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William of Germany by Stanley Shaw

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"And when, five minutes later, Menzel bent over my hand to
take formal leave, I heard him murmur in his dry,
absent-minded manner--'Pesne ... Angeli ... Frederick the
Great ... William II!"

We have spoken of the Court atmosphere of this time. The following
extracts from the Memoirs of ex-Chancellor Prince Hohenlohe will
assist the reader, perhaps even better than a connected account, to
enter, in imagination at all events, into it. The conversations cited
between the Emperor and the Prince turn on all sorts of topics--the
pass question in Alsace (where Hohenlohe was then Statthalter), the
possibility of war with Russia, pheasant shooting, projected
monuments, the breach with Bismarck, the Triple Alliance, and a
hundred more of the most different kinds. Once talking domestic
politics, the Emperor said:

"It will end by the Social Democrats getting the upper hand.
Then they will plunder the people. Not that I care. I will
have the palace loop-holed and look on at the plundering.
The burghers will soon call on me for help;"

and on another occasion, in 1889, Hohenlohe tells of a dinner at the
palace, and how after dinner, when the Empress and her ladies had gone
into another _salon_, the Emperor, Hohenlohe, and Dr. Hinzpeter (the
Emperor's old tutor) conversed together for an hour, all standing.
"The first subject touched on," relates the Prince, was the gymnasia
(high schools), the Emperor holding that they made too exacting claims
on the scholars, while Hohenlohe and Hinzpeter pointed out that
otherwise the run on the schools would be too great and cause danger
of a "learned proletariat." Prince Hohenlohe concludes:

"In the whole conversation, which never once came to a
standstill, I was pleased by the fresh, lively manner of the
Emperor, and was in all ways reminded of his grandfather,
Prince Albert."

Next year the Prince was present at an official dinner in the Berlin
palace. He writes:--

"BERLIN, 22 _March_, 1890.

"At seven, dinner in the White Salon (at the palace). I sat
opposite the Empress and between Moltke and Kameke. The
former was very communicative, but was greatly interfered
with by the continuous music, and was very angry at it. Two
bands were placed facing each other, and when one ceased the
other began to play its trumpets. It was hardly endurable.
The Emperor made a speech in honour of the Queen of England
and the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward, present on
the occasion of the investiture of his son Prince George,
now King George V, with the Order of the Black Eagle), and
mentioned his nomination as English admiral (whose uniform
he was wearing) and the comradeship-in-arms at the battle of
Waterloo; he also hoped that the English fleet and the
German army would together maintain peace. Moltke then said
to me: 'Goethe says, "a political song, a discordant song."'

"He also said he hoped the speech wouldn't get into the

(It did, however.)

The next extract describes a conversation Prince Hohenlohe had with
the Emperor at Potsdam the following year. It gives an idea of the
ordinary nature of conversations between the Emperor and his high
officials on such occasions.

"BERLIN, 13 _December_, 1891.

"Yesterday forenoon was invited to the New Palace at
Potsdam. Besides myself were the Prince and Princess von
Wied, with the Mistress of the Robes and the Court marshal.
Emperor and Empress very amiable. The Emperor spoke of his
hunting in Alsace, and supposed it would be some years
before the game there would be abundant. Then he expressed
his satisfaction at my acquisition of Gensburg, and when I
told him there was not much room in the castle he said, no
matter, he could nevertheless pass a few days there with a
couple of gentlemen very pleasantly. Passing to politics, he
gave vent to his displeasure at the attitude of the
Conservative party, who were hindering the formation of a
Conservative-monarchical combination against the
Progressives and Social Democrats. This was all the more
regrettable as the Progressives, if now and then they
opposed the Social Democrats, still at bottom were with
them. The Emperor approves of the commercial treaties and
seemed to have great confidence in Caprivi generally. As we
came to speak of intrigues and gossip, the Emperor hinted
that Bismarck was behind them. He added that people were
urging him from many quarters to be reconciled with
Bismarck, but it was not for him to take the first step. He
seemed well informed about the situation in Russia and
considered it very dangerous. When I asked the Emperor how
he stood now with the Czar, he replied 'Badly. He went
through here without paying me a visit, and I only write him
ceremonious letters. The Queen of Denmark prevented him
coming to Berlin, for fear he should go to Potsdam. She has
gone now with him to Livadia on the pretext of the silver
wedding, but in reality to keep him away from Berlin.'"

Writing of a lunch at Potsdam, under date Berlin, November 10, 1892,
the Prince notes:--

"The Emperor came late and looked tired, but was in good
spirits. We went immediately to table. Afterwards the
conversation turned on Bismarck. 'When one compares what
Bismarck does with that for which poor Arnim had to suffer!'
He would do nothing, he said, against Bismarck, but the
consequences of the whole thing were very serious. Waldersee
and Bismarck couldn't abide one another. They had, however,
become allies out of common hatred of Caprivi, whose fall
Bismarck desired. What might happen afterwards neither

The following was penned after the old Chancellor's visit of

"BERLIN, 27 _January_, 1894.

"To-night gala performance at the opera. Between the acts I
talked first with different monarchs, the King of
Wuerttemberg, the King of Saxony, the Grand Duke of
Oldenburg, and so on. Then I was sent for by the Empress, of
whom I took leave. The Emperor came shortly afterwards. We
spoke of Bismarck's visit the day before and the good
consequences for the Emperor it would have. 'Yes,' said the
Emperor, 'now they can put up triumphal arches for him in
Vienna and Munich, I am all the time a length ahead. If the
press continues its abuse it only puts itself and Bismarck
in the wrong.' I mentioned that red-hot partisans of
Bismarck were greatly dissatisfied with the visit, and said
the Emperor should have gone to Friedrichsruh (Bismarck's
estate near Hamburg). 'I am well aware of it,' said the
Emperor,'but for that they would have had a long time to
wait. He had to come here.' On the whole the Emperor spoke
very sensibly and decisively, and I did not at all get the
impression that he now wants to change everything."

Prince Hohenlohe was summoned to Potsdam in October, 1894, by a
telegram from the Emperor. All the telegram said was that "important
interests of the Empire" were concerned. Hohenlohe was only aware of
the dismissal of Caprivi from a newspaper he read in Frankfort on his
way to Potsdam. The Emperor met him at the station (Wildpark) and
conveyed him to the New Palace, where the Prince agreed to accept the
Chancellorship "at the Emperor's earnest request." Princess Hohenlohe
was decidedly against her husband, who was now seventy-five, accepting
the post, and even ventured to telegraph to the Empress to prevent it.

The Prince has a note on his intercourse with his imperial master. He
is writing to his son, Prince Alexander:--

"BERLIN, 17 _October_, 1896.

"It is a curious thing--my relations to his Majesty. I come
now and then to the conclusion, owing to his small
inconsideratenesses, that he intentionally avoids me and
that things can't continue so. Then again I talk with him
and see that I am mistaken. Yesterday I had occasion to
report to him, and he poured out his heart to me and took
occasion in the friendliest way to ask my advice. And thus
my distrust is dissipated."

Hunting with the Emperor:--

"15 _December_, 1896.

"Yesterday I obeyed the royal invitation to hunt at Springe.
I had to leave Berlin as early as 7 a.m. to catch the royal
train at Potsdam. From Springe railway station we passed
immediately into the hunting district. Only sows were shot.
I brought down six. Then we drove to the Schloss, rested for
a few hours and then dined. The Emperor was in very good
humour and talked incessantly; in addition the Uhlan band
and the usually noisy conversation."

When presenting his resignation to the Emperor at Hamburg in October,
1900, the Prince, who had evidently been for some time aware that his
term of office was drawing to a close, describes his conversation with
the Emperor:--

"At noon, as I came to the Emperor, he received me in a very
friendly way. We first settled about summoning the
Reichstag, and then his Majesty said, 'I have received a
very distressing letter'--an allusion to the Chancellor's
official letter of resignation, which he had placed in the
Emperor's hands through Tschirschky, Foreign Minister. 'As I
then,' continued Hohenlohe, 'explained the necessity of my
resignation on the ground of my health and age the Emperor,
apparently quite satisfied, agreed, so that I could see he
had already expected my request and consequently that it was
high time I should make it. We talked further over the
question of my successor, and I was agreeably surprised when
he forthwith mentioned Buelow, who certainly at the moment is
the best man available. His Majesty then said he would
telegraph to Lucanus (Chief of the Civil Cabinet) to bring
Buelow to Homburg so that we might consult about details. I
breakfasted with their Majesties and went calmly home.'"

Writing to his daughter next day Prince Hohenlohe, in words that do
equal credit to himself and the imperial family, says:

"It is always a pleasure to me when on such occasions I can
convince myself of the Christian disposition of the imperial
family. In our for the most part unbelieving age this family
seems to me like an oasis in the desert."

Prince Hohenlohe was succeeded as Chancellor by Prince von Buelow, who
had held the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for the
preceding two years, and practically conducted the Emperor's foreign
policy during that time. He had served as Secretary of Embassy in St.
Petersburg, Vienna, and Athens, was a Secretary to the Congress of
Berlin, fought in the war with France and after seven years as
Minister in Bucharest spent four years as Ambassador in Rome. Here he
married a divorced Italian lady, the Countess Minghetti. After acting
as deputy Foreign Secretary for the late Baron Marschall von
Bieberstein, he was appointed permanent Foreign Secretary, and on
October 17, 1900, was called by the Emperor to the most responsible
post in the Empire next to his own, that of Imperial Chancellor. The
Emperor's choice was fully justified, for the new Chancellor proved
himself to be the most brilliant diplomatist and parliamentarian since




German writers, commenting on the turn of the century, claim to
discover a change in the Emperor's character about this period. He has
lost much of his imaginative, his Lohengrin, vein, and has become more
practical, more prosaic and matter-of-fact. To use the German word, he
is now a _Realpolitiker_, one who deals in things, not words or
theories, and drawing his gaze from the stars makes them dwell more
attentively on the immediate practical considerations of the world
about him. His nature has not changed, of course, nor his manner, but
he has begun to see that he must employ means and ways different from
those he employed previously. He has not become a Bismarck, for he
still pursues his aims more in the spirit of the colonel of a regiment
leading his men to the attack with banners flying, drums beating,
swords rattling in their scabbards and mailed gauntlets held
threateningly aloft, than in that of the cool and calculating
politician ruminating in his closet on the tactics of his opponents,
and deliberating how best to meet and confound them; but he gives more
thought to what is going on about him, to party politics, to the
economic necessities of the hour, and to modern science and its

What strikes the Englishman perhaps as much as anything in the
Emperor's character at this time is the Cromwellian trait in it. This
is a side of his Protean nature which never seems to have been
adequately recognized in England, yet in a singularly baffling
character-composition it is one of the fundamental elements. The view
of Prussian monarchy, inherited from one Hohenzollern to another for
generation after generation, that the race of people to which he
belonged (with any other race he could include by conquest in it) has
been handed over by Heaven for all eternity to his family, naturally
predisposes him to take a religious, a patriarchal, one might say an
Hebraic, view of government; but in addition we find the warrior
spirit at all times going hand in hand with the religious spirit,
almost as strongly as in the case of Mahomet with the Koran in one
hand and the sword in the other.

