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Title: Ludwig the Second - King of Bavaria
Author: Tschudi, Clara
Language: English
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                           LUDWIG THE SECOND
                            KING OF BAVARIA

                             CLARA TSCHUDI


                          ETHEL HARRIET HEARN

          "Certains caractères échappent à l'analyse logique."

                                                        George Sand.

                         WITH COLOURED PORTRAIT

                      SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO. LIM.
                      NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I.        Descent and Education                                        1
II.       Fundamental Traits of Ludwig's Character                    11
III.      "Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!"                             17
IV.       A Plan of Marriage                                          22
V.        King Ludwig and Richard Wagner                              25
VI.       Ludwig's First Visit to Switzerland--Richard Wagner
          leaves Munich                                               40
VII.      The Political Situation--The Schleswig-Holstein Question
          --The War of 1866                                           53
VIII.     The King makes the Tour of his Kingdom                      58
IX.       Ludwig's Betrothal                                          63
X.        The King goes to Paris--Disharmonies between the
          Engaged Couple--Ludwig meets the Emperor Napoleon and the
          Empress Eugénie in Augsburg--The King breaks his Promise
          of Marriage                                                 75
XI.       After the Parting with Sophie--Episodes from the King's
          Excursions in the Highlands                                 81
XII.      The Empress of Russia visits Bavaria--The Duchess Sophie's
          Engagement and Marriage--An Unexpected Meeting with the
          Duchesse d'Alençon--A Last Attempt to forge the Links of
          Hymen around Ludwig                                         86
XIII.     Ludwig and the Artistes of the Stage--Josephine Schefzky    92
XIV.      Prince Hohenlohe--Political Frictions                       99
XV.       A Meeting between Bismarck and Ludwig                      108
XVI.      Outbreak of the War with France                            111
XVII.     During the War--The German Empire is Proclaimed            118
XVIII.    The Bavarian Troops Return to Munich--King Ludwig and
          the Crown Prince of Germany                                131
XIX.      A Visit from the Emperor Wilhelm--Ludwig Withdraws more
          and more from the World                                    138
XX.       Prince Otto's Insanity--The King's Morbid Sensations       145
XXI.      The Review of the Troops in 1875--Crown Prince Friedrich
          of Prussia                                                 151
XXII.     King Ludwig and the Empress Elizabeth                      158
XXIII.    King Ludwig and Queen Marie                                164
XXIV.     State and Church--Ignaz von Döllinger--Ludwig's Letters
          to his old Tutor                                           168
XXV.      Ludwig II. in Daily Life                                   175
XXVI.     Ludwig and Richard Wagner--The King's Visit to Bayreuth    180
XXVII.    King Ludwig and the Artists of the Stage and Canvas        187
XXVIII.   Private Performances at the Hof Theater at Munich          193
XXIX.     King Ludwig and his Palaces                                197
XXX.      King Ludwig's Friendships                                  204
XXXI.     The Actor Kainz                                            209
XXXII.    A Journey to Switzerland                                   214
XXXIII.   King Ludwig and his Servants                               221
XXXIV.    The Mad King                                               225
XXXV.     The Last Meeting between Mother and Son                    230
XXXVI.    Pecuniary Distress                                         234
XXXVII.   Plots                                                      239
XXXVIII.  Preparations to Imprison the King--The Peasantry Assemble
          to his Rescue                                              244
XXXIX.    A Friend in Need--Ludwig's Proclamation                    250
XL.       The King's Last Hours at Neuschwanstein                    257
XLI.      Schloss Berg--The King's Death                             265
XLII.     Conclusion                                                 272



Descent and Education

At the birth of Ludwig II., enigmatic as he was unfortunate, of whom
I propose to give a sketch, his grandfather, the eccentric Ludwig I.,
was still King of Bavaria. His father, Maximilian Joseph, was the
Crown Prince. The latter had wedded, in 1842, the beautiful Princess
Marie of Prussia, who was only sixteen years of age at the time of
her marriage, her husband being twenty years her senior.

To all appearance the marriage was a very happy one. Maximilian was
an intelligent and right-thinking man, devoted to public duty, but
he had indifferent health, and, like the greater number of his race,
was the possessor of a sensitive nervous system. For some years it
appeared as if the marriage would be childless. At the beginning
of the year 1845, however, the people of Bavaria were informed that
the Crown Princess was enceinte, and on the 25th of August, on the
birthday of the reigning King, a hundred and one guns proclaimed the
birth of a prince at the château of Nymphenburg.

As a matter of fact, the princely infant had seen the light two
days earlier, but the event had been kept a secret in order to give
Ludwig I. a pleasant surprise, the King having expressed a wish that a
possible hereditary prince might come into the world on that day. The
child was named after him, and he held it himself at the font.

The old King at that time was at the height of his popularity. Soon,
however, a turning-point set in: the dancer Lola Montez invaded
the lovesick Monarch's life, causing a violent insurrection in the
Bavarian capital. Then came the democratic rising of 1848, general
all over Europe, which threw fuel on the fire. Ludwig was compelled
to abdicate, and was succeeded by his son, Maximilian Joseph, who
ascended the throne under the title of Maximilian II.

Shortly after these political disturbances took place the young Queen
was brought to bed of another son, who was named Otto. [1] The effect
on her of the alarm and excitement caused by the aforesaid events,
was such that he came into the world three months too early. The
physicians declared that it was impossible for the child to live,
but they proved to be mistaken in their opinion.

Both the Crown Prince and his brother were unusually good-looking,
and it was a brilliant sight when the popular and beautiful Queen
walked about the streets of Munich, with her handsome boys beside
her. Maternal joy and pride shone from her eyes, and the glance
of the people was directed with genuine admiration on her and her
children. Otto was the one who most resembled his mother. Being,
moreover, lighthearted and accessible, he was also the one to whom
the prize of beauty was awarded by popular opinion. Ludwig's beauty
was of a more uncommon and intellectual type, a noteworthy feature
of his face being the large, brilliant, and dark-blue eye. The boys
were always dressed each in his particular colour, which the Queen
herself had chosen. Otto in red, and Ludwig in blue--the national
colours of Bavaria. Not only were Ludwig's clothes blue in tint, but
also, as far as was possible, his various other small possessions
and necessities; such, for instance, as the binding of his books,
his drawing portfolios, and his volumes of music. This hue always
continued to be his favourite colour.

Possessed of good sense in many ways, Ludwig's parents seem to
have been deficient in their insight into the difficult matter of
bringing up their eldest son. The father was too strict, and made
demands on the Crown Prince with which his abilities and strength did
not allow of his complying. In season and out of season he reminded
him that some time or other he would be a king. He was thoughtlessly
punished whether he deserved it or whether his delinquencies were of
so insignificant a nature as to demand a certain indulgence. Ludwig
was not allowed to be a child. All his toys were early taken from
him. He had, for instance, a tortoise of which he was particularly
fond, but it was not long before this too was removed by the King's
especial order. The Queen made no attempt independently to combat
this unnatural bringing up; nor does she or the King seem to have
been alive to the fact that the peculiarities of the Crown Prince's
character required handling with caution.

He was simultaneously the object in other quarters of a directly
opposite and still more pernicious treatment. His nurse "Liesi"
adored and spoiled him. When he became a little older he was given
a French governess, who seems to have had a positively unfortunate
influence upon him. Her great admiration was the French Roi Soleil,
Louis XIV., and she made no secret of forming her pupil upon this
model. Well-known utterances of the Grand Monarque, such as "L'état
c'est moi!" "Tel est notre bon plaisir," and the like, were held up
to the royal pupil as models of parlance which ought to be copied;
while at the same time the governess gave expression in her looks
and words to the subservience which she considered becoming for a
subject to show to a future monarch. She never asked if he had been
diligent and good. "The Crown Prince is always the first," she repeated
invariably. A teacher of the French language, who succeeded this lady,
acted and comported himself in a similar spirit, and contributed
further to pervert the childish mind. As an example of his method of
education may be mentioned the fact that le très gracieux prince royal,
among other things, was allowed to roll his teacher on the floor like
a barrel.

In such circumstances Ludwig's egotism could not but be
developed. Episodes from his childhood bear witness that a decided vein
of caprice and sense of his own importance were early to be noticed in
him. The following is a trait from the time when he was twelve years
of age, during a sojourn at Berchtesgaden. He was at play in the park,
with his brother. Without the slightest provocation he suddenly threw
Otto, three years younger than himself, on to the grass, planted his
knee firmly on the latter's chest, stuffed his handkerchief into his
mouth, and shouted commandingly: "You are my subject; you must obey
me! Some time I shall be your king!" Happily a courtier was witness
of this scene, and running forward, he dragged Otto, who was almost
suffocated, from his brother's violent grasp. The incident came to
the ears of the King. He gave his first-born a sound thrashing in
true burgher fashion. This corporal punishment had not, however,
the desired effect on the exceedingly sensitive boy; and its result
seems solely to have been embitterment against his father. So much,
indeed, did he take the mortification of it to heart, that later he
literally shunned Berchtesgaden.

One winter day in 1859 the two princes were together in the so-called
"English Garden," in Munich. Otto was rolling a large snowball, and
called out to his brother, in glee: "See, Ludwig, I have a snowball
that is bigger than your head!" Ludwig took it from him. Otto began
to cry. Their tutor came up and asked what was the matter. "Ludwig has
taken my snowball," sobbed Otto. "Your Royal Highness," said the tutor,
"if Prince Otto has made a snowball it belongs to him, and you have
no right to take it." "Have I no right to take the snowball? What am
I Crown Prince for, then?" asked Ludwig in dudgeon.

A gentleman well known to Maximilian, and who was frequently invited
to his shooting parties, informs me that he very seldom saw the
little princes when he visited the King. Once when he was walking in
the gardens of the castle of Hohenschwangau, however, he came upon
an open space where the King's sons happened to be playing. Ludwig
had swung himself up on to a paling, and was running backwards and
forwards on it. The visitor reminded him that he might fall and hurt
himself. The boy, however, took no notice of the well-meant warning,
and its only result was that he increased his antics. The gentleman,
who was really afraid that an accident might happen, now took him
by force in his arms and lifted him down. The Crown Prince glanced
proudly at him; then began to play with his brother, as if no third
person was present. Many years afterwards, long after Ludwig had
become King, the same gentleman reminded him of this occurrence. "I
remember very well," answered his Majesty coldly, "that you touched
me at that time," and then turned the subject of conversation.

A strict system of economy formed a part of Maximilian's
curriculum. The royal princes were only allowed the plainest
food. Sweetmeats the Crown Prince tasted only through the generosity
of his nurse Liesi, who was in the habit of buying sweets for her
favourite out of her own pocket--a kindness which Ludwig always
remembered, and which he rewarded as soon as he became King. When the
princes grew bigger they were allowed pocket-money, to the amount of
about a shilling a week--hardly a princely appanage. Otto one day hit
upon a means, as he hoped, of improving his financial position. Having
heard that sound teeth fetched as much as ten guldens apiece, he betook
himself to one of the Munich dentists, and offered him one of his
best molars at that price. The dentist knowing who he was, did not,
of course, accept the offer. When the occurrence became known to the
King, the prince was severely punished. The episode, however, seems
to have brought the Queen to reflection, and she caused the princes'
pocket-money to be augmented from that day.

On his eighteenth birthday Ludwig for the first time received a sum of
any consideration, his father presenting him with a purse containing
a specimen of every coin at that time current in Bavaria. The youth,
who had never before had anything in his pocket but a few coppers,
imagined that he had suddenly become a wealthy man, and hastened off
to buy and present to his mother a locket, which she had admired in
a jeweller's shop. He made no inquiries as to the price, but when
the jeweller observed that he would send the ornament and the bill
to the Palace, said with importance, handing him his purse: "No,
I have money of my own now. Here, pay yourself for the ornament!"

Between the Crown Prince and his father there was never any great
feeling of tenderness, but he was without doubt very much attached
to his mother. The circumstances attending the birth of Prince Otto
had, however, given her a preference for her younger son; and when
Ludwig in his childish years endeavoured to talk to her of his ideas
and impressions, the very prosaic Queen showed a remarkable want of
comprehension of his poet's nature. Apart from occasional friction,
the relations between the brothers were peaceful and good. The
younger one always took the second place, and the modesty with which
he did this was no doubt the chief reason why the two were good
friends. The entire character and turn of mind of the Crown Prince,
his ideas, pleasures, and sympathies, were absolutely different from
those of Otto, and of any real confidence on his side there could
consequently be no possibility. Ludwig preferred solitude. Otto
was gay and sociable. Ludwig was interested in art, and occupied
himself with flowers; his brother loved military matters, and was
a keen sportsman. Two interests, however, they had in common: both
were from childhood first-rate, almost foolhardy, riders, and both
loved music and singing.

They had only two playmates, namely Prince Ludwig of Hesse, who
spent part of his childhood at the court of his aunt Queen Marie, and
Count Holstein, who now and then was allowed to visit them. The Crown
Prince was considered to be highly gifted. From his earliest youth
his memory was unusually good, and he often reduced his teachers to
despair by the puzzling questions he would put to them. Meanwhile he
was only diligent in the subjects which interested him, and lazy and
indifferent concerning those which did not please him. His teachers
were able and upright men, but towards the greater number of them he
was very reserved. With a few exceptions they were powerless and at
their wit's end before this peculiar character, which perplexed them
by its contradictions and alarmed them by its outbursts of violence.

Thus grew up the Bavarian Crown Prince; in surroundings which left
him partly neglected and misunderstood and partly perverted his
understanding, and in circumstances which were fitted to develop his
already naturally marked egotism and feeling of self-esteem.


Fundamental Traits of Ludwig's Character

Ludwig's tutor, the Count de Larosée, has expressed his conception of
his pupil's character in the following words: "The Crown Prince is
intelligent and highly gifted. He is already possessed of abilities
which far exceed the ordinary. His imagination is so vivid, that I
have seldom seen its equal in so young a man; but he is hasty and
exceedingly quick-tempered. A more than strongly developed wilfulness
points to a stubbornness of character which is perhaps inherited
from his grandfather, and which it will be difficult for him to
control." This "character" was written out by the Count on the day
upon which Ludwig filled his eighteenth year, and on the tutor's
retirement from his responsible position.

The Crown Prince had not merely inherited his grandfather's
obstinacy, but resembled in other ways his father's father and his
own namesake. Like him he was an idealist and Schwärmer, with distinct
leanings towards æstheticism.

Henrik Ibsen, in his play of Ghosts, allows the characteristics of the
progenitor to show themselves already in the first generation. This
is not commonly the case. Far more frequently do the good and the bad
"family ghosts" come out in the second generation; and it may almost
be said that there are daily proofs that the son has more often the
faults and good qualities of his grandsire than of his sire. Such
was the case with Crown Prince Ludwig. To his careful, intelligent,
and conscientious father he had indeed little resemblance; but
his grandfather, the eccentric, stubborn, enthusiastic Ludwig I.,
"walked" in the grandson--not indeed "over again," as the saying is,
but in a new edition, changed in various ways though in other points
easily recognisable. On his mother's side there was also an enthusiast
in the family. Friedrich Wilhelm IV. of Prussia was Queen Marie of
Bavaria's first cousin, the son of her sister. There was in Ludwig's
tastes and turn of mind much that resembled this Prussian King, who
in contrast to the greater number of the Hohenzollerns took a greater
interest in science and art than in the profession of arms. But,
nevertheless, Ludwig II. was unique in his way. He was a peculiar,
strange figure in the midst of his immediate surroundings--an enigma
to his own race, as he was to his own people! He seems rather to have
belonged to another race than to the Teutonic one, and another age than
the nineteenth century. There are traits in his character which lead
our thoughts back to the times of Greek and Roman antiquity. In his
instincts and his passions he was closely allied to the Roman Emperor
Hadrian. In one respect, however, he was very modern, namely in his
love of a mountain life. He loved the alps; and it is characteristic
of this shy King, who would hardly undertake a journey that was not
to his pleasure palaces, that he repeatedly visited the alpine country
par excellence, namely, Switzerland.

He inherited from both his parents his delight in the mountains. The
royal family were in the habit of spending the summers at Schloss
Hohenschwangau, in the Bavarian highlands, not far from Munich. This
was in reality an old castle, built a thousand years back in time,
but entirely reconstructed by Maximilian when he was Crown Prince. [2]

Many historical reminiscences and legends are connected with the
castle, whose halls are filled with memorials of days gone by,
and whose walls are decorated with pictures of Lohengrin and the
swan in every conceivable aspect. It is said that Hohenschwangau
provided Tannhäuser with a night's shelter when he was returning
from his pilgrimage to Rome. Martin Luther, too, during the time of
the Reformation, when he was in need and danger, is supposed to have
sought refuge in this castle, which is also known by the name of the
Wartburg of Bavaria.

King Maximilian felt himself in better health after he had spent
the summer there, and with his wife, who was a bold climber,
was in the habit of going walking tours in the neighbouring
country. Hohenschwangau was the Queen's favourite place of
residence. She was unassuming, and exceedingly simple in her tastes,
the charming Marie finding her greatest pleasure in housewifely
occupations. On tablecloths which she had woven herself, she served
fish caught by her own hands. When in the country she was in the habit
of going about in a large kitchen apron, she dusted her own china
and ornaments, and took an innocent pleasure in washing up the used
coffee-cups. Moreover, she caused to be fitted up at Hohenschwangau,
a spinning-room in which she diligently turned her wheel for the
benefit of the poor of the neighbourhood.

To their son Ludwig these visits were also a source of pleasure, albeit
in a manner differing from that of the other members of the family. The
great solitude had the effect on the boy's impressionable mind of a
release from oppressive chains. Here, with his romantic disposition,
the child found food for his vivid imagination; here he could dream
himself into the legendary lore of olden days, and give free rein to
his longing for the marvellous. On the quiet paths he could immerse
himself in the German classics, chiefly in the works of Schiller,
which spoke in living words to his heart and mind, and he would at
times spend half a day in declaiming the resounding verses of his
favourite poet.

Strictly as he was brought up by his parents, he was at times left
too much to himself. He would withdraw in his free hours to solitude
and give himself up to day-dreams. "How dull your Royal Highness must
find the want of occupation," said his tutor, Dean von Döllinger,
to him one day when he found him sitting alone in a dark room on
account of a slight eye affection. "Why do you not let some one read
aloud to you?" "I am not dull," answered the Prince, "I am thinking
out different things, and I amuse myself very well in this manner."

There are strange contrasts in Ludwig's character; on the one side
a yearning to escape from humanity, with its unnatural and stilted
aspects, to unalloyed nature, to the stillness, the prayerful
solemnity of solitude; on the other, even in his early years, an
enthusiastic love of plastic art, combined with a delight in effective
representations, for artificial brilliancy and pomp. So much, indeed,
was this the case, that the thought cannot but arise in the mind
that he was intended rather for the stage than for a throne. The
life of the human community seemed to have no particular interest,
and still less attraction, for him. He stood uncomprehending, and in
a measure uncomprehended, before even the circle in which he lived.

But the serious moment was approaching. He had filled his eighteenth
year; duties and responsibilities awaited him. He was now about to
step out into public life.


"Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!"

A feeling of gloom and sadness rested over Munich; Maximilian II. was

On the 9th of March, 1864, he signed in his bed the last documents of
his reign. The same evening the doctors relinquished all hope of being
able to save his life. It had long been known that he was a sick man,
but no one had had any idea that his last hour was approaching. The
news, which was quickly spread, filled the capital with dismay and
lamentations. Immense crowds of people penetrated into the courtyard
of the Palace, and gazed up at their ruler's windows.

Snow and rain fell heavily. The wind howled, but no one seemed to
notice it. No longer was it possible to expect news which might bring
consolation. All were thinking the same thought: "Our good King is
dying!" The sorrow over the whole country was indescribable. At four
in the morning on the 10th of March the physician-in-ordinary informed
the sick man that he must prepare himself for death, telling him at
the same time that his confessor was in the Palace. "Has it come to
this?" asked Maximilian, who felt exceedingly weak but suffered little
pain. "Well, well--God will do the best for me! I have always wished
what was right." A believer, he made his confession and received
extreme unction.

His despairing wife had spent the night in the sick-room. The
eighteen-year-old Crown Prince was now with his father. The King had a
prolonged private conversation with him, warning him, counselling him,
and endeavouring at the eleventh hour to gain the confidence of his
son, who had always withdrawn shyly into himself and whose character
was to him a riddle.

He took an affecting and affectionate farewell of the Queen and both
his children, blessing them, and expressing a hope of reunion. "My
son," he said to his successor, "I hope for you a death as quiet as
your father's!" These were his last words. It would almost seem as
if the veil over the events of the future was lifted at this time
to the view of the dying king, and that he saw things which made him
suspect or fear his son's tragic ending. The Archbishop spoke words
of consolation to the dying man as he at midday, without a struggle,
was called to the eternal rest. Ludwig swooned with the strength of
his emotions. Later in life he was heard to say how painfully it had
impressed him that he had been greeted as the Sovereign as he left
his father's deathbed. "The Lord has taken a good king away from
us! Let us pray that He will give us as good a king again!" said the
Archbishop to the assembled courtiers, who were waiting outside. All
fell on their knees; tears and sobs filled the room. The capital and
the kingdom were weighed down by the pain of their loss.

The sorrow at the demise of a highly venerated prince was mingled with
sympathy for his successor, who had been brought up so strictly and
in such loneliness. A heavy burden had with the mantle of kingship
been laid on his shoulders; the father's early death was no doubt
a misfortune to the son. The seeds of mental morbidness which were
slumbering within him would hardly have shot so soon into growth,
nor perhaps would Maximilian's principles of education have brought
about such distressing consequences, had not Ludwig become King
when he was in the midst of his development. He was too young and
unformed to be able to support without injury this forcible and
sudden transition. All the doors which previously had been shut to
him were now opened wide. All sought his favour. He was worshipped
and applauded, while his most commonplace utterances were given the
character of winged words.

On the 12th of March he took the oath to the Constitution, in the
presence of the royal princes and the members of the Council of
State. The Minister of Foreign Affairs made a speech, which the new
King answered in the following words:

"Almighty God has called my dear, greatly-beloved father away from
this world. I cannot give utterance to the feelings with which my
heart is filled. The task awaiting me is great and arduous. I trust
in God, Who will send me light and strength to fill it. I will govern
faithfully, in conformity with the oath which I have just taken,
and in conformity with the Constitution which has now existed for
nearly half-a-century. The welfare of my beloved Bavarians, and the
greatness of Germany, will be the object of my efforts. I ask of all
your assistance in the fulfilment of my arduous duties."

Ludwig became popular without any effort whatever on his side; the
Bavarians are a loyal race, and strong ties knit the people and the
royal house together. Nor was the Monarch's sympathetic appearance
without its effect. All were struck by his beauty and attractive

An Austrian writer who saw and talked with him soon after his
accession, several years afterwards expressed himself in the following

"He was the handsomest youth I ever saw. His tall, slim figure
was perfectly symmetrical. His abundant, lightly curling hair,
and the slight indication of a beard lent to his head a likeness to
those great antique works of art, through which we have found the
representation of the Hellenic conception of manly strength. Even
had he been a beggar he must have attracted my attention. No person,
whether old or young, rich or poor, could remain unaffected by the
charm of his whole person. His voice was agreeable. The questions
he asked were concise and decided, his subjects were well-chosen
and intellectual, and he expressed himself easily and naturally. The
admiration he aroused in me has never diminished, but on the contrary
has increased with years. The picture of the young Monarch is still
imprinted in unfading colours on my mind."

Another German writer, Paul Heyse, met the young King about the
same time, and has likewise published his impressions of him. He
is not quite so enthusiastic in his admiration, but seems also to
have been impressed. "The large eyes," says Heyse, "were dreamy,
the glance winning. What he said was entirely without any trace of
embarrassment. His judgment of those in his proximity was unusually
certain, and his knowledge of human nature wonderful, in view of his
lonely education, so far away from the world."


A Plan of Marriage

Shortly after his ascent of the throne Ludwig was visited by the
Emperor and Empress of Austria. Elizabeth was his cousin. At the time
that she went to Vienna as Empress he was only nine years old. She had,
later, often visited her parental home and the Bavarian royal family;
but on these occasions the shy and retiring Crown Prince had hardly
been allowed to see and talk to the beautiful sovereign of the great
neighbouring state. Matters were now changed. Now he was King, and
there was soon knitted between these two a bond of friendship which
lasted until Ludwig's death. He received the Emperor and Empress
with every mark of attention, endeavouring to make their sojourn in
his capital as pleasant and gay as possible. From Munich, Franz Josef
and his consort went on to Kissingen, where Ludwig paid them a return
visit. At this noted resort the young King of Bavaria was received with
enthusiasm. Here also he met the Russian royal family. The Empress
Maria Alexandrowna met him with motherly kindness, and seems at once
to have formed the plan of making him her son-in-law. Bavaria was not,
indeed, a great power, but it was a respected kingdom of the second
class. The Bavarian dynasty was old and esteemed; and its present
head was a brilliant personality, and, as it appeared, noble and
amiable in character. To Ludwig also, and the country he represented,
a connection of the kind must have presented itself as suitable and
desirable; albeit, the Grand Duchess Maria--the only daughter of the
Emperor and Empress--was at that time a mere child.

From Kissingen the Russian royal family went on to Schwalbach. After
a short stay in Munich the King of Bavaria sought them there,
accompanying--their untiring knight--the mother and daughter in
their excursions.

This scheme of marriage, entertained by the Russian and the Bavarian
courts, extended over several years. It seems to be proved beyond all
doubt that Ludwig for a time thought of asking the Grand Duchess's
hand. He even had the plans drawn of a Græco-Muscovite palace, which
he intended should be his wedding gift to the bride, and where,
as a newly-married couple, they should spend their honeymoon.

The following summer the Tsarina and her daughter came again to
Kissingen; there again the King met them. The mutual amiabilities and
civilities recommenced, and the Empress and the Bavarian Ministers
still seemed eager to have the connection brought about. The
announcement of the engagement was expected every day. But it was
expected in vain. The King hesitated to say the decisive word;
as a matter of fact, he never said it. People tried to guess the
reason. Some thought that the Tsarina's too great eagerness for
the match had cooled his own ardour for it. Others thought that the
beauty-loving youth had hesitated because he had discovered that the
little Russian Princess had a higher heel on one foot than on the
other. Hardly any one suspected the real reason. It must be sought in
Ludwig's restless, undecided temperament, and in his inborn aversion
to entering the married state. [3]


King Ludwig and Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner, in the preface to his Niebelungenlied, asks the
following question:--"Is the prince to be found who will make possible
the representation of my work?" Ludwig of Bavaria read these lines
as Crown Prince, and exclaimed, with enthusiasm: "When I am a King
I will show the world how highly I prize his genius!"

Hardly a month after his accession Ludwig sent his private secretary,
Herr von Pfistermeister, to invite Wagner to Munich. The secretary
sought Wagner first in Vienna; but the poet-musician had been obliged
to flee the Austrian capital for some place where his pursuers
could not reach him, having been threatened with arrest for debt. He
was traced to some friends in Stuttgart. There the King's emissary
delivered to him a photograph of Ludwig and a ring, set with a ruby,
and informed him that, as the stone in the ring glowed, so his ruler
burned with longing to behold him.

On his sixteenth birthday the Crown Prince of Bavaria had been
present at a representation of Lohengrin. This opera had made the
deeper impression on him from the fact that the legend of the swan
knights was connected with Hohenschwangau, which, as we know, had been
from his childhood his favourite place of residence. During the years
preceding his ascent of the throne his interest in the "musician of
the future" increased. When visiting his aunt, the Duchess Ludovica,
at Possenhofen, he had found Wagner's compositions on her pianoforte,
and from this time forth he studied his works with zeal. Ludwig was not
the possessor of any distinctly musical gifts. A musician who gave him
lessons on the piano was even of opinion that he was wanting in ear;
and Wagner's works probably attracted him more from their fantastic
poetry than on account of their musical qualities.

It was with feelings of joyful expectation that the master accepted the
young King's invitation. He arrived at Munich at the beginning of May
(1864), and was received with consideration. His personality made a
strong impression on Ludwig, who assured him of his favour and warm
interest. "The unthinkable, and the only thing that I required, has
become a reality. Heaven has sent me a patron. Through him I live and
understand myself!" exclaimed the poet-musician to friends who were
awaiting him on his return from the Palace. After staying a few days
in the Bavarian capital he continued his journey to Vienna, being now
able, thanks to Ludwig's generosity, to discharge his debts. He soon,
however, returned to Munich, and Pfistermeister, in the name of his
master, bade him welcome to a beautifully situated villa on the lake
of Starnberg, where he might live undisturbed for his art.

Ludwig was in residence at this time at the adjacent Schloss Berg,
where Wagner frequently visited him, and performed his works before
him. The master's imagination, poetry, his attractive manner,
all transformed the royal enthusiast's admiration into blind
admiration. The elder man exerted a superhuman power over the
youth, and his proximity had a positively electrifying effect on
the King. Their life together became a decisive event in the lives
of both. Full of pity for him, and happy in the consciousness of
being able to assist him, Ludwig wrote on the day following their
first meeting: "Feel assured that I will do all that lies in my
power to make reparation to you for your earlier sufferings. I will
for ever chase away the trifling sorrows of everyday life from your
head. I will give you the repose you require, so that undisturbed
in the pure sphere of your art you can unfold your genius in its
entirety.... Unknowingly you were the only source of my joys. From my
earliest years you were to me a friend who as no other spoke to my
heart, my best teacher and upbringer." In spite of their difference
in age it is placed beyond a doubt, that Wagner from the first moment
warmly reciprocated the feelings of his protector. He thus writes to
his friend Frau von Wille (May 1864): "He (the King) is unhappily
so handsome and so intellectual, so full of soul and so glorious,
that I fear his life must disappear like a fleeting dream of gods in
this commonplace world. He loves me with the tenderness and warmth
of first love. He knows me and all about me, and understands me as he
does his own soul. He wishes me to live with him altogether, to work,
rest, and have my works performed. He will give me everything I may
require for this purpose. I am to complete the "Ring"; and he will
have them put on the stage in the manner I desire. I am to be my own
master, not Kapelmeister, nothing except myself and his friend!... All
need is to be taken away from me, I am to have all that I require,
only I am to remain with him!... You cannot imagine the charm of
his glance. I only hope he may live; it is a real marvel!" Of their
personal intercourse he writes, on another occasion: "I always hasten
to him as to a loved one. It is a glorious intercourse ... and, in
addition, this kind care of me, this charming modesty of the heart
when he assures me of his happiness in possessing me. We often sit for
hours lost in the contemplation of one another." The same feeling of
exuberant joy is apparent in a letter written on the 20th of May to his
friend Weissheimer: "Only two words to assure you of the indescribable
happiness which has become my lot. Everything has happened in such a
manner that it is impossible to imagine it more beautiful. Thanks to
the affection of the young King, I am for all time insured against
every pecuniary care. I can work, I need not trouble myself about
anything. No title, no functions, no duties! As soon as I wish anything
staged the King places everything I require at my disposal.... My
young King is a wonderful dispensation of fate to me. We love one
another as only master and pupil can love one another. He is happy
in having me and I am happy on account of him.... And then he is so
beautiful, so profound, that daily intercourse with him carries me
away, and gives me an entirely new life."

Already at this time, however, he adds: "You can imagine what a vast
amount of envy I meet with!"

The same year he addresses Ludwig: [4]

    "O, König! Holder Schirmherr meines Lebens!
    Du, höchster Güte wonnereicher Hort!
    Was Du mir bist, kann staunend ich nur fassen,
    Wenn mir sich zeigt, was ohne Dich ich war.

    Du bist der holde Lenz, der neu mich schmückte,
    Der mir verjüngt der Zweig und Aeste Saft;
    Es war dein Ruf, der mich der Nacht entrückte,
    Die winterlich erstarrt hielt meine Kraft.
    Wie mich Dein hehrer Segengruss entzückte,
    Der wonnenstürmisch mich dem Leid entrafft,
    So wandl' ich stolzbeglückt nun neue Pfade
    Im sommerlichen Königreich der Gnade."

At the beginning of October, Wagner moved from the lake of Starnberg
to Munich, Ludwig having given him a furnished villa in Brienner
Strasse. The royal gardeners transformed an adjoining garden into a
pretty park, and he was granted a considerable monthly pension. The
intercourse between the friends continued apparently undisturbed; they
spent their days in each other's society, and often remained together
half the night. The Monarch showered gifts on the poet-musician,
and fulfilled all his wishes.

On the 25th of November the newspapers of the capital published
an official announcement, which ran as follows:--"His Majesty has
decided that a school of operatic music shall be founded, under the
direction of Wagner, in which male and female singers who wish to
prepare themselves for the stage may receive the necessary practical
instruction. The royal Residenz Theater will be placed at the disposal
of the pupils for purposes of rehearsal."

Der Fliegende Holländer was given at the Hof Theater on the 4th
of December. The house was filled to overflowing, and the audience
followed the opera with interest. Wagner, who made his first public
appearance that evening as conductor in Munich, was recalled after the
second act and the conclusion of the performance. In order further
to seal the position he had won, it was decided that he should give
a concert the following Sunday in the Hof Theater, where several of
his compositions would be performed. It was, however, badly attended;
and the critics deemed Wagner more a poet than a musician.

A few weeks afterwards the King received in special audience the
architect Semper, who had come to Munich at the suggestion of
Wagner, it being the latter's wish that a large new theatre after
his own notions should be built in the Bavarian capital. It was
intended that this edifice should be situated on the highest part
of the Maximilian Anlage, a bridge in Renaissance style being thrown
across the river. The cost of the theatre was estimated at a million
guldens, and including the projected bridge and laying out of the
adjacent ground, Semper further calculated the sum necessary at
five millions of guldens. His plans and drawings met with Ludwig's
fullest approval. The officials of the privy purse, however, used to
the economy of former reigns, strongly opposed the scheme. The King,
therefore, thought himself constrained to postpone indefinitely the
execution of his plans; and later on entirely abandoned them. [5] The
capital of Bavaria was the loser by this, for the theatre would not
only have been an embellishment to the town, but would have attracted
thither a countless number of visitors. The outlay in course of time
would have been covered many times over.

The real opposition against Wagner began in Munich on the day when his
extensive theatre plans became known. The nobility saw in him the bad
genius of the young King, one who would prevent the aristocracy and
gentry from having access to the presence. The clergy were incensed
against him because he was a freethinker. Among musicians there
was a considerable number who admired the composer of Der Fliegende
Holländer, Lohengrin, and Tännhauser, but who, nevertheless, frankly
opposed the "music of the future" as an aberration. Others of his
fellows looked upon him as the greatest musical genius of that day;
but they envied his ability to bask in the favour of royalty, and
dragged his personal weaknesses forth before the public.

