienna, or at Buckingham Palace, in
London. This is due partly to the fact that Hohenzollern tradition and
etiquette require that the proceedings should be inaugurated with the
Polonaise, and furthermore, because the waltz has, for nearly
forty years, been denied a place in the programme of terpsichorean
entertainments at court.

In fact, waltzes have been forbidden ever since an accident which
happened to Empress Frederick at a court ball not long after her
marriage. She was waltzing with a young nobleman, when suddenly she
was tripped up inadvertently by her partner, and precipitated to the
floor at the very feet of old Empress Augusta, her mother-in-law. The
latter, who was a terrible despot on the score of etiquette, could
not bear the idea of a dance which could have the effect of placing a
princess of the blood in such an undignified position, and turning
a deaf ear to all arguments about the mishap being due to the
awkwardness of the dancers, rather than to the dance itself, she
vetoed the inclusion of waltzes thenceforth in all programmes of court
balls.

Fortunately, no such regulation prevails at the Court of Vienna, where
Strauss's waltzes invariably form the most attractive feature of the
so-called "hofball" and "ball-bei-hof." There is a great difference
in the character of these two state balls at Vienna. To the first,
all sorts of people are commanded who are entitled solely by virtue of
their official position to appear at court. The second, and far more
brilliant one, is restricted to what is known as the court circle, or
the _elite_,--the old blue-blooded aristocracy,--alone.

So far Emperor William has resisted all the pressure brought to bear
upon him by the princesses and ladies of his court to revive the
waltz, taking the ground that it is more conducive than any other
dance to ridiculous mishaps on the highly polished and parqueted
floors of the royal and imperial palaces. Even with the polka,
the schottische and the mazurka, to which the round dances are now
limited, there are so many accidents that some time ago the kaiser
summoned the generals commanding the various troops stationed in and
around Berlin, and instructed them to direct those officers who were
not able to dance properly, to abstain from attempting to do so at the
imperial entertainments. The result is that young officers are now put
through their paces by their seniors, and have to display a certain
proficiency in dances around the billiard or mess table before they
are allowed to dance at court.

I remember on one occasion at a court ball at Berlin when a young
subaltern incurred the anger of the late Prince Frederick-Charles by
tripping up his partner. The Red Prince assailed the young officer so
bitterly that the crown prince was obliged to intervene.

At a Viennese court ball I once saw the young secretary of a
foreign embassy fall so unfortunately while dancing with one of the
archduchesses that he actually came down in a sitting position on her
face, and caused her nose to bleed. It need scarcely be added that he
left Vienna the next day, and a week later obtained his transfer to
another post.

A short time before the tragedy of Mayerling, Crown Princess Stephanie
had a very nasty fall, owing to the gaucherie of a cavalry officer
with whom she was waltzing. The emperor was terribly annoyed, and
Crown Prince Rudolph spoke his mind in no measured tones to the
offender.

Far more polite was Emperor Napoleon III. when at a Tuileries ball
a middle-aged officer and his fair partner came to grief. As the
mortified warrior scrambled to his feet, the emperor extended a hand
to help him, and turning to the lady, remarked:

"_Madame, c'est la deuxième fois que j'ai vu tomber monsieur le
colonel. La première fois c'était sur le champ de bataille de
Magenta_." (Madame, this is the second time I have seen the colonel
fall. The first time was on the battlefield of Magenta.)

In order to see the Polonaise danced in all its glory, it must be
witnessed on the occasion of the wedding of some princess of the
reigning house of Prussia, when the dance is headed by a procession of
cabinet ministers, bearing candles or torches, whence it is styled the
"Fackel-tanz," (Torch-dance).

On such an occasion the emperor, the empress and the royal guests
having taken up their places on the dais, under the baldaquin, and
immediately in front of the throne, the less exalted guests ranging
themselves to the right and left of the great white hall, according
to rank and precedence, the court marshal receives orders from his
majesty for the dance to begin. The count thereupon approaches the
royal bride and bridegroom, and bowing low to them, invites them
to take part in the dance. The bridegroom extends his hand to his
consort, and to the sound of a very slow and stately march conducts
her around the hall, preceded by the twelve ministers of state,
walking two by two, those highest in rank coming last. Each, minister
bears in his hand a lighted torch of white perfumed wax. When the
procession returns to the point from which it started, in front of the
throne, the bride approaches the emperor, and with a curtsy invites
his majesty to take part in the dance, and is conducted around the
room by him, the bridegroom going through the same formality with the
empress. As soon as these first three rounds are concluded, the twelve
ministers hand over their wax torches to twelve pages of honor, each
lad being of noble birth, and the bridegroom then similarly invites
the remaining princesses of the blood, two at a time, leading one with
each hand, while the bride goes through the same procedure with two
princes of the blood, until the total list of royal personages has
been exhausted. When the number of royal guests is very large this
dance sometimes lasts nearly two hours.

On ordinary cases, of course, the torches are dispensed with, and the
polonaise only continues long enough to enable the emperor and
empress to march once round, the hall with those guests whom they
wish particularly to honor. On such occasions they are preceded by the
court marshal bearing the wand of grand marshal, by several masters of
the ceremonies, and by picturesquely attired pages of honor.

Court ceremonies have been few and far between during the last ten
or twelve years at Vienna owing to the circumstance that the imperial
family have been almost uninterruptedly in mourning, consequent upon
the successive deaths of Crown Prince Rudolph, Archduke Charles-Louis
and Empress Elizabeth, in addition to a number of less important
members of the imperial family. The ceremonial is very different
from that which prevails at Berlin, and it must be confessed that the
guests are more select, since the Court of Vienna is infinitely
more exclusive than that of Berlin, and requires much more stringent
genealogical qualifications on the part of women admitted to the honor
of presentation. Indeed, there Is no court in Europe more exclusive
than that of Emperor Francis-Joseph, and the threshold of the Hofburg
may be regarded as barred without hope of admission to any lady who is
not endowed with the necessary ancestry, free from all plebeian strain
for at least eight generations on both the father's and the mother's
side.