There was nothing in the Emperor's youth to show the existence of
deeply religious conviction, but as soon as he mounted the throne, and
all through the reign up to the close of the century, indeed some
years beyond it, his speeches, especially when he was addressing his
soldiery, were filled with expressions of religious fervour. "Von
Gotten Gnaden," he writes as a preface for a Leipzig publication
appearing on January 1, 1900,

"is the King; therefore to God alone is he responsible. He
must choose his way and conduct himself solely from this
standpoint. This fearfully heavy responsibility which the
King bears for his folk gives him a claim on the faithful
co-operation of his subjects. Accordingly, every man among
the people must be thoroughly persuaded that he is, along
with the King, responsible for the general welfare."

It may be noted in passing that Cromwell and the Emperor are alike in
being the founders of the great war navies of their respective

On the date mentioned (New Year's Day), in the Berlin arsenal when
consecrating some flags, he addressed the garrison on the turn of the

"The first day of the new century finds our army, that is
our folk in arms, gathered round its standards, kneeling
before the Lord of Hosts--and certainly if anyone has reason
to bend the knee before God, it is our army."

"A glance at our standards," the Emperor continued,

"is sufficient explanation, for they incorporate our
history. What was the state of our army at the beginning of
the century? The glorious army of Frederick the Great had
gone to sleep on its laurels, ossified in pipeclay details,
led by old, incapable generals, its officers shy of work,
sunk in luxury, good living, and foolish self-satisfaction.
In a word, the army was no longer not only not equal to its
task, but had forgotten it. Heavy was the punishment of
Heaven, which overtook it and our folk. They were flung into
the dust, Frederick's glory faded, the standards were cast
down. In seven years of painful servitude God taught our
folk to bethink itself of itself, and under the pressure of
the feet of an arrogant usurper (Napoleon) was born the
thought that it is the highest honour to devote in arms
one's life and property to the Fatherland--the thought, in
short, of universal conscription."

The word for conscription, it may be here remarked, is in German
_Wehrpflicht_, the duty of defence. To most people in England it means
simply "compulsory military service." It is important to note the
difference, as it explains the German national idea, and the Emperor's
idea, that all military and naval forces are primarily for defence,
not offence. This is, indeed, equally true of the British, or perhaps
any other, army and navy; but how many Englishmen, when they think of
Germany, can get the idea into the foreground of their thoughts or
accustom themselves to it?

However, we have not yet done with the Emperor's baffling character.
There was a third element that now developed in it--the modern, the
twentieth-century, the American, the Rockefeller element. It is
intimately connected with his Weltpolitik, as his Weltpolitik is with
his foreign policy in general--indeed one might say his Weltpolitik is
his foreign policy--a policy of economic expansion, with a desperate
apprehension of losing any of the Empire's property, and a
determination to have a voice in the matter when there is any loose
property anywhere in the world to be disposed of. To the Hebraic
element and the warrior element (an entirely un-Christlike
combination, as the Emperor must be aware) there now began to be added
the mercantile, the modern, the American element--the interest in all
the concerns of national material prosperity, in the national
accumulation of wealth, the interest in inventions, in commercial
science, in labour-saving machinery, the effort to win American
favour, to facilitate intercourse and establish close and profitable
relations with that wealthy land and people.

We know that the Emperor has English blood in him, greatly admires
England, and is immensely proud of being a British admiral. We have
seen him exhibiting traits of character that remind one of Lohengrin
or Tancred. He has played many parts in the spirit of a Hebrew prophet
and patriarch, of a Frederick the Great, a Cromwell, a Nelson, a
Theodore Roosevelt. Preacher, teacher, soldier, sailor, he has been
all four, now at one moment, now at another. We shall find him anon as
art and dramatic critic, to end--so far as we are concerned with
him--as farmer. Is it any wonder if such a man, mediaeval in his nature
and modern in his character, defies clear and definite portrayal by
his contemporaries?

Taking the year 1900 as the first year of the new century, not as some
calculators, and the Emperor among them, take it, as the last year of
the old, the twentieth century may be said to have opened with a
dramatic historical episode in which the Emperor and his Empire took
very prominent parts--the Boxer movement.

Little notice has been taken in our account of Germany's spacious days
of her relations to China and the Far East generally. They were,
nevertheless, all through that period intimately connected with her
expansion or dreams of expansion. About 1890 the Flowery Land awoke to
the benefits of European civilization and in particular of European
ingenuity; and in 1891, for the first time in Chinese history, foreign
diplomatists were granted the privilege of an annual reception
at the Chinese Court. So exclusive was the Manchu dynasty--the
Hohenzollerns of China in point of antiquity; yet not a score of
years later the Manchu monarchy had been quietly removed from its
five-thousand-year-old throne, and China, apparently the most
conservative and monarchical people on earth, proclaimed itself a
republic--a regular modern republic!--an operation that among peoples
claiming infinite superiority to the Chinese would have cost thousands
of lives and a vast expenditure of money.

Naturally, once China showed a willingness to abandon its axenic
attitude towards foreign devils and all things foreign-devilish, the
European Powers turned their eyes and energies towards her, and a
strenuous commercial and diplomatic race after prospective concessions
for railways, mines, and undertakings of all kinds began. Each Power
feared that China would be gobbled up by a rival, or that at least a
partition of the vast Chinese Empire was at hand. Consequently, when
China was beaten in her war with Japan, and made the unfavourable
treaty of Shimonoseki, the European Powers were ready to appear as
helpers in time of need. Russia, Germany, and France got the
Shimonoseki Treaty altered, and the Laotung Peninsula with Port Arthur
given back, and in return Russia acquired the right to build a railway
through Manchuria (the first step towards "penetration" and
occupation), French engineers obtained several valuable mining and
railway concessions, and Germany got certain privileges in Hankow and

Meantime the old, deeply-rooted hatred of the foreign devil, the
European, was spreading among the population, which was still, in the
mass, conservative. Missionaries were murdered, and among them, in
1897, two German priests. Germany demanded compensation, and in
default sent a cruiser squadron to Kiautschau Bay. Russia immediately
hurried a fleet to Port Arthur and obtained from China a lease of that
port for twenty-five years. England and France now put in a claim for
their share of the good things going. England obtained Wei-hai-Wei,
France a lease of Kwang-tschau and Hainan. China was evidently
throwing herself into the arms of Europe, when, in 1898, the Dowager
Empress took the government out of the hands of the young Emperor and
a period of reaction set in. The appearance of Italy with a demand for
a lease of the San-mun Bay in 1899 brought the Chinese anti-foreign
movement to a head, and the Boxer conspiracy grew to great dimensions.

The movement was caused not merely by religious and race fanaticism,
but by the popular fear that the new European era would change the
economic life of China and deprive millions of Chinese of their wonted
means of livelihood. The Dowager Empress and a number of Chinese
princes now joined it. Massacres soon became the order of the day, and
it is calculated that in the spring of 1900 alone more than 30,000
Christians were barbarously done to death. Among the victims were
reckoned 118 English, 79 Americans, 25 French, and 40 of other
nationalities. The Ambassadors and Ministers of all nations, conscious
of their danger, applied to the Tsungli Yamen (Foreign Office),
demanding that the Imperial Government should crush the Boxer
movement. The Government took no steps, the diplomatists were
beleaguered in their embassies, and were only saved by friendly police
from being murdered.

This, however, was but a temporary respite, and it became necessary to
bring marines from the foreign ships of war lying at the mouth of the
Pei-ho River just out of range of the formidable Taku Forts. These
troops, 2,000 in all, were led by Admiral Seymour. They tried to reach
Pekin, but failed owing to the destruction of the railway, and retired
to Tientsin, from whence, however, on June 16th, a detachment set out
to capture the Taku Forts. The capture was effected, the German
gunboat _Iltis_, under Captain Lans, playing a conspicuously brave
part. Tientsin was now in danger from the Boxer bands, but was
relieved by a mixed detachment of Russians and Germans under General
Stoessel, the subsequent defender of Port Arthur.

The alarm meantime at Pekin was intense. The Chinese Government,
throwing off all disguise, ordered the diplomatists to leave the city.
They refused, knowing that to leave the shelter of the embassies meant
torture and death. One of them, however, the German Minister, Freiherr
von Ketteler, ventured from his Legation and was killed in broad
daylight on his way to the Chinese Foreign Office. Only one of the
Minister's party escaped, to stagger, hacked and bloody, into the
British Legation with the news. This Legation, as the strongest
building in the quarter, became the refuge of the entire diplomatic
corps, with their wives, children, and servants. It was straightway
invested and bombarded by the Boxers, and as the days and weeks went
on the other Legation buildings were burned, and the refugees in the
British Legation had to look death at all hours in the face.

The murder of von Ketteler excited anger and horror throughout the
world, and in no breast, naturally, to a stronger degree than in that
of the German Emperor. All nations hastened to send troops to Pekin.
Japan was first on the scene with 16,000 men under General
Yamagutschi. Russia followed next with 15,000 under General Lenewitch,
then England with 7,500 under General Gaselee, then France with 5,000
under General Frey, then America with 4,000 under General Chaffee,
Germany with 2,500 under von Hopfner, Austria and Italy with smaller
contingents--in all more than 50,000 men, with 144 guns. A little
later the expeditionary corps from Germany, 19,000 strong, under
General von Lessel, and that from France, 10,000 strong, arrived. At
the suggestion, it is said, of Russia, and by agreement among the
European Powers, united by a common sympathy and in face of a common
danger, the German Field-Marshal, Count Waldersee, was appointed to
the supreme command of all the European forces. At the same time naval
supports were hurried by all maritime nations to the scene, and within
a short period 160 warships and 30 torpedo boats were assembled off
the Chinese coast.

The march to Pekin and the relief of the imprisoned Europeans are
incidents still fresh in public memory. In the crowded British
Legation fear alternated with hope, and hope with fear, until, on the
forenoon of August 14th, a boy ran into the Legation crying that
"black-faced Europeans" were advancing along the royal canal in the
direction of the building. In a few minutes a company of Sikh cavalry,
part of some Indian troops diverted on their way to Aden, galloped up,
all danger was over, and the refugees were saved.

The Boxer troubles ended on May 13, 1901, with the signature by Li
Hung Chang in the name of the Emperor of China of a treaty of peace,
the main conditions of which were the payment by China within thirty
years of a war indemnity to the Powers of 450 million taels
(L66,000,000) and an agreement to send a mission of atonement to the
Courts of Germany and Japan--for among the foreign victims of the
Boxers in the previous year had been the Japanese representative in
China, Baron Sugiyama.

