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that star-y-pointing twist. But when you see the
kinematograph Kaiser's merry, sunburnt face, and



280 THE HUMAN GERMAN

catch his boy-hero's glance, you are convinced that
^here there is something deeper far than pose. The
Kaiser is enjoying hfe, enjoying the sun, enjoying
the magnoha head-dress and the hyperborean hat ;
he is human, mortal, fallible, vain, alive. He has
a passion that people shall see him as he likes to
be seen ; as he thinks people will credit he feels he
really is. And you feel sure that if the kinemato-
graph man had not come (being burned as a sorcerer
by Magyar gipsies), the Kaiser — though a deal
disappointed — would have played none the less his
graceful part, presented the presents, smiled the
boy-hero's smile, and chivalrously kissed the fist of
the thick magnolia girl.

A Kaiser like this is rightly sought by foreigners ;
and Americans more than any fall beneath the spell.
When sultry August sends natives off to Heringsdorf ,
Americans raid Berlin. They sport stars-and-
stripy favours, stare from " rubber-neck " coaches,
and want to meet Kaiser Wilhelm. Jest to shake
his hand. When dry Ambassadors swear that is
impossible, surprise knows no bounds. They would
like to see Mr. Wilson refusing to give his fist. It
would cost Mr. Wilson in 1916 the vote of Emporium,
Pa.

But Americans are indomitable ; and Porter
U. Van Cuylers, bone-manure manufacturer of
Newark, N.J., is American to the bone. This



THE HUMAN KAISER 281

stout, elderly, artistic, good-looking, clean-shaven
gentleman — eager above all things to meet Kaiser
Wilhelm — arrived in BerHn in August, 1913, and
brought along his agreeable wife, who resembled
him in being stout, elderly, artistic, good-looking,
and clean-shaven. When the Porter U. Van Cuylers
learned that Kaiser Wilhelm was absent, they said
they would return after motoring around Thuringia.
Told it was impossible to see Kaiser Wilhelm
even then, as the maximum twenty presentations
were already claimed, they were astonished. " With-
out special credentials," said a pert Embassy under-
ling, " Berlin is impossible ; but you might be re-
ceived at the Court of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen."
Porter U. Van Cuylers was angry ; and asked why
his country sent abroad ambassadors, and paid
them salaries which nearly covered their house-
rents, if they could not force a meeting with Kaiser
Wilhelm. But Porter U. is a resolute man, as is
every man who can live in Newark, N.J. ; and
with a Disraelian, " He will not see me now, but
the day is nigh when he shall see me," he left Berlin.
For six months he was lost. But when January
came, the twenty Americans who did squeeze
into Court were amazed to see Porter U. and Mrs.
Porter in the throng ; and to see that Kaiser Wilhelm
long engaged them in talk. The Van Cuylers
(Porter U. was in semi-diplomatic uniform) shone



282 THE HUIVIAN GERMAN

with gratified ambition, and generously beamed
on a score of other Americans whom the Kaiser
cut. When he arose next morning from courtly
dreams seven touring compatriots, all candidates
for Wilhelmian handshakes, waited in his sitting-
room to ask how it was done.

And Mrs. Porter U., ignoring her husband's
monitory wink, told how all last autumn they had
been sapping snub-proof approaches to Berlin
Schloss. When he spoke of Schwarzburg-Sonders-
hausen, the Embassy underhng had unwittingly
given them a tip. Schwarzburg-Sondershausen,
fourth-rate state as it is, boasts a sovereign ruler
and a Court in theory equal to BerUn's. But
Sondershausen, far less spoiled than purse-proud
Berlin, regards Americans of wealth with proper
awe. They need no introductions. The Hof-und-
Kiiche-Zcitung published articles on Porter U. Van
Cuylers ("as collectionaire rivalled only by the
late Pierpont Morgan ") ; the pair lunched with
the prince ; they lent twelve marks to a courtier ;
they entertained with taste ; and later when they
motored away to Karlsruhe in Baden, they carried
letters of introduction ensuring a fit reception.
Now Karlsruhe has not like Sondershausen a fourth-
rate Court, but at least a third-rate one ; and it
represented a whole stage up towards the Van
Cuylers' apotheosis. The Grand Duke welcomed



