Imágenes de páginas

One of the most interesting objects in less, this exhibition brought anything but all this Exhibition-picture gallery section jubilation to a lady artist from Hungary, -is the copy of a fine battle-ship, of the Madame P— by name, whose achieveold three-decker type, from the hand of ments with the brush entitled her to bethe Emperor himself (when Prince Will- lieve that she had a splendid future before iam), which proves that, apart from the her and an easy triumph in Berlin. Now, other splendid qualities of heart and head among her other chefs d'auvre, this lady bequeathed to him by his English mother claimed to reckon a portrait of Count (and he has much more of his mother's Moltke, who, when Madame had expressed than his father's character and tempera- her joy at having been able thus to delinement), he has inherited her love of, and ate a man so famous for the making of capacity for art. It has long been a tradi- Weltgeschichte

Weltgeschichte (world-history), capped tion of the House of Hohenzollern that the compliment by saying that this poreach of its sons should learn some handic trait of his decidedly seemed to mark an craft or other, and it is clear that the era in Kunstgeschichte (history of art). present head of that House might have What, therefore, was the surprise and become a very respectable artist instead mortification of the fair artist to find that of an artisan. As it is, he loses no op- the Hanging Committee of the Exhibition portunity of promoting the interests of affected to consider her presentment of Art as a necessary element in national cul- the great strategist as beneath the standture, while his accession to the Throne ard of excellence necessary to admit it to proved a perfect godsend to the portrait their art-show! Rage and protest, natupainters and sculptors of Berlin--a very rally enough, on the part of Madame. numerous class. For there are few of P-, who vowed that she had been them, at the top of their profession, to made the victim of professional jealousy whom His Majesty has not himself re- and intrigue ; but nothing would avail peatedly sat. Frederick the Great was against the decision of the jury, who very chary of having himself reproduced, firmly closed its doors in the face of the and, indeed, he left behind him but few Hungarian lady and her “ epoch-making" original portraits of himself-you might portrait of Moltke. But she bided her nuinber them all on the fingers of one time, and had her revenge. For the Emhand. But the various counterfeit pre- peror, returning to town from one of his sentments of his reigning descendant, al- excursions, was struck by the violence of ready in existence, would fill a goodly pic- the storm that was raging, and made haste ture gallery by themselves. One reason to send for Madame and her picture, with for this artistic multiplication of himself the excellence of which IIis Majesty was on such an extensive scale is that the Em- so deeply impressed that he there and then peror is chief of so many regiments, native gave a handsome price for it, and, exerand foreign, in the mess-rooms of which cising his royal privilege, sent it straight he naturally enough desires bis portrait, to the Exhibition with instructions that it in the appropriate uniform, to be hung; should be hung at once in the Salle while, again, his numerous visits to the d'honneur, and after that in the National Courts of Europe, where they load him Gallery ! Then we had abashed looks with honors, entails upon him the obliga- and bated breath on the part of the Hangtion of counter favors, which generally ing Committee, as well as rude awakening take the shape of his own speaking like- from the complacent dream that they

And can a inonarch pay a higher were better critics than a young Emperor. personal conipliment than is embodied in It was in the same spirit of superior judghis bust or his portrait !

ment that made His Majesty sweep away, But while speaking of portraits I may by one impatient motion of the hand, the as well recount an incident which sheds mountain of models which was the result not a little light on the character of the of the competition for the National MonuEmperor. One of the chief attractions at ment to be erected to his grandfather. Berlin this year is an International Exhibi- The jury had awarded the highest prizes tion of Art, which was got up by the So- to architects who, aiming only at effect, ciety of Berlin Artists to celebrate the and forgetful of the wherewithal that would jubilee of their existence—for is this not be necessary to realize their scheines, had an age of universal jubilees? Neverthe- embodied their ideas in stupendous piles


of a most grandiose character. But the all Europe. His passion for reviews (de. Emperor, with a sharp eye to all the prac- filir-ium tremens, as the wanton wit of a tical as well as the patriotic aspects of the Frenchman called it) is absorbing; and of question, brusquely turned his back upon all the great state functions of the year in all the colossal projects, declaring that the which he has to figure, that of the grand simpler work of a sculptor must suffice ; autumn manoeuvres pleases him best. On and since then the decision of the matter these occasions His Majesty generally has mainly rested with him. Thus, con- takes personal command of an Army trary to the original sense of Parliament, Corps. Last year he directed the movethe crection of the old Emperor's monu- ments of two, which he did with singular ment promises to be the final outcome ability. As I wrote at the time : “ This neither of representative opinion nor of is not mere flattery, but the clear and defree artistic competition.

liberate opinion of those who are best enMinerva is by no means distasteful to titled to judge, and who maintain that, the Emperor ; but he is fondest of this both as an active commander and as a goddess when she exerts herself in the ser- critic of others in the field, the present vice of Mars. Military and naval pictures occupant of the Throne of Prussia, among are his chief delight ; and on all his jour. bis other sterling gifts, shows indications neys by sea he is accompanied by a marine of a military genius of the very highest painter (Herr Salzmann), whose duty it is promise." Even bis favorite diversions to transfer to canvas the chief scenes and are military, a game of Kriegspiel or a incidents of his master's devious wander- lecture on some campaign ; but more atings. He hastens to buy up every mili- tractive to him still than either of those tary piece of art he can lay his hands on; occupations is the serious pastime of takand thus it was that, when at Constanti. ing garrisons unawares.

