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 4 out of 5


His successor, King Frederick-William IV., took up the notion with all
the enthusiasm natural to his mystic character, and kept one of his
most trusted statesmen and confidants busily employed for years in
endeavoring to federate all the Reformed Churches, with the exception
of that of England, under the protectorate and supremacy of the
Hohenzollerns. Emperor William goes still further. He aspires to
become, not merely the temporal head of the Lutheran Church throughout
the world, but likewise its spiritual chief, its pontiff, in fact, in
the same manner that the czar is the chief ecclesiastical dignitary
and the duly consecrated spiritual head of the national Church
of Russia. William bases his claims to the dignity of a
_summus-episcopus_ on the fact that he is a titular bishop and
archbishop, some nineteen times over, for his ancestors, when annexing
the various petty states and sovereignties in bygone times, always
made a point of getting the mitre with the crown, and the crozier
with the purple and ermine. Many of the petty states of Germany in
mediaeval days were ruled, not by temporal rulers, but by archbishops
possessing the rank of sovereign and the title of prince.

The ecclesiastical dignity was, in fact, inherent, and part and parcel
of the sovereignty. Consequently, when Emperor William's ancestors
acquired the one, they likewise secured possession of the other, and
thus among his many ecclesiastical titles is that of Prince Archbishop
of Silesia, and it is in his ecclesiastical capacity that he has
conferred canonries and deaneries upon the military and civil members
of his household.

Of course, the difficulty in the way of the emperor's recognition as
the supreme head of the Lutheran Church is the fact that the Lutheran
faith is by no means confined to his dominions. Lutherans constitute
the major part of the population in Wuertemberg, Saxony and Baden, as
well as in all the other non-Prussian states of the Confederation,
save Bavaria. Besides this, there are millions of Lutherans in
Austro-Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia and Scandinavia, who could not
recognize his supremacy without disloyalty to their own rulers, all
of whom, with the exception of the king of Saxony, the Czar and the
Austrian emperor, are, like himself, members of the Reformed Church.

His celebrated pilgrimage to Jerusalem a year ago, the first
pilgrimage of a German emperor to the Holy Land since the days of the
Crusades, clearly showed the trend of the kaiser's aspirations. He
had invited all his fellow-Protestant monarchs to accompany him to
Jerusalem, either in person or to send one of the princes of their
houses as their representatives, and to ride in his train when he
made his entry into the Holy City of Christendom. But not one of the
sovereigns thus invited responded to the invitation tendered, and
William had no German or foreign prince with him during this memorable

It was the most extraordinary thing of the kind that has ever been
seen, the strangeness of the affair being intensified by that same
mixture of the mediaeval with the intensely modern and up-to-date
ways which constitutes so peculiar a phase of William's character. The
emperor rode into Jerusalem by the same route as that followed by the
Founder of Christianity on the first Palm Sunday, wearing a flowing
white mantle, and mounted on a milk-white steed. He prayed at dusk
with the members of his suite in the Garden of Gethsemane, piously
kneeling on the ground, pronounced a religious discourse on the Mount
of Olives, received the Holy Communion in the Coenaculum, that is to
say, the house in which, according to tradition, Christ celebrated
the Last Supper,--nay, he even preached a full-fledged sermon on the
occasion of the dedication of the Church of the Saviour at Jerusalem,
and traveled by road from Jerusalem to Damascus! And yet, destroying
all the romance and old-time glamor that might otherwise have
surrounded this imperial crusade, was the fact that he was a
"_personally conducted" Cook's tourist_, that his meals were prepared
by French chefs, that champagne was the ordinary beverage at his
table, and that, while tramcars were used to go about Damascus, the
railroad was selected by him to get back from Jerusalem to Jaffa!

Emperor William has a weakness for preaching, and it must be confessed
that he does it well. He possesses a very ready gift of speech,
and his fervent religious belief seems to serve as a species of
inspiration to his eloquence. Thus on board the Hohenzollern, during
his annual yachting cruise along the coast of Norway, he invariably
conducts divine service on Sunday morning, taking his place in front
of an altar erected on deck, upon which the German war-flag is
spread, in lieu of an altar-cloth. Luther's hymns, accompanied by the
trombones of the band, are sung. Then the emperor reads the epistle
and the gospel with great feeling, and recites the liturgical prayers
with considerable fervor. Next he preaches a sermon, which, as a rule,
is of his own composition, and extemporary, though occasionally he
will read the sermon of some well-known pulpit orator.

It has been observed that he is always much more indulgent in cases
of inattention on the part of the congregation when he reads a
sermon than when he preaches one of his own. Any sailor who has the
misfortune to fall asleep during the discourse is disciplined, and
his name figures, of course, on the punishment roll on the following
morning, when the day's report is presented to the emperor as the
commanding officer of the ship. If the sermon has been one of his
majesty's own composition, as a rule he allows the punishment to
stand. But if the discourse happens to have been of less illustrious
origin, he will almost invariably order the penalty to be remitted,
adding, with a smile of indulgence, that "the sermon was rather
dreary, wasn't it?"

At Berlin and at Potsdam the kaiser keeps his court chaplains
under very strict discipline, and they expose themselves to a stern
reprimand if they presume to extend their pulpit orations beyond the
term of ten or, at the most, fifteen minutes. Emperor William very
justly takes the ground that if they are sufficiently concise in their
remarks, they can say all that they have to say within that space of
time, and if their discourse is prolonged beyond the stipulated period
it loses its force and its power of retaining the interest and the
attention of the congregation.

The emperor does not hesitate to call the divines to account when
they enunciate doctrines of which he does not approve, and whereas
in former reigns a court chaplaincy was regarded in the light of
an office for life, it is now considered as a merely temporary
appointment, so frequent are the dismissals.

At the Dome at Berlin, and at the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the
emperor follows the service with an air of mingled devotion and
authority that is rather amusing. While most devout and fervent in his
prayers, and joining in the hymns in such a manner that his ringing
baritone voice is easily discernible above the rest, his eyes wander
in a stern fashion around the church, quick to note any member of the
congregation who is not behaving with proper decorum and reverence. He
conveys the impression that he considers it to be his duty to keep the
congregation in proper order, and if he finds that either he, or the
imperial party is being stared at with any degree of persistency or
curiosity, he at once sends off one of his officers to sharply warn
the offenders. Indeed, he has more than once caused it to be made
known through official communications to the press that he thoroughly
disapproves of being stared at when attending church, and engaged in
his devotions.

Like William, Francis-Joseph has made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and
the Holy Land, but it was without any fuss or pomp. In fact, there are
few persons, save those connected with the Court of Austria, who are
aware that Austria's ruler ever visited the Holy Land. He went there
in 1869, traveling in the strictest incognito, and attended only
by two of his gentlemen-in-waiting and two servants, after the
inauguration of the Suez Canal, at which he had been present. There
was no solemn entry on horseback into the city that witnessed the
foundation of Christianity, and while he prayed at the Holy Places
like Emperor William, he did so quietly and unobtrusively, without
attracting any attention. His pilgrimage was characterized by the same
unaffected humility that distinguishes his religion from that of his
brother monarch at Berlin.

William's faith still retains the enthusiasm and, if I may use the
word, the exuberance of youth, whereas that of Francis-Joseph,
though even more fervent, is chastened, humbled and mellowed by the
experience of many a cruel sorrow and many a hard blow. To some
of these he would have succumbed had it not been for his religious
belief. There have been at least three different occasions during
his fifty years' reign when he would have abandoned his throne,
and abdicated his crown had it not been pointed out to him by his
spiritual adviser that it was his duty--his religious duty--to remain
at his post, and to bear with bravery the trials with which he was

The first of these occasions was at the close of the disastrous wars
of 1866, when the march of the Prussians on Vienna was only stayed
within a few hours' distance of the capital by the ignominious peace
of Nicolsburg. The second time was when he lost his only son by the
frightful tragedy of Mayerling, and he saw his boy's body refused even
Christian rites of burial by the church, until he had been able to
convince the kindly old pontiff at Rome that the poor lad's mind was
unbalanced at the time that he took his life. The third occasion was
when his lovely consort, to whom, in spite of all that is said to the
contrary, he was so deeply devoted, was taken from him by the hand
of an assassin in a foreign land, and under peculiarly heartrending

Moreover, he saw the body of his brother Maximilian brought home from
the Mexican plain of Queretaro, where he had been shot down by a file
of soldiers as if a vulgar criminal; he stood by the deathbed of
a favorite niece, burnt to death before his eyes in the palace of
Schoenbrunn, when her dress had caught fire from a lighted cigarette
which she was endeavoring to conceal from him and from her father; he
followed to the grave another favorite of his, a nephew, accidentally
killed while out shooting. Indeed, there is no end to the tragedies
which have gone to sadden the life of this now septuagenarian monarch,
and while on ordinary occasions, especially when engaged in military
inspections or in great court functions, he appears to retain the
elasticity, vigor and temperament of a man still in his prime, yet
when in church or chapel, attending divine service, and so wrapped up
in his devotions that he becomes oblivious to his surroundings, the
restraint which he puts upon his feelings at other times disappears,
and one is able to realize the extent of his sufferings, and how
supreme is the consolation that he finds in his religion.

Vienna is the only capital in the world where one can see a
full-fledged monarch kneeling bareheaded in the streets, and offering
up prayers in the most fervent manner, the spectacle exciting not
ridicule, but sentiments of profound reverence and sympathy on the
part of the people--Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans from Herzegovina
and Bosnia--who throng the thoroughfares of the beautiful city on
the Danube. The sight is witnessed each year, on the occasion of the
_Corpus Christi_ procession. This glorious procession starts out from
the Cathedral of St. Stephen at an early hour in the morning, and the
entire route through the various streets which it traverses Is kid
with boards, over which grass is strewn. At various points along the
way there are altars, or so-called _reposoirs_, where the Sacred Host
is placed for a few moments, the emperor and the great personages with
him kneeling piously on the ground and offering up prayers.

The procession is opened by choristers, then come priests and monks
with hands crossed upon their breasts, next the rectors of the various
metropolitan parishes, displaying their distinctive banners like
the knights of old. The municipal authorities, the officers of the
imperial household, the Knights Grand Cross of the various orders, the
cabinet ministers, and the principal dignitaries of the army, of the
navy, and of the crown. Finally, comes a magnificent canopy borne by
generals, under which walks the tall and stately Cardinal Archbishop
of Vienna, carrying the Host, to which the troops lining the route
bend the knee while presenting arms, the civilians behind them baring
their heads, while the women cross themselves. Immediately behind the
Host, bareheaded and alone, with a lighted candle in his hand, and
wearing the full uniform of an Austrian field marshal,--a snow-white
cloth tunic with scarlet and gold facings,--strides the aged emperor,
still erect as a dart, with all the slender, shapely elegance of a man
of thirty, in spite of his three-score years and ten. He is followed
by the archdukes, conspicuous among them the gigantic Archduke Eugene,
grand master of the Teutonic Order, in the semi-ecclesiastical habits
of his rank, while the procession is brought to a close by escorts of
the superbly arrayed Archer and Hungarian Body Guards.

The spectacle is impressive, and the silence along the route, save for
the chanting of the choristers, and the recitation of prayers in an
undertone by the clergy, adds to the solemnity of the occasion. In
days gone by, the murdered empress used to figure in the procession
in full court dress and followed by her ladies, but now women take no
part therein.

