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Title: Secret Memoirs: The Story of Louise, Crown Princess
Author: Fischer, Henry W. (Henry William), 1856-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Secret Memoirs

THE COURT OF ROYAL SAXONY

1891-1902

This edition, printed on Japanese vellum paper, is limited to two
hundred and fifty copies.

No. ________



[Illustration: LOUISE, EX-CROWN-PRINCESS OF SAXONY

Photo taken shortly before her flight from Dresden]

Secret Memoirs

THE COURT OF ROYAL SAXONY 1891-1902

THE STORY OF LOUISE CROWN PRINCESS

FROM THE PAGES OF HER DIARY, LOST AT THE TIME OF HER ELOPEMENT FROM
DRESDEN WITH M. ANDRÉ ("RICHARD") GIRON

BY HENRY W. FISCHER

Author of "Private Lives of William II and His Consort," "Secret History
of the Court of Berlin," etc., etc.

Illustrated from Photographs

BENSONHURST, NEW YORK FISCHER'S FOREIGN LETTERS, INC. PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1912
BY HENRY W. FISCHER

Copyright, 1912, applied for by Henry W. Fischer in Great Britain

Copyright, 1912, by Henry W. Fischer, in Germany, France, Austria,
Switzerland, and all foreign countries having international copyright
arrangements with the United States

[_All rights reserved, including those of translation_]



EDITOR'S CARD


This is to certify that the Ex-Crown Princess of Saxony, now called
Countess Montiguoso, Madame Toselli by her married name, is in no way,
either directly or indirectly, interested in this publication.

There has been no communication of whatever nature, directly or through
a third party, between this lady and the editor or publishers. In fact,
the publication will be as much a surprise to her as to the general
public.

The Royal Court of Saxony, therefore, has no right to claim, on the
ground of this publication, that Princess Louise violated her agreement
with that court as set forth in the chapter on the _Kith and Kin of the
ex-Crown Princess of Saxony_, under the heads of "_Louise's Alimony and
Conditions_" and "_Allowance Raised and a Further Threat_."

    HENRY W. FISCHER, _Editor_.
    Fischer's Foreign Letters, Publishers



THIS BOOK AND ITS PURPOSE

By Henry W. Fischer


Of Memoirs that are truly faithful records of royal lives, we have a
few; the late Queen Victoria led the small number of crowned
autobiographists only to discourage the reading of self-satisfied royal
ego-portrayals forever, but in the Story of Louise of Saxony we have the
main life epoch of a Cyprian Royal, who had no inducement to say
anything false and is not afraid to say anything true.

For the Saxon Louise wrote not to guide the hand of future official
historiographers, or to make virtue distasteful to some sixty odd
grand-children, bored to death by the recital of the late "Mrs. John
Brown's" sublime goodness:--Louise wrote for her own amusement, even as
Pepys did when he diarized the peccadilloes of the Second Charles'
English and French "hures" (which is the estimate these ladies put upon
themselves).[1]

The ex-Crown Princess of Saxony suffered much in her youth by a
narrow-minded, bigoted mother, a Sadist like the monstrous Torquemada;
marriage, she imagined, spelled a rich husband, more lover than master;
freedom from tyranny, paltry surroundings, interference. To her
untutored mind, life at the Saxon Court meant right royal splendor,
liberty to do as one pleases, the companionship of agreeable, amusing
and ready-to-serve friends.


_The Sad Saxon Court_

Her experience? Instead of the Imperial mother who took delight in
cutting her children's faces with diamonds and exposing her daughters to
the foul machinations of worthless teachers--she acquired a
father-in-law (Prince, afterwards King George) whose pretended affection
was but a share of his all-encompassing hatred, whose breath was a
serpent's, whose veins were flowing with gall; the supposed
chevaleresque husband turned out a walking dictionary of petty
indecencies and gross vulgarities when in a favorable mood, a brawler at
other times, a coward always.

As to money--Louise wished for nothing better "than to be an American
multi-millionaire's daughter for a week"! Amusements were few and
frowned upon.

Liberty? None outside of a general permit to eat, drink and couple like
animals in pasture, was recognized or tolerated. Nor could the royal
young woman make friends. Her relatives-by-marriage were mostly freaks,
and all were unbearable; her entourage a collection of spies and
flunkeys.

If charity-bazaars, pious palaver, and orphaned babies' diapers had not
been the sole topic of conversation at court; if there had been
intellectual enjoyment of any kind, Louise might never have taken up
her pen. As it was: "This Diary is intended to contain my innermost
thoughts, my ambitions, my promises for the future, _Myself_. * * *
These pages are my Father-Confessor. I confess to myself. * * * And as I
start in writing letters to myself, it occurs to me that my worse self
may be corresponding with my better self, or vice-versa."

At any rate she thinks "this Diary business will be quite amusing."


_Louise's Amusing Writings_

It is. The world always laughs at the--husband of a woman whose history
isn't one long yawn.

Nor is Louise content with a bust picture.[2] She gives full length
portraits of herself, family, friends, enemies, and lovers, which latter
she picks hap-hazard among commoners and the nobility. Only one of them
was a prince of the blood, and he promptly proved the most false and
dishonorable of the lot.

When Louise's pen-pictures do not deal with her _amororos_, they focus
invariably emperors and princes, kings and queens,--contemporary
personages whose acquaintance, by way of the newspapers and magazines,
we all enjoy to the full, as "stern rulers," "sacrificers to the public
weal," "martyrs of duty," "indefatigable workers," "examples of
abstinence," and "high-mindedness"--everything calculated to make life a
burden to the ordinary mortal.


_Kings in Fiction and in Reality_

But kings and emperors, we are told by these _distant_ observers, are
built that way; they would not be happy unless they made themselves
unhappy for their people's sake. And as to queens and empresses,--they
simply couldn't live if they didn't inspect their linen closets daily,
stand over a broiling cook-stove, or knit socks for the offspring of
inebriated bricklayers "and sich."

Witness Louise, Imperial and Royal Highness, Archduchess of Austria,
Princess of Hungary and Tuscany, Crown Princess of Saxony, etc., etc.,
smash these paper records of infallible royal rectitude, and superhuman,
almost inhuman, royal probity!

Had she castigated her own kind _after_ royalty unkenneled her, neck and
crop, her story might admit of doubt, but she wrote these things while
in the full enjoyment of her rank and station, before her title as
future queen was ever questioned or menaced.

Her Diary finishes with her last night in the Dresden palace. We do not
hear so much as the clatter of the carriage wheels that carried her and
"Richard" to her unfrocking as princess of the blood,--in short, our
narrator is not prejudiced, on the defensive, or soured by
disfranchisement. She had no axes to grind while writing; for her all
kings dropped out of the clouds; the lustre that surrounds a king never
dimmed while her Diary was in progress, and before she ceases talking to
us she never "ate of the fish that hath fed of that worm that hath eat
of a king."

Yet this large folio edition of _obscénités royale_, chock full, at the
same time, of intensely human and interesting facts, notable and amusing
things, as enthralling as a novel by Balzac,--Louise's life record in
sum and substance, since her carryings-on _after_ she doffed her royal
robes for the motley of the free woman are of no historical, and but
scant human interest.

The prodigality of the mass of indictments Louise launches against
royalty as every-day occurrences, reminds one of the great Catharine
Sforza, Duchess of Milan's clever _mot_. When the enemy captured her
children she merely said, "I retain the oven for more."


_Royal Scandals_

Such scandalmongering! Only Her Imperial Highness doesn't see the
obloquy,--sarcasm, cynicism and disparagement being royalty's every-day
diet.

Such gossiping! But what else was there to do at a court whose
literature is tracts and whose theatre of action the drill grounds.

But for all that, Louise's Diary is history, because its minute things
loom big in connection with social and political results, even as its
horrors and abnormalities help paint court life and the lives of kings
and princes as they _are_, not as royalties' sycophants and apologizers
would have us view them.

There is a perfect downpour of books eulogizing monarchs and monarchy;
royal governments spend millions of the people's money to uphold and
aggrandize exalted kingship and seedy princeship alike; three-fourths of
the press of Europe is swayed by king-worship, or subsidized to sing the
praises of "God's Anointed," while in our own country the aping of
monarchical institutions, the admiration for court life, the
idealization of kings, their sayings, doings and pretended superiority,
as carried on by the multi-rich, are undermining love for the Republic
and the institutions our fathers fought and bled for.


_Un-American Folly_

It's the purpose of the present volume to show the guilty folly of such
un-American, un-republican, wholly unjustifiable, reprehensible and
altogether ridiculous King-worship, not by argument, or a more or less
fanciful story, but by the unbiased testimony of an "insider."

Let it be considered, above all, that a member of the proudest Imperial
family in the wide, wide world demonstrates, by inference, the absurdity
of King-worship!

Of course, whether or not you'll obey the impassioned appeal of the
corner sermonizer, who, espying a number of very décolletée ladies
passing by in a carriage, cried out: "_Quand vous voyez ces tetons
rebondies, qui se montrent avec tant d'impudence, bandez! bandez!
bandez! vous--les yeux!_" is a matter for you to decide.

       *       *       *       *       *

Seek not for descriptions of ceremonials and festivities in these pages;
only imbeciles among kings are interested in such wearying spectacles,
intended to dazzle the multitude. The Czar Paul, who became insane and
had his head knocked off by his own officers, appeared upon the scene
vacated by his brilliant mother, Catharine the Great, with a valise full
of petty regulations, ready drawn up, by which, every day, every hour,
every minute, he announced some foolish change, punishment or favor, but
I often saw Kaiser Wilhelm and other kings look intensely bored and
disgusted when obliged to attend dull and superfluous court or
government functions.


_Royalty's Loose Talk_

But for genuine expressions of the royal self consult Louise. Those who
think that royalty shapes its language in accordance with the plural of
the personal pronoun, sometimes used in state papers, will be shocked at
the "négligé talk" of one royal highness and the "rag-time" expressions
of others. Louise, herself, assures us over and over again that she
"_feels like a dog_," a statement no self-respecting publisher's reader
would allow to pass, yet I was told by a friend of King Frederick of
Denmark that he loved to compare his "all-highest person" to a "_mut_,"
and I remember a letter from Victor Emanuel II to his great Minister,
Count Cavour, solemnly protesting that he (the King) was "_no ass_."

When the same Danish ruler, the seventh of his name, was asked why, in
thunder, he married a common street walker (the Rasmussen, afterwards
created Countess Danner), he cried out with every indication of gusto:
"You don't know how deliciously common that girl is."

Frederick's words explain the hostler marriages of several royal women
mentioned by Louise, as well as her own and loving family's
_broulleries_ of the fish-wife order, repeatedly described in the Diary.


_Royalty Threatens a Royal Woman_

It is safe to say that few $15 flats in all the United States witnessed
more outrageous family jars than were fought out in the gilded halls of
the Dresden palace between Louise and father-in-law and Louise and
husband. Threats of violence are frequent; Prince George promises his
daughter-in-law a sound beating at the hands of the Crown Prince and the
Crown Princess confesses that she would rather go to bed with a drunken
husband, booted and spurred, than risk a sword thrust.

At the coronation of the present Czar, at Moscow, I mistook the Duke of
Edinburgh, brother of the late King Edward, for a policeman attached to
the British Ambassador, so exceedingly commonplace a person in
appearance, speech and manner he seemed; Louise has a telling chapter on
the mean looks of royalty, but fails to see the connection between that
and royalty's coarseness.

Perhaps it wasn't the "commonness" of Lady Emma Hamilton, child of the
slums, impersonator of _risqué_ stage pictures, and mistress of the
greatest naval hero of all times, that appealed primarily to Louise's
grand-aunt, Queen Caroline of Naples, but the abandon of the beautiful
Englishwoman, her reckless exposure of person, her freedom of speech,
certainly sealed the friendship between the adventuress and the despotic
ruler who deserved the epithet of "bloody" no less than Mary of England.


_Covetous Royalty_

Royal covetousness is another subject dwelt on by Louise. We learn that
in money matters the kings and princes of her acquaintance--and her
acquaintance embraces all the monarchs of Europe--are "dirty," that
royal girls are given in marriage to the highest bidder, and that poor
princes have no more chance to marry a rich princess than a drayman an
American multi-millionaire's daughter.

Louise gives us a curious insight into the Pappenheim-Wheeler marriage
embroglio, and refers to some noble families that made their money in
infamous trades; that the Kaiser adopted the title of one of these
unspeakables ("Count of Henneberg") she doesn't seem to know.

We hear of imperial and royal highnesses, living at public expense and
for whom honors and lucrative employment are exacted from the people,
who at home figure as poor relations, obliged to submit to treatment
that a self-respecting "boots" or "omnibus" would resent.

Here we have a royal prince of twenty-four or twenty-five subjected to
kicks and cuffs by his uncle, who happens to be king--no indignity
either to the slugged or the slugger in that--but when a pretty princess
gets a few "_Hochs_" more than an ugly, mouse-colored majesty, she is
all but flayed for "playing to the gallery."

"High-minded" royalty robs widows and despoils orphans; re-introduces
into the family obsolete punishments forbidden by law; maintains in the
household a despicable spy system! Its respect for womanhood is on a par
with a Bushman's; of authors, "lickspittles" only count; literature,
unless it kowtows to the "all-highest" person, is the "trade of Jew
scribblers."


_Right Royal Manners_

As to manners, what do you think of kings and princes and grand-dukes
who, at ceremonial dinners, pound the table to "show that they are
boss"?

Louise tells of an emperor at a foreign court ignoring one of his
hostesses absolutely, even refusing to acknowledge her salute by a nod.
We hear of expectant royal heirs who engage in wild fandangoes of
merriment while their father, brother or cousin lies dying.

"Personal matter," you say? "A typical case," I retort.

"Ask the _Duc du_ Maine to wait till I am dead before he indulges in the
full extent of his joy," said the dying Louis XIV, when the _De
Profundis_ in the death chamber was suddenly interrupted by the sound of
violent laughter from the adjoining gallery. And the fact that almost
every new king sets aside the testament of his predecessor,--is this not
evidence of the general callowness of feeling prevailing in royal
circles?


_The Irish Famine and Royalty_

In famine times, the kings and princes of old drove the starving out of
town to die of hunger in the fields, and as late as 1772 one hundred and
fifty thousand Saxons died of hunger under the "glorious reign" of
Louise's grandfather-by-marriage, Frederick Augustus III. And the "Life
of Queen Victoria," approved by the Court of St. James, unblushingly
informs us that in 1847 "Her Most Gracious Majesty" was chiefly
concerned about investing to good profit the revenues of the Prince of
Wales, her infant son (about four hundred thousand dollars per annum).

Yet, while Victoria pinched the boy's tenants to extort an extra penny
for him, and "succeeded in saving all but four thousand pounds sterling"
of his imperial allowance, the population of Ireland was reduced two
millions by the most dreadful famine the world remembers!

Before the famine Ireland had a population of 8,196,597, against a
population of 15,914,148 in England and Wales, while Scotland's
population was 2,620,184.

Six years after the famine Ireland's population was 6,574,278,
Scotland's 2,888,742, England and Wales' 17,927,609. Today Ireland's
population is less than Scotland's, the exact figures being: Scotland
4,759,445, Ireland 4,381,951, England and Wales 36,075,269.


_Royalty Utterly Heartless_

However, as the waste of two million human lives, the loss of four
millions in population, subsequently enabled the Prince of Wales to tie
the price of a dukedom[3] in diamonds around a French dancer's neck and
to support a hundred silly harlots in all parts of Europe, who cares?

According to Louise and--others, royalty is the meanest, the most
heartless, the most faithless and the most unjust of the species--that
in addition she herself disgraced its womanhood, after the famous Louise
of Prussia rehabilitated queenship, is regrettable, but to call it
altogether unexpected would be rank euphemism.


_Louise's Character_

If Louise had lived at the time of Phryne, the philosophers would have
characterized her as "an animal with long hair"; if he had known her,
the great Mirabeau might have coined his pet phrase, "a human that
dresses, undresses and--talks" (or writes) for Louise; as a matter of
fact, she is one of those "_Jansenists_" of love who believe in the
utter helplessness of natural woman to turn down a good looking man.

Her great grand-uncle, Emperor Francis, recorded on a pane of glass
overlooking the courtyard of the Vienna _Hofburg_ his opinion of women
in the brief observation: "_Chaque femme varie_" (Women always change).

This is true of Louise and also untrue of her. While occupying her high
position at the Saxon court she was fixed in the determination to make a
cuckold of her husband, though Frederick Augustus, while a pumpkin,
wasn't fricasseed in snow by any means.

The process gave her palpitations, but, like Ninon, she was "_so_ happy
when she had palpitations."


_Changed Lovers Frequently_

As to lovers, she changed them as often as she had to, never hesitating
to pepper her _steady_ romances by playing "everybody's wife," chance
permitting, as she intimates naïvely towards the close of the Diary.

Qualms of conscience she knows not, but of pride of ancestry, of
insistence on royal prerogatives, she has plenty and to spare.

"My great grand-aunt, Marie Antoinette, did this"; "my good cousins
d'Orleans" (three of them) "allowed themselves to be seduced"; "_ma
cousine de_ Saxe-Coburg laughs at conventionalities,"--there you have
the foundation of the iniquitous philosophy of the royal Lais. And for
the rest--when she is queen, all will be well.


_Her Court--A Seraglio_

Louise's fixed idea was that, as Queen of Saxony, she had but to say the
word to establish a court _à la_ Catharine II; time and again she refers
to the great Empress's male seraglio, and to the enormous sums she
squandered on her favorites. If the Diarist had known that Her Majesty
of Russia, when in the flesh, never suffered to be longer than
twenty-four hours without a lover, Louise, no doubt, would have made the
most elaborate plans to prevent, in her own case, a possible
_interregnum_ of five minutes even.

She thought she held the whip hand because a king cannot produce princes
without his wife, while the wife can produce princes without the king;
besides Frederick Augustus was no paragon, and he who plants horns, must
not grudge to wear them.

A wanton's calculations, it will be argued,--but Louise's records show
that her husband, the king-to-be, fell in with her main idea,--that he
forgave the unfaithful wife, the disgraced princess, because, as Queen,
her popularity would be "a great asset."

And Americans, our women of whom we are so proud, are asked to bow down
to such sorry majesties!


_Sired and "Cousined" by Lunatics_

And is there no excuse for so much baseness in high places? Our royal
Diarist offers none, but her family history is a telling apology.

Be it remembered that Louise is not so much an Austrian as a
Wittelsbacher of the royal house of Bavaria that gave to the world two
mad kings, Louis II and Otho, the present incumbent of the throne,
besides a number of eccentrics, among others Louise's aunts, the Empress
Elizabeth and the Duchess d'Alencon, both dead; Crown Prince Rudolph of
Austria, her cousin, was also undoubtedly insane, the result of breeding
in and in, Austrian, Bourbon and Wittelsbach stock, all practically of
the same parentage, in a mad mix-up, the insane Wittelsbachers
predominating.

To cap the climax, Louise has eighteen or nineteen insane cousins on her
mother's side!

       *       *       *       *       *

Once upon a time Louise's prosaic and stupid great-uncle, as a young
husband, felt dreadfully scandalized when his Queen, Marie Antoinette,
bombarded him with spit-balls.

"What can I do with her?" he asked "Minister Sans-culotte" Dumouriez.

"I would spike the cannon, Sire," replied the courtier.

"_Enclouer le canon_," if performed in time, might have saved Louise,
but I doubt it.

    HENRY W. FISCHER.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: "Be civil, good people, I am the English hure," said Nell
Gwyn, addressing a London mob that threatened to storm her carriage,
assuming that its occupant was the hated Frenchwoman.]

[Footnote 2: "Your biography give a faithful portrait of self," said
Fontenelle, the famous French Academician, to an 18th Century Marquise,
"but I miss the record of your gallantries."

"_Ah, Monsieur, c'est que je ne me suis peinte qu'en buste!_" replied
her ladyship.]

[Footnote 3: The Prince of Wales' revenue is derived from the Duchy of
Cornwall, amounting to about half a million dollars per year.]



KITH AND KIN OF THE EX-CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY


_Louise's Own Family_

The royal woman whose life's history is recorded in this volume was born
Louise Antoinette, Daughter of the late Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of
Tuscany (died January 17, 1908) and the Dowager Grand Duchess Alice,
_née_ Princess Bourbon of Parma.

       *       *       *       *       *

Louise has four brothers, among them the present head of the Tuscany
family, Joseph Ferdinand, who dropped the obsolete title of Grand Duke
and is officially known as Archduke of Austria-Hungary.

He is a brigadier general, commanding the Fifth Austrian Infantry, and
unmarried.

Better known is Louise's older brother, the former Archduke Leopold, who
dropped his title and dignities, and, as a Swiss citizen, adopted the
name of Leopold Wulfling. This Leopold is generally regarded as a black
sheep.

Louise more often refers to him in the present volume than to any other
member of her family.

He is now a commoner by his own, more or less enforced, abdication, as
Louise is a commoner by decree of her chief-of-family, the Austrian
Emperor, Francis Joseph, dated Vienna, January 27, 1903.

A month before above date the Saxon court had conferred on Louise the
title of Countess Montiguoso, while, on her own part, she adopted the
fanciful cognomen of Louise of Tuscany.

Of Louise's two remaining brothers, one, Archduke Peter, serves in the
Austrian army as Colonel of the Thirty-second Infantry, while Archduke
Henry is Master of Horse in the Sixth Bavarian Dragoons.

Only one of Louise's four sisters is married, the oldest, Anna, now
Princess Johannes of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein.

The unmarried sisters are Archduchesses Margareta (31 years old),
Germana (28 years old), Agnes (22 years old).

       *       *       *       *       *


_Mother Comes of Mentally Tainted Stock_

Louise's mother, _née_ Princess Alice of Parma, is the only surviving
sister of the late Duke Robert, who left twenty children, all living,
and of whom eighteen or nineteen are either imbeciles or raving
lunatics, the present head of the house, Duke Henry, belonging to the
first category of mentally unsound.

Louise's first cousin, Prince Elias of Parma, the seventh son, is
accounted sound, but Elias's sister, Zita (the twelfth child), developed
maniacal tendencies since her marriage to Archduke Karl Francis Joseph,
heir-presumptive to the crown of Austria-Hungary.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Francis Joseph's Autocratic Rule_

_Louise Formerly in Line of Austrian Succession_

Louise was in the line of the Austrian succession until, upon her
marriage to the Crown Prince of Saxony (1891), she officially renounced
her birthrights.

Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary is Louise's grand-uncle as
well as chief of the imperial family of Austria, the royal family of
Hungary, the Grand-ducal family of Tuscany (now extinct as far as the
title goes), and of the Estes, which is the Ducal Line of Modena,
extinct in the male line. Finally he is recognized as chief by the ducal
family of Parma, descendants of the Spanish Hapsburgs.

Emperor Francis Joseph rules all the Hapsburgers, Austrian, Hungarian,
and those of Tuscany, of Este, of Modena and Parma, autocratically, his
word being law in the family. Even titles conferred by birth can be
taken away by him, as exemplified in the case of Louise and her brother
Leopold.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Royal Saxons_

As a member of the Austrian imperial family, the Hapsburgers, founded in
883, Louise ranked higher than her husband, the Crown Prince of the
petty Kingdom of Saxony, whose claim to the royal title dates from
1806,--a gift of the Emperor Napoleon.

She married Frederick Augustus November 21, 1891, while the latter's
uncle reigned as King Albert of Saxony (1873 to 1902).

Louise's father-in-law, up to then known as Prince George, succeeded his
brother June 19, 1902. He was then a widower and his family consisted
of:

Princess Mathilde, unmarried,

The Crown Prince Frederick Augustus, husband of Louise,

Princess Marie-Josepha, wife of Archduke Otho of Austria,

Prince Johann George, at that time married to Isabelle of Württemberg,
and

Prince Max. The latter subsequently shelved his title and entered the
Church July 26, 1896. He is a professor of canonical law and slated for
a German bishopric.

At the time of Prince George's ascension, there was also living the late
King Albert's widow, Queen Caroline, _née_ Princess of Wasa, since
dead.

The Marchesa Rapallo, _née_ Princess Elizabeth of Saxony, is a sister of
the late King George.


_Louise and Her Father-in-Law_

During King George's short reign, Louise ran away from the Saxon court,
end of November, 1902.

On February 11, 1903, divorce was pronounced against her by a special
court assembled by King George.

Louise was adjudged the guilty party and deprived of the name and style
of Crown Princess of Saxony. As previously (January 27) the Austrian
Emperor had forbidden her to use the name and title of Austrian
Archduchess and Imperial and royal Princess, Louise would have been
nameless but for the rank and title of Countess Montiguoso, conferred
upon her by King George.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Louise's Alimony Conditional_

At the same time Louise accepted from the court of Saxony a considerable
monthly allowance on condition that "she undertake nothing liable to
compromise the reigning family, either by criticism or story, either by
word, deed or in writing."

       *       *       *       *       *


_Frederick Augustus, King_

Upon his father's death, Frederick Augustus succeeded King George
October 15, 1904. He is now forty-seven years old, while Louise is
forty-two.

The King of Saxony has six children by Louise, three boys and three
girls, five born in wedlock, the youngest born without wedlock. The
children born in wedlock are:

    The present Crown Prince, born 1893.
    Frederick Christian, likewise born in 1893.
    Ernest, born 1896.
    Margaret, born 1900.
    And Marie Alix, born 1901.

The youngest Princess of Saxony, so called, Anna Monica, was born by
Louise more than six months after she left her husband and nearly three
months after her divorce.

Louise desired to retain Anna Monica in her own custody, but though the
child's fathership is in doubt, to say the least, Frederick Augustus
insisted upon the little one's transference to his care.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Allowance Raised and a Further Threat_

King Frederick Augustus raised Louise's allowance to $12,000 per year,
"which alimony ceases if the said Countess Montiguoso shall commit,
either personally, directly or indirectly, any act in writing or
otherwise liable to injure the reputation of King Frederick Augustus or
members of the royal family of Saxony, or if the said Countess
Montiguoso contributes to any such libellous publication in any manner
or form."

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Divorce of Royal Couple Illegal_

After divorce was pronounced against her, Louise declined to accept the
decree of the court, pronouncing the proceedings illegal on the ground
that both she and husband are Catholics and that the Roman Catholic
Church, under no circumstances, recognizes divorce. Her protest gained
importance from the fact that her marriage to Frederick Augustus was
solemnized by the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The Saxon court,
on the other hand, justified its own decision by basing same on a
certain civil ceremony entered into by Louise and Frederick Augustus
previous to the church marriage.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Louise Marries a Second Time_

When Louise realized in the course of years that Frederick Augustus
would not take her back, she changed her mind as to the illegality of
her divorce and married, September 25, 1907, Enrico Toselli, an Italian
composer and pianist of small reputation.

This marriage was performed civilly. They have one child, a boy, about
whose custody the now legally separated parents have instituted several
actions in law. The boy has now been allotted to the care of Toselli's
mother.


_King Did Not Marry Again_

King Frederick Augustus, though by the laws of Saxony and Germany
allowed to contract a second marriage, has not availed himself of the
license, probably in deference to the wishes of the Vatican. At the same
time he spurned all of Louise's attempts at reconciliation, the most
dramatic of which was her _coup de tête_ of December, 1904, when she
went to Dresden "to see her children," was arrested at the palace gate
and conducted out of the kingdom by high police officials.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Other Royalties Mentioned in This Volume_

Louise refers, in her Diary, to the Kaiser as "cousin." If there be any
relationship between her and William, it is that imposed by the Saxon
marriage, Saxon princes and princesses having frequently intermarried
with the royal and princely Hohenzollerns, despite the differences of
religion. There are four courts of Saxony despite that of Dresden:
Weimar, Meiningen, Altenburg and Coburg and Gotha.

The latter duchy's ruler, Karl Eduard, is of English descent, a son of
the late Duke of Albany. Hence, Louise's cousinship with Victoria
Melita, sometime Grand Duchess of Hesse, now Grand Duchess Kyril of
Russia.

Of course, Louise is closely related to all the Orleans and Bourbons.

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, who died on the scaffold at Paris,
October 16, 1793, she calls her great-grand-aunt and namesake, claiming,
at the same time, most of the Kings and princes of France of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as relatives.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I

    MOTHERHOOD

                                                                       PAGE

    A sterile Royal Family once fruitful--Diary true record of
    self--Long legs of Countess Solms--A child only because
    he can't help it--Wet nurse to Socialist brat--Royal
    permit for nursing--Royal negligee talk--A Saxon
    failing                                                               1

    CHAPTER II

    THE SWEET FAMILY

    Husband loving, but family nasty--Money considerations--Brutal
    caresses in public--Pests in the family--Awful
    serenity--Meddle with angels' or devils' affairs--Father-in-law's
    gritty kiss                                                           7

    CHAPTER III

    WEEPING WILLOW--EMBLEM ROYAL

    A pious fraud--Theresa Mayer--Character of the Queen--Mopishness
    rampant                                                              11

    CHAPTER IV

    MY UNPLEASANT YOUTH

    Father hard to get along with--Royal imaginations--Kings
    cursing other kings--Poverty and pretense--Piety that
    makes children suffer--Up at five to pray on cold
    stones--Chilblains and prayer                                        15

    CHAPTER V

    A FIERCE DISCIPLINARIAN

    Diamonds used to punish children--Face object of attacks--
    Grunting and snorting at the royal table--Blood flowing
    at dinner--My brother jumps out of a window                          19

    CHAPTER VI

    LEOPOLD DEFENDS MY HONOR AT HIS PERIL

    Punished for objecting to familiarities--Awful names I was
    called--Locked in the room with wicked teacher--Defend
    myself with burning lamp--My brother nearly kills
    my would-be assailant                                                23

    CHAPTER VII

    PRINCES AND PRINCESSES DANCE TO THE TUNE OF THE WHIP

    The result shows in the character of rulers--Why English
    kings and princes are superior to the Continental kind--Leopold's
    awful revenge--Mother acts the tigress--Her
    mailed fist--"I forbid Your Imperial Highness to see
    that dog"                                                            27

    CHAPTER VIII

    PLANNING TO GET A HUSBAND FOR ME

    Dissecting possible wooers at Vienna--Royalty after money,
    not character--"He is a Cohen, not a Coburg"--Prince
    who looked like a Jew counter-jumper in his Sunday
    best--Balkan princes tabooed by Francis Joseph--A
    good time for the girls--Army men commanded to attend
    us                                                                   35

    CHAPTER IX

    LOVE-MAKING

    The fascinating Baron--The man's audacity--Putting the
    question boldly--Real love-making--_Risqué_ stories for
    royalty                                                              41

    CHAPTER X

    MY POPULARITY RENDERS GEORGE DYSPEPTIC

    The Cudgel-Majesty--Prince George's intrigues--No four-horse
    coach for Princess--Popular demonstration in my
    favor--"All-highest" displeasure                                     45

    CHAPTER XI

    SCOLDED FOR BEING POPULAR

    Entourage spied upon by George's minions--My husband
    proves a weakling--I disavow the personal compliment--No
    more intelligent than a king should be                               53

    CHAPTER XII

    ROYAL DISGRACE--LIGHTNING AND SHADOWS

    Ordered around by the Queen--Give thanks to a bully--Jealous
    of the "mob's" applause--"The old monkey after
    '_Hochs_'"--Criticizing the "old man"--Royalty's plea for
    popularity--Proposed punishments for people refusing
    to love royalty                                                      57

    CHAPTER XIII

    UNSPEAKABLE LITTLENESSES OF PETTY COURTS

    Another quarrel with my husband--Personal attendant to a
    corpse--Killing by pin pricks--The mythical three "_How
    art thou's?_"--Unwanted sympathy from my inferiors--Pride
    of the decapitated Queen of France is in me--Lovers
    not impossible--Court to blame for them--My
    husband acts cowardly--Brutalizes my household--I
    lock myself in                                                       63

    CHAPTER XIV

    IMPERIAL RUSSIAN ETHICS TRANSFERRED TO DRESDEN

    My husband's reported escapade--Did he give diamonds to a
    dancing girl?--His foolish excuses--"I am your pal"--A
    restaurant scene in St. Petersburg--The birthday
    suit                                                                 71

    CHAPTER XV

    ROYALTY NOT PRETTY, AND WHY

    Fecundity royal women's greatest charm--How to have
    beautiful children                                                   77

    CHAPTER XVI

    MORE JEALOUSIES OF THE GREAT

    Men and women caress me with their eyes--Some disrespectful
    sayings and doings of mine--First decided quarrel
    with Frederick Augustus--I go to the theatre in spite
    of him                                                               81

    CHAPTER XVII

    THE ROYAL PRINCE, WHO BEHAVES LIKE A DRUNKEN BRICKLAYER

    I face the music, but my husband runs away--Prince George
    can't look me in the eye--He roars and bellows--Advocates
    wife-beating--I defy him--German classics--"Jew
    literature" _Auto da fé_ ordered                                     85

    CHAPTER XVIII

    I DEFY THEM

    Laughter and pleasant faces for me--Frederick Augustus refuses
    to back me, but I don't care--We quarrel about
    my reading--He professes to gross ignorance                          91

    CHAPTER XIX

    ATTEMPTED VIOLENCE DEFEATED BY FIRMNESS

    Frederick Augustus seeks to carry out his father's brutal
    threats--Orders and threats before servants--I positively
    refuse to be ordered about--Frederick Augustus
    plays Mrs. Lot--Enjoying myself at the theatre                       95

    CHAPTER XX

    TITLED SERVANTS LOW AND CUNNING

    George tries to rob me of my confidante--Enter the King's
    spy, Baroness Tisch in her true character--Punishment
    of one royal spy                                                     99

    CHAPTER XXI

    BANISHMENT

    I am ordered to repair to a country house with the hated spy
    as my Grand Mistress--My first impulse to go home,
    but afraid parents won't have me                                    103

    CHAPTER XXII

    "POOR RELATIONS" IN ROYAL HOUSES

    Myself and Frederick Augustus quarrel and pound table--The
    Countess Cosel's golden vessel--Off to Brighton--Threat
    of a beating--I provoke shadows of divorce--King
    threatens force--More defiance on my part--I
    humble the King and am allowed to invite my brother
    Leopold                                                             105

    CHAPTER XXIII

    A SERVANT-TYRANT

    My correspondence is not safe from the malicious woman
    appointed Grand Mistress--Lovers at a distance and by
    correspondence--Fell in love with a leg                             115

    CHAPTER XXIV

    MORE TYRANNY OF A TITLED SERVANT

    My daily papers seized, and only milk-and-water clippings
    are submitted--"King's orders"--Grand Mistress's veracity
    doubted--My threats of suspension cow her                           119

    CHAPTER XXV

    THE TWO BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY UNITED

    Leopold upon my troubles and his own--Imperial Hapsburgs
    that, though Catholics, got divorces or married
    divorced women--Books that are full of guilty knowledge,
    according to royalty--A mud-hole lodging for one
    Imperial Highness--Leopold's girl--What I think of
    army officers' wives--Their anonymous letters--Leopold's
    money troubles--We will fool our enemies by
    feigning obedience                                                  123

    CHAPTER XXVI

    FREDERICK AUGUSTUS CONTINUES VERY RAW

    Manners _à la_ barracks natural to royal princes--Names I
    am called--My ladies scandalized--Leopold turned over
    a new leaf, according to agreement, and is well treated--The
    King grateful to me for having "influenced Leopold
    to be good"                                                         129

    CHAPTER XXVII

    PRINCE MAX MAKES LOVE TO ME

    Wants me to consult him on all spiritual matters--Warns me
    against the Kaiser, the heretic bishop--Princes as ill-mannered
    as Russian-Jew up-starts                                            133

    CHAPTER XXVIII

    THE SHAH OF PERSIA FALLS IN LOVE WITH ME

    The "animal" and his show of diamonds and rubies--Overcome
    by love he treats me like a lady of the harem--On
    the defensive--The King of kings an ill-behaved
    brute--Eats like a pig and affronts Queen--Wiped off
    greasy hands on my state robe--When ten thousand
    gouged-out eyes carpeted his throne--Offers of jewels--"Does
    he take me for a ballet girl?"--The Shah almost
    compromises me--King, alarmed, abruptly ends
    dinner--I receive presents from him                                 135

    CHAPTER XXIX

    THE SHAH COMPROMISES ME IN PUBLIC

    Has only eyes for me at the grand manoeuvres, and I can't
    drive him from my carriage--Ignores the King and the
    military spectacle--Calls me his adored one--Court in
    despair--Shah ruins priceless carpets to make himself
    a lamb stew                                                         139

    CHAPTER XXX

    MY LIFE AT COURT BECOMES UNBEARABLE

    Laughter a crime--Disappointed Queen lays down the law
    for my behavior--Frederick Augustus sometimes fighting
    drunk--Draws sword on me--Prince George would have
    me beaten--To bed with his boots on                                 143

    CHAPTER XXXI

    PRISON FOR PRINCES THAT OPPOSE THE KING

    Duke of Saxony banished--Cut off from good literature
    even--Anecdote concerning the Grand Dauphin and his
    "kettledrums"--A royal prince's garrison life--His association
    with lewd women                                                     147

    CHAPTER XXXII

    PRINCE GEORGE SHOWN THE DOOR BY GRAND-DUCHESS MELITA

    A royal lady who walks her garden attired in a single diaphanous
    garment--Won't stand for any meddling--Called
    impertinent--My virtuous indignation assumed--A
    flirtation at a distance--An audacious lover--The
    Grand Mistress hoodwinked--Matrimonial horns for
    Kaiser--The banished Duke dies--Princes scolded like
    school-boys                                                         151

    CHAPTER XXXIII

    MELITA'S LOVE AFFAIRS AND MINE

    The Grand Duchess tells me how she cudgeled George--Living
    dictaphone employed--Shows him who is mistress
    of the house--Snaps fingers in Prince George's
    face--Debate about titles--"A sexless thing of a husband"--Conference
    between lover and husband--Grand
    Duke doesn't object to his wife's lover, but lover objects
    to "his paramour being married"                                     157

    CHAPTER XXXIV

    MORE ABOUT THE SWEET ROYAL FAMILY LIFE

    "Closed season" for petty meannesses--A prince who enjoys
    himself like a pig--Why princes learn trades--A family
    dinner to the accompaniment of threats and smashing of
    table--The Duke's widow and children robbed of their
    inheritance by royal family--King confiscates testament             163

    CHAPTER XXXV

    FLIRTATION DEVELOPS INTO LOVE

    At the theatre--My adorer must have felt my presence--Forgot
    his diplomacy--The mute salute--His good looks--His
    mouth a promise of a thousand sweet kisses--Our
    love won't be any painted business                                  169

    CHAPTER XXXVI

    COUNT BIELSK MAKES LOVE TO THE CROWN PRINCESS

    Fearless to indiscretion--He "thou's" me--Puts all his
    chances on one card--Proposes a rendezvous--Shall I
    go or shall I not go?--Peril if I go and peril if I don't           171

    CHAPTER XXXVII

    RAPID LOVE MAKING IN THE BOIS

    A discreet maid--"Remove thy glove"--Kisses of passion,
    pure kisses, powerful kisses--I see my lover daily--Countess
    Barnello offers "doves' nest"--Driving to
    rendezvous in state--"Naughty Louise," who makes fun
    of George                                                           177

    CHAPTER XXXVIII

    "IN LOVE THERE ARE NO PRINCESSES, ONLY WOMEN"

    A diplomatic trick--Jealous of Romano's past--The pact for
    life and the talisman--If there were a theatre fire the
    talisman would discover our love to the King--Some
    ill-natured reflections--Bernhardt's escapades cover up
    my tracks--The "black sheep" jumps his horse over a
    coffin--King gives him a beating--Bernhardt's mess-room
    lingo--Anecdotes of royal voluptuaries--Forces
    animals to devour each other--Naked ballet-girls as
    horses--Abnormals rule the world                                    183

    CHAPTER XXXIX

    MY PUNISHMENT

    I lose my lover--Quarrels with me because I did my duty
    as a mother--Royalty extols me for the same reason---My
    pride of kingship aroused by Socialist scribblers--Change
    my opinion as to Duke's widow--Parents arrive--Father
    and his alleged astrolatry--His finances disarranged
    by alimony payments--My uncle, the Emperor,
    rebukes mother harshly for complaining of _roué_
    father                                                              193

    CHAPTER XL

    A PLEBEIAN LOVER

    In need of a friend--My physician offers his friendship--I
    discover that he loves me, but he will never confess--I
    give him encouragement--We manage to persuade
    the King to further our intrigue--Not a bit repentant of
    my peccadilloes--Very submissive--Introduced to my
    lover's wife                                                        199

    CHAPTER XLI

    AN ATROCIOUS ROYAL SCANDAL

    A royal couple that shall be nameless--The voluptuous
    Duchess--Her husband the worst of degenerates--"What
    monsters these royalties be"--Nameless outrages--A
    Duchess forced to have lovers--Ferdinand and I
    live like married folk--Duchess feared for her life--Her
    husband murdered her--I scold and humiliate my overbearing
    Grand Mistress--The medical report too horrible
    to contemplate                                                      205

    CHAPTER XLII

    I LOSE ANOTHER OF MY LOVERS

    Happily no scandal--Rewarded for bearing children--$1250--for
    becoming a mother--Royal poverty--Bernhardt,
    the black sheep, in hot water again--The King rebukes
    me for taking his part                                              213

    CHAPTER XLIII

    THE CROWN PRINCESS QUELLS A RIOT

    Asked to play the coward, and I refuse--A hostler who
    would die for a look from me--Hostler marriages in
    royal houses--Anecdotes and unknown facts concerning
    royal ladies and their offspring--Refuse police escort
    and rioters acclaim me--Whole royal family proud
    of my feat                                                          219

    CHAPTER XLIV

    THE NEW LOVER, AND "I PLAY THE HUSSY FOR FAIR"

    Who is that most exquisite _Vortänzer?_--A lovely boy--"Blush,
    good white paper"--I long for Henry--My eyes
    reflect love--"I must see you tonight. Arrange with
    Lucretia"--Sorry I ever loved a man before Henry--Poetry
    even--I try to get him an office at court--Afraid
    women will steal him                                                227

