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liked me better without the singing."

"Yes," the Queen said, "I confess that he is not musical, and does not
like _all_ music, but he really did like to hear you sing. He told me
so."

"Of course he knows," I answered, "but he is the last person from whom
I expected to receive a compliment."

As their Majesties retired, the Queen held out her hand, and when I
stooped to kiss it she kissed me affectionately on both cheeks. The
King, on shaking hands with me, said, "_God Reise_" which is Danish for
_bon voyage_.

The first days in a new post are always very busy ones. My first visit
was to _the doyenne_ of the _Corps Diplomatique_, Baroness Ph. She gave
me a list of visits to be made, and a quantity of her own cards with
_pour présenter_ with mine.

Yesterday J. was received by the King, and presented his _lettres de
créance_.

Although J. had been Secretary of Legation, and had been groomsman at
the marriage in Stockholm of the Crown Prince of Denmark to Princess
Louise (niece of King Oscar), and was very well known to the King, all
the regular formalities had to be gone through with. J. made his
traditional official speech to the King, both standing; and the King
solemnly answered with an elaborate assurance that the relations
between Sweden and Denmark had always been of the best and that they
would remain so.

When the ceremonious utterances were ended, the King put his arm on
J.'s shoulder and said: "Now let us sit down and have a good talk
together of old times." The King "thee-and-thoued" Johan, and said,
"_Her, du. Naar kommer din husfru?_" which in English means, "Listen
thou. When is thy wife coming?" It is so strange that the Swedish
language has no word for _you_. One must either address people by their
title, which is sometimes very awkward, or else say _thou_.

I was dreadfully puzzled when I first came here. Right opposite my
window was a sign, "_Dam Bad Rum!_" I said: "How queer! People
generally cry up their wares, not down. Who ever heard of a seller
saying that his rum was as bad as that?" I found out afterward that the
sign was merely to let people know that a ladies' bath-room was to be
found there.

The next excitement was my audience with the Queen, and thereby hangs,
if not a tale, a teapot with a tempest in it. I must tell you all about
it. I hope you will appreciate the tremendously complicated position in
which I was placed.

It seems that in the time of Queen Christina of Sweden, one hundred and
fifty years ago, the ladies of her court wore black silk or satin
dresses and sleeves of a certain pattern. The court has seen no reason
to make any change of dress since that time. To-day it wears the same
style of dress and the same _sleeves_ - the cause of the tempest!

In answer to my request for an audience I received a letter from the
_grande maîtresse_, saying that the Queen would receive me on Thursday
next; the _doyenne_ of the _Corps Diplomatique_ would present me. Then
followed instructions: my dress was to be a black satin ball-dress, a
train of four meters, lined with black silk, _décolleté_, white _glacé_
gloves, _et les manches de cour_. I had no idea what _les manches de
cour_ were, and, naturally, I went to the _doyenne_ to find out.

If I had announced that I intended to throw a bomb under the King's
nose the effect could not have been more startling than when I said
those fatal words, "_Les manches de cour_."

_Madame la doyenne_ was so overcome that for a moment speech left her.
She proceeded to tell me that in order to keep on the right side of the
colleagues it would be advisable _not_ to wear the sleeves.

"Why not?" I asked, perplexed. "My husband says it is only on this one
occasion that a foreign minister's wife is required to wear the
sleeves."

She acknowledged that this was true, but the diplomatic ladies had
refused to wear them, and it was as much as peace and happiness were
worth to displease the colleagues.

"How can they refuse?" I asked.

She explained that the idea of wearing the sleeves was disagreeable to
them; therefore the court had passed over the point and made a
compromise: the Queen received them at the summer palace,
Drottningholm, _en toilette de ville_. In this way the difficulty had
been temporarily overcome, but now it seemed they wished me to draw the
chestnuts out of the fire.

"What am I to do?" I asked. "The only thing I can see is to leave
Stockholm, my home, and my family, and come back in the summer when I
can wear a bonnet."

I meant this as a tremendous satire, but she took it quite seriously
and said, "That would be wiser."

I smiled and, handing her the letter I had in my hand, I said, "In this
letter from the _grande maîtresse_ she said you were to present me."

"Of course I am to present you, but I refuse to wear the sleeves."

