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Title: Memories of the Kaiser's Court
Author: Topham, Anne
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            MEMORIES OF THE
                            KAISER’S COURT


                            MEMORIES OF THE
                            KAISER’S COURT


                              ANNE TOPHAM

                       WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS

                      SEVENTH AND CHEAPER EDITION

                          METHUEN & CO. LTD.

                         36 ESSEX STREET W.C.


  _This Book was First Published_     _August    25th 1914_
  _Second Edition_                    _September 14th 1914_
  _Third Edition_                     _September 29th 1914_
  _Fourth Edition_                    _October   23rd 1914_
  _Fifth Edition_                     _December  15th 1914_
  _Sixth Edition_                     _February   1st 1915_

_This Edition, at 2s. 6d. net, First Published in 1915_


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I.    ARRIVAL AT THE PRUSSIAN COURT                                    1

II.    HOMBURG-VOR-DER-HÖHE                                           17

III.    THE NEW PALACE                                                36

IV.    DIVERSIONS OF THE KAISER’S DAUGHTER                            51

V.    CHRISTMAS AT COURT                                              69

VI.    BERLIN SCHLOSS                                                 86

VII.    DONAU-ESCHINGEN AND METZ                                     101

VIII.    EDUCATION                                                   117

IX.    THE BAUERN-HAUS AND SCHRIPPEN-FEST                            128

X.    ROYAL WEDDINGS                                                 144

XI.    WILHELMSHÖHE                                                  159

XII.    CADINEN                                                      174

XIII.    ROMINTEN                                                    190

XIV.    THE KAISER AND KAISERIN                                      205

XV.   CONCLUSION                                                     221

INDEX                                                                241


(Photo, E. Bieber, Berlin.)                                 FRONTISPIECE

                                                             FACING PAGE

(NOW DUCHESS OF BRUNSWICK) AT THE AGE OF NINE                         12
(Photo, T. H. Voigt, Homburg.)

FAMILY, TAKEN AT THE NEW PALACE, WILDPARK                             44
(Photo, Selle and Kuntze, Potsdam.)

WILHELM AND LOUIS FERDINAND OF PRUSSIA                                76
(Photo, Selle and Kuntze, Potsdam.)

(Photo, Selle and Kuntze, Potsdam.)

THE KAISER AND HIS ELDEST GRANDSON                                   136
(Photo, Selle and Kuntze, Potsdam.)

HUSSARS                                                              232
(Photo, A. Topham.)

THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF BRUNSWICK                                    238
(Photo, T. H. Voigt, Frankfort.)




Towards the middle of August 1902, on a very hot, dusty, suffocating
day, I was travelling, the prey of various apprehensions, to the town of
Homburg-vor-der-Höhe, where the Prussian Court was at that time in
temporary residence.

Thither I had been summoned, to join it in the capacity of resident
English teacher to the young nine-year-old Princess Victoria Louise of
Prussia, only daughter of the German Emperor and Empress.

A stormy night-passage of eight hours on the North Sea, followed by a
long train-journey through stifling heat lasting till five o’clock in
the afternoon, naturally affects any one’s spiritual buoyancy, and it
was with a distinct feeling of depression that I at last descended from
the train on to the platform of Homburg station.

I confidently expected that a carriage would be waiting for me, but
nothing in the least resembling a royal equipage is to be seen. There is
only a row of those shabby, time-worn, open droschkies, harnessed to
attenuated, weary-looking horses, which, even since the advent of the
“taxi” into the social conditions of the Fatherland, still maintain a
precarious, struggling existence in most German towns.

I am a helpless stranger, with a very limited knowledge of the German
language as applied to porters and cabmen, and consequently very much at
the mercy of these functionaries.

As my luggage is plainly addressed to the “Königliches Schloss,” the
group of officials who surround me, all talking together in strident
tones, are most anxious that I should get there as soon as possible. I
manage to convey to them my idea that a carriage will probably be coming
for me soon, and after a few minutes’ interval of waiting one porter
obligingly goes outside the station to look up the long street for the
missing vehicle; but he returns sadly shaking his head.

“_Kein Wagen_,” he murmurs with an air of finality; and in spite of my
misgivings they all fall upon my various possessions and put them into
the oldest and most decrepit of the droschkies--the only one left--with
a horse to correspond, and a driver who strikes the last note in
deplorable shabbiness and stupidity. No one who has not travelled in
German trains fed with German coal can appreciate the sheer discomfort
and misery caused by this wretched fuel, which vomits forth clouds of
thick black smoke, laden with solid, sooty particles, having a fatal
affinity for the features of the passengers. I have assimilated to
myself a certain amount of this invariable accompaniment of Continental
travel, and am uncomfortably conscious of the fact. Neither is it
thus--in a wretched droschky, with my luggage piled drunkenly around me
at various untidy, ill-fitting angles--that I had dreamed of entering
the precincts of royalty.

Later on I grew callous in this respect and perceived that I had been
unduly sensitive over a small matter; but my feelings on this important
occasion were, it must be admitted, acutely miserable. One knows
instinctively that a first impression counts for a good deal.

Up the long Louisen-strasse and past the Kurhaus we rattle over the
cobble-stones of past ages with which so many German towns are paved,
and down a side-street I catch a glimpse of a smart-looking brougham
with a footman sitting beside the coachman on the box, driving quickly
in the direction from which we have come. I am convinced that it is the
carriage meant for me, and would like to go back again to the station;
but all attempts to convey my meaning to the egregious person whose back
obscures my view are unavailing. He shrugs his shoulders, whips up his
horse, utters guttural incomprehensible ejaculations, and points to a
large old building in front of us before whose open gates a sentry is
pacing. The sentry looks surprised and hesitates, the animal in the
shafts crawls through the gateway and comes to a sudden halt in the
midst of a big paved courtyard, surrounded by open windows and
containing in one angle a pleasant flower-garden of green turf and
climbing geraniums. We are in the Royal Homburg Schloss.

A beautiful sun-bathed silence prevails everywhere. Through a gateway
opposite, leading into a second courtyard, a fountain can be heard
plashing gently with occasional intermittent hesitations and
precipitations, while a pigeon croons slumberously at intervals on the
roof. Otherwise it seems an absolutely deserted spot. There is nothing
to indicate before which of the various doors, which stand half open to
the light and air, I ought to be set down.

The driver assumes a round-shouldered, blinking, vacuous attitude of
masterly inactivity, while his horse takes a nap after his exertions. I
descend from the hateful vehicle and wonder what I ought to do next.
Between heat, exasperation, and incertitude, added to the fatigues of
travel, I am in a parlous condition, one fume and fret of weariness and

Presently from under the archway, interposing his bulk between me and
the glancing sunlight, comes walking slowly a gentleman of stately mien,
garbed in black frock-coat and tall silk hat. He wears the aspect of an
Ambassador, and may be one for all I know or care. I fling myself into
the orbit of his path, assembling together with beating heart the few
fragmentary bits of German that remain with me after the varied emotions
of the day. I murmur something inarticulate and wave my hand
explanatorily in the direction of the supine droschky-driver, who,
surrounded by my luggage, still continues to crouch in obvious
somnolence on his box.

The black-coated functionary may not be a diplomat--I subsequently find
that he is a _Hoffourrier_, one of those pleasant minor court-officials
who regulate royal journeys and the small financial housekeeping
arrangements of royal households--but he has the art of seizing a
situation at a glance. His eye wanders whimsically over the luggage, the
slumberous droschky-driver and his horse. It strikes him, no doubt, as a
humorous situation. So it would appear to me under different
circumstances. He answers in polite but unintelligible German, wakens
the driver, directs him to a door in a corner, and rings a bell; a rush
of gaitered footmen follows; something kaleidoscopic and swift takes
place; I find myself following a servant down a long, cool, bare passage
decorated with old German prints--up a tiny winding staircase into a
pleasant, shady room looking out over the red roofs of Homburg away
towards great purple hills against a background of pale lemon-coloured

The quiet, calm beauty of the outlook as seen from this high-pitched
gabled corner of the quaint old Schloss falls soothingly on my tired,
travel-worn soul. I sink into a funny old-fashioned chair covered with a
blue spotted chintz which has been out of fashion for at least a hundred
and twenty years, and contemplate the fat, plethoric, square sofa and
the rest of the furniture, which is delightfully old--so old that its
ugliness has mellowed into something charming and alluring. There is a
big mirror fixed over a marble-topped mahogany chest of drawers in which
I catch a glimpse of my haggard face; there are various mahogany chairs
covered with the before-mentioned blue-spotted print; there is a carpet
of vivid moss-green. All is very plain and comfortable and old-world,
and spotlessly clean and fresh. Flowers are on the writing-table which
stands in the embrasure of the window.

Soon a pleasant chinking of china is heard outside, and a man in a
flowing Russian beard parted in the middle brings in a tray with tea. He
bows politely as he enters the room, the bow without which no
well-trained German servant comes into the presence of those whom he
serves, and deftly arranges the tea-table. He is clad in plain dark
livery, such as is worn by all the _Diener-schaft_ in the royal
employment who are below the rank of footmen.

The sight of the teapot and the taste of the tea set at rest the doubts
I have had whether this cheerful beverage would be one of the luxuries I
should have to renounce permanently on leaving England.

“German people all drink coffee, and if they do make tea it’s like
coloured water,” I had been assured many times over. That this is true
still of the great mass of the people my experience in many parts of
Germany has proved; but the Court buys its very excellent tea direct
from a big London warehouse and brews it with due respect to its
peculiar needs.

A small bedroom, in which my luggage has been deposited, leads out of
the little sitting-room. It contains also the same quaint old-world
furniture, together with a short, squat, solid-looking mahogany bedstead
with deep wooden sides, covered with one of those big bags filled with
down which take the place of an eiderdown quilt and are so typically
German. One sees them hanging out of the windows for an airing every
morning--at hours, it is needless to say, permitted by the police.

I wash away the dust of the journey, change and begin to unpack,
wondering if my clothes are right, if I ought to have had longer or
shorter trains on my dresses, and wishing somebody would come along and
explain to me any points that might guide my inexperienced steps.

The departing English teacher whose place I am taking has written to me
a letter purporting to give advice as to wardrobe and etiquette, but she
has recently become “engaged,” and except an impression that white kid
gloves are a chief necessity of life at court, there is little of
practical use to be gathered from the vague kindliness of her short
note. She writes that there is practically no etiquette except such as
can be “seen at a glance,” and leaves it at that.

A knock comes at the door; a voice, a pleasant, cheerful woman’s voice,
calls my name; and with both hands outstretched in welcome enters a
tall, middle-aged, smiling person, who introduces herself as the
lady-in-waiting with whom I have been corresponding. She radiates
kindness and sympathy, is gaiety and charm personified, knows exactly
how I am feeling--how excited, dubious, tired, and worried--and she
laughs it all away while she stands clasping my hand and shaking it at
intervals. She is much amused at the description of my entry into the
Schloss, and explains that a carriage and luggage-cart had been sent to
meet me with one of the Empress’s own English-speaking footmen, so that
everything might be as easy as possible; but there had been a mistake as
to the time--probably on my part--and as the train was very punctual I
had been there too soon.

“And now,” she concludes, “you will dine to-night with Her Majesty at
half-past seven.”

I start back in horror.

“Yes,” she laughs; “it is the best opportunity, because the Emperor is
away and it will be very quiet--just a few of the ladies and gentlemen
of the court; and it will be quite easy, you know. Her Majesty is so
kind, so sympathetic--she knows how tired you must be--she will not
expect you to be brilliant; but when there is a plunge to be made,” she
pointed downwards as to an unfathomable abyss, “it is better to make it
and get it over, isn’t it?”

“Will the Princess be there?” I ask with the calmness of despair.

“No, not to-night. She is very much excited and wanted to come and see
you, but is to wait until to-morrow. She has been talking all day about
your coming.”

I wonder dubiously in what aspect I present myself to the thoughts of my
unknown pupil--whether pleasantly or otherwise.

On looking back, that first dinner at a royal table has in it many of
the unstable elements of a dream, I might almost say of a nightmare. It
passed confusedly through my mind as a series of impressions following
each the other with such rapidity and lack of cohesion that only the
Cubist or Futurist mind could hope to depict it adequately. An
impression that my frock is not quite the right thing, that it is too
English and not German enough--it was to be a “high” dress, said the
Countess, as we parted, and mine was neckless while the other ladies
were clothed right up to the ears and chin; further impressions that I
am preternaturally dull and stupid, that the smile I attempt is
obviously artificial, that I am an isolated speck of mind surrounded by
an incomprehensible ocean of German babbling.

Before dinner I have been solemnly conducted by the Countess to the
apartments of the Empress, wearing one long white kid glove, while the
other is feverishly crumpled in my hand together with a fan, without
which even in the coldest weather no properly equipped lady can, I
learned, be considered fit to appear before royalty. An elderly footman
shows us into a little ante-room furnished in brilliant yellow satin,
and here we sit and wait, chatting in the desultory, half-hearted manner
of people who expect every moment to be interrupted.

It is some ten minutes or so before a door leading into an inner
apartment is opened and we are ushered in.

“You will kiss Her Majesty’s hand,” whispers the Countess with a
reassuring smile as she passes on in front of me.

The Empress is sitting on a sofa, with a stick beside her, for she has
had the misfortune to sprain her ankle rather severely some days before,
and she receives us with a pleasant, gentle smile and a look which
reveals at once the fact that she herself is feeling a slight
embarrassment. I suppose the Countess presents me to Her Majesty--I have
no definite recollection of it--but at any rate she disappears and
leaves us alone together. I bend and kiss the outstretched hand, and
feel already that this is going to be quite a pleasant interview, so
eminently sympathetic and kindly reassuring is the face that smiles into
mine with a certain shy diffidence.

I find myself sitting in a chair talking easily and without restraint to
a mother about her little daughter. It is all quite simple and
straightforward. There is no longer anything to trouble or be doubtful
over. We exchange views on theories of education, on a child’s small
idiosyncrasies, on the difficulties of giving her enough fresh air when
so many hours are taken up with study. We get absorbed in our talk, and
find that we have many views in common--always a delightful discovery,
whether the other person be an Empress or a charwoman. At last Her
Majesty realizes that a good many hungry ladies and gentlemen are
waiting not far away for her appearance and their dinner, and so at
length she rises and walks through several rooms, preceded by a footman
who flings open both leaves of the folding doors, till we emerge in an
apartment brightly lit with many wax candles, where a subdued buzz of
conversation suddenly stops and the whole company bows and curtsies at
once, like a field of corn when the wind passes over it.

At table I sit between a young officer in uniform and the English lady
who is leaving to-morrow and to whose privileges and responsibilities I
am to succeed. I learn with horror that with her departure I shall be
left to grapple single-handed with whatever difficulties may
arise--without any aid or advice excepting that which the “Countess,”
who is continually occupied, may find time to fling to me at odd
intervals of the day. The German Ober-Gouvernante, whom I had expected
to find at my side with counsel and guidance, is in strict quarantine,
having been in contact with some infectious illness, and will continue
to be possibly contagious for the next ten days. She is being purified
and disinfected somewhere with relations, and will resume her duties
when the Court returns to the New Palace near Potsdam.

In the meantime I shall carry on as well as my ignorance allows the
numerous duties of her position as well as my own! Perhaps it is the
sympathetic pity of the kind German people in my immediate
neighbourhood, their encouragement to be “firm” towards my pupil, the
transparent hints that she is a remarkably difficult child to manage,
and that only a person of unyielding discipline who will exact rigid and
unquestioning obedience can have the least chance of coping with her
extraordinary temperament, that make the true inwardness of the
situation apparent.

“I rather like naughty children,” I murmur wearily, with an effort to
throw off the forebodings caused by their remarks; “they have so much
more character than good ones. Most people who turn out rather
remarkable seem to have been distinguished in their youth for

They all smile indulgently, with the air of humouring the whims of a
child whose words are not to be taken seriously.

“Grown-up people can often be very annoying too,” I remark, as a further
contribution to the discussion. They smile again at each other, and
immediately change the subject to something else quite unconnected with
education, and, lapsing into German, leave me, so to speak, stranded in
a backwater, where I wonder vaguely if I can possibly keep my eyes open
much longer and if it will be _lèse-majesté_ if my head suddenly sinks
into my dessert plate.

Mercifully, when we rise from the table I am dismissed to much-needed
repose by the Empress, and bow my way through the door out of the
confused blur into which the lights and the people’s faces are beginning
to merge.

I had had no sleep the previous night, having spent it tossing on the
stormy waves in a state of acute misery from sea-sickness; I had
travelled all day through the scorching hours, with little to eat or
drink, in a train which shook and rattled and bumped as only Continental
trains can; I had been anxious and harried, owing to ignorance of the
language and customs and train-regulations of the country through which
I was passing; I had been fretted by the droschky-driver, presented to
an Empress, and had supped at the royal table in private, which is much
more alarming than on a ceremonious occasion; so that it was the mere
wreck and shadow of myself which, guided by the pictures, crawled
half-dazed along those interminable passages.

But the morning aspect of even the most difficult situation is
invariably more courageous and hopeful than that of evening. I
breakfasted in the little sitting-room with my compatriot, who is
absorbed in packing, and vouchsafes not one single helpful hint as to my
future conduct, for which to this day I bear her somewhat of a grudge.
She dismisses the whole business with the airy lightness of one whom it
no longer concerns. She shows me a beautiful silver dish, a wedding
present from Her Majesty, and packs it away with a smile on her face.
She hums a tune while she wanders in and out from room to room, where
the sunlight flickers, brightening and disappearing under the light
clouds that sail in the blue above.

At about half-past ten a footman comes with a summons to go downstairs,
so I put on my outdoor things and follow him out into the sunny
courtyard, through a big archway, and along winding sandy paths, till I
reach a point where I can see the Empress sitting at a table under some
big trees near what is called the “English garden"--a garden made, and
still maintained much as she left it, by that daughter of George III who
married a Landgraf of Hesse-Homburg.

Here it is that the Kaiser’s little daughter first comes dancing lightly
into my life, to remain in it, a permanent and very delightful memory. A
steep grassy bank in front descends so deeply to a tiny lake lying below
that the intervening shore is hidden. Suddenly above this bank appears
the sleek golden head of a small girl of nine or so, dressed in a stiff,
starched, plain white sailor dress with a blue collar and a straw sailor

Her mother calls to her in English, “Come here, Sissy”; and with a hop
skip and jump over the intervening space she springs forward and holds
out her hand to me with frank friendliness.

A few steps behind her comes another flying figure in white--her
brother, Prince Joachim, the youngest of the six sons of the Kaiser; and
then above the bank emerges the young officer I met at supper the night
before, who is Governor to the Prince. Both children begin talking
volubly in German to the Empress, the little girl, as far as my limited
knowledge permits me to judge, emphatically contradicting every word her
brother says. They are obviously--well, perhaps, it would be
over-emphasis to call it quarrelling, but they are certainly not quite
in accord. The young officer, lingering in the background--lingering in
backgrounds becomes a fine art at court--gives me a meaning glance,
raises his eyebrows, smiles and shakes his head with a slight shrug of
his shoulders.

“They are always _zanking_,” he says to me in his fluent but imperfect
English, when, after a few minutes, the Empress departs, leaving me to
the full and undisturbed enjoyment of my duties. I subsequently consult
a dictionary and discover that _zanken_ is a German verb meaning “to
wrangle,” “to dispute acrimoniously.” It is a conspicuous characteristic
of the children’s intercourse in those early days. Although they cannot
bear to be parted from each other, they are as frankly and reciprocally
rude as politicians, discovering an amazing fertility in the application
of opprobrious and insulting epithets, flowers of rhetoric of which I
gather a few for personal use if necessary. These storms beat with
bewildering and baffling violence on my head, lacking, as I do, the
knowledge of the German language necessary to make my censure more
discriminating; but I note that Prince Joachim’s Governor is just as
helpless as myself, though his command of the vernacular might be
supposed to give him some advantage.

The next few days are busied with initiation into that mysterious inner
side of court life of which the general public necessarily knows little
but imagines many vain things. Chief among those early impressions is
that of the Kaiser himself, whom I have not yet seen, as he is absent on
one of his numerous journeys. Distilled through the alembic of his
little daughter’s mind I soon perceive that the Emperor, hitherto known
to me only by the medium of newspapers, which, although perhaps
accurately informed as to facts, often throw a misleading light on the
character and temperament of this much-discussed monarch, is not always
playing the part of the frowning Imperial Personage of fierce
moustaches, corrugated brow and continually-clenched mailed fist--that
he frequently recedes from this warlike attitude and becomes an ordinary
humorous domestic “Papa,” who makes sportive jokes with his family at
the breakfast table and is even occasionally guilty of the more
atrocious form of pun.


This phase of “Papa’s” character is forcibly, almost painfully, brought
home to me when one day his daughter, in a moment of relaxation, seeks
to amuse herself by practising the schoolboy trick--she is very
schoolboyish--of making with her mouth and cheek the “pop” of a
champagne cork and the subsequent gurgle of the flowing wine.

“Whoever taught you these unladylike accomplishments?” I ask, in the
reproving tones appropriate to an instructor of youth.

“S-s-sh! It was Papa,” she answers gleefully, repeating the offending
sound with an even more perfect imitation than before; “he can do it
splendidly,” and she “gurgled” with persevering industry.

It is obvious that in the intervals of inspecting regiments and making
warlike speeches “Papa” unbends to a considerable extent when in the
bosom of his family. But I learn with some regret that “poor Mamma”
seldom has time to get a really proper breakfast, because after she has
poured out “Papa’s” coffee, buttered his toast and ministered to his
other wants she has only time to snatch the merest mouthful for herself
before he is hurrying away to call the dogs and put on his cloak for a
brisk early morning walk.

“Come on, come on,” he says, with cheerful impatience; “how you do
dawdle over your food, to be sure! I’ve finished long ago,” and the
whole family has to leave its meal half eaten and start on an hour’s
tramp through the streets of the town or to the beautiful hills outside.
It is clear that “Papa” is the dominating force of his daughter’s life.
His ideas, his opinions on men and things are persistently quoted by
her; trenchant, fluent criticisms on persons of world-wide fame,
astonishing verdicts on men of the hour, issue from her lips in
bewildering confidences.

“Papa says that Herr Muller” (the name of course is _not_ Muller) “is a
_Schafs-Kopf_ and doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” she would say
glibly of some well-known politician on whose utterances the world was
hanging with bated breath.

These communications are sometimes almost disconcerting. They add a
burden to life, a fear lest one may betray some great political secret
from sheer inadvertence. It is a relief when the Princess turns her
confidences into less embarrassing channels.

The chief pets of her existence at this time are two ponies, which,
together with a small victoria upholstered in pale blue satin, have been
presented to her by the then reigning Sultan of Turkey, who was
afterwards deposed. These two little creatures, named Ali and Aladdin,
are of a pale fawn-colour, with long white silky manes and tails, and
when drawing the small blue-lined victoria, which has a diminutive groom
perched on a small seat behind, make an extremely exotic circus-like
effect on the country roads round Homburg. The Princess always drives
herself, and delights in flourishing a rather large whip, which it is
necessary frequently to apply to the ponies’ fat sides, for they are of
a somewhat sluggish disposition; but their appearance outside the
Schloss gates is hailed with delight by the crowds who stand waiting
there waving their hats and handkerchiefs on all sides.

Cronberg, the residence of the late Empress Frederick, now in the
possession of her daughter the Princess Frederick Charles of Hesse, is
within driving distance of Homburg. At this time the children of another
sister of the Emperor are staying there--the Greek princes and
princesses, whose father was then Crown Prince and is now King of
Greece. As the Princess of Hesse is herself the mother of six sons, two
pairs of twins among them, there is no lack of playfellows for the
Princess and Prince Joachim, who frequently exchange visits with their
young cousins. Cronberg is a beautiful house built in old German style,
quite different from the peculiar Greco-French character of most palaces
in Germany.

It is pleasant to watch the cataract of white-clad children rushing in
and out of the doorways, displaying that universal characteristic of
their age--a desire to penetrate to unusual places, such as kitchens,
cellars and attics. They have glorious games on rainy afternoons in the
upper regions of the old Homburg Schloss, in whose cobwebby, dusty
rooms, among old forgotten lumber, are to be found many curiously
interesting things--old portraits of dead and gone Landgrafs and
Landgravines, pictures of the children of the old house, attired in the
cumbersome finery which in past days hampered unfortunate infancy,
pieces of queer armour, ancient blunderbusses and rapiers, old
moth-eaten furniture with the silk worn into rags.

I had developed an unsuspected talent in the direction of
_Versteckens_--the ever-popular hide-and-seek--more especially in the
rôle of seeker, and distributed the thrills of which the game is capable
with even-handed impartiality, not forgetting that even the child of
least originality, who hides in the most perfectly obvious place with
large portions of his anatomy plainly visible, likes to have, so to
speak, a run for his money, and enjoys the hovering discovery best when
it retires baffled on the verge, and the wrong cupboard is frequently
and persistently searched.

The form of the game which we played exacted that the seeker should
count slowly up to a hundred with tightly shut eyes and then begin the
search; but I compromised this rather wearisome method by allowing five
minutes’ “law” and beginning to count at ninety. These odd five minutes
were utilized to examine at ease many objects which I should otherwise
never have seen; and to an accompaniment of muffled shrieks, thundering
footsteps, and a passing vision of fleeting white legs, short frilly
skirts, and rather smudgy princely features (for these out-of-the-way
corners were a trifle dirty) I was enabled to study many quaint old
steel engravings of hunting scenes which hung on the walls, engravings
which would make a collector’s mouth water.

I still remember the indignation with which Prince Max of Hesse made the
discovery that I did not pass these intervals in a state of temporary

“You don’t keep your eyes shut all the time: you _must_ keep them shut,”
he objected. (They all spoke English and German equally well, but
preferred German when talking among themselves, with the exception of
the Greek children, who always spoke English.)

I have some difficulty in persuading him that I may honourably keep my
eyes fixed on a picture without transgressing the rules of the game.

“But you can _see_ us go by out of the corner of your eye,” he

“But I should _hear_ you in any case.”

“Well, then you must shut your ears as well; hold your hands over them.”
He is a very conscientious little boy and a past master in the matter of
argument. If he had not been dragged along by my Princess there is no
saying what I might have been forced to do, but she knows when she is
having a good time and is no stickler for the strict observance of

“Come along, Max,” she cries; “I’ve got a splendid place. Don’t begin to
count yet, Topsy.” She has already found a nickname for me, and “Topsy”
I remain, for the rest of my career.

On the evening of one of the days when we have been playing
hide-and-seek my pupil tells me an interesting piece of news.

“Papa is coming back to-morrow morning,” she says gleefully, “and then
you’ll see him. I expect you’re looking forward to it very much. I shall
tell Papa all about you. You are just like all English people--very
thin. Why don’t you eat more and try and get fatter?”

“I don’t want to get fat,” I reply indignantly; “and if I did, what
would be the use when I have to run about all day after you children? I
expect I ran at least ten miles this afternoon when we were playing

“I expect you did,” answered the Princess regretfully. “It was a
splendid game, wasn’t it? Georgie hid in a bath once and Alexander
turned the tap on him; but,” returning to an earlier subject, “Papa will
want to know all about you, and I shall tell him you are very thin.
Won’t you be very pleased to see Papa?”

I murmur something politely appropriate and noncommittal, but the
fearful joy reserved for the morrow somewhat troubles my thoughts that
night. Life seems already to be almost sufficiently strenuous.



It does not take long to discover that my small charge has inherited the
temperament of her race. What Carlyle calls “Hohenzollern choler,” and a
certain foot-stamping manner of expressing opinion, exhibit themselves
at an early stage of our acquaintance. She is a highly-strung, nervous,
excitable child of generous wayward impulses, who needs an existence of
calm routine for the healthy development and cultivation of her mind,
but by the circumstances of her life is kept in a restless vortex of
activity which places considerable difficulties in the way of her

She is in her tenth year when I first know her, a well-grown child of
her age, with rather pale features and a lively, alert expression. She
wears her fair hair cut in a straight fringe across her forehead and
hanging in long “nursery ringlets” over her shoulders. These ringlets
are produced, in what is naturally perfectly straight hair, by the art
of her English nurse, whom I often watch with a certain fascination as
she brushes the shining strands round her finger, forming without any
extraneous aid the most beautiful and regular curls possible.

There are but two people of whom the Princess really stands in awe. Her
“Papa” of course is one, and I am not sure if her English nurse does not
occupy an almost equal position with His Majesty in this respect.
“Nanna” is a disciplinarian of the first water, and like other
disciplinarians, brooks no interference with her own laws, which, in a
court where many overlapping interests exist, is apt to breed many
difficulties. She has been thirteen years in the service of the Empress,
has brought up the younger children from birth, watched by them together
with their mother many nights when they were ill, and practically saved
the life of Prince Joachim, the youngest of the Kaiser’s six sons, by
her constant and faithful care of his delicate infancy. But one by one
her nurslings have been taken from her, not without a certain fierce
opposition on her part. Prussian princes are given early into military
hands. It is a tradition of their training, and the shrewd old nurse has
a very strong opinion, shared by the Kaiserin, that an inexperienced
young officer is no person to be entrusted with the superintendence of a
young child’s physical and mental needs. She has battled indomitably,
and often successfully, for her charges, invading even the professorial
departments; and, aided and abetted by the Court doctor, who naturally
considers physical before intellectual development, has often entirely
routed the educational authorities, who have had to retire baffled and

But her triumphs were short-lived. An elaborate educational machine
equipped with expert professors for every subject, with a carefully
thought-out programme, in which every hour of the day is rigidly mapped
out, cannot be stayed for the whims of one obstructive woman obviously
prejudiced against German institutions. The frequent skirmishes had
developed into something of the nature of a campaign. It is not good
for children to be, as they frequently are even in less illustrious
circles, the centre of warring elements; so at last the inevitable
happened, and with much reluctance “Nanna’s” dismissal to England, of
course with an ample pension, was finally decided upon. When I first
made her acquaintance in Homburg her influence was a waning one; her
autocratic rule was loosening--her departure delayed only by the
beneficent hand of Majesty, which shrank from the final severance from a
faithful if somewhat injudicious servant.

“Nanna” subsequently asserted that I had been specially deputed as an
instrument of Providence to console her during those last few weeks; and
though I myself am not personally conscious of any qualifications for
the office of consoler, I may at any rate lay claim to the credit of
having been a very efficient safety-valve for her emotions, which poured
over me in a constant flood of retrospect and admonition. She was
uncompromisingly British, in spite of her thirteen years’ residence
abroad. It was at once her strength and her undoing. She refused to
strike her flag to any mere lady-in-waiting or German _Ober-Gouvernante_,
and maintained an inflexible principle of behaviour in situations where
the tact and pliability indispensable to diplomatic relations were most

“Do you think I was going to stand her putting the thermometer in the
bath-water to see how hot it was?” she asked me indignantly, referring
to the absent _Ober-Gouvernante_; and I agreed that it was the kind of
thing that no one could be expected to bear.

She was a good faithful soul, rather crabbed and cross sometimes, and
she inspired in the German footmen and housemaids under her orders a
good deal of respect and fear, and also, as I subsequently discovered, a
certain amount of affection, such as sterling qualities will always earn
for themselves somehow; and if the German associations modified nothing
in her character, the same cannot be said of her speech, which, while
still remaining British in outward form, became in the course of years
somewhat warped from its original purity.

“At Christmas,” she told me once, when showing the gifts that the
Empress had made to her, “last year I became a set of teaspoons, and the
year before I became a lovely silver teapot.” She had obviously confused
the German word _bekommen_, “to get,” with the similar-sounding but
different-meaning English word.

It was at a picnic that I was first presented to His Majesty the
Emperor. We had all driven one afternoon in a series of carriages to a
beautiful spot in the surrounding hills, where, a little way into the
forest which bordered the roadside, a table on trestles was laid for
tea. I had already been warned by the Princess of the impending joy.

“You’ll see Papa now, and be introduced,” she said before we started,
her face glowing in sympathy with what she supposed I must be feeling.
“Won’t it be _lovely_?”

His Majesty and the gentlemen with whom he is talking volubly when I
first catch sight of him are all in uniform, which gleams brightly under
the deep green of the pine trees. The German officer, it is well known,
wears uniform continually, and adds greatly thereby to the colour and
gaiety of the social functions in which he takes part. The Emperor sets
an example also in this respect, and on the very few occasions when he
appears in _mufti_ loses a great deal of his imposing appearance. Civil
dress has with him something of the baffling nature of a disguise, and
the ordinary easy lounge tweed suit, which many Englishmen wear with
advantage, is distinctly unflattering to him, although he looks well in
a frock-coat and silk hat. But he never appears quite himself, never
really fits into any but military or naval garments.

“When His Majesty has finished talking you will be introduced,” said
one of the ladies-in-waiting. “The Empress will present you, so do not
go far away.”

So I stand waiting under the trees, watching the footmen while they
place camp-stools and arrange cakes and teacups, and hearing gusts of
the Emperor’s conversation, which, being carried on in German, is quite
unintelligible to me, though there is one word “_Kolossal_” which keeps
emerging frequently from the rumble of talk.

Presently the group of uniforms breaks up. His Majesty turns towards the
Empress, somebody signs to me, and I step out of the shadows and come
forward. “Papa’s” keen blue eyes look at me with that characteristically
penetrating, alert, rather quizzical brightness which I afterwards learn
to know so well. They seem almost too violent a contrast with the deep
sunburn of his face. My hand is enveloped in a hearty, almost painful
handshake, and I am confronted with a few short, sharp questions.

“From what part of England do I come? Have I ever been in Germany
before? What do I think of Homburg? Do I speak German?”

I subsequently have the pleasure of many stimulating discussions with
His Majesty, when we debate a variety of questions, from armaments to
suffragettes, and are not invariably accordant in our views; but on this
occasion our talk is necessarily short and perfunctory.

Presently we are all sitting at the tea-table, but the Emperor remains a
little apart, continuing the conversation with his adjutants, dipping
from time to time his _Zwieback_ into his tea, as is permitted by German

_Ausflüge und Land-Partien_--excursions and picnics--are an integral
part of German existence in summer-time, and the _Hof_ lags no whit
behind in this respect. Though the Emperor detests cold, damp weather,
he leads an open-air existence, and loses no opportunity of being _im
Freien_. He breakfasts, drinks tea and eats supper out in the garden
whenever the weather permits; and it is probably for this reason more
than any other that the principal German meal, _Mittagessen_, whose
elaborateness does not allow it to be served _al fresco_, still keeps
its place in the middle of the day, allowing the simpler supper to be
served out of doors in the cool of the evening. It is a charming and
healthy custom, this eating under the blue sky, but naturally only
possible in the soft, warm Continental climate, where one misses the
sharp tang in the air of our sea-girt isle.

Near Homburg lies an ancient Roman fortress, which has been excavated
and restored by the Emperor. Excursions either on horseback or by
carriage to the _Saalburg_ are a great feature of the stay in Homburg,
and often the whole party is permitted to excavate in likely spots for
“remains.” The Empress once disinterred a very beautiful bowl, and it is
no unusual thing to come across fine specimens of pottery or iron-work.
Everybody is supplied with a short wooden implement for digging in the
soft loam, and the royalties, including Prince Joachim and the Princess,
together with the ladies and gentlemen of the party, labour
industriously through a summer afternoon under the direction of
Professor Jacobi, who directs the work of excavation and checks any
undue exuberance in digging which might lead to disastrous results.

These digging parties, which are only indulged in on rare occasions,
sometimes give scope for the exercise of a peculiarly characteristic
form of German humour. Often a broken cup or vase or an ancient Roman
dagger made in an excellent imitation _pâté_ of chocolate is previously
embedded in the soil, and the ardent excavator, glowing with the success
of a great discovery, finds to his chagrin, on reaching home, that at
the solemn washing of his find, which always takes place with great
ceremony in the presence of the assembled company after supper, not only
the encumbering soil but also the whole fabric of the precious antique
dissolves away into a hopeless ruin, at once revealing the unkind
imposture. This playful joke is easily carried out, since no one is
allowed to excavate excepting in carefully indicated spots.

The Emperor at his own expense has rebuilt portions of the old Roman
settlement; and the newness of these buildings, the freshly-painted
barrack-rooms of the old Roman militia with their Latin inscriptions
over the doorways, the brightness of the small glazed bricks of which
the walls are constructed, give a somewhat jarring sense of unreality to
the whole _Burg_, and raise the question whether it is advisable or not
to attempt to reconstruct the past in quite such a conscientious
manner--whether the actual ruins, scanty though they may be, do not tell
their tale better than these new up-to-date buildings so curiously
well-equipped with modern appliances.

But the buildings have their uses quite apart from intrinsic interest,
as is proved one afternoon when the children, including the “Hessians”
and “Greeks,” are invited to the _Saalburg_ by the Empress, who is
herself present, and a heavy rain coming on, a sort of spurious hockey
game, played with croquet mallets, is organized and pursued with the
greatest vigour in the “Hall of the Centurions.” The Emperor, who is out
driving somewhere in the neighbourhood, arrives with his suite during a
crisis in the game, and is much amused to watch the small horde of
princelings, among whom his own daughter is very conspicuous, as they
chase the ball backwards and forwards, sometimes only missing his own
Imperial legs by decimal fractions of inches.

Even in those first early days at Homburg it is at once noticeable what
a great difference the presence of the Emperor makes in the atmosphere
of the court. A certain vitality and still more a certain amount of
strain become visible. Everybody is to be ready to go anywhere and do
anything at a moment’s notice--to be always in the appropriate costume
necessary for walking, riding, or driving. His Majesty walks a great
deal. Often we drive out some distance beyond Homburg among the lovely
mountains and forests, and descending from our carriages tramp along at
a brisk pace for several miles, when the carriages meet us, and we
return. It is altogether a strenuous existence for the _entourage_, who
must always, so to speak, be mobilized for active service, which is
probably just what the Emperor wishes. From early morning till night
there is hardly a moment of respite from duty, and my own day is a very
crowded one, with hardly time left for the necessary frequent changes of
costume, which are one of the chief burdens of existence at court.

An elaborate toilette is customary at the midday dinner--something in
silk or satin, with a long train--and it must be completed by the
inevitable fan and white glacé gloves, of which one is worn on the hand,
the other carried.

We all assemble before dinner in a large drawing-room, where the ladies
and gentlemen of the suite and any visitors who are invited stand about
talking till the appearance of the Emperor and Empress. Often the
Princess comes in before them with Prince Joachim. The folding-doors are
thrown wide open for the entrance of Their Majesties, who always appear
at different doors, the Emperor usually being last, and are announced by
a footman. Everybody at once stops talking, wheels about and bows

One day the guests at dinner include an elderly lady and gentleman of an
old-fashioned German type, who shrink into a corner and look rather
clever and scientific. The Princess and Prince Joachim run up and kiss
the old lady and shake hands with the old gentleman.

He is Professor von Esmarck, who, when he was a struggling young doctor,
fell in love with a Princess--the aunt of the present Empress of
Germany--and married her. The elderly lady with the tightly-brushed hair
is his wife. They live in a pleasant little house in Homburg, and
always dine at the Schloss when the court is staying there.

My own experience would lead me to testify to the truth of what
I have read somewhere, that the chief function of a lady-or
gentleman-in-waiting is to stand in a draught and smile.

“Standing and waiting,” said my kind Countess, “that is the chief part
of our lives; it makes one mentally and bodily weary till one gets used
to it.”

Hand-shaking too is practised to a considerable extent. It does not seem
to matter how many times people have met before in the day and shaken
hands, they generally seem to like to do it again while waiting for
dinner. Presumably it helps to pass the time away, and gives an excuse
for walking about from group to group. My place at the oval dinner-table
is at one end, between Prince Joachim’s governor and his tutor. The
Emperor and Empress are seated at the sides, opposite to each other,
while the guests, intermingled with court ladies and gentlemen, radiate
right and left. Footmen wearing the court livery, which includes rather
ill-fitting gaiters, wait behind every chair and the Emperor’s “Jäger”
in green uniform attends exclusively to his master’s wants. Red and
white wine and champagne are served to all the guests, but neither the
Emperor nor the Empress drinks anything but fruit-juice as a beverage.
William II has a horror of excessive indulgence in alcohol, and sets his
face against it by both precept and example.

“You English people,” he says to me on one occasion, “you drink those
awful fiery spirits--horrible stuff--whisky, brandy, what not? How can
you imbibe such quantities of poisonous liquid--ruining your
constitutions? Simply ruining them--whisky-and-soda everywhere--no, it’s
awful: I tasted it once--like liquid fire--ugh! Your drinking habits are

He admonishes me for our national failings with uplifted finger and
serious face, and I try feebly to maintain that, though in the past we
have been undeniably guilty and still drink far more than is good for
us, yet according to published statistics we are year by year growing
more sober--that the percentage of drunkenness in the army is slowly but
surely decreasing, that there are fewer crimes owing to drunkenness, and
so on--but His Majesty evidently has more faith in his own observations
than in any amount of statistics, and continues dubiously to shake his
head and his finger at me as though I were personally responsible.

Dinner is finished in about three-quarters of an hour, and at a sign
from the Empress every one rises and, the ladies preceding the
gentlemen, all file slowly into the salon, where coffee is served and
every one stands and drinks it. This standing about after dinner is one
of the most tedious of all court duties, lasting sometimes for an hour.
As the Emperor and Empress never sit down, but move from one group to
another, talking to this or that guest, the rest of us prop ourselves
surreptitiously against projecting pieces of furniture and try to look
as happy as circumstances permit. The little Princess and Prince Joachim
flit from one person to another, wrangling according to custom in
subdued undertones so that “Papa” may not hear, trying to tease their
mother into some concession, or whispering their experiences into the
ears of one of the ladies. There is always a good deal of surreptitious
stifled giggling, and it is easy to see that the waiting is an irksome
restraint to their active minds.

If there are a great many important guests, the children dine alone with
their governor and myself, when they are expected to speak English all
the time; but they lapse into German with the greatest facility,
especially when the usual _zanking_ begins. They also every evening eat
supper together, continuing cheerfully and acrimoniously their
criticisms of each other’s conduct. Prince Joachim indulges in the usual
cheap sneers at femininity with which many schoolboys goad their
sisters into revolt.

“_Mädchen_,” he remarks with superb disdain, “_die Mädchen_----”

“Speak English,” commands his governor, who is anxious to improve his
knowledge of that language.

“Girls,” replies the Prince, speaking with distinct and aggravating
deliberation, “Girls cannot be soldiers--zey are no use at all. It is
good zat we have but one girl in our family. She cannot be an officer.
She cannot fight. She cannot ride----”

“Much better than you--she rides,” returns the incensed Princess. “You
who fall off your horse if it gives a little jump. _Pfui!_” She bangs a
spoon on the table to emphasize her indignation.

The Prince is delighted at the success of his efforts, and continues to
jeer unmercifully.

“Girls can’t ride,” he reiterates; “zey can’t fight--zey are always
crying--zey are always cross----”

“Try to say ‘they,’ not ‘zey,’” I interpose, hoping to divert his
thoughts to other subjects.

“Joachim can’t speak English one bit,” says his sister; “he says ‘zey’
and ‘zese’ and ‘zose,’ and ‘I drink your healse.’ He is a silly boy; he
can’t jump, he can’t play tennis, he can’t ride----;” and so on _ad

Twice a week after we have finished supper I take Prince Joachim away
and read English with him in his room, while the Governor sits listening
in a chair, his long red-striped military grey legs stretched out before
him, his hands clasped on his knee, an absorbed, concentrated look in
his eyes. The book chosen is Stevenson’s immortal “Treasure Island,” for
the Prince has stipulated that whatever we read shall not be about
_Muster-Kinder_, which I interpret as meaning “pattern-children,” the
kind abounding in certain books, but happily seldom met with in real
life. I consider it a hopeful and healthy sign in the Prince, his
objection to _Muster-Kinder_, and promise that my reading shall be
blameless in this particular respect. He seems a little suspicious as we
settle down and I open at the first chapter, but before many pages have
been turned he is holding his breath to listen, and his verdict on my
choice of a book is that it is magnificent--_prachtvoll_.

It may here be remarked that there are few if any original books in the
German language written especially for boys, who have to content
themselves with translations of Fenimore Cooper’s works, “Robinson
Crusoe” and “The Swiss Family Robinson,” and of late years with the
“Adventures” of the famous Sherlock Holmes, who has a great vogue upon
the Continent, and whose history may be bought at almost every railway
bookstall abroad.

Not only the Prince, but also the Governor, in spite of his thirty years
and his military experience, immediately fall under the spell of the
story, notwithstanding the many words in it of which they do not know
the meaning. When the hour comes to an end and the Prince begs for an
extension of his lesson, the Governor pulls out his watch and after a
slight hesitation, smilingly grants another ten minutes before bed-time.

“_Schnell, schnell_,"--“quick, quick,” implores the Prince, and I hurry
on towards the fatal Black Spot and the fate of the blind man, and am
pressed to come again as soon as possible and not wait till the lesson
becomes due, because they both--Prince and Governor--are so anxious to
know what happens next.

At the end of the following week the court is to leave Homburg for its
permanent residence--if anything so unpermanent can be so termed--in the
New Palace near Potsdam, where the _Ober-Gouvernante_ will be waiting to
share my multifarious labours, and where I am assured that the regular
routine--“only we never have any regular routine, it is always being
broken,” sighs the Countess--at any rate an approximate routine may be
confidently anticipated.

I pack feverishly in the small intervals of time snatched from my other
occupations, and at half-past seven one evening go down to the
courtyard, where files of carriages are waiting. I am supposed to
accompany the Princess to the station, but at the last moment something
is changed and I am sent off with a young adjutant whose English
vocabulary is very limited. We drive down the long street, packed with
people waiting to see Their Majesties go by. They cheer and wave
enthusiastic handkerchiefs at each carriage as it passes, and though we
may not usurp the royal prerogative and bow our acknowledgments, we
assume affable expressions indicative of vicarious enjoyment of their
exuberant loyalty, and so arrive presently at the royal waiting-room,
which is gaily decorated with flags and evergreens. A crowd of officers
and adjutants are on the steps awaiting the arrival of Their Majesties,
and here my Princess comes presently, having driven in with her brother.

In the waiting-room sits the venerable old Duke of Cambridge, who is
staying in Homburg and has come to say “farewell” to the Emperor and
Empress, whose approach is heralded by a louder burst of cheering, which
swells and increases outside the station.

The royal train, painted in blue and cream-colour with gold decorations,
is alongside the platform, the regulation red carpet is laid down, maids
and valets peep furtively from the windows of distant compartments,
footmen are hurrying to and fro, while the ladies and gentlemen of the
suite continue their normal occupation of waiting, chatting to each
other in the usual desultory manner. Presently Their Majesties emerge
from the waiting-room and walk over the red carpet into the train, we
all get in after them, and our journey begins among the frantic “hochs!”
and “hurrahs!” of the crowd outside.

We in England may believe in our own loyalty, but I doubt if we can
compete with a German crowd in giving it expression. We are never able
quite to abandon ourselves to the same unrestrained, wild enthusiasm,
are always just a little too self-conscious--too afraid of being absurd.
The German is untrammelled by considerations of that kind; he revels in
his own emotions, encourages his wife and family to revel in theirs,
waves patriotic flags on the least provocation, puts his small son of
six into a complete miniature Hussar uniform, lets him swagger about in
the streets wearing it, to the undiluted envy of other small boys, sings
“_Heil dir im Sieger-Kranz_” (which goes to the same tune as “God Save
the King,” and has therefore a pleasantly familiar air to British ears),
and is rather proud than ashamed at being moved to tears of national
pride as his Kaiser passes by. No nation is more emotionally patriotic
than the German, and that patriotism finds its chief centre in the
personality of their Emperor.