For two or three weeks the action of the Emperor with regard to the
Chinese mission of atonement brought him into universal ridicule.
Prince Chun, a near relative of the Chinese Emperor, who had been
appointed to conduct the mission, reached Basle in September, 1901, on
his way to Berlin. Here he lingered, and it soon became known that a
hitch had occurred in his relations with Germany. It then transpired
that the delay was caused by the Emperor's having suddenly intimated
that he expected Prince Chun to make thrice to him, as he sat on his
throne at Potsdam, the "kotow" as practised in the Court of China. In
view of the surprise, laughter, and criticism of Europe, the Emperor
modified his demand for the "kotow" to its symbolic performance by
three deep bows. Prince Chun thereupon resumed his journey. An
impressive, if theatrical, scene was prepared in the New Palace at
Potsdam, where the Emperor, seated on the throne, his marshal's baton
in his hand, and flanked by Ministers and the officers of his
household, received the bearer of China's expressions of regret.
Whatever one may think of the scenic effect provided, the reply the
Emperor made to Prince Chun, after the three bows arranged upon had
been made, is a model of its kind--general not personal, sorrowful
rather than angry, warning rather than reproachful. The Emperor said--

"No pleasing nor festive cause, no mere fulfilment of a
courtly duty, has brought your Imperial Highness to me, but
a sad and deeply grave occurrence. My Minister to the Court
of his Majesty the Emperor of China, Freiherr von Ketteler,
fell in the Chinese capital beneath the murderous weapons of
an imperial Chinese soldier, who acted by the orders of a
superior, an unheard-of outrage condemned by the law of
nations and the moral sense of all countries. From your
Imperial Highness I have now heard the expression of the
sincere and deep regret of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor
of China regarding the occurrence. I am glad to believe that
your Imperial Highness's royal brother had nothing to do
with the crime or with the further acts of violence against
inviolable Ministers and peaceful foreigners, but all the
greater is the guilt which attaches to his advisers and his
Government. Let these not deceive themselves by supposing
that they can make atonement and receive pardon for their
crime through this mission alone, and not through their
subsequent conduct in the light of the prescriptions of
international law and the moral principles of civilized
peoples. If his Majesty the Emperor of China henceforward
directs the government of his great Empire in the spirit of
these ordinances, his hope that the sad consequences of the
confusion of last year may be overcome, and permanent,
peaceful and friendly relations between Germany and China
may exist as before, will be realized to the benefit of both
peoples and the whole of civilized humanity. In the sincere
wish that it may be so, I welcome your Imperial Highness."

The Emperor's other speeches referring to the Boxer movement at this
period have been adversely commented on as showing him in the light of
a cruel and blood-thirsty seeker after revenge. This is an unjust, at
least a hard, judgment. A passage in his address at Bremerhaven to the
expeditionary force when setting out for China is the main proof of
the charge--in which, after referring to the murder of von Ketteler,
he said:

"You know well you will have to fight with a cunning, brave,
well-armed, cruel foe. When you come to close quarters with
him remember--quarter ('Pardon' is the German word the
Emperor used) must not be given: prisoners must not be
taken: manage your weapons so that for a thousand years to
come no Chinaman will dare to look sideways at a German. Act
like men."

It is difficult, of course, to reconcile such an address with
Christian humanity practised, so far as humanity can be practised, in
modern war, but it should be remembered that the Emperor was speaking
in a state of great excitement, and that, according to Chancellor
Prince Buelow's statement in the Reichstag subsequently, confirmation
of the news of the murder of his Minister to China had only reached
the Emperor ten minutes before he delivered the speech.

There is one incident, however, though not a very important one, in
connexion with the troubles, which may fairly be made a matter of
reproach to the Emperor--the seizure, on his order, of the ancient
astronomical instruments at Pekin and their transference to Sans
Souci, in Potsdam, where they are to be seen to the present day. The
troops of all nations, it is known, looted freely at Pekin; but the
Emperor might have spared China and his own fair fame the indignity of
such public vandalism.

While writing of China it may not be superfluous to add that the
Emperor's foreign policy in the Orient cannot be expected to present
exactly the same features, or proceed quite along the same lines, as
his foreign policy in Europe. By far the greater part of Europe is now
as completely parcelled out and as permanently settled as though it
were a huge, well-managed estate. The capacities of its high roads,
its railways, its great rivers, with their commercial and strategic
values and relations are perfectly ascertained; and the knowledge, it
is not too much to say, is the common property of all important
Governments. It is not so, or not nearly to the same extent, in the
Orient. In Europe there is little or no difficulty in distinguishing
between enterprises that are political and those that are commercial,
or in recognizing where they are both; and if a difficulty should
arise it can be arranged by diplomatic conversations, by a conference
of the Powers interested, or in the last resort--short of war--by
arbitration. This is not so simple a matter in the Orient, where
conditions are at once old and new, where interests of possibly great
magnitude are as yet undetermined or unappropriated, where possibly
great mineral sources are undeveloped and the capacities of new
markets unascertained; where, in short, the decisive factors of the
problem are undiscovered, it may be unsuspected.

In such cases there is often no certain and readily recognizable line
of demarcation between the two kinds of enterprise; and an undertaking
that may present all the appearance of being a purely commercial
scheme, and be solemnly asseverated to be such by the Power or Powers
promoting it, may turn out on closer examination to be one of great
political significance and incalculable political consequence. Of such
enterprises two immediately spring to mind, the Cape to Cairo railway
and the Baghdad railway, not to mention a score of problematic
undertakings in other parts of Africa or Asia. It will be useful to
keep this general consideration in view when forming an opinion
regarding the Emperor's Oriental policy. That policy is, so far,
almost entirely commercial. Long ago wars used to be made for the sake
of religion, then for the sake of territory. Now they are made for the
sake of new markets.

Yet the Far East is changing with the change in conditions everywhere
in modern times, and it is evident that the premises for any
conclusion as to German foreign policy there may, at any given moment,
be subject to modification. Partly owing to the growth of Germany's
European influence, and to the increase in her navy which has helped
her to it, she is to be found of recent years playing a role in the
Far East which would have been unintelligible to the German of the
last generation. There are many Germans to-day, as in Bismarck's time,
who ridicule the notion that the possibilities of trade in Oriental
countries justify the national risk now run for it and the national
expenditure now made upon it; but it is sometimes forgotten that,
apart from the chance of obtaining concessions for the building of
railways, for the establishment of banks, for the leasing of mines and
working of cotton plantations, there is a large German export of
beads, cloth, and, in short, of hundreds of articles which appeal to
barbarian or only semi-civilized tastes.

Germany, too, looks hopefully forward to a future in which she will be
supplied with the raw material of her manufactures by her colonies, or
failing that by her subjects trading abroad in the colonies of other
nations. This is one of the main objects of her Weltpolitik. As Prince
von Buelow said: "The time has passed when the German left the earth to
one neighbour and the sea to another, while he reserved heaven, where
pure doctrines are enthroned, to himself;" and again: "We don't seek
to put anybody in the shade, but we demand our place in the sun;" and
the idea finds technical expression in the phrase on which Germany
lays so much stress, the "maintenance of the open door." Her policy in
the Far East, as in Europe, is thus on the whole a commercial one; she
seeks there as elsewhere new markets, not new territory. Accordingly
she supports the principle of the _status quo_ in China, and therefore
raised no objection to the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of 1902 which,
among other objects, secured it.

In January, 1901, the Emperor was called to England by the sudden,
and, as it was to prove, fatal illness of his grandmother, Queen
Victoria. His journey to Osborne, where he arrived just in time to be
recognized by the dying Queen, and his abandonment of the idea,
impressive and almost sacred to a Prussian King and the Prussian
people, of being present on his birthday, January 27th, at the
bicentenary celebration of the foundation of the Prussian Kingdom,
made a deep and sympathetic impression on the people of England.
Usually on State occasions the Emperor does not display a countenance
of good humour, or indeed of any sentiment save perhaps that of a
sense of dignity; but on the occasion in question, as he rode in the
uniform of a British Field-Marshal beside Edward VII, his looks were
those of genuine sorrow. Public sympathy was not lessened when it
became known that he had mentioned the pride he felt in being
privileged to wear the uniform of two such soldiers of renown as the
Duke of Wellington and Lord Roberts; and added that the privilege
would be highly estimated by the whole German army. It was a
chivalrous remark, the offspring of a chivalrous disposition.

The Emperor had hardly returned to Germany when, on February 6th, the
only attack ever made on his person occurred in Bremen. He had been at
a banquet in the town hall, and was being driven through the
illuminated streets to the railway station to return to Berlin, when a
half-witted locksmith's apprentice of nineteen, Dietrich Weiland by
name, flung a piece of railway iron at him with such good aim that it
struck him on the face immediately under the right eye, inflicting a
deep and nasty, but not dangerous wound. The Emperor proceeded with
his journey, the doctors attending to his injury in the train, and in
a few weeks he was well again. Weiland was sent to a criminal lunatic
asylum. The attempt had, apparently, nothing to do with Anarchism or
Nihilism or the Social Democracy. When the Emperor alluded to it
afterwards in his speech to the Diet, he referred it to a general
diminution of respect for authority.

"Respect for authority," he said to the Diet,

"is wanting. In this regard all classes of the population
are to blame. Particular interests are looked to, not the
general well-being of the folk. Criticism of the measures of
the Government and Throne takes the coarsest and most
injurious forms--and hence the errors and demoralization of
our youth. Parliament must help here, and a change must be
made, beginning with the schools."

It was natural enough that a few days after, addressing the Alexander
Regiment of Guards, who were taking up quarters in a new barracks near
the palace in Berlin, he should tell them the barracks were like a
citadel to the palace, and that, as a sort of imperial bodyguard, the
regiment "must be ready, day and night as once before"--he was
referring to the "March Days"--"to meet any attack by the citizens on
the Emperor."

At Bonn in April the Emperor attended the matriculation
(immatriculation, the Germans call it) of his eldest son, the Crown
Prince, at the university. He was in civil dress, one of the rare
public occasions during the reign when he has not been in uniform, but
this did not prevent him delivering a martial address to the
Borussians. "I hope and expect from the younger generation," he said
to the students,

"that they will put me in a position to maintain our German
Fatherland in its close and strong boundaries and in the
congeries of German races--doing to no one favour and to no
one harm. If, however, anyone should touch us too nearly,
then I will call upon you and I expect you won't leave your
Emperor sitting."

A great shout of "Bravo!" went up when the Emperor ceased, and the
students doubtless all thought what a fine thing it would be if he
would only lead them straightway against those cheeky Englanders.

At the end of June, on board the Hamburg-American pleasure-steamer
_Princess Victoria Luise_, the Emperor pronounced the famous
sentence--"Our future lies on the water." The year before he had said
something like it, and it is worth quoting as the Emperor's first
explicit allusion to Weltpolitik. "Strongly," he exclaimed,

"dashes the beat of ocean at the doors of our people and
compels it to preservation of its place in the world, in a
word, to Weltpolitik. The ocean is indispensable for
Germany's greatness. The ocean testifies that on it and far
beyond it no important decision will be taken without
Germany and the German Emperor."

His words on the present occasion were:

"My entire task for the future will be to see that the
undertakings of which the foundations have been laid may
develop quietly and surely. We have, though as yet without
the fleet as it should be, achieved our place in the sun. It
will now be my task to hold this place unquestioned, so that
its rays may act favourably on trade and industry and
agriculture at home inside, and on our sail-sports on the
coast--for our future lies on the water. The more Germans go
on the sea--whether travelling or in the service of the
State--the better. When the German has once learned to look
abroad and afar he will lose that 'hang' towards the petty,
the trivial, which now so often seizes him in daily life."

And he closed: "We must now go out in search of new spots where we can
drive in nails on which to hang our armour."

Early in August the Emperor was called to the death-bed of his mother,
the Empress Frederick, at her castle in Cronberg. She died on the
afternoon of her son's arrival, on August 5th. The Emperor ordered
mourning throughout the Empire for six weeks, and forbade all "public
music, entertainments, theatrical or otherwise" until after the
funeral. The Empress was buried in the mausoleum attached to the
Friedenskirche in Potsdam on the 13th of the month.

The delivery of a famous speech on art by the Emperor in December
brings the chronicle of 1901 to a close, but perhaps it will not
displease the reader if a new chapter is opened for the purpose of
quoting it and of considering the Emperor in what is a traditional
Hohenzollern relationship.