"If such is the case," I said, "what would you advise me to do?"

She answered: "I would advise you to avoid wearing the sleeves. You
will make a precedent which all the _Corps Diplomatique_ will resent."

"Why should the ladies object to the sleeves?" I ventured to ask. "Are
they so unbecoming?"

"It is not that they are unbecoming, but the Ministers' wives dislike
being dictated to. They say that they represent their sovereigns, and
object to be told what they shall wear and what they shall _not_ wear."

I remarked that at the Court of St. James's no lady ever dreamt of
objecting to wear the three plumes and the long tulle veil prescribed
by _that_ court, and I could not see any difference so long as it was
their Majesties' wish.

To this she replied, "I think you will regret it if you offend the
whole _Corps Diplomatique_."

On this I took my leave and drove straight to the _grande maîtresse_.
My back was up, and even if the _Corps Diplomatique's_ back was up,
too, I was determined to do nothing to displease the Court of Sweden. I
explained the situation to the Baroness Axerhjelm, who already knew it,
of course, better than I did. I could see it was a sore point.

When I asked her to explain to me about the sleeves she offered to send
for them that I might see them, and to lend me her sleeves that I might
copy them.

When I looked at the offending sleeves I did not think they were so
appalling - only two white satin puffs held in with straps of narrow
black velvet ribbon. On a black corsage they could not be so dreadful,
especially as the fashion now is sleeves puffed to exaggeration. How
silly!

We received visit after visit and many letters from the now irate
Corps - so many that we were quite bewildered. J. looked through the
archives of the Legation to see if he could find anything bearing on
this subject, but in vain. The mighty question does not seem to have
troubled my predecessors. They seem to have worn the sleeves and gone
on living.

J. remembered that the wife of his former Minister, on the occasion of
the marriage of the Crown Prince, wore them. I decided to write to the
Queen of Denmark to ask her advice, telling her of the threatened
antagonism against me.

This is her letter in reply:

I advise you, dear Lillie, to do as their Majesties desire. The
Crown Princess always wears the sleeves when in Stockholm, and I
think it would be more polite and less awkward if you wore them
also.

Therefore I had them made. Thursday came: my dress was ready and the
obnoxious sleeves in their places, I quite admired them, and would not
have minded wearing them every day. Still, I could not but think how a
whole ballroom of ladies with them on must have appeared in Queen
Christina's time.

Although it was the duty of the Baroness to accompany me, I was not
surprised when I received a long letter explaining how a severe
headache had suddenly swooped down on her and would deprive her of that
pleasure.

That was her way of getting over this _impasse_.

The situation was awkward. This refusal at the eleventh hour was very
annoying. I was not expected alone, but alone I should have to go.
There was no alternative, and the absence of the _doyenne_ must explain
itself as best it could.

I arrived in solitary grandeur, and was conducted in state to the
_salon_, where the _grande maîtresse_ - with the sleeves, of
course! - was ready to receive me. She did not seem in the least
surprised at seeing me alone; possibly the _doyenne_ had written her
own account of the headache. I could see that she applauded the stand I
had taken, so I felt that if I had lost favor with my colleagues I had
gained it at court.

We went together to the _salon_, where we found the Queen. She rose and
gave me her hand, and I bowed low over it. She was dressed all in
black, with the white satin sleeves conspicuous under a long lace veil
which hung from her head. She is very fine-looking, tall, and imposing,
with a quiet and serious manner. She looks the personification of
goodness.

I gave her the letter the Queen of Denmark had sent her. Then she
talked of her brother (Duke of Nassau), and said he had written about
me and my singing, when we were both guests at _Château Furstenberg_.
The Queen added, "My brother is not musical" (indeed he was not), "but
he said no singing had ever pleased him like yours." I bowed and tried
not to look incredulous. "The King," she said, "is looking forward with
great pleasure to seeing you again. He remembers a certain song you
sang. Was it not 'Beware,' or something like that?"

I did not think it unlikely. I had sung it often enough, goodness
knows.

I replied I did sing a song called that.

The dire step had been taken, and as far as sleeves were concerned the
incident was closed.