    CHAPTER XLV

    LOVE AND THE HAPPINESS IT CONVEYS

    My Grand Mistress suspects because I am so amiable--Pangs
    of jealousy--Every good-looking man pursued by women--A
    good story of my cousin, the Duchess Berri--We
    all go cycling together--The Vitzthums--Love making
    on the street--A mud bath                                           233

    CHAPTER XLVI

    FEARS FOR MY LOVE

    Some reflections on queens of old who punished recreant
    lovers--Henry was in debt and I gave him money--Indignities
    by which some of that money was earned--Husband
    accompanies me to Loschwitz--Reflections on
    Frederick Augustus's character                                      239

    CHAPTER XLVII

    LOVE'S INTERMEZZO

    Bernhardt takes advantage of my day-dreams--My husband's
    indolent _gaucherie_--Violent love-making--Ninon who
    loved families, not men--Does Bernhardt really love me?             245

    CHAPTER XLVIII

    GRAND MISTRESS TELLS HUSBAND I KEEP A DIARY

    He wants to see it, but seems unsuspecting--Grand Mistress
    denies that she meant mischief, but I upbraid her
    unmercifully--Threaten to dismiss her like a thieving
    lackey                                                              251

    CHAPTER XLIX

    ARISTOCRATIC VISITORS

    I hear disquieting news about my lover's character--The
    aristocracy a dirty lot--Love-making made easy by titled
    friends--Anecdotes of Richelieu and the Duke of Orleans--The
    German nobleman who married Miss Wheeler and
    had to resign his birthright--The disreputable business
    the Pappenheims and other nobles used to be in--I am
    afraid to question my lover as to charges                           255

    CHAPTER L

    TO LIVE UNDER KING'S AND PRINCE GEORGE'S EYE

    Abruptly ordered to the royal summer residence--The Vitzthums
    and Henry take flight--Enmeshed by Prince
    George's intrigues--Those waiting for a crown have no
    friends--What I will do when Queen--No wonder Kings
    of old married only relatives--Interesting facts about
    relative marriages furnished by scientist                           261

    CHAPTER LI

    COLD RECEPTION--ENEMIES ALL AROUND

    Frederick Augustus gives his views on adultery--Doesn't
    care personally, but "the King knows"--"Thank God,
    the King is ill"--I am deprived of my children--Have
    I got the moral strength to defy my enemies?                        265

    CHAPTER LII

    PRINCE GEORGE REVEALS TO ME THE DEPTH OF HIS HATRED

    A terrible interview--"The devil will come to claim you"--Uncertain
    how much the King and Prince George know--I
    break into the nursery and stay with my children all
    day--Prince George insults me in my own rooms and
    threatens prison if I disobey him                                   269

    CHAPTER LIII

    REVOLVER IN HAND, I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION

    An insolent Grand Mistress, but of wonderful courage--Imprisonment,
    threats to kill have no effect on her--Disregards
    my titles--My lover's souvenir and endearing
    words--How she caused Henry to leave me--My paroxysms
    of rage--Henry's complete betrayal of me                            273

    CHAPTER LIV

    FORCED TO DO PENANCE LIKE A TRAPPIST-MONK

    "By the King's orders"--I submit for the sake of my children--Must
    fast as well as pray--In delicate health, I insist
    upon returning to Dresden--Bernhardt, to avoid
    being maltreated by King, threatens him with his sword--The
    King's awful wrath--Bernhardt prisoner in Nossen--I
    escape, temporarily, protracted _ennui_                             279

    CHAPTER LV

    FRANCIS JOSEPH JOINS MY SAXON ENEMIES

    Cuts me dead before whole family--Everybody talks over
    my head at dinner--I refuse to attend more court festivities--Husband
    protests because I won't stand for insult
    from Emperor--I give rein to my contempt for his
    family--Hypocrites, despoilers, gamblers, religious maniacs,
    brutes--Benign lords to the people, tyrants at home--I
    cry for my children like a she-dog whose young
    were drowned                                                        285

    CHAPTER LVI

    I AM DETERMINED TO DO AS I PLEASE

    I reject mother's tearful reproaches--I beard Prince George
    in his lair despite whining chamberlains--I tell him what
    I think of him, and he becomes frightened--Threatens
    madhouse--"I dare you to steal my children"--I win my
    point--and the children--"Her Imperial Highness regrets"--Lots
    of forbidden literature--Precautions against
    intriguing Grand Mistress--The affair with Henry--was
    it a flower-covered pit to entrap me?--Castle Stolpen
    and some of its awful history                                       291

    CHAPTER LVII

    I CONFESS TO PAPA

    King Albert dies and King George a very sick man--Papa's
    good advice--"You will be Queen soon"--A lovely old
    man, very much troubled                                             301

    CHAPTER LVIII

    MONSIEUR GIRON--RICHARD, THE ARTIST

    The King asks me to superintend lessons by M. Giron--A
    most fascinating man--His Grecian eyes--He is a painter
    as well as a teacher--In love--Careless whether I am
    caught in my lover's arms--"Richard" talks anarchy to
    me--Why I don't believe in woman suffrage--Characters
    and doings of women in power                                        305

    CHAPTER LIX

    THE PEOPLE THINK ME A WANTON

    Credit me with innumerable lovers, but don't disapprove--Glad
    the King feels scandalized--Picture of the "she-monster"--Everybody
    eager for love--I delight in Richard's
    jealousy--Husband's indelicate announcement at
    table--I rush from the royal opera to see my lover--A
    threatening dream--Richard not mercenary like my noble
    lovers                                                              309

    CHAPTER LX

    THE DAY OF JUDGMENT LOOMS UP

    My Grand Mistress shows her colors--Richard advises flight--I
    hesitate on account of my children--My Grand Mistress
    steals a letter from Richard to me--I opine that an
    adulteress's word is as good as a thief's--I humble my
    Grand Mistress, but it won't do me much good--Pleasant
    hours at his studio                                                 317

    CHAPTER LXI

    A MAD HOUSE FOR LOUISE--PROBABLY

    My confidential maid, Lucretia, is banished--The new King
    has got the incriminating letter, but Frederick Augustus
    says nothing--On the eve of judgment the King falls ill             321

    CHAPTER LXII

    KING'S ILLNESS A BOON TO LOVERS

    Prayers mixed with joy--Espionage disorganized, and I can
    do as I please--Love-making in the school-room--Buying
    a ring for Richard--"Wishing it on"--"Our marriage"--King's
    life despaired of--My tormentors obsequious--Smile
    at my peccadilloes--Husband proud of
    me--My popularity a great asset--Frederick Augustus
    delighted when he hears that King can't last long--The
    joyous luncheon at Richard's studio--Making fun of
    majesties--I expect to be Queen presently                           325

    CHAPTER LXIII

    WHAT I WILL DO WHEN I AM QUEEN

    A foretaste: titled servants put me _en route_ for lover--The
    bargain I will propose to Frederick Augustus--Frederick
    Augustus will be a complaisant King--To revive
    _Petit Trianon_--I am addressed as Queen                            331

    CHAPTER LXIV

    THE KING IS ALIVE AND PUNISHMENT NEAR

    My queenship postponed--King George publicly acclaimed--Cuts
    me dead in church--Frederick Augustus's disappointment--Terrible
    power of a king over his family,
    and no appeal--I am like the nude witch of old                      335

    CHAPTER LXV

    FISTICUFFS DON'T SAVE MY CROWN

    The attempted theft of my Diary--Grand Mistress discovered
    after breaking open my desk--Reading Diary like
    mad--Personal encounter between me and Grand Mistress--I
    am the stronger, and carry off the manuscript,
    but have to leave all my love letters, which go to the
    King--I discover that they had stolen the key to my
    Diary from my neck                                                  339

    CHAPTER LXVI

    ABANDONED

    My titled servants withdraw from me--An old footman my
    sole support--Queen takes the children--Old Andrew
    plays spy for me                                                    343

    CHAPTER LXVII

    FAMILY COUNCIL AT CASTLE

    Rendezvous at studio--State takes my children from me--Madhouse
    or flight--I brought fifty-two trunks to the
    palace--Depart with small satchel--If I attempt to see
    my children I'll be seized as "mad woman"--Varying
    emotions of the last ten minutes--Threatening shadows
    thrown on a curtain decide me--Ready for flight--Diary
    the last thing to go into the satchel                               345


[Illustration: FROM LOUISE'S DIARY]



THE STORY OF LOUISE, CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY



CHAPTER I

MOTHERHOOD

    A sterile Royal Family once fruitful--Diary true record of
    self--Long legs of Countess Solms--A child only because he can't
    help it--Wet nurse to Socialist brat--Royal permit for
    nursing--Royal negligee talk--A Saxon failing.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _February 17, 1893_.

I did my duty towards the Saxons. I gave them a Prince. The Royal House
ought to be grateful to me:--I am helping to perpetuate it. Who would,
if I didn't? My sister-in-law, Princess Mathilde, is an old maid. The
other, Maria Josepha, as sterile as Sarah was before she reached the
nineties. This applies also to Isabelle, the wife of brother-in-law,
John-George. And Prince Max, tired of ballet girls, is about to take the
soutane.

There is just one more royal Saxon princess, Elizabeth, and she
succeeded in having children neither with her husband _de jure_, the
late Duke of Genoa, nor with her husband-lover, Marquis Rapallo.

Louise, then, is the sole living hope of the royal Saxons that, only 160
years ago, boasted of a sovereign having three hundred and fifty-two
children to his credit, among them not a few subsequently accounted
geniuses. Augustus, the Physical Strong (1670 to 1733), was the happy
father, the _Maréshal de_ Saxe one of his numerous gifted offspring.

Alas, since then the House of Wettin has declined not in numbers only.

Poor baby is burdened with ten names in honor of so many ancestors. Why,
in addition, they want to call him "Maria" I cannot for the life of me
understand, for there never was a Saxon princess or queen that amounted
to a row of pins.

I wonder whether they will say the same of me after the crown of the
Wettiners descended upon my brow. Those so inclined should consult these
papers ere they begin throwing stones, for my Diary is intended to
contain my innermost thoughts, my ambitions, my promises for the future,
_Myself_, and let no one judge me by what I say other than what is
recorded here.

These pages are my Father Confessor. I confess to myself,--what a woman
in my position says to members of her family or official and
semi-official persons--her servants, so to speak--doesn't signify, to
borrow a phrase from my good cousin, the Kaiser Wilhelm.

Father-in-law George tells me to trust no one but him, my husband, and
Frederick Augustus's sisters, cousins and aunts, and to rely on prayer
only, yet, stubborn as nature made me, I prefer respectable white paper
to my sweet relatives.

Up to now my most ambitious literary attempts were intimate letters to
my brother Leopold, the "Black Sheep." As I now start in writing letters
to myself, it occurs to me that my worse self may be corresponding with
my better self, or vice versa. If I was only a poet like Countess Solms,
but, dear, no. All real bluestockings are ugly and emaciated. Solms is
both, and her legs are as long and as thin as those of Diana, my English
hunter.

I think this Diary business will be quite amusing,--at any rate, it will
be more so than the conversation of my ladies. Ah, those ladies of the
court of Saxony! If they would only talk of anything else but orphans,
sisters of charity and ballet girls. The latter always have one foot in
Hades, while you can see the wings grow on the backs of the others.

When the von Schoenberg struts in, peacock fashion, and announces "his
royal Highness did himself the honor to soil his bib," I sometimes stare
at her, not comprehending at the moment, and the fact that she is
talking of my baby only gradually comes to mind. Isn't it ridiculous
that a little squalling bit of humanity, whom the accident of birth
planted in a palace, is royalty first and all the time, and a child only
because he can't help it?

As for me, I am a woman and mother first, and my child is an animated
lump of flesh and blood--_my_ flesh and blood--first and all the time.
Of course, when baby came I wanted to nurse it. You should have seen
Frederick Augustus's face. If I had proposed to become a wet-nurse to
some "socialist brat" he couldn't have been more astonished. Yet my
great ancestress, the Empress Maria Theresa, nursed her babies "before a
parquet of proletarians," at the theatre and at reviews, and thought
nothing of giving the breast to a poor foundling left in the park of
Schoenbrunn.

Frederick Augustus recovered his speech after a while--though he never
says anything that would seem to require reflection, he always acts the
deep thinker. "Louise," he mumbled reproachfully,--"what will his
Majesty say?"

"I thought you were the father of the child," I remarked innocently.

"No levity where the King is concerned," he corrected poor me. "You know
very well that for an act of this kind a royal permit must be previously
obtained."

Followed a long pause to give his mental apparatus time to think some
more. Then: "And, besides, it will hurt your figure."

"Augusta Victoria" (the German Empress) "nursed half a dozen children,
and her _décolleté_ is still much admired," I insisted.

Frederick Augustus paid no attention to this argument. "Anyhow, I don't
want the doctors to examine your breast daily," he said with an air of
mixed sentimentality and brusqueness.

These were not his own words, though. My husband, not content with
calling a spade a spade, invariably uses the nastiest terms in the
dictionary of debauchery. When he tells me of his love adventures before
marriage it's always "I bagged that girl," or "I made something tender
out of her," just as a hunter talks of game or a leg of venison.

He doesn't want to be rude; he is so without knowing it. His indelicacy
would be astounding in a man born on the steps of the throne, if the
Princes of this royal house were not all inclined that way.

Two weeks after my accouchement George and Isabelle called. Though
brother and sister-in-law, we are not at all on terms of intimacy.
Frederick Augustus made some remarks of a personal nature that sent all
the blood to my head; Isabelle seemed to enjoy my discomfort, but George
had the decency to go to the window and comment on the dirty boots of a
guard lieutenant just entering the courtyard. Frederick Augustus
thought he had made a hit with Isabelle and applauded his own effort
with a loud guffaw, while pounding his thighs, which seems to give him
particular satisfaction.



CHAPTER II

THE SWEET FAMILY

    Husband loving, but family nasty--Money considerations--Brutal
    caresses in public--Pests in the family--Awful serenity--Meddle with
    angels' or devils' affairs--Father-in-law's gritty kiss.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _February 24, 1893_.

I have been married some fifteen months and I love my husband. He is
kind, not too inquisitive and passionate. I have better claims to
domestic happiness than most of my royal sisters on or near the thrones
of Europe. Of course when I married into the Saxon royal family I
expected to be treated with ill-concealed enmity. Wasn't I young and
handsome? Reason enough for the old maids and childless wives, my new
sweet relatives, to detest me.

Wasn't I poor? I brought little with me and my presence entailed a
perpetual expense. Now in royal families money is everything, or nearly
so, and the newcomer that eats but doesn't increase the family fortune
is regarded as an interloper.

If I hadn't "_made good_," that is if, in due time, I hadn't become a
mother, my position among the purse-proud, rapacious and narrow-minded
Wettiners would have become wellnigh intolerable. But I proved myself a
_Holstein_. I rose superior to Queen Carola, who never had a child, and
to Maria, Mathilda, Isabelle and Elizabeth, who either couldn't or
didn't. But, to my mind, acting the _cow_ for the benefit of the race
did not invite stable manners.

I wasn't used to them. They hadn't figured in the dreams of my girlhood.
I thought love less robust. I didn't expect to be squeezed before my
ladies. Even the best beloved husband shouldn't take liberties with his
wife's waist in the parlor.

And Frederick Augustus's negligee talk is no less offensive than his
manner of laying loving hands on my person. As a rule, he treats me like
a third-row dancing girl that goes to petition the manager for a place
nearer the footlights. There is no limit to his familiarities or to the
license of his conversation. "_Fine wench_" is a term of affection he
likes to bestow on his future queen; indeed, one of the less gross. He
has the weakness to like epithets that, I am told, gentlemen sometimes
use in their clubs, but never towards a mistress they half-way respect.

My father-in-law, Prince George, is a pest of another kind. While
Frederick Augustus is jovial and rude, George is rude and serene of a
serenity that would make a Grand Inquisitor look gay.

One of my famous ancestresses, the Princess-Palatine, sister-in-law of
Louis the Fourteenth, once boxed the Dauphin's ears for a trick he
played on her, by putting his upright thumb in the centre of an armchair
which her royal highness meant to sit on.

Whenever I behold George's funereal visage, I long to repeat the
Dauphin's undignified offense. I would like to see this royal parcel of
melancholy jump and dance; change that ever-frowning and mournful aspect
of his. Indeed, I would like to treat him to one of the anecdotes that
made the Duchess de Berri explode with laughter.

Frederick Augustus lives in deadly fear of him, and never gets his hair
cut without first considering whether his father will approve or not.
George isn't happy unless he renders other people unhappy. I actually
believe he would rather meddle with the angels' or devils' affairs than
say his prayers, though he is a bigot of the most advanced stripe.

Sometimes when the itch for meddling has hold of him, he cites all the
married princes of the royal house and lectures them on the wickedness
of having no children, winding up by commanding each one to explain, in
detail, his failure to have offspring.

Of course, these gentlemen put the blame on their wives, whereupon the
ladies are forthwith summoned to be threatened and cajoled.

Prince George had the great goodness to approve of my baby and to
congratulate me, also to set me up as an example for Isabelle. When I
return to Dresden I shall be made Colonel of Horse.

Twice has George kissed me,--upon my arrival in Saxony and five days
after the birth of my child. It felt like a piece of gritty ice rubbing
against my forehead.



CHAPTER III

WEEPING WILLOW--EMBLEM ROYAL

    A pious fraud--Theresa Mayer--Character of the Queen--Mopishness
    rampant.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _March 1, 1893_.

Prince Max came unexpectedly. He is studying for the priesthood and
looks more sour than his father even. I was in bed, nursing a sick
headache, but presuming upon his future clerical dignity, he walked in
without ceremony and sat down on a chair near my bed. Then he raised his
hands in prayer and announced that he had come to assist in my
devotions.

"Forget that I am your brother-in-law and cousin," he said; "tell me
what's in your heart, Louise, and I will pray to the good God for thee."

"Don't trouble yourself," I replied, "I have a court chaplain charged
with these affairs. Rather tell me about the latest comic opera."

"Comic opera!" he stammered. "You don't intend to go to such worldly
amusements now that you are a mother?"

"Of course I do. The very day I return to Dresden I will take a look at
your girl."

"My--what?" gasped Max.

"Your Theresa--Theresa Mayer. I understand she made a great hit in the
_Geisha_, and everybody approves of your taste, Max."

Max turned red, then green, and I thought to myself what a fool I was.
He's a favorite with the King and Queen, and my father-in-law believes
every word he says.


       *       *       *       *       *

    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _March 10, 1893_.

Queen Carola is a good soul though she doesn't dare call her soul her
own. I never heard her say "_peep_" in the presence of his Majesty. She
looks forlorn and frightened when King Albert is around.

I like her better since I am a mother, for she loves baby. Yes, though
she is a Queen, I saw her actually smile at the child once or twice.

Poor woman, the point of her nose is always red, and, like Father-in-law
George, she believes weeping willow the only fit emblem for royalty. The
look of the whipped dog is always in her weak eyes.

I am too young and--they _do_ say--too frivolous to stand so much
mopishness. These mustard-pots, sedate, grave, wan and long-faced, make
me mad. I don't know what to say,--all I can do is try to hide my
"un-princess-like" cheerfulness when they are around.

I wish I had an ounce or so of diplomacy in my composition. It might
enable me to sympathize with the fancied troubles of the Queen and
Prince George, but I am incorrigible.



CHAPTER IV

MY UNPLEASANT YOUTH

    Father hard to get along with--Royal imaginations--Kings cursing
    other kings--Poverty and pretense--Piety that makes children
    suffer--Up at five to pray on cold stones--Chilblains and prayer.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _March 11, 1893_.

It occurs to me that, if this is intended as a record of my
life--somewhat after the fashion of the _Margravine_ of Bayreuth's
Memoirs--I ought to tell about my girlhood.

Let me admit at once that my marriage to the Crown Prince of Saxony was,
politically speaking, a stroke of good luck. My father, the Grand-duke
of Tuscany, had been deprived of land and crown ten years before I was
born, and, though he likes to pose as a sovereign, he is, as a matter of
fact, a mere private gentleman of limited resources, whom the head of
the family, the Austrian Emperor, may coax or browbeat at his sweet
pleasure. If papa had been able to save his thronelet, I have no doubt
he would be a most agreeable man, open-handed and eager to enjoy life,
but instead of making the best of a situation over which he has no
control, he is forever fretting about his lost dignities and about "his
dear people" that don't care a snap for his love and affection. This
makes him a trying person to get along with,--mention a king or prince
in the full enjoyment of power, and father gets melancholy and calls
Victor Emanuel, the second of his name, a brigand.

He seldom or never visits his _confrères_ in the capitals of Europe, but
when I was a girl our gloomy palace at Salzburg saw much of the ghosts
of decaying royalty. The Dukes of Modena and Parma, the King of Hanover,
the _Kurfurst_ of Hesse, the King of Naples and other monarchs and
toy-monarchs that were handed their walking papers by sovereigns
mightier than themselves, visited us off and on, filling the air with
lamentations and cursing their fate.

And, like papa, all these _ex'es_ are ready to fly out of their very
skins the moment they notice the smallest breach of etiquette concerning
their august selves. If they had the power, the Imperial Highnesses
would execute any man that called them "Royal Highness," while the Royal
Highnesses would be pleased to send to the gallows persons addressing
them as "Highness" only.

And papa has other troubles, and the greatest of them, lack of money.
Poverty in private life must be hard enough, but a poor king, obliged to
keep up the pretense of a court, is to be pitied indeed.

Add to what I have said, father's share of domestic unhappiness. Mother
is a Bourbon of Parma, serious-minded and hard like my father-in-law,
and almost as much of a religious fanatic.

Oh, how we children suffered by the piety of our mother. There were
eight of us, myself the oldest of five girls, and seven years older than
my sister Anna. Yet this baby, as soon as she could walk, was obliged to
rise, like myself, at five o'clock summer and winter to go to the chapel
and pray. The chapel was lighted only by a few wax candles and, of
course, was unheated like the corridors of the palace. And like them it
was paved with stones. Many a chilblain I carried away from kneeling on
those granite flags.

And the stupidity of the thing! Instead of saying our prayers we
murmured and protested, and as soon as we were old enough we slipped
portions of novels in our prayer-books, which we read while mass was
said. That trick was not unfraught with danger though, for mother's
spies were always after us, and the bad light made reading difficult.

I am sure that if mother had found us out, she would have whipped us
within an inch of our lives.



CHAPTER V

A FIERCE DISCIPLINARIAN

    Diamonds used to punish children--Face object of attacks--Grunting
    and snorting at the royal table--Blood flowing at dinner--My brother
    jumps out of a window.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _April 1, 1893_.

Nothing of consequence happened since my last entry, and I continue the
story of my girlhood.

Her Imperial Highness, my pious mother, had a terrible way of punishing
her children. The face of the culprit was invariably the object of her
attacks. She hit us with the flat of her bony hand, rendered more
terrible by innumerable rings. The sharp diamonds cut into the flesh and
usually made the blood flow freely.

The court chaplain at Salzburg was a peasant's boy without manners or
breeding of any kind. While the least violation of etiquette or
politeness on the children's part was punished by a box on the ear, or
by withholding the next meal, mother overlooked the swinishness of the
chaplain simply because he wore a black coat.

One of the chaplain's most offensive habits was to grunt and snort when
eating. On one occasion my brother Leopold gave a somewhat exaggerated
imitation of these disgusting practices at table, whereupon mother,
blind with fury, for she thought a priest could do no wrong, struck
Leopold in the face, causing the blood to gush from his lacerated cheek.

Father immediately rose from table and savagely turning upon mother
said, "Understand, Madame, that as a sovereign and head of the family I
will have no one punished in my presence. If I think punishment
necessary, I will inflict it myself in a dignified way."

Mother immediately began to cry. She always had a flood of tears ready
when father offered the slightest reprimand. Afterwards she upbraided
father and us, the children. If it were not for her incessant prayers,
she said, and for the Christian life she was leading, God would have
destroyed the Tuscans long ago, and she wasn't sure that either of us
would attain Paradise except for her intercession with the Almighty.

This and similar scenes and incidents disgusted me with religion early
in life. Myself and all my brothers and sisters hated the very sight of
the court chaplain who licked our mother's boots, while heaping
punishments and indignities upon us.

At one time my brother Leopold didn't know his catechism. "I will teach
your Imperial Highness to skip your lessons," said the court chaplain.
"Kneel before me and read the passage over ten times as a punishment."

Leopold promptly answered: "I won't."

"Yes, you will, Imperial Highness, for such are my orders," cried the
court chaplain.

Leopold said doggedly, "I kneel before the altar and before the Emperor,
if he demands it, not before such as you."

"Suppose I call on your Imperial Highness's mother and ask her to forbid
you to mount a horse for a month or so?" queried our tormentor.

Horseback riding was Leopold's chief pleasure, and the chaplain had no
sooner launched his threat, when Leopold opened the window and
apparently jumped out. As the school-room was situated in the third
story, the teacher thought his pupil dead on the pavement below, but
Leopold was merely hanging on to the stone coping and shutters. That
gave him the whip hand over the teacher. "I will let go if you don't
promise not to inform mother," demanded the twelve-year-old boy.

"I promise, only come in," moaned the teacher.

"Promise furthermore there shall be no punishment whatever for what I
did and said."

"None whatever, your Imperial Highness."

"Swear it on the cross."

The chaplain did as ordered and Leopold crawled back to safety.

Leopold is a good deal like me, and has been in hot water more or less
all his life.

When I was a girl of fifteen, he defended my honor at the risk of the
fearful punishments my mother had in store for those children that
wouldn't buckle down to the chaplain, but that is so sad a chapter of my
girlhood days I cannot bring myself to put it down today.



CHAPTER VI

LEOPOLD DEFENDS MY HONOR AT HIS PERIL

    Punished for objecting to familiarities--Awful names I was
    called--Locked in the room with wicked teacher--Defend myself with
    burning lamp--My brother nearly kills my would-be assailant.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _April 2, 1893_.

I want to finish with evil recollections. Maybe I will be able to forget
them, when I have done with this narrative. My mother, as pointed out,
had more confidence in our rascally court chaplain than in her own
children, and was far more concerned about the chaplain's dignity than
ours. She never hesitated to doubt her children's veracity, but regarded
all the chaplain said as gospel truth.

About two weeks before Easter, 1885, the time when I was just budding
into young womanhood, the chaplain began to pay me a great deal of
attention. The lessons he gave me to learn were insignificant compared
with those of my brothers and sisters, and it mattered not whether I
came to school prepared or otherwise. The strict disciplinarian had all
of a sudden turned lenient. He began to pat my hair, to give me friendly
taps on the shoulder, and never took his eyes off me. I was too young
and innocent to see the true significance of his strange behavior, but
I woke up suddenly and ran crying to my mother, telling her what had
happened.

"I won't take another lesson from that man, unless my lady-in-waiting is
present," I sobbed.

"You are a malicious, lying, low-minded creature," hissed my mother, at
the same time striking me in the face with her big diamonds. "It's
mortal sin to throw suspicion on so holy a man, and I will not have him
watched."

I ran out of mother's room crying, intending to go to papa, but met the
boys in the corridor, who told me that father had just departed for the
chase. Then I took Leopold aside and told him everything. He was
half-mad with rage and was hardly able to articulate when he rushed to
mother's room demanding protection for me.

"I will protect the holy man instead," answered my fanatic mother.
"Louise shall be locked in the room with the chaplain while she has her
lesson." And my mother actually carried out that wicked design inspired
by fanaticism.

Locked in a room with me, the chaplain was sweetness itself, but for a
while at least remained at a distance. When he attempted to approach me,
I seized the burning kerosene lamp, as Leopold had advised.

"One step more," I cried excitedly, "and I will throw the lamp in your
face."

The coward stood still in his tracks, and began whispering to me in a
hoarse voice things I hardly understood, but that nevertheless wounded
me to the quick. I kept my hand at the burning lamp during the whole
hour and was ready to faint when the fiend at last left me.

As the door opened, I saw Leopold standing outside, an enormous dog whip
in hand. Without a word he applied the whip to the chaplain's broad
face, lashing him right and left. The scoundrel offered no resistance,
but fled like the dog he was, Leopold after him through the long
corridors, upstairs and downstairs, through the picture gallery and the
state apartments, lashing him as he ran, the two of them filling the
palace with cries of rage and pain. Only the fact that Leopold stumbled
over a footstool, enabled the chaplain to reach his room alive, where he
barricaded himself.



CHAPTER VII

PRINCES AND PRINCESSES DANCE TO THE TUNE OF THE WHIP

    The result shows in the character of rulers--Why English kings and
    princes are superior to the Continental kind--Leopold's awful
    revenge--Mother acts the tigress--Her mailed fist--"I forbid Your
    Imperial Highness to see that dog."


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _April 21, 1893_.

If my Diary ever fell into plebeian hands, I suppose such stories as the
above would be branded as rank exaggerations.

A Queen endangering life and health of her children by a form of
punishment otherwise known only in the prize ring.

An Imperial Highness using her diamonds to graft scars on the cheeks of
a little girl!

Royal children beaten worse than dogs, deprived of sleep, subjected to
cold and damp and, withal, given over, bound hand and foot, so to speak,
to the tender mercies of low-minded, unworthy, and even dangerous
persons without manners or education.

And, to cap the climax, a Royal maid in the first blush of budding
womanhood grossly repulsed and physically attacked when she appeals to
her mother for protection; that child locked in a room with her would-be
ravisher and obliged to defend her honor by a threat of murder.

Only the uninitiated--men and women living outside the pale of royal
courts--will deem such things impossible. Let me tell these happy
ignoramuses that all through the nineteenth century the princes and
princesses of Europe were brought up to the tune of the whip and of
physical and mental humiliation. It was the fashion.

The only eminent monarch of the immediate past--Frederick the Great--was
all but flayed alive by his father when a boy and young man,--emulate
the second King of Prussia's brutalities and your offspring will be
destined for greatness, argued princes.

The first Emperor William of Germany had a gentle mother, my famous
namesake; he was always a gentleman. The Russian Czars, Paul, Nicholas
I, and Alexander III, were brought up with the knout, their preceptors
used the boys at their sweet pleasure. The first turned out a madman;
the second a brute; the third his people's executioner.

Czar Paul would run a mile to cane a soldier who had a speck of dust on
his boots. My grand-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, sometimes
travels tens of miles to box the ears of a member of his family.

Francis Joseph had a cruel bringing up.

At the Royal Library in Berlin I saw the manuscript of _Les Mémoires de
ma vie: la princesse de Prusse, Frederice Sophie Wilhelmine, qui epousa
le Margrave de Bayreuth_,--the original, unedited save by the
corrections of the authoress. A good many passages of this "most
terrible indictment of royalty" reminded me of home. There is even a
parallel, or a near-parallel, of my own case just recorded. The Princess
Wilhelmina's all-powerful governess was Madame Leti, who pummelled the
child "as if she had been her mother." This Leti was undoubtedly a
Sadist; to inflict torture, to practice refined cruelties was a joy to
her. Not content with whipping the little girl, she added, shortly
before her dismissal, some poisonous matter to Wilhelmina's wash water
"that gnawed the skin and made my face all coppery and inflamed my
eyes." This species of wickedness, at last, resulted in the discharge of
Leti, "but she decided to leave me a few souvenirs in the shape of
fisticuffs and kicks. She had told my mother that I was suffering from
nose bleed and punched my nose whenever she was unobserved. During the
last week of her stay at the palace I sometimes bled like an ox, and my
arms and legs were blue, green and yellow from her kicks and cuffs. I am
sure if she could have broken my legs with impunity, she would not have
hesitated a moment to do so."

History and the court gossip of the day afford plenty of precedents for
what happened to me and my brothers and sisters in Salzburg. Indeed,
Prince Albert, Consort of the late Queen Victoria, was the only royal
father of the first half of the century that used the rod in moderation.
To my mind that is one of the reasons why English kings and princes are
so far superior to the Continental kind.

But to return to Salzburg.

Leopold had it all his own way for a quarter of an hour, as none of the
servants would interfere in favor of the hated chaplain and mother was
engaged in her oratory in a far away part of the castle. So my brother
kicked in the door and went for the cowering brute again, raining
stripes on every part of his bloated body, alternately using the whip
and the whip-end. Undoubtedly Leopold would have killed him then and
there if his boy's strength had not given out. He left him more dead
than alive, bleeding and moaning.

I will never forget the spectacle when Leopold came down the stairs
after leaving the chaplain's room. I and my brothers and sisters were
huddled together behind our ladies in the blue ante-chamber. A dozen or
more lackeys stood in the corridor, whispering.

Leopold's face was deathly pale as he descended the stairs, and blood
was dripping from his whip, reddening the white linen runners
protecting the carpet. He wore his army uniform, that should have saved
him from violence at any rate. At that moment I prayed my sincerest that
father would come home. I would have thrown myself on my knees and told
everything, servants or no servants. But mother came instead.

She was fully informed and she sprang upon poor Leopold like a tigress,
knocking him from one end of the corridor to the other with her
diamond-mailed fist. It was terrible, and all of us children cried aloud
with terror. But the more we cried and the more we begged for mercy, the
harder were the blows mother rained upon poor Leopold's face and head.
His blood spattered over the white enameled banisters and doors until
finally he was dragged out of my mother's clutches by an old footman who
placed his broad back between the Imperial Highness and her victim.

Now, it was the rule in our house that the whipped child had to ask our
mother's forgiveness for putting her to the trouble of wielding the
terrible back of her hand.

Six weeks Leopold stayed at Salzburg after the scene described, and
daily my mother urged him to beg her forgiveness. The boy stood
stockstill on these occasions, never twitching a muscle of his face and
never saying a word in reply. During all these six weeks he waited on
mother morning, noon and night, according to ceremony, but never a word
escaped him, never did he look in her direction unless actually forced
to do so. He played the deaf and dumb to perfection.

Father must have thought that Leopold got enough punishment, for he
never mentioned the matter to him and forbade the servants to even
allude to the court chaplain. Mother, on her part, placed the chaplain
in charge of two skilled surgeons and sent every little while to inquire
how he was doing.

On the third day she said to my father at table, that she was going to
pay a visit to the court chaplain.

"I forbid your Imperial Highness to see that dog," said my father in an
icy voice that brooked no reply. "I will have his carcass thrown out of
here as soon as his condition permits."

That was the only time I heard father speak like a sovereign and man.

That Leopold nearly killed the scoundrel, as he promised to do, is
evident from the fact that the court chaplain lay in the castle three
weeks before he could be transported to a monastery. Some monks--for
none of the servants would lend a helping hand--carried him away by
night and none of the children ever saw or heard of our tormentor again.

The only sorry reminder of the episode is the estrangement of Leopold
and our mother. Though mother tried her hardest to win back the boy's
confidence and affection, he remained an iceberg towards her,
ceremonious but cold, polite but wholly indifferent.



CHAPTER VIII

PLANNING TO GET A HUSBAND FOR ME

    Dissecting possible wooers at Vienna--Royalty after money, not
    character--"He is a Cohen, not a Coburg"--Prince who looked like a
    Jew counter-jumper in his Sunday best--Balkan princes tabooed by
    Francis Joseph--A good time for the girls--Army men commanded to
    attend us.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _April 25, 1893_.

A change of scene. I was eighteen and my parents were anxious to get a
husband for me. Royalty marries off its princes at an early age to keep
them out of mischief; its princesses as soon as a profitable suitor
turns up or can be secured by politics, diplomacy, the exercise of
parental wits or the powerful influence of the head of the House.

Sister Anna, now Princess John of Hohenlohe, myself and mother were
invited to Vienna. It was my introduction to royal pomp and
circumstance. The _Hofburg_, our town lodging, seemed to me the first
and also the last cry in sumptuousness--all that was beautiful and
expensive in days gone by is there, and all that is new and desirable is
there, too; Schoenbrunn, the Imperial summer residence, is a dream of
loveliness wedded to grandeur. Between the Emperor and my mother and
between her and the numerous archduchesses and archdukes every second
word uttered referred to me as the possible wife of someone or another.
And that someone was well dissected as to fortune, success in life and
political exigencies.

Whether he was good-looking or a monkey in face and figure mattered not.
Health, good character, uprightness didn't count.

Has he expectations for gaining a throne? Will he be wise enough to
retain that throne? What kind of an establishment will he be able to set
up? How long may his parents live, hanging on to the family
fortune?--These were the only considerations deemed worthy of
discussion.

Three or four of the archduchesses seemed to be acting as marriage
brokers for Ferdinand, just elected hereditary prince of Bulgaria, whose
mother, Princess Clementine, a daughter of the dethroned King Louis
Philippe of France, was reputed to be rolling in gold.

Leopold irreverently called Ferdinand's partisans "_Fillons_" after
famous "_La Fillon_," who supplied the harem of our jolly ancestor, the
Regent of France, Duke of Orleans, and he insisted that Ferdinand was a
_Cohen_, not a Coburg. As a matter of fact, Ferdinand's great fortune is
derived from a Kohary, which is Hungarian for Cohen. The original Kohary
was a cattle-dealer, who supplied the armies of the Allies during the
Napoleonic wars. In this way he accumulated so much wealth that an
impoverished Coburg prince fell in love with his daughter and made her
his wife, after she exchanged the name of Rebecca for Antonie and the
Mosaic faith for that of Rome.

Young and proud and flippant as I was, Leopold's talk filled me with
hearty contempt for the "Coburger" long before we were introduced. And
as to his ambassador, who was forever dancing attendance upon me, I
hated him. Yet the Imperial "_Fillons_" kept up their clatter, and one
fine morning Prince Ferdinand was announced.

He wasn't half bad looking, but struck me as too much of a mother's-boy.
Princess Clementine seemed to decide everything for him. Anyhow, I
wouldn't have him and he marched off again.

I next reviewed, as another Balkan matrimonial possibility, Prince
Danilo of Montenegro, a small, thin person, looking like a Jew
counter-jumper in holiday dress--Vienna "store-clothes."

Danilo spoke the worst _table d'hôte_ French I ever heard in my life,
and I told mother I would rather marry a rich banker than this crowned
idiot. For once she agreed with me and said his father was only a
"mutton-thief," anyhow.

Finally there was talk of King Alexander of Servia, six years younger
than I. Queen Natalie, who a few days ago celebrated one of her several
reunions with ex-King Milan, spoke feelingly of her "Sasha" to mother,
lauding him as the best of sons and the most promising of sovereigns,
but the oft-divorced Majesty was less communicative when mother asked
how many millions she would pass over to Alexander on his marriage day.
That settled "Sasha's" ambitions as far as my hand was concerned. Marry
a Balkan King and the _née_ Keshko holding the purse-strings! Not for my
father's daughter! I didn't want to marry into a Russian Colonel's
family, anyhow. I believe Queen Natalie's father was a colonel, or was
he only a lieutenant-colonel?

These marriage negotiations aside, Anna and myself had a mighty good
time in Vienna (I forgot to say that Emperor Francis Joseph agreed with
me that Danilo and Alexander were quite impossible and that henceforth
Balkan marriages should be taboo).

"I have ordered a dozen young officers to report for tonight's dancing,"
said my Imperial uncle one evening. "Select from among them your tennis
partners, girls." Baron Cambroy of the Guards was my choice, and a
mighty handsome fellow he is. He seemed pleased when I commanded him to
tennis duty every afternoon during our stay. He is tall and spare in
appearance and I might have fallen in love with him sooner, but for his
dark skin. I am an Italian and, by way of contrast, prefer blondes to
any other sort of man.

Anna, myself and our ladies bicycled to the tennis court every
afternoon, and on our way back to the castle were escorted by the Baron
and the other officers.

Trust a girl with a dress reaching an inch below her knees to find out
scandals! On the second day after our meeting with the Baron, Anna told
me that he was the lover of Draga Maschin, lady-in-waiting to Queen
Natalie of Servia.[4]

Draga was in attendance upon Queen Natalie when she called on us, a
beautiful girl, somewhat too full-bosomed for an unmarried one, like my
great-aunt, Catharine, who became the wife of that upstart, Jerome
Napoleon. At home we have her picture, and mother, who was rather skinny
as a girl, never failed to point out that it was painted before Queen
Catharine's marriage, despite her voluptuous bust.

If my Baron was really Draga's beloved, that would more than half
explain mother's puzzle.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 4: The same who afterwards became the Queen of King Alexander
of Servia and eventually the cause of his death and of the extinction of
the Obrenovitsch dynasty. Alexander and Draga were both slaughtered in
their beds May 29, 1903, ten years after the above was written.]



CHAPTER IX

LOVE-MAKING

    The fascinating Baron--The man's audacity--Putting the question
    boldly--Real love-making--_Risqué_ stories for royalty.


    CASTLE WACHWITZ, _May 1, 1893_.

I am in love but, like a prudent virgin, I admitted the fact to myself
only shortly before we departed for Salzburg. After I put several
hundred miles between me and my fascinating Baron, all's well again.

My first love, and it was the man's audacity that won the day!

Imagine an Imperial Highness, decidedly attractive, eighteen, and no
tigress by any means, wheeling at the side of a mere lieutenant who has
nothing but his pay to bless himself with and nothing but good looks to
recommend him. And, as before stated, he wasn't even my style.

Anna pedalled ahead some twenty-five paces; our ladies wheezed and
snorted that many behind. This devil of a lieutenant took a chance.

"Imperial Highness," he commenced, "I wager you don't know what love
is."

It was the one theme I was aching for, scenting, as I did, the odor of
forbidden things. Never before had I the opportunity.

"R-e-a-l love," he insisted.

"Do you blame me?" I asked, vixen-like. "Would be a poor specimen of
Guard officer who didn't know more about real love than a mere girl of
eighteen and a princess at that."

"Will your Imperial Highness allow me to explain?" This, oh so
insinuatingly, from the gay seducer.

"Why not?" I asked, with the air of a _roué_ and hating myself for
blushing like a poppy--I felt it.

"Charmed to enlighten you--with your Imperial Highness's permission,"
whispered the Baron, his knee crowding mine as he drew nearer on his
wheel.

