L. de (Lillie de) Hegermann-Lindencrone.

The sunny side of diplomatic life, 1875-1912 online

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for his pet.

"You must come again," said the Queen, "when your
bear is better trained," and, turning to Signor Borea
(her chamberlain), told him to give the man some money
and direct him to the forester's lodge, where some food
should be given to him.

The young Italian's face beamed with joy when he
beheld the vast sum (twenty lire) he had received, and
led his disobedient companion away in disgrace ; but the
bear, quite unconscious of being in disgrace, turned his
head for a last friendly glance, walked on his hind legs
in his clumsy and swaggering manner, but with a cer-
tain dignity, down the avenue.

The King, who was with us on the terrace, had been
a silent witness of the whole scene, and, not being able
to resist the promptings of his kind heart, followed the
couple. We saw him put a gold piece in the brown palm
of the poor fellow, whose "only friend" had failed him
on this unique occasion. He eemed quite overcome
by this Danae-like shower of gold, and hesitated
before taking the piece, thinking, perhaps, that on
this occasion honesty might be the best policy, and
said:

"The Queen has already given me much."

"That does not matter," said the King. "You must
take what I give you. Do you know who I am?"

"No, signer. Are you Garibaldi?"

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

The King laughed. "No, I am not Garibaldi; I am
the King."

This second surprise was too much for the little man,
and he almost fell down in his emotion.

What his dreams were that night must have been
like one of the Arabian Nights.

REGGIO, October ifth.

DEAR , Count Spaletti has a very fine chdteau

(a large park and a beautiful forest), where he and his
family live in patriarchal style. It is the true Italian
traditional home-life in every respect.

There is on the farm a large building in which the
famous Parmesan cheese is made. We were shown the
entire process from the milking of the cows down to
the great wheels (which look like millstones) and the
completed cheese. Milking is a process with which you
are, perhaps, not familiar. It is done with the help
of a maiden and a three-legged stool, while the cow goes
on chewing the worn-out cud of her last meal, occasion-
ally giving a Cenci-like glance of approbation.

But I won't tell you about that; I will let you in the
secrets of Parmesan-cheese making, so that when you
are eating it grated on macaroni you may know what an
old stager you have to do with. The milk is put in
great vats just as it comes from the mesdames les vaches;
there it remains, occasionally turned around, not churned,
with a wooden paddle, until it becomes a solid substance.

When it is hard enough to handle it is put into large
round wooden forms and allowed to remain untouched
for how long do you think? One year! Then they
put it under the oil regime that is to say, olive-oil is

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

poured through the cheese at regular intervals until the
rind is as black and thick as leather. In four years it is
ready to be sold. Each cheese weighs several hundred
pounds, is a foot thick, and is as big as a cart-wheel.
We eat it every day for luncheon and dinner. I like
it so much better, fresh and straight from the farm (if
anything four years old can be called fresh), than when
stale and grated.

ROME, 1888.

MY DEAR AUNT, Leo XIII. 's jubilee has been the
means of bringing the world to Rome. Every day dur-
ing these last weeks we have watched the carts passing
our house piled with huge cases which contained the
presents destined for the Holy Father.

The streets are filled with pilgrims from everywhere.
One cannot look in any direction without seeing pro-
cessions of nuns, priests, and monks of all nations and
denominations, from the dingy brown Franciscans, the
Capucines with their white mantles displaying their
bare legs, to the youthful disciples of the Propaganda in
their brilliant scarlet cassocks, not to speak of the
forestiere armed with their red Baedekers, who are
doing Rome and at the same time doing the Pope's
Jubilee.

Everything and every one on the way to the Vatican.

We went to see the gifts, which are exposed in many
rooms on the ground floor of the Vatican. There was
an enormous quantity of things of every description,
useful, ornamental, and superfluous. The windmills,
bells, every sort of vehicle, rowboats, sailboats, and
every modern invention had been put out in the Vatican
gardens.

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You can have no idea of the incredible amount of
slippers sent (thousands of them); church vetements by
the hundreds, embroidered by millions of women who
must have worked themselves blind; the most exquisite
articles of needlework, incrusted with pearls and precious
stones which have probably cost a mint of money.