Wagner, on his side, was not without blame in these enmities. The
exaggerated luxury displayed by him incensed the thrifty burghers. At
every turn he boasted of the royal favour. It was generally said that
he misused his protector's open purse. He was in the habit of buying
articles on credit and referring the purveyors for payment to his
"royal friend," and it was feared in extended circles that he was
leading Ludwig into profligacy. He, moreover, caused a considerable
amount of ill-feeling by his irritability and impatience where the
execution of his plans was concerned. A large part of the press began
to show hostility towards him; the comic papers occupied themselves
with him; and he suffered much under the forging of these links:
On the 7th of March 1865 he wrote to August Röckl: "All I want is to
get away to a pretty corner of Italy ... so as to be able to nurse
my poor nerves. But how, on the other hand, can I leave this poor
young King, in his abominable surroundings, and with his heart so
wonderfully fastened on me?"

At Wagner's suggestion the King summoned Hans von Bülow and several
of the musician's other adherents to Munich. Bülow was appointed court
choirmaster and "leader" to his Majesty. He treated the artists of the
royal chapel like schoolboys. They were received in the best society
of the capital, and their displeasure was implanted further. On the
7th of May 1865 the following announcement appeared in the Neuesten
Nachrichten:--"Men whose veracity we have no reason to doubt inform
us that at a recent rehearsal of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Herr von
Bülow demanded an extension of the orchestra. The stage manager, Herr
Penckmayer, answered that in such a case thirty stalls would have to
be done away with. Bülow thereupon observed: 'What does it matter if
there are thirty rascals more or less in the theatre!'" The overstrung
musician frequently let his sharp tongue run away with him, and could
not deny that he had made use of this expression. He found himself
obliged to declare publicly that in saying so he had in his mind
only that portion of the public who had taken up a hostile attitude
towards Wagner. The general dislike of Hans von Bülow, despite his
admitted ability, was very detrimental to the poet-composer; moreover,
others of his friends who had come to Munich at this time wounded the
inhabitants of the city by their frankly expressed contempt for its
music, and by permitting themselves criticisms at its expense. But
more than anything else public opinion was incensed against Wagner
from the fact that Frau Cosima von Bülow, née Liszt, had attained
the part of lady of the house at the villa in Brienner Strasse.

It became known that the mutual admiration between her and Wagner had
taken the form of a liaison, and the judges of morality on this ground
sided vehemently against him. Only at the court did his position appear
to be unshaken. Ludwig did not hear the reports which were current with
regard to Bülow's wife and his friend, nor had he more than a slight
knowledge of the hostility of which the latter was the object. Articles
in the different newspapers which had come to his knowledge had,
however, greatly embittered the sensitive youth. "Forgive them,
for they know not what they do," he wrote, with reference to this,
to Wagner. "They do not know that you are everything to me, and
will continue to be so until death." In another letter he exclaims:
"Ah, my friend, how difficult they make things for us! But I will
not complain. I have him, my friend, the only one." [6]

At the Hof Theater in Munich the master's glorious composition
Tristan und Isolde was being studied, no theatre up to this time
having attempted to produce it. The well-known singers Ludwig and
Malwina Schnorr von Carolsfeld came from Dresden to take the title
parts. Bülow, whom the composer called "his other self," [7] was to
conduct the opera. The rehearsals began in Wagner's house, but were
later transferred to the royal Residenz Theater which was placed at
his absolute disposal for this purpose. The master instructed each
one of the artists himself. The little man with the great head was
all fire, carrying everyone with him. When a difficult passage had
been performed with especial success he would spring up and kiss and
embrace the singer, male or female; and at times even stand on his
head on the sofa from sheer delight. [8]

The performances of Tristan und Isolde had been fixed for the 15th, the
18th, and the 22nd of May, the latter day being Wagner's birthday. His
followers, and representatives of the press, had come from all parts
of Germany and from abroad, to be present at the representation, which
was considered an event in the musical world. But Frau Schnorr von
Carolsfeld suddenly fell ill, and the performance had to be postponed.

It was not until the 10th of June that the first performance could
take place. Early in the forenoon all the seats in the house were
sold at considerably increased prices. The royal boxes, flanking
the stage, were filled with spectators: among those present being
Prince Luitpold with his elder sons, Prince Adalbert with his wife,
King Ludwig I., and Duke Max, who nearly all remained in the theatre
until the conclusion of the opera.

At ten minutes past six the King appeared in the so-called "Imperial
box." He was received with loud acclamations, and the orchestra added
its quota of fanfares. Ludwig was evidently pleased, and thanked his
people by bowing cordially to all sides. The next moment Hans von
Bülow stepped into the conductor's place, and the performance began.

It was not at that time usual to applaud the actors and actresses
when the Sovereign was present, until the latter had given the
signal. After the first act, however, a great number of those present
were so delighted that they could not refrain from recalling Herr
and Frau Schnorr von Carolsfeld. No sooner had they done this than
hisses were to be heard, though deadened by applause. After the second
act the two chief singers were recalled, this time amid unanimous
recognition. At eleven o'clock the performance concluded. Once again
there was a difference of opinion, and applause and hisses sought
for mastery. Herr and Frau Schnorr von Carolsfeld led Wagner on to
the stage. He was received with a storm of ovations, though here and
there hisses were audible. The King, who had followed the performance
with the most strained attention, and who in the third act had been
affected to tears, trembled with emotion. He stood up in his box,
and clapped enthusiastically.

At last there was quiet; the curtain fell. Wagner's genius had

There was not in the whole of Europe a newspaper of any consideration,
still less one for the criticism of music, which did not mention
this evening. Opinions as to the work were divided, but there was
only one opinion as to the excellence of the orchestra under Hans
von Bülow's leadership and the singing of Ludwig and Malwina Schnorr
von Carolsfeld. A Frenchman who was present wrote [9]: "I doubt that
Wagner's Tristan will ever be popular, for it is not remarkable
for clearness and simplicity. On the other hand, musicians will
find treasures in it.--I have never been present at an opera which
so quickly wearies the attention and which demands such an immense
amount of mental strain. But neither do I know any with such lofty
and enchanting beauties.

"We must do the young King the justice to allow that without him the
representation could never have been possible. He has worked for it
with all his might, and Wagner's triumph is in truth his. Ludwig's
behaviour during the five hours that the opera lasted was likewise
a feature in the play. Be sure that this young man will cause the
world to talk about him! A Monarch of twenty years more open-minded
than his Opposition, whom he drives forward--a King who does not draw
back before the highest problems in art is a rare figure in history!"

Wagner received from his royal protector a letter in which was written:

    "Uplifted, Divine Friend,

    "I can hardly wait for the morrow, I long so already for the
    second performance.... Is it not so, my very dear friend, the
    courage to create new things will never leave you!... I ask you
    never to lose heart. I ask it of you in the name of those whom
    you fill with joy--a joy which otherwise only God grants!

    "You and God!

    "To death and after death. In the kingdom on the other side
    I remain,

    "Your faithful,

To Hans von Bülow likewise he expressed his thanks in a flattering
letter, which was accompanied by a diamond ring; and he also caused
diamond rings to be conveyed to Herr and Frau Schnorr von Carolsfeld,
in which souvenirs of the festival were ingeniously set.


Ludwig's First Visit to Switzerland--Richard Wagner leaves Munich

We know that Schiller, from Ludwig's childhood, had been his favourite
poet. At Munich, as in all other theatres, the master's works had
hitherto only been given in an abridged form. But the "romanticist on
the throne," commanded that in his own theatre they should be played
as the poet himself had intended. On the 18th of October 1865 Wilhelm
Tell was performed for the first time in its original shape.

After this representation the King was taken with the desire to
know the people and the country which Schiller had glorified in his
work. Accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Prince Paul of Thurn and Taxis,
he started on the 20th of October for Switzerland. In Lucerne, which
he made his headquarters, he went to the hotel Schweizer Hof. His
arrival being unannounced, and no one recognising him, he was given a
room on the third floor. The consternation among the personnel of the
establishment may be imagined when it became known the following day
that it was the King of Bavaria who had been lodged so high up. The
landlord, in dismay, hastened upstairs to make his apologies, and
offered Ludwig the suite of rooms on the ground floor in which royal
personages were usually accommodated. Ludwig declined the offer with
his kindest smile, declaring that he was satisfied with his little room
on the third floor, with its pretty view over the lake and mountains,
and that he would not leave it.

From Lucerne he made excursions to places in the woodland cantons rich
in legendary lore: to "Rütli" "Tells-Platte," "Stauffachers Kapel,"
to the Küsnach gorge, and several other places.

The hearts of the inhabitants went out to the handsome, enthusiastic
youth. The Schwyzer Zeitung published after his departure some hearty
words of appreciation and farewell. This he answered in an autograph
letter which ran as follows:--

    "Herr Redakteur!

    "It was with the greatest pleasure that I read to-day the warm
    farewell from "William Tell's" land, and I answer it from my heart.

    "I send my greeting likewise to my dear friends in the forest
    cantons, for whom already as a child I had a particular affection.

    "The recollection of my visit to the glorious interior of
    Switzerland and of the honest, free people, whom I pray God to
    protect, I shall always prize.

    "With the kindest feelings, I am,

    "Your gracious,

    "Hohenschwangau, November the second, 1865."

On his return home Ludwig invited Richard Wagner to visit him; and
on the 10th of November the two friends were again together in the
"Swan Castle." It was intended to open at the beginning of the year
1866 the new school of music and dramatic art, with Hans von Bülow as
Principal. Wagner had much upon his mind which he desired to ask of
his royal friend, and was so satisfied with his stay at Hohenschwangau
that after his return home he telegraphed to one of his adherents:

"The year 1866 is ours!"

Meanwhile there were forces working from different quarters to
destroy the friendship between him and Ludwig. The Secretary and
the Keeper of the Privy Purse, who had enjoyed the late King's
confidence for years, considered it to be their duty to counteract
the tendency to extravagance which was showing itself in the young
Sovereign. They received support from the numerous opponents of the
poet-musician. The opposition grew into a perfect tumult; for the
people, who could neither understand his relations with Ludwig nor his
artistic objects, believed in the alarming pictures of him which his
enemies sowed broadcast in words and writings. "Well-informed persons,"
wrote the Volksbote, "affirm that Wagner within less than a year has
cost the privy purse no less than a million and nine hundred thousand
guldens. We do not vouch for the accuracy of the amount stated; but
we may mention it as certain that Wagner some weeks ago once more
demanded forty thousand guldens in order to satisfy his expensive
habits. Herr von Pfistermeister has advised the Sovereign not to
grant this new and excessive demand. As a result of this Richard
Wagner has written in his anger a letter very far from polite to
Herr von Pfistermeister; and finally he has in spite of everything
received the sum he desired." Ministers, Councillors of State,
burgher representatives, all took part against him. Among the general
public opinions were, however, somewhat divided. The following episode
occurred in a railway train. A Catholic priest expressed disapproval
of his Majesty for making so much of "Lutheran musicians." To this
a peasant who was sitting in the same carriage, replied: "I would
rather see the King with musicians than with priests."

The Secretary was looked upon by Wagner as the instigator of all the
opposition the latter met with, and on many occasions he expressed
himself in disparaging terms of this greatly respected man. In the
other camp, on the contrary, Pfistermeister was greatly admired on
account of the bold stand he was making against the inconsiderate
demands of the master, the Conservative papers siding strongly
with him.

On the 4th of December an address of confidence was laid out in
the business houses of Munich for signature, which it was intended
should be presented to Herr von Pfistermeister by a deputation. It
also contained a request that he would continue to stand fast by the
King's side. Ludwig received official information of these facts,
and at the same time it was made known to him how unpopular Wagner
had made himself. On the 5th of December he moved from Hohenschwangau
back to the Royal Palace at Munich. On the same day his mother, his
great-uncle Prince Karl, Archbishop Scherr, and the Premier, Baron
von der Pfordten, went to the Palace. In his capacity as Minister of
the Royal Household, the latter handed him a memorandum in which he
threatened to retire if Wagner did not leave Bavaria. Prince Karl gave
forcible expression to the belief of the court that this friendship
would have disastrous consequences. The police would no longer answer
for the poet-composer's safety. Lacqueys who were questioned let fall
hints that a revolution might break out under the present condition
of affairs.

The King had weak nerves, and was not a man of conspicuous
bravery. Wagner's violence and exactions had many times caused him
difficulties. He felt himself, moreover, greatly hurt by the manner
in which his name had been mixed up in the matter. The attacks of the
press and the threats of his relations and councillors would hardly,
however, have been sufficient to separate him from his friend, had not
another reason been added to them: he had received incontrovertible
proof that the poet-composer had a liaison with Frau Cosima von
Bülow. These proofs, for which he was quite unprepared, made a far
more painful impression on him than the meddling of his friends and
the malicious fulminations of the press.

Schwärmerei was a prominent trait in his character, and he had fixed
all his affections on Richard Wagner. The predominant feeling of the
latter was primarily gratitude to his royal patron; but there is no
doubt, judging by the letters and poems from his hand, that he also
cherished very great sympathy for the gifted youth. But Ludwig was
of a jealous nature. He wished to be loved for his own sake; and he
wished to possess his friend alone. The connection with Frau von Bülow,
therefore, became a source of bitter and continual disappointment
to him. The same day that he ascertained the fact with certainty,
he sent the Premier a document in which he made known his desire that
Wagner should at once leave Munich. "I will," he said on this occasion,
"show my dear people that their confidence in, and love for, me stands
higher than any other consideration." To von Lutz, later his Minister,
was allotted the task of verbally informing Wagner of the decision
which had been taken with regard to him. The same evening he visited
the Hof Theater with the Queen-mother. Instead of the warm welcome
he was in the habit of receiving when he had been absent for some
time, a murmur of displeasure was heard. He thought to see in this a
confirmation of the current of public feeling. The following morning
he sent Wagner an autograph letter, which ran as follows:--

    "My dear Friend,

    "Greatly as it pains me, I must ask you to comply with the wish I
    expressed yesterday through my secretary. Believe me, I was obliged
    to act thus! My affection for you will last for ever. I ask you,
    also, always to keep your friendship for me. It is with a good
    conscience that I dare say that I am worthy of it.... Who has the
    right to part us?... I know that you feel as I do, that you can
    perfectly measure my deep sorrow. I could not act otherwise, be
    convinced of this! Never doubt the faithfulness of your greatest
    friend.... It is not for ever.

    "To death,

    "Your faithful,


Even before the official organ of the Government had announced this
sensational banishment, the news had been disseminated with lightning
rapidity. The 8th of December was a holiday. Nevertheless, a meeting
of magistrates was convened to discuss the propriety of sending a
deputation to the King, to express the city's thanks. The debate
was protracted and sharp; it was finally agreed that the deputation
should not be sent. Nor did a torchlight procession which had been
thought of, take place.

While the Clerical and some of the Liberal papers were overjoyed
at Ludwig's action, the Progressive organ observed that "the august
relatives, members of the nobility, and officials of Church and State
who had informed the King of the prevailing condition of public
feeling had been incorrect in their statements. Wagner's presence
had done nothing to alarm the people, and had in no way diminished
their love of the King. Wagner's person had had nothing whatever to
do with the internal affairs of the country, and with the efforts of
the Progressive party."

On the 10th of December the master left Munich. Despite the cold
of winter and the dark early morning hour, the railway station was
filled with people anxious to see him and bid him good-bye. Ludwig
had sent him a last farewell letter, brimming over with sorrow:

    "My precious tenderly loved Friend,

    "Words cannot express the pain gnawing at my heart. Whatever it
    is possible to do to refute the abominable newspaper accounts
    shall be done. That it should have come to this! Our ideals shall
    be faithfully cultivated--I need hardly tell you this. Let us
    write often and much to one another. I ask it of you! We know
    each other, and we will not give up the friendship which binds
    us. For the sake of your peace I had to act as I have done.

    "Do not misjudge me, not for a moment; it would be the pangs of
    hell to me.... Success to my most beloved friend! May his works
    flourish. A hearty greeting with my whole soul from

    "Your faithful,


Wagner went to Switzerland and took up his abode there.

Neither the King nor his advisers thought that the banishment would be
for ever. The poet-musician did, indeed, return to Munich, on visits
of short duration, but he never stayed there again for any length of
time. The good relations between him and Ludwig were never broken,
and the gallant Monarch continued to hold his protecting hand over
him. He worked zealously for the inauguration of the Wagner Theatre
at Bayreuth, and the royal pension was paid without reduction out
of the privy purse until the death of Wagner in 1883. Frau Cosima,
however, who had been one of the causes of the friends' separation,
was unable to congratulate herself on any favour whatsoever; she might
not have existed as far as the ruler of Bavaria was concerned. As a
widow she sought an audience of him, to thank him for the proofs of
affection he had shown her husband. Ludwig refused to receive her. "I
do not know any Frau Cosima Wagner," he said coldly.

Although he had voluntarily sent the master away, and although, as
we have seen, other reasons than the voice of opinion had influenced
his decision, Ludwig never forgave the citizens of Munich for the
part they had taken in disturbing a friendship which had been the
source to him of so much consolation and pleasure. The aversion which
he showed the capital on many later occasions was first awakened by
this circumstance. The severance not only left behind it a profound
feeling of loneliness, but also, in his sensitive heart, a bitterness
which boded ill for the future.

"His too great love for me," wrote Wagner, on the 26th of December
1865, to Frau Wille, "made him blind to other connections, and
therefore he was easily disappointed. He knows nobody, and it is only
now that he is learning to know people. Still I hope for him. As I
am sure of his enduring affection, so I believe in the development
of his splendid qualities. All he requires is to learn to know a few
more people. He will then rapidly learn to do the right thing."

On the 1st of July 1867 he wrote in a letter to Malvida von Meysenburg:

"The only thing that kept me back in Munich was affection for my
friend, for whose sake I have suffered more than for any other
person.... I have saved him, and still hope that I have kept in him
one of my best works for the world."

Among Wagner's contemporaries there were but few who were disposed to
share his belief that he had saved the young King. On the contrary,
public opinion affirmed that it was he who had given Ludwig a taste
for the nocturnal life which entirely undermined his nervous system,
and that by his exaggerated poems of homage he had laid the foundation
of the megalomania which later developed in him. At the time of
Ludwig's death it was even declared that this friend was concerned
in the tragedy of the Starnberger See. The latter is, of course,
an unproved and improvable affirmation. With quite as much reason
might it be said that Ludwig II.--morbid as he was--had need of some
person who by the power of music could soothe him in his suffering
condition. Certain it is that from the day when the separation from
Richard Wagner took place the King's spirit became less, and his life
more joyless than it had been before.

It has also been thought that Wagner meddled in the guidance of
political affairs. This, however, is incorrect. There were, indeed,
many who credited him with an all-powerful influence over the King,
and he himself mentions this in a letter to a friend: "I pass for
a favourite who can bring everything about. The other day even a
murderess's relations addressed themselves to me!" It is also said
that, at the time when war seemed to be imminent between Prussia
and Austria, an endeavour was made through Wagner to induce Ludwig
to remain neutral. All, however, who are in a position to know,
are agreed that in the fulfilment of his duties as a ruler the young
Monarch never allowed himself to be influenced by him. Wagner has on
countless occasions declared that he never talked politics with the
King, because the latter had forbidden him to do so. When he touched
upon a topic which might in any way have led the conversation into
this channel, Ludwig would gaze up at the ceiling and whistle, as a
sign that he did not desire a continuation of the subject.

Finally, in summing up the relations between the two friends, it
must not be forgotten that, after Wagner's genius, it is to the
affection of the Bavarian King for him that the world owes to-day
the possession of the Meistersinger, Der Ring, and Parsifal. His
help at a time when it was most needed, gave back to the master his
strength and courage. Ludwig's magnificent generosity enabled him to
create these new and glorious works. Moreover, the royal protection
did much further to attract attention to Wagner and to the music of
the future. His enthusiastic admiration for the composer of Rienzi,
Der Fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde,
and the above-mentioned operas, has caused the name of Ludwig II. to
be honourably connected with the history of music.

Little more than twenty years have passed since his death, in the year
1886. But the prophetic words which he uttered on the 4th of August
1865, in a letter to Richard Wagner, have become reality. "When we two
are no more, our work will serve as a shining model for posterity. It
will delight centuries. And hearts will glow with enthusiasm for the
art which is from God, and is everlasting."


The Political Situation--The Schleswig-Holstein Question--The War
of 1866

The sixties were in political respects a time fraught with fate for
the German people.

The future Emperor Wilhelm I.--"der Siegeskaiser," as he was
called--had in 1861 succeeded his romantic, and in the end, insane
brother, Friedrich Wilhelm IV., as King of Prussia. The year afterwards
Bismarck was constituted the leader of Prussian politics. He had
long borne within him the scheme for the federation of the German
states under the Prussian sceptre; and his political watch-word
was, as we know, "iron and blood." In 1863 an opportunity occurred
for the great statesman to take the first step on his projected
way. The Danish King, Frederik VII., had died, and as a consequence
of this the Schleswig-Holstein question had peremptorily come to the
fore. Bismarck invited the hereditary enemy, Austria, to go hand
in hand with Prussia in her war against Denmark. In the situation
brought about by this war the position of the medium-sized and small
states of Germany became serious, and the neutrality which they had
adopted became more and more untenable. Bavaria had kept outside
the struggle in the Schleswig-Holstein question. Its then reigning
Monarch, Maximilian II., had made an attempt to negotiate between
the conflicting parties, and shortly before his death endeavoured to
mediate in favour of the Duke of Agustenborg's claims.

Matters had by this time entered on a new stage: the two great
powers could not agree as to the prize gained by the conquest. Dark
storm-clouds gathered, threatening a more far-reaching and bloody
issue than the Schleswig-Holstein one. Ludwig II. desired to take
up the thankless part of peacemaker, and follow in his father's
footsteps. This was of no avail, for Bismarck wished for a decision
of the question whether Prussia or Austria should play first violin,
and a war was a necessary link in his scheme. Bavaria in general, and
the King in particular, seem long to have considered it possible that
the storm might abate without the shedding of blood. Nevertheless he
issued orders on the 10th of May, 1866, for the mobilisation of the
Bavarian army.

On the 22nd of May, at Schloss Hohenschwangau, one of the Ministers
held a lecture before him on the position of affairs. Ludwig went
a turn in the park with his counsellor, and parted from him with
manifestations of friendliness, after having offered him a cigar. The
Minister had hardly taken his departure before Ludwig mounted a
horse, and rode off, accompanied by a single groom. He galloped to
the railway station of Biessenhofen, reached Lindau unrecognised,
and passed thence unnoticed into Switzerland. The journey concerned
Richard Wagner, who was living at his villa "Triebchen," close
to Lucerne, and whom he wished to congratulate on the occasion of
his birthday. The Landsturm was meanwhile about to be called out in
Bavaria, and the King's signature was required. Not a syllable as to
his intended excursion had crossed his lips while he had been talking
to the Minister. When the latter again returned to Hohenschwangau,
his Majesty had disappeared. Inquiries were made; but no one knew
whither he had ridden, or how long he intended to be away. After
a time tracks were found leading to the lake of Lucerne, and it
was discovered that two riders, late at night, had been admitted to
Richard Wagner's villa. There was no longer any doubt as to where he
was to be sought. The Premier telegraphed to Wagner that the King's
presence in Bavaria was necessary. Ludwig at once went back to Lindau,
whither the royal train was sent to meet him. It is true that he had
been absent only a few days, but not without reason this excursion
was looked upon with great disfavour. His gratuitous disappearance
at such a critical moment was commented on and criticised in foreign
and Bavarian newspapers. The only circumstance to explain and excuse
his conduct was his youthful confidence that his kingdom would not
be involved in the struggle.

On the 27th of May he opened the Chamber in person, expressing in the
Speech from the Throne the hope, which he would not yet relinquish,
that Germany might be spared a sister war. This was, however, on the
eve of breaking out.

The sympathies of Bavaria were on the side of Austria, and on the 14th
of June a military alliance was concluded with that country. The same
day Prussia declared in Dresden, Hanover, and Cassel its ultimatum:
Alliance or war! The Grand Duke of Hesse, who would not allow Prussia
"to put a pistol to his breast," was a Prussian prisoner of state
five days later. King George of Hanover declared himself, "as a
Christian, a monarch, and a Guelph," to be against Prussia. But so
rapid was the Prussian advance that the Hanoverian troops surrendered
without conditions on the 29th of June, in spite of their victory
at Langensalza.

On the 16th of June the war broke out in Bavaria. Austria had
undertaken, in an agreement with this country, not to conclude peace
on her own account. On the 25th of June Ludwig went for a day to the
headquarters of the army, at Bamberg. He issued a proclamation to
his troops, in which he said, "I do not bid you farewell; my thoughts
will be with you,"

He left the command of the army to his father's uncle, Field Marshal
Prince Karl, then seventy-one years of age, who, together with
Prince Alexander of Hesse, led the troops of Bavaria, Würtemberg,
Baden-Baden, and Hesse--the so-called reichs-armée, which consisted
of nearly a hundred thousand men. In spite of his bravery and his
military experience from the wars of Napoleon the Great, in which he
had taken part, Prince Karl could do nothing against the dissensions
of the allied troops, which hastened the enemy's victory. The Prussians
conquered the reichs-armée in a number of small battles.

Inactive, powerless, Ludwig was witness from his capital of the defeat
of his faithful soldiers. His people were a vanquished people, and
himself a vanquished King. Austria concluded peace with Prussia in
Nikolsburg without paying any regard to the fate of her ally. Bavaria
now also concluded peace. She did not lose any province, had only
to renounce a strip of country hardly worth mentioning; but she was
compelled to pay thirty millions of guldens for the expenses of the
war. The Bavarian troops went each in their own direction. The war
had lasted a month, but this month had been long enough to lay fields
and woods bare, and to fill thousands of hearts with loss and sorrow.


The King makes the Tour of his Kingdom

A couple of months after peace had been concluded Ludwig made the
tour of his kingdom--the first and the last of his reign.

He appeared with great brilliance, his suite consisting of no less
than a hundred and nineteen persons. Although the war had brought
Bavaria neither honour nor advantage, and although the King had taken
no active part in it, he was everywhere received with the greatest
rejoicings. The enthusiasm he aroused was so great, that his journey
literally resembled a triumphal progress, and this conquered and
peaceful monarch might have taken to himself Cæsar's celebrated words:
Veni, vidi, vici.

The sympathy of the people during the war of 1866 had been markedly
on the side upon which the Government had placed itself, namely, that
of Austria. The young King's personality was, moreover, as if created
to awaken interest and devotion. He was twenty-one years of age. He
united to his youth a beauty which was widely celebrated. Nearly every
illustrated paper in Germany, nay, the whole of Europe, published a
picture of him at that time, and to these was added a text redundant
with admiration and praise. The romantic light which rested on him,
the legends current as to his gifts and his intellect, his æsthetic
and artistic tastes, even the many half-true half-fictitious stories
of his caprices and peculiarities--all contributed to increase the
interest taken in him. Added to this was the fact that this official
journey was for the purpose of making acquaintance with the wounds
caused by the war, and in order, as far as possible, to bring healing
and relief to them.

It was a winter journey. The snow lay like a white coverlet over
the afflicted provinces traversed by the railway. But from behind
the wide plate-glass windows Ludwig saw, whenever a group of houses
came into sight, that a flag was hoisted on every roof and that from
every window a hearty welcome was being waved to him. The noise of
the train was put to naught by the jubilant clangour of the village
trumpets and clarionets. In the towns the reception was on a grander
scale, and not less hearty. All the streets were decorated with flags
and banners, and all the bells were pealing. The sounds of cannon,
music, and cries of hurrah mingled one with another. The Monarch was
the recipient of loyal speeches, verses, state dinners, and parades of
troops. Concerts and balls were given in his honour. Young girls with
awed admiration presented him with nosegays. The poor and the rich,
the young and the old, gave proof-positive of their devotion by the
zeal and impatience with which they sought to approach him. The joy of
the people broke through police-guards and etiquette. Everyone asked
to welcome this conquered man who was making a triumphal progress
though the conquered provinces. "Never," a Bavarian officer who was
with him told me--"never was a King worshipped as was Ludwig on his
tour in his own country." The jubilations were equally deafening,
the heartiness just as spontaneous, in Bayreuth, in Bamberg, Hof,
Schweinfurt, Kissingen, Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, and Nuremberg.

The snowstorms now and then reduced a plan to nothing; Ludwig's health
sometimes failed and prevented him from enjoying the festivities as
much as he might have done; he was unable now and then to appear at
some entertainment which had been given in his honour. But he was
never-failing in his amiability, and he visited all the places where
there had been battles with the enemy, laying flowers with his own
hand on the soldiers' graves, and rewarding those who had helped to
nurse the wounded.

On the 30th of November he arrived in the most glorious winter weather
at Nuremberg, welcomed by crowds of people and shouts of "Long live
the King!"

In the evening the citizens gave a brilliant ball; it was so numerously
attended that it was only with difficulty space could be kept for
the dancers. Nevertheless, Ludwig danced for four hours running. He
conversed with ladies of all ages, and with men of the most varying
grades of society. He was pushed into the very midst of the crowd,
and he laughed and joked at the incident. It was not till long after
midnight that he withdrew from the ball. He remained a whole week in
Nuremberg. The castle courtyard, and the neighbouring castle hill,
were besieged by people from morning to night, who could not look
often enough on their King. From the adjacent country places people
came in troops to the town; and every day he gave audience in the
hall of the Kaiserburg.

Throughout the journey magnificent gifts of money poured out of the
privy purse for the assuaging of poverty and need. Criminals were
pardoned, and the countless petitions which were sent in were nearly
all granted. The police endeavoured to keep the obtrusive supplicants
away. But the Monarch had a sharp eye for that which it was desired
to keep from him. He discovered for himself among the crowds of
people the pale and careworn forms who hung together with petitions
in their hands, and he would then send one of his equerries to find
out the nature of their wishes. Wearing a field-marshal's uniform he
held a review of the troops on the Ludwigsmark, and sewed with his
own hand the war memorial on four standards. The general in command
made a speech in his honour, after which the troops broke out into
vociferous cheering.

In response to a special invitation Prince Otto joined him at
Nuremberg; the interest of the inhabitants from this moment was divided
between the two brothers. Otto also was genial with all with whom he
came in contact. He was handsome; and he was the possessor of a gay
and lively temperament, in which his brother was wanting.

At last the end came of the royal days in Nuremberg. On the afternoon
of the 10th of December the King, accompanied by his brother, left
the town. He promised soon to repeat the visit--a promise which was
never fulfilled! Despite the demonstrations of love and devotion which
were so often and so unstintingly lavished on him by the population,
he never again during his reign of twenty-two years travelled in
his kingdom.


Ludwig's Betrothal

At a court ball which took place during one of the first years of
Ludwig's reign, he said to one of his gentlemen-in-waiting: "There
are many pretty women at my court, are there not?" and added, as his
glance full of tenderness sought the Queen-mother, "but my mother is
the prettiest of them, and the one whom I admire most."

Queen Marie had many good qualities, but though her sons both loved
her, she had no lasting influence on them. She hardly took the
trouble to try to enter into Ludwig's train of thought, or to hide
his weaknesses and peculiarities from others, nor does she seem to
have had the ability to understand his strange and composite nature.

As we are aware, the young King took great interest in art and
literature. At the beginning of his reign he endeavoured to influence
the Queen's taste; but when he talked to her about books, inquired
her opinion of this or that work, she would usually answer: "I never
read anything!--I cannot understand why people should always want to
be reading." Ludwig regarded her want of understanding as an indirect
reproach to himself; and his disappointment in her had a depressing
effect upon him. Both mother and son were fond of a country life. Both
had a particular affection for Hohenschwangau. The Queen-mother had
spent her happy married life at this place: the King's best childish
memories were connected with the castle. But even this similarity of
taste gave rise to disagreements. Whereas Ludwig infinitely preferred
to be alone at Hohenschwangau, the Queen-mother preferred to collect
people around her. While her thrifty mind was able to content itself
with a bunch of Alpine roses, picked by herself, the King required
gardens and parks, created by art. Life within the family circle,
however, went on in very much the same manner as in the lifetime of
her husband: Queen Marie retained her housewifely habits, and the
King and Prince Otto shared her life at the royal summer residences
in the vicinity of the capital.

King Maximilian had built a Swiss châlet, "Pleckenau," some
little distance above the Marienbrücke, and about five miles from
Hohenschwangau. During the first years of her widowhood Queen Marie
regularly used this house as a resting-place on her trips in the
neighbourhood, and as an object for small excursions. Ludwig and Otto,
with their attendants, would come out and spend quiet evenings with
her. The King's nineteenth birthday was celebrated at Pleckenau. A meal
was partaken of in the garden, and the utmost gaiety prevailed. "All
the same," said the Queen, "something is wanting to increase the
pleasure of the day." She looked inquiringly round the circle to see
if no one guessed her thoughts. As she nodded at the same time to
Ludwig, he said:

"You mean music, mamma! We will have some later!"

"I mean something else," answered his mother, "something that we want
particularly to-day!"

Prince Otto, then sixteen years old, suddenly called out:

"I know, mamma!"

"What is it, then?"

"Your spinning-wheel!"

Those present were vastly entertained at the Prince's answer, for
the Queen-mother's weakness for practical occupations was the object
of much amusement. This time, however, her thoughts had carried her
in another direction. She confided to the circle that she had been
thinking of a fiancée for the King.

Despite Ludwig's youth, not only his mother, but also his people had
begun to occupy themselves with the emotional side of his nature. His
love of the mountains and their solitude had caused a rumour to become
current that a postmaster's or ranger's daughter in Schliersee had
taken possession of his heart. This report was entirely without
foundation. Apart from his mother and her court ladies, his old
nurse and his governess, he had before his accession hardly come in
contact with women. As the young King he was amiable and courteous,
but exceedingly retiring in his behaviour towards them. It was perhaps
for the very reason of this retiring attitude that he set flame to a
countless number of hearts. Many ladies wore lockets containing some
souvenir of him; such, for instance, as a flower his foot had trodden
on, or some of the hairs of his riding-horse. [10]

Some years passed by after the above-mentioned birthday party
took place, and still the wish of the Queen-mother and the people
was ungratified. The Empress of Russia's matrimonial project had
become known, had been much discussed, and had again been nearly
forgotten. The King was now twenty-two years of age.

The world was at this juncture surprised by the announcement that
he was engaged to be married to his cousin, the Duchess Sophie
Charlotte. She was young, pretty, well-educated, very musical, and the
possessor of a fine voice. In defiance of the feeling against him which
prevailed at court, she had openly shown her admiration for Richard
Wagner, and was usually present at the Hof Theater when his works
were performed. Ludwig looked forward to finding in her an ally in
the struggle for his friend. Although the cousins were on a friendly
footing, their mutual relations had never given any ground to suppose
that a matrimonial alliance between them would ever come about. The
evening before the report was circulated there had been a ball in the
"Museum," at which Ludwig had been present. The young ladies belonging
to the court had been remarkable for their charming dresses. Sophie,
in particular, had displayed all the magic of her beauty.

