L. de (Lillie de) Hegermann-Lindencrone.

The sunny side of diplomatic life, 1875-1912 online

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to come to the station, J. went without me.


As Johan is accredited to the Court of Mecklenburg-
Schwerin, we were invited to a great court ball which
was to be given. We arrived at Schwerin at twelve
o'clock, and found the marechal de la cour, the court
servants and carriages at the station awaiting us. We
were not installed in the castle, but at the Grand
Duchess Marie's palace in the town itself. The mare-
chal who met us informed us that we were expected to
luncheon at one o'clock. We just had time to change
our dresses and drive to the castle. The lady of honor
and the marshal de la cour received us in the hall on the
ground floor, and the elevator took us up to the salon
where the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess were
awaiting us.

The Grand Duchess is very charming and very hand-
some. She is the daughter of the Duchess of Cumber-
land, granddaughter of King Christian. We had lunch-
eon in one corner of the vaulted hall a luncheon of
twenty people. I sat on the right of the Grand Duke,
who was most amiable. After luncheon the Grand
Duchess took me into her boudoir and showed me all
her souvenirs photographs of Bernstorf, a screen paint-
ed by the Queen of Denmark, and aquarelles of Gmun-
den, her home. She has all the charm of her dear
mother and her beloved grandmother.
At four o'clock we left and drove about Schwerin,



making the obligatory visits. A court carriage with
a lackey was put at our service during our stay. I
rested, having rushed about since eight o'clock in the

Our apartment in this palace looked as if the mistress
had just left it. The drawing-room is filled with knick-
knacks, a piano with music on it, and tables with writing-
materials. At seven o'clock we dined with the grand
master of ceremonies and his wife at their palace. A
dinner where you know none of the guests and no one
knows you must naturally be uninteresting, and this
one did not prove the contrary. At half past nine we
went again to the chdteau to attend the ball. A cham-
berlain met us at the antechamber and preceded us into
the ballroom. The grand-ducal pair came toward us,
and I was led to my place on a raised dais. I danced
the quadrille d'honneur with the Grand Duke. Very
nearly every one in the room was presented to me, and
I found among them many people I had known before
therefore we had some subjects of conversation, for
which I was thankful.

The chdteau is a bijou. It has a winding staircase
which is worthy of Blois. We mounted this to go to the
supper-room. The supper was served at small tables,
and was excellent. Frederikke danced the cotilion, and
we stayed until the end. It had indeed been a long day
for me. The next day we drove to the chdteau and bid
their Highnesses good-by.

BERLIN, 1904.

DEAR L., At one of the Towers's costume balls
Mr. X, of American renown, dressed conspicuously as
Jupiter (of all ironies!), stalked about, trying to act up



to his part by shaking in people's faces his ridiculous
tin bolts held in white kid-glove hands, and facetiously
knocking them on the head. He happened, while talk-
ing to a lady, to be right in front of the young Prince.
A friend tapped him discreetly on the shoulder, giving
him a significant look. "What is the matter?" said
Mr. X, in a loud voice, glaring at his friend. A gentle
whisper informed him that he had better turn round
and face the Prince. "Heavens!" said the ungracious
Jupiter. "I can't help it; I'm always treading on their
toes" (meaning the Prince's).

Speaking of indiscretions, I was told (I cannot say
whether it is true) that Mrs. Z, one of our compatriots,
having met the Emperor in Norway, where their yachts
were stationed, and feeling that she was on familiar
enough terms, said to him:

"Is it not lovely in Paris? Have you been there

"No, I have not," answered the surprised Kaiser.

"Oh, how queer! You ought to go there. The French
people would just love to see you."

"Do you think so?" said the Emperor with a smile.

Thus encouraged, she enlarged on her theme, and,
speaking for the whole French nation, continued, gush-
ingly, "And if you would give them back Alsace and
Lorraine they would simply adore you."

The Kaiser, looking at her gravely, as if she had solved
a mighty problem, said, "I never thought of that,

The dear lady probably imagines to this day that she
is the apostle of diplomacy. She came to Berlin in-
tending (so she said) to "paint Berlin red." She took



the list of court people and sent out invitations right
and left for her five-o'clock teas, but aristocracy did not
respond. Berlin refused to be painted.