So that, as long as the daylight lasted, outside every little wayside
station and crossing was a palpitating crowd of little girls wearing
wreaths of wilted flowers on their heads, of little bare-legged boys
waving Prussian flags, of perspiring officials of _Vereine_--any kind of
Association for doing anything--in hot-looking dress-suits and tall
chimney-pot hats: there they stood as they had obviously been standing
for some hours, wedged together in one solid, impenetrable mass, leaning
heavily upon each other in rows against the station railings, while on
the platform, where no one else was allowed to intrude, the
station-master, in his military-looking blue uniform, remained saluting
with his hand at his red cap as the train steamed slowly by. Always the
same station and the same crowd it seemed, with just a different name
over the booking-office door--the same _Eingang_ and _Ausgang_, the same
brown, alert peasant faces gazing through the railings.

The Princess and Prince Joachim had their supper in the long dining-car
of the train, together with the Governor, tutor and myself; and as they
imbibed their soup and ate their _Kalte Schnitzel_ were in full view of
the shouting crowd.

By means of frequent promptings they were induced to suspend the
customary _zanking_ and distribute a few bows among the people, Prince
Joachim in particular distinguishing himself by an air of fine courtesy
as he raised his round white sailor cap, which he flourished gracefully
over his head in answer to the enthusiastic roars that swelled and died

We had to hurry over our meal so as to allow of the table being re-laid
for the supper of Their Majesties and the suite, so we swallowed one
course after another with headlong speed, curtailing conversation to its
utmost limits, and when the last mouthful was despatched the children
went to say good-night to their parents while the rest of us retired to
the sleeping-_coupés_ provided for the night, although it was as yet
much too early to think of going to bed.

The royal train, in which I made many journeys, is, as may be imagined,
“replete with every modern convenience” of travel, but this did not
prevent it oscillating, banging and shaking to an appalling extent. One
was hurled backwards and forwards and jolted and jerked with every form
of movement known to science. Sometimes we seemed to be moving over
rippled granite, and then a horizontal spasm mixed up with weird
scrunchings seized the whole train, which appeared to be having some
kind of hysterical fit. Occasionally we pulled up with a jolt and jar
and remained stationary for a few minutes, before resuming our
shuddering, jerking journey, which stretched out every mile into a
nightmare length.

Time seems interminably long in such circumstances, and the weary hours
dragged on very slowly. An attempt at undressing forced into the
foreground the question of how--in view of the difficulty of taking off
clothes--one was ever likely to be in a favourable position to put them
on again. Brush and comb, hairpins, all went sliding gently away on to
the floor; and after washing in a basin in which a miniature tempest of
soap-tipped wave-crests was raging, I renounced the adventure of
undressing as one needing more intrepidity than I possessed, and lay
down uncomfortably in most of my clothes to wait for morning. Through
the ventilator came a choking, smoke-laden odour. The pillow, covered
with beautifully fine linen, on which I laid my head was hard as the
nether millstone and productive of a dislocating feeling in the neck;
the sheets and blankets were of the finest and best, but no one wants to
go to bed in one’s garments of the day. We were due to arrive in
Wildpark, the station of the New Palace, somewhere about eight
o’clock--nine hours more of the terrible shaking. I lay down and turned
out the electric light, and became for the rest of the night a mere
oscillating body, whirled continually back and forth through space.
Fortunately the dawn comes early in August, and at the first faint
greyness of the atmosphere I sat up giddily and watched the flat
Prussian dew-bathed landscape glide by, so different from the hilly
region we had come from the night before. Somewhere about five o’clock a
low tap comes to my door, and “Nanna,” with her finger on her lip, hands
in a cup of tea which she has managed to produce from somewhere.

“I knew you’d not sleep much,” she whispers. “Did you ever know trains
shake like this one? You’d think they’d manage to take His Majesty along
at a more comfortable pace, wouldn’t you? A royal train indeed! Enough
to shake you to pieces.” “Nanna” loses no opportunity of drawing
comparisons to the disadvantage of the German nation, which she
considers hardly worthy to be governed by the illustrious family she

I drink her tea with much appreciation, and she comes and sits beside me
and converses, or I might say talks--for it is more outpouring than
conversation--in a hoarse whisper, so that she may not disturb the
gentleman who is supposed to be sleeping in the next _coupé_, but is
probably lying awake yearning for the end of the journey.

The greyness of the fields departs, they are threaded with gleams of
colour as the sun slowly penetrates the clouds; great wreaths and ragged
eddies of mist begin to rise, cattle stand about half plunged in an
ocean of vapour, the peasants are at work, women with red handkerchiefs
tied over their heads kneel among the bright green of the potato crops;
the dreary night has departed, a new day is born.

The train rattles and jerks its way along. “Nanna’s” voice continues to
croon in my ear words of warning, admonishment, advice. I listen without
hearing or comprehension. Her voice is as some soothing accompaniment to
my thoughts, giving a pleasant sense of companionship without exacting
much attention.

Somewhere about seven o’clock another soft tap is heard and the door
slides back, revealing a footman with another tray of tea and
_Zwieback_--those nice brown crunchy toast-like biscuits which pervade
the Fatherland.

“You’ll have your proper breakfast when you arrive at the New Palace,”
whispers “Nanna,” “but you’ll not get it much before nine. You’d better
have some more.”

I accept the fresh tea with pleasure, and listen as I drink it to the
movement in the corridor. There is a sliding of doors, a sound of
subdued voices--everybody is getting up. Nanna disappears to dress her
Princess, who has slept soundly all night--happy capacity of
childhood!--and when I peep out into the corridor I see some of the
ladies-in-waiting already dressed, looking rather wearily out of the
window. A man comes in and makes my bed-clothes disappear in some
miraculous manner, leaving behind him, instead of the two sleeping
berths, in one of which I had lain awake so long, just the ordinary
seat of a first-class carriage, of which the upper berth now forms the
padded back.

Some of the ladies kindly come and sit beside me and point out
interesting objects of the landscape. The Countess is one of them, and
grows quite excited when at length a round green dome is visible over
some trees.

“There, there!” she cries, “that is the roof of the New Palace; we shall
be there very soon--I hope you will be very happy there,” and she
squeezes my hand in the kindly sympathetic, sentimental, but very
delightful manner of old-fashioned Germans. She feels that it is an
important day of my life, the moment when I enter what she calls the
“real home” of the Emperor and Empress.

“Like Windsor to your King and Queen,” she explains, fearing that the
forty castles which the Emperor possesses may create some confusion in
my ideas. “Here is their real ‘home,’ you know.”

The train, which has been proceeding much more evenly since we entered
the Prussian district, glides smoothly into a station, coming gently and
imperceptibly to a stop. A few officers in uniform are waiting at the
door of the simple, picturesque wooden _Warte-Saal_--which a few years
later is to be replaced by a substantial stone building provided with
lifts and luxurious and artistically-furnished waiting-rooms.

There is a sudden opening of carriage-doors and activity of footmen and
“Jägers.” The Emperor, enveloped in a long grey cavalry cloak, strides
across the platform with the Empress and his children, salutes the
waiting officers, pauses for a word with each, and then drives away. A
long row of carriages is in waiting. Everything seems admirably
organized; no confusion, no waiting. My turn comes, and I am whirled
away out of the station yard across a road where people are standing
kept in order by a green-clad _Gendarm_, along a pleasant tree-shaded
avenue, past some sentries who guard a small iron gate, over the Mopke,
a big open gravelled space bordered by fine buildings on each side, and
past the front of the huge Palace, which reminds one a little of
Versailles and is built in French Rococo style. I descend at a broad
flight of stone steps, and am ushered by a pleasant-faced footman
through what looks like a window, but is really a door, into a corridor,
up a wooden staircase, painted white, to the apartment which is to be my
future home for the next few years. It is a lofty, pleasant room, and in
spite of its bare, uninhabited look, has an air of brightness and
repose. The sunshine floods it with gleams of welcome; outside are trees
in which the birds are singing; a little dog in the courtyard below, a
quaint little beast of the dachshund breed, looks up at me as I stand at
the open French windows and gives his tail a deprecatory wag. He is
obviously determined to be friendly.

The New Palace has an alluring aspect. It is very palatial of course,
looked at as a whole; but there is something very home-like, gracious,
and friendly in this particular corner of it, in the smiling flowers
which grow on each balcony, in the canary whose notes can be heard
trilling from the dining-room of the Princess close at hand, in the
pleasant face of a white-capped elderly housemaid, who enters with a bow
and a _Guten-Tag_, and an expression of delight at my arrival. She comes
and shakes hands, and says something congratulatory and welcoming. It is
very German, and strikes one as intensely pleasant and human, this
obvious kindness and goodwill. From this hour Frau Pusch--the
housemaid--is the cushion and buffer of my existence, intervening
between me and a harsh world. She teaches me German, mends and irons my
clothes, packs and unpacks, fetches and carries, is always cheerful and



Although making personal acquaintance with thirty of the numerous
palaces and country-houses belonging to the Emperor, I only resided in
nine, and of these the Neues Palais, or New Palace, near Potsdam easily
held the first place in my affections. For one thing it bore the aspect
of a permanent home, while other perhaps more beautiful royal residences
partook of the nature of an hotel, in which one never quite settled
down, but remained with boxes only partially unpacked, waiting for the
notice of departure.

This fine Palace, situated about twenty miles from Berlin, was built in
the style of Louis XV known as Rococo, on a very marshy piece of ground
by Frederick the Great, that most notable Hohenzollern whose spirit
still dominates the Prussian nation. Why he did not choose a better
site, where good sites are so many, must always remain one of those
mysteries which deepen with time.

“It was probably in a spirit of pure obstinacy,” said one German officer
with whom I discussed the subject. “People said it was impossible to
build a palace on such a spot, and so he set out to prove that it was
not. He also wished to show that there was still money left in his
coffers after the Silesian wars. But he did not really want the palace,
and never lived in it for any length of time.”

It is a cheerful-looking red building, with queer dimpled monstrous
cherub heads and wreaths of flowers in yellow sandstone engirdling the
upper windows. On the edge of the roof and along the terrace below stand
rows of pseudo-Greek sandstone statues in flowing draperies, with whose
features the frost often takes liberties, making necessary a yearly
renovation and replacement of noses and fingers. Along the raised
terraces and against the railings stand large orange-trees in tubs,
which are every autumn taken up to the “Orangerie” and brought back to
their places in the spring.

On one side lies the big Sand-Hof or gravelled courtyard, divided by
high iron railings edged with grass and flowers from the Mopke, the fine
wide space where in former days Frederick drilled his soldiers. On the
other side of the Mopke stand the royal stables, the kitchens, the
chapel of the Palace, and, divided by a beautiful stone arcade, the two
“Communs,” in one of which is housed the Palace guard, which occupies
the ground floor, while the Commandant and his family inhabit the first

The Sand-Hof faces the apartments of the Emperor and Empress, which on
the other side have an outlook onto the spacious garden, laid out in
trim beds, with fountains on each side--a garden to look at rather than
to walk in; but hidden away in corners behind big beech hedges, are
other shady gardens of trees--rose-gardens, with grassy lawns, the
children’s garden, one with a tea-house, where the Emperor and Empress
breakfast in the summer-time with their family.

Most old palaces that I have seen are conspicuous for their splendour
and still more for their inconvenience--they are structurally almost
incapable of being adapted to modern requirements; and the Neues Palais
is no exception to this rule, though wonders have been done in the
matter of the installation of adequate heating apparatus and bathrooms.
Most of this work was accomplished under the superintendence and on the
initiative of the late Empress Frederick, whose practical, energetic
mind seems to have grappled successfully with the great problems of
plumbing and domestic efficiency which present themselves with perhaps
more insistence in palaces than elsewhere.

But there was no way of overcoming the difficulty caused by the lack of
any passage in the wing where the apartment of the Princess was situated
on the first floor--the _Prinzen-Wohnung_ or Dwelling of the Princes as
it is called. Here two magnificent salons had been transformed into
bedrooms, one for the Princess, one for the _Ober-Gouvernante_. These
were obviously originally intended for reception-rooms, having doors at
each end and in the middle, and were the only means of communication
between the sitting-room and dining-room, so that whoever passed from
one to the other was perforce obliged to traverse the whole length of
one of these rooms, unless they went downstairs and passed through the
courtyard to another staircase, which was what the servants had to do in
all weathers.

In a smaller but very beautiful salon forming the entrance to the
_Prinzen-Wohnung_ a cooking-stove had been placed in the massive marble
fireplace for the purpose of keeping dishes warm, for all the food of
the Palace is prepared in a kitchen situated in the “Communs,” a
building on the far side of the Mopke communicating with the Palace by a
long underground passage along which the dishes are brought.

Here it may be pointed out that all the stables, carriages, kitchens,
etc., as well as the palaces themselves, are always officially styled
“royal,” not “imperial,” as they belong to the Kingdom of Prussia and
are not part of the appanage of the Empire.

The sitting-room I occupied first on coming to the Neues Palais remained
just as it had been at the time it was built, somewhere about 1770. Its
walls were covered with small irregular pieces of dark blue glass set in
cement and carried up into the centre of the ceiling, in which was
inserted a circle of small mirrors where at night, if one chanced to
look up, one saw the lamplight reflected. Over the big marble
chimneypiece, bearing the cipher of Frederick the Great, was another
high mirror of the same period (Louis XV) with a golden-rayed sun fixed
in its upper part. I never was able to learn the meaning of this sun,
which was repeated in other palaces built by the famous King of Prussia.

Above the blue salon was an equally spacious bedroom situated at an
angle of the palace wing with bull’s-eye windows looking north and east.
It was furnished, like most German bedrooms, to serve also as a
sitting-room, and contained a sofa, a large centre table, and a big
_escritoire_, besides the necessary cupboards and wardrobes. It was
heated in winter by one of those tall chocolate-coloured tiled stoves
called _Kachel-Ofen_ which are so much used in Germany. In cold weather
the _Ofen_ was lit with wood at an early hour of the morning, and was
supposed, after consuming a few logs, to have absorbed enough heat for
the rest of the day. Though offensive to a sense of beauty, the
_Kachel-Ofen_ may generally be trusted to keep the temperature warm at a
minimum of expenditure in fuel.

“I don’t know why English people always want to _look_ at a fire,” said
one German lady, defending the superior economy and effectiveness of the
national heating system. “It isn’t the look of a fire that warms you. I
never felt the cold so much anywhere as in England. All that beautiful
coal warming the chimney, while I sat shivering two yards away from it!”

Our life at the Neues Palais is less strenuous than at Homburg. For one
thing the _Ober-Gouvernante_ is there, a pale, dark-eyed German in whose
hands, although she herself has no teaching to do, lies the chief
responsibility of the education of the Princess. Then there is the tutor
who gives all the German lessons. He has not been in Homburg, where
there was only room to lodge the tutor of Prince Joachim.

The day of the Princess begins with breakfast at half-past seven,
excepting on Sundays and at holiday times, when she takes it at nine
with her parents and brother. Never was there any child who galloped
through the first meal of the day with such reckless rapidity. In vain
did I inveigh against this habit of bolting food, and dwell on the
horrors, the least of which must be an incurable red nose, which
invariably lie in wait for those thoughtless persons who ignore the duty
of mastication; in vain did I quote Mr. Gladstone’s dictum on the
subject, which, though it amused and interested her, in no way led to
her betterment.

“At fifty, nay at forty--or even sooner, Princess,” I would say, “you
will be a hopeless martyr to an outraged internal system. Look at
Carlyle, the man who wrote about Frederick the Great. His whole life was
made bitter, the happiness of his wife destroyed, his manners and temper
spoiled, just because as a little boy----”

At this point she usually flung down her knife and fork with a clatter,
and, the last mouthful still unconsumed, at her accustomed whirlwind
pace, quite unperturbed at what might happen at forty, departed to her
mother the Empress, who always liked to see her daughter before lessons

At two minutes to eight she returned breathlessly--she was always
breathless in those early days--to the schoolroom, a rather dull,
stately apartment, with oil-paintings of Prussian Queens and Electresses
of Brandenburg decorating the walls. In their stiff brocade dresses they
gazed out of their gold frames with simpering fixity at the two large
blackboards, the schooldesk, the lesson-and exercise-books neatly piled
on the two plain deal tables.

Her footman, an elderly, conscientious, invaluable servant of boundless
tact and experience, and of the greatest assistance in those difficult
early days, would give a glance round to see that everything was
there--clean dusters, chalk, sponge and water. The lady on duty--myself
or the _Ober-Gouvernante_--would be installed with book or needlework in
the least obtrusive corner, trying to look absolutely absorbed in her
own thoughts, for the tutor naturally desired and had a right to demand
deep concentration on the part of his pupil and the elimination of all
possibilities of distraction. So that when the location of the
schoolroom had to be changed to the other side of the _Hof_, where the
carriages arrived bringing gentlemen for audiences with the Emperor,
studies were often pursued in semi-twilight, the blinds being kept
permanently down to shut out as much as possible of the sights and
sounds of the outside world. Sometimes a gentle knock came at the door,
which opened, revealing the smilingly-apologetic face of the Empress.
She would slip in and take the place of the lady and pursue her work,
while listening to the lesson. These incursions of Her Majesty were not
always regarded favourably by the tutor, who feared that they distracted
the Princess and made her less attentive.

Some months before she reached her tenth year the little Princess had a
young resident tutor, who was provided with rooms in the Palace and
shared some of the duties of Prince Joachim’s governor, accompanying the
two children and the lady “on duty” in their afternoon walks. Prince
Joachim’s own tutor, the one who had been in Homburg, was a married
Professor living in Berlin, a very clever man, who afterwards, on the
Prince’s departure for Ploen, became tutor to the Princess, journeying
daily backwards and forwards to Berlin.

German educational methods are astonishingly thorough, and make serious
demands upon a growing child’s brain and capacity. It is difficult to
know whether to condemn or admire them most. They are so thoroughly
efficient--given a child who can stand the strain; but what of the
thousands who cannot? I suppose every civilized nation, not excepting
England, is or has been guilty in this respect; and the Germany of
to-day is beginning to demand, in the interests of the health of her
future citizens, some relaxation of the tremendous claims made on the
growing child.

Education in Germany seems to be strictly standardized. At a certain age
every child, be he prince or peasant, will be in a certain class,
learning certain subjects; each year he will move a grade higher, or if
he does not, the whole family will feel that some dreadful irretrievable
disgrace has befallen it. The mother will creep about the house sighing
and swallowing her tears, the father will wear a corrugated brow and
perceive looming in the distance a son who is a _zwei-jähriger_, that
is, who must give two years instead of one to military service, since he
has not passed the necessary examination which reduces the term by
twelve months. This is one of the most terrible things which can happen
to a German household.

Girls, though not coming quite under the same conditions, have to work
just as hard as boys, and are quite as keen to be “_versetzt_"--to get
their remove.

So those first lessons of the Princess with that energetic cheerful
young tutor who had such an excellent persistent method of teaching
grammar and arithmetic, those studies abhorrent to the minds of many
children, were followed by me with the greatest interest.

That a child of the age of the Princess should be expected to say with
scarcely a moment’s hesitation how much nineteen times eighteen make, or
to multiply mentally 342 by 439, appears to the unmathematical mind
almost unreasonable, yet the solution of these problems is an everyday
feat in every German school. But the answers did not always follow as
quickly as the tutor desired, and often the results were wrong, in which
case one paralysing hour of arithmetic was followed by another.

Sometimes--with great diffidence, for it was entirely outside the range
of my duties--I would suggest to the tutor that the interposition of a
history or geography lesson might make a salutary change and enable the
perplexed child’s brain to recover its tone. The tutor always listened
very politely to my expression of opinion, and, though obviously
disagreeing, deferred to my desire, after carefully hinting to the
Princess that it was a concession to feminine weakness of
character--which made her very angry with me, and she would insist on
having more arithmetic straight away.

To any one who has studied German grammar, especially those terrible
prepositions which are always lying in ambush to trip up the unwary, it
is not necessary to dilate on its subtle sinuosities.

One day at the end of a lesson the tutor, glowing from a vivid and rapid
description and analysis of some of the more intricate German
constructions, showing the malleability of the language and the
tortuosity into which the pedantic mind of man, for his own base
purposes, can twist it, turned to me from his pupil’s discontented,
puzzled face, for corroboration of his own enthusiastic laudation.

“_Nicht wahr_, Meess?” he said, as he closed his book. “Is not grammar
one of the most beautiful, most interesting studies to which one can
devote one’s mind?”

“It is the most hateful, unnecessary thing possible,” I replied rather
hastily; “we never consciously use it when we speak, we forget it as
soon as we can. I detest it.”

If I had thrown one of the Dresden china vases on the mantelpiece at his
head he could not have shown more surprise. First, I suppose, at my lax
ideas of duty, for was I not there to uphold the pedagogic principle in
season and out of season? Secondly at my attack on Grammar
itself--Grammar! the chief corner-stone of the temple of Academic
Knowledge--which had been born of the ages, and would persist long after
we had perished from the earth.

All this was plainly to be read in the eye with which he regarded me.
The silence that ensued was almost painful, the child too astonished,
the tutor too nonplussed to speak.

As usual, the feminine mind made the quickest self-recovery. The
triumphant mien, the flush of joy, the sheer delight expressed in the
attitude of the Princess as she rose up from her chair showed that she
had come to a crisis in the history of her childhood. She had reached
the point where teachers cease to be oracles, where they fall into their
right perspective, where differences of opinion may be conceded, and
where absolute right and wrong begin to disappear. In her voice was a
new tone.

“Hurrah!” she shouted, with a distinct accent of revolt. “There! You
see, Herr Schmidt, there _are_ other people who can’t bear grammar.
Hurrah! I’ve heard the truth about grammar at last!”

And it being the end of the lesson, the bell of release ringing at the
moment a hearty peal, as though in derision of grammar, she danced a
sort of Indian war-dance in exultation at its discomfiture in front of
her tutor, took me by the hand, and dragged me away, leaving Herr
Schmidt, who, to do him justice, was a man before he was a pedagogue,
convulsed with good-natured laughter.

The Princess was not at all a docile or an industrious child; her work
was careless, owing chiefly to the usual breathless rapidity with which
she did everything. Her spelling was phonetic, and she was indignant at
English irregularities in this respect. Still she was ambitious and fond
of approval, especially from her brother Prince Oscar.

The Crown Prince and Prince Fritz were, at the time of which I write, in
Bonn studying at the University, Prince Adalbert at Kiel or roaming
about the world on a warship, as he had chosen the navy for a
profession; and the next two brothers, Princes August-Wilhelm and Oscar,
together in Ploen, where they lived in a pleasant country house with
their governor and various teachers, and enjoyed the companionship of
the young cadets of the aristocratic school--the Eton of Germany--which
is close at hand.


Morning lessons end at twelve o’clock, and then there is a short walk
until it is time to dress for the one-o’clock _Frühstücks-tafel_, which
is usually eaten in the company of the Emperor and Empress and the
ladies and gentlemen of the suite.

We dine in the Apollo Saal, a wonderful room decorated with painted
panels which rouse the indignation of the _Ober-Gouvernante_, who
objects to the scanty draperies and fleshiness of the simpering nymphs
and Cupids who eternally disport themselves among the never-fading
garlands of flowers of the Rococo Period. She cannot reconcile them with
the otherwise estimable tastes and qualities of Frederick the Great, nor
realize that great minds are composed of a variety of opposing
ingredients, and that even famous statesmen and warriors must
occasionally relax the sternness of their mental outlook.

The _menu_ or Speise-Karte of the royal table is invariably written in
German, not French; and occasionally English dishes appear on it, their
names slightly disguised--as for example “Apple-pei” or “Brot-pudding.”

Conversation at the _Frühstücks-tafel_ or luncheon, which is really the
principal meal of the day in Germany, to which business men in Berlin
usually devote a couple of hours, is always very animated and amusing
when the Emperor is present, as he is a noted _raconteur_ and possesses
a highly-developed sense of humour, which helps to mitigate the boredom
of the ceremonies which dog his footsteps. One day he related with the
greatest gusto how, on returning from a walk alone with the Empress, he
was refused admission through one of the gates by the sentry stationed
there--who must have been a very unobservant person, or brought up in a
remote portion of the Empire where picture-postcards do not penetrate.
The soldier was very apologetic, but firm, and addressed the Emperor as
“Herr Lieutenant,” finally relenting when told that the “Herr
Lieutenant” wished to visit Herr von Scholl, a Flügel-adjutant
(aide-de-camp or equerry) who lived in the Palace.

German is the language usually spoken at the Royal table, except when
English-speaking visitors are present: but few of the officers or
adjutants have a very extensive knowledge of any language but their own.
The Boer War had at this time only just come to an end, and there was a
good deal of anti-English feeling exhibited everywhere, especially in
the newspapers; but at the Court itself, although the criticism of our
military methods does not take, as may be expected, a very laudatory
tone, there is a frank recognition of the difficulties of the situation
and a genuine deprecation of the spiteful venom of the newspaper
articles, which accuse English officers and soldiers of every form of
ignoble conduct that it is possible for the journalistic mind to

Soon after the Germans had a native war of their own on their hands
against the tribe of the Hereros in South-West Africa; and if they were
spared the succession of disasters suffered by the English, they added
nothing to their own military glory, and learned a great deal of the
difficulties of skirmishing in an uninhabited country where none of the
rules of war in which they have been trained seem to apply. Their war
lasted for four years, and long before it was finished the last
lingering newspaper scandal against English soldiers died away.

In one disastrous slaughter of a German detachment ambushed by natives,
the only son of the captain of the Emperor’s little river-steamer
perished. The poor old grief-stricken father for a long time refused to
believe the news. “My son was a doctor,” he would say obstinately; “he
was not a soldier. How can he be killed? Doctors are not in the
fighting-line. Their place is in the rear of the troops.”

Often young officers in khaki who have volunteered for service in
_Süd-West-Afrika_ are invited to luncheon before their departure for the
seat of war. They are strong, handsome, cheery young men, full of
courage and enthusiasm; and the Princess sighs and wishes that she too
could go to the war and fight, which aspirations Prince Joachim crushes
in the heavy masculine manner.

After _Frühstück_ is finished, and we are able at last to escape from
the long, tedious waiting that follows, the children go out together.
Sometimes the Princess drives those wonderful Turkish ponies, which make
quite a sensation in the quiet old Potsdam streets whenever they appear;
while Prince Joachim has a dog-cart of his own drawn by a wise old cob
called “_Freier_,” who continually gets the reins under his tail but
stops immediately till disentangled. Twice a week the Princess rides on
horseback, and after a preliminary trial with the _Sattel-Meister_ I am
pronounced competent to accompany her. She is delighted to have my
society, for hitherto she has had no companion in her rides.

Close to the Neues Palais is the lovely Wildpark, a beautiful forest,
traversed by sandy paths, under great avenues of spreading beech; and
here, under the supervision of the _Sattel-Meister_, accompanied by a
couple of small grooms, we indulge in many exhilarating gallops. The
Princess soon develops into a practised and fearless horsewoman, with an
excellent seat in the saddle and a light hand. Before long she is
learning to jump logs and hedges, to the mingled horror and admiration
of Her Majesty and the Court. Our gallops become _lang-gestreckt_. We
ride a good long way in a very short time. The _Sattel-Meister_, who is
a severe but judicious teacher, smiles amiably and proudly at us both as
we pull up our sweating horses at the lodge gates of the Wildpark
preparatory to the sober walk home.

Presently we are promoted to rides on the Bornstedter Feld, the big
cavalry exercise ground about half a mile away, a sandy plain where we
can let out our horses and settle down for a long, swinging gallop.
Nothing makes the Princess so happy, so good-tempered, as these rides.
They are just the outlets she needs for some of her exuberant vitality.
She returns from them glowing with satisfaction, and is invariably
unhappy and irritable if by any chance they are stopped.

There comes a red-letter day when she is allowed to ride at half-past
seven to the Bornstedter Feld to see the Emperor review a detachment of
artillery bound for the Herero War. The Princess cannot sleep for joy
the night before. She is almost overcome with the mingled fear and
delight of riding “with Papa.” She sends to my room early next morning
in case I should oversleep myself, and is ready long before the
appointed time in her little blue riding-habit and straw hat. Down below
in the Sand-hof the horses are waiting for the Emperor and Empress and
the large suite which invariably accompanies them when they ride. Our
own steeds are in a little group apart in a corner. There has been a
sprinkle of rain, but the sun is now shining. We drink a cup of tea and
nibble at a roll, but are too excited to eat much. It is a dubious, an
apprehensive joy to ride with “Papa.” We are fearful of not acquitting
ourselves with distinction. Supposing our horses do anything unexpected,
anything wrong?

We go down to the Sand-Hof and mount, and ride slowly up and down
waiting. The lady in attendance on the Empress is already there, and a
good many adjutants, naval and military, in full-dress uniform. They all
come up and make polite observations to the Princess--flattering,
complimentary remarks such as elderly gentlemen are in the habit of
making to little girls. There is a great clattering of swords on the
flagged terrace, and presently out comes the Emperor in his gay Hussar
uniform. He bows and mounts, and those on horseback have to bring their
horses to the “front” as he passes. The Empress comes from another door,
is quickly in the saddle, and she and the Princess join the Emperor and
ride through the big gates on to the Mopke in line together. The guard
stands stiffly with presented arms as the cavalcade passes over the
wide drive into the beautiful avenue of trees under which we pass. The
attendant ladies and gentlemen have formed up into two rows behind Their
Majesties, while a group of grooms and minor officials ride in the rear.
It is a pretty sight, with the sunlight sending shafts of gold from the
accoutrements, and lighting up the gay uniforms and trappings of the

As we pass our schoolroom window I perceive the _Ober-Gouvernante_
standing there, and it suddenly strikes me--I had quite forgotten for
the time--that we are due to begin lessons at eight o’clock and it is
now a quarter to. Appalling thought! Well, we shall obviously not be
there. I dismiss any misgivings as I realize the rapture expressed in
the Princess’s back; and when for an instant we have a chance of speech
together, I carefully refrain from mentioning the tutor and the vacant

The line of waiting guns on the artillery field drawn by funny little
rough Siberian ponies, who look very strong and unkempt and are driven
by men in khaki, strike the Princess as something very unusual. From
babyhood she has been familiar with troops on parade in their gayest,
most expensive, least practical uniforms, or with troops at manœuvres
on the march, dusty and sunburned and travel-stained; but never before
has she seen men stripped of the superfluities of the barrack-room,
prepared simply for the grim realities of war in a far-away country. All
the beautiful reds and blues left at home, the shining guns painted
khaki-colour, the men in loose almost ill-fitting garments sitting on
these queer little horses. It is very unfamiliar--almost unnatural. The
fine young commanding officer makes his report to the Emperor. The
horses have only been a fortnight under training, but already acquit
themselves well and trot and gallop past in an exemplary manner at the
word of command. The little ceremony is soon over, the small group cheer
their Majesties heartily, and as the Emperor departs he calls out
“_Adieu, Kameraden_,” and as with one voice they answer “_Adieu,
Majestät_.” We leave them standing on the sky-line, brave, plucky youths
burning with zeal and patriotism. They fade into the blue background;
and while the Emperor and Empress prolong their ride a little farther,
the Princess and I trot the nearest way home to those deserted lessons.

The gardens of the Neues Palais are separated only by a slender railing
from those of the small Palace of Sans Souci, notable as the residence
of Frederick the Great. On the hill behind the Palace, almost
over-shadowing it, stands the famous windmill, the centre of certain
legendary and probably apocryphal tales. The Palace of Sans Souci and
its beautiful grounds--called the Neuer Garten--remain always open to
the public, and on Sundays they are crowded with tourists and visitors
from the surrounding neighbourhood. It is the day when the big fountains
play, one of them decorated with flowers, seen dimly through the falling
water; the day when their Majesties are sure to drive or walk through
the gardens to the Garrison Church, which they usually attend in
Potsdam, where Frederick the Great lies buried. Still more it is the day
when with good luck the Princess may be seen driving with her Turkish
ponies. For it must be realized that Germany--not possessing an early
closing day or a Saturday half-holiday--spends its Sunday afternoons for
all its Protestantism in the pure pursuit of pleasure. Extra trains,
extra steamboats, extra trams are run, the open-air restaurants do a
roaring trade, every public garden, every road is overrun with
perspiring families, and with soldiers walking out with stodgy-looking
maid-servants in tartan blouses and tight green cotton gloves.

On Sunday the Princess and Prince Joachim entertain their small friends
to tea and supper. First of all they take them for a drive somewhere in
the neighbourhood, to the huge delight of the tourists, who shriek and
cheer and wave pocket-handkerchiefs and rush apoplectically, with the
greatest risk to their health, from remote corners of the Neuer Garten,
scudding, these fat fathers and mothers, in their hot Sunday clothes
along the sandy walks, yelling breathlessly to each other “_Die
Prinzessin! Die kleine Prinzessin. Ach! wie niedlich!_” They are
enraptured with the lovely ponies and the blue-lined victoria and the
little fair-haired Princess, who usually has two friends stuffed tightly
in besides her, while a carriage follows with some more, and Prince
Joachim has his cartload of boys.

It was remarkable that, however much we attempted to let the boys play
by themselves and keep the girls to purely feminine amusements, it
invariably ended in the amalgamation of the two parties; that the
running and jumping, the gymnastics over the parallel bars, the games of
hide-and-seek were always keener and swifter when the Princess was
taking part. There were few boys who could beat her at that age in
running or jumping, and when the Prince’s Governor jeered at a boy for
behaving like a _Mädchen_, it was easy to retort that one _Mädchen_
could out-jump and out-run all his boys, and that he had better speak
more respectfully in future of the sex.



Shortly after our return to the Neues Palais a small
niece of the Empress, the child of her sister the Duchess of
Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, came to spend a week or two
with her cousin. Her visit marked the last expiring effort of the
Princess to take an interest in her dolls, of which she possessed many
very beautiful specimens.

But though she was an amused spectator of the unflinching realism with
which Princess May--an inventive child whose doll-children suffered many
and varied experiences--shaped the fragments of her dream of human life,
the stormy cross-channel journeys, the illnesses and cheerful funerals
of her large family, it was plain to see that she was not in any sense a
real partaker in the small comedies and dramas.

Live animals had always from babyhood been her great passion. On dogs
and horses she lavished all the superfluous affection of her heart.
Dolls had never been to her more than a transitory amusement, thrust on
her by other people rather than chosen by herself. She was exceedingly
hurt at receiving one the following Christmas, sent by an affectionate
but injudicious aunt. It nerved her to make a clean sweep of the whole
lot, and they were divided among various children’s hospitals. The
Empress sighed over this further emancipation of her small daughter, but
saw its inevitability.

About this time the Emperor, who was staying a few days at Cadinen, his
country house in East Prussia, where he carries out farming operations
on a large scale, sent the Princess a present after her own heart--a
tiny dimpled pigling of tender years. From my bedroom window I suddenly
caught sight of this infant swine as, looking newly scrubbed and washed,
with a bit of blue ribbon tied round the tender curve of his tail, he
sprinted across the Hof pursued by several footmen and the two
Princesses, who had decreed that exercise must be necessary for him
after his cramping railway journey in a tiny crate. Viewing his innocent
infantine chubbiness as he darted between the legs of the pursuing
lackeys, even the sentries on duty were forced to relax their military
sternness and smile at his baby antics as he rushed about, evading
capture for a time.

The Princess was charmed with “Papa’s _Scherkel_,” and rather annoyed at
not being allowed to have him in her own rooms; but he was comfortably
installed in the stable at Lindstedt, a villa belonging to the Emperor
standing close to the gate of the Neues Palais, where, being a pig of
placid disposition, he put on flesh at a rapid rate, quickly losing the
innocent gaiety of his early days, and developed weight and fatness day
by day, so that towards Christmas the usual tragic fate of pigs befell
him. His mistress suffered no sentimental regrets with regard to his
death, eating without a qualm the savoury sausages he provided and
retaining a grateful memory of the nice sum he brought her--for
naturally, although she never paid for his keep, she demanded and
received the sum for which the butcher purchased his remains.

“I wish Papa would give me another pig,” she has been heard to sigh when
money was scarce. “He was so useful.”

But no other pig arrived. He remained the first and last of his tribe.

The Duchess of Albany and her daughter Princess Alice (now Princess
Alexander of Teck) were for a short time living in Potsdam, while the
young Duke of Coburg, the son of the Duchess, was undergoing his year of
military training. He afterwards went as a student to Bonn at the same
time as the Crown Prince and Prince Fritz--and eventually married the
eldest sister of little Princess May of Glucksburg, while her second
sister, Princess Alexandra, married her cousin Prince August Wilhelm,
the fourth son of the Emperor.

Princess Alice of Albany and her mother were great favourites at the
Neues Palais, and frequently visited the Empress. One day they were
invited to meet her at the Marmor Palais, the palace formerly occupied
by Their Majesties when they were first married, before their accession
to the throne. It had remained empty since that time, though now
occupied when they are in Potsdam by the Crown Prince and Princess and
their family of little boys.

Beautifully situated about two miles away from the Neues Palais, on the
border of a lake (the _Heiligen-See_), it was there that the Empress
passed the happiest years of her married life, and that most of her
children were born. She always revisited it with much pleasure mingled
with many regrets.

A large party of children had been invited, as it was the Princess’s
birthday; and after playing madly about in the garden, they all had tea
in the big marble dining-room which overlooked the lake, where swans
were sailing majestically up and down the clear blue water. After tea
Princess Alice invented a delightful new game for the children. The idea
was to put on the enormous felt slippers provided for the boots of the
tourists who come to inspect the palace, so that they may not scratch
the beautifully polished inlaid parquet floors; and when everybody had
stuck their feet into these enormous over-shoes, they began skating
madly after each other, headed by Princess Alice, rushing round and
round the various salons which opened out of each other, so that they
could keep up the race without interruption. The sight of so many rather
small people with such disproportionately large feet tearing after each
other at break-neck speed was irresistibly comic, and the Empress and
the Duchess were convulsed with laughter. It was rather a violent game
for a warm September day, but when they grew tired of it they still
played, with the greatest energy, musical chairs, post, and blind man’s
buff, the sun pouring gaily in at the windows all the time.

A month or so after this party took place, about the middle of November,
the weather suddenly changed. It began to freeze hard, and for six weeks
there was ice everywhere, and everybody was able to indulge in skating.

When the lessons were over we used to jump into a carriage with our
skates and were driven to Charlotten-Hof, a small palace in the park of
Sans Souci, where was a large sheet of water now converted into the most
beautiful black ice. Nobody was particularly expert on skates, but all
were keen to learn; and the Princess and Prince Joachim, after a great
many tumbles, managed to get along at a good pace, though their style
was hardly of the best. The weather kept beautifully clear, with very
little snow, and there were some very merry skating parties, including
the late Sir Robert Collins, gentleman-in-waiting to the Duchess of
Albany, a very graceful expert performer on the ice, and Lady Collins,
who like the rest of us did not skate very well, but perseveringly kept
on trying. The Governor of the Prince made many attempts to learn, but
never got much farther than an ungainly shuffle, for which he always
apologized, saying that at any rate it kept him from freezing.

Sometimes the Crown Prince would bring a few of his friends to play
hockey, but as no one knew much about rules it was rather a wild and
dangerous game.

The most uncomfortable moments spent on the slippery surface, however,
were those when the Emperor in his warm grey cavalry cloak, surrounded
by a party of adjutants and officers, was seen wending his way in our
direction. Inexpert performers realized the extreme risk of trying to
bow to Majesty on skates, and invariably fled to the shelter of a small
island covered with bushes which was in one corner of the lake.

Misfortunes in the way of tumbles caused an unholy joy in the Emperor’s
heart. It pleased him to see people lose their dignity; and on one
occasion, when Princess Alice and I, skating with great dash and
confidence hand-in-hand, came after a convulsive flounder to a sudden
fall, the Imperial laughter floated most whole-heartedly and derisively
over our prostrate bodies.

Ladders and ropes were always laid ready on the bank in case of
accident; and one afternoon when Prince Oscar was with us--having come
over from Ploen for a few days--he and the Princess decided to practise
a little life-saving. I on my skates represented to the best of my
ability the victim of an ice catastrophe, lying down and clutching at
the rope, which after many misdirected efforts they managed to throw in
my direction; but when it came to pulling me out, although I was not
_in_, but already _on_ the surface of the ice, their well-meant
endeavours only resulted in themselves being dragged backwards
accompanied by shrieks of laughter, while I remained exactly where I had
been before. Somebody must have mentioned this attempt to the Emperor,
for the next day when he came to the ice he wanted to know how I liked
being “rescued.”

“They didn’t rescue me one inch, Your Majesty,” I was obliged to reply;
“I should have been drowned ten times over.”

He chuckled very much over this failure to pull me along, and would, I
am sure, have liked to see the experiment repeated in his presence.

“And you so thin and light!” he laughed as he departed.

Another game of hockey was played one afternoon, but not this time on
the ice. Five of the princes took part in it--the Crown Prince and
Prince Fritz captaining their respective sides. It was a wild, weird
game. The Princess after many entreaties had been allowed to play “for a
short time” on Prince Fritz’s side, together with a few young officers,
the French teacher of Prince Joachim, and a Kammer-Herr of Her Majesty,
who thought he would like to take part in the game. He said later that
it was the first and last time he ever played or desired to play hockey.

The game took place on the broad drive in front of the Palace, and the
only rule which guided it was a feverish desire on everybody’s part to
send the ball into the opposite goal. There was no referee, no off-side,
nobody was more of a “forward” than a “back,” and anybody kept goal who
happened to be near enough to it; but the play was permeated by a fine
and splendid enthusiasm which atoned for many shortcomings. The German
sporting instinct was there sure enough, undeveloped and somewhat
dormant it may be, but none the less ready to germinate under favourable
conditions. Some players emerged rather battered from the fray. The
French tutor had fallen and scraped his chin on the gravel, the
Kammer-Herr had, as the result of a blow, a swollen knuckle which kept
him company some weeks, while Prince Oscar limped slightly for the rest
of the day.

One of the tiresome ceremonies incident to royal existence is the
incessant turning out of the guard whenever any one of royal or princely
blood emerges into view of the sentry. This became especially worrying
when the children happened to wander about backwards and forwards
between the two “Hofs.” One heard a clatter of bootsoles as the
soldiers, perhaps in the middle of eating their soup, rushed out, seized
their weapons from the rack where they stood, and formed up in line in
stiff military attitudes presenting arms at the word of command. It was
usual for the Governor of Prince Joachim, who was himself a Captain in
the army, to give a signal to the guard that these honours were for the
nonce in abeyance, or the Princess or Prince--if they remembered--might
do the same.

In the first week of her visit, Princess May of Glucksburg, who was
running about between the Mopke and the Kleiner Hof, noticed the unusual
restlessness of the guard, who were in and out of the guard-house every
five minutes or less; but it was some time before she connected their
movements with herself, being absorbed in giving “Jacky,” the Princess’s
dog, a ride in a small hand-cart. She had hitherto led a quiet life in
the ancestral Schloss away in the country, untrammelled by guards or
sentries of any kind.

When she realized that these honours were being lavished on her own
small person, and that she ought to have waved her finger backwards and
forwards at the soldiers in sign of dismissal, she was much abashed,
and as she was far too shy to shake her finger at any one, preferred to
choose a more retired spot in which to play.

Besides the Turkish ponies before mentioned, the Prince and Princess
possessed two very small mouse-coloured Sicilian donkeys given to them
by the King of Italy, each of which drew a small Sicilian cart, painted
in gay colours with scenes from the lives of the saints. These animals
wore red brass-studded harness, and nodding plumes made of cock-feathers
dyed crimson waved from their heads. They made a very pretty picture as
they ambled one behind the other over the wide Mopke, and often when
children were invited to spend the afternoon the donkey-carts were
requisitioned. They were a continual source of joy to small visitors and
of acute anxiety to those in charge; for in spite of their innocent
looks and their small size, the donkeys were the least docile animals
that could be imagined, and as the carts were rather small and
top-heavy, there was constant danger of an upset. Sometimes the donkeys,
after a spell of good behaviour, would start running away, or suddenly
make preparations to lie down, the children falling out of the cart like
a small avalanche. After the animals had taken a short rest--for nothing
would make them get up before they felt inclined--they would start
merrily off again, and the Governor and I, who were too heavy for the
carts, had to keep on running after them, “faint yet pursuing,” be the
weather as hot as it might.

The way those beasts whizzed the carts round corners on only one wheel
was nothing short of phenomenal, and they possessed a diabolical
strength which set at naught any efforts of the groom who was supposed
to control them in case of need. One day the little terrier “Jacky” took
it into his head to bite one of the donkeys, who immediately went
helter-skelter over the flower-beds, dragging the empty cart behind him
as well as the unlucky stable-man who happened to be holding the reins
and fell down at an early stage of the proceedings. Fortunately it
happened in a small enclosed garden surrounded by high hedges, but it
might have been a serious business if one or two soldiers had not
happened to be passing and helped us to restrain the donkey, who kicked
and capered and waltzed over the rose-bushes, jerking the man after him,
his face cut, his clothes torn, while the iniquitous “Jacky,” delighted
at the performance, raged round in a frenzy of barking, doing all he
could to urge the poor terrified donkey to fresh efforts.

Happily, when the long-expected accident arrived, it happened under Her
Majesty’s immediate notice, so that she was at once convinced of the
danger to the children of these ill-trained little creatures, and
ordered that they should never appear again. They were sent to the
country and employed on the land in regular work, which was what they
needed. The Princess was the one who suffered, being tipped out of the
cart and sustaining a rather severe cut on her knee, involving a three
days’ suspension of lessons and complete repose of the injured
limb--rather a severe trial for such an active child.

In wet or frosty weather, the rides in the forest had to be given up,
and we were forced to take horse-exercise in the _Reit-Bahn_ or big
covered riding-school attached to the Royal Mews or _Marstall_. A layer
of sawdust covered the floor of the _Bahn_, and our _Sattel-Meister_,
Herr Casper, professed himself delighted to have the opportunity of
furthering our equestrian education. We took lessons in making “voltes”
and circles at the word of command, in “passaging”; we galloped and
trotted and enjoyed ourselves immensely, while the rain beat outside or
the snow fell in thick flurries. The _Bahn_ was furnished with mirrors
in which we could get glimpses of ourselves as we cantered past.
Sometimes the Empress and one of her ladies also rode with us. Her
Majesty is very fond of horse exercise, and though not enamoured of
cross-country riding, still enjoys a good stretching canter.

Nowhere are there better opportunities for this than in the
neighbourhood of Potsdam. Every road, with its beautiful row of trees on
either hand, possesses a carefully kept sandy riding-track on one side.
Then there are immense woods and the Government forest, all unenclosed,
and unfenced fields where one can canter to heart’s desire along
excellent riding-paths. The whole of Central Germany, more especially
the Mark Brandenburg, in which Berlin and Potsdam are situated, is one
vast plain of light sandy soil, made exceedingly fertile by “intensive”
cultivation. Watered by the river Havel, a tributary of the Elbe, which
expands into five great lakes surrounding the town, Potsdam is, as
Carlyle calls it, an “intricate amphibious region,” more water than
land, partaking, though a peninsula, of the nature of an island. Its
inhabitants indulge largely in swimming and boating on the placid waters
which run up into the streets in irregular creeks and bays. Great beds
of rushes skirt the borders of the lakes, while the thick forest comes
down to the water’s edge.

The town itself is picturesque and old-fashioned, with cobbled roads
extremely painful to walk upon. Many of its houses were built in the
time of Frederick the Great and inhabited by his marshals and generals.
Its streets have a somnolent old-world air, and its society is very
aristocratic and exclusive, containing as it does the cream of Prussian
Junkerdom. Several younger sons of princely houses, officers in the
crack regiments of the guards, live with their wives and children in
Potsdam. Occasionally, on wet Sundays, some of these little princes and
princesses came to spend the afternoon, and “Mimi Hohenzollern,” now
married to King Manoel of Portugal, was a fairly frequent guest. One
dull November Sunday evening we had an unusual number of children--about
twenty--some of them quite small and rather an anxiety, for the nurses
and governesses who accompanied them were sent to wait downstairs,
while Herr Schmidt in charge of the boys and myself in charge of the
little girls were left to cope with all these rather lively young
people. They played after tea at circus in the big Turn-Saal at the top
of the Palace, where there was plenty of room to romp about, and were
just pondering what the next game should be, when Herr Schmidt, inspired
by some imp of malice, made the suggestion that they should all go to
the theatre in the dark.