At six o'clock the next morning the King hastened to his mother,
and requested her, in his name, to ask the Duchess's hand.

Queen Marie had since her marriage been on terms of warm friendship
with the young Duchess's parents and their family. She was pleased at
her son's prompt decision. She drove in the early morning hours to the
palace of Duke Max and the Duchess Ludovica. Nothing had occurred
to prepare the Duke or his wife for what was about to happen,
but they were proud at the unexpected offer of marriage. One of
their daughters was an empress, [11] they had seen another of their
daughters a queen. [12]; now the youngest of them, and the one nearest
her mother's heart, would have her place on the throne of Bavaria. The
young Duchess, too, gave her consent without hesitation. Eye-witnesses
have, however, declared that her face, otherwise so fresh, became
exceedingly pale when she promised the Queen-mother to marry her
son. At nine o'clock Ludwig himself arrived. An hour later the formal
engagement was celebrated.

The news, which was rapidly spread through the capital on this
morning, became certainty in the evening. On the 22nd of January,
1867, there was given at the Hof Theater a new play by Benedix. The
King was present at the performance. After the conclusion of the
first act, the Queen-mother came in. She and her son walked across
to the ducal box, where Sophie was sitting with her youngest brother,
and together they fetched the young girl to the "Imperial box," where
she seated herself between the two. There are still alive in Munich
elderly persons who remember the memorable night when the Princess
walked in on Ludwig's arm, and gracefully bowed to the public.

The Duchess was born on the 22nd of February, 1847. She was often to be
seen in the Bavarian national costume, which was very becoming to her;
and she was considered by many to be better-looking than the Empress
Elizabeth, who was celebrated for her beauty. A light blue dress of
silk clung this evening to her slender figure. Her hair, which was
almost too thick and abundant, was dressed in plaits. Her face was
radiant and pure. A pair of unfathomable blue eyes, with dark lashes,
looked up at the King.

On the 29th of January the engagement was officially announced to
the Chamber, which voted an address of congratulation. It concluded
with the following words: "May all the blessings which a married
life can give grow forth in abundance from the alliance which it
is your Majesty's intention to contract, to the happiness of your
Majesty, to the prosperity of the royal house, to the blessing of
the country!" The deputation was not granted an audience; it had to
content itself with congratulating Ludwig and his betrothed on the
6th of February at a court ball.

The country was surprised at the King's choice; no one could understand
why he had so suddenly taken this decision. The news was received with
sympathy, but at first without real enthusiasm. The three former Kings
of Bavaria had had Protestant wives, and the Protestant part of the
population would have preferred Ludwig to make a similar choice. In
the capital itself, however, people were very well satisfied. As
he had in no way been influenced, and as there could be no political
grounds for a marriage with a member of the royal house, it was assumed
that inclination alone had dictated his proposal; and this assumption
seemed in accord with his leaning towards the romantic. It was hoped,
moreover, that the marriage would chase away his love of solitude,
which had already begun to show itself, and also that the court would
gain in brilliancy.

Ludwig understood how to throw glamour on his alliance; and, little by
little, people began to show interest in his bride. Double portraits
of the young couple were to be seen everywhere; and men and women of
the populace would stand for hours in pouring rain to catch a glimpse
of the Duchess. During the Carnival the young Monarch gave a series of
balls; and on the 28th of February the engaged couple were present at
an entertainment given in their honour by the Minister of the Royal
House and of Foreign Affairs, Prince Hohenlohe. On the 23rd of March
they took part in a masquerade at the Casino.

The King appointed the 12th of October as the day of his wedding;
both his father and grandfather had been married on that day. On
the occasion of Maximilian II.'s marriage, a respectable couple in
poor circumstances, chosen from each of the provinces of the kingdom,
had been given 1000 guldens from the royal exchequer. It was decided
that a similar sum should be distributed on Ludwig's marriage. In all
circles of society and all parts of the kingdom wedding presents were
in course of preparation. The city of Munich built a coach decorated
with cupids, which cost 100,000 guldens. The Palatinate sent some
fine horses from the noted stud of Zweibrücken, and a cask of noble
wine. In the royal Palace the so-called garden suite was fitted up
for the reception of the future Queen. This had formerly been used by
Ludwig I. and Maximilian II.; but Ludwig intended to retain his old
apartments, which were situated above those destined for Sophie. The
painted ceiling in the vestibule, which dates from the seventeenth
century, was tastefully restored; and the Palace was soon brilliant
with truly royal lustre. In the chief workshops of the city workmen
were designing, hammering, carving, and forging household utensils
and articles of ornament. Commemorative medals were struck bearing
the heads of the King and his bride, and the most skilful engravers of
the country drew the young Duchess, in order that her picture might be
spread abroad on the marriage day in hundreds of thousands of copies.

Ludwig I. was still alive: the news of the betrothal reached him in
Italy. He was pleased at this marriage between his sister's youngest
daughter and his grandson. Shortly before he had seen at Pompeii
a fresco depicting Venus and Adonis, and having thought to find a
likeness between Ludwig and the beautiful youth, he now embodied his
idea and good wishes in some verses which referred to the aforesaid
picture. They conclude thus:--

    "Des Lebens Höchstes haben sie erworben.
    Nie werde durch die Welt dein Glück verdorben,
    Nie heisse es: die Liebe ist gestorben!"

The King had asked the hand of his cousin in a moment of infatuation;
but it was not the fire of his senses which burned within him: his
feelings were the joy of the artist at the sight of beauty. More
than one trustworthy chronicler of the events of this time has hinted
that the Duchess had a serious inclination for another, and that it
was the desire of her parents for the marriage with her cousin which
influenced her decision in favour of it. Although Ludwig was hardly
her first love it was impossible that she could have been insensible to
his beauty, which fascinated all women, or to the charm of his manner
and personality when in his best moods. All who knew Sophie as a girl
speak enthusiastically of her liveliness and buoyancy. Her goodness of
heart was also praised, though this did not exclude a light vein of
mockery. She was gay; but she was, nevertheless, haughty and proud,
and there is hardly any ground to doubt that she was tempted by the
brilliance of a royal crown.

Early in the spring the ducal family went out to Possenhofen, and
Ludwig at the same time took up his residence at the château of
Berg. His little yacht, the Tristan, often bore him to the house of
his betrothed, where he was in the habit of spending the evenings. He
showered costly presents on Sophie. Every morning the royal lover
rode round the Starnberger See to offer her in person a bunch of
roses. If he came too early he gave the bouquet to her waiting-maid;
and on the way back from his ride, stopped to see the Duchess. Thus
weeks and months passed by. The idyll had not apparently suffered any
break. It was Ludwig's hope that his future wife would be the friend of
his loneliness. He talked often to her of Richard Wagner, whom he loved
so dearly. He recited to her poems, ancient and modern, and scenes from
Schiller's dramatic works. She listened at first with pleasure to his
declamations and outpourings; but at length grew tired of them. The
King was of a suspicious nature; he suspected Sophie and himself. He
sent her notes and presents in the middle of the night, exacting
long letters of thanks by the returning messenger. If she forgot to
fulfil a single wish of his he was sulky for days. Unwarrantable
fits of violence alternated with profound melancholy. He suffered
from headache; and his excited nerves required solitude. After the
intoxication of the first few weeks was past, his betrothed saw in
him a total stranger. His extraordinary caprices gave her anxiety; and
his intellectual life was a closed book to her superficial nature. If
she was wanting in the ability to follow his flights of fancy, he
on his side was incapable of satisfying her need for love. There
was in the whole of this connection something which was artificial,
and which did not ring true. The Duchess had a hasty temper. The
restless state of mind induced in her by his changing moods made her
capricious and unable to govern herself. Misunderstandings which at
first had gone unheeded, began to arise between the young couple;
disagreements separated them still more from one another. Long before
Sophie knew for certain that the engagement would be broken off,
a presentiment must have warned her that it could not possibly endure.


The King goes to Paris--Disharmonies between the Engaged Couple--Ludwig
meets the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Eugénie in Augsburg--The
King breaks his Promise of Marriage

In the midst of the preparations for the wedding the King made
several journeys. At the beginning of June he went with Prince Otto
to Eisenach, in order to see Wartburg. Later in the summer he went
to Paris, where an International Exhibition was going on.

The Paris paper La Situation had long in advance announced that the
King of Bavaria would visit that city. His arrival was looked upon as
an event which might be of political importance. Although he at once
paid a visit at the Tuileries, he made no secret of the fact that he
had come to France as a private gentleman, and wished to preserve
the strictest incognito. The Empress Eugénie was in England; but
Napoleon received him as an honoured and welcome guest. He invited
him to his magnificently restored palace in the Bois de Compiègne,
where a review of troops was held in his honour. At the lunch which
followed this there were present the King of Portugal and Prince
Anton of Hohenzollern-Siegmaringen and his son, the Hereditary Prince
Leopold, whose candidature for the Spanish throne three years later
caused Napoleon to risk his crown.

The King of Bavaria appreciated but little the pleasures of the
Imperial court. He spent the greater number of his evenings at the
"Grand Opera" and the "Theâtre Lyrique." The chief part of the day
he spent in the Exhibition, where the sections devoted to art and
education particularly attracted his attention. It was his design to
remain in the French capital until the Empress Eugénie's return. His
visit was, however, cut short by the news that his father's brother
Otto, the former King of Greece, had died at the castle of Bamberg,
where he had passed his latter years. Ludwig hurried back to Munich,
and was present on the 30th of July at his uncle's interment.

The business houses of the capital were meanwhile at work on wedding
gifts for their King. Letters and presents continued to be exchanged
between the engaged couple; and nothing hinted to the outer world
that storm-clouds had arisen. In the month of August Napoleon and
Eugénie came from Paris to Salzburg, to meet the Emperor and Empress
of Austria. They stopped a day in Augsburg. Napoleon in his youth
had been a pupil at the College of St Anna in that town, and wished
to revisit well-known spots. Ludwig met the Emperor and Empress
at Augsburg and accompanied them to Munich, where the Queen-mother
received the august travellers. The tie between the engaged couple
seemed far as yet from being loosened; the King presented Sophie to
the Empress, who heartily kissed both the young people.

Still Ludwig continued his rides along the shores of the lake of

One morning he stopped earlier than usual outside Possenhofen with
his bunch of flowers. As usual he went up to the ground floor of the
castle. At the top step he met a lady's-maid, who rushed past him, and
at the same moment a washing-basin was flung after the fugitive. The
water streamed out of it just as his Majesty was setting his foot on
the threshold. Near-sighted as he was, Ludwig nevertheless saw who
was the cause of this scene: his betrothed, who rapidly disappeared
behind the next door, looked at this moment more like a Fury than
a Venus! He stood a moment aghast; then hurried down, swung himself
into the saddle, and rode rapidly away. He was expected in vain that
evening at Possenhofen.

Judging by the later development of Ludwig's character, it is probable
that a marriage between him and Sophie would never have come about. The
scene above described meanwhile hastened on the break. Autumn was
at hand, and the day appointed for the marriage drawing near. The
wedding coach was ready, eight splendid horses having been bought to
draw it. The new Queen's court had been appointed. The programme of
the marriage ceremonies had been made out by the court officials and
submitted to his Majesty for approval. All the preparations respecting
the court entertainments and popular rejoicings with which the alliance
was to be celebrated had been made.

Then one day in September the Minister of the Royal House and
Foreign Affairs, Prince Hohenlohe, received a letter in the royal
handwriting. [13] "Here is some news for you," said he to his
secretary, handing him the letter. Ludwig briefly informed the
Minister that he had decided not to marry the Duchess. He left it
to the Prince's well-known diplomacy to arrange the matter to mutual
satisfaction. Hohenlohe at once asked for an audience with the King;
but he was informed that his Majesty had left for the highlands a
quarter of an hour earlier; his plans were unknown, and his return

"This," observed the Prince, shrugging his shoulders, "is evidently
a fixed determination. At any rate, it is better than setting me a
year hence to bring about a separation."

"But there is absolutely no reason for the King's step," remarked
the secretary.

"For that very reason matters must be arranged in such a manner that
she may find a pretext for withdrawing. Go at once to the mint and
order them to stop striking the marriage medal," answered Hohenlohe

It was first officially announced that the day of the wedding was
postponed, but that the alliance was by no means broken off. Duke Max
asked in the name of his daughter when the marriage was to take place;
and on his request that a time should be appointed, was informed that
"this was impossible on account of the King's state of health." The
answer gave the ducal house a reasonable pretext for declaring that
they would "in such circumstances prefer to consider the engagement at
an end." The King received this declaration "with the deepest regret."

The rupture was hardly so unexpected by the general public as the
engagement had been; for, thanks to Hohenlohe's care, the public mind
had been prepared. Nevertheless, the event was for long a standing
subject of conversation. Opportunity had been given for the most varied
surmises, and stories and hints were not lacking. Some sought the
reason in a mutual want of sympathy. Others knew better, affirmed that
the Duchess loved another, and that the King had discovered this fact.

But all were loath to think that their beloved Ludwig was in any way
to blame in the matter.

Sophie's reputation was hardly treated. Gossips and court sycophants
threw suspicion on her. Disparaging and marvellous accounts of her
conduct were circulated, and were never lived down. It is little to
the King's honour that he never took any step whatever to do justice to
the woman he had wished to make his wife and the Queen of his kingdom.


After the Parting with Sophie--Episodes from the King's Excursions
in the Highlands

Though Ludwig's initiative had dictated the rupture with Sophie, it
is certain that at the end the parting was not easy to him, and that
it was not without influence on his future life. A marked change in
his manner took place from this time.

Immediately after this event he retired to his most secluded castle. He
was free, but he was not happy. He became more suspicious and shy
than before; and it was plain to all that he was harassed by inward
disquiet. His good relations with the ducal house were, of course,
destroyed. He had not a single real friend, not one person in his
entourage with whom he could talk confidentially. The break cast a
deep shadow even over his relations with his mother. She avoided him,
in her disappointment and anger, instead of endeavouring to win his
confidence and help him in his mental struggles, and his love of
solitude increased with his bitterness at her coldness.

Duties, however, called him back to his capital; by New Year 1868 he
was again in Munich. The people showed signs of pleasure at having him
amongst them once more; the windows of the Residenz were lighted up on
the dark winter evenings, crowds of the curious besieged the entrances,
admired the vestibules and staircases, which were filled with flowers,
and listened to the music as they caught snatches of it from inside.

The King was holding court; he gave concerts and balls. The
festivities, however, were short-lived: Ludwig I. died at Nice. All
entertainments were cancelled; and again the troubled man was able
to retire from the world. Those, and there were many, who desired an
audience of him were compelled to put their patience to the proof,
and in the end the greater number of these aspirants had to take their
departure without having been granted one. Even here, in retirement,
he was unaccountable. He refused foreign potentates the sight of his
magnificent palaces and winter gardens; but took round one of them a
Swiss student, and showed him all its beauties. He was caprice itself,
unaccountable as the most changeable of women. One day he would be
affable, the next inaccessible and silent. These qualities, however,
were chiefly apparent in his relations with the heads of society. Among
the peasantry he was amiable and straightforward; and he retained his
popularity among the working classes to the end of his reign. The
country people round about those places where he chiefly resided
to this day tell many charming stories of him. Thus a gentleman who
was touring in the mountains came one day to Hohenschwangau. As he
was wandering about in the vicinity of the castle he saw a young
man coming towards him. The latter wore a short black coat, had a
Tyrolese hat on his head, and carried a large fish in his hand. The
stranger took him for a gardener, and asked him if it was possible
to see over the castle.

"When the King is there no one dares to enter it," answered the
young man; "but as he is not there just now, I can show you round
if you wish." The offer was naturally accepted with gratitude. The
fictitious gardener very obligingly showed the stranger through the
apartments, where all the servants bowed respectfully. They stopped
before the King's bed-chamber, the young man explaining that visitors
were not allowed to enter it. After they had seen everything, he took
a complaisant farewell of the stranger, who concluded by asking where
his Majesty was at the time.

"The King was in the castle when we went over it," was the answer.

"And we did not see him?" exclaimed the gentleman in surprise.

"You did see him. I am the King!"

One day when Ludwig was walking alone in the mountains he met a
goat-herd. "I am going to drive my goats home," said the boy, "but
I don't know what time it is."

"Have you no watch?" asked the King. "How could I have a
watch?" answered the child. Ludwig told him, smiling, what the hour
was, and the day afterwards sent him a watch as a present.

When on his lonely drives he often passed through a village where he
had noticed a cottage belonging to a shoemaker. The man was always to
be found tending his flowers in the little patch of garden. One day
Ludwig stopped the carriage outside the village and walked to the
shoemaker's, where he remained outside the fence watching the man,
who was busy in his garden.

"Master," said he, "you are not quite successful with your lilies."

"No," answered the shoemaker, who did not recognise the King; "I have
not grudged work or expense these five years to get pure white lilies,
but they always have a green tinge about them. If I could only get into
the royal garden--I hear they have such beautiful white lilies there!"

"It would not be any help to you, master," said Ludwig, "for it is
hardly your intention to steal plants there, I think. Nor would you
have the opportunity of doing so."

"What do you think of me, good sir?" exclaimed the man indignantly. "Do
you think I would touch my King's property? All I want is to see this
beautiful flower in its full perfection."

"You might be able to do that. I know the head gardener, and I will
put in a good word for you."

"If you would do that I would willingly make you a pair of boots
for nothing."

"I want no return for such a trifling service," said Ludwig, taking
leave of him with a friendly nod.

The next morning a servant brought the cobbler a large bunch of white
lilies from the King.


The Empress of Russia visits Bavaria--The Duchess Sophie's Engagement
and Marriage--An Unexpected Meeting with the Duchesse d'Alençon--A
Last Attempt to forge the Links of Hymen around Ludwig

In the latter half of September, 1868, the Empress of Russia came to
Munich accompanied by a numerous suite. Her unsuccessful matrimonial
project did not seem to have diminished her interest in the Sovereign
of Bavaria.

Ludwig received her with the same respect and warmth as before, and
entertained her with a magnificence the like of which had not been
seen before in his realm. He had caused the apartments in Schloss
Berg which were placed at the Empress's disposal to be done up in
exact similarity, according to description, to her rooms in the
Russian Palace. A state luncheon at the Palace at Munich and a state
performance at the theatre, alternated with excursions to his castles
in the vicinity of the capital.

The Tsarina spent an evening with the royal family on the "Roseninsel,"
where her young friend had arranged an Italian night with music and
singing, and at which the singers of the opera took part. The whole
of the lake of Starnberg was illuminated with Bengal lights. In
the gardens and courtyard of the château were erected allegorical
statues. Every rose-bush hid a surprise. Countless numbers of rockets
were sent up into the air above the lake, and moved, many-hued, in
the wind. Music was played on a vessel, so clothed in leafage that it
resembled an islet, and on which the inhabitants and summer visitors
to Starnberg had taken up their position, adding by their applause
to the general festivity of the entertainment. It was like a tale
from the "Thousand and One Nights." The Russian Empress expressed the
opinion later that she had never experienced anything so romantic as
this evening.

The Grand Duchess Maria did not accompany her mother on this
occasion. The King's engagement to his cousin, and his breaking off
of it, had convinced the Empress that, amiable as he was as a friend,
she would probably do wisely in cooling her ardour to possess him as
a son-in-law.

There is no doubt that the broken engagement had injured the Duchess
Sophie's reputation; but it proved, nevertheless, that the incident
had by no means diminished her chances of making another advantageous
match. A reigning German Prince--a near relative of the King--went
in the summer of 1868 to Munich with the intention of learning to
know her, and of asking her hand. Another suitor had meanwhile been
before him. On the 1st of July, 1868, the Duc de Nemours and his son
had visited Possenhofen; and on the 11th of July of the same year,
during a visit to Baden-Baden, the engagement of Sophie to Prince
Ferdinand of Orleans, Duc d'Alençon was publicly announced. [14]

Shortly afterwards the Prince and his father went to England to make
arrangements for the new home. The wedding took place on the 28th
of September, 1868, at eleven in the forenoon, in the royal chapel
at Possenhofen. At the marriage, which was performed by the Abbé
Haneberg, were present, besides the bride's parents and brothers,
the Count and Countess di Trani, the Hereditary Princess Helene of
Thurn and Taxis, and several of the Bavarian princes and princesses,
also the Duc de Nemours, with both his daughters, the Comte de Paris,
the Prince de Joinville, with his wife and son, and other members
of the house of Orleans. The Empress of Austria and the ex-Queen of
Naples, the latter with her husband, who had shortly before visited
their paternal home, had left Bavaria immediately before the wedding.

The Neuesten Nachrichten of Munich, from which I have gathered these
details, is silent on the subject of an episode which has lately
become known through Freiherr von Völderndorff's reminiscences of
Prince Hohenlohe. In the midst of the ceremony Ludwig II. suddenly
appeared, accompanied by the Empress of Russia, who was his guest at
the time. His entrance had the most painful effect on all present. The
King remained for over an hour in the home of the bride, apparently
without in the least noticing the feeling of constraint which his
presence occasioned. His determination to congratulate his former
fiancée on her wedding-day was without doubt one of those momentary
impulses which were continually fluctuating in the neurotic man's
restless mind.

The Duc and Duchesse d'Alençon went to England, where they lived during
the first years of their married life. But Sophie often came back to
Possenhofen. Ludwig avoided meeting her with the greatest care. Many
years later they accidentally encountered one another at Seeshaupt
on the lake of Starnberg. An accident had happened to his horses,
and he had alighted from his carriage and had got up beside a peasant
who was driving past, in order to return to Berg. At that juncture
the Duchess Ludovica, with her youngest daughter by her side, drove
past. The King ordered the peasant to make way for her equipage. He
turned his head aside and took no notice whatever of the ladies.

After the marriage of the Duchess, a rumour was spread abroad
that Ludwig was again about to become engaged. He made a trip,
in the strictest incognito, from Hohenschwangau to Friedrichshafen
on Bodensee, travelling under the name of "Graf von Schyren," and
accompanied by a single servant. The King and Queen of Würtemberg had
invited him to visit them. Queen Olga, a Russian princess, who had
relinquished with regret the hope of seeing the Archduchess Maria Queen
of Bavaria, had at this juncture planned a new engagement. Princess
Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont [15] was on a visit to the royal couple. The
Queen had made up her mind that this young lady, who was exceedingly
musical and a great admirer of Wagner's compositions, should make
the acquaintance of the King of Bavaria, with the view of a possible
matrimonial alliance between them. Ludwig appeared to be attracted
by the Princess, who in her turn was charmed with the gallant and
intellectual Monarch. The day spent at Friedrichshafen passed quickly
and pleasantly. Evening came, and Ludwig thought of returning to
his home. While he and the Princess were still sitting together at
the piano he became restless. He remarked that it was getting late,
and that the time for his departure was at hand. Almost immediately
he rose to depart. He took a warm farewell of the Princess, and a no
less hearty one of the King and Queen of Würtemberg, promising that he
would soon come again and perhaps stay longer. From the steamer, which
had been waiting for him, he waved several times to the King and Queen,
and the Princess, who were standing on the quay looking after him.

He never came back, however, and apparently forgot both the charming
day in Friedrichshafen and Princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont.


Ludwig and the Artistes of the Stage--Josephine Schefzky

His subjects began to give up the hope of seeing their King a
husband. Several political parties, however, hoped that they might
be able to influence him through a mistress. Their expectations were
disappointed also in this. After the breaking-off of his engagement,
the fair sex played but a small part in the King's life. He seems
to have looked upon women with the same eyes as the poet Holberg,
who in one of his letters writes that he regards them as "pretty
pictures"--to be looked at, but not to be touched! Those who knew
Ludwig are entirely agreed that he never felt real love for any woman,
not even for his betrothed wife, though at one time he appeared to
do so. To Richard Wagner, he said at one of their first meetings:
"You do not like women either, do you? They are such bores!"

Ludwig's indifference did not, however, prevent him from feeling
friendship for several women. [16] His artistic interests, moreover,
brought him into contact with others of them; and in his youth he
often summoned actresses and women-singers to his palaces in order
that they might recite and sing to him. He astonished them by his
remarkable memory, for if they left out but a single word he would
immediately supply it. Not infrequently he would himself take a part in
a dialogue, and his gifts of elocution are said to have been charming.

Some of his experiences with the artistes whom he invited to his
palaces can hardly have contributed to increase his respect for
women. The fêted actress, Frau von Bulyowska, declaimed before him
at Hohenschwangau fragments of Schiller's dramas. For some time he
delighted in Mary Queen of Scots; he had her engraved, he had her
painted, he had her acted at the theatre. The aforesaid actress,
who had taken the part of Mary Stuart, had to stand as model to the
court painter, who made sketches of her for use in a painting of that
unfortunate Queen. Frau von Bulyowska thought this was the outcome
of an interest on Ludwig's side in her person; and she unreservedly
avowed her intention of seducing the young Monarch, and of playing
the rôle of a Madame de Pompadour at his court.

One day, when visiting him on the Roseninsel, she appeared in a costume
which was evidently calculated to show her outward charms in the most
advantageous light. Her efforts were wasted; the King's near-sighted
eyes did not even appear to see what she was like. His Master of the
Horse who accompanied her, however, understood her intentions. The
next time she was received at the Palace in Munich, which had been
recently restored. The King complied with his visitor's wish to
see his private apartments. When they entered his bed-chamber the
actress made a tender attack upon his person. Ludwig freed himself
from her embrace, rang the bell for a servant, and called out:
"Frau von Bulyowska desires her carriage!"

She was not invited by him again. Another actress lost his favour
because, on a first visit to one of his palaces, she was looking so
attentively at his paintings that she did not hear him enter the room,
and consequently neglected to curtsey with deference.

Mathilde Mallinger, the singer, was, on account of her magnificent
voice, for a short time the recipient of his favours; but her ignorance
of the forms of the great world soon repelled him. When one day she
asked for an audience, his Majesty answered that he "only knew a court
singer, Mathilde Mallinger, but no lady of that name; and therefore
was unable to grant her an audience."

No artiste was for so long a time or so high in his favour as Josephine
Schefzky, one of the chief Wagner singers of her day. She was the
daughter of a court official, and it was to members of the house of
Wittelsbach that she owed the means for her artistic education. Already
before her appearance Ludwig interested himself in this future star
within the realms of song. Her studies completed, she was engaged by
the Royal Opera of Munich; and after some years was appointed court
singer. The King was usually present at the opera when she appeared,
and she had often, moreover, the honour of singing privately before
him, both in his capital and when he was living at one or other of
his pleasure palaces. He had caused to be arranged in the Throne Room
building of the Residenz a winter garden, to which he had direct access
from his private apartments. Besides magnificent groups of exotics,
the garden contained a grotto, with a little cascade, and a pool deep
and broad enough for him to row on in a boat, the latter being formed
like a swan. Dressed as Lohengrin he lived here in the world of fancy,
for a few moments forgetting everything that oppressed his mind.

His favourite singers sang fragments of Wagner's operas to him
from behind groups of palms. Here Josephine Schefzky sang often. He
permitted her to sail with him in his golden boat, and when one day
she had sung the love-song from Tristan und Isolde, he suddenly struck
up the air from Rigoletto: "La donna è mobile." This artiste, too,
was vain enough to believe that he was in love with her. Many of the
inhabitants of Munich expressed in fairly explicit terms their belief
that a liaison existed between them. In reality, however, he was only
her protector, who enjoyed her magnificent singing. So high a place in
his esteem as that she was credited with, it may fairly be asserted was
never hers. To his daily entourage he was in the habit of announcing
her visits in the following words: "To-day the goose Schefzky shall
come and sing again." One night she sang to him on the artificial lake
in the winter garden. The boat was small. An incautious movement on
her part caused it to careen. The King scrambled out of the pool with
ease, though wet through. "Pull her out of the water," he called to
a lacquey, as he disappeared rapidly into his own apartments.

Despite this occurrence, Josephine Schefzky continued to be in his
favour, and was singled out for this by his Majesty more often than
any other artiste. At his country residences she was received and
entertained almost like a royal guest. Ludwig directed that some
especially delectable viand or wine, from his kitchens or cellar,
should go back with her every time she returned to Munich from
Hohenschwangau or Berg. The servants, who saw that their master
esteemed her, were at great trouble to curry favour with her in their
own behalf. The royal carriage which took her away was invariably
stuffed with hams, delicate sausages and patés, with champagne and
Rhine wine, so that people at the railway station might have supposed
that the departing lady was about to journey to a place where there
was a famine. On one occasion the royal carriage even broke down
under the weight of the gifts.

Josephine Schefzky was permitted to give the King presents on his
birthday. He received them with evident pleasure, but only on the
condition that the sum she had expended on them should be refunded to
her out of the privy purse. On an occasion of the kind she had asked to
be allowed the honour of giving him a tablecloth. The permission was
granted. Ludwig expressed in appreciative words his admiration of the
singer's good taste, and sent her an amiable letter of thanks. There
had been at this time a change in the personnel administering the
privy purse. At the head of it there was now a near relative of the
shopkeeper where Fräulein Schefzky had purchased her tablecloth; he
had by chance heard how much she had paid for it. The lady made her
appearance some days later, and demanded a larger sum than the gift
had cost her. The official greatly wished his master to become aware
of her avarice, and after some circumlocution informed Ludwig how
the artiste had enriched herself by means of his present. Generous
as he was the King would probably have forgiven the deception, but
he was angered when he heard that Fräulein Schefzky was in the habit
of asking for money from the privy purse in the following words:
"I have spoken to him about it!" His vanity and self-esteem could
not bear his person being spoken of without due respect. This him,
with which in her broad South-German accent she denoted his Majesty,
sealed her fall.

In an autograph letter her protector of many years informed her that
she was dismissed from the court opera of Munich, and that her salary
for the unexpired time of her engagement would be paid to her at
once. The title "Royal Bavarian Court Singer," was taken away from her.

Herewith the connection was severed. Several years later, however,
she was permitted to enter once more into correspondence with Ludwig.


Prince Hohenlohe--Political Frictions

Bavaria had escaped comparatively easily from the war of 1866. Bismarck
had had good reasons for this end: that astute statesman foresaw the
approaching war with France, and it was of the utmost importance for
him to win Bavaria to his side for the furtherance of his plans for
the future.

No sooner was peace concluded than he confided to the Bavarian Minister
of Foreign Affairs, that Napoleon III., who in 1866 had wished to
play the part of self-appointed arbitrator, had demanded payment for
this in the shape of a portion of Bavarian land. The Minister told
this on confidence to Ludwig, with the result that the King made up
his mind to enter into a treaty of defence with Prussia. A few days
afterwards he sent King Wilhelm an autograph communication, in which,
while referring to other topics, he observed that "a firm and lasting
friendship was established between their houses and states."

This alliance between two countries which had so recently carried arms
against one another, was not at first made known to the public. Soon,
however, reports began to circulate that Ludwig was about to make a
change of front in his foreign policy. That these rumours influenced
public opinion, he was destined to receive unmistakable evidence. In
the autumn of 1866 he opened the Bavarian Chambers. From the Palace to
the Landtag he drove in a sumptuous coach drawn by six thoroughbred
horses, a stately cavalry guard in brilliant uniforms escorting
him. The young ruler had hitherto been used to storms of ovations
when he showed himself to the sight-loving and loyal inhabitants of
Munich. The police had orders not to prevent the shouting crowds from
pressing forward. On this occasion the order was unnecessary. The
attitude of the populace was different from its usual one; no shouts
of hurrah were to be heard; no hand was raised to doff the cap. His
Majesty drove through the streets amid oppressive silence. The whole
occurrence was a party demonstration, called forth by the violent
agitation of the Clerical party, which was endeavouring to play on
the national strings. The behaviour of the populace deeply affronted
the King. He was so much annoyed at the cool attitude of the capital,
that he swore that after this day he would not show himself in the
streets of Munich oftener than was absolutely necessary.

The demonstration defeated its own end; it did not succeed in inducing
him to swerve from the course he had entered upon in his foreign
policy. Shortly afterwards his friendly relations with Prussia became
an acknowledged fact.

On the last day of the year 1866 he formed a new Ministry. The
soul of this was the celebrated statesman, Prince Chlodwig von
Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, who in his younger days had been in the
Prussian service, and who already in 1849 had raised his voice for
a German confederation under the leadership of Prussia. By family
tradition, by education, and political sympathies he was an out-and-out
adherent of the policy of that country; and he was an enthusiastic
admirer of Bismarck. With the exception of Ludwig himself, nearly the
whole of the royal house strongly opposed the Premier and his views. At
the head of the court opposition was the old ex-King, Ludwig I. To
this party were united, moreover, almost the whole of the nobility,
and a preponderating majority of the Catholic clergy. The nobility
mistrusted Hohenlohe not only for his Bismarckian foreign policy,
but also, and this perhaps chiefly and primarily, on account of
his liberal views. The Catholic clergy hated him because he showed
the will and the ability to maintain the ascendancy of the state in
ecclesiastical questions, and combated the arrogant claims of the
Catholic prelates. Among a large majority of the population in general
he was also unpopular. The working classes looked upon him as the
"Prussian" and hatred of Prussia was during those years extended and
intense within the Bavarian people. [17]

In August, 1867, Hohenlohe announced formally in the Landtag
that an alliance of war had been concluded with Prussia. The
declaration aroused violent embitterment. One of the deputies, Dr
Ruland, fulminated against the "links of slavery" with which the
Prince desired to forge Bavaria fast to the aforesaid country. When
another speaker mentioned the "brotherly hand" held out by Prussia,
Ruland pulled out a shell, which he had picked up from the field of
battle in 1866, and had kept: "See here," he shouted, "here is the
brotherly hand which Prussia holds out to us!"

Great as was the irritation he had excited, Hohenlohe went calmly
on with his preparations to enable Bavaria to take part in the
Bismarckian scheme for the future. In the foremost rank of these was
the reorganisation of the Bavarian army, which had shown itself during
the war of 1866 to be on a very inefficient footing. One of his first
and most important works of legislation was also a new modern system
of conscription, after the Prussian model. Immediately after this he
placed before the Chamber a Bill by which it was intended to make the
schools independent of the Church. As Prime Minister of the largest
Catholic state in Germany he, moreover, regarded it as his duty to
step forward when Pius IX. announced his intention of declaring the
Infallibility of the Pope.

By this attitude he irritated the Clerical-Conservative party to the
uttermost. In the year 1868 violent dissensions took place between
the Particularists and the Ultramontanes, on the one side, and the
National Liberals on the other. The hatred towards Prussia and the
new school laws drove Particularists, Democrats, and Ultramontanes
to conclude a league which placed immense difficulties in the way
of the Ministry. The assault of the opposition did not, however,
shake the King's confidence in his adviser, and in his relations with
Prussia, as well as in the ecclesiastical conflict, he placed himself
unreservedly on the side of Prince Hohenlohe.

