L. de (Lillie de) Hegermann-Lindencrone.

The sunny side of diplomatic life, 1875-1912 online

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the Place de la Concorde, and a more absurd exhibition
of vindictiveness cannot be imagined.

Poor Zola has been condemned to pay a fine of how
much do you think? Twenty-five thousand francs!
He would not or could not pay. The authorities put all
his worldly goods, which they valued at twenty thousand
francs, up at auction, and went, on the day of the sale,
belted with their official scarfes and armed with pre-
tentions, and commenced the farce of the auction. An
old kitchen table was the first thing to be sold. Two
francs were offered. "Going, going, go !" when a
voice struck in, ''Twenty-five thousand francs." This
sudden turn nonplussed the authorities. The auction
was called off and came to an untimely end because no
one knew exactly what to do.

May, igoo.

DEAR , The opening of the Exposition was a

grand affair. I never saw so many people under one
roof as there were yesterday at the Salle des Fetes.
The order in the streets was something wonderful. The
police managed the enormous crowd as if it had been
composed of so many tin soldiers.

The ladies of the Diplomatic Corps and the wives of
the foreign commissioners sat with Madame Loubet in
a tribune, on very hard benches. The President stood
on a raised platform overlooking the multitude, sur-
rounded by his Ministers, his official suite, and the Am-



bassadors and Foreign Ministers in full uniform. It was
a most brilliant sight.

M. Loubet made his speech in as loud a voice as he
could command, but I doubt if it was very audible. Sev-
eral orchestras played before and after the speeches.

Since then I have been many times to the Exposition,
and the only fault I can find with it so far is that it is
too enormous; but I admire the cleverness of the ar-'
chitects, who have brought Paris into the middle of it
and made it a part of it. Both sides of the Seine are
utilized in the most practical manner.

Every country has its own superb building in the rue
des Nations. Frederick is the commisaire from Den-
mark. The Danish Pavilion is the first to be finished
and is called a success. We baptized it with great 6clat.
There were speeches and champagne, and the Dane-
brog was hoisted amid hurrahs of our compatriots.

The tapis roulant (moving sidewalk) is a very good
scheme, as it takes you to every point. As yet people
are a little shy about it and will stand and stare a long
time before venturing to put their feet on it.

The fetes at this time of the Exposition are over-
powering. All the Ministers are outdoing themselves.
They think nothing of inviting five hundred people to
dinner and serving twenty courses. I sat next to M.
L'Epine, prefet de police, and a more restless companion
I never had, although when quietly seated in his place
he is a most charming one. We had not been five min-
utes at the table before several telegrams were brought
to him. A riot in Montmartre, a fire in the rue St.-
Honor6, or a duel at the lie de Puteaux, and he was up
and down, telephoning and telegraphing, until finally



before the end of the dinner he disappeared entirely.
There were two concerts in different salons during the
evening, one vocal and the other orchestral, each guest
choosing that which he liked best.

I go every day to the Exposition. There is always
something new and interesting. Yesterday it was a
lunch with Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg (our
Crown Prince's daughter, who married her handsome
cousin of Sweden) at a restaurant called Restaurant bleu,
under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The Prince
wished to make the acquaintance of Mr. Eiffel, and the
Swedish Minister, who was present, secured the distin-
guished architect's company.

He went with us to the very top of his modern tower
of Babel, even to his own particular den, which is the
highest point, where he alone has the right to go. The
sensation of being up in the clouds is not pleasant, and
as you change from one elevator to the other and cast
your eyes down jthe giddy space you tremble. The view
of Paris spread out under you is stupendous, but I would
not go up there again for worlds.

The princely pair dined with us the same evening en
toilette de ville, and we went to the rue de Paris to see
Sadi-Jako. The Japanese Minister, who sat in the box
next to us, introduced her when she came in during the
entr'actes to pay her respects to him. She is very small,
and has the high, shrill voice which the Japanese women
cultivate. She is the first woman who has ever acted
in a Japanese theater. Otherwise the acting has always
been done by men. Sadi's husband performs also, and
in a dreadfully realistic manner. He stabbed himself
with a sword, and with such vigor that real blood, so



it looked, ran down in bucketfuls over the stage, and
he groaned and writhed in his death-throes.