When I reached home I changed my dress and drove to the house of the
"suffering" _doyenne_. She had not expected such quick inquiries, for
she looked the picture of health; and I met on the staircase a court
lackey evidently bent on the same errand. She stammered a great many
things about her headache, and how, when she had that particular _kind_
of headache, she was incapacitated from any effort. I sympathized
deeply with her.

Her first question was, "Did the Queen have on the sleeves?"

"Certainly," I answered, curtly.


_January, 1891._

Dear L., - King Oscar is a king after one's ideas of what a king ought
to be. He looks the king every inch of him, and that is saying a good
deal, because he is over six feet. He has a splendid physique, is
handsome and of much talent. He is a writer and a poet, and speaks all
languages. You must be told that some kings are kings; but King Oscar,
there is no doubt about what he is!

At a concert the other evening he came and sat by me, and began talking
of music, of _his_ singing, and _my_ singing, and so forth, and
finished by saying, "Would you like to have me come to you some day and
sing?"

"Of course, your Majesty," I said. "I should be delighted. When may we
have the honor of expecting you?"

"How would next Thursday be?" he asked. "And would half past two be
agreeable to you?"

I replied, "Any day or any hour will suit me," although it was in fact
the only day which did _not_ suit me, as it was my reception-day.

"I hope that we may be quite by ourselves," said the King. "Only you
and the members of your Legation."

This I could easily promise, as I should have, in any case, closed my
doors.

"Your Majesty will stay and have a cup of tea. I hope."

"With pleasure," he answered, "if that will not make my visit too
long."

"Too long, your Majesty! How could it be too long?"

"Well, then, you may expect me."

How prepare for _les détails_? Madame de Sevigny writes somewhere,
"_que les détails sont aussi chers à ceux que nous aimons, qu'ils sont
ennuyeux aux autres_."

The servants laid the traditional red carpet on the staircase. Palms
and plants were put in every possible place.

At two o'clock the servants were already on the watch. The
_porte-cochère_ was wide open and the _concierge_ all in a flutter. The
piano-tuner, who had just spent an hour tuning my Bechstein, had
departed when a cart drew up in front of the door. What do you think it
was? Nothing less than the King's own piano, an _upright_ one, though
it did connive at _deception_, as you will see. It was one of those
pianos with which one could, by turning a key, lower the whole keyboard
by half-tones, so that a barytone could masquerade as a tenor and spare
the pianist the trouble of transposing the music, and no one would be
the wiser.

This was emotion No. 1.

Emotion No. 2: a carriage which stood before the door brought Mr.
Halstrum, the pianist.

Emotion No. 3 was another carriage full of things - a music-stand, a
quantity of music-books, his Majesty's spectacles, and a mysterious
basket.

Emotion No. 4: the servants, with all their heads out of the window,
spied a carriage coming full tilt up the street. In it was M. Odman,
the best tenor from the Opera.

Finally the royal equipage, of which there could be no doubt this time,
was seen from way down the street. J. descended the stairs to receive
his Majesty as his carriage entered the _porte-cochère_. I stood at the
door of the apartment, and the King in his usual friendly manner said a
hearty, "_God dag, god dag, Fru Hegermann_!"

He was attended by only one chamberlain. We went into the _salon_.
After a little while the King said, "What shall I sing for you?" and
handed me a list of songs.

"Anything your Majesty sings will be delightful," I answered, eagerly.

"Yes, but you must choose," the King said.

I chose one I wanted to hear, but the King had already decided
beforehand what he wanted to sing. (I might have spared myself the
trouble.) He went toward the piano, but before he sang he took out of
the mysterious basket an egg, which he broke and swallowed raw, to
clear his voice. He began at the first song on the list, "Adeleide"
(Beethoven), and sang that and one after another of those on the list.
It seemed queer to have the _rôles_ reversed in this way. I generally
sang for royalty, but here royalty was singing for me.

[Illustration:
KING OSCAR
From an autographed photograph taken in 1896.]

The King and I sang the duet from "Romeo and Juliet" and his brother's
romance, "_I Rosens doft_," which I had sung with the King in Paris many
years ago. I sang some of my songs - "Beware," of course. I wondered
when the tenor, whom I was longing to hear, would come on the program.
He only came once, and that was when he sang a duet with his Majesty, a
duet which the King had had arranged from the Jacobite song called
"Charlie is my Darling."