THE HUMAN KAISER 283

them ; he had heard, he said, of their deserved
success at Sondershausen ; and he introduced them
to his relatives. The Van Cuylers took the princes'
suite {Die Fiirstenzimmer) of the best hotel ; and
entertained for a month. When — after Porter U.
had danced with the Grand Duchess at a brilliant
ball — they announced they were leaving for Dresden,
they were overwhelmed with letters to Saxon officials,
recommending a " wealthy and cultured American
couple, whose interest in mediaeval ecclesiastical
art is equalled only by their knowledge and taste."
And now behold Porter U. and his wife, who had
they gone direct to Dresden would have been snubbed
as they were at Berlin, dining with King Friedrich
August, and taking Court-Marshal Count Spank
in their motor-car to Schandau. Already, having
left behind third-rate, not to mention fourth-rate
courts, they are valued guests at a second-rate
court ; and it needed only the consummating match
to blaze magnificently forth at Imperial Berlin.
And with Dresden Counts and Barons all scribbling
introductions for " our brilliant acquaintance Herr
Porter U. Van Schuyler " the match was as good as
laid. Like Cortes, chased by the rebel Aztecs from
ruinous Mexico, Porter U. Van Schuyler, foiled in
his first attempt to conquer the World-City, returned
to the scene of his humiliation an envied, unchallenge-
able victor.



284 THE HUMAN GERMAN

To Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt, in that he brought me
together with Herr Dr. Jur. Miihlstepf, I am in-
debted for a native, and human, view of the Kaiser.
I say human, because Dr. Miihlstepf is above all
things human. To an Englishman his humanity
seems unreasonable. In England Dr. Miihlstepf
would be Mr. Hopingwell Smyth, Barrister-at-Law ;
and he would have chambers, a club, parliamentary
velleities, and, even if his immediate goal were
guinea briefs, the impressive aloofness of the man
who means to go far. The position of Herr Dr. Jur.
Miihlstepf is ahead of Mr. Hopingwell Smyth's. He
has all that a lawyer wants ; twenty thousand
(marks) a year ; a sunlit flat furnished in cchteni
Mahogani mit Intarsien, a wife and three vegetative
children. Dr. Miihlstepf is further a cultivated man ;
he can quote Shakespeare and Wordsworth, where-
as Mr. Hopingwell Smyth has only snuffed (via
Bayard Taylor) at Goethe ; and does not know the
difference between Kleist the poet who shot himself
at Griinewald and Kleist the general who shot the
French at Kulm. Yet Dr. Jur. Miihlstepf, despite
this superiority, is far plainer, more human than
Mr. Hopingwell Smyth ; and at Boltuch's stem-
table on Thursday, he will talk to you as freely
as did London busmen before motors made them
proud.

Herr Dr. Miihlstepf is a loyal man ; and nothing



THE HUMAN KAISER 285

is brighter than to see him hungry, devouring
sausages and Sociahsts. His softest mouthful is
Herr Dr. Med. Lauwein. Herr Lauwein is assistant-
surgeon to Steghtz Sick-Insurance Bureau, which —
being governed by a committee two-thirds Sociahst—
requires its salaried servants to join the regenerating
faith. So Dr. Lauwein since his appointment has
worn a necktie of fire. Dr. Miihlstepf belongs, I
believe, to the Radical but monarchical People's
Party. Radicals and Socialists, between them,
own Berlin — even the blue-veined Palace electoral
division polls four hundred Tories against twenty
thousand Rads and Reds.

