THE COURT OF ROYAL SAXONY
This edition, printed on Japanese vellum paper, is limited to two hundred and fifty copies.
THE COURT OF ROYAL SAXONY 1891-1902
THE STORY OF LOUISE CROWN PRINCESS
FROM THE PAGES OF HER DIARY, LOST AT THE TIME OF HER ELOPEMENT FROM DRESDEN WITH M. ANDRE ("RICHARD") GIRON
BY HENRY W. FISCHER
Author of "Private Lives of William II and His Consort," "Secret History of the Court of Berlin," etc., etc.
Illustrated from Photographs
BENSONHURST, NEW YORK FISCHER'S FOREIGN LETTERS, INC. PUBLISHERS
COPYRIGHT, 1912 BY HENRY W. FISCHER
Copyright, 1912, applied for by Henry W. Fischer in Great Britain
Copyright, 1912, by Henry W. Fischer, in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and all foreign countries having international copyright arrangements with the United States
[All rights reserved, including those of translation]
This is to certify that the Ex-Crown Princess of Saxony, now called Countess Montiguoso, Madame Toselli by her married name, is in no way, either directly or indirectly, interested in this publication.
There has been no communication of whatever nature, directly or through a third party, between this lady and the editor or publishers. In fact, the publication will be as much a surprise to her as to the general public.
The Royal Court of Saxony, therefore, has no right to claim, on the ground of this publication, that Princess Louise violated her agreement with that court as set forth in the chapter on the Kith and Kin of the ex-Crown Princess of Saxony, under the heads of "Louise's Alimony and Conditions" and "Allowance Raised and a Further Threat."
HENRY W. FISCHER, Editor. Fischer's Foreign Letters, Publishers
THIS BOOK AND ITS PURPOSE
By Henry W. Fischer
Of Memoirs that are truly faithful records of royal lives, we have a few; the late Queen Victoria led the small number of crowned autobiographists only to discourage the reading of self-satisfied royal ego-portrayals forever, but in the Story of Louise of Saxony we have the main life epoch of a Cyprian Royal, who had no inducement to say anything false and is not afraid to say anything true.
For the Saxon Louise wrote not to guide the hand of future official historiographers, or to make virtue distasteful to some sixty odd grand-children, bored to death by the recital of the late "Mrs. John Brown's" sublime goodness:—Louise wrote for her own amusement, even as Pepys did when he diarized the peccadilloes of the Second Charles' English and French "hures" (which is the estimate these ladies put upon themselves).
The ex-Crown Princess of Saxony suffered much in her youth by a narrow-minded, bigoted mother, a Sadist like the monstrous Torquemada; marriage, she imagined, spelled a rich husband, more lover than master; freedom from tyranny, paltry surroundings, interference. To her untutored mind, life at the Saxon Court meant right royal splendor, liberty to do as one pleases, the companionship of agreeable, amusing and ready-to-serve friends.
The Sad Saxon Court
Her experience? Instead of the Imperial mother who took delight in cutting her children's faces with diamonds and exposing her daughters to the foul machinations of worthless teachers—she acquired a father-in-law (Prince, afterwards King George) whose pretended affection was but a share of his all-encompassing hatred, whose breath was a serpent's, whose veins were flowing with gall; the supposed chevaleresque husband turned out a walking dictionary of petty indecencies and gross vulgarities when in a favorable mood, a brawler at other times, a coward always.
As to money—Louise wished for nothing better "than to be an American multi-millionaire's daughter for a week"! Amusements were few and frowned upon.
Liberty? None outside of a general permit to eat, drink and couple like animals in pasture, was recognized or tolerated. Nor could the royal young woman make friends. Her relatives-by-marriage were mostly freaks, and all were unbearable; her entourage a collection of spies and flunkeys.
If charity-bazaars, pious palaver, and orphaned babies' diapers had not been the sole topic of conversation at court; if there had been intellectual enjoyment of any kind, Louise might never have taken up her pen. As it was: "This Diary is intended to contain my innermost thoughts, my ambitions, my promises for the future, Myself. * * * These pages are my Father-Confessor. I confess to myself. * * * And as I start in writing letters to myself, it occurs to me that my worse self may be corresponding with my better self, or vice-versa."
At any rate she thinks "this Diary business will be quite amusing."
Louise's Amusing Writings
It is. The world always laughs at the—husband of a woman whose history isn't one long yawn.