The Princess del Drago's gift was a large diamond
cross with an enormous emerald in the center, an heir-
loom from her mother, the Queen of Spain. There'were
many other private gifts which were equally valuable.
Almost a ship-load of canned fruits and vegetables sent
from America; these were arranged in a gigantic pyra-
mid. Just to look at them made my mouth water and
me homesick.

Ridiculous objects from naif donors, such as babies'
socks and jackets, and silver things for a lady's toilet-
table, and other equally inappropriate things, must have
surprised the Pope when he saw them. I have not men-
tioned the millions of francs the Pbpe received in money;
he can easily dispose of that; and he intends, I believe,
to make presents to every church in Italy of the differ-
ent objects which can be useful. But what can he do
with the babies' socks?

On last Thursday the Pope said mass in St. Peter's.
It was the great event of the year.

As we are accredited to the Quirinal, of course I never
can have the opportunity to be received by his Holi-
ness; therefore I was very glad when the monsignore
who is still Dantefying us offered to give me a carte
d'entrfe.

I was obliged to be at St. Peter's at a very early hour,
and succeeded, owing to having a "friend at court"



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

t

(the Swedish chamberlain to the Pope, Marquis de
Lagergren), in getting an excellent place where I had a
good view of the Pope and the whole ceremony. Ladies
are dressed entirely in black, with black veils instead
of hats, on these occasions.

There was a great deal of noise in the church much
scraping of chairs, rather loud talking, people being
shown to their seats, and, above all other noises, the
organ.

I cannot honestly say that the music was beautiful.
With the exception of the days when the best singers
of the Pope's choir sing, the music in St. Peter's is not
good. The organ is as antiquated as the organist, who
plays with all the stops pulled out.

The center of the church was filled with wooden
benches and chairs. The altar was brilliantly lighted
with hundreds of wax candles; the columns around it
were hung with tawdry red damask curtains, which, in
my opinion, rather took from the dignity of this mag-
nificent church.

The Swiss Guards ushered people to their seats. They
looked very picturesque in their costumes of bright red
and yellow, slashed sleeves, and brass helmets.

In due time the serious and somber chamberlains, in
their black satin and velvet costumes, appeared; next
came the bishops, in their purple robes; and directly pre-
ceding his Holiness the Pope were the cardinals, in red.
Then came the twelve men carrying the gold pontifical
chair in which the Pope was seated; they walked very
solemnly and slowly.

Every one dropped on his knees, and the Pope raised
his thin white hand to bless the kneeling crowd.

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

He mounted the steps of the high altar and began
reading mass. His voice was very feeble and scarcely
audible.

It was very impressive. It would be impossible to
give you an idea of the intense solemnity of this scene,
especially for me, as I have no talent for description.
Women wept and waved their wet handkerchiefs; the
sterner sex would have done the same, I dare say, if
they had not been ashamed to show so much emotion.

March 10, 1888.

The Emperor Wilhelm of Germany died yesterday.
Though he was so very old, the news of his death was
unexpected and cast a gloom over Rome. Of course, all
gaieties are ended, and court mourning ordered for three
weeks. King Umberto left directly for Genoa to meet
the new Emperor, who started from San Remo on his
way to Berlin. The dinner for King Umberto's birth-
day, which was to have been on the i4th, has been
decommande.

The Prince of Naples has already left for Berlin to
represent the King at the Emperor's funeral his first
official act since he has become of age.

May i t 1888.

MY DEAR AUNT, My letters are very uninteresting.
I cannot help it. There is nothing going on in society.
In fact, many of the Italians have left Rome, and the
colleagues are resting on their oars those who have
any to rest on. I am resting on my "Pinafore" oars.
How lucky we had it when we did!

Taking advantage of this moment of inactivity, the

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

Roman ladies arranged a charity performance, for which
Marquise Del Grillo (Madame Ristori) promised to give
her services. She chose the famous play "Marie An-
toinette," which is supposed to be one of her best. The
tickets were to be procured only from the ladies of the
committee (of which I was one), and, though they cost
a fabulous price, the theater was crammed to suffocation.