Paris would not be Paris if it did not keep us on the
qui-vive. Every kind of celebrity from everywhere is
duly lionized. Paris, never Republican at heart, still
loves royalty in any shape, and at the merest specimen
of it the Parisians are down on their knees.

We have had the heavy-eyed Krueger straight from
the Transvaal. Paris made a great fuss over him, but
he took his lionization very calmly. At the Opera peo-
ple cheered and waved their handkerchiefs. He came
forward to the edge of the loge, bowed stiffly, and looked
intensely bored. The protocole furnishes the same pro-
gram for each lion. A dinner at the Elysees, a prom-
enade, a gala opera, et wild,.

Fritjof Nansen, the blond and gentle Norwegian ex-
plorer, has just finished his visit here. As a Scandi-
navian friend he came for a cup of tea and made himself
most agreeable, and was, unlike other celebrities, willing
to be drawn out. He told us of some of his most ex-
citing adventures. Starvation and exposure of all sorts
belong to explorers.

No one would think, to look at the mild and blue-eyed
Nansen, that he had gone through so many harrowing

"The worst were," he said, "losing my dogs. I loved
them all. To see them die from want of food and other
sufferings broke my heart."

I am sure that what he said was true, he looked so
kind and good.



Among other personages of distinction Paris greets
is the Shah of Persia. The Elys6es gave him the tra-
ditional gala dinner, to which the diplomats were in-
vited. The ballroom was arranged as a winter-garden,
with a stage put at the end of it. The ballet from the
Ope"ra danced and played an exquisite pantomime, but
the august guest sat sullen and morose, hardly lifting
his Oriental eyes. People were brought up to him to
be introduced, but he did not condescend to favor them
with more than a guttural muttering probably his pri-
vate opinion, meant only for his suite. He merely glanced
at us and looked away, as if too much bored for words.
M. Loubet stood on one side, and Madame Loubet sat
in a fauteuil next to him, but he had nothing to say to
either of them. The government had put Dr. Evans's
beautiful and perfect villa in the Bois at his disposition.
The persons belonging to the house say that it is swim-
ming in dirt, and they never expect to get it clean again.
The suite appear to have no other amusements than driv-
ing about the streets from morning to night. The
Elysees must have a hundred carriages in use for them.
Last evening there was a gala performance at the Grand
Opera for the blas6 Shah. They gave "Copelia," with
the lovely Mauri as prima ballerina. The audience
made no demonstration, although it ought to have
shown a certain amount of Te Deumness, on account of
the Shah's escape from an attempt on his life. He was
miraculously saved, and will go on living his emotion-
less life for ever and ever. May Allah protect him . . .
from us!

Speaking of Orientals, the Chinese Minister has taken
a very large apartment in the Avenue Hoche. Evidently



they expect to entertain on a large scale. The wife is
called lady, but he is not called lord; the two pretty
daughters look more European than Chinese, having
pink-and-white complexions.

His Excellency was frightened out of his wits when
M. Loubet, desiring a private interview, sent for him.
He, not knowing European ways, thought his last hours
had come, and, expecting speedy extermination, hid

Milady, though half American, did not know exactly
what Ascension day meant and asked her Chinese ser-
vant. He replied, "Great Churchman gone topside

Mr. Peck is the American commissioner to the Ex-
position, and Mr. Thomas Walsh is one of the members
of the commission. He gave a colossal dinner at the
restaurant at d'Armenonville, and begged Mr. Martin,
who knows every one in Paris, to select the guests.
It was only on the evening of the dinner he made the
acquaintance of the one hundred people to whom he
was host.

Nordica sang after dinner, and sang charmingly, as
is her wont.

Mr. Walsh invited us to the American section. We sat
on the tarred roof of a restaurant, where lunch was served
a VAmericaine. My heart gladdened at the thought of
hot griddle-cakes and corn fritters; but although every-
thing was delicious, sitting on a tarred roof and being
served by a loquacious black tyro was not appreciated
by the foreign element.

A lady I won't tell you her name, though you know
it showed the greatest interest in the house Mr. Walsh



is building in Washington, and desired greatly to advise
him and help him choose furniture for it. She thought
Louis XVI. style very suitable for one salon, and pro-
posed Renaissance style for the library, and Empire for
the gallery, and so forth. Mr. Walsh said, in his dry
way, -'You must really not bother so much, madame;
plain Tommy Walsh is good enough for me." After
which she lost interest in him and gave him up.