At the elections of 1869 the Ultramontanes succeeded in gaining
a decided majority; and according to parliamentary procedure the
Ministry resigned. Ludwig, however, would not accept the resignation,
and a violent struggle took place between the Government and the
representatives of labour. The opposition majority resolved upon
a vote of censure against Hohenlohe, who was as much hated as he
was feared. It was the earnest wish of the King that this might be
thrown out in the chamber of "Reichsräthe." Through his Minister of
Ceremonies he requested the Princes of the royal house to refrain
from voting against the Ministry, and he himself worked upon his
young brother with the same view. The Princes were present in full
force at the meeting. The King's cousin, Duke Carl Theodor, entered
the lists on behalf of Hohenlohe. But the others--even Otto--voted
with the majority.

Ludwig was incensed. He was particularly embittered by his brother's
vote. He knew that his uncles had influenced the Prince; as the head
of the family, and in virtue of his royal authority, he forbade him
the entrée for some months to the court.

A deputation requested an audience for the purpose of handing him
the aforesaid address of censure, but admittance was not granted to
the presence. The Master of the Ceremonies received the Deputies,
and informed them that they must be pleased to let the address reach
his Majesty through the hands of his Ministers. The reason for this
unparliamentary attitude on Ludwig's side is said to have arisen
from the discovery of a correspondence between two personages high
in authority, which advocated no less than the dethronement of the
Monarch should he persevere in the agreement with Prussia. [18]

For the time being Hohenlohe remained at the helm of office. But the
fermentation continued, and the embitterment against the Government

The fateful year of 1870 was entered upon. On the 19th of January
Hohenlohe declared in the Chamber that a state of the second rank,
like Bavaria, could only exist as allied to another kingdom, and that
that kingdom could only be Prussia, under whose leadership the people
of Bavaria must be prepared to fight in the event of war. His open
declaration called forth a storm. The Vaterland newspaper wrote:
"Down with Hohenlohe, who is pushing himself between the King and
the people!... An evil spirit is making its insidious way through
Bavaria." The same journal assured the French that the fall of
the Ministry would be synonymous with the neutrality of Bavaria. It
continued in a threatening tone: "Is the country again to be subjected
to the storms of an election on account of a single Hohenlohe? The
Prussians are perhaps counted upon. It is hoped that riots will break
out, which will offer the former a welcome opportunity of penetrating
into the country as rescuers. Traitors! The enemies of Bavaria and
its people! As soon as a Prussian sets foot across the frontier of
our country, six hundred thousand French and four hundred thousand
Austrians will put themselves in motion to eject him. Bavaria shall
belong to the Bavarians!"

In the Austrian press, and in the newspapers which were under the
influence of the Bavarian Jesuits, it was repeatedly said that the King
was incapable of governing; he was covered with lèse-majesté. "Ludwig
II. by his conduct has brought the country into a state of the utmost
disquiet! If he will not turn and listen to wiser counsels he will
hazard his crown," wrote the Unica cattolica. At the beginning of
February, 1870, Hohenlohe himself announced that it was his wish to
retire. Although the young Monarch still desired to retain him, the
Minister found it impossible, after due consideration, to alter the
decision he had taken. With great reluctance Ludwig then accepted his
resignation. He did it in a manner which showed the utmost appreciation
of the Prince; and the marks of distinction which he conferred upon
the latter bore witness to his gratitude and confidence.


A Meeting between Bismarck and Ludwig

Bismarck, after the peace of 1866, had received a visible sign of the
Bavarian King's favour. Ludwig II. had conferred upon him the Order of
Humbertus, a distinction which, according to the rules of the Order,
is only to be given to men of royal blood or to those who have in
some particular manner served the Bavarian state or throne.

He wished greatly to meet the young Monarch. Bavaria was, if not a
great state, still great enough to weigh very considerably in the scale
in the adjustment between North Germany and France which the Prussian
statesman foresaw in the near future. It was, however, not an ordinary
official conference, with ceremonies and in the presence of witnesses,
which he desired, but a confidential tête-a-tête. He wrote to his old
friend Prince Hohenlohe. The latter, in his turn, addressed himself
to Count Holnstein, who was in close relations with the King, and
who had been the latter's playmate in childhood. He was now Ludwig's
trusted deputy, with the title of Chief Royal Master of the Horse. [19]

Although not a man of prominent parts, Count Holnstein made himself
almost invaluable as a court diplomat. It was arranged that a
meeting between the King and Bismarck should take place at the Count's
house. Both parties desired that it should be private, and, as it were,
accidental. The Prussian Minister came to Munich. He was invited to
drink tea at Count Holstein's; and he arrived punctually. Immediately
afterwards Ludwig came to call upon his Chief Master of the Horse,
and proved to be greatly interested in the meeting with Bismarck. It
was not long before the host took an opportunity to disappear. Ludwig
and the "Iron Chancellor" were alone.

Verily, two contrasts! The one a man of will and action, who in the
course of a few years had set Middle Europe in fire and flames--a
warrior as well as a statesman, ruthless, cold-blooded, undaunted
at the table of council as well as in the turmoil of battle, and at
the time here mentioned in the full strength of his manhood. The
other--King Ludwig--still so young in years, vacillating and shy,
a hater of war, a dreamer, who enjoyed life most in the solitude of
nature and in the world of fancy. One might be tempted to say that
realism and romance had here set themselves a trysting place!

Great as was the dissimilarity between these two men, a common tie
bound them together: the thought of the future of Germany and the
desire for the greatness of Germany filled the minds of both.

The world cracked its brains in vain to discover what was talked of
and agreed upon that evening at Count Holnstein's house. No person
was present; and nothing has ever been known with certainty as to
the details of the conversation. It may be assumed with confidence,
however, that the relations with France and the foreign policy formed
its chief topic. The great statesman and diplomat, who knew how to be
eloquent when it suited his projects, no doubt unfolded his plans in
vivid colours and fired the imagination of the romantic Schwärmer. The
meeting, which lasted long, seems to have satisfied both. On both,
no doubt, it left lasting impressions, and it can hardly have been
without significance in the development of the history of the world.


Outbreak of the War with France

When Ludwig on the 17th January, 1870, opened the Landtag, he said,
in his Speech from the Throne: "The agreement I have concluded with
Prussia is known to the country! Faithfully, in conformity with this
alliance, for which I have pledged my royal word, I will, when my
duty bids me do so, together with my powerful ally, answer for the
honour of Germany and therewith also for the honour of Bavaria!"

As mentioned in a previous chapter Hohenlohe had retired at the
beginning of 1870. This did not, however, betoken any change of system,
but was merely a personal change. Count von Bray, formerly the Bavarian
Minister at Vienna, who succeeded him as Minister of Foreign Affairs,
stood in all respects on the same political footing as his predecessor,
and the attacks of the Ultramontanes on the Government were continued.

Apart from party dissensions the first half-year, however, passed
quite quietly. There were probably but few in Bavaria who suspected
that a war was near at hand. Ludwig himself seems after Hohenlohe's
resignation to have been comparatively unconcerned at the political
fermentation in his kingdom. He read and rode, made excursions to
his hunting-boxes, did the work his Ministers expected of him, and
lived his usual quiet life. Accompanied by his Master of the Horse,
Hornig, he set off for the highlands on the 18th of July. It was
his intention to be away five or six days; his private secretary
had received orders only to send for him in case of the extremest
necessity. Suddenly came the news that France had declared war on
Prussia. As the Monarch's return was delayed longer than had been
expected, a messenger on horseback was sent after him with the most
important documents. On the 15th of July he returned to Berg, the same
evening at eleven he sent for his secretary, Eisenhart. He received him
in his balcony room on the first floor, where he paced up and down the
floor, as his habit was, sitting down occasionally for a moment. Hours
passed by, while they considered the position together. The King, then
hardly five-and-twenty years of age, was still in full possession of
his acute receptive powers, which in certain respects he retained
to the end. But he was no lover of war. Repeatedly he said: "Is
there then no means, no possibility of avoiding war?" He finally
recognised that it was inevitable. The question became now: Whether
Bavaria could remain neutral, or whether his kingdom--in conformity
with the treaty of 1866--should fight by the side of Prussia. The
secretary observed that neutrality would threaten the independence
of Bavaria. To take a position by the side of France against Prussia
would be undignified. He, moreover, regarded the agreement of 1866 as
pledging Bavaria to fight with Prussia and for Prussia. The Monarch
was also of this opinion. "Before I make a decision I will wait for
Berchem's arrival. Let me be awakened as soon as he comes!" It was
half-past three in the morning before the cabinet secretary left the
château. Day was breaking. An hour and a half later, Count von Berchem
arrived from the capital. The two men had a consultation together
on the position of affairs, and the secretary again returned to the
King, who received him in his bed-chamber. He was lying in his blue
four-post bed. The secretary read out loud a letter from Minister Bray,
which Count Berchem had brought with him. Once more they touched upon
the chief points in the great question. "Prompt help is double help,
your Majesty," said Eisenhart. There was a pause. Then the King said:
"Bis dat, qui cito dat!"--"Draft my command for the mobilisation
of the army. Invite the Ministers Bray and Pranckh to come to me
this afternoon at four o'clock, and inform the press." The secretary
immediately prepared the required document. He handed it to the King,
who provided it with his signature.

The political attitude of Bavaria was sealed. Ludwig's action on
this day had a significance which extended far beyond the military
dispositions he had made. The result of the war would probably have
been the same without Bavaria's assistance. But the future of Germany
was decided by the stroke of the King of Bavaria's pen on the morning
of the 16th of July, for the alliance between Prussia and the greatest
of the South-German states had as its consequence the federation of
Germany and the German Empire.

"I have never seen the King so satisfied as to-day," declared his
Minister Pranckh after the audience the same afternoon. And when the
equerry in attendance, von Sauer, congratulated his Majesty, the latter
said: "Yes, I have the feeling that I have done something good." A
warm telegram of thanks was sent to the Monarch by King Wilhelm in
Berlin, and from hundreds of others came enthusiastic telegrams.

The following day, a Sunday, Ludwig travelled by special train to
Munich. There was immense movement in the streets; the enthusiasm
grew from minute to minute. The crowds felt the need of thanking and
congratulating their King. "Heil unserm König, heil!" was sung in
chorus outside the Palace. The enthusiasm rose indescribably when he
showed himself at the window. Everyone pressed forward to see him,
and give expression to their rejoicings. "Hoch, Ludwig! Hoch!" rose
like a single cry from the Bavarian hearts. The homage of the people
made a deep impression on Ludwig. "Shall I go to the window once
again?" he asked, after showing himself many times, as the shouts
outside became louder and warmer. He was received with ovations in
the evening, when he appeared at the performance of Wagner's Die
Walküre. The shouts of hurrah for the King continued to ring. Day
after day, till far into the night, the crowds surged backwards and
forwards. One cannot know how the dice may fall," said the Bavarian
Minister of War. "But this I can already say for certain: the army
will come out of the battle with honour!"

Inner strife was smoothed away for a time under the feeling of
fellowship which had seized upon all parties. Those in chief command,
however, did not dare give themselves up to too great illusions. It
was not, indeed, on account of the military ability of the Bavarians,
but on account of the moral support coming from that land, that the
Prussian leaders, with Bismarck at their head, so highly praised
King Ludwig's action. The commanders of the South-German army,
whom the Prussians derisively called les flaneurs batailles, had
shown themselves to be incapable in the war of 1866. Only the mere
semblance of a command was given them in 1870, all real authority
was being invested in the hands of the Prussian generals.

The Crown Prince of Prussia received orders to take chief command
of the South-German army. That Friedrich was not without anxiety
is apparent from the following expression in his diary: "It is a
difficult task for me to fight the French with troops who do not like
us Prussians, and who are not educated in our school." On his way to
the army he paid visits to the allied Princes whose troops he was to
lead, going first to Munich and thence to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. At
all the stations where the train stopped preparations to welcome
him had been made. Ludwig II. went part of the way to receive him,
and the two Princes met each other with cordiality. Together with
the King and Prince Otto, he drove in an open carriage through the
streets of the capital of Bavaria. Waving handkerchiefs and shouts
of hurrah followed in their train. In the evening the King and his
guest were present at the Hof Theater, where Schiller's Wallensteins
Lager was given. Shouts of delight filled the house when the Crown
Prince showed himself by Ludwig's side. The Queen-mother, too, who
but very rarely visited the theatre, was also present. The curtain
was raised. The actor Possart repeated a prologue:

    "Denn was im Drange der Gefahr auf's Neue
    Ein edles Fürstenpaar zum Kampf vereint,
    Das Königswort, es heisset: Treu und Treue!
    Mit diesem Feldgeschrei verjagt den Feind!
    Heil! Dreifach heil! dem hohen Fürstenpaar,
    Dem Deutschlands alte Treue heilig war!"

At the words "Treue um Treue" and "Heil! dreifach Heil!" there was
a movement which spread all through the theatre. All were deeply

The King of Bavaria stepped forward with his guest. They shook hands
with one another, and formally sealed their compact in the eye of the
people. At this indescribable moment the warmth of popular feeling
rose to a storm of rejoicing.

Seized by the solemnity of the moment, the two Princes stood hand
in hand.


During the War--The German Empire is Proclaimed

The blue and white Bavarian and the black and white Prussian banners
were waving side by side in the streets when the Crown Prince proceeded
on his journey that same evening. The King accompanied him to the
railway station; Prince Otto and Prince Luitpold followed him to war.

Never before had Ludwig felt himself more beloved by his people,
never before had he been regarded with greater respect by the whole of
Germany. But the demands which were made at this time on his powers of
work, the representative duties which he had not been able to avoid,
had over-taxed his strength. His physical sufferings took possession
of him to so great a degree that he found it not only impossible to
proceed to the seat of war, but also to remain in his capital. The
great victories which succeeded one another aroused a feeling of the
utmost joy among his people. But he who was not on the field of battle,
felt the good tidings as almost a reproach. He was not master of his
moods; the public which satisfied him one day displeased and wearied
him the next.

On the 1st of September he came from Berg to Munich. The day afterwards
he called upon a Russian Grand Duchess who was passing through his
capital. It was the day of Sedan. The news that the French army had
surrendered and that Napoleon was a prisoner reached him the following
morning. Everywhere the victory was celebrated, for it was thought to
be the precursor of a conclusion of peace. In the towns and villages
of Bavaria there were illuminations, flags and banners, music and
showers of flowers. Only the ruler of the country did not participate
in the general rejoicings. Despite the earnest representations of
the Minister of the Royal House and of his equerry, he could not be
persuaded to remain in Munich on the 3rd of September. He said to his
Minister, "As there is neither a German Empire nor a German Republic,
as hitherto there has not been any German Confederation, it is my
wish that only Bavarian flags, or better still, no flags at all,
shall be hoisted on the Government buildings." [20]

He returned to his solitude. The procession which the same evening
defiled past the Royal Palace greeted the Queen-mother, who was
standing at the window, with lively shouts of hurrah. But it pained
all parties that the Monarch disdained their homage on this day. No
sooner had the Crown Prince of Prussia left Munich than he received
a letter from Ludwig in which the latter expressed the wish that
"the independence of Bavaria might be respected at the conclusion of
peace." The handwriting was bad, and the lines uneven; but the contents
bore witness to the warmth of his patriotism. Friedrich ridiculed this
"patriotic" letter. Amiable as the King had been towards the Crown
Prince of Prussia during his short visit, the impression received
by the guest had not been altogether favourable. In April 1868 he
had visited him when on a journey to Italy, and had enjoyed being
in his company. Now he was "alarmed at the alteration two years had
made." He noted in his diary that Ludwig gave the impression of being
very nervous, that he was less handsome than formerly, and had lost
one of his front teeth.

The young King knew that comparisons had been made between him
and the King of Prussia, who led his army in person. He could not
possibly be blind to the fact that this comparison was not to his
advantage, hiding himself away as he did, and shunning the love of
his people. Good and bad feelings were fighting for the mastery in
his soul. He was a faithful and honourable ally. After the victory at
Metz he congratulated the King of Prussia as "William the Conqueror,"
and he sent the Crown Prince the Order of Max Joseph. But he gave his
Ministers contradictory orders where the negotiations with Prussia
were concerned. Although his mother was a Hohenzollern, his personal
sympathies were by no means wedded to this house.

The thought of a German Empire had arisen. At the headquarters at
Versailles the project was discussed, and it was thought that King
Wilhelm should be the Emperor. This was the object of both Bismarck's
and the Crown Prince's labours. With regard to details, however,
their views were at complete variance. Friedrich desired a German
unified state; he thought of the Emperor as surrounded by responsible
ministers. The German Princes would, of course, govern within the
limits of their countries, but their power must be considerably
curtailed; and those who would not voluntarily make sacrifices
for the federated fatherland must be made to do so by force. The
Chancellor, on the other hand, was of opinion that the Princes ought
to be protected as far as was possible, and that they ought to retain
their rights. He greatly desired that the Empire might arise from a
free agreement on their side. "If only the South Germans would take
the decisive step!" he often said. [21] The King of Prussia had up to
the last moment little desire to accept the Imperial crown. Should it,
however, prove to be necessary, he wished that it might take place on
the invitation of the King of Bavaria. Ludwig was pressingly invited
to come to Versailles. Shortly before this he had, through a fall
from his horse, twisted his ankle, with the result that it caused
him excessive pain to sit on horseback. Still, for a short time, he
considered the question of proceeding thither. Bismarck's secretary,
Busch, tells us in his memoirs that it was thought to summon a
congress of Princes on the 11th of October, and that it was hoped
that the King of Bavaria would be present. The historical rooms of
Versailles were to be placed at his disposal, as it was considered
that he would appreciate this mark of attention. "I never thought
that I should come to play the part of a major-domo at Trianon,"
said Bismarck. "If only the King will come!"

But the King did not come.

On the 19th of October the Ministers of Würtemberg, Hesse, and Baden
went to Versailles. On the 20th the King of Bavaria sent his Ministers
Bray, Pranckh, and Lutz to the headquarters.

It appeared at first as if the negotiations would be crowned with
success; the desire that South Germany should offer King Wilhelm the
Imperial crown seemed to be nearing its fulfilment. The leaders of
the national party developed a restless energy. Large meetings of the
people accepted resolutions which made for the same end. The press
warmly advocated a German Empire. The greatest enthusiasm in favour
of the project was shown in Prussia and in Baden; but it spread from
land to land.

On the 7th of November negotiations took place between the Ministers of
Würtemberg, Hesse, and Baden. The Bavarian Minister was not invited to
take part in it, no agreement having been come to with Bavaria. This
annoyed Ludwig. "Why do they conclude agreements with Würtemberg,
Baden, and Hesse and not till later with my Government?" he exclaimed
in anger. He was tired of the throne, tired of European politics. His
nerves were overstrung, and he demanded that Prince Otto should at
once leave the seat of war; he awaited his arrival at Hohenschwangau
with impatience. "I look upon my brother as the King," he said to those
about him. "Matters hang on a single thin thread, and then it will be,
'Le roi Louis II. est mort. Vive le roi Othon I.!'"

On the 5th of November the Prince arrived; not without danger had he
travelled day and night to fulfil his brother's wish. The King talked
much and excitedly to him of abdicating the throne. Otto dissuaded him
from such a step in the most affectionate manner. He asked permission
to return to Versailles; but it was not until peace was all but
concluded that he obtained the Monarch's consent to this step. Ludwig
soon changed his mind with regard to his abdication. "Fancy," he said
shortly afterwards to a gentleman of his entourage, "Count B. really
believes that I am seriously thinking of abdicating." He enforced the
necessity on several influential personages, "of using every effort
in order that these rumours should be definitely put a stop to." [22]

By the 15th of November an agreement had been come to with Baden
and Hesse. Accord with Würtemberg seemed likewise near at hand. But
suddenly steps were taken from Munich which caused the Government in
Stuttgart to assume a waiting position; the Würtembergian delegates
received a telegraphic message to the effect "that they were to go
hand in hand with their Bavarian colleagues." [23] It became known
that this later change of front was owing to the intrigues of the
Austrian Chancellor, Count von Beust, who was at this time a visitor
at Munich, and who had always been the enemy of Prussia.

Ludwig made strenuous attempts to preserve the independence of
his country, demanding during the negotiations not only independent
sovereignty with regard to home affairs, but also that Bavaria should
continue to have an independent army and her own foreign policy. As he
would not give way an inch in the matter, the question of the German
Empire stood for some time on an exceedingly critical footing.

The Crown Prince of Prussia was filled with indignation over the
protracted nature of the proceedings, and wished to break down
the opposition of Bavaria by force. The wise Bismarck, however,
advised a considerate course. "With the Bavarian troops fighting
with the Prussians against France, Prussia can hardly coerce their
country." The Grand Duke of Baden had come to the headquarters; he
sent one of his confidential friends to Munich to persuade Ludwig
to proceed to Versailles. The Bavarian Ministers likewise exerted
themselves to induce him to make the journey. "I know well that in
many respects it would be advisable for me to make this journey," said
the King. "It need hardly be said that it would also be of political
advantage. But I feel myself too suffering. Whether or not I take the
journey depends, moreover, on the guarantees which I desire. Without
them I will not go! Here the matter rests--it is my will!"

"Ludwig is not coming to Versailles, firstly, because he cannot
ride just now without discomfort, and, secondly, because he does
not like playing second fiddle," wrote Bismarck's secretary, Busch,
in his journal.

No one could deny that he had done Prussia invaluable service by
the rapidity with which he had decided to mobilise his army. He
now thought his action entitled him to ask a service in return from
this country. One of his wishes was to extend the frontiers of his
land. His Ministers inquired whether the Palatinate of Baden, which
in olden days had been the territory of the Electors of Bavaria,
could be ceded to Bavaria, Baden receiving as indemnity a portion of
Alsace-Lorraine. To this Bismarck answered decisively that "Baden was
a 'noli me tangere,'" and that neither King Wilhelm nor the Archduke
of Baden would ever agree to it."

On the evening of the 23rd of November he had another meeting with the
Bavarian Ministers. An agreement was at last come to. After they had
left him, at ten o'clock in the evening, he said in a satisfied tone:
"German unity is a completed act, and the 'Emperor' likewise. It
is an event!... The agreement has its weak points; but as it is,
it is more tenable. I consider it to be the most important thing
we have accomplished this year. With regard to the 'Emperor' I made
him more acceptable during the negotiations, as I represented to the
Ministers that it must be easier and more convenient for their Kings
to allow the German Emperor certain privileges than to allow them to
the neighbouring King of Prussia."

Ludwig made a last attempt to maintain his position. Prince Adalbert
pressed him to put forward a claim that the Kings of Bavaria and of
Prussia should alternately wear the Imperial crown; and Prince Luitpold
was pushed forward to make this proposal. Bismarck scouted the idea,
remarking: "The King of Bavaria lives in a world of dreams. He is
hardly more than a boy who does not know his own mind!" The Prussian
statesman, it need hardly be said, was careful not to say this directly
to Ludwig. He wrote a long and exceedingly deferential letter to him,
in which he emphasised how necessary it was that the Imperial crown
should be offered to the King of Prussia, and that it was for the
King of Bavaria to take the first step. If the last-named would not
make the proposal, the Princes of the smaller states would do this,
and Ludwig in such a case could not avoid following in their footsteps.

The descendant of the thousand-year-old House of Wittelsbach, which had
counted three emperors among its forefathers, bent before the force
of circumstances. He telegraphed to his Minister, Count Bray, that
the latter was to inform Bismarck that Count Holnstein would arrive
at Versailles within three days, to discuss with him the details of
the matter. "Not till then"--he expressed himself--"shall I be able
to make a final decision." Holnstein hurried off. Without losing a
moment's time he sought out Bismarck, and made him acquainted with
his errand, after which he immediately returned to Hohenschwangau.

Ludwig was in bed with a toothache, and would not be disturbed, but
the Count knew how to arouse his curiosity in such a manner that
he was received in audience all the same. He brought with him two
sealed envelopes; the one contained a renewed demand to Ludwig to
offer Wilhelm the Imperial crown; the other was the draft, composed
by Bismarck, of a communication from the King of Bavaria in which
this was done. The application was favourably received. Ludwig at
once decided to follow the Prussian statesman's instructions. With
his own hand he wrote the letter which transformed Germany into an
empire. Count Holnstein now rode to Munich, in conformity with the
King's command that he should confer with Secretary Eisenhart, whom
he found in the Residenz Theater. He presented the aforesaid letter
from Ludwig to the King of Prussia, also one to Eisenhart in which
his master inquired whether he considered it desirable that another
communication, couched in terms more suited to the circumstances,
should be sent: in such a case the King gave Eisenhart a free
hand to retain his own letter. The secretary sent it on without
alteration. Holnstein swung himself up on his horse again and rode
off to Versailles. In accordance with Ludwig's express command,
his communication was handed to the King of Prussia by Prince Luitpold.

"The King of Bavaria has copied Bismarck's letter word for word,"
noted Prince Friedrich in his journal.

The delight was great all over Germany. It was known that it was
the young King of Bavaria, who had spoken the word at the right
moment. Only the initiated were cognisant that he had done it under
pressure and after hesitation. Hardly a dinner was given, and no
political meeting was held, but the health of "Ludwig the German"
was drunk with enthusiasm. The greatest satisfaction prevailed at
headquarters. He was no longer now "the boy who did not know his own
mind." Both Bismarck and the King of Prussia expressed themselves in
terms of the warmest recognition of the Bavarian Sovereign.

The proclamation of the Empire was to take place at Versailles on the
18th of January, 1871. Three days before this date the future emperor
summoned the court chaplain to him. He spoke of Ludwig II.'s idealism,
and added: "Whatever his abilities may be, he must at any rate be
very highly considered." Bismarck at an entertainment rose to his
feet, and made the following speech:--"I drink to the health of his
Majesty the King of Bavaria, and to the prosperity of his dynasty,
which has extended through a thousand years! I can only repeat that
as long as I have a voice in matters, a step shall never be taken
which might wound Bavaria in its rightful position. His Majesty the
King will find in me, as long as I live, a servant as attached as if
I were still his vassal." [24]

After the death of Ludwig II. the Chancellor of the German Empire
declared: "In 1870 Ludwig was our only influential friend in Germany."


The Bavarian Troops Return to Munich--King Ludwig and the Crown Prince
of Germany

The war was ended; the peace concluded. A great German Empire had
been re-established. Germany had been given an Emperor--and that
Emperor was the King of Prussia.

With the last-named fact the essence of the new Empire is
characterised: Prussia was the paramount country. The other four and
seventy states were not to be without a voice in the decision of the
common affairs of the realm, and each one was to retain a certain
independence, but Prussia was, and intended to be, the state to
lead the course of events--the centre of gravity which was to decide
the balance.

Thanks to Ludwig II.'s obstinacy, his kingdom had formally received
a special position. The new constitution granted Bavaria in a special
paragraph [25] the right to all the attributes which are considered as
belonging to national independence: she retained, for instance, her own
Minister of War, her own army, her own Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and the right to independent diplomatic and consular services. The
appearance of sovereignty was retained. But Ludwig's burning desire
to extend the frontiers of his kingdom had not been fulfilled. This
circumstance was the cause, on his side, of much displeasure towards
the Royal House of Prussia.

The returning troops were to make their entry into Munich on the
16th July, 1871. The city was filled to overflowing. A number of
travellers passing through the capital were obliged to pass the night
in the open air or in their carriages. Day had hardly broken before
people were seen hurrying forth to secure places for themselves. All
were awaiting with excitement the moment which should bring back
the relations and friends who had been so sorely missed during the
now concluded war. Gymnasts and members of fire brigades, who were
to keep the streets open, marched up playing their bands. Shortly
afterwards the students arrived with their picturesque scarves across
their shoulders, the artists with green branches in their hats, rifle
associations and societies with their banners and flags, their duty
being to line the streets for the returning troops, and add to the
general rejoicing by their singing. The sun sent forth its rays over
the capital, the streets became more and more animated. The bells
were rung from all the churches, salutes boomed forth. According to
the programme, the King was to hold a review at nine o'clock, but
the stands for the spectators were more than filled long before that
time. Then a festive stillness fell over the assembled people. Mothers
and fathers held up their little children in their arms so that they
might witness the scene. Majestically handsome, Ludwig II. rode at a
sharp trot from the "triumphal arch" to the statue of Ludwig I., where
the troops were to defile past him. A brilliant suite accompanied
him. The hurrahs from thousands of throats filled the air. On the
royal stand the female members of the royal house were seated. Far
away, down at the triumphal arch, the Uhlans'--the so-called "light
horse"--blue and white banners were visible. They came nearer and
nearer. The Inspector-General of the Army, Prince Luitpold, rode
between his aides-de-camp and officers, nodding pleasantly to the
cheering crowds. The Crown Prince of the German Empire, who now rode
past, was received with audible expressions of welcome. The chief
burgomaster of the city made a speech, which the former amiably
answered, and three young girls offered the conqueror of Wörth a
wreath of laurels. A deep stillness reigned during the speeches,
but as soon as they were ended the enthusiasm broke out afresh. The
Crown Prince as he continued his ride was pelted with flowers from
all the windows. At the Odeon Platz he rode up to the right side of
King Ludwig; and both sat their horses while the soldiers defiled
past. The Crown Prince was the leader of the soldiery--he had shared
danger and hardship with them; Ludwig was their own beloved King;
and they did homage to both with equal heartiness. But Friedrich had
gained laurels in the war, and had become the heir to an Imperial
crown. Ludwig was a sick man who stood jealous and doubting before the
homage which was being shown to his cousin. The entrance of the troops
lasted for four hours, and was not ended until after one o'clock.

Later in the day a dinner was given at the Palace, where the court
displayed all its brilliancy. The King drank to the health of the army
and of its leader, who was crowned with honour, after which the Crown
Prince returned thanks to Ludwig in a lengthy speech. At seven o'clock
the dinner came to an end. The court, and the officers and civilians
invited by the Minister of War, then adjourned to a gala performance in
the royal theatre, where Der Friede by Paul Heyse was the piece given.

The returning warriors, and the citizens of the metropolis and their
dames, made merry until far into the night and the following day. The
cheers for the King, for the Crown Prince of Prussia, for all who
had fought and conquered, were ceaseless.

The military bands which had so long been absent were once more heard
in the great Feldherren Halle. Patriotic songs were played on the
stands in the Odeon Platz. The houses were illuminated. All were
delighted at the success of the reception, and at the friendship
between the King and the Crown Prince, which was looked upon as a
good omen for the new alliance.

The day afterwards the royal family, with their guest, made
an excursion to the Roseninsel, where the roses were in full
bloom. Ludwig, wishing to do honour to Friedrich and give him pleasure,
asked his permission, as they were walking together in the afternoon,
to make him colonel of one of his regiments of light horse. The Crown
Prince answered loftily that it depended on the Emperor whether he
could accept the offer or not, adding, with a smile: "I do not know
if the slim Uhlan uniform would suit my stout figure!" The King
was greatly displeased with this remark, and later repeated it to
several persons.

After the return from the Roseninsel he informed his secretary that
he would under no circumstances be present at the military banquet in
the Glas Palast the following day. This banquet, to which nine hundred
invitations had been issued, and which was to mark the height of the
festivities, was given in honour of Friedrich, but was intended at
the same time to be a recognition shown to the Bavarian army. The
secretary wrote a letter to his Majesty, in which, with the deepest
respect, he endeavoured to persuade him at least to show himself
for some minutes, pointing out that his absence might have extended
political consequences. He described in graphic words the pleasure the
Monarch would give the brave and faithful defenders of his country
if he showed them the honour of being their comrade at table. The
King answered that he needed quiet. This, however, did not preclude
the hope that at the last moment he might appear.

The dinner, nevertheless, took place without him. Shortly before
nine the Crown Prince Friedrich arrived with his suite. The house
of Bavaria was represented by the greater number of its princes;
but a painful impression was caused by the King's absence. [26]

At four o'clock the following morning the wife of the private secretary
was awakened by the tramp of horses in the courtyard, which was
otherwise so quiet. She ran to the window and saw the royal equipage
standing with the horses harnessed to it. Ludwig entered, and it set
off at a quick trot in the early morning hour for the château of Berg.

Four hours later a royal servant brought his Majesty's orders that
the secretary should proceed out to Schloss Berg, and hold a lecture
for him there.

The Crown Prince of Prussia left the Bavarian capital the same
forenoon, after taking a hearty leave of the royal princes, who were
all present at the railway station to bid him farewell.


A Visit from the Emperor Wilhelm--Ludwig Withdraws more and more from
the World

Ludwig II. and the Crown Prince of Germany had been mutually displeased
with one another. Nevertheless, Friedrich had hardly left the Bavarian
capital before information was received that his father, the aged
Emperor, desired to meet the King. The last-named, doubtless, was,
in his heart, not particularly delighted at the prospective visit; but
he put a good face on the matter, and received his guest on Bavarian
soil with all the courtesy and amiability that could be desired.

His people gave the Emperor a hearty greeting. The two Monarchs drove
together amid hearty cheers into Ratisbon, where a banquet was held at
the hotel "Goldenes Kreuz." Contrary to what had taken place during
the Crown Prince's visit, the meeting between the young King and the
"victorious old man" passed off in the most satisfactory manner,
and not even the shade of any unpleasantness was to be traced.

Ludwig returned to Berg the same evening. The Emperor remained the
night at the hotel, and the next morning continued his journey to
Gastein, where he was going to take the baths.

On his return he again visited the royal family of Bavaria. The visit
was this time chiefly to his cousin, the Queen-mother. She was residing
at Hohenschwangau, and received him there with both her sons. The
weather was splendid. In the evening the picturesquely situated castle
was brilliantly illuminated; and the intercourse between the royal
kinsfolk was gay and hearty. Wilhelm remained at the castle till the
following day. Ludwig and the Emperor talked confidentially together
for a long time, and parted with mutual assurances of friendship. The
meeting between the Princes was commented on by the whole of the
European press. "Now it is King Ludwig's turn to pay a return visit
to Berlin," said a friend to Secretary Eisenhart. "The King is not
very fond of official journeys," remarked Eisenhart. "Nor is it
necessary," answered his friend; "for, according to what I heard in
Berlin, the Emperor does not require any return visit. He judges the
King of Bavaria by quite a different standard from the other German
princes in view of the sacrifices he has made for Prussia. The Crown
Prince is said to be of another opinion; when he ascends the throne
he will certainly show this!" [27]

The Emperor Wilhelm was one of the few princes who saw and talked
with Ludwig II. As a rule, the Bavarian King avoided the visits of his
compeers. A number of royal personages came to Munich during his reign,
and the greater number of them wished to pay him their respects; but,
as a rule, he excused himself from receiving the august travellers on
the plea of indisposition. The King and Queen of Saxony, the Queen
of Würtemberg, the Emperor and Empress of Brazil, and many other
princes and princesses, never even saw a glimpse of him. The Emperor
of Austria visited his relatives in Bavaria almost every year, but
in spite of the friendly relations between Ludwig and the Empress
the King used not to show himself to her husband.