Art is a favourite subject of conversation on the Continent, where it
is more popularly discussed than in England and where authorities of
all kinds are more alive to its educative capabilities. It is
eminently "safe" ground, does not savour of gossip, and no one need
leave the field of discussion with the feeling that he has been driven
from it. Hence it is the salvation of diplomatists who are
apprehensive of committing their Governments or themselves when mixing
in general society, and it doubtless does good service for the Emperor
also upon occasion. Indeed it is a topic on which he speaks willingly
and well.

Unfortunately for precision of thought and speech, though useful for
the man in the street, the word "art" has been pressed into the
service of metaphor more than almost any other word in language. We
are told in turn that everything is an art--hair-dressing,
salad-dressing (a different kind), lying, flying, dying. The Germans
are trying to make an art of life. Whistler wrote about the "Gentle
Art of Making Enemies." One hears of "artful hussies" and "artful
dodgers." People are described as "artful" in the small diplomacies of
intercourse. Jugglers, acrobats, sword-swallowers, "supers" at the
theatre, the men who play the elephant in the pantomime would all be
mortified if they were not addressed as "artists," In short,
everything may be called an art.

But what, truly, is art? The question is as hard to answer
satisfactorily as the questions what is truth or what is beauty? The
notion "art" usually occurs to the mind as contrasted with the notion
"nature"; the word is derived from the Sanskrit root _ar_, to plough,
to make, to do; and accordingly art may be taken to be something made
by man, as contrasted with something made, or grown, or given by God.
How art came into existence it is of course impossible to do more than
conjecture. The necessities of primitive man may have stimulated his
inventive powers into originating and developing the useful arts for
his physical comfort and convenience; and his desire for recreation
after labour, or the mere ennui of idleness, may have urged the same
powers into originating and developing the fine and plastic arts for
the entertainment of his mind. Or, lastly, if no better reason can be
found, and though Sir Joshua Reynolds laid it down that all models of
perfection in art must be sought for on the earth, it may be that
seeing and feeling instinctively the glory and beauty of the Creation,
mankind began gradually, as its intelligence improved, to burn with a
longing to imitate, reproduce, and represent them.

However art arose, it seems true to say, as a German writer has well
said, that when a work of art, whether a poem or a picture or a
statue, causes in us the thought that so, and in no other way, would
we ourselves have expressed the idea, had we the talent, then we may
conclude that true art is speaking to us, whatever the idea to be
expressed may be. Everything demands thought, but our thoughts are an
unruly folk, which never keep long on the same straight road, and love
to wander off to left and right, here finding something new and there
throwing away something old. The artist, when he conceives a plan, has
to fight with the host of his thoughts and find a way through them.
They often threaten to divert him from it, but on the other hand they
often lead him to his goal by novel paths along which he finds much
that is new and valuable.

This is a doctrine that, sensible though it is, would hardly be
subscribed to by the Emperor, to whom no new movement in art strongly
appeals, and who thinks that such movements, unless founded on the old
classical school, the Greek and Roman school of beauty, ought, in the
public interest, to be discouraged. However, let him speak for
himself. He set forth his art creed in a speech which he delivered on
December 18, 1901, to the sculptors who had executed the Hohenzollern
statues in the famous Siegesallee at Berlin, and which ran
substantially as follows:--

"I gladly seize the occasion, first of all, to express my
congratulations and then my thanks for the manner in which
you have assisted me to carry out my original plan. The
preparation of the plan for the Siegesallee has occupied
many years, and the learned historiographer of my House,
Professor Dr. Poser, is the man who put me in a position to
set the artists clear and intelligible tasks. Once the
historic basis was found the work could be proceeded with,
and when the personalities of the princes were established
it was possible to ascertain those who had been their most
important helpers. In this manner the groups originated and,
to a certain extent, conditioned by their history, the forms
of them came into existence.

"The next most difficult question was--Was it possible, as I
hoped it was, to find in Berlin so many artists as would be
able to work together harmoniously to realize the programme?

"As I came to consider the question, I had in view to show
the world that the most favourable condition for the
successful achievement of the work was not the appointment
of an art commission and the establishment of prize
competitions, but that in accord with ancient custom, as in
the classical period, and later during the Middle Ages, was
the case, it lay in the direct intercourse of the employer
with the artists.

"I am therefore especially obliged to Professor Reinhold
Begas for having assured me, when I applied to him, that
there was absolutely no doubt there could be found in Berlin
a sufficiency of artists to carry out the idea; and with his
help, and in consequence of the acquaintances I have made by
visiting exhibitions and studios in Berlin, I succeeded in
getting together a staff, the majority of whom I see around
me, with whom to approach the task.

"I think you will not refuse me the testimony that, in
respect of the programme I drew up I have made the treatment
of it as easy as possible, that while I ordered and defined
the work I gave you an absolute freedom not only in the
combination and composition, but precisely the freedom to
put into it that from himself which every artist must if he
is to give the work the stamp of his own individuality,
since every work of art contains in itself something of the
individual character of the artist. I believe that this
experiment, if I may so call it, as made in the Siegesallee,
has succeeded.

"... I have never interfered with details, but have
contented myself with simply giving the direction, the

"But to-day the thought that Berlin stands there before the
whole world with a guild of artists able to carry out so
magnificent a project fills me with satisfaction and pride.
It shows that the Berlin school of art stands on a height
which could hardly have been more splendid in the time of
the Renaissance.

"Here, too, one can draw a parallel between the great
artistic achievements of the Middle Ages and the
Italians--that, namely, the head of the State, an art-loving
prince, who offered their tasks to the artists also found
the master round whom a school of artists could gather.

"How is it, generally speaking, with art in the world? It
takes its models, supplies itself from the great sources of
Mother Nature, who, spite of her apparently unfettered,
limitless freedom, still moves according to eternal laws
which the Creator ordained for himself and which cannot be
passed or violated without danger to the development of the

"Even so it is in art; and at the sight of the beautiful
remains of old classical times comes again over one the
feeling that here too reigns an eternal law that is always
true to itself, the law of beauty and harmony, of the
aesthetic. This law is given expression to by the ancients
in so surprising and overpowering a fashion, in so
thoroughly complete a form that we, with all our modern
sensibilities and with all our power, are still proud, when
we have done any specially fine piece of work, to hear that
it is almost as good as it was made nineteen hundred years

"But only almost! Under this impression I would earnestly
ask you to lay it to heart that sculpture still remains
untainted by so-called modern tendencies and currents--still
stands high and chastely there! Keep her so, don't let
yourselves be misled by human criticism or any wind of
doctrine to abandon the principles on which she has been
built up.

"An art which transgresses the laws and limits I have
indicated is art no more. It is factory work, handicraft,
and that is a thing art should never be. Under the often
misused word 'freedom' and her flag one falls too readily
into boundlessness, unrestraint, self-exaggeration. For
whoever cuts loose from the law of beauty, and the feeling
for the aesthetic and harmonious, which every human breast
feels, whether he can express it or not, and in his thought
makes his chief object some special direction, some specific
solution of more technical tasks, that man denies art's
first sources.

"Yet again. Art should help to exercise an educative
influence on the people. She should offer the lower classes,
after the hard work of the day, the possibility of
refreshing themselves by regarding what is ideal. To us
Germans great ideals have become permanent possessions,
whereas to other peoples they have been more or less lost.
Only the German people remain called to preserve these great
ideas, to cultivate and continue them. And among these
ideals is this, that we afford the possibility to the
working classes to elevate themselves by beauty, and by
beauty to enable them to abstract themselves and rise above
the thoughts they otherwise would have.

"When Art, as now often occurs, does nothing more than
represent misery as still more unlovely than it is already,
by so doing she sins against the German people. The
cultivation of the ideal is at the same time the greatest
work of culture, and if we wish to be and remain an example
in this to other nations the whole people must work together
to that end; if Culture is to fulfil her task she must
penetrate to the lowest classes of society. That she can
only do when art comes into play, when she raises up,
instead of descending into the gutter.

"As ruler of the country I often find it extremely bitter
that art, through its masters, does not with sufficient
energy oppose such tendencies. I do not for a moment fail to
perceive that many an aspiring character is to be found
among the partisans of these tendencies, who are perhaps
filled with the best intentions but who are on the wrong
path. The true artist needs no advertisement, no press, no
patronage. I do not believe that your great protagonists in
the domain of science, either in ancient Greece or in Italy
or in the Renaissance period ever had recourse to a
_reclame_ such as nowadays is often made in the press in
order to bring their ideas into prominence, but worked as
God inspired them and let others do the talking.

"And so must an honest, proper artist act. The art which
descends to _reclame_ is no art be it lauded a hundred or a
thousand-fold. A feeling for what is beautiful or ugly has
every one, be he ever so simple, and to educate this feeling
in the people I require all of you. That in the Siegesallee
you have done a piece of such work, I have specially to
thank you.

"This I can even now tell you--the impression which the
Siegesallee has made on the foreigner is quite an
overpowering one; everywhere respect for German sculpture is
making itself perceivable. May you always remain on these
heights, may such masters stand by my sons and sons' sons,
should they ever come into existence! Then, I am convinced,
will our people be in a position to love the beautiful and
honour lofty ideals."

At the Berlin Art Museum next year, after praising the devotion of his
parents to art, and especially of his mother, "a nature," he said,
"about which poesy breathed," he continued:--

"The son of both stands before you as their heir and
executor: and so I regard it as my task, according to the
intention of my parents, to hold my hand over my German
people and its growing generation, to foster the love of
beauty in them, and to develop art in them; but only along
the lines and within the bounds drawn strictly by the
feelings in mankind for beauty and harmony."

The Emperor's speech to the sculptors, if it contains some
questionable statements, is a thoughtful address by one who is himself
an artist, though not perhaps an artist of a high class. His artistic
endowments, transmitted from his parents, have been already indicated.
In reference to them he said to the official conducting him over the
Marienburg in later years, when the official expressed surprise at the
Emperor's art-knowledge:--

"There is nothing wonderful in it. I was brought up in an
artistic atmosphere. My mother was an artist, and from my
earliest youth I have been surrounded by beautiful things.
Art is my friend and my recreation."

The highest praise of a work of art is to say of it that it pleased,
or would have pleased; his mother. Of her he said, "Every thought she
had was art, and to her everything, however simple, which was meant
for the use of life, was penetrated with beauty." When giving his
sanction to a plan, a park, a statue or a building he always
thinks--"Would it have pleased my parents--what would they have said
about it?" The Kaiser Friedrich Museum and the Kaiser Friedrich
Memorial Church, both in Berlin, testify to the Emperor's gratitude to
his parents for their artistic legacy.

He went, as we have seen, through the ordinary art drudgery of the
school, recognizing, no doubt, with Michael Angelo, with all good
artists, that correct drawing is the foundation of every art into
which drawing enters and applying himself industriously to it. As a
young soldier at Potsdam he spent a good deal of his time, during the
three years from 1880 to 1883, practising oil-painting under the
guidance of Herr Karl Salzmann, a distinguished Berlin painter. Among
the results of this instruction was a picture which the princely
artist called "The Corvette--Prince Adalbert in the Bay of Samitsu,"
now hanging in the residence of his brother, Prince Henry, at Kiel;
and two years later, as his interest in the navy grew, a "Fight
between an Armoured Ship and a Torpedo-boat." Innumerable aquarelles
and sketches, chiefly of marine subjects, were also the fruit of this

The Emperor has constantly cultivated free and friendly intercourse
with the best artists of his own and other nations, and been
continually engaged devoting time and money to the art education of
his people. The admirable art exhibitions in Berlin of the best
examples of painting by English, French, and American artists, which
he personally promoted and was greatly interested in, may be recalled
as instances. If his efforts in encouraging art among his people have
not been so successful as his imperial activities in other directions,
the reason is not any fault on his part, but simply that art refuses
to be, in Shakespeare's phrase, "tongue-tied by authority."