The presentation of débutantes and of brides ordinarily takes place
prior to the commencement of court balls, and there are no such things
as state concerts or "défiler-cours," as at Berlin, and in England, at
which latter court guests receive their invitations to state balls
by means of large lithographed cards emblazoned with the royal or
imperial arms, on which it is stated that the grand-master of the
Court at Berlin, or the lord chamberlain in London, has been directed
by their majesties, or her majesty, as the case may be, to "command"
the attendance of such and such a person to a ball at court. These
commands are usually sent out about a week or more in advance: but
in Vienna, where it is taken for granted that all the people having
a right to invitations belong to the same intimate circle, cards are
dispensed with, and on the day before the entertainment, sometimes on
the very morning on which it is given, one of the court messengers, or
so-called Hofcouriers, calls at the residence of invited guests with
a long sheet of paper, on which is inscribed the list of _invités._ On
this list, opposite his or her name, the invited person writes yes
or no, indicating thereby acceptance of the imperial command or
prevention by some grave event.

The guests are already assembled in the Hall of Ceremonies before the
imperial party makes its appearance. The ladies all wear court trains,
and in almost every case the bodice of their dress is adorned with
the insignia of the "Sternkreutz" [star cross], an order restricted
exclusively to women, of which the late empress was grand-mistress,
and to possess which even still greater ancestral qualifications are
needed than for presentation at court. The men are all in uniform,
either civilian, military or naval. Indeed it is impossible to find
in Austria any man that has the right to appear at court who does
not possess some sort of uniform. If he happens to be a Hungarian, he
wears the picturesque dress of the great Magyar kingdom, bordered with
priceless furs, adorned with jewels and composed of costly velvets and
silks.

Shortly before the arrival of the imperial procession the grand-master
of ceremonies taps on the floor with his ivory wand of office to
attract attention, and the guests thereupon range themselves along the
two sides of the hall, the ladies to the right and the gentlemen to
the left. Suddenly the folding-doors at the further end of the hall
are flung open, and to the sound of the most inspiriting march that
the conductor of the court orchestra, Edouard Strauss, can devise, the
imperial cortege makes its appearance, preceded by Count Hunyadi, in
his uniform of a cavalry general, and Prince Rudolph Leichtenstein,
each armed with a wand of office. Since the disappearance of the
empress from court life--a disappearance which may be said to have
preceded her death by several years--the emperor has been in the habit
on these occasions of offering his arm to the Duchess of Cumberland,
daughter of King Christian of Denmark, and _de jure_ sovereign duchess
of Brunswick, as the principal foreign royal lady present. Immediately
after him follows the archduke next in the line of succession, now
Francis-Ferdinand, or, failing him, Otto, leading the archduchess
designated to take the place of the first lady of the land, and who at
the present time is Archduchess Maria-Josepha, wife of Archduke Otto.

The imperial procession, consisting of all the archdukes and
archduchesses--there are nearly one hundred of them--and of the
principal members of their households, marches along the avenue thus
formed by the guests, and are welcomed by low curtsies on the part of
the women, and by profound bows on the part of the men. The brilliant
pageant then disappears in the room set apart for the imperial party,
and thereupon the emperor and Archduchess Maria-Josepha return, and
while the emperor passes along in front of the male guests, preceded
by one of the principal dignitaries of his court, either Count
Kalmàn Hunyadi or Prince Montenuovo, the archduchess, escorted by the
grand-mistress of her court, makes her way along the front rank of the
ladies, bowing to some, extending her hand to be kissed by others, and
chatting familiarly to those who are old friends.

As soon as the emperor and the archduchess reach the end of the line
the emperor passes over to the ladies' side, while the archduchess in
her turn passes along the front rank of the men. The archduchess then
proceeds to the so-called "Rittersaal," and taking her seat on a
sofa, sends her ladies-in-waiting and her chamberlains to bring to her
presence ladies who have presentations to make. With each débutante
the archduchess converses for a few seconds before dismissing her, the
wives of the foreign ambassadors being on these occasions invited to
take a seat beside the archduchess on her sofa while presenting their
countrywomen.

Meanwhile the ball has commenced in the Hall of Ceremonies, and is
usually opened with a waltz. While the dancing is in progress the
emperor strolls about, talking from time to time to some guest.
Foreign ambassadors and envoys usually avail themselves of this
opportunity to present their countrymen to his majesty.

Of course no one is permitted to invite any of the archduchesses or
foreign princesses of the blood who may happen to be present to dance.
It is they who have the privilege of taking the first step in the
matter. Whenever they desire to dance with any man they cause him
to be notified of their wish by their chamberlain in attendance. The
cavalier thus honored is obliged to consider this intimation in the
nature of a command, and all engagements with fair partners of a less
exalted rank, are annulled thereby.

Refreshments are served for the ordinary guests in the "Pietra-Dura"
room, where a superb buffet is set, the tables glittering with gold
plate and Venetian glass. For the imperial princes and princesses the
Hall of Mirrors is generally reserved, and there the scene is even
still more magnificent. By midnight all is over. The court has retired
with the same ceremonial that marked its arrival, and the guests are
looking for their wraps and cloaks. All court entertainments at Vienna
begin early and end early, so as not to interfere unduly with the
emperor's practice of rising at about five o'clock in the morning.

One of the features of the great court functions at Berlin, as well as
at Vienna, which excites the greatest surprise of Americans visiting
Europe for the first time, is that particular form of homage accorded
to royalty which consists in the kissing of the hand or "handkuss."
Not only the hands of the royal and imperial ladies are required
by etiquette to be kissed when offered to gentlemen, but it is also
considered necessary for both men and women to kiss the hand of the
sovereign when he condescends to extend it for the purpose. This
seems, perhaps, less odd at Vienna, as the emperor is a septuagenarian
with snow-white hair and a sad and kindly face, inspiring feelings of
sympathy and loyal affection. Indeed there is nothing out of the way
in a young girl, and even a man of mature years, kissing the hand of a
veteran of the age of Francis-Joseph, just as if he were their father.
But it certainly does appear strange to those from across the Atlantic
who are obtaining their first insight into European court life, to see
not only grey-haired generals, and white-whiskered statesmen, but also
venerable ladies,--grandmothers perhaps--and belonging to the highest
ranks of the nobility kissing the hand of Emperor William.