Nor is Louise content with a bust picture. She gives full length portraits of herself, family, friends, enemies, and lovers, which latter she picks hap-hazard among commoners and the nobility. Only one of them was a prince of the blood, and he promptly proved the most false and dishonorable of the lot.
When Louise's pen-pictures do not deal with her amororos, they focus invariably emperors and princes, kings and queens,—contemporary personages whose acquaintance, by way of the newspapers and magazines, we all enjoy to the full, as "stern rulers," "sacrificers to the public weal," "martyrs of duty," "indefatigable workers," "examples of abstinence," and "high-mindedness"—everything calculated to make life a burden to the ordinary mortal.
Kings in Fiction and in Reality
But kings and emperors, we are told by these distant observers, are built that way; they would not be happy unless they made themselves unhappy for their people's sake. And as to queens and empresses,—they simply couldn't live if they didn't inspect their linen closets daily, stand over a broiling cook-stove, or knit socks for the offspring of inebriated bricklayers "and sich."
Witness Louise, Imperial and Royal Highness, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Tuscany, Crown Princess of Saxony, etc., etc., smash these paper records of infallible royal rectitude, and superhuman, almost inhuman, royal probity!
Had she castigated her own kind after royalty unkenneled her, neck and crop, her story might admit of doubt, but she wrote these things while in the full enjoyment of her rank and station, before her title as future queen was ever questioned or menaced.
Her Diary finishes with her last night in the Dresden palace. We do not hear so much as the clatter of the carriage wheels that carried her and "Richard" to her unfrocking as princess of the blood,—in short, our narrator is not prejudiced, on the defensive, or soured by disfranchisement. She had no axes to grind while writing; for her all kings dropped out of the clouds; the lustre that surrounds a king never dimmed while her Diary was in progress, and before she ceases talking to us she never "ate of the fish that hath fed of that worm that hath eat of a king."
Yet this large folio edition of obscenites royale, chock full, at the same time, of intensely human and interesting facts, notable and amusing things, as enthralling as a novel by Balzac,—Louise's life record in sum and substance, since her carryings-on after she doffed her royal robes for the motley of the free woman are of no historical, and but scant human interest.
The prodigality of the mass of indictments Louise launches against royalty as every-day occurrences, reminds one of the great Catharine Sforza, Duchess of Milan's clever mot. When the enemy captured her children she merely said, "I retain the oven for more."
Such scandalmongering! Only Her Imperial Highness doesn't see the obloquy,—sarcasm, cynicism and disparagement being royalty's every-day diet.
Such gossiping! But what else was there to do at a court whose literature is tracts and whose theatre of action the drill grounds.
But for all that, Louise's Diary is history, because its minute things loom big in connection with social and political results, even as its horrors and abnormalities help paint court life and the lives of kings and princes as they are, not as royalties' sycophants and apologizers would have us view them.
There is a perfect downpour of books eulogizing monarchs and monarchy; royal governments spend millions of the people's money to uphold and aggrandize exalted kingship and seedy princeship alike; three-fourths of the press of Europe is swayed by king-worship, or subsidized to sing the praises of "God's Anointed," while in our own country the aping of monarchical institutions, the admiration for court life, the idealization of kings, their sayings, doings and pretended superiority, as carried on by the multi-rich, are undermining love for the Republic and the institutions our fathers fought and bled for.
It's the purpose of the present volume to show the guilty folly of such un-American, un-republican, wholly unjustifiable, reprehensible and altogether ridiculous King-worship, not by argument, or a more or less fanciful story, but by the unbiased testimony of an "insider."
Let it be considered, above all, that a member of the proudest Imperial family in the wide, wide world demonstrates, by inference, the absurdity of King-worship!
Of course, whether or not you'll obey the impassioned appeal of the corner sermonizer, who, espying a number of very decolletee ladies passing by in a carriage, cried out: "Quand vous voyez ces tetons rebondies, qui se montrent avec tant d'impudence, bandez! bandez! bandez! vous—les yeux!" is a matter for you to decide.