Another remarkable religious ceremony in which the emperor plays the
leading part, and which is only to be witnessed nowadays at the
Court of Vienna, is the washing of the feet of twelve aged men on the
Thursday of Holy Week, in memory of the washing of the feet of
the twelve apostles on the first Holy Thursday by the Founder of
Christianity. The ceremony takes place at the imperial palace, in
the presence of the entire court. The twelve old men, each carefully
dressed for the occasion, who have been brought from their homes to
the palace in imperial carriages, are seated in a row, and, after a
brief religious service celebrated by the cardinal archbishop, the
emperor kneels in front of each, and washes his feet in a golden basin
filled with rose water, the ewer being carried by the heir to the
throne, while the prelate who holds the office of court chaplain hands
to his majesty the gold-embroidered towel with which the feet are
dried after having been washed. When the emperor has reached the end
of the line there are more prayers, and the blessing; then a banquet
is served to the old men, at which they are waited on in person by the
emperor, the various dishes being handed to him by the archdukes and
princes of the blood. The old people are finally sent home, each with
a purse containing gold pieces, and a large hamper, wherein are placed
several bottles of fine wine and the remains of the various dishes and
gastronomical masterpieces which have figured on the table during the
banquet. As a rule, the old men dispose of these for considerable sums
of money to wealthy Viennese, who are only too delighted to purchase
them, and thus to be able to boast of having partaken of the emperor's

Brought up by parents who axe renowned for their religious bigotry,
in the absolutist school of the great Prince Metternich, Emperor
Francis-Joseph has experienced the utmost difficulty in reconciling
his religions belief with his obligations as a constitutional monarch,
for he has been repeatedly obliged to give his sanction as a sovereign
to reforms enacted by the legislature of Austria, and particularly
of Hungary, which were strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church,
fiercely denounced by the clergy, and condemned by the Vatican. That
he should in matters such as these have sacrificed his religious
prejudices and conscientious scruples to what he conceived to be his
duty as a constitutional monarch, speaks volumes for his strength of
character, and for his uprightness as a ruler. There is only one thing
that he has declined to do, in spite of all the pressure brought to
bear upon him by his ministers and by his allies: he has absolutely
declined to visit Rome so long as the Pope remains deprived of his
temporal sovereignty. Ordinarily the most chivalrous and courteous
of monarchs, and extremely punctilious in the fulfilment of all the
obligations imposed by etiquette, he has up to the present moment
refrained from returning the visit paid to his court at Vienna by King
Humbert and Queen Marguerite nearly twenty years ago. Leo XIII., like
his predecessor, has intimated that he would regard any visit paid to
the King of Italy in the former Papal Palace of the Quirinal at Rome,
by a Catholic sovereign, as a cruel affront to the occupant of the
chair of St. Peter. The only Catholic ruler who has visited King
Humbert at the Quirinal, in spite of this papal protest, is Prince
Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who was at the time subject to the ban of
the church, in consequence of the conversion of his little son from
Catholicism to the Greek orthodox rite, in order to insure his
own (Ferdinand's) recognition by Russia as ruler of Bulgaria. But
Francis-Joseph has never consented to set his foot in Rome, although
it has been pointed out to him that the existence of the triple
alliance was imperilled by this slight placed upon King Humbert and
Queen Marguerite. He did not hesitate to declare that he would rather
forego the alliance than affront the Pope by visiting Rome under the
present circumstances.

One little scene, in conclusion, which I witnessed at Vienna, has
always remained impressed upon my mind, illustrating as it does the
democracy of the Catholic Church, if I may use that expression, and
demonstrating the good old emperor's belief,--so different from that
of Emperor William,--that in the eyes of the Almighty all men are

It transpired at the funeral of Cardinal Gangelbauer, the popular and
universally venerated Archbishop of Vienna. The obsequies took place
in the ancient Cathedral of St. Stephen. Military and ecclesiastical
pomp were combined with the magnificent ceremonial of the Austrian
court for the purpose of rendering the last honors to the dead
prelate. The entire metropolitan garrison was under arms, and lined
the streets through which the funeral procession passed. The bells
of all the churches in the metropolis were tolling throughout the
ceremony, and added to the solemnity of the occasion. The stately
Papal Nuncio performed the funeral service in the most impressive
manner, and when he stood on the step of the high altar, and raised
his hands aloft to pronounce the absolution, the whole of the vast
assemblage bowed down, the wintry sunlight streaming through the rich
stained glass windows, falling alike upon the reverently bent head of
the monarch, and those of the peasant mourners who stood by his side
at the head of the bier. For the dead cardinal was the son of an old
farmer, and his brothers, his sisters, and his nephews, all of them
plain, humble peasants of Upper Austria, were kneeling there in their
peasant garb with the emperor in their midst, and surrounded by the
glittering uniforms of the archdukes, the princes, the generals,
cabinet ministers and ambassadors assembled around the coffin. There
was no undue exaltation or timidity on the part of the peasants,
no undue condescension or contempt on the part either of emperor or
dignitaries for the lowly rank of their fellow mourners. All seemed
thoroughly to realize that they were equal in the face of death, and
in the presence of their Creator.

It is only in a metaphorical sense that William can be described as an
Anointed of the Lord. For whereas Francis-Joseph was both anointed and
crowned as King of Hungary in 1867, Emperor William has never been the
object of either of these ceremonies. The fact of the matter is that
there is a good deal of difference of opinion concerning the dignity
of a German emperor; for while William claims that it is identical
with the status of the emperors of Austria and Russia, the
non-Prussian states of Germany insist that it is merely titular,
inasmuch as he has no control or jurisdiction in the various federal
states which constitute the empire, such as Bavaria, Saxony and
Wuertemberg, each of which has an independent king in nowise subject,
but merely allied to the Prussian monarch.

It is only in time of war, and for the sake of successful co-operation
that the supreme command of the united German military forces is by
special agreement vested in the hands of the German emperor--a
tribute to the superiority and pre-eminence of the Prussian military
reorganizations. It is true that Prussia has since then, by degrees,
endeavored to encroach upon the independence of the federal states.
But this is strongly resented, to-day more than ever, and William
is constantly being reminded by the non-Prussian press, by the
non-Prussian governments, and even by the non-Prussian reigning
dynasties that they are not vassals, but allies of Prussia.

The German emperor has no crown as such, nor any civil list, and
with the solitary exception of his eldest son, all the members of his
family figure merely as royal Prussian, not imperial German princes.
Thus, for instance, Prince Henry, the brother of the emperor, is
addressed not as imperial highness, but only as royal highness.

Had William attempted to have himself crowned as German emperor, it
would merely have had the effect of attracting public attention to the
difference existing between his own status as emperor and that of his
fellow-sovereigns of Austria and Russia, besides which it would
have raised all sorts of troublesome questions with the non-Prussian
courts, and intensified their sensibilities and prejudices. If, on the
other hand, he had caused himself to be crowned king of Prussia in
the ancient city of Koenigsberg, where all Prussian kings have been
crowned, the ceremony would have had the effect of impressing upon the
world at large the fact that the only real crown to which William can
lay claim, and which he is entitled to wear, is the crown of the kings
of Prussia.

That is why he has never been either crowned or anointed, differing in
this respect from Francis-Joseph, Emperor Nicholas and Queen Victoria,
all of whom have experienced both ceremonies, which by the masses of
Europe, especially among the uneducated and ignorant, are considered
indispensable to endow the majesty of the sovereign with a sacred
character. The Hungarians did not consider Francis-Joseph as entitled
to their allegiance and loyalty until he had been crowned at Pesth
with the crown of St. Stephen, and anointed with the sacred oil, and
there is no doubt that the Bohemians would be transformed from the
most turbulent, malcontent, and troublesome of his subjects into his
most devoted lieges, were he to comply with their demands, and have
himself anointed and crowned as King of Bohemia, with the crown of
Saint Wenceslaus.

Nor was Emperor Nicholas of Russia considered a full-fledged Czar
of Russia, nor his consort a czarina, until he had been anointed and
crowned at Moscow, nearly two years after his accession to the throne.
In fact, until the time of his coronation, his mother, the dowager
empress, enjoyed precedence of his wife on all official occasions, on
the ground that she was the widow of a crowned czar, and had herself
been solemnly crowned as the consort of Alexander III., by her
imperial husband, whereas her daughter-in-law, the younger empress,
had enjoyed no such advantage up to that time.

Only those who know William well can realize how deeply he feels this
difference which exists between himself and the rulers of more ancient
dynasties, or how glad he would be to find some means of being crowned
and anointed, not as a mere titular German emperor, but as Emperor
of Germany. It is difficult to see how this ambition of his could be
fulfilled so long as the Austrian empire remains in existence. The
dignity of Emperor of Germany belonged for centuries to the house
of Hapsburg, in relation to the head of which the chief of the
Hohenzollern family ranked merely as a cup-bearer, being compelled to
stand behind the chair of the Hapsburg monarch at all state banquets,
and to keep his cup supplied with wine. The whole of the ancient
insignia of the former Emperors of Germany, including the sceptre,
the orb, and the sword of state, are in the possession of Emperor
Francis-Joseph at Vienna, and are comprised in the imperial Austrian
regalia. Indeed, at the time when King William of Prussia was
proclaimed German Emperor at the palace of Versailles, in 1871, the
Emperor of Austria wrote to the then widowed Queen Marie of Bavaria,
that he protested, "from the very bottom of his heart, against the
dignity and crown of his father being vested in persons without a
shadow of right thereto, and that he had placed his rights in
the hands of Providence." Although he entertains the friendliest
sentiments towards Emperor William, there is no reason to believe that
either he or the members of his house have modified their resentment
in connection with this quasi-usurpation of the dignity of Emperor of
Germany by the Prussian family of Hohenzollern.


There is no more restless man in all Europe than the kaiser. It is
related of him at the Court of Berlin that when on one occasion he
inquired of his brother, Prince Henry, if he could suggest to him
anything new wherewith to startle both his own subjects and the world
in general, the sailor prince, with a merry laugh, proposed that
his majesty should remain perfectly quiet, without saying or doing
anything, for an entire week! That, he assured his imperial brother,
would amaze and dumbfound the entire universe more than anything else
that could possibly be conceived.

While this lack of repose on the part of William is the source of a
good deal of fun both at home and abroad, there is no doubt that it
has had the effect of strengthening the monarchial system in Prussia
to a far greater degree than in any previous reign. It is not that
the kaiser is more popular than his predecessors on the throne. On
the contrary, it may be doubted whether he holds the same place in the
affections of the German people as did his father and grandfather. But
while it is possible to imagine a Prussia without either of them, it
is difficult to picture to oneself a Germany without William! It seems
as if he were indispensable to the existence of the nation, and that
if anything untoward were to happen to him, everything in Germany
would suddenly stop working, precisely as if the mainspring of a watch
were to break. He conveys the impression of being the source from
which proceeds every action, every phase of activity and every
enterprise, no matter what its character. To such an extent is this
the case, that practically nothing seems to be done throughout the
length and breadth of his dominions without his influence in the
matter being both felt and apparent. There is nothing so trivial that
it does not interest him. He will turn from the greatest and most
important matters of state to the most petty question concerning
court etiquette or domestic mismanagement, and will not hesitate to
interrupt an interview with the chancellor of the empire, or with some
foreign ambassador, to spank one of his youngsters if he happens to
have been misbehaving himself!

He keeps absolute personal control over the army, the navy, the state
administration, and his court, and yet finds time to supervise his
children's lessons and amusements. He attends even to the pulling out
of the milk teeth of his little ones and permits no one else to do it,
as the following little anecdote, concerning Prince Oscar, his fifth
son, will illustrate.

The boys had, and I believe still have, an English governess, who is
very strict and independent with them, and who just on that account,
probably, is highly esteemed and liked by her young pupils, as well as
by their parents. On the occasion of her last anniversary, the empress
with her usual kindness prepared a pretty birthday table for her,
decked out with all kinds of presents from the imperial couple, and
from each of the children. Prince Oscar's gift, which he had carefully
done up himself in ribbons and tinted paper, and inscribed with his
name, turned out to be a small and empty cardboard box. On being taken
to task by his mother as to what he meant by this, he informed her
that the box was destined to hold the first tooth, which he was about
to lose, and which his father, the emperor, was to pull for him with
a string that very afternoon, at the conclusion of a "Kronrath," or
council of the crown, at which his majesty was to preside. The little
prince regarding that tooth as the greatest treasure at his disposal,
was convinced that he could bestow upon his governess no more
acceptable gift. She now wears it in a gold bangle presented to her by
the empress.