It has always seemed to me that William must have realized for the
first time his altered rank when old Field-Marshal Moltke, and the
late Prince Bismarck, on hailing him as emperor within a few hours
after his father's death, bent down to kiss his hand. This took place
more or less in private. But shortly afterwards, when he opened the
imperial parliament for the first time as emperor, in the presence of
most of the German sovereigns who had come to Berlin for the purpose,
and had finished reading his speech, and handed it to the chancellor
of the empire, old Bismarck, as he took it, bent almost double to kiss
the hand that was tendering the document to him, in the presence of
the princes and representatives of the entire German empire.

Kissing, it may be added, forms a great feature of court etiquette
in Germany and Austria. It is, for instance, _de rigueur_ that two
sovereigns of equal rank visiting each other, should embrace at least
thrice, no matter how deeply they may detest each other privately!
A petty sovereign will have to content himself with being embraced
merely twice by a monarch such as Francis-Joseph or Emperor William,
while a crown prince or heir apparent will receive only one hug.
Mere princes of the blood receive no kisses at all, but only a hearty
hand-shake, with which they have to be satisfied, and which is, after
all, perhaps the most sensible fashion of greeting.



CHAPTER XV


All royal and imperial people are more or less superstitious,
and neither Emperor William nor his brother monarch at Vienna are
exceptions to the rule. Striking evidence thereof is furnished by the
presence of a large horseshoe cemented into the wall just outside
the fourth window of the first story of Empress Frederick's palace
at Berlin. One day, some time before his accession to the throne, and
before his father was seized with that terrible malady to which he
eventually succumbed, William was invited to dine with his parents.
Finding that he was very late, and knowing the strictness of his
father and mother on the score of punctuality, William directed his
coachman to drive as fast as he could, and the carriage positively
raced up the incline to the portal.

Suddenly one of the big Mecklenburg horses lost his shoe, which in
some extraordinary manner, flew up into the air, dashed through the
first-story window and fell upon the dinner table, right in front
of Frederick and the then crown princess, who, declining to wait
any longer, had just sat down to table. The shoe is reported to have
grazed the nose of the late emperor. At any rate, the fact that it
should have failed to seriously injure anyone is a miracle. It was so
regarded by Frederick, his wife and his children, who deemed the queer
advent of the shoe, and the escape of everybody from injury, as an
indication of good luck. At the suggestion of the present kaiser, it
was thereupon cemented into the wall just outside the window through
which it had come, and was fastened upside down, in order to prevent
the luck from dropping out.

It is not altogether astonishing that royal personages should be prone
to superstition, for in almost every case they are compelled to make
their homes in palaces and castles that have been stained with the
blood of one or more of their ancestors. Ordinary people experience an
uncanny feeling when forced by circumstances to live in houses which
have been the scene of suicide or murder, even when the victims of
the tragedy, or the perpetrators thereof are in no way, even the
most remotely, connected with them. What wonder, then, that royal and
imperial personages should entertain the same kind of superstition and
sentiments with regard to their palaces, when it is borne in mind that
the participants in the drama have been members of their own families!

For months prior to the assassination of Empress Elizabeth,
forebodings of an impending catastrophe were prevalent at the Court
of Vienna, and so imbued was Emperor Francis-Joseph with ominous
presentiments, that he repeatedly exclaimed in the hearing of his
entourage: "Oh, if only this year were at an end!"

These apprehensions on the part of the monarch and his court were due
to an incident which took place on the night of April 24, 1898, and
which was of sufficient importance to be comprised in the regular
report made on the following morning to his military superiors by the
officer of the guard at the Hofburg. It seems that the sentinel posted
in the corridor or hall leading to the chapel was startled almost out
of his senses by seeing the form of a white-clad woman approaching
him, soon after one o'clock in the morning. He at once challenged her,
whereupon the figure turned round, and passed back into the chapel,
where the soldier then observed a light. Hastily summoning assistance,
a strict search was instituted, but the chapel was explored without
any result.

The sentinel in question was a stolid, rather dull-minded Styrian
peasant, who was possessed of but little power of imagination or of
education, and who was entirely ignorant, therefore, of the tradition
according to which a woman in white makes her appearance by night
in the Hofburg at Vienna, either in the chapel or in the adjoining
corridors and halls, whenever any misfortune is about to overtake the
imperial house of Hapsburg.

On each occasion, this spectral appearance to the sentinel on duty
has been described in the report of the officer of the guard on the
following morning, and is absolutely a matter of official record. The
previous visitations of the "white lady" had taken place on the eve
of the shocking tragedy of Mayerling; a few weeks previous to the
shooting of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico; and prior to the burning to
death of the daughter of old Archduke Albert, at Schoenbrunn; while
the very fact that there should have been no supernatural appearance
of this kind at the time when Archduke John vanished from human ken,
leads the imperial family and the Court of Austria to still doubt the
story, according to which he perished at sea while on his way round
Cape Horn, from La Plata to Valparaiso.

I do not know the origin of the "white lady" tradition at Vienna,
nor have I ever been able to ascertain anything definite about her
history, but there is plenty of documentary evidence, as well as
a wonderful array of records concerning "the white lady of the
Hohenzollerns," who makes her appearance in the old palace at Berlin
whenever death is about to overtake a member of the reigning house of
Prussia. The late Emperor Frederick--the most matter-of-fact and least
imaginative prince of his line--was particularly interested in the
matter, and collected all the evidence that he could upon the subject,
for the purpose of depositing it in the archives of his family.

Perhaps the most important testimony in this connection are the sworn
statements signed by Prince Frederick of Prussia, and a number of his
fellow officers, to all of whom the "White Lady" is declared to have
appeared as they sat together on the eve of the prince's death at the
battle of Saalfeld in 1806.

Moreover, Thomas Carlyle went to no little trouble to procure evidence
when writing the history of Frederick the Great, that the "White Lady"
had appeared to that famous monarch on the eve of his death. The king,
it is asserted, was on the high road to recovery from his illness,
when suddenly one morning he declared that he had seen the white-clad
spectre during the night, that his hour had come, and that it was
useless to ward off death any longer. So he refused to take any
further medicine or nourishment, turned his face to the wall, and
died.