"Explain away."

"Not until I have your Imperial Highness's express command and your
promise not to get angry if I should offend."

Anna, always an _enfant terrible_ and invariably in the way, was waiting
for us in the shadow of a tree and now rode by the Baron's side. She had
evidently heard part of our conversation.

"Permission and pardon granted beforehand," she cried. "Go ahead."

The Baron looked at me, and not to be outdone by the parcel of
impudence in short petticoats, I said carelessly: "Oh, tell. I command."

The Baron began to stroke his moustache and then related a story of
Napoleon and our ancestress Marie Louise, the Austrian Archduchess, not
found in school books.

On the day before her entry into Paris, he said, and when they were
destined to meet for the first time, Napoleon waylaid his bride-to-be at
Courcelles and without ceremony entered her carriage. They rushed past
villages, through towns _en fête_ and at last, at nine o'clock in the
evening, reached the palace of Compiègne. There the Emperor cut short
the addresses of welcome, presentations and compliments, and taking
Marie Louise by the hand conducted her to his private apartments. Next
morning they had breakfast in bed. The marriage ceremony took place a
few days later.

"That's love," said the Baron, shooting significant glances at me.

"Henry _Quatre_ did the same to Marie de Medici--an Italian like you,
Imperial Highness."

Anna didn't know what to make of it, and as for me, my tongue stuck to
the roof of my mouth.

The impudent fellow seems to have misinterpreted our silence, for,
brazen like the _Duc de_ Richelieu, who boasted of sleeping in the beds
of queens, he continued:

"Catharine the Great, too, knew what love was. One fine afternoon when
she wasn't a day older than you, Imperial Highness, she looked out of
the window of her room at Castle Peterhof. In the garden below a
sentinel, very handsome, very Herculean, very brave, was pacing up and
down. Catharine, then Imperial Grand-duchess and only just married, made
a sign to the soldier. The giant, abandoning his rifle, jumped below the
window and Catharine jumped onto his shoulders from the second story.

"That's real love," concluded the Baron.

Anna got frightened and fled down the avenue, but I had the weakness to
remain at the Baron's side until we reached the palace.

Alas, Frederick Augustus wasn't as good a talker as the Baron.

[Illustration: FREDERICK AUGUSTUS, REIGNING KING OF SAXONY

Louise's Ex-Husband]



CHAPTER X

MY POPULARITY RENDERS GEORGE DYSPEPTIC

    The Cudgel-Majesty--Prince George's intrigues--No four-horse coach
    for Princess--Popular demonstration in my favor--"All-highest"
    displeasure.


    DRESDEN, _September 1, 1893_.

I haven't lived up to my promise to keep a daily record, or even a
weekly one. Those tales of my girlhood days disgusted me with diary
keeping as far as my early experiences at home went and I reflected that
many of the subsequent happenings in my life might be safer in the
shrine of memory, than spread over the pages of a blank-book, even
though no one sees it and I carry its golden key on a chain around my
neck.

We are back in the capital now and things are moving. Great doings had
been planned for our reception, for the re-entry of the little prince,
my baby, and his mother who is expected to give another child to Saxony
at the end of the year. Two babies in one year! I am going to beat the
German Empress, and if Wilhelm doesn't send me a medal I will cut him
dead the next time I see him!

Well, about that reception. Flags, triumphal arches, speeches by the
burgo-master, white-robed virgins at the station and all that sort of
thing!

But Father-in-law George said "no." Anything that gives joy to others
goes against his royal grain, gives him politico-economic dyspepsia. He
doesn't want me to be popular,--neither me, nor Frederick Augustus, nor
the baby.

George will be the next king, and if the Dresdeners or the Saxons want
to "_Hoch the King_," they must "_Hoch_" George. They MUST. "It's their
damned duty," says George the Pious, who never blasphemes on his own
account, but allows himself some license concerning his subjects. His
attitude recalls the story told of Frederick William the First of
Prussia, whose appearance on the streets of Berlin used to cause
passers-by to run to save their back. Upon one occasion His Majesty
caught one of these fugitives, and whacking him over the head with his
Spanish reed, cried angrily: "What do you want to run away from me for?"

"Because I'm afraid of your Royal Majesty," stuttered the poor devil.

"Afraid?" thundered Frederick William, giving the fellow another whack
with his cane. "Afraid?"--the beating continuing--"when I, your King,
commanded you to love me. Love me, you miserable coward, love God's
Anointed." And the loving Majesty broke his cane on the unloving
subject's back.

Two days before our arrival Prince George sent his adjutant, Baron de
Metsch-Reichenbeck, to the Mayor of Dresden, stopping all reception
arrangements contemplated.

To have children was a mere picnic to Her Imperial Highness, lied
George's messenger,--if the physicians hadn't used chloroform I would
have perished with the torture. Ovations intended as a sort of reward or
recognition of my services to the country, then, would be entirely out
of place, and must not be thought of.

The municipality thereupon officially abandoned preparations. I was a
little vexed when I first heard about George's meanness, yet again felt
tickled that he went out of his way to intrigue against me, the despised
little princess of a House that ceased to reign. And I had an idea that
the Dresdeners would give us a good welcome anyhow.

I had contemplated ordering my special train to leave in the early
morning or at noon, but the Ministry of Railways informed me that it was
impossible to accommodate me at the hours mentioned.

"We will take the ordinary express, then, and will be in Dresden at four
in the afternoon," I suggested.

"According to the new schedule, the express doesn't stop in Dresden,"
protested Frederick Augustus.

"We will command it to stop," I cried.

Frederick Augustus looked at me as if I had asked him to borrow twenty
marks from the Kaiser. "For God's sake!" he cried, "don't you know what
happened to John the other day?"

I confessed my ignorance.

"Well," said Frederick Augustus, "John ordered the Continental express
to pick him up at his garrison, and he had no sooner arrived in Dresden
than he was commanded by the King to appear before him. His Majesty
walked all over John, accusing him of 'interfering with international
traffic' and forbidding him to issue another order of that character."

"Pshaw!" I said, "John is merely a childless princeling. I am the mother
of Saxony's future king. The regeneration, the perpetuation of your race
depends on me."

It was a mere waste of breath, for at that moment came a telegram,
announcing that our special was billed to leave at 3:30, getting us to
Dresden at half-past five--King's orders.

"Did you command the _Daumont_ coach-and-four to meet us at the
station?" I asked.

"My dear child, you are dreaming," replied Frederick Augustus. "The
State carriages are the property of the Crown and we don't own a
four-horse team in Dresden. They will send the ordinary royal carriage,
I suppose."

I was mad enough to wish my husband's family to Hades, the whole lot of
them, but the people of Dresden took revenge in hand and dealt most
liberally. Of course, having fixed our arrival at a late and unusual
hour, George expected there would be no one to welcome us, but the great
concourse of people that actually assembled at the station and in the
adjacent streets, lining them up to the palace gates, was tremendous
instead.

One more disappointment. George had sent an inconspicuous, narrow
_coupé_ to the station,--the Dresdeners shouldn't see more than the
point of my nose. I saw through his scheme the moment I clapped eyes on
that mouse-trap of a vehicle standing at the curb.

And then I remembered the brilliant stagecraft of August the Physical
Strong--he of the three hundred and fifty-two--and how he always managed
to focus everybody's eyes on himself. And I stood stockstill on the
broad, red-carpeted terrace when I walked out of the waiting room and
held up my baby in the face of the multitude. You could hear the
"_Hochs_" and Hurrahs all over town, they said. Hats flew in the air,
handkerchiefs waved, flags were thrust out of the windows of the houses.

"What are you doing, Imperial Highness?" whispered _Fräulein von_
Schoenberg, my lady-in-waiting.

"Never mind, I will carry the baby to the carriage," I answered curtly.

"But the King and Prince George will be angry,--everything will be
reported to them."

"I sincerely hope it will," I said.

And before I entered that petty _souricière_ of a royal coach, I danced
the baby above my head time and again, giving everybody a chance to see
him. And as I stood there in the midst of this tumult of applause, this
waving sea of good-will, this thunder of jubilation, I felt proud and
happy as I never did before. And when the thought struck me how mad
George would feel about it all, I had to laugh outright.

I was still grinning to myself when I heard Frederick Augustus's
troubled voice: "Get in, what are you standing around here for?"--These
manifestations of popularity spelt "all-highest" displeasure to him,
poor noodle. He anticipated the scene at the palace, George fuming and
charging "play to the gallery," the Queen in tears, the King threatening
to banish us from Dresden.

"Be it so," I said to myself, "we might as well be hanged for a sheep as
a lamb." And I refused to enter the carriage until I had waved and
smiled profound thanks to everybody in the square and in the windows and
on the balconies of the surrounding houses.

I saw the Master of Horse address the coachman and immediately divined
his purpose. So I pulled at the rope and commanded the coachman to drive
slowly. I said it in my most imperious manner, and the Master of Horse
dared not give the counter order with which Prince George had charged
him. Poor man, his failure to subordinate my will to his, or George's,
cost him his job.

And so we made our royal entry into Dresden amid popular rejoicings. I
glued my face to the carriage window and smiled and smiled and showed
the baby to everyone who asked for the boon.

Baby took it all in a most dignified fashion. He neither squalled nor
kicked, but seemed to enjoy the homage paid him.

When we reached the palace there was another big crowd of well-wishers,
who shouted themselves hoarse for Louise and the baby, and, malicious
thing that I am, I noticed with pleasure that it all happened under
George's windows.

"This will give father-in-law jaundice," said baby's nurse in Italian.
She is a girl from Tuscany and very devoted to me.

"If he dies, I will be Queen the sooner," thought I,--but happily I
didn't think aloud.



CHAPTER XI

SCOLDED FOR BEING POPULAR

    Entourage spied upon by George's minions--My husband proves a
    weakling--I disavow the personal compliment--No more intelligent
    than a king should be.


    DRESDEN, _September 5, 1893_.

I wrote the foregoing at one sitting, without interruption. It's not so
easy a matter to put down the consequences of our triumph, or rather
mine and baby's.

When I entered my apartments, I met a whole host of long faces. The
Commander of the Palace, in great gala, offered a most stiff and icy
welcome. The adjutants, the chamberlains, the _maître d'Hôtel_, all
looked ill at ease. They evidently felt the coming storm in their bones
and didn't care to have it said of them, by George's spies, that they
lent countenance, even in a most remote way, to my carryings-on. Even
the Schoenberg--my own woman--shot reproachful glances at me when the
Commander of the Palace happened to look her way.

Frederick Augustus looked and acted as if he was to be deprived of all
his military honors.

"Your courage must have fallen into your _cuirassier_ boots, look for it
there," I said to him in an undertone when he seemed ready to go to
pieces at the entrance of the King's grand marshal, Count Vitzthum.

With that I advanced towards His Excellency and, holding out my hand to
be kissed, took care to say to him with my most winning smile,

"I trust His Majesty will be pleased with me, for of course our grand
reception was but a reflex of the love the people have for their King. I
never for a moment took it as a personal compliment."

My smart little speech disconcerted the official completely. Maybe he
had orders to say something disagreeable, but my remark disarmed him,
forestalled any quarrel that might have been in the King's or Prince
George's mind.

Frederick Augustus, who is no more intelligent than a future king should
be, was so amazed, he had to think hard and long before he could even
say "Good evening" to the Count. As for the latter, he hawed and coughed
and stammered and cleared his throat until finally he succeeded in
delivering himself of the following sublime effort:

"I will have the honor to report to His Majesty that during the time of
your Imperial Highness's entry, your Imperial Highness thought of
naught but the all-highest approval of His Majesty."

Whereupon I shook his hand again and dismissed him. "It will please me
immensely, Count," I said, "immensely."



CHAPTER XII

ROYAL DISGRACE--LIGHTNING AND SHADOWS

    Ordered around by the Queen--Give thanks to a bully--Jealous of the
    "mob's" applause--"The old monkey after '_Hochs_'"--Criticizing the
    "old man"--Royalty's plea for popularity--Proposed punishments for
    people refusing to love royalty.


    DRESDEN, _September 8, 1893_.

Thrice twenty-four hours of royal disgrace and I am--alive. This
morning: "All-highest order," signed by Her Majesty's Dame of the
Palace, Countess von Minckwitz: "The Queen is graciously pleased to
invite your Imperial Highness to audience."

Of course her pleasure is a command. I dressed in state and ordered all
the ladies and gentlemen of my court to attend me to the royal chambers.

Queen Carola was very nice, giving the impression that she would be more
lovely still if she dared.

"Prince George has just commanded your husband," she said,--"the King
ordered this condescension on my brother-in-law's part. You will have to
thank him for it."

Isn't it amusing to be an Imperial Highness and a Crown Princess to be
ordered around like a "boots" and to be "commanded" like an orphan
child to say thanks to one's betters!

I promised and the Queen, assuming that I intended to act the good
little girl, took courage to say--for she is the biggest of
cowards--"You are too popular, Louise. Such a reception as you had! All
the papers, even the Jew-sheets, are full of it."

And before I could make any excuses for my popularity she added in
sorrowful, half-accusing tones: "I lived here ever so many years and the
mob never applauded _me_."

"It's so fickle," I quoted. I had to say something, you know.

"And contemptible," added the Queen heartily. "But how is baby?"

I begged permission to send for him. Her Majesty was pleased to play
with the little one for a minute or two and that secured me a gracious
exit. The Queen attended me to the door, opening it with her own royal
hand, thereby rehabilitating me with my entourage waiting outside.

Meanwhile Frederick Augustus had a "critical quarter of an hour" with
father-in-law, who assumed to speak on behalf of the King.

"The King," he said, "despised 'playing to the gallery' worse than the
devil hated holy water." (This court is overrun with Jesuits, and we
must needs adopt their vernacular.)

The King, he repeated, thought it very bad taste for anyone to take the
centre of the stage in these "popularity-comedies," and he told a lot
more lies of the same character. Then he bethought himself of his own
grieved authority.

"Tell your wife," he said, "that I, her father-in-law, and next to the
throne, do everything in my power to escape such turbulent scenes, and
that I would rather ride about town in an ordinary _Droschke_ (cab) of
the second class, preserving my incognito, than in a state carriage and
be the object of popular acclamation."

When Frederick Augustus repeated the above with the most solemn face in
the world, I thought I would die with laughter and actually had to send
for my tire-woman to let my corset out a few notches.

"The old monkey," I cried--"as if he wasn't after '_Hochs_' morning,
noon and night; as if he thought of anything else when he mounts a
carriage or his horse."

"You forget yourself, Louise," warned Frederick Augustus in the voice of
an undertaker, and I really think he meant it. But I wasn't in the mood
to be silenced.

"And as if I didn't know that, like Kaiser Wilhelm, he keeps a record of
towns and villages that were never honored by one of his visits,
intending to make his ceremonial entry there at the first plausible
opportunity."

"It isn't true," insisted Frederick Augustus.

Then I got angry. "It may be thought polite in the bosom of your family
to call one another a liar," I retorted, "but don't you get into the
habit of introducing those tap-room manners in the _ménage_ of an
Imperial Highness of Austria. I forbid it."

And then I gave rein to some of the bitterness that had accumulated in
my heart against the old man. Didn't I know that George was mad enough
to quarrel with his dinner when, on his drives about town, he observed a
single person refusing to salute him? And wasn't it a fact that the
Socialists had combined never more to raise their hats to him just
because he insisted on it? And wasn't that one of the reasons why the
government was more hard on them than happened to be politic?

"You mustn't say these things," pleaded Frederick Augustus.

I pretended to melt. "May I not quote your father's own words?"

"What my father says is always correct," replied the dutiful son.

"Well, then, this is what he told House Minister von Seydowitz a couple
of weeks ago: 'When I see one of these intending destroyers of the state
and social order staring at me, hat on head and cigar in face, I doubly
regret the good old times when kings and princes were at liberty to yank
a scoundrel of that ilk to jail and immure him for life, giving him
twenty-five stripes daily to teach him the desirableness of rendering
unto Cæsar that which is Cæsar's.'"

Frederick Augustus was holding his hands to his ears when I finished. He
ran out and slammed the door behind him.



CHAPTER XIII

UNSPEAKABLE LITTLENESSES OF PETTY COURTS

    Another quarrel with my husband--Personal attendant to a
    corpse--Killing by pin pricks--The mythical three "_How art
    thou's?_"--Unwanted sympathy from my inferiors--Pride of the
    decapitated Queen of France is in me--Lovers not impossible--Court
    to blame for them--My husband acts cowardly--Brutalizes my
    household--I lock myself in.


    DRESDEN, _December 1, 1893_.

I saved myself the trouble to record events for two or three months. I
expect my child by the end of the year and, believing in prenatal
influence, it would be a shame, I think, to poison the unborn baby's
mind by dwelling on the unspeakable littlenesses that make up and burden
life at this petty court.

But I may die in the attempt of presenting Saxony with another candidate
for appanages and honors, and this threat, hanging over every expectant
mother, makes me take up my pen again. If I perish, let there be a
record of my sufferings and also of my defiance.

It turned out that the Queen's and George's apparent acquiescence to my
sinful popularity marked the deceitful calm before the storm. Frederick
Augustus has not succeeded in gaining the King's and his father's
forgiveness even now. As a military officer he is shunted from pillar to
post, and the generals and high officials of the court treat him like a
recruit in disgrace. Of course he blames me, shouting that I wrecked his
career.

As if a future king need care a rap whether, as prince, he got a
regiment a few months earlier or later.

"When you are King," I sometimes say to him, "you may nominate yourself
Field-Marshal-General and Great-Admiral above and below the sea--what do
you care?"

"It isn't the same," he moans. "I would like to have my patents signed
by uncle or father."

"Antedate your papers," I advised, "who dare dispute the king? Didn't
the Kaiser nominate himself Adjutant-General to his grand-dad long after
William I lay mouldering in Charlottenburg?"

But Frederick Augustus takes colonel-ships and his petty kingship of the
future too seriously to see even the humor of appointing oneself
personal attendant to a corpse.

As for me, if I weren't _enceinte_, they would send me to some
lost-in-the-woods country house to die of _ennui_. But respect for
public opinion forbidding drastic measures, George relies on a Russian
expedient to humble my proud self and force me to submit to his
meddling.

In the Czar's country, when a village resolves on the death of some
obnoxious individual, they take him, or her, and bind the body naked to
a tree. Then several papers of pins are distributed among the
inhabitants, and each man, woman and child is asked to put a pin in the
lady or gentleman, whom they must approach blindfolded. They stick the
pin wherever they touch the body and if the thing leaks out are able to
swear by all the saints that they don't know where it struck. The pin
pricking is continued until the obnoxious one expires amid awful
tortures and, while all contributed to the murder, none can be hanged
for it.

In like manner George and his minions are trying to reduce me to the
position of social and political corpse.

Court festivities and public acts, attended by the court, seem to be
specially arranged to pillorize me and husband. We are invited, of
course. We are next in importance to Prince George. Our entourage is
more numerous and more richly costumed than that of the other princes.
Four horse coaches for us; Ministers of State waiting on us. I have
train-bearers, pages, what-not.

But the King and Prince George cut me and Frederick Augustus in sight of
the whole court, of the public in fact!

I don't mean to say that the "All-highest Lords," as they call
themselves, treat us as air, or offer insult plain to the ear and
eye--they couldn't afford to--nevertheless the stigma of royal disfavor
is stamped on us. This is the mode of proceedings: Ceremony obliges the
King to address each member of the royal family with the words: "How do
you do?", in the German fashion, "_How art thou?_"

To princes and princesses that are in disgrace, this momentous question
is put only once. Those in good standing are asked three times.

Ever since that September day when all Dresden did me honor, the King
and Prince George have said "_How art thou's?_" to me and mine but once,
whenever and wherever we met, and be sure there were always listeners to
report the double omission.

At first it amused me; then enraged me; I don't care a fig now. But
Frederick Augustus! Poor imbecile, he is eating his heart out about
those two missing "_How art thou's?_" and though he looks splendid in
gala uniform he acts in the royal, but ungracious, presence like a green
recruit expecting to be kicked and cuffed by his noncommissioned officer
on getting back to the barracks.

As to my entourage, it surrenders to royal disfavor even as Frederick
Augustus: depressed faces, pitying glances. I could box their ears for
their sympathy.

Am I not the great-granddaughter of that mighty Maria Theresa that ruled
Austria and Hungary with an iron hand, lined with velvet. "_Moriamur pro
rege nostro_" (We will die for our King), cried the Hungarians, when she
appealed to their chivalry, her new-born babe at her breast. "_Rege_,"
not "_Regina_." They called her King. They forgot the woman in the
monarch, yet I am treated like an insipid female always, never as the
Crown Princess!

Let them beware. My full name is Louise Marie Antoinette. I was named
after the Marie Antoinette of history--another ancestor of mine--and the
pride of the decapitated Queen of France is in me! My namesake was
satisfied when she read the Saint-Antoine placard of June 25, 1791:
"Whosoever insults Marie Antoinette shall be caned, whosoever applauds
her shall be hanged." Some day I will dismiss the cattle that now grudge
me the people's applause and punish those that insult me.

Come to think of it, Marie Antoinette had not only pride and defiance,
she had lovers too. Well, some day this Marie Antoinette may have
lovers, and if it's wrong, let the recording angel debit my sins to the
Saxon court.

Thank God, I am blessed with that truly royal attribute, ability to
dissimulate. "_Qui nescit dissimulare nescit regnare_" was all the Latin
Charles VIII knew, yet he made a pretty successful king for one who died
at the age of twenty-seven.

I always act as if the King, and father-in-law George, had asked me not
once, or three times, but a dozen times "_How art thou?_" I don't know
anything about being in disgrace, I don't anticipate being snubbed and
when I am snubbed I don't see it.

The "all-highest Lord" looks daggers at me--I curtsy and smile!

Father-in-law Prince George exhibits the visage of a poisoned pole-cat
at my table--I congratulate him on his good digestion!

Majesty pays no more attention to my presence than if I was a pillar, or
a lackey; I greet him with my most devoted genuflections, rise from the
carpet smiling all over the face and begin a frivolous conversation with
the nearest man at hand, who in his fright acts as if he had taken an
overdose of physic.

If Frederick Augustus only had an inch of backbone, a pinch of ginger in
his constitution! But he always stands around with a red face and the
mien of a penitent. No dog, accustomed to daily beatings, follows his
master's movements with more anxious looks than the Crown Prince of this
realm bestows upon the goings and sayings of the King and Prince George.

Then, as recompense for his royal feast of toads, he plays the tyrant at
home. Jellyfish in the state apartments, a brute in our own and--on the
drill grounds, I am told! He is always finding fault with the servants,
and cares not whether he calls his Court Marshal, or a groom,
"_Lausbub_." Poor Chamberlain von Tumpling earned that scurvy epithet
the other day and he prides himself on being a nobleman and an army
officer! Only this morning the prince roared and bellowed at one of my
ladies, I thought she would have a stroke from righteous anger and
vexation.

When he attempted to address me in the same fashion, I simply turned my
back on him, went into my boudoir and locked the door. I will keep him
"guessing" for two days, sending for the court physician every little
while.

When he has to eat his meals alone and sleep alone for twice twenty-four
hours, it will occur even to him that Louise is not made of the stuff
that stands for being bullied.



CHAPTER XIV

IMPERIAL RUSSIAN ETHICS TRANSFERRED TO DRESDEN

    My husband's reported escapade--Did he give diamonds to a dancing
    girl?--His foolish excuses--"I am your pal"--A restaurant scene in
    St. Petersburg--The birthday suit.


    DRESDEN, _December 3, 1893_.

After all, Frederick Augustus has more spirit than I gave him credit
for. Isabelle just told me that he has a new love, and a very appetizing
piece of femininity she is, _Fräulein_ Dolores of the Municipal Theatre.

"She's as well made as you, Louise, and rather more graceful," she said,
"only her expression is somewhat inert. She lacks animation. Of course,
she hasn't your attractive bust."

That devilish Isabelle _sowed_ her poisonous information rather than
pronounced it. "She has been seen with a new diamond-studded _bandeau_,"
she added.

At that moment the Schoenberg came to say that baby wants me. Isabelle
went along to the nursery, but I managed to take the Schoenberg aside.

"I must know, before dinner, who gave the Dolores woman the new jewelry
she is displaying; likewise whether His Royal Highness is sweet on that
hussy. No half-truths, if you please. I want to know the worst if there
be any."

The Schoenberg has a cousin who is a Councillor in the office of the
police president, and the police president keeps a detailed record of
the love affairs of all the actresses and singers employed in
Dresden,--a relic of the time when stage folks, in European capitals,
classed as "the King's servants."

The Councillor came himself to report and, after listening to what he
said, I raised the boycott on Frederick Augustus without further ado,
inviting him to my bed and board once more.

"So you went slumming with Kyril," I said after we had retired for the
night.

"Who told you?" stammered the big fellow, reddening to the roots of his
hair.

"Never mind. I know all! About the Dolores woman, her brand new
diamonds, the pirouettes she did on the table and the many lace
petticoats she wore."

"My word, I didn't count them," vowed his Royal Highness.

"Neither would I advise you to do so," I warned sternly, though as a
matter of fact I was near exploding with laughter. "Now make a clean
breast of it."

"I swear I was only the elephant. The King himself would excuse me
under the circumstances," whimpered my husband.

"You big booby," I interposed, "can't you see that I'm not angry? I blab
about you to the King? What do you take me for? I am your pal, now and
always, in affairs liable to prove inartistic to the King's, or Prince
George's, stomach. To begin with, what has an elephant to do with
supping with a dancing girl?"

Frederick Augustus explained that the name of the pachyderm applies to a
third party, who attends a couple out for a lark until he proves a
crowd. Our cousin, Grand-duke Kyril of Russia, visiting Dresden
incognito, had prevailed on Frederick Augustus's good nature to serve
him and the Dolores.

"The Dolores is prettier than I?" I inquired.

"Not at all. She has a black mole under her left bosom."

"You saw that?"

"How could I help it? Russian Grand-dukes never allow a girl to wear
corsets at supper. Kyril says it interferes with digestion."

How considerate of His Russian Imperial Highness!

Well, they had a good time and I guess the Dolores earned her diamonds.
A fair exchange is no robbery. "But in St. Petersburg," said Frederick
Augustus, "they do these things better." And he gave an elaborate
description of a famous restaurant there, where the princes of the
imperial family hold high carnival occasionally.

"The upper tier of dining rooms is reserved at night for any Grand-duke
who promises his visit," quoted my husband, "and the broad marble stairs
leading to them must not be used by others. Well, one fine evening
Grand-duke Vladimir and a crowd of nobles and officers supped at the
'_Ermitaj_' and when they were all good and drunk, one of Vladimir's
guests, Prince Galitzin, bet the host the price of the supper and a
champagne bath for all, that he could induce the famous _danseuse_
Mshinskaya to descend the stairs stark naked and walk among the tables
below without anyone offering her insult.

"The bet was accepted and the girl sent for. She was found in a near-by
theatre and rushed to the '_Ermitaj_'. Of course, seeing that His
Imperial Highness wished it, she consented to pull off the trick
and--her clothes, but she made a condition."

"She demanded tights," I suggested.

"Pshaw, she is a sport, says Kyril." This in a tone of disgust from
Frederick Augustus. He continued: "She merely begged his Imperial
Highness to have it announced that she, Mshinskaya, was acting under the
Grand-duke's orders. Done. 'By His Imperial Highness's leave,' shouted
the _Maître d'Hôtel_ from the top of the stairs, as _Mademoiselle_
descended in her birthday suit. And the Mshinskaya made the tour of the
restaurant as unconcernedly and as little subject to protests, or
remarks, as if she had been muffled up to her ears.

"That's what I call freedom--discipline," concluded Frederick Augustus.
"Think of doing anything like that in a Dresden restaurant."

"I would gladly give a year's allowance to the poor if you could manage
it here while Prince George was masticating a Hamburg steak at a table
opposite the grand staircase," said I.



CHAPTER XV

ROYALTY NOT PRETTY, AND WHY

    Fecundity royal women's greatest charm--How to have beautiful
    children.


    DRESDEN, _February 25, 1894_.

Behold the mother of two boys in a twelve-month! Frederick came just in
the nick of time, Sylvester Eve (December 31, 1893), to gain me a little
brief renown, for royalty likes its women to be rabbits and, in the
reigning houses at least, we are esteemed in proportion to our
fecundity.

"January 15--December 31," not half bad! Even Prince George had to admit
that. And the Kaiser remarked: "Louise, if she keeps it up, bids fair to
break de Villeneuve's record. Let me see, Sophie's first child was born
January 9--a girl" (with a sneer); "her next, the Hereditary Count, on
December 28th of the same year."

The "de Villeneuve" is Sophie, Countess of Schlitz. Wilhelm made her
celebrated by his gallantries and Lenbach by the great portrait he
painted of her wondrous loveliness. If I ever have a daughter, I will
have a copy of the Lenbach canvas placed in baby's room. Come to think
of it, I will have one made right away to hang in my own boudoir.

As stated, I believe in prenatal influence, and am more than convinced
that the portraits of Saxon and Prussian princesses frowning from the
walls of our palaces are calculated neither to promote beauty nor
gentleness.

If I had my way, I would send the whole lot to the store-room and fill
the space they occupy with the present store-room treasures, old time
portraits of August the Physical Strong's favorites, Aurora von
Königsmark, Countess Cosel, Princess Lubomirska, Fatime, the Circassian,
the Orselska and--who can remember their names?

As a rule, queens and princesses are conspicuous for lack of beauty,
while kings and princes cut most ordinary figures in _mufti_. Only their
uniforms, the ribands and decorations, the _mise-en-scène_ render them
tolerable imitations of the average military man.

Why?

Because their mothers and fathers, their sisters, cousins and aunts see
nothing but painted and photographed and sculptured frights and
grotesques. So much ugliness of the past must needs cause ugliness of
the present and future.

In a century the thrones of Europe have known but two beauties, both
plebeians, the Empress Josephine and the Empress Eugenie. My aunt, the
Empress Elizabeth, is only good-looking, the German Empress was just an
ordinary German _Frau_ even in her salad-days.

Well, my little girls, if I have any, shall profit by the lessons of the
past. As expectant mothers in ancient Greece were wont to walk in the
temple of _Athene Parthenos_, filled with the greatest sculptures the
world has ever seen (ruins of them I admired in the British Museum), so
I intend to have a gallery of my own for beauty's sake, even if every
female figure be a harlot's likeness.



CHAPTER XVI

MORE JEALOUSIES OF THE GREAT

    Men and women caress me with their eyes--Some disrespectful sayings
    and doings of mine--First decided quarrel with Frederick Augustus--I
    go to the theatre in spite of him.


    DRESDEN, _April 1, 1894_.

I am afraid I wrote down some wicked things--wicked from the standpoint
of the Saxon court--and though Queen Carola and father-in-law George
know naught of my scribblings, punishment was meted out to me in full
measure.

Of course, it's my "damned popularity," as the King calls it, that got
me into trouble again. My carriage happened to follow one occupied by
the Queen at a distance of some hundred or more paces along the avenues
of the _Grosser Garten_. I had no idea that Her Majesty was out at the
time, and certainly was dressed to please the eye. I can't help it. It's
a habit with me.

Well, the optics of a good many of my future subjects grew long and
cozening, like gipsies', when they beheld their queen-to-be; there was
many a "flatteringly protracted, but never a wiltingly disapproving
gaze," and those who liked me--and they all seemed to--shouted "Our
Louise," and Hurrah. They shouted so loud that poor Queen Carola got
plenty of auricular evidence of how her successor-to-be was loved by the
people, by _her_, Carola's, people. And the poor old girl got so
"peeved," she ordered her coachman to turn back and proceed to the
palace by the shortest route, through the least frequented streets.

Frederick Augustus knew all about it before I reached home and was in a
terribly dejected state.

"This has to stop," he said with a fine effort at imitating authority.
"On Sunday, when we drove home from High Mass, you got an ovation while
the King's carriage passed almost unnoticed. And now this affront to the
Queen."

"Bother the old girl," I replied, stamping my foot.

Frederick Augustus got as white as a sheet. "That's the language of
a--a--" He knew enough not to finish.

"It's the title by which Queen Victoria is known to many of her
subjects."

"Who told you that?"

"I often run across it in the English newspapers."

"Jew-sheets!" roared Frederick Augustus.

"Since you don't understand a word of English, you couldn't distinguish
the London Times from the Hebrew At Work." After this sally, I added
maliciously: "I'm going to the Opéra Comique tonight. Come along?"

"You are _not_ going to the Opéra Comique," shouted Frederick Augustus.

"You don't want me to go, papa don't want me to go, uncle and aunt and
cousins don't? So many reasons more why I _shall_ go. I announced my
coming and I will go, if I have to tear the ropes, by which you might
bind me hand and foot, with my teeth."

I rang the bell and ordered dinner served half an hour earlier than
usual. Then I went to my dressing room to inspect the new gown that I
intended to wear at the theatre.

Girardi night! Girardi, the famous Vienna comedian! I never saw him. His
humor will act as a tonic. Just what I need. I will die if I breathe
none other but the air of this palace, that reeks with cheap
pretensions, Jesuitical puritanism, envy and hatred, where every second
person is a spy of either the King or George.

I must escape the polluted atmosphere for a few hours, at least, and
laugh, laugh, LAUGH.

       *       *       *       *       *

    11:30 P.M.

I have seen Girardi. I have laughed. I saw the Dolores. And I don't
blame Kyril a bit.



CHAPTER XVII

THE ROYAL PRINCE, WHO BEHAVES LIKE A DRUNKEN BRICKLAYER

    I face the music, but my husband runs away--Prince George can't look
    me in the eye--He roars and bellows--Advocates wife-beating--I defy
    him--German classics--"Jew literature" _Auto da fé_ ordered.


    DRESDEN, _April 2, 1894_.

Chamberlain Baron Haugk, of the service of Prince George, called at nine
A.M. and insisted upon seeing me. I sent out my Grand-Mistress, Baroness
von Tisch, to tell him that "Her Imperial Highness would graciously
permit him to wait upon her at half past ten."

"But my all-highest master commands."

I was listening in my boudoir and I went out to him only half-dressed, a
powder-mantle over my shoulders.

"Her Imperial Highness will not have her commands questioned by
servants," I said in my most haughty style. The _Kammerherr_ knocked his
heels together, bowed to the ground and retired. That's my way of
dealing with royal flunkeys, no matter what their title of courtesy.

He was back at the stroke of the clock to announce his "sublime master"
for one in the afternoon.

"I will be ready to receive his Royal Highness. My household shall be
instructed," I answered coldly, though I dread that old man.

"You are not wanted," I told Frederick Augustus. "Better make yourself
scarce." He didn't need to be told twice. "Undress-uniform," he shouted
to his valet. "And send somebody for a cab."

"Why a cab?" I inquired.

He looked at me in a pitying way. "Women are such geese," he made
answer. "Don't you see, if I left the palace in one of our own
carriages, the King, or father, might notice and call me back."

"Oh, very well. And don't 'celebrate' too much while you are out."

I had the lackeys line the staircase and corridors. My military
household stood in the first ante-chamber, my courtiers in the second,
my ladies in the third when Prince George walked into my parlor. At
first he acted in no unfriendly manner. He kissed me on the forehead and
asked after the babies, and if he hadn't riveted his eyes all the time
into some corner of the room--his stratagem when in an ugly mood--I
might have persuaded myself that he wasn't on mischief bent.

But he soon began pouring out his bile. With a face like a wooden martyr
he announced that he was not pleased with me.

"You are too much of a light-weight, too vivacious, too attractive to
the mob," he said in his bitterest tones. "You are forever seeking the
public eye like--an actress."

"I beg your Royal Highness to take notice that Imperial Princesses of
Austria"--I put some emphasis on the Imperial--"while popular, never
descend to jugglery," I answered politely, but firmly.

"No offence to your Imperial Highness," said George, "but you must
understand once and for all that Saxon princes and princesses are bound
by our house laws to the strictest observance of precedence. The love of
the people naturally goes out to the King and Queen. Junior members of
the Royal House must not seek to divert to themselves the popularity
that is the King's own."

"I have always been taught to respond to popular greetings offered me.
My aunt, the Empress Elizabeth, in particular instructed me to that
effect," I submitted with great deference.

"Her Majesty didn't instruct you to make a show of yourself every hour
of the day," hissed George, his eyes devouring the stove.

"I drive out twice, in the morning to go shopping, in the afternoon to
air my babies."

George, unable to dispute me, abandoned pretensions of politeness or
manners. He fairly roared at me: "You are travelling the streets all the
time. It has to stop."

Whereupon I said in as sharp a voice as I could manage: "And Your Royal
Highness has to stop bellowing at me. I'm not used to it. In Salzburg
and Vienna gentlemen don't use that tone of voice and that sort of
language to gentlewomen."

"Salzburg," cried George, "in Salzburg you got your ears boxed, but it
didn't do much good to all appearances."

"Your Royal Highness," I answered, "my mother has her faults, but it's
no one's business outside of her immediate family. And no one at this
court has a mother's authority over me."

I saw that George was beside himself with rage. "If your husband," he
snarled, "was as free with his hand as your mother, there would be an
end to your frivolities."

"Your Royal Highness forgets what you admitted yourself, namely, that
the indignities offered me while I was a child were bereft of beneficial
results. And please take notice," I added, raising my voice, "I won't
stand violence from anyone, neither from my husband--as you kindly
suggest--nor from you, or the King."

George was too surprised to even attempt a reply. He evidently didn't
know what to say or do. To avoid my eyes that were seeking his, he
turned his back on me and stepped up to a little table laden with books.
He studied the titles for a while, then, turning suddenly, held a small
volume towards me. His arm was out-stretched as if he feared to
contaminate his uniform.

"What have we got here?" he cried.

It was my turn to be astonished. "Why, according to the binding, it must
be Heine's _Atta Troll_."

"_Atta Troll_," cried George, and opening the book at random he read
half to himself:

    "This bear-leader six Madonnas
    Wears upon his pointed hat,
    To protect his head from bullets
    Or from lice, perchance, it may be."

He fired the volume on the floor and grabbed another. "What's this?"

"As the title will indicate to your Royal Highness, Nietzsche's
Zarathustra." For the life of me I couldn't see any harm in this portion
of my library.

George continued to rummage among the books. He acted like a madman.
"What's this, what's this?" he kept on saying, turning them over and
over. I thought it beneath my dignity to answer. I just stared at the
fanatic.

After he finished his hurried examination, he took one book after the
other and tossed it violently at my feet.

"Heine, the Jew-scribbler," he cried, aiming a kick at Atta Troll.

"Don't you dare," I said, "that book was given me by Her Majesty, the
Empress of Austria."

"I can't believe it," shouted George, "that Jew-scribbler, the reviler
of kinship."

"He never lampooned the kings of Saxony," I calmly remarked, picking up
the volume. "Here is Her Majesty's dedication to me."

"Everybody knows the eccentricities of Her Majesty of Austria," shouted
George. "Anyhow, who gave you permission to read such rotten stuff as
this at our court?"

"Prince George," I answered, taking two steps towards him, "Duke of
Saxony, the Archduchess of Austria takes pleasure to inform you that in
her house she asks no one's permission what to read or do."

At this he turned drill-ground bully. "You are in the King's house,"
rang out his voice in cutting tones, "and at this moment I represent the
King. And in the King's name I forbid you to read these obscenities, and
in the King's name I hereby command that these books be destroyed at
once."

Well, since he talked in the King's name I had no leg to stand on. I
merely bowed acquiescence and he strutted out, turning his back on me as
he went without salutation of any sort. I ran into my room, locked the
door and had a good cry.



CHAPTER XVIII

I DEFY THEM

    Laughter and pleasant faces for me--Frederick Augustus refuses to
    back me, but I don't care--We quarrel about my reading--He professes
    to gross ignorance.


    DRESDEN, _May 1, 1894_.

What's the use keeping a diary that is nothing but a record of quarrels
and humiliations? After I finished the entry about my scene with Prince
George, I felt considerably relieved. I had held my own, anyhow. But
fighting is one thing and writing another. I am always ready for a
fight, but "war-reporting" comes less easy.

The unpleasantness with George brought in its wake, as a natural
consequence so to speak, a whole lot of other squabbles and
altercations, family jars and general rumpuses, which I cared not to
embalm in these pages at the time. However, as they are part and parcel
of my narrative, incomplete as it may be, I will insert them by and by
according to their sequence.

After George was gone I made up my mind that, his commands and threats
notwithstanding, I must continue to live as I always did: joyful, free
within certain limits and careless of puritan standards. If the rest of
the royal ladies, and the women of the service, want to mope and look
sour, that's their affair. Let them wear out their lives between
confessional, knitting socks for orphan children, _Kaffe-klatsches,_
spying and tale-bearing and prayer-meetings,--it isn't my style. I'm
young, I'm pretty, I'm full of red blood, life means something to me. I
want to live it my own way.

I want to laugh; I have opinions of my own; I want to read books that
open and improve the mind. I want to promote my education by attending
lectures, by going to the theatre--in short, I don't want to become a
dunce and a bell-jingling fool like the others.

If that spells royal disgrace--be it so. Louise won't purchase two "_How
art thou's?_" at the price their Majesties and Royal Highnesses ask.

Of course, it would come easier with Frederick Augustus's help and
support, but since he chooses to be bully-ragged and sat upon and,
moreover, finds pleasure in licking the hand that strikes at his and his
wife's dignity, I will go it alone.

I defy them.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 16, 1894_.

I had another tiff with Frederick Augustus, but the cause is too
insignificant to deserve record. I will rather tell about our grand
quarrel following Prince George's visit. We dined alone that day, as he
was eager to hear the news. The preliminaries didn't excite him much,
but when I mentioned the book episode, he bristled up.

"You won't allow the King, or Prince George, to dictate what I shall
read or not read?" I demanded. "My house is my castle and I won't brook
interference in my _ménage_."

"Do you really suppose," replied Frederick Augustus, "that I'll court
royal displeasure for the sake of those Jew-scribblers? I never read a
book since I left school and can't make out what interest books can have
to you or anyone else. Where did you get them, anyhow?"