It would certainly be wronging Ludwig to assume that his indisposition
was only an excuse to avoid the visitors. As a matter of fact,
he was tortured and sick both in body and mind. He suffered from
insomnia, and complained of constant and violent pains in the
back of his head. He began also to avoid his capital. The noise of
the streets, the curiosity of the people, the royal tombs, which
he could see from the windows of the Palace--all annoyed him! He
hardly ever went on foot when in Munich; and when he drove out in
the English Garden sat hidden from the glances of the multitude,
leaning far back in a closed carriage. Nevertheless, he continued
to be popular. But even the people's homage sometimes displeased
him. He used to speak of himself as "sacrificed to ovations." Court
balls and court festivities were a misery to him; when he took part
in them it was only as a duty. In order to avoid seeing the guests at
table whom he did not like, he ordered vases of flowers to be placed
before them. Sincerely as the people and the court desired that he
would remain in the capital, he could not, of course, be prevented
from ordering his life according to his own tastes, or from spending
the greater part of his time in the highlands. But though he sought
solitude, and more and more gave himself up to it, and though at times
he certainly required it on account of the weakness of his nerves,
he was, nevertheless, little fitted to live alone. Despite his hermit
tendencies he showed an ever-recurring need to talk with those around
him on all the things which occupied his thoughts. His lacqueys
and grooms were even required to tell him news of the neighbouring
country-folk. More than is usually the case with the generality of
people, he was dependent in his sympathies on an attractive manner,
a pleasant voice, and a pleasing exterior. His relations with Richard
Wagner show that he could be faithful in friendship, but, as a rule,
he was unaccountable in his feelings. Some persons he judged in cold
blood; in the case of others, he permitted his temperament to carry
him to extremes of great unfairness. From certain people he would
bear much; the slightest contradiction on the part of others would
be sufficient to incur his lasting disfavour.

His love of solitude grew by degrees to be a disease, and at times
he literally fled from people. In the middle of the seventies the
Queen-mother gave a family party at the Swiss châlet "Pleckenau," not
far from Hohenschwangau. The King, Prince Otto, their aides-de-camp,
the Mistress of the Court, and two ladies-in-waiting, were with
her. The little party were sitting at table in excellent spirits
when a mounted messenger with a telegram arrived from the castle:
the Austrian Archduke Rainer, who was staying at Bregenz, asked her
Majesty whether it would be convenient for her to receive him the
following morning. She handed the telegram to the King, who grew pale
as he read it. The displeasure visible on his features affected the
whole party. He rose from the table and went out, the others remaining
seated. Without a word, he went back to Hohenschwangau. Arrived
there, he ordered two carriages to be got ready and to await further
orders. The preparations were to be made so quietly that no one would
have any suspicion of what was taking place. A little while later
the Queen-mother, his brother, and the courtiers returned; and soon
the building was quite quiet. The gentlemen of the court lived in
a house beside the castle. The King's apartments were on the first
floor, his mother and her ladies inhabiting the ground floor. Only by
stealing softly down the stairs could he reach the courtyard of the
castle without being heard. Ludwig and his servant accomplished this
undetected, and hied them to the royal stables, which are situated at
some distance away. With all the speed possible, and in the middle of
the night, the King drove to a little village which he was occasionally
in the habit of visiting. Here the announcement of his arrival was
like a bolt from the blue. The master of the posting station where
he alighted had let all his rooms to a military commission; these
gentlemen had to be got out of the way as quickly as possible. All
had gone to bed, and had to be aroused. The general had only time
to half-dress himself and rush out before he met his King on the
staircase. At three in the morning Ludwig at last went to bed;
despite sedatives it was not possible for him to procure any rest.

The next morning the King received a telegram informing him that the
Archduke Rainer had left, "after half-an-hour's visit." Ludwig gave
orders for his horses to be put to at once. A breakfast which he had
ordered, and paid for with eighty guldens, was left untouched. He
returned to Hohenschwangau with the same speed with which he had left
it. His mother greeted him from her window. Laughing, he called up
to her; "I avoided that visit nicely, didn't I?" The Queen-mother,
although she was not satisfied with his flight, was obliged to
laugh too.

It will easily be understood that his increasing shyness was a
subject of conversation in all circles. We have heard that rumours
had already been current that he thought of abdicating the throne;
these were fed by his strange caprices and his retired life. Count
Holnstein wrote to Bismarck as early as 1871: "Before every audience
and every court ceremony the King drinks large quantities of strong
wine, and he then says the most extraordinary things. He wishes
to abdicate in favour of Prince Otto, who does not entertain the
slightest wish for it.... The Ultramontanes know this. They have
chosen their candidate for the National Assembly: Prince Luitpold;
he is also their candidate for the throne. Perhaps they will succeed
in getting him elected in spite of Prince Otto's claims!"


Prince Otto's Insanity--The King's Morbid Sensations

The House of Wittelsbach has been terribly ravaged by insanity. In
the course of one hundred years more than twenty members of the family
have been visited by this misfortune.

The sons of Maximilian II. were burdened with exceedingly neurotic
tendencies. Their grandfather had been eccentric in a high
degree; and a sister of King Maximilian was for long retained in a
madhouse. The parents of Ludwig II. and Prince Otto were, moreover,
near relations. They were both connected by ties of blood with the
Royal House of Hesse-Darmstadt, where there had been insanity for many
years. The grandmothers of the Bavarian Queen-mother, on both her
father's and her mother's side, were Hessian princesses. The mother
of Ludwig I., who died in her youth, likewise belonged to this house;
and his wife was the granddaughter of a princess of Darmstadt.

At the beginning of 1872 the newspapers began to insert notices
in their columns to the effect that Prince Otto of Bavaria was
suffering. In the fifties and sixties he had been the picture of
health. Where Ludwig had withdrawn, he had gone forward towards
people with outstretched hands. He had always been gay, amiable, and
lively. The unnaturally strict upbringing, and the rapidity with which,
from almost unendurable restraint, he had been thrown into unfettered
freedom, had, however, been a concurrent cause of his losing his
mental balance. Hardly two and twenty years of age, he had followed
the army (1870). We know that, despite his wish to remain with it,
the King had recalled him to Hohenschwangau. The summons was probably
the dictate of the elder brother's personal feelings; but the Prince's
nervous system had also shown itself to be unfitted for the bloody
scenes of a battlefield. Crown Prince Friedrich wrote in his diary:
"Prince Otto came to take leave before his return to Munich. He was
looking pale and wretched. He sat in front of me, apparently suffering
from cold shivering fits, while I developed to him the necessity of
our making common cause in military and diplomatic affairs. I could
not make out whether he understood me, or only heard what I said."

Shortly after his return he began to show the first signs of
insanity. The report of this aroused general sorrow. He had been
given the affectionate nickname of "Otto der Fröhliche." In spite of
predisposition, and in spite of the circumstances attending his birth,
which might furnish some ground for the supposition that the germ
of the malady was to be sought there, the public would not at first
credit the news. He was seen daily in the streets, the theatre, and at
the circus. Suddenly his sickness took a violent turn. He had to be
placed under restraint, and some occurrences which took place caused
the physicians to advise his being sent away from Munich. The Prince,
however, would not agree to this. For the time being, therefore, he
remained where he was, though it was found impossible to allow him
to be alone. At length he was declared to be incurably mad, and was
completely separated from his relations. The King was very decided
in his wish that he should not live in the vicinity of the castles
he himself was in the habit of occupying. He was, therefore, taken to
Nymphenburg, and two years later to the lonely Fürstenreid. His mother
was inconsolable at the misfortune which had struck her favourite
child; and Ludwig also greatly felt the blow. When, on his accession,
the ceremonies for his father's funeral had been decided upon, and
he had been asked what place the Prince should take, he had answered
without hesitation: "At my side!" The younger brother's light-hearted
temperament had formed a favourable contrast to his serious, heavy
view of life. He had regarded him as his successor, and hoped that
Otto by making a brilliant match would repair the injury done to
the country by his own celibacy. Instead of this, he had from mental
dulness sunk into the darkest night of insanity. He showed no feeling
at the moment of departure, and cared only for some toys; but all
the tenderness which had lain dormant in Ludwig's nature burst forth
at this moment. Those who were witness to his parting with his mad
brother were moved at the heart-broken sorrow he displayed.

From this day the King became deeply solicitous about his own health;
he suffered from fear lest Otto's fate should become his. A doctor
had been careless enough to inform him that his father had led a
light life in his earliest youth. After he had learned this fact, he
attributed the greater number of his physical sufferings to inherited
tendency. The remembrance of his father became painful to him, and
he could not suppress bitter expressions with reference to him. At
the time of his ascent of the throne several persons had thought to
remark that his nerves were wanting in the power of resistance. The
celebrated French physician, Dr Morel, who had been called to Munich in
1867, had had an opportunity of seeing the young King. He had uttered
the sadly prophetic words: "His eyes are sinisterly beautiful; future
madness shines from them!"

The political events of 1870-71, and their results, had increased his
already painful feeling of the contrast between his imagination and
reality. Signs were not wanting that his dream-life might have fatal
results for him. His nervous excitement became even more apparent when
his brother's malady broke out. In 1874 his condition was considered
so dangerous that it was talked of openly in his capital. The editor
of a Conservative newspaper publicly mentioned the report that the
King was insane. He was condemned to six months' imprisonment for
lèse Majesté, although he called as witnesses several deputies of the
Landtag, who declared on oath that this topic had been discussed in
the ale-halls of Munich.

Megalomania, the traces of which at times were apparent, had not yet
penetrated so deeply into Ludwig's consciousness that they affected
more than certain of his actions; the fire was still smouldering,
though it threatened to burst out into flames. As yet his power of will
was strong enough to curb his imagination. As yet a healthy mental
current ran, and was to run for long, side by side with the diseased
one; as yet he could at times by restless activity bring his unquiet
mind to rest. He fought like a lion to avert the misfortune, which
he so greatly dreaded; but he fought alone. His lofty conceptions had
year by year deepened the cleft which a want of understanding had dug
between him and his mother. Circumstances had parted him from Richard
Wagner, the friend whom he had most loved. He had no confidant,
hardly, indeed, anyone in whom he placed confidence. There was no
one who with a firm hand might have led him away from his erroneous
conceptions, no one who could obliterate the impressions which made
him superstitious and bitter.

This King, who a few years before had awakened the enthusiasm of all,
became transformed into a heavy, corpulent, pallid man, weary with the
burden of his life. In the midst of the romantic splendour with which
he surrounded himself, he was tormented by the thought of suicide. On
stormy nights he would drive about the mountain roads at a furious
pace in his gilded coach, alone with his morbid sensations and fancies.

Only the deep blue eyes, with their expression of Schwärmerei and
their melancholy glance, remained to remind the world of the handsome
youth who had been the pride and hope of Bavaria.


The Review of the Troops in 1875--Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia

The Bavarian people had accustomed themselves to Ludwig's
peculiarities. Foreign states and peoples still regarded his ways and
actions as signs of genius. The King himself seemed to be indifferent
as to the impression his conduct made upon others.

Military pageants had never interested him; he had had from his
childhood a morbid dread of firearms and of war. On the return of the
troops in 1871 he had not even glanced at the wounded--not because his
heart was wanting in sympathy for them, but because his nerves could
not endure the sight. Great, therefore, was the general astonishment
when it was announced in the summer of 1875 that it was the King's
intention to hold a review. People found it difficult to think that
he would make this exception from his hermit habits.

The report, however, was not contradicted. The troops stationed at
the different garrisons were already out at the autumn manoeuvres
when 14,000 men were recalled to the capital. Ludwig wished to show
the World that he had the chief command of his army. His intention
had hardly been made known before thousands of strangers flocked
to Munich to see him. On Sunday, the 15th of August, 1875, all the
streets were filled to overflowing. The Monarch's brilliant suite took
up its position between the entrance to the royal gardens and the
Feldherren Halle. When he rode up on his white horse that beautiful
Sunday morning, at the head of his staff, the crowds were thrilled
with love and admiration for him.

The King no longer possessed his fascinating beauty; but his features
were still refined and noble, and his eyes full of soul, and brilliant
as before. Despite his youth, he had become very stout, but being tall,
his figure was as imposing as ever. He had only to show himself to
arouse enthusiasm.

With the dignity which was his by birth, and with the fascinating
amiability which he displayed in his best moments, he bowed in all
directions. The troops were forbidden to greet him with cheers, but
no such regulation restricted the citizens. The enthusiasm increased
like an avalanche; it spread from street to street, giving unmistakable
indication of how dearly he was still beloved. At the conclusion of the
review he rode up to Princess Gisela, [28] who had been present at it,
sitting in the King's state carriage. At this moment he was surrounded
from all sides. His servants endeavoured to hold the crowd back, but
he hastened to prevent them. It was with the utmost trouble that a way
was made for him when at a foot's pace he returned to the city. So
overwhelming was the enthusiasm that he felt himself constrained to
write the same day, in his own hand, a letter of thanks for all the
proofs of loyalty and love which he had met with. This was the last
time he gave the citizens of Munich an opportunity of doing homage
to him; the last time that his heart proudly beat time with those of
his subjects.

Nevertheless, this bright day, so full of feeling, was by no means
the outcome of noble thought: the German Crown Prince was in the habit
of holding a review every autumn of the Bavarian troops. Jealousy of
him had caused the lonely King to appear once more before the world.

At the return of the troops in 1871 his displeasure with Friedrich
had been very apparent. It had not grown less with the course
of years. Ludwig II. suffered more deeply under the supremacy of
Prussia than any of the other princes because his kingdom was larger
than that of any other prince, and because he was morbid and his
pride wounded. While his Ministers in 1870-71 were spinning out
the negotiations respecting the federation of the German States,
Friedrich had uttered words of anger against Bavaria of which its
King had not remained in ignorance. He looked upon the Crown Prince's
annual visit to his kingdom as an insult; and he was possessed by the
morbid conviction that the latter, when Emperor, would drive him out
of his dominions. "It is not pleasant to be swallowed up," he often
repeated. Wilhelm I. had, in 1872, sent him the Order of the Black
Eagle; but the envoy conveying it had been unable to gain an audience
of the King, despite the earnest representations of the Prussian
Minister at Munich. At last, however, Ludwig was persuaded to send a
letter of thanks. He wrote that "it would give him pleasure to receive
the Emperor's Order at a later date, when he was feeling less fatigued;
for the time being he was over-tired and could not fix any day"!

Still, he by no means cherished unfriendly feelings towards the old
Emperor. During the last years of his life he mentioned the attempts
to assassinate the latter as one of the reasons for his own distaste
for mixing with the world. And when Wilhelm, accompanied by the Grand
Duchess of Baden, visited Bayreuth, in order to be present at a Wagner
festival, he sent his confidential secretary to arrange everything in
as pleasant a manner as possible for him and his daughter. Wilhelm,
on his side, had only friendly feelings towards Ludwig. He repeatedly
expressed his regret that the King of Bavaria withdrew so much from
the world; and he never forgot the services he had done him and his
country. But the King of Prussia was three times the age of the King
of Bavaria; he was, moreover, a soldier from the crown of his head
to the soles of his feet, and of any real understanding between them
there could be little possibility, since Ludwig by no means shared
the enthusiasm which was generally felt at the reconstitution of the
German Empire, and was weary of the continued praise at his attitude
in the years 1870-71. He was a Bavarian before all else. Often he
expressed himself: "I am honoured only by the colours of my country."

Crown Prince Friedrich was friendly and straightforward in manner, and
he made a favourable impression on the Bavarians. It is, however, known
beyond a doubt that he repaid the King's jealousy with contempt. To
those with whom he was on terms of confidence he called Ludwig "Le
roi fainéant." He was of a lively nature, and he did not always weigh
his words. After a journey of inspection he said to some Bavarian
officers who had assembled in order to bid him farewell: "In ten years'
time you will belong entirely to us." This utterance was repeated
to the King, who was exceedingly annoyed at it. His Minister at the
Prussian court received instructions to request an explanation from
the Crown Prince. Friedrich made answer that he had only referred to
the military alliance; but Ludwig was not satisfied with this reply.

At the beginning of the seventies the German Crown Prince and
his wife desired, for reasons of health, to spend the summer at
Berchtesgaden. The King hastened to put hindrances in the way of
the contemplated visit, giving as an excuse for not receiving them,
that his villa there was to be used as a residence for his insane
brother Otto. A lady of the German aristocracy who owned a house
at Berchtesgaden offered the Crown Prince hers. Ludwig now suddenly
changed his mind. The following characteristic letter shows that for
the moment he regretted his want of friendliness:--

    "My dear Friend,

    "I see from your kind letter that you have already decided to
    make use of the house offered you by Fräulein von Waldenburg. I
    am really very sorry for this; the more so that Otto, according
    to the doctors' orders, is to continue his cure at Nymphenburg,
    and my villa at Berchtesgaden would therefore, dear cousin,
    have been entirely at the disposal of yourself and your family.

    "I cherish the hope that the stay in the strong mountain air will
    give the Crown Princess and your children pleasure and strength.

    "I conclude with the wish that you may all like beautiful
    Berchtesgaden. Praying that you will kiss the hand of the Crown
    Princess for me, I remain in old friendship,

    "Your faithful affectionate cousin,


When Friedrich came to Munich in later years he always stayed
there incognito. He visited the art and industrial museums, and
received some of his old companions-in-arms; but he never visited
the King, nor did the King ever seek him. The antipathy grew on both
sides. Unfortunately, Ludwig was at no pains to conceal his feelings;
he spoke often and unreservedly of his bitterness towards this member
of the Prussian Imperial House. His entourage did not look upon it as a
duty to preserve silence with regard to what they had heard. The King's
words sometimes journeyed viâ Vienna to Berlin, and the effect made
itself felt in due course. It was in 1874, at the railway station at
Munich, that he greeted the Emperor Wilhelm for the last time. After
this date the "victorious old man" also travelled incognito through
Bavaria when he visited Gastein in the summers.


King Ludwig and the Empress Elisabeth

Ludwig's spite against a single member of the House of Hohenzollern
destroyed the good relations with his relatives in Berlin. By way
of off-set, the sympathy he felt for the Empress Elizabeth had the
effect of causing his relations with the House of Hapsburg to be
very friendly.

His betrothal to his cousin, Sophie Charlotte, had left behind it
bitter memories. Although it was he who had dissolved the connection,
and although she would hardly have been capable of making him
happy, it is a fact that he became the slave of melancholy after the
engagement was broken off. The Duchess had much to forgive him; and
yet it appeared to the sick King, who condemned himself to loneliness,
that it was he who was the injured party. In one of the rooms which
he usually occupied hung the portrait of a woman, over which he had
caused a thick silken veil to be hung. He would stand sunk in thought
before this picture, walking slowly when he turned away, as if it cost
him an effort to leave it. No outside personage was ever permitted
to see it, and no one knew whom it represented. It was supposed that
it might be a portrait of Marie Antoinette of France, for whom he
cherished a great admiration; but many also thought that the painting
represented the Duchesse d'Alençon, whom he had never forgotten.

Nearly the whole of the royal house had taken the side of his former
fiancée, and were with reason annoyed at his fickleness. In spite
of the wrong which had been done the ducal house, one of Sophie's
brothers and one of her sisters had been indulgent towards him. Duke
Karl Teodor, the oculist, had scrutinised his cousin with the eye of
a doctor; he had found excuses for his action in his diseased mental
condition. Elizabeth of Austria had understanding even of aspects of
his character which could not possibly have been sympathetic to her,
and she was attracted by qualities in him which had displeased and
alarmed her sister.

It is difficult to say whether it was Sophie's likeness to Elizabeth
which had awakened his feelings for the Duchess, or whether a
half-unconscious longing for his former betrothed knit the tie
firmer between the Empress and himself. It is remarkable, in any
case, that the King, who was otherwise so reserved towards women,
should have formed a lasting friendship with her. The outward likeness
between the two sisters was very great; the inward harmony, however,
was not in the same proportion. Despite her beauty and her carefully
developed talents, Sophie was an ordinary woman, whereas Elizabeth's
mind was rich, though her soul was crushed. Hardly judged by many,
understood by few, and yet admired by most, she was the woman, if
anybody could have done so, to have fitted into the King of Bavaria's
life. Both had the same restlessness in their blood, at the same
time as they had both a need for solitude. The "horror of the crowd"
which dominated him in so great a degree was also a characteristic
of her. They were burdened with the same morbid tendencies. Even in
their exterior there was similarity between the two cousins, who were
gifted with such unusual and spiritual beauty. Neither of them had
known the joys of youth; the sceptre had been placed in their hands
while they were yet undeveloped children. The power which too early
both had become possessed of had in both developed an unwillingness
to sacrifice a tittle of their convenience. Ludwig never opened the
door to the deep and unusual qualities of his personality; Elizabeth,
too, kept her inmost thoughts in conscious shade. However eagerly the
crowd might seek, among the hum of reports which were ever afloat,
it never knew for certain what it was that inwardly moved them. But
they found mutual healing in opening their hearts to one another on
the unfulfilled wishes and hidden disappointments which the world
did not see.

Their inherited nervous sufferings were the sorrow-laden undercurrent
of their lives. Insanity which was inherent in their race was
to both of them a threatening spectre, which, sooner or later,
would attack them too. But in the case of Ludwig this fear had
in a greater degree than in the case of Elizabeth weakened the
power of will. Proud almost to the verge of megalomania, they were,
nevertheless, friendly towards the country people they met with. By
nature they were exceedingly generous; but the sufferings of their
neighbour did not, either in him or her, drive away their thoughts
from themselves. Both Ludwig and Elizabeth were eccentric in their
sympathies and antipathies. Elizabeth was unhappy in her marriage;
she sought a panacea for love in friendships with women. Ludwig could
suddenly, and apparently without reason, take up with men who were
far inferior to him in character. Both, as a rule, were disappointed
in, and quickly tired of, these favourites for a day. Both the King
and the Empress fled to the world of books, and when they met their
literary interests bound them still faster together. A result of
their mutual affection was that they exercised influence one upon
the other. Elizabeth was older and had more knowledge of the world;
she did not exceed her cousin in intelligence, though she may have
done so in energy. Her power over him was, therefore, greater than
his over her. The Empress's influence was not altogether for good. She
impressed upon Ludwig that "one can do everything one likes," and the
young Wittelsbach was very receptive to this kind of teaching. Where
it might have been good and useful, he was, on the contrary, less
willing to follow her advice: the Empress went early to bed, rose
every morning at five, and went out of doors. The King spent his
nights in music and reading, and not till day began to break did he
retire to rest. Both had been passionately fond of riding, but had
been obliged to give up this sport. She went instead walks of many
miles, whereas he took his daily constitutional in a closed carriage.

Elizabeth spent part of her summers in Feldafing, in the vicinity
of Ludwig's castles. They met one another by appointment on the
Roseninsel, in the lake of Starnberg; or, as not seldom happened, she
would suddenly appear in his study at Schloss Berg or Neuschwanstein,
and remain sitting many hours with him. She brought with her a stream
of beauty and harmony into his quiet apartments. Even in his last
darkened hours, when otherwise he received nobody, he liked to have
her visits.

Prince Leopold of Bavaria had married in 1873 her eldest
daughter. Ludwig had on this occasion emerged from his customary
retirement. Princess Gisela was one of his few women relations who
could boast of his amiability. Flattering as this might be, it was
at times exceedingly inconvenient; for the King, who turned night
into day, sent her presents and bouquets of flowers in the night. He
would not alter his habits either for her or her mother's sake.

The Empress's youngest daughter, Marie Valerie, expressed the wish
to make her "uncle's" acquaintance, and Elizabeth was at some pains
to induce him to receive her favourite child. But he would not be
disturbed in his quiet. "I don't know why the Empress is always telling
me about her Valerie," he said to one of those near him. "Valerie
wants to see me, she says; but I don't at all want to see her Valerie."


King Ludwig and Queen Marie

A picture very often to be seen in Bavaria is one representing
Maximilian II. and his family in the garden at Hohenschwangau. The
Queen is sitting with Prince Otto on her lap, and the King, standing
beside her, has laid his hand on the Crown Prince's head. He is in
the full prime of his manhood; his wife is radiant with happiness
and beauty.

The lapse of a few years had transformed this family life in the
Bavarian royal castle. The bright and happy Queen had become a widow,
the proud mother a Mater Dolorosa. Prince Otto, the child of her heart,
was hopelessly insane. The admiration which Ludwig had excited, the
great hopes of which at the beginning of his reign he had been the
centre, could not outweigh her fearful anxiety for his future.

Until the middle of the seventies, she and her eldest son had been
in the habit of residing at Hohenschwangau at the same time, the
Queen-mother using the ground floor of the castle, and the young
King the first floor. Though they both loved the place equally well,
and though Hohenschwangau was Queen Marie's dower house, her son's
secluded life caused an alteration in this arrangement also: in
later years he went to Linderhof when she came to Hohenschwangau,
and upon his return she retired to Elbingen-Alp. When they met he
showed his mother great respect; and when, as sometimes happened,
disharmonies occurred between them he restrained his annoyance. But
the Queen-mother's bourgeois view of life never found the key to his
composite nature. Repulsed time after time, she relinquished the hope
of ever winning his confidence, though love still lived in the hearts
of both.

Exactly opposite Hohenschwangau stood an enormous pine-tree on a
projecting rock; lighted up by the declining sun it reminded the
Queen-mother of a Christmas-tree. One winter, when they were both
living at their favourite castle, son and mother kept Christmas Eve
together. The gifts distributed, Ludwig led his mother to a balcony
window. He drew aside the heavy velvet curtains. In the snow-covered
landscape without, glittered a magnificent Christmas-tree; it was
the spruce fir on the rock, which he had caused to be decorated with
lights in order to give her pleasure.

Marie of Bavaria loved the country population; she often and
willingly entered into personal relations with them. The customs of
the peasantry, but above all their deep, childlike sense of religion,
exercised an attraction on her pious mind. By birth a Hohenzollern,
she had been brought up in the Lutheran teaching; her own mother
had been a strict Protestant. As long as Bavaria had been a kingdom
its Queen had belonged to this Church, which the Protestant portion
of the population regarded as a support and help. Disappointment
was great when it was made known that the Queen-mother intended to
enter the Roman Catholic Church. Her relatives in Prussia were also
painfully surprised; her sister, the Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt,
even journeyed to Hohenschwangau at the last minute for the purpose of
endeavouring to dissuade her from her resolution. The German Emperor,
whose heart she had ever been very near, made representations of a
like nature. But life had brought too many trials for her to be led
away by the pressure of others from what she felt to be a matter of
conscience. Sad, but not bitter, she retired from the world and from
her people, whose respect and sympathy followed her in her loneliness.

In the little chapel at Wallenhofen, in all quietness, she changed
her religion.

There is no doubt that many hard struggles had gone before this
step. It was thought that King Ludwig did not approve of her action
because the Protestants of his country so greatly lamented it. But
with his love of free-will, he would not place obstacles in the way
of her desire. At a religious festival in Munich, he himself informed
the public of his mother's decision.


State and Church--Ignaz von Döllinger--Ludwig's Letters to his
old Tutor

One Christmas night in the seventies, Ludwig II. was present with
the Queen-mother and the royal Princes at the midnight Mass in the
court church at Munich. In the midst of the service he laid his
prayer-book aside. He threw himself on his knees, hid his face,
and sobbed aloud. His mother regarded him anxiously, and called her
brother-in-law, Prince Luitpold, who was sitting in the box next
to them. The King rose to his feet and hid his head on her breast;
and she and his uncle conducted him to his rooms.

A few days previously an execution had taken place, which had made
a deep impression on him. A Neapolitan youth, twenty years of age,
who had committed a murder in his country, had been condemned to
death. The unhappy parents had sent a heartrending appeal to the
young King, who had wished to reprieve him; but his Ministers had
opposed his intention.

In his later years, Ludwig seldom attended divine service in Munich;
but during his residences at Berg, he went regularly to a little
church which had been built in the park there. At the castle of
Neuschwanstein there was an altar and a prie-dieu in his sleeping
apartment. He was in the habit of hearing Mass in the neighbouring
chapel; and no person was refused admittance because the King was
praying in it. When he visited the small village churches in the
highlands, he would often kneel unknown amid those at prayer. At
Ober-Ammergau he was so affected by the passion plays, that he caused
a magnificent marble group of the Crucifixion to be erected in that
town. Once when driving he met a priest carrying the sacrament; he
alighted, knelt upon the highroad and prayed. He was God-fearing,
but very tolerant; and he hated confessional dissensions.

In affairs of state he preserved a quiet and certain view, not
the less so where ecclesiastical matters were concerned; but the
relations between the Papal power and his Government were anything but
peaceful. Ludwig had a modern conception of the Church's relation to
the State; he desired that the schools should be freed from the yoke
of the Church. The reforms of the Government in this domain became
the source of violent skirmishes.

The Catholic Church party, which adorned itself with the often misused
name of "National," worked up a strong feeling against him and his
Ministers. In reality, this party was less national than the other;
for the Catholic Church is international in its principle and in
its entire organisation, the threads being collected in Rome from
the Catholic communities in all parts of the world! Nor was there
unity among the Catholic clergy themselves. One of the heads of the
Church in Bavaria at that time was Ignaz von Döllinger. He had been
Ludwig's teacher, and one of the few whom Ludwig in his youth had
really cared about. The Dean was among the most learned theologians of
the last century. He had in 1863 published a book, "Pabstfabeln des
Mittelalters," which had brought him into bad odour with the Romish
curia. In spite of threats from Rome he quietly continued the way
which his truth-loving spirit and his scientific researches pointed
out to him. In 1864 Pius IX. had issued the so-called "Syllabus,"
in which he vindicated and defined the mediæval conception of the
Church's supremacy over the State. The Pope meant by his action to
prepare for the dogma of his Infallibility. Döllinger made this the
object of scathing criticism. His writings did not indeed influence
the unenlightened masses, who received the Holy Father's message
with blind obedience, but within scientific circles in the Catholic
world the Dean's utterances made a deep impression. Munich became
the centre of the opposition, and Döllinger, as a matter of course,
became its leader.

The suppressed embitterment of which he had long been the object at
Rome was now transformed into open and violent persecution. During
these struggles King Ludwig held his protecting hand over his old
teacher, [29] and sent him the following letter:--

    "My dear Dean von Döllinger,

    "I intended to have called upon you to-day, but, unfortunately
    I am hindered by indisposition from carrying out my purpose,
    and expressing my very heartiest wishes for your happiness and
    blessing on the occasion of your birthday.

    "I therefore send you my congratulations in this manner.

    "I hope that God may grant you still many years of unimpaired
    intellect and health, so that you may lead to a victorious end the
    struggle which you began for the honour of religion and science,
    for the welfare of the Church and the State.

    "Do not weary in this so serious and important combat! May you
    ever be upheld by the consciousness that millions look up to
    you with confidence as the champion and pillar of truth, and
    who abandon themselves to the certain hope that you and your
    undaunted fellow-fighters will put the Jesuitical intrigues to
    shame and shed the light of victory over human malice and darkness.

    "May God grant it, and I pray it of Him with my whole soul!

    "Renewing my most sincere and affectionate wishes for your
    happiness and welfare, I send you, my dear Dean von Döllinger,
    my kindest regards, and remain, with good-will and unshakable
    confidence, always

    "Your greatly attached King,


    "February 28th, 1870."

On the 18th of July the same year Pius IX. announced his dogma
of Infallibility. A few weeks afterwards the thunderbolt of
excommunication struck Ignaz von Döllinger. It is greatly to King
Ludwig's honour that he still continued to support him. On the 28th
of February, 1871, he sent him a letter in which, among other things,
he says:

    "My dear Dean and Councillor of State,
    Dr von Döllinger,

    "I cannot let your birthday to-day go by without sending you my
    best and most affectionate congratulations--giving you a sign of
    my particular vigilance. My country and myself are proud of being
    able to call you ours. And I am glad to dare believe that you,
    as the ornament of science, and in your tried attachment to the
    Throne, may yet for long, as hitherto, continue your activity
    for the good of the State and Church.

    "I need hardly emphasise how heartily glad I am at your firm
    attitude in the Infallibility question. Very painful is it to me,
    on the other hand, that Abbé Haneberg has submitted in spite of
    his convictions. I daresay he has done it out of 'humility,'
    In my opinion, it is a very perverted humility when a person
    officially gives way and bears outwardly a different opinion from
    that he has in his heart.

    "I rejoice that I have not been disappointed in you. I have
    always said that you are my Bossuet; he, on the other hand, is
    my Fénélon.... I am proud of you, true rock of the Church! With
    assurances, my dear Mr Dean, of my continued good-will, I remain,
    with my kindest regards,

    "Your greatly attached King,


The King later was in the habit of asking Döllinger for information
regarding religious works, and several times sent messengers to him
to require his explanation of certain passages.

Johannes von Lutz, the son of a village schoolmaster, but early well
known as a prominent lawyer, had become Prince Hohenlohe's successor as
Premier. He also was persecuted by the Catholic Church party. Ludwig
ennobled him, creating him a baron, and always protected him. When
the majority of the Parliament opposed the Government in 1883, he
sent him the following characteristic autograph letter:--

    "My dear Minister von Lutz,

    "I have with regret followed the obstructions which have been
    placed, during the last few months, in the way of my Ministers,
    whose labours, as I know, are only dictated by their solicitude
    for the welfare of their country. I feel myself called upon to
    express to you that it is my firm expectation that you and your
    colleagues, who have been summoned by me to be the counsellors
    of the Crown, will hold out firmly in the future, and with all
    your strength champion my rights.

    "With particular regard to the Church's relation to the State,
    I have ever, and with the most affectionate conviction, yielded
    the Church my protection, and I shall never cease to protect
    the religious necessities of my people, which I consider as the
    foundation of order.

    "But I am equally decided that my Government now and in the future
    must resist all attempts to undermine the undoubted rights of
    the State, which will bring State and Church into a fatal position.

    "While giving repeated expression herewith of this my will,
    I assure you and your colleagues of my warm recognition of your
    faithful resistance under difficult circumstances."


Ludwig II. in Daily Life

When Bavaria in 1880 celebrated the seven hundredth anniversary of the
House of Wittelsbach, the King declined to have any festivities. He
issued a proclamation from his highlands in which he declared that
he felt himself one with his people, and at the same time expressed
the wish that a charitable institution might be founded in honour
of the day. His decision not to show himself aroused, and justly,
very great disapproval.