The "White Lady" is considered sufficiently real by the hard-headed
matter-of-fact commanders of the Prussian army, to lead to their
adopting special measures whenever her appearance is reported. The
moment she is seen, the sentinels within and around the royal palace
are at once doubled. The object of this is not so much to protect the
royal family from harm, as to prevent the sentinels themselves from
following the example of the two who shot themselves while on guard
at the palace in the year 1888, one, shortly before the death of old
Emperor William, the other, a few days before the demise of Emperor
Frederick, the men in each case declaring before they expired that
they had seen the "White Lady," their story being in a measure
borne out by the fact that their faces even after death seemed to be
distorted with terror.

The appearances of the "White Lady" are kept as quiet as possible,
the matter is never mentioned at court, save in whispers, and nothing
concerning her is ever permitted to appear in print in the Berlin
papers.

This dread apparition that forebodes evil to the reigning house of
Prussia, is supposed to be the spectre of Countess Agnes Orlamunde,
who murdered her first husband, as well as her two children, who
constituted an obstacle to her marriage with, one of the ancestors of
the kaiser.

The palace in which the spectre of this historic murderess appears
is a huge and massive structure of grey stone, the walls of which
are pierced by over one thousand windows, and which contains over six
hundred rooms. Commenced four hundred and fifty years ago by one of
the earliest electors of Brandenburg, it has been added to by
each sovereign in turn, until it has attained its present enormous
dimensions.

There is probably no structure of the kind in the world the building
of which has cost so many lives. Indeed the very mortar used in its
construction may be said to have been mixed with blood. The people of
Berlin, who from time immemorial have been noted for their democracy
and their spirit of independence, have opposed from the very outset
the erection of this building in their midst as calculated to endanger
their liberty, and many were the attempts that they made to arrest
the undertaking, and to destroy the work already accomplished. Bloody
fights took place between the mob and the troops appointed to protect
the workmen, and on two occasions the populace even went so far as to
cut the dams, and destroy the flood gates, deluging the foundations
with the waters of the River Spree, and drowning each time many
hundreds of workmen.

Even at the present moment Emperor William is engaged in an angry
fight with, the people of Berlin in connection with this palace.
He wishes to surround it with a terrace and a garden, which will
naturally add to its beauty. At present the windows look onto the
public streets, a fact which, in these days of bombs and dynamite
outrages, renders it difficult to protect with any degree of
efficiency. The municipality and people of Berlin, however, absolutely
decline to consent to the expropriations necessary in order to enable
the destruction and removal of the existing houses and buildings which
interfere with the execution of his majesty's project.

Like his uncle, the Prince of Wales, the kaiser is very superstitious
on the subject of the number thirteen in the case of any
entertainment, and more than once has a mere subaltern who happened to
be on duty at the palace as an officer of the guard, been commanded at
a moment's notice to join the imperial party in order to avoid there
being thirteen at the table.

This superstition is perhaps partly due to the fact that the emperor
is aware of the old Scandinavian custom, from which it originates, and
which still subsists among the peasantry of the west coast of France.
In the Pagan days of Scandinavia, the hardy Norsemen were accustomed
at all their banquets to invite the spirit of the last of their male
relatives or friends to participate in the feast, and the food that he
would have eaten and the mead that he would have drunk was cast into
the fire, the supposed resting-place of the soul. When the Norsemen
embraced Christianity, on ceremonious occasions they sat down to
the banquet in parties of twelve, doing this in honor of the twelve
Apostles; but unable entirely to disassociate themselves from their
old heathen custom of inviting the spirit of a dead relative or
friend, they constituted him,--the spectre,--the thirteenth guest at
table, and his health was always drunk in solemn silence. In course
of time people came to forget the traditional custom of considering
a spectre to be the thirteenth guest. He was, however, associated in
their minds with the notion of death, and thus the belief has grown
that though a thirteenth person at table is no longer a corpse, one of
the party is destined, at any rate, to speedily become one.

Throughout Brittany on the eve of the day sacred to the memory of the
dead "La Toussaint," the family all sit down to a festive repast, and
there is invariably a place laid at table, the plate filled with the
choicest viands, and the glass filled with the finest wine or cider,
for the one or more members of the family who have died during the
previous twelve months. The peasantry are convinced that the spirits
of their dear ones take part in this repast at one time or another
during the course of the night. It is for this reason that they
consider it their duty to sit up till daybreak, the women chiefly
praying, the men talking in undertones about the qualities and the
characteristics of the mourned ones. Wearied with watching, imbued
with the most fervent and devout faith, blended with a belief in
old-time legends, what wonder is it that towards dawn both the men
and the women, especially the latter, should imagine that they see
the spirits of their dead glide into the room, take their place at the
family board, and then, after a brief sojourn in their midst, vanish
with the light of the breaking day. It is a pretty and a touching
idea, which is not combated by the clergy, and of which, indeed, no
one possessed of any heart would seek to disabuse the minds of the
poor, simple-minded peasant folks.

Of course Emperor Francis-Joseph and Emperor William are imbued with
all the old superstitions peculiar to Nimrods. As an instance, they
will give up an entire day's shooting, no matter how elaborate the
arrangements made for it, if a hare is seen to cross their path, for
this is always looked upon as being a very bad omen.

Both emperors also attach much importance to dreams, and claim to have
been furnished by them with premonitions of each misfortune that has
overtaken them, and regard Friday as the most unlucky day of the week.

There is no colder, more unemotional and level-headed woman in
the-world than the young Empress of Russia, who is a German princess
by birth, and a first cousin of Emperor William, yet she too believes
in dreams, since the following incident, which enjoys the fullest
degree of credence on the part of the emperors of Germany and Austria.
It seems that during the coronation festivities she was resting one
afternoon, and had dropped off into a doze, when she suddenly found
herself awakened by one of her ladies who had been frightened by the
manner in which she moaned and even wailed in her sleep. The empress
then related that her slumbers had been disturbed by a bad dream.
An old gray-haired Moujik, or peasant, all covered with blood, had
appeared to her, and had exclaimed:

"I have come all the way from Siberia, czaritza, to see your day of
honor, and now your Cossacks have killed me."

The vision had been so real that the empress hastened to her husband
to inquire if any misfortune had happened. Nicholas laughed at his
wife's fears, but to soothe her, telephoned to the minister of the
imperial household, asking whether anything untoward had occurred,
and only then learnt of the terrible disaster that had taken place in
connection with the open-air banquet, where over two thousand lives
were lost, through a panic that had seized upon the vast concourse of
people, the terrible catastrophe being aggravated by the unfortunate
attempts of large bodies of mounted Cossacks to restore order by
riding into the crowd and using their whips and even their swords
against the terrified masses of penned-up Moujiks.