BERLIN, September, 1905.

DEAR , The Kaiser went to Copenhagen on the

Hohenzollern. Johan and I met Frederick and Nina
and stayed with them during the Emperor's visit.
There was a very large dinner at Fredensburg, a dinner
at Charlottenberg (the Crown Prince's ch&teau} in honor
of the Kaiser. Prince Carl, who is about to be made
King of Norway, was there. Princess Maud was in
England. The King seemed to be in the best of spirits,
and the two sovereigns laughed and joked together.
The Emperor has a great affection for the King, and
loves to show his respect and devotion. He often puts
his arm around the King's shoulder when talking to
him. I will just add here that Johan received another
decoration, and Frederick, who is now Minister of
Foreign Affairs, received a grand cordon, as well as a
bust in bronze of the Kaiser. My gift from the Em-
peror is a beautiful gold cigarette-case with his auto-
graph in diamonds on the front, with the imperial crown,
also in diamonds.

The Kaiser went to a dinner given in his honor at
the Y's. . . . Johan, Frederick, Nina, and I were among
the guests. At the end of the rather long dinner a little
episode happened which shows how quick the Emperor
is to understand a situation and perceive its humorous
side. According to custom, the Emperor occupies the
hostess's place, with her at his right. Herr Y made
signs to his wife across the table, and in a stage whisper



begged her to find out from the Emperor if he wished
coffee served at table or in the adjoining salon. The
hostess apparently neither heard nor understood; at
any rate, she said nothing to the Emperor. The host
asked again, in a stagier whisper, and made signs with
his head toward the other room. Still no answer. The
Emperor, looking over to me (I sat next to the host),
said, with a merry twinkle in his eye, "Something wrong
in the code of signals." A few moments after he said
quite casually to the host, "Would you mind if we had
coffee in the other salon ?"

The Emperor that evening was in excellent spir-
its. In his short mess-jacket he looked like a young
cadet. He told us several amusing anecdotes and ex-
periences in a most witty manner. Nina said to

"Your Majesty, I have been looking in all the shop-
windows to-day to see if I could find a good photograph
of you. I wanted to bring it, and was going to ask you
to sign it, but "

"But you could not find anything handsome enough,
hein ?" inquired the Emperor, laughing.

"That is true," Nina answered. "Your Majesty's
photographs do not do you justice."

Beckoning to an adjutant, the Emperor said, "I want
you to send to the shops and bring what photographs
of me you can find."

The man departed. Although it was nine o'clock
and most of the shops must have been shut, he did
manage to bring some. Then the Kaiser examined the
photographs, with a little amusing remark on each. "I
do not think this is handsome enough I look so cross.



And this one looks conceited, which I don't think I
am. Do you?"

"Not in the least," Nina answered.

"In this one," he remarked, "I look as if I had just
ordered some one to be hanged. And this one [taking
up another] looks like a Parsifal de passage" referring
to something I had once said.

"I did not say Parsifal, your Majesty. I said Lohen-

"All the same thing," said he.

"Not at all," I said. "One was a knight, and the
other was a fool."

"Well," he laughed, "I look like both."

He did not like any of the photographs, and sent to
the Hohenzollern for his own collection. His servant
came back almost directly (he must have had wings)
and brought a quantity of portraits, which were much
finer and larger than those from the shops. He begged
us to choose the one we liked best, and he wrote some-
thing amusing on it and signed his name.

BERLIN, January, igo6.

DEAR , The sad news of the death of our adored

old King arrived this evening. We were very surprised,
as the last account we had heard of him seemed more
hopeful. Though he was so very old (eighty-six years),
he had a wonderful constitution and always was so
active. I am glad that I saw him when he was here
last year and had such a pleasant afternoon with

Johan was one of the pall-bearers at the King's fu-
neral at Roskilde. I did not go on to Copenhagen. There



was a funeral service here at the Scandinavian chapel.
We are to have mourning for six months.

BERLIN, June 6, 1906.