I told him that Leopold supplied my book wants. "My brother is a very
intelligent man," I said, "and the books he gives me are all classics in
their way."

"Go to with your book-talk!" he mocked in his most contemptuous voice.
"I asked the director of the royal library and was told that each of the
books, to which father objects, was written by a Jew. Let Jews read
them. It isn't decent for a royal princess to do so."

"My brother isn't a Jew."

"But in utter disgrace in Vienna. No one at court speaks to him. He is
head over heels in debt and the next we know he will be borrowing from
us. As to those books, don't bring any more into the house. Royal
princes and princesses have better things to do than waste time on
Jew-scribblers."

With that he violently pushed back his chair and left me, a very much
enraged woman. He didn't give me the chance to have the last word.



CHAPTER XIX

ATTEMPTED VIOLENCE DEFEATED BY FIRMNESS

    Frederick Augustus seeks to carry out his father's brutal
    threats--Orders and threats before servants--I positively refuse to
    be ordered about--Frederick Augustus plays Mrs. Lot--Enjoying myself
    at the theatre.


    DRESDEN, _June 17, 1894_.

The chance came later and with it the conviction that His Royal
Highness, Prince George, didn't quite believe me when I told him that I
wouldn't stand for violence, for tonight Frederick Augustus attempted
something of the sort.

I had ordered my carriage for seven o'clock to drive to the theatre, and
had just finished dressing when he stormed into my boudoir and demanded
to know if I had taken leave of my senses.

"Not that I am aware of."

"But I hear you intend to go to the theatre--a princess in disgrace
going to the theatre!"

"Aren't you coming along, Frederick Augustus?" I asked naïvely.

"I have no desire to lose my regiment."

"And I have no desire to sit at home and talk nothingnesses with the
fools His Majesty appoints for my service."

"Take a care," cried Frederick Augustus.

"Don't be a noodle and a coward," I answered hotly.

"Louise, remember that I am an army officer."

"What has that to do with my going to the theatre?"

"It's the height of audacity to defy the King."

"It would be the depth of cowardice to stay at home."

"Take back that word, or----"

"I wish Your Royal Highness a very pleasant evening," I said, indulging
in a low genuflexion.

Frederick Augustus got blue with rage. I saw him clench his fists as I
swept out of the room, making as much noise with my train as I could
manage.

"An out-rider," I commanded the Master of Horse who stood in the
ante-chamber awaiting me.

"At your Imperial Highness' commands," bowed the Baron with the most
astonished face in the world. We use out-riders, that is grooms in
livery, to ride ahead of the royal carriage, only on state occasions in
Dresden. But, of course, my orders would be obeyed even if I had
demanded twelve grooms to attend me.

I was just going out, preceded by my Chamberlain and followed by my
ladies, Baroness Tisch and _Fräulein_ von Schoenberg; there were two
lackeys at the door and in the corridor stood the groom-in-waiting,
holding several lap-robes for me to decide which to take, when the
Prince caught up with me.

"I forbid you to go to the theatre," he bawled in the presence of my
titled entourage and three servants.

I realized at once that this was the supreme moment of my life at the
court of Saxony. Either bend or break. If I allowed myself to be roared
at and ordered about like a servant-wench--goodbye the Imperial
Highness! Enter the Jenny-Sneak German housewife, greedy for her
master's smile and willing to accept an occasional kick. The Prince had
begun this family brawl in public. I would finish.

"I won't take orders," I held forth. "No commands, understand, princely,
royal or otherwise. And be advised, now and for all time, that I will
answer any attempt to brutalize me by immediate departure, or by seeking
refuge with the Austrian Ambassador."

If Frederick Augustus had suddenly become Mrs. Lot he wouldn't have been
more conspicuous for utter petrification and silence. He stared at me
with wide-open, bleary eyes and if I had taken him by the neck and feet
and dropped him out of the window, as his ancestor Augustus of the
three-hundred and fifty-two took the "spook" sent into his bedroom by
Joseph the First, he wouldn't have offered the ghost of resistance, I
dare say.

"Your arm, Mr. Chamberlain, since His Royal Highness doesn't wish to
accompany us." And I swept out of the ante-chamber and through the
corridor, triumphant.

"Gipsy Baron" was the bill of the play. I knew only a few of its waltzes
and I drank in the comedy and the pretty music like one desperately
athirst. Kyril's girl, the Dolores, was very chic and looked ravishingly
pretty, and brother-in-law Max isn't the dunce I took him for.

His Theresa is a droll dog, fair to look upon, dark and fat. It will
take a lot of holy water to save her from purgatory.

Girardi made me screech with laughter. He is as funny as my
father-in-law is mournful--a higher compliment to his art I cannot pay.
Of course, actor-like, he appreciated an Imperial Highness' applause and
looked up to my box every little while. I wish, though, he hadn't
acknowledged my plaudits by bowing to me. It attracted general attention
and soon the whole house was staring and smiling. The people seemed to
be glad that their Crown Princess was enjoying herself.



CHAPTER XX

TITLED SERVANTS LOW AND CUNNING

    George tries to rob me of my confidante--Enter the King's spy,
    Baroness Tisch in her true character--Punishment of one royal spy.


    DRESDEN, _August 1, 1894_.

Prince George is planning a devilish revenge. He threatens to separate
me from my Secretary and confidante, little Baranello, whom I brought
with me from Salzburg. She is an Italian, and, unlike most of them, as
faithful as a dog. A connection of the Ruffo family, princes and dukes
that gave the world more than one pope, the small fry Saxon nobility
hate her, and George knows that he can't corrupt Lucretia by his paltry
presents and ridiculous condescension.

They would send her back to Salzburg, if they dared,--anyhow, Baroness
von Tisch is to be both Chief Mistress and confidential secretary. If
she died of the first confidence I make her, she wouldn't live five
minutes.

The King's House Marshal, Baron von Carlowitz, came to announce the
change to me, but I knew, of course, that it was George's doings.

"Tell Prince George," I said icily, "that I appreciate the fact of being
deprived of the services of an honest woman in favor of a spy."

I will "show" this Tisch woman, as my American friends say. Some three
years ago Emperor Francis Joseph appointed a spy as attendant to my
brother Leopold. Schoenstein, Baron or Count, was his name, I think.
Schoenstein would rather bear evil tales of his young master to his old
master than eat, and nothing would please him better than to meddle with
Leopold's correspondence.

He stole as many letters as he could lay his hands on. Fished them even
from slop-pails, or pieced together such as Leopold tore up and dropped
in the cuspidors. When brother observed this, he used to tear up bills
and the most innocent writings of his own and other people into little
bits and planted them in Schoenstein's hunting-grounds. Appropriate work
for a _lick-spittle_ to pull them out. But Leopold got tired of playing
with this vermin, and it tickled him to make an example of the scamp.
Hence, he allowed it to be observed by Schoenstein when he, Leopold,
locked a parcel of letters from his girl in the cash-box.

The toad-eating Schoenstein burned with desire to copy these letters and
send the transcript on to Emperor Francis Joseph. They would have made
interesting reading to my old uncle who has given up cracking nuts since
his teeth fell out. There is Kati Schratt, you say. Pshaw, Kati is as
old, or nearly as old, as his Majesty and she isn't a Ninon de l'Enclos
by any means.

To cut a long story short, Schoenstein could see but one way for getting
those compromising letters: steal the keys and borrow the parcel for a
short while. That's what Leopold was waiting for. Not half an hour after
the keys had been abstracted, he raised the alarm. He had been "robbed."
The archducal safe had been rifled. And he managed to catch Schoenstein
red-handed.

"Send for the police," thundered my brother, "and meanwhile watch the
thief well." Schoenstein was given no chance to explain and deemed
himself lucky to escape arrest. My brother suspended him from service
and made him go to a hotel while he telegraphed the story of the
attempted theft to Vienna, asking the Count's immediate dismissal.

Of course, Vienna disavowed the dunderhead--royalty has no use for
persons that allow themselves to be compromised--and he has been in
disgrace ever since. Nor can he get another courtly office, for Leopold
threatened the moment he sees him with a Highness to warn everybody:
"Look to your watch and purse, we have a thief with us."

I jotted this down to remind me that Prince George's spy deserves no
better than the Emperor's.



CHAPTER XXI

BANISHMENT

    I am ordered to repair to a country house with the hated spy as my
    Grand Mistress--My first impulse to go home, but afraid parents
    won't have me.


    DRESDEN, _August 10, 1894_.

Order from the King that myself and children spend the rest of the
summer at Villa Loschwitz, to remain until I get royal permission to
return to Dresden,--the Tisch to act as chief of my household.

Banished! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Smile, because I
escaped the _ennui_ of attending court at the summer residence of
Pillnitz; weep, because my absence from court would be interpreted as a
disciplinary measure.

I know Pillnitz is about as gay as a Trappist feast of carrion and ant's
milk, but this princess doesn't want to be disciplined.

I shall tell them that I want to go home, but will they have me in
Salzburg? Papa, of course, but if mother hears of my acquaintance with
Heine, "who doesn't love Jesus,"--her own words,--she will undoubtedly
side with Prince George against her daughter. It was Heine who wrote of
one of her ancestors, King Louis of Bavaria: "As soon as the monkeys and
kangaroos are converted to Christianity, they'll make King Louis their
guardian saint, in proof of their perfect sanity." And you don't suppose
for a moment that mamma forgets a thing like that. As to Nietzsche, he
will give her no conscientious qualms, for I'm sure she never heard of
the gentleman, but my going to the Gipsy Baron "where two princely
mistresses are gyrating"--horrible!

I hear her say: "I think Prince George is most considerate sending our
daughter to Loschwitz. She deserved to be put in a nunnery and made to
kneel on unboiled peas three times a day." And when it comes to an
_éclat_, even papa may have to abandon me. Emperor Francis Joseph holds
the purse-strings; and papa always lives beyond his means and Francis
Joseph, King Albert and Prince George are fast friends. If papa
quarrelled with the two latter gentlemen, they would immediately
denounce him to the Emperor. The rest can easily be guessed.

Sorry, but papa is no hero in his daughter's eyes.



CHAPTER XXII

"POOR RELATIONS" IN ROYAL HOUSES

    Myself and Frederick Augustus quarrel and pound table--The Countess
    Cosel's golden vessel--Off to Brighton--Threat of a beating--I
    provoke shadows of divorce--King threatens force--More defiance on
    my part--I humble the King and am allowed to invite my brother
    Leopold.


    VILLA LOSCHWITZ, _September 1, 1894_.

Father had to give in. He is the poor relation, and a poor relation in
royal circles doesn't amount to more than one among well-to-do merchants
and farmers. He has no rights that others need respect and if he shows
backbone he is given to understand that the head of the family has other
uses for the palace or hunting grounds lent him.

"I would love to have you with me in Salzburg," he wrote, "but, dear
child, it's for your best to learn to obey. Do it for your old father's
sake."

Still I wouldn't give in at once. "I won't go to Loschwitz," I declared.
And gave a dozen reasons besides the paramount one that I wouldn't go,
because Prince George wanted me.

"I'm no trunk to be shipped hither and thither at someone's behest," I
said.

Frederick Augustus took umbrage at the "someone," which he pronounced
_lèse majesté_, and to emphasise the fact hit the table with a bang,
whereupon I pounded the table twice: bang-bang!

It hurt my hand, and didn't do Frederick Augustus any good. Nor was the
discussion advanced thereby. For the rest: an exchange of names and
epithets that smacked of the kitchen rather than the _salon_.

"Too bad you exhaust all your energy with me," I said among other
things, "while in the royal presence you act the docile lamb's tail."

He began prating about his character as an army officer again, and I
reminded him that I wasn't the Countess Cosel.

"Who's that?" asked the big ignoramus.

"Never heard of the lady that refused to accompany Augustus to the Camp
of Mühlberg unless he brought her a certain intimate golden vessel
costing five thousand _Thalers_?"

"A loving cup?" asked my husband.

"If you like to call it so."

"But why did you say you are no Cosel?"

"I meant to imply that I am not a prisoner of state and don't want to be
treated like one. Hence, since a visit to my parents would greatly
embarrass them, I decided to go to Brighton for the season."

"Brighton," he repeated, "and where will you get the spondulicks?"

"I saved up quite a bit of money. Guess I can manage the expense
alright."

"Lip-music," cried Frederick Augustus in his polite way. "You have no
idea what such a trip costs."

I assured him that I had made every inquiry and was able to meet all
expenses. "We will go incog.," I added, "the babies and nurse and
Lucretia. The Tisch woman shall have a furlough even before she asks for
it."

"Is that so?" Frederick Augustus laughed brutally. "You seem to forget
that you are subject to our house laws."

"And you seem to forget that I have a will of my own," I almost shouted.

Frederick Augustus jumped up. "Not another word on the subject," he
commanded. "The incident is closed."

It suddenly occurred to me that Prince George had been talking once more
to Frederick Augustus about the pugilistic performances of my mother.
Perhaps he was trying to pluck up courage to beat me, a diversion not
altogether unknown in the House of Saxony, according to the Memoirs of
the famous Baron Schweinichen, Court Marshal and _Chroniqueur_.

His diaries, covering a number of years, have many such entries as this:
"His Royal Highness hit the Princess a good one on the 'snout' by way
of silencing her tongue." Doubtless George would be delighted to have me
"shut up" by some such process, but Frederick Augustus lacks the sand.

When he was gone, I indicted a letter to the King, advising him in oily,
malicious, yet eminently respectful language that, not wishing to figure
as a prisoner of state, I had decided to spend the rest of the summer
abroad with my children. At the same time I intimated that I was well
aware of being in disgrace and being regarded with ill favor by the
several members of the royal family.

"If it pleases your Majesty," I added, "I will relieve a most unhappy
situation by giving back his liberty to Frederick Augustus. I'll promise
not to oppose divorce, or allow my family to interfere."

This letter I sent to the King, sealing it with my personal arms, of
which there is no duplicate at court. After that I sent three telegrams.
One to papa, announcing that I was going to Brighton; another to the
Palace Hotel in Brighton; a third to the Minister of Railways,
commanding that my saloon carriage be coupled to the Continental express
night after next. I knew, of course, that the King would be informed of
these messages in a twinkling.

I waited an hour for the Powers to move; as a rule it takes them a week
or ten days. Exactly sixty-five minutes after sending my letter to the
King, Frederick Augustus rode into the courtyard like a madman. He had
been hurriedly summoned from the drill-grounds, I heard afterwards. He
dismounted at the stairs leading to the King's apartments. Half an hour
later, he slunk into my room, as serious as a corpse. There wasn't a
trace of brutality in his voice as he said:

"A fine row you kicked up."

I didn't favor him by questions, but kept looking out of the window. He
walked up and down for five or six minutes, boring his eyes into the
corners of the room. Suddenly, at a safe distance, he delivered himself
of the following:

"His Majesty interdicts your plans _in toto_. You will be conducted to
Loschwitz tonight. Don't put yourself to the humiliation of trying to
disobey. You are being watched."

"His Majesty's own words?"

"He refused to see me," answered Frederick Augustus, dejectedly. He
acted as if pronouncing his own death warrant. "Baumann told me." (This
is the King's Secretary.)

I almost pitied the poor fellow, but I had to hold my own.

"My dear Frederick Augustus," I said, "you can tell Baumann from me that
I won't go to Loschwitz tonight; that for the present I intend to stay
here and that, if they force me, they'll need plenty of rope, for I
will holler and kick and do all I can to attract attention."

Maybe Frederick Augustus wanted to say something in reply, but open his
mouth was all he could manage. Seeing him so bamboozled, I continued:
"It is decided, then, that I stay, but I give you fair warning that I
will skip to England sooner or later. I don't want you to get into
trouble, Frederick Augustus, therefore inform Baumann without delay."

Frederick Augustus got blue in the face. He seemed ready to jump on me,
crush me between his cuirassier fists. I held up my hand.

"Did Baumann tell you that I offered to accept divorce if it pleases the
King?"

Frederick Augustus changed color. White as a ghost, he fixed his eyes
upon mine, momentarily, and murmured: "Have we got to that point?"

He ran out of the room and a minute later was tearing up the stairs
leading to the King's apartments. Lucretia says he returned within a
quarter of an hour and tried my door. But I had locked myself in and
refused to open. We didn't meet until dinner. Neither of us ate a bite,
or said a word. Baumann was announced with the ice. He was all smiles,
all devotion.

"His Majesty will be pleased to see your Imperial Highness in a quarter
of an hour," he said sweetly.

Frederick Augustus was a painted sepulchre when I coolly replied: "Pray
inform His Majesty that I am not well and about to retire for the
night."

At this Baumann looked like a whipped dog. He probably thought it
impossible for anyone to refuse to answer the summons of His Majesty.
With the most downcast mien in the world, he seemed singularly anxious
to render himself ridiculous. "Maybe the Crown Prince will do in my
stead," I suggested maliciously.

Baumann grabbed at the straw and withdrew. A little while later a lackey
came, summoning Frederick Augustus to Prince George. When he came back,
he was all undone.

"Father treated me very well," he said. "He says the King regrets that
your uncontrollable temper causes so many misunderstandings, and both
His Majesty and father have no objection to your staying in Dresden if
you like. Loschwitz was suggested because you and the children seem to
need country air.

"As to your proposed visit to England, the King begs you to consider
that such a journey at this time is liable to provoke a scandal which
would reflect not only on you, on us, but on your poor parents."

The old story of the penurious relations, I thought bitterly, but on the
whole I was well pleased. I had beaten and out-generaled them all.

"If Loschwitz isn't meant for punishment, I accept with pleasure," I
said. "It's a very pretty place." Poor Frederick Augustus' face lit up.
"But there must be an end to the talk about I being in disgrace. If the
King is as friendly to me as he makes out, let him come and see me and
the babies. As to summonses by Baumann or others, I won't accept them."

"Very well," said Frederick Augustus, and I saw that I had risen
mile-high in his estimation, "when will it be your pleasure to leave for
Loschwitz?"

"Tonight, if I have permission to invite Leopold for a week or so."

"Are you stark, staring mad?" shouted my husband,--"Impose conditions
after the King moderated?"

"Go and tell Baumann I'll have Leopold or all is off," I said.

Next morning: Ceremonial visit from the Queen. The tip of her nose was
redder than ever and she seemed prepared to weep at the flicking of an
eye-lash. She gave me a list of her troubles, mental, physical,
political, matrimonial and otherwise, since the day she was born, but
said: "Obedience to my father, the King, and obedience to my husband,
the King, has enabled me to weather all storms. You, too, must learn
obedience, Louise. It's women's only salvation and especially a
princess's."

I answered that I fully recognized my obligations to the King. "I only
object to being buffeted around like a piece of furniture."

"I know, I know," said the Queen, "and hope all is arranged
satisfactorily. The King will be glad if you invite your parents to
Loschwitz."

"I asked permission to invite Leopold."

"But, no doubt, your parents would take more interest in the children
than your brother."

"I don't dispute that, Your Majesty. But if my parents joined me at the
present time, people might think they came to condole with me or else to
scold me. I want Leopold."

The Queen said she wouldn't dare mention Leopold to His Majesty.

"Well, then," I concluded, "I shall stay in Dresden, regarding Baumann's
fine promises as mere talk."

The Queen went away with the air of a martyr, but three days later
Baumann came and said His Imperial Highness was welcome.

A triumph all along the line. I left Dresden without seeing the King.

Frederick Augustus is at the manoeuvres.

The Baroness is acting as my Grand Mistress.

I expect Leopold in a fortnight.



CHAPTER XXIII

A SERVANT-TYRANT

    My correspondence is not safe from the malicious woman appointed
    Grand Mistress--Lovers at a distance and by correspondence--Fell in
    love with a leg.


    LOSCHWITZ, _September 8, 1894_.

Baroness Tisch, now that she attained the height of her ambition, is
beginning to show her claws. She is an infernal cat. Her skinniness
makes her repulsive to me and her face gives everyone the impression
that she just sucked an enormous lemon. She lisps and that makes me
nervous. I feel like aping her when she isn't around.

She's after me like the devil chasing a poor soul and as I never address
her except to command or reprimand, she tries to find out any secret
doings, or thinkings, I may be guilty of by way of letters I write or
receive.

According to the laws of most countries private correspondence is
sacred, legally and morally. The late Field-Marshal, Count Blumenthal,
wrote to his wife of the Crown Prince, afterwards Emperor Frederick,
that he was a "d----fool," but "as communications between husband and
wife are privileged," no official cognizance was taken.

Otherwise in this petty kingdom and, as already told, in Austria, whose
monarch, in family matters at least, holds to the "_L'Etat c'est moi_"
maxim.

The King's spy, the Tisch, constituted herself post-office of Villa
Loschwitz--a duty appertaining to her rank--and I wager she works the
"_Black Cabinet_" to perfection. Of course, I am now careful in all I
write and advise my friends to be, but I sometimes get letters from
Unknowns, people that sympathize with me or have fallen in love with me.
All women in high station have lovers among the lowly. I recall the
Cardinal Dubois' yarn about Salvatico, envoy of the Prince of Modena, my
kinsman of yore. The Italian was sent to Paris to conduct home his
master's lovely intended, _Mademoiselle_ de Valois, daughter of the
Regent. It happened that the emissary was introduced to _Mademoiselle's_
room an hour before the time set, when she was lying on a lounge "with
one leg, almost naked, hanging down." Salvatico fell in love with the
leg and exhausted himself in so many "Ah, ah's" of admiration and other
love-sick stunts that the Duke of Richelieu, having older rights, said
to him: "Rogue, if you had your deserts I would cut off your two ears!"

No man, except my husband, has seen my legs, which is a pity, perhaps,
but the extreme _décolleté_ demanded at certain court functions,
especially in Berlin, gained me many epistolary lovers, whose homage I
accept gracefully, but in silence, of course.

Still, a malicious thing like the Tisch, if one gives her enough rope,
might arrange, on paper at least, to get me with child by a Lothario a
hundred miles off, even as the children of Madame de Montespan and Louis
XIV were credited to the Marquis, her husband, residing a hundred
leagues away, at Guienne. Let me find her red-handed and she will fare
even worse than Schoenstein.



CHAPTER XXIV

MORE TYRANNY OF A TITLED SERVANT

    My daily papers seized, and only milk-and-water clippings are
    submitted--"King's orders"--Grand Mistress's veracity doubted--My
    threats of suspension cow her.


    LOSCHWITZ, _September 10, 1894_.

This morning there were no newspapers at the usual hour. Instead, the
Tisch furnished a heap of clippings carefully pasted up--the veriest
milk-and-water slush "ever." Instanter I sent for my tormentor.

"What's this?" I demanded.

"Today's papers, Your Imperial Highness."

"You made these clippings?"

"At Your Imperial Highness's commands."

"And you think me ninny enough to be satisfied with reading no more than
what you consider proper for me to see?"

The Tisch wavered not a bit. "His Majesty the King is served the same
fashion."

"No matter. I want my papers whole, and don't you dare to mutilate
them." By way of letting her down easier I added: "Don't give yourself
the trouble."

"No trouble, I assure your Imperial Highness. With your permission,
then, I will continue to clip for Your Imperial Highness."

I rose and, measuring her from head to toe with flaming eyes, I said:
"You will do nothing of the kind, do you understand?"

The impertinent cat insisted: "But I think it proper----"

"Have you heard what I said or not, Baroness?"

She tried to save her face by asserting, "I am acting by command of His
Majesty."

"I will ask His Majesty whether you spoke the truth," I said quick as a
flash; "meanwhile you are suspended and will return to Dresden until
recalled. Ring the bell and I will give orders to the Master of Horse to
send you away."

Of course Tisch couldn't afford such an inquiry to be made, which would
have exposed her clumsy hand and, as remarked, royalty doesn't care to
be found out. Defeat staring her in the face, Tisch wavered: "Of course,
if your Imperial Highness chooses to take the responsibility, I will be
most happy to submit the papers as they arrive."

"In their wrappers," I commanded, as I dismissed her.

By distributing a hundred marks in silver, I found out that the Tisch
examines my body-servants daily and that, night after night, she sits
up hours writing long-winded reports. She is the King's tool, but she
let the cat out of the bag when cornered. That gives me the whip hand
for the time being.



CHAPTER XXV

THE TWO BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY UNITED

    Leopold upon my troubles and his own--Imperial Hapsburgs that,
    though Catholics, got divorces or married divorced women--Books that
    are full of guilty knowledge, according to royalty--A mud-hole
    lodging for one Imperial Highness--Leopold's girl--What I think of
    army officers' wives--Their anonymous letters--Leopold's money
    troubles--We will fool our enemies by feigning obedience.


    LOSCHWITZ, _September 15, 1894_.

Leopold is with me, the brother two years older than I. They just made
him a Major--a twelve-month later than his patent calls for.

Like myself, he is almost permanently in disgrace with the head of the
family, even as I am with the King and Prince George. We had no sooner
embraced and kissed, than I asked him for the latest gossip concerning
the Crown Princess of Saxony.

"You are a tough one," he said, shaking his finger with amused mockery.
According to Vienna court gossip, "I threw Prince George out of doors,"
when he "raised his hand against me," Frederick Augustus and myself
haven't been on speaking terms for six months; and the Saxe family was
actually considering the advisability of divorce.

Of course I told Leopold how things really are.

"Then there will be no divorce?" he asked.

"If the King and Prince George leave me alone,--no."

"Too bad," he said with a laugh, "that knocks me out of the pleasure of
maintaining my _thesis_ that the founder of the Christian religion
didn't believe in indissoluble marriage, but, on the contrary, in
divorce if such couldn't be avoided."

"Who told you that?"

"Professor Wahrmund is preparing a paper on the subject," said Leopold,
who, as remarked, is a very well-read chap and a student. He named five
or six emperors and kings, Catholics, some of them members of the
Austrian Imperial family, who obtained divorces, or married divorced
women. I jotted down the list.

Lothair II divorced his wife Theutberga and married his love, Waldrade.

Emperor Frederick I divorced the Empress Anna on the plea that she was
sterile. She married a Count, with whom she had a dozen children.

Margaret, a daughter of Leopold VI of Austria, was divorced by King
Ottokar of Bohemia.

John Henry, Prince of Bohemia, divorced his wife Margareta, who
afterwards married an ancestor of the Kaiser, Ludwig of Brandenburg.

King Ladislaus of Sicily divorced Queen Constance and forced his vassal,
Andrea di Capua, to marry her against his will. Ten years later
Ladislaus married Maria de Lusignan.

       *       *       *       *       *

But a little knowledge is a terrible thing, if it happens to be acquired
by a prince. Princes are supposed to know nothing but the art and the
_finesses_ of destruction--war. Upbuilding is not in their line.

"I hear you are exercising a bad influence on Louise," roared our uncle,
the Emperor, at Leopold when the latter took leave from him. "You
furnished to her those infernal books, sowing the seed of guilty
knowledge?"

Leopold so far forgot himself as to address a question to the
"All-Highest": "What infernal books?"

"Books full of indecencies and obscenities, in short pornographic
literature," shouted the head of the family, turned his horse and rode
away in high dudgeon. Royal arguments are nothing if not one-sided!

Then Leopold told of himself. His garrison: a filthy mud-hole in Poland.
One-story houses and everybody peeping into everybody else's windows.
The few notables of the town and neighborhood tickled to death because
they have an Imperial Highness with them, and the fool of an Imperial
Highness goes and "besots himself with a mere country lass." He showed
me her photograph. I like her looks. A pretty face, blonde hair and soft
eyes. He was her first lover. On his account she left her family. She
dotes on him as a dog dotes on his master.

Leopold is eccentric enough to jeopardize his career for this poor
thing. He rented a small house for her and spends much of his time there
when not on the drill-grounds.

Hence intense indignation among the "respectable ladies." An Imperial
Highness within reach and he "doesn't come to our dances, he doesn't
visit and sends his regrets when invited!"

Poor Marja suffers especially from the venom of the officers'
wives,--cattle I detest. No royal or imperial prince is safe from them
except in his mother's womb.

"From morn till night and half the night they do nothing but gossip
about me and my girl," said Leopold,--"If the cats were only satisfied
with that! But every little while I get an anonymous letter from one of
them, denouncing her; Marja is favored in a similar way; so is my
general and our uncle, the Emperor."

And needless to say Leopold can't get along on his salary and appanage.
Father can't give him much. The Emperor won't, because the clergy
intrigues against him as a free-thinker and non-church-goer.

We thought long and deep whether it wouldn't be possible to improve our
position and we decided on this:

We will keep up each other's spirits by clandestine correspondence,
carried on with the aid of a mutual friend. At the same time we will,
apparently, fall in with the ideas of "our masters" and endure a few
pin-pricks rather than waste our strength in useless opposition.

Let no one chide us for hypocrites, because our gentleness will be a
mask, our submission a snare, our obedience a lie. It's all on the
outside. Inwardly Leopold and Louise will remain true to themselves.



CHAPTER XXVI

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS CONTINUES VERY RAW

    Manners _à la_ barracks natural to royal princes--Names I am
    called--My ladies scandalized--Leopold turned over a new leaf,
    according to agreement, and is well treated--The King grateful to me
    for having "influenced Leopold to be good."


    LOSCHWITZ, _October 1, 1894_.

I have tried it a fortnight during Frederick Augustus' sojourn here,
and, like the French Countess who fell in love with the strong man of
the circus, I am disappointed. Frederick Augustus considers my
tractability _carte blanche_ to carry into the boudoir of an Imperial
Princess the license of the brothel. He treats me like a kept-woman--all
with the utmost good-nature. I am called names such as the other
Augustus bestowed on the mothers of his three hundred and fifty-two, and
I daren't remind him that some day I'll be Queen of these realms.

This prince, like the majority of them, hasn't the ghost of an idea of a
sensitive woman's nature. He paws me over like a prize cow, and as the
fourteenth Louis esteemed his mistress's chamber-women no more worthy of
notice than her lap-dogs, so Frederick Augustus makes love _à la_
barracks before the Schoenberg, Countess von Minckwitz, or whatever
other lady is in attendance.

Only when he does it before the Tisch I am inclined to be amused rather
than incensed. Tisch, cadaverous beanpole, never felt a loving touch on
her shoulder. The place where her bosom should be never experienced a
friendly squeeze. No one ever cared whether she wore silk stockings or
rubber boots--be amorous, Frederick Augustus, when the Tisch is 'round!
Indulge your coarseness! Put twenty-mark pieces in my stockings for a
kiss. Tell gay stories and don't forget playing with my corsage. It will
make the old woman mad. It will remind her of what she missed--of what
she will miss all her life!

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _October 10, 1894_.

Letter from Leopold. He is going to church and--they leave his mistress
in peace.

He is paying banal compliments to the noble-women of his garrison and
pinches the officers' wives when he finds one in a corner--and they seem
to live in corners when His Imperial Highness is around--hence, no more
anonymous letters!

The spy planted in his household by the Emperor is allowed to see much
of the "innocent" correspondence passing between me and Leopold. He has
reported to Francis Joseph that the Prince turned over a new leaf.

Result: Leopold's debts have been paid and he got about two thousand
marks over and above his wants.

Further results: A gracious letter from the King's House Marshal, Baron
Carlowitz, praising me for "the good influence I am exercising on
Leopold."

Truly the world wants to be deceived.



CHAPTER XXVII

PRINCE MAX MAKES LOVE TO ME

    Wants me to consult him on all spiritual matters--Warns me against
    the Kaiser, the heretic bishop--Princes as ill-mannered as
    Russian-Jew up-starts.


    DRESDEN, _November 15, 1894_.

Prince Max called on me the day of my arrival and promised me an
armchair in Paradise for "reforming" Leopold. "I understand that your
family life is ideal now," he added. "What bliss!"

"Oh, Louise," he continued, with the face of a donkey withdrawing his
nozzle from a syrup barrel, "whenever doubtful of the right way, of the
Lord's way, come to me."

It would have been un-politic to repulse the grotesque ape, and I said:
"I will. I will even give you the preference over the Kaiser, who asked
me the same thing--as _summus episcopus_, of course."

Max looked about the room. We were alone, yet he lowered his voice to a
faint whisper. "William is a heretic. Don't trust him in religious
matters," he breathed stealthily. And this devilish Max began to stroke
my hands and admire a bracelet I wore above the elbow.

The Kaiser wouldn't have gone much further under the circumstances.
Maybe he would have kissed my arm, though, from wrist to pit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tonight family tea in the Queen's _salon_. The King an icicle, but
polite as a French marquis. He gave me the three "_How art thou's_" in
the space of five minutes, asked after the babies and promised to come
and look them over.

Frederick Augustus, half insane with delight, pinched my arm and
squeezed my leg under the table. I felt like boxing his ears.

My father-in-law had to behave in the presence of the King and said a
few commonplaces to me.

Johann George and Isabella talked automobiles, not to let us forget they
are millionaires.

"How much did you pay for my blue car?" asked Isabella.

"Not much," replied Johann George; "sixty thousand francs, if I
recollect rightly."

"My allowance for a whole year." I smiled my sweetest, and the King
looked disapprovingly at the braggarts.

For ill manners recommend me to a Russian-Jew upstart or to a Royal
Highness.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE SHAH OF PERSIA FALLS IN LOVE WITH ME

    The "animal" and his show of diamonds and rubies--Overcome by love
    he treats me like a lady of the harem--On the defensive--The King of
    kings an ill-behaved brute--Eats like a pig and affronts
    Queen---Wiped off greasy hands on my state robe--When ten thousand
    gouged-out eyes carpeted his throne--Offers of jewels--"Does he take
    me for a ballet girl?"--The Shah almost compromises me--King,
    alarmed, abruptly ends dinner--I receive presents from him.


    DRESDEN, _November 20, 1894_.

Lover No. two. Very much in earnest, like the first, but I--extremely
distant this time, though I accepted some emeralds and sapphires as big
as dove's eggs. The Shah of Persia is the happy-unhappy man.

The King and all the Princes went to the railway station to receive him.
The Queen and Princesses, our entourage behind us, assembled in the
throne room to do honor to the "animal." To designate him otherwise
would be callow flattery.

But his diamonds and rubies fairly dazzled us. Nothing like it in
Europe, and our gala uniforms, compared with his, like stage tiaras to
the Russian Crown jewels!

Though he had eyes for me only, I didn't like him a bit. He is a little
fellow, unsecure on his pins. And like the Balkan princeling I met in
Vienna, looks as though there was a strain of Jewish blood in his veins.

Like a true Oriental potentate, he wasted not a minute's time on the
Queen and my sisters-in-law, but began making love to me as soon as he
entered. The King had to take him by the arm to remind him that his
first greetings were due to her Majesty. Poor Carola! Her face looked
like parchment, much interlined, and the point of her nose was as
conspicuous as usual.

There's nothing elegant about this "King of kings," and his French, like
his manners, is atrocious. He addressed a few set phrases to the Queen,
then attacked me--"attacked" is the right word. If I hadn't been on the
defensive, I think he would have handled my charms as unceremoniously as
Frederick Augustus when in his cups. As it was I escaped but by the
length of an eye-lash.

State dinner at five. I never saw such an ill-behaved brute, yet he
intended to be most agreeable. We are very pious at this court, but on
occasions like this even an old woman like the Queen is obliged to
denude herself like a wet-nurse on duty.

His Majesty had the Queen on one side; me on the left. The King of
Saxony was opposite.

After we sat down the Shah examined Queen Carola from the point of her
chin to the edge of her desolate corsage and had the effrontery to
express disapproval in all but words. Then he turned to me. His gaze
became admiring. He was evidently delighted with his discoveries and,
true despot that he is, turned his back on the Queen, while paying
extravagant court to my charms.

The King, the whole vast assembly, the surrounding splendor were lost on
this mutton-eater of a barbarian. He saw only me, _m-e_, ME, and I'm
sure would have consigned all the rest to some unspeakable Oriental
death for five minutes' _tête-à-tête_ with Louise.

"You are neglecting Her Majesty," I whispered to him over and over
again. This seemed to enrage him, but at last he turned to the Queen,
expecting her to begin a conversation with him. Of course, Her Majesty
thought he would take the initiative, which led to mutual staring, the
Shah's eyes growing wickeder every second. Then he began to devote
himself to the food and, be sure, there was small pleasure in watching
him. He fed more like a dog than a human being and actually had the
effrontery to wipe his sauce-spattered hands in the lap of my state
robe.

Then, before his mouth was empty, he began talking again.

"Which of the princes is your husband?"

I singled out Frederick Augustus. "He isn't a beauty by any means," he
said, after examining him like a horse for sale.

The next second his eyes were wandering over my body; I felt as if I was
being disrobed.

"You will attend the opera?"

"I'll have the honor."

"I will send you a little present after dinner," he said. "If you wear
it tonight, I will regard that as a sign of hope." The beast affected a
sentimentality to which he must be a stranger.

I recalled that he was the monster who carpeted the steps of his throne
with the gouged-out eyes of ten thousand enemies of his régime when he
was crowned. On twenty-thousand human eyes he trod with naked feet as he
acclaimed himself "King of kings" and the "true son of God." And
Juggernaut was in love with me!

I was speechless. Did he take me for a dancing girl? I narrowed my
shoulders and gave him a look of disdain. House Marshal Baron Carlowitz,
standing behind the King's chair, took in the situation and whispered to
King Albert.

The King immediately rose from table and the state dinner came to an
abrupt end.

An hour later, while I was dressing for the theatre, a big jewel box was
handed in. "From the Shah."

Despite my disgust with the fellow, I opened it in feverish haste. There
was a bracelet set with rubies, sapphires and emeralds of fabulous
size.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE SHAH COMPROMISES ME IN PUBLIC

    Has only eyes for me at the grand manoeuvres, and I can't drive
    him from my carriage--Ignores the King and the military
    spectacle--Calls me his adored one--Court in despair--Shah ruins
    priceless carpets to make himself a lamb stew.


    DRESDEN, _December 1, 1894_.

I am in disgrace again and that uncouth animal, the Shah, is
responsible.

The dinner episode was bad enough, but he carried on worse at the grand
parade next day.

Six or eight regiments, Horse, Foot and Artillery, had been moved to do
him honor, but he flatly refused to accept a mount for the occasion.
Like the ladies of the royal family, he drove to the parade field in a
coach and four, and no sooner did he clap eyes on me at the rendezvous
in another vehicle than he left his and shambled over to me. He stood at
the carriage door, chanting love and devotion, and if I hadn't been all
ice, I have no doubt he would have jumped in and ordered the coachman to
drive to a hotel.

Meanwhile the King trotted around the manoeuvre field in honor of his
"sublime guest." Evolutions, _Parade-marsch_, attacks, saluting the
colors, Persian and Saxon, what not? Imagine the feelings of the old
King when he rode up to the Shah's gala coach and found it empty.

The marching past had begun, and still the "King of kings" turned his
back on it all, while trying to persuade me to be Queen of his seraglio.

Our courtiers, the princes, the Queen, the generals were in despair.
They took counsel with each other, disputed, advised, got red in the
face. The Shah's gentlemen alone kept cool. They probably argued: If our
master prefers the company of a pretty woman to looking at ten thousand
men, he shows his good taste.

I tried to shake him off. He stood his ground and smiled.

"The Grand March has begun, Your Majesty."

"Bother the Grand March."

The King began to bombard me with ungracious, glances, and of course
everybody stared. Three times I asked the big booby to return to his
carriage to oblige his host. "Not while I may look at you, adored one."

His love-making became desperate. The Crown Princess of Saxony, the
Imperial Highness of Austria, the "adored one" of this butcher, who was
ruining twenty-five thousand marks' worth of carpets in his apartments
at our palace by using them as a shambles to prepare his breakfast of
lamb stew. It was contemptible,--nay, ridiculous. Surely there was
nothing to do but laugh. And I laughed and laughed again.

Only when the last battalion had marched by and the music ceased, the
"King of kings" returned to his carriage and drove back to Dresden with
the most bored looking visage of the world.



CHAPTER XXX

MY LIFE AT COURT BECOMES UNBEARABLE

    Laughter a crime--Disappointed Queen lays down the law for my
    behavior--Frederick Augustus sometimes fighting drunk--Draws sword
    on me--Prince George would have me beaten--To bed with his boots on.


    DRESDEN, _January 5, 1895_.

Ever since the Shah left I have been the object of criticism, suspicions
and down-right attacks by the pretty family I married into. These pages
witness that I tried to conform to the absurd notions and comply with
the narrow-minded idiosyncrasies of the Royal Wettiners. I give it up.
It can't be done, and I won't make another effort at pleasing my
relatives-in-law, who adjudge laughter a crime and the desire to make
friends a bid of lewdness.

Prince George invented the phrase, "Louise is over-desirous to please,"
and Queen Carola paid me a state visit to acquaint me with the new
indictment.

"Good gracious," I said to Her Majesty, "is that all? I thought of being
accused of 'sassing' the Archangel Gabriel. As to desire to please,
that's exactly what ails me. I love to please. I love to see people
happy. I love to make friends."

"My dear child," said the Queen, "you haven't the slightest notion of
royal dignity. You talk like a _cocotte_. It's a Princess's place to be
honored, to be held in supreme esteem."

Poor old woman! She was never pretty, never was made love to, never had
admirers, legitimate or otherwise; she thus became impregnated with the
fixed idea that to be fair and to be loved for one's fairness is
frivolous, if not altogether reprehensible.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _March 10, 1895._

Frederick Augustus drinks. He says I drive him to drink by my attitude
towards his beloved family. What the beloved family does to me doesn't
count, of course.

Drinking was one of the vices of his youth. Love for me cured him of the
dreadful habit. As this love wanes, the itch for alcohol increases.

I can't do anything with him when he is drunk, and at such times I am
afraid of him. He both nauseates me and frightens me. Sometimes he comes
home "fighting drunk." The fumes of wine, beer and _Schnapps_, mixed
with tobacco, upset my stomach and I try to avoid his coarse embrace as
any decent woman would.

What does this royal drill-ground bully do? He unsheathes his sword and
threatens to cut my liver out, unless I instantly doff my clothes and go
to bed with him.