Among other domestic affairs which have occupied the kaiser's
attention, has been the tendency of his boys to dyspepsia and
digestive troubles, owing to their habit of eating too rapidly, a
fault which they have certainly inherited from their father, for he
has subjected them to the same process that was adopted in his case
when a child, to make him eat slowly; to wit, whenever apples or pears
are given to the boys they are not permitted to get them whole, and to
munch them, like any ordinary boy, but only to receive them cut into
quarters, each bit being wrapped in a number of pieces of tissue
paper, the unfolding of which requires time, thus preventing the young
princes from eating too fast! The kaiser often alludes to the fact
that he was subjected to the same formalities and will add:

"You see nothing was made easy for me in my youth. Even the matter of
eating an apple was rendered as difficult for me as possible!"

The kaiser is followed wherever he goes by an extremely clever
stenographer, Dr. Weiss, who was formerly official shorthand writer to
the imperial parliament. He now forms part of the emperor's household,
and accompanies his majesty on all his numerous travels. It is the
doctor's duty to place on record and preserve all the pearls that drop
from the imperial lips, or perhaps, to put it more correctly, to give
the emperor and his advisers an opportunity of editing and revising
his public utterances before they find their way into print. Dr.
Weiss has several assistants who help him in the transcription of his
shorthand notes, and none of the emperor's public speeches or casual
remarks find their way into print nowadays except through Dr. Weiss.
Thanks to the tact of this precious secretary, there exists, very
often, a considerable diversity between what the emperor says, and
what he is represented as having said, and it is in consequence of
this wise provision that the imperial speeches appear to have become
so much more discreet, and at the same time less sensational, than was
the case during the early part of his reign.

Quick-tempered, passionate, generous-hearted, and extremely impulsive,
the emperor, often speaking on the spur of the moment, frequently
said more than he intended to say, and thus laid himself open to both
domestic and foreign criticism and abuse. He has not yet outgrown this
fault, although he has become much more cautious than formerly, and
moreover, with Dr. Weiss at his elbow, and with the care that is
observed by the authorities to let none of the imperial utterances
reach the public in print, save through Dr. Weiss, after being duly
edited by him, most of the former perils have been averted. The
emperor is very particular, indeed, about having Dr. Weiss by his
side, and frequently at public functions himself directs the doctor
where to stand and where to sit, so that he may not lose a word of
what his imperial master says.

Like the aged pontiff at Rome, William manifests a great predilection
for the telephone. There are telephonic instruments in his library,
in his workroom, and even in his bed-chamber, and quite a considerable
portion of the day is spent talking over the wires to his ministers,
government officials, relatives, courtiers or mere friends. He
seems to find the same pleasure in calling up the various government
departments that he does in alarming the various garrisons at night
time, being evidently under the impression that by so doing he keeps
the officials strictly attentive to their duties, and convinced that
if not the eye, at any rate the ear of the emperor is on the _qui
vive!_ Nor are the government offices safe from being rung up by his
majesty over the wires even at night time. For the past two or three
years he has insisted that at the ministry of foreign affairs, at the
ministry of the interior, and at the war and naval departments, at
least one of the divisional chiefs and half a dozen clerks should be
kept on duty all night long, in order to attend to any business or
to communicate to him without delay anything that they may regard as
needing his immediate attention.

Berlin is the only capital where the principal government offices
are thus kept open for official business all night long, and
the circumstance serves to furnish another illustration of the
extraordinary activity, energy, and impatience of delay that
distinguish the emperor, who wants everything done right away, without
a moment's waiting!

Emperor William gives the telephone companies at Berlin and at Potsdam
far more trouble than any other of their subscribers, for when he
telephones to any of the government departments, or to dignitaries or
officials of high rank, the operators at the central office are under
the strictest orders to abstain from listening to the conversation,
and are forced to rise from their seats and remove to a distance from
the wires. Anyone caught disobeying in this particular is subject not
only to dismissal, but to serious unpleasantness on the part of the

When the emperor rings up anybody, he does not announce his identity,
taking it for granted that the tones of his voice are sufficiently
well known to reveal it. It has been noted, moreover, that he
commences all his conversations over the wire with the pronoun "I,"
while the verb "command," either in the past or in the present tense,
almost invariably follows. This is quite sufficient to show who is

William is the first sovereign of his line to accept the hospitality
of his subjects. Prior to his advent to the throne, such a thing as
the monarch attending any private entertainment or dinner given by one
of his lieges was altogether unknown. Neither King Frederick-William
III., King Frederick-William IV., nor old Emperor William, whose
reigns extended over nearly ninety years of the nineteenth century,
ever once honored any member of the nobility, no matter how high in
rank, with their presence for a single evening or night, except
during the course of the annual manoeuvres, when the monarch, as
commander-in-chief of the army, was quartered in some chateau, much
in the same manner as the officers of minor rank and the soldiers.
Emperor William, however, following the example of his British
relatives, and greatly to the dismay of all the old-fashioned
authorities on the etiquette of the Court of Berlin, has adopted
the practice of inviting himself out to dinner in town, and to
shooting-parties in the country, in a manner that is absolutely
startling, even to his English relatives; for whereas the latter never
dine out anywhere, unless the list of guests invited to meet them is
previously submitted to them for consideration and revision, in
order to avoid being brought into contact with people that are not
congenial, the kaiser, on the other hand, when he hears that a dinner
is about to be given by one of his friends or followers, frequently
invites himself either at the last moment, an hour or two before the
time fixed for the meal, or else arrives unannounced and uninvited,
knowing full well that he will always be welcome, since his coming
can only be regarded as a particular mark of imperial regard and favor
toward the giver of the entertainment.

Thus, while Count Shuvaloff was still Russian ambassador at Berlin,
the emperor was in the habit of dropping in unannounced about luncheon
time, and of sitting down with the count and countess, the latter
being as often as not in the negligee of a mere tea-gown, and more
than once when he had sat with them longer than he intended, and found
that there was no time left to return to the palace before proceeding
to the railroad station to take his departure for Potsdam or some
other place, he would ask leave of the count to use his telephone,
ring up the empress, and not only bid her adieu, but also dispatch her
a kiss over the wires, in the most charmingly domestic fashion.

William prides himself in no small degree on his descent through Queen
Victoria in an unbroken line from the Biblical King David, and claims
that he, therefore, belongs to the same family as the founder of
Christianity. Hanging in a conspicuous position in his workroom in the
"Neues-Palais" at Potsdam, is a copy of the royal family tree, showing
the name of King David engrossed at the root of it, with that of
Emperor William at the top. According to this tree, the reigning house
of England is descended from King David through the eldest daughter
of Zedekiah, who, with her sister, fled to Ireland in charge of the
prophet Jeremiah,--then an old man,--to be married to Heremon, the
king of Ulster of the period.

Curiously enough, a Mr. Glover, a clergyman of the Church of England,
who had devoted the greater portion of his life to the study of
genealogy, wrote to Queen Victoria a letter in 1869, informing her
that he had discovered her to be descended in an unbroken line from
King David. Her majesty sent for him to come to Windsor, and to his
astonishment informed him that what he thought he had been the first
to discover had been known to herself and to the prince consort for
many years.

Naturally, William, with his religious ideas, has always been deeply
interested in this family tree, and soon after his accession to the
throne requested his grandmother to let him have a copy thereof, which
was sent to him most handsomely engrossed and magnificently framed.
Its contemplation has, of course, tended to increase his belief in the
divine origin of his authority, since, if he does not, like the old
kings of France, describe himself as "first cousin of the Almighty,"
he can at any rate claim to be a near kinsman of the founder of

Notwithstanding all the emperor's manifest desire to render himself
agreeable to the French, and his evident eagerness to assuage by
gracious and chivalrous courtesy the bitterness resulting from the
war of 1870 and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, he has absolutely
declined since he ascended the throne to permit France's national
hymn, "The Marseillaise," to be played at his court, at any of the
imperial and royal theatres, or by any German military or naval band.
When he entertains the French ambassador at dinner or receives him in
state and wishes to pay him musical honors, he causes the old "March
of St. Denis," in use at Versailles prior to the great revolution,
which is in every sense of the word a Bourbon hymn, to be played.

The ambassador who now represents France is the Marquis de Noailles, a
scion of one of the oldest ducal houses of the French nobility, whose
origin dates back to the crusades. This being the case, the envoy
naturally offers no objection to the attitude of the emperor with
regard to the "Marseillaise."

The kaiser, after all, acts in the matter with a far greater degree of
logic and reason than any of his fellow-sovereigns, for the strains
of the "Marseillaise" are familiar in the palace of the czar at St.
Petersburg, at Windsor Castle, in the royal palace of Madrid, in
the imperial Hofburg at Vienna, and even at the Vatican, and it is
difficult to conceive anything more paradoxical than a royal band
of music playing for the delectation of royal and imperial ears a
national hymn, the words of which passionately call upon the people
to rise up and to put to death all kings and emperors, queens and
empresses, denounced as bloodthirsty tyrants.

Emperor William, even before his accession to the throne, manifested
such a pronounced hostility towards the practice of gambling at cards,
which is one of the curses of the corps of officers of the German
army, that a very widespread impression prevails to the effect that he
objects to card games in any shape or form. This is a mistake. It is
the gambling and not the game itself to which the kaiser is opposed.
In fact, he is very fond of a game of cards, provided the stakes are
merely nominal, and I have known him to play an entire evening after
a dinner at the castle of Kuckelna, which marked the close of a great
pheasant "drive" organized in his honor by Prince Lichnowski. The game
which the emperor played was the German one called _Skat_, and the
point was a German penny. The emperor was the principal loser, having
had poor hands dealt to him throughout the entire game, and when he
arose from the table he was out of pocket exactly six cents. In thus
limiting the stakes to a merely nominal amount he has followed the
example of his old friend and adviser, the veteran King of Saxony, who
is accustomed to play every night his game of _skat_ after dinner, his
stakes, like those of the kaiser, never exceeding one penny.

I have often wished that I could see the face of the kaiser's uncle,
the Prince of Wales, were such truly regal stakes as these proposed to
him. His ordinary points and stakes are any sum from five guineas to
fifty, and even a hundred, and the only time that I can recollect his
having played for less than a guinea was at Hughenden when on a visit
to the Earl of Beaconsfield. Bernal Osborne, father of the Duchess of
St. Albans, was one of the party when the prince proposed a game of
whist at five-guinea points. Lord Beaconsfield was a poor man, obliged
to count every penny, and Bernal Osborne caught sight of the manner
in which his face fell when the proposal was made. Grasping the
situation, and remembering that Lord Beaconsfield had but a few weeks
previously added the imperial crown of India to the British regalia,
by causing Queen Victoria to be proclaimed Empress of India, he turned
to the prince and remarked:

"Would it not be more appropriate, sir, to play for crown stakes?" The
prince grasped the situation at once, made a flattering reference to
the old premier, and the points played for were, as suggested, five
shillings instead of five guineas!

