L. de (Lillie de) Hegermann-Lindencrone.

The sunny side of diplomatic life, 1875-1912 online

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Room through which she was to enter. Four meters
behind her was her daughter holding her train, and be-
hind her were the ladies who had not already been
presented at court.

The room not being long enough, we formed a ser-
pentine curve, reminding one of the game called ' ' Follow
the leader." It must look funny to any one not know-
ing why we were so carefully tending the clothes of
other people. I never let go the train of the colleague
in front until she reached the door of the Throne Room,
where I spread it out on the floor. Then, as the lady

282





TWO VIEWS OF ROYALTY



From photographs taken at Lyngby, near Copenhagen, in 1894. In the facing photograph the
former Czar of Russia is seen, with black hat and light clothes, holding his favorite dog. From
left to right the others are: the Princess of Hesse; the Princess Marie; Prince Waldemar with his
dog; a dame d'honneur; King Christian X. of Denmark; and the present Czar of Russia. The man
at the extreme left of the picture is the present King, George of Greece.



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

passed into the room, two lackeys, one on each side of
the door, poked the train with long sticks until it lay
peacock-like on the parquet.

This is rather a critical moment. One has a great
many things to think of. In the first place, you must
keep at the proper distance from your predecessor.
Of this you can be pretty sure, because if you walk too
fast there is the restraining hand of the chamberlain
to prevent you. Still, there is always the fear of dropping
your fan or tripping over the front of your gown or of
your tiara falling off.

When I came in I saw His Majesty standing on the
throne, stately and solemn. For two hours he stands
thus. With a mass of officers on my right and a few
chamberlains at intervals on my left I advanced very
slowly and, I hope, with a certain dignity. I saw the
train of my colleague turn the corner around the offi-
cers. Two other lackeys darted forth and pronged my
train in place. I made my courtesy first to the Emperor
and then to the Empress, who stood at his left.

Next to her Majesty stood the grande mcutresse. I
put myself by her side and presented Frederikke and
our secretary's wife, and the grande maitresse said their
names to the Empress. Then as we passed out a ser-
vant picked up our trains and threw them over our
arms, disappearing through the door of the immensely
long gallery which is filled with pictures commemorat-
ing the numerous battles and events of the last forty
years. I wondered, when I looked at the stretch of
carpet, how any one carpet could be made so long.

As I am the latest arrived Minister's wife, I and
my two acolytes were the last persons to enter the

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

Wcissesaale where the buffet stood. This buffet ex-
tended almost the whole length of the vast room. We
refreshed ourselves. My little self was in sad need of
being refreshed, and I devoured the sandwiches spread
out temptingly under my eyes, and drank some reviv-
ing champagne, and waited for my better half, who,
with the other better halves, was making his bow to
the sovereigns. The ladies of the Corps Diplomatique
pass before the throne first and are followed by the
gentlemen; then come the highest-ranked princesses,
and so forth. It is very fatiguing moving about with
one's court train dragging on one's arm, and I for one
know that I was glad when we went down the marble
staircase and found the servant who had sorted our
boas from the baskets. There is no antechamber at the
foot of the staircase, so one must stay exposed to the
wintry blasts when the door is opened to let people out.

It is extraordinary how long it takes ladies to dis-
appear after their carriages are announced. They say
a few last words, linger over the picking up of their
skirts, and go out leisurely; also the servant seems un-
necessarily long mounting his box, settling himself before
the coachman drives away.

BERLIN, January, /poj.

DEAR , The 2ist was the Emperor's birthday.

The whole city is beflagged, and there are all sorts of il-
lumination preparations . ' ' W's " in every dimension and
color, the Emperor's bust surrounded by laurel leaves,
and flags in every window. Johan went in gala uniform
to the chapel in the Schloss, where a religious service is
always held, after which every one goes to congratulate
his Majesty and see the dtfiti cour afterward.

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THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

In the evening was the gala opera. Johan dined at
Count Bulow's (the Reichskanzkr) at five o'clock, while
I dressed for the theater. We were obliged to be there
at eight o'clock sharp. "Sharp" is the word here.
There is no loitering where the Emperor is concerned.
Everything is on time, and his Majesty is sometimes
before the hour mentioned, but never after.