Prince George's evil counsel wasn't powerful enough to procure me
beatings, but my husband's military education, his love of discipline,
backed by alcohol, thrusts a sword into his hand, and, if I refuse to
comply with his atrocious demands, I am liable to be treated like so
many "mere" civilians that are sabred in the public streets for refusing
to do some spurred and epauletted blackguard's bidding, or entertain his
insults.

If the Socialists, who are forever railing against these self-same army
poltroons, only knew it! An Imperial Highness threatened like a small
"cit" with a four-foot sword in the hand of a drunken Royal Highness and
dragged to a couch with no more ceremony than a street-walker passing a
Cossack barracks!

The howl that would go up in the Diet, or the _Reichstag_, the fulminant
denials by prince and king and government! And if I really did get hurt
in one of these fracases, Frederick Augustus would be sure of a "severe
reprimand" by father and uncle, and perhaps by the Kaiser, too, but
would that heal my wounds, would it save me from death? Would it even
prevent Prince George from saying that I myself was to blame?

No, no, I like a whole skin and prefer an embrace to a sword-thrust any
day, like my ancestress, the Queen of Naples, who consummated the
marriage forced upon her on the spot and in sight of the army rather
than have her head cut off. Too bad she was hanged in the end despite
her complacency.[5]

Indeed, if Frederick Augustus shows the mailed fist, I don't stand on
ceremony, but I do wish he would take his boots off.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: Joanna I, Queen of Naples, a pupil of Petrarca and in many
respects an enlightened ruler. She issued the first laws and regulations
regarding prostitutes. Hanged by order of King Louis of Hungary, after
her defeat in battle, July, 1381.]



CHAPTER XXXI

PRISON FOR PRINCES THAT OPPOSE THE KING

    Duke of Saxony banished--Cut off from good literature even--Anecdote
    concerning the Grand Dauphin and his "kettledrums"--A royal prince's
    garrison life--His association with lewd women.


    DRESDEN, _September 1, 1895_.

I have once more come to the conclusion that the agreement I made with
Leopold, to dissimulate my real feelings, was the sanest decision I ever
formed, for, while _lettres de cachet_ are a dead measure as far as
ordinary mortals go, kings still wield that awful and mysterious abuse
of power in the family circle.

There is a distant connection of our "sublime master," the King,
lingering, without process of law, in a state prison. Duke of Saxony is
his title, and he is quite rich in his own right. Some six or eight
years ago he raised his hand against the King after the latter struck
him.

It was suggested that he had better make away with himself, and a
revolver and poison were conspicuously displayed in the room where he
was held captive.

The Duke said "nay." He thought he could "brass" it out. But the
assembled family council taught him that, while the world at large was
_fin-de-siècle_, royalty still lived in the traditions of the eighteenth
century. It empowered the King to banish his kinsman to a lonely country
house, styled castle by courtesy, and he is confined there even today,
with the proviso, though, that he may use the surrounding
hunting-grounds. Otherwise he lives in complete seclusion, separated not
only from all his friends, but from the very classes of society to which
he belongs by birth and education. And he is still a young man.

I believe they are trying to drive him mad, once as a punishment, and
again to secure his fortune the quicker. To the latter end, he is denied
all books that give him pleasure and are liable to improve his mind.
Bibles, Christian Heralds, the Lives of the Martyrs, or the Popes,
galore, but never a Carlyle, Shakespeare or Taine, which he demands
regularly.

The Duke is dying of _ennui_, they say, and to kill time engages in all
sorts of manual labor. When he gets tired of that he blows the trombone.

"Of course he would prefer a pair of kettledrums," said my cousin
Bernhardt of Weimar, to whom I am indebted for the above.

"Kettledrums?" I asked.

"I mean those the Grand Dauphin, called 'Son of a king, father of a
king, never a king,' was so fond of, and which he finally married in
secret."

I looked bewildered.

"You are a very ignorant girl," said Bernhardt. "Never heard of the
prodigious bosoms of _Mademoiselle_ Chouin?"

"They won't let the Duke marry?" I queried.

"Not even temporarily," said Bernhardt. "And they are trying the same
game on me. My garrison--a dung-heap. The people there, males and
females, entirely unacquainted with soap and water. Nothing in the world
to do but drink and gamble."

"That reminds me. What are you doing in Dresden?"

"With Your Imperial Highness's permission, I came to see my girl."

"Who is the lady?"

"No lady at all. Just an ordinary servant-wench, but prettier and more
devilish than a hundred of them."

"Bernhardt!"

"What would you have me do, Louise? I haven't money enough to keep a
mistress, and King and Queen certainly won't keep one for me. I wish I
had lived a hundred and fifty years ago, when every lady of the court
was expected to entertain the royal princes, the Palace footing the
bill."



CHAPTER XXXII

PRINCE GEORGE SHOWN THE DOOR BY GRAND-DUCHESS MELITA

    A royal lady who walks her garden attired in a single diaphanous
    garment--Won't stand for any meddling--Called impertinent--My
    virtuous indignation assumed--A flirtation at a distance--An
    audacious lover--The Grand Mistress hoodwinked--Matrimonial horns
    for Kaiser--The banished Duke dies--Princes scolded like
    school-boys.


    DRESDEN, _February 5, 1896_.

At last Prince George got his deserts, and got 'em good and heavy. There
had been rumors for some time that Grand-duke Ernest Ludwig and his
bride, Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg, the English branch, didn't get
along together. Ernest Ludwig is a serious-minded, modest and
intelligent man, but a good deal of a sissy. Victoria Melita is a
spit-fire, very good-looking and anxious to let people know about it.
She rides horseback and fences to show off her figure, and someone
called her a Centaur.

"Be in the palace gardens tomorrow at eleven," answered Melita, "and you
will be convinced that I am not half-horse, even if my husband is a
ninny."

She kept the _rendezvous_, attired in a single garment of diaphanous
texture.

When Prince George heard that she had a lover, he went to Darmstadt to
"correct her," as he expressed himself with much self-satisfaction.

But Victoria Melita proved to him that English princesses are made of
sterner stuff than the German variety.

"I will have none of your meddling," said the bride of two years.

"I came here to make peace between you people."

"Play the dove to your daughter-in-law," quoth the Grand-duchess. "I
hear you are fighting like Kilkenny cats."

"You are impertinent, Madame," cried George furiously.

"You will oblige me by showing this man the door," demanded Victoria
Melita, addressing her husband.

"Not until I have explained the situation," answered Ernest Ludwig
quietly. "Listen, then, cousin! While I am by principle opposed to
divorce, I won't force my wife to live with me."

"And now be so kind as to withdraw," said Victoria Melita, opening the
door for Prince George. Poor as I am, I would have given five thousand
marks to have seen the meddling pest exit in that fashion, and I love
Victoria Melita for the spirit she displayed, even if I don't approve of
her _liaisons_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _February 10, 1896_.

A mighty virtuous remark escaped me on the last page, and I almost feel
like asking the Grand-duchess's pardon, for, whatever I am, I'm no
hypocrite. Melita is said to have a lover; I have an admirer. Up to now
I don't care a rap for him, but who knows?

It's Count Bielsk of the Roumanian Embassy. I can't remember whether he
was ever introduced to me. Most probably he was, but I forgot.

An elegant fellow--always looks as if he stepped out of a tailor's shop
in Piccadilly.

Every single night I go to the theatre the Count occupies an orchestra
chair that affords the best possible view of the royal box. It happened
too often and too persistently to be accidental. Moreover, I observe
that he pays no attention to the play. He has eyes for me only.

Impertinence? Decidedly, but I can't be angry with the fellow. On the
contrary, I am flattered, and the kind face and the fine eyes he's got!

Poor stupid Tisch doesn't approve of the theatre, of course, and usually
begs to be excused on the plea of religious duties. "What a sinner you
must be," I sometimes say, "when you are obliged to forever bother God
with prayers."

The Schoenberg I send into the next box, for she is no spy and never
watches me. But if I must take Tisch, I always command her to sit
behind me. Etiquette forbids her the front of the box and from the rear
she can see only the stage.

What fun to carry on a flirtation right under the nose of that
acrid-hearted, snivelling bigot, who would mortgage part of the eternal
bliss she promises herself for a chance to catch me at it!

Am I flirting, then?

To spite the Tisch I would plant horns on the very Kaiser.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _April 1, 1896._

The Duke of Saxony is dead--the man who at one time offered violence to
His Majesty. Bernhardt was mistaken; he left a wife and three children.
Of course, no recognized wife. Just the woman he married. Unless you are
of the blood-royal, you won't see the difference, but that is no concern
of mine.

Novels and story books have a good deal to say on the subject of
inheritance-fights among the lowly. Greed, hard-heartedness,
close-fistedness, treachery, cheating all around! See what will happen
to the Duke's widow and her little ones.

According to the house laws, a regular pirate's code, his late
Highness's fortune reverts to the family treasury. Prince Johann George
will derive the revenues from the real estate the Duke owned privately.
He is already rich,--sufficient reason for his wanting more. I shudder
when I think what they will do to the woman the Duke married.

The most notable thing about the funeral was the "calling down" Prince
Bernhardt got.

"You will go to my valet and ask him to lend you one of my helmets.
Yours is not the regulation form, I see," said the King to him in the
voice of a drill-sergeant. And Bernhardt had to take to his heels like a
school-boy caught stealing apples.

I had to laugh when I observed the meeting between my erstwhile admirer,
the Prince of Bulgaria, and His Majesty.

Ferdinand's broad chest was ablaze with orders and decorations, but his
valet had forgotten to pin onto him the Cross of the _Rautenkrone_, the
Royal Saxe House decoration. There were plenty of others, but the King
had eyes only for the one not dangling from a green ribbon.
Consequently, Ferdinand, though a sovereign Prince, got only one "_How
art thou?_" If we were living in the eighteenth, instead of the
nineteenth, century, his valet's neglect would constitute a prime cause
for war between the two countries.



CHAPTER XXXIII

MELITA'S LOVE AFFAIRS AND MINE

    The Grand Duchess tells me how she cudgeled George--Living
    dictaphone employed--Shows him who is mistress of the house--Snaps
    fingers in Prince George's face--Debate about titles--"A sexless
    thing of a husband"--Conference between lover and husband--Grand
    Duke doesn't object to his wife's lover, but lover objects to "his
    paramour being married."


    DRESDEN, _April 15, 1896_.

Melita conducted herself at the funeral and in our palace as
unconcernedly as if she and George were fast friends. She smiled every
time she saw him, and he cut her dead to his heart's content. During the
three days' stay of the Hesses, I had many a good talk and many a good
laugh with Melita, and now I got a true and unabridged record of what
happened at Darmstadt during George's meddling visit there.

The Grand-duchess, who can be as catty as they make 'em, had her
secretary sit behind a screen to take stenographic notes.

Saxon kings and princes always roar and bellow when, in conversation or
otherwise, things go against their "all-highest" grain. As soon as
George felt that he was losing ground, he began to bark and yell,
whereupon Melita interrupted him by saying, "I beg you to take notice
that you are in _my_ house."

George grew so red in the face, Melita hoped for an apoplectic fit. But
after a few seconds he managed to blurt out: "It's your husband's
house."

"While I am Grand-duchess of Hesse it's my house, too. Moreover, this is
my room and I forbid you to play the ruffian here."

Prince George looked at the Grand-duke, but Ernest Ludwig said nothing.

"I am here as the King's representative. I represent the chief of the
Royal House of Saxony."

"A fig for your Royal House of Saxony," said Melita, snapping her
fingers in George's face. "Queen Victoria is my chief of family, and,
that aside, Ludwig and I are sovereigns in Hesse and have no intention
whatever to allow anyone----"

"Anyone?" repeated George aghast. "You refer to me as anyone?"

"In things matrimonial," said Melita, "only husband and wife count; all
others are 'anyone.' You, too."

"She calls me 'you,'" cried George, white with rage, looking helplessly
at Ernest Ludwig. When the latter kept his tongue and temper, George
addressed himself to Melita once more.

"I want you to understand that my title is Royal Highness."

"And I want you to understand that I am Her Royal Highness the
Grand-duchess of Hesse, Royal Princess of Great Britain and Ireland,
Duchess of Saxony," cried Melita, stamping her foot.

With that she went to the door, opened it and said, "I request Your
Royal Highness to leave my house this very second."

And George went.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 1, 1896_.

Poor virtuous me, to chide myself, and call myself names for flirting
with Count Bielsk--at a distance of twenty feet or more! "I could kick
my back," as the Duc de Richelieu--not the Cardinal, but the lover of
the Regent's daughters and "every wife's husband"--used to say (only a
bit more grossly) when I think what I miss in this dead-alive Dresden.

Darmstadt isn't half as big a town, and the Hesse establishment doesn't
compare with ours in magnitude, but what fun Melita is having!

Of course, it isn't _all_ fun, for her husband is a "sexless" thing,
and, like the Grand-duchess Serge of Russia, she would be a virgin,
though married for years, if it wasn't for the other.

"The other" is none other but Kyril, the lover of our Dolores,--Kyril
isn't exactly pining away when separated from Melita.

Well, Melita wants him all to herself. She wants a divorce. The
complacent husband, who is no husband at all, doesn't suit her. Exit
Ernest Ludwig--officially. Enter Kyril--legitimately.

She made me reams of confidences, indulged in whole _brochures_ of
dissertations on the question of sex. What an ignoramus I am! I didn't
understand half she said and was ashamed to ask.

Ernest Ludwig is the most accommodating of husbands. Knows all about
Kyril and would gladly shut both eyes if they let him. Melita might, if
pressed very hard, for adultery has no terrors for her, but Kyril
affects the idealist. Sure sign that he really loves her. If he was
mine, I would be afraid of this Kyril. No doubt he is jealous as a Turk.

Last week the three of them had a conference. Lovely to see husband,
wife and paramour "in peaceful meeting assembled" and talk over the
situation as if it concerned the Royal stud or something of the sort.

No recriminations, no threats, no heroics; only when Ernest Ludwig
submitted that divorce be avoided to save his face as a sovereign, Kyril
got a bit excited.

"This is not a question of politics," he said, "or what the dear public
thinks. Your wife don't want you; as a matter of fact, she isn't your
wife, and since we are in love with each other, we ought to marry."

"Marry, marry, why always marry?" demanded the Grand-duke. "I
acknowledge that I haven't the right to interfere in my wife's
pleasure--I am not built that way. Well, I _don't_ interfere. What more
do you want? You don't deny that I am the chief person to be
considered."

"You?" mocked Kyril. "You with your sovereignty are not in it at all. If
it wasn't for you, Melita and I could marry and say no more about it."

"But I don't prevent your enjoyment of each other," pleaded the ruler of
the Hessians.

Now the idealistic Kyril got on his high horse. "Grand-duke," he said,
"if you don't object to your wife having a lover, that's your business.
For my part, I object to my paramour having a husband."

And so on _ad infinitum_, and a goose like me abuses herself for a bit
of goo-goo-eyeing.



CHAPTER XXXIV

MORE ABOUT THE SWEET ROYAL FAMILY LIFE

    "Closed season" for petty meannesses--A prince who enjoys himself
    like a pig--Why princes learn trades--A family dinner to the
    accompaniment of threats and smashing of table--The Duke's widow and
    children robbed of their inheritance by royal family--King
    confiscates testament.


    LOSCHWITZ, _September 13, 1896_.

They are treating me like a laying hen. Expect another golden egg in
December. Hence, "closed season" for imperious commands, "all-highest"
orders and petty meannesses.

When I learned that Bernhardt was in Dresden, I phoned him to come out
and see me--without asking either royal, princely, or the Tisch's
permission.

A junior prince, without fortune or high protector, is really to be
pitied. His title, the vague possibility that some day he may be called
to the throne, stand between him and enjoyment of life as a man. Nothing
left, but to enjoy himself like a pig.

Bernhardt admits it. "They planted me in the God-forsakenest hole in the
kingdom. If I saw a pretty woman in my garrison from one year's end to
the other, I would die of joy. And the newspaper scribblers wonder why
we are all Oscar Wildes.

"Just to kill time, I am learning the carpenter's trade--this Royal
Highness, you must know, lives in a carpenter's house, as innocent of
sanitary arrangements as a Bushman's hut. Of course, I run away every
little while to Dresden, incog. to pay my respects to Venus.

"Louise," he cried with comic emphasis, "may the three hours you steal
from my girl, by way of this visit, be deducted from your eternal
beatitude."

I lent the poor fellow five hundred marks and he rushed back to Dresden.

Tonight I told Frederick Augustus of my interview with Bernhardt, not
mentioning the five hundred, of course.

He laughed. "He's no worse than the rest of us used to be," he said. "I
did exactly like him, and father and uncle and brothers and cousins,
ditto. Behold--your husband-locksmith! Max spent all his time reading
the Lives of the Popes. That made him the dried-up mummy he is. But,
believe me, I gave the girls many a treat. All the money I could beg,
borrow or steal went for girls."

Which explains Frederick Augustus's bedroom manners--sometime
transplanted to the parlor.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 1, 1897_.

I gave Saxony a third prince on December 9, and really I wasn't quite in
condition to be scolded at today's family dinner. But since, with three
boys growing up, the succession is more than guaranteed, the season for
insults is again open.

His Majesty, our most gracious, sublime, etc., sovereign, sulks.
Consequently the family looks glum, down in the mouth, utterly unhappy.

Max gets up to make a speech and one could fairly see the lies wriggle
out of his mouth full of defective teeth: exemplary family life;
traditional friendship of all members for each other; perfect unity; the
King and all the princes brave as lions; the Queen and all the
princesses paragons of virtue. And the fatherly love with which the King
embraces us all; his more than royal generosity; his mildness, his
Christian virtues!

The Queen is a goose. Max's lying commonplaces make her forget her many
years of misery spent at this court, and she grows as sentimental as a
kitten. Fat Mathilda, Isabelle and Johann George applaud Max despite
their better understanding, and now the King rises to make his usual New
Year's address.

The gist of his long-winded remarks is this: "I am the lord, your
master, and I will see to it that you--wife, brother, nephews and
nieces--will dance as I whistle.

"For obedience to the King is the highest law," he paraphrases
Wilhelm,--"strictest, unconditional obedience" (and he gave me a
poisoned look) "and let no one forget it, no one." With that he beat the
table with his clenched fist, and the whole assemblage turns an accusing
eye on me.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _April 6, 1897_.

They have driven the late Duke of Saxony's wife and children from house
and home--put her on the high-road, piling her personal belongings,
trunks, wardrobe and knick-knacks outside, too.

She arrived in Dresden and sought refuge with her widowed mother. Her
father, a Court-Councillor, dismissed because of the relations between
the Duke and his daughter, died of grief and mortification, almost
penniless. And the Ducal widow is as poor as the mother--and three
children to bring up! Children of the royal blood of Saxony, children
sanctioned by the Church of which they prate so much, for there is no
doubt that the pair married in secret.

The late Highness kept all his papers in a strong-box, and it's said the
King's representative, who searched the safe by Royal orders, found
neither acknowledgment of the marriage, nor a last will in favor of the
widow and children. Hence, all the Duke's belongings revert to the
royal family, and the estate he lived on goes to his next of kin, Johann
George.

Johann George, who has more money than he knows what to do with,
promptly sent the bailiff after his cousin's wife and children.

"_Noblesse oblige_,--the way you interpret the old saying, will advance
the cause of monarchy immensely," I said to the official heir.

"Is it any business of mine to support my relatives' mistresses?" I saw
he was mad clean through.

"You know very well that she was his wife."

"There is apparently no official record of the marriage."

"Maybe not in Dresden, as the nuptials were solemnized abroad. But what
about the testament?"

Johann George grew very red in the face. "If there is one, the King must
have confiscated it. That often happens in royal houses."

"And you mean to say that, with all your riches, you are heartless
enough and contemptible enough----"

"Take a care, Your Imperial Highness. The Duke's strumpet was today
indicted for _lèse majesté_ in connection with the testament matter."
This junior prince dared to speak thus to me, the Crown Princess.

"Johann George," I cried, "forget not that sooner or later I will be at
the head of the royal family of Saxony. I forbid you to introduce your
mess-room jargon into my parlor; at the same time I am sincerely sorry
that a Prince of Saxony should stoop to buy cigarettes and gasoline with
the pittance stolen from his cousin's widow and her three little
children."

I went to the door and told the lackey on duty to fetch his Royal
Highness's carriage.



CHAPTER XXXV

FLIRTATION DEVELOPS INTO LOVE

    At the theatre--My adorer must have felt my presence--Forgot his
    diplomacy--The mute salute--His good looks--His mouth a promise of a
    thousand sweet kisses--Our love won't be any painted business.


    DRESDEN, _April 6, Night, 1897_.

The talk with Johann George had excited me so, I wanted a diversion.
Frederick Augustus sent word that he wouldn't be home for dinner. Hence,
I decided to go to the theatre after an absence of months. It was after
six when I telephoned that I would occupy my box at the Royal Opera. If
I should see Him there, in the absence of announcements in the
newspapers!

He was there. In his usual seat. I won't rest until I find out how he
manages to get wind of my theatrical ventures at such short notice. The
Opera, Faust, had been in progress for ten minutes when I arrived. I
espied him at once, but kept well behind the curtains of the box for a
second or two. Then, suddenly, I dropped into the gilded armchair and
the very same moment our eyes met.

I am sure he expected me; he must have known I was near when I entered
the house. To his ears the hundred and one melodies of Gounod's
masterpiece were naught compared with the music of my silken skirts.

He was so overcome, he forgot his diplomacy. Twice he pressed his right
hand to his heart, then bowed his head in a mute salute.

Fortunately the house was dark at the time and the audience,
unacquainted with my visit, paid strict attention to the stage. No one
but him saw my heart leap within me and the blood mount to my cheeks.
Presently his diplomatic tact got the upper hand again, and he fixed his
eyes on the score. That afforded me the chance to take a pictorial
inventory of my lover-at-a-distance. I used my opera-glasses
unmercifully.

He's a fine looking man--if he were a woman he would be hailed a beauty.
His forehead is a dream of loveliness; his mouth a promise of a thousand
sweet kisses.

If this man wants me, I mean if he wants me badly, our love won't be any
painted business, I assure you.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _April 25, 1897_.

Ball at the Roumanian Embassy. Royal command to attend.

As if it needed a command to throw me into the arms of Bielsk.



CHAPTER XXXVI

COUNT BIELSK MAKES LOVE TO THE CROWN PRINCESS

    Fearless to indiscretion--He "thou's" me--Puts all his chances on
    one card--Proposes a rendezvous--Shall I go or shall I not
    go?--Peril if I go and peril if I don't.


    DRESDEN, _April 26, 1897, Night_.

We went to the ball as His Majesty's representatives, Frederick Augustus
and I, and were obliged to say a few nothingnesses to a hundred paltry
persons or more. When the Ambassador introduced Count Bielsk, I said in
the most careless voice of the world, "I hear you love the theatre,
Count."

"I don't care a rap for the theatre," he replied. "I go to opera and
operetta simply to see you, Imperial Highness."

Such audacity! And he spoke quite loud.

Frightened, I turned to the next person presented, saying something
imbecile, no doubt.

Later I withdrew upon the dais to watch the dancing, and at a moment
when I was quite alone, he came up to me, making it appear as if I had
commanded his attendance.

"I have much to say to Your Imperial Highness."

I didn't have my wits about me and didn't know how to act. He repeated
twice or oftener: "Pray, Your Imperial Highness, I have something to say
to you," until, at last, I threw etiquette to the winds and asked:

"Why should you wish to talk to me in private, Count?" No royal woman
indulging in lovers ever encouraged a rogue more carelessly.

"Because my life and happiness depend on what I have to say to you."

And, weaker still, I assented by the tone of my voice rather than words:
"You make me curious, Count. Whatever you have to say, say it now."

He raised his eyes to me, with a soul and reputation-destroying look.
"Thanks!" Then wildly, clamorously: "Louise, I love you."

Instinctively I thought of flight, but his eyes wouldn't let me rise.
From that moment on he dropped my title.

"Stay," he whispered, "I beseech you, stay. Don't you see that I love
you to distraction? I have kept silent these many months. Now I must
talk. I love thee, Louise."

I tried in vain to collect my thoughts while his love talk fanned my
blood. Finally I managed to say: "Can't you see that you are playing _va
banque_?"

"I know, but it doesn't interest me. Let my career be wrecked, I care
not; I've got only one thought in the world--thee, only one wish--thee.
And I must either love thee or die."

I turned my eyes away and rose abruptly. As he bowed to kiss my hand, he
whispered, still "_thou'ing_" me: "I expect you tomorrow at the end of
the Grand Boulevard. Come when you please. I will wait all day."

       *       *       *       *       *

And here I am thinking, thinking, thinking.

"The end of the Boulevard" is the beginning of Dresden's _Bois_. Does
this madman really suppose that Her Imperial Highness, the Crown
Princess of this kingdom, will lower herself and respond to his demand
for a rendezvous?

Yet, how he must love me to risk saying what he did say to me. He is no
ill-balanced youth; he is a man of ripe judgment. His passion got the
better of him.

I adore passion.

I must go no more to the theatre. Impossible for me to see him nightly.

But it's a fine thing to be loved as I am. The most beautiful thing in
the wide, wide world!

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _April 27, 1897. In the Morning._

He is waiting. Doubtless he expects me. What a persuasive thing love
is, to be sure! Because he loves me, he argues that the Crown Princess,
the wife and mother, will rush to meet him, fall into his arms.

Of course, he will be most unhappy if I don't go, for I am sure he is
not your ordinary "petticoat-chaser." He will suffer, he is suffering
now while I sit here quietly.

Am I quiet? If I weren't determined to stay at home, I would half-admit
to myself that my soul is obsessed with longing for this man.

A diplomat, who has seen much of court life, assumes that a woman in my
position is at liberty to keep rendezvous! Let's reason it out.

To begin with, Lucretia has to be won over. That's easy enough, but the
coachman and lackey! They must be told that Her Imperial Highness is
graciously pleased to _walk_ in the _Bois_, the carriage waiting at the
end of the Grand Boulevard.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _After Luncheon._

I ought to have said to him, I won't come. It's cruel to let him wait on
a street corner and not even send notice, and to tip him off is
impossible.

And come to think of it, if Lucretia and I were promenading in the
_Bois_ and met the Count by accident, where's the harm? And if I don't
go--Good Lord, he might kill himself. He is desperate enough for that.
And he might leave letters compromising me.

I will go to give him a piece of my mind. I will be very harsh with him,
very adamant.

And I will try to find out how he manages to select always the same
theatre as I.



CHAPTER XXXVII

RAPID LOVE MAKING IN THE BOIS

    A discreet maid--"Remove thy glove"--Kisses of passion, pure kisses,
    powerful kisses--I see my lover daily--Countess Baranello offers
    "doves' nest"--Driving to rendezvous in state--"Naughty Louise," who
    makes fun of George.


    DRESDEN, _June 1, 1897._

A month of untold happiness. I went to the _Bois_ and I am going there
every afternoon.

He was splendid; he was modest, quiet. He seemed to exude happiness.

Lucretia is discretion itself. She kept behind us, but out of ear-shot.

"I came to tell you that you acted like a madman last night, and that
the offense must not be repeated," I said sternly to Bielsk.

"I _am_ a madman--in love," he replied, looking at me with big, soulful
eyes.

I chattered a lot of nonsense, prohibitions, commands, entreaties.

"Remove thy glove," he begged.

"You mustn't 'thou' me."

"Remove thy glove," he repeated.

Why I complied, I don't know, but I ripped off my glove, and he held my
hand in both his hands and kissed it and kissed it.

"What right have you got to treat me like a woman unmindful of her
duties?"

"I know that thou art lonesome, forlorn, Louise."

He struck at my heart as he spoke these words, and my eyes filled with
tears. He pressed his warm, pulsating lips on the palm of my hand,
covering it from wrist to finger-tips with wild kisses.

We were standing among the trees, and Lucretia, at a little distance,
was plucking flowers. The remnant of common sense I mustered told me:
"He is dishonoring you, repulse him," but his "I love thee, Louise,"
rang like music in my ears. However, I tore myself free at last.
"Farewell, we must never meet again."

And then I lay in his arms, on his broad chest, and he covered my face
with kisses, not passionate or insulting kisses. His lips touched
lightly my eyes, my cheeks, my own lips--recompense for the long fast he
had endured during all the months he had loved me at a distance.

Marvelous kisses kissed this man, pure kisses, lovely kisses, powerful
kisses. And I thought the whole world was falling to pieces around me
and I didn't care as long as only he and I were living. He himself freed
me.

"Tomorrow," he whispered.

I awoke confused, ashamed of my weakness, trembling.

"I'll never see you again. Never," I said as if I meant it.

"Tomorrow, love," he repeated. And I ran and joined Lucretia.

When we were riding home I told Lucretia to draw the curtains, and fell
upon her neck and told her all.

The good soul was nearly frightened to death and we cried a good deal.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 5, 1898_.

I neglected my diary, I neglect everything, for I'm in love. What care I
for the King, Prince George and the rest who are trying to make life
miserable for me? I laugh their pettinesses to scorn, for I have no
other thought now but Romano Bielsk, no other interests. He is my all,
my happiness.

Of course, his "_Tomorrow, love_," prevailed and it has been "_Tomorrow,
love_," ever since. On the day after our first meeting I actually
thought I was warring against nature if I resisted his entreaties. It
seemed to me that I had always known him, that we were predestined for
each other. I still think so.

Lucretia has a relative here, an aunt, member of the court set. Old
Countess Baranello delights in intrigue and hates Prince George. When I
told her of my affair, she placed her palace at our disposal, saying:

"Bielsk shall have a key to the garden gate and to the pavilion inside
the walls, which connects, through a subterranean passage, with my
sun-parlor. You can meet your love there any time. I will see to it that
none of the servants or workmen disturb you."

A capital arrangement, worthy of an old lady who has seen many gallant
days! There can be no possible objection to my visits at her palace, and
the grounds to which Romano has the _entrée_ fronts on a street
unfrequented by society or carriages.

I descend from my carriage at the palace gate; a knot of people, a small
crowd, perhaps, collects to salute me and gape at the horses and livery.
I sweep up the stoop, lined by my own, and the Countess's, servants. The
bronze doors open. The Countess advances with stately curtsy; a few
words _sub rosa_, and I--fly into the arms of love, while faithful
Lucretia mounts guard at the street side, and Her Ladyship's spy glasses
cover the garden;--needless precautions, but----

It's rare fun, and, after all, where's the harm?

I made good as propagatrix of the royal race, and a union of soul such
as exists between me and Romano never entered into my relations with
Frederick Augustus.

Romano is very intelligent. I can learn from him; Frederick Augustus
taught me only coarseness, and if it came high, _double entendres_. Yet
my lover is only a Councillor of Legation! Because his superiors,
fearing his adroitness, keep him down.

My children! Have I ever been allowed to be a real mother to them? The
King, the nation, owns my little ones. I see them at stated intervals
for half an hour or so, and romp with them as I do with my dogs.

Still, I don't altogether approve of Louise, malicious girl! When I am
at the top-gallant of my happiness I sometimes say to myself: "Oh, if
only George could see me now!"

Naughty Louise--it's unworthy of thee. What do I care for George, what
do I care for the world?



CHAPTER XXXVIII

"IN LOVE THERE ARE NO PRINCESSES, ONLY WOMEN"

    A diplomatic trick--Jealous of Romano's past--The pact for life and
    the talisman--If there were a theatre fire the talisman would
    discover our love to the King--Some ill-natured
    reflections--Bernhardt's escapades cover up my tracks--The "black
    sheep" jumps his horse over a coffin--King gives him a
    beating--Bernhardt's mess-room lingo--Anecdotes of royal
    voluptuaries--Forces animals to devour each other--Naked
    ballet-girls as horses--Abnormals rule the world.


    DRESDEN, _May 20, 1898_.

Romano learned about my theatre going by a diplomatic trick. He told one
of the minor attaches of the Embassy that he had orders to watch
me--"all-highest command." The official, consequently, negotiated with
the box offices of all the theatres to phone him the moment Her Imperial
Highness ordered seats.

I am crazy to know how many women Romano loved in the twenty or more
years since he grew to man's estate, and how many he seduced. It
agitates and pains me to think of it, but all my questions are barren of
results.

Yesterday I asked him whether he ever knew a Princess of the Blood
before me--"knew" in the biblical sense.

"In love," he said, "there are no princesses, there are women only."

He saw that I was hurt and added quickly: "Now don't be unreasonable,
Louise--no prejudices. With the thought in my mind that you are an
Imperial Highness, or that you consider yourself of better clay than I,
I couldn't love you as I do."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 1, 1898_.

We made a life-pact. Romano cut a gold piece in two and bored a hole in
each half. He drew thin gold chains through the holes, gave me one of
the amulets, and kept the other. Our combined monograms were already
engraved on the bits of gold _en miniature_. Each swore to wear the
talisman on the naked body for life, but we exchange amulets daily, or
as often as we meet.

When I am enthroned in the royal box and look down upon my lover below,
I think all the time of this, our secret understanding, and it sometimes
occurs to me, that the opera house might get on fire and both of us
perish.

Next day our bodies would be found. In or near the royal box, that of a
woman, burned so as to be unrecognizable at first. ("We are all of the
same clay," says Romano.)

And down in the orchestra floor they would find Romano's body, likewise
unrecognizable.

And on my charred breast they would find the half of a twenty-mark
piece. And on his charred chest they would find the half of a
twenty-mark piece.

And they would put the two together and discover that they match.

Consternation, speculation!

Someone suggests that the mysterious gold pieces be photographed for
publication and the engraver who made the monogram, and the jeweler who
sold the two chains come forward as witnesses.

Meanwhile the identity of my body is established. That of Romano's
follows. _Scandalum magnatum!_ But what are you going to do about it,
_Messieurs_?

If you had only known it a week ago! A prison _à la_ Princess Ahlden, or
the Danish Queen Caroline Matilda, for me, disgraceful dismissal for
Romano, for times are happily past when comely gentlemen, who have the
wit to amuse royal ladies, durst be murdered in cold blood like
Koenigsmarck, or be-handed, be-headed and cut into ninety-nine pieces as
Struensee was in Copenhagen market-square.

What are you going to do about it, King, George, Frederick Augustus?

I'll tell you. You will bury me with the pomp of kings; and your
sycophants will print beautiful stories about me, asserting that I died
trying to rescue others, or did something of the sort; and your Court
Chaplains will weep and pray and lie for me. And the tip of Queen
Carola's nose will be redder than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _September 1, 1898_.

My young friend Bernhardt is doing me a great service and himself a lot
of harm.

A good-natured, tractable boy _au fond_, they made him a poltroon and
worse by their persecutions, their meanness, their petty tyranny. He is
proud, and they sent him to reside on a village manure heap; he is
ambitious, and must drill raw recruits from morn till night; he is eager
to learn and they try to embalm his intellect with tracts and kill his
initiative by the endless, watery _ennui_ of tu-penny environment.

Of course, he gets desperate and kicks over the traces, and while
attracting the dear family's disapproving attention, I am more free than
ever to devote myself to my Romano.

Bernhardt's "latest" is really inexcusable. "I wonder we don't turn
tigers with the education we receive," said one of the brothers of Louis
XVI when upbraided for thoughtlessness and lack of consideration for the
feelings of others--but Bernhardt seems to qualify for a vulture, and no
original one at that, for a like offense as he is charged with was,
several years ago, laid at the door of my cousin, Archduke Otho of
Austria.

Observe half a dozen young officers riding horseback in the neighborhood
of their garrison town, Bernhardt at the head. At a bend in the road, a
rural funeral _cortège_ hoves into sight: coffin borne on the shoulders
of half a dozen peasants; weeping relatives; friends promising
themselves a good time at the widow's expense on returning home. A black
cross lifted high; priest and choir-boys in their robes.

"Halt," thunders Bernhardt, blocking the way.

The priest tries to expostulate with the half-drunken fellow.

"Shut up, black-coat. I am His Royal Highness, Prince Bernhardt."

Then--the devil must be riding him--he orders the coffin put down on the
ground.

"Out of the way, yokels."

And he leaps his horse three or four times across the coffin.

The outrage is duly reported in the newspapers and Bernhardt is summoned
before the King. "Don't you dare to appear in uniform," Albert added in
his own hand.

"What has happened?" I asked the ne'er-do-well, when he begged for an
audience after meeting the King.

He pointed to a swollen cheek.

"He hit me three times in _the eats_." (I beg the Diary's pardon for the
language; I report literally.) "Three times," repeated Bernhardt,
"that's the reason he wanted me to appear in mufti. As I went out one of
the lackeys said: 'I never heard His Majesty rave so.'"

"But why did you make a beast of yourself?" I asked.

"To force the King to transfer me to another garrison, of course. I
can't remain where I am, for the people are terribly incensed against
me."

"Did you tell His Majesty?"

"Not on your life," answered Bernhardt. "If I did, I would have to stay
there until my last tooth falls out. As things are, the Colonel will
insist upon my speedy transference, and that's worth the three slams on
the face I got in addition to the various _Lausbubs_."

"He called you, an army officer, a '_Lausbub_.' Where is his vaunted
respect for the uniform?"

"Didn't he hit me in _the eats_?" lamented Bernhardt tragically in his
terrible lingo. "I responded both to insult and injury by knocking my
heels together and saying: 'At Your Majesty's commands.'"

Of course, I told Romano. "Royalty," he said, "has only, on the face of
it, advanced beyond the pirate and robber-baron period. _Au fond_ all
princes and kings would be criminals if they happened not to be crowned
heads."

[Illustration: THE LATE KING ALBERT OF SAXONY

Louise's Uncle by Marriage]

He told me of a Balkan prince--young Alexander of Servia, the same mamma
Natalie intended for my consort--whose chief amusement consists in
having mice and rats chased by ferocious tom-cats in a big cage made for
that purpose. Once, growing tired of that sport, he incarcerated ten
tom-cats in the same cage without food many days in succession, visiting
the prison hourly to see whether they wouldn't take to devouring each
other.

When, in the end, they did, tearing one another to pieces, His Majesty
danced around the cage in high glee, pronouncing the battle of the poor
beasts a bully spectacle.

"You visited Castle Sibyllenort a week ago," continued Romano--"a most
proper place, this royal residence, is it not? You ought to have seen it
before your puritan King inherited it, ten years ago, upon the death of
the last Duke of Brunswick. At that time it was a veritable museum of
pornography, the apotheosis of Paphian voluptuousness. The palace, which
has over four hundred rooms and halls--not one which a decent woman
might enter without a blush--acquired its equipment as a _lupanar_ and
its reputation for debauchery under the famous, or notorious, 'Diamond
Duke,' a brother of the Highness who left the estate to King Albert.
Both Dukes held high carnival in its gilded halls, but he of the
diamonds rather outdid William in outraging decency.

"One of his chief amusements was to hire a drove of ballet girls for
parlor horses. He had a carriage constructed no bigger or heavier than
a Japanese jinrickshaw, and to this hitched ten or twenty ballet girls
in their birthday suits, walking on all fours, himself rider and driver.

"Gracious--how he lashed his treble and quadruple teams of human flesh
as they pulled him from room to room, and his was no make-belief
ferocity, either. He was a niggardly rake, but in order to indulge his
Sadist tendencies, agreed to pay one _Thaler_ (Seventy-five cents) for
every drop of blood shed by the girls.

"To make the count easier, white linen sheets were spread over the
carpets, and the sum total was paid over to the two-legged horses after
each entertainment, the girls showing the sorest stripes or wounds
getting the larger share."

Romano, who lived at half a dozen courts and is primed with the
scandalous gossip of them all, could certainly write an entertaining
book on the fallacies and vices of the world's Great.

It's most indelicate, to be sure, but I laughed long and hard over the
sexual specialty of my uncle, Archduke Karl Ludwig, who is bad, anyhow,
as everybody knows.

One morning His Highness rose at an unusually early hour, even before
the scrub-women made their exit. In the corridors, in the parlors,
everywhere blonde and dark percherons, cleaning away for dear life and
courting housemaid's knee!

Karl Ludwig has no more use for women than the late Chevalier de
Lorraine, the President of the _Mignons_, but the exaggerated
protuberances he met so unexpectedly on all sides, appealed to his sense
of humor, or some other sense which I would hate to name. Anyhow, he ran
into the garden and cut himself a switch. And ever since then his chief
amusement is to switch scrubbing percherons. If he succeeds in dealing
one a blow unforeseen by lying in wait for her, or coming upon her all
of a sudden, he is particularly satisfied with his day's work and is
liable to give a beggar a copper instead of the usual demi-copper.

And of such abnormals the rulers of the world are recruited.



CHAPTER XXXIX

MY PUNISHMENT

    I lose my lover--Quarrels with me because I did my duty as a
    mother--Royalty extols me for the same reason--My pride of kingship
    aroused by Socialist scribblers--Change my opinion as to Duke's
    widow--Parents arrive--Father and his alleged astrolatry--His
    finances disarranged by alimony payments--My uncle, the Emperor,
    rebukes mother harshly for complaining of _roué_ father.


    DRESDEN, _Christmas, 1898_.

God punished me for my sins. My children, one after the other, were ill
with scarlet fever, and the youngest is only now out of danger. Of
course, I abandoned all my frivolities. I can say without boasting that
the mother atoned for the short-comings of the wife and princess.

Hence I thought justified to arrange for a right royal Christmas
present: Romano.

Lucretia went to see him. He received her coldly, hardly vouchsafed a
word. From a secret drawer of his desk he took a letter, ready written,
dated and gave it to Lucretia. "It explains," he said curtly, as he
opened the door for her.

He has abandoned me. Because I loved my children better than him,
because I am a mother first, Lais second, he throws away his Imperial
_fille de joie_ like a lemon sucked dry and prates of tendernesses and
heavenly fancies that he alone feels, that are outside the pale of my
understanding.

He even refuses to thank me, this proud wooer of the royal bed. He "has
given me the best that is in man to give to a woman," etc., etc.

Be it so! God desired to punish me and, because I loved much, he meted
out to me mild chastisement.

He stole my lover, but I have my children.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 15, 1899_.