Madame Ristori 's acting was, of course, perfect, her
voice musical, her Italian delicious, and her gestures
were faultless. If one might dare criticize such an artist,
one could say that her movements might have been a
little more queenly, but a queen's grace and dignity
must be very difficult to acquire from sheer imagination.
Also her dress was far from what it ought to have been.
I am sure no French dressmaker had the making of that
gown. In the first act Marie Antoinette, in the apothtose
of her glory, wore voluminous skirts and crinoline, ac-
cording to the famous picture. Madame Ristori wore
a crinoline, to be sure; but her dress was too short in
front and showed her low-heeled shoes of white satin,
and when she moved about her gown of heavy brocade
swayed from side to side like a pendulum.

One recognized the great artist in the scene in the
prison, where she bade the king and her children adieu.
This was very touching, and there was not a dry eye in
the audience. I know that I sniffed and wept and blew
my nose, and was quite ashamed of showing my feelings
so explosively.

I went to see her on her reception-day (the *next
Friday) and found her in her every-day surroundings,
her pretty daughter hovering about with teacups and
cakes, everything looking very home-like and prosaic,

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

and Marie Antoinette eating sandwiches with a healthy
appetite and talking of the latest gossip. I could hardly
believe that I had shed so many tears over her sad fate
a few nights ago.

The sad news of the death of Emperor Frederick came
day before yesterday from San Remo. Every one had
been expecting his death for months. The Italians loved
him, and mourn hinras if he had been their own. There
is court mourning for three weeks.

MONZA, October i, 1888.

MY DEAR AUNT, You ought to have a map of Europe
continually under your eyes, and little pins to stick in
the places where we last were. Space and distance
are nothing to your "wandering jew (el) s." Going from
Italy to Denmark and back again twice a year, we are
obliged to traverse the whole of Europe, and, as "all
roads lead to Rome," we can choose the one we like best.

Wherever we go we are enigmas to our fellow-travelers,
who can never decide what nation we belong to. Johan
talks Danish to me; we talk French to the governess,
German to the valet, Italian to my maid, and English
alternately. I think we would have puzzled the builders
of the tower of Babel at that confusing moment when
they all burst forth in unknown tongues.

ROME, October 15, 1888.

MY DEAR AUNT, We are having a series of entertain-
ments in honor of the new Kaiser. This is his first offi-
cial visit since he has become Emperor. He arrived here
on the nth at four o'clock.

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

We were invited by M. and Mme. Huffer to see the
cntrte. They being Germans, their decorations sur-
passed all others. Carpets out of every window, flags
flying, and the German coat of arms placed in every
available spot on their beautiful palace in the Via
Nazionale. The King, accompanied by the Prince of
Naples, followed by the Duke of Genoa, Due d'Aosta,
M. Crispi, Marquis Gravina, and Marquis Guiccioli,
and other notabilities, drove to the station through a
double line of troops on both sides of the street.

The usually dirty waiting-room in the station was hung
with tapestries taken from the Quirinal and the splendid
Louis XV. furniture taken from the beautiful Palace
of Caserta.

The train which preceded the Emperor's, decked out
with garlands and flags, came in sight, the traditional
red carpet was laid down, the final orders shouted, and
the Imperial train appeared. The soldiers presented
arms, and the military bands struck up the German
national hymn. The King wore the uniform of a gen-
eral. He advanced to meet his Imperial guest. They
embraced and kissed each other on both cheeks, then
they presented the princes and the different members
of their suites.

The Emperor was in the red uniform of the Hussars
and looked very young and handsome.

In the first berime (as they call the demi-gala blue
landaus) were the Emperor and the King; in the second
were the Prince of Naples and Prince Henry of Prussia
(the Emperor's brother) ; in the third the Due d'Aosta
and the Duke of Genoa; in the fourth, Count Herbert
Bismarck and the German Ambassador (Count Solms).

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

The other carriages, of which there must have been ten,
contained the military and civil members of both the
sovereigns.

There was a great demonstration in front of the
Quirinal Palace. The Emperor and the King came out
on the balcony amid screams of "Eh! viva!" One old
man a German, I suppose who was covered with
medals shouted at the top of his lungs, "Hoch /" hoping
to make a sensation, but the Emperor made no sign
that he heard it.

The next day (Friday), as had been arranged long
beforehand, the Emperor made his visit to the Pope;
the carriage from the Quirinal brought him to the resi-
dence of Herr von Schlozer (the German Minister to the
Vatican), where the Emperor lunched and changed his
uniform.