The Opera-house is rather small, but was beautifully
decorated with garlands of artificial flowers hanging
from the center of the dome down to the balconies, and
from the proscenium boxes to the orchestra. In the
center of the house is the royal box, the balustrade of
which is covered with real flowers. From all the bal-
conies are hung beautiful carpets covered with festoons.
The whole interior was a mass of color.

The Emperor and Empress sat, of course, in the front
of the box, while the other chairs were filled by royal
guests who had come to Berlin to congratulate the Em-
peror. The King of Saxony, the King of Wurtemberg,
and the other German royalties, all sat in the royal box.
The Emperor's sons had their seats in the balcony.

The Ambassadors occupied the four proscenium boxes.
The highest princesses of the German nobility sat in the
next balconies. The Corps Diplomatique occupied the
boxes and balconies adjoining the royal box. All the
officers and secretaries of the Embassies sat in the par-
quet.

When the audience was seated the directeur generate
des theatres entered the royal box, came forward, and
rapped with his stick three times, a signal that their
Majesties were about to enter. The royal party came
in very quietly and took their places. Every one in the

285



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

house, of course, stood up and bowed. It was a pretty
sight from our balcony to see all the men's heads in the
parquet bend down while they saluted their Majesties.
It looked like the swaying of wheat by the wind.

Gradually all the lights were turned out and the over-
ture commenced. The opera was "Carmen " and Ma-
dame Destinn sang.

In the entr'acte the diplomats and the ladies and
gentlemen in" the first balcony were begged to go in the
foyer, where they were presented to the different royal-
ties assembled there.

The Empress was covered with magnificent diamonds
and pearls, and the jewels displayed by all these royal
ladies, and all the glittering uniforms of the princes and
officers made a splendid sight.

The Emperor came toward me with a gleam of recog-
nition, and commenced in an entirely unceremonious
way, shaking me heartily by the hand:

"How do you do? It's a long time since I saw you."

"Not since Rome, when your Majesty was there in
1889," I answered.

"So long ago? I remember it so well! As if it was
yesterday!"

"I, too," I said. "I remember your Majesty being
in the Statue Gallery of the Capitol, where you looked
like one of the statues itself, in your white uniform."

"I remember," he said. "It was a dreadful glare."

"It was the first time they ever put electricity in the
Capitol."

"They put too much in," he said, "and such a lot of
people! Dear me! I shall never forget it. Didn't I
look bored?"

286



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

"No, your Majesty looked very serious and as hand-
some as a Lohengrin," I answered.

"Lohengrin, really! I did not see any Elsa I wanted
to save."

"Oh, I meant only a Lohengrin de passage" I replied.

The Emperor laughed. "That is good."

"I recollect what your Majesty wrote on the photo-
graph you gave Monsieur Crispi."

"Really? What was it? I don't remember."

"You wrote: 'Gentilhomme, gentilhomme; corsaire,
corsaire et demi."

"What a good memory you have!" he said, and added,
very kindly, "I am very glad to have you and your hus-
band here, and I hope you will like Berlin. But ' ' holding
a finger warningly "don't look for many Lohengrins."

In case, my dear, you don't understand this, I will
tell you what it means: If you are nice to me I will be
equally nice to you, but if you are horrid I will (pokerly
speaking) see you and go you one better.

BERLIN, January, 1903.

DEAR , Every diplomatic lady has a reception-
day. Mine is Thursday. Last Thursday there were one
hundred and sixty people.

My first receptions in January were very perplexing,
because so many people came whom I did not know
and who did not know me. Our two secretaries, Fred-
erikke and I have a code of signals which help me over
many a rough place. Visitors leave their cards in the
antechamber. The secretary stands in the first salon
and waves them into the large salon where I am. If I
raise my eyebrows the secretary knows that I depend

287



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

upon him to find out who the person is, and the name,
if possible. He, therefore, gets the card and shows it
to me by some magical twist. Sometimes he manages
to whisper the name. Often I fail to grasp either the
whisper or the card; then I am lost, and flounder hope-
lessly about without bearings of any kind, asking lead-
ing-questions, cautiously feeling my way, not knowing
whether I am talking to a person of great importance or
the contrary. When at last my extreme wariness and
diplomacy get hold of a clue, then I swim along beauti-
fully on the top of the wave.