The King, Prince George, my brothers-in-law, my cousins and aunts are
trying to make a hero of me. Because I followed the inclinations of my
heart and helped to save my children, there's no end of their praise and
admiration. Did they take me for a raven? I am disgusted with so much
unctuousness.

Nevertheless I changed my mind about the Duke's widow. When I felt
friendly towards her and quarrelled with Johann George for taking her
money and with the King for embezzling the testament and offering
accommodation at the poor-house for his kin's children, I thought it a
family affair, but now that the Socialist papers meddle with the case,
which concerns the royal house and the royal house alone, it's time for
the Crown Princess to stand by her colors.

Those Jews have actually the audacity to reprimand the King and the
royal princes, to impute ignoble motives to us all! They talk of us as
if we were _Messieurs_ and _Mesdames_ Jones or Browns, trying to enrich
ourselves at the expense of a corpse!

They call us "inheritance-chasers," "purloiners of pupillary funds,"
"starvers of innocent children."

The Duke's kept-woman is "a lady of the highest character" and we are
not; her children are of the blood royal--only better for the dash of
plebeian.

It makes me boil to read such things; to see the reverence due the
throne set aside, the royal banner dragged into the mire, and of course
it's the kept-woman to whom we are indebted for this pretty kettle of
fish. It is she who set the press against us, and it's me, Louise, who
protests with all her might that her demands and petitions be denied.

Let her starve with her brats. If she was sent to the poor-house she
might make anarchists out of loyal paupers.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _April 1, 1899_.

My parents came to see the children and make merry because I am basking
in the sun of royal grace. Mother has a new maid of honor, as ugly as
the Tisch, and when we are _entre nous_ every second word is: "when
Louise is Queen." They know to a penny what our inheritance from the
King, the Queen and Prince George will amount to and are forever making
plans and specifications how to spend the money for the glory of Saxony
and of our own family.[6]

Mother's scare-crow of a maid of honor had at least sense enough to tell
Lucretia of a few scandals that happened at home, which mother never
intended for my ears.

It seems that papa, some few months ago, suddenly became possessed of
the ambition to become an astronomer. Nothing would do, but he must buy
a heap of instruments and set them up in a distant tower of Salzburg
Castle. And there he spent all his evenings--star-gazing, he gave out.

He seldom reached the nuptial couch before one or two in the
morning,--utterly exhausted by the night's work.

Well, mamma thought he labored too hard, and one forenoon when he had
gone hunting, climbed up many stairs to investigate. Imagine her
surprise when she found, in the astrolatry, a young lady in the act of
getting out of bed, a girl, by the way, whom I used to know.

Mamma had the _mauvais genre_ to report the case to Emperor Francis
Joseph, while papa sought another climate, remaining away until mother
begged him on her bended knees, so to speak, to come home. Nor did she
get satisfaction from Vienna. That great moral teacher, the Emperor,
told her not to make a scare-crow of herself, but on the contrary make
herself pretty and agreeable for, and to, her lord and master. I
understand now why mamma says: "All men stick together like gypsies."

As a matter of fact father's limited resources are considerably affected
by the various alimonies he has to pay to his own mistresses and those
of my brothers. The third born of our boys, only a week ago, made too
free with the _fiancée_ of the pastry-cook, who threatened to kill him.
It cost father several thousand florins to appease the ruffian and
Heinrich Ferdinand renewed acquaintance with mother's boxing
proclivities.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: The fortune of the present King of Saxony (Louise's
ex-husband) amounts to 25 million marks ($6,225,000)--no more than many
an American parent paid for his daughter's seedy coronet. It will be
remembered that Gladys Vanderbilt and Anna Gould brought to their
husbands fifteen million dollars each, and the Castellanes and Szechenys
are only nobles of the second class, their ancestors never having
possessed ever so small a territory as sovereign lords. The bigger half
of the Saxon King's fortune comes from the Brunswick inheritance already
mentioned.]



CHAPTER XL

A PLEBEIAN LOVER

    In need of a friend--My physician offers his friendship--I discover
    that he loves me, but he will never confess--I give him
    encouragement--We manage to persuade the King to further our
    intrigue--Not a bit repentant of my peccadilloes--Very
    submissive--Introduced to my lover's wife.


    DRESDEN, _in May, 1899_.

Privy Councillor von Barthels, my body physician, is a very agreeable
man. I have no use for his services, _professional_ services at present,
yet insist upon receiving him daily. Still I love him not. Only esteem
him as a friend, I need a friend. Physicians can keep secrets, and I
have many of them. I look upon Barthels as my Father-confessor.

The tears came into his eyes when I told him, and he said: "Imperial
Highness, this is the most beautiful hour of my life."

He spoke with enthusiasm; there was fire in his eyes and in his voice,
yet a moment later he was again the most reserved of men and
conversation lagged.

It happened three days ago. He has paid me four visits since and I
notice with astonishment, with curiosity and with alarm, that this man
is in love with me.

How long has he loved me?

His love is like a warm mantle 'round my shoulders on a chilly night. It
exudes warmth, strength, beatitude, yet there is none of the animal.

He is a good talker on a thousand and one subjects, a thinker and
psychologist. Psychology is his strong point. He argues brilliantly on
the subject, yet I need only look at him to upset his _thesis_, to make
him stammer and redden.

He's no Count Bielsk and will never tell me of his own accord that he
loves me. Is his admiration greater than his love? Perhaps so. It gives
me a feeling of security.

Lucretia knows, but in the presence of the Tisch, he plays the servant,
deeming himself thrice honored by being allowed to breathe the same air
as her Imperial Highness.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 15, 1899_.

I frequently drive to the _Bois_ nowadays with the children, the _Bois_,
where I was so happy with Him.

Romano was right, a thousand times right, that he abandoned me when our
love was at its zenith.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _At Midnight._

It's done.

Barthels came tonight. He was so feverish, so passionate, there was so
much humble solicitation in his looks and manners, I was moved to pity.

This man is too over-awed by my rank to ever permit himself to express
his feelings by word of mouth. He talked of everything but love and was
in the midst of a learned dissertation when I sunk my eyes in his and
said:

"Why do you try to hide things from me? Don't I know what's in your
heart?"

Like a little criminal--as my oldest boy does occasionally--he turned
red, then white, then red again. He buried his face in his hands. He
trembled. He seemed to be crying. I arose, and lightly laid my hand upon
his blonde head.

He's got the finest, silkiest hair in the world, shimmering like beaten
gold.

And then he lay at my feet, covering them with kisses. And instantly all
his force, his courage, his eloquence returned.

He went away like a man a-dreaming.

I long for him; I confess I long for him. Whether I love him or not I
don't know. But that I know, I _will_ love him.

And if I cannot, what matters it? I don't have to love to be happy. To
_be_ loved is enough. I want to be his Queen, his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 1, 1899_.

Privy Councillor von Barthels told the King that my delicate condition
needs constant watching. I go to his clinic every second day, while he
visits me once or twice daily at the palace.

       *       *       *       *       *

Like Melita I am never a bit repentant of my peccadilloes.

If I don't want to do a thing, neither Kaiser, King, George, Frederick
Augustus, my parents, the Pope, nor the whole world, can make me. But if
I resolve to follow my sweet inclinations, rueing and pining are out of
question.

Ferdinand is the most devoted of lovers. He has unlimited
tendernesses--a new experience for me.

The lover of my girlhood days overwhelmed me by audacity. The Shah used
me like a show-girl. Romano was imperious, super-mannish. For him I was
only the female of the species.

Sometimes, in the midst of an embrace, Ferdinand suddenly seems to
recollect that a Queen trembles in his arms; the master turns _âme
damnée_. I am Sultana, Louise-Catherine.

Like Catherine the Great, I would throw millions to my favorites and
millions more when I dismissed one. At any rate, I would give each a
hundred thousand marks "to furnish himself with linen and silks,"--a
_mot_ invented by the Semiramis of the North.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 5, 1899_.

No more clinic for me. Ferdinand begged so hard, that I allowed him to
introduce his wife. She came in after we finished our "consultation," a
little heap of misfortune, execrably dressed, frightened, almost dead
with submissiveness.

And I am robbing this poor creature; it's like stealing pennies from a
child. And under her own roof.

It must not be. I am going to the country.



CHAPTER XLI

AN ATROCIOUS ROYAL SCANDAL

    A royal couple that shall be nameless--The voluptuous Duchess--Her
    husband the worst of degenerates--"What monsters these royalties
    be"--Nameless outrages--A Duchess forced to have lovers--Ferdinand
    and I live like married folk--Duchess feared for her life--Her
    husband murdered her--I scold and humiliate my overbearing Grand
    Mistress--The medical report too horrible to contemplate.


    ----R, _July 15, 1899_.

I am afraid to date this entry. Another terrible indictment of royalty.
And, as usual, things criminal are at the bottom of the abuse of
sovereign power.

The Duchess had a baby and asked me to be godmother to the little girl.
The King, eager to oblige his rich cousin, favored the journey. I
insisted that Ferdinand accompany me. "Marie," I said, "hates Tisch, and
she must, under no circumstances, be commanded to attend me." Lucretia
would do. It would be cheaper.

The King first wouldn't hear of Dr. von Barthels going. People might
think I had some chronic disease. But he finally gave in for the sake of
the child I expect. "We need a few princes more from you," said His
Majesty benignly. "When you got about a dozen boys, you can rest."
Pleasant job, that of a Crown Princess.

       *       *       *       *       *

    ----R, _July 16, 1899_.

The Duchess is a pretty woman, her face a lovely oval. She has small
eyes, the color of amethysts. Her complexion is as white and harmonious
as if she washed in sow's milk, like the late Ninon.

Her mouth is sweet, but certain lines indicate that it can bite as well
as smile. She has abundant hair, the color of Ferdinand's.

This dainty, albeit voluptuous, little person, is mated to a bull-necked
He, pompous, broad and full of the conceit of the _duodez_ satrap.

Marie was forced to marry him; their honeymoon scarcely lasted a
fortnight and he treated her shamefully after that. Of course, babies
she must bear like any other "royal cow."

Gradually, very gradually, she got over her disappointment and shyness,
developing into a cunning, world-wise woman. Then came the man she was
bound to love, even as the violet is bound to be kissed by the sun. She
had no scruples about accepting him, thinking herself entitled to
compensation for the sorrows of her married life. And revenge is sweet.

The Duke found them out in the first month of their young love, walked
into her boudoir one fine afternoon and remarked casually that none of
his hats would fit him,--"on account of the horns you kindly planted on
my forehead."

Marie was more dead than alive when he asked her for the key of her
writing desk. She lied and lied; to no purpose.

He kicked open the writing desk, and with his iron fists broke the
shelves and pigeon holes, laying bare a secret drawer and stacks of love
letters it shielded. These he confiscated. Then locked himself into his
room to enjoy his disgrace. This monster is a _Masochist_ and Sadist
combined. He loves both to inflict suffering upon himself and upon
others.

What monsters royalties be!

In the meanwhile Marie experienced all the tortures of purgatory; she
thought of flight, of suicide. Before she could indulge in either her
husband was back: Othello in the last act.

Marie was frightened stiff, her brain a whirl, her limbs inert. Rape
most foul this crowned satyr committed. "He fell upon me as a pack of
hounds overwhelm a hunted, wounded she-stag," she said.

Afterwards he commanded her to describe minutely every detail of her
relations with the other. He was primed with the letter-accounts; he
made her dot her amorous I's and cross her bawdry T's. And every attempt
at omission he punished with kicks and cuffs; no drayman or brick-layer
could give a more expert exhibition of woman-beating! And he violated
her again.

This was the beginning of a series of outrages of the same gross
character. Marie suffered for years and years that His Royal Highness
may gratify his unclean fancies: he the pander; she the Cyprian.

"If I ceased having lovers, I think he would kill me," says Marie.

Alas, such is the stuff "God's Anointed" are made of! In the face of
such, we pronounce a hypocritical _j'accuse_ upon the Louis's and
Pompadours, upon Marie Antoinette even.

The Duchess, who knows, gave Ferdinand an apartment near my own. We are
living here like man and wife. He sometimes calls me "_Frau Professor_."

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _July 19, 1899_.

Marie is dead. "Died suddenly," said the telegram. I understand now why
she begged me, with tears in her eyes, to remain at least two weeks. She
was afraid that, though ill and suffering after the confinement, he
would treat her as he did when he first found her unfaithful.

"Don't go," she cried. "It will be my death." And when I showed her the
King's letter commanding me to return at once, she made her confidential
tire-woman swear on the Bible that she wouldn't leave her for a minute,
day or night, until she herself released her from the promise.

Private advices from ----r say His Highness brutally kicked the faithful
maid out of his wife's bedroom and outraged his sick wife while the
servant kept thundering at the door, denouncing her master a murderer.

Ferdinand says the great majority of crowned heads are sexual
voluptuaries, deserving of the penitentiary or the straight-jacket.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _August 1, 1899_.

I caught the Tisch stealing one of my letters. Happily there was nothing
incriminating in it, though addressed to Ferdinand,--just the letter the
Crown Princess would write to a Privy Councillor. But the petty theft
indicates that she suspects. Prince George, I am told, receives a report
from her every few days.

Well, I had my revenge. The Queen called today to see the children, and
when Her Majesty and myself withdrew into my closet, the Tisch, who had
been spying, didn't retire as promptly as she might.

"Can't you see that you are _de trop_," I said sharply to her. "Please
close the door from outside." The Baroness gave a cry of dismay and the
Queen was scandalized.

"Louise," she said, "that is no way to treat servants. You should always
try to be kind and considerate with them."

"I am, thanks, Your Majesty," I replied. "All the officials and servants
love me, but I have very good reasons for treating the Tisch as I do."

Of course, George will hear of this, and the Tisch will be reprimanded
by him as well. Spies that compromise themselves, compromise their
masters.

The same evening I said to the Tisch in the presence of the nurses:

"My dear Baroness, I wish you would display a little more tact. Listen
at my doors as much as you like, but whatever you do, don't spy on Her
Majesty in my house." She exuded a flood of tears and I sent her to her
room. "Don't come back until you can show a pleasant face. I want to see
none other around me."

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _August 2, 1899_.

Ferdinand received a medical report from ----r. My first private advices
regarding Marie's death were correct, but the additional details given
are too horrible to contemplate.

The poor Duchess was brutally murdered. She died cursing her crowned
murderer.

The manner in which she was put to death can only be likened to that of
the lover in Heinrich von Kleist's poetically sublime, but morally
atrocious, tragedy, _Penthesilcia_, except that, in poor Marie's case,
the _woman_ suffered from the awful frenzy of the male, in whom the
"gentlest passion" degenerated in Saturnalia of revolting cruelty. The
Duke killed Marie because _doing so gave him the most damnable
pleasure,--her the most excruciating pain_.

Yet the King's will is the highest law and criminals on thrones laugh at
the criminal code.



CHAPTER XLII

I LOSE ANOTHER OF MY LOVERS

    Happily no scandal--Rewarded for bearing children--$1250--for
    becoming a mother--Royal poverty--Bernhardt, the black sheep, in hot
    water again--The King rebukes me for taking his part.


    LOSCHWITZ, _August 10, 1899_.

Frederick Augustus sent for Ferdinand and gave him to understand that he
had received divers anonymous letters, connecting my name with that of
the Privy Councillor. "Of course I don't believe a word of it," said my
husband, "but one in my position cannot afford to flout public opinion.
It will be for the best, if you cease your services to Her Imperial
Highness."

Upon the same day Ferdinand received orders from the King to stop his
visits.

The Baroness's doings, of course,--pin-pricks when she would like to
shoot with sharp cartridges. She evidently doesn't know the full extent
of our intimacy. As to Ferdinand, he acted the coward, left my letters
unanswered and didn't make the slightest attempt to continue relations
that might possibly turn out to his disadvantage.

He is contemptible. My heart is unengaged, but my pride sadly humbled.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _February 15, 1900_.

The King sent me an emerald, one-twentieth the size of that given me by
the Shah of Persia. Frederick Augustus did himself proud and, on his
part, I gained a pearl necklace in acknowledgment of my renewed services
to the state. Little Marguerite was born January 24.

Frederick Augustus also gave me five thousand marks spending money. Not
much for a multi-millionaire's wife or daughter, I reckon, but a
terrible lot for an Imperial Highness.

When I read of the sums the Vanderbilts, Astors, Goulds and other
dollar-kings spend in Paris and London, and even with us in Dresden, I
sometimes wish I could exchange places with an American Duchess or
Countess long enough to buy all the things beautiful and pretty I would
like to own. An awful thing is royal poverty, but the reputation of
affluence and unlimited resources, stalking ahead of us, whenever we
enter a store or bargain with a jeweler, is worse.

"Your Imperial Highness is pleased to joke," says my man-milliner, when
I admit, unblushingly, that I haven't the wherewithal to buy the things
I dote on.

Wait till I am Queen, modistes, store-keepers, jewelers! The new Majesty
will show you that she cares for money only to get rid of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _February 20, 1900_.

This morning Lucretia came running to the nursery and whispered to me:
"Imperial Highness, quick, to the boudoir. He begged so hard, I smuggled
him in."

She couldn't say more, for the Tisch was watching us. What new trouble
was brewing? Could it be Romano, dare-devil, who had come back to me?

If it was that poltroon, Ferdinand, I would have him thrown out by my
lackeys.

The mysterious visitor doffed wig and false moustache. "It's me," cried
Bernhardt. "You are my only hope."

"What have you been doing again?"

"They threaten to banish my girl from the garrison and I won't stand for
it. If they send her away or imprison her, I will kick up such a row,
all Europe shall hear of it."

"But why this masquerade?"

"S-s-sh!" whispered the young prince. "I came without leave." Quickly,
breathlessly, he continued: "I hear you are in His Majesty's good
graces. Go and see him on my behalf. Persuade him to annul the order of
banishment or render it ineffective."

"Bernhardt," I said, "why don't you marry?"

"If I could get a girl like you, Louise, I would--today, tomorrow, but
the royal scare-crows that will have penniless me,--much obliged! You
are a very exceptional woman," he added earnestly.

We held a council of war, discussing the situation from every
view-point, and finally I agreed to see Baumann.

"I'll have to vouch for your future good conduct," I said.

"On condition that they leave my girl alone."

"Precisely. And on your part you give me your word of honor not to
scandalize the people of your new garrison; to gradually break with the
girl and, in the end, get married."

"You are a brick, Louise," cried Bernhardt, and before I could shake him
off, he was kissing me all over my face. No cousinly or brotherly
kisses! His lips were apart, there was passion in his embrace. I
struggled, but his hand pressed against my back. What strength the
rascal's got!

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _February 21, 1900_.

The King is adamant. I no sooner mentioned Bernhardt's name than his
face froze.

"Does your husband know about your interference for that rake?"

When I answered in the negative, he praised Frederick Augustus for
strict submission to the royal will and upbraided me for "upholding
Bernhardt in his wickedness."

"The boy is desperate," I said.

"If he is desperate," cried the King, "let him do the one reasonable and
honorable thing: mend his evil ways. It will come easy if he seeks true
strength in prayer, in fasting and religious discipline."

"I submit to your Majesty that it might be well to send Bernhardt
travelling."

"On a tour of inspection of houses of ill-fame?" interrupted Albert
coldly. "This is a mere waste of words," he added, looking towards the
door, "and I'm sorry that Your Imperial Highness has the bad taste to
take the part of this disobedient, immoral and altogether reprehensible
_Lausbub_."

That meant my dismissal. I shudder when I think of the consequences of
the King's obstinacy.



CHAPTER XLIII

THE CROWN PRINCESS QUELLS A RIOT

    Asked to play the coward, and I refuse--A hostler who would die for
    a look from me--Hostler marriages in royal houses--Anecdotes and
    unknown facts concerning royal ladies and their offspring--Refuse
    police escort and rioters acclaim me--Whole royal family proud of my
    feat.


    DRESDEN, _July 3, 1900_.

Behold Louise, a political personage!

I was driving with my little ones in the _Bois_ yesterday afternoon. We
occupied an open court carriage, conspicuous for livery and magnificent
horse-flesh, for I love display and the children enjoy it. We were
driving along leisurely enough when there was hasty clatter of hoofs and
wheels behind. Presently a royal _coupé_ dashed up alongside.

The Tisch stuck her head out:

"Imperial Highness--the town's in revolt.--Socialist riot. They are
marching upon the palace.--For the love of God, return at once. Your
Imperial Highness must take a seat in this inconspicuous carriage. We
will change to the first _Droschke_ we meet, going through
side-streets."

"My dear Baroness," I answered, "it's not in my nature to shirk peril.
If I were to be hanged and quartered and could avoid that unpleasantness
by changing from my carriage to a cab--I would be hanged and quartered.
Take the children and return to the palace any way you like.

"As for me, I'll go back as Her Imperial Highness, the Crown Princess of
Saxony, and my coachman will drive slowly."

I kissed the children, and the _coupé_ rolled away at a sharp clip.

Calling the coachman by name, I commanded him: "You heard what my Grand
Mistress said. Riot or no riot, I am solely responsible for my own
safety. You will take orders from no one but me, neither from the mob
nor the police."

The coachman lifted his hat respectfully and bowed a submissive "At Your
Imperial Highness's orders." The groom, a young, good-looking fellow,
struck the broadsword at his side.

"There is some good steel in this, Your Imperial Highness," he said with
sparkling eyes. I believe this poor fellow would have died for a single
look from me.

Among royal servants, the most devoted are those connected with the
_Marstall_. No wonder so many of my sisters born on the steps of the
throne, fell in love with their Master of Horse or equerries; some with
mere hostlers, like Queen Christina of Spain, the mother of my aunt
Isabelle, of amorous memory. Her lover, Munoz, of the Body Guards, was
a famous equestrian and two years younger than Christina. He managed
horses so well, she thought it would be great fun to boss this giant.
But it ended by the brute lording it over her, the "Catholic Majesty."
By the way, I wonder what became of Christina's and Munoz's several
children. While they lived together from 1833 to 1844 without the
sanction of either law or church, they were "regularly married" in the
end, the hostler, Munoz, metamorphosing into Duke Rianzares. Yet the
_Almanach de Gotha_ knows not their progeny when, as "love children,"
they should live long and happily.

Another "hostler-marriage" occurred in the family of the proud Kaiser,
the contracting parties being Princess Albrecht of Prussia and a groom,
whose name I forget. This Princess, Marianne of the Netherlands, brought
the first "real" money into the Hohenzollern family, and her husband,
Albrecht, was long regarded the Croesus among German princes.

After the divorce, His Royal Highness forced the ex-wife to marry the
hostler, and the bloom of forbidden love having worn off in the
meantime, Marianne seldom passed a day without being soundly beaten by
the plebeian. Maybe she liked it. Some women do.

Today her offspring with Master Fisticuffs are sturdy farmers in
Silesia, but two of the three sons she had with the royal Prince, as
well as the sons the royal Prince had with his second wife, Rosalie von
Rauch, are degenerates. Rosalie's sons are known as Counts Hohenau and
the wife of the elder, Fritz, is giving my astute and pious cousin, the
Kaiserin, considerable heart-ache.

Curious, isn't it? The children of the "adulteress" are successful men
and women, aids in the progress of the world; those of the blood royal,
in double or single doses, a menace to public morality. This much for
your royal inbred custom.

But back to Dresden. The order to drive slowly was soon rescinded, for I
was burning to see a riot at close range. "_Plein carrière_," I
commanded, and my fast _Carrossiers_ went at a tremendous rate for two
miles. The moment I saw, in the distance, knots of people standing round
or moving in the direction of the palace, I cried: "_Schritt_," and we
proceeded as leisurely as if following a funeral.

As we turned around a corner, a detachment of gendarmes, sent to watch
for me, hove into sight. Their commanding officer signalled frantically
to the coachman to stop, but George had his instructions and proceeded.

The officer spurred his horse and rode up to me, questioning me with his
eyes.

"My orders," I explained.

"Then I must escort Your Imperial Highness."

"Don't."

"Strict orders from my superior officer, Your Imperial Highness," and
the gendarmes formed a _cordon_ around my carriage.

I was furious. "Send for your commander."

The captain of the gendarmes could not be found at once and joined my
cavalcade only when we were opposite a living wall of excited people,
nearly all of them workmen.

"What is Your Imperial Highness's pleasure?" asked the captain, bending
down from his horse.

"Send your men away instantly."

"But the responsibility?"

"Rests with me and with me only. Send them away. Every one of them."

The mob was watching us. I read suspicion in the eyes of those nearest.
The captain gave the sign and the troopers turned their horses' heads,
saluting me with their drawn swords.

"May I act as Your Imperial Highness's out-rider?" asked the captain in
a low voice.

"Don't trouble yourself. I command you."

The groom had been watching us. I gave the signal and we proceeded at a
pace. The rampart of human bodies swung open and lined the sides of the
streets. Someone cried: "Three cheers for the Crown Princess," and
everyone responded.

These Socialists, whom I had been taught to hate and despise, behaved
in exemplary style. When I dismissed their tyrants, the gendarmes, they
immediately took me under their protection. I am sure anyone daring to
insult me, or raise a hand against me, would have fared badly at the
hands of his fellows.

I was all smiles, bowing right and left. Labor agitators raised their
hats to me, mothers offered their children that I might pat their little
hand, or lay mine on their head--a veritable triumph!

When I drove into the palace yard, the Guards rushed out to do me honor.
The Queen, the King and Prince George saluted me from the windows of
their apartments.

Frederick Augustus embraced me in front of everybody. In short I was
made a hero of.

I afterwards learned that as soon as the palace knew of the incipient
riot, the King sent word to all members of the royal family, ordering
them to stay in their apartments. They were even forbidden to show
themselves at the windows overlooking the palace square.

Learning that I had gone driving, mounted grooms were dispatched in all
directions to intercept me. The Tisch, being responsible for the royal
children, got the fastest team the court commands and started for the
_Bois_.

It gave me some satisfaction to observe that I arrived before her. Of
course, I never doubted the children's safety.

The evening papers devoted columns to the little incident and Prince
George had the great sorrow to hear the King say: "A dare-devil, that
Louise, but she did the right thing. By pretending confidence in the
loyalty of the people, she successfully gulled them. The riot's back was
broken when she showed a bold front."



CHAPTER XLIV

THE NEW LOVER, AND "I PLAY THE HUSSY FOR FAIR"

    Who is that most exquisite _Vortänzer_?--A lovely boy--"Blush, good
    white paper"--I long for Henry--My eyes reflect love--"I must see
    you tonight. Arrange with Lucretia"--Sorry I ever loved a man before
    Henry--Poetry even--I try to get him an office at court--Afraid
    women will steal him.


    PILLNITZ, _September 5, 1900_.

Dance at the royal summer residence. Concentrated _ennui_ as a rule, but
a complete success this time.

I have seen Him,--capital "H." He is the one man for me.

I am happy; I am myself again. All sorrows are forgotten. I am ten years
younger.

Love at first sight. I the aggressor. I must be getting very clever
since I managed to hide it from hundreds of searching eyes, even from my
entourage.

"Lucretia," I whispered breathlessly to my confidante, "find out the
name of the _Vortänzer_, quick."

The _Vortänzer_, at royal courts, is a sort of official master of the
dance, who sets the pace for the company, combining the duties of
master of ceremonies and of dancing master.

The more I looked at the _Vortänzer_, the more he enchanted me. Taller
than any other man present, elegant, blonde, clean-shaven. Not an ounce
of superfluous flesh, I judged. Might be the reincarnation of the _Duc_
de Richelieu, who seduced my three cousins d'Orleans.

His face is livid with white and carmine tints; his eyes glow with an
irresistible charm. That figure of his! The elegance of the palm tree,
both straight and flexible. And the infinity of grace as he waltzed that
little Baroness around.

"Baron Bergen, of the Guards," breathed Lucretia into my ear.

"My Master of Ceremony will command Baron Bergen at the end of this
dance."

When he stood before me, bowing and smiling, the idea that he was
Richelieu reincarnated became almost a certainty with me.

Like Richelieu, his face has the refinement that we admire in women (I
forgot to say that I became infatuated with him merely from seeing a
back view of the man. When he turned around, I was lost).

While he chanted the usual compliments, my eyes hung upon his cherry
lips, reveled in his white, strong teeth. The man I want. I say it
without shame, without care.

Blush, good, white paper! I am giving an account of my feelings, and if
they be impure, there's something wrong with nature.

Even as I write, I tremble with longing, with desire for Henry.

Ten days since we first met. It might have been this morning, so lively
and overwhelming is the recollection. I am impatient for his kisses, for
his blonde loveliness, for his whole self,--just as if we hadn't loved
and kissed scarce an hour ago.

"My horse, Lucretia. We'll go for a canter. I must have air and plenty
of it."

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _September 10, 1900_.

I must give some additional account of our first meeting at the court
ball. Ah, I was the hussy for fair! He couldn't help seeing the
impression he made upon me. My eyes must have reflected it in letters of
flame. I wish he were as bold as the _Duc_, who slept on a pillow
stuffed with the hair of his mistresses, past and present.

I never made such advances to any man. I was gone clean off my head.

When he reddened and when his left hand, resting on the hilt of his
sword, trembled, I became intoxicated.

And I danced with him, and I was angry with myself for lacking the
courage to say: "Feel my heart beat." My great-great-aunt and namesake,
Marie Antoinette, did and won the love of her life,--Fersen.

But we _fin de siècle_ women are cowards. All I said to him was: "I must
see you tonight. Arrange with Lucretia."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _September 30, 1900_.

Summer heat continues, but no country-seat for me! The town is a much
safer place for lovers, and old Countess Baranello keeps open house for
us all the year round. We meet daily. I persuaded Henry's colonel that
the lieutenant would never be a courtier unless he saw more of court
life and was relieved, to a certain extent, of duties on the drill
ground.

We see each other mornings or afternoons at the Countess's. The evenings
we spend at the theatre together, I in the box, he in the _fauteuil_
once sacred to Romano. Every Saturday afternoon we concoct the
repertoire for the week following, and he goes at once to secure tickets
for the various entertainments I intend to visit for his sake.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _October 1, 1900_.

I wish I had never loved any man before Henry. I wish he had known me as
an innocent girl. I wish I wasn't royal. Then I could get a divorce and
marry him, but now, if I got ten divorces, he would always be the
insignificant Baron, I the Princess of the Blood.

And I couldn't see my love humiliated!

As a talisman he wears on his chest a golden locket with my miniature.
In exchange he gave me a _Portebonheur_ with his picture and a few sweet
words.

So help me, God, I am in love with this man,--love him to the verge of
poetry. Indeed, I am writing silly verse in his honor, and later haven't
the courage to show it to him. _Par example_:

    I want you most, dear, when the sunset bright
      Makes of the hills a glorious funeral pyre,
    So die the love-light in your eyes, if die it must,
      And leave the wondrous, throbbing silence of the night.

Henry isn't very intellectual, I am afraid, but he is the finest
horseman in the world.

If I were Queen, I would barter a regiment to have him appointed my
Chief Master of Horse. Augustus of the three-hundred and fifty-two sold
one for his first night with Cosel.

I am racking my brains for a pretense to have him appointed to court
duty,--anything to give him the _entrée_ to my apartments. But he is far
too beautiful. The sanctimonious cats that envy me my happiness, that
look upon love as a crime, would at once combine to destroy him.

Well, we'll have to bear with the difficulties of the situation forced
upon us by these moral busy-bodies. As for me, I'll be thrice careful,
for if He was taken away from me, all the joy would go out of my life.



CHAPTER XLV

LOVE AND THE HAPPINESS IT CONVEYS

    My Grand Mistress suspects because I am so amiable--Pangs of
    jealousy--Every good-looking man pursued by women--A good story of
    my cousin, the Duchess Berri--We all go cycling together--The
    Vitzthums--Love making on the street--A mud bath.


    _December 15, 1900._

When one is in love and loved a-plenty, weeks and months roll by without
notice by the happy ones.

For my part I never thought there was so much happiness in the world as
I am experiencing since the beginning of September. But I have my
troubles, too. First, the Tisch. When a lady is well pleased by her
lover, then her eyes are bright, her cheeks glow, her lips smile; she
bears with her entourage; she is kind to her servants. The moment I
treated the Tisch as a human being, she began to suspect, and I am sure
she is eating her heart out fretting because God gave me both nuts and
teeth to crack them.

But I am qualifying as an expert deceiver, and my Grand Mistress won't
catch me in a hurry.

My other great trouble is: long separations from Henry, hours upon hours
in daytime, half the nights.

What is he doing when he is not with me? Of course he pretends to tell,
but I am not goose enough to suppose that he would incriminate himself
for the love of truth. He is hiding things from me, perhaps cheating me.
I have to arm myself with all the faith loving woman commands to
forestall occasional noisy out-breaks of jealousy.

Was there ever a good-looking man, women didn't try to capture and
seduce? Manly beauty is the red rag that enthralls and excites women and
renders them dishonest, though their honor doesn't lodge at the point
they designate as its _habitat_.

Sometimes, when in these jealous frenzies, I wish Henry had a face like
a Chinese kite, or like Riom, husband and lover of my ancestress, the
Duchess du Berri.

She was "_satisfied_" with him, but since her lady-in-waiting, too, was,
I might, after all, fare no better than Berri, if Henry was a toad, "his
skin spotted like a serpent's, oily like a negro's, changeable like a
chameleon, with a turned up nose and disproportionate mouth." Yet I
hardly believe that, like my cousin, I would say anent a rival: "Whoever
would not be satisfied with him, would be hard to please."

Alas, with women in love the extreme of ugliness counts as triumphantly
as the charms of Adonis. Ever since I read certain passages of Faust,
part II, Eduard von Hartmann's "Philosophy of the Unconscious," and
Lermontoff's "Hero of our Times," I am convinced that to love a man very
good-looking, or, on the contrary, a perfect horror, is no sinecure.

Fortunately Henry is almost penniless.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 2, 1901_.

Henry's sister married one of the numerous Vitzthums, of the family that
furnished the Saxon court with titled servants and _maîtresses en titre_
for the past several hundred years.

I immediately sent word to her ladyship, that having taken up bicycling,
I would be pleased to have her attend me on the wheel on the afternoon
following. The invitation was issued from the office of my Court
Marshal, which is controlled by the King's. Having thus secured
beforehand His Majesty's approval, possible criticism was nipped in the
bud. The bride asked permission to bring her husband.

"Granted. Order of dress: _mufti_."

This enabled us, myself and Henry, and the Count and Countess to ride
all over town, unrecognized by either officials or the public at large.

It was great fun, and I told the Vitzthums that I intended to wheel
every morning at nine, immediately after breakfast. Count Vitzthum is
Henry's colonel. Of course he granted both Henry and himself furlough
for the time set.

What happiness! Now I don't have to wait till afternoon and evening to
see my lover.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 10, 1901_.

I am so happy, I am growing careless.

The Vitzthums, profiting by the fact that they are but recently married,
prefer to travel in pairs, and always take the lead. Accordingly Henry
and myself, incog. as far as my future subjects go, are free to indulge
in occasional caresses and sweet nonsense-talk.

I was pouring honeyed words into Henry's ears the other morning when my
wheel skidded on the wet pavement, and before he, or I, could save me, I
was down on my back in the mud.

The fact that I was again _enceinte_, and the other fact that I was
covered with dirt, ought to have prompted me to return to the palace at
once, but how un-Louise-like the straight and sane course would have
been.

I allowed myself to be wiped off by Henry; then mounted my wheel anew
and raced after the Vitzthums.

Unfortunately, a reporter heard of the incident and, for the benefit of
his pocket, made a column out of it.

A few hours after the story appeared in the evening paper, the palace
was in an uproar. The King wasn't well enough to scold me, so he
delegated that pleasant duty to Prince George. His Royal Highness
promptly informed me that the "damned bicycling had to stop."



CHAPTER XLVI

FEARS FOR MY LOVE

    Some reflections on queens of old who punished recreant
    lovers--Henry was in debt and I gave him money--Indignities by which
    some of that money was earned--Husband accompanies me to
    Loschwitz--Reflections on Frederick Augustus's character.


    _January 15, 1901._

My love played the melancholy Dane for the last few days. His tenderness
seemed labored, his spirits under a cloud. Every smile I got had to be
coaxed from him.

"The end of my happiness," I thought; "some chit of a girl dethroned
me." And I cursed my birthday. "A kingdom for ten years off my age."

And my thoughts of thoughts travelled back to the times when royal
ladies had their rivals immured, as practiced by a Brandenburg princess
at the Kaiser's hunting box at Grünewald, or made a head shorter, like
Lady Jane Grey, who was far too pretty to please Elizabeth; or shot, as
elected by Queen Christina, _tribade_ and nymphomaniac both.

And the things Queen Bess did to her unfaithfuls and the crimes Mary
Stuart perpetrated to cheat Jeannie Bothwell out of her doughty Hepburn!

"If I were Queen," I thought, and I must have spoken aloud, for Henry
said: "You would make me a great lord, love, wouldn't you, give me the
best paying office at court, but that's small comfort to my creditors
today."

"It's creditors, mere creditors bothering you?" I almost shouted with
joy. This man was still mine. No one had succeeded in luring him away
from me. I threw myself upon him and nearly smothered him.

Filthy lucre, or the want of it, oppressing my boy. Money, miserable
money, caused me to doubt his very loyalty.

"How much?"

He stuttered and denied and swore it was all a mistake and that I had
misunderstood him. "As an army officer----"

"Don't talk like Frederick Augustus. It will give me the greatest
pleasure in the world to arrange your affairs, dearest."

I got him to name the sum after a while. What a pity I am not rich. As
Catharine sent her Orloffs and Potemkins and Zoritchs to the State
Treasury to help themselves as they saw fit, so I would gladly turn
fortunes over to Henry, never asking for an accounting.

But this Imperial Highness is wretchedly poor, like most royal women
not actually seated on the throne. I can't offer my paramour financial
independence, not even luxury, but, thank heaven, I saved up enough to
provide for his present needs, even if my treasury be drained to the
last twenty-mark piece, and I will have to cut short my charities for
the next quarter of a year. But he must not know these sordid details.

Some day I will be Queen. I will reimburse the poor and I will be a true
Catharine to Henry.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _January 16, 1901_.

I brought my mite to our rendezvous. Mostly in small bills and
twenty-mark pieces. If Henry knew that many of these were earned in the
right royal fashion of having them slipped down one's stocking by a
husband, too drunk to distinguish a royal palace from a dance-hall!

He told me honestly enough how he got into debt. "How can one lay by for
a rainy day when one hasn't got anything?"

I appreciate the play of words, for I am in the same predicament.

Only once has Henry touched a card, but he lost considerably in horse
deals, as most young army officers do.

His sister made a rich marriage, but he wouldn't discover himself to
her. If she asked money of her husband, there might be trouble, for
Vitzthum is not a liberal man.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _April 1, 1901_.

The children's health called for country air and I was quasi-forced to
retire to Loschwitz, though I have a thousand and one reasons for
remaining in Dresden. Frederick Augustus accompanies us. After the
strenuous city life (in Dresden!), he needs a change and a long rest
from drinking and carousing, he says boastingly.

Of course, while he is here, I dare not invite the Vitzthums. But as
soon as he is gone, they shall come for a couple of weeks, and their
presence will make Henry's possible.

It's dreadful the way I miss the sweet boy. I suffer like a dog, when
the longing seizes me, suffer both in heart and body. When I contemplate
his miniature, tears come into my eyes. I often cry for hours thinking
of him.

And to have to endure this great booby of a husband of mine day and
night, especially nights. It's almost more than I can bear.

The grossness of his egotism reminds me of the story told of King James,
whom the English got rid of in 1689.

The Dutch William, instead of waiting peacefully for the heritage of his
father-in-law, went to claim it before his death, and James, pressed on
all sides by enemies, decided upon flight.

One Sunday, in the month of December, his devotions over, he dismissed
all his servants and advised his last partisans to turn towards the
rising sun.

After which, he lay for an hour with his wife, the better to take leave
of her."

The very thing Frederick Augustus would do if war or revolution made us
fugitives.

I never realized the diversity in our natures as much as I do now, when
all my thoughts go out to another, when even connubial tendernesses seem
like whip-strokes.

The further our souls draw apart, the more disgusting this forced
intimacy, the prostitution under the marriage vow, which I detest and
abhor.

But what will I do? Shut my door to him? He would kick it in, or climb
through the window. It's easier to submit to the violation of my person
than to breaking of locks and furniture.



CHAPTER XLVII

LOVE'S INTERMEZZO

    Bernhardt takes advantage of my day-dreams--My husband's indolent
    _gaucherie_--Violent love-making--Ninon who loved families, not
    men--Does Bernhardt really love me?


    LOSCHWITZ, _April 10, 1901_.

Fortunately Bernhardt came for a few days to relieve the monotony of my
alcove life _par le droit du plus fort_.

Tall stories of dissipation, indiscipline, scandal, had preceded the
poor fellow. No doubt, his military superiors got orders to make his
life as unhappy as they possibly can, and he retaliates.

The Prince told me that, at last, he had succeeded arranging for an
audience with the King. His Majesty had denied himself to Bernhardt for
months past. He managed the coveted boon only by the intervention of
various high generals and the threat to appeal to the Kaiser.

The Royal House of Saxony, while compelled to recognize William as
War-Lord, doesn't court his interference, or attempted interference, in
matters military.

Flushed with this initial success and expecting lots of good things in
the future, Bernhardt was bent upon having a good time. He drank with
Frederick Augustus, made love to Lucretia and squeezed the chambermaids
on his floor to his heart's content.

To me he was the most gallant of cousins and, glad to contribute to the
happiness of the poor fellow, I gave him plenty of rope, perhaps too
much.

On the second day of his stay we had a very merry dinner, having
dispensed for the time with titled servants.

After dinner the three of us retired to the veranda. I was in a rocker,
showing perhaps more of my ankles than was absolutely necessary.
Frederick Augustus was smoking dreamily. Like an animal he likes to
sleep after he has gorged himself.

Bernhardt, with my permission, had thrown himself on a wicker lounge and
was absorbing cigarettes at a killing rate. I bantered him on his
laziness. But he only sighed.

"You wish that audience was past and forgotten," I asked.

"Pshaw, I'm thinking of something prettier than the King."