Some years prior to this occurrence the Palatinate kept the anniversary
of its fifty years' union with Bavaria. Ludwig had promised to be
present. At the last moment he sent an excuse, although this circle
had proved its loyalty to him in the most brilliant manner during
the war of 1866. He absented himself under the pretext of illness,
which, however, did not prevent him from starting for Switzerland
the same day to visit his friend Richard Wagner.

The last period of his life excepted, he performed punctually his
duties of governing; and he was particular that they should never
be postponed. Apart from representation, which he declined, even his
opponents were obliged to confess that for a great number of years he
faithfully fulfilled his kingly duties. At the beginning of his reign
he had been in the habit of rising early; but it was not long before
the division of his time became exceedingly strange. He now seldom
showed himself before midday. When at his country residences the
documents which it was necessary for him to sign were sent to him by
express messenger, who left Munich every morning and returned every
evening. As a rule, his secretary accompanied him to these seats,
and no inconvenience was remarked in the different departments on
account of his absence. During the warm summer months the affairs of
state were at times conducted in the open air. Tables and chairs were
arranged on a lawn covered with Turkey carpets. Large bouquets of
flowers were placed before the King's chair. The secretary read the
documents out loud. The King made his decisions, said good-morning,
and disappeared as quickly as he had come. The secretary's position was
not an easy one. When Ludwig was under the influence of his ill-humours
he would be annoyed at the most harmless looks and expressions, and
often sent him letters late at night in which he demanded explanation
for a single unguarded word. At the same time, he was eager to give
him pleasure when he was satisfied with him, frequently surprising him
and his family with photographs, books, and other articles of value.

When residing at Hohenschwangau during the autumn months, the King
was in the habit of driving out every night in his handsome carriage,
or his sledge which was decorated with allegorical figures. His
equipage rushed like a hurricane through the villages and the dark
woods, past snow-covered mountains and deep precipices. On these
excursions his life was sometimes in danger. One stormy night the
out-rider, who could not distinguish the road from the chasm beside
it, was seized with panic, and throwing his torch away, rode blindly
forward. Ludwig's life was saved as by a miracle. When in Munich he
would drive every day to the "English Garden," where he was in the
habit of walking quite alone under the old trees, with his hat pulled
down over his eyes. He was possessed by a morbid fear of assassination,
and this explains the fact that he was always accompanied by mounted
gendarmes when he drove through his capital. On the few occasions
when he showed himself in public he walked exceedingly stiffly,
with his head thrown back. Those whose sentiments towards him were
unfriendly looked upon this as a sign of megalomania; the greater
number of others considered his carriage proud and kingly. The truth
of the matter was that he had a bad carriage, and an uncertain and
tottering gait, which he thus endeavoured to hide. When he talked with
strangers he always allowed them to stand at some distance from him,
because it displeased him that they should remark his bad teeth;
he was jealous of his reputation as the handsomest monarch of Europe.

His meals he nearly always partook of alone at an inconvenient table in
his study. When he gave audience in the afternoons, he would sometimes
eat while the secretary held his lectures. As he was never punctual,
his meals had to be kept hot for hours together. As many as twelve
courses were served, but, as a rule, he ate only of one. It has been
said of him that during his latter years he indulged to excess in
strong drinks. This is not in accord with the truth. As a rule, he
drank only Rhine wine with water, or champagne, in which fresh scented
violets had been placed. Heady wines he never drank, as they induced
in him a rush of blood to the head. His valet had orders to place
a glass of cognac on a table by his bedside before the King retired
for the night; but, as a rule, it stood untouched the following day.

To give presents was a positive mania with Ludwig. It was his delight
at Christmas to surprise everybody, from princes and princesses to
every single servant of his household, with gifts. Nor did he forget
old teachers whom he had been fond of, or those whom he had met on his
way and liked. Long before Christmas he would cause inquiries to be
made for articles of the most varied description, and these were sent
to Hohenschwangau or Neuschwanstein, where his rooms were transformed
into a bazaar. Masterpieces in industrial art ordered by King Ludwig
were executed at Munich, in Paris, and in Switzerland. As the motifs of
the gifts he distributed were often taken from the poetical tournament
of the thirteenth century, and at other times were in the fashion of
the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, those who worked
for Ludwig became conversant with the most varied styles. He was so
impatient to see the works of art that he demanded their immediate
completion. Many heads and hands were fully occupied in executing his
orders, and he contributed much to the development of art industries.

The sums with which he rewarded insignificant services were, like his
other expenses, little in proportion to the Bavarian King's income. In
the case of accidents and charitable purposes he was seldom appealed
to in vain; but far greater was his generosity performed in secret. Out
of his own purse he moreover paid as long as he lived all the pensions
and assistance which his father had granted.


Ludwig and Richard Wagner--The King's Visit to Bayreuth

As long as Richard Wagner had lived in Munich it had only been
necessary for him to express a wish with regard to the performance
of his works, for the King at once to fulfil it. After his
departure he had at first in Hans von Bülow a substitute whom he
could safely trust. But when he too left Bavaria the matter grew
more difficult. Baron von Perfall became the manager of the Hof
Theater. Although he made a positive culte of Wagner's works, and
during his tenure of the office, which lasted for twenty-five years,
performed his operas 742 times, the old order of things was changed
during his leadership.

On the 25th of June 1868, the day after the dress rehearsal of Die
Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Perfall received a letter from Wagner
in which he announced his intention of "retiring from all connection
with the Hof Theater." Almost simultaneously Ludwig and Wagner were
seen side by side for the last time in Munich. It was at the first
performance of the Meistersinger. The representation was brilliant,
Hans von Bülow conducting with energy, and entirely in the master's
spirit. The King sat in his great box. He caused Wagner to be summoned
to it.

The composer was enthusiastically recalled after the first act,
but did not appear on the stage because he had been unable to find
his way thither from the royal box. The performance was proceeded
with, and at its conclusion the applause broke forth with redoubled
vigour. Wagner, who was sitting by the King's side, rose and bowed
to the public from the Kaiserloge, an act which occasioned much
annoyance. The unfavourable criticism which his friendship for the
poet-musician was always calling forth had an unfortunate influence
on Ludwig's mental condition, as well as greatly wounding his pride.

Wagner, who had visited Bayreuth in his youth, had preserved a pleasant
impression of this town, situated so far from the noise of industry
and the distracting influences of the outer world. Returning thither
in 1871, a warm friendship sprang up between him and its inhabitants,
who wished to keep him in their midst. The Margrave's large theatre
had for many years been unused. He agreed with the leading men of
the town to take this house, although it was hardly suitable for his
purpose. The inhabitants now offered him a building site which must in
every way have been attractive to him. His scheme of raising a temple
of art in the little town amid the Bavarian mountains was received
with delight by his adherents and friends, who did all in their power
to support the undertaking. Ludwig also stood by his side, a loyal
helper, during the struggle which ensued before his theatre was finally
complete. The foundation-stone was laid in 1872. The King telegraphed:
"From my inmost soul I express to you, my dearest friend, my warmest
and sincerest congratulations on the occasion of this day, which is
of import to the whole of Germany. Success and blessing accompany
the great work! I am to-day more than ever with you in thought."

Richard Wagner's letters to Emil Heckel give an insight into the
immense difficulties which he and his admirers had to overcome. There
was in 1873 a money crisis extending over the whole of Germany and
Austria. Banks which had promised credit were unable to meet their
promises, and this delayed the realisation of his scheme. He had
always calculated upon the King's assistance. On the 16th of January
he wrote to Heckel that he had requested "his ever-generous protector"
to guarantee a loan, but that the latter, for some reason unknown
to him, had refused his assistance.--A German poet had written an
eulogistic ode in Ludwig's honour and had requested Wagner to set it
to music, but the latter, unaware that the King knew the poem, had
coldly refused to do this. Ludwig had been offended. He could not,
however, long be angry with his friend; already in February in the
same year he gave the desired security. The first "Niebelungen-cycle"
was given in Bayreuth from the 13th to the 30th of August 1876. It
was repeated three times before an enthusiastic audience, among whom
were the Emperor of Germany, the Grand Dukes of Weimar and Baden,
the Emperor of Brazil, the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, and many
other royal personages, as well as literary and artistic celebrities
from all countries.

The King of Bavaria, who was seldom present at anything but separate
performances, determined to visit Bayreuth, despite the fact that
this would necessitate his appearing in public. He drove direct from
Chiemsee to his hunting-box outside the town. Only Wagner was there
to receive him. He met his old friend with warmth, and bade him seat
himself beside him in the carriage. Although he made a detour each
evening in order to avoid the crowd, he was, both inside and outside
the theatre, the object of enthusiastic ovations. He endeavoured to
avoid them, but again and again had to come to the front of his box
and bow his acknowledgments. He looked ill and depressed. Wagner was
the only person with whom he conversed, but he paid no visit to his
private residence, and he left Bayreuth unattended and as quietly as
he had come.

The German, French, and English press took up a cool attitude with
regard to the festival. It could not be denied that it had been
great and successful, but it was said that the "Ring" was long. The
performances showed a deficit of 16,000 marks.

The poet-musician was in the greatest straits for money. His friends
advised him again to address himself to the King. It was his opinion,
however, that he had already taken greater advantage of his protector's
generosity than he ought to have done. As he saw no other way of paying
his debts, he sold the "Ring," on which he had worked for nearly
thirty years, and which the theatre at Bayreuth had been built for,
to a theatre agent. Hard as the sale must have been to him, it helped
him over his difficulties. The "Ring" made a triumphal progress across
the chief stages of Germany. Divergent art tendencies were agreed in
admiration of his work, and his name shone with greater lustre than
before. Since that time enthusiastic hosts of listeners have made
pilgrimages from all parts of Europe and America to the little town,
to do homage to the great poet-composer and his works.

With the lapse of years Ludwig's admiration for his person had somewhat
cooled, and during the visits to Bayreuth no trace had been visible of
his earlier enthusiastic attachment. But if the friendship no longer
had the warmth of youth it was by no means dead. In the year 1879
Wagner wrote to Emil Heckel of a "kind letter which the King had sent
him." The master's works had taken deep root in the King's mind. In
1881 he became the patron of the Bayreuth festival. He ordered that
the orchestra and chorus of the Hof Theater should be for two months
in the year at the disposal of Richard Wagner. In 1882, when Parsifal
was given for the first time, he expressed a wish for a private
performance at which he could be present unnoticed. He changed his
mind, however, at the last moment, perhaps because the German Crown
Prince was to be among the audience. Some time afterwards Parsifal
was played in Munich, with the assistance of the same artists who had
sung at Bayreuth. After the first rehearsals of this opera had taken
place Wagner wrote a treatise in letter form on his person and works,
which he sent to Ludwig. It began with the following words:--

"I will not write another note. My work is complete! I have
successfully and victoriously accomplished my mission, despite the
hostile onrush of a world of opponents." This was one of the last
letters from the composer-poet to this King, who had been to him more
than a friend.

The poet-musician used every year to visit Munich, where his
protector received him with unchanged kindness. In 1882 he came
thither for the last time. He requested as usual an audience of the
King, but Ludwig begged to be excused from receiving him, as he was
indisposed. On the 13th of February, 1883, Richard Wagner died at
Venice. Five thousand telegrams were sent to all parts of the world
to announce the ill tidings. One of the first came to Ludwig. He
violently reproached himself for not having received him. One of his
aides-de-camp went on his behalf to Venice to lay a wreath of Alpine
roses on the composer's coffin. A special train brought the deceased,
his widow, and a number of friends to Bayreuth. At the frontier the
King's secretary was waiting to accompany the coffin and show the
last honour to the poet-musician.

Music, which before had been Ludwig's greatest joy, was from this time
forth not permitted at any of his castles, because it so painfully
reminded him of the friend of his youth. All the pianos on which he
had played were draped with crape. The dead man's works still had
such an effect on him that after every performance of Parsifal he
caused a Mass to be said in his castle. And after the King's death,
busts, portraits, and other mementos of Richard Wagner were found
everywhere in his favourite rooms.


King Ludwig and the Artists of the Stage and Canvas

A French journalist who saw Ludwig II. in his youth, has said: "His
beauty belongs to the romantic type. His dark eyes are dreamy and full
of enthusiasm. His handsome face, elegant personality, and dignified
bearing at once win admiration and sympathy. He is in possession of
all the graces of youth, its illusions and enthusiasm; but at the
same time he offers an example of that need for change which belongs
to youth. His subjects look upon him as a fool. They are mistaken:
he is only foolish on one point--namely, where music is in question."

The King passionately loved Wagner's operas. Concerts, on the other
hand, he seldom attended, but he often invited opera singers of both
sexes to sing at his castles. Shortly after his accession an actor by
the name of Emil Rohde was engaged by the Munich Hof Theater, and won
in a high degree his Majesty's approval as Don Carlos, Ferdinand in
Schiller's Kabale und Liebe, Max Piccolomini, and Mortimer. Rohde was
one of the first artists in whom Ludwig showed particular interest. At
the beginning of his sojourn in the Bavarian capital he was often
summoned to the Palace. After the first unabridged performance of
Schiller's Wilhelm Tell the King sent him the following autograph

    "Dear Rohde,

    "You have surpassed all my expectations. I shall always remember
    with the greatest delight the beautiful hours which we passed
    together this winter. Yes, you must come again!

    "I remain always your very gracious King,


The invitations, however, were not repeated. Ludwig came to have
other interests and other favourites.

The tenor, Franz Ignaz Nachbaur, was showered with proofs of
favour. He had begun his career as a chorus singer, but a Swiss art
mæcena had caused him to be educated under Lamperti at Milan. In
1868 he received an invitation to appear as Walther von Stolzing in
the Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He was not, as a matter of fact, a
very intelligent singer; but he surpassed all his colleagues by his
exceedingly handsome exterior, and by the pure tenor tones of his
voice. Ludwig appointed him chamber singer. After every new rôle he
sent him handsome presents, among other things a Lohengrin equipment
of wrought silver, and a number of diamond pins and rings. Nachbaur,
who was in the habit of exhibiting them with childlike delight,
was in consequence given the soubriquet of "Brilliant Nazzi."

In addition to Wagner's musical works, the King took pleasure in
hearing Lortzing's, Kreutzer's, Verdi's, and Halévy's operas. The
day after he had been present for the first time at Halévy's opera,
Guido et Guivera, he sent for Nachbaur, and, to the astonishment of
the artist, though he had never set eyes on the music, sang through the
whole of the great aria. When he had finished, he said: "Will you now
be good enough to sing the air for me? I should like to know if I have
sung it right." On one occasion, when Nachbaur was ill, Ludwig wrote
to him: "Take care of yourself. Do it for your family's sake and to
preserve your divine voice. Do it, too, for my sake. I ask it of you,
I, the King, who otherwise am not wont to ask." On another occasion
he wrote to him: "We are both opposed to all that is meretricious
and bad, and we glow with holy enthusiasm for everything that is
lofty and pure. We will, therefore, all our lives be faithful and
sincere friends." The singer Vogel, likewise, often received commands
to wait upon his Majesty at a certain hour of the night. He had to
sing an air to him, and was thereafter driven back to his home. The
King had been a fine rider, and as a young man he had ridden straight
and undaunted on his favourite horse. This horse he now presented to
the opera singer Frau Vogel. Every time she appeared as Brunhilde in
Wagner's Götterdämmerung she rode it when she made her daring leaps
into the flames. During a performance when Possart and Frau Ramlo
exchanged rings, the King sent them two diamond rings, which they
were instructed to wear on the stage and keep in remembrance of him.

He spared indeed neither gifts nor distinctions in the case of actors
and singers who won his favour. Gold watches and chains, brilliants,
bracelets, brooches were sent to them from the Kaiserloge as signs
of approval. During the latter years of his life, however, he showed
more reserve in his intercourse with artists, and also, on the whole,
spoke less often with persons with whom he was not already acquainted.

Towards the painters to whom he gave orders he was likewise, as
a rule, very friendly. With regard to these also, as where scenic
art was concerned, he inexorably demanded that everything must be
reproduced with historical faithfulness. An error of etiquette in
a picture he blamed as severely as if it had been committed in his
presence. Heinrich von Pechmann had been commissioned to paint a
picture representing the Lever de Marie de Antoinette. Although the
general effect of the composition was very pleasing, the King returned
it with the message that "ladies-in-waiting did not fan themselves,
nor did they converse with the gentlemen of the court in the Queen's
presence." Moreover, he wished to see among those depicted the composer
Gluck, who was at that time attached to the French court. The artist
Ille had been commanded by Ludwig to paint five large pictures with
subjects from the legend of "Lohengrin," which it was intended should
be hung at Hohenschwangau. "The King would be glad to see the Emperor's
carriage altered," wrote Ludwig's secretary to him on the subject;
"but he will not, however, make it a command against your artistic
convictions. Unless rendered impossible by technical difficulties or
the text of the poem, the King would also like to see the morning or
evening sun shining upon the Archangel Michael. Furthermore, I am to
ask you to consider whether the swan's head is not too large, and
if its breast, which is resting on the water, is not too weak? The
King has, I may explain, from his earliest youth been familiar with
the appearance of these birds." Ille made the required alterations,
and received a fine diamond ring as an expression of the King's

Ludwig spent many hours daily in the study of literature, and
invariably took books with him on his mountain excursions. When he
travelled, a trunk was filled with a careful selection of works from
his favourite authors. As Crown Prince he had had no opportunity of
receiving instruction at a college or of acquiring information and
experience by sojourns in foreign lands; but by self-study he became
at an early age a well-informed man. He thoroughly studied countless
scientific works; and when he felt himself drawn towards an author
he read everything that writer had produced. Nor was the author's
personality and private life indifferent to him. If the latter was
still alive the King would give orders that information should be
procured for him as to his pecuniary and other conditions; and were
he poor, Ludwig would very often afford him generous assistance in
the most unostentatious manner.


Private Performances at the Hof Theater at Munich

The Bavarians were in general inclined to forgive their King's
peculiarities. A single weakness, however, they found it difficult to
condone: they did not like his habit of commanding private performances
at the theatre, of which he was the only witness.

Although Ludwig covered all the expenses, his private performances at
the Hof Theater became so unpopular that his Ministers felt themselves
constrained to make a protest against them. The blame for this taste
was laid upon Wagner, the charge being based on the fact that the
poet-musician had arranged (1865) a concert in the Hof Theater at
which the King had been the sole audience. More probable is it,
however, that his pleasure in them was awakened little by little,
as he was in the habit of driving in from his castles in the mountain
districts to be present at the various dress rehearsals.

From time to time he would cause translations or adaptations of French
plays from Louis XIV.'s time to be made and played for him alone. Later
he transferred his attention to Louis XV.'s time. In his latter years
he caused several historical pieces to be produced, of which the
subjects were taken from the legends relating to Hohenschwangau. The
first private performance took place in 1871, the last towards the end
of 1885. In the course of these fourteen seasons he was present at two
hundred and ten performances, of which forty-five were operas. [30]
Until and including 1878 there were never given more than twelve
private performances in each season. In 1879 the number rose to twenty,
and in 1883 to twenty-five performances. Everything that was played
for the King alone was artistically perfect.

The actress Charlotte Wolther, who played in the last Narcisz
performance of 1885, has written her impressions of that evening:

"His Majesty had ordered that the representation should begin at twelve
o'clock at night, she tells us. All that was to be seen through the
peephole was the brightly lighted proscenium. Absolute silence reigned;
even the workmen wore felt slippers. At the stroke of twelve a bell was
rung; the King was leaving the Palace. He passed along the corridor
to his great box. A new ringing of the bell announced that he had
entered it, and immediately the curtain rose! The singer became the
victim of a nervous trembling, and required all her presence of mind
to perform her part before a single witness, at such a strange time,
and in such romantic stillness...."

Many stories of doubtful veracity were circulated with regard to
these theatre evenings. French, Russian, and American journalists
depicted them in fantastic colours. The American humorist Mark Twain
wrote amusingly of them; and his accounts won general credence on
both sides of the Atlantic! "The opera concluded, and the artists
having washed the paint off their faces, they are frequently ordered
to re-dress, and singers and orchestra have to go through the opera
a second time for the King," he writes in one of his books. "There
is in the great Hof Theater an apparatus which, in case of fire,
can put the whole stage under water. A violent storm was represented
at one of these private performances. The theatre tempest howled,
the thunder rolled. In a loud voice Ludwig shouted from his box:
'Good, very good! But I want real rain. Let the water flow!' The
scene-shifter ventured to demur, representing that the decorations,
no less than the silk and velvet curtains, would be destroyed. 'Never
mind,' said the King; 'do as I bid you!' The water poured out over
the stage, over the artificial flowers and houses. The singers were
drenched; they put a bold face on it, and sang away bravely. The
King applauded, and shouted 'Bravo! More thunder, more lighting!' he
ordered. 'Bad luck to him who dares to leave the stage!'"

Needless to say, Mark Twain's story was entirely the creation of his
own brain; Ludwig laughed heartily when the description was read aloud
to him. And yet the citizens of Munich were no less credulous on this
point than the American public. They thought, among other things,
that the King wrote his own plays; and they declared that his private
performances raised the taxation of the country.


King Ludwig and his Palaces

Ludwig I. sacrificed millions of guldens in order to beautify his
capital with structures in the antique and Renaissance styles.

Ludwig II. inherited his grandfather's love of building. Writing
to his son, King Otto of Greece, at Christmas 1852, Ludwig I. says:
"When the Christmas presents were distributed, Ludwig was given some
wooden bricks with which to construct a triumphal arch. I saw buildings
by him which were excellent. I find a striking likeness between the
future Ludwig II. and the politically defunct Ludwig I.!" He was at
that time only seven years of age. At eleven he drew the plan of a
hunting-box, which was to be built at Hintersee, in the vicinity of
Berchtesgaden. The lodge was not built; but both his grandfather and
Queen Maria were astonished at his early-developed gift. This drawing
was given a place in his mother's album.

Until he had completed his eighteenth year Ludwig had never any money
in his hands: a few months after his eighteenth birthday he became the
possessor of a yearly income of many millions of guldens. His riches
appeared inexhaustible to him, and he thought it an easy matter to
realise all his dreams.

The summer mansions of Berg and Herzogenstand which he had inherited
from his father, even his favourite place of residence, Hohenschwangau,
no longer satisfied him. It was his intention to build a new castle
in the neighbourhood of the latter, high up on a rocky site. The
foundation-stone of Neuschwanstein was laid in 1869. Of the various
castles built by Ludwig this is the one which is the most satisfactory
in the impression it affords. From whatever side the spectator sees it,
the effect is beautiful and imposing. There is no trace in it of the
insane lavishness, and, on the whole, of the inartistic conception
which is strikingly evident in the palaces of Linderhof and Chiemsee.

Neuschwanstein is in pure Romanesque style. The interior is decorated
with pictures from German hero legends and songs. They represent the
Tannhäuser and Lohengrin legends, the Niebelungenlied and Parsifal,
and are conceived and executed in an artistic spirit. After the
conclusion of the Franco-German war, building became the thought in
Ludwig's mind round which all others revolved. He occupied himself
with the smallest details in the construction of his castles, and
gave exact descriptions as to how the different apartments were to
be decorated. He procured, with much trouble from foreign countries,
copies of objects of art which were inaccessible to others. King
Maximilian had a hunting-box in the vicinity of Ober-Ammergau;
here his son built the fantastic fairy château of Linderhof, himself
drawing the plans and carefully studying works on the various styles
of architecture. During the building he continually had new ideas,
and was seized with a desire to change parts of the building. Despite
his sure eye for general effects, he had no idea as to the manner
in which the building should be executed. In order to ascertain how
the mansion would look when complete, he caused walls to be built and
resorted to other radical expedients, which necessitated a considerable
increase of expenditure and eventually led to his financial ruin. The
foundation-stone of Linderhof was laid in 1869. It was not till ten
years later that it approached completion. The mansion is not large,
nor does it give the impression of being in any particular style. It
contains ten reception-rooms of different sizes and shapes, in which
there are collected a multitude of objects, oil paintings and pastel
drawings. The furniture is partly of rosewood. The richly-carved doors
and walls are gilded. On gilded consoles stand Japanese and Chinese
porcelain, majolica, and works in bronze, as well as some magnificent
old Dresden china. The silver-gilt domestic utensils are studded with
precious stones. The material with which the furniture is upholstered,
the curtains and portières, are all of heavy velvet and silk with gold
embroideries. In the big drawing-rooms the chandeliers and candelabra
are of massive gold. This magnificence is reflected by several hundred
large mirrors.

The building is surrounded by gardens and terraces. Busts and
statues of Greek gods stand on high pillars among the trees in the
shrubberies. In Ludwig's lifetime a fountain threw its jets of water a
hundred and fifty feet into the air. Close by Linderhof lies "The Blue
Grotto," a copy of the grotto at Capri, and the "Hunding-Hütte," which
was built at Richard Wagner's desire. King Maximilian's hunting-lodge
was moved, but an old lime-tree which had stood close by was allowed
to retain its place. A stair led up into the branches of the tree
where a summer-house had been constructed from which there was a
fine view of the surrounding country. When Ludwig was at Linderhof,
he spent many hours of his day in this tree.

As time went on he became absorbed in the art period of Louis
XIV. He built the enormous Schloss Herrenchiemsee, which is a copy of
Versailles and which swallowed many millions of guldens, although it
was never brought to completion. At the time when he drew the plan
of this palace his passion for building was no longer a fancy which
he could tame, but the outcome of a diseased brain, where the power
of will and judgment was impaired. He went, impelled by his building
operations, several journeys to France. His stay was on each occasion
of very short duration; the feverish disquiet which drove him thither
drove him back again almost as quickly. Hardly a year after the days
when Versailles had echoed to the cheers of the German Princes for
the newly elected Emperor, he went, without giving his Ministers the
slightest hint of his intention, in strictest incognito to Paris. He
spent several days at Versailles. The following year he returned
there once more, this time visiting in addition the town of Rheims,
the seat of the coronation of the Kings of France.

Chiemsee, called also "the Bavarian sea," surrounds three
islands: Herrenchiemsee, Frauenchiemsee, and the uninhabited
Krautinsel. Herrenchiemsee, or "Herrenwörth," was originally a
monastery, which at the time of their suppression went over into
private hands. In 1868 it was in the possession of some business men,
who sold it to King Ludwig. He chose the island as the site of his
Versailles. The King's advisers raised objections, but these only
aroused his defiance. He sent off experts to study the subject,
and threw himself heart and soul into the undertaking. Eight years,
however, passed before the plans were completed. Herrenchiemsee
consists of an intermediate building three hundred feet in length,
and of two wings surrounding a quadrangle, the latter being entirely
paved with black and white marble. Everywhere in the palace there are
pictures of the Kings and Queens of France, and the fleurs-de-lys of
the Bourbons. The sixteen living apartments are named after the rooms
to which they answer at Versailles. The finest of these is the mirror
gallery, which is about 250 feet long, 35 feet broad, and 40 feet
high. Piercing one of the walls are 27 lofty arched windows, and on
the other a similar number of large mirrors. Two-and-fifty candelabra
of gold and 35 chandeliers provide space for 2500 wax candles.

It was but for few nights that this sea of light burned in honour
of Ludwig II. and his imaginary guests from the time of the French
Kings. From the year 1881 he arrived regularly at Herrenchiemsee on
the 29th of September and remained there till the 8th of October,
inhabiting the first years of this period the so-called royal
apartments in a neighbouring monastery, which could easily have
been changed into an agreeable place of residence had the King had
thoughts for anything but the new palace. He was in the habit of
arriving at midnight. The railway station was near the banks of the
lake. A beautiful gondola, which was used for no other purpose, was
waiting to take him across to the island; it was rowed by two men
in Neapolitan costume. When the King came he examined everything;
on one occasion, by way of example, he discovered that some groups
of statuary in the park were of plaster instead of marble, as he had
ordered, and he became so angry that he broke them in pieces.

Linderhof, Neuschwanstein, and Herrenchiemsee, on which he sacrificed
so much time and thought, and which caused his financial ruin,
have been later the means of paying his debts. The veil of mystery
which surrounded his person rested likewise as long as he lived over
his residences. But after his death these objects of his pride, so
jealously guarded by him from profane eyes, became accessible to the
public. They are considered, and rightly so, as sights of the first
order. Thousands of visitors yearly, from all countries, admire the
edifices of the splendour-loving King.


King Ludwig's Friendships

At the time of Ludwig's first visit to Paris, Cora Pearl, noted
alike for her beauty and her frivolity, sent the young King her
portrait. None of his suite dared to present it to him, it being known
that he was not attracted by women. At Hohenschwangau, a year later,
he received his secretary with the following words:--"I have seen your
wife to-day!" The secretary bowed in silence, being uncertain what
this utterance might mean. "I have seen your wife to-day!" repeated the
King in his severest tone. The secretary now realised the significance
of the words addressed to him, and respectfully assured his Majesty
that he would see that such a thing should not occur again.

The King's dislike of the fair sex could not otherwise than cause it to
be hinted that his emotional life was not normal, a rumour strengthened
by the warm interest which he exhibited in several men. The Hungarian
writer, Maurus Jókai, has related in private circles how in his youth
he received a letter from an unknown person offering him riches and
marks of honour, everything which a powerful master is in a position to
offer, if he would leave his country and his family and live entirely
for an unhappy and lonely man. The novelist would not break the ties
which bound him to his home and his native land; but he ever retained
a deep feeling of sympathy for the writer of the letter.

Ludwig's need for solitude was, without doubt, the result of
enigmatical depths in his nature. As a youth he had suspected,
and as a man of riper years he felt, that it was impossible for him
to be otherwise than a recluse and a stranger in life. Despite his
high position, despite his beauty and gifts of mind, he was in his
inward self helpless and tired of existence. His friendship for
Richard Wagner was the bright spot in his life. He had believed
in the incense with which the master in the first hours of sincere
gratitude had surrounded his protector. But Wagner's proud affection
was something very different from the flattery which met him from
courtiers and his later favourites, who crawled in the dust to promote
their own welfare. His favour and affection came as unexpectedly on
the recipient as his distaste and contempt for them--his feelings,
which found an outlet in autograph letters, exaggerated expressions,
and gifts, not continuing for any length of time.

At the outbreak of the Franco-German war he was hardly five and twenty
years of age. It was at this time that his abnormal mental condition
began to be remarked; but prior to this there had been signs which
pointed in the same direction. He had from childhood been particularly
attracted by good-looking faces. On his accession he pensioned off
his father's old servants, and surrounded himself exclusively with
young and handsome men. One of his grooms, Joseph Völkl, was during
the years 1864 and 1865 the holder of a much-envied position at court,
accompanying the King on his journeys to Switzerland and being allowed
to sit in the same carriage with his Majesty. By degrees, however,
Völkl grew arrogant, and spoke of his master without respect. Ludwig
came to know of this fact, and degraded him instantly. The former
continued, however, to spread unseemly gossip about, and the matter
coming to the ears of the Ministry, he was dismissed, and died in
great poverty.

The Master of the Horse, Hornig, was later the King's favourite. He
was a handsome and well-informed man, with agreeable manners. During
the long period of eighteen years he acted as Ludwig's private
secretary, and accompanied him on his travels. While Hornig was
preparing the details of the journey to Bayreuth, the King was seized
with a sudden unwillingness to undertake it, despite the fact that
he was the official patron of the festival. He discussed the matter
constantly with the Master of the Horse, without, however, being able
to make up his mind. The latter was of opinion that it would create
unpleasant remark if the King sent a sudden refusal to be present. In
the heat of conversation he exclaimed: "Your Majesty! it would make us
laughable if we did such a thing!" Ludwig was so much annoyed at this
"us" and "we," that Hornig lost his favour from that day. After his
dismissal the royal quartermaster-sergeant, Hesselschwerdt, took his
place. In spite of a poor education he performed his duties to the
King's satisfaction, amusing him, and often disarming his violence
by gross untruths, which Ludwig forgave, although he was not deceived
by them. He remained in the King's service until the end of his reign.

With the exception of Richard Wagner all the King's so-called friends
suffered from his caprices. The secluded life he led gave him the time
in which to brood over every little utterance which had displeased
him. His rancour was, as a rule, deep, and his grudges lasting. The
two last cabinet secretaries, Dr von Ziegler and Dr von Müller, were
both for a time his pronounced favourites. Even in his last years he
understood how to fascinate others, and was able to master and hide
his mental sufferings. Ziegler, who was possessed of a jovial and
happy disposition, had a good influence on him; and he spoke with
admiration and respect of Ludwig's nobility of mind. The secretary's
retirement in 1883 was greatly regretted.

From this day forward Ludwig associated almost exclusively with his
domestics. Even his equerries and the secretary were but occasionally
received by their master. Several years before his death one of his
warmest admirers, the Chamberlain von Unger, said of him: "The man
who ceases to associate with educated women becomes coarse; but when,
in addition, he avoids association with educated men, he is wholly
and entirely lost!"


The Actor Kainz

Joseph Kainz, the actor, who was later so celebrated, had, at the
beginning of the eighties, an engagement at Munich; he was then
twenty-three years of age. The King saw him for the first time in
Victor Hugo's Marion de Lorme, in which he played the part of the
homeless Didier. His unusually sonorous voice, his lofty glance, and
the passionate warmth of his acting captivated Ludwig, who the same
evening caused to be delivered to him a valuable sapphire ring. Kainz
thanked him in a letter full of fire. In an autograph letter, dated the
1st of May, 1881, his Majesty assured him of his friendly feelings,
and of his sincere and hearty wishes for his welfare. He added:
"Continue as you have begun, in your arduous and difficult but
beautiful and honourable calling. [31]"

Marion de Lorme was repeated as a separate performance on the 4th and
the 10th of May, and on each occasion Kainz received a new present
from the King. Wishing to know him personally Ludwig summoned him to
Schloss Linderhof, where he received him with charming affability. He
kept him with him for two whole weeks, making excursions with him
and treating him as a friend. During the first meeting the actor had
been somewhat reserved and formal; but after they had been a few
days together all shyness departed from his side, and Ludwig even
permitted him to address him as du. The actor declaimed alternately to
and with his Majesty, and their artistic entertainments lasted till
late into the night. Kainz was allowed to be present at the private
performances. The King undertook to provide for his further education,
and corresponded frequently with him. The friendship between the prince
and the actor was much talked about and much criticised. "It depresses
me greatly when I see that my innocent fancies are trumpeted out before
the whole world, and are hatefully criticised," said Ludwig to his new
friend. "It has caused me many sad hours. I cannot imagine why I should
be grudged my small pleasures, for they do not harm anybody." When
on another occasion they were discussing the art of acting, he said:
"I guard my ideals anxiously. I do not care to notice small weaknesses,
for I do not like the general harmony to be disturbed." He continued
reflectively: "It is the same with regard to actors; I see only the
person in the interpreter! The actor who plays a noble part I imagine
to be a noble person." Kainz demurred to this, saying that although
he did not consider himself a villain, it was his wish to play the
part of Franz Moor. "No, no," exclaimed the King eagerly; "you must
never represent such a hateful character." He went on to speak of
the part of Didier. "When Marion de Lorme was repeated," said he,
reproachfully, you wore my sapphire ring in the first act. How could
the poor, homeless Didier possess such a costly ornament? It offends
against the laws of truth." Kainz excused himself on the plea that
he had been informed that his Majesty liked his gifts to be honoured,
and that it was for this reason he had worn the ring.