When yesterday evening Dr. Med. Lauwein arrived
at Klumpke's with a tie of ebony, the stem-table
opined that he had either forsworn his tenets or
lost his job. It was undeceived. For when frivolous
Dr. Gamradt began about " roseate afterglows
which fade to inky night," Herr Dr. Lauwein flushed
to the missing colour and said somewhat lamely :

** It's because someone I need not name's at
Corfu. With me Socialism is a protest against
Caesarism. When Caesar's away — writing Com-
mentaries on pithoi and amphorae — Brutus can
dress like a bourgeois. It's the autocrat I condemn,
not the excavator. Just now the autocrat's having
a needed rest-cure ; and Germany's having the
rest she needed still worse. ..."



286 THE HUMAN GERMAN

Dr. Jur. Miihlstepf put down his mug of Schul-
theiss, and said provocatively :

" I must challenge you over that ! The rest-
cure which seems to you badly needed is the worst
of all possible treatments for Germany's ills ; and
the best of all cures is that Wilhelm the Second
should steam the Hohenzollern back to Pola, and
take a fast train home. Presence — ^this is not
Portugal, mind you — is the essence of fruitful
monarchism. You men grumble daily about
Caesarism ; but what is your grievance ? Your
grievance is that a ruler whose business is to talk
does talk a bit. He talks, you grumble, about
pohtics, about architecture, about the way to restore
the Corfu torso, about Folk-Music, about the duty
of Hussars to dance, about navigare necesse est,
about evils brought by New Art, by * hunger candi-
dates ' — by journalists, that is ... by ... by .. ."

" By Social Democrats," put in Dr. Ing. Gamradt.

" You growl that in his zeal to preach the Gospel
of Everything he treads on all men's toes. Now, in
my opinion, the indispensable element of German
progress is that the Kaiser shall tread on toes ;
that he shall flout, thwart, and enrage as many
subjects as possible. Do you know why ? "

" Because it drives people to our side," said Dr.
Med. Lauwein.

" Because only by making people uncomfortable



THE HUMAN KAISER 287

can you stir them up. Because it is a sovereign's
solemn duty to play the beneficent, regenerative,
indispensable part of Devil. ..."

'' You mean Devil's Advocate."

*' I mean plain Devil. I mean it in a high, lau-
datory sense — the sense of Goethe. The problem
why Satan is allowed to pester mankind has puzzled
theologians through the ages. From Origen to
Schleiermacher ! The likeliest answer is found
in the Prologue to Faust. Because His Sulphurity
stirs supine mankind into fruitful husthng. Des
Menschen Tdtigkeit — but let me translate it for
our English friend :

*' Man's slothful spirit tends to vacant dreaming ;
He falls a prey to ease, and learns to shirk :
Therefore he has been given the Devil as Comrade,
To plague him to some useful kind of work.

" That is the only plausible apologia for His
Sulphurity. And that is the justification of His
Germanity. It is he — the Kaiser — who by ceaseless
pin-pricks and challenges raises us, millions of
drowsy beer-drinkers (Otto, another small Schul-
theiss !) into a fermenting brew of restlessness,
thoughtfulness, speculation. It keeps us busy.
If you'll forgive my doggerel verse-making, I'd
put it in this way :



288 THE HUMAN GERMAN

** Full of success, wealth, strength, and beer ; and fuller
Of pride, Hans would grow lazy as a Turk ;
Were he not chivvied by a ruthless ruler,
Who plagues him daily into fruitful work.