* * * * *
Seek not for descriptions of ceremonials and festivities in these pages; only imbeciles among kings are interested in such wearying spectacles, intended to dazzle the multitude. The Czar Paul, who became insane and had his head knocked off by his own officers, appeared upon the scene vacated by his brilliant mother, Catharine the Great, with a valise full of petty regulations, ready drawn up, by which, every day, every hour, every minute, he announced some foolish change, punishment or favor, but I often saw Kaiser Wilhelm and other kings look intensely bored and disgusted when obliged to attend dull and superfluous court or government functions.
Royalty's Loose Talk
But for genuine expressions of the royal self consult Louise. Those who think that royalty shapes its language in accordance with the plural of the personal pronoun, sometimes used in state papers, will be shocked at the "neglige talk" of one royal highness and the "rag-time" expressions of others. Louise, herself, assures us over and over again that she "feels like a dog," a statement no self-respecting publisher's reader would allow to pass, yet I was told by a friend of King Frederick of Denmark that he loved to compare his "all-highest person" to a "mut," and I remember a letter from Victor Emanuel II to his great Minister, Count Cavour, solemnly protesting that he (the King) was "no ass."
When the same Danish ruler, the seventh of his name, was asked why, in thunder, he married a common street walker (the Rasmussen, afterwards created Countess Danner), he cried out with every indication of gusto: "You don't know how deliciously common that girl is."
Frederick's words explain the hostler marriages of several royal women mentioned by Louise, as well as her own and loving family's broulleries of the fish-wife order, repeatedly described in the Diary.
Royalty Threatens a Royal Woman
It is safe to say that few $15 flats in all the United States witnessed more outrageous family jars than were fought out in the gilded halls of the Dresden palace between Louise and father-in-law and Louise and husband. Threats of violence are frequent; Prince George promises his daughter-in-law a sound beating at the hands of the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess confesses that she would rather go to bed with a drunken husband, booted and spurred, than risk a sword thrust.
At the coronation of the present Czar, at Moscow, I mistook the Duke of Edinburgh, brother of the late King Edward, for a policeman attached to the British Ambassador, so exceedingly commonplace a person in appearance, speech and manner he seemed; Louise has a telling chapter on the mean looks of royalty, but fails to see the connection between that and royalty's coarseness.
Perhaps it wasn't the "commonness" of Lady Emma Hamilton, child of the slums, impersonator of risque stage pictures, and mistress of the greatest naval hero of all times, that appealed primarily to Louise's grand-aunt, Queen Caroline of Naples, but the abandon of the beautiful Englishwoman, her reckless exposure of person, her freedom of speech, certainly sealed the friendship between the adventuress and the despotic ruler who deserved the epithet of "bloody" no less than Mary of England.
Royal covetousness is another subject dwelt on by Louise. We learn that in money matters the kings and princes of her acquaintance—and her acquaintance embraces all the monarchs of Europe—are "dirty," that royal girls are given in marriage to the highest bidder, and that poor princes have no more chance to marry a rich princess than a drayman an American multi-millionaire's daughter.
Louise gives us a curious insight into the Pappenheim-Wheeler marriage embroglio, and refers to some noble families that made their money in infamous trades; that the Kaiser adopted the title of one of these unspeakables ("Count of Henneberg") she doesn't seem to know.
We hear of imperial and royal highnesses, living at public expense and for whom honors and lucrative employment are exacted from the people, who at home figure as poor relations, obliged to submit to treatment that a self-respecting "boots" or "omnibus" would resent.
Here we have a royal prince of twenty-four or twenty-five subjected to kicks and cuffs by his uncle, who happens to be king—no indignity either to the slugged or the slugger in that—but when a pretty princess gets a few "Hochs" more than an ugly, mouse-colored majesty, she is all but flayed for "playing to the gallery."
"High-minded" royalty robs widows and despoils orphans; re-introduces into the family obsolete punishments forbidden by law; maintains in the household a despicable spy system! Its respect for womanhood is on a par with a Bushman's; of authors, "lickspittles" only count; literature, unless it kowtows to the "all-highest" person, is the "trade of Jew scribblers."
Right Royal Manners
As to manners, what do you think of kings and princes and grand-dukes who, at ceremonial dinners, pound the table to "show that they are boss"?
Louise tells of an emperor at a foreign court ignoring one of his hostesses absolutely, even refusing to acknowledge her salute by a nod. We hear of expectant royal heirs who engage in wild fandangoes of merriment while their father, brother or cousin lies dying.
"Personal matter," you say? "A typical case," I retort.