This was shown by the chorus of unfavourable criticism which the
speech to the sculptors drew forth. No one questioned the sincerity of
the Emperor or the magnanimity of his aims, nor was the criticism
wholly caused by the suspicion that it savoured of the "personal
regiment" under which the people were growing impatient; but many
thought he was pushing the dynastic principle too far and unduly
interfering with liberty of thought and judgment, and that there was
something Oriental as well as selfish in occupying with a gallery of
his ancestors, the majority of whom were, after all, very ordinary
people, one of the fairest spots in the capital. Perhaps, however,
what was most objected to was his trying to drive the art of the
nation into a groove, the direction given by himself: in trying to
inspire it with a particular spirit and that an ancient not a modern
spirit, when he ought to let the spirit come of its own accord out of
the mind of the people--the mind of many millions, not the mind of one
man, however high his rank. Politics and government might be things in
which he had a right to an authoritative voice, but art, like
religion, the people considered to be a matter for individual taste
and judgment.

Yet something may be advanced in favour of the Emperor. His
recommendation, for in fact it was and could be only that, was quite
in keeping with the traditions of his office and the people's own view
of royal government. The speech, as was admitted, was suggested by no
mere dilettante's vanity, but, as is evident from his words at the Art
Museum, by the conviction that just as it is the imperial duty to
provide an efficient army and navy, so it is the imperial duty to use
every personal and private, as well as every public and official,
effort to provide the people with an art as efficient, as honest, and
as clean; and it was inevitable that the art the Emperor recommended
was that which he believed, and still believes, to be in conformity
with the ideals, as he interprets them, or would have them to be, of
the Germanic race.

The speech itself is interesting as showing the Emperor's attitude
towards art and artists and his personal conception of art and its
nature. His attitude is evidently that of the art-loving prince of
whom he speaks in the address, a royal Maecenas or di Medici, who
gathers artists round him; but he means to use them, not so much
perhaps for art's sake, as for the instruction and elevation of his
folk. A very laudable aim; only, as it happens, the folk in this
matter desire themselves to decide what is improving and elevating for
them and what is not. They are not willing to leave the exclusive
choice to the Emperor.

The Emperor, again, would give the artist the freedom to put into his
work "that from himself which any artist must, if he is to give the
work the stamp of his own individuality." This attitude, too, is
admirable, but on the other hand lies the danger, such is poor human
nature, that the individuality will be that which the Emperor wishes
it to be, not the artist's independent individuality To the foreign
eye all the Hohenzollern statues in the Siegesallee, with the
exception possibly of two or three, seem to have much the same
individuality, though that again may be due to the nature of the
subject and the foreigner's inherent and ineradicable predispositions.

Thirdly, art, the Emperor says, can only be educative when it elevates
instead of descending into the gutter. Hogarth descended into the
gutter. Gustav Dore depicts the horrors of hell. Yet both Hogarth and
Dore were great artists, and educative too. The Emperor was here
thinking of the Berlin Secession, a school just then starting,
eccentric indeed and far from "classical," but which nevertheless has
since produced several fine artists. The Emperor, it would appear,
thinks that the antique classical school is the true and only good
school for the artist. Very likely most artists will agree with him--
at least as a foundation; but the belief, it also appears, is not
considered in Germany, or outside of it, to justify the Emperor, as
Emperor, in discouraging all other schools and particularly the
efforts of modern artists in their non-classical imaginings.

The Emperor says art "takes its models, supplies itself from the great
sources of Mother Nature." With all courtesy to the Emperor one may
suggest that art, and sane art, takes its models not only from Mother
Nature, but also from an almost as prolific a maternal source, namely
imagination; and that imagination is limited by no eternal laws we
know of, or can even suspect. Accordingly it is useless to check, or
try to check, the imagination by telling it to work in a certain
direction--so long, naturally, as the imagination is not obviously
indecent or insane.

Again, the Emperor says that in classical art there reigns an eternal
law, the "law of beauty and harmony, of the aesthetic" which is
expressed in a "thoroughly complete form" by the ancients. It is
admittedly a delightful and admirable form, but is it thoroughly
complete? Is it the last and only form; and may not the very same law
be found by experiment to be at work in future art that cannot be
called classical, as it was found to be at work in the various noble
schools since classical times? One must agree with the Emperor that
the Greeks and Romans illustrated the "law of beauty and harmony, of
the esthetic, in a wonderful manner." But it was wonderfully done for
their age and intellect. They did not exhaust the beautiful and
harmonious: far from it.

Neither the world nor mankind has been standing still ever since;
certainly the mind of man has not, even though his senses have
undergone no elemental change. Paganism was succeeded by Christianity,
and with Christianity came a new art canon, new forms of beauty and
harmony--the Early Italian. The age of reason followed, bringing with
it the Baroque and Rococo canons: and as time went on, and the world's
mind kept working, came other canons still. The most recent canon
appears to be that of naturalism (the Emperor's "gutter ") with which
artists are now experimentalizing. None of the canons, be it noticed,
destroyed the canon that preceded, because beauty and harmony are
indestructible and imperishable. "A thing of beauty is a joy for

But not only the mind of man kept changing: the world itself and its
civilization--by war, by treaty, by science, by invention, by art
itself--kept changing, and is changing now. Development, physical as
well as social, has been constant, and the changes accompanying it
have inspired, and are inspiring, artists with new ideas to which they
are always trying to give expression. The subjects of art have
enormously multiplied. Those introduced by sport of all kinds, by the
development of the theatre, by the newly-found effects of light and
colour, need only be mentioned as examples capable of suggesting
beauties and harmonies unknown to and unsuspected by the ancients.
Hence, in addition to the classical art of the day, there is room for
the "new art," the secessionist, the futurist, the impressionist, even
the cubist, or whatever the experimental movement may call itself. And
any day any of these movements may lead to the establishment of a new
and admirable school of genuine art as beautiful as the classical, if
in a different manner. The world has no idea of the surprises in all
directions yet in store for it.

The Emperor, too, is at one with all the world in assuming that art,
to deserve the name, must possess the quality of beauty. He speaks of
"beauty and harmony," but let it be taken that he understands beauty
to include harmony. Now, as has been suggested, to answer the
question, what is beauty, satisfactorily, is no easy matter. In
immediate proximity to it lies the question, what is ugliness? It
might be argued that nothing in nature is ugly, and that the word was
introduced to express what is merely an inability on the part of
mankind to perceive the beauty which constitutes nature; and it
certainly is possible that, were man endowed with the mind of God,
instead of with only some infinitesimal and mysterious emanation of
it, he would find all things in creation, all art included, beautiful.
The author of the Book of Genesis asserts that when God had finished
making the world He looked upon His handiwork and saw that it was
good. There is one advantage in adopting this view, and no small one,
that a belief in its truth must impel us to look for beauty and
goodness in all things, whether in art or nature--and even in the
Secession. Perhaps, however, we shall not be far from the truth in
saying, as regards art, that all things in creation are beautiful,
that there are degrees in beauty of which ugliness is the lowest, and
that the truly inspired artist can make all things, ugliness included,

The Emperor thinks the appreciation of beauty is one of our innate
ideas, like the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, which
we call conscience. There is no agreement among thinkers on the point,
and it may be that both beauty and conscience are relative, and simply
the result of environment and education. Certainly there is no
standard of beauty, and more certainly still, not of feminine beauty.
The Mahommedan admires a woman who has the nose of the parrot, the
teeth of the pomegranate seed, and the tread of the elephant.

But though there is no complete standard of beauty about which all
people, at all times, in all countries, are agreed, there are two
elements of beauty which may be said to have been standardized, at
least for the civilized world, by the early Greeks and Romans. These
elements are simplicity and harmony, simplicity being the forms of
things most directly and pleasingly appealing to the eye and most
easily reaching the common understanding, while harmony is the
combination of parts most nearly identical with the lines, contours,
and proportions of nature. These are two essentials of good sculpture,
and the Emperor was talking to sculptors and perhaps thinking only of

Yet simplicity and harmony alone do not constitute beauty, while on
the other hand beauty may take very complicated forms. A third element
one may suggest is essential, and its indescribable nature causes all
the difficulty there is in defining beauty. This third element
is--charm. A work of art, to be beautiful, must charm, and to
different people different things are charming. Plato's theory is that
the sense of beauty is a dim recollection of a standard we have seen
in a heavenly pre-existence. Accepting it as as good an explanation of
charm as we can get, we may conclude by defining beauty as, in its
highest form, a combination of simplicity and harmony, resulting in

The Emperor says: "To us Germans great ideals have become permanent
possessions, whereas to other peoples they have been more or less
lost." The remark is not one of those best calculated to promote
friendly feelings on the part of other peoples towards Germany or its
Emperor. It is like his declaration that Germans are the "salt of the
earth," and of a piece with the aggressive attitude of intellectual
superiority adopted by many Germans towards other nations--one reason,
by the way, for German unpopularity in the world. But is it true?
Germany has great ideals in permanent possession, but are they more or
less lost to other peoples? It is at least doubtful. Great ideals are
the permanent possession of every great people; it is these ideals
that have made them great; and they are no less great if they differ
according to the nature and conditions of each great people. One might
go further, indeed, and say that great ideals are the common property
and permanent possession of all great peoples. It is a hard saying
that any one people has a monopoly of them. The contribution of every
great nation to the common stock of great ideals is incalculable, and
it would be interesting to investigate which nation is most
successfully working out its great ideals in practice.

The truth is the German ideal of beauty in art is not, generally
speaking, the same as that of the Anglo-Saxon or Latin foreigner. The
art ideals of the Anglo-Saxon and Latin races in this respect are for
the most part Greek, while those of the German race are for the most
part Roman; and in each case the ideals are the outcome of the spirit
which has had most influence on the mind and manners of the different
races. The Greek philosophic and aesthetic spirit has chiefly
influenced Anglo-Saxon and Latin art ideals: the Roman spirit,
particularly the military spirit and the spirit of law, have chiefly
influenced German ideals: and, as a result, arrived at through ages
during which events of epoch-making importance caused many successive
modifications, while the Anglo-Saxon and Latin races are most
impressed by such qualities as lightness and delicacy of outline,
round and softly-flowing curves and elegance of ornamentation, the
German appears, to the Anglo-Saxon and Latin, to be more impressed by
the elaborate, the gigantic, the Gothic, the grotesque, the hard, the
made, the massive, and the square. In both styles are to be found
"beauty and harmony, the aesthetic," to quote the Emperor, but they
appeal differently to people of different national temperaments. To
the Anglo-Saxon and Latin in general, therefore, German art, and
particularly German sculpture and architecture, while impressive and
admirable, lack for most foreigners the entirely indescribable quality
we have called "charm."