In this respect nople, and hearing that Kaulbach's " Bat- the Emperor seems ubiquitous : like the tle of Salamis” was for sale, he telegraphed ghost in Hamlet, 'tis here, 'tis there, to the widow of that great artist begging 'tis gone;' so that, for miles around any her to name her own price for the piece. particular place where His Majesty chances It will still be fresh in memory how, on to be, the troops have learned the useful the death of Meissonier, the Emperor art of sleeping with one eye open and hastened to convey to the Academy of either ear attent. But of all these alarmFine Arts at Paris his grief at the loss of ings, the most sensational, because the this master, who was one of the greatest most surprising, happened on the day of glories of France and of the Art of the the last General Election to the Reichstag, whole world ;” but it is doubtful whether when the electors (and they have univerHis Majesty's encomiums would have been sal suffrage over there) were crowding in half so warm, or his sorrow so acute, had their thousands to the urns. One would Meissonier not been a painter of battles. have thought that the very shadow of su

I do not believe that, like Frederick perior power would have been withheld the Great,--whose own confession is the from the sight of the voters on such a justification of the statement—the Emperor day. But no ; for, as all over Berlin William would plunge his people into a they were trooping to the polls, their war merely in order to get himself talked paths were crossed and deflected by ten about, and to cull what is called glory. thousand troops of all arms, who had sudHis Majesty is not bellicose; but, at the denly been called out by sound of bugle same time, his whole soul is wrapped up in and tuck of drum, and were racing, helsoldiering. As long as he is seated on ter-skelter, to meet their supreme the Throne, Germany will never be hurried Lord "on the trysting ground—a remarkinto a heedless or unjust war. If she able spectacle, to be sure, and one welldraws the sword at all, it will only be in calculated (as it was doubtless intended) her own defence or that of her allies. Of to remind the electors that, after all, that the world may be absolutely sure, there was a very much higher power for though the French still affect, much to good in Germany than the ballot-box, and the discredit of their judgment, to have that the Fatherland owed far more to her their suspicions. But, while the Emperor ariny than to her Parliaments. is not aggressive, there is no more ardent It was characteristic of the two men and devoted student of the military art in that, whereas Frederick III., on succeed


ing to the Throne, issued his first procla- ter capable of raising him above the rank mation (which had been written for him of a mere plodding organizer to that of an years before by the unfortunate Dr. Geffck- independent commander. It is, indeed, en) to “his people,” and the next to his doubtful whether there will be any room army, his son William simply reversed for a Moltke (who was entirely responsible this order of address, and, in his own for the strategy both of 1866 and of 1870) words of burning devotion, spoke primari- beside the present Emperor, in the event ly to his army, and then to his navy. It of bis ever baving to take the field. Cerwas bis “ people in arms” he first thought taioly, at least, he aspires to be his own of, and after that his citizen subjects ; Chief of the Staff as well as his own Chanand a very large proportion of the German cellor, and there is no one among those “people in arms” is now the German who know him best that is prepared to navy, which is the object of as much solic- mock at his double ambition. itude and devotion on the part of the I was once discussing this subject with Emperor as liis beloved army. As the a high official in Berlin, who had enjoyed Prussian army, the most perfect instru- exceptional opportunities of reading the ment of its kind the world had ever seen, character of the new Emperor ; and he was inherited a ready-made weapon by declared his honest opinion that, taking Frederick the Great from his father, so him all round, His Majesty was by far the William J. bequeathed to his grandson most capable and promising monarch who another equally new fighting machine- had mounted the throne of Prussia since namely, the German navy, which, as I it was vacated by Frederick the Great. have always thought, is one of the most Sone of his marginal notes on official astounding facts connected with the re- documents were truly striking in their founding of the Empire, seeing that this force and clearness, and in respect of fleet, which scarcely existed in embryo their indication of an ability to go straight after the French war, is now second to the to the root of a question through all enFrench pavy among the fleets of the Con- cumbering side issues and obscurities. tinental Powers. William II. grew up His Majesty is not fond of reading rewith the building of this navy, of which ports; but he is a willing listener, and, he was quick to grasp the significance, having a retentive memory, he prefers especially in an age wten his countrymen oral dealings with his subordinates. Nor (recovering from the colonial indifference do many of these subordinates find that that seized upon them after the death of they know very much more of a particular the Great Elector) were all beginning to subject than their Imperial master, who is grope about for further elbow-room be- as full of information about things in genyond the sea ; and of this movement for eral as he is eager to learn more. When creating a new Germany outre mer, thus Sir John Gorst and his fellow-delegates making the Fatherland a World Power as went to the Labor Conference in Berlin well as a Continental Power, he has con- they were quite taken aback by the Emstituted himself the ardent yet circum- peror's grasp of economic questions in all spect champion. The German fleet knows their details"; and I remember the case of that its Kaiser has its interests just as an English officer who marvelled much at much at heart as those of the army, and His Majesty's acquaintance with the separepays this devotion by making him its rate history of certain British regiments. darling. For sea life, too, as well as for Similarly, an American attaché who had the naval traditions of England, he bears an interview with the Emperor came away an emulating fondness; and I am quite astounded at His Majesty's familiarity sure that, of all the compliments which with English naval nomenclature. It is have been paid him by foreign sovereigns, quite true, as the Scotch proverb has it, none ever filled him with half so much that “ a king's caff [i.e., chaff ; and you pride and pleasure as the Queen's appoint- can take it in the banter sense, if you inent of him to be an Admiral of her Fleet. like] is aye better than ither fouk's

