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 3 out of 5

a general of the Prussian army, he anticipated retrieving the prestige
and fame which he had lost as ruler of Bulgaria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The words may be rendered as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_From Life_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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