Frederikke helps me by taking odds and ends off my
hands and sorting them out behind her teacups. All the
young people flock about her, and with their laughter
and flutterings add a gay note to the official element
around me.

The Emperor desires that all his officers should be
accustomed to society, and they receive orders to make
afternoon visits, which they do poor things I suppose,
much to their distaste. As no one knows them and
they do not know any one, it must be very awkward
for them. They come six at a time, leave a package
of cards in the antechamber, present themselves, and
each other. They click their heels, kiss the hand of the
hostess, give a hopeless glance about them, move in a
body toward the tea-table, return, and go through the
same ceremony, and leave together, making a great
clinking of swords and leaving an odor of perfumed
pomade.

BERLIN, January, ipoj.

DEAR L., I have been to my first court ball here. I
will describe this one to you, and never again.

288



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

The invitation we received was very large. It told
us that we were invited by order of his Majesty,
King and Emperor, to appear at the Koniglicheschloss,
Thursday, at eight. We were accompanied, as usual,
by the policeman on horseback. It amused me, while
we were waiting in the carriage, to see standing before
one of the entrances to the palace a whole line of soldiers
with serviettes hung over their shoulders. They were
there for the purpose of washing the dishes after the
supper.

As I have said before, the Wendel treppe is very high
and tiresome to mount. We found the hall of the corps
de garde filled with youthful pages whose ages are any-
where from fifteen to twenty. They were dressed in
red coats, with large frills of lace, held in place by their
mothers' best diamond brooch, and neat little low shoes
with buckles and neat little white silk legs.

I glided along the polished floor through the different
rooms, which were empty, save for the numerous cham-
berlains. All had papers and diagrams in their hands,
and they told the gentlemen as they passed who they
were to take in to supper, and the name of the supper-
room. Each room has a name, like "Marine Room,"
"Black Eagle Room," and so forth.

The long gallery was filled with officers, whose uni-
forms were of every imaginable color and description,
and gentlemen who looked as if they had just stepped
out of a picture-frame. They wear their calling on their
sleeves, as it were. The Academician has a different
costume from the judge. I noticed a clergyman in his
priestly robes, his Elizabethan ruff around his neck,
his breast covered with decorations. He was sipping a

289



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

glass of hot punch and smiling benignly about him. He
had a most kind and sympathetic face. I would like
to confess my sins to him, but just now I don't happen
to have any to confess.

Tea was passed about while we were waiting to enter
the ballroom. In the Weissesaal the Corps Diplomatique
has a raised platform reserved for it on the right of the
throne where we ladies, beginning with the ambassa-
dress, stand, following precedence. On the other side
are all the princesses of the German nobility. I was
shown to my place on the platform.

When the two thousand people collected in this room
raised their voices a little more than was seemly, the
master of ceremonies pounded his stick on the floor
there was to be no loud talking silence reigned a moment,
and then the unruly guests burst out again, and were
again reduced to silence by another and more ominous
thump. The orchestra began the march of "Tann-
hauser." This was the signal for the entrance of the
sovereigns. No one dared to breathe. People straight-
ened themselves up, the ladies stepped down from their
platform. From the middle arcades the young pages
twenty-four in number entered in pairs. Then came
the Oberhof Marshal alone, followed by the four greatest
personages in Berlin, the Duke Trachenberg, Prince
Furstenberg, Prince Hohenlohe, and Prince Solms-
Baruth. After them came the Emperor with the Em-
press on his arm. Every one bowed. They were fol-
lowed by the five sons of the Emperor the Crown
Prince, Prince Adalbert, Prince Eitel Fritz, Prince August
Wilhelm, and Prince Joachim ; then all the princes and
princesses of the house of Prussia.

290



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

It was a very imposing sight as they all marched in.
When the Emperor and the Empress reached the throne
they made a stately bow to each other and separated,
the Empress turning to the doyenne (the first ambassa-
dress) and the Emperor crossing to the Ambassadors.
Each chef de mission stood in front of his secretaries
and presented them.

My place was between the wives of the Swedish and
the Brazilian Ministers. My neighbor was very unhappy
because she was not able to use her eyeglasses. Eye-
glasses are one of the things that are now allowed, nor
are such things as boas or lace wraps.