We were horrified to hear of King Humbert's assassina-
tion at Monza. He was such a good man and loved his
country so devotedly. To be struck down by one of
his own people seems too cruel. How dreadful for
Queen Margherita!

Court mourning is ordered for three weeks.

PARIS, /poo.

DEAR L., Just a few lines from me to-day to answer
your question, O merciless and adorable friend! Drey-
fus has been -brought back from the dreadful island
where he has been confined these last five years. Five
years of torture! He was taken to Rennes to be tried.
His lawyer, Labori, has driven the judges almost out
of their senses.

The sensational attacks of Zola and his sudden " J' ac-
cuse" the suicide of Henry, the repeated demissions of
the Ministers and Generals, la femme VoiUe, the dis-
appearance of Esterhazy (stamped as a first-class scamp),
the attempt to get Labori's papers by shooting him
the ludicrous and tragic episodes have at last come to
an end. Dreyfus is declared innocent, and people are
beginning to realize what has happened.

Bjornstjerne Bjornson, the famous Norwegian poet,


From a photograph taken in 1901


has, from the beginning, taken Dreyfus's defense and
written article after article in the papers and proclaimed
in every manner his belief in his innocence. He hur-
ried to Paris when he heard that Dreyfus had returned.
We were very glad when an invitation came from the
Swedish Minister (Mr. Ackermann) to lunch with the
great author. I wish that you could see him, for to see
him is to know him. He has the kindest and noblest
face in the world. I wept over his account of the inter-
view between him and Dreyfus. The day and hour
were fixed for his visit. He found Madame Dreyfus
alone. She begged him to wait a moment, because her
husband was so agitated at the thought of seeing him
that he could not trust himself to appear. When at last
Dreyfus came into the room Bjornson opened his arms.
Dreyfus fell weeping into them and sobbed, "Merci!
Merci! Vous avez crft en moi" Bjornson replied:
"Mon ami, fai souffert pour wus, mon pauvre ami."
Of course, this is only a very little part of what he
told me, but it was all in this strain. He said that
during the interview, which lasted an hour, Dreyfus
did not utter a word of reproach against his tor-

Bjornson gave a tea-party at his daughter's house in
Passy, and invited us. I hoped that possibly Dreyfus
might be there, but he was not. However, I had the
pleasure of seeing Colonel Picquard again, and we had
a long talk together. Afterward, when I bade Bjornson
good-by, he stooped down and kissed me on my fore-
head before the roomful of people. Imagine my em-
barrassment at this unexpected and gratuitous token
of friendship, but, the kisser being Bjornson, every one



knew that the accolade was merely the outpouring of
a kind and good heart.

PARIS, August 15, IQOO.

The hottest day we have had! The thermometer
was way up in the clouds. My maid, in doing my hair
this morning, informed me of this fact. We conferred
about my toilet for the afternoon jete in the Elysees
Gardens. We heard that twelve thousand people were
invited. Certainly I should be lost in a crowd like that
and need not be dressed in my best. My maid thought
a rather flimsy gown of about year before last would
be good enough. Johan thought that he would be so
entirely out of sight that he was on the point of not
going at all. Well, we had a queer awakening. I was
very much astonished when the master of ceremonies
met me at the entrance and led me into the garden,
where the vast lawn was one mass of humanity. He
bade me take the first seat. I said to myself, "It is
only for the moment; I shall have to move farther on
later, when a higher-ranked lady arrives." Not at all!
I remained in the place of honor, to the right of Madame
Loubet, to the very end.

In the middle of the lawn were placed a dozen large
red arm-chairs before which a strip of carpet was
stretched, where we sat.

Three performances were arranged for the afternoon.
To the right was a Japanese theater where Sadi-Jako
and her troupe played their repertoire. In the center
was a Grecian temple, before which a ballet of pretty
girls danced on the grass in Grecian dresses. The effect
was charming. To the left was a little Renaissance
theater where people of different nationalities danced



and sang in their national costumes. I never saw any-
thing so wonderfully complete. Only the French can
do things like that. When the moment arrived for the
official promenade, you may imagine how I felt when I
saw Monsieur Loubet approach me and offer me his
arm. After all, I was the first lady! Why was I not
dressed in my best?