Apropos of this question of cards, William has done everything in
his power to check gambling, especially among the army officers, and
before succeeding to the throne, while still only Prince of Prussia,
he actually went to the length of issuing a stringent order to the
officers of the Hussar regiment, of which he was colonel, forbidding
them to cross the threshold of the Union Club, on account of the
high play for which that institution was notorious. The club deeply
resented being thus placed under a ban, and sent its president, the
late Duke of Ratibor, to the aged emperor to entreat him to rescind
his grandson's order, on the ground that it was a reflection upon the
most aristocratic and exclusive club of all Germany, besides being
unjust to the officers of the regiment, some of whom were among the
most brilliant and popular members of that institution. Old Emperor
William, after inquiring whether Prince William had really issued such
an order, shook his head rather seriously for a few minutes, and then
told the duke that he would see what he could do, but that knowing his
grandson well, he feared that there would be a good deal of difficulty
about the matter. On the following morning, when young Prince William
came to pay his daily visit to his grandfather, the latter broached
the subject to him with the utmost caution, and with manifest
expectation of encountering a refusal. Nor was he disappointed. For no
sooner had he mentioned the matter than the young prince declared in
the most positive manner that nothing would induce him to rescind his
order, and that rather than give way, he would resign command of the
regiment, arguing that in such a matter especially he could brook no
interference. The old emperor admitted in a rather shame-faced
way that his grandson was in the right, excused himself for having
mentioned the matter, did all that he could to soothe what he believed
to be the ruffled feelings of the prince, and on the following day
told the Duke of Ratibor that he was very sorry, but that, in spite
of all his efforts, he had been unable to accomplish anything with his
grandson in the way desired.

Immediately after he came to the throne he requested the resignation
of a number of officers, some of them bearing the greatest names
in the empire, for instance, the late Prince Fuerstenberg and Prince
George Radziwill, for no other reason than their fondness for
cards, and in consequence of the large sums of money which they were
accustomed to stake. All the princes and nobles thus forced to leave
the army also quitted Berlin, in token of their disapproval of an
emperor who took upon himself to interfere with what they were pleased
to regard as their private amusements, and there is no doubt that for
a time the brilliancy of the Berlin Court and the prosperity of
trade in the Prussian capital suffered through the closing of so many
princely palaces and grand houses.

It is strange that in spite of all that the emperor has done to
stop gambling, the play has been higher, and the card-scandals more
frequent since he became emperor than during any previous reign, with
the exception of that of his grand-uncle, King Frederick-William IV.
The latter's crusade against gambling culminated in the tragic death
of his chief of police, and most intimate friend and crony, Baron
von Hinkelday, whose spectre he was wont to see before him during
his moments of temporary dementia, previous to his becoming entirely

Emperor William's reign has been saddened much in the same way
through the suicide of his young cousin, Prince Alfred of Coburg; the
self-destruction of the young prince, who had been placed under the
immediate care and guardianship of his majesty, having been due, as
I have intimated, to enormous losses at the card tables of Berlin and
Potsdam. In spite of all the well-meant efforts of the kaiser, and
notwithstanding all his threats and disciplinary measures, gambling
is more rampant to-day among the officers of the German army, and
overwhelming a greater number of illustrious names with ruin and
disgrace than ever before.

With all his keen sense of dignity, his shortness of temper, and his
impulsiveness, the emperor is nevertheless more easily diverted from
anger to good humor by means of a piece of wit than most of his fellow
sovereigns. Some time ago, when old Baron Boetticher, secretary of
state for the interior, was discussing with his majesty the most
suitable nominations to be made in the case of a number of vacant
offices, the latter became greatly irritated by the old statesman's
unanswerable objections to the candidate for whom he himself desired
to obtain a certain post, his anger grew quite violent, and when the
baron inquired if there were no other person upon whom he would like
to confer the appointment, William replied, curtly, "Oh, confer it on
the devil if you like!"

"Very well," replied the old minister, with a twinkle in his eye,
but in his most suave and courtly manner, and with a most unruffled
demeanor: "And shall I allow the patent signed by your majesty in
that case to go out in the usual form, 'To my trusted and well-beloved
cousin and counsellor?'"

The kaiser saw the joke at once, burst into a loud peal of laughter,
his ill-temper having vanished in a moment.

Another amusing incident in which the devil was called upon to play a
part occurred on the occasion of the emperor's inspection of a number
of newly-joined recruits for the first regiment of Foot Guards. In
accordance with his invariable custom, he was examining-them as to
what they would do in this or that emergency. Addressing one burly
Pomeranian grenadier, he inquired what he would say to a man who
annoyed him while on sentry duty.

"Go to the devil! Get out! your majesty," responded the man.

"All right, my friend," exclaimed the emperor, laughing, "I'll get
out; but I'll be hanged if I'll go to the devil," and with that he
turned to the next man.

Military inspections very often furnish the occasion for amusing
and sometimes rather disconcerting episodes. I can recall as an
illustration an inspection of recruits for the navy at Kiel. On that
day the emperor had been holding forth, as he so often does, about the
duty of sailors as well as soldiers to defend the crown against
the foes beyond the frontiers of the empire, as well as against the
enemies within the boundaries of the latter. He then singled out a
stolid-looking recruit, and having ascertained that he was the son
of a Bavarian farmer, with a strongly developed taste for the sea, he
proceeded to question him with regard to the address which he had just

"And who are our foreign foes, my good fellow?" he inquired.

"The Russians and the French, your majesty," replied the recruit.

"And who are the enemies within the empire?" proceeded the emperor,
expecting of course that the sailor would say that they were the

"The Prussians, your majesty," answered the Jack-tar that was to
be, without apparently realizing that he had said anything wrong or
impolite, and merely giving a frank utterance to the sentiment in
which he, like all his countrymen in Bavaria, had been brought up.

One of the most pleasing features about Emperor William is his
readiness to forgive and forget, and his inability to bear a grudge
for any length of time against those who have either insulted or
injured him. No more striking instance of this can be given than his
treatment of General Baron von Krosick, who expected to be dismissed
from the army, possibly even banished, when William ascended the
throne, but who instead has been overwhelmed by his sovereign with
every conceivable honor, having received not merely his promotion
from the rank of brigadier-general to that of inspector-general of the
army, but also investiture with the exceedingly rare distinction of
the Order of the Black Eagle, which, as I have already stated before,
is the Prussian equivalent to the English Order of the Garter, and
the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece. The baron enjoys the
well-deserved reputation of being the most phenomenally rude and
rough-spoken man in the German army, and was at one time colonel in
command of the hussar regiment in which William, prior to becoming
emperor, received his cavalry training.

On one occasion an almost incredible scene took place. It was at
a regimental mess banquet, to which William, at that time only a
captain, had invited Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, then on a visit
at Berlin. During the course of the dinner, the conversation turned
upon some projected reforms in cavalry drill and movements, which
ultimately turned out to be impracticable and were not carried into
effect. William, in his impulsive, impetuous, and somewhat arrogant
way, declaimed in a loud tone of voice on their superlative merits,
declared himself in their favor, and added that he would do his utmost
to see them carried through, as he regarded them as indispensable to
raise the standard and tone of the German cavalry.

Colonel von Krosick, like the remainder of the officers, had drunk his
fair share of wine. He never liked his royal subaltern, and took
no pains to conceal his sentiments. The arrogance of the prince's
utterances, as well as his assumption of superiority, exasperated him
beyond measure, and, breaking into the conversation, he exclaimed in
tones that were heard throughout the apartment:

"_Aber das ist ja der bloedste Unsinn_ [But that is the most ridiculous
nonsense];" and then proceeded to contemptuously ridicule William's

Much nettled, and quite as short-tempered as his colonel, William
called out, half jokingly, half bitterly:

"That is all very well, colonel. You are my superior officer at
present, and I am bound to defer to your opinion. But our positions
may change one of these days, and then you will see."

Perfectly frantic and purple in the face, Colonel von Krosick
thundered forth:

"When that day comes to pass, prince, I will rather break my sabre
across my knee than serve under your command."

Immediately the whole place was in an uproar. The Austrian crown
prince being the first to jump from his seat, and a minute later both
princes had left the mess-room and the barracks. Contrary to general
expectation, Prince William made no report about the matter, either to
his father or grandfather, and Colonel von Krosick heard nothing more
about the affair.

Of course he expected to receive his discharge when William ascended
the throne. But to his amazement, he has ever since been made the
object of the most signal favor, kindliness and respect: the respect
that is frequently entertained by a man after he has grown up toward
the head master who caned him when he was at school. Indeed, William
seems never to be able to forget that he was for several years under
the old martinet's direct command.

In spite of Emperor William being at the present moment over forty
years of age, he still retains a great store of boyishness, and in
particular, a liking for practical jokes, though never when they are
at his own expense! It is not so very long ago that he had notified
a number of generals and military dignitaries to meet him at the
railroad station at Potsdam, at half-past eleven in the evening, in
order to accompany him to manoeuvres that were to be held at a place
several hours' distance on the following day. Leaving the palace on
foot shortly after eleven, he entered the railroad station by a back
door, and managed to slip in without being recognized.

Shielded by the darkness, he made his way unobserved to the special
train, which was in waiting, got into his carriage by the door on the
opposite side from the platform. For at least half an hour he amused
himself by peeping at the officers on the platform, whose faces
expressed surprise and vexation that his majesty, ordinarily so
punctual, should be so long in coming. Suddenly he raised the blind,
opened the window, and intimated by loud and prolonged laughter his
presence in the carriage, and the success of his little trick. The
astonishment and the dismay depicted on the visages of those on the
platform can be more easily imagined than described.

Emperor William is not fond of the press, and has never taken any
trouble to conceal his dislike for that branch of the literary
profession. It is true that he has been subjected to a good deal of
abuse at its hands, and that he has been made the object of calumny
sufficient to drive a man so hypersensitive to public comment into a
lunatic asylum. Many of the most intricate troubles and most annoying
episodes of his life and his reign have been in a large measure due to
the press, inasmuch as they were either originated or envenomed by the
newspapers. William is as nervous about what the papers will say as a
young debutante on the stage. Not only does he keep an anxious watch
upon the utterances of all German editors, but he ordains a vigilant
scrutiny of the articles printed in foreign countries from the pens of
correspondents stationed in Berlin, who, if any unfriendly mention
of his name is brought home to them, are ultimately driven out of the

One of the first acts of Emperor William's reign was the expulsion
from Berlin of a number of foreign journalists, whose criticisms
and comments on his attitude towards his mother, as well as on
his opposition to the political views of his dead father, had been
distasteful to the imperial eye. A year later he caused a new series
of press laws to be presented to the Reichstag, which contained such
arbitrary provisions for stamping out the remaining liberties of
the press that even the _Cologne Gazette_ denounced it as "putting
a frightful weapon into the hands of the government for suppressing
freedom of speech and silencing opposition." This measure did not
pass, in spite of all the efforts of his majesty, and its rejection
merely served to embitter the emperor still further against the press.

As far as the German press is concerned William manages to get even
with it by insisting upon the strict execution of the laws concerning
the crime of _Lese majeste_ with a severity that savors of the
middle ages rather than of modern times. Indeed, while there are few
prominent journalists in Germany who have not undergone imprisonment
since he ascended the throne, for writing of him in a manner that he
considered disrespectful, there are some newspapers that are literally
obliged to employ distinguished members of their staff for no other
purpose than doing time in jail, as the penalty of too free utterances
of the sheet with which they are connected.

Of course, William has no such means of dealing with the foreign
press, which being more fearless, thanks to its immunity, has
naturally subjected him to worse treatment than that of Germany.
Occasionally though, he gets even with some of his foreign assailants,
and the following story is told of the manner in which he dealt with
a newspaper proprietor in New York, who after rendering his journal
conspicuous above all others for its personal attacks on his majesty,
had the audacity to write him a letter, asking him for a brief article
from his, the kaiser's, pen.

The editor in question gave as a pretext for his request, the alleged
existence of a widespread belief in the United States that his majesty
was not quite right in his mind, and suggested that a brief message,
for which a check of five thousand dollars was enclosed, might relieve
the anxiety of millions of Germans in America, and convince them that
the kaiser was quite sane. Some weeks later the enterprising editor
received a visit from the German consul-general in New York. On being
admitted to the august presence of the editor the consul-general
extracted an envelope from his pocket, and from the envelope the
five-thousand-dollar check, to the order of his majesty, the German
emperor, and bearing the signature of the editor; the consul-general
then made a bow to the latter, handed him the check, made another bow,
and withdrew without having said a single word, or opened his mouth,
even to greet him!