The true artist, the Emperor says, needs no advertisement, no press,
no patronage. The Emperor is right. The true artist, once he begins to
produce first-rate work, will obtain instant recognition, and his work
will begin to sell, not perhaps at prices the same kind of work may
bring later, but at prices sufficient to support the artist and his
family in reasonable comfort. If it does not, he is not producing good
work and had better turn his attention to something else. As a matter
of fact very few true artists do advertise, use the press, or seek
patronage. The artist does not go to the press or the patron, for
nowadays, the moment the artist does excellent work, the press and the
patron go to him, and, when he is very exceptionally good, he is
advertised and patronized until he is sick of both advertisement and

Naturally it is different in the case of the artist who is not
excellently good, but the Emperor was not considering such. These
artists too, however, insist on living and must find a market for
their wares. It is an age of advertisement, the growth of new economic
conditions, for advertisement creates as well as reveals new markets.
Hence the vast host of mediocrities, not only in art but in almost
every field of human activity, nowadays advertise and seek patronage
because only in this way can they find purchasers and live. These
artists, often men of talent, dislike having to advertise; they would
rather work for art's sake, but having to do so need not hinder them
from working for art's sake, since all that is meant by that much
misused phrase is that while the artist is working he shall not think
of the reward of his work, but simply and solely of how to do the best
work he can.

Before leaving the Emperor's speech one is tempted to inquire what
should be the attitude of a sovereign towards art and artists. For the
Englishman the doctrine of Individualism--the thing he is so apt to
make a fetish of--gives an answer, and, it may be, the right one. The
Englishman will probably say that if in any one province of life more
than in another freedom should be allowed to originality of conception
regarding the form as well as the substance, the manner as well as the
matter, it is in the province of art, always provided, of course, that
the artist is sane and not guilty of indecency. The artist, like the
poet, is born not made; you cannot make an artist, you can only make
an artisan. The artist, who represents the Creator, the creative
faculty, can influence man: man cannot, and should not try to,
influence the artist, but can, and should only, offer him the
materials for his art, smooth the way for his endeavour, encourage him
in it by sympathetic yet candid criticism, and above all, when he can
afford it, by buying the result of his endeavour when it is

This should be the attitude of both monarch and Maecenas: it is an
attitude of benevolent neutrality. "I know," such a Maecenas might say
to the artist,

"that your artistic faculties move in an atmosphere above as
well as on the earth, as I know that above the atmosphere of
oxygen and hydrogen which envelops the earth there is an
ethereal, a rarefied atmosphere, which stretches to worlds
of which all we know is that they exist. If your spirit can
soar above this earthly atmosphere, well and good. I, for
one, shall do nothing to limit or hinder it: I shall only
welcome and applaud and reward whatever effort you make to
bring our inner being a step, long or short, nearer to the
source of celestial light. Consequently, I offer you no
instructions and put no fetters on your imagination."

It takes all sorts of art to make an artistic world, as it takes all
sorts of people to make the human world: a world with only classic art
in it would be as uninteresting and unthinkable as a world in which
every one was of the same character, occupation, and dress.

But it is time to consider the Emperor a little more in detail in
relation to his connexion with the arts. If he were not a first-rate
monarch he would probably be a first-rate artist. He said once that if
he were to be an artist, he would be a sculptor. But if he is not a
professional artist he is a connoisseur, a dilettante in the right
sense, a lover of the arts, an art-loving prince. The painter Salzmann
tells us how he used to go to the Villa Liegnitz in Potsdam to give
Prince William lessons, and how the Empress, then Princess William,
used to sit with the pupil and his teacher, discussing technical and
art questions. A result of the teaching, in addition to the pictures
mentioned elsewhere, was an oil-painting, a sea-fight, which still
hangs in the Ravene Gallery in Berlin.

In the spring of 1886 the Prince sent his teacher a sketch for
criticism. Salzmann wired his opinion to Potsdam, and a telegram came
back, "What does 'wind too anxious' mean? is it so stormily painted
that you shuddered at it, or is it not stormy enough?" Salzmann is
also authority for the statement that the Prince sent in a sea-piece
to the annual Berlin Art Exhibition. It was placed ready to be judged,
but suddenly disappeared. The Emperor William, it appeared, had
decided that it would not do for a future Emperor to compete with
professional artists or run the risk of sarcastic public criticism.
Naturally since he came to the throne the Emperor has never had time
to cultivate his talent as a painter, but has always fed his eyes and
mind on the best kind of painting, and brings his sense of form and
colour to bear on everything he does or has a voice in.

That the Emperor's own taste in painting is of a "classical" kind in a
very catholic sense was shown by the personal interest he took in
getting together and having brought to Berlin the exhibition of old
English masters in 1908. At his request the English owners of many of
these treasures agreed to lend them for exhibition in Germany,
submitting thereby to the risk of loss or damage, displaying an
unselfish disposition to aid in elevating the taste of a foreign
people, and at the same time giving Germans a better and more tangible
idea of the nation which could produce artists of such nobility of
feeling and marvellous technical capacity. The Emperor paid several
visits to the exhibition and thousands of Berlin folk followed his
example, so that the beauty of the works of Gainsborough, Raeburn,
Lawrence, Hoppner, and Romney was for months a topic of enthusiastic
conversation in the capital.

Encouraged by this success, the Emperor next caused a similar
exhibition of French painters to be arranged. The Rococo period was
now chosen, many lovely specimens of the art of Watteau, Lancret,
David, Vigee, Lebrun, Fragonnard, Greuze, and Bonnat were procured,
and again the Berliner was given an opportunity not only of enjoying
an artistic treat of a delightful kind, but of comparing the
impressions made on him by the art spirits of two other nations. The
opening of this French exhibition was made by the Emperor the occasion
of emphasizing his conciliatory feelings towards France, for he
attended an evening entertainment at the French Embassy given
specially in honour of the occasion.

A third art exhibition followed in 1910--that of two hundred American
oil paintings brought to Berlin and shown in the Royal Academy of Arts
on the Panser Platz. They included works by Sargent, Whistler, Gari
Melchior, Leon Dabo, Joseph Pennell, and many others. The suggestion
for this exhibition did not proceed from the Emperor, but in all
possible ways he gave the exhibition his personal support. On
returning from inspecting it he telegraphed to the American Ambassador
in Berlin, Dr. D. J. Hill, to express the pleasure he had derived from
what he had seen. Nor was such a mark of admiration surprising. The
exhibition was nothing short of a revelation, going far to dissipate
the German belief--perhaps the English belief also--that America
possesses no body of painters of the first rank.

Again we have recourse to the marine painter, Herr Salzmann. Wired for
by the Emperor, the painter got to the palace at 10.15 PM. When he
arrived the Emperor cried out, "So, at last! Where have you been
hiding yourself? I have had Berlin searched for you." The Emperor and
Empress and suite had just returned from the theatre and were standing
about the room. It turned out that the Emperor wanted the painter to
help him sketch a battleship of a certain design he had in mind, to
see how it would look on the water. In the middle of the room an
adjutant stood and read out a speech made by a Radical deputy in the
Reichstag that day, and the Emperor made occasional remarks about it,
though at the same time he was engaged with the ship. The painter does
not forget to add that he "was provided with a good glass of beer."

The Emperor is reported to be a capital "sitter." He had the French
painter Borchart staying with him at Potsdam to paint his portrait.
Borchart describes him as an ideal model, so still and patiently did
he sit, and this at times for more than two hours. He talked freely
during the sittings. "I don't want to be regarded as a devourer of
Frenchmen," was a remark made on one of these occasions; on another he
praised President Loubet; and on a third he had a good word even for
the Socialist Jaures. When Borchart had finished and naively expressed
satisfaction with his own work the Emperor said, "Na, na, friend
Borchart, not so proud; it is for us to criticize."

As the Emperor is a lover of the "classical" in painting and
sculpture, it is not strange to find him an admirer of the classical
in music and recommending it to his people as the best form of musical
education. He holds that there is much in common between it and the
folk-songs of Germany. At Court he revived classical dances like the
minuet and the gavotte. He is devoted to opera and never leaves before
the end of the performance. Concerts frequently take place in the
royal palaces at Potsdam and Berlin, items on the programme for them
being often suggested by the Emperor. The programme is then submitted
to him and is rarely returned without alteration. Not seldom the
concert is preceded by a rehearsal, which the Emperor attends and
which itself has been carefully rehearsed beforehand, as the Emperor
expects everything to run smoothly. At these rehearsals he will often
cause an item to be repeated. Bach and Handel are his prime
favourites. He is no admirer of Strauss. Wagner he often listens to
with pleasure, and especially the "Meistersinger," which is his pet
opera. Of Italian operas Verdi's "Aida" and Meyerbeer's "Huguenots"
are those he is most disposed to hear.

He has been laughed at for once attempting musical composition. The
"Song to Aegir," which he composed in 1894 at the age of thirty-five
(when he should have known better), was, he told the bandmaster of a
Hannoverian regiment, suggested to him by the singing of a Hannoverian
glee society. It is a song twenty-four lines long, with the inevitable
references to the foe, and the sword and shield, and whales and
mermaids, and the God of the waves, who is called on to quell the
storm. The lady-in-waiting who wrote the "Private Lives of the Emperor
and His Consort" tells with much detail how the song was really
written, not by the Emperor, but almost wholly by a musical adjutant.
It does not greatly matter, but it is likely that the Emperor is
responsible for the text if he did not compose the music.

One of the best and most interesting descriptions of his kindly and
characteristic way of treating artists is that given by the late
Norwegian composer, Eduard Grieg.

"The other day," writes the composer,

I had a chance to meet your Kaiser. He had already expressed
a desire last year to meet me, but I was ill at that time.
Now he has renewed his wish, and therefore I could not
decline the invitation. I am, as you know, little of a
courtier. But I said to myself, 'Remember Aalesund' (for
which the Emperor had sent a large sum after a great fire),
and my sense of duty conquered. Our first meeting was at
breakfast at the German Consul's house. During the meal we
spoke much about music. I like his ways, and--oddly
enough--our opinions also agreed. Afterwards he came to me
and I had the pleasure of talking with him alone for nearly
an hour. We spoke about everything in heaven and
earth--about poetry, painting, religion, Socialism, and the
Lord knows what besides.

"He was fortunately a human being, and not an Emperor. I was
therefore permitted to express my opinions openly, though in
a discreet manner, of course. Then followed some music. He
had brought along an orchestra (!), about forty men. He took
two chairs, placed them in front of all the others, sat down
on one, and said, 'If you please, first parquet'; and then
the music began--Sigurd Jorsalfar, Peer Gynt, and many other

"While the music was being played he continually aided me in
correcting the _tempi_ and the expression, although as a
matter of course I had not wanted to do such a thing. He was
very insistent, however, that I should make my intentions
clear. Then he illustrated the impression made by the music
by movements of his head and body. It was wonderful
_(goettlich)_ to watch his serpentine movements _a la
Orientalin_ while they played Anitra's dance, which quite
electrified him.

"Afterwards I had to play for him on the piano, and my wife,
who sat nearest him, told me that here too he illustrated
the impression made on him, especially at the best places.

"I played the minuet from the pianoforte sonata which he
found 'very Germanic' and powerfully built: and the 'Wedding
Day at Troldhaugen,' which piece he also liked.