Schlozer's account of the luncheon was very amusing
His household was apparently not arranged for the re-
ception of emperors. He and his secretary were in
great straits to provide the proper luxuries for their
august guest. Schlozer possessed nothing so frivolous
as a mirror, therefore he sent to borrow ours. We sent
him the one we thought best suited to the occasion. It
was so different from Schlozer's modest belongings that
the Emperor's quick eye guessed instantly that it was
a stranger, and said, "Where did this come from?"

I give you Herr von Schlozer's account in his own
language.

"I had no extra toilet things to put into the Emperor's
room, but, fortunately, I had bought a cake of soap in
Berlin; this I put on a piece of marble I had picked up
in the Forum, which I thought would do for a soap-

191



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

dish. The Emperor went into the adjoining room to
change his uniform, and suddenly appeared in the door-
way, holding out his wet hands, and said, 'Mein liebe
Schlozer, can't you give me a towel?' Donnerwettcr!
said Schlozei*, that was the one thing that I had for-
gotten."

The luncheon was (excepting the famous wines on
which he prides himself) of the simplest kind of Italian
repasts, of which macaroni, frittura mista, and cutlets
with saffron (a la Milanais) formed the chief feature.
The Emperor was in the best of spirits and enjoyed it
all, interlarded as it was with Schlozer's unique remarks.

The Emperor's own horses and carriages and piqueurs
(brought expressly from Berlin for this one visit to the
Pope) were waiting before the German Legation to con-
vey his Majesty and Herr von Schlozer to the Vatican.
The whole route through which they drove was lined
with a double row of the national troops to the very
steps of the Vatican. Every window was filled with
people anxious to catch a glimpse of the handsome and
youthful Emperor as he passed by in his open victoria;
Prince Henry and Count Bismarck followed in another
of the Emperor's carriages.

At the early hour of half past nine the haute societe,
the Ministers, the Senators and Deputies in fact, all
Rome were summoned to meet the Emperor at the
Campidoglia. It was to be lighted for the first time
with electricity a great event. People were to meet
in the statue-gallery. After all were assembled, the
King, the Queen, and the Emperor entered, followed by
the princes and their different suites. The Emperor
was dressed in the uniform of the garde de corps (all

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

white) with a silver breastplate and silver helmet. He
was an apparition! and did not look unlike one of the
statues. Or was. he a Lohengrin who had come in a
swan-drawn skiff down the Tiber to save some Italian
Elsa?

There were some presentations made. I, for one, was
presented to his Imperial Majesty, and was charmed
with his graciousness. We talked English, which I
think rather pleased him, for he made some facetious
remarks on things and people and actually laughed.

The next evening, the i8th, the fireworks and the
illumination of the Forum, the Colosseum, and the
Palatine, were the entertainment after a diner de famille.

The Diplomatic Corps was bidden to the Villino.
The place was rather too small to contain all the guests.
Fortunately, it was a pleasant evening ; there was a full
moon which lent charm to the scene. Bengal lights, to
my mind, are the cheapest form of illumination; but
the fireworks for which the Italians are so renowned
were splendid. Rockets of all colors, bursting in mid-air
and sending down showers of lighted balls, were never-
ending, and everything belonging to pyrotechnics was
in profusion and perfection.

The bouquet (which is the French for the apoiheose)
surpassed everything I had ever seen before. It lasted
several minutes. When everything has burned out,
only the brilliant "W" with an Imperial crown re-
mained, and faded gradually away.

ROME, March, 1889.

DEAR AUNT, Rome is placarded all over with blood-
curdling pictures of "the Wild West Show" and por-

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

traits of our friend Buffalo Bill. I call him "our
friend," although I can't say I know him very well.
We traveled in the same car with him for a whole week
on our way to California ten years ago. That is not
enough, is it?

I had never seen a Wild West Show and was most
eager to go; besides, I wanted to see "our friend" in
his professional character. We made up a large party
and went there en bande.

The tents were put up not far from the Vatican gar-
dens, behind Castel St. Angelo. None of us had ever
been to such a performance, and we were all delighted
at the marvelous feats of lassoing by the cowboys and
the rifle-shooting of the cowgirls, who looked so pretty
in their short leather skirts and leggings. One of them
threw pieces of silver in the air and shot them in two
with her rifle. Everything was wonderful.