The Empress spoke to all the ladies in either German,
French, or English. She was accompanied by the grande
maitresse, who stood near.

Right behind the Emperor are two gentlemen who
are always within speaking distance. The first is the
tallest young man to be found. He wears a red uni-
form, white knee-breeches, very high boots, a breast-
plate representing a brilliant rising sun, and a high
blazing helmet surmounted by a silver eagle. This
makes him the most conspicuous person in the room*
so that you may always know where the Emperor is
by seeing the young officer's towering helmet above the
crowd. The other is General Scholl, a dear, kind old
gentleman, who is dressed in the costume of Frederick
the Great's time, with a white wig, the pigtail of which
is tied with black ribbon, a huge jabot of lace with a
diamond pin on his breast.

All the other court persons wear dark blue dress-coats,
with gold buttons, and carry in one hand the awe-
inspiring stick, and in the other the list for the suppers.

20 291



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

Some of them are rather vain about their legs, and
stand profile-wise so that they can be admired. They
do look very well turned out, I must say, with their
silk stockings and low buckled shoes.

The ladies of the Corps Diplomatique are not always
as observant of court rules as they ought to be, and their
decolletage is not always impeccable. If Worth sends a
corsage with the fashionable cut what do they do?
They manage, when they stand on their platform en
vue, to slip their shoulders out, thereby leaving a tell-
tale red mark, only to slip the shoulders in place when
royalty has its back turned.

The Empress was followed by a second tall young
officer. He wore a red uniform and a hat with a high
red feather, easily seen from a distance. Countess
Brockdorf, to distinguish her from other ladies, wears
a long black mantilla on her head and looks like a dnegne
& VEspagnok. The other ladies of honor stand near the
Empress in the background. I forgot to say that the
wives of foreign Ministers have Jauteuils on their plat-
form, behind which stand their secretaries' wives.

The ball was opened by the Crown Prince, who danced
with the youngest demoiselle d'honneur, then the other
princely couples joined. None but the princes have the
privilege of dancing at first. The valse a deux temps
only is permitted. The court likes better the old-
fashioned method of revolving in circles round and round
the room, but occasionally it permits the lancers.

The young ladies and gentlemen, who had been prac-
tising their dancing for weeks, began their gavotte.
The ancient ballet-danseuse sat up under an arch in the
ceiling, and held up a warning finger if any mistake hap-

292



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

pened. The dances they learn are gavottes and minuets,
which are very ingeniously arranged. Some of the offi-
cers looked rather awkward when they had to point
their toes or gaze in the eyes of their partners. During
one of these dances the Empress went off into the gal-
lery, next to the ballroom, and ladies new to the court
were brought up and presented to her.

Princess Henry and Princess Leopold then made
the tour of the guests. Each time a royal person came
to speak to us we were obliged to descend from our
platform, in order to be on the same level. The Em-
peror talked with all the ladies. To me he spoke in Eng-
lish, which, of course, he speaks perfectly. He was dressed
in a Hussar uniform, and held his casque in his left hand,
and offered his right. He showed me a new decoration
he had just received from the Sultan. He pointed out
the splendid diamonds, and seemed very pleased with it.

A Vortdnzer (the leader of the dance) is chosen in the
beginning of the season. His duty is to arrange all balls
and lead all cotillions that are given by society during
the winter. He gives advice, indicates the officers who
dance well in fact, arranges everything. The young
people pass three delightful flirtatious weeks learning
these gavottes and minuets. Many a happy couple
date their bliss from those dancing-lessons.

As I knew who was to take me in to supper, I waited
in my place until my partner, the Minister of Justice,
came to fetch me. I was very happy to be portioned
off to such a charming gentleman. We were told to go
in the Marine Room, where were the Emperor and the
Empress. Each Prince had a table for twelve, over which
he presided. At ours was Prince Adalbert, the Emperor's

293



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

naval son. A supper for two thousand guests sounds
rather formidable, does it not ? With a slight difference
in favor of the first three rooms, the same supper is
served to all. A supper here is just like a dinner, be-
ginning with soup, two warm dishes, an entree, dessert,
fruit, and coffee.