"On the following day there was a repetition of these things
on board the _Hohenzollern_, where we were all invited to
dinner at eight o'clock. The orchestra played on deck in the
most wondrously bright summer night while many
hundreds--nay, I believe thousands--of rowboats and small
steamers were grouped about us. The crowd applauded
constantly and cheered enthusiastically whenever the Kaiser
became visible. He treated me like a patient: he gave me his
cloak and sent to fetch a rug, with which he covered me

"I must not forget to relate that he grew so enthusiastic
over 'Sigurd Jorsalfar,' the subject of which I explained to
him as minutely as possible, that he said to von Hiilsen,
the intendant of the royal theatres, who sat next to him:
'We must produce this work! (This was not done, however.)

"I then invited von Hiilsen to come to Christiania to
witness a performance of it, and he said he was very eager
to so. All in all this meeting was an event and a surprise
in the best sense. The Kaiser, certainly, is a very uncommon
man, a strange mixture of great energy, great self-reliance,
and great kindness of heart. Of children and animals he
spoke often and with sympathy, which I regard as a
significant thing."

On the New Year's Day following the Emperor sent the composer a
telegram reading: "To the northern bard to listen to whose strains has
always been a joy to me I send my most sincere wishes for the new year
and new creative activity." In 1906, Grieg, having once more been the
Emperor's guest, writes to a friend:

"He was greatly pleased with having become once more a
grandfather. He called to me across the table (referring to
'Sigurd'), 'Is it agreeable if I call the child Sigurd?' It
must be something _Urgermanisch_."

The following anecdote may remind the reader of the amusing scene in
Offenbach's "Grand Duchesse of Gerolstein," where the Grand Duchess,
talking to the guardsman whose athletic proportions she admires,
addresses him with a rising scale of "corporal" ... "sergeant" ...
"lieutenant" ... "captain" ... "colonel," and so on, as she talks,
only, however, later cruelly to re-descend the scale to the very
bottom when her courtship is ineffectual. The Emperor is at an organ
recital in the Kaiser William Memorial Church; the recital is over and
the Court party are about to go when he greets the organist, Herr
Fischer: "My cordial thanks for the great pleasure you have given us,
Herr Professor." "Pardon, your Majesty," replies the organist, with
commendable presence of mind: "May I venture to thank your Majesty for
the great mark of favour?" "What mark of favour?" asks the Emperor, a
little puzzled. "The fact is your Majesty has more than once addressed
me as 'professor,' although--" "Why, that's good," exclaims the
Emperor, with a great laugh, "very good indeed;" and striking his
forehead in self-reproach with the palm of his hand: "so forgetful of
me! Then you are not professor, after all! Well, no matter; what is
not, may be--what I said, I said. Adieu, _Herr Professor_" and goes
off smiling. The very same evening--need it be added?--Herr Fischer
had his patent as Professor in his pocket.

The Emperor is particularly fond of "my Americans" among his operatic
artists. A good deal of jealousy has at times been shown by the German
employees of the opera towards the American artists entertained there
and a deputy has more than once protested in the Reichstag against the
number employed; but the jealousy rarely results in harm, and on the
whole harmony--as it should--prevails.

Every year brings hundreds of American girl students to Berlin,
Munich, or Dresden to learn singing and perhaps carry off the great
prize of a "star" engagement at one or the other of the German royal
opera houses. The experiences of some of these students are tragedies
on a small scale, and in one or two instances have been known to end
in death, destitution, or dishonour. The explanation is simple. Such
students, filled with the high hopes inspired by artistic ambition and
the artist's imagination, fail to ask themselves before going abroad
if nature has endowed them with the qualities and powers requisite for
one of the most laborious and, for a girl, exposed professions in the
world; and do not learn until it is too late that they lack the
resolute character, the robust health, and the talent which, not
singly but all three combined, are essential to success.

Such a girl often starts on her enterprise poorly supplied with means
to pay for her board, lodging, clothes, recreation, and instruction;
she changes from the dearer sort of _pension_ to the cheaper, finding
her company and surroundings at each remove more doubtful and more
dangerous; she grows disappointed and disheartened, perhaps physically
ill; comes under bad influences, male or female; until finally the
curtain falls on a sufferer rescued at the last moment by relatives or
friends, or on a young life blasted. Such tragic cases, it should be
said, are far from common, but they occur, and the possibility of
their occurrence ought to be taken into account at the outset by the
intending music or art student.

Happily there is another and brighter side to the picture, and the
intending student with money and friends will enjoy and gain advantage
from a few years of continental life, even though exceptional strength
and genuine talent be wanting. Perhaps this is the experience of the
great majority of art students in Germany. Freedom from the restraints
and conventions of life at home compensates for the inconveniences
arising from narrow means. Novelty of scenery and surroundings has a
charm that is constantly recurring. The kindness and helpfulness of
fellow-countrymen and countrywomen make the wheels of daily life roll
smoothly. The freemasonry of art, its optimism and hope, and the
pleasure and interest of its practice, investigation, and discussion
wing the hours and spur to effort.

But to return to the Emperor. As a lad at Cassel he was fond of
playing charades, and is reported to have had a knack of quickly
sketching the scenario and _dramatis personae_ of a play which he and
his young companions would then and there proceed to act. One of these
plays had Charlemagne for its subject, with a Saxon feudatory, whose
lovely daughter, Brunhilde, scorns her father for his submission. A
banquet, ending in a massacre of Charlemagne's followers, is one of
the scenes, and as Brunhilde is in love with Charlemagne's son she
helps him to escape from the massacre. The Play ends with the suicide
of Brunhilde. As he grew up the Emperor's interest in the theatre
increased, and, as has been seen, when he succeeded to the throne he
resolved to make use of it for educating and elevating the public
mind. As patriotism consists largely in knowing and properly
appreciating history he has always encouraged dramatists who could
portray historic scenes and events, particularly those with which the
Hohenzollerns were connected. Hence his support of Josef Lauff, Ernst
von Wildenbruch and Detlev von Liliencron. Not long ago he arranged a
series of performances at Kroll's Theatre intended for workmen only.
The performances were chiefly of the stirring historical
kind--Schiller's "Wilhelm Tell," Goethe's "Goetz von Berlichingen,"
Kleist's "Prince von Hornburg," and others that require huge
processions and a crowded stage. The general public were not supposed
to attend the performances, but tickets were sent to the factories and
workshops for sale at a low price.

In 1898 the Emperor publicly stated his views about the theatre. "When
I mounted the throne ten years ago," he said,

"I was, owing to my paternal education, the most fervent of
idealists. Convinced that the first duty of the royal
theatres was to maintain in the nation the cultivation of
the idealism to which, God be thanked, our people are still
faithful, and of which the sources are not yet nearly
exhausted, I determined to myself to make my royal theatres
an instrument comparable to the school or the university
whose mission it is to form the rising generation and to
inculcate in them respect for the highest moral traditions
of our dear German land. For the theatre ought to contribute
to the culture of the soul and of the character, and to the
elevation of morals. Yes, the theatre is also one of my
weapons.... It is the duty of a monarch to occupy himself
with the theatre, because it may become in his hands an
incalculable force."

If the Emperor has any special gift it is an eye for theatrical effect
in real life as well as on the stage. He had a good share of the
actor's temperament in his younger years, and until recently showed it
in the conduct of imperial and royal business of all kinds. He still
gives it play occasionally in the royal opera houses and theatres. The
Englishman, whose ruler is a civilian, is not much impressed by
pageantry and pomp, except as reminding him of superannuated, though
still revered, historical traditions and events that are landmarks in
a great military and maritime past. He would not care to see his King
always, or even frequently, in uniform, as he would be apt to find in
the fact an undue preference for one class of citizens to another. His
idea is that the monarch ought to treat all classes of his subjects
with equal kingly favour. In Germany it is otherwise. The monarchy
relies on military force for its dynastic security, as much, one might
perhaps say, as for the defence of the country or the keeping of the
public peace, and consequently favours the military. Moreover, the
peoples that compose the Empire have been harassed throughout the long
course of their history by wars; a large percentage of their youth are
serving in the standing army or in the reserves, the Landwehr and the
Landsturm; finally the Germans, though not, as it appears to the
foreigner, an artistic people, save in regard to music, enjoy the
spectacular and the theatrical.

Accordingly we find the Emperor artistically arranging everything and
succeeding particularly well in anything of an historical and
especially of a military nature. The spring and autumn parades of the
Berlin garrison on the Tempelhofer Field--an area large enough, it is
said, to hold the massed armies of Europe--with their gatherings of
from 30,000 to 60,000 troops of all arms, serve at once to excite the
Berliner's martial enthusiasm, while at the same time it obscurely
reminds him that if he treats the dynasty disrespectfully he will have
a formidable repressive force to reckon with. Hence at manoeuvres the
Emperor is accompanied by an enormous suite; whenever he motors down
Unter den Linden it is at a quick pace, which impresses the crowd
while it lessens the chances of the bomb-thrower or the assassin. The
scene of the reception of Prince Chun at the New Palace was a great
success as an artistic performance, and the pageants at the
restoration of the Hohkoenigsburg and at the Saalburg festival were of
the same artistic order.

The Emperor's theatrical interest and attention when in Berlin are
concentrated on the Berlin Royal Opera and the Berlin Royal Theatre
(Schauspielhaus), and when in Wiesbaden on the Royal Festspielhaus at
that resort. When in his capital he goes very rarely to any other
place of theatrical entertainment. His interest in the royal opera and
theatre both in Berlin and Wiesbaden is personal and untiring, and he
has done almost as much or more for the adequate representation of
grand opera in his capital as the now aged Duke of Saxe-Meiningen did,
through his famous Meiningen players, for the proper presentation of
drama in Germany generally. The revivals of "Aida" and "Les Huguenots"
under the Emperor's own supervision are accepted as faultless examples
of historical accuracy in every detail and of good taste and harmony
in setting.

In a well-informed article in the _Contemporary Review_ Mr. G.
Valentine Williams writes:

"Once the rehearsals of a play in which the Emperor is
interested are under way he loses no time in going to the
theatre to see whether the instructions he has appended to
the stage directions in the MS. are being properly carried
out. Some morning, when the vast stage of the opera is
humming with activity, the well-known primrose-coloured
automobile will drive up to the entrance and the Emperor,
accompanied only by a single adjutant, will emerge. In three
minutes William II will be seated at a big, business-like
table placed in the stalls, before him a pile of paper and
an array of pencils. When he is in the house there is no
doubt whatever in anyone's mind as to who is conducting the
rehearsal. His intendant stands at his side in the darkened
auditorium and conveys his Majesty's instructions to the
stage, for the Emperor never interrupts the actors himself.
He makes a sign to the intendant, scribbles a note on a
sheet of paper, while the intendant, who is a pattern of
unruffled serenity, just raises his hand and the performance
abruptly ceases. There is a confabulation, the Emperor, with
the wealth of gesture for which he is known, explaining his
views as to the positions of the principals, the dresses,
the uniforms, using anything, pencil, penholder, or even his
sword to illustrate his meaning. Again and again up to a
dozen times the actors will be put through their paces until
the imperial Regisseur is entirely satisfied that the right
dramatic effect has been obtained.

"All who have witnessed the imperial stage-manager at work
agree that he has a remarkable _flair_ for the dramatic.
Very often one of his suggestions about the entrances or
exits, a piece of 'business' or a pose, will be found on
trial to enhance the effect of the scene. A story is told of
the Emperor's insistence on accuracy and the minute
attention he pays to detail at rehearsal. After his visit to
Ofen-Pest some years ago for the Jubilee celebration, which
had included a number of Hungarian national dances, the
Emperor stopped a rehearsal of the ballet at the Berlin
opera while a Czardas was in progress and pointed out to the
balletteuses certain minor details which were not correct.