Remembering Bernhardt's chief weakness, I indulged in the old joke,
"_Cherchez la femme_."

Bernhardt replied, with another succession of groans, "You are right,
Louise; _parfaitement, cherchez la femme_."

"Egads," grunted Frederick Augustus, glad for an excuse to go to his
room, or play a game of pinochle with his aides, "egads, if you indulge
in intellectualities, I had better go. A full stomach and French
conversation--whew!"

The Tisch was in Dresden; _Fräulein_ von Schoenberg with the children,
Lucretia flirting somewhere at a neighboring country chalet. We were
alone on the remote terrace and it was getting dark. Bernhardt sat up
and looked at me with eyes of life-giving fire, but continued silent.

"You want me to think that you command the rays of the sun stolen by
Prometheus?"

He answered not, but sought to burn the skin of my neck and bosom by
those Prometheus rays.

Now, in the morning I got a note from Henry, and I had been thinking of
the dear boy every minute. I was longing for him; my heart, my senses
were crying for him.

I forgot Bernhardt; I forgot all around me. With my fancies focussed on
my lover, I leaned back in my armchair, gazing at the rising moon. My
word, at that moment I was lost to everything.

I half-awoke from my dream when I heard Bernhardt rise. A moment later I
felt his eyes prowling over my body. Then a shadow darkened my face and
Bernhardt said with a strange quaver in his voice:

"_Cherchez la femme._ You are the woman, Louise, you and none else."

And wild, forbidden kisses burned on my face, on my neck, on my breasts.
Both hands claimed a lover's liberties.

I was taken completely unawares; in my mind of minds I was in the
Countess's pavilion, receiving Henry's caresses. All sense of location
had vanished. And, thinking of my lover, I clasped both arms about
Bernhardt's neck and drew him to me. We kissed like mad. The love feast
for Henry became Bernhardt's in the twinkling of an eye.

Whether he felt like a thief, I don't know; for my part my senses
responded to Henry, not to his substitute.

How long this embrace lasted, I don't know. Somebody, or some noise,
caused us to separate.

I fled and locked myself in my room.

"Tell His Royal Highness he must excuse me. I can't see him before he
goes away. Say I have a headache, or the gout, I don't care which," I
commanded Lucretia next morning.

The previous night I had denied myself to Frederick Augustus, though he
entreated and raved.

While I appreciate the arch-Lais's _bon mot_ that "one can't judge of a
family by a single specimen," which made Ninon talk of her lovers _not_
as Coligny, Villarceau, Sévigné, Condé, d'Albret, etc., but as _les_
Rochefoucaults, _les_ d'Effiats, _les_ Condés, _les_ Sévignés, etc., I
was determined not to betray Henry by the whole House of Saxony in a
single twelve-hours.

I wonder whether this Bernhardt loves me? Perhaps, on his part, it was
the longing for the girl he adores, as, on mine, it was longing for
Henry that drew us together with electric force. And, of course,
environment had something to do with it: moon, opportunity, Frederick
Augustus's indolent _gaucherie_. Yes, why deny it, the good dinner we
had, the champagne.



CHAPTER XLVIII

GRAND MISTRESS TELLS HUSBAND I KEEP A DIARY

    He wants to see it, but seems unsuspecting--Grand Mistress denies
    that she meant mischief, but I upbraid her unmercifully--Threaten to
    dismiss her like a thieving lackey.


    LOSCHWITZ, _May 1, 1901_.

Frederick Augustus leaves tomorrow. Forever, I thought, when he put this
question to me:

"You are keeping a Diary, Louise?"

I was frightened dumb. I stared at him.

"What's the matter," he laughed. "I'm not going to eat you." He didn't
seem to be at all perturbed.

"How do you know I keep a Diary?" I stuttered.

Nonchalantly enough he made answer: "Your bag-of-bones Baroness told me.
Full of forbidden things, I suppose, since you regard it a state secret.
You often say that my education was sadly neglected. Maybe I can learn a
thing or two from your scribblings. Let's look 'm over."

By this time I had regained my composure. "Naturally," I said, "a Diary
records thoughts and things intended for the writer only, but if you
choose to be ungentlemanly enough to wish to peruse those pages more
sacred than private letters, I suppose I will have to submit."

Frederick Augustus changed the subject, but I felt instinctively that he
was disappointed. Someone had played on his curiosity, and to go
unsatisfied is not at all in this prince's line.

Of course, the someone was the Tisch, but how did she know? I will ask
her as soon as Frederick Augustus is gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _May 2, 1901_.

"Have you ever seen my Diary?" I asked the Tisch this morning.

"Never, Your Imperial Highness."

"Then how do you know I keep a Diary?"

"I surmised it because I saw Your Imperial Highness write repeatedly in
one and the same book." The hussy affected a humble tone, but the note
of triumph and hatred underlying the creature's meekness did not escape
me.

"And the mere surmise prompted you to blab to my husband, arouse his
suspicions?"

"For Heaven's sake," cried my Grand Mistress, "I had no idea that His
Royal Highness didn't know about the Diary. Secrets between the
Prince-Royal and Your Imperial Highness--how dare I pre-suppose such a
state of things? His Royal Highness casually asked how the Crown
Princess killed time in Loschwitz. I mentioned riding, driving,
bicycling, writing letters, writing in the Diary----"

My fingers itched to slap her lying face, Grand-Duchess of Tuscany
fashion, but I kept my temper.

"Listen to me," I said. "While you have secret instructions to play the
serpent in my household and to betray, for dirty money, your mistress of
the Blood Imperial, your duties as a spy are confined to my going and
coming, to my exterior conduct, to my visits outside the palace, to my
friendships, perhaps.

"They cannot possibly encompass my thoughts. And my Diary is the
repository of my thoughts--thoughts that must not be defiled by your
favor-seeking curiosity. Be warned. The next time you dare act the
burglar--I say _burglar_--I will kick you out of doors like a thieving
lackey."

She got as white as a sheet and hissed back: "Your Imperial Highness
can't dismiss me. Only His Majesty has power----"

I interrupted her with an imperious gesture.

"I said I will kick you out of doors like a thieving lackey," I
repeated, "and I will do so this moment if you say another word. Whether
or not His Majesty will punish me for the act, that's _my_ business. You
will be on the street and will stay on the street."

I pointed to the door: "I dismiss you now. You will keep to your room
for the rest of the day."

I saw the Tisch was near collapse.

"Your Imperial Highness deigns to insult a defenseless woman," she
breathed as she went out.

Defenseless! So is the viper that attacks one's heel! First these
"defenseless" creatures goad one to madness, then they appeal to our
_noblesse oblige_. The enmity between the Tisch and I is more intense
than ever.



CHAPTER XLIX

ARISTOCRATIC VISITORS

    I hear disquieting news about my lover's character--The aristocracy
    a dirty lot--Love-making made easy by titled friends--Anecdotes of
    Richelieu and the Duke of Orleans--The German nobleman who married
    Miss Wheeler and had to resign his birthright--The disreputable
    business the Pappenheims and other nobles used to be in--I am afraid
    to question my lover as to charges.


    LOSCHWITZ, _May 15, 1901_.

The Vitzthums have been visiting for a week. Henry lodges in the
village, but spends nearly all his time in the castle and grounds. We
play tennis, polo, ball; we drive, ride, go bicycling, we dine and sup
together.

I ought to be the happiest woman in the world, but a shadow dims the
ideal picture my mind's eye drew of the lover.

I have it recorded somewhere--I wish I hadn't, so I might doubt my
memory--that Henry told me he never borrowed from his sister. Countess
Vitzthum's confidences to me show that he did repeatedly, that, in fact,
he is forever trying to borrow.

"He is a spendthrift; he cannot be trusted," said his sister, who loves
him dearly. "He will wreck his career if he continues at the pace he is
going. Some day we may hear of him as a waiter or cab-driver in New
York."

These disclosures frightened me. I might forgive him the lie, but what
is he doing with the money?

Spending it on lewd women like Bernhardt, I suppose.

I said: "Oh," and Madame von Vitzthum seemed to catch its significance.
It occurred to her at once that she had said too much and she tried to
minimize her brother's delinquencies. But I know.

Maybe some of my money went to pay hotel expenses for----

       *       *       *       *       *

    _At Midnight._

My cousin Richelieu caused his mistresses to be painted in all sorts of
monastic garments and licentious devices, saying: "I have my saints and
martyrs; they are all that; but, as for virgins, there are none outside
of Paradise." Substitute _paillards_ for the holy ones and you have the
situation in a nutshell.

The Vitzthums are panderers. They always manage to leave me alone with
Henry. When we are a-wheel, they ride a mile ahead; while playing tennis
one or the other aims the ball, every little while, to enter the open
window of a summer-house, where my lover and I can exchange a few rapid
kisses. When we are driving, without coachman or groom, of course, they
always "feel like walking a bit," while Henry and I remain in the
carriage.

The same at the house, on the veranda. They are always _de trop_.
Vitzthum even sacrifices himself to the extent of paying court to the
Tisch and engaging her entire attention, if it must be. He reminds me of
a certain colonel of the French army during the Regency.

"_Monseigneur_," said this gentleman to my cousin d'Orleans, "permit me
to employ my regiment as a guard for my wife, and I swear to you that
nobody shall go near her but Your Highness."

Of course, it's very lovely of them, but rather emphasizes the poor
opinion I have of the nobility.

Your nobleman and noblewoman adopt all tones, all airs, all masks, all
allures, frank and false, flattering and brutal, choleric or mild,
virtuous or bawdy--anything as long as it makes for their profit. Some
months ago I met at the Dresden court the Dowager Countess Julie
Feodorowna of Pappenheim, who told everybody she could persuade to
listen that her eldest son, Max Albrecht, had to resign the succession,
because he married beneath him, an American heiress, Miss Wheeler of
Philadelphia.

"Then you despise money?" I queried with a malicious thought just
entering my head.

"Not exactly, Your Imperial Highness," she said, "but our house
laws----"

"Those funny house laws," I smiled, "you don't say they forbid a
Pappenheim to accept half a dozen millions from his wife, when, in days
gone by, the Counts of Pappenheim's chief income was the tax on harlotry
in Franconia and Swabia."

The Countess nearly dropped. "Don't be alarmed," I said. "See the
pompous looking man in the corner yonder? It's Count Henneberg. His
forbears held the fiefship of the Würzburg city brothel for many hundred
years. That's where the family fortune came from."

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _May 17, 1901_.

I am an ingrate. I bit the hand that fed me. Noble iniquity that yields
such delicious crumbs of love as Henry and I stole in moments of ecstasy
in park and parlor, in pavilion and veranda, on our drives and rides, be
blessed a hundred times. Ah, the harvest of little tendernesses, the
sweet words I caught on the wing--recompense for the weeks of abstinence
I suffered!

Occasionally only, very occasionally, I feel like questioning Henry as
to the lie he was guilty of. I quizzed his sister time and again about
his relations with women. She always gives me a knowing laugh; I wonder
whether she means to be impertinent, or is simply a silly goose.

I won't ask him. If he is innocent, as I sincerely hope, he will be
offended. If he is not, he will be ashamed of himself and will avoid me
in future. It's "innocent," you lose, and "guilty," you don't win.

And I love him. I want him, whether he lies to me or not.



CHAPTER L

TO LIVE UNDER KING'S AND PRINCE GEORGE'S EYE

    Abruptly ordered to the royal summer residence--The Vitzthums and
    Henry take flight--Enmeshed by Prince George's intrigues--Those
    waiting for a crown have no friends--What I will do when Queen--No
    wonder Kings of old married only relatives--Interesting facts about
    relative marriages furnished by scientist.


    LOSCHWITZ, _May 18, 1901_.

All-highest order to proceed to Pillnitz, the royal summer residence,
without delay--a command I cannot possibly evade. Conveyed in curt,
almost insulting terms--the Tisch's work, no doubt.

It came like lightning out of a blue sky, just when Henry and I had
planned some real love-making _à la_ Dresden.

The Vitzthums lost no time taking their leave when the scent of royal
disgrace was in the air, and, as if to emphasize the obscene office they
had assumed, they spirited Henry away ere we had time even to say
goodbye.

What a life I am leading with the ogre of the King's wrath forever
hanging over me; Prince George's intrigues, octopus-like, enmeshing me!

Ten years I have been Crown Princess of these realms. Three Princes and
a Princess I gave to Saxony. A fifth child is trembling in my womb, yet
every atom of happiness that falls to my lot is moulded into a strand of
the rope fastening 'round my neck.

I haven't a friend in the world. A most dangerous thing to be on good
terms with the heirs to the crown. Makes the temporary incumbent of the
bauble nervous, makes him jealous.

When I am Queen, I will have friends in plenty. But then I won't need
any. Immense wealth will be at my disposal. I will have offices to
distribute, titles, crosses and stars.

Instead of tolerating the serpents now coiling at my fireside ready to
spring at a word from their master, I will appoint to court offices
persons I love or esteem, at least.

Henry shall be my Chief Equerry; the Tisch will be dismissed in
disgrace--no pension.

But I am day-dreaming again. I started out to say that I had no friends.
Yet there's Bernhardt? Precisely--as long as I am his mistress.

Marie is dead, Melita expects to be divorced before the end of the year.
She will be a Russian Grand-Duchess, and the tedium of petty German
court life will know her no longer.

Aside from Lucretia, there isn't a man or woman at the Saxon court whom
I can trust, for our high functionaries are only lackeys having a
bathroom to themselves. In no other way do they differ from the servants
who are allowed one bathroom per twenty-four heads.

But the high aristocracy! Its men and women flatter us to get us into
leading strings, try to make us pawns on the political or social
chess-board. As a whole, they are a despicable lot.

No wonder kings of old married members of their own family exclusively,
even their sisters, _in re_ of which the learned Baron von Reitzenstein
told me many interesting details.

He copied especially from Egyptian records, but also from Armenian,
Babylonian and Persian, to wit:

Daranavausch married his niece, Phratunga.

His son and successor married his niece Artayanta.

Artaxerxes was also married to a niece of his.

Darius II and Parysatis married their sisters.

Kambyses married two of his sisters.

Artachschasa II married his two daughters; Kobad his daughter Sambyke.

Artaviraf, the founder of a great ancient religion, married no less than
seven of his sisters--because "there were no other women worthy of the
honor."

According to that, the aristocracy of old must have been as rotten as
that of our day.

Lucretia is the only person I trust, and they would have robbed me of
her services long ago if my marriage contract did not vest the power of
dismissal in me.

Unlike me, she can afford to defy the King's wrath.



CHAPTER LI

COLD RECEPTION--ENEMIES ALL AROUND

    Frederick Augustus gives his views on adultery--Doesn't care
    personally, but "the King knows"--"Thank God, the King is ill"--I am
    deprived of my children--Have I got the moral strength to defy my
    enemies?


    PILLNITZ, _May 20, 1901_.

I am undone. That malicious Tisch woman holds me in the hollow of her
hand.

I dropped into a sea of ice when I set foot in the castle. Long faces,
suspicious looks, frigidity everywhere. The King treats me like a
criminal. I wonder the guards don't refuse their _spiel_ at my coming
and going.

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _May 21, 1901_.

Frederick Augustus arrived. He doesn't say for how long, and acts the
icicle in the presence of others. At night he seeks his "rights," seeks
them brutally.

This afternoon he said to me:

"That you made me a cuckold isn't exactly killing me; this sort of thing
happened to better men than I, and--I was almost prepared for it. But to
hear it announced from the King's lips----"

Because His Majesty knows--Frederick Augustus raved and swore I had
dishonored him.

"If I wasn't a royal prince, I would be kicked out of the army," he
whined.

In short, adultery isn't so very reprehensible if the King doesn't know.

Late tonight profound disquietude at court. The King is ill.

Thank God, the audience I feared must be postponed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _May 22, 1901_.

It wasn't. His Majesty appointed Prince George his representative, and I
received a command to call on him at ten sharp.

I wrote on the Court Marshal's brutal invitation: "I refuse to see His
Royal Highness."

Ten minutes later the Tisch entered my apartment with a look of triumph
on her hateful face. She handed me a letter on a golden plate and
waited.

"Your Ladyship is dismissed," I snapped.

She didn't move: "I expect your Imperial Highness's commands with
respect to the royal children," she said. "May it please Your Imperial
Highness to read Prince George's letter."

I tore open the envelope. His Majesty's representative "graciously
permits me to see my children at nine in the morning and between five
and six in the afternoon. At no other time, and never unless Baroness
Tisch is in attendance."

I threw the letter on the floor and trampled on it. "Get out," I
commanded the Baroness. If she hadn't gone instantly, I believe I would
have choked her.

So I am deemed unworthy to mother the children I bore; and a spy is
officially appointed to watch my intercourse with the little ones lest I
corrupt them. No other inference was to be drawn from the measure.

"I will show them." But no sooner was the threat launched, than a great
fear clutched at my heart.

Was I in a position to defy them? To guard the purity of the royal
children "is the King's first duty towards his family." If he had proof
positive that I was an impure woman, there was no use quarrelling with
his decision. Besides, moral delinquencies engender more than physical
weakness. I felt my boasted energy ebbing away fast.

"I am without strength, unnerved, because Henry left me," I lied to
myself. The abandoned woman is either a tigress or a kitten. I happen to
be no tigress.



CHAPTER LII

PRINCE GEORGE REVEALS TO ME THE DEPTH OF HIS HATRED

    A terrible interview--"The devil will come to claim you"--Uncertain
    how much the King and Prince George know--I break into the nursery
    and stay with my children all day--Prince George insults me in my
    own rooms and threatens prison if I disobey him.


    PILLNITZ, _May 23, 1901_.

I caught Prince George in the park after laying in wait for him three
long hours.

"Why does Your Royal Highness forbid me to see my children?" I demanded,
every nerve aquiver.

"His Majesty's orders. He thinks you are not fit company for growing
children. You are leading a godless life."

"What does Your Royal Highness mean?"

"What I said. A godless life, such as you entered upon, is an invitation
to the devil. Sins are the devil's envoys. When you are black with sin,
the devil himself will come to claim you."

He dropped his theological lingo and continued: "My fine daughter-in-law
wants to be everybody's lady-love. If she had her sweet will, she would
ruin every young chap in the residence and the surrounding country."

He looked about him and, seeing we were unobserved, eased his bile in
this pretty epigram as rank as a serpent's saliva: "An adulterous wife,
that's what you are. Satan alone knows how many you seduced."

It was more than I could stand and I burst into tears. In moments like
this women always cry, but even if I hadn't felt like doing so, I would
have cried because George hates it.

"Prove to me, prove to the King that you are sorry for what you have
done, return to the path of righteousness, to God, and we will see about
the children," he whispered as he moved away.

"What does he know?" "How much have they found out?" I kept saying to
myself as I withdrew to my lonely apartments.

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _May 24, 1901_.

No answer to the questions in my last entry. The silent persecution
continues unabated. I am growing desperate.

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _May 25, 1901_.

This morning at eight-thirty I went to the nursery.

The Baroness tried to speak to me. I held up my hand. "Not a word from
you, or something terrible will happen."

_Fräulein_ von Schoenberg, who is really a sweet girl, offered some
respectful advice. I begged her to be silent. If the door had been
locked I would have forced it with the dagger I carried in my bosom.

Lucretia came and whispered. "I have decided to stay, and stay I will.
Let them do their worst if they dare," I told her.

I changed the children's _curriculum_. "You can drive every day; you
can't have mother every day. Let's have some games."

I remained in the nursery till all the children were asleep. They
partook of the breakfast, lunch and dinner I ordered for myself. A great
treat for them. We were very happy.

But I waited in vain for interference. Nothing happened to clear the
situation. Those questions were still unanswered when I returned to my
apartments.

I had just sat down to read the evening papers, when Prince George
entered unannounced.

"If ever again you dare disobey my commands"--he shouted without
preliminaries.

I cut him short: "Are the children yours or mine?"

"They belong to Saxony, to the Royal House," he bawled, and poured
forth a torrent of abuse without giving me a chance to put in a word.
"You shall be disciplined to the last extremity. We will imprison you in
some lonely tower, without state or attendants. You shall not see your
children from one year's end to the other."

"Prison for the Crown Princess? Would you dare, Prince George?"

"At the Tower of Nossen rooms are in readiness for your Imperial
Highness," sneered my father-in-law as he walked out.

Nossen! A ruined country-house, flanked by a mediæval tower in the midst
of swamps. The nearest habitation miles away. Neither railway nor
post-office, neither telegraph nor telephone--just the place to bury one
alive. And I only thirty-one.

Augustus the Physical Strong imprisoned Countess Cosel at Nossen six
months before he sent her to her prison-grave in Stolpen. After Cosel's
departure, another royal mistress was lodged in Nossen, and as she would
neither commit suicide, nor succumb to the fever, they starved her to
death. And it all happened in the eighteenth century.

The word Nossen sent cold shivers down my spine. I am sure I won't sleep
a wink.



CHAPTER LIII

REVOLVER IN HAND, I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION

    An insolent Grand Mistress, but of wonderful courage--Imprisonment,
    threats to kill have no effect on her--Disregards my titles--My
    lover's souvenir and endearing words--How she caused Henry to leave
    me--My paroxysms of rage--Henry's complete betrayal of me.


    PILLNITZ, _May 26, 1901_.

This morning I awoke a mental and physical wreck, but determined to
solve those vexatious questions: "What do the King and Prince George
know?" "What have they found out?"

I slipped on a dressing-gown, fetched my small revolver from its
hiding-place in the boudoir and rang for the Tisch.

I received her politely enough. I was quiet, cold, calculating. She gave
a start as she observed my stony countenance.

"Baroness," I said, motioning her to come nearer, "explain the attitude
assumed by His Majesty, Prince George and the rest."

She shrugged her shoulders.

"I want to know. Do you hear, Grand Mistress? I command you to speak," I
cried.

A sneer of contempt hovered about her lips. She is a viper, this woman,
but has the courage of the rattle-snake in action.

I turned the keys in the several doors and threw them under the bed.
From under the pillow I drew my revolver.

I showed her the weapon and calmly announced, accentuating each word:
"You won't leave this room alive until the question I put to you is
answered to my satisfaction. I want the whole truth. You needn't excuse
your own part in the business. As Henri _Quatre_ said to the lover of
Diane de Poitiers, secreted under her bed, as he threw him half a cold
bird: 'We all want to live, some honestly, some dishonestly.' You choose
the dishonest road. Be it so.

"But I want you to state what you accuse me of. Hurry," I added
menacingly.

The Tisch was unmoved. Either she thinks me a horrible dastard or is
brave to madness. She looked at me fearlessly and smiled. She seemed to
enjoy my rage.

"Answer or I will shoot you like the dog you are."

And then her cold and fearless voice rang out: "Put your revolver away.
I am not afraid to tell you, and that thing might go off. Is it
possible," she continued sarcastically, "you have to ask?"

This woman dared to address me "you." "Tisch," I thundered, "my title
reads Your Imperial Highness."

Another contemptuous smile curled her thin lips as she answered
insolently: "At your commands. But if you want me to talk, put away the
weapon. I won't open my head while threatened."

I threw the revolver into a drawer of my chiffonier and the Tisch
approached me. "Do you know this?" she hissed, whipping from her desert
bosom the golden _Portebonheur_, Henry's present.

I had missed it for two days. Fear seized my throat.

"Do you know this?" repeated the Tisch, pushing the button and
disclosing Henry's miniature with the legend "To my sweetest Louise."

"Where did you get it?" I asked, half-dead with shame and fear.

"Never mind. It's the last piece of evidence that fell into my hands.
The real facts I have known for a long while."

"And sold that knowledge?"

"I did my duty."

"Report, then."

And she told the story of her infamy--or mine?

My true relations with Henry were discovered by her at Loschwitz. He is
a distant relative of hers and she an intimate friend of his mother.
Hence she took care not to compromise the young man. The entire blame
was put on me.

"Her Imperial Highness is indulging in a dangerous flirtation with Baron
Bergen," she advised the King. "They must be separated at once lest that
exemplary young man fall victim to her seductive wiles. I beseech Your
Majesty to order the Crown Princess to Pillnitz and put a stop to her
most reprehensible conduct."

Hence the royal command to proceed to Pillnitz without a moment's delay.
"The King and Prince George deem your honor unsafe unless you are under
their watchful eyes," she had the effrontery to tell me.

She drew a key from her pocket and opened one of the bedroom doors.

With her hand on the knob, she said, bowing formally:

"By Your Imperial Highness's leave, I will keep the _Portebonheur_ to
use in case you are ever tempted again 'to throw me out of doors like a
thieving lackey!'"

A low bow, a sarcastic smile,--my executioner was gone. And I broke some
priceless bric-a-brac, stamped my foot on the pearl necklace Frederick
Augustus had given me, tore three or four lace handkerchiefs and stuffed
the rags in my mouth to prevent me from crying aloud.

       *       *       *       *       *

    PILLNITZ, _May 27, 1901_.

Lucretia finished the Tisch's report. The good soul hadn't had the
courage to tell me before, but now that the Grand Mistress had spoken,
considerations of delicacy no longer stood in the way.

What a judge of character I am, to be sure: Henry, whom I raised from
obscurity, whom I befriended, loved, advanced, rescued from the hands of
usurers--a traitor, pshaw, worse,--I cannot write down the word, but
it's in my mind.

Henry, who hadn't the time to take leave from me, devoted an hour to the
Tisch before he went away with the Vitzthums.

He told her all and gave her his word of honor--the honor of a man who
accepted money from the woman weak enough to love him--that, first, he
would never see me again of his own accord and would reject both my
entreaties and commands; secondly, that he would petition to be
transferred to a distant garrison to be out of the path of temptation;
thirdly, that he would burn my letters.

The Tisch, on her part, promised to tell the King only half the
truth--not for my sake, of course, but to shield her dear, seduced young
relative.



CHAPTER LIV

FORCED TO DO PENANCE LIKE A TRAPPIST MONK

    "By the King's orders"--I submit for the sake of my children--Must
    fast as well as pray--In delicate health, I insist upon returning to
    Dresden--Bernhardt, to avoid being maltreated by King, threatens him
    with his sword--The King's awful wrath--Bernhardt prisoner in
    Nossen--I escape, temporarily, protracted _ennui_.


    PILLNITZ, _May 28, 1901_.

Though I am in delicate health, the King, having recovered from his
illness, commanded me to do penance,--almost public penance.

Fast and pray, pray and fast is the order of the day for the next two
weeks.

I arise every morning at five. At six a closed carriage takes me to a
distant nunnery of the Ursulines, a good hour's travel. I am forced to
attend mass, which also lasts an hour. Then a half-hour's sermon,
dealing with fire and brimstone, hell and damnation.

When that's over the Mother Superior kindly asks me to her cell and
lectures me for an hour on the duties of a wife and mother, and on the
terrors that follow in the wake of adultery.

(I wonder where she gets her wisdom. She isn't married, she isn't
supposed to have children, and she ought to know that the founder of her
religion was most kind to the adulteress.)

Then back to Pillnitz and breakfast, for it's the King's express command
that I worship on an empty stomach; some Jesuit told George my sins
would never be forgiven unless the torture of the fast was added to that
of early rising, travel, prostration before the altar and listening to
pious palaver.

I stand it for my children's sake. They will be returned to me after I
did penance full score. My only satisfaction: I compel the Tisch to
attend me on my trips, and make her sit on the back seat of the
carriage. I know this turns her stomach and watch her twitching face
with devilish glee.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 15, 1901_.

With the authority of the pregnant woman I demanded that I be allowed to
return to town.

"If compelled to see Prince George and the rest of my enemies daily, my
child will be mal-formed, or I will suffer an _avortement_," I told the
King.

They let me go and I am breathing more freely. I still wear the chain
and ball, but they don't cut into my flesh as in Pillnitz.

Yesterday I learned that Bernhardt was in Dresden, and sent for him. He
came in company of two army officers who remained in the anteroom.

"I am a prisoner," he said resignedly, "those fellows outside will
conduct me to Nossen."

The audience granted him several months ago took place only after my
departure from the summer residence, and developed into a fearful scene.

"His Majesty," said Bernhardt, "was in a rage when I entered. 'State
what you have to say,' said the King, 'and be brief.'

"'If Your Majesty will graciously permit me to reside in Dresden, I will
promise to lead a life in accordance with Your Majesty's intentions and
will obey your slightest wish.'

"'What?' cried the King, 'You dare name conditions for your good
conduct?'"

Bernhardt denied any intention to impose conditions, but begged to
submit to His Majesty that he couldn't exist in those small garrisons.
If in Dresden, it would come easier to him to turn over a new leaf.

"Sure, all you young rakes want to live in the capital," sneered the
King, "because it's easy in a big town to hide one's delinquencies."

"Your Majesty," cried Bernhardt, "if I ever did a reprehensible thing,
it was forced upon me by intolerable conditions."

The King grew white with rage.

"No excuses," he thundered. "You are a rip and ugly customer and you
will stay in the garrison I designated."

Even before the King had finished, Bernhardt interrupted him with a
fierce: "Don't you call me names, Majesty. I won't stand for that."

"Won't stand for anything that I think proper to mete out to you,
rascal? I will make you." The King had risen and was about to box
Bernhardt's ears.

Bernhardt jumped back two paces and shouted like mad: "Don't you dare
touch me. I will defend my honor sword in hand, even if I have to shoot
myself on the spot."

For several seconds the King stood speechless, then he reached out his
hand and touched an electric button. Marshal Count Vitzthum responded.

"Take him," said the King hoarsely--"he is your prisoner."

Bernhardt drew his sword and threw it at the King's feet. He was
conducted to a room, and sentinels were posted outside his door and
under his windows. Presently the telephone called together a council of
war and it was decided that Bernhardt go to Nossen during the King's
pleasure, or rather displeasure.

"The army officers that act as my guards are not allowed to speak to
me," said Bernhardt, "and the garrison in Nossen will likewise be
muzzled." He laughed as he added: "I suppose I shall have to make
friends with the spirits of the great Augustus's mistresses haunting the
old burg. They were gay ones! If the King remembered that, he would send
me to the Trappists rather than to Nossen."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 1, 1901_.

I never dreamt that science would come to my rescue, but a clever woman
has more than one trick up her sleeve. On a visit to a book store I
happened to see a new publication on the Hygienics of Pregnancy and had
it sent to the palace.

Last night, when nearly dead with _ennui_, I turned over the leaves of
the volume and came across an article advising women in my condition to
seek plenty of merry company. My mind was made up at once.

First thing in the morning I sent for the Court Physician, and with many
a sigh and groan gave him to understand that I feared to have melancholy
if I continued the monotonous life I was leading.

I happened to strike one of the doctor's pet theories, and he recited
whole pages from the book I had been reading. Then he asked me a hundred
questions, and rest assured that my answers were in accordance with my
wishes.

"I will have the honor to report to His Majesty at once," said the
Councillor at the end of the examination, "that some diversion is
imperative in Your Imperial Highness's case. Would Your Imperial
Highness be pleased to visit the theatre or the Opera if the King
approves?"

The King did approve, and the Crown Princess of Saxony is once more
permitted the privilege of _Frau_ Schmidt and _Frau_ Müller; namely, to
go to the theatre when she feels like it.

[Illustration: THE LATE KING GEORGE OF SAXONY

Louise's Father-in-Law]



CHAPTER LV

FRANCIS JOSEPH JOINS MY SAXON ENEMIES

    Cuts me dead before whole family--Everybody talks over my head at
    dinner--I refuse to attend more court festivities--Husband protests
    because I won't stand for insult from Emperor--I give rein to my
    contempt for his family--Hypocrites, despoilers, gamblers, religious
    maniacs, brutes--Benign lords to the people, tyrants at home--I cry
    for my children like a she-dog whose young were drowned.


    DRESDEN, _November 2, 1901_.

Great family concourse to look my new baby over, dear Marie Alix, born
at Wachwitz, September 27.

Emperor Francis Joseph was first to arrive, the Majesty who is forever
posing as the family's good genius, as upholder of peace and amity among
his countless cousins and nieces, and the many uncles and aunts and
other relatives of his grand-children.

Behold how he lived up to this reputation!

I had been commanded to attend the reception in the Queen's _salon_, and
made my bow to him. He bowed all around, looking at each present, but
managed to overlook me.

Then he commenced a long and weary conversation with the Queen, at
whose elbow I sat, and when his stock of platitudes was exhausted,
turned to fat Mathilde, congratulating her on the possession of the
_Stern Kreuz_ decoration, an Austrian order which I likewise wore at my
corsage. It was none other than the late Empress Elizabeth who pinned it
on me.

Presently dinner was announced. The Emperor took in Her Majesty, the
King, _nolens, volens_, had to conduct me, but gave me neither word nor
look. Nor did the others. I couldn't have been more isolated on a desert
island, than at this royal board.

They talked and cracked their silly jokes, and paid compliments to each
other and were careful not to let their tongues run away with their
intriguing minds, but all went above my head. No one spoke to me but the
lackeys: "If it please Your Imperial Highness----"

Frederick Augustus tore into my bedroom some little time after I had
retired. Picture of the offended gentleman, if you please. I got no more
than I deserve, but it "reflected on him, h-i-m, HIM." Though it was a
"family dinner," he, the Crown Prince of Saxony, was "publicly"
disgraced. The Emperor had treated the Crown Princess as air. He had not
deigned to address a single word to her. The Crown Princess was a
trollop in the Imperial eyes--it was enough to drive the Crown Prince to
drink.

"Drink yourself to death then," I shrieked.

During the night I speculated what to do: ask a private audience of the
Emperor, state my side of the case and beg his forgiveness and
protection, beg, especially, for better treatment at his hands?

And if he refused?

Francis Joseph is a good deal of a Jesuit. When he hates, he never lets
it come to a break; when he loves, he never attaches himself.

If I stooped to humiliate myself, he might choose to debase me still
more. It was entirely probable that he would betray my confidences to
the King and Prince George.

I will defy him and--all of them!

"Her Imperial Highness regrets----" my Court Marshal wrote in answer to
all invitations or rather "commands" for the next three days. When I
refused to participate in the "grand leave-taking," Frederick Augustus
came post-haste to expostulate with me.

"You must. It would be an affront without precedent."

"Take leave of a man who didn't say good-day to me on his arrival, and
who probably intends to slight me in similar fashion on going away----"

In lieu of argument the Prince Royal abused me like a pick-pocket; I had
waited for it and now I let loose.

"You are like the rest of your family," I shouted: "ignorant,
thoughtless, brutal _en venerie_, sanctimonious in dotage. I know few
people for whom I have so great a detestation as for the Royal Saxons.
Look at your father, there is no more jesuitical a Jesuit, the inward
man as hideous as the outward. He would be an insolent lackey, if he
didn't happen to be a prince.

"And Johann George--a shameless inheritance-chaser, despoiler of
pupillary funds, gambler at the _bourse_, who whines like a whipped dog
when he loses.

"The royal Bernhardt, companion of street-walkers!

"Prince Max, who talks theology, but keeps his eye on Therese.

"Your Queen, a victim of religious madness, your King and his
system--organized selfishness. Chicanery for those dependent upon him,
ruin for all more gifted than the average Wettiner.

"While living here I have learned to look upon my father's discrowning
as a stroke of good luck for, since kings can no longer indulge their
brutalities against their subjects, they turned tyrants at home.

"If your father did to the humblest of his subjects what he did to me,
he would be chased from home and country. The people, the parliament,
his own creatures would rise against him and blot his name from the
royal roster.

"In the palace, in boudoirs, in the nurseries, he plays the
prince--extortioner--executioner. To the public he is the benign lord,
whining for paltry huzzas."

Frederick Augustus was so dumfounded, he could only grind his teeth.

I continued: "You prate of respect due the Majesty. There's nothing to
induce feelings of that sort. Round me there is naught but weakness,
hypocrisy, pettiness. I see shame and thievery stalking side by side in
these gilded halls--gilded for show, but pregnant with woe.

"Fie on you, Prince Royal, who allows his wife to be dogged by spies.
Thieves, paid by your father, steal my souvenirs; a burglar's kit hidden
in their clothes, they besiege my writing table. Jailers stand between
me and my children.

"My children!

"Like a she-dog,[7] whose young were drowned, I cry for my babies--I,
the Crown Princess of Saxony, who saved your family from dying out, a
degenerate, depraved, demoralized, decadent race."

When I had said this and more I fell down and was seized by crying
convulsions.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 7: Queens seem to like this unseemly comparison:

"Am I a kennel-dog in the estimation of the Bastard of England?" cried
Mary of Scots, when Queen Elizabeth refused her safe-conduct through
England upon her departure from France (Summer 1561).]



CHAPTER LVI

I AM DETERMINED TO DO AS I PLEASE

    I reject mother's tearful reproaches--I beard Prince George in his
    lair despite whining chamberlains--I tell him what I think of him,
    and he becomes frightened--Threatens madhouse--"I dare you to steal
    my children"--I win my point--and the children--"Her Imperial
    Highness regrets"--Lots of forbidden literature--Precautions against
    intriguing Grand Mistress--The affair with Henry--was it a
    flower-covered pit to entrap me?--Castle Stolpen and some of its
    awful history.


    DRESDEN, _November 5, 1901_.

Patience ceased to be a virtue. Tolerance would be a crime against
myself. I am determined to do as I please in future. If it upsets the
King's, Prince George's and the rest's delicate digestion, so much the
better.

The newspapers are hinting about my troubles with Prince George and the
King. When I go driving or appear at the theatre, the public shows its
sympathy in many ways. Sometimes I am acclaimed to the echo.

Mamma wrote me a tearful letter. She spent six hours in prayers for
"sinful Louise" and sends me the fruits of her meditations: six pages of
close script, advising me how to regain the King's and Prince George's
favor.

Never before have I failed in outward respect to my mother, but this
time I wrote to her: "Pray attend to your own affairs. Don't meddle in
mine which you are entirely unable to understand."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 6, 1901_.

Bernhardt was sent to Sonnenstein. Whether he became insane at Nossen,
or whether it is the family's intention to drive him mad among the
madmen of Sonnenstein, I don't know, but it behooves me to be careful.

Sonnenstein has accommodation for both sexes.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _November 15, 1901_.

I sent a letter to the King, asking him to have Loschwitz Castle
prepared for my reception. His Majesty didn't deign to answer, but
Prince George commanded me in writing to stay at Dresden "under his
watchful eye."

I immediately proceeded to his apartments in my morning undress, without
hat, gloves or wrap. As I rushed through the anteroom, Adjutant von
Metsch begged me with up-lifted hands not to force His Royal Highness's
door, Prince George being too ill to receive me, etc., etc. I paid no
attention to his mournful whinings. At that moment I had courage enough
to stock a regiment.

"So you won't allow me to go to Loschwitz," I addressed George as I
suddenly bobbed up at the side of his desk.

My father-in-law looked at me as if I were a spook, emerged from a
locked closet.

"Who let you in?" he managed to say after a while.

"I didn't come here to answer questions," I replied. "I came to announce
that if you don't let me go to Loschwitz, there will be a scandal that
will resound all over Christendom and make you impossible in your own
capital."

"Why do you want to leave Dresden?" he insisted.

"Because I want to be alone. Because I am tired of hateful faces.
Because I refuse to accept orders and insults from people that are
beneath an Imperial Princess of Austria."

Prince George turned pale.

"Am I one of those beneath Your Imperial Highness?" he queried stupidly.

"Decidedly so."

A long pause. Then Prince George shouted: "To the devil with you. I
don't care whether you stay in Loschwitz, or Dresden, or on the
Vogelwiese."

The Vogelwiese is an amusement park, respectable enough, but the word or
name, as used by George, reeked with sinister and insulting meaning.

Trembling with rage, I replied: "Right royal language you royal Saxons
use. From time to time, I suppose, you refresh your fish-wife
vocabulary in the annals of Augustus the Physical Strong, than whom a
more gross word-slinger did not walk the history of the eighteenth
century."

I believe Prince George was frightened by my violence. Assuming a
haughty tone he said formally: "Your Imperial Highness is at liberty to
travel whenever you please, but you will be so good as to leave your
children in Dresden."

I stepped up to the white-livered coward and hissed in his face: "Steal
my children if you dare, and I will go to France, or Switzerland and ask
a republican President to interfere for humanity's sake."

"And--land yourself in an insane asylum," sneered George.

"An old trick of the Royal House of Saxony, I know," I shouted back.
"Bernhardt is saner than you, yet the King sent him to Sonnenstein. If
such a crime had been perpetrated by one not a king, he would go to
jail."

Prince George pointed a trembling finger towards the door. "Out with
you!" he bawled hoarsely. "Out!"

I stood my ground. "May I take my children? Yes or no?"

He rang the bell and repeated mechanically: "Out with you, out!"

I had another fit of crying convulsions. Doctors, maids and lackeys were
summoned in numbers. They bedded me on the couch and six men-servants
carried me to my apartments.

Two days later I went to Loschwitz with my children.

I had defied the King. Prince George was humbled. I carried my point,
and the Dresden court will not see me again in a hurry.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _Christmas, 1901_.

I refused to spend Christmas at Court. Frederick Augustus planned a stay
of a couple of weeks. "Not a single night," I wrote back.

They parleyed; they begged. "The Crown Prince desires to spend Christmas
with the children. In the interests of public opinion, it's absolutely
necessary that he does."

"But not--that I submit to prostitution. I will give him a dinner, but
he will drive back to Dresden immediately afterwards."

Frederick Augustus brought numerous presents for me. "You may place them
under the Christmas tree," I ordered the Tisch.

"Oh, Your Imperial Highness, look," cried the Tisch, holding up
something or other.

I turned my back on her and looked out of the window. I never went near
my end of the Christmas table. "You will send the things brought by His
Royal Highness to the bazaar for crippled children," I told the House
Marshal. "They shall be sold for the benefit of the poor."

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _January 1, 1902_.

"Her Imperial Highness regrets."

I refused the invitations to today's family dinner; the grand reception,
_Te Deum_ and parade. "Unprecedented affront!" What do I care!