The private theatre of the Neues Palais, built by Frederick the Great
for the representation of French plays, was situated in the farthest
wing of the castle, the way to it lying through chilly, unlit, unwarmed
passages. The whole horde of children--hopeful scions of princely houses
whose names, though unknown in England, permeate the “Almanac de Gotha,”
and occasionally emerge into prominence in connection with some royal or
imperial marriage--were rushing like the Gadarene swine towards certain
destruction. Those slippery marble staircases! Those shallow
balustrades! The darkness and the cold! Terrible “_Schnupfen_"--the
devastating colds with which in a steam-heated country one is eternally
warring--would be the least evil that could possibly happen to them.

Herr Schmidt, like an overgrown schoolboy, was laughing gleefully at the

Fortunately they were stopped at the next staircase, where the faint
gleam of a lamp served to show the black shadows of the descent, and
were brought back, much disappointed, to play a “humdrum game,” as the
Princess called it, of hide-and-seek.

The Emperor to his sons was stern enough, and saw that Prince Joachim
was shortly despatched to join his brothers at school in Ploen, but
towards his little daughter he allowed himself, perhaps unconsciously,
to be somewhat lenient.

Her bright alert intelligence evidently responded to something in
himself; her constantly exhibited affection, her love for his society
flattered him irresistibly, as they would any father in the world. He
wrote long letters to her when away, sent her picture-postcards and
small trifling presents from places where he was staying. Her first
letter to him in English was something of an event, written with the
greatest care and after much anxious consultation with me as to the
intricacies of “that awful English spelling.” It received an immediate
and flattering reply, also in English.

“Papa was delighted with my letter,” she said, her face glowing with

On every possible opportunity the Emperor liked to have his daughter
with him; would seize and carry her off, sticking her bodkin-wise in the
carriage between himself and the Empress. He never troubled much if she
missed a few lessons. He was no believer in higher education for women.

One afternoon, on a birthday or some other anniversary, the band of the
Potsdam Guards had been ordered to perform at the Palace, and as, owing
to the heavy rain, they were not able to remain outside on the terrace,
they were installed in the large Marmor Saal, where they played before
the Emperor and Empress.

His Majesty stood alone in front of the band for some time, moving his
body and limbs in time to the music, while the Princess and Prince
Joachim, at a distance of a few yards, were doing the same thing, all
three wriggling the left leg in time together and looking rather like
marionettes jerked by a string.

The bandmaster continued gravely to beat time, when suddenly His Majesty
made a sign to one of his adjutants, who immediately handed him a
conductor’s baton, and the Emperor began to assist to conduct, while the
two children, each raising a forefinger, did their little best also to

Some members of the band looked a little surprised at having no less
than four conductors and four different time-beats to follow, but after
a time they settled down again, and keeping their eyes firmly fixed on
the music, played triumphantly to the end.

His Majesty has not a highly cultivated taste in music. He likes
something military in style, with well-marked time and rhythm, and
Wagner makes no appeal to his tastes.

His patronage of the art has been singularly unfortunate, and all the
operatic pieces to which he has stood godfather are always played to
very thin houses. He comforts himself by inveighing against the want of
musical taste shown by Berlin audiences. The critics treat these pieces
with contempt, ignoring their existence, and the newspapers publish a
bare announcement that they have been performed, and make no further

Within the last two years the Emperor has had an Opera constructed as a
setting for various dances performed in Corfu by the peasants there. At
great expense the Director of the Opera-House has had to send
professionals to study the various dances on the spot, to copy the
Corfiote costumes, and to paint the scenery of the island. But
transplanted from Corfu and its picturesque surroundings to the Berlin
Opera-stage, these dances appear excessively dull and meaningless, and
are not in the least redeemed by the accompanying music founded on
ancient Greek melodies.

This opera was played before King George and Queen Mary on the last
evening of their stay in Berlin, two days after the wedding of the
Emperor’s daughter.

None of the children of the Kaiser, with the exception of the Crown
Prince, who learned to play the violin fairly well, have ever mastered
any musical instrument. For some years the Princess made strenuous
efforts to learn the piano, but in spite of her love of music she was
never able to play even the simplest piece approximately correctly.
Various professors of the art came and went--came with the joyous glow
caused by the honour of teaching royalty, only to retire baffled after
a few lessons.

At last, when the Princess was about fourteen, she gave up the unequal
contest, and refused to waste more time in efforts to attain the

Occasionally she has been heard to reproach any of her companions who
had no yearnings after musical instruction.

“You don’t want to learn the piano? But supposing you happen to marry a
musical husband, whatever should you do if you couldn’t play to him?”

“Well, he would probably be happier if I didn’t play to him,” replied
one child of conspicuous good sense.

This observation helped the Princess to realize that piano playing of
the baser sort was not a necessary ingredient of happy matrimony, and
she shortly afterwards renounced further ambitions in that direction.

Nor in the domain of painting and drawing, though fond of both, did she
accomplish anything noteworthy, as she did not possess the necessary
perseverance and patience, and was always too eager to arrive at the
effect; so that her pictures, like her music, always promised something
that was never realized. For outdoor sketching she professed a great
affection, but it was probably the “outdoorness” more than the sketching
that she really loved.

As a child, animals, particularly horses, were her great passion, and
she paid many Sunday afternoon visits to Busch’s Circus in Berlin, where
a large party of little boys and girls were also invited to fill up the
royal box.

The Berlin populace who crowd the Circus on Sundays were delighted to
see the “_Kleine Prinzessin_,” as they loved to call her, enjoying
herself in their midst.

Tea was always served after the performance in the flower-bedecked room
behind the box, where the _Herr Cirkus-Direktor_ appeared in his dress
suit to receive the thanks and congratulations of the Princess, who
asked interested questions about the performing horses and told him how
beautifully her own little Arab mare could do the “Spanish trot.” She
enjoyed these circus performances and the sawdust and smells, and the
faces of the good Berliners turned as one man towards the royal box in
the intervals. Then there was the return to the station through the big
Sunday crowd along the Linden, where the people stood patiently waiting
to see the carriages pass, waving pocket-handkerchiefs and bowing, and
shouting “_Hoch lebe die kleine Prinzessin_,” and wearing those
expansive smiles, all of the same width and pattern, to which one soon
grew accustomed as part of the Sunday performance.

And if it was not the circus then it was the theatre--_Wilhelm Tell_ or
_Wallenstein_, or sometimes on special occasions even the Opera. It is
not known at what age the Princess was first introduced to Opera, but it
must have been at a very early one. She was quite an old _habituée_ when
I first knew her.

When Beerbohm Tree came with his company to Berlin for a week or ten
days, to show the Germans something about stage-management, the Empress
wished the Princess to see the English actor, but feared there was
nothing very suitable in his _répertoire_. However, after carefully
re-reading _Richard II_ she decided that it was a very suitable play for
stimulating historical interest, and the Princess, to her joy,
accompanied Their Majesties. She was delighted with Miss Viola Tree,
who, as the Queen, came riding on to the stage on a gallant white horse
in gorgeous trappings--one that belonged to the royal stables and had
often eaten sugar from the Princess’s hand. She saw Beerbohm Tree as
Richard II dying in his dungeon, and was able next day to reproduce
exactly his words, his gestures, even the peculiar characteristic tones
of his voice, for she had great gifts of mimicry, and her talent ranged
from the imitation of the antics of “Sally,” the pet chimpanzee of the
Berlin “Zoo,” to the dignified gestures of a Julius Cæsar.

Beerbohm Tree’s stay in Berlin must have been fraught to him with
peculiar anxiety, for on the Sunday (when he gave two performances) all
his German scene-shifters deserted him to go to the funeral of a notable
Socialist, and he was left to grapple as he could with the situation.
There were terribly long waits between the scenes of _Antony and
Cleopatra_, at which Their Majesties were present, and once the curtain
went up prematurely, revealing British stage-carpenters among the
splendours of ancient Egypt.

The visits of the Princess to the theatre often involved the “Intendant”
or Director in some anxiety, as he was asked by the Empress to select
some play which would be, if not suitable, at least inoffensive: for on
this point the Empress was very particular. One Director, wishing to
please in this respect, had struck out of the piece the only line he
could find capable of offence, but was assured by one of His Majesty’s
adjutants that there was another part which he was certain ought to be
slightly altered, though he couldn’t quite recollect where it came in.
The unfortunate Director spent every spare moment up to the performance
trying to run to ground the objectionable lines, but never was able to
find them, as they did not exist, and had only been suggested to him out
of “pure cussedness” by the wicked adjutant in question, who chuckled
with unholy pleasure at the success of his little joke--especially when
he found two of the court ladies feverishly searching the pages of their
Schiller with the hope of helping the Director in his quest.

The Berlin Opera House, which stands only a few yards from the Royal
Schloss, was built by Frederick the Great, and though a fine building,
is hardly up-to-date in its accommodation for either performers or
audience. After the terrible theatre-fire in Chicago where, for want of
adequate exits, many lives were lost, very hideous iron staircases were
constructed outside it by order of the Emperor; and these, while giving
perhaps some additional sense of security to the audience, altogether
spoil the appearance of the building--which His Majesty is anxious to
replace by a new one constructed on modern lines in a style of
architecture suitable to its surroundings.

A Berlin Opera audience is not conspicuous for smartness, and a few
years ago morning blouses and tweed skirts, with a pair of rather weary
white kid gloves, were considered by the ladies as quite sufficient for
the _Parkett_ (stalls); but by dint of special orders from the Emperor
and the example of a few well-known ladies a decided improvement in
dress is now observable. Officers in their uniforms are plentifully
besprinkled among the audience, as they can get tickets at reduced

Whenever the Emperor’s presence is announced beforehand, no one is
admitted who is not in evening dress. This order was for a time not
strictly enforced, and a good proportion of the audience even after
repeated warnings habitually ignored it; but on one occasion all whose
dress did not come up to the required standard--ladies whose gown was
not _ausgeschnitten_, men who had omitted to put on the regulation
suit--were politely but firmly refused admission and advised to go home
again and change! There was much anger and heart-burning, but no one now
fails to obey the imperial mandate.

On the Emperor’s birthday, and when the visits of foreign potentates
take place, no tickets are sold and the seats are occupied entirely by
guests invited by His Majesty. A splendidly brilliant spectacle is
presented on these occasions. The whole house is decorated with wreaths
of flowers, the _Parkett_ filled entirely with the gentlemen of the
Diplomatic Corps, Ambassadors and envoys from the remotest parts of the
world. Chinese mandarins in yellow silk robes, wearing peacocks’
feathers in their caps, Turks and Egyptians in red fezes, all mingle
with the uniforms of every existing army into a wonderful mass of
scintillating colour. The ladies on these occasions are seated in the
dress circle, in a line with the Royal Box which is crowded with
princely personages.

Before the entrance of the Emperor and Empress the Intendant of the
Theatre in full uniform comes to the front of the box and taps loudly
three times on the floor with his wand of office, and at once that queer
gabbling jargon of incoherent sound which rises from a crowd of people
talking together is suddenly hushed into a complete silence, in which
Their Majesties with their guests slowly advance, bow to the audience
and take their places.

I invariably received a ticket for a stage box on these occasions, the
best possible place for an uninterrupted view of the house.

From this point of vantage at different times I saw many notable royal
personalities, among others the late King Edward with Queen Alexandra,
who visited Berlin the year before the King’s death. The performance on
these occasions was always short and not too absorbing, and on King
Edward’s visit the spectacular play of _Sardanapalus_ was given, which
strictly speaking is hardly to be classed with opera at all, consisting
as it does of a series of splendid pictures interspersed with songs. The
last scene of all is a very realistic and vivid representation of the
funeral pyre of Sardanapalus, whither slaves bring all the treasures of
the house to be consumed by the fire, which, beginning with little
licking tongues of flame, soon spreads to a wide and vivid blaze, in
which Sardanapalus and all his household perish.

At the moment before the curtain finally descends the whole stage has
the appearance of a glowing furnace threaded with leaping flames and
rolling billows of smoke.

King Edward, being very tired with his hard day’s work in Berlin, had
indulged in a short nap during the scene, and woke to consciousness at
the moment of most intense conflagration, when he was for a few moments
much excited and alarmed, believing that the fire was real and wondering
why the firemen stationed at the wings had not yet become active. With
some difficulty the Empress managed to convince him that there was no



Christmas at Court, as elsewhere, was a time of jubilant festivity
preceded by long weeks of hard work and preparation. As the Princess
herself remarked, “one never dare sit down and think for a minute
without a piece of work in one’s hand.”

Somewhere about the middle of November, or even earlier, was the great
time in Berlin for charity bazaars, which the Court ladies assiduously
attended, making large purchases of clothing on behalf of Her Majesty. I
often accompanied one of them to the various big shops of Berlin, and
gasped at the prompt and wholesale manner of her orders--fifteen
cushions and twenty-five photograph frames being selected in as many
seconds, together with other objects in like proportion.

Enormous bales of goods began to arrive, and were placed in the _Marmor
Saal_, a splendid apartment which was used on great occasions for the
entertainment of royal guests, but in the weeks before Christmas took on
a more homely human aspect, being piled up with warm garments of every
description, heaps of toys, books, almanacks, cakes of soap, boots and

Every man, woman and child having any connection with the royal estates
in Cadinen, Hubertus-stock, Rominten, Neues Palais or Berlin was
remembered, and the work involved in choosing their various gifts was
always personally superintended and shared by Her Majesty, the Princess
and the ladies of the Court. I can still feel in my nose the
disagreeable tingle, analogous to a mild form of hay fever, caused by
the fluffiness of those multitudinous piles of flannelette garments,
thick woolly stockings and socks which I helped to sort and count. The
_Inspektor_ (agent) or clergyman of every district had to furnish a list
of every family in it, with the name and age of each member of it
accurately inscribed. Everybody received one garment at least, together
with a toy (if a child), a book, a text, and one or two packages of
_Pfeffer-Kuchen_. Each bundle was tied up separately with pink or blue
tape, and labelled with the name of the person for whom it was intended,
together with the list of gifts.

Often there were families of nine or ten children, and nearly every year
one more infant was added to their list. The Empress when distributing
the cakes of soap would relate how the good peasants at first preferred
to keep them as souvenirs rather than use them for their legitimate
purpose, bringing them out with pride to show to Her Majesty a year or
so later, carefully wrapped up and put away.

One of those persons whose idea of the German Empress is that she spends
her life in a series of domestic duties once sent for her acceptance a
small parcel, together with the following letter:



     “May it please your Majesty. I crave your Majesty’s patronage,
     hailing from the Emerald Isle: the enclose (_sic_) cover for
     painting arranging china is procurable in any shade of linen. I
     have the honour to remain with the profoundest veneration,

     “Your Majesty’s most dutiful servant,

“JAMES BARKER (Belfast)”

The “enclose cover” was a green apron with a nice large pocket in what
is called, I believe, “art shade,” but as such gifts are never accepted
without payment it was put on one side with the idea of being returned.
Her Majesty, however, happening to need something as a protection for
her dress when handling the before-mentioned fluffy garments, found that
the green apron supplied a distinct want, and it was worn every day by
the Empress for the next few weeks. Obviously “James Barker,” even if
his literary style was not of the highest order, had an instinct for
supplying the right thing at the right moment. The “Irish apron” was the
subject of constant praise, and during “the wearin’ o’ the green” Her
Majesty frequently expressed her appreciation of its practical utility.
It was, I believe, the only apron Her Majesty ever wore.

To the Princess personally, the approach of Christmas was a serious time
for many reasons, chiefly financial. Until she was seventeen she
received only a personal allowance of five marks a month, out of which
she was supposed to buy her own stamps and to spare a Sunday
contribution towards the collection. It may perhaps be a breach of
confidence to reveal that this contribution was never allowed to exceed
ten pfennigs, amounting to one penny in English coin; and I can never
forget the look of sorrowful indignation when I tendered to her one day
in chapel, out of pure inadvertence, the smallest silver coin of German
currency, a fifty-pfennig-piece, worth a little less than sixpence. She
had to put it in the plate, but absolutely refused to refund me the
excess value.

“How am I to buy my stamps when you are so reckless?” she demanded when
outside the chapel door.

The balancing of her small accounts was always fraught with many sighs
and groans.

“Always thirty-five pfennigs too little,” she would announce as she drew
the final double line. She had the greatest sympathy with Mr. Micawber
when we read “David Copperfield” together, and agreed heartily with his
dictum that, given an income of twenty pounds a year, the spending of
nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence would result in
happiness, but that if the expenditure reached twenty pounds and
sixpence it would spell misery. So that as soon as Christmas began to
loom in the distance there were many anxious consultations as to how to
obtain the necessary presents for her various relations. Of course “Papa
and Mamma” had to have something very special and individual worked by
herself--anything bought ready-made in a shop was not to be thought of.

“Cushions and lampshades seem to be the only things one can make
oneself,” said the Princess disconsolately, “and Mamma has twenty-four
lampshades already and dozens and dozens of cushions. We must think of
something cheap too. I’m so awfully poor.”

Year after year this problem re-emerged. Fortunately the powers that
controlled the purse-strings decreed that all materials for presents
should be bought out of the Princess’s own money, but that in the matter
of “making up” the exchequer would provide the needful funds.

So the harassed child was forced into the manufacture of those articles
which are cheap in the initial outlay but rather expensive to complete,
such as slippers, worked picture-frames, cushions, and so on.

One Christmas, at an acute crisis when for some reason the list of
presents expanded to twenty-eight, the advent into fashion of
ribbon-work saved her from despair. She begged some odd pieces of silk
and brocade from Her Majesty’s workroom for the purpose of making glove
and handkerchief sachets. Ribbon-work is, as everyone knows who has done
it, capable, especially the broad kind, of making the maximum of effect
with the minimum of effort. So while I hastily sketched simple but
pleasing designs of apple-blossom or violets on the corners of
everything, the Princess sat and worked feverishly. She was an
indefatigable and rapid needlewoman--perhaps a little too rapid to be
very accurate--and got through a tremendous amount of work, sticking to
it hour after hour if the occasion demanded it and any one would read to
her. To this day certain portions of “Kidnapped” or “Hereward” seem
inextricably interwoven in my mind with the sound of those long-drawn
gay ribbons and an intensely absorbed face surrounded by tumbled golden
hair, bending in the lamplight over her self-imposed task.

Sometimes the Princess and Prince Joachim when they were sitting in the
evening with the Empress would both be working at the very Christmas
present destined for her, and she was therefore bound, under
often-reiterated promises, to ignore what they were doing and to turn
her eyes conscientiously in another direction. Her Majesty often
laughingly complained of the suspicions they both harboured as to her
integrity in this matter. They would erect newspaper screens around
themselves and their occupations, and if the screens fell down, as
frequently happened, then “Mamma” had to shut her eyes or turn away her
head until they were temporarily re-erected, only to fall down again in
another five minutes.

About three weeks or less before Christmas, a further inroad on our time
was made by the practice of carol-singing, which took place (on account
of the piano) in the salon of the Princess, leading out of that of the
_Ober-Gouvernante_. Every one of the ladies and gentlemen of the Palace
possessing the very faintest pretension to vocal ability was pressed
into the service, and the unfortunate _Hof-Prediger_ or Court Chaplain,
who undertook the herculean task of training this very scratch choir to
sing together in some kind of time and tune, was, especially as he was a
very musical man, much to be pitied; but with unfailing good-humour he
bravely battled with his task.

All the sons of the Emperor on leaving the University have homes and
households of their own provided in Potsdam, where they live until they
marry; and these Princes, with their adjutants, were invited to come
and help to swell the chorus, and, as they stayed in the Neues Palais
itself during Christmas week, were, although they grew a little restive
under the process, constantly summoned from their rooms for “one more

One of their adjutants was a great disappointment to us. We had built
great hopes upon him, as he had declared himself capable of singing
bass, but his idea was to boom out the air an octave below the treble,
which was of course very unsatisfactory.

By means of ceaseless drilling and practising the Princess and Prince
Joachim had been taught to sing alto; the _Hof-Prediger_ himself sang
tenor; and as the ladies managed the treble very well we had great hopes
of being able to perform _a capella_, that is without instrumental
accompaniment. But, however well we sang beforehand, at the critical
moment this design had always to be abandoned. Somebody had a cold, or
another was not sure of a C sharp, and most of us were frightfully
nervous, so that after much discussion and wrangling we invariably fell
back on the support of the piano.

These carols, _Stille Nacht_, _Kommet ihr Kinder_, and others were to be
performed first before the assembled maids, footmen and Jägers who came
to receive presents from Her Majesty, and afterwards before the Emperor
himself, so that we naturally were anxious to acquit ourselves as well
as possible.

All over Germany the _Bescherung_ or presentation of Christmas gifts
always takes place on Christmas Eve--_Weihnachts Abend_--usually in the

To understand something of the intensity to which at Christmas the
atmosphere can attain, one must be at that time in the Fatherland. A
good six weeks beforehand, those who happen to be near the railway line
may note the passing of luggage trains bearing nothing but small pine
trees--that is to say comparatively small for many are ten or twelve
feet high. They are the thinnings of the big pine forests of the
Thüringer-Wald, and come down daily to Berlin and the other large towns
to supply the wants of the dealers in such trees. Every public square
becomes a miniature pine-wood. Even the stringent police regulations are
relaxed for the time. In all the broad streets are dealers in trees,
sellers of toys, of _Pfeffer Kuchen_, of filigree ornaments, of
air-ships, toy flying-machines and other Christmas luxuries.

Travellers in the train can see depending by a string from the sill of
every window of those huge barrack-like flats which surround Berlin,
usually hanging upside down, the _Weihnachts-Baum_, the tree of promise,
which has to be kept in as out-of-door conditions as possible, or, being
cut off at the root, it would soon become dangerously dry if it were not
occasionally damped with the watering-can. It is safe to say that hardly
any house in Germany, whether the inhabitants be young or old, rich or
poor, is without its tiny tree at Christmas-tide. One sees them in
lonely signal-boxes on the railway, in poverty-stricken cottage windows,
in workshops, in barracks, in churches and chapels. There is a touching
and peculiar sentiment towards Christmas inherent in every German heart,
which makes the very scent of a burning pine branch, that aromatic smell
which pervades the air at this season, recall the old childish days, the
wonder and the glory of _Weihnachts-Glanz_.

So that everybody in the Neues Palais, wearing the slightly worried look
peculiar to the time, strains every nerve to add his or her quota to the
general _Weihnachts-stimmung_--or “Christmasmood.”

It is in the big _Muschel-Saal_ that the glory and brightness
concentrate. Here in this wonderful hall of shells the row of big
Christmas trees is arranged--one for every child of the Emperor, one for
His Majesty and the Empress, and another for the ladies-in-waiting, nine
trees in all, besides two for the servants’ distribution. In addition to
this every one must have a private tree. It would be a terrible thing to
find a single sitting-room without its little pine-tree and shining
tinsel ornaments.

The _Muschel-Saal_ occupies the centre of the Palace. On its walls are
every variety of shell, arranged in fantastic patterns--roses, stars,
and spirals of every kind--while the middle pillars are decorated with
specimens of various beautiful stone or marble in a kind of irregular
rockwork. Here are to be found large lumps of amber from the shores of
the Baltic Sea (one with a fly distinctly visible far below the
surface), pieces of blue lapis lazuli, green malachite, red jasper and
ringed onyx, alabaster, porphyry, quartz of every shape and colour,
irregular pieces all highly polished and set in cement on the massive
square pillars that uphold the roof. They sparkle in a thousand colours
under the wax lights of the candelabra and the twinkling tapers of the

These last are decorated almost entirely by the young princes and their
sister. Besides the candles they are hung with _Konfekt_, most delicious
chocolate rings covered with “hundreds and thousands.” Sometimes the
decorators take slight nibbles at broken pieces, and are sternly checked
for it by the others. Then plenty of silver “lametta” and
“angels’-hair,” filmy silvery threads giving an impression of
hoar-frost, are added, and a _Christbaum-Engel_ with wide-open wings or
a large silver star is put at the apex of each tree, which is then
firmly fixed in a large green-painted stand, specially made for its

The real business of _Bescherung_ begins already upon the day before
Christmas Eve, or even sooner. The Empress rushes from one _Kinder-heim_
to another, to hospitals and schools, putting in a few minutes here and
there, always with the same ready smile for every one, the same fresh
look of interest in the oft-repeated ceremony, the oft-sung carol. She
never tires of giving pleasure to others, and has little time to rest.
It is a very busy day, too, for the Princess, for all the morning she is
busy decorating a small tree for two needy


children--little girls who are chosen by the _Hof-Prediger_ with the
help of a deaconess who visits the poorer quarters of the town. These
two children with their mother or an elder sister are invited to come to
the Palace in the afternoon, where they are given coffee and cake in the
little kitchen of the _Prinzen-Wohnung_. Their ages are usually between
seven and nine, and they are often painfully shy, though there are
brilliant exceptions whose naturalness breaks through the artificial
barrier of onerous and excessive _Manieren_ imposed on them by anxious
relations imperfectly instructed in such things.

While they consume their coffee and cake, the Princess directs her
footman to draw down all the blinds of the big salon, so as to shut out
the two-o’clock winter daylight and create a proper background for the
twinkling lights on the tree, which are all reflected from the mirrors
of the room. On a table are spread out a complete suit of clothing for
each child, not excepting boots and stockings, a large basket of
provisions, containing among other things some of those famous German
sausages, _Leber-Wurst_ and _Blut-Wurst_, besides coffee, sugar,
_Pfeffer-Kuchen_ and other Christmas delicacies. There is always a large
doll on each side of the table supported by the heap of clothing and
staring into the middle distance with the usual doll-like look of

The _Ober-Gouvernante_ and one or two of the ladies of the Empress are
always present, and the Princess professes to feel very nervous, though
there is little sign of it in her greeting of the shy little mites, when
the big doors are opened by the footmen and they creep in with their
mother, almost overcome with the beauty and the wonder of it all. Hand
in hand they stand in front of the tree, the light shining on their
little pinched faces, and together repeat the _Weihnachts-Geschichte_,
the Bible story of the first Christmas, which every well-brought-up
German child, rich or poor, learns as soon as it can lisp. Sometimes,
with much nervous twisting of clean pinafores, they even sing a carol in
a breathless, desperate kind of way. Everybody feels relieved when this
ordeal is safely over and the childish voices with their nasal twang
have ceased. Then the Princess tells them it was very nice, and taking
them by the hand leads them up to the tree and shows them the shoes and
stockings and dresses and dolls, while the rest of us draw aside and
leave them together a little. Almost invariably the children are taken
into the bedroom of the Princess to try on the new dresses to see if
they fit, and presently emerge to gratify our eyes with their beauty.

After a while they depart, usually carrying the dolls and some of the
clothes and provisions, but leaving the bulk of them, including the
tree, to be brought next morning to the place where they live by the
_Commissions-Wagen_ of the Palace, which is always on the road to or
from Potsdam in those terribly busy weeks. Different children were, of
course, invited every year, and this pleasant custom continued until the
Princess was seventeen years of age, when she began to share her
mother’s charities. In her earlier days, the names of the children were
of the greatest interest, and she was delighted with two who bore the
unusual patronymic of Ballschuh.

At about eleven o’clock on the morning of Christmas Eve takes place the
_Bescherung_ for the servants of the Princess, including the grooms and
stablemen. The latter come across the Mopke in their neat livery and
follow the housemaids and footmen, who enter with smiling bows and range
themselves round the table on which stands the tree. The blinds have
again been drawn, for no Christmas Tree can do itself justice in the
daylight. The little plates, eggcups and _Bier-gläser_, bought with the
pocket money of the Princess, each bear the recipient’s name written by
herself. These things have all been personally selected from the shops
which, until the time she was grown up, she was allowed to visit only
once a year, and the proper allocation of gifts has caused her much
heart-searching. She utters a sigh of relief as the last servant files
out, each carrying his present with the invariably accompanying packet
of _Pfeffer-Kuchen_.

On Christmas Eve the Emperor, as is well known, has a habit of walking
abroad, his pockets, or rather those of his accompanying adjutants, full
of gold and silver coin. These coins he distributes in a promiscuous
manner to whomsoever he may chance to meet; it may be to a gardener, or
a sentry on duty at the gates, or a little schoolboy or girl, or even an
officer may be the recipient of this Christmas dole, which is always
highly prized by those who chance to receive it. The sentry is prevented
by the regulations from taking the coin (usually a twenty-mark piece)
when on duty, so it is generally placed in the sentry-box till guard is
relieved. One Christmas the Princess was walking with four of her
brothers down the wide drive of the Neuer Garten, when in the distance
they saw the Emperor approaching accompanied by his adjutants. Knowing
the errand which had taken His Majesty abroad, Prince Fritz laughingly
suggested that there might be a chance of receiving some Christmas
money, so under his orders they ranged themselves in military formation
beside the road, standing at the salute (at least the Princes did--the
ladies merely kept “eyes front”) as the Emperor drew near. He returned
the salute, but said in a gruff voice as he passed, speaking in English,
“No, you won’t get anything--all labour in vain,” and gave an emphatic
nod, while the would-be recipients giggled at each other and felt rather

“He might have given us a mark each,” complained the Princess.

It was always notable how many gardeners there were out on the paths,
sweeping invisible leaves away on Christmas Eve; but His Majesty’s
selection of a route was always unexpected, so that there was little to
be gained by any attempt to guess the probable course of his

The _Bescherung_ to the servants took place about two o’clock in the
_Schilder-Saal_ or Hall of Shields. Long tables were laid down the
centre of the room, on which were arranged in due order everybody’s
gifts. Two or three large Christmas trees were lighted, and in the
corner stood the piano which was to reinforce our efforts at
carol-singing. In poured a crowd of white-capped housemaids, green-clad
Jägers, footmen, and _Kammer-diener_ (butlers). All the ladies were
assembled in _décolletée_ evening dress, and those who had undertaken to
help in singing carols were beginning to tremble, especially when the
leading soprano whispered that she had a slight sore throat and couldn’t
sing a note.

Then the Empress, also in evening dress, arrived with the Princess and
the princes in full uniform, including, until his marriage, the Crown
Prince; and the choir timidly sang the first carol, which always sounded
a little thin and chirpy in that large room. It was listened to with the
greatest respect, if not pleasure, and then another was sung at the
request of the Empress, while everybody stood patiently waiting till it
was finished. Her Majesty then walked round and showed everybody their
presents, which consisted of dress-pieces, counterpanes, curtains,
clocks, etc. She began with the housekeeper, and as year after year the
tables were arranged in the same order, the whole ceremony, if it could
be called ceremony where everything was so simple and kindly, was soon
at an end, and they all trooped away with their cutlery, silver,
pictures and photographs--leaving nothing behind but the bare tables
with their white cloths and the Christmas trees.

Then, after a short pause, a general move was made to the apartment of
the Empress, where carols were to be sung for the delectation of His
Majesty. There was the last almost acrimonious dispute as to whether
they should be sung with or without accompaniment, ending, as was
confidently expected, in favour of the moral support afforded by the
piano. One lady is warned about her E, which is inclined to be a little
flat, and the question hurriedly discussed as to whether somebody who
has been singing seconds had not better join the trebles weakened by
incipient colds. Nothing is settled when the door from the next room
opens and His Majesty steps in, bows, and stands in an attitude of
attention not unmixed with boredom which makes everybody’s blood run

The _Hof-Prediger’s_ face wears a look of concentrated anxiety and
apprehension as he counts the first bar and plunges into the
accompaniment. The top E is safely passed--not perhaps quite exact as to
pitch, but not so very bad--the adjutants are booming their tenor and
bass with praiseworthy conscientiousness if little skill, and we settle
down to verses two and three with renewed confidence. The second high E
is on the down grade, and the third one almost painful, but as soon as
the last note has died away the Princess and Prince Joachim both
together begin feverishly to recite the _Weihnachts-Geschichte_, which
it is customary for every Prussian prince and princess to repeat yearly
from the age of six until Confirmation.

When they have got half-way through, “Stille Nacht” is sung, and then
they finish the Christmas story to the end, and a third carol is
performed; all hoping that it didn’t really sound as bad as it seemed to

Sometimes His Majesty takes hold of a hymn-book and sings with the rest;
while, since their marriage, the Crown Prince and Princess are
accustomed to join in the music, and everyone feels that this attempted
harmony is “_sehr nett_” if not particularly brilliant.

Then all file in to dinner at the impossible hour of four o’clock. It is
given thus early so that the numerous guests may still be in time for
their own private festivities at home. All the Emperor’s old adjutants
and court officials are invited, and assemble in the big salons near the
Jasper Gallery, in which dinner is served at a series of small round or
oval tables. Monster carp are brought round boiled in ale, looking
plethoric and porpoise-like, and the meal winds up with English
plum-pudding and mince-pies served with flaming brandy sauce. The German
gentlemen are not at all fond of plum-pudding--they think it horrible
stuff; but they like the mince-pies, especially the brandy-sauce part.

As soon as dinner is finished, the Emperor gives a signal, the doors
into the _Muschel-Saal_ are thrown open, and all walk through into the
Christmas brilliancy. The whole row of lighted trees ranged the length
of the immense hall shed that clear yet soft subdued light of
multitudinous wax tapers which is more beautiful than any other.
Electricity has been installed in the _Muschel-Saal_ within the last few
years, and much of the old glamour of the scene has departed--the
candles burn palely, they have lost some of the old warmth and glow, the
green of the foliage has become faded.

Round the Saal, tables are arranged as at a bazaar, and each lady has
one to herself loaded with presents. The Emperor sometimes walks round
and shows his own gift, usually a very beautiful fur, where it lies on
each person’s table; but one of the great charms of His Majesty is that
he has no stereotyped line of conduct--if he doesn’t feel like walking
round and making himself agreeable he doesn’t do it. He is no slave to
precedent. So then we find his present on our tables by ourselves, and
go up and curtsey and thank him as opportunity offers. The Empress has
always given one principal present, the nature of which each recipient
has herself chosen; and in addition scatters with liberal hand small
additional trifles such as work-bags, pincushions, books, small articles
of jewellery. All the adjutants and generals receive something handsome
and substantial: one has a Turkey rug, another a bronze bust of the
Emperor, a third a pair of silver candelabra. But whatever else they
get, a large plate of nuts, cakes and chocolates accompanies each
table--and those gentlemen who have to return to Berlin early may
presently be seen, aided by footmen, pouring their nuts and gingerbread
into large brown-paper bags, which they carry away under one arm, for
all the world like children from a Sunday-school treat. This procession
of grey-haired generals and officers in uniform going off like
schoolboys with their booty seems to afford the Emperor much pleasure.

The tables of the Empress and Emperor are covered with offerings from
their relatives in England and elsewhere; but the chief interest is in
the presents to the Princess. When she reached her twelfth year, on her
Christmas table appeared the plans of a tiny _Bauern-Haus_, the gift of
her father. It was built the following spring in the children’s
garden--a real peasant’s wooden kitchen, with a real stove and saucepans
where cooking and washing may be done. It had bottle-glass windows and
half-doors with bottle-glass in the upper portions. There was a larder
with a buttery-hatch, and it speedily became the scene of fearsome
cookery experiments involving lavish outlay in eggs and milk. Here was
dispensed much hospitality to all classes of visitors.

Another Christmas she received from the Emperor a pony-cart, to replace
the blue-lined Turkish victoria of the Sultan, which was now deemed too
childish and theatrical in appearance. The ponies were promoted to a
workmanlike little vehicle of light-coloured ash, capable of holding, at
a pinch, six persons; and it remained the chief medium of transport
until after the Emperor’s visit to Highcliffe, near Bournemouth, when he
brought back with him a beautiful little New Forest pony and “tub,”
which completely eclipsed Ali and Aladdin, who were given away to a
friend in the country. Perhaps, however, the most charming of all the
Christmas presents which the Emperor gave his daughter was a most
beautiful little Arab mare called “Irene.” She was brought from the
stables at the time of the _Bescherung_ and led up the terrace steps
into the big hall in front of the _Muschel-Saal_, where she stood
gazing round in her well-bred gentle manner at all the ladies in their
evening finery and the brilliant uniforms that crowded round her. She
looked at them out of her beautiful eyes with a fearless, rather
disdainful, air, and the lights of the many candles shone on the satin
of her bright strawberry coat--for she was a wonderfully-coloured
red-roan of an unusual tone. She had all the marvellous dignity of poise
and light springy footsteps of her race, and had been highly trained and
schooled in the “Spanish trot,” “passaging,” and other riding-school
attainments, while her action across country was, as the Princess said
when someone called it poetry, “almost a love-song in sixteen verses.”

Unfortunately a year or two after her entrance into the stables she was
seized with influenza, and died in spite of all efforts to save her.

Towards six o’clock the household, one by one, slips away, and leaves
the Imperial Family alone to spend the rest of the evening in each
other’s society. Every year from Christmas to New Year’s Day the
_Muschel-Saal_, especially in the evenings, is the family rendezvous. As
soon as it is dark the Christmas trees are lighted and tea and supper
are taken under the shadow of their branches. The Emperor sits at a
table writing his New Year cards or reading, sometimes aloud, sometimes
to himself; everybody is busy examining and comparing presents or
writing letters of thanks.

Christmas Day itself is passed very quietly, the luncheon strictly _en
famille_, with none even of the suite present. As many as can be spared
of the married servants are sent home, to be at least a part of the day
with their families. Every possible consideration is shown, so that not
the humblest worker is deprived of a share of leisure and opportunity to
visit his friends.

One Christmas the Emperor was in a very “anecdotal” mood, and chatted
for some time to his suite, telling many amusing traits of the late
Duke of Cambridge--“Uncle George” as he called him.

His Majesty mentioned the well-known fact that “Uncle George” was one of
the hard-swearing military type, now--it is said--practically extinct,
and scattered volleys of oaths abroad at the slightest excuse; but
somebody having once drawn attention to the great prevalence of
“language” in the army, he, quite unconscious of his own shortcomings,
set himself to reform the great organization of which at that time he
was Commander-in-Chief. After a long harangue to the assembled officers,
plentifully belarded with oaths, he concluded by saying: “I’m damned if
I’ll allow this habit of swearing to go on: who the devil ever heard me

Once he had planned to show to the German Emperor and the King of
Greece, who were together in England, some pet improvements in drill
which he had recently introduced, and of which he was extremely proud.
After they had been feasted “right royally” at the officers’ mess, where
plenty of champagne was consumed, the Royalties all mounted their horses
and proceeded to Woolwich Common for the purpose of beholding the
proposed exercises. But unfortunately the Duke had forgotten to take
into account the fact that the day was Bank Holiday, and to his disgust
and astonishment found his beloved common black with “trippers” (“fifty
thousand of ’em,” sniggered the Emperor). The Duke was nearly suffocated
with rage and disgust, and ordered the escort (eighteen mounted Hussars)
to charge and disperse the people. The impossibility of this being,
however, demonstrated, he himself proceeded on his great raw-boned
charger to harangue the multitude, damning their bodies and souls with
the greatest impartiality, and vainly trying to inspire them with a
sense of the enormity of choosing this particular day for their sportive
gambols on the Common.

When he at last stopped, as the Emperor put it “for want of wind,” a
dead silence fell for a moment on the astonished crowd, who were
expected to melt sadly away; but suddenly a British workman standing
near, equal--as British workmen generally are--to the occasion, took off
his cap and waving it in the air cried out “Three cheers for ’is R’yl
‘Ighness the Dook o’ Cambridge,” which three cheers were immediately
given with the greatest spontaneity and goodwill, the crowd seeming to
enjoy being abused by Royalty. But, as the Duke himself afterwards sadly
observed, “They didn’t budge an inch, Sire, not an inch. They stopped
there all the same.” So the proposed military evolutions did not take
place that day and had to be postponed to a more convenient season.



The Prussian Court is awakened on New Year’s Day by the sound of
trumpets blaring forth old German chorales as the band of the regiment
in garrison slowly marches round the whole palace playing solemn and
stately music.

The previous evening, or somewhere in the small hours, in the society of
a few intimate friends, everybody has partaken of _Pfanne-kuchen_--a
sort of round dough-nut--and Punch, a comparatively harmless German
variety of that insidious beverage, but still not to be drunk lightly
and unadvisedly if you would avoid a next morning’s headache.

It is customary also to send pictorial postcards inscribed with New Year
greetings to all acquaintances in the palace. Footmen are constantly
arriving from the princes with these small offerings, which usually
have some reference to the recipient’s peculiar idiosyncrasies. One New
Year’s Eve, having retired earlier than the occasion warranted, I was
awakened from my first pleasant dreams by an urgent rapping on the
outside of the double doors which shut off my bedroom from the outside
world, and a masculine voice responded to my startled inquiry, saying
that he had something to deliver to me from His Majesty; so quickly
rising and huddling on a dressing-gown I hastened to receive from a
Jäger an envelope bearing the imperial cipher, which contained a
picture-postcard of the “Hohenzollern” inscribed in his own handwriting
with the New Year wishes of the Emperor.

Breakfast is a hasty and early function on the first day of the year,
for at eight o’clock the royal special train containing the whole of the
Imperial Family and the suite, footmen and maids in attendance, is off
to Berlin for the _Gratulations-Cour_, when all the foreign ambassadors
in their State carriages surmounted by bewigged coachmen and footmen in
bright red, blue, or yellow uniforms drive from their respective
Embassies to wish His Majesty the usual compliments of the season.
Christmas is essentially a private family festival, but the New Year is
ushered in with much public ceremony.

Joyous crowds line _Unter den Linden_ to watch the pageant pass; all the
shops are closed and an air of hilarious festivity pervades the streets.
A constant stream of vehicles, many of them of the rather shabby
horse-droschky type--for few residents of the German capital keep their
own carriages--are converging towards the Schloss, all containing
officers in full uniform, or functionaries of various departments bent
on the same errand.

It is a big, square, rather ugly grey pile of buildings, the old Berlin
Schloss, standing straight on to the street on all sides but one, where
it is skirted by the narrow river Spree. Inside is a rather gloomy,
sunless courtyard, paved with cobble-stones, in the centre of which is a
statue of St. George and the Dragon, the latter curling uncomfortably
round the hoofs of St. George’s horse, an estimable quadruped which,
instead of shying, as our ordinary experience of horses would lead us to
think that it should do, gallantly aids its master’s spear-thrust by
dancing a kind of tango on the dragon’s vitals.

Along one side of this courtyard, situated in the basement of the
Schloss itself, close to and on a line with the _Hohenzollern Treppe_,
the recognized door of arrival for the Empress and her children as well
as for the ladies and gentlemen of the suite, are the barracks for the
Schloss Guard. While the Court is in residence the guard spends its time
in perpetual rushes and drummings, for no princely personage can arrive
or depart without that long line of soldiers presenting arms to the
throbbing drum-beat accompaniment. It sounds intermittently from early
morning till late at night: the constant rapid beat of feet on the
cobble-stones as the soldiers snatch their arms and fall into line, the
silence, the military command, and then the long continuous rumble,
while the royal or princely personage of whatever size or age, descends
from his or her carriage, salutes, and disappears into the Schloss up
the very plain and simple stairway leading to the apartments of the
Royal Family. All coachmen when driving royalty wear a broad
hatband embroidered with the Prussian Eagle--what is called a
_Breite-Tresse_--which can be easily removed if necessary, leaving
uncovered the plain silver band which denotes the presence of only
obscure individuals who are spared the more onerous honours.

A deep archway leads from the large courtyard into a smaller, more
secluded one, where is the entrance to the staircase which the Emperor
uses. On each side of the large “Hof” are big, heavy, iron gates kept
by soldiers, who all day long close and open them to the passing
carriages and other traffic.

On New Year’s morning the courtyard is pervaded by footmen in gay
uniforms with very chilly-looking pink silk legs, who pick their way
gingerly over the round cobble-stones, hastening here and there in a
very busy preoccupied manner.

Before the _Gratulations-Cour_ takes place, a service is held in the
chapel of the Schloss, at which all the ambassadors, consuls and other
diplomatic officials are present in uniform. They usually spend the time
before the entrance of the royalties in wandering about and chatting
with each other, till some one gives a warning tap on the marble floor,
and the hum sinks into silence, broken by the music of the band
stationed in the gallery above, for the chapel has no organ.

In the evening a special performance is given at the Opera, at which the
whole Royal Family appears; and sometimes the Court returns next day to
the New Palace, but more often remains in Berlin for the season, which
practically begins with the Emperor’s birthday on January 27.

One quaint ceremony connected with New Year’s Day is the presentation to
the Emperor, as he sits at table, of sausages and hard-boiled eggs by
the “_Halloren_,” a guild of salt-workers living in Saxony, possessing
peculiar customs, privileges and dress. It was the Princess who first
introduced the “Halloren sausage” to my notice, for on the second or
third day of the year, when the Court had returned to the New Palace,
she burst into my room one morning with a very small sandwich--German
sandwiches have bread on only one side of them--made of an extremely
thin and delicate piece of pink sausage, which she presented to me with
pride as a portion of her “Halloren sausage.” I was expected to eat it
with great solemnity and a due appreciation of its marvellous merits,
and I conscientiously tried to praise it, and declare that there was a
“nameless something” about the flavour which marked it out from all
other sausages. I subsequently discovered that it was a rare and special
and not-to-be-repeated favour to share even the smallest piece of this
wonderful delicacy. Every day this sausage appeared at breakfast and the
eleven-o’clock lunch, but no one was then allowed to partake of it, with
the exception of the Princess herself, and when a few days later we all
went to Berlin for the rest of the winter the “Halloren sausage,” now
sadly shrunk, was the one piece of luggage which the Princess insisted
on taking in her own charge, carrying it carefully in a small black
leather bag, and refusing to trust it to her footman, who she was
convinced would leave it in the train or perhaps get it crushed or lost.

Life in Berlin Schloss was very different to that in the New Palace.
Every morning when lessons began again--the Christmas holidays are only
ten days long in German schools--the Princess had to drive away with her
lady at twenty minutes to eight to Bellevue Schloss, at the other side
of the Tier-Garten, where her tutor attended from eight o’clock till

Bellevue is one of those plain, unpretentious palaces which were built
in the middle of the eighteenth century, and has the advantage of a fine
large garden full of grass and trees. Dotted about in the grounds are
various small monuments and memorial stones inscribed with the names of
dead-and-gone Princes and Princesses of the Royal House. Sometimes these
stones break out into poetry of a sentimental kind, always in the French
language, often celebrating the marvellous virtues of “Hélène” or
“Ferdinand.” Whatever happened, the affections of this particular
family--belonging, I think, to a nephew of Frederick the Great--had to
find an outlet in stonework. Every possible anniversary was
commemorated, and even the death of a favourite Kammer-herr was left
recorded for the benefit of future generations. The ivy has crept over
these memorials of a bygone day, and in some cases has entirely
obliterated the lettering. In others the frost and rain are by slow
degrees accomplishing the same work. It is with difficulty that one can
trace the crumbling letters.

In the mornings the _Ober-Gouvernante_ took “_Dienst_” in Bellevue,
returning at one o’clock with the Princess to the Schloss for luncheon,
which was served in the tiny little dining-room of the Princess’s
apartments, whose walls were made entirely of mirrors bordered by
wreaths of painted flowers. At half-past two the carriage was ordered
again to drive to Bellevue, where a few children were invited to spend
the afternoon. That daily drive along the crowded streets was somewhat
of an ordeal, for all along the route people were saluting and
curtseying and rushing up in the enthusiastic German manner to wave
pocket-handkerchiefs. Sometimes, if the Princess happened to be in a
naughty mood and wished to converse undisturbed with her little friends,
she would nod slowly backwards and forwards like a Chinese porcelain
figure, regardless if any one was bowing to her or not; but as somebody
usually was, it did not appear so strange as it otherwise might have

In Bellevue garden itself was a kind of earthwork called “_Die
Festung_,” made by the elder Princes with the aid of their uncle Prince
Henry, and this was the usual scene of the afternoon’s play.