But, with all this, his master passion is corn;" but, indeed, there is remarkably the army. William II. has inherited to little“ caff” in the conversation of the the full the military tastes and instincts of Emperor, who is always ready with an aphis grandfather, while to these he has posite fact, a well-reasoned opinion, or a added an originality and force of charac- rattling good joke--as when, in goodhumored desire to cap the popular skits of the statesman with the courage and reon his mania for travelling, he is said to sourcefulness of the soldier, and who, have exclaimed, on hearing of the deposi- while maintaining intact abroad the power tion and departure for Europe of the Em- and position of Germany-which, under peror of Brazil :

Confound it all : I was his guidance, continues to be the main just going over to see him !” The story

The story pillar of the European peace-has also may not be true ; but it is exceedingly managed to accelerate the healing process ben trovato, The passion of the Emperor of some of its own domestic sores, and for travelling—for showing himself off, as thus increase the contentment of his subit were, as well as garnering experience of jects. Courts and men and things—has procured These are splendid results which have for him the title of the “ Hadrian of the been achieved in the course of his first nineteenth century;" but such is his voyage (so to speak) by the captain of manysidedness that his prototype must the ship of State (to repeat his own be sought for in the characters of several simile) ; but that captain, I think, would monarchs. It is this manysidedness of be the first to offer a hare of the merit his, this restless energy and ambition, of their accomplishment to his ever wise this habit of always keeping bimself en and watchful first-lieutenant, whom he evidence before the world, that has caused put into the place of his old discarded him to be as much talked about during pilot. And here it may at once be said his brief reign as if he had been cngaged that the success of General von Caprivi, in a war for the same period. When he as Inperial Chancellor, has so far been mounted the Throne three years ago he quite as striking and complete as that of was a mystery ; and now he is the leading his Sovereign. When he stepped into man of his time, with all eyes on the the shoes of Prince Bismarck, General watch for the fruits of his further devel- Caprivi was to all intents and purposes opment. Like other men, he has fail- (politically speaking) a novus homo, and ings; but, as a monarch, he promises even inore of a mystery and a risk than fair to be a blessing to his people. Though his Imperial master ; but now bis reputaoutwardly a little histrionic, perhaps, in tion as a statesrnan is founded on a broad some things, he is at heart perfectly sin- and ever-widening basis.

and ever-widening basis. At the time of cere and penetrated with a living sense of his appointment, which excited general reality ; and his deep religious senti- surprise, it was well said of him by a ments, which have descended to him in Radical deputy that, if the question of a orthodox integrity from his grandfather, successor to Prince Bismarck had been leave him not the slightest ground for put to a plébiscite, not three votes in all doubting the doctrine of Kingship by the Germany would have been recorded for Grace of God-a doctrine, with regard to General Caprivi ; and this was not because himself, which he has repeatedly assever- people doubted him, but simply because ated and with ever-increasing emphasis. they did not know him. As that of a Feeling very strongly on all subjects, the man who had comported himself with Emperor entertains very pronounced likes bravery and distinction as a staff officer in and dislikes ; and even his most ardent ad- the wars of 1866 and 1870, his name, of mirers will scarcely contend that he has course, was familiar to his countrymen, not already, by his self-willed and pecul- who had, moreover, received ample cause iar methods, produced personal bitterness, to be grateful to him for the silent yet disappointinent, and even disaffection, in effective services he bad rendered the Emcertain quarters. But such a result is pire as Chief of the Admiralty, in which only a further testimony to the strength capacity he labored unceasingly and suc- . of his character ; and the nation at large cessfully for the increase of the fleet and only beholds in him a Sovereign of whom its adaptation to the latest requirements it is intensely proud-a Sovereign who, of naval progress. As the holder of this succeeding in his métier beyond all ex- office, he had now and then spoken in the pectations, has belied the prophecies of Reichstag on technical topics appertaining many and falsified the fears of more, who to his Department, and he had always has hitherto committed no serious mistake spoken sensibly and well.