Duke Sermoneta, who went with us, having read on
the posters that Buffalo Bill professed to tame any wild
or vicious horse, wished to test Buffalo Bill's ability,
and perhaps with a little maliciousness had ordered
some of the wild horses from his estate to be brought to
Rome.

These untamed horses are like those that used to run
in the corsi del Barberi during the carnival in Rome when
Rome had carnivals. The Duke was very sure that no
one could tame them, much less put a saddle on them;
the audience, no doubt, thought the same. There was
quite an excitement when the frightened things came
rushing into the arena and stood looking about them
with terrified eyes. But the cowboys knew very well
what to do. They quickly lassoed them, and some-

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

how, before we could see the whole process, they were
forced to the ground, plunging about and making des-
perate efforts to get up. Finally, after many attempts,
a saddle was placed on them, and lo and behold! the
ferocious wild horses were conquered and, as meek as
Mary's little lamb, were ridden around the arena to
the accompaniment of great clapping, screaming, and
applause. Every one was as enthusiastic as the Duke
Sermoneta over the stubborn and agile young Wild-
Westers. Then Buffalo Bill's herald came forward and
proposed that the Italian campagna boys, who had
brought the Duke's horses, should mount the American
bucking horses. The Duke gave his consent readily.
He was very willing that his men should show what they
could do. Well, they showed what they could not do;
they could not keep on the horses a minute, even if they
managed to get on; they turned somersaults in every
direction, fell off, and rolled about on the ground. _ The
audience roared.

Buffalo Bill appeared on a beautiful horse, holding
his gray sombrero in his hand, acknowledging the ap-
plause. He looks very handsome with his long, fair
hair falling on his shoulders and his Charles-the-Second
fine face.

The Duke said, "How I should like to speak to that
man!"

We said that we knew him and that perhaps we could
get him to come to us. I wrote on my card : "It would
give M. de Hegermann and myself much pleasure to
speak with you. We traveled in the same train with
you to California some years ago, if you remember."
I sent the card by a little page who was selling pop-

14 J 9S



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

corn. At the first opportunity Buffalo Bill came, pre-
ceded by the boy. He said he "remembered us per-
fectly." I introduced him to the Duke, who, after hav-
ing complimented him on his "show " and laughed over
the awkward attempts of his boys, asked him if we
might see the camp.

No gentleman from the court of Louis XV. could sur-
pass Buffalo Bill's refined and courteous manners. He
said if we would wait until the performance was over
he would "show us about."

We did wait, and went all over the camp with him,
and saw everything that was to be seen, and smelled the
different fried things which lurked in every corner.
Buffalo Bill beckoned to some of the cowboys to come
forward and named them to us. I think they were
delighted. They had such good, honest (and even hand-
some) faces. My heart warmed to them.

One said to me, "Why, you talk English as good as
an American!"

"That is not wonderful," I answered; "I am an
American."

"Is that so?" he asked. "Well, America's a pretty
good place, ain't it? A good sight better than over
here that is what I think," and, pointing to the Duke
Sermoneta said, "Is that gent American, too?"

"No," I answered. "He is an Italian. Those were
his horses you tamed this afternoon."

"Is that so? Well, I would not like to tell him that
them boys of his can't ride worth a cent and the horses
ain't worth their hide."

I hoped that Duke Sermoneta had not overheard this
conversation.

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

Buffalo Bill showed us a young Indian woman who
had had a baby a few days ago.

"It was baptized this morning," he added. "What
do you think it was called?"

"Is it a boy or a girl?" asked the Duke, looking at the
brown, wizened face of the little thing, which was swad-
dled in an old shawl.

"A girl," answered the young mother, in English.

"Then I suppose you called it Roma," I said.

"No," said Buffalo Bill. "It is the custom among
the Indians to give to the baby the name of the first
thing the mother sees after its birth."

"Then they must have named it Tent," I said.

Buffalo Bill laughed. "No, you must 'guess again.
It was called Saint Peter's."

"Poor little girl!" said the kind-hearted Duke, and
put a gold piece in the ready and delighted hand of the
mother.

ROME, 1890.

DEAR , Signer Sonsogni, the promoter of music

and art, gave several librettos of operas to different
composers in Italy, and promised a large reward to the
victorious competitor.

Signor Crispi kindly offered me his loge, thinking that


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