It must be borne in mind that the entire monarchial system of the old
world is largely based on legend and superstition, and that a belief
in the supernatural, therefore, is to be expected in such personages
as the anointed of the Lord, who are firmly convinced that there is a
considerable amount of the supernatural in their authority and in the
origin of their power.

Another manner in which Emperor William displays his superstition, is
his absolute refusal to permit any steps to be taken to clear up the
mystery which has existed throughout this entire century in connection
with the hunting château of Grünewald, which, like the great palace
at Berlin, is popularly believed to be haunted. Indeed, it is regarded
with considerable misgiving by the peasantry of the surrounding
district. It is an old castle, built almost two centuries ago, by the
father of the first King of Prussia, and has been the scene of several
tragedies.

The one which is supposed to have led to the haunting of the palace
is the murder by one of the princes of the house of Hohenzollern, in a
fit of passion, of a Prussian nobleman who was his guest at the time.
The prince is reported to have run the nobleman through the back with
his sword while following him down one of the staircases from the
upper story to the ground floor.

Endeavors have repeatedly been made to obtain permission from the
sovereign to tear down the brick wall so as to give access to this
staircase, not only for the sake of convenience, but also with the
object of setting at rest forever the popular superstitions and rumors
on the subject. Neither King Frederick-William IV., nor the late
Emperor William would ever hear of such a thing, and the late Emperor
Frederick, who was the least superstitious and most matter-of-fact
of men, grew grave and silent, when it was suggested to him that he
should give the desired permission. As for the present emperor, he
has sternly forbidden that the matter should even be mentioned in his
presence. This extraordinary reluctance displayed by both the kaiser
and his predecessors to discover what there is behind that brick wall
leads to the conviction that the mouldering remains of the victim
of the treacherous hospitality of a prince of Prussia lie concealed
there.



CHAPTER XVI


It is among the crowned heads and princes of the blood in the Old
World that St. Hubert, the patron of the chase, finds his most fervent
devotees, and nowhere is his cult followed with a greater degree
of pomp and ceremoniousness, and, I might almost add, religious
sentiment, than at the Courts of Berlin and Vienna.

The foremost Nimrod of Europe is undoubtedly old Emperor
Francis-Joseph, who finds his only relaxation from the cares of state
in stalking the chamois, and who is celebrated in the annals of sport
as the most successful and fearless hunter of that excessively shy and
difficult quarry.

No man living possesses a larger collection of gemsbock beards, which
constitute the hunter's trophy of this form of the chase. They
number nearly three thousand, and the only person whose score at all
approximates the emperor's is his intimate friend and crony, the
aged King Albert of Saxony. Both monarchs are now old men, with hair,
whiskers and moustache, of a snowy white, but neither their years,
nor their sorrows, which have contributed so much towards aging them
prematurely, have been permitted until now to interfere with their
chamois-hunting expeditions in the Styrian Alps. On these occasions
the two sovereigns make their headquarters at Francis-Joseph's
picturesque shooting-lodge, or rather château, at Mürzsteg. They are
usually accompanied by the emperor's eldest son-in-law, Prince Leopold
of Bavaria, Archduke Francis-Ferdinand, heir apparent to the throne,
some younger members of the imperial family, and a few of the
dignitaries of the court who have been the longest attached to the
service of his majesty, prominent among whom is Baron Gudemus, grand
huntsman of the empire. The latter, by virtue of his office, holds a
seat in the privy council, ranks higher than the cabinet ministers,
has under his control all the game preserves, the hunting equipages,
and the shooting lodges of the crown in the various parts of the
empire, and is the generalissimo of the army of game-keepers, and
jägers, many thousands in number, who wear the livery of the house of
Hapsburg.

Usually, the first three or four days of the stay at Mürzsteg
are devoted to stalking the chamois, the two sovereigns generally
remaining together, attended only by the grand huntsman, and by a
few jägers and guides, while the other members of the shooting party
follow their individual devices. The start is made each morning about
an hour before dawn, so as to enable the sportsmen to be well up on
the mountain side by daybreak, that being the time when it is least
difficult to get within range of a chamois.

All day long the two old sovereigns, Alpenstock in hand, and short,
stocky rifles slung over the shoulder, go toiling up and down the
mountains, along the edges of great precipices, tracing their steps
along paths that to the uninitiated would seem to afford no foothold
to any living thing, save a goat or a chamois. Sometimes they are
overtaken by snowstorms while up in the mountains, and are unable
to see their way, or to move either backwards or forwards, for whole
hours together, while at other times they are forced to lie down flat
on their stomachs and to cling with hand and foot to any friendly
piece of projecting rock in order to avoid being blown down the
precipices, or into the deep crevasses, by the terrible winds which
without warning suddenly sweep through the Alpine gorges and valleys,
with a force that can only be described as cyclonic.

All the party, emperor, king, princes, and attendants, down to the
humblest jäger, wear the same kind of Styrian dress, consisting of a
sort of Yoppe, or Austrian jacket of grey homespun, with green collar
and facings, and buttons of rough stag-horn, homespun breeches, cut
off above the knees, which are left entirely uncovered, thick woollen
stockings rolled below the knee, and heavy, hob-nailed, laced boots.
The head gear is that known in this country as the Tyrolese hat,
adorned by a chamois beard, which is inserted between the ribbon and
the felt.

By nightfall, which comes early in the mountains, everybody is back
at the "jagdschloss," and dinner is served at five, in a room panelled
with wood and decorated with trophies. The emperor and the king sit
next to each other, while Baron Gudemus, as grand huntsman, faces them
on the opposite table. The attendants are not liveried footmen, but
jägers and game-keepers. On arising from the table the party as a rule
descends into the courtyard, where all the game killed during the
day is laid out on a layer of pine branches, the jägers forming three
sides of a square, lighting up the scene with great pine torches,
while the huntsmen sound the _curée-chaude_ on their hunting horns. By
eight or nine o'clock, everybody is in bed, and the whole château is
wrapped in slumber.