But no one either of omission or of commission, who had ever suspected that under the guise has shown that he combines the sagacity of this simple soldier-sailor there lurked the making of a great, or at least a very of such a comparison I thus drew at the safe, statesman. The discovery was re- time of General Caprivi's appointment :served for the young Emperor, though it has been attributed to his grandfather, thing, he must be a man of great force of

If personal appearance is to count for any. with as much truth as once before induced character and will, combining in a bigh degree the riotously imaginative author of the the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re, fable to palm off upon a credulous public blending, sagacity with patience, resolution another pathetic picture of Prince Bis- with good humor, and German thoroughness

with Southern fire. The new German Chanmarck supplicating the implacable Em- cellor looks a typical Teutop of the hugest and press Frederick to intercede with her son most impressive type. He might very well for his retention in office. The discovery pass for a brother, or even a double, of Prince of General Caprivi was, I repeat, reserved tween the two men being most remarkable. for the young Emperor ; and the merit of in point, indeed, of stature and breadth of the selection was all the greater as, shortly shoulders, General von Caprivi even has the after His Majesty's accession, the General advantage of the man he is going to succeed ; had resigned his high naval office, and but otherwise he is characterized by the same there was understood to be a sort of per- eyebrows, thick neck, solid square head,

massive jaw, heavy gray mustache and brisby sonal “ tiff” between the two. But the shrewd, penetrating glance, and general air Emperor is a man (and this is a trait which of blood and iron, tempered with the polished I forgot to include in his characterizatiou) suavity of a nineteenth-century statesman. who never allows personal likes or dislikes A difference in the characters of the two men to interfere with the choice of his subor- for, while Prince Bismarck treads sharply and

might by some be discerned in their walk ; dinates, and foremost among the qualities heavily like a trooper, the gait of General von which he has inherited from his grand- Caprivi has something in it of deliberation father is an unerring instinct for those and leisurely elegance, while not lacking who can best serve him and the State.

either in verve or emphasis. "Sir," said Dr. Johnson, "knowledge is In many respects the two Chancellors of two kinds—what you know yourself, resemble each other ; but they differ in or what you know where to find." And more, and first of all in their manner of the remark might be adapted to the ser- life. Little, perhaps, did Bismarck think vice of kings. But if ever there was any when comparing, during the French war, personal " tiff" between the Emperor and the simple unprotected way in which his Caprivi, that difference has now developed inaster King William moved about, with into mutual admiration and esteem of the the travelling cordons of police and spies most perfect and apparently enduring who always surrounded the suspicionkind. Er ist vornehm, klug, und mir haunted Napoleon, that it would one day ergebenund was wollen Sie mehr ?". come to this with him also. When a i.e., “ The man is a gentleman, clever, man's life has been twice openly attempted and devoted to me, and what more do you and oftener than this conspired against in want ?!? These were the words of the secret, he is not likely to neglect personal Emperor himself to one with whom he precautions ; and so it came about that fell talking about his new Chancellor; and Prince Bismarck always had a special pothey are echoed by the whole nation, lice station in the grounds of his palace, which has watched the career of that and a private detective before his door. Chancellor with closeness, wonder, and He had altogether ceased going into genever-deepening satisfaction. For, ever eral society, and rarely or never appeared since, as Minister-President, he made his in the streets-save when be rode out for maiden speech in the Prussian Chamber, a canter in the Thiergarten. Latterly until the Imperial Parliament last closed there was something forced and unnatural its doors, he has reaped nothing but about his mode of life ; but the habits of golden opinions from all—from the Fed- his successor are simple, unsuspicious, and eral Sovereigns whom he has in turn vis. sociable in the highest degree. General ited, down to the Social Democrats who Caprivi entertains more freely and more abuse everything and everybody.

promiscuously than his predecessor, aud It is quite impossible to present any- scruples less to accept the invitations of thing like a portrait of the new Gerinan others. Berlin society and the official Chancellor without comparing him with world feels that he is of, as well as among, his predecessor, and the hasty groundwork them. He has made a point of making

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