" You think I'm joking, I see. I'm not. Germany
lives because she is kicked and pricked into vitality.
Other countries — I don't deny — want the same
thing. We should perish without an imperial anti-
dote to bureaucratic tutelage. The human State
does too much for us. It helps everj'one, and helps
everyone in the same way. It teaches us by
standards ; drills us by standards ; polices us by
standards ; keeps us by standards out of danger
and temptation ; and ends by making us a basket
of sixty-five million identical, uninteresting eggs.
And the City apes the State. It kills what individu-
ahty the State admits. There's nothing it doesn't
do. It runs trams and trains, and Labour and
Housing Exchanges, and Theatres and Concerts ;
it gives Free Work to Workers ; and Free Food to
Shirkers ; yes, and in my little suburb, Zehlendorf,
I believe it runs a bookshop. Yes ; and a municipal
potato store. What with all this State and all this
City peddhng and meddling, nothing at all is left
to the unit, the Man. Therefore life has grown
shallow, unheroic, effete, ineffective, and dull.
We are dehumanised. We have excised even the
saving element of risk, the animating gamble with



THE HUMAN KAISER 289

Fate. We are insured against every ill from Death
to German measles. ..."

" And English-Sickness — as we call rickets," put
in Dr. Lauwein. Dr. Miihlstepf looked at him
derisively, and continued :

" In this crisis of culture intervenes our Emperor
Wilhelm — intervenes to save us from entire moral
dissolution by infusing into our blood the missing
corpuscles of contentiousness, of polemics, of pro-
vocation. Of course he makes us swear. But he
makes us think — that's the gain. And the fruits
are ripening — I see them, though thin fruits so far.
He laughed at our Secessionist daubers — now they
give no cause to laugh. He called our dishevelled
journalists hunger-candidates — since then they've
taken to the regenerative hair-brush ; his very
Daily Telegraph blunder brought us a dozen Dread-
noughts. ..."

" He said he was Guardian of Islam," interrupted
Dr. Med. Lauwein, " and his own friends seized
Tripoh."

" That's true. He's not infallible. A people
with the Erfurt Programme can dispense with
infallibility. We want an irritant and a stimulant.
W^e Germans talk a great deal about World-Things —
about World-Policy and World-Trade and the
World-Spirit, and we have a whole literature
imaging World-Pain — der Weltschmerz. Other
19



290 THE HUMAN GERMAN

nations have these too. But there is one thing
which we only have given to humanity — that is
the World-Stimulant, das WeltreizmitteL Wilhelm
the Second is the World-Stimulant. ..."

Dr. Jur. Miihlstepf took breath and beer, raised
his right hand, and said apostolically :

" That is why I invoke our Kaiser from Corfu !
I do not think our blessed Germany wants a rest-
cure ! She needs a motion-cure. ..."

" An emotion-cure," snapped Herr Dr. Med.
Lauwein.

" Other nations claim to have World-Stimulants,"
said Dr. Ing. Gamradt. ** The English have one —
though it's Scotch, or Irish, I fancy. What do you
say if we have it for a change ? "



A SELECTION OF BOOKS


PUBLISHED BY METHUEN


AND CO. LTD., LONDON


36 ESSEX STREET




W.C.




CONTENTS




PAGE




PAGE


General Literature ... 2


Little Quarto Shakespeare


20


Ancient Cities .... 13


Miniature Library .


20


Antiquary's Books ... 13


New Library of Medicine


21


Arden Shakespeare ... 14


New Library of Music .


21


Classics of Art . . . 14


Oxford Biographies .


21


'Complete' Series ... 15


Four Plays.


21


Connoisseur's Library . . 15








States of Italy .


21


Handbooks of Engrlish Church






History 16


Westminster Commentaries


22


Handbooks of Theolog:y . . 16


' Young ■ Series .


22


' Home Life ' Series ... 16


Shilling Library


22


Illustrated Pocket Library of


Books for Travellers


23


Plain and Coloured Books . 16








Some Books on Art .


23


Leaders of Religion . . 17






Library of Devotion . . 17


Some Books on Italy


24


Little Books on Art . . 18


Fiction


25


Little Galleries ... 18


Books for Boys and Girls


30


Little Guides .... 18


Shilling Novels .


30


Little Library .... 19


Sevenpenny Novels . . .


31



A SELECTION OF

Messrs. Methuen's

PUBLICATIONS



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Online LibraryEdward EdgeworthHuman German → online text (page 16 of 20)