Emperor William, like his brother monarch at Vienna, is seldom seen
out of uniform. Soldiers above everything else by profession, it
constitutes the garb to which they have been accustomed from their
boyhood, and both look ill at ease and uncomfortable in civilian

Francis-Joseph, in fact, never wears "mufti" except when abroad, and
it is doubtful whether anyone in Switzerland or in the South of France
would have recognized the Emperor of Austro-Hungary in the elderly
gentleman who was there on several occasions, and who wore a black
round hat, and a rather badly-fitting morning or sack suit of dark
cloth, had it not been for the striking appearance of the beautiful
and slender black-garbed empress by his side. In the same way, Emperor
William, although he gets his civilian clothes from some of the
leading London tailors, invariably looks by no means to advantage in
them, and suggests the French description of _endimanche_, that is to
say, like a young man in his Sunday, go-to-meeting attire.

The uniforms ordinarily affected by Francis-Joseph are the undress
regimentals of an Austrian general, the blue-gray short tunic, faced
with scarlet and gold, trousers with broad red stripes, and that
peculiar, oval-shaped, rather high-crowned soft cap, with a small
vizor, which constitutes the undress headgear of officers belonging to
every rank of the Austrian army. The only token of his imperial rank
is the small badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece peeping forth
from between the first and second buttons of his tunic, the cross of
Maria-Theresa, and the medal accorded to every officer and soldier who
has served fifty years in the army attached to his breast. On state
occasions at Vienna the emperor dons the full-dress uniform of an
Austrian general, consisting of a white short tunic or "Atilla," faced
with gold and scarlet, scarlet trousers, with broad gold stripes,
and a general's three-cornered _chapeau_, surmounted by a big tuft of
green plumes.

When Francis-Joseph is in Hungary he invariably wears either the
undress or full-dress uniform of a Hungarian general, and it must be
confessed that, in spite of the somewhat theatrical appearance of the
gold embroidered, tight-fitting scarlet pantaloons and gold-topped
high boots, the scarlet gold-laced tunic of the full dress, with
the heron-plumed kalpak, or the slightly less gorgeous "shako,"
and blue-grey, gold-laced tunic of the undress uniform, he looks
remarkably well, thanks to the extraordinary elasticity and elegance
which he has retained in spite of his three-score years and ten.

Emperor William's ordinary garb is the familiar undress uniform of a
Prussian general, the dark-blue long frock coat, with its double row
of silver buttons, its scarlet collar, and its silver shoulder-straps.
The trousers are of the same hue as the coat, with broad scarlet
stripes, the latter being worn only by generals. Hanging from the
collar is usually the cross of the Brandenburg Langue of the Order of
St. John of Jerusalem, while on the breast is fastened a sort of star,
consisting of the letter "W" encircled by gold laurel leaves, which
has been accorded to all the officers who formed part of the household
of Old Emperor William. The cap is the ordinary flat, black vizored
undress headgear of all the officers of the German army.

The uniforms which the emperor wears on state occasions are either
the full-dress uniform of a Prussian general, richly-embroidered,
dark-blue tunic, and epaulets, with a helmet surmounted by the
white plumes of a field officer, or else the regimentals of a
colonel-in-chief of the gardes-du-corps. In the latter, the emperor
looks exceedingly well, especially on horseback. The helmet is
surmounted by a silver eagle with outstretched wings, the white tunic
is partly concealed by a silver cuirass, adorned with a gold sun, and
with the white, tight-fitting knee-breeches are worn high jack-boots.
In fact, it is no flattery to Emperor William to declare that his
appearance in this uniform invariably suggests "Lohengrin." At court
entertainments, in the evening, he frequently wears the so-called
gala, or court dress of this regiment. The coat is scarlet instead of
white, while the cuirass is abandoned. Sometimes the emperor attires
himself in the uniform of a colonel of the Hussar regiment which he
commanded at the time of his accession to the throne. It is scarlet,
gold-laced, and the tight-fitting scarlet pantaloons are worn with
knee-boots, topped with gold.

The emperor is likewise very fond of donning naval attire, being
particularly proud of his connection with the fleet of Germany and
those of a number of foreign countries. Indeed, it may be safely
asserted that if there is any one foreign dignity which he cherishes
extremely, it is that of admiral of the fleet in the British navy,
conferred upon him by his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Emperor William was only a brigadier-general at the time of his
accession to the throne. It was not until several months after
becoming emperor that he assumed the insignia of a general of
division. Inasmuch as some curiosity exists as to how a monarch can
promote himself, it may be stated that old Field Marshal Moltke, who
was then possessed of the highest rank in the German army, called
one day upon William, and, presenting him with a pair of silver
shoulder-straps, adorned with the insignia of a general of division,
entreated his majesty in the name of the entire army, and in
particular on behalf of the corps of officers, to assume the rank of a
full general.

The same request was presented to the present czar at the time of
his coronation, but met with a refusal on the part of his Muscovite
majesty, for he pointed out that Peter the Great had throughout his
entire reign contented himself with the rank of colonel. There is also
another reason which Nicholas did not mention officially, but which is
well known to the members of his immediate _entourage_. At the present
moment his name figures on the army list as the principal orderly
officer and personal adjutant of the late czar. This is an office
which can only be held by military men below the rank of general.
The moment young Nicholas acquires that rank his name _ipso-facto_
disappears from the list of his dead father's adjutants, and he is far
too attached to his memory to desire this, preferring the minor rank
of colonel and the association with his beloved predecessor, to all
the pomp and glory of a generalissimo.

Of all the other sovereigns in Europe there is not one who travels
with such an immense amount of luggage as Emperor William. He seldom
undertakes a trip without taking along at least one hundred huge
trunks of the so-called Saratoga pattern, which fill several wagons
of the imperial train; indeed, an entire special train is not
infrequently chartered solely for the conveyance of his luggage. Like
some French _elegantes_ at a fashionable seaside resort, he changes
his garb five, six, and even seven times a day. The consequence is
that it is necessary to have at hand not only a vast number of naval
and military uniforms, but also a diversity of shooting suits, hunting
suits, civilian clothes, Tyrolese jaeger costumes, and even the kilt,
sporran and tartan of a Highlander, for he is very proud of the fact
that Stuart blood flows in his veins, and considers that he is quite
as much entitled to wear the Stuart tartan as his uncle, the Prince of

All these clothes are not under the charge of a mere valet,
but of a grand dignitary of the Court of Berlin,--Count
Perponcher-Sedlinzky,--who holds the rank of privy councillor, and
who is addressed as "your excellency." The count has a perfect army of
dressers and valets under his orders, but it is he who is responsible,
not only for the uniforms being in good trim, but likewise for their
being on hand whenever the emperor happens to need them.

In order to understand what this entails, it must be remembered
that the kaiser is not only colonel of some hundred or more German
regiments, but also of a very great many foreign corps, belonging to
every country in Europe, except Turkey, Bulgaria and France. Now for
each regiment, there are sometimes six, sometimes eight different
uniforms--one each for parade, fatigue duty, court wear, an undress
uniform, and others too numerous to mention.

When the emperor travels and is likely to be brought into contact with
English princes, with Russians or with Austrians, it is necessary
that he should have within his reach, not merely one of his English,
Austrian or Russian uniforms, but all of them--that is to say, thirty
or forty at least, in addition to his German uniforms and ordinary

An immense amount of importance is attached to these sumptuary
questions by the reigning families of Europe. On one occasion an
imperial meeting between the kaiser and the late czar was delayed for
three whole days, while government stocks all over the world declined
in value, and the utmost apprehension prevailed on the score of peace,
merely because the prince who held the office of grand-master of the
czar's wardrobe had neglected to bring with him the German uniforms of
his master. It may be added that he lost his office in consequence.

This peculiar form of royal and imperial courtesy, consisting in the
sovereign and royal princes of one country donning the uniforms or
livery of the foreign monarch whom they wish to compliment, originated
with Frederick the Great. In 1770, he had to pay a visit to the
Emperor of Austria at the castle of Neustadt, in Moravia. Only seven
years before, Prussia had been engaged in her great struggle with the
empire, and had thoroughly beaten Austria. Frederick feared that the
too familiar blue Prussian uniform might awaken unpleasant memories on
the part of the emperor and his court. So, with the utmost delicacy,
he and all his staff appeared at Neustadt in the white Austrian
uniforms, an act of courtesy on the part of the victor to the
vanquished which was warmly appreciated both by Emperor Joseph and all
his Austrian _entourage_. The fashion thus inaugurated has remained
in existence ever since, being facilitated by the fact that every
sovereign in Europe, including even Queen Victoria, the Queen Regent
of Spain, and the two Queens of Holland, holds honorary commands in a
number of foreign regiments.

During the reign of Old Emperor William, those who did not possess
the right to wear any civil or military uniform were permitted to make
their appearance at court in ordinary evening dress, which ultimately
had the effect of giving a sort of _bourgeois_ flavor to imperial
entertainments. The present kaiser, however, proceeded to change all
this before he had been very long on the throne, and having noticed
that at the court of his English grandmother, no one is allowed to
appear at any of the state entertainments or functions in ordinary
evening dress,--the only exception made being in favor of the United
States embassy,--he inaugurated similar regulations at Berlin.

According to these sumptuary decrees gentlemen who are invited to
entertainments at court, and who for any reason have no right to
military, naval or civil service uniform, are compelled to appear in a
species of court dress, consisting of a coat cut after the fashion of
the last, rather than of the present century. Its color is black, or
dark blue, as are also the revers, the collar and the cuffs; with it
are worn black, tight fitting knee breeches, black silk stockings,
and low patent leather shoes with gold buckles. A three-cornered
_chapeau_, without feathers, and a court sword, complete this costume.

The emperor likewise directed that all officials of the court and the
civil service, namely, every man who did not happen to belong either
to the army or to the navy, should wear at court balls and at all
great state entertainments, white knee breeches, and white silk
stockings, with low, gold-buckled shoes, in lieu of the blue, black,
or white gold-laced trousers that had until then been habitually worn
with the gold-embroidered swallow-tail coat, which constitutes the
uniform of the German civil service, and of court officialdom. Until
that time, the only European court at which knee breeches had been
insisted upon at court and state entertainments, was that of Great
Britain. They were likewise _de rigueur_ at the Tuileries during the
reign of Napoleon III. The kaiser, however, came to the conclusion
that continuations of this kind gave a more brilliant and dressy
appearance to court functions than long trousers, and accordingly the
latter are barred, save in the case of officers of the army and navy.

At the imperial court of Berlin there are four types of receptions
or _cours_, the latter being the French word which has clung to these
state functions ever since the reign of Frederick the Great. They
are the "Defiler-Cour," the "Spiel-Cour," the "Sprech-Cour" and the
"Trauer-Cour." The first, namely, the "defiler cour"--from the French
word _defiler_, to file past--is the Berlin counterpart of Queen
Victoria's drawing-rooms at Buckingham Palace in London, and is held
once a year for the purpose of presenting debutantes, brides and
ladies whose husbands have recently been promoted, or raised to the
rank of nobility. They pass one by one before the throne, curtsy
profoundly to each of their majesties, while the grand chamberlain
mentions their names, and then leave the imperial presence by a side
exit. No one kisses the empress's hand, as is the case with Queen
Victoria in England, nor are the presentees compelled to back out of
the imperial presence, as at Buckingham Palace. The court dress of
debutantes at Berlin is not necessarily white, though that is the hue
most affected. The long court train may be of an entirely different
material and color from the dress itself, if the wearer pleases, the
only stipulation made being that the richness and splendor of the
fabric must be beyond question. An indispensable feature of the
toilette is the so-called "barbe," a sort of tiny lace veil, suspended
on each side of the coiffure, about two inches in width. The lace of
course must be real, though the kind is left to the wearer's choice.
It is generally white Spanish point, Alencon, or _Point d'Angleterre_.

