The Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Europe: William II, Germany; Francis Joseph, Austria-Hungary, Volume I. (of 2)
Mme. La Marquise de Fontenoy

Part 2 out of 5

by the kaiser to close confinement in their palace under the most
stringent kind of arrest, for having disobeyed his majesty's commands
with regard to the management of their household. Duke Ernest-Gunther
of Schleswig-Holstein, the brother of the empress, has been subjected
to more numerous orders of arrest by his imperial kinsman than any
prince of the blood now living.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Secretary of State."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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