Page images

thing for Lily and me to remember for plied, good-humoredly, almost patheticalthe rest of our lives. The parting was ly. What would you have me do in painful to me, for Heaven knows when I such a case? I cannot be discourteous." shall ever see him again.... I never can No, indeed. Strange as it may seem adequately express to you how kind and in the Man of Blood and Iron, he could affectionate they have all been to us. not be discourteous to people — though She* is kindness and cordiality itself, and others were not always as considerate to we have felt all the time as if we were him. Professor Lenbach, than whom perpart of the family. As for Bismarck him- haps nobody except Professor Schweninself, my impressions of his bigness have ger knew Bismarck so intimately, once increased rather than diminished by this told me: “In all the years I have known renewed intimacy."

Prince Bismarck I only remember him In another passage of Motley's corre- speaking hastily on one solitary occasion. spondencet he lays particular stress upon A man-servant had shut the door with a the total absence of calculation for effect, bang. Bismarck rang the bell, and when or of a sense of his own huge proportions he appeared, told the man sharply that —which was so striking a feature of Bis- he was to leave at the end of his month. marck in private life, however much he About a quarter of an hour afterwards may have impressed the weight of his per- he rang the bell again, and said, in a sonality upon those he contended with in mollified voice, “You may stay.' That the struggle of politics. Indeed, his man- was all." ner towards the humblest ink-slinger who was ever favored with an invitation to Some of Prince Bismarck's fervent adtake a seat at his hospitable board was as mirers would have us believe that he simple and as charming as ever it could was a man essentially cast in a certain be towards the most exalted in the land. mould which admitted of no after-variaMore than this, no worldly position, how- tion in form, texture, or composition. As ever exalted, was a safe passport to his a matter of fact, no man could have been appreciation, or even that of his noble more than he was the product of long consort.

continuous felicitous development. NoOne morning-it was in the spring of thing about that man of the perky Ro1892–he did not feel at all well; he had man patrician, strutting the Forum ere had a bad night. The day before, a num- manhood scarce attained, spouting the ber of Hamburg admirers had had a pic- stale wisdom of middle age-glibly caught nic in the forest, and had prevailed on up and assimilated long before the expePrince Bismarck to drive out to join rience of life had lent sincerity and backthem, and even to partake of a draught bone to his thoughts. The following letof some infernal champagne or Moselle ter, written in Bismarck's university days cup in their honor. It was shrewdly to a friend, is interesting both as an exsuspected in the family that this gusta- ample of young Bismarck's English and tion was the cause of the matutinal ma as bringing before us at a glance the conlaise about which Princess Bismarck bad trast between the boisterous rollicking worried herself overnight — as was her student and the great Chancellor of midwont, devoted soul. He sat down on a dle age: garden seat, and in answer to the query of a friend, replied that he did not feel at

MY DEAR ASTLEY,—You bave beeu so kind all well—he feared it was that picnic.

as to allow me to ask you for some English

books - a kindness which I shall be glad to “Yes, Durchlaucht," said his compan- take profit of. I am sure that old Shakeion, half jestingly. “The Princess says speare's works make part of your library, and that in these matters you will not let any. I would be greatly obliged to you if you would body advise you-that, in fact, you are send me the volumes containing Richard III. incorrigible.”

and Hamlet. We are here just in the same Yes, that is all very well,” he re

state as you have left us; our friend Nor* Princess Bismarck.

cott is just as tipsy after dinner as he ever † “ The truth is, he is so entirely simple, so full

has been ; Savigny is as copions in words as of laissez-aller, that one is obliged to be saying to

ever he was; and Montebello is as good-lookone's self all the time: This is the great Bismarck, ing as you have seen him and nothing else. the greatest living man, and one of the greatest As for me, I am a little half-seas-over too; but historical characters that have ever lived," etc. I am as much your friend as I learned to be it Vol. ii., p. 340.

so in the few days I had the pleasure of seeing you. You will pardon me that I write to that although his mind was as clear as you in so bad English as I do; I hope that I

ever, yet the blade was rapidly using up shall learn it better. If you will not come the sorely tried scabbard. During the here before the time, you may be sure that I last week of his life the Gymnastic Union shall make you a visit in the month of Au- of Germany, which had assembled at gust, and “that then we shall meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain." Till there Hamburg, wanted to pay him a visit. wisbes yon good-bye, your most sincere He still found a joke for the occasion, for