The tenor, whose English was not his strong point, sang with great
pathos "Cha-r-r-r-r-r-r-lie es my tarling," as if a love-sick maiden
were calling her lover. When the King sings he throws his whole soul
into the music. If Providence had bestowed a beautiful voice on him he
would have done wonders, but one cannot expect a sovereign to give much
time to cultivating his talents.

Our music finished, tea was served, and his Majesty, apparently pleased
with his visit, left at five o'clock.

Here is something the King wrote in my, album which is very
characteristic of him: "If you do anything, do it without delay and
with your whole heart and mind."


_January, 1891._

Dear L., - I am going to give you a detailed account of the visit of the
Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark, their annual visit for the King's
birthday. Johan left the evening before to go to Kathrineholm, the last
station before Stockholm, in order to meet their Highnesses, and from
there to take the train and arrive here with them. Several of the
King's household did the same.

I was at the station at eight o'clock. It is pitch-dark here at that
hour. I pitied J. when I thought of his having to dress in full uniform
in the little hotel at Kathrineholm.

The King and his four sons and gentlemen and ladies belonging to the
court and society quite filled the room appropriated to royalty in
Stockholm station.

The train steamed in, and steps were placed at the door of the car. The
Crown Princess descended, followed by the Crown Prince, Prince
Christian, Princess Louise (the eldest daughter), and Prince Hans (the
King of Denmark's brother).

There was a great deal of kissing. The Princess was beaming with joy,
and said a word to every one.

The dinner at court was at six. It was a family dinner, and as such the
Queen was able to be present. As a rule, she is not present at large
dinners, because of her health. The King gave his arm to our Princess,
the Crown Prince took the Queen. Prince Carl gave me his arm and put me
on the left of the King.

During the repast the King asked me if I had read his book of travels.
I regretted to say that I had not. Then he called his _chasseur_, who
always stands behind his chair, and told him to beg the adjutant to see
that a copy of the book should be sent to me.

He talked a great deal of Paris, of his admiration for the Empress
Eugénie, and how he had enjoyed his visit during the Exposition of
1867. He said, "Do you remember our excursion in my little boat when
you, the Princess Mathilde, and Marquis Callifet did me the honor to
come with me?"

"Yes, I remember very well, but I think the honor was on our side."

"Do you remember," he said, "the guitar, and those delightful songs you
sang - 'Beware?' Do you remember?"

I remembered, certainly, and wondered if I had ever sung anything else
in my life.

"And our going to the Rothschilds' place near Boulogne," he continued,
"where the porter refused to let us enter the park?"

"Yes," I replied. "But when he heard who you were all the doors were
thrown wide open."

"Those were pleasant days," the King said with a sigh of recollection.
"I was a good friend of yours, and never will I change."

"I hope you never will, your Majesty."

"Never," he said. "When once I am a friend, I am a friend for always,
and I shall always be a good friend to you." And, taking up my hand
from the table, he kissed it - a most embarrassing moment for me!

* * * * *

Our ball was a great success. Perhaps you don't know how festivities
belonging to royal visits are managed. Entertainments are prearranged
three or four weeks before the arrival of the royal guests.

I had never entertained royalty before, therefore I was naturally
rather nervous. I sent to Nice for kilos of flowers, and to Rome for
mosaic brooches and little _fiaschettis_, which I filled with perfume.
I sent to Paris for canes and card-cases and silver pencils, and
arranged a surprise for my guests. This was a fancy-dress quadrille, to
be danced by sixteen young people at the beginning of the cotillon.
Four couples were dressed as shepherds and shepherdesses in
different-colored satins, with powdered hair and bright ribbons. The
other four were dressed as _incroyables_.

The great problem was how to arrange the different suppers, of which
there must be five or six. The royalties must have a room to
themselves. There must be three separate suppers for the other guests,
two for the dancers, and two buffets going on all the evening.

In the ballroom a dais was arranged with a red brocade for a
background, on which were two red chairs for the King and the Crown
Princess.

After giving the last orders J. and I stood at the doors to receive our
guests, who soon began pouring in. People in Sweden are always very
punctual, and arrive precisely at the time for which they are invited.
Of course, when royalty is present one should be a little earlier.