DEAR L., If I were going to be married and had to
go through all the ceremonies which attend the mar-
riage of a German princess, I think I would remain an old

I will tell you what the wedding of the Princess Cecilia
of Mecklenburg was like. As it was the first royal wed-
ding that I had ever attended, my impressions are fresh,
if not interesting. I have seen royal silver and golden
weddings, but never anything like this.

The day before yesterday, the hottest day of all the
tropical days we have been having, the Princess arrived
in Berlin. The Emperor and the Empress met her at the
station and drove her to Bellevue Castle, where there was
a family lunch. She had numerous deputations and
visits of all sorts until five o'clock, when she made her
public entrance into Berlin, passing through Branden-
burger Tor. All the streets where the Princess was to
pass were decorated d Voutrance with flags and flowers.
Carpets were hung from the balconies.

The middle of the Unter den Linden, usually left to
pedestrians, was freshly strewn with red earth for the
procession of the carriages. All the public buildings
were festooned with enormous paper roses as big as
cabbages. There were high poles holding gilded baskets
filled with flowers. In order that every one of the popu-
lace should have a souvenir these flowers were soaked
in a preparation of wax, which made them quite hard,
and they were warranted to last for some time. Stream-



ers of paper flowers, graduating from light yellow through
the whole gamut of rainbow colors and ending in dark
blue, reached to the ground from the tops of the houses.
The Opera House outdid itself. It was wise to cover
it as much as possible it is such an ugly building.

The French Ambassador invited us to see the entree
from the balcony of the Embassy in Pariser Platz. The
little maidens, their heads crowned with wreaths, had
been waiting in the sun for hours with their baskets
filled with roses, which they were to throw before the
Princess as she passed.

It was a splendid procession, headed by the Hofstal-
meister, followed by a staff of officers spangled' with
orders and decorations, in the most gorgeous uniforms.
Then the blast of trumpets and a mounted military
band preceded the gala coach, only used for weddings,
drawn by six horses with huge white plumes on their
heads. In the coach was the Empress, and on her right
the Princess Cecilia in a light-blue dress, white hat, and
long blue feathers.

The coach stopped in the Platz, and the Mayor of
Berlin approached the window and presented a huge
bouquet and delivered an address to the Princess, who
bowed graciously and smiled.

The Empress looked very happy.

After this came all the other gala coaches, followed
by the garde du corps.

There was a family dinner, and after that the gala
performance at the Opera. I have already told you
about these gala performances, so this will be only a
repetition, except that there were more flowers and more
carpets. All around on the ledge of the balcony there



were fresh and real roses and carnations, so that every
lady could take a bouquet away with her. Garlands
of paper flowers hung the entire distance from the ceiling
to the prompter's box. One wondered how they found
hands enough in Berlin to make all these thousands of

The parquet was a garden of uniforms. The Emperor
entered with the bride-elect on his arm, and the Empress
with the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince wore the
white uniform of the Guards, and a silver helmet. The
other princes followed, all entering very quietly. Every
one in the theater bowed and courtesied, and save for
the rustling of dresses and the rattling of swords there
was not a sound to be heard. The Crown Prince and
his fiancte sat in the middle seats, the Emperor to the
right of his daughter.

The overture was a composition made for the occasion,
and played while all the lights were blazing, in order
that every one could have a good look at the Princess.

Then gradually the theater became dark, and the
opera commenced. It was "Orphee," by Gluck. Ma-
dame Destinn sang the principal part. Her voice is
very beautiful, but she is so small, and somewhat dumpy,
that she did not look much like an Orphee. To make
the opera shorter they combined the first and second
acts, and to allow Orphee to go from hell to heaven with-
out letting down the curtain they had invented a sort
of treadmill on which Orphee and Eurydice should walk
while the landscape behind them moved. It was a very
ungraceful way of walking. They looked as if they were
struggling up a hill over rough and stony ground.

We went into the foyer after the performance and



were presented to the Princess. I Lad known her as a
young girl in Cannes, where her parents lived, therefore
we had something to talk about. She is very charming,
tall and willowy, and has a pleasant word and smile
for every one.