In frosty weather part of the Park was flooded, and here the time was
spent in skating and playing on the ice, but when the frost broke up
again the dirt in the grounds was terrible and the walks ankle-deep in

The Emperor and Empress invariably came to the Park in the afternoons,
and it was embarrassing to meet them with shoes and dress plastered with
dirt; but as the children liked best to play at something which was
rather dishevelling, such as dragging the gardener’s cart up on to a
hillock through thick bushes, or along the wettest and dirtiest paths,
it was difficult to preserve that immaculate appearance which one would
desire to have in the presence of royalty. An old carpenter, named
Fasel, had worked for many years in Bellevue Garden, and his shop was a
constant centre of interest to the Princess, who liked to have a chat
with him nearly every day. He used to make the children bows and arrows
and tell them long stories of his _Wander-Jahre_, when he was an
apprentice and walked from one end of Germany to the other, working his
way along into Austria.

In January two other festivals broke into lessons, before they were well
re-started. One was the anniversary of the Accession of the
Emperor--_Krönungs-Tag_ as it is called--when there is again a series of
tedious ceremonies at which the whole family is present. These begin
with a service in chapel at ten o’clock in the morning, at which, until
a few years ago, all the ladies were obliged to appear in Court dress
with long trains, those of royal birth having theirs carried by pages in
red. For these functions tickets were issued for the gallery high up in
the dome of the chapel, and given to anyone connected with the Court. It
was no light task first to climb up the interminable steps of the
winding-stair which leads to this coign of vantage, where no seats are
allowed, and when there to endure the suffocating crush and atmosphere.
The humours of the crowd happily relieve to a certain extent the tedium
of waiting--for the lady who has received a ticket through the agency of
an Ambassador thinks that, however late she appears, she has a right to
a place in the front row, while the footman’s wife, who is already
there, refuses to recognize social superiority except in her own case,
which allows her precedence over a mere waiting-maid. Occasionally
people faint, for the heat and standing combined are trying to weak
constitutions; but if one can get to the front of the gallery, and is
able to support the proximity of the band and the weight of the people
behind who hang heavily over one’s shoulders, there is a good view to be
had of the whole scene--which, however, since Court dresses were done
away with by the Emperor’s order, has been shorn of much of its
picturesque stateliness.

A few days afterwards comes the anniversary of His Majesty’s birthday,
which is kept with great zeal and earnestness from early morning until
night. It begins with congratulations at 9.30 for the household only. On
tables arranged round one of the smaller salons are spread out the
various gifts received from family and friends. In her childish days the
Princess’s present was always a source of anxiety. Sometimes it took the
form of a blotting-book, the cover worked or painted by herself, or a
photograph frame, or perhaps a sketch of her own, something costing
little excepting the expenditure of time and patience. The Emperor was
always very pleased with his daughter’s gift--he valued it more than the
silver statuettes, the oil-paintings, jewelled cigarette-cases and
costly things lavished on him by the other members of his family.

On the evening of the birthday there is the usual performance at the
Opera, where the audience is composed only of those officially invited,
and the house is garlanded and scented. On one birthday, however, for
some reason an evening concert in the Schloss itself took the place of
the Opera. It was held in the beautiful _Weisser Saal_, and I listened
to it from one of the little _Loge_, or boxes, of which there are two
set into the wall. This occasion was especially memorable on account of
two rather startling incidents which happened during the progress of the
concert. Several soloists sang, and there was a large band of string and
wind instruments. During the playing of an orchestral piece, a door
opened in the empty musicians’ gallery, which ran across the Saal at
right angles to the box where I was sitting, and I was startled to see
a man enter on hands and knees and creep slowly and stealthily along the
floor across to the opposite side. Following him a few paces behind, in
the same stealthy manner, came a fat, unwieldy woman. They were
distinctly visible through the white marble balustrades as they moved
slowly along, the woman getting into constant difficulties with her
skirt, which much impeded her progress. Could this perhaps be the
preliminary to an Anarchist bomb? was the first thought which crossed my
mind. The rotundity of the woman was reassuring. She did not look to be
of the stuff of which conspirators are made, but nevertheless her
movements were decidedly suspicious. I touched the hand of the lady with
me, who had long been attached to the Court. She had not yet seen the
two grovellers on the empty gallery floor. I nodded in their direction.
She started when she caught sight of them, and an angry flush of
indignation overspread her face. She whispered to me that they were the
wife and son of a _Kastellan_, one of the officials who have certain
portions of the Schloss under their charge. They had chosen this
extraordinary manner of seeing and hearing something of the
festivities--very foolishly, as it proved, for the Emperor himself
perceived them and sent to make inquiries, with the result that the
unfortunate husband and father of the guilty pair as nearly as possible
lost his comfortable position as Kastellan, while the son--a young man
old enough to know better--was severely punished, and the wife fell into
disgrace and was for a long time looked at askance by her colleagues in
the castle.

At the same concert, one of the chorus-singers went out of his mind. At
all State concerts there is a long interval in the middle, when the
Emperor and Empress move round among the invited guests, chatting to
each in turn. Not till His Majesty commands is the signal given by a
gentle roll on the drum for the concert to recommence. On this occasion,
after a very short interval indeed, the drum was heard and everybody
hurried back in some surprise to the red velvet chairs, from which they
had risen to wander about and talk.

The Emperor knew that “some one had blundered,” as he had given no order
to continue; but perhaps not unwilling to have the proceedings
curtailed, he let the mistake pass, and shortly afterwards returned to
his place beside the Empress. But the person who had given the signal
was a singer of the chorus, who for some time had been giving his
friends cause for uneasiness. After drumming energetically for several
minutes he fled from the Schloss, pursued by one of the pink-stockinged
footmen as far as the courtyard gates, where the unfortunate man escaped
in the darkness into the crowd of the street.

The birthday of the Empress, which occurs in November, was always
celebrated at the New Palace. The most striking among her presents were
the dozen hats given by His Majesty, invariably chosen by himself. They
were arranged on stands on the billiard-table of the room where the
“birthday-table” was erected--a table beautifully enwreathed and
garlanded by autumn leaves, intermixed with fruits, bunches of tiny red
crab-apples, clusters of green and black grapes, small melons and
gourds. It is a perilous business for any man to set out to buy a dozen
hats for his wife without consulting her tastes and wishes on the
subject, but the German Emperor is not a man to recoil from even such an
enterprise. Though the hats were always very beautiful, and obviously
the most expensive of their kind, they always raised, I found, certain
doubts and queries in the mind of the feminine observer.

Does any woman in the world, be she ever so much an Empress, really
desire to have hats thrust on her by the dozen without any “trying on”
or any of that delicious hovering between two decisions which makes
hat-buying so thrillingly charming--above all, without reference to the
costume with which the head-gear must be worn, whereof it should be the
fitting corollary and completion?

The ordinary masculine mind is not sufficiently subtle to number among
its greatest achievements the purchase of successful feminine millinery;
even an Emperor ought to realize the limits of his sphere of activity.
But William never did. Every year, year after year, there were the dozen
hats, all much of the same type, all be-feathered, be-ribboned,
be-decked with tulle or chiffon or embroidery, whichever happened to be
uppermost in the scheme of fashion. The Emperor enjoyed being
complimented on his taste. He liked to feel that great minds can stoop
successfully to occupy themselves with trifles. He was delighted to see
his wife looking well in one of his gifts. The hats always seemed to be
holding the birthday reception; they filled the foreground to the
exclusion of the other marvellous things, diamond and pearl ornaments,
jewels of every description, which His Majesty also showered on the
Empress with lavish hand.

On the evening of Her Majesty’s birthday a performance was usually given
in the pretty little Rococo Theatre of the Palace, built by Frederick
the Great. Though the piece was necessarily simple, owing to the absence
of up-to-date stage-machinery and accommodation for the actors, yet the
little theatre was the scene of many brilliant and pleasant gatherings.

On one occasion the King and Queen of Norway were present at a
performance there, soon after their accession. They stayed some days at
the New Palace, of course with their little son Olaf, a most amusing,
quaint, old-fashioned little child, who charmed everybody, especially
the Emperor, with whom he chatted in a confidential, fearless manner,
treating His Majesty as a friend and companion, and inviting him to help
in building his house of bricks. The small boy came once or twice with
the Princess into her sitting-room, where he overwhelmed her with an
avalanche of questions regarding her canary, pursuing his
investigations into the remotest details of its life and ancestry, and
asking questions which no one could reasonably be expected to answer.

After the Emperor’s birthday the Season is in full swing. There are four
State Balls and various “Cours” and “Levées”; but the Balls are the
chief events of the season. With that thoroughness which distinguishes
all he does, the Emperor does not permit any dancing at his Court which
fails to come up to a certain standard of excellence. Every young
_débutante_, every young officer anxious to dance before royalty, must
first satisfy the fastidious judgment of the Court Dancing-Mistress, who
holds several _Tanz-Proben_ or trial dances in the _Weisser Saal_. A few
years ago the Court Dancing-Mistress, Frau Wolden, now dead, was only
less of a personality than His Majesty. Once indeed, in an agitated and
forgetful moment, it is whispered that she sank on to the throne itself.
She upheld with a stern hand the dignity of the Court, and her scathing
remarks on the attitudes and steps of certain young provincials of both
sexes who thought to introduce fashionable irregularities into the
lancers, at once made them realize their error. What her real age was
cannot with certainty be told. She owned with pride to seventy, and
would lift her silk skirts and show her wonderfully fine ankles in a
graceful tip-toe turn as if in derision of awkward flat-footed youth. To
the day of her death she retained all her marvellous grace of movement.
Twice a week she came to the Castle to give dancing lessons to Prince
Joachim and the Princess. Other little boys and girls of the same age
were invited to complete the class, and were drilled by the old lady in
the intricacies of the minuet and gavotte, which quaint old-world dances
are invariably danced at the Berlin Court Balls, and are from a
spectacular point of view the most beautiful of any.

Excepting in severe winters it is rare that any sleighing is possible
in Berlin, but once there came a short frost accompanied by a good deal
of snow, and immediately the aspect of the streets changed. All the cabs
were replaced by wooden sleighs; the rather depressed-looking cabmen (it
was before automobiles had taken possession of Berlin) became cheerful
and picturesque in fur caps and sheepskin coats. Two light sleighs, each
drawn by a couple of horses, appeared every afternoon in the courtyard
of the Schloss with a musical clash and tingle of bells, and away the
Princess would drive over the hard-trampled snow of the streets till the
Grünewald, the beautiful forest skirting Berlin, was reached.

To keep the snow thrown up by the hoofs of the horses from falling into
the sleigh, white snow-cloths with red borders were stretched from their
collars and tied to each corner of the splashboard. These filled out to
the wind like sails, giving the impression that the sleigh was being
borne along by them. In the Grünewald were a good many other sleighs
gliding along with a merry jangle. Behind, on a tiny seat, his feet on
the runners, sat the Princess’s footman enveloped in a big coat with
triple cape and _Ohren-Klappen_ (ear-lappets) over his ears. Sometimes
sleighs are driven from the back, or more commonly by a person inside,
but these have a seat in front for the driver. It is not easy to steer a
horse-sleigh round a corner, as it has a tendency to skid off sideways.
At the New Palace, when a hard frost came, it was in later years no
unusual thing to see the Crown Prince and Princess driving in a sleigh,
followed by a string of young officers and their wives on ordinary
children’s toboggans, several drawn by one horse. Occasionally one of
the fair sleighers, responsive to an unexpected movement of the horse,
would drop off behind, and some of the rest of the party had to come
back and replace her. There could not have been much enjoyment in
travelling in that way, unprotected from the cold, though doubtless the
occasional bump on to the ground helped to restore the circulation.

But the occasions for sleighing in the neighbourhood of Berlin are very
rare indeed, as there is seldom quite enough depth of snow, so that
opportunities had to be snatched or they might be gone in another hour
or two. The Princess always grasped the earliest possible opportunity
when sleighing was practicable, and enjoyed some delightful drives
through the silent frozen solitudes beside the marshes of the Havel,
whose brown sedges broke the whiteness of the shore, down by Werder (the
cherry-island, where in spring the blossom of cherry-trees recalls the
past winter), all along the ice-bound blue-grey river streaked with
white where the blasts from the north blew the snow into long ripples,
back through the unbroken purity of the lovely Wild-park with its troops
of dun-brown deer moving silently under the snow-laden branches, waiting
for the forester to bring their daily ration of hay and chestnuts.

But for the most part the snow comes and goes quickly, as in England,
and in Berlin it is rapidly cleared from the streets and tipped into the
river. Even in Belle Vue it quickly becomes black and sullied, for the
railway runs through one corner of the park and the smoke of the trains
plentifully besprinkles all the shrubs and bushes with smuts.

Belle Vue was sometimes the scene of the great hunt for Easter eggs, in
which His Majesty himself used to take a very active part.

About twenty children were invited to partake in this festivity, and the
preparations for Easter in the way of gifts seemed only a very little
less than those at Christmas. The Empress usually gave every person in
her service a piece of Berlin porcelain--beautiful hand-painted
coffee-or tea-cups, dessert-plates, vases or candlesticks. In addition
to these things, flowers arranged to look like eggs were always sent to
the suite by Her Majesty, and the children invited to the _Eier-Suchen_,
as it was called, each received a huge cardboard egg filled with toys,
postcards, trinkets and bonbons, besides a variety of chocolate eggs
wrapped in bright-coloured papers.

All the eggs had to be looked for in various hiding-places, and each
child was provided with a basket to hold what he or she found. If the
weather promised to keep fine, the eggs were hidden in the garden among
the bushes; but if it appeared likely to be wet, then the hunt took
place in the Schloss itself. Sometimes the Emperor insisted on hiding
all the eggs, as he considered that he knew the best places for them;
but once he and his adjutants made an unfortunate choice of the
porcelain stoves as appropriate nesting-places, with the result that the
chocolate eggs melted away under the influence of the heat and betrayed
their presence by long brown stalactites dripping to the floor below.

At one of these “egg-parties"--which were apt to be a little stiff at
first, as the children were overawed, and probably over-admonished as to
their behaviour before coming--the Emperor was much amused by a small
boy of seven, the little Prince of Saxe-Altenburg, whose father has now
succeeded to the principality. The little fellow arrived at Belle Vue
clad in a most immaculate white sailor-suit and white linen cap, but in
his earnest pursuit of eggs he thrust himself into the heart of the
thickest and sootiest bushes, conscientiously penetrated the most
tangled thorny shrubs, explored the coke-cellar of the greenhouse, and
emerged at last with his face covered with black smears and the dazzling
whiteness of his garments seriously diminished. When all the children
were reassembled with their eggs, this small Prince, regardless of the
smuts on his hands and nose, and perhaps a little weary of the stiff
atmosphere, which prevailed in the presence of Their Majesties, with a
smile, produced from his pocket a pair of motor-goggles, which he
assumed with an aspect of the greatest joy, and after sweeping the
assembled girls and boys with a sunshiny glance which left a ripple of
laughter behind, turned his smiling face to the Emperor and grinned
confidingly. He effectually broke the ice, and the stiffness vanished at
once. The children lapsed into naturalness, forgot that they were
wearing their best frocks, and followed the still “motor-goggled” Prince
in a wild chase round the bushes and flower-beds. It was he who really
made the party a social success. All the children went home a little
smudgy, but feeling that they had had an unusually good time.



The time came very soon when Prince Joachim was sent away, the victim of
acute home-sickness, to join his brothers in Ploen; and it was then
resolved that the Princess, who felt his absence keenly, should be also
provided with the necessary stimulus and society of children of her own

From the _Augusta-Stift_, an aristocratic ladies’ school in Potsdam in
which the Empress was much interested, three suitable young maidens of
good family were chosen.

Every morning they were fetched at half-past seven by a royal carriage
and brought to the New Palace, where they shared the lessons and games
of the Princess until half-past twelve, when they were reconducted to
their _Stift_. It was fondly hoped by the ladies of the Court that this
arrangement would put a stop to the constant interruption of lessons--a
hope which was scarcely realized, for it made not the slightest

Girls in high-class German schools lead a very different life to those
in similar institutions in England. They must all wear uniform, ugly for
choice; they must have their hair plaited in the tightest, most
uncompromising of plaits, which is not allowed to hang down, but is
pinned by multitudinous hairpins into a hard knob. Their whole
existence is absorbed in the acquisition of knowledge, and the exercise
they take is a matter not of pleasure but of health. If they do anything
naughty, or are untidy, they wear ribbon rosettes whose colours show
nicely-graduated degrees of infamy, and they must weep bitterly when
they don’t know their lessons, and ask forgiveness for a failure to
indicate the exact position of Kamschatka. They are usually nice, happy,
pleasant-mannered girls, expert at making _Knixes_, those quaint little
German curtsies which seem to carry one back into Jane Austen’s books.
They kiss the hands of their elders, and as soon as they are _confirmiert_
and leave school, blossom out into very fashionably-dressed, handsome
young women, with hair done in the latest fashion, and a decided
_penchant_ for young lieutenants. Their highest ambition is to be
_verlobt_ as soon as possible, and they never turn their thoughts again
in the direction of Kamschatka or any other part of the globe existing
beyond their immediate sphere of observation. They make excellently
self-sacrificing wives and mothers, and help to preserve in their
husbands that attitude of infallibility which is the peculiar
prerogative of German mankind. They invariably converse fairly well in
English and French, and are able to quote Goethe, Schiller and
Shakespeare in a manner which, if a little mechanical, still gives an
agreeable impression of culture and is some relief from the domestic
pursuits which, after marriage, they fulfil with praiseworthy ardour.
They are as opposed to the self-possessed, slangy, sporting English
schoolgirl with her multifarious ambitions as can well be imagined. They
never desire to go on the stage, never want a vote, and are perfectly
content with the limited prospect which life offers to their sex. So in
their ill-fitting black frocks, in hard, round, black straw sailor hats,
with their luxuriant hair strained brutally off their foreheads into the
tightest, hardest of coils, every morning came three little girls to
share the studies and recreations of the Princess. There had been some
heart-burning among the parents of the young ladies of the _Stift_, as
each one considered that her child had peculiar qualifications as a
possible companion to royalty; but the final decision lay in the hands
of the head-mistress and the tutor of the Princess, and the choice
ultimately made was undoubtedly a wise one, though sometimes the more
unregenerate officers of His Majesty’s suite ventured the opinion that
the girls in question were “_zu gut erzogen_"--too well brought up--from
which it may be gathered that they desired to see a little more natural,
healthy naughtiness exhibited. It is, however, unreasonable to expect a
child, even if endowed with gifts in this direction, not to put a good
many curbs on her inclination when she is chosen to share the
comparatively pleasant life at Court in exchange for that of the
_Stift_; and as they were expressly encouraged to assert their own
rights and not to let the Princess always win at the games they
played--a deplorable tendency which had its root as much in the
Princess’s superiority at games as in the ill-advised instructions of
foolish parents--they soon discovered, as children will, a democratic
level of existence which was invaluable as an educational factor. Each
child, including the Princess, was called by her Christian name, and it
was a matter for congratulation when one of the “_Stifts-Kinder_,” as
they were called, was found to have an immense superiority over the
Princess in the matter of evolutions on the parallel bars. This
quartette of young people worked and played together amicably for some
years--until, in fact, the time approached for the confirmation of the
Princess, that great event in the life of a German girl which seems to
make a sharp, decided finish to her childhood and flings her
full-fledged into a new existence.

When the Court was staying in Berlin, the _Stifts-Kinder_ came under a
lady’s escort by train every morning from Potsdam to Berlin, where they
were driven straight to Belle Vue. They had four little desks side by
side in one of the big empty salons there, and their cheerful faces and
gay shrieks of laughter as they jumped over the flower-beds in the
intervals of lessons, or in wet weather chased each other through the
stately rooms with their decorous suites of brocaded furniture, added a
pleasant element of youth and freshness to the old palace.

The Princess told many interesting facts about Belle Vue. Among other
things, when I was admiring the blue satin curtains in one room and
remarking on their newness, she said, “Yes, of course; that was because
of the Shah of Persia.”

“Why?” I inquired, wondering what the Shah had to do with curtains in
Belle Vue.

“Oh, don’t you know? He and his suite stayed here once, and they used to
kill sheep in this room, and wiped their hands on the blue satin
curtains; and they had to be replaced, of course!”

She said further that the old “Shah,” the one who threw chicken-bones
and asparagus-ends over his shoulder to the servants standing behind,
tried to imitate European manners and eat with a fork instead of his
fingers, but being unaccustomed to the implement, compromised on Persian
and European methods by picking up the meat with his fingers, sticking
it on the fork, and thus conveying it to his mouth.

“When Great-Grandmamma Augusta once offered him a dish of strawberries,
instead of taking a few on to his plate, he just ate them from the dish
while she held it. Fancy! Great-Grandmamma Augusta--who was so
particular! Everybody nearly had a fit!”

An intense interest in human nature was one of the traits which the
Princess shared with her father, the Emperor. She liked, if possible, to
merge herself in the crowd, to watch people going about their daily
affairs, to see young people making love, old people cooking or reading
the papers. She had a healthy, vital curiosity; knew all about the
brothers of the _Stifts-Kinder_, and to whom they were, or were likely
to be, engaged. One particular friend among the boarders at the
_Stift_--not one of those who came daily, but another who was frequently
invited to the Palace, a very nice American girl called Yvette
Borup--had a brother who accompanied Peary on his expedition to the
North Pole. After coming safely through all the dangers and hardships of
the Polar expedition, this brother a year or two later was unfortunately
drowned in America while boating; but at the time of which I write he
was absent with Peary, and there were few days when the Princess did not
wonder “where Yvette’s brother had got to now.”

In the daily afternoon walks in the neighbourhood of Potsdam, after
Prince Joachim had gone to Ploen and there was consequently no governor
or tutor to accompany the Princess and her lady, a private detective was
detailed to dog her footsteps, for there were many undesirable
characters about and Her Majesty insisted that we should have some kind
of escort.

These men deserved the greatest sympathy, for the Princess found it most
irksome to be followed, and would take the greatest pains to “throw them
off the scent.” When they began to realize their obnoxiousness to this
tempestuous daughter of the Hohenzollerns it was amusing to see them
unobtrusively materialize from behind a tree after she had passed by,
skulking from bush to bush, withdrawing into the shadows of the houses,
or pretending to be mere harmless passers-by absorbed in the study of

The Princess, whose sharp eye instantly detected their manœuvres,
once observed: “If we had not known they were detectives we might have
thought them murderers lying in wait.”

Men new to their duties would begin by showing too much zeal, and
invariably found that all their instructions from head-quarters,
whatever they might be, were immediately negatived and rendered of no
effect, for if they approached within not merely speaking, but shouting
distance, they were treated with withering scorn, and the Princess would
fly through the bushes on rapid, indignant feet, while the unfortunate
man puffed gallantly but hopelessly in the rear.

Finally the footman was told to instruct the detectives as to the
probable direction of her walks, so that they could make occasional
cross-country cuts; and they quickly learned the necessity of “taking
cover” and becoming merged in the surrounding landscape as soon as the
keen-eyed Princess appeared in sight. They were not only absolved but
strictly prohibited from bowing or saluting, and were urged to be
“unmannerly rather than troublesome”; and they soon learned to carry out
their duties so unobtrusively that when, as often happened, they were
requisitioned for the service of the Emperor, the suite remarked on the
excellent training and wonderful tact of the _Geheim-Polizisten_, quite
unaware how much of their education had been due to a young
“_Backfisch_” in a blue serge suit.

Royalties, especially German Royalties, spend a large portion of their
existence in travelling; and it may here be noted how much the advent of
the automobile has tended to simplify life at court, and to abolish
those manifold small ceremonies, red carpets and constantly-bowing
officials, which were formerly attendant on the shortest royal journeys.
It has relieved the royalties themselves, as well as the functionaries
of the Court, of an infinite multitude of tedious, tiresome, small
formalities and duties, and the motor-car is now invariably used
excepting for very long journeys.

Donau-Eschingen is the name of the residence of Prince Max Egon, Fürst
zu Fürstenburg, with whom His Majesty stays every year for a few days to
shoot capercailzie, which abound in the woods of the region bordering on
the Schwarzwald. On one occasion the Empress and her daughter
accompanied the Emperor, who had just returned from Norway.

The train of the Empress left Berlin at eleven o’clock on Friday night,
and before that the Princess had retired to bed, though it is not easy
to sleep in a station among the hootings and trumpetings that accompany
the comings and goings of trains. All through the night the train
travelled slowly, with many jerks and stops, for it was not due to
arrive until ten o’clock next morning at the place where the Emperor
would join it. The route lay through the most beautiful forest scenery
of the Thüringer-Wald.

At nine o’clock we breakfasted in the train with the Empress, and
shortly afterwards stopped at a station surrounded by an enormous crowd.
There were the usual tiers of faces pressed to the railings row above
row. No ceremony was observed on this occasion. The Emperor could be
seen in his green hunting-uniform crossing the line with his adjutants,
and the Empress and the Princess descended to the platform to welcome
him. He looked very brown and well from his long sea-voyage, and was
obviously in very good spirits. After a few minutes the train started
again, no luggage having been transferred, as the train that brought His
Majesty had been coupled on to that of the Empress.

At one o’clock we all dined together in the restaurant car, where the
ladies wore hats and simple walking-dresses, without jackets. A long
table ran down the centre of the saloon, and one of the gentlemen, whose
duty it was, showed us our places. The Emperor and Empress sat facing
each other at the middle of each side.

There was very little room for the footmen to pass round behind the
chairs, especially for those unfortunate men who, in the course of their
service at court, had acquired a certain rotundity of figure; and as the
train jerked and swayed along it was all that some of them could do to
avoid being flung, soup and all, over the people they were serving. The
_consommé_ was handed round in little bowls with curved-in rims, but at
the best it was a very elusive liquid, and most of it evaded pursuit
and was taken back to the kitchen.

After the soup came mutton cutlets with _purée_ of potatoes, and this
dish the Emperor ordered to be set in front of him, for he obviously
objected to the possibility of having an avalanche of chops on his head.
At German meals every dish, even a joint, is always offered to the
guests to help themselves; there is no carving at the sideboard. The
meat is previously cut up in the kitchen, and then the slices laid
together again to look as though the joint were whole, so that only a
fork is needed to serve oneself; but it always impressed me, especially
after once seeing a servant, owing to a sudden paroxysm of the train,
fling a whole leg of mutton over a lady’s shoulder into her lap, as a
custom which places too much responsibility on the waiter. So the
gentleman and the Empress held the plates while the Emperor slapped
chops into them as fast as possible, so that they had, as he observed,
“no time to grow cold,” and the dish was soon empty.

He was laughing and chatting all the time, evidently in most exuberant
spirits, and introduced one gentleman to me, who had newly arrived at
court, giving a short biography of his life--as for instance, “He’s been
to America and got scalped there by Indians.” The gentleman in question,
raising his hat, ran his hand over his smooth and hairless cranium as
though in corroboration of His Majesty’s statement.

“Speaks wonderful English,” went on the Emperor--“wonderful English, all
learnt in America. You can talk to him as much as you like.”

As my energies were at that time concentrated on keeping my knife and
fork out of my features, I did not talk very much to the gentleman from
America, though I afterwards found that he did speak very good English

The train began slowly to ascend the beautiful mountains of the Black
Forest. It was the month of May, and against the dark background of
pine-forest ran the vivid green of the larches breaking into leaf.
Little streams and waterfalls continually came into view as we rose
higher and higher, and often a sudden shower fell and a rainbow spanned
the valley below us. The train passed through more than thirty tunnels.

When luncheon was finished we still stayed some time at the table, and
one of the generals in the Emperor’s suite who had recently begun to
study the English language took the opportunity to practise what he knew
of it upon me. He was a very delightful, handsome old gentleman, and had
fought in the Franco-Prussian War. He told me all the books he was
reading in English, and quoted sentimentally, _apropos_ of nothing, “Let
me Dream again.” I wondered where he had learned that Early-Victorian

“That is all Lowther Castle,” laughed the Emperor: “started them all
learning English; they’ve been taking lessons ever since.”

When they accompanied the Emperor to stay with Lord Lonsdale, all the
German gentlemen found themselves so dreadfully “out of it” for want of
English, that as soon as they returned to their native land they one and
all, regardless of age or possible ridicule, immediately sought out a
teacher and studied hard, with, at least in the case of the old general,
most satisfactory results, for he was able to talk quite fluently with
me. I recommended him to read “The Visits of Elizabeth,” which had just
appeared in Tauchnitz, and the Emperor remarked that he had read it, and
was sure it was all true, especially the part about France. He was very
kind in pointing out pretty bits of scenery, and kept the table in a
perpetual roar with his jokes, which he always laughed at most heartily

When the train arrived at Donau-Eschingen a large party, composed of the
Prince and Princess Fürstenburg with their eldest daughter, a girl about
the same age as the Princess, and sundry head-foresters, _Land-Rats_,
and other officials in black coats and white ties, was on the platform
to receive the Emperor and Empress.

There were five children at the Schloss, two girls and three boys, and
the Princess was delighted to have so many children to talk and play
with. She was always interested in new people, and never shy. She took
all her meals with them and their governess and tutor, and played
furious games of hide-and-seek all over the garden. Nor did she neglect
to visit the stables, and tried to ride a donkey bare-backed without a
bridle--a very difficult feat, as she found to her cost, for being
uplifted with pride at being able to stick on for a few minutes, she
rode into the front of the Schloss, where the donkey tipped her
ignominiously on to the gravel before the assembled ladies and gentlemen
and then raced back to the stables. Beyond a few scratches she was not
much hurt.

In the district of Baden, where Donau-Eschingen is situated, and in the
various valleys of the Black Forest, the peasant costumes are extremely
quaint and varied, each valley being distinguished by its own particular
_Tracht_. At the invitation of the Prince of Fürstenburg all the
inhabitants of the surrounding district came to greet the Emperor and
Empress. It was a most beautiful and picturesque sight, these masses of
people in their many-coloured head-dresses and wonderfully embroidered
bodices. Some of them had huge erections made of brilliantly coloured
beads on their heads, in shape like a wedding cake, and often weighing
close on twenty pounds; others wore straw hats covered with bright red
or black silk pompons; while another characteristic head-dress was a
sort of pointed, stiff black silk cap, from which hung long streamers of
black ribbon. They had wonderfully embroidered bodices worked in silver
lace, and short pleated skirts of a portentous width all round.

The Emperor and Empress and all the guests stood on the balcony after
they returned from church--it was of course Sunday when the fête took
place--and watched the procession go by. The inhabitants of each valley
walked together and carried a flag bearing the name of their particular
district. The cheerful, sunburnt peasants moved slowly through the
beautiful gardens, men and women, marching past in their quaint
picturesque dress, which, though so crude in colour, yet blended
together in a riot of delightful beauty, threading in and out in a
long-drawn-out line of marvellous effect. The sun glinted from the
masses of opalescent beads carried on the heads of three or four hundred
sturdy maidens, or lit up the wide stretch of red pompons which cut
across the procession like a field of poppies, then wandered to the
bright red waistcoats worn by the men, shone on the green silk aprons or
the broad cerise ribbons and the wonderfully starched and plaited white
cambric sleeves.

Three of the women, each wearing a different costume, came up to the
balcony and presented an address to the Empress, who talked with them in
her usual kindly manner. The peasants were three women of great dignity
and a certain nobility of manner, self-possessed and apparently not in
the least intimidated. Probably in ordinary costume they might have
created a different impression, and would have appeared commonplace and
ordinary in type and feature; but the marvel of these peasant dresses is
that the plain woman looks in them almost as well as the handsomest;
they bestow a piquancy, an alluring attractiveness on the least
prepossessing of womankind. In detail they exploit the bizarre, the
unexpected, often the ludicrous, yet subtly blend into a complete and
satisfactory whole, as incomprehensible as it is fascinating.

For the rest of the day the Schloss garden was crowded with groups of
peasants, some of them tiny boys and girls, all anxious to see the
_Kaiserin_, and above all “_die kleine Prinzessin_,” who has always kept
a very special place in the hearts of the German people.

A curious rumour, one of those inexplicable tales which, though totally
devoid of foundation, are yet firmly accepted and become one more of
those popular errors so tenaciously held, a whispered story with regard
to the Princess, with which she herself is much amused, has always been
current in Germany--even in the remotest corners of the Empire--to the
effect that she is deaf and dumb. How this extraordinary idea arose can
never be known, for at every stage of her existence the Princess has
lagged noways behind other children in volubility of expression and
quickness of hearing.

Once at the seaside a faithful forester, a true and loyal German
subject, approached the Court physician, who was in attendance on the
royal children, paddling in the “briny” a short distance away, and
expressed his unmitigated sorrow at the misfortune suffered by the
Imperial Family, in that their only daughter should be so deeply

At the moment one of those healthy spells of _zanking_ happened to take
place between the Princess and her brother.

“Do you hear that?” said the genial doctor. “Can you hear your
deaf-and-dumb Princess talking?” She was indeed talking in tones that
carried to quite a distance. “Go a little nearer and listen.”

The man stopped a short distance away, and drank in the sounds as though
they were heavenly music. The poor afflicted child of his imagination
fled for ever. He turned with his face radiating joy.

“_Gott sei dank!_” he ejaculated. “Now I know it’s not true, but I was
always afraid. People always said she was _taub-stumm_. Now I can tell
them what fools they are. I’ve heard Her Royal Highness with my own
ears.” He departed joyously to spread the glad tidings.

But many people are hard to convince. One dear old lady in Berlin whom I
knew was always making doubtful inquiries of me on this subject, and,
like Thomas, refused to believe.

“Ach, yes!” she would say, “of course you dare not tell me the truth.
You have to _say_ that she is all right.”

“Of course,” I mocked, “it is essential for a deaf-and-dumb person to
have an English teacher, isn’t it--and another one for French? She is
deaf-and-dumb in three languages.”

The lady was still doubtful, and I left her deeply pondering.

After three days we left Donau-Eschingen for Strasburg, a very beautiful
town, disfigured by a terribly ugly modern palace, which the Emperor
calls the “Railway-palace,” as he considers it to be of that hideously
harsh, painful form of architecture we have been accustomed to bear
with, for purely utilitarian purposes. “They built it before my time,”
he hastens to tell every one. “Makes me feel ill every time I see it.”

It was a huge, square gaunt building, surrounded by a palisaded garden,
which contained not a solitary spot where any one could be free from the
attentions of the crowd.

Whenever the Princess walked in it for a few minutes, or wanted to sit
and work under a tree, the whole length of palisade, only a few yards
away, became a mass of human bodies: the butcher-boy with his basket,
the maidservant on her way to market, the workman with his pipe, rows
upon rows of schoolboys and girls with their teachers, clerks and
washerwomen, all welded themselves into a solid mass and concentrated
their gaze upon one poor unfortunate child. She fled into the house for
the time, and then the crowd melted away, only to re-form the moment any
one reappeared. The Emperor gave orders that the palisades should be
boarded up inside, but of course it was impossible to do it at once, so
that all that week of lovely weather the Princess had to stay indoors
or content herself with drives round the town, followed by a clattering
contingent of schoolboys. The people seemed to be delighted to see the
Princess, and were continually waving pocket-handkerchiefs as soon as
she appeared. They also greeted the Emperor and Empress with great
enthusiasm when they arrived; but whether this was just the German
portion of the population, who tried to cover up by their exuberant
loyalty any deficiencies on the part of the French, it is hard to say.

The Princess went with her mother to visit the lovely old Cathedral of
Strasburg, and saw the wonderful clock and its flapping cock and moving
figures, and then drove through the old, picturesque part of the town,
among queer old wooden houses with carved beams.

The Empress visited hospitals and orphanages all day, and in the
evenings big, tiresome official dinners took place, at which every one
looked bored. The Princess was not there, but peeped at them between the
big red-velvet curtains which shut off a portion of the dining-hall.

The last day of the journey was spent at Metz, where the Emperor
reviewed an army corps. Their entry into this town must have seemed
strange indeed to their Majesties, accustomed as they are to smiling,
shouting crowds. Here there was no welcome, no smile, not a single flag.
The people who stood in the streets looked on idly, like spectators of a
curious show, as the long procession of carriages with their outriders
moved on, to the sound only of the rumble of their own wheels. Sometimes
a lady remarked resentfully on the strange absence of enthusiasm. The
names over the doors were French, the faces were French, there was an
atmosphere of French hostility.

Under a little awning, in the burning sunshine, the Empress stood for
two hours, smiling and bowing while the troops marched past. The Emperor
was on his horse a little distance away, amidst a group of officers. On
the roof of a neighbouring building were gathered together the only
Germans in the town. Here was a flutter of white, a shouting of Hurrah!
a movement of welcome and delight, a little lonely outpost of loyalty
and patriotism. The people on the roof and one or two rather dirty
little boys were the only spectators present. The beautiful town went on
with its own affairs while the German soldiers marched and rode past.

It seemed something of an anomaly and a mistake that these stalwart
brown young men, good-tempered and patient as all German soldiers appear
to be, should be living in a kind of exile within their own Empire,
cordially disliked by the people among whom their lot is cast, not for
any personal reason, but solely as a heritage left to them by a
dead-and-gone generation. None of them were born at the time of the
Franco-Prussian war, but they have their share of its aftermath. The
Prussian spirit is not conciliatory. It has a knack of letting the
conquered drink to the dregs the cup of humiliation; its press is
bombastic, and has none of the large-minded tolerance which would enable
it to appreciate the acute sufferings of a proud, humiliated people.

About five years after the end of the Boer war, a German lady who was
dining at court drew me aside after dinner.

“To-day,” she said, “I have been talking to a German gentleman who has
been living in your Orange River Free State, or whatever you call it;
and he tells me that the Boers are quite content now to be under your
Government--they do not want to change back again.”

“Are they?” I said. “Is he quite sure?”

“Oh, quite, quite certain. He knows. He is a German. They know he is a
German. They tell him the truth. He says they are absolutely satisfied.
Now tell me: how do you manage it? And with so few soldiers, I am
told--hardly any at all. How _do_ you do it? In five years! And look at
us in Elsass-Lothringen. We don’t know how to satisfy them. They will
never be satisfied. We are always in fear of war. Tell us your secret.”
She laid her hand on my arm and looked at me intently, as though she
could surprise the secret out of me.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said lamely. “You see we’ve had a lot of practice
at governing, and made an awful lot of mistakes, and we’ve learned a
little by our past mistakes; I suppose that is one reason. So we know
what are the kind of things that people won’t stand. And we let them a
good deal alone afterwards, and play cricket and football with them and
things of that kind; and we let them vote the same as the rest of us,
and--er--well, we don’t treat them any differently from the rest, as far
as I can make out--just let them alone to conspire or do as they
like--and then if they know they can, they don’t want to. See? And then
our Tommies--our soldiers--are very good too; they’re not brought up to
be so patriotic as yours--so, of course, it’s less galling: they’d just
as soon chum up with the enemy afterwards as not. Yours are brought up
to look on him rather as a criminal, aren’t they? Not the officers, of
course, but the others. They are patronizingly kind and pitying, and no
one likes that, do they? You don’t want conquered people to lose their
self-respect. Well, I don’t know, I’m sure----”

“Cricket and football,” the lady murmured, “and not too patriotic, and a
vote, and let them conspire if they want to, and the soldiers are
‘chummy.’ Ach! We cannot do that. It is a matter of national
temperament, I suppose, but it is sad, very sad. Here in five years you
pacify your enemy, and in forty years we have not begun to pacify ours:
it is a constant fear--a constant terror--one expects every day to hear
that war has broken out. And you will not tell us your secret. How do
you learn to govern like this? No, it is impossible! It must be, as I
said, national temperament.”

She sighed and cast her eyes upward and walked away looking troubled.



Those ardent military Prussian educationalists into whose hands is given
the instruction of the tender princeling usually desire to develop in
their pupil characteristics approximating as nearly as possible to those
of the most famous Hohenzollern of his race, Frederick the Great; and
since, in their estimation, it was the harsh training of his childhood
and youth which stimulated into growth the splendid qualities of his
manhood, they strive to reproduce as closely as they can--of course in
harmony with the more enlightened ideas of the present day--something of
the same strenuous atmosphere and stern conditions which surrounded that
celebrated monarch as he grew up.

The ordinary German child goes to school at a certain age, and if he is
of average intelligence passes from one class to another according to
the rules laid down for him, securing every year his “remove,” working
steadily upward to his examination, after which he goes to the
University, or if of the working classes to the earning of his daily
bread until the age for military service; all is preordained, and one
step leads naturally to the next. In theory this is what happens to a
princeling of either sex, but the difficulties in the way are manifold
and subtle; chief among them being the multiplicity of persons
interested in his education, most of whom have, or think they have,
paramount authority over their pupil. Usually the parents of a child
arrange how it shall be educated, and kings and queens are no exception
to this rule, but it is the admittance of the State functionary into the
business that immediately complicates matters. Perhaps nothing is worse
for any young child than to perceive that there are differences of
opinion about his treatment among those whom he must obey.

A young prince, having reached the age of seven, is promoted from the
nursery to a room of his own, and instead of the ministrations of the
faithful, crabbed, tyrannical, loving old nurse, probably of English
nationality, who has washed and dressed and scolded him from birth, is
given over to the care of a well-meaning but inexperienced footman and
the supervision of a well-bred, well-educated, but equally inexperienced
young officer, who, imbued with stern Prussian notions of discipline and
a complete ignorance of childish needs, is prepared to do his duty at
whatever cost and to lay the first foundations of a training which shall
ultimately develop in his pupil the qualities of another Frederick the
Great. It is a position requiring much tact on both sides, but who
expects tact from a young officer? There is the royal mamma to be
reckoned with, for she considers that she has still some rights in her
infant, even if he be one day destined to wear a crown; and among
various other people let us not forget the tutor, full of theories on
education which he is yearning to put into practice.

The prince, then, is installed in his own apartments of the palace,
where he has his bedroom, sitting-room, and schoolroom, with suitable
accommodation for his governor, as the young officer who has his
education in hand is officially called, his tutor and his servants. He
is supposed henceforth, in the rosy dreams of the governor, to be,
except at occasional meal-times and perhaps a scanty hour in the
evening, entirely sequestered from his family, devoted to qualifying
himself for future renown in some one of the restricted careers,
military for choice, open to royalty. If the prince has brothers of a
suitable age they share his rooms, his governor, and his tutor, and are
encouraged to share his aspirations.

The tutor draws up a portentous _Stundenplan_, which, copied by the
footman in his intervals of leisure, is posted up in various conspicuous
places, so that there is no excuse for not knowing the particular study,
pause from study, walk, ride, or drill that shall be taking place at a
particular hour or minute. The hitherto more or less casual education of
the prince now gives way to a strictly regulated _régime_. He begins to
follow the ordinary curriculum of the German secondary schools, and
knows exactly what stage he has reached on the ladder of learning; for
every child in Germany, be he prince or peasant, educated at home or at
school, works to a certain universal standard which, whatever may be its
drawback, establishes a curious educational bond throughout the Empire
and is eminently characteristic of the nation.

The tutor, who usually resides in the royal palace, is of a type unknown
in England. He is a young man, often a _Kandidat_ for the ministry, but
by no means curate-like in mind or appearance; he has passed his
examination at a university (which does not necessarily imply a
university education), and gained his experience of teaching in one of
the Government boys’ or girls’ schools--for all State schools for girls
in Germany are managed and mainly taught by men. If he has had a
university education probably the only trace of it will be a disfiguring
scar on his face, relic of a student’s duel, of which he will be
inordinately proud; but if he is going to be a _Pastor_ the scar will be
absent, as well as the year’s military training which he would otherwise
have undergone--a distinct loss for any one who has in hand a prince to

A volume might be written on German tutors, more especially on those
employed in royal households. They are usually solemn, fleshy,
conscientious young men in black frock-coats and _Cylinder_ (top-hats),
who in a few years develop an alarming _embonpoint_, and after finishing
their work of implanting in princely minds a sufficiency of classics,
history, and mathematics, retire to other spheres of labour, provided by
courtly influence--spheres which they rarely consider to be worthy of
the services they have rendered. They usually know nothing at all of
sport, though professing to know a good deal, as in their vocabulary
sport is only another name for exercise: they fondly imagine that the
man who trots on horseback every morning round the Tier-Garten,
especially if he wears English gaiters and carries a hunting-crop, is a
sportsman, and consider any game “sporting” where there is plenty of
running--even if no demand be made on the courage, decision, quickness
or other mental qualifications of the players. They are unable to grasp
the sporting idea, which, after attempted explanation, they believe to
be a figment of the English imagination.

On the occasion of the thirteenth birthday of the Princess Victoria
Louise, she invited the pupils of one of the aristocratic girls’ schools
of which the Empress her mother is patroness, to have tea and games with
her in the lovely Wildpark, close to the New Palace. I was asked to draw
up a programme of sports for the occasion, as the games usually played
on former birthdays were stigmatized by Her Royal Highness as childish
and silly (“_kindisch und albern_”).

So a list of various obstacle and flat races was arranged, as well as
potato, egg-and-spoon, and sack-races (which I own I had hesitated to
introduce, fearing they were hardly fitting for the amusement of tender
female German aristocracy, but, under pressure from the giver of the
feast, had finally included in the programme).

A delightfully smooth grassy spot surrounded by magnificent fir-trees
was the place chosen for the revels. The day was ideal for a September
picnic--one of those warm, mellow autumn afternoons with magic melting
blue distances, when departing Summer seems to put on her loveliest
attire and most attractive mood before saying her final farewell. All
the mosquitoes--that plague of Potsdam in summer--had departed, the
fir-trees distilled their resinous balm in the sunshine, which played in
flickering light and shade on their red sienna stems and dark-green
masses of foliage; the beeches were beginning to turn a tawny yellow,
while there was a fresh sparkle in the air, exhilarating to the spirits
and peculiarly appropriate, it was felt, to the performance of feats of

Four _Kremserwagen_--enormous wagonettes, much in request on fête-days
in Germany--brought the smiling loads of happy maidenhood, all dressed
in their neat white-linen uniform dresses and sailor hats, to the
appointed place. There were seventy or eighty of them altogether,
besides six teachers. The proceedings began with tea, and immediately it
was finished the joyous crowd of girls, reinforced by some other young
princes and princesses who came accompanied by their tutors, two young
men wearing orthodox top-hats and frock-coats and a general air of
funereal respectability, began to play “tag,” “drop-handkerchief,” and
other games which they had confidently expected as a form of diversion
usual to the occasion. But they were soon stopped and told that a
totally new and superior form of entertainment had been provided for
them, founded on English principles, of which I was to be the organizer
and exponent.

Nervous apprehension took possession of my soul as, followed by the
radiantly expectant “_Backfische_,” I wended my way anxiously to our
_Sportplatz_. Here the hurdles, corn-sacks, and other material had been
brought from the palace stables by two respectfully-interested grooms,
who fondly hoped to witness the English sports from a suitable distance,
but were remorselessly sent away.

The ropes, red flags, buckets, eggs, spoons and other things were
regarded with excited anticipation and wonderment--especially the basket
containing the prizes, which, I may as well mention here, cost
individually not more than twopence each, collectively just eighteen
shillings--a sum afterwards refunded to us by Her Majesty the Empress,
who thought it “extremely cheap for so much joy,” providing, as it did,
more than ninety prizes.

By a subtly-arranged system of handicapping and consolation races each
girl, whatever her abilities in the domain of athletics, was eventually
enabled to obtain one of the coveted prizes, presented, it is needless
to say, at the conclusion of the proceedings by the little Princess
herself, who, an ardent devotee of sport, had competed with success in
many of the races, waiving, however, her right to a prize in favour of
her guests.