During the last three or four days of the stay, the so-called
"Treibjagds," or "Battues" take the place of stalking. They are
far more ceremonious, but infinitely less fatiguing and interesting
affairs, and as they begin between eight and nine, and last till four,
they do not involve getting out of bed at the unearthly hour of three
or four in the morning. They necessitate, however, an enormous amount
of preparation and organization on the part of the grand huntsman. For
at least forty-eight hours previously, a vast corps of "treibers,"
or Styrian mountaineers engaged for the purpose have been employed in
surrounding a district of mountain and valley many miles in area.
The circle is gradually narrowed down until the whole of the game is
driven from the heights into the valley, where the emperor and his
guests have taken up their positions.

The selection of the positions of the party is regarded as a matter of
the utmost importance, and on the evening before, the grand huntsman
submits to the emperor a carefully drawn up plan of the locality. His
majesty thereupon designates with his own hand the spot where each
of his guests is to take up his position on the following morning. He
himself and the King of Saxony generally await the game in the lowest
part of the valley, the remaining guests and officials being spread up
the mountain side on each hand according to their degree of rank and
the imperial favor, those who enjoy the greatest share of the latter
being the nearest to the sovereign down the valley, while those of
less importance are posted higher up on the mountain side. By nine
o'clock, every member of the party must be in the place assigned to
him on the plan, and the beaters, who have kept the game carefully
within the circle of their lines, now proceed to drive it down towards
the shooting party.

Usually, great nets are stretched a hundred yards to the rear of the
two monarchs, with the object of forcing the game which may have got
past their majesties to retrace its steps, and to face the royal and
imperial sportsmen once more.

Sometimes curious scenes result in connection with these nets. On one
occasion a magnificent gemsbock had managed to get past the King of
Saxony, and finding a net in the way, charged it full tilt with a
flying leap. Its horns got entangled in the meshes, seven or eight
feet high, and there it remained hanging and kicking until a couple of
jägers in attendance on the king disentangled it and carefully
placed it on the ground. For a moment it stood as if transfixed
with amazement, gazing steadfastly at the net, and then deliberately
charged head down, and with a tremendous bound, at the obstacle once
more, with the same result, of course. Again the jägers disengaged
it, but in its struggles to recover its liberty the gemsbock left its
beard torn out by the very roots in the hand of one of the men who had
grabbed it for the purpose of holding the animal fast. A third time
the gallant buck charged the net, and cleared it in magnificent style
and made good its escape. The beard which it left behind it figures
to this day on the Alpine hat of King Albert, who is probably the only
man living who can boast of wearing the beard of a chamois that may
still be roaming over the Styrian Alps.

Emperor William's favorite form of sport is wild-boar hunting.
This species of game abounds in the imperial preserves of
Königs-Wusterhausen, Letzlingen, Gohrde and Springe, the latter being
quite near to the ancient city of Hamelin, celebrated in legendary
lore for its "_pied-piper_" and for its rats!

The preserves at Gohrde are liked best by the kaiser, as they were by
his grandfather, the old emperor, for they are alive with wild boars.
Persons invited for the first time to these imperial shooting parties
have to go through a regular form of initiation, somewhat akin to that
practised in the case of people crossing the line for the first time
at sea.

On the eve of the day on which the hunt is to begin, and when the
party are assembled in the smoking and card-rooms of the jagdschloss,
after dinner, the great oak table in the dining-room is cleared and
ornamented with several lines of chalk; thereupon, the deputy grand
huntsman, Baron Heintze Weissenrode, after receiving the emperor's
final instructions, selects a dozen members of the party, and conducts
them to the dining-room, where they take their places around the
table, each armed with a wooden spoon of a different size from those
of his neighbors.

At a given signal the huntsman in charge of the imperial pack of
boar-hounds, who has been stationed at the entrance leading into the
dining-room, sounds the "view-halloo!" on his horn, and immediately
every one of the wooden spoons is rubbed up and down the oaken table
in a manner that produces a sound similar to that of the noise made
by a pack in full pursuit. The person about to be initiated is then
seized and blindfolded, after which the doors are thrown open, and he
is carried into the dining-room, and laid upon the table athwart the
chalk lines. The emperor immediately draws his short hunting-knife,
and after making several mystic passes with it in the air, strikes the
prostrate body of the neophyte a smart blow with the flat of the broad
blade. The huntsman toots forth the signal of "dead! dead!" which is
used to call the pack off the quarry, and the new-fledged "weide-man"
is permitted to struggle off the table and onto the ground.

I may add that the emperor's blow with the hunting-knife is not the
only one which the neophyte receives while stretched on the table on
his face, nor does it constitute the sum total of the initiation, but
only the conclusion thereof. Indeed, there is sometimes a good deal
of rough horse-play on these occasions, in which the emperor, who
delights therein, takes a prominent part.

The boar hunt on the following day partakes of the nature of the
chamois drives already described, the only difference being that the
beaters are assisted in their work by a carefully trained pack of
boar-hounds, which are accustomed to obey the horn signals of the
huntsman in charge, and are of much service in driving the quarry from
its lair in the dense brush and underwood.

Another difference is that the shooting parties, instead of firing in
the direction of the drivers, are under the strictest orders only
to fire away from them; that is to say, the hunters are practically
forced to wait until the wild boar rushes past before their rifles may
be levelled. Of course, it sometimes happens that the boar, instead
of charging past, charges directly at some member of the party in the
fiercest and most dangerous manner, and it is in order to be prepared
for an assault of this kind, that each of them is provided with a kind
of pike, or lance, which goes by the euphonious name of "sowpen."

The costume worn on these occasions is an exceptionally hideous
uniform, specially invented and devised by the present emperor.
It consists of a double-breasted frock coat of grey cloth, with
grass-green lapels and collar, green striped pantaloons, high boots,
and a grey Tyrolese hat, with a wide green band. In the emperor's case
it is further adorned by the ribbon and badge of a Hohenzollern family
order known as that of the "White Hart."

At these shooting parties the emperor is accustomed to wind up the day
with a most extraordinary kind of drink, of which he himself is very
fond, and of which he insists upon everybody's partaking, assuring
them that it will help them to sleep. It consists of the following
ingredients: White beer, sugar, citron peel, ginger spices, the yolks
of at least a dozen eggs, Rhine wine, Madeira, and old Santa Cruz rum.
All this, after being thoroughly stirred, is placed on the fire
and slowly heated, several large pats of butter being added to the
concoction while it is warm.