"In his attitude to the Court actors and actresses he
displays the charm of manner which bewitches all with whom
he comes in contact. He calls them 'meine Schauspieler,'
which makes one think of 'His Majesty's Servants' of
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. This practice sometimes has
amusing results. Once when the Theatre Royal comedian, Dr.
Max Pohl, was suddenly taken ill the Emperor said to an
acquaintance, 'Fancy, my Pohl had a seizure yesterday;' and
the acquaintance, thinking he was referring to a pet dog
replied, commiseratingly: 'Ah, poor brute!' After rehearsal
the Emperor often goes on to the stage and talks with the
actors about their parts.

"A Hohenzollern must not be shown on the stage without the
express permission of the Emperor, and in general, if
politics are mixed up in an objectionable way with the
action of the drama, the play will be forbidden. Above all
the Emperor will not tolerate indecency, nor the mere
suggestion of it, in the plays given at the royal theatres.
An anecdote about Herr Josef Lauff's Court drama 'Frederick
of the Iron Tooth,' dealing with an ancestor, an Elector of
Brandenburg, and on which Leoncavallo, at the Emperor's
request, wrote the opera 'Der Roland von Berlin,' shows the
Emperor's strictness in this respect. Frederick of the Iron
Tooth is a burgher of Berlin who leads a revolt against the
Elector. In order to heighten Frederick's hate, Lauff wove
in a love theme into the drama. The wife of Ryke,
burgomaster of Berlin, figured as Frederick's mistress and
egged on her lover against the Elector, because the latter
had hanged her brothers, the Quitzows, notorious outlaws of
the Mark Brandenburg. The Emperor cut out the whole episode
when the play was submitted to him in manuscript. The
marginal note in his big, bold handwriting ran: '_Eine
Courtisane kommt in einem Hohenzollerstueck nicht vor_' (A
courtesan has no place in a Hohenzollern drama)."

The Emperor's constant change of uniform is often said to be a sign of
his liking for the theatrical, and writers have compared him on this
account with lightning-change artists like the great Fregoli. Rather
his respect for and reliance on the army, a sense of fitness with the
occasion to be celebrated, a feeling of personal courtesy to the
person to be received, are the motives for such changes. The Paris
_Temps_ published the following incident apropos of the Emperor's
visit to England in November, 1902. When, on arriving at Port
Victoria, the royal yacht _Hohenzollern_ came in view, the members of
the English Court sent to welcome the Emperor saw him through their
glasses walking up and down the captain's bridge wearing a long
cavalry cloak over a German military uniform. When they stepped on
board they found him in the undress uniform of an English admiral.
They lunched with him, and in the afternoon, when he left for London,
he was wearing the uniform of an English colonel of dragoons. Arrived
in London, he left for Sandringham, and must have changed his dress
_en route_, for he left the train in a frock-coat and tall hat.

Perhaps the most notable theatrical event of the reign hitherto was
the production at the Royal Opera in 1908 of the historic pantomime
"Sardanapalus." The Emperor's idea, as he said himself, was to "make
the Museums speak," to which a Berlin critic replied, "You can't
dramatize a museum." The ballet, for it was that as well as a
pantomime, engrossed the Emperor's time and attention for several
weeks. He spent hours with the great authority on Assyriology,
Professor Friedrich Delitzsch, going over reliefs and plans taken from
the Kaiser Friedrich Museum or borrowed from museums in Paris, London,
and Vienna, decided on the costumes and designed the war-chariots to
be used in the ballet. The notion was to rehabilitate the reputation
of Asurbanipal, the second-last King of Assyria, whom the Greeks
called "Sardanapalus," who reigned in Nineveh six hundred years before
Christ, over Ethiopia, Babylon and Egypt, and whom Lord Byron,
accepting the Greek story, represented as the most effeminate and
debauched monarch the world had ever known.

Professor Delitzsch, with a wealth of recondite learning, showed, on
the contrary, that Sardanapalus was a wise and liberal-minded monarch,
who, rather than fall into the hands of the Medes, built himself a
pyre in a chamber of his palace and perished on it with his wives, his
children, and his treasure. The whole four acts, with the various
ballets, gave a perfectly faithful representation of the period as
described by Diodorus and Herodotus, and as plastically shown on the
reliefs discovered at Nineveh by Sir Henry Layard and subsequently by
German excavators. Over L10,000 was spent upon the production, and the
public were worked up to a great pitch of curiosity concerning it. But
it was a complete failure as far as the public were concerned.
"Heavens!" exclaimed one critic, "what a bore!" This, however, was not
the fault of the Emperor, but was due to want of interest on the part
of a public whose enthusiasm for the events and characters of times so
remote could only be kindled by a genius, and a dramatic one. The
Emperor is no such genius, nor had he one at command.


THE NEW CENTURY (_continued_)


King George V has hardly been sufficiently long on the English throne
for a contemporary to judge of the personal relations that exist
between his Majesty and the Emperor as chief representatives of their
respective nations. The King of England was, until June, 1913,
hindered by various circumstances from paying a visit to the Court of
Berlin, and rumours were current that relations between the two rulers
were not as friendly as they might and should be. There is now every
indication that though the relations of people to people and
Government to Government vary in degrees of coolness or warmth, the
two monarchs are on perfectly good terms of cousinship and amity.

A visit paid by King George, when Prince of Wales, to the Emperor in
Potsdam at the opening of 1902 testified to the goodwill that then
subsisted between them. It was the evening before the Emperor's
birthday, when the Emperor, at a dinner given by the officers of King
Edward's German regiment, the 1st Dragoon Guards, addressed the
English Heir Apparent in words of hearty welcome. The address was not
a long one, but in it the Emperor characteristically seized on the
motto of the Prince of Wales, "_Ich dien_" (I serve), to make it the
text of a laudatory reference to his young guest's conduct and career.
In its course the Emperor touched on the Prince's tour of forty
thousand miles round the world, and the effect his "winning
personality" had had in bringing together loyal British subjects
everywhere, and helping to consolidate the _Imperium Britannicum_, "on
the territories of which," as the Emperor said, doubtless with an
imperial pang of envy, "the sun never sets." The Prince, in his reply,
tendered his birthday congratulations, and expressed his "respect" for
the Emperor, the appropriate word to use, considering the ages and
royal ranks of the Emperor and his younger first cousin.

With 1902 may be said to have begun the Emperor's courtship (as it is
often called in Germany) of America. His advances to the Dollar
Princess since then have been unremitting and on the whole cordially,
if somewhat coyly, received.

The growth of intercourse of all kinds between Germany and the United
States is indeed one of the features of the reign. There are several
reasons why it is natural that friendly relationship should exist. It
has been said on good authority that thirty millions of American
citizens have German blood in their veins. Frederick the Great was the
first European monarch to recognize the independence of America.
German men of learning go to school in America, and American men of
learning go to school in Germany. A large proportion of the professors
in American universities have studied at German universities. The two
countries are thousands of miles apart, and are therefore less exposed
to causes of international jealousy and quarrel between contiguous
nations. On the other hand, the new place America has taken in the Old
World, dating, it may be said roughly, from the time of her war with
Spain (1898); the increase of her influence in the world, mainly
through the efforts of brave, benevolent, and able statesmen; the
expansion of her trade and commerce; the increase of the European
tourist traffic;--these factors also to some extent account for the
growth of friendly intercourse between the peoples.

Nor should the bond between the two countries created by intermarriage
be overlooked. If the well-dowered republican maid is often ambitious
of union with a scion of the old European nobility, the usually needy
German aristocrat is at least equally desirous of mating with an
American heiress notwithstanding the vast differences in
race-character, political sentiment, manners, and views of life--and
especially of the status and privileges of woman--that must
fundamentally separate the parties. Great unhappiness is frequently
the result of such marriages, perhaps it may be said of a large
proportion of international marriages, but cases of great mutual
happiness are also numerous, and help to bring the countries into
sympathy and understanding. Prince Buelow, when Chancellor, reminded
the Reichstag, which was discussing an objection raised to the late
Freiherr Speck von Sternburg, when German Ambassador to America, that
he had married an American lady, that though Bismarck had laid down
the rule that German diplomatists ought not to marry foreigners, he
was quite ready to make exceptions in special cases, and that America
was one of them. The Emperor is well known to have no objection to his
diplomatic representative at Washington being married to an American,
but rather to prefer it, provided, of course, that the lady has plenty
of money.

A difficulty between Germany and Venezuela arose in 1902 owing to the
ill-treatment suffered by German merchants in Venezuela in the course
of the civil war in that country from 1898 to 1900.

The merchants complained that loans had been exacted from them by
President Castro and his Government, and that munitions of war and
cattle had been taken for the use of the army and left unpaid for. The
amount of the claim was 1,700,000 Bolivars (francs), a sum that
included the damage suffered by the merchants' creditors in Germany.
Similar complaints were made by English and Italian merchants. After
several efforts on the part of Germany to obtain redress had failed,
negotiations were broken off, the diplomatic representative of Germany
was recalled, and finally the combined fleets of England, Germany, and
Italy established a blockade of the Venezuelan coast. The difficulty
was eventually referred to the Hague Court of Arbitration, which
allowed the claims and directed payment of them on the security of the
revenues of the customs ports of La Guayra and Puerto Cabella.

For a time the action of the Powers caused discussion of the Monroe
doctrine on both sides of the Atlantic. On this side it was pointed
out that American susceptibilities had been respected by the conduct
of the Powers in not landing troops, while on the other side there
were not wanting voices to exclaim that the naval demonstration went
too near being a breach of the hallowed creed--"hands off" the Western
Hemisphere. The Monroe doctrine, it may be recalled, was contained in
a message of President James Monroe, issued on February 2, 1823. It
was drawn up by John Quincey Adams, and declared that the United
States "regarded not only every effort of the Holy Alliance to extend
its system to the Western Hemisphere as dangerous to the peace and
freedom of the United States, but also every interference with the
object of subverting any independent American Government in the light
of unfriendliness towards America"; and it went on to declare that
"the Continents of America should no more be regarded as fields for
European colonization."

The day, of course, may come when the American claim to the control,
if not physical possession, of half the earth will be questioned by
the Powers of Europe; but at present, as far as Germany is concerned,
and notwithstanding the absurd idea that Germany plans the seizure one
day of Brazil, the doctrine is of merely academic interest. For a few
days four years later it became the subject of lively discussion in
Germany and America owing to the first American Roosevelt professor,
Professor Burgess, referring to it in his inaugural lecture before the
Emperor and Empress as an "antiquated theory." As soon, however, as it
became apparent that Professor Burgess was giving utterance to a
purely personal opinion, and was not in any sense the bearer of a
message on the subject from the President, the discussion dropped.

Another American episode of the year was the visit of Prince Henry,
the Emperor's brother, to the United States. Prince Henry left for
America in February. The visit was in reality made in pursuance of the
Emperor's world-policy of economic expansion, but there were not a few
politicians in England and America to assert that it was part of a
deep scheme of the Emperor's to counteract too warm a development of
Anglo-American friendship. However that may be, the visit was a
striking one, even though it gave no great pleasure to Germans, who
could not see any particular reason for it, nor any prospect of it

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