This untried excursion into the unknown turned out a brilliant success
from every point of view; the teachers, who had been formed into a
Sports Committee, with quick feminine intuition had immediately grasped
their duties, which they carried out with the greatest intelligence and
impartiality; the girls themselves were the keenest and most
enthusiastic I ever met; their achievements in the sack-race--won by the
young Baroness Irma von Kramm--must have been seen to be believed (“Is
this a usual English sport for ladies?” asked the head-mistress, as they
hopped screaming past the winning-post); but the only rift within the
lute was the attitude of the tutors, which, to say the least of it, was
decidedly chilly. Perhaps they felt uncomfortable in the midst of that
vortex of femeninity, or they may have been offended at not being on the
Committee, or that they were not invited in their manly capacity to take
the direction of affairs; be that as it may, they remained austerely
aloof, only occasionally interfering when some one fell down or seemed
likely to get overheated. One of more genial mood than his fellows had
stood near the hurdle in the obstacle race, and on its being knocked


over had proposed to substitute in its place a rope, which, as he
pointed out, “could be easily lowered as each girl jumped it”; but his
suggestion meeting with no approval, rather with general derision as
likely to make a mock of competitors, he retired from all further active
participation in our gambollings.

The sons of the Emperor were unusually fortunate in their Governor, who
together with his military training possessed the broad-minded, more
tolerant liberal spirit of the age, and knew when to sink the martinet
in the man. He was able to realize that the formation of character is
first of all a development from within, chiefly moulded by the cast of
the minds that surround it--a growth of mind modified, not produced, by
outward circumstances.

The Crown Prince and his brother Prince Fritz remained only for a very
short time under his charge before going on to the university; but the
younger Princes were in his care for some years at Ploen, where I was
once invited to stay for a few weeks to give Prince Joachim lessons in

The “Schloss” where the Princes lived was a large, bright, pleasant
country-house standing in pretty but not large grounds, bordered by
forest, on the edge of the beautiful _Ploener See_. From the
neighbouring _Kadetten-Schule_, where the boys undergo a semi-military
training, four to six cadets were chosen to share the lessons and
amusements of the Princes, always returning to the _Schule_ to sleep.

Ploen is a very small, primitive town, so small that I made the mistake
of calling it a “village” and was severely reprimanded by Prince Joachim
for my blunder. It had just one long straggling street, with a few
shops, and at the end close to the lake stood the _Kadetten-Schule_,
which had formerly been the residence of the old Danish Kings, some of
whose bodies lay in the crypt of the little chapel adjoining--a dismal
place, full of sarcophagi huddled together in mouldering oblivion.

As the boys were occupied all morning with their other studies, I, who
was lodged in the _Prinzen-Villa_ under the fostering care of the wife
of the private detective, had nothing to do till one o’clock; and the
Governor kindly allowed me to ride one of his two horses every
morning--fine big cavalry chargers, which fled away with me in a
light-hearted manner over the tree-shaded roads and fields, evidently
pleased at my light weight and determined that I should have a good
time. I had been allowed to bring my side-saddle from the New Palace:
“the very first time,” the Master of the Horse assured me, “that such a
privilege had ever been granted to any lady at court.” He jokingly said
he hoped it would not establish a precedent, and I said I hoped it
would. The stable authorities were always very amiable and courteous,
and anxious to gratify my taste for riding.

These morning excursions allowed me to explore a great deal of the
neighbourhood, which I should otherwise have been unable to see. All
this district of Holstein is rather flat, but beautifully wooded, with
many lakes which add a wistful calm beauty to the sleepy landscape.
There is something reminiscent of England in the farm-houses and the
hedgerows, which are never seen in Brandenburg, where the fields are

At one o’clock I was at the Schloss for luncheon, where I had to talk
English with the Prince and his cadets--charming boys, some of whom I
had met in Potsdam, where they lived. None of the tutors knew any
English, though one of them had evidently learned some from a book which
professed--without fulfilling its profession--to teach “without a

After luncheon the boys, including the Prince, who was then about
fifteen, all went with me down to the “island” which lay in the lake,
and where farming operations on a small scale were carried on.

A long narrow road led to the island, which was really a peninsula, and
there everybody, including the Prince and myself, engaged in the
occupation--it being the season of potato harvest--of digging potatoes
out of the ground and gathering them into heaps. The coachman and
footman and a young officer, a sort of deputy-governor, all assisted in
this work. Some geese came along and gobbled up the stray small potatoes
we threw in their direction, and the sun, reflected from the lake in
front, shone brightly on us as we toiled, girt round with potato-sacks
to keep our clothes clean. This participation in agricultural pursuits
is a part of the training devised by the Governor, but, as he himself
was not an agriculturist, I doubt whether it was really as beneficial as
it might have been. The propagation and development of seeds, the
rearing of young animals, and the study of their wants, would, I think,
have been less monotonous than this incessant potato gathering, which we
pursued nearly every afternoon while I was there.

At five, when the afternoon train to Kiel was seen in the distance, we
took off our sack-aprons and went home to tea, and I was free for an
hour or so, when I gave an English lesson to the whole class of boys,
which nearly always also included their Governor and the officer from
the _Schule_ who was teaching them English, a very pleasant, kind young
man, who sat humbly (metaphorically speaking) at my feet and was anxious
to learn all he could. They had been reading Dickens’ “Christmas
Carol"--everybody in Germany reads Dickens, and gets quite a wrong idea
of present-day English life from his books--but I produced Conan Doyle’s
“Adventures of Brigadier Gerard,” as being in my opinion more suitable
for boys, as well as more colloquial and military in tone. I never had a
class which hung so much on my words before. As they all spoke with a
very bad accent, I read to them myself, so that they could hear English,
and then we discussed the story and the meaning of obscure words and
phrases. They were very alert and intelligent, and soon became deeply
absorbed in the “Brigadier.”

Sometimes in the mornings after my ride I would walk with the officer
who taught English and converse with him, so that he might have the
benefit of my accent; and once he took me to the _Schule_ and installed
me in his class, to hear how he instructed his thirty boys there. He was
a most intelligent teacher, and spoke very correct English. It amused me
to hear some of the pupils reciting “Rule Britannia” out of their
English Reading-Books. It sounded like a derisive challenge as they
declaimed the poem with that clear, distinct utterance specially
cultivated in all German schools. I could with difficulty keep from
smiling to hear a young German piping its bombastic lines:

    “All thine shall be the subject main,
     And every shore it circles thine.
          Rule Britannia, etc.,”

while Kiel, with its rapidly increasing war-fleet, lay only an hour’s
journey away.

But they were very pleasant and kindly, all those German officers; they
showed me their class-rooms, their gymnasium, everything that they
thought could interest me. If they knew only two words of English they
said those two; but as I was by that time a fairly fluent speaker of
German, we were able to exchange views without any difficulty. That
rather hard, harsh, overbearing Prussian spirit that one meets in Berlin
here seemed softened and humanized, and the atmosphere of the place was
not so rigid and mechanical as military institutions are apt to be. It
is true that the boys, whenever addressed, instantly fell into those
stiff, wooden military attitudes which are a little disconcerting to
unaccustomed people, squaring their shoulders, putting their heels
together and lifting up their chins; but when one got used to it it was
not so noticeable.

The general impression gained from the military ideal as applied to
education in Germany is that, while excellently thorough and practical,
it yet ignores too much those other world-forces due to science,
invention and discovery, which day by day are changing the conditions of
life among the nations--that it cherishes a spirit more suitable to past
ages than to present progress. It seems to breed up a class of men who
are earnest, loyal, and self-sacrificing, but express extremely narrow
views, who see and judge everything from a purely military, autocratic
standpoint, and are quite unable to sympathize with or understand the
aspirations of the normal human being towards personal initiative and
liberty of action.

Crushed as a nation a hundred years since, under the great Napoleon, the
members of this military caste are still ruled by the fear of despotism
from without, and ignore the despotism within of their own creation,
still fight ideas with physical force, hold the uniform as sacrosanct,
are overbearing, touchy, often (with, of course, many exceptions)
insufferably vain and spiteful. They realize most emphatically that they
are the masters, not the servants, of the German people; they are a
class aloof, apart, a class wielding tremendous social and political
power. Sometimes it seems almost a pity that Carlyle rediscovered the
virtues of that “iracund Hohenzollern” Frederick William I. So many
latter-day Prussians, without possessing his sturdy virtues, seem to
model their conduct on his, and try to impress the world by the more
disagreeable, rather than the more praiseworthy traits of his vivid
forceful personality.



The _Bauern-Haus_ or peasant cottage which the Emperor gave to his
daughter at Christmas was built and ready for occupation by the time she
returned to the New Palace in the spring. It was solemnly inaugurated,
being unlocked by the Emperor and presented by him to the Princess, who
was overjoyed at having a place where she could cook and wash clothes to
her heart’s content; for, like most people of royal birth, she was
attracted chiefly towards those occupations in which she was least
likely ever to be engaged.

Before the advent of the _Bauern-Haus_ we had made toffee on a doll’s
stove in a doll’s saucepan, but the brocaded chairs and sofas of the
rooms of the _Prinzen-Wohnung_ were an unsuitable background for
tentative culinary efforts, and the Princess sensibly remarked that
grown-up people had not dolls’ appetites and she wanted to cook
something for “Papa.”

It is true that, having a cold, he had partaken of the toffee (which
turned out rather soft) with much appreciation, but we were eager to
prove ourselves capable of higher achievements.

All the dolls’ crockery-ware, saucepans and frying-pans were taken over
to the _Haus_, which was built in one of the side gardens a little
distance from the Palace.

The first time we indulged there in an orgie of cooking, the Princess,
wishing to play the part properly, donned an embroidered peasant’s dress
which had been presented to her by the good _Bauern-Volk_ who came to
Donau-Eschingen. We met the guard on our way to the garden. They were
dreadfully nonplussed when they first caught sight of her in this
costume, not being sure if it really was the Princess or not, but
finally decided to render the customary honours. The wearer of the dress
had thrown herself so entirely into the part of _Bauern-frau_ that this
obvious anachronism annoyed her extremely. She found the costume,
moreover, rather tight and hot, and not very practical for beating eggs
in, and therefore decided not to wear it again when she really wanted to

As I was the only lady in the Palace having the faintest theoretical or
practical idea of the art of cooking, I was chosen to guide the children
in their first attempts. Two footmen preceded us, carrying firewood,
matches and coal, with which they were to start the little tiled stove,
while half a dozen children followed with flour, eggs, butter, milk, and
other materials, all of which had been commandeered from the royal

The stoutest heart might have quailed, the best cook in the world might
have trembled, at the enterprise I had undertaken. To cook, or rather to
teach a lot of riotous, screaming children to cook--on a stove whose
capacities were not yet known, in a kitchen supplied chiefly with
inadequate and doll-like utensils--a sort of combined tea and supper to
which an Emperor and Empress and goodness knew how many more people had
been hospitably, but I could not but feel recklessly, invited!

It was very hot. Mosquitoes swarmed everywhere. The chimney smoked
relentlessly till one of the footmen discovered a damper. The wood was
wet. There was no water, no knives and forks, and we had forgotten the
salt; but the affair had to be a success, and we set out perseveringly
to carry it through.

The Princess had decided that we would have pancakes for tea--the usual
English kind made with eggs and milk--and the six children were
accordingly sent outside on to the veranda to beat eggs, while I tried
to review my forces and collect a few ideas--a dreadful business with a
swarm of children, asking questions in the rather loud-voiced German
way, running up to show their eggs, or spilling them on the floor, while
not a single cup or saucer was as yet in its place.

By some miraculous means we managed to ice a cake with chocolate--a
sheer _tour-de-force_ of inventive genius, for I had never done such a
thing before in my life. We cut quantities of very thin bread and
butter, at which one of the footmen displayed unsuspected dexterity. The
much-beaten eggs duly mixed with flour and milk made excellent pancakes.
Each child had “tasted” of them liberally, pronouncing them
“_Grossartig! Prachtvoll!_”

All too soon the Emperor and Empress were seen wending their way in our
direction, accompanied, to the Princess’s great indignation, by two

“I never invited the gentlemen,” she said in tones of annoyance; “there
won’t be half enough pancakes to go round.”

I remained discreetly in the background in the kitchen, concentrating my
mind on frying. The tea was good because it was just freshly made, and
the pancakes for the same reason, hot from the fire and spared the usual
long journey down the tunnel from the Palace kitchens, were, in spite of
the inadequate doll’s plates on which they had perforce to be served,
crisp and toothsome.

The Emperor ate with the greatest appetite and appreciation, praising
his daughter’s cooking, and obviously believing, in the usual facile
masculine way, that she had suddenly acquired this difficult art. I
heard her holding forth on the necessity of beating the eggs severely
for ten minutes at least (she did not mention those which had escaped
from the basin to the ground) and talking at large with the air of a
person who had plumbed all the depths of culinary difficulties.

“Yes, of course they stick to the pan if you don’t put lots of
butter--lots and lots.” We had indeed used several pounds.

I think His Majesty accounted for four pancakes and then concentrated on
chocolate cake and bread-and-butter, after which the Empress noticed my
absence, and I was compelled reluctantly to appear--very red-faced and
greasy--and modestly accept the Imperial congratulations on my
successful efforts. Room was made for me to sit down with the rest, and
the chocolate cake was warmly recommended to my attention.

“Fancy an Englishwoman knowing how to cook!” said the Emperor, laughing.

I respectfully but firmly pointed out that not a single German lady
inhabiting the palace confessed to any culinary knowledge whatever. They
had all been approached on the subject, and their ideas were found hazy
and vague in the extreme. Not one had been in a position to help in that
strenuous afternoon’s work. (His Majesty is subject to the illusion that
all German women are extremely domesticated.) The Emperor’s blue eyes

“Ah, ah!” he laughed, “the British ‘Dreadnought’ again to the fore.”

That was his favourite name for me. It had been bestowed on the birthday
of the Princess--the only one of those anniversaries on which the
Emperor was present, for he was usually away at the autumn manœuvres
on that date (September 13), but this one year he happened to be at
home. Although as a rule only one of the three ladies of the Princess,
German, French, or English, accompanied her to the _Frühstücks-tafel_,
on this occasion in honour of the day all were invited, and as we
followed her into the dining-room an adjutant remarked in the Emperor’s
hearing upon _Prinzessin’s Geschwader_ (Princess’s Squadron), referring
to ourselves.

This epithet as applied to the trio amused His Majesty greatly, and he
tried during the meal to fit us all three with appropriate nautical
names, one--the German _Ober-Gouvernante_--being called the “tug,”
Mademoiselle the “torpedo-boat,” while amid the hilarity of the
assembled company he decided that “Dreadnought” was the term which best
applied to me; and although the two other ladies escaped any further
reference to their supposed prototypes, I was not so fortunate, for the
name “Dreadnought” stuck to me thenceforth. When I appeared in a new hat
or dress His Majesty would whimsically remark, “Here comes the
Dreadnought in a new coat of paint,” or some equally embarrassing
observation. Perhaps I was considered to be uncompromisingly British, or
representative of my nation, but when the Princess curled her arm round
my neck and murmured, “Good old Dreadnought!” I did not mind the epithet
so much, and grew in time to like it.

It was at the same _Frühstücks-tafel_ that we three ladies for the first
and only time in our lives had the privilege of “taking wine” with His
Majesty. Usually on birthdays and anniversaries of various kinds it is a
custom at court to stand up and clink glasses together before drinking,
but this is not often done when the Emperor is present. He sometimes
“drinks wine” with any particular gentleman whom he wishes to honour,
who stands up, takes his full glass in his hand, bows to the Emperor,
and empties it at a draught before sitting down again. I had never seen
a lady invited to “take wine” with His Majesty, and believed it to be a
privilege reserved for the sterner sex; but while I was chatting to an
officer at table, the one on the other side, he who had called us a
_Geschwader_, touched my arm and whispered “His Majesty wishes to drink
wine with you. _Aufgestanden und Ausgetrunken!_ (standing, and no

The Emperor was smiling in my direction, glass in hand; so I stood up at
once with my champagne glass filled to the brim (fortunately I
habitually replenished it with water every time I drank) and was able
to toss it off very creditably, thanks to the adjutant’s kindly hint and
the comparative innocuousness of the beverage. His Majesty also “took
wine,” of course, with the other ladies of the _Geschwader_.

The _Bauern-Haus_ remained for several years a centre of joyous-hearted
hospitality and reckless and extravagant cookery. Once the two cousins
of the Princess came over from Glienicke to help to prepare supper,
accompanied by a French governess and an elegantly-attired tutor in a
top-hat and frock-coat. There was no place in our cookery scheme into
which the tutor fitted. So we sent him and the French lady to walk about
the gardens together, while the children, in a glow of enthusiasm, sat
down to peel potatoes for an Irish stew. Prince Leopold (the cousin)
insisted--in spite of advice to the contrary--in also trying to peel the
onions; but after weeping copious tears over the first one, allowed
somebody else to finish. Besides the stew, we had chops, poached eggs,
pancakes, and lemonade.

The Empress, in a very light, elegant toilette, arrived at an acute
stage of activity, when every child was running, shrieking, clattering
glasses, or spilling water, while the sputter of chops and pancakes and
the reek of their frying filled the small kitchen to repletion.

Fortunately we had long since been supplied with full-sized cooking
utensils and the doll-things had been scrapped.

A heavy thunderstorm once threatened at the very moment when the supper
had reached the culminating point of perfection. We had fried our
pancakes (they were a favourite dish and always appeared on the _menu_)
to the accompaniment of rumbles of thunder and blue flashes of
lightning, but the Princess ignored the gathering storm, absorbed in the
mixing of her batter and the smoothness of her potato _purée_. As I
emerged in a decidedly heated state from the kitchen, I caught a mental
picture, which still remains in my memory, of a protesting footman
standing on the veranda pointing to the darkened heavens, and of the
Princess with a fork in her hand, which she flourished in one hand
towards the sky (like another Ajax defying the lightning), while she
emphatically refused to return to the house before supper was eaten.

“Our _beautiful_ supper,” she said: “no, I _won’t_ go in. The storm’s
nothing. It’s going over.” Crashes of thunder punctuated the sentence.

A harassed _Ober-Gouvernante_ appeared round the bushes and commanded
our instant return to the palace; but after several minutes of heated
discussion the storm actually did pass over, and our supper was eaten to
the sound of its faint rumbling retreat towards the river.

Another time we ventured to make vanilla-ice, and sent to the kitchen
for the ice-machine. As we were mixing the milk and eggs and vanilla
flavouring, four white-capped cooks in their spotless kitchen livery
were seen dragging along some sort of wheeled vehicle on which reposed
the heavy ice-machine, which we found to our astonishment to be an
apparatus almost as large as a piano.

It was lifted down--as a matter of fact I think two cooks might have
managed it--and the guests took turns at the handle with such goodwill
that unfortunately we rather overdid it, and the iced custard became of
such a hard rock-like consistency that we had to thaw it a little before
it was fit to eat. But it was pronounced “quite delicious,” and we were
sorry we had not made a larger quantity.

_Pfingsten_, as Whitsuntide is called in Germany, is celebrated by many
pleasant customs. It is the season when all the village people place big
boughs of young larch on each side of the doorway to welcome the
returning spring. Every street breaks out into a sudden growth of
unaccustomed greenery, and in the churches young larch trees cut from
the hill-side are placed on each side of the altar.

In the New Palace the garrison celebrated Whit Monday by the
_Schrippen-Fest_, a dinner instituted by Frederick the Great for their
benefit. All the previous week the soldiers might have been seen busily
at work in their spare time making the long green garlands of pine and
fir twigs with which every good German loves to give outward expression
of his inward joy. They erected round the arcade of the “Communs” plank
tables and benches covered with a wooden roof upheld by posts round
which the garlands were entwined. Early on the morning of Whit Monday
big copper cauldrons containing beef, prunes and rice, were set boiling
out of doors.

Originally the feast had begun in a small way by the distribution to the
soldiers of _Schrippen_, or small loaves of white bread, but in the
course of years it had developed into a substantial meal.

To the _Schrippen-Fest_ the whole Diplomatic Corps and many officers and
ladies are invited, and there is a gay assemblage of people at the
military service for the garrison, which takes place out of doors, under
the trees at one end of the palace. After it is finished the Emperor and
Empress, with their family and guests, go to partake of the feast with
the soldiers. They do not as a rule sit down, but eat their meat and
prunes standing. All the ladies in their trained silk dresses, the
ambassadors, generals, and adjutants in their uniforms, are served with
a plateful of boiled beef, and eat it wherever they can find elbow-room.
When Their Majesties have finished, they walk, followed by the assembled
company, down between the tables, inspecting the soldiers and asking
them questions. “Where do you come from? How long have you served? Have
you had a good dinner?” seem to be the stock questions, varied by
inquiries as to name, father’s business, and any other queries that seem
to fit the occasion.

Here it may be remarked that the Emperor and his family possess in an
unusual degree what Kipling calls the “common touch.” They know how to
talk to poor men, working men, without any shadow of that patronizing
affability often mistakenly employed by one class when trying to be nice
to another which is not on the same social plane.

An absolutely frank and unreserved interest in other people’s affairs is
implied in their conversation, an obvious desire really to know
something of the conditions of other people’s lives. It is not
perfunctory, though it easily, perhaps, might become so, especially in
view of the thousands of soldiers and other people to whom the Emperor
talks in the course of a year. The Princess herself from childhood
always had the happy knack of choosing the right thing to say to the
poorest children she met. She always wanted to know their names, how
many brothers and sisters they had, what class they were in at school,
and what they were going to be when they grew up. One small boy
confessed once to a desire to be a “chimney sweep.” Never was she at a
loss for something appropriate to say to the most cross-grained and
morose of her fellow-mortals; she never appeared to be shy, but,
apparently quite at her ease herself, made every one else feel the same.
She was not a devoted student of books, but possessed initiative and, as
far as her experience went, correct judgment--two invaluable qualities
where princes are concerned.

About a mile from the New Palace lived the only unmarried sister of the
Empress, the Princess Féodora of Schleswig-Holstein, a woman of many
intellectual gifts and a very striking and interesting personality,
possessing great influence over the children of her sister, who spent
much time in “Tante Féo’s” beloved society. Her ideas were very
democratic. She detested the atmosphere of courts and all the
restrictions and ceremonies incident to court existence. She was a very
clever artist, and author of several books dealing with the life of the
peasantry and showing a marvellous insight into their methods of


Her home was for some years in a large farmhouse belonging to the Crown
known as “Bornstedter Gut,” lived in for some time by the Emperor and
Empress Frederick. The ground-floor was inhabited by the bailiff and his
family. The rest of the house belonged to the Princess, to whom it had
been lent by her brother-in-law the German Emperor, with whom she was a
great favourite, in spite of the fact that on nearly every possible
subject their views clashed uncompromisingly. She furnished it all
according to her own taste, doing her shopping in Berlin like any
ordinary _Bürger-frau_ among the crowd of other buyers. She loved the
realities of life, and refused to have things made easier for her
because she was the sister of the Empress. Only seven years older than
her eldest nephew, the Crown Prince, she was from childhood the
delightful play-fellow of the children of the Empress and of her other
sisters, Princess Frederick Leopold of Prussia and the Duchess of

I first saw her at Bornstedt, where I had come to fetch my little
Princess, who had been spending the afternoon with her aunt. The
carriage I was in drove past a big farmyard, where waggon-horses were
being harnessed, up to the door of a big stone house pleasantly shaded
by chestnut trees. As I got out of the carriage a sudden irruption of
screaming children, boys and girls of all ages in a state of extreme
heat and untidiness, among whom I recognized my Princess, burst from the
dark doorway of a cow-house, and trampling and stumbling over heaps of
farmyard litter, fled with shrieks up a perpendicular ladder into a
hay-loft. They were followed at a short interval by a lady clad in a
tweed skirt, a striped blouse and a Panama hat, who likewise flew up the
ladder with remarkable agility and disappeared. Uproarious screams were
presently heard issuing from the loft. They were evidently playing
_Versteckens_, and my coachman confided to me that the lady of the
ladder was Princess Féodora herself.

The Princess disliked the ordinary court circle, with its cramped,
narrow views, and loved to surround herself with clever, unconventional
people, whatever their rank in life. With her it was a positive
obsession that all her royal nephews and nieces should know life as it
really was, not as seen blurred and transformed through a court
atmosphere, with the hideous, ugly realities of existence hidden away
and covered up. She taught them many perhaps disagreeable truths about
themselves, which they would have heard from no one else. The trend of
modern thought and contemporary politics both found in her an earnest
and intelligent student. With poverty, with humble folk, she had an
intense sympathy, a passionate tenderness for all simple struggling

Although possessing a conspicuous sense of humour, in her books she
wrote only of the sombre side of life, the bare starving sand-dunes of
her native Holstein, the resinous breath of its pine-woods, the chill
sad beat on the shore of its grey sea-waves. She depicted the strenuous
toil, the unrelieved labour, the sordid existence and struggles of the

“The only truths in life,” she makes one of her characters say, “are
founded upon Work. Everything else is false.”

In “Tante Féo’s” company the little Princess had the privilege of seeing
the first aeroplane flight of her life made by Orville Wright, who had
installed himself and his machine on the Bornstedter Feld, where he was
instructing the German officers in the art of flying.

One day at the end of September 1909 came a telephone message from one
of the Princes in Potsdam, saying that Orville Wright was flying on the
“Feld.” Without delay two “autos” were ordered by Her Majesty, one for
herself and her sister and the Princess, the other for the suite; and
the palace buzzed like a hive while footmen flew about summoning the
ladies to get ready at once. The two professors who ought to have been
instructing the Princess in literature and history were sent off to the
scene of action in a carriage (a propitiatory proceeding suggested, I
believe, by the Princess herself, who never failed to display a certain
diplomatic tact), while Mademoiselle and I huddled on our outdoor things
and tied motor-veils with tremblingly excited fingers. It was _de
rigueur_ to get excited over flying, and nothing annoyed the Princess
more than an attitude of philosophic calm.

We picked up Prince August Wilhelm and Prince George of Greece on the
way, and sped onwards to the big cavalry-exercise ground, over which the
cars bumped at a furious pace. When we arrived, however, there was no
sign of Mr. Wright. A gentleman appeared, who announced with a
pronounced American accent that all flying was finished for that day, as
the police had gone home again and there was no one to keep the crowd
from straying on to the ground. But Her Majesty particularly wished
Princess Féo to see a flight, as she was going away the same evening,
and there was a discussion as to whether soldiers should be summoned
from the adjacent barracks to keep the course. The American gentleman
seemed to think that would make no difference to Mr. Wright, but at last
a man was sent to his tent to announce Her Majesty’s arrival, and
presently he came along buttoning up his leather jacket as he walked--a
quiet, taciturn individual who spoke in rather a soft, gentle voice when
he spoke at all, which was not often.

Some policemen on bicycles had materialized out of the surrounding
landscape, and began to drive the crowd back to the road, where they
were kept penned up by the arm of the law while we stood in the middle
of the field to watch the flight.

A few days later the Emperor himself went with the Empress and Princess
to see Wright fly. It was the middle of October, when the days are
getting short, and there had been some delay in starting, so that as
the cars tore on to the Feld the sun was setting in great clouds of
scarlet and purple, and night fast approaching. Wright was waiting
beside his machine, and after a word with the Emperor put on his jacket
and goggles, and in a few seconds the motor began to hum steadily, the
propellers whizzed round, and the huge machine moved along smoothly and
swiftly up into the darkening heavens. Its wide-spread planes showed
blackly for a moment against the intense sunset background, then it went
droning round the immense space, rising higher and higher towards the
stars, which were now shining brightly in the deep blue of the sky. For
nearly half an hour, away above our heads, the machine circled and dived
and rose again, humming smoothly and sleepily in the distance, then
coming nearer with a threatening murmur, to rise and disappear again
into the darkness, reappearing presently like a gigantic moth. At last
it descended, dropping lightly within a few feet of us. The crowd on the
edge of the field cheered heartily.

The Emperor and Empress congratulated Wright, and there was a great
explanation of “how it was done,” though most of the officers found a
difficulty in understanding the American accent. Presently a signed
photograph of the Emperor, which one of the adjutants had been carrying,
was produced and given to Wright by His Majesty; and then a lady who had
been modestly hovering in the background--Miss Katherine Wright, the
aeronaut’s sister--was called up and presented, and she took charge of
the photograph and made delightful American remarks about it. By this
time it was absolutely dark, but the powerful acetylene lights of the
three cars illuminated the scene. The Emperor could not tear himself
away from the aeroplane, the first he had yet seen; and while he was
still asking questions I talked with Miss Wright, an extremely charming
woman, who said that this was probably her brother’s last flight on
German soil. They had already stayed a day longer than intended, so
that he might fly before the Emperor, before departing for Paris and
London _en route_ for America.

For a long time in Germany the airships--the “Zeppelins” as they are
popularly called--occupied the popular imagination much more than the
flying-machines with which the Germans have recently won such
distinction. Once in the earlier years of Zeppelin’s monster air-craft a
message came to the court that he was flying from Frankfort to Berlin,
which he would reach somewhere about five o’clock that afternoon. There
was the usual hurrying to and fro. The Emperor, Empress, Princess and
suite hurled themselves into motor-cars and hurried towards Berlin, but
after waiting several hours on the Tempelhofer Feld, with nothing to eat
and not much to do, they returned without a glimpse of any airship, as
the rumours of its coming had been entirely unfounded.

However, later on in the year Zeppelin announced his intention to bring
his airship to Berlin.

On the day fixed all the shops were closed at noon, and the whole
population turned out and walked up and down the street with their eyes
fixed heavenwards towards the lovely blue sky, for the weather was

Every lady or gentleman having any connection with the court was invited
by ticket either to the Tempelhofer Feld, at which the airship was to
descend, or to the roof of the Schloss itself, as the Zeppelin was to
manœuvre round the building. But towards noon, just as all the
excursion trains from the country had brought in the surrounding
inhabitants to swell the already dense crowd of sky-gazers, a special
edition of the newspapers was issued announcing an injury to the airship
which prevented further flight. So every one went sadly home again.

The next day, Sunday, news came that the defect had been repaired and
that the airship with Count Zeppelin on board would appear about noon.
This change of plan was rather inconvenient for several reasons, for
there was a newly restored church to be dedicated in the presence of the
Emperor and Empress and the chief military authorities. A gentleman in
attendance said that never before had he seen such an obviously
distracted congregation at any church function. The long-drawn-out
service, the long-winded address (German sermons are of the
old-fashioned type and usually last at least an hour) were listened to
with hardly concealed impatience and lack of interest; and the clergy
themselves seemed to keep one ear turned towards that heaven to which
they were directing their audience, in apprehension of hearing before
they had finished their discourse that mighty droning which would
proclaim Zeppelin’s arrival.

From the windows of the Schloss, overlooking the courtyard, it was usual
to see the adjutants who had accompanied His Majesty descend from their
cars with dignity--that dignity appropriate to a not-too-pronounced
_embonpoint_--salute the guard with grave courtesy and deliberation, and
then retire without undue haste from the public view. But on this
occasion they tumbled out of the cars and rushed up the steps like
schoolboys, colliding as they ran with the footmen and _Burschen_ who
came running with their flat undress caps to exchange for the spiked
head-gear they had worn in church.

It is a popular myth that the German is phlegmatic. He is nothing of the
kind. He is extraordinarily excitable on occasion. He gets out of
temper, shouts and wrings his hands in moments of stress, and sheds
tears easily. His feelings are on the surface. His military calm is
acquired. He abandons it and becomes almost hysterical when something
touches his heart and imagination.

The advent of Zeppelin in his airship was the culminating act of a great
national triumph. The indomitable old man, who had worked so long and
so pluckily at his herculean task, was at last to receive some of the
homage due to his tenacity and self-sacrifice. So no wonder the people
thronged the streets and crowded the housetops.

The fashionable crowd ascended to the roof of the Schloss by devious
ways, through little dark sculleries, up queer steep steps and ladders,
past funny little apartments smelling strongly of cheese and garlic,
where the families of some of the servants live tucked away in a corner
of the big building, out on to the copper-covered roof along narrow
plank paths, made primarily for the use of the sentries who must nightly
patrol these upper regions. Some of them have inscribed verses on the
walls, conveying discontent at the atmospheric conditions prevailing
there on winter nights.

The sky above was gloriously blue, and as far as the eye could reach, on
every one of the many flat roofs in the vicinity were masses of people
assembled--not, as is usually the case, a mere fringe of daring spirits
leaning over the parapet to view something below, but crowds spread over
the whole surface. Each man, woman and child held a fluttering flag,
which they waved tempestuously as an outlet for overflowing emotions.
One could almost see the palpitating heart-beat of the nation.

At last, after an hour or two of waiting, an electric thrill ran through
the elevated crowd. Some one had caught sight of the airship. By degrees
every one found it--a tiny cigar-shaped speck, hardly visible against
the deep blue distance. A wave of cheering swelled and ebbed and died
away. The speck grew gradually larger. Cheers in the distant part of the
city reached us in ever-increasing volume. The droning of the engines
was plainly audible. Presently the “dirigible” could be seen over the
Brandenburger Tor. Still more frantic cheers arose from the crowded
streets, the packed windows and roofs. The great machine swung steadily
up _Unter den Linden_ and sailed magnificently round and round the
Schloss, while the waves of cheering were crested with a white
fluttering of handkerchiefs like a storm-tossed sea. Again and again the
“Zeppelin” made its stately circuit of the royal castle, then slowly
turned and headed for the Tempelhofer Feld, where the Emperor and
Empress with their family and all the greatest men in Germany were
waiting to congratulate the splendid old veteran.



Royal betrothals and weddings have within the last few years been of
frequent occurrence at the Prussian Court. Many people seem doubtful as
to whether these marriages were the result of political arrangement or
of the mutual attraction which is the chief factor in such affairs where
humbler folk are concerned. Of my own personal knowledge I am able to
affirm that politics and worldly considerations have had nothing to say
in the matter.

German royalties are peculiarly fortunate in having an unusually wide
range of choice. The Fatherland is rich in numerous prolific princely
families, quite unremarkable for wealth or extent of territory--some
indeed are conspicuously poverty-stricken--but all of them classed as
_ebenbürtig_, that is equal in birth, to royalty, and therefore the
female members are eligible as brides for the occupiers of the most
powerful thrones. The Empire has long been the happy hunting-ground for
would-be bridegrooms.

The first royal _Verlobung_ which took place within range of my
cognizance was that of the young Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, son of
the Duchess of Albany, who was staying in Berlin Schloss at the same
time as the two nieces of the Empress, the Princesses Victoria and
Alexandra of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg--two bright,
pretty, fair-haired girls who had come to spend the season at Berlin
with their aunt.

The Princess burst into my sitting-room with the news one evening.

“Dick and Charlie are engaged,” she said, skipping about all over the
room. “Isn’t it nice? Just think! Dick and Charlie!”

“Dick” was the pet name of the Princess Victoria, the eldest of five

I expressed my astonishment and pleasure at the news, and the Princess
gave me several reasons why she was not so surprised as some people,
although I am convinced that she really had known very little
beforehand. But at any rate she thought it most interesting that they
should become engaged “in Mamma’s sitting-room.”

The following September the Crown Prince announced, in a series of
laconic telegrams to his friends, his own engagement to the young
Duchess Cécile of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

“We are engaged.--William and Cécile,” was the message sent by the happy

The Crown Prince had from early youth been frequently in love with
various pretty young girls within the range of his acquaintanceship. But
these harmless little love-affairs, so frank, so delightfully obvious,
and so soon dispersed into thin air by the advent of some new and
equally ineligible charmer, culminated at last in his meeting with the
young Duchess Cécile, a dark-eyed, clear-complexioned, tall, slim
maiden, just out of the schoolroom.

Any one seeing the happy pair together need not have troubled to ask if
they were in love with each other. It was palpably the case, and they
had not the least desire to conceal the fact. When the young _Braut_
came to stay at the _Neues Palais_ after her engagement, a very small
party--just the ladies-in-waiting and the two young Princesses--were
dining together in the Apollo-Saal, for the Emperor and Empress were
absent for the day. Suddenly a great clattering was heard outside the
window overlooking the terrace, and the Crown Prince appeared on
horseback, having ridden up the stone steps. His young _Braut_ was
charmed at his daring, and they sat down at table side by side,
obviously absorbed in each other, while the ladies talked about the
weather and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. They were as
genuinely and whole-heartedly attracted, as palpably all-in-all to each
other, as the poorest young couple who bravely face the world together.
Nothing but personal liking entered into their marriage.

It is a pity that people are so sceptical as to any royal alliance being
founded on any other than political considerations. Yet politics are
rarely either forwarded or hindered nowadays by matrimonial
arrangements; and if propinquity, as most people believe, is the chief
factor in bringing about the usual love-affair, then it is obviously
most natural for a prince to be attracted towards the pretty girl--for
many princesses are remarkably pretty--whom he meets on equal terms,
with whom there is no consciousness of difference of rank, the girl who
has been brought up in the same atmosphere as himself, with whom
familiarity has bred a certain contempt for court ceremonies and court
traditions, who is related, perhaps, like himself, to various crowned
heads whom they both call “Uncle,” one with whom he has a common ground
of interest, bonds of relationship and mutual knowledge.

As soon as the announcement of this engagement became public, the
postcard shops of Berlin, whose name is legion, became mere
picture-galleries for the illustration of every possible moment of the
life and movements of the young couple. A whole army of photographers
must have been employed to lie in wait and photograph them under almost
every conceivable circumstance of their lives. Certainly German
royalties are very good-natured in this respect.

First there was the official photograph of the _Braut-Paar_ sitting
hand-in-hand, as is the orthodox photographic pose in Germany for all
newly engaged couples. Then there was a card called “The First
Congratulations”: rows and rows of little schoolboys and girls of
Schwerin, each with a bouquet of wilted flowers in the hand, and the
girls with wreaths entwined in their hair, presented in turn their
offerings to the smiling young Duchess, while the Crown Prince stood by,
helping things along to the best of his ability. “The First Drive”
pictured them both in a sort of dog-cart, duly chaperoned, taking the
air together, and there were dozens more cards portraying them at
tennis, drinking tea in the garden, or nursing the dogs. One felt that
one knew how every moment of their time was employed.

Although they were engaged in the month of September, their marriage did
not take place until the beginning of the following June. Ordinary
weddings usually mean a time of considerable stress to every one
concerned, but they are epochs of honeyed leisure as compared with the
multiple ceremonies attendant on royal functions of the same kind.

For weeks beforehand no one dared to let their thoughts wander from the
impending event. A few days before the State entry of the bride into the
town, we all had to leave the New Palace and migrate to Berlin.

A State entry means, for the bride, not only an entry in State carriages
but in State attire, wearing semievening dress and a long train.

The day before it took place the bride arrived with her mother, the
Duchess Anastasia, and took up her residence for the night in Belle Vue,
which was outside the city boundary. The next day, which turned out
remarkably hot, almost too hot to be agreeable, all Berlin was astir
early, and the streets were lavishly bewreathed and beflagged. Along
the route large wooden stands had been erected, for as far as the
populace is concerned the entry is the only part of the State ceremony
which they can enjoy, as the wedding itself takes place privately in the
Chapel of the Schloss.

So the good people of Berlin are astir betimes, and take their places
along the Tier-Garten, or as near as they can to the Brandenburger Tor,
at a very early hour, quite regardless of the fact that the procession
will not start before three. But they know there will be plenty to be
seen. Royal carriages, carrying notable personalities, will pass to and
fro, and the Emperor and Empress, the “little Princess” and her
brothers, will doubtless be in evidence. So they stand from hour to hour
waiting patiently in the heat. In the stables great activity prevails.
The eight fine black horses which draw the bride’s State carriage have
been daily exercised together, wearing the heavy red brass-studded
harness. The coach itself is made almost entirely of glass in the upper
panels, and is most beautifully painted and decorated. Three
gorgeously-clad footmen cling behind it, and two equally gorgeous pages
hold a seemingly precarious and uncomfortable footing behind the
coachman’s box, crowded up between it and the curvature of the coach
itself in a very complicated and mysterious manner. The ponderous
vehicle swings heavily from side to side, and has a peculiar
cross-Channel motion.

Its progress down towards Belle Vue is watched by crowds of delighted
spectators. The sight of its eight slowly-pacing horses, each wearing
wonderful plumes of ostrich feathers, and led at a foot’s pace by grooms
in red coats encrusted with gold lace, fill the crowd with joyful
ecstasy. They forget the heat and thirst and the long hours they have
already waited.

All the master-butchers of Berlin are very active and not a little
apprehensive, for it is an old-established privilege of their guild to
ride, in top-hats and frock-coats, at the head of the bride’s
procession, and they are divided between the fearful joy and doubtful
pleasure of the enterprise. They have been diligently pursuing
equestrian exercise for the last few weeks. Many who never made
acquaintance with a saddle before--except in the form of mutton--have
been learning, at the nearest “Tattersall,” some of the elementary
mysteries of horsemanship. Quiet, staid horses of mature years have
suddenly risen in price, and horse-dealers have reaped a rich harvest
from certain ancient but good-looking crocks which know how to walk with
an air of magnificence.

All these black-coated gentry assemble at the entrance to Belle Vue.
They are in the happy position of seeing to advantage all that goes on.
They may not look quite as smart as the mounted Uhlans of the escort,
but they add a quaint, homely German touch to the picture which is very

Only State carriages are allowed to drive, as they do on this occasion,
along the gravelled centre of the avenue of lime-trees on Unter den
Linden. All the _Stall-Meisters_, _Sattel-Meisters_, _Wagen-Meisters_
and other stable functionaries are assembled in Belle Vue Garden, while
the Master of the Horse in his plumed cocked hat casts an eye over the
horses and hopes that those well-trained quadrupeds will not be stirred
out of their usual calm by the unaccustomed character of the day’s

From the Schloss there is an excellent view of the long procession as it
at last comes slowly up the _Linden_. It stops at the Brandenburger Tor,
where the _Bürger-Meister_--the Lord Mayor of Berlin--has the pleasing
duty of making a speech of welcome to the bride, who is expected to make
a short speech in reply. A bouquet is also presented by one of a galaxy
of palpitating white-clad maidens, and, headed by the black-coated
butchers, amid the fluttering pennons of the Uhlans the big coach swings
slowly on its way, the bride smiling and bowing incessantly. Never was
anyone more joyously responsive than the future Crown-Princess, who
possesses in a high degree that capacity for appearing pleased and
amused which is so invaluable to royalties. She probably does not know
how to look bored. The world is to her an intensely amusing, interesting
place. That day she drove triumphantly into the hearts of the people,
where she has remained enthroned ever since--a stimulating, charming

Besides the bride, the coach contained the Empress and the Mistress of
the Robes, and when it turned at last from the shouting, waving populace
into the courtyard of the Schloss, the butchers having previously ridden
in at one gate and out again at the other, the Emperor, who had driven
up earlier from Belle Vue, was standing at the entrance to welcome his
future daughter-in-law, while the bridegroom waited at the head of his
regiment, which formed the guard of honour for the occasion.

The wedding itself took place three days later, at five o’clock in the
afternoon. Those people who were not invited to be present at the
wedding ceremony in the chapel itself received invitations to the
_Bilder Galerie_ or Picture Gallery, through which the wedding
procession must pass.

It is a very mixed assembly, for all having any connection with the
bride or bridegroom, professors, school friends, teachers, footmen or
their families, fellow students, all receive tickets. They must appear
in evening dress, and some very strange costumes are seen among the
ladies. One I remember, an obviously home-made and inartistic affair,
was trimmed with real water-lilies, which in the heat had turned a
dismal brown, and long before the procession drew near were depressingly
dying on the ample bosom of the lady who wore them. Everybody had to
stand all the time, and footmen holding scarlet cords kept back the
crowd as well as they could from encroaching on the space left in the
centre. There was a much better view here of the procession than in the
chapel itself, especially for the front rank of spectators, among whom I
was luckily placed. In the second row was a very stout woman, who leaned
frankly upon me for support, and tried unblushingly but unsuccessfully
to push her way to the front. When frustrated in this manœuvre, she
complained loudly of my disobligingness, and said that she had received
her entrance card from an _Ober-Kastellan_, and that she could not
understand how I could therefore expect her to remain in the second row.
I had to lean back on to her to prevent myself being pushed on to the
red carpet, and she again became tearfully indignant, not to say
unpleasant; but fortunately the procession began to arrive and saved any
further trouble.

It was headed by two heralds in tabards, and by twelve pages in red, and
then came the bride in a dress of silver tissue led by the bridegroom in
uniform. She had on her head the small jewelled crown which every
Prussian bride wears on her wedding day, and her train was carried by
four young ladies. The Empress followed with the bride’s brother, the
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and the Emperor with the bride’s
mother, the Grand Duchess Anastasia. They were followed by a crowd of
other royalties walking, as is the custom, hand-in-hand, sometimes one
Prince conducting two Princesses, or one Princess being conducted by two
Princes. They all looked very much amused at themselves, and those who
happened to know me grinned delightedly and nodded as they passed.
Prince Arthur of Connaught was there, and the very tall Duchess of
Aosta, who walked with a tiny little Japanese gentleman. The Princess,
who walked with Prince Joachim, made very friendly demonstrations as she
went by, and choked with laughter when I responded by a very deep

When the last of the procession had vanished we were all driven out at
once, and an army of housemaids with brooms entered and began to sweep
up the dirt and litter which the people had left behind. It was strange
that on the most ceremonious occasions, when people were waiting round
red carpets to welcome royal guests, or ambassadors weighed down with
state secrets were on the point of getting into their carriages after
audiences with the Emperor, always a print-gowned housemaid with a broom
made a jarring appearance, wielding her implement coolly in the midst of
state functionaries as though sweeping were the most important business
of life. Sometimes she had scarcely disappeared before royalty itself

The Lutheran wedding-service is very simple. It begins with the long
address of the clergyman to the bridal couple, admonishing them as to
their duties to each other and the world at large. As everybody stands
the whole time--for no chairs are admitted into the chapel, excepting
one or two for specially exalted guests--this address is apt to appear
longer than it really is. Each lady is in Court dress, wearing the
regulation veil and long, heavy train which she must hold on her arm
during the service, as it is not to be displayed until the
_Defilir-Cour_ which follows immediately afterwards. From the chapel the
newly-married pair walk into the adjacent _Weisser-Saal_, where with the
Emperor and Empress they stand to receive the congratulations of the
invited guests, who pass quickly before them bowing, the ladies with
their trains spread out. When the bride and bridegroom have made several
hundred bows and the _Cour_ is at an end, an adjournment is made to
dinner, which is laid in several different rooms at small round tables,
excepting the one where the royalties sit, which is fairly large. Here
more quaint ceremonies take place. The Prince Fürstenberg as Marshal of
the Court serves the Emperor with soup, and the other royal guests are
also waited on by pages and gentlemen of birth, who take the dishes from
the footmen. The Lord-High-Steward or _Truchsess_ pours out the wine,
and in the middle of the dinner the Emperor proposes the health of the
newly-married pair.

The dinner, in spite of the attendant ceremonies, is not allowed to be
too prolonged, for the great climax of these stately formalities still
remains to be performed--the most beautiful, but perhaps for the
hard-worked bridal pair also the most tiring of all--the famous Torch
Dance, seen nowhere but at the Prussian Court, and when once seen, never
to be forgotten.

The wedding procession returns to the beautiful _Weisser Saal_, where a
regimental band, usually that of the Garde du Corps, is stationed in the
gallery. Here, at a signal from an official, the music begins: slow
stately marches are played, old-world tunes that seem an echo of past
times. The royal ladies are all seated with their parti-coloured trains,
which seem somehow to be the chief feature of all state functions,
spread out in front of them--while rows of red-clad pages stand behind
their chairs waiting to advance when the time arrives.