The wedding-day dawned in a relentless haze. We
were invited to be at the chapel of the Schloss at five
o'clock. The regulations about our court dress were
the same as for the Schleppenkur, only we were begged
not to wear white. My dress was yellow, with a yellow
manteau de cour. Frederikke wore a light-green pail-
letted dress with a light-green train. We were a little
late in starting; our Schutzmann had waited patiently
in the courtyard for a long time. We drove through the
crowded streets, lined with spectators. Each clock we
passed pointed in an exasperating way to the fact that
we were late. J.'s sword seemed always to be in the
way; every time he spoke out of the window to urge on
the already goaded coachman the sword would catch
on something. The air was more than suffocating, and
there was evidently a storm brewing.

We arrived before the portal of the Schloss at the last
moment. Ours was the last carriage to arrive. The
pompous Suisse pounded his mace on the ground and
said, warningly, "You must hurry; the Kaiser is just
behind you." And we did hurry.

The staircase makes three turns for each flight, and
the chapel is the highest place in the palace, meaning
seven turns for us. I grasped the tail of my ball dress
in one hand and my heavy court train in the other and
prepared to mount. On each turn I looked behind and
could just see the eagle on the top of the Emperor's



silver helmet. We hurried as I never hurried in my life,
for if his Majesty had got ahead of us on any of these
turns where the two flights meet and part, we would
have been shut out from the chapel. As it was, one door
was already closed. They opened it for us, and we were
the last to enter before the princes. We crossed the
chapel to reach the estrade on which stood the Corps
Diplomatique. In my hurry I forgot to let down my
dress, and I don't dare to think how much stocking I
must have exhibited. When finally I did reach my
place I was so out of breath it took me a long time be-
fore I was in it again.

There was a general who stood before me with his
plumed hat in his hand, and the plumes waved about
like palm-trees, so near were they to my panting!

Then the Emperor appeared with his suite, and stood
at the right of the altar. He was a little ahead of time.
There were about seventy-two princes and princesses.
Each of the princesses had a page or a young lady to
hold up her train.

The Empress then entered, followed by her suite.
The youngest demoiselle d'honneur held her train, which
was of red velvet covered with heavy embossed gold

After the Empress came the Crown Prince in his white
garde de corps uniform. He looked very young and
slender and quite pale.

A moment after the bride came in. Six young ladies
held her train, which was light-blue velvet embroidered
in silver, over a white-satin gown covered with beautiful
point lace. The train was carefully spread on the floor.

The choir of boys high up in the dome sang psalms

21 30?


with many verses. Then the clergyman commenced
his exhortation, which was very long. The heat was
intense. Some ladies about me thought they were going
to faint, but happily they could not make up their

Although the music was delicious, I longed to hear
the organ. Especially when the ceremony was finished
I hoped that we should hear Mendelssohn's March.
But there was no organ in the chapel.

It took the royal persons a long time to leave the
chapel, each princess taking up a great deal of space
with her train and her train-bearer. The last princely
couple were strangely contrasted. The young Duchesse
d'Aosta, who is unusually tall, walked with a tiny
Siamese prince. We followed down the steps to the
Weissesaal, where the members of the Diplomatic Corps
defiled before the throne and made our courtesy one
only before the Emperor. All the suites and court
gentlemen stood massed together opposite the throne.
It was quite an ordeal to walk under the fire of so many
eyes, as the parquet was without any carpet and very
slippery, and the length of the room immense.

After waiting what seemed an hour, the royalties,
headed by the Emperor and the Empress, walked past us.

The spectacle of these fifty princesses with their mag-
nificent dresses, blazing with jewels, made one gasp.

Besides all the royal people of Germany, representa-
tives from other countries were present. Prince Christian
and his wife, who is the sister to the bride, represented

They all disappeared in the banqueting-hall at the
end of the gallery. We others sat down at tables each



containing twelve people, and were served a regular

Each table in our room had a superb surtout de table
in silver, and silver drinking-cups worthy of a museum.
The mtnus and bonbons were trimmed with white-satin
frills and had the photographs of the Crown Prince and
Princess, and were laid by each plate. A dinner for
three thousand people! The young ladies and officers
had their dinner at a standing buffet.