The "defiler-cour" almost invariably takes place on New Year's Day,
immediately after Divine service. This service begins at ten o'clock,
the men being in full uniform, and during the benediction a battery of
artillery, stationed in the "Lust-Garten," fires a royal salute of one
hundred and one guns.

As soon as the last gun has been fired, the royal and imperial
procession forms, headed by the grand marshal of the court, Count
Augustus Eulenburg, bearing his wand of office, and leaves the
court chapel. When it reaches the "Weisse-Saal"--one of the grandest
apartments of this ancient palace--the band stationed in the gallery
commences to play, generally the Hohenzollern march. The emperor and
empress thereupon take their places on the dais beneath the great
escutcheoned golden canopy, and in front of the two chairs of state
that represent the thrones. At the right and left are grouped the
various royal and imperial personages present, while at the foot of
the dais stands the grand master of the ceremonies for the purpose of
mentioning to their majesties the names of those who pass before them.
At the back of the royal and imperial party are ranged the palace
guard in their quaint, old-fashioned, and exceedingly picturesque
uniforms. The first to pass before the throne is invariably the
chancellor of the empire, and while the emperor and empress merely
respond with an inclination of the head to the salutations of those of
minor rank, they invariably approach to the edge of the dais in
order to give their hands to be kissed by the octogenarian Prince
of Hohenlohe, who has held the office of chancellor ever since the
retirement of General Count Caprivi. The band plays throughout the
entire ceremony, which is a most magnificent affair.

The so-called "spiel-cour" still keeps its name, implying card
playing, although, as a matter of fact, cards are never played at
court now. In former times they constituted a very important feature
of court entertainment, and the "spiel-cour," or "le jeu de leurs
majestes," was the function to which those whom the anointed of the
Lord desired to honor were most frequently bidden. In earlier days,
as soon as the guests had made their bows to the sovereign and to the
princes and princesses of the blood, card-tables were set out, and
gambling commenced, those to whom their majesties wished to accord
special distinction and honor receiving royal commands, through the
chamberlains-in-waiting to take their places at the card-tables of the
king, or of the queen, as the case might be.

It was these royal games of cards at the Court of Versailles which
contributed in no small measure to the downfall of the old French
monarchy, and to the outbreak of the great revolution in Paris a
hundred years ago. The ill-fated Queen Marie-Antoinette of France
became an inveterate gambler. It was her craze for high play that
led her to admit not only to her court, but also to her card-table,
parvenus of doubtful reputation and of questionable antecedents, such
as the infamous Cagliostro, _soi-disant_ Count of St. Germain, and
others of his class, whose only merit in her eyes was that they were
rich and willing to lose their money without counting it. Indeed,
the celebrated diamond necklace scandal, which compromised to such a
terrible degree the reputation of this French queen, and precipitated
the overthrow of the throne, would have been impossible had it not
been for her gambling propensities.

[Illustration: IN THE WHITE HALL
_After a drawing by Oreste Cortazzo_]

The "spiel-cour" only takes place on the eve of the wedding of a
member of the Hohenzollern family. It is held in the _weisse-saal_ of
the Berlin _schloss_, or palace. The kaiser and the kaiserin, with the
bridal pair, seat themselves at a card table under a canopy of gold
brocade, adorned with the imperial arms. The other royal personages
sit at card-tables lower down on the dais on each side. The invited
guests then pass before their majesties, precisely as at the

The "sprech-cour" is, as its name signifies, a kind of
_conversazione_. The persons invited are partitioned off, according
to their ranks, in different rooms, through which their majesties
promenade. Those not personally known to the emperor and empress are
introduced by the masters of ceremonies in attendance, and others with
whom their majesties are already acquainted are honored by a short

"Trauer-cours," or mourning levees, are held immediately after the
death of the reigning sovereign, and are exceedingly impressive,
mainly by reason of the flowing robes and peculiar sable-hued attire
which the ladies of the royal family of Prussia and of their courts
are compelled by tradition and etiquette to adopt. Moreover, all the
apartments are draped in black, the gilded ornaments being shrouded
in crape. The last of these mourning courts was held by Empress
Frederick, in the place of her dying husband, on the demise of old
Emperor William, and so painful and depressing was this occasion, that
at her urgent request, no ceremony of the kind was held when "_Unser
Fritz_" in his turn, was gathered to his fathers.

Very stately are the court balls, of which a number are given in
the early part of each year, between the First of January and the
beginning of Lent. In fact, court balls at Berlin are infinitely
less amusing, at any rate to young people, than are analogous
entertainments at the Hofburg, at Vienna, or at Buckingham Palace, in
London. This is due partly to the fact that Hohenzollern tradition and
etiquette require that the proceedings should be inaugurated with the
Polonaise, and furthermore, because the waltz has, for nearly
forty years, been denied a place in the programme of terpsichorean
entertainments at court.

In fact, waltzes have been forbidden ever since an accident which
happened to Empress Frederick at a court ball not long after her
marriage. She was waltzing with a young nobleman, when suddenly she
was tripped up inadvertently by her partner, and precipitated to the
floor at the very feet of old Empress Augusta, her mother-in-law. The
latter, who was a terrible despot on the score of etiquette, could
not bear the idea of a dance which could have the effect of placing a
princess of the blood in such an undignified position, and turning
a deaf ear to all arguments about the mishap being due to the
awkwardness of the dancers, rather than to the dance itself, she
vetoed the inclusion of waltzes thenceforth in all programmes of court

Fortunately, no such regulation prevails at the Court of Vienna, where
Strauss's waltzes invariably form the most attractive feature of the
so-called "hofball" and "ball-bei-hof." There is a great difference
in the character of these two state balls at Vienna. To the first,
all sorts of people are commanded who are entitled solely by virtue of
their official position to appear at court. The second, and far more
brilliant one, is restricted to what is known as the court circle, or
the _elite_,--the old blue-blooded aristocracy,--alone.

So far Emperor William has resisted all the pressure brought to bear
upon him by the princesses and ladies of his court to revive the
waltz, taking the ground that it is more conducive than any other
dance to ridiculous mishaps on the highly polished and parqueted
floors of the royal and imperial palaces. Even with the polka,
the schottische and the mazurka, to which the round dances are now
limited, there are so many accidents that some time ago the kaiser
summoned the generals commanding the various troops stationed in and
around Berlin, and instructed them to direct those officers who were
not able to dance properly, to abstain from attempting to do so at the
imperial entertainments. The result is that young officers are now put
through their paces by their seniors, and have to display a certain
proficiency in dances around the billiard or mess table before they
are allowed to dance at court.

I remember on one occasion at a court ball at Berlin when a young
subaltern incurred the anger of the late Prince Frederick-Charles by
tripping up his partner. The Red Prince assailed the young officer so
bitterly that the crown prince was obliged to intervene.

At a Viennese court ball I once saw the young secretary of a
foreign embassy fall so unfortunately while dancing with one of the
archduchesses that he actually came down in a sitting position on her
face, and caused her nose to bleed. It need scarcely be added that he
left Vienna the next day, and a week later obtained his transfer to
another post.

A short time before the tragedy of Mayerling, Crown Princess Stephanie
had a very nasty fall, owing to the gaucherie of a cavalry officer
with whom she was waltzing. The emperor was terribly annoyed, and
Crown Prince Rudolph spoke his mind in no measured tones to the

Far more polite was Emperor Napoleon III. when at a Tuileries ball
a middle-aged officer and his fair partner came to grief. As the
mortified warrior scrambled to his feet, the emperor extended a hand
to help him, and turning to the lady, remarked:

"_Madame, c'est la deuxieme fois que j'ai vu tomber monsieur le
colonel. La premiere fois c'etait sur le champ de bataille de
Magenta_." (Madame, this is the second time I have seen the colonel
fall. The first time was on the battlefield of Magenta.)

In order to see the Polonaise danced in all its glory, it must be
witnessed on the occasion of the wedding of some princess of the
reigning house of Prussia, when the dance is headed by a procession of
cabinet ministers, bearing candles or torches, whence it is styled the
"Fackel-tanz," (Torch-dance).

On such an occasion the emperor, the empress and the royal guests
having taken up their places on the dais, under the baldaquin, and
immediately in front of the throne, the less exalted guests ranging
themselves to the right and left of the great white hall, according
to rank and precedence, the court marshal receives orders from his
majesty for the dance to begin. The count thereupon approaches the
royal bride and bridegroom, and bowing low to them, invites them
to take part in the dance. The bridegroom extends his hand to his
consort, and to the sound of a very slow and stately march conducts
her around the hall, preceded by the twelve ministers of state,
walking two by two, those highest in rank coming last. Each, minister
bears in his hand a lighted torch of white perfumed wax. When the
procession returns to the point from which it started, in front of the
throne, the bride approaches the emperor, and with a curtsy invites
his majesty to take part in the dance, and is conducted around the
room by him, the bridegroom going through the same formality with the
empress. As soon as these first three rounds are concluded, the twelve
ministers hand over their wax torches to twelve pages of honor, each
lad being of noble birth, and the bridegroom then similarly invites
the remaining princesses of the blood, two at a time, leading one with
each hand, while the bride goes through the same procedure with two
princes of the blood, until the total list of royal personages has
been exhausted. When the number of royal guests is very large this
dance sometimes lasts nearly two hours.

On ordinary cases, of course, the torches are dispensed with, and the
polonaise only continues long enough to enable the emperor and
empress to march once round, the hall with those guests whom they
wish particularly to honor. On such occasions they are preceded by the
court marshal bearing the wand of grand marshal, by several masters of
the ceremonies, and by picturesquely attired pages of honor.

Court ceremonies have been few and far between during the last ten
or twelve years at Vienna owing to the circumstance that the imperial
family have been almost uninterruptedly in mourning, consequent upon
the successive deaths of Crown Prince Rudolph, Archduke Charles-Louis
and Empress Elizabeth, in addition to a number of less important
members of the imperial family. The ceremonial is very different
from that which prevails at Berlin, and it must be confessed that the
guests are more select, since the Court of Vienna is infinitely
more exclusive than that of Berlin, and requires much more stringent
genealogical qualifications on the part of women admitted to the honor
of presentation. Indeed, there Is no court in Europe more exclusive
than that of Emperor Francis-Joseph, and the threshold of the Hofburg
may be regarded as barred without hope of admission to any lady who is
not endowed with the necessary ancestry, free from all plebeian strain
for at least eight generations on both the father's and the mother's

The presentation of debutantes and of brides ordinarily takes place
prior to the commencement of court balls, and there are no such things
as state concerts or "defiler-cours," as at Berlin, and in England, at
which latter court guests receive their invitations to state balls
by means of large lithographed cards emblazoned with the royal or
imperial arms, on which it is stated that the grand-master of the
Court at Berlin, or the lord chamberlain in London, has been directed
by their majesties, or her majesty, as the case may be, to "command"
the attendance of such and such a person to a ball at court. These
commands are usually sent out about a week or more in advance: but
in Vienna, where it is taken for granted that all the people having
a right to invitations belong to the same intimate circle, cards are
dispensed with, and on the day before the entertainment, sometimes on
the very morning on which it is given, one of the court messengers, or
so-called Hofcouriers, calls at the residence of invited guests with
a long sheet of paper, on which is inscribed the list of _invites._ On
this list, opposite his or her name, the invited person writes yes
or no, indicating thereby acceptance of the imperial command or
prevention by some grave event.