From the side entrance of the Saal, stepping in time to the music,
enters the Marshal of the Court carrying his wand of office, preceding a
double row of twenty-four pages who bear large torches. In stately
rhythm they move once round the room, when the Marshal stops, and bows
to the bride and bridegroom, who at once descend from the
slightly-raised platform where they sit, and hand-in-hand, preceded by
the torch-bearers, with four ladies carrying the bride’s train, the
group moves round the Hall in time to the music. I have seen this
ceremony four times, at as many royal weddings, and cannot express its
wonderful fascination, its mixture of poetry and romance, its glamour of
colour, its irresistible charm to the beholder. There is the lulling
monotony of sound, the flicker and smoke of the torches, the brilliant
blending of many tones, the dignified movement of the dancers, the crowd
of seated royalties opposite the crowd of standing courtiers. It takes
on something of the aspect of a fairy tale, is reminiscent of
“Cinderella” or of a half-forgotten ballad of bygone days.

The bride and bridegroom having made their tour of the room once alone,
return and separate, the bride now taking out the Emperor and her own
nearest male relative, while the bridegroom leads out his mother and
that of the bride, and they again march slowly round the room. All the
ladies’ trains, excepting those of the bride and the Empress, are
carried by four pages, the two exceptions by four ladies who themselves
wear trains. And so round after round bride and bridegroom return and
hand out the rest of the Princes and Princesses in turn.

In order to hasten matters, towards the end three or four of the younger
ones are linked together on either hand, and a chain of happy, smiling
youth treads the last stately measure round the Hall.

The Torch Dance finishes, and the torch-bearers wend their way out,
followed by the long glittering procession, away to the private
apartments. The ceremonies are at an end. It is nine o’clock, and
presently, if you listen, you may hear the cheers of the people in the
street greeting the bridal couple as they drive quickly through the
summer darkness on their way to the station.

After they are gone, there remains only one small ceremony, which is
often very unceremonious--the scramble of the courtiers for the
so-called Garter of the Bride. Hundreds of pieces of white satin ribbon
marked with her cipher are distributed by the Mistress of the
Ceremonies, and for a few moments pandemonium seems to reign. At the
last wedding I was flung bodily into the arms of a _Kammer-Herr_, a
gold-laced official of great dignity; and some of the royalties
returning to their apartments were plunged into the vortex of the
struggle and severely hustled and pushed about before a passage could be
made for them. The distributing lady was then kindly but firmly
requested to pursue her avocations in a side corridor farther away.

The wedding of the Emperor’s second son, Prince Fritz, to the Duchess
Sophie Charlotte of Oldenburg took place in February, on the same day
as the celebration of the Silver Wedding of Their Majesties, who on this
occasion walked hand in hand in the bridal procession, the Empress
wearing a wreath of silver myrtle as well as a beautiful diamond tiara
given to her by her husband.

This Silver Wedding was, of course, the occasion of many spontaneous
tributes of affection towards Their Majesties; and the Court
Chaplain--he who attempted to guide our Christmas carols--being an
indefatigable man, had determined that this notable day ought to be
ushered in by an _aubade_, an early-morning song, to be performed by the
Court ladies and gentlemen outside the bedroom door of the Emperor and
Empress. It was to be sacred in character; but, instead of taking some
old-established favourite, he was moved to ask a musical friend to write
something special to fit the occasion. Like most “specially-written”
melodies, it was rather uninspired, but by dint of constant practice at
most inconvenient times we got a more or less hazy idea of it, and hoped
that it would make a deep impression.

I think we were all a little resentful at having to rise so early on
what we knew would be a long, fatiguing day. The poor Court Chaplain,
who had to come over from Potsdam, must have started in the chilly
darkness of the winter morning. I myself, unaccustomed to rising quite
so early, fell asleep again after being awakened, and had to dress in
feverish haste and rush downstairs without any breakfast. We were
gathered, a group of rather sleepy, not conspicuously good-tempered
people, at the entrance to the narrow corridor leading to the private
apartments, where we waited an unconscionable time, growing every moment
more nervous, and studying the little ill-written scraps of music-paper
on which we had jotted down, somewhat undecipherably, our several parts.
Everybody inquired of his neighbour what we were waiting for, but no one
seemed to know, excepting the leading soprano, who frowned angrily when
we whispered and put her finger reprovingly on her lips.

We were obviously much in the way of certain Jägers and footmen, who
were passing up and down with garments and boots; and at last some of us
grew restive and threatened to depart.

At that moment a Jäger, who had cast disapproving glances at us as he
passed to and fro, came and told us that His Majesty had left his room
and was not likely to return, whereupon we felt much disappointment, but
subsequently congratulated ourselves on the happy chance that had led
the Emperor away--for our attempt at harmony turned out a most dismal
failure, owing to the chief soprano getting nervous and starting on an
absolutely false note. No less than three beginnings were necessary
before we got really “off,” and the suppressed titterings of the
bridegroom, Prince Fritz, who had joined his mother, were plainly
audible. Happily we finished better than we began--which is not saying
much--and the Empress thanked us in her usual pleasant, kindly manner,
and then hurried off after the Emperor to breakfast. It was rather hard
on the poor Court Chaplain, who had risen early and taken so much
trouble to reap so little satisfaction; and when I found on return to my
own room that my breakfast (which I had not touched) had been taken away
and eaten by the woman who waited on me, I felt that the day had not
begun as auspiciously as might have been wished.

The Crown Prince and Princess after their marriage lived at the Marmor
Palais, and here all their children were born. The arrival of their
first little boy, Prince Wilhelm, was an exciting day for the whole of
Germany. The great event happened about eight o’clock one morning, and
by eleven picture-postcards were on sale in which the Crown Princess,
naïvely represented in evening dress, was depicted holding in her arms
one of those dreadful abominations called a _Steck-Kissen_, a sort of
flat pillow much used in the Fatherland, on which was fastened with blue
ribbons, something in the manner habitual among Indian squaws, a
solid-looking infant purporting to be the newly-born Prince.

This same child on the same blue-ribboned _Steck-Kissen_ was also
represented on another postcard lying on the knees of the Emperor, who
was smiling into the middle-distance. It bore the inscription “The First
Grandchild”; but as His Majesty was at the time cruising off Kiel in the
_Hohenzollern_, he never saw his first grandchild until six weeks after
it was born. But manufacturers are not disturbed by minor details of
this nature, and the cards, however unveracious, doubtless supplied a
popular demand.

Later on the Emperor mentioned at table that, owing to the forgetfulness
of the young officer charged with the forwarding on board of his mails,
the telegrams informing him of the happy event did not reach him for a
good many hours after they arrived in Kiel; and it was from a
congratulatory message handed on board from the Sultan of Turkey that
His Majesty first heard that he was a grandfather.

The fact that the Empress was a grandmother and she herself an aunt made
the Princess very thoughtful for a time. She indulged for some time in
long fits of silence, pondering this new development. A few days after
her nephew came into the world, as we were driving in the Wildpark
together, she remarked with a certain wistful wonder, “This time last
week I was not yet an aunt, and Mamma was not a grandmother. Poor

The christening was of great interest to her, because the youngest
Hohenzollern Princess is always chosen to carry the infant to the font.
She practised this ceremony a few times with a cushion, to which was
pinned a long table-cloth to present the white satin train which babes
of the Hohenzollern race wear at the ceremony. This train is embroidered
with the name of every prince or princess who has worn it; and a new
strip has to be added for every christening, so that the imagination
refuses to consider the length to which it must inevitably extend in the
course of ages. It is carried by four ladies of noble birth, and is
actually fastened, not to the infant itself, but to the white satin
cushion on which the child is laid.

Royal christenings are usually celebrated in the long Jasper Gallery in
the New Palace, a magnificent apartment which, owing to its length, was
the favourite scene of indoor sports for the Princess and her friends
when wet weather prevented their indulgence outside. Only the week after
the christening sack-races were held in the stately apartment, and the
mirrors which had lately reflected the stately tread, the brilliant
uniforms, and the trailing dresses of courtiers, now duplicated and
reduplicated a seemingly endless procession of wildly-hopping maidens
with jerking pigtails, who, shrieking with laughter and accompanied by
many tumbles, bumped along over the marble pavement to the goal. The
seventy-five _Stifts-Kinder_ had been invited to the palace; but the
afternoon turned out hopelessly wet, so that the “Gymkhana” which had
been planned had necessarily to take place indoors or not at all, and
the Jasper Gallery proved itself an excellent place for egg-and-spoon
races as well as for the needle-threading and bun-eating competitions.

A few rooms near the Gallery had been once occupied by Frederick the
Great. One of them still contained his harpsichord, and in another, row
upon row, were left the books he loved--all in French, not a single
German one amongst them. Sometimes the children would storm violently
through these older rooms, where all was left as much as possible
undisturbed, just as they had been when used by Frederick. They wakened
up for a few moments the sleepy, stifled atmosphere of the shut-up
apartments, the faded green silk curtains waved and trembled as they
passed boisterously onward; once I saw the yellow parchment label
bearing the old King’s handwriting drop from the back of a book in the
glass case, shaken from its timid, precarious hold by the rush of active
young feet. They were eerie places, where one did not care to linger
long alone when the shadows of night were falling. It was so easy to
imagine a bent old figure, in a crushed-looking cocked hat, in rusty
knee-boots, in a blue-lapelled riding-coat, peering round the corner to
see who was disturbing the silences, watching the flight of that
impetuous child of his house as her laugh echoed back towards the
deserted rooms where the air had for a moment been startled into
movement by the tones of her gay voice and the sound of her footsteps on
the polished floor.



The most agreeably situated of all the various dwelling-places occupied
in the course of the year by the Emperor William and his family is
without doubt the splendid palace of Wilhelmshöhe, standing on the
hillside amid beautifully wooded scenery within two miles of the town of
Cassel, which can be seen from its upper windows, sheltered snugly in a
long depression of hills, its red roofs lying warm across the soft
blueness of the distant mountains behind.

The Court stays here every year during August, when the damp heat of the
New Palace, which lies so low, becomes too suffocatingly unbearable. The
Emperor in Wilhelmshöhe changes his uniform every afternoon for an
ordinary flannel or tweed suit, and wearing a Panama hat, tramps
energetically among the woods and hills, working off a little of the
adipose tissue which, in spite of his activities, has in the last year
or two made some slight encroachment on his straight, lithe figure. He
has a horror of growing stout, and keeps the enemy at bay with
characteristic pertinacity.

Once at a fancy-dress ball given by Prince Adalbert, his sailor-son at
Kiel, the Emperor came to it, unknown to the guests, wearing the dress
of his own ancestor the Great Elector, a full-bottomed flowing wig and
the long coat and breeches appropriate to the period. During the first
part of the ball the dancers were masked, and the Emperor was talking
with a lady who, believing him to be the Crown Prince, whom she knew
very well, said to him archly:

“Your Imperial Highness is splendidly disguised. How did you make
yourself appear so stout? A little cushion stuffed inside somewhere, I

His Majesty told this story against himself several times, especially
when the lady, who previous to her marriage was attached to the service
of the Empress, happened to be present. He would roll his eyes in
pretended anger while he said:

“Of course there was no cushion--there was only me; but I believe she
said it on purpose. She knew who it was all the time.”

It was a toilsome business to tramp so many miles in the hot sun, and
though the Empress herself was at that time a good walker, she had hard
work to keep up with her energetic husband, while the Princess frankly
confessed that she was half dead after one of “Papa’s” brisk
constitutionals. Elderly Germans, especially at Court, do not walk much
habitually. They occasionally take exercise of the kind as a “cure,”
making it into something of a solemn, ponderous rite, strolling along
under the forest trees hat in hand, with frequent pauses to look at the
scenery; but this is not what the Emperor understands by walking.

Every Sunday morning the ladies and gentlemen of the suite used to
assemble before church time on the terrace opposite the great statue
(copied from the Farnese Hercules) which stands away at the top of the
hill crowning the artificial rock terraces, caves and cascades made by a
former Landgraf of Hesse-Cassel. This statue is so large that a man can
stand inside the club upon which Hercules leans. The weather was always
judged (or misjudged) according to whether _Herkules_ loomed near or
retired into the background. After standing a little, and chatting in
the usual desultory way of people who meet often and rarely have new
experiences to confide, the Empress and Princess would appear, followed
by the Emperor.

On my first visit to Wilhelmshöhe, as we wended our way to the little
chapel in one wing of the Palace, the Emperor said that he hoped I would
“sing in a loud, deep voice” in church, because the singing was usually
very bad. I commented on the slowness of German hymn-singing, and His
Majesty told me how surprised he was once, when visiting at Windsor
“with Grandmamma” a year or two before she died, to hear the organ burst
out suddenly into the Austrian National Anthem, not knowing that it had
been adopted as an English hymn-tune.

The way to the chapel was through a long matted corridor hung with queer
old-fashioned paintings of distorted-looking animals.

Just before the door of the royal pew hung on each side of the wall two
pictures of ferocious cows whose eyes followed with a threatening glare
as people went in or out of chapel. Underneath the cows was placed the
alms-dish for the contributions of Their Majesties and the Court.

The Emperor and Empress occupied two special gilt and red-velvet chairs,
and the Court ordinary cane-bottomed ones--also gilt--which made a great
scraping on the floor as we rose to pray or sat down to sing according
to the usual German custom.

The congregation consisted chiefly of a few officers and foresters with
their wives and children, and a well-meaning choir sang timidly in the
gallery up above.

The dining-room and neighbouring salons in Wilhelmshöhe were beautifully
furnished in Empire style and in late Louis Quinze. The fine view from
the windows, away over the undulating hills beyond Cassel, helped to
beguile the rather wearisome standing about and half-hearted
after-dinner conversation. One of the old generals who wanted to improve
his English always came ponderously in my direction if he saw me
glancing at some of the English fashion-papers lying on the table, as he
declared himself deeply interested in “ladies’ toilettes.” I was always
rather apprehensive when he turned over the leaves, looking at them
carefully through his eyeglass, and when he got to the hair
“transformations” usually thought it best to retire before he reached
pages of a still more intimate nature.

Jerome Bonaparte inhabited Wilhemshöhe for seven years when he was King
of Westphalia, and introduced all the Empire sofas and chairs. The salon
of the Princess was a delightful room with a parquet floor, panelled and
painted white, and the mahogany furniture was upholstered in a most
beautiful tone of striped yellow satin. Leading from it was the
breakfast-room, with striped red-stain wall-coverings hung with pictures
of the children of the House of Hesse-Cassel, to whom the Schloss
belonged before they lost it by fighting against Prussia in the war of
1866. These unfortunate infants of two or three years were dressed in
stuffy, heavy, thickly-embroidered garments of black and red velvet, and
wore stiffly-starched, scratchy-looking ruffs round their poor little
chubby necks.

In Wilhelmshöhe Schloss Napoleon III. was lodged after being taken
prisoner by the Germans. In the Empress’s sitting-room is the
writing-table he used, with the hole burnt in it where he always laid
his cigar.

Not far from Wilhelmshöhe, just a pleasant drive of an hour or so, past
yellowing cornfields, under rows of apple and cherry trees, lay
Wilhelmsthal, a charming country-house lying in a tiny hamlet far from a
railway station, also built by an Elector of Hesse and inhabited by the
before-mentioned King Jerome. This delightful little summer Schloss has
hardly been touched in its arrangements since the Great Napoleon’s
brother left it. All the beds remain with the French eagle spreading its
wings above the green silk curtains; the Dresden china figures he looked
at every day still occupy their places on the shelves; the china
timepiece that struck the hour yet stands beside his bed, though it has
long ago ceased to measure time. The tourist can lean out of the windows
of his bedroom and see the carp, descendants of those he used to feed,
or perhaps the very same fish, swimming about in the pond a little
distance away. It is a place where time seems to have stood still for
the last hundred years.

The Emperor in Wilhelmshöhe liked to ride at about seven o’clock in the
morning, while it was still comparatively cool. He was almost invariably
accompanied by the Empress, as well as by any other members of his
family who happened to be staying at the castle.

It was a pretty sight to watch the procession of horses coming two by
two from the stables across the road, each horse led by a groom, while
two _Sattel Meisters_ in cocked hats and much embroidered uniforms
walked behind them, all being under the command of two officers, the
Emperor’s _Leib-Stall-Meister_ and that of the Empress.

A former Master of the Horse to His Majesty, Baron von Holzing-Berstett,
was one of the judges at the International Horse Show at Olympia a few
years ago.

All the tourists from the hotel opposite used to assemble outside the
Schloss gates, under the stern control of two gendarmes, who kept them
penned on one side of the road.

The horses were halted in the shadow near the big pillared portico of
the Schloss, and as soon as the attendant gentlemen and ladies emerged,
were brought up and walked round the terrace by the grooms till a start
was made. As a rule the Emperor and Empress were very punctual, and
nothing annoyed His Majesty more than to be kept waiting. A lady always
rode in attendance on the Empress, but as one of those who could
ride--only two out of the four were able to do so--was usually absent on
her holidays at this time, I often was called upon to supply the place
of the absent _Hof-Dame_. The Princess, when her lessons began again,
had to ride at five in the evening instead of seven, so I very
frequently managed two rides a day, and even sometimes three. Often I
was summoned in the early morning from my repose by a breathless

“Will _gnädiges Fräulein_ please get up at once to ride with Her
Majesty? The Countess has a cold. In five minutes the horses will be

So that I became an expert in quick dressing, and generally managed to
be ready in time.

The Emperor’s suite was always fairly large, and as each of his sons
when he accompanied his father had also his attendant gentleman, often
consisted of sixteen or seventeen persons, without counting the
officials and grooms.

His Majesty in Wilhelmshöhe nearly always wore the comfortable green
Jäger uniform in which to ride, whereas in _Neues Palais_ he almost
invariably rode in Hussar uniform. We usually moved off from the Terrace
in three or four rows, one behind the other, and the clatter of hoofs
was like that of a troop of cavalry. The morning air from the mountains
came in gusts fresh and sparkling like wine. As soon as His Majesty
appeared round the curve of the drive, the sentry flung open the little
iron gate leading on to the road, and the rows of people outside
immediately produced and waved their clean pocket-handkerchiefs, which
at once aroused apprehensions in the breast of the timid equestrian
somewhat doubtful of his own powers. The horses of the Emperor and
Empress were, of course, specially trained to ignore these loyal
demonstrations, but those of the suite, especially if newly introduced
into the stable, sometimes exhibited symptoms of surprise.

Practically only one good riding road exists in the neighbourhood of
Wilhelmshöhe, but this is a very delightful one, through the lovely
wooded grounds outside the park up into the forest on the mountain
slopes, and then across a beautiful stretch of grass along the brow of
the hills with a wide view on all sides. As soon as they reached the
softer ground in the forest the Emperor and Empress would start off at a
brisk stretching canter, followed by the rest of the party. After a
night’s rain it was not agreeable to ride in the second and third row,
for the dirt cast up by the horses’ hoofs was rather adhesive, not like
the hard clean sand of Potsdam, which fell off again as soon as dry. For
several miles the canter would be kept up, and then the horses were
breathed a little and trotted homewards again. Very often the Empress
finished her ride at the big statue of Hercules, where carriages were
waiting and grooms to take the horses home.

One day the Princess had ridden alone with me, and we were returning
from the “Hercules” together in an automobile. The road down the steep
hillside towards the castle is cut in a series of zigzags with very
sharp turns, and at the first of these, the chauffeur failing to turn
early enough, the car as nearly as possible toppled over the edge, its
front wheels being just on the verge when he was able to stop. Another
inch would have sent it over, crashing down among the trees. The
Princess said afterwards that it was “a thrilling moment,” and I agreed
that it was one of those deeply interesting intervals of time which make
one feel keenly alive. She did not move or say a word as we hung, but
gripped her riding-whip rather hard, and only when the big car slowly
backed and turned into a safer position gave a long deep sigh of
relief. She rather enjoyed novel sensations, and especially gloried in
the description of her own emotions at the critical moment. Like the fat
boy in “Pickwick” she wanted to make “your blood run cold” with the
narration of hairbreadth escapes and dangerous situations.

When the afternoons were too hot to walk, His Majesty almost invariably
played lawn-tennis. Grass courts are non-existent in Germany--at least
they are used only by those people who do not take lawn-tennis
seriously; and all good courts are made of a kind of concrete first used
at Homburg, the composition of which is supposed to be a secret. It is
an excellent preparation, possessing a certain elasticity approximating
to turf, and has the advantage of drying quickly. Even if turf lawns
could be grown as they are in England--and I have never met with any
that remotely resembled their close, fine texture--the heavy
thunderstorms which prevail in that district during the hot weather
would frequently make it impossible to use them.

His Majesty plays lawn-tennis in rather crude-looking shirts and ties,
and usually wears a Panama hat. Unlike most men, he looks perhaps less
well in such a “get-up” than in anything else. Young officers from the
neighbouring barracks are often sent for to join in a set, and the
_Ober-Gouvernante_, who was an expert player, often had to upset all her
arrangements for the afternoon on being requested to play with His
Majesty. As the Princess grew older she became quite a respectable
player, and all the young princes, especially the Crown Prince and
Prince Adalbert, were good at the game, which is exceedingly popular in

In the evenings, when it grew rather cooler, a picnic supper was often
eaten in some spot among the hills. Sometimes we drove there in
carriages, and it was the pride of the Master of the Horse to turn out
four or five four-in-hands, which made a great sensation among the
tourists as they emerged from the gates of the Schloss.

The Royal Stables possessed some very fine black Mecklenburg horses
which were used on these occasions, but the all-conquering automobile
has lately been preferred by His Majesty, who likes to get quickly over
the ground, and also to go farther afield than horses can take him.

Those suppers in the hills were very amusing, especially if, as often
happened, the Emperor decided that he and the Empress should do some of
the cooking. In spite of all assertions to the contrary, the Empress
knows nothing whatever about cooking, although a good part of the
civilized world pictures her as daily bending over saucepans and mixing
ingredients for puddings. The nearest approach to the culinary art which
she has ever practised was dexterously “tossing” a pancake, which she
did very neatly, and was exceedingly gratified by the applause of the
surrounding ladies, one of whom dropped hers on to the ground. It
happened, of course, at one of these picnics, which are accompanied by
portable stoves and several cooks with the necessary implements and
materials of their trade. Some of the gentlemen of the suite, those
imbued with the old Prussian spirit of economy which believes in
limiting avenues of expenditure, often expressed impatience and
disapproval of these suppers.

“Now look!” said one of them to me: “there are four carts for the
kitchens alone--horses, coachmen, grooms; think of the work all this has
caused these poor cooks"--he glanced at four white-clad individuals who
were peaceably pursuing their avocations under the shade of a tree, and
appeared to be quite as happy as the rest of us.

“I think they really enjoy it,” I said deprecatingly; “of course it _is_
a trouble--picnics usually are; but there are plenty of horses in the
stables--they may as well come out here as not.”

He shook his head and sighed.

“Ah, it is a different spirit,” he said sadly. “My father used to tell
me how simply the Old Emperor William lived. Never took more than one
adjutant with him, not this crowd"--and he waved his hand at the row of
gentlemen whose gaze was concentrated on the Emperor engaged in
concocting some kind of a strawberry _Bowle_. “Never used more than one
carriage if he could help it, at most two. Look at that procession"--and
his gaze wandered dubiously to the long line of vehicles which stood in
the shade a little way down the hill. We could hear the clink of bits
and the stamp of the waiting horses.

“The Old Emperor William,” I ventured, “was King of Prussia for a good
while before he became German Emperor; he could not change his habits
later on. Besides, everybody lives more extravagantly now; even the
working classes----”

He groaned and shook his head, and murmured something which sounded
disapproving and prophetic of disaster.

One day at dinner in Wilhelmshöhe one of the guests was a water-finder,
and when, as usual, we all went out on the terrace, he produced his rod,
a ramshackle affair like a piece of iron wire, and we were all invited
to try our skill. Many of the gentlemen were frankly sceptical, and the
only one of them with whom the rod made any definite movement was the
worst unbeliever of them all.

The Emperor was very annoyed at their unbelief, and said that he was
going to send the gentleman with the divining-rod to South Africa, where
he would be able to discover not only springs of water, but diamonds and
gold. His Majesty had recently been gratified by the fresh discovery of
small diamonds in German-African territory, and exhibited with great
glee his cigarette-case in which they had been mounted. He explained to
us all that they had been found, not, as is usual, embedded in blue
clay, but lying on the surface loose in the sand, and that one of the
German workers on the new railway had gathered up a handful in a few
minutes. He also gave it as his opinion that they had blown along from
some as yet undiscovered mine somewhere in the hills.

I suggested in a whisper to the Princess, who was very triumphant over
these German diamonds, that they had probably blown over the frontier
from British territory, and she immediately communicated this theory of
mine to her father.

“No, no!” roared the Emperor in pretended anger. “Blew over from British
territory indeed! nothing of the kind!” He scowled portentously and--as
was his habit--shook a monitory finger in my direction.

When the Court returned to _Neues Palais_ from Wilhelmshöhe after the
Emperor returned from the great autumn manœuvres, as long as the fine
weather lasted--and the autumn in Potsdam is wonderfully beautiful--he
would make excursions on his little river steamer the _Alexandria_ along
the beautiful chain of lakes which is one of the great charms of that

The private landing-stage had been built by His Majesty of wood in
quaint Norwegian style, with two large waiting-rooms and a wide balcony
overlooking the water. Ranged on shelves round the rooms was every
variety of Norwegian bowl; some brightly-painted red ones with dragon
beak and tail, others very beautifully carved in Norwegian patterns.
They had most of them been brought back from Norway by the Emperor
himself. The chairs were of the uncompromisingly hard Norwegian peasant
type, made entirely of wood and without any attempt at adaptation to
human contours. The sailors who manned the _Alexandria_ were some of the
crew of the _Hohenzollern_, and looked very smart in their white-duck

As a rule we went in the steamer to the _Pfauen-Insel_ or Isle of
Peacocks, where was a very queer little Schloss, built to resemble an
imitation ruin, though the imitation was very badly done. It had been a
favourite resort of Queen Louise of Prussia and her husband, and
in the cupboards upstairs were still to be found some most
extraordinary-looking old bonnets of hers of the coal-scuttle type. Not
far from the Schloss was a _Rutsch-Bahn_ or toboggan slide, which the
Princess liked immensely, and always insisted that I should join her in
one of the dreadful “rushes,” which were accomplished in little boxes
something like sleighs, with room for two people inside and one man
outside, who had to stand on the runners and push off from the top. We
went down at a tremendous pace, finally landing on the grass at the
bottom, where we bumped terrifically till the impetus was spent. The man
behind always had to lean over the inside occupants and grasp at two
handles in front of the car.

In a sheltered angle of the Schloss itself the supper-table was spread
by the footmen with the cold viands which had been brought from the New
Palace. All round lay the shining water, and there was a constant
rustling and whispering of the reeds as they bowed and curtsied to the
night wind. Sometimes on the warm September evenings the Emperor would
remain a long time at table talking and smoking by the light of candles,
enclosed in tall glass chimneys to protect them from the draught. No one
was permitted to smoke excepting His Majesty--chiefly, I believe,
because the Empress has a very strong dislike to the odour of tobacco.

Usually the “visitors’ book” of the Schloss was produced some time
during the evening, and every one present signed it. It contained many
interesting signatures of long-dead-and-gone celebrities, and the firm,
clear writing of the Emperor and Empress Frederick occurred frequently,
as well as that of the “Old Emperor” and Bismarck.

If during the cruise the weather turned colder, the supper was taken to
the landing-stage--the Matrosen Station, as it was called--and eaten
there in the Norwegian rooms, the guests sitting uncomfortably on the
Norwegian chairs. No opportunity of eating out of doors was ever lost,
and when time did not allow of an excursion, supper was served on the
terrace just outside the windows of the palace, where the orange trees
scented the air, and the mosquitoes were kept at bay by braziers of
charcoal on which juniper berries were burned.

Sometimes, instead of going by water to _Pfauen-Insel_, the court drove
in carriages to Sacrow, a small Schloss uninhabited except by the
_Kastellan_ and his wife, situated in a lovely tangled wilderness of
garden overlooking the water. To get to the other side it was necessary
to use the ferry, and when the Princess crossed it in the afternoon with
her ponies, she would assist the ferryman to warp his craft over the
river. Once when we went to Sacrow with an automobile, the shirt-sleeved
waiter from the adjacent restaurant, the blue-jerseyed man in charge of
the ferry and the Princess worked all in a row, walking slowly along the
rope, gravely performing their task together, while the two chauffeurs
in their elegant royal livery regarded this pleasantly democratic
picture with hardly concealed surprise and amusement.

The woods round Sacrow were the most beautiful of any in the
neighbourhood, threaded with sandy paths which skirted the water side.
In one part were the kennels of the _Königliche Meute_ or royal pack of
hounds, which we visited once or twice in the summer-time before the
hunting began.

During the autumn and winter these hounds hunted two or three times a
week at Döberitz after wild boar, carted from one of the Emperor’s
neighbouring forests. The meets were attended almost exclusively by the
officers of the regiments stationed in Potsdam, and very often by the
Emperor. The Empress, although very fond of riding, was not at all keen
on hunting, and rarely appeared except on St. Hubert’s Day, which is a
very ceremonial occasion, the horses being decorated with green
ribbons, and every one riding in pink with chimney-pot hat, whereas on
ordinary occasions the round velvet hunting-cap and black coat may be

The Emperor invariably gives a hunting dinner on the evening of this
day, when all the gentlemen invited appear in pink, each one wearing in
the buttonhole of his coat the spray of oak-leaves which is the trophy
presented to everybody “in at the death.” When the Emperor is present at
a hunt, he himself distributes the bunches of oak-leaves; otherwise it
is one of the duties of the M.F.H.

The riding-horses of His Majesty are mostly big-boned weight-carriers of
English or Irish breed, trained in the royal stables for six months or
so before being ridden by the Emperor.

Those of the Empress are in charge of a second official, who is
responsible for their good behaviour.

Once, as Their Majesties rode together in the early morning in the
neighbourhood of Potsdam, the horse of the Empress stumbled and fell,
turning a complete somersault and throwing its rider on to her head,
fortunately without serious injury, thanks to the hard straw hat she was

It is a very dreadful business for an Empress to fall from her horse,
even when she receives no particular harm. It usually happens before a
crowd of people, some of whom are necessarily held responsible for the
accident; and on this occasion one or two of the officials became
hysterical and shed tears, while the Emperor, under the stress of the
incident, used some rather sharp and very excusable words of censure.
The adjutants scattered themselves wildly over the surface of the earth
in search of a doctor, while Princes Oskar and Joachim, who were also
riding with their parents, did the same.

Prince Oskar discovered no doctor, but did manage to find a droschky
with a miserable-looking horse and a very dirty, unkempt driver, who was
sitting peacefully dreaming on his box in front of a house, waiting for
his “fare,” a young officer, to come out. Prince Oskar immediately
ordered him to come and drive Her Majesty home, but the droschky-driver
demurred, saying he was already engaged and could not leave his fare in
the lurch. The Prince insisted, but the faithful cabman, perhaps
doubtful of the _bona fides_ of the affair, still refused the proffered
honour of driving the Empress home; so finally the Prince drew his sword
and bade him in the name of military authority (paramount in Germany) to
proceed with him at once to the indicated spot, bringing his droschky
with him. So grumbling loudly all the way, the disgusted Jehu did as he
was bid, obviously still convinced that he was the victim of some
practical joke, and presently found himself the centre of a brilliant
but agitated circle of people, all talking and suggesting different

Her Majesty, who protested at being treated as an injured person, as she
felt perfectly well except for the momentary alarm, would have much
preferred to remount her horse and ride home quietly without so much
unnecessary fuss; but had perforce to get into the evil-smelling, dirty
vehicle with her lady-in-waiting, and escorted by her two sons and one
or two crestfallen officials, arrived home, where a very frightened
young military doctor, who had been somehow unearthed from a
neighbouring barracks, thought after a short examination that it was
advisable for the Empress to keep her bed. He was then dismissed with
appropriate thanks, and the Court doctor, who had been summoned from
Berlin, immediately ordered Her Majesty to get up and go about as usual.
The flutter in the Palace that day was indescribable, and one of the
strangest things was the absolute divergence of opinion among the
spectators of the accident. No two of them agreed as to the exact manner
in which it took place, and the discussions about unimportant details
grew almost acrimonious.

The droschky-driver reaped most advantage from the occurrence, and
still relates to an admiring Potsdam the part he played in extricating
Her Majesty from a serious dilemma.



Cadinen (pronounced Cad_ee_nen) and its glories were, for the first few
months of our acquaintance, a frequent topic of the Princess’s
conversation, so that it was with very lively interest that I found
myself in the month of June of the following year journeying towards its
promised felicities. We were travelling all night in the special train,
which carried the usual portentous amount of luggage, besides three
tutors, one doctor, a lady-in-waiting, myself, and various footmen and
maids. In addition to Prince Joachim and his sister, their two young
cousins, Princes Max and Fritz of Hesse, whose acquaintance I had made
in Homburg, were also going with us.

Her Majesty was to come to Cadinen later, when the _Kieler Woche_ was
over, bringing with her Prince Oskar and Prince August Wilhelm from

His Majesty never came at the same time as his family, for the simple
reason that there was then no room for himself and his numerous suite:
even on ordinary occasions it was a very tight fit for everybody.

Once, with a sudden determination to see how the Empress was getting on,
the Emperor made a descent of three or four days, announcing his coming
only a few hours beforehand. A kind of general shuffle of apartments had
to be made instantly, everybody packing up their things and squeezing
themselves into little out-of-the-way holes and corners. Every house in
the village having a decent spare room was requisitioned, but only two
were available, the rest being impossible; and somebody suggested a tent
on the lawn, but unfortunately there were no tents.

Most of His Majesty’s adjutants had to use the train, shunted on to a
siding, as an hotel, sleeping and dressing there in much discomfort; for
it is one thing to live simply, divested of life’s superfluities, and
quite another to retain a courtier-like appearance in the midst of an
absolute dearth of means to that end.

“We have only accommodation for a tooth-brush and a cake of soap, yet
must change into four different costumes every day,” complained one
unfortunate Kammer-Herr.

Fortunately it only lasted for four days, and then the Emperor and his
suite departed to more comfortable and roomy quarters.

But on our first visit we had the house to ourselves and plenty of space
in which to move about.

The journey from Berlin is long and slow, and appears interminable. The
train passed through very flat, uninteresting country, especially during
the last few miles, where the railway approaches the _Frisches Haff_,
that curious bay formed by the waters of the sluggish Vistula, separated
from the Gulf of Danzig by a thin strip of sand which stretches some
hundred miles along the coast.

Cadinen is about ten miles from Elbing, which is reached from there by a
train which puffs leisurely up and down the single branch line at long
intervals of the day. The station platform at this little village, when
I first knew it, was practically non-existent. One descended from the
blue-and-gold royal train right on to the meadow. Great purple
columbines, yellow and blue lupines, seemed to be almost growing over
the line itself. No road was visible excepting a sandy cart-track, full
of ruts, where three or four of the royal carriages, looking entirely
out of place, were waiting to take us up to the Schloss. One felt that a
farm-cart drawn by a yoke of oxen would have been more appropriate.

We bumped towards the Schloss, the coachman wisely eschewing the track
and driving over the meadow itself, past a _Zigelei_ (tile-factory)
belonging to the Emperor, and up a shady lane of ancient and weathered
oaks, till we came to one of those stucco, villa-like country-houses
usual in the Fatherland, which makes it easy to understand why the
Germans fall into raptures over ours in England.

It stood, with a small interval of untidy lawn, close to the road and
opposite the village green and duck-pond, around which other houses were
clustered. At the back was what is called a park in Germany, but the
term has no relation to the English idea of a park, and means simply an
extensive garden and orchard. A lovely avenue of chestnut trees was the
chief beauty of the garden. They unfortunately grew close up to the
house, and made some of the bedrooms so dark that on dull days one could
not read or write without a lamp on the writing-table, which was very
inconvenient, especially as our rooms had to serve as combined
sitting-and bed-rooms.

The Empress and the Princess had with them all their servants, including
housemaids, from the New Palace, but peasant-women of the neighbourhood
waited upon the suite--clean, strong, healthy-looking people who usually
worked barefoot in the fields for a wage of threepence or fourpence a
day, but at the advent of the court were thrust into print gowns and
boots, and, wearing little flat caps on their heads, pervaded the house,
smiling broadly. They spoke with an engaging West-Prussian accent, and
only came for an hour or two in the mornings, and again in the
afternoons for another short spell of work. In the intervals they went
back to their occupations in the fields, for the _Inspektor_ did not
approve of their absence just at the busy harvest time. They were all of
them Catholics, for the Reformation never penetrated to that district,
and among them is much Polish blood.

In the rather untidy but pleasant Schloss garden was an ornamental pond,
from which arose at every moment of the day and night, never ceasing,
never changing, a pitiful moaning cry, which speedily got on to
everybody’s nerves, and was possibly the reason why all the grown-up
people felt rather snappy and cross during the first few days. It had
somewhat the effect on one’s mind of a squeaking slate-pencil, and
speedily became intolerable, for it penetrated the house, and nowhere
was there a refuge from the nerve-rending noise.

It was the cry of the _Unken_, a peculiarly loathsome kind of frog which
inhabited the pond, where large green frogs whose note was a
comparatively cheerful kind of cackle lived in harmony with these almost
invisible but painfully audible pests.

The term _Unken-ruf_ (Unken-cry) is used in Germany to express any
persistently ominous prediction, and is a very expressive term, for
there are few things more depressing to the spirits than the call of
these tiny black creatures.

Rendered desperate, however, by our sufferings, the little Hessian
princes produced a butterfly net and managed after some trouble to catch
a good many of the Unken, which floated on the top of the pond, and were
practically invisible except for a tiny green spot which projected over
each eye. The princes speedily became very expert at locating them, and
enjoyed excellent sport every day after dinner, catching over a hundred
in two or three days. The horrid, slimy, glutinous things--which the
Princess handled without any qualms--were a bright flame-colour
underneath and deep black above. They were carefully transferred in a
water-can to the Haff, which was not far away, and every one felt much
benefited by their change of quarters.

The chief charm of Cadinen was its idyllic simplicity. There were no
tourists, no “respectable” people, just simple workers in the fields
and crowds of barefooted, sunburnt children. Pigs, sheep, and chickens
pervaded the place, all of them belonging to His Majesty, who had
purchased the whole estate just as it stood and proceeded with
characteristic energy to improve it. Gradually he changed the prevailing
simplicity of everything, and built new stables as well as a large
automobile garage, containing ample accommodation for grooms and
chauffeurs. He pulled down the old picturesque houses, where the
children and pigs and chickens had lived together in happy amity, and
erected some very pretty gabled cottages, the plans of which had been
sent to him from England--charming cottages, with roses climbing over
the door and wire netting round the grass plot to keep out the hens, not
forgetting a nice convenient pigsty at the back--but the barefooted
peasant women with the handkerchiefs tied over their heads never looked
very much at home in them, and were always sighing after the old, dirty,
insanitary houses around whose memory their heart-fibres still clung.

The Emperor was very angry and impatient one day with a woman who
expressed some of this regret, and told her she was ungrateful; yet it
was obviously not ingratitude that prompted her to speak, but rather a
wistful retrospect, a sorrowful longing for the scenes associated with
all the joys she had ever known. Even the duck-pond, that enchanted spot
where the Princess from her window watched every evening the farm horses
as they waded in and drank delicately just in the yellow and scarlet
glory of the sunset, where the herd of cows came and stood in the water,
switching their tails and taking long, deliberate draughts every evening
after milking-time--all was done away with, the pond filled up, the
green levelled and kept smoothly rolled. No children or dogs played on
it any more, the horses and cattle went another way home, and sentries,
those adjutants of royalty, were posted where erstwhile the geese had
waddled across the grass.

Fortunately it was some time before all these improvements were made. No
sentries marred those early years in Cadinen. Only one or two green
_Gendarms_ wandered about the place or sat somnolently in the sunshine.
The clink of the blacksmith’s shop penetrated the open windows of the
schoolroom as the Princess read with her tutor. The blacksmith was a
most delightful man, who had been at sea and travelled far afield, and
was still young and handsome, with a pleasant-faced wife and two little
children, one of whom, Lenchen, squinted most frightfully, but was a
great friend of the Princess.

“Every year it seems to me that Lenchen squints worse,” she would sigh
after the first interview; “but perhaps it is because I haven’t seen her
for so long. She is going to be operated on next winter. She would be
quite pretty if her eyes were right.”

A village forge has been from time immemorial an irresistible attraction
to children, and it was surprising how all roads in Cadinen seemed
somehow to lead past the blacksmith’s, who was always either fitting
shoes on horses, or mending a ploughshare, or doing something
interesting of that kind.

“So useful,” said the Princess as she gazed--“so much better than
learning the date of the Silesian Wars, isn’t it?”

Sometimes she helped to blow the bellows.

A tiny chapel, capable of holding about twenty people, had been built on
the top of a very steep hill in the “park.” Every Sunday morning we
toiled pantingly up to _Gottes-Dienst_. A stalwart clergyman came over
from Elbing to hold the service, and always stood at the door of the
church and shook hands with each worshipper, saying, “God greet you.” He
seemed almost a size too large for the chapel, so tall and broad was he.
From the doorway was a wide view over the Haff, which was always muddy
in colour except at sunrise, when it was blue, and at sunset, when it
turned yellow and pink and sometimes blood-red; but beyond it there was
always a clear strip of deeper blue--the waters of the Baltic, or
Ost-See (East Sea) as it is called in Germany. We grew to know the Haff
very well, for every afternoon the children were taken across it in a
little steamer to bathe at a tiny place called Kahlberg, which lay on
the farther shore.

This small steamer, called the _Radaune_, was hired from somebody in
Danzig for a few weeks every summer, and manned by three mariners whom
the children considered with much reason to be the cleverest and most
delightful men they had ever met. One named Vigand was captain and
steersman, another attended to the machinery, and a third just hovered
generally around, fetching out camp-stools and answering questions, at
which he showed himself most fluent and explanatory.

Prince Joachim, under Vigand’s strict tuition, took lessons in steering;
and the duties of the man at the engine were not so arduous but that he
found time to pop his head up on deck and join in the conversation for
several minutes at a time.

The doctor and both the tutors, two maids and two footmen, also two
dogs, always accompanied us; for we took tea on to the shore as well as
bath towels and changes of dry garments, as the Princess had a knack of
falling into a wave fully dressed, so that one had to be prepared for

The Haff itself was a greasy, oily, rather smelly stretch of water in
the hot weather--so stagnant that a small weed grew on its surface--but
it suffered occasional violent storms, which dispelled the oily
greasiness but tossed the tiny steamer up and down in a manner most
disagreeable to indifferent sailors. Fortunately it only took half an
hour to get to the opposite side, but even that was too long for some
people, and they succumbed to the horrors of sea-sickness almost in
sight of port.

Arrived on the other side, we had, until a small pier was built, to get
into a boat and row to shore, then walk over a strip of sand, which
took perhaps seven or eight minutes, and there on the other side lay the
sand-dunes with the beautiful clean Baltic Sea dimpling in a curve of
white foam.

In the distance away to the left could be seen the houses and “pensions”
of the tiny fishing village of Kahlberg, to which visitors came in the
season. The far end of the shore was strictly reserved for the use of
the royal children, so that they were able to enjoy themselves without

It was perhaps the most uninteresting bit of coast to be found anywhere.
The Baltic is practically tideless, and the shore has no rocks to break
the long monotony of sand which stretches away for a hundred miles
eastward. The sun blazed down fiercely with the usual untempered glare
of seaside places; nowhere was there the least shelter from the intense
heat; but the Princess and her brother and cousins thought it the
loveliest spot on earth, for it was the only seaside place they knew.
They paddled in the waves and dug sand castles, and, after great
discussions and consultations with the doctor, were at last allowed to
bathe, which filled them all to the brim with happiness.

Five minutes was the absolute limit of time allowed for us to disport
ourselves in the water, and the lady-in-waiting stood watch in hand on
the shore and called “Time’s up--come out,” at the end of what seemed a
mere flash of seconds.

“Why, we haven’t had time to get our bathing-dresses wet,” the Princess
would remonstrate, and then would commence a heated argument to the
effect that the Countess must have misread the time. This lady, in a
position somewhat analogous to that of an unfortunate hen who sees her
ducklings in the water, would stand on the shore gesticulating,
commanding, imploring with ever-increasing vehemence, while the
Princess, secure in her impregnable position, and fully alive to the
advantages of lengthened discussion, would duck under the water and
emerge splutteringly to shriek, “One minute more, dear Countess, one
minute more: I know your watch is fast--you said so this morning,” and
she would plunge under again, while the outraged Countess, angered by
this illogical reasoning, would threaten to stop the bathing altogether;
and at last, by the most circuitous route, the dripping Princess would

This scene was enacted almost daily, even when the doctor conceded ten
minutes in the ocean instead of five. Often, when the Princess was
enjoying herself exceedingly, she would plunge under as soon as the
Countess opened her mouth to speak and make a tremendous noise and
splashing. Once I heard her shriek “Our future lies on the water,” as a
wave swallowed her up and nothing but a row of pink toes remained

After bathing we had tea, which was always brought to the shore in stone
screw-topped bottles and drunk out of silver tumblers. After tea
everybody looked for _Bernstein_ or amber--for the coast of the Baltic
is the only place in Europe where it is found, and Danzig is famous as a
centre for very beautiful artistic specimens of cups and vases
ornamented with pieces of this stone.

When it was time to return to the steamer on the far side of the
sand-dunes, a long row of spectators, many of them with cameras, was
always waiting to see us embark; and often a somewhat shy, reluctant
child, propelled forward by some invisible agency in the rear, would
present the Princess with a rose or a bunch of flowers.

The joy with which all the children met Vigand and the other members of
the crew after their short separation was very touching. The engine-man
exhibited the versatility of his accomplishments, and a talent for
domesticity, by drying all the soaked garments, especially stockings, of
which the consumption was large, in the mysterious region down below.

Prince Joachim’s steering was occasionally somewhat erratic, but
improved day by day, until he was able to take us into haven and bring
up alongside the pier in a most masterly manner.

When the Empress and the two older princes arrived, they also
accompanied us to Kahlberg, and were introduced to Vigand and the rest
of the crew with great joy, as these heroes had been described in detail
to Her Majesty long before she saw them, and their manifold virtues and
talents dinned incessantly into her ears.

The Princess became at this time frequently reminiscent of a week she
had once passed on her mother’s yacht, the _Iduna_. The chief
personality on board appeared to be the English cook, who hailed, I
believe, from Brighton, and always addressed Her Majesty as “mum.” His
culinary talents excited the rapture of the Princess, who went into
ecstasies over his porridge and curries and other toothsome dishes. One
of his brothers was steward on board and waited at table, and had the
peculiarity of invariably stubbing his toe against the raised threshold
of the dining saloon whenever he came in or out, flying, so to speak,
headlong into the saloon or alley-way. But the cook’s talents were so
pronounced that the Empress asked him for various English recipes, which
I was called upon to translate into German--a very difficult task for
any one unacquainted with the technical terms of German cookery.

Sometimes the Princess would drive in her pony-cart along the road in
the direction of Frauenburg, famous as the dwelling-place of Copernicus.
These drives were not an undiluted joy to her, for the small bare-legged
peasant children insisted on presenting flowers all along the route,
which meant pulling up the ponies every five minutes to avoid driving
over some staggering infant of tender years who, escorted by an elder
sister, clasping in its grubby little paw some herbage torn from the
nearest hedge, would precipitate itself recklessly into the path of the
carriage. The flowers, generally intermixed with bunches of over-ripe
wild strawberries had all to be taken into the carriage, and exuded
their green sap and berry-juice liberally on to the cushions and the
dresses of the occupants.

Frauenburg was a quaint old town, the capital of the great Prussian
diocese of Ermland, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Teutonic
Knights, who possessed large territories in that neighbourhood. In 1309
the executive officers of this great order of fighting monks established
themselves in the castle of Marienburg, a few miles beyond Elbing, which
the Emperor has recently restored to its old glory, having entirely
rebuilt it, as far as possible, in exact accordance with the former
building, which had almost crumbled to decay.