BISMARCK. in sending them word that he regretted

he could not receive them, Bismarck addThe love of Shakespeare, which filled ed, “I regret my inability all the more him through life, is already evident here; since I have been a gymnast myself durbut in his mastery of the English lan- ing the last few days, for I have been guage, as in everything else, he made standing on my head” (a German exsteady progress in the course of his life. pression conveying the meaning of, "I When I was privileged to know him have been at sixes and sevens "-in disPrince Bismarck spoke English nearly order-ill). faultlessly, and scarcely with any foreign To Professor Lenbach, who, parting accent at all. He disposed of an aston- from him after his eightieth birthday, ishing vocabulary of English words, and said he trusted Bismarck might yet hare fairly surprised me one day during a many happy years in store for him, he redrive in the country by calling a num- plied: “My dear Lenbach, the first eighty ber of agricultural implements and other years of a man's life are always the hapthings connected with country life by piest." their English names.

Even more recently-last year—in say

ing good-by, Lenbach again expressed the During the last months of his life Bis- hope that his friend should see still some marck saw very few visitors, and spent happy days. To this Bismarck replied: a deal of his time in reading. He always “There is only one happy day left for had a great partiality for everything ap- me. It will be the one on which I shall pertaining to the history of the first Na- not wake up again.” Bismarck lived expoleon, and read with avidity any books actly within a day to see one thousand dealing however indirectly with the great months. Corsican's marvellous career. One of The day after his death I was sitting the last books he read was General Mar- with Professor Schweninger on the hill bot's Mémoires, which interested him where Bismarck is to find his last restinggreatly. Also Émile Zola's works at- place. Schweninger was bemoaning his tracted his attention of late; he read the death-which had left him without any Débâcle, Rome, Lourdes, and Paris, one ambition to live for. “For nobody will after the other. He was somewhat dis- ever be like him, either in personal disappointed with the last three, and ex- tinction, in refinement of feeling, or in pressed himself with regard to Rome the truly regal proportions which were that it reminded him of a traveller's those of this unique man. You knew guide - book in its labored compilation. him too, so you will understand me when The Débâcle was more to his liking. But I say that in his composition there was what particularly struck him was the something of the tenderness of a woman, fearless manner in which Zola therein very much of the naïveté of a child, and told hard truths of his countrymen. Bis- all the qualities of a man.” And then marck even expressed himself openly to Schweninger proceeded to tell me of the the effect that, after reading the Débâcle, peculiarly pathetic fact that all Bismarck's he was not at all surprised that the favorite dogs had died before him. “Not French were making such a dead set at a single one was left to whine its sorrow Zola. For he had committed the unpar- o'er his funeral bier.” donable crime of telling them the truth.

Almost down to his very last hour Bis- The circumstances attending Bismarck's marck retained that keen sense of humor death — the almost austere privacy enfor which he was famous all through life forced by the Bismarck family, which -though latterly, with declining health, marked so strong a contrast to the pomp a pathetically sad note mingled with which attended Count Moltke's funeral, it and then to remind the hearer and the fact that the Emperor did not see

him again in death, and, lastly, the fact or rather of its present chief, Prince Herthat his offer of a public funeral was ac- bert Bismarck — to carry out faithfully cepted by the family-all this gave rise to the evident wishes of his father should much comment. Some people went so have excited adverse comment, particufar as to hint that the word had gone larly in other countries, was only to be forth from the dead man's funeral bier, expected, and might well have been passed “You cast him off in life; you shall not over in silence. That, however, a Gersee his features in death." I do not man paper could have been found which think there is any reliable evidence to did not scruple to tell its readers that bear out the contention that such were “even English papers have drawn attenthe motives which swayed the Bismarck tion to the impropriety of Prince Herbert family at that supreme moment of an- Bismarck's behavior in this matter" is, guish and sorrow. On the contrary, I to say the least of it, almost scandalous. am almost sure that the two causes which I am sure there can be no English jourdictated the course things took were, in nalist between Land's End and John o' the first place, the exiguous, almost im- Groat's who, if asked privately his candid possible conditions of the house at Fried- opinion, would be prepared to assert that richsruh, and then, above all, the deter- he would be competent to judge what a mination of Herbert Bismarck to carry man such as Herbert Bismarck should do out to the letter what were known to or leave undone at the bier of his idolhave been the last wishes of his great fa- ized father. There are certain things ther himself. Moltke was a soldier with- which are too monstrous for words, and out a family of his own, and he died in this presumption and its citation by a the capital, in the huge building which German newspaper seems to me to be one serves as the headquarters of the German of them. General Staff. Thus all the conditions for Yet, monstrous as it is, I fear it will funeral pomp and display were ready at admit of a very natural explanation. hand, whereas these were all absent at There is still something of the Hotspur Friedrichsruh. Besides—and this may blood in the Bismarck family, something have been the most potent factor—it was of those Plantagenet days yet lingering well known at Friedrichsruh that Bis- in their veins, which makes them unmarck hated and detested those “first- willing to regulate the dictates of the class state funerals” which, as show in- heart by the staid methods many are stitutions, take rank immediately after a forced to learn and adopt nowadays. gala performance at the opera, and in When these are obliged to narrow down which the living pageant- particularly their conduct to the grim necessity of the principal mourners—are die Haupt- supplying the world with their best at personen, the centre-pieces, and not the the price of thirteen to a dozen and two dead whom it is intended to honor. As and a half discount for cash, the BisProfessor Schweninger said to me on the marcks are under no such direful oblimorrow of Bismarck's death:

gation. Rather do such as they at times “You must know that Bismarck had a incline to peculiar horror of what he used to call

dive into the bottom of the deep, humorously a first-class funeral — 'ein Where fathom-line could never touch the ground, Leichen begängviss erster Güte,' as the And pluck up drowned Honor by the locks ; Berliners term it. He was even apt to So he that doth redeem her thence might wear dub the ceremonies attending his depart- Without corrival all her dignities :

But out upon this half-faced fellowship! ure from Berlin as a first-class funeral. Hence his determination to fix during his There is too much of the clank of lifetime where he would like to rest was chain armor and spurs about all this for doubtlessly dictated by his strong aver- it to be brought comfortably down to sion to a formal public funeral. Yes, the every-day level of a latter-day cash here he will have a cathedral all to him- basis, and thus to avoid jarring on our self, arched over by the oaks and beeches critical instincts, our sense of propriety. he loved so well. Aud although I must I was one of the very few-I do not needs leave him here in solitude, I shall think they were a dozen in all outside always make a pilgrimage to his resting the family household-who were allowed place on April 1, his hallowed birthday." to see the great German Chancellor on

That the determination of the family, his death-bed.
Vol. XCVII.--No. 582.-120

He lay in death exactly in the same to be said that in an ideal sense Bismarck position which was habitual to him when is still to-day as much alive as ever Goethe asleep. His head was turned towards has been since his death. Some of his the left and slightly bent down on the pregnant sayings have already become chest. Each arm was stretched out at part and parcel of the German language. full length somewhat irregularly over Many passages of his speeches reveal the the bedclothes. Thus even his position imagination of a poet, whose utterances in death might be termed a mute protest latterly claim a place among the classics against the meaningless conventionality of his country. His political teachings he hated so cordially when alive. In his are there for the guidance of those inleft hand he held a white rose, placed trusted with the destinies of the German there by Professor Schweninger, and three Empire, and those who may presume to dark red roses from an Austrian lady act in opposition to his precepts will find friend and admirer. His features wore a unwelcome monition rise up over his calm expression of proud imposing dig- grave to warn them of the consequences. nity-something of the majestic repose I firmly believe that this living on of his, typical of some of those Teuton busts to this true immortality, will gain in strength be seen in the Roman Gallery of the Brit- as the years roll on-more particularly ish Museum. But the impression of the in the democratic and yet more truly whole gaunt rugged figure as it lay there, hero - worshipping south of Germany, with extended arms, like branches of where, whilst still living, he was revered trees, was more that of some monarch almost as a demigod. of the woods who, after laying low in- He was, in truth-to apply words writnumerable enemies, has been felled at ten by one who admired him and was in last in his turn by the grim scytheman return appreciated (Thomas Carlyle) Thanatos.

"A lynx-eyed, fiery man, with the spirit Professor Lenbach, who was with me of an old knight in him. More of a at the time at Friedrichsruh, subsequent- hero than any modern I have seen for a ly gave me his impression of Bismarck as long time; a singular veracity one finds he lay dead, as follows:

in him, not in his words alone, but in his "Bismarck looks simple and dignified, actions, judgments, aims, in all that he very much in death as in life, though of thinks, and does, and says, which indeed I course paler. The hands, always beauti- have observed is the root of all greatness ful, have become more delicate still; but or real worth in human creatures, and death has not changed him as it did properly the first, as also the earliest, atDöllinger, who in life had a somewhat tribute of what we call genius among reddish face, which in death was idealized men." And then again the following: almost to marble, like a cameo. Bismarck “The man does leave his mark bebind looked himself, noble and dignified in him, ineffaceable, beneficial to all, malefdeath."

icent to none. Anarchic stupidity is wide

as the night; victorious wisdom is but as Now that he is gone, it only remains a lamp in it, shining here and there."