The guests are already assembled in the Hall of Ceremonies before the
imperial party makes its appearance. The ladies all wear court trains,
and in almost every case the bodice of their dress is adorned with
the insignia of the "Sternkreutz" [star cross], an order restricted
exclusively to women, of which the late empress was grand-mistress,
and to possess which even still greater ancestral qualifications are
needed than for presentation at court. The men are all in uniform,
either civilian, military or naval. Indeed it is impossible to find
in Austria any man that has the right to appear at court who does
not possess some sort of uniform. If he happens to be a Hungarian, he
wears the picturesque dress of the great Magyar kingdom, bordered with
priceless furs, adorned with jewels and composed of costly velvets and

Shortly before the arrival of the imperial procession the grand-master
of ceremonies taps on the floor with his ivory wand of office to
attract attention, and the guests thereupon range themselves along the
two sides of the hall, the ladies to the right and the gentlemen to
the left. Suddenly the folding-doors at the further end of the hall
are flung open, and to the sound of the most inspiriting march that
the conductor of the court orchestra, Edouard Strauss, can devise, the
imperial cortege makes its appearance, preceded by Count Hunyadi, in
his uniform of a cavalry general, and Prince Rudolph Leichtenstein,
each armed with a wand of office. Since the disappearance of the
empress from court life--a disappearance which may be said to have
preceded her death by several years--the emperor has been in the habit
on these occasions of offering his arm to the Duchess of Cumberland,
daughter of King Christian of Denmark, and _de jure_ sovereign duchess
of Brunswick, as the principal foreign royal lady present. Immediately
after him follows the archduke next in the line of succession, now
Francis-Ferdinand, or, failing him, Otto, leading the archduchess
designated to take the place of the first lady of the land, and who at
the present time is Archduchess Maria-Josepha, wife of Archduke Otto.

The imperial procession, consisting of all the archdukes and
archduchesses--there are nearly one hundred of them--and of the
principal members of their households, marches along the avenue thus
formed by the guests, and are welcomed by low curtsies on the part of
the women, and by profound bows on the part of the men. The brilliant
pageant then disappears in the room set apart for the imperial party,
and thereupon the emperor and Archduchess Maria-Josepha return, and
while the emperor passes along in front of the male guests, preceded
by one of the principal dignitaries of his court, either Count
Kalman Hunyadi or Prince Montenuovo, the archduchess, escorted by the
grand-mistress of her court, makes her way along the front rank of the
ladies, bowing to some, extending her hand to be kissed by others, and
chatting familiarly to those who are old friends.

As soon as the emperor and the archduchess reach the end of the line
the emperor passes over to the ladies' side, while the archduchess in
her turn passes along the front rank of the men. The archduchess then
proceeds to the so-called "Rittersaal," and taking her seat on a
sofa, sends her ladies-in-waiting and her chamberlains to bring to her
presence ladies who have presentations to make. With each debutante
the archduchess converses for a few seconds before dismissing her, the
wives of the foreign ambassadors being on these occasions invited to
take a seat beside the archduchess on her sofa while presenting their

Meanwhile the ball has commenced in the Hall of Ceremonies, and is
usually opened with a waltz. While the dancing is in progress the
emperor strolls about, talking from time to time to some guest.
Foreign ambassadors and envoys usually avail themselves of this
opportunity to present their countrymen to his majesty.

Of course no one is permitted to invite any of the archduchesses or
foreign princesses of the blood who may happen to be present to dance.
It is they who have the privilege of taking the first step in the
matter. Whenever they desire to dance with any man they cause him
to be notified of their wish by their chamberlain in attendance. The
cavalier thus honored is obliged to consider this intimation in the
nature of a command, and all engagements with fair partners of a less
exalted rank, are annulled thereby.

Refreshments are served for the ordinary guests in the "Pietra-Dura"
room, where a superb buffet is set, the tables glittering with gold
plate and Venetian glass. For the imperial princes and princesses the
Hall of Mirrors is generally reserved, and there the scene is even
still more magnificent. By midnight all is over. The court has retired
with the same ceremonial that marked its arrival, and the guests are
looking for their wraps and cloaks. All court entertainments at Vienna
begin early and end early, so as not to interfere unduly with the
emperor's practice of rising at about five o'clock in the morning.

One of the features of the great court functions at Berlin, as well as
at Vienna, which excites the greatest surprise of Americans visiting
Europe for the first time, is that particular form of homage accorded
to royalty which consists in the kissing of the hand or "handkuss."
Not only the hands of the royal and imperial ladies are required
by etiquette to be kissed when offered to gentlemen, but it is also
considered necessary for both men and women to kiss the hand of the
sovereign when he condescends to extend it for the purpose. This
seems, perhaps, less odd at Vienna, as the emperor is a septuagenarian
with snow-white hair and a sad and kindly face, inspiring feelings of
sympathy and loyal affection. Indeed there is nothing out of the way
in a young girl, and even a man of mature years, kissing the hand of a
veteran of the age of Francis-Joseph, just as if he were their father.
But it certainly does appear strange to those from across the Atlantic
who are obtaining their first insight into European court life, to see
not only grey-haired generals, and white-whiskered statesmen, but also
venerable ladies,--grandmothers perhaps--and belonging to the highest
ranks of the nobility kissing the hand of Emperor William.

It has always seemed to me that William must have realized for the
first time his altered rank when old Field-Marshal Moltke, and the
late Prince Bismarck, on hailing him as emperor within a few hours
after his father's death, bent down to kiss his hand. This took place
more or less in private. But shortly afterwards, when he opened the
imperial parliament for the first time as emperor, in the presence of
most of the German sovereigns who had come to Berlin for the purpose,
and had finished reading his speech, and handed it to the chancellor
of the empire, old Bismarck, as he took it, bent almost double to kiss
the hand that was tendering the document to him, in the presence of
the princes and representatives of the entire German empire.

Kissing, it may be added, forms a great feature of court etiquette
in Germany and Austria. It is, for instance, _de rigueur_ that two
sovereigns of equal rank visiting each other, should embrace at least
thrice, no matter how deeply they may detest each other privately!
A petty sovereign will have to content himself with being embraced
merely twice by a monarch such as Francis-Joseph or Emperor William,
while a crown prince or heir apparent will receive only one hug.
Mere princes of the blood receive no kisses at all, but only a hearty
hand-shake, with which they have to be satisfied, and which is, after
all, perhaps the most sensible fashion of greeting.


All royal and imperial people are more or less superstitious,
and neither Emperor William nor his brother monarch at Vienna are
exceptions to the rule. Striking evidence thereof is furnished by the
presence of a large horseshoe cemented into the wall just outside
the fourth window of the first story of Empress Frederick's palace
at Berlin. One day, some time before his accession to the throne, and
before his father was seized with that terrible malady to which he
eventually succumbed, William was invited to dine with his parents.
Finding that he was very late, and knowing the strictness of his
father and mother on the score of punctuality, William directed his
coachman to drive as fast as he could, and the carriage positively
raced up the incline to the portal.

Suddenly one of the big Mecklenburg horses lost his shoe, which in
some extraordinary manner, flew up into the air, dashed through the
first-story window and fell upon the dinner table, right in front
of Frederick and the then crown princess, who, declining to wait
any longer, had just sat down to table. The shoe is reported to have
grazed the nose of the late emperor. At any rate, the fact that it
should have failed to seriously injure anyone is a miracle. It was so
regarded by Frederick, his wife and his children, who deemed the queer
advent of the shoe, and the escape of everybody from injury, as an
indication of good luck. At the suggestion of the present kaiser, it
was thereupon cemented into the wall just outside the window through
which it had come, and was fastened upside down, in order to prevent
the luck from dropping out.

It is not altogether astonishing that royal personages should be prone
to superstition, for in almost every case they are compelled to make
their homes in palaces and castles that have been stained with the
blood of one or more of their ancestors. Ordinary people experience an
uncanny feeling when forced by circumstances to live in houses which
have been the scene of suicide or murder, even when the victims of
the tragedy, or the perpetrators thereof are in no way, even the
most remotely, connected with them. What wonder, then, that royal and
imperial personages should entertain the same kind of superstition and
sentiments with regard to their palaces, when it is borne in mind that
the participants in the drama have been members of their own families!

For months prior to the assassination of Empress Elizabeth,
forebodings of an impending catastrophe were prevalent at the Court
of Vienna, and so imbued was Emperor Francis-Joseph with ominous
presentiments, that he repeatedly exclaimed in the hearing of his
entourage: "Oh, if only this year were at an end!"

These apprehensions on the part of the monarch and his court were due
to an incident which took place on the night of April 24, 1898, and
which was of sufficient importance to be comprised in the regular
report made on the following morning to his military superiors by the
officer of the guard at the Hofburg. It seems that the sentinel posted
in the corridor or hall leading to the chapel was startled almost out
of his senses by seeing the form of a white-clad woman approaching
him, soon after one o'clock in the morning. He at once challenged her,
whereupon the figure turned round, and passed back into the chapel,
where the soldier then observed a light. Hastily summoning assistance,
a strict search was instituted, but the chapel was explored without
any result.

The sentinel in question was a stolid, rather dull-minded Styrian
peasant, who was possessed of but little power of imagination or of
education, and who was entirely ignorant, therefore, of the tradition
according to which a woman in white makes her appearance by night
in the Hofburg at Vienna, either in the chapel or in the adjoining
corridors and halls, whenever any misfortune is about to overtake the
imperial house of Hapsburg.

On each occasion, this spectral appearance to the sentinel on duty
has been described in the report of the officer of the guard on the
following morning, and is absolutely a matter of official record. The
previous visitations of the "white lady" had taken place on the eve
of the shocking tragedy of Mayerling; a few weeks previous to the
shooting of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico; and prior to the burning to
death of the daughter of old Archduke Albert, at Schoenbrunn; while
the very fact that there should have been no supernatural appearance
of this kind at the time when Archduke John vanished from human ken,
leads the imperial family and the Court of Austria to still doubt the
story, according to which he perished at sea while on his way round
Cape Horn, from La Plata to Valparaiso.

I do not know the origin of the "white lady" tradition at Vienna,
nor have I ever been able to ascertain anything definite about her
history, but there is plenty of documentary evidence, as well as
a wonderful array of records concerning "the white lady of the
Hohenzollerns," who makes her appearance in the old palace at Berlin
whenever death is about to overtake a member of the reigning house of
Prussia. The late Emperor Frederick--the most matter-of-fact and least
imaginative prince of his line--was particularly interested in the
matter, and collected all the evidence that he could upon the subject,
for the purpose of depositing it in the archives of his family.

Perhaps the most important testimony in this connection are the sworn
statements signed by Prince Frederick of Prussia, and a number of his
fellow officers, to all of whom the "White Lady" is declared to have
appeared as they sat together on the eve of the prince's death at the
battle of Saalfeld in 1806.

Moreover, Thomas Carlyle went to no little trouble to procure evidence
when writing the history of Frederick the Great, that the "White Lady"
had appeared to that famous monarch on the eve of his death. The king,
it is asserted, was on the high road to recovery from his illness,
when suddenly one morning he declared that he had seen the white-clad
spectre during the night, that his hour had come, and that it was
useless to ward off death any longer. So he refused to take any
further medicine or nourishment, turned his face to the wall, and

The "White Lady" is considered sufficiently real by the hard-headed
matter-of-fact commanders of the Prussian army, to lead to their
adopting special measures whenever her appearance is reported. The
moment she is seen, the sentinels within and around the royal palace
are at once doubled. The object of this is not so much to protect the
royal family from harm, as to prevent the sentinels themselves from
following the example of the two who shot themselves while on guard
at the palace in the year 1888, one, shortly before the death of old
Emperor William, the other, a few days before the demise of Emperor
Frederick, the men in each case declaring before they expired that
they had seen the "White Lady," their story being in a measure
borne out by the fact that their faces even after death seemed to be
distorted with terror.

The appearances of the "White Lady" are kept as quiet as possible,
the matter is never mentioned at court, save in whispers, and nothing
concerning her is ever permitted to appear in print in the Berlin

This dread apparition that forebodes evil to the reigning house of
Prussia, is supposed to be the spectre of Countess Agnes Orlamunde,
who murdered her first husband, as well as her two children, who
constituted an obstacle to her marriage with, one of the ancestors of
the kaiser.