Cadinen often suffered from severe thunderstorms, which came on with
great suddenness. One day, when for some reason we did not go to
Kahlberg, the children and their teachers went in two open carriages for
a long drive. Prince Joachim, who was an ardent whip, drove one of them,
and we were getting along very merrily, several miles away from home,
when suddenly heavy drops began to fall, and the thunder rumbled
threateningly. Fortunately a big _Garten-Restaurant_ with ample stabling
accommodation was close at hand, so we immediately drove into the yard,
and the carriages and horses were just put under shelter as the rain
came tumbling down in torrents. We all sat in a sort of covered glass
veranda and played games for an hour, when, the weather having cleared
up, we started off again. To the great joy of the children, almost as
soon as the horses’ heads turned homewards, two closed royal carriages
were perceived hastening in our direction, obviously bringing succour
for half-drowned persons, for they were piled up inside with cloaks and
rugs of every description. The consternation written legibly on the
faces of the coachmen made the whole crew of children burst into
irrepressible laughter, it pictured so visibly the agitation of mind
into which the entire Schloss had been thrown.

“Yes,” remarked the Princess callously, “as soon as the storm came on I
could see the Countess wringing her hands and putting us to bed and the
doctor coming to feel our pulses.”

Naturally both Countess and doctor were much relieved that their
precautions had been unnecessary, and we were praised for being “so
sensible” as to take refuge in the restaurant; but it was a very lucky
chance that we happened to be near one, as in that lonely region they
were but sparsely distributed, and we might have gone many miles before
finding another.

The Emperor, among other properties on the estate, became owner of a
_Zigelei_ or tile-factory, of which there are many hundreds along this
coast, which possesses a peculiar variety of clay, very suitable for the
manufacture of bricks and tiles. The old Cathedral of Frauenburg, of
which Copernicus, though he was never a priest, was canon, is built
entirely of brick, for there is no stone in the neighbourhood. The
Emperor’s factory has in the last few years begun the experimental
manufacture of the finer kinds of porcelain, and produces year by year
many artistic objects which are sold in Berlin.

During the many wet days of our stay in Cadinen, the children found
great occupation in modelling various articles out of the prepared clay,
which were afterwards sent to the factory to be burned. Some little
fern-pots and vases, the product of her amateur efforts, were regarded
with great pride by the Princess.

The Emperor took the greatest interest in his factory, and never failed
to visit it as often as he could do so, inspecting and criticizing every
department. He has built delightful houses and cottages for the heads of
departments and the workers. Some people scoff at it as a piece of
costly, needless extravagance, and object to the Emperor’s competition
with other factories. It is run chiefly, however, as a practical
scientific experiment, and although a good deal of cheap pottery is
made and sold to the general public at current market prices, it aims at
artistic development as well as the invention and discovery of colours
and new glazes. From his travels the Emperor is always bringing here
some piece of antique porcelain, Italian, Greek or Roman, which may
suggest something new in form or colouring. He is so keen himself that
he is bound to inspire keenness in others.

Once or twice I have been round the factory with the Emperor and
Empress, who would stay there for an hour or two sometimes on their way
to or from Rominten. His Majesty always took the whole of his suite with
him, and liked them to be as interested as himself. On one occasion,
from the heaped shelves of the warehouses he hurled--there is no other
word which quite expresses it--terra-cotta busts of himself and large
vases and other pottery of the same material at the members of the
suite. My share of the spoil was a bust of himself and two flower-vases.
We all emerged carrying our property, and the officers in uniform looked
rather comical with large terra-cotta plaques under each arm or cradling
a bust carefully against the shoulder.

In fine weather the Princess sometimes rode in the forest, but during
the second and third year of her visit to Cadinen she devoted herself
entirely to bathing and did not ride as well. As, however, there were
twenty riding-horses available, I always got up at half-past five, and
rode alone with a _Sattel-Meister_ through the beautiful forest, which
was of quite a different nature to that of Potsdam. It had a wild
delightful freshness, with dimpling brooks appearing out of the
greenery; great rocks and boulders stood at the turn of every path, with
ferns growing from their crevices. The roads were not so good as those
to which we had been accustomed, as they were full of tenacious and
slippery beds of clay, and quite dangerous after rain, as were the
fourteen little wooden bridges which crossed the wimpling stream which
meandered aimlessly but beautifully through the trees. But when it was
impossible to ride in the forest, there were the cornfields, and the
stubble-fields from which the oats had been cleared were magnificent for
a good stretching gallop. Those early rides lengthened the day a good

At five o’clock the _Lampier_, the old man who trimmed the lamps and
cleaned the shoes, would knock softly at my door according to orders. I
would rouse up hastily and dress, and then creep warily past the rooms
where every one slept, and down the back staircase into the yard, where,
in the morning sunshine, the wrinkled old _Hühner-frau_ was feeding her
flock of ducks and chickens; then, slipping like a conspirator through
the wet bushes into the stable-yard round the corner, I would come upon
the smiling _Sattel-Meister_ in his neat uniform, standing beside two
horses held by stable-boys. We would bow to each other in ceremonious
German fashion, mount, and away into the glory of the dewy morning; for
however wet and stormy the after part of the day might be, the mornings
were always fair and smiling.

Curtains of filmy cobwebs, threaded with beadlets of dew, spanned every
twig, while gorgeous beds of lupines ranging from white through pale and
deep heliotrope to dark purple, great upstanding masses of campanulas,
tall yellow foxgloves, and other flowers unknown to me bordered the
field paths through which we rode. The shimmering yellow of the bearded
rye, the darker reddish-brown of the wheat, rippled like a sea by the
breath of morning, the vivid emerald of the potato fields, the glorious
chrome and sulphur of the yellow lupines grown as cattle fodder, mingled
with the subtle green of the forest trees, and the long-drawn-out blue
thread of the distant Baltic, all dappled and gleaming in the dawn,
blended together in a riot of luminous colour.

The peasant women working in bands of twenty or thirty among the
potatoes would lift up their friendly brown faces, and wave a hand and
smile as we galloped past. Occasionally we came unexpectedly on one of
them kneeling before a tiny wooden shrine almost hidden in the standing

The last Sunday of our stay in Cadinen was always devoted to the
_Kinder-Fest_, or treat for the school-children, given by the Empress.

The youth of the village was scrubbed and washed and starched and ironed
to a pitch of painful perfection, but none of the children wore anything
in the shape of finery, and nobody thought of curling or waving their
abundant locks for the occasion. The girls’ tight pigtails were tied, if
anything, a trifle tighter, while the boys’ heads were cropped almost to
the bone. The most conspicuous change in their attire was the presence
of shoes and stockings, which obviously severely handicapped their
activities. All the light-footed boys and girls, who usually skipped
untrammelled down the grassy lanes, became slow-footed, slouching,
awkward louts, moving with a stiff propriety which was as much the
effect of footgear as of respect for royalty.

The festivities began by coffee and cake at three o’clock, for tea is
unknown in that district. The cake was a kind of bread with currants
stuck in it at long intervals, and the coffee, which we will hope was
not as strong as it looked, was imbibed by infants of the tenderest age,
babes in arms sipping it eagerly from their mothers’ cups apparently
without any evil effects.

The Empress and the Princes and Princess waited on the small sunburnt
guests, and saw that they were well supplied, and after tea was finished
games were played.

“The very stupidest games I ever saw,” said the Princess, who preferred
something more exciting than “Here we go round the Mulberry-Bush,” or
its German equivalent. So she immediately organized sack-races among the
boys, helping to tuck the small urchins into their sacks, and
instructing them how to hop along, cheering on the blacksmith’s son,
whom she obviously desired to see the winner.

All the mothers, most of whom appeared to be employed at the Schloss as
housemaids, clustered round in their clean print dresses, watching the
sports with the deepest interest; while the green-clad foresters, the
_Inspektor_ and his family, the fishermen from the Haff, also stood in a
respectful semicircle, gravely and seriously absorbed in the sack-races.

At half-past six the _Fest_ was finished, and everybody dispersed
homewards; but at the Schloss the children often continued the _Fest_ on
their own account. On one occasion, after supper, Prince Joachim, having
by some mysterious means discovered that one of the footmen as well as a
cook were performers on the harmonica, a sort of improved accordion,
proposed that they should be sent for and an impromptu dance held on the

The cook arrived first in his white cap and apron, looking rather
embarrassed at being called upon to perform before royalty. He made a
deep bow to Her Majesty, and was then conducted by the young Princes to
the garden seat and requested to begin at once, so he flung himself with
the ardour of a true musician into a waltz, and they all skipped merrily
round upon the grass. Presently a rather fat red-faced footman arrived
with a second harmonica, bowed, and took his place beside the cook, and
the two went hard at it, the cook playing the air while the footman made
the accompanying harmonies. Occasional discords arose, whereupon they
regarded each other sternly, each tacitly accusing the other; but it
never disturbed the rhythm, and the dancers hopped energetically round
in spite of the heat and their hard day’s work.

The cook, possessing an artistic soul, always waved his head in time to
the music, gazing upwards to the stars; but the fat footman, being a man
of another temperament, sat stolidly, moving nothing but his fingers.

Bed-time for the children was long passed when the musicians were
reluctantly dismissed with the warm thanks of the Empress, and cook and
footman retired in a series of graceful bows to their respective

The last day of Cadinen comes. The luggage has been packed and carried
downstairs and loaded into carts by a quarter-section of soldiers sent
over from Elbing for the purpose. The brown-faced youths penetrate every
room, grinning amiably, and shoulder everything they can find, while
harassed footmen rush about with lists in their hands, which they
consult hurriedly.

The train is waiting, the _Land-Rat_ is waiting, the _Inspektor_, the
_Zigelei-Direktor_, In the dusk, as we drive down to the station, beyond
which glimmers the long line of the Haff, we pass rows of workpeople,
who timidly wave hats and aprons as Her Majesty goes by.

We are quickly in the train, and stand at the windows, waving our hands
vigorously as it moves off. The fields fade away into the distance, the
blue cornflowers on the edge of the railway banks nod farewell, a
solitary stork can be seen wending his way homewards on wide-sweeping
wings. The darkness falls and blots it out. When the dawn comes we are
nearing Potsdam once more, and on the whole rather glad to be back
again, for, as the Princess says, “Cadinen’s very nice, but ‘there’s no
place like home,’ is there?”



Rominten, the Emperor’s favourite shooting domain, lies far away in East
Prussia, on the very frontier of the Russian Empire. For the first few
years of my life in Germany it existed merely as a name.

Every autumn towards the end of November came to the New Palace great
loads of antlers labelled “Rominter Heide,” magnificent outspreading
trophies of His Majesty’s gun.

Then one day the Princess announced, to the consternation of her
governesses, aghast at the possibility of further interruptions to her
education, that “Papa” was building a new wing to the _Jagdhaus_, so
that “Mamma” and she herself might join him there.

“Won’t it be lovely?” she said with sparkling eyes, and danced about the
room in a manner expressive of the deepest delight.

“When you are grown up and done with lessons, Princess,” suggested the

“Not a bit when I am grown up, but now this very autumn. Papa says so;
the house is getting on splendidly. It will all be ready by September.”

If “Papa” said a thing would happen, it naturally did, let who might
disapprove; so that a few weeks later the Princess in her brand-new
hunting-dress, accompanied by a blackboard, a desk, a large chest of
school-books, a tutor and myself, went off in the highest spirits to
join Their Majesties’ special train at Berlin.

The Emperor and Empress were already in the train when their daughter
arrived, and there was a very large suite with them, including Prince
Philip Eulenburg, who a year or two later fell into disgrace, and from
being the most trusted, most sought-after of all the Emperor’s friends,
was banished entirely from Court and seen no more.

The Empress was attended by one only of her ladies--the youngest of the
four resident _Hof-Damen_, who would be on duty the whole time; but as
in Rominten there are no ceremonious occasions and no constant changes
of costume--one of the chief burdens of Court life--the duties of the
lady-and gentleman-in-waiting are comparatively light.

We had a very merry supper in the train, the Emperor being in an
extremely happy, not to say hilarious mood, his face constantly crinkled
with laughter. He told one small anecdote after another, some of them
almost childish, but irresistibly comic when accompanied by his
infectious laugh. One was of a child at a _Volks-Schule_ who wrote an
essay on the Lion as follows: “The Lion is a fearful beast with four
legs and a tail. He has a still more terrible wife called the Tiger.”

The royal hunt uniform, which is only worn by those in the royal service
or by persons to whom the Emperor grants permission, is extremely
picturesque, being of a soft olive-green, with high tanned-leather boots
and a belt round the waist from which is suspended the _Hirschfänger_ or
short hunting-knife. In the soft green hat, turned up at both sides, is
generally fastened either the tail-feathers of the capercailzie, or the
beard of a gemsbock, which sticks up like a shaving-brush at the back.

At supper everybody was wearing ordinary costume, but they all assembled
at breakfast next morning after their night in the train in complete
hunting-dress, even to the footmen who waited at table. Although I
possessed no uniform, unwilling to be a jarring note in the
hunting-harmony, I had provided myself with a suitable green
_Sports-Kostüm_, while the Princess had a regulation green _Letevka_
(Norfolk jacket) and hunting-knife all complete.

The train passed through the station of Cadinen, but it was a further
journey of eight hours to reach Gross-Rominten, distant some seven or
eight miles from the hunting-lodge itself.

The usual rows of flower-crowned school-children lined the path and
threw flowers into the carriages and automobiles. All the population of
the country-side had, of course, turned out to see Their Majesties, and
through a flutter of handkerchiefs and waving of hats the procession of
carriages passed, presently entering the great 90,000-acre forest.

Formerly the village where the Emperor has built himself a house was
called _Teer-bude_, which might be translated Tarbooth. It was a poor
place, inhabited by people who made a spare living by distilling tar
from the pine-trees; and although the forest belonged to the Crown it
had not been properly developed and was in a somewhat neglected

A little stream called the Rominte ran through the district, so the
Emperor changed the name of the place to Rominten, and with
characteristic energy and determination set himself to build and

His frequent visits to Norway had given him a love for the houses there,
built of pine logs; and having all the necessary material at hand, he
determined to build in the Norwegian style of architecture.

The road to this _Jagd-Schloss_ lay through long vistas of pines, which
grow here to an enormous height--though a few years ago the devastations
of a caterpillar called _die Nonne_ (the Nun) had destroyed a great many
of the trees and made fearful havoc. The road wound past places where
whole plantations had perished and all the young trees were “in
mourning"--that is to say, they each had bands of tar-smeared paper
round their trunks to prevent the inroads of the insidious enemy. The
Emperor tried to persuade one lady that these black bands had been put
on the trees because an _Ober-Förster_ was dead; but being of a
sceptical turn of mind, and knowing a little about forestry, she
accepted the Imperial explanation with some reserve.

At the entrance to the village of Rominten itself, young pine trees cut
from the woods had been set at intervals along the road and triumphal
garlands of pine-branches stretched across it. Before the entrance to
the Schloss were ranged lines of sturdy woodmen and foresters in their
smart uniforms of soft olive-green, holding torches in their hands, for
the night falls early in this region and the immense trees growing so
close to the house intercept a good deal of light. In the inner
gravelled space between the two parts into which the Schloss is divided
were waiting the head-foresters, gentlemen of education and culture, who
are trained for some years in the excellent schools of forestry which
are to be found in Germany.

Baron Speck von Sternburg, whose brother was at that time German
Ambassador in Washington, was also there to meet Their Majesties. He is
the Head Administrator of the whole forest, lives and moves among it
from year to year, and knows every stag almost that roams its immense
solitudes. He is responsible for the Emperor’s sport, makes all
preliminary arrangements, knows by heart the habits, almost the thoughts
of the deer, and can tell at what particular moment they will come out
to browse on the open meadows that are to be found dotted about like
small green islands in the vast ocean of trees.

All the head foresters’ houses are in telephonic communication with the
Schloss itself, so that they can send word at once of any animal paying
an unexpected visit, as sometimes wolves and elk have been known to
wander over the Russian frontier close by.

The Emperor, almost before he has well descended from his carriage,
plunges at once into hunting-talk with Herr von Sternburg, while the
Empress and the Princess, after greetings and introductions, enter the
house to explore their new habitation. The Schloss is really two houses,
built entirely of pine logs, connected by an overhead gallery supported
on massive pine stems as thick as the masts of a ship. In every room the
walls consist of the bare logs, which have been trimmed into a slightly
oval form and then laid one on the top of the other, the whole being
smoothly varnished. Tables and chairs are made of the same wood, and the
green carpets of a moss-like pattern carry on the woodland suggestion.

The roof is deep and low, and the upper story has a gallery running its
length, which overshadows the windows of the lower rooms, making them
rather dark. The fireplaces and chimneys are made of unglazed red brick,
and the fire of logs is built on a wide flat hearth, raised a little
above the floor level. They too are, of course, also Norwegian in
character, running up in a Gothic pinnacled form. All is very simple and
solidly, almost ruggedly, built. The log walls have one drawback. Smells
and sounds penetrate their crevices very easily. If the footman in the
basement indulges in a cigar, the Empress in her sitting-room upstairs
is instantly aware of it.

The dining-room, which is in the part of the house occupied by the
Emperor, is a fine building with a high-pitched roof of massive beams,
from which hang many splendid trophies of the chase, fallen to His
Majesty’s gun. There is a long wide window to the left, two large brick
fireplaces at the end, a sideboard with a buttery-hatch into the
kitchen, and wooden chairs surrounding the massive table which are quite
penitential in their hardness; yet, since Majesty sits on them without
any ameliorating interposition of cushions, no one dare complain. In a
few days’ time they become more endurable.

The Emperor once overheard some comment of mine relative to their

“What’s the matter with the chairs?” he says sharply, bulging his eyes
at me in the usual Imperial manner. “Don’t you like them?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” I reply meekly, “I think they are beautiful chairs,
but somewhat--er--harsh--on first acquaintance.”

“Harsh!” he laughs derisively--“I hope they are. Time you came here and
learned to do without cushions. Here we live hardily.” He laughs like a
delighted schoolboy, and asks every day afterwards if the chairs are
getting a little softer.

Certain friends of His Majesty came every year with him to Rominten.
First and foremost among them all was that Prince Philip Eulenburg
before mentioned, a pale, grey-haired, somewhat weary-looking man with a
pallid, fleeting smile, something of a visionary, with a nature
attracted to music and art, as well as towards all that is strange or
abnormal in life. He was a born _raconteur_, like the Emperor, but told
his tales in a quiet, soft, subtle voice, with a grave face and a
certain fascinating charm of manner. One could easily understand how the
robust personality of the Emperor, so frank, so generous, so
open-hearted, was attracted to the somewhat reserved, mysterious, gentle
nature of this brilliant man, who yearly entertained His Majesty at his
own home, Schloss Liebenberg, and was the repository of his thoughts and

He, however, disappeared. Rominten knew him no more. Yet probably no one
was more missed than he whose name was never afterwards mentioned there.
I can still see his pale face emerge from behind the red curtains of the
gallery when he came to the tea-table of the Empress and sat down to
entertain us with his store of literary and artistic reminiscences. He
had the look even then of an ill man, whose nerves are not in the best
condition, who is pursued by some haunting spectre, some fear from which
he cannot escape.

Another man of a different type who came yearly was Prince Dohna of
Schlobitten, a tall elderly gentleman who was a mighty hunter, and knew
all about deer and their habits. We ladies were much indebted to him for
instruction in the proper terms of venery--for, as the Princess forcibly
impressed on us, it was quite impossible when at Rominten to speak of
any part of an animal by its usual name, everything having a special and
peculiar designation. “Nose, eyes, ears and tail” were shocking to the
ear, and no longer to be tolerated, suffering a change into something
technical and sporting. The “ears” of the hare, for example, had to be
called its “spoons,” and the feet of the deer became “runners"--I
think--but it may have been something else.

One notable visitor came once to Rominten for a short stay of an hour or
two on his way back to Russia from America--a rather stern, silent,
harassed-looking man with peasant-features, who moved wearily and with
an air of abstraction beside the Emperor as they walked up and down on
the gravelled space before the _Jagd-Haus_. It was Herr Witte, the
Russian statesman, soon to become Count Witte, on his way home after
negotiating terms of peace between his country and Japan. At table he
sat eating soup somewhat nervously, with the air of a man in a dream,
listening politely to the Emperor’s talk, replying in monosyllables, but
conversing with no one else. He was obviously tired and apprehensive.

Soon after dinner we saw his carriage departing for the station. He
would be in Russia before nightfall.

Every morning in the early darkness somewhere between five and six, or
it may have been even earlier, the panting of a motor-car could be heard
outside, and presently it departed, bearing away the Emperor and his
loader to some remote corner of the forest where a lordly stag had been
marked as coming in the early mornings to browse.

At eight the Princess and I breakfasted alone in the little corridor
outside Her Majesty’s sitting-room upstairs. Often we made for ourselves
beautiful buttered toast at the big fire which blazed on the hearth; and
once the Princess, who always had a fine feminine instinct for that sort
of thing, took a large succulent plateful of this delicacy downstairs to
His Majesty, who happened for a wonder to be at home for breakfast at
the appointed hour. This was a thing which very seldom happened--for, as
a rule, we from our window could see the hungry courtiers waiting about
the courtyard for the Emperor’s return, which was naturally apt to be
rather uncertain as to time, sometimes being postponed till eleven.

Rominten was the only place where Their Majesties breakfasted with the
suite. Usually it was a meal taken strictly _en famille_ and at a very
rapid pace.

The Emperor appreciated the Princess’s buttered toast so much that the
Empress directed that some should be sent up every morning. Now buttered
toast is quite unknown in the Fatherland excepting perhaps in large and
fashionable hotels where international customs prevail. Rather leathery
dry toast is served at tea; but when the royal command for buttered
toast reached the kitchen through the medium of the footman it created
nothing short of consternation. A flurried lackey came hastening up to
me begging for some slight hints as to how it should be made. I foresaw
that any instructions I might give when they reached the cook distilled
through the footman’s mind would be vague and unsatisfactory.
Nevertheless I did my best; but the Empress told me afterwards that the
toast was quite uneatable--a result which rather gratified the Princess,
who liked to believe that she was the only person capable of making
toast for “Papa.”

The lessons with the tutor lasted from half-past eight until twelve
o’clock, when a short walk with the Empress was taken, weather
permitting. After luncheon, if the stag or stags slain by the Emperor
had arrived, we all assembled under the dining-room window for the
ceremony of “the Strecke.” The stags were laid on the small lawn beneath
the windows, and three of the Jägers of His Majesty blew on
hunting-horns the old hunting-call of the “Ha-la-li,” denoting to all
who hear the success of the sportsman.

Somewhere between three and four the Emperor in his hunting cart would
start off again to shoot, the Empress and suite waiting for his
departure and shouting “_Waidmann’s Heil_” as he drove away. Then Her
Majesty, with the Princess and the rest of us, would also climb into
other yellow-varnished hunting-carts and drive in another direction, to
try and get a glimpse of the stags browsing. Our conversation had to be
rather suppressed, for fear of alarming the deer in their “sylvan
solitudes,” and we usually descended from the carts to walk to one of
the numerous “pulpits” as they were called--small raised platforms
screened by a frame of pine twigs, from which the Emperor sometimes
shot--although, as a rule, they were used for purposes of observation
only, and the shooting was done from behind another screen down below.

It was always a little tantalizing going to see the deer feed, because
very often they didn’t appear. The stairs up to the pulpits creaked and
groaned as any one rather weighty went up them, and the rest regarded
the guilty one with annoyed looks and said “S’sh”; but the more silent
and stealthy we were the less the stags showed themselves. When they
did, stepping out proudly from the dark shadows of the trees, it was a
very fine sight. The deer on the _Rominter Heide_ are remarkable for
their splendid antlers, and there are few things more gracefully
beautiful than the manner in which a stag carries his splendid
wide-spreading ornaments, especially when running with the speed of the
wind among the forest trees.

Baron Speck von Sternburg lived in a large house in a corner of the
forest where it opened out into a meadow near a village called
Sittkehmen. He had three or four children, and his charming wife,
herself the daughter of an officer of the Forest Department, was quite
as keen, and possessed nearly as much knowledge of woodcraft as her

Once when the Empress had been with the Princess into the village
visiting some of the cottages, as we came back to the Schloss, hurrying
a little for fear of being late for our one-o’clock dinner, we were met
in the drive by an excited footman, who said that an _Elch_--which I
took to mean a moose or elk--had been seen by the Baroness in the
forest, that the Kaiser had ordered out all the automobiles and
carriages, and that every available person was to serve as beater, Her
Majesty and the Princess and the ladies being specially invited in that

Everybody flew in and out of the Schloss fetching walking-sticks and
cloaks, and in a few seconds the first automobile, containing the
Emperor and Empress, the Princess and the two ladies, the Emperor’s
loader with the heavy sporting rifles being outside with the chauffeur,
started off in pursuit of this animal, which, not having a proper sense
of political boundaries, had wandered over from Russia in the night. We
only hoped it had not wandered back again, but I had a sneaking sort of
feeling down in my heart that I should be almost glad if it had done so.

The car flew along, the Emperor talking volubly about the _Elch_ and its
habits and his hopes of slaying the confiding creature; and at last we
were deposited about eight miles from home on a rather squelchy, marshy
piece of ground, where we were met by Baron von Sternburg and commanded
to follow him in perfect silence, the Emperor meantime going on in the
car in a different direction. After a long damp walk we were all posted
at intervals of about a hundred yards along a thick alley of pines, with
whispered instructions to stay where we were and prevent the quarry from
breaking through, although we all had grave doubts as to our ability to
prevent any animal as large as a moose from doing anything it felt
inclined. I went up to the gentleman on my left and whisperingly asked
what methods I must employ supposing the mighty beast suddenly appeared
in front of me, and he indicated a feeble waggling of the hands as being
likely to turn it back in the direction of the Emperor’s rifle.

I cannot say if we should have been able to intimidate the moose by
means of this manœuvre if it had really appeared; at any rate we were
not put to the test, for after having waited for an hour or two, growing
minute by minute more ravenously hungry, while the water penetrated into
our boot-soles, it became evident that the sagacious animal must have
returned to his native wilds, and we returned sadly to our long-delayed,
somewhat over-cooked dinner, where we found the unfortunate tutor of
the Princess, who had been waiting for his food without any of the
alleviating excitement of the chase from one o’clock until three, which
was the hour when we at last sat down to our long-delayed meal.

Once on our way from Rominten back to Berlin we had a rather
disagreeable adventure in Königsberg, where the Emperor stayed for a few
hours for the purpose of dining at the officers’ mess of one of the
Grenadier regiments stationed there.

We had started from Rominten very early in the morning, and the
Princess, rather unluckily as it turned out, was still wearing her green
hunting uniform, although the rest of the party had reverted to the
usual less conspicuous costume of ordinary wear. The Emperor and his
suite were to stop at Königsberg, while the Empress and her daughter,
with the ladies, Prince Eulenburg and the gentleman-in-waiting, Count
Carmer, after a short wait of half an hour to let the express pass
before us to Berlin, would proceed onwards to Cadinen, there to await
the arrival of His Majesty towards evening.

We had all descended on to the red-carpeted platform to witness the
reception of the Emperor, and had seen him drive away amidst the cheers
of an immense crowd waiting outside the station, when, to our surprise,
the Princess begged her mother to fill up the intervening twenty minutes
left to us by “a short walk,” as she was very tired of being in the
train. Her Majesty too appeared to think that it would make an agreeable
diversion, and though somebody suggested the difficulty of moving about
in such a crowd as would probably be gathered together, yet, the
Princess being very urgent, the expedition was undertaken.

We moved across the space in front of the station, which had been kept
clear by the police, in full view of the enormous mass of people
gathered there, the young Princess in her green uniform being a very
conspicuous object. A pleasant elderly officer was to escort us on what
the Empress called our “little stroll through the town,” though that was
hardly perhaps the appropriate expression.

Full of apprehension, which was amply justified by our subsequent
adventures, we walked over the empty space, the Empress chatting to the
officer, while the rest of us looked at each other, trying to think that
what we foresaw must happen would perhaps not be so inevitable after
all. The people began to cheer wildly as soon as they realized that the
Empress was before them, for her name naturally had not been included in
the programme of the day’s ceremonies; and as soon as we emerged from
the emptiness into the crowd itself, we all realized at once the
imprudence of the step taken, and the danger involved, not only to
ourselves, but also to the unwieldy mass of humanity.

Most of the extra policemen drafted into the town had naturally been
placed on the streets along the route where the Emperor would pass, and
as we had directed our steps to a more secluded thoroughfare, there were
none to be seen anywhere, with the exception of those near the station.

The enormous crowd seemed to break up at once with a yelp of astonished
joy, and to fling itself with that blindly loyal ardour so
characteristic of the nation upon our small group.

“Let us get back to the station,” implored the Empress, who saw at once
the danger of advancing into that yelling, shouting, scampering, excited

It was wonderful to see the orderly, apparently disciplined crowd of a
moment before, which had settled down peaceably to wait for the
Emperor’s return, suddenly disintegrate into a wildly-running horde, to
watch the policemen, voluble and excited, and absolutely nonplussed at
the unexpected turn of events, swept like leaves before the wind. Their
shouts, blows and expostulations were powerless to stem that torrent of
irresistible humanity. The shriek of their voices betrayed a fearful
anxiety and powerlessness, which sounded ominously in our ears.

We all wanted to return to the station--even the Princess was obviously
ready to renounce her “little walk” through the town--but a glance
behind showed its impossibility. All we could do was to keep on, the
officer pointing out a side-street which he thought led back to the
station in another direction.

He kept on continually shouting vain appeals to the crowd, which became
every moment denser, ruder and dirtier. It was the hour when the
workshops and factories vomited forth their occupants for _Mittagessen_,
so that it soon became a crowd composed largely of Socialists and Jewish
Poles, who congregate in Königsberg. Unfortunately we took a wrong
turning, and our road led through some of the worst quarters of the

The cheering and hurrahing soon ceased, but the shouting and yelling
went on; we were the centre of a dirty, frowsy mob, who smelt
abominably, and treated our small group as though we were a show of some
kind out for their amusement. The officer again appealed to the better
feelings of the people, and begged the dirty children to remember what
they had been taught in school, but they only laughed and darted in and
out and laid their filthy hands on the dress of the Empress.

In my younger more unregenerate days I had learned from a schoolboy
brother a certain sudden grip at the back of the neck or collar which we
often employed in any slight dispute. Our nurses and governesses always
characterized it as “most unladylike,” which no doubt it was, but none
the less effective; and as these horrible children grew bolder and more
repulsive, and tried to dart between the Empress and the Princess, I
found this old “choker,” as we had called it, very useful in
intercepting them. As a yelling boy bumped along, he was suddenly
“brought up short” in mid career and by a grip at the nape of his neck
flung back among his comrades, helping to put them also into momentary
confusion. Even this slight check was a great help, and although it was
warm work for such a hot day, I continued unweariedly, with a certain
sporting pleasure which struck me at the time as amusing, to capture one
filthy youngster after another and fling him violently back into the
roadway. The officer still shouted after policemen, and presently I
became aware of one walking beside me, who was also aiding in the good
work of “chucking out.” I think he had caught the idea from me. At any
rate we toiled in tacit good-fellowship side by side for some time. Then
at last a few more policemen were picked up and we got into a rather
more respectable neighbourhood; but the crowd was still frightfully
dense, and the policemen banged and thrust unmercifully. Sometimes quite
innocent, unsuspecting people just coming out of their own doorways were
taken by the shoulders and whirled back into their homes again,
wondering, I am sure, if dynamite or an earthquake had struck them.

At last we came again in view of the station, and a mass of policemen
took us in charge, still rather nervous--the policemen I mean--and very
irritated with the crowd and perhaps a little with us.

The time for the train to start was overdue. We scrambled in hurriedly,
but the Empress wished to show the accompanying officer some recognition
of the strenuous activity he had displayed on her behalf. The
gentleman-in-waiting hastily produced a case full of those
royal-monogrammed-scarfpins, studs, and brooches, which are part of the
travelling equipment of every court. The officer received a tie-pin, and
one of the police-officers some studs, thrust into his hands almost as
the train moved off, and we were left to review and discuss the
experiences of the last half-hour.

“_Never_, no, _never_ in the whole course of my experience,” declared
the Empress, “was I in such a fearful crowd. I really began to think
that we never should emerge alive. It was _too_ horrible.”

She shuddered and was obviously unstrung. As for the Princess, she was
unusually pale and subdued, and it was a long time before she again
proposed “a tiny walk” in a strange town.

In the next morning’s _Königsberg Times_ was a paragraph in the news
column to the effect that the Empress and Princess, with a small
following, had walked “_ungezwungen_” (freely) through the town for a
short time. Obviously the reporter had not been in the thick of the



The key to a man’s actions must always be found in his personal
character. Two men saying exactly the same thing do not mean the same
thing, but through the medium of speech are expressing their own
individualities, prejudices, illusions, their outlook on the world.

The German Emperor, explained, interpreted, misinterpreted, by his own
actions perhaps as much as by the many persons who, after a few hours’
conversation with him, imagine that they, and they only, have had a real
soul-revelation from this frankly-unreserved, many-sided monarch, might
say with Emerson, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” It is not at all
unlikely that he does not particularly want to be understood--that he
hardly understands himself. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of
little minds.”

The Emperor’s conversation at its best has a certain quality of
intoxication--is provocative of thought and wit. Men have been seen,
grave American professors and others of that type not easily thrown off
their mental balance, to retire from talk with His Majesty with the
somewhat dazedly ecstatic look of people who have indulged in champagne;
then they go home, and under the influence of this interview write
eulogistic, apologetic character-sketches of the Emperor.

It may be asked how does he appear in the intimacies of private life, to
the inner circle of his Court, to those who see him in unguarded
moments? Men often change for the better, or sometimes for the worse,
when they retire from the public eye. But the Emperor is much the same
everywhere, he has no special reserves of character for domestic
consumption only.

At home he inspires much the same charm that he does abroad, and
sometimes the same irritation. Unexpected people, whimsical people, are
necessarily alternately irritating and charming just as their moods
happen to please or displease the circle of people whom they affect. He
is a man who is bound to get somewhat on the nerves of those who
surround him, to make his service laborious to his servants, his
secretaries, his courtiers, who live in a state of continual
apprehension, fearing that they may not be ready for some sudden call,
some unanticipated duty. There is no more alert place in the world than
the Prussian Court.

“We are like the Israelites at the Passover,” grumbled one lady: “we
must always have our loins girt, our shoes on our feet--shoes suitable
for any and every occasion, fit for walking on palace floors or down
muddy roads--our staff in our hand; nobody dare relax and settle down to
be comfortable.”

The Emperor disapproves of people who want to settle down and be
comfortable. In a jolly, good-humoured but none the less autocratic kind
of way, he sets everybody doing something. He likes to keep things
moving, has no desire for the humdrum, the usual, the everlasting
sameness of things.

No one who knows the Emperor intimately can fail to see how early
English influences have helped to mould his character, how intensely he
loves and admires English life as apart from English politics, for which
he has a perplexed, irritated wonderment and contempt.

“Not one of your Ministers,” he said to me on one occasion, “can tell
how many ships of the line you have in your navy. I can tell him--he
can’t tell me. And your Minister of War can’t even ride: I offered him a
mount and every opportunity to see the manœuvres--‘Thanks very much
for your Majesty’s gracious offer--Sorry can’t accept it--I’m no
horseman unfortunately.’ A Minister of War!--and can’t ride!
Unthinkable!” He gave his short, sharp laugh.

But life as lived in the English country-side has for him irresistible

When some years ago he for a few weeks occupied Highcliffe Castle, near
Bournemouth--a proceeding which very much annoyed a section of his
subjects, who considered that Germany possessed just as many “eligible
residences” for the purposes of a “cure” as did England, of whom those
Germans who know least of her are naturally most suspicious--his letters
to Her Majesty, portions of which she occasionally read aloud at supper,
showed how absolutely he enjoyed that peaceful, comfortable,
untrammelled, simple country-house life: how the beautiful
gardens--there are no beautiful gardens in Germany--the product of years
of thought and labour, a growth of the ages, imbued as they are with the
glamour and mystery of the past, appealed to the artistic side of his
soul; how “thoroughly at home"--his own expression--he felt there, how
rested and refreshed in body and soul.

He wanted the Empress, if only for a week, to come and join him, so that
she might share something of his delight and pleasure in the old house,
in its wealth of memories, its many treasures of art and historical
relics; but there was the difficulty of accommodating the suite, the
ladies and gentlemen, the maids and footmen, with which royalty can
never dispense, however simple in its own personal needs it may be.

So the plan fell through--the time was too short to arrange matters; but
the Emperor in his letters described in minutest detail everything that
happened there--his delight in the pretty English children he met, his
pleasure in the tea he gave to the boys and girls on the estate, his
astonishment at their well-dressed appearance, their reserved, composed
manners, at the way in which they sang grace, at the clergyman who
controlled the proceedings and knew how to box and play cricket. It is
quite impossible to imagine a German _Pastor_ who can play cricket, and
as for boxing ...!

“Poor Papa!” said the Princess, “he is quite broken-hearted at leaving
his dear Highcliffe.”

Any one living in the atmosphere of German palaces can understand this
regret. It is conceded that no one in the world can create like the
English that delightful surrounding of freedom and comfort, of cultured,
artistic luxury combined with a certain strenuous out-of-door life. The
palaces inhabited by the Emperor are huge, magnificent buildings,
expensively and uncomfortably constructed; and Germany has too recently
been engaged in the stern business of war, her faculties are still too
absorbed in the great question of defence, to be able to afford the
leisure to accumulate those relics and treasures of past ages which are
the charm of England.

“Ah, you have never had a Napoleon to plunder and burn your country
houses,” sighed the Emperor, almost apologetically, once, when talking
of his English visit: “your Reynoldses and Gainsboroughs, where would
they have been if Napoleon’s Marshals or his soldiers had seen them?
Perhaps burnt or destroyed, or sent to the Louvre. Think what it must
mean to the children of a house to _live_ with one of those pictures, to
absorb it unconsciously into their mentalities; they _must_ grow up with
a love of beautiful things--they cannot help it. We have nothing of the
kind; our houses were stripped and burnt.”

I suggested something about Cromwell and the way his gentle Ironsides in
their zeal smashed up the beautiful sculptures of our cathedrals and
stabled their horses in the naves. “Though the horses did less damage
than the men,” I conceded.

“Ah, Cromwell!” he replied: “Cromwell did nothing in comparison with
Napoleon; besides, that was much further back--long ago--Gainsborough
and Reynolds not yet born. All our art treasures were absolutely
destroyed, burnt, by Napoleon. Art and War cannot live side by side. We
have had too much fighting, and now must recreate, rebuild almost from
the beginning.”

“Yes, it is lucky for us that we live on an island, and that the French
fleet met its Trafalgar,” I said. “Nelson saved our art-treasures for
us, I suppose.”

“I expect he did,” returned His Majesty, nodding his head emphatically.
“So you recognize that, do you?” and he turned away laughing and still
nodding vigorously, thinking, I am sure, a good deal about Nelson and
the fleet.

Nobody has ever accused the Emperor of being a diplomatist. He himself
believes that he is very astute and can see farther than most men. He
is, so to speak, a little blinded by his own brilliancy, by the
versatility of his own powers, which are apt to lead him astray. He has
never acquired the broad, tolerant outlook of a man who tries to view
things from another’s standpoint. He has, in fact, only one point of
view--his own--and a certain superficiality characterizes his thought.
He has a marvellous memory for facts, deduces hasty inferences, is too
prompt in decision, relies perhaps too entirely on his own judgment and
his own personal desires and experiences; he does not, in fact, give
himself time and opportunity to think things out, to weigh consequences,
and he has, unfortunately, few really great minds around him.
Conscientious, hard-working men in plenty, but the man of imagination,
of original conception, of new ideas--and there are many such men in
Germany--does not seem to be admitted to his councils. A great statesman
is not at hand just now--one who can impress his thought on the
Emperor’s receptive mind and guide his activities, the wonderful forces
of his mind, into the best avenues for their development.

In spite of his belief in the special mission of the Hohenzollern family
to carry out Divine purposes, an idea not uncorroborated by the course
of history, he is in every respect more democratic than his Court. The
magic “von” has, under his influence, lost some of its prestige. He has
bestowed the coveted syllable on certain people whom he desired to see
at Court, and invited to his table many men not enjoying the
prepositional advantage. One of them, Herr Ballin, the head and
inspiration of the Hamburg-America Line of Steamships, a self-made man
with Jewish blood in his veins, was even asked to Rominten, where only
the elect expect to meet each other. Not only that--to him was conceded
a rare and much-coveted privilege: he was allowed to go stag-hunting,
and, worse still, bagged three fine specimens, one of them a stag-royal.

What made this still more galling to the blue-blooded _entourage_ was
that a special friend of the Kaiser, a dear, delightful, charming old
gentleman whom everybody liked, had been accorded a similar favour, but
came back time after time without wearing the coveted spray of
oak-leaves in the back of his hat, the leaves whose absence is so
painfully eloquent of failure.

A universal groan used to go up from the lingerers in the courtyard as
the yellow _Jagd-Wagen_ appeared in sight and still no “_Spruch_” was
visible to the anxious watchers.

“There, the General has again had no luck!” they would remark; and it
became quite monotonous to see the General depart, all smiles, in his
green uniform amid a chorus of “_Waidmann’s Heil_,” and watch his
return sadly and slowly in the dusk of evening.

The Emperor likes to be identified with successful people of every
class, to feel that he has contributed something to their success, to
indicate to them further channels of improvement. There are probably few
successful artists, architects, engineers, or shipbuilders who have not
been at some time indebted to the Emperor for many professional
suggestions. It is a matter of common knowledge that all architectural
plans for Government buildings, post offices, railway stations,
barracks, etc., are invariably submitted to His Majesty--a censorship
productive of many terrors and much apprehension in the official mind,
for the question of expense is ignored and the Imperial blue pencil
strikes out perhaps the toil of months, substituting something maybe
less adequate to the intended purpose. Yet, on the whole, this
autocratic method has been productive of much good: it has saved the
nation from the frightful utilitarian atrocities of the inartistic Town
Council, whose hideous square piles of bricks lie like a nightmare on
the public conscience. If the Emperor often misses the best, his taste
is at any rate on a sufficiently high level of excellence, and it
improves with advancing years.

Among the many artists, some good, many of mediocre talents, to whom he
has given his patronage, the famous László has painted the most
successful portraits of the Kaiser and Kaiserin, and their daughter.
Perhaps the most charming of all is that of the young Princess with her
hair falling over her shoulders and her hands full of flowers. She and
Herr László were very great friends, and it was amusing to hear the
Princess attempt to talk about Art--for, to tell the truth, her efforts
at drawing had, at that period, not advanced very far. László wished
very much to see her productions, and she one day brought him a few
rather smudgy charcoal sketches which many people had pronounced “quite
nice.” László, however, left her no illusions on the subject. He looked
at them and smiled, and laid them down and said, “Well, shall we get on
with our picture now?”

The Princess once gave him a doll dressed in Rococo costume, and he
painted its portrait in oils and sent it to her on her birthday. It is
now one of her most cherished possessions. László’s portrait of Her
Majesty was an excellent likeness, and conveyed that air of stately
dignity and placid calm so characteristic of the Empress, one which no
other of her portraits possesses. Besides these three royal sitters the
Crown Prince and Princess too were sketched in oils, and the resulting
likeness of the Crown Prince was extraordinarily clever, conveying the
curious cat-like, rather mesmeric look of his eyes. It was almost too
good a likeness, and many people disliked it extremely--it was so unlike
the rather quiet, absorbed expression that most artists give to His
Imperial Highness.

To see the Emperor with children is always amusing. His own, with the
exception of his little daughter, he has kept as they grew up sternly to
their duties, first as schoolboys, then later on as officers in the
army. Only of his little girl--now a little girl no longer--has he been
heard to relate infantine anecdotes, to tell of her tiny imperious ways
and childish wilfulness. But none of them, though they all adored
“Papa,” were ever familiar with him. They all were brought up to believe
him the most wonderful person in the world, but in that they were not so
very different from a good many other children. To see the Emperor with
his grandsons is perhaps one of the pleasantest sights in the world; to
hear them explain their picture-books to _Gross-Papa_, to watch them
gravely saluting each other when they meet in uniform, or to see the
four small boys in white sailor-suits stooping in turn to kiss His
Majesty’s hand. They are on the very best of terms, for _Gross-Papa_ has
a wonderful knack of finding his way to childish hearts.

The _Kinderheim_ at Rominten is a kind of _crèche_, established by the
Empress for the tiny children, where, when their mothers are working in
the fields, they can be cared for by a trained deaconess, who is also
the depositary of sundry medical stores supplied by Her Majesty for the
use of the villagers.

Every year, on the Sunday before the departure of Their Majesties from
Rominten, a small festivity taking the form of a children’s tea is given
here by the Emperor and Empress, and His Majesty may be seen in his
green uniform, distributing hunks of cake to each sunburnt child; and
when their wants are temporarily satisfied, nothing pleases him better
than to thrust huge slabs of sticky currant buns into the unwilling
hands of the attendant ladies and gentlemen, who, receiving the
unwelcome gift with a forced smile, take an early opportunity of
surreptitiously slipping it back into the tray whence it was taken.

On the occasion of one of these teas a small boy of six, thirsting for
notoriety, barred the Emperor’s path at the moment when he was on the
point of leaving the feast to step into the hunting-cart waiting outside
with keeper and guns to take him to a part of the forest some miles
away, where a lordly “eighteen-ender” was wont to browse at sunset.

This child, who possessed a phenomenal memory, burst into the recital of
a poem, to which the Emperor, expecting every line to be the last, lent
at first a sufficiently attentive ear; but as time went on, the poetic
effusion, which described with unnecessary wealth of detail the events
of the recently celebrated Silver Wedding of Their Majesties, seemed to
expand its scope and gather strength and volume with each succeeding
verse, while the Empress, aware of the portentous length of this rhyming
masterpiece, tried to stem the flood of poetry by suggesting that the
rest might be said another time.

But the sturdy young peasant, completely absorbed in his task, continued
relentlessly, in his broad East-Prussian accent, his eyes faithfully
fixed on the toes of the Emperor’s boots. His Majesty, like the
Wedding-Guest, “could not choose but hear,” and if he did not listen
like a three-years child, at any rate bore manfully with the ceaseless
monotone. At last it suddenly descended two tones, stopped, and with a
wooden bow the young reciter concluded his stupendous effort, and his
Imperial auditor, throwing thanks and praise over his shoulder, went off
to deal with the stag, while the small boy retired shamefacedly into the
crowd covered with glory and stuffed with cake.

The indefatigable deaconess had trained ten small boys to form a guard
of honour and to present arms and go through certain military exercises
whenever Royalty appeared, one tiny fellow performing laboriously on a
very inadequate drum the while. When the Emperor came in sight they
always went through all these evolutions, _Präsentirt das Gewehr_,
_Gewehr ab_, and so on, the small _Unter-Offizier_, aged seven, giving
his orders with the greatest coolness and precision.

The German Empress has always played a somewhat subordinate rôle, but it
is unnecessary to deduce from this obvious fact the idea that she is a
nonentity or a mere _Haus-frau_, because Her Majesty is nothing of the
kind, but a woman with wide interests, who from morning till night is
occupied with social schemes for the betterment of the people.

Of her it may be said, as Thackeray wrote of Lady Castlewood, “It is
this lady’s disposition to think kindnesses, and devise silent bounties,
and to scheme benevolence for those about her.... To be doing good for
some one else is the life of most good women. They are exuberant of
kindness, as it were, and must impart it to some one else.”

And if kindness is the most conspicuous trait in the Empress’s
character, it is a kindness directed into many useful public channels,
finding an outlet in worthy objects, in social service, and much arduous
work for the help and uplifting of mankind.

It is safe to say that perhaps no other woman in the world would have
been so admirably suited to the Emperor’s varying moods, to his
suddenness, his volcanic outbursts of energy. In the presence of her
husband she is self-sacrificing, self-effacing, but when apart from him
shows plenty of initiative and self-confidence.