The presents which Kainz received from the King were particularly
valuable, and none of the parts he played went unrewarded. One
evening as he was about to take his departure, having already one
foot in the carriage, Ludwig took his studs from his cuffs and handed
them to him as a parting gift. He had his own room allotted to him
at Linderhof, and he was permitted to drive alone with his royal
friend. The marks of favour which were so abundantly showered upon
the young hero of the theatre proved to be too much for him, and he
became very injudicious. At first Ludwig looked upon his brutality
as the outcome of his love for truth. "How good it is to hear the
unvarnished truth!" he said to Councillor Bürckel. The latter, who
knew the new favourite better, answered shortly: "Your Majesty! truth
and impertinence are two different things!"

The King desired to make a journey to Spain in company with the actor,
[32] but was obliged to abandon the plan because Bürckel, who had the
arrangement of the trip, represented to him that the time of year was
unfavourable. "It is a pity," said he; "I have a far greater desire to
see Spain than Italy, which has no attractions for me. But now when
I am about to satisfy my longing, Bürckel comes with his objections;
the propriety of which I cannot but acknowledge." "Bürckel, however,
is only an adviser," observed Kainz; "your Majesty is lord and
master!" "Yes," sighed Ludwig, "but it is not always so easy to be
King as it appears to be." "If it is difficult to your Majesty you can
give up the sceptre into other hands," remarked the actor. The answer
displeased the King, who rose to his feet, thus giving the actor a
hint that he must be more careful in the use of his expressions.

The recollection of earlier visits to Switzerland entered his mind;
he was taken with the desire to see again that idyllic land, and the
places associated according to tradition with William Tell. On the
25th of June he wrote to Kainz:

    "Your dear letter, by which I see how much you are looking forward
    to our journey to Switzerland, has given me great pleasure. It
    increases very considerably my own delight at the days I hope
    to enjoy with you in that beautiful country. The nearer the
    time approaches the more exercised does the good Bürckel seem to
    become. He bombards me with the most extraordinary announcements
    and suggestions, proposing now that I should take a noble
    gentleman-in-waiting with me. If it is not possible for us to do
    without such a person, which, however, cannot possibly be the case,
    I would rather give up the whole journey. It is necessary to avoid
    the stream of tourists there, and their tactless obtrusiveness.

    "It is to be hoped that we can get a habitable private house on
    the shores of the classic lake.

    "... I have still much to arrange, and therefore hasten to

    "A thousand hearty greetings, beloved brother, precious Didier,
    from your friendly,



A Journey to Switzerland

In order to avoid remark, Ludwig had decided that his special train
should pick him up at ten o'clock in the evening, on the 27th of June,
at the station of Mühlthal, near Starnberg. He intended to travel as
the Marquis de Saverny; Kainz was to go with him as his friend Didier.

According to the orders which he had received, and at the appointed
hour, the actor duly made his appearance at the little railway
station. The country lay in deep stillness as the royal train,
without a signal or the ringing of a bell, glided up to the
platform. Immediately afterwards the King's spirited team dashed
up. Ludwig jumped out of his equipage and stepped into the railway
carriage, which, besides a sleeping compartment, contained a saloon in
which were easy-chairs, sofas, and a table laid for supper. The train
moved off into the darkness of the night as silently as it had come.

One of the King's stewards, a native of Switzerland, had gone on in
advance to engage a suite of rooms at the Grand Hotel at Axenstein,
near Brunnen. Unfortunately, the King's arrival in Switzerland became
known. People hurried from all directions to catch a glimpse of the
"romanticist on the throne." When he approached Brunnen on board the
steamer Italia, the banks were covered with spectators. Ludwig was
incapable of repressing his displeasure, which increased the more
when he discovered that all the houses along the banks of the lake
were decorated with flags in his honour. "It is swarming with people
here. I wish to live unknown and alone for myself!" he exclaimed. At
the landing-stage the hotel carriage was standing with four horses
harnessed to it; and some members of the Swiss police were also
discovered to be drawn up for his reception. This was too much for
the shy Monarch. "I will certainly not go ashore here," he cried. "I
will not make myself a sacrifice to ovations." He let the steamer
go on to Flüelen. On the return trip he made inquiries as to whether
there were not some other locality than Brunnen where he might be put
ashore. The captain mentioned a little place in the neighbourhood,
and shaped a course for it. Hardly was this discovered at Brunnen
than the whole mass of people set off towards it. The landing-stage
was thickly covered with a crowd which received him with marks of
delight. Handkerchiefs were waved, and shouts of hurrah filled the
air as his majestic form strode through the ranks. He answered the
greetings of the people with affability. "I must confess," he said,
after he was seated in the carriage, "that after all, this warm
welcome has given me pleasure, for it shows well the mind of these
good people." He was deeply touched by the magnificent scenery, and
his face beamed; but hardly had he noticed the numbers of strangers
who continued to press round his carriage than he began to lose
heart again.

He walked up and down in his rooms at the hotel, saying again and
again: "This is a hotel and not a castle; I will not remain here!" A
few days later he took the villa "Guttenberg," whence he made many
excursions in the neighbourhood. The cantonal government placed a
steamer at his disposal, and this he very often used. Kainz recited
to him in the beautiful moonlight nights, and from the banks of
the lake of Lucerne he heard the joyous Swiss peasant songs. His
friendly manner won much sympathy in the neighbourhood. One Sunday
seven pretty young Swiss girls announced themselves at his villa;
they had come to ask him for money in order to go to America. As
he was not at home one of them requested some writing materials,
after which, in a bright and original manner, she penned the wishes
of herself and her friends. The letter was laid before the King,
who was greatly amused at it. He answered, however, that he loved
and honoured the Swiss people far too well for him to be a party to
the leaving of it of seven of its most charming daughters.

It is said that the Swiss people gave utterance to the following
sentiment: "If we had to elect a king for ourselves, our choice could
not fall on any other than Ludwig II. of Bavaria."

He had a great affection for and visited often the beautiful Rütli,
the spot where the ancient Swiss took their oath of allegiance. Kainz
accompanied him thither, and they spent hours together at the view,
where the young actor would recite the Rütli song:

    "Sei, Rütli, mir freundlich gegrüsset,
    Du stilles Gelände am See,
    Wo spielend die Welle zerfliesset,
    Genährt vom ewigen Schnee!

    Gepriessen sei, friedliche Stätte,
    Gepriessen sei, heiliges Land,
    Wo sprengten des Sklaventums Kette
    Die Väter mit kräftiger Hand.

    Da standen die Väter zusammen
    Für Freiheit und heimisches Gut
    Und schwuren beim heiligsten Namen,
    Zu stürzen die Zwingherrenbrut!"

They went almost every evening to a neighbouring inn where they partook
of a meal, the King being exceedingly modest in his demands, and not
even requiring dinner-napkins or a tablecloth. He was in the habit of
talking much to the landlord, whom he liked to give him information
as to the mode of life of the Swiss peasantry.

The King's relations with Kainz became somewhat cooler on the former's
side towards the end of their stay in Switzerland. One evening at Rütli
Ludwig asked him to recite something from Schiller's Wilhelm Tell. The
actor was willing to do this, but put it off till later. At two in
the morning Ludwig repeated his request, when Kainz replied that he
was too tired to recite anything. Ludwig looked at him a moment in
astonishment and was silent. At last he said: "Oh, you are tired,
are you? Rest, then!" and turning on his heel walked away.

Hesselschwerdt and the landlord went with him to the steamer. When
they were on board the landlord said: "Herr Marquis, Herr Didier has
not yet come!" "Let him rest," answered Ludwig; "we will go on."

Kainz had himself rowed across to Brunnen, but the King had left
when he arrived there. The actor followed him to Lucerne, and prayed
Hesselschwerdt to announce him to the King. The former returned and
said that his Majesty would receive him in the garden, if he did not
wish to make up for his lost night's rest. Ludwig appeared shortly
afterwards. Kainz made several excuses, which the King interrupted,
assuring him that he was glad to see him again, and that he regretted
his own want of spirits. Although Ludwig treated him with familiarity,
his extreme sense of self-esteem could not endure that a seemly line
of demarcation should be passed by his young friend.

After the return from Switzerland he did not invite him again; nor
did he ever again witness any performance of his on the stage, but for
a short space of time he continued to carry on a correspondence with
the actor. His last letter, in which he thanks Kainz for good wishes
which the latter had sent him, concludes with the following words:--

    "Probably Didier sometimes thinks kindly of his Saverny. My hearty
    greetings to you. All good spirits bless you. This is wished you
    with all his heart by your friendly,


    "The Swiss châlet at Hohenschwangau, the 31st July, 1881,
    at night."

Shortly afterwards Kainz was dismissed from the Hof Theater at
Munich. As long as the King lived he hoped to be recalled; but the
hope was not destined to be fulfilled. When, later, Ludwig heard him
spoken of he would abruptly change the topic of conversation; and
when he read his name in the newspaper would lay the latter aside,
or throw it into the waste-paper basket.

Kainz's conduct proved that he had been unworthy of his friendship;
nobody perhaps abused his confidence more than he did. The King had
hardly drawn his last breath before the young actor sold all his
letters to a Berlin newspaper. Ludwig had in these letters allowed
him to glance into his inward life, and their publication immediately
after the benefactor's death was not only unseemly but heartless. The
general opinion of his conduct is expressed in the following verse:--

    "Hat Ludwig dir in königlicher Grösse
    Gezeigt des Herzens Tiefen ohne Scheu.
    Du warst gewiss, da du sie bloss jetzt legest,
    Dem todten, hohen Freunde wenig treu."


King Ludwig and his Servants

The friend of Ludwig's childhood, Count Holnstein, had made himself
well-nigh indispensable at the Bavarian court; and in order further
to increase his power he had filled the situations of personal
attendance on the King with soldiers of light horse belonging to his
own regiment. This system was abetted by the Master of the Horse,
Hornig. The greater number of the grooms engaged by him knew nothing
of the formalities demanded by a court, even though that court was
a recluse's and the King an eccentric. Before they entered on their
duties they were accordingly instructed in deportment by the royal
ballet-master, and taught propriety of speech and elocution by the
court actors.

These inexperienced soldiers were now set to wait upon a selfish
and exacting Monarch, to serve him at meals in proper fashion, and
to assist him at his toilet, although they hardly knew the names of
the articles in his daily use. Their helplessness, which is easily
to be understood, called forth violent outbreaks of temper on the
King's side, and several times he allowed himself to be so carried
away that he lay hands on them. Upon occasion he struck them with
his riding-whip, and it is said that he once emptied his teapot over
the back of one of his lacqueys. He had an unreasoning dislike of
plain faces. One of his father's confidential servants displeased
him so much in his childhood by his unattractive appearance that he
always turned away when the man entered the room, although he knew
that his action caused Maximilian great annoyance. Nevertheless his
personal footman, Mayr, who managed to stay with him longer than any
other servant, had an exterior which was extremely displeasing to
him. His face alarmed him; and he ordered for long periods at a time
that he should appear before him in a mask when waiting upon him at
meals. Ludwig could not endure this man, and often said that he had a
premonition that Mayr would bring him bad luck. Nevertheless he could
not do without him, the lacquey understanding well how to please his
master. On the forehead of another footman, who was often guilty of
one or other piece of clumsiness, the King placed a seal of wax, and he
was forbidden to enter the presence without this sign of his stupidity.

Although Ludwig's servants suffered from his irritable temper, he was
at other times a far too lenient master, heaping his subordinates
with presents and marks of favour when he felt he had done them an
injustice; and when he found it necessary to send one away always
providing for his future. One of his personal attendants became
seriously ill. Ludwig visited him and found his home without any of
the conveniences of life. He asked him why he did not move to a better
and more healthy place. The sick man answered that his means would
not allow of it. The same day he sent him a present of a considerable
sum of money, and later raised his wages.

Every year, on Twelfth Night, he was in the habit of giving a
servant's ball at his hunting-box, Pleckenau. It has been said that
each of these festivities cost him 40,000 marks, although the gifts
he had distributed did not consist of anything of greater value than
eatables and beverages. All classes of his servants were his guests;
the whole day was spent in festivity. The King amused himself by
looking on at their enjoyment; and it is said sometimes took part in
their amusements. This, as well as several other assertions regarding
his private life, are an exaggeration and not in conformity with the
truth. An incredible spirit of indifference reigned in the household;
his subordinates abused his kindness and enriched themselves in a
simply astounding manner. One of his servants, when in a state of
intoxication, shot a workman; the care of the latter in the castle
was paid for out of Ludwig's purse, although the occurrence was hid
from his Majesty, it being known that otherwise he would certainly
have dismissed and punished his servant. While the "Most Gracious"
was living in his world of dreams, taking heed for nothing, his
servants amused themselves the livelong night.

The King refused all permission to see over his castles. This
proscription, however, was not respected, and without his knowledge
relations and friends were continually shown round. Even those who
had no connection with the household had only to express a wish, and
the servants at once acted against their master's orders. If he heard
the noise made by these strangers, those about him understood how to
convince him that he was mistaken; and did he remark strange faces,
received for answer that his nearsightedness had deceived him.

He became at last so weary of his surroundings that he gave his
orders through closed doors; a scratching at the wall denoted that
these orders had been understood. The few of his subordinates who
were permitted to enter his presence had to stand bowing low, and
refrain from looking at the King. Or again, he would give his orders
in writing. He commanded that these papers should be immediately torn
up; but his servants nevertheless preserved every line from his hand,
and made use of them in due course as weapons against him.


The Mad King

In the most beautiful of the castles built by Ludwig II. there stands
near the entrance to the fine concert-room a curious piece of statuary,
for the execution of which he himself provided the idea: a palm in
the prime of its abundance and strength, laden with golden fruit. At
the foot of it is represented a loathsome dragon, with wide-open
mouth--a symbol of the inherited malady which was lying in wait for
the heavily oppressed Monarch.

In the case of Prince Otto of Bavaria madness had broken out suddenly:
in the case of Ludwig it came unnoticed and insidiously, not even
the specialists being quite alive to the danger. There can be no
doubt that he himself knew that he was periodically insane; but he
was determined at any cost to prevent the outside world from seeing
him in this condition.

In February 1884 he caused a dentist to be summoned to him. The
latter has written down his reminiscences from his visit. The King
was exceedingly gracious. He spoke first of the suffering caused
him by his teeth. Although he could not bear his servants to look
at him he endured this strange dentist for hours, without a look or
a word betraying the dislike he must undoubtedly have felt of his
presence. When the dentist contradicted him a couple of times he
took it with calmness and good-humour. He adduced new reasons for
his opinions, and showed admirable self-possession.

With his whole strength he fought to free himself from the fatal web
which was being spun closer and closer around him. He sought to keep
himself in balance by restless activity, building castles in three
different localities. Many of the objects which filled his residences
were constructed after his own designs, and he tested them carefully
and selected the places where they were to stand.

Ludwig was particularly interested in French literature, and was
seized with a violent admiration for the court of Versailles. Louis
XIV. became his ideal. At first he contented himself with copying his
buildings. Later he endeavoured to imitate his gait, his carriage,
and his daily habits. He surrounded himself with pictures of him and
his court; he wore cuff-studs on which were fleurs-de-lys, and the same
emblem was embroidered in gold on chairs, sofas, and cushions in his
apartments. He longed to be an absolute autocrat; and the countless
books and writings which he perused treating of Louis XIV. provided
his distorted imagination with continual food. During the latter
years of his life he was completely under the sway of megalomania,
thinking that he was receiving visits from and conversing with le Roi
Soleil. At times he was even under the hallucination that he was that
powerful autocrat.

For Marie Antoinette also he cherished a morbid admiration, losing
himself in dreams about that unhappy Queen, and causing Masses to be
said on the day of her and Louis XVI.'s execution. Round the table in
the great dining-hall chairs were placed for the ladies and gentlemen
of the French court. At times he believed that they really sat there,
and conversed animatedly with them in French. Apt as he often could
be in his remarks, he was heard to observe that this society was
so agreeable to him because "they came when they were wanted and
disappeared at the first hint."

Always solitary, he gave himself up almost entirely to his fantastic
whims. When he did not drive out he would spend the night on the lake,
or in the brightly-illuminated concert-room of his castle. For some
years he cherished a mad scheme of employing a number of detectives
to make the round of his kingdom and listen to all they could hear
about his person.

His was a curious double nature: to his great sympathy for the
republic of Switzerland and the hero of freedom, William Tell, he
united the wish for a Bastille, where every person who dared to express
a different opinion from his own might be incarcerated for life.

The lattices and walls with which he surrounded his castles show better
than all rumour how he avoided his fellow-men. To a learned scientist
was allotted the task of finding a desert island or distant land which
might be exchanged for Bavaria, and where the absolutist state which
he dreamt of might be established. Although he had such a high opinion
of his royal dignity, he forgot it on a thousand occasions; and so
much was this the case that at his last court reception in Munich
his mother found herself constrained to bring the gathering to an end.

His outbreaks of violence became more frequent; his struggles against
the disease weaker. At times everything seemed indifferent to him. At
others he heard steps behind him and turned round in fear; but no one
was to be seen. He saw reptiles crawling on the floor, but discovered
the next moment that the lacquey who obediently stooped to pick the
animal up had nothing in his hand. He would endeavour to trick the
servant by demanding that he should see things which he himself did
not see, and would fall upon him in anger and contempt when he had
allowed himself to be betrayed into these subterfuges. When Ludwig
drove out he was in the habit of bowing deeply to a particular tree
in the wood; and clad in his coronation robes, with his sceptre in
his hand, he would also bow respectfully to the statues of the French
kings. Several times he caused the snow to be covered with stones,
so that in winter he might imagine it to be summer.

But despite all he retained his power of acute observation. He never
ceased to a certain degree to think logically and to pursue steadily
any act or design. Even during the last years of his life there were
days and weeks when he was in full possession of his mental powers.


The Last Meeting between Mother and Son

During one of the last winters of his life Ludwig unexpectedly invited
his mother to visit him at Neuschwanstein.

For the first two days he fell in with her habits, driving out with
her and keeping her company in the evenings. But he soon returned to
his usual mode of life. When he said good-night to her he would go
for his long solitary drive; and he slept till late in the forenoon
as his habit was.

Unluckily this also happened on the day when the Queen-mother was
to take her departure. Ludwig had not returned from his drive until
the morning hours, and he had not given orders that he should be
awakened. His mother's carriage, with the horses harnessed to it,
stood waiting for over an hour in the courtyard of the castle, while
she herself paced up and down the great hall. Her nervous impatience
went over to a fit of anger when he eventually showed himself, and
broke like a thunderstorm over the head of her son. An eye-witness has
related that she scolded him as if he were still the little Ludwig
who used to hold fast to her skirts. What was still worse was that
she scolded him in the hearing of all his footmen.

The King kissed his excited mother repeatedly on the hand, begging
her to excuse his tardiness. He conducted her respectfully to
her carriage, took his seat beside her, and drove with her to the
railway station. The mood he was in upon his return indicated the
deep resentment he felt at her corrections. This was the last time
she visited him; but upon one later occasion he paid her a visit.

The Queen-mother resided for the greater part of the year at
Elbingen-Alp, a house more resembling that of a peasant than a royal
residence. Reports of her son's unaccountable conduct penetrated
frequently to her; and what she suffered during these bitter
years may well be imagined. On the 5th of October, 1885, she was
residing at Hohenschwangau, the King being then at Linderhof. It
was her sixtieth birthday, and Ludwig was seized with the idea of
congratulating her on it in person. At about ten in the evening
he arrived at Hohenschwangau. The gates of the castle were locked;
on the demand of the porter as to who was without, answer was made
that the King desired to speak with his mother. The Queen-mother was
in course of preparing to retire; her son's unexpected appearance
brought the whole personnel of the establishment into commotion. He
remained the night at the castle, and dined with Queen Marie and her
ladies at Pleckenau the following day.

He was now completely incapable, from want of habit, of carrying on
a society conversation. During the whole course of the dinner he did
not speak a word to anyone but his mother, and was far more silent than
heretofore. His intercourse with the Queen-mother was this time stamped
by the greatest affection. After dinner he drove back to Linderhof, his
mother accompanying him half way; it was the last bright spot in her
life. At the defile, where seven months later the peasantry assembled
to liberate their captured King, the mother and son took leave of one
another, never to meet again. Half-a-year later the Emperor of Austria
earnestly begged Queen Marie to visit Ludwig, and endeavour to induce
him to show himself before the world, as alarming rumours were in
circulation as to his mental condition. The harassed mother addressed
herself in writing to her son, who replied that he would receive her
Majesty in three days' time. The period for her departure was fixed,
and her equipages and servants despatched to Hohenschwangau; but the
latter were informed on their arrival by Ludwig's stablemen that they
might go back again. "The Queen will not be admitted to the King,"
they said; "he is unapproachable to everybody."

Shortly afterwards a telegram was despatched in which it was said
that the King greatly regretted that he was prevented by toothache
from receiving anybody, and therefore his dear mother likewise.


Pecuniary Distress

Bavaria was distressed and saddened in the spring of 1886. No personal
lecture took place any longer before the King. All affairs of state
were conducted in writing, and all Ludwig's commands were transmitted
through his functionary, Hesselschwerdt.

Those who were in a position to know had long been aware that
his financial situation must be improved if the prestige of the
crown were not to suffer thereby. The newspapers announced that his
health was in a less satisfactory state. He himself endeavoured to
disarm these assertions by taking walks in the middle of the day,
and speaking graciously with those whom he might meet on his way. He
had never known the value of money, but regarded it as the Ministers'
duty to procure it, and as his own right to dissipate it. In 1884
his Minister of Finance, Dr von Riedel, had negotiated a loan of
7,500,000 marks. Hardly a year afterwards the same Minister received
an autograph letter in which he was desired to raise a new loan
of 6,500,000 marks. He now explained without circumlocution to the
King in what a critical situation the privy purse found itself. The
information aroused disquiet in Ludwig; despite which, however,
he showed himself deaf to the representations which were made
to him. Through a court functionary, in a subordinate position,
he corrected the Minister because he had ventured to address
himself directly to his Majesty. Riedel made answer by tendering
his resignation. The rest of the Ministry declared that if it was
accepted they would all resign. The other members of the Council
of State also received a reprimand at this time. Simultaneously,
however, Ludwig despatched to his Minister of Finance a gracious
letter, in which he requested him to remain in office.

It is quite clear that his debts were not the consequence of unwise
financial operations; nor were they the immediate consequence of his
passing caprices. The deficit in the exchequer was owing in the main
to his insatiable passion for building. The completion of his palaces
was delayed on account of financial difficulties. Nevertheless,
he occupied himself continually with plans for the future; a new
castle, to be called "Falkenstein," was to be erected on an all but
inaccessible mountain-top close to the borders of the Tyrol. Another,
smaller, castle was to be built in Chinese style in the neighbourhood
of Linderhof.

The debts augmented from day to day. Business people who required
their money waited with impatience for their bills to be paid. Several
creditors sent in legal complaint to a collective amount of a million
and a half. A catastrophe seemed inevitable; it was said out loud
that it was time to put a stop to the King's building enterprises.

Although Ludwig no longer received his secretary, the machinery of
legislation still went its accustomed way. He signed the documents
which were sent to him; but even important papers of state only reached
him through the intervention of domestics, and if he happened to be
in an ill-humour they lay scattered about on his table for days.

His want of money was known far outside the limits of his
kingdom. Ludwig was angered at the contemptuous manner in which the
financial newspapers of Vienna and Berlin made mention of it; and it
was a painful surprise to him to find that the Jews were those who
attacked him the most mercilessly. "Do they not know," he exclaimed,
"that I am the only prince who from the beginning of the anti-Semitic
movement has taken strong measures to counteract it?" His pressing
need for money rendered him apt to regard every unknown person as a
dun. "Yesterday when I was driving," he said to his barber, "I met a
man who looked at me in such a curious manner that I positively thought
he had come to seize my horses." On one of his last walks in the woods
of Neuschwanstein he met a poor boy who was gathering faggots. When
he asked him who his parents were the lad answered that his father
had been a stone-cutter, but was now out of work. "Why does he not
ask the King for help?" inquired Ludwig. "He has no money himself,
and nobody will lend him any," was the reply. The King laughed,
and handed him a five-mark piece; but his laughter was no doubt bitter.

His debts had reached a sum of 14,000,000 marks. On the 5th of May,
1886, his Ministers represented to him that it was absolutely
necessary that his pecuniary affairs should be brought into
order, and his expenses reduced. Months before this date he had
been informed that every prospect of opening new resources was cut
off. He now set to work himself, in every conceivable manner, to raise
money. Hesselschwerdt was sent to Ratisbon in order if possible, to
raise a loan of 20,000,000 marks from the enormously wealthy Prince
of Thurn and Taxis. Bismarck was consulted; and the King endeavoured
to obtain money from America. An aide-de-camp was despatched to the
Emperor of Brazil, another was sent to the King of Sweden, and a
third to the King of the Belgians. The financial magnates Rothschild,
Bleichröder, and Erlanger were requested to give him their support;
and he planned an application to the Sultan of Turkey and to the
Shah of Persia. The means of assistance to which he resorted in his
need are clear proofs that his mental and moral powers were rapidly
declining; and in his alarm and confusion he even gave secret orders
that persons should be procured who would be willing to break into
the banks of some of the capitals of Europe.

Two of his cousins were still unconvinced of his insanity; they were
therefore willing to give him their support. They put him in relations
with the House of Orleans, who, during their short period of rule,
had thought more of filling their own pockets than of the welfare
of France. This family addressed themselves to Rothschild in Paris,
who sent his secretary to Munich with the power to conclude a large
loan if the conditions which he required were acknowledged by the
King. The House of Orleans were to be the guarantors of the loan,
which, as a matter of fact, they had already undertaken to be.

Preliminary consultations took place. The final issue came to nothing,
according to report, because on the French side it was demanded that
Ludwig should bind himself to neutrality in the event of a war between
Prussia and France. Rothschild's secretary went back to Paris, and
informed his master that he had suffered defeat. The King apparently
was willing to give a promissory note; in political respects, on the
other hand, he refused to bind himself.



The influence of Count von Holnstein at the court of Bavaria had lasted
up to 1883, when he fell into disfavour. The reason for this is not
generally known. It has been said that he refused his assistance in
the matter of a loan; others again have declared that Ludwig gained
cognisance of certain deprecatory expressions which the Count had
made use of with reference to his master.

It will be clear to everybody who knows how difficult a matter it
is to appoint legal guardians of an individual's person and fortune,
that the step which it was now intended to take must have been doubly
difficult where a reigning monarch was concerned. Though his personal
relations with Ludwig had been strained, Count Holnstein had remained
in his post of Grand Master of the Horse. For a great number of years
he had had exact knowledge of the King's mode of life, and he was
in a position to procure a very large amount of weighty material by
which, if used as proof against Ludwig, it might be possible to attain
the desired end. As the King no longer associated with others than
his servants, there existed only three or four persons from whom any
information could be procured regarding his immediate past. Holnstein
undertook to treat with these persons, and they proved to be willing
to express themselves in the same spirit as himself.

The attendants on Ludwig's person were Mayr, whose name has been
previously mentioned in these pages, and a former soldier of
light horse, Alfons Weber by name. The latter, however, was kept
in absolute ignorance of the whole matter. Mayr, on the other hand,
was in unbroken intercourse with the leading circles in Munich; and it
was he and Hesselschwerdt, in addition to Count Holnstein, who adduced
the proofs that the time had come to place the King under restraint.

From the first half of the month of May the greater number of those
about him were prepared for an impending catastrophe. His creditors
became more and more importunate, his need for money more and more
pressing. As no prospects of assistance from any direction could be
seen, Ludwig determined to reassume negotiations with Rothschild. He
was now promised a loan of thirty or forty million francs, at four
per cent. interest, to be paid within a certain period of time. In the
event of Bavaria remaining neutral during a possible war between France
and Prussia, repayment of the sum would be remitted, together with
all further interest. In this manner the agreement was deprived of the
sting which might wound the allies in Germany; and no more was demanded
of the King of Bavaria than what, if necessary, he could subscribe to.

Hesselschwerdt, who had been the former intermediary between
Rothschild's secretary and his master, received orders from Ludwig
to proceed to Paris with a royal note of hand, and to receive the
money-prince's millions. At this juncture Count Holnstein suddenly
stepped forth. As chief of the royal stables he was Hesselschwerdt's
superior. He was aware that Rothschild's secretary had been in Munich,
and knew of the interviews the latter had had with members of the
House of Orleans. In expectation of what might arise, he had impressed
upon Hesselschwerdt that he must not undertake any task without his,
the Count's, knowledge, since King Ludwig, in the painful position
in which he found himself, might possibly allow himself to be led
into taking a step which might have serious consequences to the state.

When the negotiations were resumed in the month of May, Holnstein
had begun a course of baths at Karlsbad. Before his departure he
had strictly charged Hesselschwerdt immediately to inform him if
his journey to Paris could not be averted. The Count had added
threateningly: "Obey me, Hesselschwerdt, or you may pay dearly
for it!" Holnstein had hardly been a week at Karlsbad before he
received the expected telegram. He hastened to Munich, and summoned
Hesselschwerdt to him. The court functionary brought with him the
sealed writing which contained Ludwig's note of hand.

Without a moment's hesitation the Count carried him off to the Premier,
Dr von Lutz, and delivered into the latter's hands the letter to
Rothschild, which was sealed with the King's signet. This done
he sought an audience of Prince Luitpold, who, on the outbreak of
Prince Otto's malady, had become the person who stood nearest to the
throne. While he was conversing with the King's uncle, it was announced
that the Ministry desired an audience. A council was held. Ludwig's
letter was opened, and Hesselschwerdt was forbidden to undertake the
journey to Paris. Four eminent physicians were summoned. They declared
the King to be insane, and assumed his malady to be incurable.

There was now a plausible excuse for placing him under restraint.

A secret conference of the princes of the blood-royal met in
Munich. Against two votes it was determined that the King's person
should be placed under restraint and a Regency proclaimed, with Prince
Luitpold as Regent. The Ministry should remain in office. It was
desired to constitute the Grand Master of the Court, Count von Castell,
Ludwig's guardian; but he refused the melancholy task. Count Holnstein
was then appointed to fill this post. It was Prince Luitpold's desire
that the King should be informed of what had been decided upon before
the proclamation took place, to the effect that he might give his
consent to the new order of affairs.

Dr von Lutz simultaneously informed Prince Bismarck of the contemplated
loan in Paris, and of the fact that members of the House of Orleans
had played a part in the matter. The Prince gave the then French
Premier a hint of their attitude. A debate relating to the expulsion
of the Orleans princes was just at that time on the order of the
day in the French Senate. The terms of Bismarck's telegram let it
be supposed that the princes had desired to make use of Ludwig's
pecuniary difficulties in order to play a political part.

This information is said to have been the chief reason for the
expulsion of the Orleans family from France.


Preparations to Imprison the King--The Peasantry Assemble to his Rescue

Hesselschwerdt, it need hardly be said, could no more show himself
before the King. He informed his master that he had been taken ill,
and therefore had been unable to proceed to Paris. Ludwig, however,
came to know, through his barber, that his functionary was walking
about the streets of the capital in robust health. Though prior to
this his suspicions had been now and again slightly aroused, he could
never have supposed that the sealed letter which he had confided to
him would have been given into other hands.

A so-called Court Commission was meanwhile on its way to Hohenschwangau
to imprison the King, and place him under medical treatment. It
consisted of the Minister of the Royal House, Count Crailsheim;
Counts Holnstein and Törring; Herr von Washington, who was to be
the King's gentleman-in-waiting; and of the director of the public
Asylum for the Insane at Munich, Dr von Gudden. These gentlemen were
furthermore accompanied by an assistant doctor and eight keepers. Of
Ludwig's nearest entourage, only his valet, Weber, and the stablemen
had any idea of what was about to happen.

On the night of the 9th of June a string of royal carriages drew up
before the old castle of Hohenschwangau. Count Holnstein, who sat in
the foremost of them, proceeded at once to the royal stables to inform
the personnel that it was to be dispersed. The coachman, Osterholzer,
was in the act of harnessing the horses to Ludwig's carriage, for
the King, according to his custom, wished to drive out in the course
of the night. The Count ordered that the horses should be taken out
at once, as another carriage was in readiness, with another coachman
to drive it. Osterholzer pleaded his master's orders. "The King has
nothing more to order," answered Holnstein. "It is his Royal Highness,
Prince Luitpold, who now reigns." [33]

The coachman understood that there was a plot against the King. He
took the horses back to the stable. As quickly as his legs could carry
him he thereupon ran by a steep woodland path up to Neuschwanstein,
where he informed the valet on duty, Weber, what had occurred.

Ludwig was walking up and down in the brightly lighted concert hall,
declaiming in a loud voice parts of an opera which had lately been
dedicated to him. Osterholzer rushed breathlessly in, throwing
himself on his knees before him, and in his excitement able only to
stammer forth some incoherent words. The King did not understand
him; he beckoned Weber to him, and asked what was the meaning of
this scene. The valet explained that Count Holnstein and some other
gentlemen had arrived at Hohenschwangau, and that traitorous designs
on his Majesty were entertained. Osterholzer implored him to flee
at once; Weber, too, offered his assistance. Ludwig refused the
offer. "Why should I flee?" he asked. "If any real danger threatened
me, Karl would have written to me"! "Karl" was the court functionary
Hesselschwerdt, in whom, even at this moment, he placed his trust.

After some consideration he, nevertheless, gave orders that his
servants should assemble. "Run as quickly as possible," said he. "Call
all loyal peasants here to protect their King!" The stablemen and
men-servants hurried away, and raised the alarm in the neighbouring
villages. Hardly an hour had passed before Hohenschwangau was swarming
with peasants armed with knives, and carrying axes and scythes across
their shoulders. Füssen, the town nearest to Hohenschwangau, sent her
fire-brigade, and the chief of the police stationed there appeared
with all his men. As nobody had any knowledge of what had occurred
in Munich, there was every ground to suppose that an attack on the
King's person was intended. All were ready to risk their life in
order to rescue him.