I have eighteen horses, half-a-dozen carriages, I drive, I ride, I hunt,
I give the Tisch palpitation daily by the literature I affect: _Zola_,
_Flaubert_, _M'lle Paul_, _Ma Femme_, _M'lle de Maupin_, _Casanova_,
_M'me Bovary_. And the periodicals I subscribed for! _Simplicissimus_,
Harden's _Zukunft_, all the _double entendre_ weeklies and monthlies of
Paris. May Prince George and Mathilde burst with rage and envy when they
hear of my excursions in the realms of the literary Satans.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _January 15, 1902_.

The Tisch is beginning to treat me like a person irresponsible for her
doings. Sonnenstein is looming up anew. But I am going to fool her. As I
will hold no more speech with her, there will be no occasion for turning
my own words against me.

If I have to give a command, or answer a question, I ask Lucretia or
_Fräulein_ von Schoenberg to convey my orders.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _March 20, 1902_.

An uneventful winter is drawing to a close. By banishing myself to this
quiet place I raised a barrier against quarrels, against harsh orders,
against humiliations. And the barrier also shuts out: love, happiness.

Sometimes, when the Tisch's hateful mouth spouts honeyed platitudes, I
ask myself whether the affair with Henry wasn't, after all, a
flower-covered pit dug for me by my enemies.

It was the Tisch who had Henry appointed _Vortänzer_.

Maybe, knowing my inflammable heart, she offered the tempting bait
solely to the end of getting me into her power?

Far from impossible.

I curse the day when I entered Dresden, joined this court and family.

       *       *       *       *       *

    LOSCHWITZ, _May 15, 1902_.

Royal command to join the court at Pillnitz June 1. The King, who has
been ailing for some time, is anxious to be reunited with the children,
and, as a necessary evil, I must go along.

I replied that I would prefer Nossen, or even Stolpen, if it pleases His
Majesty.

Castle Stolpen is an old-time stronghold of the bishops of Meissen, and
its very ruins are pregnant with reminiscences of a barbaric age. The
apartments once occupied by the Countess Cosel, as a prison first, as a
residence after the death of Augustus, might be made habitable even now.
Exceedingly interesting are the old-time torture chambers and the
subterranean living rooms of the "sworn torturer" and the dogs,
man-shaped, that served him.

Sanct. Donatus Tower, a wing of the great, black pile, was the ancient
_habitat_ of these worthies, and the torture chamber, still extant, is a
hall almost as big as the Dresden throne-room. In an inscription hewn in
the basalt, the sovereign bishop, Johannes VI, poses as builder and
seems proud of the damnable fact. Other princes of the Church let us
know in high-sounding Latin script that they created the "Monk hole" and
the "stairless prison" respectively.

The latter is a vast subterranean vault, never reached by sunshine or
light of any kind. Its victims were made to descend some twenty feet
below the surface of the earth on a ladder. When near the bottom, the
ladder was pulled up and--stayed up. The prisoners were fed once every
twenty-four hours, when a leather water pouch and some pounds of black
bread were sent down on a rope.

Of course only the strongest got a morsel, or a drink of water. The
others died of starvation and the survivors lived only until there were
new arrivals, stronger than themselves. The dead bodies were never
removed, and horrible stories of necrophily smudge the records of this
awful prison and cover its princely keepers with infamy.

The "Monk's hole" was called officially "Obey Your Judge." It is a sort
of chimney, just large enough to take the body of a man.

When a monk or other prisoner refused to confess, he was let down into
the hole in the wall to starve, while tempting dishes, meat, wine and
bread, were dangled over his head, almost within reach of his hands.

Of course, after enduring this torture for several days, the delinquent
was glad enough to "Obey His Judge."

By offering to go to this abode of horror and to take the place of
Cosel, I meant to show my utter contempt for the royal favor
vouchsafed.



CHAPTER LVII

I CONFESS TO PAPA

    King Albert dies and King George a very sick man--Papa's good
    advice--"You will be Queen soon"--A lovely old man, very much
    troubled.


    CASTLE SIBYLLENORT, _June 19, 1902_.

King Albert is dead. George is King, and may God have mercy upon my
soul.

Of course the demise of His Majesty changed all my plans of defiance and
otherwise. I am once more an official person, even an important one, for
the new King can't last long. He is a very sick man, in fact. Perhaps
that is the reason why he wants to hear himself addressed "Your Majesty"
all the time. Petty souls like to be called "great."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 21, 1902_.

I intended to return at once to Loschwitz, but the King, hearing of my
intention and not wishing to provoke another scene, invited my father to
come to Dresden "in the interests of his daughter."

The same evening I received a wire from papa, saying that he would be in
Dresden within twenty-four hours.

My own arrival in the capital was kept secret by the King's order, but
next afternoon, when I drove to the station to welcome my father, I got
my reception just the same. The people wildly cheered their Crown
Princess and thousands of sympathizing eyes followed me from the palace
to the depot.

I was almost overcome by so much sympathy and when at last I saw father,
I threw myself on his neck, crying aloud.

The King was standing by, impatiently waiting to conduct his grand-ducal
guest before the guard of honor had drawn up. "Later, later," whispered
papa, patting me on the cheek.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _June 22, 1902_.

I had an hour's talk with father. I bared my heart to him. I reported my
own faults along with those of the others.

Papa understands me. He sympathizes with me, but help me he cannot.

"These are only passing shadows," he said. "Look boldly into the future.
You will soon be Queen."

And he told me of his financial difficulties and of the misfortune of
being a sovereign lord without either land or money.

"The Emperor ordered me to scold you hard," he continued, "and mamma
wants me to be very severe. As to King George, he said he would thank
God if I succeeded in breaking your rebellious spirit. 'If you don't, I
will,' added his Majesty."

Then father kissed me more lovingly than ever and asked, half
apologetically: "Is it true, Louise, that you had a lover?"

"I thought I had one, but he was unworthy of me," I replied without
shame.

My confession seemed to frighten him.

"It's sad, sad," he said. "Royal blood is dangerous juice. It brought
Mary of Scots to the scaffold; it caused your great-aunt Marie
Antoinette to lose her head, only to save the old monarchies a few years
later, when we inveigled the enemy of legitimate kingship into a
marriage with another of your relatives. But for Marie, Louise, the
descendants of the Corsican might still sit on a dozen thrones."

Father forgot his daughter's disgrace when he mounted this historic
hobby-horse and, needless to say, I did not recall the original text.

Only when, three days later, he took leave of me, holding my head long
between his two trembling hands and kissing me again and again, I felt
that the poor, old man's heart was oppressed with shame and torn by
fears.



CHAPTER LVIII

MONSIEUR GIRON--RICHARD, THE ARTIST

    The King asks me to superintend lessons by M. Giron--A most
    fascinating man--His Grecian eyes--He is a painter as well as a
    teacher--In love--Careless whether I am caught in my lover's
    arms--"Richard" talks anarchy to me--Why I don't believe in woman
    suffrage--Characters and doings of women in power.


    DRESDEN, _July 1, 1902_.

King George is determined I shall stay in Dresden to end the newspaper
talk about trouble in the bosom of the royal family.

He engaged a new head-tutor for my little brood. Monsieur Giron, a
Belgian of good family.

"I would be pleased if you attended the children's lessons and reported
to me on the method of the new man," he said. "You are so intellectual,
Louise, you will find out quickly if M. Giron is not what he is
represented to be."

I promised, for, after all, I owed so much to the King and my children.

Alas, it was fate!

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 1, After Midnight_.

He is tall, well made, and his wild, Grecian eyes fascinate me. He is
conscious of self, but modest. His voice is sweet and sonorous, his eyes
are bright with intellect. Speaking eyes!

I asked him to visit my apartments at the conclusion of school hours. He
told me he was a painter as well as a teacher of languages.

"Would you like to paint me?"

"I am dying for a chance to reproduce your loveliness as far as my poor
art permits."

He told me he had a studio in town, where he is known under his artist's
_pseudonyme_, Richard.

"How romantic! I'd like to see it," I said impulsively.

"Several ladies and gentlemen of society sat for portraits at my studio
here and at home."

In short we arranged that he paint my picture and that I should go to
his studio, where the light is excellent.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _July 15, 1902_.

I am happy once more. Those hours at Richard's studio are the sweetest
of my life.

Lucretia acts the protecting angel as usual. Richard calls her Justice
because she is "blind." When she is along, I drive boldly up to the
door in one of the court carriages. Sometimes, when I can sneak out of
the palace for a little while unobserved, I go alone in a cab.

How long this sort of thing can go on without discovery, I know not. As
to what will happen afterwards, I care not.

If I was told that tomorrow I would be caught in my lover's arms and
banished to a lone island for life, I would go to his studio just the
same.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _August 1, 1902_.

Richard is moulding my character. I, once so proud of rank and station,
I, who upheld the Wettiners' robbery of a poor, defenseless woman, the
Duke's wife, because Socialistic papers spoke in her favor,--Louise now
allows anarchistic tendencies to be poured in her ears. She almost
applauds them.

This easy change from one extreme to the other at a lover's behest is
one of the things that make woman's rule--or co-rule--as the male's
political equal--impossible. It's a sort of _Phallus_ worship that
always was and always will be.

"Though women have not unfrequently been the holders of temporary and
precarious power, there are not many instances where they have held
secure and absolute dominion," says Dr. William W. Ireland in his
famous "Blot upon the Brain."

Because they were swayed by the male of the species, of course!

Though the characters of the world's female sovereigns differed as to
blood, race, education, environment and personal traits, neither showed
any inclination to resist the allurements of irregular _amours_.

Think of Semiramis, of Mary of Scots, of Elizabeth, Catherine I, of the
Tsaritzas Elizabeth and the second Catherine--under the temptations of
Power, they recruited paramours for themselves in all ranks of society.

Agrippina was more licentious than Caligula; Messalina's infamy
surpassed Nero's, and the furthest reaching, the one irresistible Power
swaying them all was MAN.

Augustus of the three hundred and fifty-four emphasized this in the
negative and, in his own uncouth way, by "postering" the Countess
Cosel's chief charm on penny coins.

"She cost Saxony twenty millions in gold--behold the penny's worth she
gave in return."

When the beauty who had brought the richest German kingdom to the verge
of state bankruptcy died February 2, 1765, four hundred of Augustus's
infamous medals were found hidden in her favorite armchair. She paid
three or four times their weight in gold for each.



CHAPTER LIX

THE PEOPLE THINK ME A WANTON

    Credit me with innumerable lovers, but don't disapprove--Glad the
    King feels scandalized--Picture of the "she-monster"--Everybody
    eager for love--I delight in Richard's jealousy--Husband's
    indelicate announcement at table--I rush from the royal opera to see
    my lover--A threatening dream--Richard not mercenary like my noble
    lovers.


    DRESDEN, _August 10, 1902_.

This is the kind of speech Richard holds with me and--I enjoy:

"Every working-girl, every poor woman who suckles her own children and
helps her husband in the fight for existence, stands mountain high above
royal ladies like you.

"None of you royal ladies are their moral equals.

"In no distant time," he says, "they will chase you from your thrones,
even as your relatives had to evacuate France by tumbril, post-chaise or
train."

Richard's ethical and intellectual valuation of royal princes coincides
with my own. He has rare insight into our family life.

However, these disclosures both amazed and alarmed me when I first
heard them pronounced. I never dreamt that opinions of that kind
prevailed among the masses.

"But why am I acclaimed whenever I show myself?"

"Because you are pretty, because you impersonate the one thing all are
desirous to embrace: affluence, kindness, youth and beauty. Because you
are a treat to the senses and because sensuality is the paramount thing
in life, whether we admit it or not."

"Who's 'we'?"

"Kings and anarchists, princesses of the Blood and laundresses, royal
princes and cab drivers, empresses, street-walkers, society ladies,
big-wigs and _sabretasches_. The draggled Menads and the helpful
Lafayette, the Jacobins, Charlotte Corday and the man she killed--all
were, and are, on similar pleasure bent."

And he added quickly: "As to the Dresdeners, they are tickled because,
every time they applaud you, the King is scandalized."

"How do they know that I am not on good terms with the King?"

"The very children in arms understand."

All Dresden, says Richard, is talking about me. Everybody assumes to
know the number and qualities of my lovers. "Louise," they argue, "knows
how to enjoy herself, but, though it serves the King right, we wouldn't
have her for a daughter-in-law, either."

According to the masses, I visit the Vogelwiese at night, ride on the
flying horses and solicit men and boys that please my fancy. Like a
gigantic she-monster, I drag them to my lair--"some to vanish forever."
(No doubt, I eat them.)

"Unwashed soldiers and clerks reeking with cheap perfume, actors and
students, draymen and generals, it's all the same to the Crown Princess.

"Sometimes, when the spirit moves her, the Crown Princess issues from
her gilded apartments in the palace and seizes the sentinel patrolling
the corridors. Or she visits the guard-room _en déshabille_ and selects
the youngest and best looking officer for her prey.

"Generous, too. She thinks nothing of handing a pension of ten thousand
marks per year to a chap that pleased her once."

"Is that all they say about me?"

"Not one-half. Poor devils that can't afford ten marks per year for
their fun, Cit's wives that know only their ill-kempt husbands, factory
girls that sell their virtue for a supper or a glass of beer--though
afterwards they claim it was champagne--all take delight in
contemplating that you, or any other good looking royal woman, are
Frankenstein's succuba or worse. Didn't they accuse your grand-aunt,
Marie Antoinette, of incest with her son and gave him to the cobbler to
thrash the immorality out of him?"

"And they give names?"

"Strings of them"--among them several I never heard mentioned before.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _August 15, 1902_.

Richard is jealous--jealous of the men I did love and the regiments that
public opinion give me credit for. He must needs think I have loins of
steel.

He tells me he suffers agonies by what I confessed, and still more by
what I hide. To see him thus unhappy gives me intense pleasure, for it
shows that the boy loves me to distraction.

    _Midnight._

M. Giron was very cold and distant during the afternoon's lessons.

I had previously lunched with him at his studio and we were very gay
then. I teased him unmercifully about "his royal _demi-mondaine_," as
the masses painted me.

Frederick Augustus was very gallant at dinner and told me, before a
table full of people, that he would take pleasure in sleeping with me
tonight. I have too bad a conscience to deny myself to him. But I ran
over to the opera for half an hour and ordered M. Giron to my box.

"I got over my vexation," he said,--"got over it because I reflected
that you are the Princess Royal and that I would be a fool to take your
love seriously. Henceforth I will regard it a passing adventure and let
it go at that, for if I thought it the great passion of my life, I would
despair, indeed."

"Find a closed cab," I whispered, my heart in my mouth; "I must see you
alone. I will be at the northern side-exit in five minutes."

Cabby was ordered to drive slowly along unfrequented side streets. We
lowered the curtains.

"So you don't love me?" I wailed. Burying my face on Richard's chest I
cried as if my heart would break.

"Not love you?" he breathed. "If I loved you not, I would die, Louise."

"Then why those cruel words?"

"Good heavens," he cried, "haven't I the right to be jealous? I said
what I said to hear you say that you love me."

"And you will always love me?"

"Always, dearest," and he covered my face and neck with burning kisses.

Ten minutes later I was again seated at the opera.

I hear Frederick Augustus in the corridor.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _August 16, 1902_.

A horrible night. Lucky that Frederick Augustus was more than half drunk
when he sought "His Imperial Pleasure-trove," as he likes to call me,
for I often talk in my sleep and--I dreamt of Richard. I dreamt of my
enemies, too.

They stole him from me. He was of the past like Henry, Romano and the
rest.

In a second dream he jilted me--cast me off like a garment, old or out
of fashion.

Lucretia, who sleeps in the next room, heard me cry out in terror, heard
me denounce the King, Tisch--everybody.

And Frederick Augustus snored.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _October 1, 1902_.

Princes and noblemen have ever sought their own advantage of me. To them
I was always the milch-cow, or Phryne, outright.

Richard is poor. I offered him a considerable sum for one of his
paintings.

"Never again mention the matter," he said curtly.

"But it would give me much pleasure to be of assistance to you."

"Louise, we must separate if you don't stop that line of talk," he
replied.

And he means it.

A day or two later I let fall, casually, that Frederick Augustus might
buy the portrait of myself that was nearing completion under his
skillful brush.

"His Royal Highness won't have the chance," he cried fiercely. "I will
tell him it isn't finished, or doesn't come up to my artistic standard,
or something of the sort."



CHAPTER LX

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT LOOMS UP

    My Grand Mistress shows her colors--Richard advises flight--I
    hesitate on account of my children--My Grand Mistress steals a
    letter from Richard to me--I opine that an adulteress's word is as
    good as a thief's--I humble my Grand Mistress, but it won't do me
    much good--Pleasant hours at his studio.


    DRESDEN, _October 15, 1902_.

That dreadful dream is becoming a heart-breaking reality.

The Tisch entered my boudoir last night in her mantilla, emblem of her
office as Grand Mistress.

Some dirty business on hand, I surmised at once.

"Imperial Highness," she said, genuflexing ceremoniously, "I submit that
your artist takes too long about the portrait. Your Imperial Highness's
visits to the studio must cease."

"Since when do you give orders here, Baroness?"

"His Majesty empowered me," answered the Grand Dame.

"In that case, do as you like, but don't bother me," I cried bravely
enough, but trembling in every limb. The Tisch, no doubt, is preparing
to deal me another blow.

When I told Richard that henceforth we would have to exercise extra
care, he was beside himself with rage.

"Why stand such tyranny?" he cried. "No self-respecting woman, other
than royal, would submit for a single week to be bullied and intrigued
against and threatened and browbeaten as you are, and they have ill-used
you for eleven years. If you were a simple Cit's daughter, instead of
the descendant of a decrepit, bloodless family, yclept royal, you would
make an end now, leave them to their shabby kingship and be a free
woman--free and happy."

My lover forgets the children, but the picture of the free life he draws
is most attractive.

"And would you go with me to the end of the earth, as the story books
put it?" I asked tremblingly.

"Louise," he answered, "if you are brave enough and strong enough to
throw away a crown, I will be your slave for life."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _October 20, 1902_.

"Your Imperial Highness was pleased to call me a thief once," said the
Tisch early this morning as she entered my boudoir, triumph written all
over her yellow countenance. "You repeated that calumny to the Prince
Royal and doubtless to many other persons. Today came the opportunity
to live up to my reputation. I stole a letter addressed to you by your
present lover, and as Your Imperial Highness is pleased to doubt my
authority, immediately sent it to His Majesty. It makes highly
interesting reading."

The blow made my knees tremble, but pain and rage came to my assistance,
effacing the momentary weakness.

"Don't think for a moment to frighten me," I cried. "I say to your face
that I have a lover--a gentleman, not an unspeakable, like your nephew.
And now listen: I will tell the King and the press of Europe, if it must
be, that it was you, my Grand Mistress, who 'pandered' me to
Henry--for--revenue. I will have him whipped out of the army----"

"You don't suppose for a moment that the word of an adulteress would
prove acceptable either to His Majesty or anyone else?" hissed the
insolent creature.

"My word will be accepted all around," I shouted back, "for I have the
proofs, proofs that you smuggled this unspeakable into my household,
proofs that you lied to the King in order not to disrupt your nephew's
career.

"And I will cry from the house-tops that you discovered my relations
with Henry only _after_ I had paid his debts, _after_ I had financed his
excursions to gambling-houses and to usurers' dens. Ah, I paid his
tailors and glove-makers, his board and lodging, his laundry bills. I
paid the alimony due his strumpets, and _after_ all was done, _after_
his lieutenantship had again a clean bill of health, financially
speaking, then, and not a moment before, did you step in and make an end
of the farce, wherein I played the part of 'angel,' or pay-master."

The Tisch got visibly smaller under my lash. The air of triumph she bore
when entering the room gave way to an expression of despair. If she
hadn't sent the letter to the King, I believe she would have given it up
after I was half through with her.

Once more I hold the whip hand, but what good will it do me since I am
condemned to lose the man I love?

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Midnight._

Richard approved of all I said and did. We were unspeakably happy this
afternoon, despite the storm threatening us.

I fear neither the King nor Frederick Augustus now, but the fear of
Sonnenstein I can't shake off.

If the King takes it upon himself to say that I'm mad, there will be
plenty of medical authorities to bear him out, none to oppose him.

Of course, they will separate me from my children and will do their
utmost to drive me mad between now and the time when I should be
proclaimed Queen.



CHAPTER LXI

A MAD HOUSE FOR LOUISE--PROBABLY

    My confidential maid, Lucretia, is banished--The new King has got
    the incriminating letter, but Frederick Augustus says nothing--On
    the eve of judgment the King falls ill.


    DRESDEN, _October 21, 1902_.

This morning, at six, Lucretia rushed into my room. She was in her
night-gown. Her hair was loose. No color in her face.

And between sobs and curses she told me that she had orders to leave by
ten sharp. "If you dare stay over the appointed time, you will be
transported to the frontier on foot, between gendarmes."

"Von Baumann shall come."

I threw a loose wrapper over my night-gown and received him at once.

"My marriage contract provides that no one but I have the right of
dismissal with respect to Countess Baranello," I said sharply.

"As long as the lady keeps within the law," replied Baumann with just a
trace of insolence in his voice.

I looked at him in astonishment.

"The Countess is guilty of a crime, of a succession of crimes,"
continued Baumann, "but His Majesty, not wishing to be harsh, decided to
treat her merely as an obnoxious foreigner. She has forfeited her right
to live in Saxony, and will do well to obey."

I helped poor Lucretia pack. I gave her a handful of jewels, I paid her
a year's salary in advance and ordered the treasury to procure
first-class passage for her to Rome.

I sent her to the station in my own carriage, and wired to our Rome
representative to show her every courtesy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Afternoon._

Frederick Augustus hasn't said a word to me about the affair with
Richard. We have our meals together and his attitude in no wise differs
from that usually maintained. Yet I am convinced he knows.

The last service rendered me by Lucretia, gave me great relief. She
found out that neither the Tisch, nor Frederick Augustus, nor the King
know who "Richard" is. Fortunately his letter was typewritten, signature
and all.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Six o'clock._

The King announced his visit for eight o'clock.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Nine o'clock._

The King had a fall in his apartments shortly after he sent me notice of
his coming. He was unconscious for two hours.

Safe for the time being!



CHAPTER LXII

KING'S ILLNESS A BOON TO LOVERS

    Prayers mixed with joy--Espionage disorganized, and I can do as I
    please--Love-making in the school-room--Buying a ring for
    Richard--"Wishing it on"--"Our marriage"--King's life despaired
    of--My tormentors obsequious--Smile at my peccadilloes--Husband
    proud of me--My popularity a great asset--Frederick Augustus
    delighted when he hears that King can't last long--The joyous
    luncheon at Richard's studio--Making fun of majesties--I expect to
    be Queen presently.


    DRESDEN, _October 22, 1902_.

He is dangerously ill. It may be weeks and months before the King
recovers--if he recovers at all.

I feel like praying, crying, shouting with joy.

When Richard folded his arms about me this afternoon, I said to myself:
"God doesn't begrudge me a lover as kind and good as Richard."

The King's illness has disorganized the espionage, my coming and going
are no longer controlled. The body-groom brings in my letters as
delivered at the gate.

In the school room, while the children are writing or studying, Richard
and I find time to exchange kind words and even an occasional caress.
When I "command" the tutor to my apartments, we need fear no surprise.

The utmost quiet prevails in the palace. The courtyard is sanded foot
high and strewn with straw to deaden the sound of wheels and horses'
hoofs. No more mounting of the guard with fife and drum.

I suggested that the children be sent to the _Grosser Garten_ to play.
The Tisch agreed with enthusiasm. This yields us--Richard and
myself--two hours of love-making.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _October 25, 1902_.

The King continues ill.

I went into a cheap jeweler's this afternoon and bought an inexpensive
ring with a ruby no larger than a pin head. When I gave it to Richard,
he grew red with joy.

Strange, he bought a similar ring for me. I shall never wear another
ring in my life but Richard's. I pulled my rings off one after the other
and threw them on the bed.

I kissed the larger ring and "wished" it on Richard's finger. He did the
same with the ring intended for me. And we said, as with a common
breath, "Our wedding."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 1, 1902_.

A bulletin, by the King's physicians, holds out scant hopes for George's
life.

I am watching the palace yard. The Archbishop of Dresden, attended by
two court chaplains and a host of other clerics, is just mounting the
stairs to administer the last rites of the Church. The next minute may
see me Queen of Saxony. I may even be Queen now. I wish I had the
effrontery to promise the lackey or official, announcing my
enthronization, a handful of gold, as George did, when King Albert was
dying.

Even so, I have risen immeasurably in everybody's esteem. The sweet
family knows me again. Johann George, Mathilde, Isabelle and Max are
kotowing to me. Bernhardt sent me a telegram of condolence--condolence!
He is a humorist, that boy.

Minister of the Royal House, Baron Seydwitz, called twice. The Royal
Adjutant, General von Carlowitz, spoke of the possibility of giving
Bernhardt a command in Dresden. Von Baumann says it was the President of
the Police who insisted upon Lucretia's hasty departure. If he, Baumann,
had his way, my maid of honor would have got off with a warning.

And you should see the Tisch. She must have spent a month's salary on
flowers for me, which I promptly sent to the nearest pauper hospital.
She smiles, she nearly breaks her back genuflexing. Her every second
word is "most submissive," "will the Imperial Highness deign to do
this," that, or the other thing.

The terror got into her old bones and she trembles for her pension,
for, of course, she knows that instant dismissal will be her portion.

Frederick Augustus talks of having some more princes and--acts
accordingly. Perish the thought that his Louise is an adulteress, that
she ever had a lover, has one now!

He is haunting my room, running from door to window, from window to
door. Every little while he opens the _portières_ to see if no one's
coming to address him "Your Majesty."

"Your popularity with the public is a great asset," he says over and
over again. "Lucky devil I, to have a wife as smart as you."

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 2, 1902_.

Frederick Augustus came running into my room and gave me a bear-hug.

"The doctors say the King is lost. Impossible to keep him alive any
longer."

He rushed out.

I am Queen.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _After Lunch._

Just back from Richard's studio. We had lunch together. We laughed, we
danced, we sang. We bombarded one another with pillows.

We acted the jubilant heirs. I recalled Sybillenort at the time King
Albert died. In Saxony, when man or woman shuffles off this mortal coil,
there's always a good "feed" at the corpse's expense. At the late King's
castle a "mourning breakfast" was served upon the royal family's arrival
from Dresden--a most magnificent repast in the matter of plate and
victuals offered, but each had to serve himself or herself, as servants
were dispensed with.

This by the new King's special orders--that he might hear himself
addressed "Your Majesty" by his kith and kin, a formality usually
neglected in the family circle except when two or more of the big-wigs
are warring against each other.

"Will Your Majesty have one or two lumps of sugar?"

"May it please Your Majesty--some steak?"

"I hope Your Majesty will allow me to peel an orange for Your Majesty."

Thus at Sybillenort. And at Richard's:

"Will Your Greatness (Majesty) deign to take Your Greatness's feather
out of my eye?"

Or: "May it never please Your Transparency (_Durchlaucht_, German for
Highness) to let _His_ Greatness see through you."

I am several times a Countess besides a Princess, Duchess, etc., and
Richard continued with his paraphrasing of titles:

"Your Illuminatedness[8] makes lights quite unnecessary," and he
switched them off in a room already darkened by blinds and shades and
curtains.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 8: "Illuminated" is the proper title for German counts of the
higher class.]



CHAPTER LXIII

WHAT I WILL DO WHEN I AM QUEEN

    A foretaste: titled servants put me _en route_ for lover--The
    bargain I will propose to Frederick Augustus--Frederick Augustus
    will be a complaisant King--To revive _Petit Trianon_--I am
    addressed as Queen.


    DRESDEN, _November 3, 1902_.

Though still styled Crown Princess, I am already revelling in the
delights and perquisites of queenship: I do as I please, go where I
please, I would think aloud, as I please, if anyone dared me.

For all my enemies of a week ago turned flatterers and flunkeys, bowing,
grovelling, fawning, contemptible in their self-abasement, but quite
useful to my purposes.

Like most royal palaces, ours at Dresden has a secret staircase and exit
for emergencies. It is never used by ladies; only the princes have
recourse to it, occasionally, to drop out of sight in _mufti_, for, of
course, royal incognito is more or less legitimate.

    "In the evening, after our card party was over, Catherine was seen
    to dismiss her court and retire to her private apartments with the
    new favorite," say the Secret Memoirs of the Court of St.
    Petersburg.

Less publicly, perhaps, but even more illegitimately, I walk the secret
staircase _en route_ for my lover whenever I please nowadays.

I go veiled and--make the Grand Mistress open the door for me. She knows
that I am on sweet pleasure bent and--smiles.

"When will Your Imperial Highness deign to return?"

I name the hour and she is there to receive me--smirking, blind, deaf
and dumb.

A foretaste of my queenship paradise! No one will boss me, no one will
dare talk about me, everything I do will be good, even sublime.

I made up my mind as to Frederick Augustus.

"Frederick Augustus," I will say to him, "now that we are King and
Queen, let's enjoy to the full the thing's emoluments; otherwise, what's
the use? You will allow me to go my way and I will certainly shut both
eyes as to your doings, even if you follow in the footsteps of your
namesake of the three-hundred-and-fifty-two."

Of course, I will say it differently, but my husband will understand.
The main thing: the royal family and court must stop hurling at me the
long, watery _haussez les mains_ of narrow-minded, provincial
inquisitiveness, which both oppresses and goads me.

Frederick Augustus has too much respect for the kingly dignity to impugn
his partner, the Queen.

Will I revive, then, the seraglios of the Russian Anns and Elizabeths,
or start a new _Parc aux Cerfs_ with strong men and Marathon winners for
inmates? Thank you, a miniature _Petit Trianon_ will be good enough for
me.

The Tisch entered a minute ago and respectfully remains at the door,
though she sees I am engaged on my Diary. I watch her in the mirror. She
would travel bare-foot to Kevlaar, of which Heinrich Heine sung, for a
glimpse of what I wrote. Her variegated grimaces give her the appearance
of a carved wooden devil, sprinkled with holy water.

At last I deign to inquire: "What is it, Baroness?"

"The Crown Prince wants to see Your Imperial Highness. May he come in?"

"Since when does my husband send you to announce him?"

"Pardon, Your Imperial Highness, I meant Prince George."

Designating my first-born Prince Royal, means recognizing me as Queen.

And, but ten days ago, this same viper refused to address me by my
_proper_ title.



CHAPTER LXIV

THE KING IS ALIVE AND PUNISHMENT NEAR

    My queenship postponed--King George publicly acclaimed--Cuts me dead
    in church--Frederick Augustus's disappointment--Terrible power of a
    king over his family, and no appeal--I am like the nude witch of
    old.


    DRESDEN, _November 10, 1902_.

The King has taken nourishment. The King will not die--he will live and
punish me. Still, I must not complain. I had a respite and Richard says,
"when one rises from the dead, one is less inclined to be severe with
the living." But he grew rather despondent immediately.

"_La liberté est une garce, qui ne se laisse monter que sur des matelas
des cadavres humains!_" he quoted _Comte_ Mirabeau. Our corpse was
alive, our liberty is dead for the time being.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 15, 1902_.

The King went driving this morning and I am told that he came home well
pleased, for there was lusty cheering along the line. Frederick Augustus
hasn't mentioned my affair at all. Disappointment made him rather gloomy
and he begins to treat me again in the right royal Saxon fashion: I am
air for His Highness.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _After Supper._

The family will wait upon His Majesty in a body tomorrow, to
congratulate him on his recovery. After that, _Te Deum_ in the
cathedral, which the court and authorities must attend by command.

"Your Imperial Highness's pew will be in readiness, but my sublime
master has not deigned to graciously announce that he wishes to receive
Your Imperial Highness,"--this from the toad Baumann, who but yesterday
licked my boots.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 16, 1902_.

Another straw indicating the direction of the wind--the ill-wind.

King George commanded Bernhardt to be madman no longer and come and live
in Dresden. Since his arrival he has paid assiduous court to all members
of the royal family, but me. He called on the royal ministers, the
courtiers, the high civil authorities, but my apartments have seen him
not. I don't blame the boy for making the best of the situation, but was
it really necessary to offer gratuitous insult to the only relative that
stood by him when in trouble?

Doubtless, he took his cue from the King, who cut me dead while, with
the rest, I thanked God for his recovery.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _November 20, 1902._

The Tisch is openly talking Sonnenstein. "The royal apartments are ready
for her reception," she let fall yesterday.

Old Andrew, my confidential servant, told me.

She shows me the face of a bull-dog about to spring at a victim, a
sea-green devil filled with vinegar and gall, but affects icy courtesy.

Frederick Augustus is down in the mouth. If he knows of any evil
intention against me, he evidently made up his mind to hold his tongue
and avoid scenes.

Richard keeps on saying: "Don't worry. After all, what can they do to
you?" He doesn't know, or doesn't want to understand that, while the law
holds out protection for all, from pedlars and vagabonds to and
including prime ministers, royalty itself is only technically above the
law; in _praxis_ we are beyond the benefits of all law, human and
otherwise.

To be sure, a Cit is sometimes unjustly treated, but with tenacity and a
small amount of courage, he finds his remedy in the courts and in the
press.

To royal princes and princesses the King is both judge and executioner,
as the cases of the Duke of Saxony and Bernhardt show. Maybe it pleases
His Majesty to cloak his tyranny by convoking a commission, but what of
it, since the commission is invariably made up of his creatures,
trained, if not commanded, to do the all-highest will and nothing but
the all-highest will?

As in days gone by, the poor "witch"--if she be young and comely--must
face her accusers naked, the sworn torturer at her elbow, so I have no
standing in law or decency before the Powers over social life or death
in our sphere of society.

If there be blemishes in my character, the King sees them magnified by
the sharp tongues of evil creatures, his spies. There is no privacy. I
must submit to be stared at, to have my flesh lacerated by curious eyes,
and, as in the case of the old-time "witches," the handsomest were
condemned the quicker because "the devil was more liable to choose them
for an abode than ugly ones," so my very beauty will hasten my
destruction.



CHAPTER LXV

FISTICUFFS DON'T SAVE MY CROWN

    The attempted theft of my Diary--Grand Mistress discovered after
    breaking open my desk--Reading Diary like mad--Personal encounter
    between me and Grand Mistress--I am the stronger, and carry off the
    manuscript, but have to leave all my love letters, which go to the
    King--I discover that they had stolen the key to my Diary from my
    neck.


    DRESDEN, _November 27, 1902_.

I am undone.

They tried to obtain a picture of Louise _in the nude_--Louise as she
paints _Herself_--this Diary, in fact--and, though I foiled them, the
King now has in his hands my entire correspondence--every letter from
every man that ever approached or possessed me.

And be sure he won't use them for curl papers as did the Duke of
Richelieu with the remnants of his ladyloves' _billets doux_ that
escaped confiscation.

"My collection is incomplete. I have to begin another," he said.

Alas, my collection was only _too_ complete!

This is how it came about:

As I was in the act of retiring last night, a clairvoyant's vision
seized me. "Somebody meddling with your papers!" "They are breaking into
your _secrétaire_," the voices said.

I slipped on a pair of bath sandals and stealthily opened the door of my
boudoir.

My writing desk was open, all the drawers ajar and in disorder; the
Baroness bending over this, my Diary. She was reading like mad, her eyes
danced with lust of revenge.

With one bound I was at her side and she was so frightened at first, I
thought she would drop. Her chest seemed to draw inward; she swayed to
and fro. But only for a second or two. Then, recovering her
self-possession, her fighting harness was in place again.

"Go to your room, Royal Highness," she said in a tone of command. "These
papers are confiscated in the name of the King."

I was beside myself with rage. "My Diary," I cried; "instantly return it
to me."

More I couldn't say, for I had neither breath nor voice. My right hand
was on the book when she attempted to seize it.

I struck her hand with Richard's ring--I wish it was bigger, I wish it
had a good diamond point--but she wouldn't let go. Then, before one
could count one, two, three, I had hold of her--Heaven, how I enjoyed
it; the satisfaction I had in giving rein to my passion, for all was up
now, anyhow.

With the left hand I caught her by the throat, while my good right boxed
her ears after the homely manner mamma had taught me. Good, sound cuffs,
I assure you, each liable to dislocate a tooth.

"_Canaille_," I cried, "_miserable canaille_." I pushed her into a
corner and recovered the Diary, folding it up quickly. I was holding the
book close to my bosom when I crossed the room to regain my bedchamber.

The Tisch after me, trying to snatch it back. I caught her on the chest
and sent her flying. Then, with the manuscript, I made good my escape,
leaving for the contemptible bird of prey all my love letters, reams of
them, the oldest fifteen or more years old, the latest bearing
yesterday's date.

Once in my room, I recollected and made a grab at my throat. The key to
my Diary was gone. They stole it, chain and all, while I was asleep, no
doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *

    DRESDEN, _November 28, 1902_.

Awakening, I find myself seated at the little table near the window.
Both my hands are ink-spotted. So is my night-dress.

I see, I have written an account of the battle. I must have done so
some time after I returned from the field. It's well, for at the moment,
I don't remember a thing.

The palace clock strikes seven.

The day of my doom.



CHAPTER LXVI

ABANDONED

    My titled servants withdraw from me--An old footman my sole
    support--Queen takes the children--Old Andrew plays spy for me.


    _Afternoon._

No one has come to see me. My household, my adjutants, marshal,
chamberlains, equerries, the ladies of my entourage are on duty, but
since I ordered my meals brought to the room, they pretend to assume
that I'm too ill to see anyone. There may be no truth in the saying that
rats leave the ship destined to sink, but the titled vermin royalty
surrounds itself with certainly knows when to avoid dangerous craft.

I rang for Andrew. The good, old man wouldn't put me to the humiliation
of asking questions.

"Your Imperial Highness's children are with Her Majesty," he said; and,
coming a step nearer, he added in an undertone: "Baroness Tisch has been
with His Majesty since nine in the morning."

"You are a kind and brave man." I held out my hand.

"If Your Imperial Highness has no immediate orders for me," continued
the good soul, "I beg to be allowed to visit my friend, Hans, the King's
body-servant."

I thanked Andrew for his good intentions. "Wait in the ante-chamber
until I am dressed."

I donned a forty-mark costume that I keep on hand for the purpose; it
didn't take me more than six or seven minutes.

"I will have to leave by the secret staircase, Andrew."

He understood and cleared the way for me.



CHAPTER LXVII

FAMILY COUNCIL AT CASTLE

    Rendezvous at studio--State takes my children from me--Madhouse or
    flight--I brought fifty-two trunks to the palace--Depart with small
    satchel--If I attempt to see my children I'll be seized as "mad
    woman"--Varying emotions of the last ten minutes--Threatening
    shadows thrown on a curtain decide me--Ready for flight--Diary the
    last thing to go into the satchel.


    _At Night. Eleven O'clock._

They went into family council at six tonight and are still deliberating,
Andrew reports. The Tisch, he says, acts as secretary; His Majesty, of
course, presides.

Present are the Dowager Queen, Mathilde and Isabelle. Then Frederick
Augustus, Johann George, Max and Bernhardt. Baron George von Metzsch, a
high government and court functionary and my enemy, attends as legal
adviser to the King.

It's in the nature of things that the Baron will do his worst to destroy
me, but Bernhardt! Bernhardt, who held me in his arms, now one of my
judges! He will have to be especially severe with his _quondam_ mistress
lest the King suspect.

While the sweet family bent over those love letters--I bet the Tisch
withheld Henry's--I sat in Richard's studio, advising with him.

"There are only two things to be considered: the madhouse or instant
flight."

"You dare advise me to leave my children?"

"There are no nurseries in madhouses. Your children are lost to you,
anyhow. If you remain, as an alleged insane person, you 'can't be
trusted,' they'll argue, for you are helpless, legally, morally and
physically.

"If you run away to Switzerland, on the other hand, you are a free
woman, under the protection of a republican government.

"Switzerland, I needn't tell you, will not go to war to wrest your
children from the royal family, but will afford you personally every
advantage, legal and otherwise.

"Decide quickly: are you going to make King George a present of yourself
as well as of the five children you bore for the benefit of the
Wettiners?"

"Never."

       *       *       *       *       *

My mind is made up. My few belongings are packed. I, who came to Dresden
with fifty-two trunks, leave the palace with a satchel, easy to carry. I
take nothing but my personal jewels, the little money I own and some
changes of linen.

If I could only see my children for a moment or two, but the Queen has
them in her keeping, and I might be seized as a "mad woman" if I dared
leave my apartments and cross to those occupied by Her Majesty.

And Frederick Augustus! He will miss me in his way.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ten more minutes. I hear the distant clatter of a carriage. Richard
driving to our rendezvous, two streets north of the palace gate.

Will my limbs carry me to him and liberty? I pace the room to test their
strength.

"Louise," says the voice within,--"your last chance. Your good-natured
husband, your darling children, your old parents, pomp and state and
circumstance, indeed, a crown, you are going to abandon for--what?"

A man whose carnal side only you know, a poor man, an artist without
fame, a professional without future.

Sadly perturbed in mind, I walk to the window. Those of His Majesty's
cabinet, where the family council is in progress, are directly opposite.

Shadows of men and women, rising from a sitting position, are thrown on
the curtains.

One of the shades slowly ascends.

I see the Tisch pointing a bony finger to the windows of my boudoir.
Von Metzsch stands by her side. They grin.

You triumph, wretch and Jezebel?

But when your _sbirri_, in an hour from now, or tomorrow morning early,
invade my rooms, instructed to carry me away--bound hand and foot to a
sofa, or in a straight jacket, perhaps--they will find the Crown
Princess gone--her and her Diary.

Both will be safe on foreign soil ere you can make arrangements for
organized pursuit, for Richard and I will travel by carriage to a
distant suburb, there mount the fast express and keep to our state room,
engaged under an assumed name, until without the sphere of Saxon or
German influence.

       *       *       *       *       *

A discreet knock. Andrew, my liberator! In his hand a tallow dip to
light this Imperial Highness down back stairs to the new life of her
choice.

"One moment, old man, this book goes into the valise.

"Hand me the blotter, please. Tears won't do.

"And a couple more handkerchiefs from the top of the chiffonier,
please."


FINIS





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