It need scarcely be said that it requires a stomach as strong as that
of the emperor to be able to absorb several glasses of such a drink
before retiring, and it is asserted at the Court of Berlin that there
are many of his subjects of high rank who feign illness when
commanded to join the imperial hunting parties, solely because of the
apprehensions they entertain of being called upon by the kaiser to
drink this extraordinary brew.

For shooting wild-fowl, hares and other small game, William uses a
very dainty and extremely light fowling-piece, specially constructed
for him, which he raises to his shoulder with one hand, and with
extraordinary rapidity takes a remarkably sure aim; but when it comes
to hunting the wild boar, stag, elk, bear and big game in general,
the killing of which requires a heavier gun, he is naturally forced
to adopt other devices. His crippled left arm being useless to support
the weapon, his body jäger, specially trained for this particular
duty, steps forward and offers either his arm or his shoulder for the
support of his master's rifle. This, _bien entendu_, when his majesty
is engaged in stalking. In cases where the chase takes the form of a
"battue," a species of horizontal bar is affixed at right angles to
the tree beside which the emperor stands, and it is on this support
that the kaiser rests his gun when shooting at the driven game.

Handicapped as William is by this crippled arm, his record of 33,967
head of game killed with his own hand, during the past two decades, is
a very remarkable one. It may be found in his "Game Book," published a
few months ago for private circulation among the royal personages and
court circles of the Old World.

Comprised in this grand total are some pieces which do not fall to the
lot of every sportsman. Thus there are a couple of "aurochsen," which
is a species of bison-like wild cattle, still to be found strictly
preserved in the private domains of the Emperor of Russia. Unless I
am mistaken, there are only about five hundred of them left, and, in
spite of all the efforts made to foster the breed, they are so rapidly
diminishing in number that ere many years are past they will surely
become extinct. In pre-Christian times they roamed all over Germany,
and were, and still are, larger, fiercer, and much lighter colored
than the American buffalo.

The wild boars number in the "Game Book" over 2,700. There are eleven
elks shot in Sweden, three reindeer killed in Norway, and ten bears
laid low, some of them in Russia, and others in Hungary. The emperor
has, much to his vexation, only managed to bag three unfortunate
snipe, an extremely difficult bird to shoot on the wing; but his
record of 120 chamois is decidedly good, when it is remembered what
an exceedingly difficult game this is to reach, entailing, as it does,
mountaineering of the most arduous and perilous character, especially
in the case of a man who can use but one arm easily. These 120 chamois
serve in a measure to atone for the twenty foxes which figure as
having been shot by the emperor, a fact which is more likely to injure
his reputation and prestige in the eyes of hunting men than any other
fault or even crime of which he could possibly render himself
guilty. The most unique item of this "Game Book," with the exception,
naturally, of the two aurochsen, are assuredly the three whales which
the emperor shot with a harpoon gun, on the occasion of his yachting
trip to the furthermost portion of Norway a few summers ago. These
three huge monsters of the deep form a fitting and amusing counterpart
in the "Game Book" to the three snipe above mentioned.

Emperor William has a number of shooting-lodges, among the best known
of which is Hubertusstock, of which he is particularly fond owing to
its proximity to the capital. Yet it is hated by the members of his
suite, for it is a terribly gloomy place. It stands in the midst of
a dense, dark forest of vast extent, and swarming with game, within
a few hundred yards of the reed covered and marshy shores of the
Werbellin Lake, and was built by the late King Frederick-William IV.
During the last few years of his madness this monarch was frequently
taken out to Hubertusstock by his attendants, who hoped that the
entire absence of all excitement and the intense solitude of the place
would diminish the recurrences of his attacks of violence.

The emperor sometimes spends an entire week at Hubertusstock and it
has frequently been asserted that he takes advantage of the complete
absence from public observation which he then enjoys, to make secret
trips abroad. It was his absence at this place for a period of ten
days while the czar was at Paris that led to the very circumstantial
story in the German and foreign press about his having been in the
French capital, in the strictest incognito, for several days during
the Russian emperor's stay on the banks of the Seine. A number of
people claim to have recognized him, and it is even alleged that he
caught the czar's eye, and was recognized by him during the grand
entertainment given by President Faure in honor of his Muscovite
visitors at the Palace of Versailles.

A story was told at the time about a couple of German officers, one of
them attached to the embassy, who happening to find themselves face to
face with an individual presenting a striking likeness to the kaiser,
save for the fact that his moustache was twisted downwards instead
of upwards, and his hair brushed in a different way, lost to such an
extent their presence of mind that they could not help drawing their
heels together and standing at attention; a form of courtesy which
received as its only response the muttered exclamation of "Verdammte
Esel!" which may be translated: "Accursed jackasses!"

That served to confirm their suspicions, and unfortunately both their
behavior and the growl of the stranger had been witnessed and heard by
people who were quick to make the matter public.

It was with the object of endeavoring to disprove and discredit these
stories that the emperor caused a telegram, to be sent to the czar
from Hubertusstock, not written, as usual, in cipher, but in ordinary
language. There is an old French proverb according to which "he who
seeks to prove too much, proves nothing," and thus it happened that
this open telegram which reached the czar at Châlons, and which was
published in the German newspapers, even before Nicholas had made
it known to the members of his entourage, merely served to convince
people that the kaiser had really been in Paris when he was supposed
to be buried amidst the gloomy forests of Hubertusstock.

Hubertusstock is not, as most people seem to imagine, a castle, but
merely a huge, overgrown two-storied chalet, surrounded by a number
of smaller wooden dwelling-houses for the use of the imperial suite.
Formerly, it required a drive of at least three hours from the station
on the main line in order to reach the jagdschloss. But since the
accession of the emperor he has caused a private railroad to be
constructed from the trunk line to a small station within a few
hundred yards of the chalet.