Meanwhile in the light of dawn the Court Commission had reached the
gates of Neuschwanstein. It had been agreed that one of its members
should read aloud Prince Luitpold's address to the King, after which
the doctors were to convey him to Linderhof. To their surprise, they
found the doors of the castle guarded by gendarmes, who forbade them
in the King's name to enter. They produced their written authorisation
to do this. The gendarme on guard did not deign to glance at it, but
answered all representations and commands with: "I require nothing in
writing! I know only one command, and that comes from his Majesty!" The
gentlemen now attempted entrance by force; but the gendarme remained
firm to his orders, and threatened to shoot down every person who
should dare to penetrate into the castle. He raised his gun to his
shoulder, as he referred for the last time to the reigning King's
command. Other gendarmes now pressed forward. A blow from a cudgel
struck one of the keepers who was standing near. "Unpleasant as this
conduct was," says the assistant physician, Dr Müller, "it could not
be denied that these men were behaving loyally when, regardless of
the brilliant uniforms of the state officials, they unwaveringly held
firm to: 'Our King has commanded it, and we obey him!'"

The Court Commission were compelled to retire to Hohenschwangau
with their mission unaccomplished. The rumour that the King was
to be dragged away a prisoner had meanwhile spread over the whole
countryside. As the Commission drove down to the old castle they saw
peasants, woodcutters, and firemen, women and children, in frantic
haste speeding up towards Neuschwanstein. The sheriff and chief
official of Füssen, Herr Sonntag, was charged by Ludwig to arrest the
members of the Commission. He appeared at Hohenschwangau to execute the
command. Minister Crailsheim rated him, and told him that he had no
right whatever to act in the manner he was doing. "Your Excellency,"
answered the venerable old man, "I am in a painful dilemma. Not by a
word have I been prepared for that which was to happen, nor have I been
advised as to what my conduct should be with regard to my master. I
have served him so many years, and even at this hour am his official;
I cannot in a few minutes forget the love and loyalty of past years
and determine to act as my King's enemy." He performed the arrests,
and sent the prisoners under a strong escort to Neuschwanstein.

Count Holnstein expressed a desire to drive, but no heed was
paid to his wish; the gentlemen had to walk on foot through the
raving crowd which had assembled. The courtyard also was filled
to overflowing. Hundreds of men and women threatened them in
loud voices. "Look at these men," called a young woman to her
seven-year-old daughter; "when you are big you can say you have seen
traitors." Considerable effort was necessary to prevent the crowd
from turning their threats into reality. The least courage was shown
by Dr Gudden. The crowd having heard that it was he who had declared
the King to be mad rushed upon him, and threatened to throw him in
the neighbouring falls of the Pöllat.

A terrible hatred had shone in Ludwig's eyes when he was told that the
friend of his childhood, Count Holnstein, was among the traitors. He
had commanded that all the members of the Commission should be thrown
into a dungeon. This, however, was not done; they were imprisoned in a
room above the arch of the gateway. The King's anger soon evaporated;
after the lapse of three hours he decided that they should be set
free. The sheriff succeeded in quieting the crowd without, and in
inducing the people to return home. None of the gentlemen, however,
dared to show themselves in the neighbouring village. They started on
their retreat by different roads, and hurried without delay to Munich.


A Friend in Need--Ludwig's Proclamation

It was the earnest desire of all who wished the King well that he
should proceed to his capital, a course which undoubtedly would
have been the only means of saving him. He had during the forenoon
telegraphed for his aide-de-camp, Count Alfred von Dürckheim. "This
man is attached to me," said he, as he sent off the telegram. Just
as the Court Commission was leaving Neuschwanstein, after its short
imprisonment, the Count arrived at Hohenschwangau, with horses which
had been driven half to death in order to arrive in time. He hastened
up to the castle. The gendarmes and the firemen were still standing at
arms outside it. Dürckheim expressed his recognition of their conduct,
but sent them home at the King's desire.

The shy Ludwig, who had never been the friend of the fair sex, had at
this time a lady staying at his castle. Baroness Truchsesz--Spanish
by birth, but married into the Bavarian aristocracy--had in the early
morning hours when she heard that his Majesty was to be incarcerated,
hastened to Neuschwanstein. She had precipitated herself into his
sleeping apartment, without allowing herself to be announced, and had
again and again assured him of her devotion. He quietly permitted the
stream of her eloquence to pass over him, and gave her his hand. "Dear
Baroness," he said in his most amiable tone, "will not you allow
me to send for your husband, so that you may return to your villa
under his protection?" The Baroness would not agree to this, but
implored Ludwig instantly to go to Munich. "I will do so," he said,
"though not at once." "I will go with your Majesty!" she cried. He
made a deprecatory gesture. "It would not do," he answered kindly. The
Baroness took up her position in the ante-room, firmly determined not
to leave his threshold. "If matters were not so serious I should feel
tempted to laugh at the good Baroness," said Ludwig to Count Dürckheim,
who found her there.

This last friend also declared his repairing to Munich to be
imperative. Had the King at this time shown himself in his capital,
it is more than probable that his people would have flocked round
him to protect him.

He declared meanwhile that he was quite tired out; still, he added,
he would go there the following day.

Between Bismarck and Ludwig there had always existed very kindly
relations. "I was particularly honoured with his esteem," the Prince
once said. [34] "We corresponded on important political questions
until the last years of his life. When he expressed his views he was
as amiable towards my person as he was intellectual in his judgment of
the different questions that were being discussed." At this desperate
moment both the King and Count Dürckheim bethought themselves of the
great Chancellor of the German Empire.

The unsuccessful Court Commission, which had omitted to give the
officials of the district any intimation as to what was about to take
place, had been careful enough to inform the telegraph officials
of Hohenschwangau of the impending overthrow. Ludwig's telegrams
could therefore not be sent from Bavaria, but had to be conveyed
across the frontier to the neighbouring Tyrol. Dürckheim craved
Bismarck's help. The Chancellor answered: "His Majesty ought to drive
at once to Munich and take care of his interests before the assembled
Parliament." Later, Bismarck tells us: "I thought thus: either the King
is well, when he will follow my advice, or he is really mad!" He added:
"His Majesty did not go to Munich; he took no determination; he was
no longer in possession of his mental powers, but let fate invade him."

Ludwig and Dürckheim in conjunction drew up a lengthy telegram to the
Emperor of Austria, imploring him to intervene. "Put to!" shouted
the Count into the stables. "Drive to the Austrian frontier-town
of Reutte as quickly as you can, even if you break all your horses'
wind!" At the same time the Empress of Austria also exerted herself to
the utmost from Possenhofen to induce her husband to step in. Count
Dürckheim, in the King's name, commanded Baron Frankenstein to form
a new Ministry; and the battalion of jægers in Kempten was ordered
to come and protect his Majesty. This last despatch went through
the hands of Mayr; the valet added to it some words which caused the
commandant to ask the Minister of War if he was to obey the order. An
answer in the negative was received.

It cannot with certainty be shown what other precautions Count
Dürckheim took in order to save his master. He was mentioned as the
author of a proclamation which was issued the following day in the
King's name: [35]

    "I, Ludwig II., King of Bavaria, feel myself constrained to make
    the following manifesto to my beloved Bavarians, and the collective
    German people.

    "Prince Luitpold desires against my will to make himself ruler
    of my land. My former Ministry has duped my beloved people by
    erroneous representations as to the state of my health, and has
    been guilty of high treason.

    "I feel myself physically and mentally in as good health as any
    other monarch. The projected treason has come in a manner so
    surprising that I have not been given time to defeat the base
    intentions of the Ministry.

    "Should the projected deeds of violence be put into execution,
    and Prince Luitpold seize the reins of government against my will,
    I give my faithful friends the task of protecting with all their
    means and under all circumstances my rights.

    "I expect of all the officials of Bavaria, above all from the
    gallant Bavarian officers and the soldiers of Bavaria, that they
    will, in remembrance of the solemn oath with which they swore
    loyalty to me, remain faithful to me and stand by me in this
    heavy hour.

    "Every loyal citizen is called upon to brand Prince Luitpold and
    the former Ministry as traitors.

    "I am one with my beloved people, and cherish the firm belief
    that they will protect me.

    "I turn at the same time to the rest of the German people and to
    the Allied Princes.

    "As much as it was in my power I contributed to build up the
    German Empire. Therefore I dare expect of Germany that she will
    not allow a German Prince to be wrongfully displaced.

    "If I am not granted time to address myself directly to the German
    Emperor, I am confident that no objection will be raised to my
    delivering up the traitors to the law of my country.

    "My good Bavarians will certainly not fail me!

    "In the event that I may be prevented by force from protecting
    my rights, I call upon every faithful Bavarian to gather round
    my adherents, and to help them to defeat the projected treason
    against King and country.

    "Given at Hohenschwangau, the 9th of June 1886,

    "Ludwig the Second.
    "(King of Bavaria, Count Palatine, etc.)."

Meanwhile the events in the capital went their way. On the 10th of
June the Government published the proclamation which signified that
the King's uncle had become Regent, and that the Chamber was to be
summoned to declare Ludwig II. insane. In the course of the night Count
Dürckheim was twice summoned by the Minister of War to Munich. The
first telegram he laid quietly aside. The second he placed before
the King, adding that unhappily he was obliged to obey it, as in the
contrary case he would be charged with insubordination. Ludwig was
in great distress at losing him. "You know how greatly I wish you
to remain with me," he said. "Telegraph to my uncle and ask him if
he will not consent to my keeping you." The Count did this, but the
answer to his request was short and decided: "The Ministry of War
adheres to its orders." Deeply moved, the Count took leave, never to
see his King again. In the ante-room Mayr was awaiting him. The valet,
who wished the new Government success and prosperity, was alarmed at
the precautions Dürckheim had taken. "Do you think his Majesty will
decide to go to the capital?" he asked. It was with a heavy heart
that the Count answered: "No, Mayr; I do not think so." [36]


The King's Last Hours at Neuschwanstein

The gendarmes of the district were relieved during the course of
the night by others from Munich, who occupied the castle. Ludwig,
who the preceding day had overcome his enemies, thought at first that
they had arrived to protect him. It was not until he was refused his
usual midnight drive that he realised that he was a prisoner.

Early in the morning on the 11th of July the post brought the
proclamation from the new Regent: those who attempted to save the
King risked punishment from this time forth as traitors to their
country. Exceedingly few at Hohenschwangau seemed to think of this;
and even on the other side of the frontier there were those who were
ready to risk all for him.

The newly-arrived gendarmes were unacquainted with the neighbouring
country, whereas the local population knew every path and stone. By way
of the Kitzberg path, in less than an hour's time, the Tyrol could be
reached: a carriage waiting there could have driven Ludwig farther. In
Austria it was fully expected that he would hasten thither; even the
Emperor himself is said to have awaited and feared it. A number of
bold and faithful dwellers in the mountain districts were eager to
hazard their lives in order to defend the fleeing Monarch on this
dangerous journey. The chief difficulty lay in getting him unnoticed
out of the castle. Those without could hardly put themselves into
communication with him, as Neuschwanstein was strictly guarded. A
lady who was passing the summer at Hohenschwangau offered to try and
penetrate in to him, to inform him of the plan. She disguised herself
as a peasant woman, and took with her the wife of a groom. All was
deadly still. The fog was so thick that it was hardly possible to see
ten steps ahead. The gendarmes had withdrawn to the interior of the
castle. An officer was standing under the arch of the gateway; he asked
the women who they were. One of them answered that she was married
to the coachman, and wished to see the wife of the valet Mayr. The
officer looked at them suspiciously. Some servants now appeared. "Do
you know these women?" he asked. "Are they speaking the truth?" They
replied in the affirmative, and the women were allowed to pass.

This venturesome deed led to nothing. Mayr, to whom they addressed
themselves, refused under any circumstances to support a plan of
flight. He did not even announce their arrival to the King. The latter,
nevertheless, came to know of the matter. His first question was
whether his flight could be carried into effect without the shedding
of blood. When he received the answer that he must expect a struggle
to ensue, he refused to follow those who desired to rescue him,
"I do not wish any human life to be sacrificed for my sake," he said.

He was cognisant as to the means which had been used to bring
about his deposition from the throne. He was also quite aware what
information had been collected for this purpose, and likewise who
had betrayed him. "To think," he said to his valet Mayr, "that these
persons, to whom I have shown so much kindness, should have failed
me so shamelessly; they have given up all my letters and papers to
my adversaries."

He had heard that new emissaries would come to Neuschwanstein the
next morning to take him away, with the help of doctors and keepers;
and he knew that he would be a will-less prisoner in their hands. The
excited condition in which he had passed the previous day had been
succeeded by indifference to everything, to everyone. After Count
Dürckheim's departure he seemed to be completely broken. He thought no
more of resistance. Another thought ceaselessly occupied his mind. When
during the course of the Friday he showed apparent calm, it was because
the idea of suicide was paramount. Unceasingly he walked up and down
the throne-room, and talked aloud of shortening his life. Every now
and then he addressed a few words to Weber. "Do you believe in the
immortality of the soul?" he asked. "Yes," answered the servant. "I
too believe in it," said Ludwig. "I believe in the immortality of
the soul, and in the justice of God." "From the heights of life to be
dashed down into a nothing!" he continued. "A spoiled life! I cannot
endure it. I could agree to their taking my crown from me, but I cannot
survive their declaring me to be mad. I cannot possibly endure being
treated like my brother Otto, whom every keeper dares to order about,
whom they threaten with a clenched fist when he will not obey!"

The thought of death had taken possession of his mind. He asked his
servants for cyanide of potassium; they replied that they could not
give it to him. Despite the rain which was falling that night, he went
out several times on to the balcony of the castle, which overhangs the
dizzy chasm of the Pöllat. He ordered Mayr to give him the key of the
high tower of the castle, but the servant pretended that he could not
find it. A spring from the tower and the King would be saved! "When
my barber comes to-morrow," he said, "he may look for my head in the
Pöllat." And he added: "I hope that God will vouchsafe to pardon me
this step!... I cannot spare my mother the pain I shall cause her,"
he continued. "They are driving me to death! But my blood will be on
all those who have betrayed me!" He was particularly bitter against
his uncle. "A well-beloved relation who usurps supreme authority, and
imprisons me," he said. "He is no Prince Regent; he is a Prince Rebel!"

Baroness Truchsesz still continued to remain in the ante-room; her
presence began to be painful to him. He desired her removal, but gave
express orders that it should be done gently and with consideration.

The valet, Weber, had twice been in his service. Ludwig gave him a
diamond clasp which he was in the habit of wearing in his hat. "I have
no money with which to reward you," he said. "Receive instead my clasp
and this note of hand. If they compel you to give up the diamonds,
my document will insure you a compensation of 25,000 marks." He gave
him, in addition, his prayer-book, which was much used. "Pray for me,"
he said. [37]

It was a terrible night. The fog had turned into rain,
which was falling in torrents, and the wind was howling round
Neuschwanstein. Ludwig was almost alone in his castle, which was
completely cut off from communication with the outer world. Again he
went on to the balcony, and gazed out over the landscape, with his
head resting on his hand.

A terrible fear came over him. He ordered Weber to summon Osterholzer:
perchance the plan of flight which had been proposed to him before
could still be put into execution. But the coachman had been summoned
to Munich; it had been intimated to him that he would be arrested if
he did not leave Hohenschwangau at once. "Will the people do nothing
then to liberate their King?" His servant answered: "Your Majesty! the
people have no weapons!"

The Court Commission, having suffered such ignoble defeat the first
time, had been replenished with new emissaries. But again this time
came Dr Gudden, the assistant doctor, Dr Müller, and eight keepers. For
personal safety's sake these gentlemen had, moreover, brought with them
from Munich the chief of the police; and they had demanded that the
Regent's proclamation should be published at Hohenschwangau before
they proceeded thither. The former Commission had been treated as
traitors and criminals; to the present one nobody dared show hostility.

The King had returned to the dining-room. He had never been a drinker;
but on this night he drank brandy and wine to dull his senses.

The envoys had meanwhile arrived at Neuschwanstein, where they effected
unhindered entrance. They were awaiting the moment when Mayr should
give them the sign that they could take his Majesty and drive him to
another castle. Ludwig had again demanded the key of the tower. The
servant, fearing that he would throw himself over, had maintained
that it was missing. For the last time he now repeated his order. In
his terror Mayr hastened to Dr Gudden and asked what he should do. A
minute afterwards he went into the presence, and announced that the
key had been found. The King rose and followed him at once.

Those without heard firm steps. A man of imposing height suddenly
showed himself in the doorway; he spoke in short abrupt sentences to
the servant, who stood bowing deeply.

It had been arranged that the King should be at once surrounded and
taken away by force. But when the Monarch came out all shrank back;
nobody dared to seize him.

Dr Gudden was the first to regain self-possession. He stepped forward,
and said:

"Your Majesty! this is the saddest task I have ever undertaken in
my life. Four alienists have given a declaration as to the state of
your Majesty's health. In consequence of this Prince Luitpold has
assumed the Regency. I have received orders to accompany your Majesty
to Schloss Berg this very night."

The King hesitated a moment. "What do you want with me?" he repeated
several times. "What does this mean?"

The keepers approached to seize him. He warned them off with a proud
gesture, and drew himself up.

"It is not necessary," he said; "I will go of my free will."


Schloss Berg--The King's Death

At four in the morning Ludwig left Neuschwanstein.

In the first carriage sat Dr Müller and two keepers. In the second was
the King, quite alone. By the side of the coachman sat the head keeper
from the madhouse at Munich, and close at the rear of the carriage rode
a man who had orders sharply to watch his Majesty, and give a sign
at the slightest suspicious movement. Dr Gudden, a police officer,
and several keepers followed afterwards. When Ludwig had taken his
seat in his equipage he said to the doctor; "You do not object, of
course, to my taking leave of my servant?" Mayr stepped up to him;
but the conversation seemed too long to Dr Gudden. "Make haste, so
that we can get off," he repeated several times. Mayr sobbed aloud
as his master drove off.

Some persons were standing outside to see the sorrowful train; the
King returned their greeting with amiability. At the first turn of
the road he rubbed a clear space with his hand on the damp window,
and looked back at Neuschwanstein, which he had loved so dearly, and
which has never since been inhabited. He looked ill; his complexion
was ashy white, his glance irresolute. The horses were changed three
times. At the last stage, Seeshaupt, the landlady approached, and
respectfully saluted his Majesty. He asked her for a glass of water. As
he handed her back the empty glass he thanked her cordially. Weeping,
she called after the carriage: "Behüt Gott, Majestätt."

The new Commission had relinquished the plan of taking him to
Linderhof, as it was known that one of his jægers was collecting
people in the Tyrol to help him over the border. While the carriage,
unhindered, was nearing Berg, one hundred and twenty peasants were
standing ready to rescue him in the vicinity of Reutte. After waiting
for two days they learned that the King had driven another way.

It was Dr Gudden who had decided on Schloss Berg as his prison; this
was the more wanting in consideration, since it was there that he had
spent his happy youth. Ludwig had learned to know this physician while
he was treating his brother, Prince Otto, and cherished a peculiar
antipathy to him. "Gudden looks at me in such a curious way," he said
several times to his mother's Grand Mistress of the Court. "I only
hope he won't discover something to say about me too."

It was the forenoon of Whitsun Eve when he arrived at his
destination. He spoke genially to the gendarme stationed there. "I
am glad, Sauer, that you are on duty again," he said as he went
in. In one of the first apartments he entered his eyes fell on his
own portrait: a large painting which represented his first landing
at Schloss Berg after his accession. How different was that day from
this! He was given only two rooms for his use. The windows had been
hastily provided with iron bars, and holes had been bored in the
doors that he might be under continual observation. He regarded these
alterations without saying a word. The doctor ordered him to go early
to bed and he obeyed. At two in the morning he awoke, and wished to
get up. The keepers would not allow it. They had taken his clothes
away from him; despite his earnest prayers they would not give them
to him. At last one of them let himself be persuaded into letting him
have his socks. Clad only in his night-shirt and in his stockinged feet
he walked restlessly hour after hour up and down the room. At six in
the morning he asked the keeper to help him with a bath. He allowed
the former to assist him to dress, but bade him afterwards fetch his
valet and his barber. The keeper answered, what was strictly true,
that they had not come with him to his new place of residence.

Whitsunday dawned. Ludwig wished to attend divine service in the
neighbouring church. Gudden refused to allow this, fearing that the
people would not believe the King to be mad if he showed himself. In
the course of the morning he asked for an orange. It was brought to
him, but without a fruit-knife. He sent it out again without having
touched it. At eleven o'clock Dr Gudden accompanied him on a walk. Two
keepers who followed them received a sign to increase the distance from
the King. Ludwig and the doctor seated themselves on a bench ten or
fifteen paces from the banks of the lake of Starnberg. Ludwig's quiet,
collected demeanour lulled the physician into a feeling of security,
which was destined to be fatal to himself.

The King ate his dinner alone at four o'clock. Before seating himself
at table he inquired of the keeper who waited upon him whether Gudden
had touched his food; he feared that the latter intended to render
him unconscious, and that he would show him to the people in this
condition to prove that he was mad.

He asked to be allowed to speak with his old acquaintance,
Staff-Comptroller Zanders, who was in the castle. Gudden at first would
not hear of this; at length he gave way to the King's supplication,
and Zanders was allowed to be with him for half-an-hour, but was
required to promise on his word of honour not to arouse any hope in
the King's mind that he might regain his freedom. Ludwig advanced to
meet him with the vigour and energy he displayed at his prime--quite
a different man from what he had been two days previously. He showed
him the bars before the windows, the peepholes in the door, and told
him how he had been treated. "How many gendarmes are there in the
park to guard me?" he asked. "Six or eight, your Majesty." "Would
they in case of emergency shoot at me?" "How can your Majesty think
such a thing!" was the answer.

While this conversation was taking place the chief physician
was telegraphing to Munich: "Everything is going wonderfully well
here." A quarter of an hour afterwards the King started on his last
walk with Gudden. The sky was overclouded, and a drizzling rain was
falling. Two keepers accompanied them. The doctor observed that their
presence was unnecessary, and soon afterwards they returned to the
castle. The King and his physician struck into the path they had
followed in the morning. Ludwig had known the banks of the lake of
Starnberg from childhood, and it is more than probable that he had
that forenoon chosen the spot where he would free himself from his
life. The physician had said he would return with the King at eight
o'clock. Half-past eight and nine passed, but they did not appear;
and anxiety was felt at the castle in case some accident might have
happened to them in the darkness of the park. The assistant doctor
had the immediate vicinity carefully searched. This led at first
to no result, for no one thought of the lake of Starnberg. Not far
from the seat on which Ludwig and Gudden had rested in the forenoon
were found later the umbrellas of both men. A fisherman was summoned;
and upon rowing a short distance from the shore in his boat the body
of Dr Gudden, in a half-sitting posture, with the back bent below
the surface of the water, was discovered. A few feet farther out
was found the King's lifeless body, the head downwards, and the arms
bent forward. The lake was not so deep at this spot but he could have
saved himself had he been so minded.

What had happened at this spot will for ever remain unknown. The
sorrowful incident took place without witnesses; but the tracks along
the shore, and in the bottom of the lake, which was examined, justify
the following assumption. The King was walking on the right side,
Gudden on the left, until they reached the seat they had rested
on before. The King must then have thrown down his umbrella and
run towards the lake, for his footsteps could be seen on the damp
moss-grown shore. Gudden had immediately rushed after him, and seized
him by the coat-collar. His grasp must have been very firm, for the
nail of one of his fingers was splintered. Ludwig, on the other hand,
must have continued to press forward, for Gudden had retained both the
coats of the King in his hand. Above the doctor's left eye there was
a bruise, which undoubtedly resulted from a blow. A terrible struggle
must have taken place.

Dr Müller made the most strenuous efforts to call Ludwig back to life,
but all his exertions were in vain; death had freed the mad King from
the torments of his existence.



On the evening of Whitmonday the body of Ludwig II. was conveyed
to Munich.

The hearse, which was drawn by four horses and was accompanied by his
servants and by priests, arrived at the capital at half-past three
in the morning. Great numbers of country people followed his coffin
weeping. Nobody believed he had been mad, but that an innocent man
had been persecuted. In the hearts of all there lived the memory of
the beloved King, who had promised so much, whose peculiarities they
had condoned, and who, despite all, had continued to be the pride of
the Bavarians.

The news of his tragic end shocked the whole of Germany. His capital,
where he had so seldom resided, mourned him deeply and sincerely;
and in the country districts there was hardly a hut where his picture
was not wreathed with crape. The dead King lay in state on a high
catafalque, dressed in the knightly robes of the order of St Hubert,
with its golden band round his neck, and the sword of iron resting
on his left arm. On his breast lay flowers, brought by the Empress
Elizabeth. Thousands of all grades of society pressed into the little
chapel to bid him a last farewell. Sorrow was written on all faces;
sympathy found expression on all lips. The lonely eccentric had found
peace at last.

Queen Marie's strength had been broken by sorrow; she outlived her
eldest son by only two years. "Bavaria's unhappiest mother" expired
on the 17th of May, 1889, at Hohenschwangau, where she had lived the
full and happy years of her youth. With the words: "God save Bavaria,
God save Prussia!" she drew her last sigh.

The Duchesse d'Alençon was visiting her parents at Possenhofen,
when her former betrothed found his death in the neighbouring lake of
Starnberg. The news of it so greatly shocked her that she temporarily
lost her reason.

Ludwig's deposition and violent death called forth stormy debates
in the Bavarian Chamber. In order to convince the world that his
treatment had been justified, the Ministry revealed without mercy the
development of his disease; and eminent alienists were unanimous in
their declaration that for several years his mind had been clouded.

But to this day there are many among his people who do not believe it.

Bavaria has not forgotten King Ludwig, and the traits of geniality and
kindness, by which he won all, are still spoken of with love. In those
parts where he mostly resided the remembrance of the "romanticist on
the throne" dwells fresh and warm in the hearts of the people.

The sources made use of in the writing of this book are as follows:--

Professor Dr C. Beyer: "Ludwig II., König von Bayern (Ein

Brachvogel: "Ludwig II., König von Bayern."

I. L. Craemer: "König Ludwig und Richard Wagner."

Craemer: "Die bayerrischen Königsschlösser im Wort und Bild."

Das Ministerium Lutz und seine Gegner.

Dr Franz Karl: "Der Character Ludwig II."

Dr Karl von Heigel: "König Ludwig II. von Bayern. Ein Beitrag zu
seiner Lebensgeschichte."

Louise von Kobell: "König Ludwig II. von Bayern und die Kunst."

Louise von Kobell: "Unter den vier ersten Königen Bayerns."

Friedrich Lampart: "Ludwig II., König von Bayern."

Graser: "Die letzen Tage Ludwig II."

Dr F. C. Müller: "Die letzen Tage König Ludwig II."

Otto Gerold: "Die letzen Tage König Ludwig II."

Sailer: "Die Bau und Kunstdenkmäler Ludwig II."

Dr Hans Reidelbach: "Characterzüge und Anekdoten aus dem Leben der
bayrischn Könige."

I. von Türk: "Die Königen-Mutter Marie von Bayern."

Zeiller: "Enthüllungen über die Sektion und die Todesart König
Ludwig II."

Dr W. W. Ireland: "The Blot upon the Brain," "Studies in History and
Psychology," etc. etc.

The book rests furthermore upon personal reminiscences from a visit
of length to Munich, and on verbal information from German friends who
spent their summers in Hohenschwangau in the 'Seventies and 'Eighties.



[1] Otto was born on the 27th of April 1848. He is the present bearer
of the title of King of Bavaria.

[2] According to tradition, a knight by the name of Schwangau was the
original builder of the castle. Another account, which is probably
quite as near the truth, connects the name of Hohenschwangau with
the legend of the Knights of the Swan.

[3] The Archduchess Maria married some years later the second son of
Queen Victoria, Prince Alfred, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

[4] In a dedication of the pianoforte score of Die Walküre (July 1864).

[5] Semper some years afterwards made use of the same plan, though
somewhat reduced in scale, when he built the Richard Wagner Theatre
in Bayreuth.

[6] Ludwig II. and Richard Wagner continually exchanged letters. They
are written in an exceedingly warm and exalted tone, but turn chiefly
on musical subjects. Only a very small number of them are accessible
to the public. After the death of the King the Bavarian Government
and Wagner's heirs agreed that Ludwig's letters should be given up
to the Bavarian Government, which now preserves them under lock
and key. Wagner's letters, on the other hand, were sent back to
his relations.

The periodical, Die Wage, published in its second year several
interesting letters from Ludwig to his friend which are affirmed to
be absolutely authentic, and which I have cited in part as above.

[7] In a letter, dated 5th May, to Herr Uhl, the editor of the Wiener

[8] Frau Herwegh in the Gegenwart, 1897.

[9] In the Progrès de Lyon.

[10] Frau Louise von Kobell says, in her reminiscences, that
infatuation went so far that several ladies lost their reason,
although the King had not given them the slightest ground to suppose
that their feelings were reciprocated.

[11] Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

[12] Maria, Queen of Naples.

[13] "Otto, Freiherr von Völderndorff: Vom Reichskanzler, Fürsten
von Hohenlohe" (Munich 1902).

[14] The grandson of King Louis Philippe of France, and eldest son of
the Duc de Nemours and Victoria, née Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

[15] The present Queen-mother of Holland.

[16] In the first rank of these was, as is well known, Elizabeth
of Austria-Hungary.

[17] The following may be mentioned as a characteristic example of
this feeling:--The north German poet, Emanuel Geibel, was summoned
by Maximilian I. to the Bavarian court. He had been appointed to
the chair of literature, history, and poetry at the University of
Munich, and the King had granted him a yearly pension. At the time
here mentioned he was staying in his native town of Lubeck. King
Wilhelm of Prussia came on a visit to the town, and Geibel welcomed
him with the following verse:--

    "Und sei's als letzter Wunsch gesprochen,
    Dass noch dereinst dein Auge sieht,
    Wie über's Reich ununterbrochen
    Vom Fels zum Meer dein Adler zieht."

This lyrical outburst gave great offence to the "national" party in
Bavaria, and was construed as expressing the poet's own opinion that
Prussia ought to subjugate the former country, which, of course,
was not his meaning.

So strong was the feeling on this matter, that Ludwig felt himself
constrained to withdraw the pension which his father had granted
Geibel. But this withdrawal aroused displeasure in North Germany,
and the King of Prussia granted him a similar pension in compensation.

In annoyance at the insult offered his colleague and friend, Paul
Heyse voluntarily gave up the pension which he had hitherto received
from the King of Bavaria.

[18] Professor Dr C. Beyer, who mentions this correspondence, adds
that it came into the Monarch's hands through indiscretion; also
that he caused the letters to be copied, after which the originals
were put back in their place ("Ludwig II., König von Bayern. Ein

[19] Count "Holnstein aus Bayern" used the Bavarian arms with a bar
sinister in his signet ring, which would intimate that he was the
illegitimate descendant of a Duke of Bavaria. He was also connected
with the ducal court of Possenhofen; and he has been mentioned as
the object of the Duchess Sophie's first love.

He was married to a granddaughter of Prince Karl of Bavaria and the
latter's morganatic wife, Countess Bayersdorff.

[20] Louise von Kobell: "König Ludwig II. und Fürst Bismarck im
Jahre 1870."

[21] Bismarck's "Gedanken und Erinnerungen," v. ii., and "Kaiser
Friedrich in Versailles," (Erinnerungen eines Diplomaten).

[22] Louise von Kobell, "König Ludwig II. und Fürst Bismarck im
Jahre 1870."

[23] Professor Dr. Otto J. W. Richter, "Kaiser Friedrich III."

[24] The Emperor "Ludwig der Bayrer" enfeoffed in 1323 his son Mark
Brandenburg. Brandenburg remained under the sway of the Wittelsbachs
until 1373, when Otto V. ceded it to the Emperor Karl IV. Bismarck
mentions in his "Gedanken und Erinnerungen" the particular favour
shown to his ancestors by the Bavarian dynasty.

[25] The so-called Bavarian clause.

[26] Frau Louise von Kobell, from whose memoirs I have taken these

[27] Louise von Kobell, "Unter den vier ersten Königen Bayerns"
(vol. ii. pp. 158, 159).

[28] The eldest daughter of Franz Josef and the Empress Elizabeth. She
is married to King Ludwig's cousin.

[29] Ludwig's trusted Minister, Prince Hohenlohe, also regarded it as
a duty to step in against the dogma of Papal Infallibility, inviting
in a circular all the German Governments to protest against it. They
did not, however, agree to his proposal.

[30] Among other pieces which were performed privately in 1872 were:
Comtesse du Barry, Le Comte de Saint Germain, Un Ministre sous
Louis XV.

From 1872-77 not a single opera was performed privately; but in 1878 he
heard Verdi's Aïda, with Wagner's Siegfrid-idyl as the introduction. In
1879 he caused Der Ring des Niebelungen to be performed four times
in succession. In 1880 he heard Wagner's Tannhäuser, Lohengrin,
and Verdi's Aïda. In 1881 Gluck's Iphegenie auf Tauris, Wagner's
Tristan und Isolde, and Weber's Oberon. In 1882 Gluck's Armida,
Wagner's Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lohengrin, and
Meyerbeer's Huguenots. In 1883 Der Ring des Niebelungen, Der Fliegende
Holländer. In 1884 Tristan und Isolde, and six times Parsifal. Besides
this were given at his command Die Stumme von Portici, by Auber,
and again Gluck's Armida. In 1885, in the month of April, he heard
Parsifal three times. Of plays he saw this year Schiller's Wilhelm
Tell, Sardou's Theodora, Brachvogel's Narcisz, and several pieces by
Carl von Heigel, a gifted Bavarian writer who for a number of years
wrote and adapted dramatic works for the King's private performances.

[31] Kainz was born in Hungary. He had appeared in Leipzig and
Meiningen before he came to Munich.

[32] Ludwig made few journeys; he was three times in Switzerland,
three times in Paris, also at Versailles and Rheims. On one occasion
he visited Wartburg. At a later date it was his intention to go by way
of Reichenhall and Saltzburg to Vienna, in order to visit the Emperor
and Empress of Austria; but he turned back at Salzburg. The greater
number of his journeys within the limits of Bavaria were to Berg,
Linderhof Chiemsee, and Neuschwanstein.

[33] Osterholzer was later forced to declare publicly that Holnstein
had not said this; but nobody believed in the compulsory retraction.

[34] To the Editor Memminger.

[35] It was almost immediately suppressed, but was printed in the
Bamberger Journal.

[36] On his arrival at Munich, Count Dürckheim was arrested, and
charged with high treason. As no proofs were forthcoming against him
he was later set free. He was long in disfavour with the new powers,
who among other things refused his earnest prayer to be allowed to
see King Ludwig after death. Count Alfred Dürckheim is now a general.

[37] When, after the King's death, Weber proved to be in possession
of his diamond clasp, it was thought at first that he had come by it
dishonestly. The writing, however, by which he had engaged himself
not to give it up except on payment of 25,000 marks convinced the
authorities that they had been mistaken. As the diamonds constituted a
part of the Crown jewels, Weber had, nevertheless, to return them. As
far as is known he received a small sum of money in return for them,
as it was desired that the King's last gift should be respected.

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