On our return to the ballroom there was some more
dancing. The last dance was the prettiest of them all.
Their Majesties took their places on the throne, stood
watching with a pleased smile the procession of dancers
who came in, four pairs at a time, from the last door of
the ballroom. In each group the four officers belonged
to the same regiment. First they danced a gavotte,
aad then twirled off in a waltz. Then the other four
couples came in. There were forty or fifty couples alto-
gether. When they had all entered they formed a fan-
shaped line and advanced toward their Majesties, mak-
ing the deepest of courtesies. Then they spread out and
made a large circle. The Emperor and the Empress
bowed their thanks, and the dancers retired, and the
orchestra sounded a fanfare. The ball was over. The
Emperor offered his arm to the Empress, and all the
Princes followed in the same order in which they had
entered. As we went through the long gallery servants
handed glasses of hot punch about* which were very
acceptable before going out in the cold air. I happened
to glance in the open door of a room we passed and saw
a Mont Blanc of serviettes piled up to the ceiling, and
next to that room was a regiment of soldiers wiping
plates.

After the Schleppenkur and before the Kaiser's birth-
day comes the Ordens Fest. It is a yearly entertain-

294



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

ment the Emperor gives to those who have received
the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, the highest in rank
of the elder members, and all the newly made. Johan
has just received the decoration.

Here every one sees all sorts of people, from cab-
drivers to princes. There is a luncheon for two thousand
guests. The Emperor and the Empress walk about and
talk to as many as they can. The other evening we went
to the Winter Garden, and the head waiter said to Johan,
"I have not seen you for a long time, your Excellency
not since we lunched together at the Schloss at the
Or dens Fest."

BERLIN, 1903.

DEAR L., The dear old King of Denmark came to
Berlin to pay a visit to the Emperor. He arrived the
night before last. We went to fetch him at the station.
Johan was instructed to take rooms at the hotel for the
suite, but the Emperor begged the King to stay at the
Schloss, which he consented to do. The next morning
the Emperor came to Berlin and drove the King out to
the Neues Palais at Potsdam, where there was a lunch-
eon. Johan said it was quite touching to see how ten-
der and affectionate the Emperor is toward the King.
Johan and his secretary were the only persons present
outside the family. It was very amusing (Johan said)
after luncheon to see the young Princess Victoria Louise
and Prince Oscar, who went about with their fingers on
their lips. J. wondered why. The Crown Prince told
him that his young brother and sister talked so much
that he had bribed them to keep silent for ten minutes
and had promised them a mark each. They got the
two marks! The Kaiser has great affection for the

295



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

King. His speech of welcome when he drank the King's
health at lunch was very touching.

This afternoon the King came to take tea with us.
I had not seen him since the death of the Queen. It
was a great pleasure to have him in my house. He and
I sat in the large salon, while Johan, the King's adjutant,
and a German gentleman attached to the King during
his stay here remained in the next room. The King
only talked about the Queen. I, who loved her so much,
was all tears. His Majesty once in a while would put
his hand on mine and say, "You loved her." We had
our tea alone. He told me that the Queen's room in
Amalienborg remains just as she had left it. My
photograph was on the mantelpiece in her boudoir, and
the cushion that I had embroidered for her was still on
her chaise-longue. Nothing there was to be disturbed.

As the King left I pointed to the portrait of himself
he had given me, which was hanging on the wall. I said :

"I prize this, your Majesty, more than anything I
own, because you gave it to me yourself."

"I was better-looking then than I am now. Is that
not true?"

"Your Majesty is always handsome in my eyes," I
answered.

' ' Dear madame, you make me vain . ' ' And he took my
hand, and the kind King kissed it like a preux chevalier
of the old school.

As I followed him to the door he said, "Do not come
any farther; you will take cold. I will bid you good-
by here." He is about eighty-five years old, and as
youthful in his movements as a young man.

J. said, "I am sorry we have no lift."

296




QUEEX LOUISE OF DENMARK

From a photograph taken in 1878. She was the wife of King Christian IX.,
and the mother of Queen Alexandra of England, Empress Dagmar of Russia,
King George of Greece, and various royalties.



THE SUNNY SIDE OF DIPLOMATIC LIFE

"I do not need a lift; I can still run down the stairs."
Which he did in a surprising manner.

The King left that evening ; and as he begged me not


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