For the first twenty years of her married life she was occupied in the
care of her children, but by no means entirely absorbed by them, for she
has always been deeply interested in problems of poverty and disease,
and in the nurture of children, and has thrown all her influence in the
scale against that excessive exploitation of the childish brain against
which modern scientists are now upraising their voices. She is not at
all pleased when poor little nervous children are thrust forward to
recite poetry to her; she much prefers a bunch of flowers and something
frankly childish, like the greeting of the small maiden who, having
totally forgotten the speech she was to make, and finding the Empress so
different from what she expected, just said shortly, employing to the
horror of her parents the familiar _Du_:

“You’re the Empress, aren’t you? I’m Anna Kruger. Here, these flowers
are for you.” And the unabashed infant thrust her flowers into the hand
of the Empress, turned her back and toddled off.

All the public hospitals of Berlin are under the direct superintendence
and control of the Empress, who, as the wife of an autocratic monarch,
possesses much more direct authority than most Queen-consorts. Her
interest in them is practical and thorough. She allows no alteration in
construction, no building to be done, without going into the domestic
side of the project. She knows where cupboards are necessary, where
doors will save needless footsteps to and fro; she realizes the needs of
women, too apt to be ignored where men alone arrange their treatment.
She is indefatigable in trying to spread knowledge of the care of
children among poor women, often so deplorably ignorant of what they
most need to know. She detests the German method of placing men almost
entirely in charge of girls’ schools; she has fought with some success
against this masculine assumption of authority, nowhere carried so far
as in the Fatherland, where little girls may be daily seen taking their
walks in Berlin under the charge of a solemn young man in spectacles.

The Empress is tall and well-made, and her hair turned white at a very
early age--chiefly, say those people who have an explanation for
everything, because of her grief that her only daughter was born deaf
and dumb! This popular myth has naturally fitted in nicely with the
white hair, so that it is almost a pity that it has no thread of truth
upon which to hang. In any case, the white hair is very becoming to the
statuesque dignity of the Empress, who grows year by year more
impressive, more stately.

Her Majesty’s chief recreation, the one in which she most delights, is
riding. Every day, if possible, she takes a brisk canter of an hour or
two. She also plays a good deal of lawn-tennis--although during the last
year her health has not permitted her to indulge quite so often in this

Her reading consists largely of historical memoirs, which interest her
deeply; but she has not a mind quickly receptive of new ideas--would
perhaps be a little narrowly intolerant if she were not prevented by her
essential kindness of heart. Her chief talent has always been the
creation of an atmosphere of home for her husband and children, no light
task amid the rigid officialism of a court. She has been heard to relate
how once, when not feeling very well, she sent to the kitchen for some
tea at the unorthodox hour of ten o’clock at night, and was told that to
carry out such an order was impossible; there was no provision for
making tea at ten, only at five or in the morning from eight to nine. So
the Empress went without her tea. The next morning the _Haus-Marshall_
requested Her Majesty in future, whenever she might need tea at ten
o’clock, to give orders for it before five, because all the cooks went
home at that hour. The Empress at once took steps to enable herself or
any one else in the palace to obtain tea at any hour they might need it.

She is an industrious needlewoman, and very much dislikes to sit and
talk without having some work to do, declaring that constant occupation
of the fingers is very restful to the nerves; and when the old Court
doctor remonstrates that she never allows herself to rest, smiles and
shakes her head at him and says quietly, “Oh, you men do not

The Emperor of late years always lies down and rests for an hour or two
in the afternoon, but no efforts have ever been successful in making Her
Majesty do the same. Up early in the mornings to ride with her husband,
walking with him before breakfast, standing more or less all day, and
often up to a very late hour of the evening especially in the season, it
is surprising how the Empress has been able always to fulfil without
fail her varied duties, often at the expense of much bodily weariness
and effort.

Once at Königsberg, where the Imperial couple had come for some special
festivities, after a day and a night’s travelling in the train, she
found herself so utterly overcome with fatigue that at three o’clock in
the afternoon she felt that unless she obtained some rest before night
she must inevitably break down, for a large dinner was to take place in
the evening with a reception to follow. But all round the old Königsberg
Schloss was gathered an enthusiastic crowd cheering and calling for the
Empress, who at last went out on to the balcony, and, holding up her
hand for silence, addressed them to the following effect:

“Good people,--I thank you for your kind reception, but for the next two
hours it is necessary for me to have some rest, so I ask you to go away
and leave me in peace until five, when you may come again.” She then
retired, and the people melted away, and for a space there was silence.

When Her Majesty cruises in her yacht, the _Iduna_, off the coast of
Schleswig-Holstein, and lies up in port for the night, every patriotic
soul within a radius of thirty miles is smitten with the selfsame
idea--to come and serenade Her Majesty till the small hours with the
selfsame song, “Schleswig-Holstein sea-engirdled.”

“Mamma and I are perfectly sick of that song,” said the Princess.
“People came and rowed round the _Iduna_ and yelled it into the
port-holes while we were dressing and while we dined, and when we came
on deck there it was again, and when one lot had finished another lot
came and began all over again. It was truly awful.”

In Germany everybody yearns to sing before Royalty. In Wilhelmshöhe one
enterprising lady who, as one of the princes remarked, “thought more of
her voice than it deserved,” hid herself behind a bush in the public
part of the park, and when Her Majesty came walking unsuspectingly in
that direction to enjoy the cool evening hour in company with her
children, the lady burst into impassioned song and shook out of herself
torrents of trills and elaborate shakes into the darkness.

The evenings at _Neues Palais_ in the winter-time were usually very
quiet. After supper the Empress and her ladies with their needlework
would sit round the big table of one of the salons, while the Emperor
looked at the English papers spread about, or, as often happened, read
extracts from them aloud. He usually wore glasses when reading, and was
very fond of _Punch_, especially of the political cartoons, in which he
so frequently figured under the guise of a sea-serpent, an
organ-grinder, or his imperial self, with exaggerated moustaches and
portentous frown. I always tried to hide _Punch_ when it was my turn
downstairs. His Majesty liked to thrust these embarrassing pictures
under my nose.

“What d’you think of that?” he would say. “Nice, isn’t it? Good
likeness, eh?” It was often difficult to find a suitable answer on the
spur of the moment.

Somewhere about ten o’clock the Empress would rise and depart, followed
by the ladies, who all turned and made a curtsy to the Emperor as they
went past, he regarding them with a rather mocking, quizzical gaze. When
the Emperor was away, the ladies often dined upstairs in the apartment
of the Empress, and sat afterwards in her private salon, one of the
loveliest rooms in the Palace, all pale yellow satin and silver

Until his marriage the Crown Prince was a very frequent visitor at the
New Palace, usually staying there at Christmas and other times of
festivity. He is the only one of the princes enjoying the title of
Imperial Highness, his brothers and sister being only Royal Highnesses.

At the time of the death of the Emperor Frederick and his father’s
accession to the throne as William II. the young prince was only seven
years old.

So that no invidious distinction could be made between himself and his
brothers, the title of Crown Prince was not used until he was eighteen
years of age, and the little boy was so unconscious of his right to the
title that when he heard that one of the officers had been promoted, and
was asked to guess what he had now become, he said with a delighted
smile, “Perhaps he’s been made Crown Prince.”

He is, as every one knows, a young man who has devoted much time to
sport, and, like his father, has many spheres of activity, having
written a book, visited India, and made some good and a few unwise
speeches. He is an ardent soldier and a typical Hohenzollern, with
supreme confidence in the star of his family, and earnestly desires to
live his life in his own way, to move with the times, to be a child of
his century; and it is probable that with a little more experience of
life, especially perhaps of that discipline of sorrow which initiates
most men into a new sphere of thought, he will develop into the man the
world hopes to see in him--something steadfast and strong, and perhaps a
little more silent. At present he is very good-natured, very kind, very
crude in his ideas, very young for his age, very self-confident and
rather selfish, as the modern type of young man is apt to be. He is
popular in Potsdam, where he picks up little boys for rides on his
charger as he comes home from drill, flings gold pieces abroad to
poverty-stricken people, gives lifts in his motor-car to weary men on
the road. He has all that facile, democratic, easy generosity which wins
popularity, and possesses great charm of manner together with a hatred
of coercion and restraint. Probably some recent outbreaks have been due
to a desire to show his independence of mind, a yearning to cast off
conventional shackles and to say what he thinks.

He still has a good deal of the schoolboy in his composition, although
since his marriage he has given up his favourite pastime of sliding down
staircase banisters.

But it is not so long since, when he and his family were living in the
Stadt-Schloss at Potsdam, one wet day when entertainment was hard to
find, he had the happy idea of amusing his children by taking their tiny
Shetland pony upstairs to the nursery.

The pony had first to be fetched by the Crown Prince and his adjutant
from the stables of the Marmor Palais, and was with difficulty dragged
and pushed into the automobile, where, in a state of abject terror, it
protested all the way against its abduction.

When they arrived at the Stadt-Schloss the pony was led or rather hauled
bodily up the stairs, and was so unnerved by its experiences that its
behaviour on arriving in the nursery scared the little princes into
tears, and they begged for the pony to be taken away again, howling
without intermission until the poor animal was, with difficulty,



The Emperor William has a great horror of every possible kind of
infection, especially of the ordinary cold.

Unhappy officials summoned to Court while suffering from this minor
ailment may be seen using surreptitious pocket-handkerchiefs behind the
kindly shelter of a palm, or slipping through the window on to the
terrace to indulge in the inevitable sneeze out of range of His
Majesty’s observation.

Whenever the Emperor himself catches the complaint he at once retires to
bed till the worst is over, and all engagements are cancelled until he
is well again.

“Go to bed and perspire” (only he uses a more forcible Anglo-Saxon word)
is the advice he gives and follows.

Upon the shoulders of his medical attendants, two in number, rests the
responsibility of safeguarding the Emperor as much as possible from
every source of infection.

How many panic-stricken exits from one palace to another do I remember!
Flights at an hour’s notice from measles, chicken-pox, or scarlet fever,
sometimes only to meet an equally dire disease already installed before

On one occasion the Court had just returned from Berlin after the
season, and had settled down comfortably at the New Palace, when some
tiresome child in the _Communs_ opposite was found to be suffering from
measles, and we were all (with the exception of the Emperor, fortunately
absent for two days) hurried off to the Marmor Palais, which happened to
be totally unfurnished, all its chairs and tables having been
warehoused for the winter and not yet replaced.

We wandered about the garden there, watching the arrival of the vans,
which had been hastily summoned together, and now slowly and at long
intervals disgorged their contents at every door.

The rooms allotted to the ladies were in a little Dutch cottage in the
garden, and contained only a few clothes-pegs, on which to hang hats and
coats. By slow degrees washstands, chairs, wardrobes, kept slowly
filtering in--though many of us had to wash our hands at the tap in the
passage before going to dine with the Empress.

Somewhere about ten o’clock at night the beds began to arrive, and for
the next few days existence partook largely of the disjointed,
uncertain, intermittent nature of a picnic. Except for the moral support
afforded by the white kid gloves and fan, to which we clung convulsively
through that long chaos, we should with difficulty have been able to
preserve the decent atmosphere proper to a court.

Another sudden exodus occurred once, when the whole Court, including the
Emperor, were for the first time installed for the winter in Belle Vue,
with its charming garden, which had been recommended by the doctors as a
salutary change from the Schloss in the Lust-Garten, which possesses
only a few sooty trees on a grass plot two yards square.

Everybody was delighted with the innovation, and the last dresses were
being hung in the wardrobes, the finishing touches given to the
delightfully quaint, sunny little freshly-painted rooms overlooking the
green Tier-Garten, when a rumour ran shuddering through the palace. We
were to pack up at once and return to the gloomy old Schloss at the
other end of the town. Prince Oskar, just returned from Italy, had
developed chicken-pox--that very catching illness--and was to remain in
Belle Vue with his adjutant and servants, while the rest of us migrated

So all the luggage had to be re-packed, and before evening we had
retired from the chicken-pox, only to find that after all it had come
with us--for the young Princess Alexandra of Schleswig-Holstein, who was
staying at the Court, and had just become engaged to her cousin Prince
August Wilhelm, the Emperor’s fourth son, fell ill of the complaint
almost immediately; but we remained where we were and did not travel

Their Majesties were due to pay a visit to England in a few days’ time,
and many telegrams passed between the two countries, the Prussian Court
fearing to bring the chicken-pox with them, while the English one
implored them to come all the same, as nobody there was the least afraid
of it. The upshot was that the visit was paid, the Germans spending an
apprehensive week in England, always on the alert for symptoms which
happily never appeared.

Some time afterwards, the Empress in discussing this outbreak of
chicken-pox remarked that she had not been at all anxious about any one
but the Emperor. It was entirely for his sake that the doctors had
thought it well to move from Belle Vue.

“No, not at all,” vehemently spoke His Majesty, who happened to overhear
what his wife said. “I had chicken-pox long ago when I was a boy. I
wasn’t at all afraid of it.”

“But, Wilhelm!” said the astonished Empress, “I never knew. Why didn’t
you say so then?”

“Nobody asked me,” said the Emperor grimly; “the doctors ordered us off,
and there was the end of it. They never told me that it was on my
account. I thought that _you_ were afraid of it.”

This is the kind of thing that is apt to occur when people try to be a
little too tactful.

“I don’t know,” said the Princess, “why we fly about so much trying to
run away from various diseases; we must be always meeting and swallowing

In Berlin during the wet weather the Emperor with difficulty can get
the exercise he needs. He has had a covered tennis-court built in the
grounds of Mon-Bijou Schloss, a short five minutes’ walk from the palace
on the Lust-Garten; and here, when the weather continued persistently
rainy, His Majesty, in a frightfully overheated building, would play
with any young officers who were fairly expert at the game. None of them
appeared to enjoy the honour very much. The oppressive atmosphere,
combined with the nervous apprehension natural to the occasion--the fear
lest an unlucky ball, with the hideous perversity of inanimate dumb
things, might perhaps rebound with force against the sacred person of
His Majesty or, as sometimes happened, fall into the midst of the
tea-table presided over by the Empress--paralyzed the hand of even the
least imaginative lieutenant.

“I feel all unstrung and frightened,” confided one of these unfortunate
youths to me. “Supposing I happened to give His Majesty a black eye?”

“But,” I objected, “nobody gets black eyes at tennis.”

“No, I know that, but still I’m always thinking it _might_ happen; and
you know Von Braun’s ball went bang into the Empress’s teacup and flung
the tea all over her gown. His mother was in tears when she heard of

As an alternative to indoor tennis, of which he speedily grows tired,
the Emperor rides on rainy afternoons in the fine large _Reit-Bahn_ or
riding-school of the royal stables, where one of the regimental bands is
stationed in the gallery, and plays the latest operatic music as His
Majesty and the adjutants canter round.

To the despair of the Master of the Horse he insists on having the
_Reit-Bahn_ also artificially heated.

“The whole stable will be coughing to-morrow,” groan the unhappy
officials as they ponder on the evil effects upon the horses of the warm
atmosphere. But the Emperor likes to feel that he is “getting rid,” he
says, “of a little bit of myself.”

Once, as the riders were trotting round the _Bahn_, smoke was observed
to be issuing from the coat-tails of one of the adjutants, who was
carrying a box of matches in his pocket. This small incident amused the
Emperor and restored his good-humour, always a little affected by bad
weather. At supper he told the tale with all the dramatic exaggerations
in which his soul delights, describing the young officer’s plight as
“painful in the extreme.”

Nothing pleases the Emperor more than to “chaff” his intimate friends
about their private weaknesses. At Rominten he would tell interminable
adventures of Admiral von Hollman--“Männchen,” as he used to call
him--all hinging on this gallant old officer’s knack of losing his
umbrella and his luggage.

“He usually arrives at a state reception without a helmet, or something
of that kind. Left it on the steamer or in the train; took it off to
have a nap, and then forgot all about it,--and as for umbrellas! He buys
them now by the gross. Finds it cheaper!”

The old Admiral shakes his head, but looks a little guilty.

“Yes, yes,” he says dubiously: “umbrellas! they are--they are--a little
evasive. I think of them all the time, and then--in a moment--they are
gone. It is marvellous, Your Majesty, marvellous how they disappear.”

“Last Christmas,” says the Emperor, speaking to the table at large, “the
Empress gives him a beautiful new silk umbrella, with his name and
address on it in _large_ letters. What is the result? He sets off home
taking his umbrella with him. How far do you think?” The Emperor thumps
the table to emphasize the astonishing absent-mindedness of the admiral.
“Why, he actually leaves it in the carriage that takes him to the
station--leaves it in the carriage--loses it in the first half-hour of

The Admiral wears a shamefaced smile like a guilty schoolboy.

“But that wasn’t the end of it, Your Majesty--it was found again.”

“Found again!” shouts the Emperor, bursting into a roar of laughter.
“Yes, you found it waiting for you on the doorstep when you got home,
didn’t you?”

Some one had seen the forsaken umbrella and given it to a footman
travelling to Berlin by the same train, who had left it at the Admiral’s

The Emperor always talks with great energy, and has a habit of thrusting
his face forward and wagging his finger when he wishes to be emphatic.
He has a very hearty, infectious laugh, and often stamps violently with
one foot to show his appreciation of a joke. His characteristic attitude
and manner of rocking incessantly from one leg to another and nodding
his head as he talks make it easy to identify him in a crowd.

Sometimes he falls into Napoleonic attitudes, and occasionally attempts
to pinch the ear of a particular friend.

On his face, whether grave or gay, stands out prominently the scar on
his left cheek, made by the madman who once threw at him a piece of an
iron bar. It is not a long scar nor very disfiguring, but the wound must
have been fairly deep. An inch higher it might have done terrible
mischief. It was dangerously near one of those bright blue, restless,
twinkling eyes.

Sometimes, but not frequently, the Emperor talks of his mother, always
in terms of affectionate pride and appreciation. Once at supper,
discussing books, especially the books one loved as a child, His Majesty
mentioned “Frank Fairlegh” as among the chief favourites of his youth.

“I always read it aloud to Mamma while she was painting,” he said, “and
I shall never forget how we laughed over it together. Mamma laughed so
much that she couldn’t go on painting when I read that part--you
remember where George Lawless keeps jumping over a chair to work off the
nervous excitement while he waits for an answer to his proposal of
marriage----” and the Emperor describes to the assembled adjutants and
ladies some of the humorous incidents of the book.

The late Empress Frederick has left her mark everywhere in the New
Palace. One of the gentlemen who had belonged to her household remarked
that she was never idle, but every evening after dinner would sit with
her writing-pad on her knee planning out on paper some scheme,
charitable or otherwise, which at the moment occupied her attention.

“Sometimes,” he said, “she would discuss with me some alteration or
improvement till perhaps twelve o’clock at night, and in the morning at
seven I would receive from her a written statement, with all the details
and directions worked out--all in her own writing. She must have written
it after I left.”

The gardens and grounds of the Palace were enlarged and beautified under
her directions, and the grass under the trees planted with all kinds of
wild flowers--campanulas, forget-me-nots, hepaticas and primroses, which
still flourish profusely. They are called “Empress Frederick’s flowers”
to this day by the gardeners.

On the wall of my sitting-room at the New Palace was a strange-looking
memorial made in chocolate-painted wood, commemorating the death of her
little son Prince Sigismund, who died at two years of age. There was the
date of his birth and death, and a sort of bracket which held two ugly
flower vases. The whole erection was in the worst possible artistic
taste, a blot on the room and an eyesore. It also served to perpetuate
the name of _Sterbe-Zimmer_ or Death-room, always used by the housemaids
in reference to this apartment, which was otherwise as gay and sunny as
any in the Palace.

The Emperor is not unfailingly humorous and good-tempered, but has his
human moments of irritability, and if he is angry or dissatisfied with
anybody they are not long kept in doubt on the subject. Occasionally,
like other people, he is unreasonable and expects impossibilities, but
on the other hand, when his anger has passed, he is always willing to
modify a hasty decision.

Once he went from New Palace to Berlin for one night, and the stable
authorities did not think it necessary to take over the saddle-horses
for that short period, so that when the next morning the Emperor gave
orders for his horses to be ready in an hour’s time the adjutants felt
uncomfortably anxious. They gave the order, and prayed Providence to
interpose with a thunderstorm, but the weather remained unusually calm
and beautiful. By great good luck, a horse-box was standing at the
Wildpark station, close to the New Palace, and the horses and grooms
were crammed into it and taken by special train to Berlin, the journey
occupying half an hour. The Emperor had to complain that morning of the
unusual slowness of his Jägers in helping him to dress, of their
inability to find his favourite riding-whip, of the deliberation with
which they brought him what he needed.

“Are you all asleep this morning?” he demanded, unconscious of the
deep-laid motive pervading this sluggishness.

One of the adjutants, of a resourceful turn of mind, bethought him of
some plans for new barracks which His Majesty had not yet examined, and
he managed to interpose these plans at the moment when the Emperor was
about to descend the staircase to the courtyard, in which as yet no
welcome clatter of hoofs was to be heard.

But at last the horses arrived, not conspicuously unpunctual. They had
trotted rather more quickly than usual from the station along the
Linden, but the Master of the Horse had saved his reputation for being
“always on the spot when wanted.”

It is not a bed of roses to be Master of the Horse to the German
Emperor. When the horses of the state carriage in which were seated
Queen Alexandra and the Empress of Germany, frightened by the guns of
the salute, refused to draw any farther, and threw the whole procession
into momentary confusion, it was the unfortunate Master who had to bear
the brunt of the blame. He was presented by the Kaiser to King Edward,
whom he already knew, with the accompanying phrase “Here’s the man who
made such a fearful bungle (_hat sich blamirt_) with his horses.”

Evidently the Emperor thinks it better to go straight to the point, and
that a lingering agony is worse than prompt dispatch.

One of his characteristics is that he can explain everything to
everybody; but there is one exception--the suffragettes. He has never
been able to explain them. They baffle him entirely. At first he thought
they were just disappointed spinsters, but in view of the number of
married women in their ranks he was obliged to abandon this idea. Since
then he has been groping in vain after a satisfactory solution.

Some of them have been on board the _Hohenzollern_--not uninvited ones,
of course--but a few of the charming English and American ladies who
come to Kiel for the yacht-racing, who have sat on his decks and drank
his tea, have shocked His Majesty by revealing themselves as
sympathizers with the feminist suffrage movement. The Emperor becomes
inarticulate at such moments. He wants to know “what in heaven women
want with a vote?”

“We are coming to Germany soon, Your Majesty,” smiled one fair lady,
with the intrepidity of her sex; “we are going to help on the movement

“Here! There is no movement here, and if you begin burning houses and
horsewhipping people in Germany, what do you think the police will do?
They won’t send you flowers and newspapers and let you go free two days
afterwards. We deal with people differently here, I can tell you.”

It is of no use to explain to His Majesty the difference between
militant and non-militant suffragists. This is a distinction too subtle
for his mind, which sees them all tarred with the same brush, a menace
to the peace of mankind, a clamorous nuisance, and a disturber of
settled convictions and ideas.

“Women should stay at home and look after their children,” is his last
word on the subject; and if some one points out the flaws in this
remedy, as for instance the thousands of women who have no children
either of their own or some one else’s to see after, he takes refuge in
ridicule. He is quite sure that a vote is a desperately bad thing for

However, he allows women to be colonels, honorary colonels, in his army.
The Empress, the Crown Princess, Princess Fritz, Princess August
Wilhelm, and his young daughter each have their regiments, at the head
of which on Parade days they ride in full uniform--though a long riding
skirt is perhaps the least practical military garment that can be

The young Princess Victoria Louise, now the Duchess of Brunswick,
received her colonelcy when only seventeen, a few days after her
Confirmation, which was the formal ending of her schooldays--the day
when German girlhood of whatever class renounces its childhood for ever.

“Confirmation!” said one rather “grumpy” gentleman of the court, a man
of occasional cynical humour: “what does Confirmation mean? Why, for the
boys it means henceforth permission to smoke cigarettes; for the girls,
freedom to go to balls and parties--that’s what Confirmation means in

At the Prussian Court it signifies something rather strenuous, and all
Hohenzollern Princes and Princesses are strictly prepared for it some
months beforehand by the Court Chaplain. It is considered to be a very
solemn moment of their lives, and at the ceremony each one of them must
read aloud before the assembled congregation a _Glaubens-Bekenntniss_ or
Confession of Faith, a declaration of their religious belief, written by
themselves, together with their views of what that belief implies as to
the guidance of their future lives. It is a very impressive, almost a
painful ceremony, this effort of these unformed boys and girls to give
expression to their idea of how to shape their future worthily.

The day before the Confirmation, the candidate is examined in religious
knowledge by the Chaplain, the Emperor and Empress being the only other
persons present.

All the near relatives come to the ceremony; and one very notable old
lady was conspicuous at the confirmation of the Princess. This was the
venerable widowed Grand-Duchess Louise of Baden--“Aunty Baden,” as she
is known in the family.

Daughter of the old Emperor, sister of the Emperor Frederick, mother of
the present Queen of Sweden, this grey-haired, straight-backed old lady
is a true Hohenzollern in character, of decided opinions and a restless,
energetic mind. She still pays frequent visits to Berlin, occupying a
suite of rooms in the palace of her late father overlooking the Linden,
where the blind of one window remains permanently drawn, reminding the
passer-by of the old monarch who daily stood there--as he once
laughingly remarked, “because ‘Cook’ says I am there and we mustn’t
disappoint the tourists"--to salute the Castle guard as it passed up to
its barracks.

“Aunty Baden” has no pity for modern nerves and modern fatigue. She
belongs to the old school, to an age of tough fibre. At the opening of
the Kaiser-Frederick-Museum, when a statue to the Emperor Frederick was
also unveiled, this indomitable old lady examined everything with a
fresh, vital curiosity which baffled fatigue, insisted on penetrating
into every room, and studying the remotest Greco-Assyrian sculptures
with the liveliest interest. Hardly a single scarab or the smallest
picture escaped her notice.

When the Empress suggested that it was getting late, and that the crowd
of Princes and Princesses who had assisted at the ceremony were very
tired and hungry, she only turned with renewed zest to an adjoining

“Oh, here are a quantity of beautiful things! We _must_ look at these
before we go! See how interesting!”

Everybody else was bored to extinction and fainting for lack of
sustenance, the time for luncheon being long passed; but the old lady
continually made new discoveries, and was with the greatest difficulty
at last induced by the Emperor to return to the Schloss.

On the Confirmation-Day of the Princess the Grand-Duchess appeared in
the _Friedens-Kirche_--the Church of Peace, built in the lovely gardens
of Sans Souci, where the Emperor and Empress Frederick lie
buried--leaning on the arm of her nephew the Emperor William, who treats
her always with the greatest devotion and respect.

She had laid aside the black dress she usually wears, and appeared
clothed completely in creamy white, a long white veil falling behind
almost to the hem of her dress.

All the old teachers and servants who had ever been connected in the
slightest degree with the Princess were invited to the church. The old
_Sattel-Meister_--long retired from service--who first placed her on her
pony, her former tutors and governesses, as well as the _Stifts-Kinder_,
grown up now and done with black uniforms and tight hair for ever--all
were there.

The Lutheran service is extremely simple, and the Chaplain’s address and
the reading of the “Confession” occupied the chief part of the time. In
an hour it was over.

The Emperor was extremely pleased with the way in which his daughter
acquitted herself.

“She is a chip of the old block, isn’t she?” he said proudly, talking
about the way in which she read her _Glaubens-Bekenntniss_. “It was like
a _Kavallerie-Attacke_"--the military comparison did not appear to


strike him as out of place--“so direct and forcible; couldn’t have been

Perhaps the Emperor’s martial comment was caused by his knowledge that
in four days’ time he proposed to make his daughter Colonel of the
Second Hussars, stationed at Danzig, the regiment of which his mother,
the Empress Frederick, had also been colonel. On the birthday of the
Empress, October 22, the news was announced.

A rumour of the event had taken wind, but the strictest secrecy was
enjoined, and the necessary saddlery and, still more important, the
necessary feminine uniform had been all prepared, the latter without any
“trying on.”

It took three maids, several ladies, and at the last moment the patient
ministrations and advice of the Emperor’s _Leib-Jäger_, to get the
Princess satisfactorily into that uniform.

It was fearfully tight under the arms and round the neck, and the new
patent-leather boots pinched horribly, so that the radiant glow of
satisfaction in the glory and honour of wearing it was tinctured with
some pain and discomfort, for the day was unusually warm, almost
oppressive, and the heavy cloth loaded with astrachan, the hot fur cap
with its skull and cross-bones (the emblem which gives the regiment its
name, the _Toten-Kopf_ or Death’s-Head Hussars) combined with the
cumbersome habit-skirt, weighted the Princess almost beyond endurance.

All the officers of the regiment had travelled from distant Danzig, a
twelve hours’ journey, to be presented to their new colonel; and the
Empress’s birthday table, with the usual dozen of new hats, received
hardly any attention at all, every one being absorbed in the “new
recruit” to His Majesty’s forces.

“She will ride at the head of the first regiment that invades England,”
said the Emperor gaily to me.

“Yes, I hope so. Then we shall be delighted to see it,” was the only
possible answer I could find.

“Oh yes! You will receive her with open arms, no doubt,” he laughed, but
looked as though he were not quite sure of the matter.

But when his daughter the following year accompanied her parents to
England for the unveiling of the Queen Victoria Memorial, although she
did not arrive at the head of her regiment, she nevertheless managed to
subjugate and be subjugated by that portion of England which came within
her sphere of influence.

Her impressions of her week in London, a city she had expected to find
wrapt in impenetrable fog, but which remained, with the exception of a
few showers, bathed in sunshine all the time of her visit, were joyous
in the extreme.

The soldiers, especially the Highlanders walking with that peculiarly
characteristic, proud, delightful swagger, the rhythmic swing of their
kilts, the skirl of their bagpipes, thrilled her with delight.

“Your soldiers are wonderful,” she said; “I never thought they were like
that. Every private walks like an officer.”

She thought the “Military Tournament” the most delightful entertainment
she had ever seen, and was intensely amused at “Arthur’s Arabs,” the
soldiers of the regiment of Prince Arthur of Connaught, who, disguised
in burnous and appropriate head-gear and jabbering a jargon of their own
invention, interspersed with weird shrieks and gestures, imposed
themselves on a portion of the unsuspecting British public as “the real
article” from somewhere in the neighbourhood of Algiers, and
accomplished their tent-pegging to the accompaniment of blood-curdling
and ear-piercing yells.

When the Emperor and Empress went with the King and Queen to spend the
afternoon at Windsor Castle, King George sent all the German servants
and footmen, under the guidance of some of his own English servants, to
see this same Military Tournament, at which they were much
delighted--for, as a rule, it is very difficult for people in
attendance on travelling royalties to get any but a very cursory glimpse
of the countries where they are staying. They returned glowing with
enthusiasm and full of interest in what they had seen.

“_So etwas haben wir nicht in Deutschland_” (We have nothing like that
in Germany), said one _Diener_ to me with a certain quaint surprise; “it
is very amusing, very interesting; but what is the use of it? We should
not let our army waste its time dancing quadrilles with four-horse

I explained to the best of my ability that the tournament was a
charitable affair and helped to get money for soldiers’ orphans, also
that the gun evolutions were really only a modification of real military
tactics. He seemed hardly convinced, however, and, in spite of his
loudly expressed pleasure in the spectacle, still continued doubtful as
to its relative utility.

If one may judge from the occasional bits of gossip which float upwards
from “below stairs,” rather humorous situations sometimes arise between
the servants of royalty belonging to different nationalities. When King
George and Queen Mary paid their last visit to Berlin, on the occasion
of the marriage of the Emperor’s daughter, two English waiting-maids
were taken for a drive in Potsdam by a kindly German maid anxious to
show some polite attention to the visitors. She, however, complained
bitterly on her return of the severely patriotic attitude of the two
British ladies, who, whatever they were shown, compared it detrimentally
to something else in England; and when the German pointed out, as a
possible object of interest, the large _hangar_ built for the
accommodation of Zeppelin’s air-ship, ostentatiously turned away their
heads and looked in another direction, finding nothing more gracious to
say than that they were “very pleased that the air-ship had descended by
mistake into French territory!” Happily such rigidly uncompromising
souls are rarely found at Court.

From her earliest years, projects for the marriage of the Kaiser’s
daughter had been continually discussed, and as she grew older every
eligible prince in Europe--with the exception of the one she eventually
married--was cited as a possible husband. The Kings of Spain and
Portugal were for some time hot favourites; and when the former young
monarch, before his marriage, paid a visit of several days to the New
Palace, all the newspapers, taking no account of differences of age and
religion, were naturally quite certain that they had run to ground the
future bridegroom of the Princess, then only fourteen years of age.

The King was, in spite of the fact that he has no pretensions to beauty,
an extremely attractive personality, and he and the Princess were the
best of friends, having a similarity of tastes in jokes and a mutual
passion for horses. When the King shot his first stag in the Wildpark he
gallantly presented her with his _Spruch_ or trophy of leaves, which
remained as an ornament of her sitting-room until the announcement of
his engagement to Princess Ena of Battenberg, when the _Spruch_, which
had been disintegrating leaf by leaf, finally disappeared.

Of all possible marriages, that which the Kaiser’s daughter eventually
made was the last that any one would have dared to prophesy, so utterly
improbable did it appear. The Duke of Cumberland, father of the
bridegroom, had from childhood been the implacable enemy of the Prussian
Royal House and Government. All attempts of the Emperor to bring about a
reconciliation had failed.

With almost monotonous regularity the newspapers would announce from
time to time the approaching meeting of the Emperor with the Duke, and
with equal certainty a paragraph would appear next day announcing the
latter’s departure from the scene of the projected _rendezvous_ “a few
hours before His Majesty’s arrival.” The name of “The Vanishing Duke”
became peculiarly appropriate, and the feud appeared to have settled
down into that hopeless state where every effort at reconciliation has
been exhausted, and nothing remains to be done.

Many brilliant statesmen and crowned heads had to retire baffled after
frequent praiseworthy but ineffective efforts, until at last those two
great factors in the affairs of the world, Death and Love, intervened.

The Duke’s eldest son, travelling in his motor-car through Germany on
his way to the funeral of his uncle the King of Denmark, met his death
by an accident in a lonely part of the road, lay for a time
unrecognized, and then, his identity becoming known, the Emperor sent
off his son, Prince Eitel Fritz, with instructions to render all
possible help in the distressing circumstances. The body of the young
prince for two nights remained in the little village church near the
place where the accident happened, guarded by Prussian soldiers and the
two sons of the Kaiser--for the Crown Prince, whose wife’s brother is
married to a daughter of the Duke, was also sent by the Emperor to do
what he could to soften the sad tragedy. They watched all night by the
coffin and escorted it on its way to burial.

A few weeks afterwards, Ernest Augustus, the second son of the Duke, by
his brother’s death become heir to the family feud, came on his father’s
behalf to thank the Emperor for his sympathy and aid in their sorrow.
For the first time in their lives he and the Kaiser’s daughter met,
spent an hour or so in each other’s company, and then, his mission
fulfilled, he departed again. But a new element had been introduced into
the quarrel: so strong was the mutual attraction felt by the two young
people for each other that, in spite of the short time of their meeting,
in spite of the tremendous prejudices and difficulties in the way, they
at last wore down the opposition and conquered the accumulated hate of
years. What the most practised diplomats failed to achieve, this boy and
girl accomplished, and at last, through many troubles, delays, and
vexations, won their way to their hearts’ desire.

On the evening of the wedding of the Princess with Prince Ernest of
Cumberland, now Duke of Brunswick, at the beginning of the historic
Torch Dance which concludes the ceremonies, the radiant bride, taking
her father by one hand and the Duke of Cumberland by the other, walked
between them round the hall to the sound of the stately bridal music.

It was a happy symbol, the erstwhile enemies linked together by the
Kaiser’s daughter, a visible sign of the alleviation, if not quite the
ending, of a situation which had for long years galled and irritated the
German people.

Now, with the departure of his youngest child, the last one left at
home, the private life of the Kaiser’s Court has grown in these later
days somewhat still and a trifle lonely. There is as yet no little girl
among the children of the Crown Prince to take even partially the place
of the one who has gone away, the one who was her father’s particular
companion and pride.

The _Bauern Haus_ is closed, the _Prinzen Wohnung_ shut up.

“It is really quite sad,” wrote recently a lady of the Court, “to see
all those apartments deserted and locked up, the curtains drawn across
the windows, no movement or life where formerly there was so much.
Christmas was strange indeed without our Princess. We all felt it like a
shadow over the festivities. We seemed to feel that we were getting

And the Emperor, who in his private friendships has undergone many
disappointments and disillusions, becomes increasingly conscious of the
soul solitude brought by advancing years.

Yet, though suffering from occasional moods of depression, he faces the
future with confidence in the destiny of his house.

Among his later literary admirations Kipling’s poem


“If” holds first place. A copy hangs above his writing-table; he quotes
it frequently to his sons, and translates it into terse and expressive
German for the benefit of his adjutants. It embodies his own experience
of Life, crystallizes his own aspirations. He too has always been

         “to fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty-seconds’ worth of distance run.”


Adalbert, Prince, of Prussia, 44;
  his fancy-dress ball, 160

Africa, German, 46, 168

Albany, Duchess of, 53

Alexander of Teck, Princess, 53, 55

Alexandra, Queen, 68, 228

_Alexandria_, the Emperor’s river-steamer, 169

Amber, 76, 182

Aosta, Duchess of, 151

_Apollo-Saal_, 45

_Aubade_ of court ladies and gentlemen, 155

_Augusta-Stift_, 101

Augusta Victoria, German Empress, adventure in Königsberg, 201;
  appearance, personal, 216;
  audience, 8;
  birthday, 95;
  Christmas gifts, 69, 76;
  cruise on the _Iduna_, 183, 218;
  fall from horse, 172;
  Irish apron, 70;
  interest in social schemes, 214;
  recreations, 216;
  speech at Königsberg, 217;
  treats to school-children, 188, 213;
  unmarried sister, 136

August Wilhelm, Prince, of Prussia, 44

Baden, Louise, Grand Duchess of, 231

Ballin, head of Hamburg-America line of steamships, 210

Balls, State, 97;
  fancy-dress, 160

Baltic Sea, 181

_Bauern Haus_, 83, 128

_Bernstein_, 76, 182

_Bescherung_, 74, 80

_Bilder-Galerie_, 150

Bismarck, Prince, 170

Black Forest, 108

Boer War, 46

Bonaparte, Jerome, King of Westphalia, 162

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 208

Books for boys in Germany, 28

_Bornstedter-Feld_, 47

_Bornstedter-Gut_, 137

Brandenburger-Tor, 148

Bride’s garter, 154

Brunswick, Duke of, 238

Butchers of Berlin escort royal brides, 148

Cadinen, 174

Cambridge, Duke of, 29, 85

Carol-singing, 73

Cassel, 159

Cécile, Crown Princess of Germany, 145, 156

Chapel at Wilhelmshöhe, 161

---- gallery, Berlin, 92

Chicken-pox, 223

Chocolate antiques, 22

Circus, Busch’s, 64

“Communs,” 38

Concert, State, 93

Connaught, Prince Arthur of, 151, 234

Copernicus, 183, 185

Corfu, 63

Cromwell, 209

Cronberg, 14

Cumberland, Duke of, 236

Danzig, 180

---- Gulf of, 175

_Defilir-Cour_, 152

Diamonds, German, 168

Divining-rod, 168

Dohna of Schlobitten, Prince, 196

Droschky-driver, 172

Easter eggs, 99

Edward VII, King, 68, 229

Elbing, 175

Elk, 194, 199

Ena, Princess of Battenberg, 236

Esmarck, Professor von, 24

Eulenburg, Prince Philip, 195

Féodora of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess, 136

Ferry, Sacrow, 171

Feud between Guelph and Hohenzollern, 236

Forest, Rominten, 194

Frauenburg, 183, 185

Frederick, Prince, of Prussia (Prince “Fritz”), playing hockey, 56;
  wedding, 154

Frederick Charles of Hesse, Princess, 14

Frederick, Empress, her practical mind, 37;
  reading with her son, 226;
  power of work, 227;
  flowers and memorial to Prince Sigismund, _ib._

Frederick the Great, Sans Souci, 50;
  his harpsichord and books in the New Palace, 158

Frederick William, German Crown Prince, plays hockey, 55;
  at Ploen, 123;
  his engagement, 145;
  his marriage, 147;
  his firstborn, 156;
  his tastes and character, 219

_Frisches Haff_, 175, 179

_Frühstücks-tafel_, 45

Fürstenburg, Max Egon, Prince of, 106

Gainsborough, 209

Gallery, Jasper, 158

Gallery, Picture, 150

_Garde du Corps_, 153

_Geheim-Polizisten_, 106

George, Crown Prince of Greece, 14

George V, King of England, 63

_Gottes-Dienst_, 179

_Gratulations-Cour_, 87

_Ha-la-li_, 198

“Halloren,” sausage of the, 89

Hamburg-America Line, 210

Hercules, statue of, 161

Herero War, 46, 48

Hesse-Homburg, Landgraf of, 11

Highcliffe Castle, 207

_Hohenzollern_, 229

Hollmann, Admiral von, 225

Hunt dinner, 172

Hunt uniform, 192

_Iduna_, 183

Intendant, worries of Theatre, 66

Joachim, Prince, of Prussia, youngest son of the Kaiser, 11, 18, 31

_Kachel-Ofen_, 39

Kahlberg, 181

Kiel, 160, 229

_Kinder-Fest_, 188

_Kinder-Heim_, 212

Königsberg, 201, 217

_Krönungs-Tag_, 92

Lakes, chain of, Potsdam, 169

László, Philip von, his portraits, 211

Liebenberg, Schloss, 196

Lonsdale, Lord, 109

Louise, Queen, of Prussia, 170

Lowther Castle, 109

Loyalty, German, 29

Marienburg, 184

_Marmor-Palais_, 53, 156

_Marmor-Saal_, 62

Marshal of the Court, 152

Mary, Queen, of England, 63

Master of the Horse, 228

_Matrosen-Station_, 170

Mecklenburg horses, 167

Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Duchess Cécile of, 145

Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Grand Duke of, 151

Military Tournament, 234

_Muschel-Saal_, 75

Museum, Kaiser Friedrich, 231

Napoleon I., 208

Napoleon III., 162

Nelson, 209

_Neuer Garten_, 50

New Year’s Eve, 86

Norway, King of, 96

Norway, Olaf, Crown Prince of, 96

Norwegian landing-stage, 169

Oldenburg, Duchess Sophie Charlotte of, 154

Opera House, 66

Oscar, Prince, of Prussia, 55, 172, 174

Peasant-women as housemaids, 176

_Pfauen-Insel_, 169

Photographs, 146

Ploen, 61, 123

Policemen and mob, 202, 204

Portrait-painting, 211

Portugal, King of, 236

Portugal, Queen Augusta Victoria of, 60

Procession of peasants at Donau-Eschingen, 110

“Pulpits” in the forest, 198

_Radaune_, the, 180

“Railway Palace,” 113

_Reit-Bahn_, 59

Residences, royal, 36;
  Belle Vue, 90, 222;
  Berlin Schloss, 87;
  Cadinen, 174;
  Homburg, 3, 17;
  Mon Biou, 224;
  New Palace, 36;
  Rominten, 190;
  Sacrow, 171;
  Sans Souci, 50;
  Strasburg Schloss, 113;
  Wilhelmshöhe, 159;
  Wilhelmsthal, 162

Riding in Cadinen, 186

Rococo Period, 45

Roman fortress, Homburg, 22

Rominte, 193

“Rule Britannia” in a German school, 126

_Rutsch-Bahn_, 170

Saalburg, 22

_Sand-Hof_, 48

_Sans Souci_, 50

“Sardanapalus,” 68

Saxe-Altenburg, Prince of, 100

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of, 144

_Schilder-Saal_, 80

Schleswig-Holstein, Duchess of, 51

_Schrippen-Fest_, 135

Shah of Persia, 104

“Sherlock Holmes,” 28

Sigismund, Prince, of Prussia, son of the Empress Frederick, 227

Skating, 54

Sleighing, 97

Spain, King Alfonso of, 236

Speck von Sternburg, Baron, 194

_Speise-Karte_, 45

Stifts-Kinder, 103

Strasburg, 113

“Strecke,” the, 198

Supper in royal train, 31, 191

_Tanz-Proben_, 97

Teutonic Knights, 184

Theatre of Frederick the Great, 61

Thunderstorms in Cadinen, 184

_Thüringer-Wald_, 107

Tie-pin and studs, 204

Tile-factory, 185

Torch Dance, 153

Trafalgar, 209

“Treasure Island,” 27

Tree, Beerbohm, 65

Tree, Viola, 65

Trippers, fifty thousand, 85

_Truchsess_, 152

Turkey, Sultan of, 157

_Turn Saal_, 61

Tutors, 119

Twins, 14

Unken, 177

Unter den Linden, 87

Victoria Louise, Princess, of Prussia, 1;
  art and Herr von László, 211;
  birthday party, 120;
  confirmation, 230, 232;
  cookery, 129;
  dancing-mistress, 97;
  donkeys, 58;
  letters to her father, 62;
  piano-playing, 63;
  pig, 52;
  ponies given by the Sultan, 14;
  riding, 47;
  toast for “Papa,” 197;
  sack races, 120

Victoria Memorial, Queen, 234

Vistula, 175

Waiting-maids, patriotic, 235

Weddings, royal, 144

_Weisser-Saal_, 93, 97, 152

Werder, 99

Whitsuntide at the Prussian Court, 135

Wildpark, 47

William I., German Emperor, 168, 170

William II., German Emperor: afternoon siesta, 217;
  _al fresco_ meals, 170, 171;
  anecdotal moods, 84, 225;
  anniversary of accession, 92;
  birthday, 93;
  Cadinen, 174;
  carol-singing, 80;
  censorship of architectural plans, 211;
  chicken-pox, 222;
  children’s guard of honour, 214;
  conducting the band, 62;
  dancing at court, 97;
  diamond cigarette-case, 168;
  duties of women, views on, 230;
  evenings at home, 218;
  excursions on river-steamer at Potsdam, 169;
  family life, 13;
  fancy-dress ball at Kiel, 160;
  farming operations, 52;
  hiding Easter eggs, 100;
  horror of alcohol, 25;
  hunt dinner, 172;
  hunt uniform, 192;
  hymn-singing, 161;
  inspection of troops for South-West Africa, 48;
  interest in aviation, 139, 141;
  in human nature, 104, 135;
  László, 211;
  musical tastes, 63;
  moose hunt, 199;
  New Year cards, 86;
  Norwegian hunting-lodge, 193;
  picnics, 21, 166;
  _Punch_, 218;
  rebuilding the Saalburg, 23;
  review at Metz, 114;
  on Bornstedter Feld, 48;
  rides in Wilhelmshöhe, 165;
  safety-staircases for opera-house, 66;
  silver wedding, 155, 213;
  suffragettes, 229;
  talk with soldiers, 135;
  tea and Zwieback, 21;
  tennis, 166;
  tile-factory, 185;
  umbrella of the admiral, 225;
  visit to Highcliffe, 83, 207;
  visit to Königsberg, 201;
  _Waidmann’s Heil_, 198, 211;
  Windsor, 161, 234;
  women and votes, 229;
  women-colonels, 230, 233

Witte, Count, 196

Woolwich Common, 85

Wright, Orville, 138

Zeppelin, Count, 141, 235

_Zigelei_, 185

_Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and








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Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

uture of the sex=> future of the sex {pg 51}

my way anxiously to ou=> my way anxiously to our {pg 121}

vortex of feminity=> vortex of femininity {pg 122}

the dignified movemene=> the dignified movement {pg 153}

seated royalties oppositt=> seated royalties opposite {pg 153}

Nor far from the Schloss=> Not far from the Schloss {pg 170}

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