We went back to the ballroom after the royalties had
passed us again. The clouds outside were very op-

Then the traditional Fackeltanz commenced. The
Corps Diplomatique had a platform to itself, fenced in
with cords. We were so crowded that had it not been
for the cord which held us in our places we would have
tumbled out.

The ladies of the nobility also had a platform. The
herald, dressed in a short medieval, red-velvet costume,
with the embroidered coat of arms of Germany on his
breast, advanced, trumpet in hand, and announced
that the Fackeltanz was about to begin. The orchestra
played a gavotte; and the Crown Prince, giving his hand
to the Empress, and the Crown Princess giving hers to
the Emperor, preceded by eight pages with torches
and by Prince Furstenberg, walked around the room.
When they arrived before the throne they made the
most reverential of bows before parting with their
Majesties, who took their places on the throne. The
Princess's train was carried by four young ladies, and
by her side walked Countess Harrach, one of the dames
de palais. After this the Princess walked with every



prince according to his rank, sometimes with two, one
on each side, and the Prince walked with two ladies.
Each tour of the salon they made they stopped in front
of the Emperor and bowed and received their next
partner. Fancy what fatigue!

The storm which we had expected now really burst
upon us. Peals of thunder mingled with the strains of
the orchestra, and almost shook the ground.

At eleven o'clock the Princess had danced with every
one and had made hundreds of courtesies, and on the
signal given by their Majesties retired with her suite.
We went down the Holletreppe (in English, hell-stairs), a
rather diabolical name, but I hope it was paved with
better intentions than the Wendeltreppe, where we went
up. My intention was, bed.

We found our carriages and drenched coachman and
dragged our trains home to their resting-places.

We had been eight hours under arms.

Every one received a white ribbon with a little gold
fringe on the end, bearing the monogram of the mar-
ried couple. It was a honi soit qui mal y pense remem-
brance of the royal wedding.

Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, 1 cousin of the Emperor,
is a great philatelist, and brought his magnificent col-
lection of albums (eight or ten large ones) to show me,
and a pile of duplicates. His victoria was quite filled
when he drove up to our door, and his chasseur had to
make two trips to bring them all up. Collectors of
postage-stamps make a brotherhood in themselves. He
knew each stamp in his books, and explained all to us.

1 Father of the princess who married the young ex-King of Portugal,
Manuel, in 1913.



He has twelve thousand! I brought out my little col-
lection very shyly it was so insignificant beside his.
We passed two hours going through the two collections.
He left six thousand duplicates with me to look over
and chose from, so my collection was enriched by one
thousand new specimens. He told me he had inherited
a whole collection from his uncle, the King of Rumania.
He came to drink with us, and was always most amiable.
He does not play cards, nor is he musical in any way,
therefore conversation was our only resource. I brought
in all my animals and put them through their tricks;
the parrot played up wonderfully. He followed me
about the room, sat on my shoulder, sang, and whistled.
What amused people most was, when I sang "Medje,"
a very sentimental song, he imitated a rire-fou which
seemed so inappropriate that every one was convulsed
with laughter. Then I showed my doves, which were
pronounced "perfect darlings." My seven dogs did
their best to amuse us. The parrot ran after them and
bit their tails, which the dogs did not resent in the

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia also dined with
us a very formal dinner. He is rather serious for such
a young man. He is tall and thin, and in his high,
buttoned-to-the-chin uniform he looks even taller than
he really is. He is very musical, and brought his violin
and several books of music. He only approves of Bach,
Beethoven, and Mozart in his severer moods. He likes
Bach best of all. He plays very correctly, one might
say without a fault, but I have heard violinists who
play with more brio. He listened with kindness to a
young Danish girl who executed a dashing solo by



Brahms divinely, and nodded his head in approval when
she had finished. The Prince was begged to play several
times, and he went through the entire repertoire of so-
natas he had brought with him. The guests were im-
mensely pleased, and the soiree was very successful.

His brother, Prince Joachim Albrecht, is also a very
good musician, but differs radically from Prince Wilhelm.
He plays the violoncello very well, and favors modern
music. He composes ballads, and leads his own regi-
mental orchestra. He is as jolly and unconventional as
his brother is reserved and grave. When he dines with

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