Seldom is the kaiser found in the schloss after daybreak. The entire
morning is spent by him in the woods, which are so vast that one can
wander about them for days without meeting a soul. Luncheon is usually
partaken of at some point in the forest, and frequently during this
repast a concert takes place, the performers consisting of a quartette
of foresters, their instruments being mere hunting horns, and their
melodies those of old hunting-songs. Within the limits of the imperial
preserves is the celebrated Schorfhaide, which each year, towards the
month of November, becomes the meeting place of thousands of stags.
They come from all parts of Germany and Austria, this being rendered
possible by the proximity to one another of the great estates of the
territorial nobility, so that it would be feasible to march almost
from the Adriatic to the Baltic without leaving forest glades. This
annual assemblage of stags on the Schorfhaide has been taking place
every autumn for untold centuries. In fact, mention thereof has been
found in documents more than a thousand years old. The meetings afford
an extraordinary sight, and are the scenes of numerous single combats
to death between "Royals," the other stags and the deer standing
round, as if to form a huge amphitheatre, and gravely watching the
duel without making any attempt to interfere.

All sorts of theories have been put forward with regard to this annual
concourse of stags on the Schorfhaide. Foresters, however, insist that
it is nothing more nor less than a species of great animal congress,
at which the various antlered tribes meet for a big "palaver" to
decide matters affecting the policy and the leadership of their
various clans! Far-fetched as this theory may seem at first sight, it
is evident that there is something of the kind which brings stags and
their mates from the remote forests of Galicia on the Russian border,
from the vast Liechtenstein game preserves to the South of Vienna,
and from the still larger sporting property of Belyer, in Hungary,
belonging to Archduke Frederick, all the way to the Schorfhaide on
the reedy banks of the Werbellin Lake, in order to flock together by
thousands.

It is a matter of forest ethics, and of the law of the chase, to
abstain from disturbing this annual _convivium_ of the stags, as it
is called, and while it lasts, not a single shot is to be heard in the
forests around Hubertusstock. In fact, November has on this account
become a species of close season there, no one interested in sport
wishing to do anything that could in the least degree interfere with
this, so far as I know, altogether unique custom in the animal world.
The meetings, however, have been witnessed by the emperor and a few
chosen companions who concealed themselves in the branches of
trees, bordering on the Schorfhaide, and William is never tired of
expatiating on the magnificence of the spectacle presented.

Next to Hubertusstock, the most favored shooting-lodge and
sporting-estate of the kaiser, is Rominten, not far from the Russian
frontier. Owing to this proximity, bears and wolves, especially
the latter, of Muscovite origin, are frequently to be found in the
Rominten forests, adjoining which is the celebrated imperial Trakenen
stud and horsebreeding establishment, founded as far back as 1732
by Frederick the Great. Some idea of the size and importance of this
stud-farm may be gathered from the fact that over two thousand hands
are employed in connection with the concern. Trakenen was originally
famous for elk, and an elk's horn remains to this day the Trakenen
brand placed upon all horses bred there. The emperor's headquarters at
Rominten are situated at a place called Theerbude. His jagdschloss or
shooting-lodge consists of a handsome Norwegian block house, brought
from Norway, and erected on the Goldberg on the left bank of the
Rominten River. The stables are built on a most extensive scale, and
the chapel, as well as all the other buildings, are constructed in the
picturesque Norwegian style, which harmonizes so well with the dark
fir forests by which they are surrounded.

There is no interruption of the business of slate during the emperor's
stay at Rominten. Theerbude is connected with Berlin by wire, and
telegrams are arriving and departing at all hours of the day.

The kaiser shoots as a rule twice a day, at four in the morning, and
four in the afternoon, the drive to the hunting-grounds often taking
several hours, for most of them are at a considerable distance. The
various foresters' lodges, even at the most remote portion of the
estates, are connected by telephone with the imperial residence, and
thus the emperor is able to know at midday where the game is likely to
be most plentiful in the afternoon.

When the emperor is not shooting, he transacts business with his
various military and civil secretaries, and long after his guests are
asleep he himself is still at work, signing state papers or reading
and annotating reports. Indeed one of the most remarkable things about
Emperor William is his apparent ability to do almost entirely without
sleep.

On Sundays the emperor invariably makes a point of attending divine
service at the Chapel of St. Hubert, opposite his residence, and
subsequently is accustomed to walk to the Königshöhe, a neighboring
hill on which he has built an observatory-tower about one hundred feet
high, which commands a magnificent view of the surrounding forest,
extending about twenty miles in every direction from the tower.
Curiously enough, wild boars are not found at Rominten; but the stags
there are superb, and specimens turning the scales at a thousand
pounds are the rule rather than the exception.

One of the features of the Theerbude is a goblet of the time of King
Frederick-William III. The vessel is held between the points of a
couple of antlers, and it is only possible to drink out of it by
squeezing one's face between these two points. The possessor of a
rotund countenance experiences considerable difficulty in performing
this feat, and is apt to spill the contents over himself, yet every
one of the emperor's guests has to submit to the ordeal, for
an inscription on the goblet says that all persons attending
shooting-parties at Rominten for the first time must empty the vessel
of its contents,--a pint bottle of champagne,--at one draught, to the
health of the sovereign.

So great are the quantities of game shot by the emperor and his guests
at these shooting-parties that they very much exceed the needs for the
consumption of the imperial household. Formerly, it was the kaiser's
custom to distribute all the surplus among the various hospitals and
charitable institutions; but since discovering that these gifts of
game seldom reached the persons for whom they were destined, namely
the inmates, but were monopolized by the staff and the attendants
of the establishments, he has given orders that the game that is not
needed for imperial consumption should be sold, and the money derived
therefrom turned over to the funds of the hospitals and convalescent
homes under the patronage of the crown. That is why one so frequently
sees in the great Central Market of Berlin, deer, stags, wild boars,
etc., adorned with greenery, and with cards intimating that the quarry
in question has been shot by his imperial majesty the kaiser.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

WILLIAM II AND FRANCIS JOSEPH


_VOLUME I_

WILLIAM II, EMPEROR OF GERMANY........... _Fronts_

PRINCESS FREDERICK AND PROFESSOR VON BERGMANN.............  80

THE RUNAWAY AT PROECKELWITZ............................... 104

SCENE IN DUKE ERNEST GUNTHER'S QUARTERS................... 136

AUGUSTA VICTORIA, EMPRESS OF GERMANY...................... 192

IN THE WHITE HALL......................................... 256





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