Monsieur and I walked at the head of the procession.
We made the tour of the gardens and through the whole
palace, gazed on and stared at by the entire crowd of the
twelve thousand spectators, until at last we reached the
salon where the buffet was established.

PARIS, igo2.

DEAR L., You might think that we are nearly ex-
hausted, but health and energy seem to assert them-
selves, and we bob up like those weighted playthings
children have. We have turned heads-up from our
journey to Denmark. We celebrated our silver wedding
at Aalholm. I won't bother you with the usual phrase,
"How the time has flown!" Twenty-five years! You
have seen what an ordinary wedding in Denmark is like.
You can coat this one with silver, and then you will but
know half the excitement. The setting being Aalholm,
the chief actors J. and I, the chorus being family and
friends, you may imagine that this fete left nothing to
be desired. Guests came from everywhere to the number
of forty. Even our best man came from Norway.
Deputations and telegrams dropped on us by the hun-
dreds; presents of silver in every form and shape. My
dress was silver, and silver sprays in my hair, and J.
wore them in his buttonhole. The dinner arranged by
Frederick on viking lines was splendid. Speeches at



every change of plates. I wept tears of pathos. An
address of five hundred names, adorned with water-
color sketches of our different Legations, bearing a silver
cover and a coat of arms, was presented by the Danish
colony in Paris. It was all very touching and gratifying.

The famous beauty, Countess Castiglione, departed
this world a few days ago. She was the woman most
talked of in the sixties.

When I first saw her she was already passee. There
is nothing that has not been said about her, but of this
I know absolutely very little. She used to live in Passy,
and was called "La recluse du passe." She was so ex-
traordinarily dressed and always created a sensation.

For the last thirty years no notice had been taken
of her. I quote the Figaro :

"Countess Castiglione in her day was considered the
most beautiful woman living. A classical beauty, but
entirely without charm. For the last years she has
lived, after having arrived at the age of eighty, in a dis-
mal apartment in the Place Vend6me, friendless, for-
gotten, and neglected."

All her mirrors were covered with black stuff of some
kind ; she did not wish to see the sad relics of her beauty.

At eleven o'clock every evening she took a walk with
her maid around the Place Venddme. She stayed in
bed all day, never rising till twilight, and receiving no
one but one or two old admirers who were faithful to
the end.

Her things (haillons they were called in official lan-
guage) were sold at auction piles of old ball-shoes, head-
gear, gloves stiffened with moisture and age. Apparently,
she never gave anything away, but hoarded her treasures,



which after her death were swept in corners and smelled
of mold and damp.

We are named to Berlin. I am very sorry to leave
Paris; I was getting quite accustomed to its little ways.
Johan went to the Elysees to present his lettres de rap-
pel. It seems only yesterday he went to present his
lettres de creance. The President gave him the Grand
Cordon of the Legion d'honneur, and to me the beauti-
ful service de Sevres called "La Chasse," a surtout de
table of five pieces. This is only given to royalty or
Ambassadors. One cannot buy it, as it belongs to the
French government. I heard that they hesitated be-
tween giving me that or a piece of Gobelin tapestry.
I was glad they chose the surtout de table. It will be
useful in two ways as a subject of conversation and
as a beautiful souvenir of our stay in Paris.




BERLIN, 1902-1912

BERLIN, January 22, 1903.

DEAR L., J.'s presentation of his lettres de creance to
the Emperor was a small affair compared with former
functions, which were combined with gala coaches, pow-
dered coachmen, and pourboires. It was simply taking
a train to Potsdam, in which there was a section called
Kaiserlick. The Minister of Foreign Affairs accompa-
nied him, as was his duty. In a royal carriage from
the court they were driven to the Neues Palais. J.
was met by the Introducteur des Ambassadeurs (Herr
von Knesebeck) and conducted into the presence of the
Emperor, where J. made his speech. The Emperor was
very official and ceremonious when he responded, but
in the conversation afterward was affability itself. J.'s
audience with the Empress was very hurried, because
of the Crown Prince of Denmark, who had arrived the
night before in Berlin. He stayed two days at Neues

I arrived two weeks after this. The custom here is
for a Minister's wife to be presented by the doyenne
(Madame Sjogeny) to the grande maitresse (Countess
Brockdorf) on one of her reception - days before the
Schleppenkur. I found her very charming. My audi-
ence with the Empress was fixed for a date a week later,
and the Swedish and the Peruvian Ministers' wives were
to be received at the same time.