"Ask the Duc du Maine to wait till I am dead before he indulges in the full extent of his joy," said the dying Louis XIV, when the De Profundis in the death chamber was suddenly interrupted by the sound of violent laughter from the adjoining gallery. And the fact that almost every new king sets aside the testament of his predecessor,—is this not evidence of the general callowness of feeling prevailing in royal circles?
The Irish Famine and Royalty
In famine times, the kings and princes of old drove the starving out of town to die of hunger in the fields, and as late as 1772 one hundred and fifty thousand Saxons died of hunger under the "glorious reign" of Louise's grandfather-by-marriage, Frederick Augustus III. And the "Life of Queen Victoria," approved by the Court of St. James, unblushingly informs us that in 1847 "Her Most Gracious Majesty" was chiefly concerned about investing to good profit the revenues of the Prince of Wales, her infant son (about four hundred thousand dollars per annum).
Yet, while Victoria pinched the boy's tenants to extort an extra penny for him, and "succeeded in saving all but four thousand pounds sterling" of his imperial allowance, the population of Ireland was reduced two millions by the most dreadful famine the world remembers!
Before the famine Ireland had a population of 8,196,597, against a population of 15,914,148 in England and Wales, while Scotland's population was 2,620,184.
Six years after the famine Ireland's population was 6,574,278, Scotland's 2,888,742, England and Wales' 17,927,609. Today Ireland's population is less than Scotland's, the exact figures being: Scotland 4,759,445, Ireland 4,381,951, England and Wales 36,075,269.
Royalty Utterly Heartless
However, as the waste of two million human lives, the loss of four millions in population, subsequently enabled the Prince of Wales to tie the price of a dukedom in diamonds around a French dancer's neck and to support a hundred silly harlots in all parts of Europe, who cares?
According to Louise and—others, royalty is the meanest, the most heartless, the most faithless and the most unjust of the species—that in addition she herself disgraced its womanhood, after the famous Louise of Prussia rehabilitated queenship, is regrettable, but to call it altogether unexpected would be rank euphemism.
If Louise had lived at the time of Phryne, the philosophers would have characterized her as "an animal with long hair"; if he had known her, the great Mirabeau might have coined his pet phrase, "a human that dresses, undresses and—talks" (or writes) for Louise; as a matter of fact, she is one of those "Jansenists" of love who believe in the utter helplessness of natural woman to turn down a good looking man.
Her great grand-uncle, Emperor Francis, recorded on a pane of glass overlooking the courtyard of the Vienna Hofburg his opinion of women in the brief observation: "Chaque femme varie" (Women always change).
This is true of Louise and also untrue of her. While occupying her high position at the Saxon court she was fixed in the determination to make a cuckold of her husband, though Frederick Augustus, while a pumpkin, wasn't fricasseed in snow by any means.
The process gave her palpitations, but, like Ninon, she was "so happy when she had palpitations."
Changed Lovers Frequently
As to lovers, she changed them as often as she had to, never hesitating to pepper her steady romances by playing "everybody's wife," chance permitting, as she intimates naively towards the close of the Diary.
Qualms of conscience she knows not, but of pride of ancestry, of insistence on royal prerogatives, she has plenty and to spare.
"My great grand-aunt, Marie Antoinette, did this"; "my good cousins d'Orleans" (three of them) "allowed themselves to be seduced"; "ma cousine de Saxe-Coburg laughs at conventionalities,"—there you have the foundation of the iniquitous philosophy of the royal Lais. And for the rest—when she is queen, all will be well.
Her Court—A Seraglio
Louise's fixed idea was that, as Queen of Saxony, she had but to say the word to establish a court a la Catharine II; time and again she refers to the great Empress's male seraglio, and to the enormous sums she squandered on her favorites. If the Diarist had known that Her Majesty of Russia, when in the flesh, never suffered to be longer than twenty-four hours without a lover, Louise, no doubt, would have made the most elaborate plans to prevent, in her own case, a possible interregnum of five minutes even.
She thought she held the whip hand because a king cannot produce princes without his wife, while the wife can produce princes without the king; besides Frederick Augustus was no paragon, and he who plants horns, must not grudge to wear them.
A wanton's calculations, it will be argued,—but Louise's records show that her husband, the king-to-be, fell in with her main idea,—that he forgave the unfaithful wife, the disgraced princess, because, as Queen, her popularity would be "a great asset."