The palace in which the spectre of this historic murderess appears
is a huge and massive structure of grey stone, the walls of which
are pierced by over one thousand windows, and which contains over six
hundred rooms. Commenced four hundred and fifty years ago by one of
the earliest electors of Brandenburg, it has been added to by
each sovereign in turn, until it has attained its present enormous

There is probably no structure of the kind in the world the building
of which has cost so many lives. Indeed the very mortar used in its
construction may be said to have been mixed with blood. The people of
Berlin, who from time immemorial have been noted for their democracy
and their spirit of independence, have opposed from the very outset
the erection of this building in their midst as calculated to endanger
their liberty, and many were the attempts that they made to arrest
the undertaking, and to destroy the work already accomplished. Bloody
fights took place between the mob and the troops appointed to protect
the workmen, and on two occasions the populace even went so far as to
cut the dams, and destroy the flood gates, deluging the foundations
with the waters of the River Spree, and drowning each time many
hundreds of workmen.

Even at the present moment Emperor William is engaged in an angry
fight with, the people of Berlin in connection with this palace.
He wishes to surround it with a terrace and a garden, which will
naturally add to its beauty. At present the windows look onto the
public streets, a fact which, in these days of bombs and dynamite
outrages, renders it difficult to protect with any degree of
efficiency. The municipality and people of Berlin, however, absolutely
decline to consent to the expropriations necessary in order to enable
the destruction and removal of the existing houses and buildings which
interfere with the execution of his majesty's project.

Like his uncle, the Prince of Wales, the kaiser is very superstitious
on the subject of the number thirteen in the case of any
entertainment, and more than once has a mere subaltern who happened to
be on duty at the palace as an officer of the guard, been commanded at
a moment's notice to join the imperial party in order to avoid there
being thirteen at the table.

This superstition is perhaps partly due to the fact that the emperor
is aware of the old Scandinavian custom, from which it originates, and
which still subsists among the peasantry of the west coast of France.
In the Pagan days of Scandinavia, the hardy Norsemen were accustomed
at all their banquets to invite the spirit of the last of their male
relatives or friends to participate in the feast, and the food that he
would have eaten and the mead that he would have drunk was cast into
the fire, the supposed resting-place of the soul. When the Norsemen
embraced Christianity, on ceremonious occasions they sat down to
the banquet in parties of twelve, doing this in honor of the twelve
Apostles; but unable entirely to disassociate themselves from their
old heathen custom of inviting the spirit of a dead relative or
friend, they constituted him,--the spectre,--the thirteenth guest at
table, and his health was always drunk in solemn silence. In course
of time people came to forget the traditional custom of considering
a spectre to be the thirteenth guest. He was, however, associated in
their minds with the notion of death, and thus the belief has grown
that though a thirteenth person at table is no longer a corpse, one of
the party is destined, at any rate, to speedily become one.

Throughout Brittany on the eve of the day sacred to the memory of the
dead "La Toussaint," the family all sit down to a festive repast, and
there is invariably a place laid at table, the plate filled with the
choicest viands, and the glass filled with the finest wine or cider,
for the one or more members of the family who have died during the
previous twelve months. The peasantry are convinced that the spirits
of their dear ones take part in this repast at one time or another
during the course of the night. It is for this reason that they
consider it their duty to sit up till daybreak, the women chiefly
praying, the men talking in undertones about the qualities and the
characteristics of the mourned ones. Wearied with watching, imbued
with the most fervent and devout faith, blended with a belief in
old-time legends, what wonder is it that towards dawn both the men
and the women, especially the latter, should imagine that they see
the spirits of their dead glide into the room, take their place at the
family board, and then, after a brief sojourn in their midst, vanish
with the light of the breaking day. It is a pretty and a touching
idea, which is not combated by the clergy, and of which, indeed, no
one possessed of any heart would seek to disabuse the minds of the
poor, simple-minded peasant folks.

Of course Emperor Francis-Joseph and Emperor William are imbued with
all the old superstitions peculiar to Nimrods. As an instance, they
will give up an entire day's shooting, no matter how elaborate the
arrangements made for it, if a hare is seen to cross their path, for
this is always looked upon as being a very bad omen.

Both emperors also attach much importance to dreams, and claim to have
been furnished by them with premonitions of each misfortune that has
overtaken them, and regard Friday as the most unlucky day of the week.

There is no colder, more unemotional and level-headed woman in
the-world than the young Empress of Russia, who is a German princess
by birth, and a first cousin of Emperor William, yet she too believes
in dreams, since the following incident, which enjoys the fullest
degree of credence on the part of the emperors of Germany and Austria.
It seems that during the coronation festivities she was resting one
afternoon, and had dropped off into a doze, when she suddenly found
herself awakened by one of her ladies who had been frightened by the
manner in which she moaned and even wailed in her sleep. The empress
then related that her slumbers had been disturbed by a bad dream.
An old gray-haired Moujik, or peasant, all covered with blood, had
appeared to her, and had exclaimed:

"I have come all the way from Siberia, czaritza, to see your day of
honor, and now your Cossacks have killed me."

The vision had been so real that the empress hastened to her husband
to inquire if any misfortune had happened. Nicholas laughed at his
wife's fears, but to soothe her, telephoned to the minister of the
imperial household, asking whether anything untoward had occurred,
and only then learnt of the terrible disaster that had taken place in
connection with the open-air banquet, where over two thousand lives
were lost, through a panic that had seized upon the vast concourse of
people, the terrible catastrophe being aggravated by the unfortunate
attempts of large bodies of mounted Cossacks to restore order by
riding into the crowd and using their whips and even their swords
against the terrified masses of penned-up Moujiks.

It must be borne in mind that the entire monarchial system of the old
world is largely based on legend and superstition, and that a belief
in the supernatural, therefore, is to be expected in such personages
as the anointed of the Lord, who are firmly convinced that there is a
considerable amount of the supernatural in their authority and in the
origin of their power.

Another manner in which Emperor William displays his superstition, is
his absolute refusal to permit any steps to be taken to clear up the
mystery which has existed throughout this entire century in connection
with the hunting chateau of Gruenewald, which, like the great palace
at Berlin, is popularly believed to be haunted. Indeed, it is regarded
with considerable misgiving by the peasantry of the surrounding
district. It is an old castle, built almost two centuries ago, by the
father of the first King of Prussia, and has been the scene of several

The one which is supposed to have led to the haunting of the palace
is the murder by one of the princes of the house of Hohenzollern, in a
fit of passion, of a Prussian nobleman who was his guest at the time.
The prince is reported to have run the nobleman through the back with
his sword while following him down one of the staircases from the
upper story to the ground floor.

Endeavors have repeatedly been made to obtain permission from the
sovereign to tear down the brick wall so as to give access to this
staircase, not only for the sake of convenience, but also with the
object of setting at rest forever the popular superstitions and rumors
on the subject. Neither King Frederick-William IV., nor the late
Emperor William would ever hear of such a thing, and the late Emperor
Frederick, who was the least superstitious and most matter-of-fact
of men, grew grave and silent, when it was suggested to him that he
should give the desired permission. As for the present emperor, he
has sternly forbidden that the matter should even be mentioned in his
presence. This extraordinary reluctance displayed by both the kaiser
and his predecessors to discover what there is behind that brick wall
leads to the conviction that the mouldering remains of the victim
of the treacherous hospitality of a prince of Prussia lie concealed


It is among the crowned heads and princes of the blood in the Old
World that St. Hubert, the patron of the chase, finds his most fervent
devotees, and nowhere is his cult followed with a greater degree
of pomp and ceremoniousness, and, I might almost add, religious
sentiment, than at the Courts of Berlin and Vienna.

The foremost Nimrod of Europe is undoubtedly old Emperor
Francis-Joseph, who finds his only relaxation from the cares of state
in stalking the chamois, and who is celebrated in the annals of sport
as the most successful and fearless hunter of that excessively shy and
difficult quarry.

No man living possesses a larger collection of gemsbock beards, which
constitute the hunter's trophy of this form of the chase. They
number nearly three thousand, and the only person whose score at all
approximates the emperor's is his intimate friend and crony, the
aged King Albert of Saxony. Both monarchs are now old men, with hair,
whiskers and moustache, of a snowy white, but neither their years,
nor their sorrows, which have contributed so much towards aging them
prematurely, have been permitted until now to interfere with their
chamois-hunting expeditions in the Styrian Alps. On these occasions
the two sovereigns make their headquarters at Francis-Joseph's
picturesque shooting-lodge, or rather chateau, at Muerzsteg. They are
usually accompanied by the emperor's eldest son-in-law, Prince Leopold
of Bavaria, Archduke Francis-Ferdinand, heir apparent to the throne,
some younger members of the imperial family, and a few of the
dignitaries of the court who have been the longest attached to the
service of his majesty, prominent among whom is Baron Gudemus, grand
huntsman of the empire. The latter, by virtue of his office, holds a
seat in the privy council, ranks higher than the cabinet ministers,
has under his control all the game preserves, the hunting equipages,
and the shooting lodges of the crown in the various parts of the
empire, and is the generalissimo of the army of game-keepers, and
jaegers, many thousands in number, who wear the livery of the house of

Usually, the first three or four days of the stay at Muerzsteg
are devoted to stalking the chamois, the two sovereigns generally
remaining together, attended only by the grand huntsman, and by a
few jaegers and guides, while the other members of the shooting party
follow their individual devices. The start is made each morning about
an hour before dawn, so as to enable the sportsmen to be well up on
the mountain side by daybreak, that being the time when it is least
difficult to get within range of a chamois.

All day long the two old sovereigns, Alpenstock in hand, and short,
stocky rifles slung over the shoulder, go toiling up and down the
mountains, along the edges of great precipices, tracing their steps
along paths that to the uninitiated would seem to afford no foothold
to any living thing, save a goat or a chamois. Sometimes they are
overtaken by snowstorms while up in the mountains, and are unable
to see their way, or to move either backwards or forwards, for whole
hours together, while at other times they are forced to lie down flat
on their stomachs and to cling with hand and foot to any friendly
piece of projecting rock in order to avoid being blown down the
precipices, or into the deep crevasses, by the terrible winds which
without warning suddenly sweep through the Alpine gorges and valleys,
with a force that can only be described as cyclonic.

All the party, emperor, king, princes, and attendants, down to the
humblest jaeger, wear the same kind of Styrian dress, consisting of a
sort of Yoppe, or Austrian jacket of grey homespun, with green collar
and facings, and buttons of rough stag-horn, homespun breeches, cut
off above the knees, which are left entirely uncovered, thick woollen
stockings rolled below the knee, and heavy, hob-nailed, laced boots.
The head gear is that known in this country as the Tyrolese hat,
adorned by a chamois beard, which is inserted between the ribbon and
the felt.

By nightfall, which comes early in the mountains, everybody is back
at the "jagdschloss," and dinner is served at five, in a room panelled
with wood and decorated with trophies. The emperor and the king sit
next to each other, while Baron Gudemus, as grand huntsman, faces them
on the opposite table. The attendants are not liveried footmen, but
jaegers and game-keepers. On arising from the table the party as a rule
descends into the courtyard, where all the game killed during the
day is laid out on a layer of pine branches, the jaegers forming three
sides of a square, lighting up the scene with great pine torches,
while the huntsmen sound the _curee-chaude_ on their hunting horns. By
eight or nine o'clock, everybody is in bed, and the whole chateau is
wrapped in slumber.

During the last three or four days of the stay, the so-called
"Treibjagds," or "Battues" take the place of stalking. They are
far more ceremonious, but infinitely less fatiguing and interesting
affairs, and as they begin between eight and nine, and last till four,
they do not involve getting out of bed at the unearthly hour of three


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