We met in the salon of Countess Brockdorf on the
day appointed, and, preceded by her, went together
to the salon of the Empress, where we found Her Highness
already waiting. We sat about in a circle. The Em-
press talked French with us and was most gracious.
She has a wonderful figure; her white hair and youthful
face and her lovely, kind smile make her very beautiful.
She said that the Emperor remembered me from Rome
and Prince Henry (her brother-in-law) recollected hav-
ing met me at Monza.

I went in company with these same two ladies at an
audience to the Princess Henry, who lives in the pretty
pavilion on the left of the palace, overlooking the canal.
She only comes to Berlin when there are fetes at court,
otherwise she and the Prince live at Kiel.

Our next visit was to Princess Friedric-Leopold, the
Empress's sister. She lives in a palace in Wilhelm-
strasse when in Berlin. She is very lively, talkative,
and extremely natural in conversation. She has a beau-
tiful country place near Potsdam.

The Schleppenkur is a great event in Berlin. It takes
place before the birthday of the Emperor. I had never
seen anything like this ceremony, and it interested me
very much. Perhaps it will you. It takes place at a
very early hour in the evening eight o'clock. This
makes it necessary for one to begin to dress at six.
Naturally, you go without any dinner a cup of bouillon
is considered sufficient to keep you alive.

It is the custom for diplomats to engage for the even-
ing a Schutzmann a heavy mounted policeman. Our
particular one was waiting for us before our house and
rode by the side of our carriage until we arrived at the



entrance of the Schloss. He looked very important, but
I do not think he was of much use. However, it seems
that a Schutzmann comes under the chapter of Noblesse
oblige, and we took him. He did a great deal of horse-
manship, but never dared to disobey the chief police-
man's orders, and when we arrived at Portal 4 we had to
wait for the file like other people. He did not call up
our carriage at the end, but had to be called up himself
by the police force; then he appeared, bristling with
energy, and galloped at our horses' heads to our door,
where we laid our offering in his hand and bade him good
night. The Schutzmann is one of our privileges and
nuisances. I felt sorry for people who had been stand-
ing in the cold street for hours to watch the procession
of carriages and the gala coaches (which the Ambassa-
dors use on this occasion) , because they only get a glimpse
through the frost-covered windows of glittering uniforms
and dazzling diamonds. Your dress (instructions as to
which are printed even to the smallest detail on the
back pf your invitation) must be a ball-dress, with a
train four meters long, short sleeves, and a decolletage
of the Victorian period, and white kid (glace'} gloves.

We arrived at the Wendel entrance and mounted the
long and fatiguing staircase before we reached the
second story where the state apartments are. In the
hall of the corps de garde were several masters of cere-
mony, who received us with deep bows. I wondered
what certain large baskets which looked like clothes-
baskets were, and was told that ladies wearing boas or
lace wraps around their shoulders were expected to
drop them into these baskets. They would then be
conveyed to the other staircase, where, after the cere-



mony, we would find our servants and carriages and,
we hoped, our boas ! We passed through different rooms
where groups of ladies were assembled. The Corps
Diplomatique filled two rooms. The ladies were in the
first one, which leads to the Throne Room.

The Hungarian and Russian ladies wear their national
costumes, which are very striking and make them all
look like exotic queens. The English ladies wear the
three feathers and the long tulle white veil, which make
them look like brides. We others wear what we like,
ball-dresses of every hue, and all our jewels. No one
can find fault with us if our trains, our dtcolletage, our
sleeves and gloves, are not according to regulations.

The chamberlains arranged us, consulting papers which
they had in their hands, after the order of our rank.
Being the latest member, I was at the very end, only
the wives of two charges d'affaires being behind me.
The one directly behind me held up my train, just as
I held the train of the Peruvian Minister's wife in front
of me. I hope that I have made this clear to you.
The doyenne stood by the door which led into the Throne

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