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]




NE May morning Elisha Jenkins stood at Only once had he progressed so far in a flirta-

his accustomed post behind the soda. tion as to present ten cents' worth of gumdrops fountain in the corner drug - shop. Au un. (which he bought of himself) to a buxom usual atmosphere of excitement and expec. blond beauty whose task it was to clean the tancy pervaded the premises, for the circus steps and vestibule of a house on the opposite procession was about to pass by, and eager side of the street. children with their calmer parents crowded

A woman's garb that phantom wore, around the doors and windows.

And fiercely swept the marble floor. Elisha, although twenty-one years old, was a timid, unsophisticated youth of singularly But this fair Rosaline had only lightly limited experience. He took a childlike in- touched possibilities of affection in Elisha, terest in seeing the first ontriders appear, and which did not awake into love until he first when the elephants and camels went by, his looked upon his Juliet in the den of lions, and jaw dropped, his eyes dilated with delight, his lieart recognized in her its sovereign lady. and his heart beat fast to keep time with the Her name—not Capulet, but Montague---stared band. Viewed from the outside, his narrow, at him from the top of the cage; and no name, pinched little face, flattened to the window. he thought, could better bave suited her: pane and set in a framework of malt bottles,

MISS MINERVA MONTAGUE, looked like an advertisement of “Before Tak

QUEEN OF THE LIONS. ing," but he was too completely absorbed in the proceedings outside to have any thought Elisha's heart leaped up as he saw that his for himself.

divinity was still unwedded, for in its own Some obstruction in the street caused the homely language his soul had echoed Juliet's procession to pause for a moment, and fate or- exclamation when she first looked upon her dained that directly in front of Saunders and Romeo. In his excitement he rushed out of Russell's drug-shop the lions' cage should the shop and stood as near to the curbstone come to a dead stop. Sitting inside, with two as he could push himself. All shyness left splendid creatures at her feet, was a tall, mas- him under the influence of the strongest emo. sive woman, clad in flowing garments which tion he had ever felt. With a magnificent had once been white. A gilded crown rested gesture he flung a quarter of a dollar to a dion her golden bair, and one hand grasped a minutive flower-girl at his side, snatched a red sceptre, while an incongruous pistol hanging roso from her basket, and running after the from her girdle implied that the more regal lions' cage, threw his trophy between the bars. symbol of law and order was for ornament Miss Minerva Montague stooped, picked up alone. The two lions seemed sleepy and the flower, and fastening it in her girdle, bored. They saw the humor of their position, bowed and smiled her acknowledgmeuts to her but were too good-natured to interfere with blushing admirer. their queen's success by devouring her, so they He had made her look at him! She had smiled lazily, and exchanged winks with those known who it was that had flung the rose at of the onlookers who were capable of appre- her feet! From that moment he was in a deciating the situation.

lirious dream. All day his thoughts were with Elisha Jenkius was not one of these. His bis heart, and that was in the second tent, attention was riveted on the wonderful lady with the fair lion - tamer, whom he was dewho had the courage thus to endanger her termined to see again as soon as his duties at life. It seemed to him that he was at last the soda-fountaiu shonld be over. gazing npou the ideal woman. She was on Evening came at last, and the little apotheso heroic a scale as to be almost masculine; cary was almost the first at the tent door. but her yellow hair fell over her shoulders in He hurried inside, inhaling the scents of sawprofuse masses, and gave her the touch of dust and fur as if they had been the perfumes femininity that, iu Elisha's eyes, converted her of Arabia. The lions were there, among their into a goddess.

lesser brothers, but their queen had not yet It was only since his twenty-first birthday assumed her evening sway. that Elisha's interest in the opposite sex had Elisha did not enjoy being so near animals become at all personal; but with a slight that seemed to him dangerous, even when beincrease of salary this young man's fancy hind iron bars, and soon went into the larger had lightly turned to thoughts of marriage. teut, where he waited breathlessly for the mo

« PreviousContinue »