Here the host always names the hour when the carriages are to be
ordered. I think this is very wise, because if the poor horses had to
stand out in the cold, waiting until their masters chose to go home,
they would freeze to death. Fortunately, my dress, ordered from Paris,
arrived just the day before.

At half past nine the servant announced the arrival of the royal
carriages. J. and the secretaries flew downstairs, two servants raced
after them, each carrying a candelabrum of six lighted candles. After
J. had helped the King from the carriage he took the candelabra from
the servants and preceded the King up the stairs to where I stood,
according to custom, on the threshold of the door. I presented to the
Crown Princess a large bouquet of red and white roses (the Danish
colors), with long streaming ribbons to match, and a smaller bouquet to
the Princess Louise.

The _tambour_, a curious name given to an antechamber in Sweden, seemed
overflowing with dazzling uniforms and showy liveries. It was a very
cold night, and all the guests were muffled up to the tips of their
noses when they came in. The display of india-rubbers was stupendous.
You can see how necessary were the twenty-two large porcelain stoves
which, in Sweden, are built into the walls. For my ballroom I was
obliged to add an American stove of the kind one fills once a day from
the top.

The King gave me his arm, and as we entered the _salon_ every one
courtesied to the ground. Then the Crown Princess came in with J.

Tea was passed, and when the usual ceremonies like presentations and
greetings were finished, the _quadrille d'honneur_ commenced.

The King took his place on the dais and watched the dancing.

At eleven o'clock supper was announced. In entering the supper-room the
King gave me his arm, the others following.

We were fifteen at our table, ten of whom were royalties.

J. did not sit down to supper with us, as it is not the custom in
Sweden for the host to absent himself from the rest of his guests.

Now came the moment for the surprise!

When the royal guests were seated on the dais, sufficient space was
made in front of them, the door opened from a side-room, and the
dancers entered.

I think those sixteen young people showed much self-denial to be
willing to forego the early pleasures of the ball, as they had to do,
and give up the time when others were dancing to being dressed, wigged,
powdered, and painted. I had to put four rooms at their disposal, two
for the ladies with their maids, one for the gentlemen and their
valets, and one for their refreshments and supper.

The shepherds and shepherdesses looked and danced their quadrille
charmingly. The music for this was the mazurka from "Romeo and Juliet."
When the _incroyables_ came in there was a murmur of admiration. They
were beautifully dressed. They wore black satin costumes, and the
ladies had white ruffs round their necks. The gentlemen wore high
collars and lace jabots. Each had a long stick in his hand and a
monocle in his eye. The shepherds stood back while the _incroyables_
danced their quadrille. The music of this was the "Gavotte Louis XIII."
As I had chosen the eight prettiest girls in Stockholm, the effect was
perfectly enchanting. After the second quadrille they joined forces and
danced a _ronde_ to the music of "_Le Galop Infernal_" of "_Orphée aux
Enfers_" (Offenbach). It was a great success, and the King desired them
to dance it over again.

The King thought it must have been a tremendous undertaking, but I told
him that it was no trouble to me, as the ballet-master from the theater
had taught them.

These young people stayed in their pretty costumes for the cotillon,
which commenced directly after their dance.

In Sweden people are not _blasé_ as to cotillon favors. They are not
accustomed to receive anything more elaborate than flowers and little
bows, so I think they all went home happy with their gifts.

There is such a queer custom here. During the cotillon, at the same
time with the ices, beer is served, and something they call
_mandel-melck_ (milk mixed with almond essence). The young ladies also
have to be sustained every little while by huge glasses of the blackest
of porter.

The royal guests left at two o'clock; then we had a sit-down supper for
those remaining. At five o'clock I found myself in my bed, tired out
but happy that everything had gone off so well.

The next day the Crown Prince of Sweden had arranged a tobogganing
party at Dyrsholm. We were a very gay company of twenty-four, meeting
at the station to take the little local train to Dyrsholm, and arriving
about twelve o'clock.

Here we found an excellent luncheon which his Royal Highness had
ordered, and which was, oh, so acceptable to us hungry mortals! On
excursions of this kind in this cold latitude one is obliged to be very
careful not to eat and especially not to drink too much, as there is
always danger of congestion.

It was a glorious day, the sun shining brilliantly in a clear sky, but
bitterly cold. The thermometer, I was told, was eighteen below zero; I


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