And Americans, our women of whom we are so proud, are asked to bow down to such sorry majesties!
Sired and "Cousined" by Lunatics
And is there no excuse for so much baseness in high places? Our royal Diarist offers none, but her family history is a telling apology.
Be it remembered that Louise is not so much an Austrian as a Wittelsbacher of the royal house of Bavaria that gave to the world two mad kings, Louis II and Otho, the present incumbent of the throne, besides a number of eccentrics, among others Louise's aunts, the Empress Elizabeth and the Duchess d'Alencon, both dead; Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, her cousin, was also undoubtedly insane, the result of breeding in and in, Austrian, Bourbon and Wittelsbach stock, all practically of the same parentage, in a mad mix-up, the insane Wittelsbachers predominating.
To cap the climax, Louise has eighteen or nineteen insane cousins on her mother's side!
* * * * *
Once upon a time Louise's prosaic and stupid great-uncle, as a young husband, felt dreadfully scandalized when his Queen, Marie Antoinette, bombarded him with spit-balls.
"What can I do with her?" he asked "Minister Sans-culotte" Dumouriez.
"I would spike the cannon, Sire," replied the courtier.
"Enclouer le canon," if performed in time, might have saved Louise, but I doubt it.
HENRY W. FISCHER.
[Footnote 1: "Be civil, good people, I am the English hure," said Nell Gwyn, addressing a London mob that threatened to storm her carriage, assuming that its occupant was the hated Frenchwoman.]
[Footnote 2: "Your biography give a faithful portrait of self," said Fontenelle, the famous French Academician, to an 18th Century Marquise, "but I miss the record of your gallantries."
"Ah, Monsieur, c'est que je ne me suis peinte qu'en buste!" replied her ladyship.]
[Footnote 3: The Prince of Wales' revenue is derived from the Duchy of Cornwall, amounting to about half a million dollars per year.]
KITH AND KIN OF THE EX-CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY
Louise's Own Family
The royal woman whose life's history is recorded in this volume was born Louise Antoinette, Daughter of the late Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany (died January 17, 1908) and the Dowager Grand Duchess Alice, nee Princess Bourbon of Parma.
* * * * *
Louise has four brothers, among them the present head of the Tuscany family, Joseph Ferdinand, who dropped the obsolete title of Grand Duke and is officially known as Archduke of Austria-Hungary.
He is a brigadier general, commanding the Fifth Austrian Infantry, and unmarried.
Better known is Louise's older brother, the former Archduke Leopold, who dropped his title and dignities, and, as a Swiss citizen, adopted the name of Leopold Wulfling. This Leopold is generally regarded as a black sheep.
Louise more often refers to him in the present volume than to any other member of her family.
He is now a commoner by his own, more or less enforced, abdication, as Louise is a commoner by decree of her chief-of-family, the Austrian Emperor, Francis Joseph, dated Vienna, January 27, 1903.
A month before above date the Saxon court had conferred on Louise the title of Countess Montiguoso, while, on her own part, she adopted the fanciful cognomen of Louise of Tuscany.
Of Louise's two remaining brothers, one, Archduke Peter, serves in the Austrian army as Colonel of the Thirty-second Infantry, while Archduke Henry is Master of Horse in the Sixth Bavarian Dragoons.
Only one of Louise's four sisters is married, the oldest, Anna, now Princess Johannes of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein.
The unmarried sisters are Archduchesses Margareta (31 years old), Germana (28 years old), Agnes (22 years old).
* * * * *
Mother Comes of Mentally Tainted Stock
Louise's mother, nee Princess Alice of Parma, is the only surviving sister of the late Duke Robert, who left twenty children, all living, and of whom eighteen or nineteen are either imbeciles or raving lunatics, the present head of the house, Duke Henry, belonging to the first category of mentally unsound.
Louise's first cousin, Prince Elias of Parma, the seventh son, is accounted sound, but Elias's sister, Zita (the twelfth child), developed maniacal tendencies since her marriage to Archduke Karl Francis Joseph, heir-presumptive to the crown of Austria-Hungary.
* * * * *
Francis Joseph's Autocratic Rule
Louise Formerly in Line of Austrian Succession
Louise was in the line of the Austrian succession until, upon her marriage to the Crown Prince of Saxony (1891), she officially renounced her birthrights.
Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary is Louise's grand-uncle as well as chief of the imperial family of Austria, the royal family of Hungary, the Grand-ducal family of Tuscany (now extinct as far as the title goes), and of the Estes, which is the Ducal Line of Modena, extinct in the male line. Finally he is recognized as chief by the ducal family of Parma, descendants of the Spanish Hapsburgs.
Emperor Francis Joseph rules all the Hapsburgers, Austrian, Hungarian, and those of Tuscany, of Este, of Modena and Parma, autocratically, his word being law in the family. Even titles conferred by birth can be taken away by him, as exemplified in the case of Louise and her brother Leopold.
* * * * *
As a member of the Austrian imperial family, the Hapsburgers, founded in 883, Louise ranked higher than her husband, the Crown Prince of the petty Kingdom of Saxony, whose claim to the royal title dates from 1806,—a gift of the Emperor Napoleon.
She married Frederick Augustus November 21, 1891, while the latter's uncle reigned as King Albert of Saxony (1873 to 1902).
Louise's father-in-law, up to then known as Prince George, succeeded his brother June 19, 1902. He was then a widower and his family consisted of:
Princess Mathilde, unmarried,
The Crown Prince Frederick Augustus, husband of Louise,
Princess Marie-Josepha, wife of Archduke Otho of Austria,
Prince Johann George, at that time married to Isabelle of Wuerttemberg, and
Prince Max. The latter subsequently shelved his title and entered the Church July 26, 1896. He is a professor of canonical law and slated for a German bishopric.
At the time of Prince George's ascension, there was also living the late King Albert's widow, Queen Caroline, nee Princess of Wasa, since dead.
The Marchesa Rapallo, nee Princess Elizabeth of Saxony, is a sister of the late King George.
Louise and Her Father-in-Law
During King George's short reign, Louise ran away from the Saxon court, end of November, 1902.
On February 11, 1903, divorce was pronounced against her by a special court assembled by King George.
Louise was adjudged the guilty party and deprived of the name and style of Crown Princess of Saxony. As previously (January 27) the Austrian Emperor had forbidden her to use the name and title of Austrian Archduchess and Imperial and royal Princess, Louise would have been nameless but for the rank and title of Countess Montiguoso, conferred upon her by King George.
* * * * *
Louise's Alimony Conditional
At the same time Louise accepted from the court of Saxony a considerable monthly allowance on condition that "she undertake nothing liable to compromise the reigning family, either by criticism or story, either by word, deed or in writing."
* * * * *
Frederick Augustus, King
Upon his father's death, Frederick Augustus succeeded King George October 15, 1904. He is now forty-seven years old, while Louise is forty-two.
The King of Saxony has six children by Louise, three boys and three girls, five born in wedlock, the youngest born without wedlock. The children born in wedlock are:
The present Crown Prince, born 1893. Frederick Christian, likewise born in 1893. Ernest, born 1896. Margaret, born 1900. And Marie Alix, born 1901.
The youngest Princess of Saxony, so called, Anna Monica, was born by Louise more than six months after she left her husband and nearly three months after her divorce.
Louise desired to retain Anna Monica in her own custody, but though the child's fathership is in doubt, to say the least, Frederick Augustus insisted upon the little one's transference to his care.
* * * * *
Allowance Raised and a Further Threat
King Frederick Augustus raised Louise's allowance to $12,000 per year, "which alimony ceases if the said Countess Montiguoso shall commit, either personally, directly or indirectly, any act in writing or otherwise liable to injure the reputation of King Frederick Augustus or members of the royal family of Saxony, or if the said Countess Montiguoso contributes to any such libellous publication in any manner or form."
* * * * *
The Divorce of Royal Couple Illegal
After divorce was pronounced against her, Louise declined to accept the decree of the court, pronouncing the proceedings illegal on the ground that both she and husband are Catholics and that the Roman Catholic Church, under no circumstances, recognizes divorce. Her protest gained importance from the fact that her marriage to Frederick Augustus was solemnized by the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The Saxon court, on the other hand, justified its own decision by basing same on a certain civil ceremony entered into by Louise and Frederick Augustus previous to the church marriage.
* * * * *
Louise Marries a Second Time
When Louise realized in the course of years that Frederick Augustus would not take her back, she changed her mind as to the illegality of her divorce and married, September 25, 1907, Enrico Toselli, an Italian composer and pianist of small reputation.
This marriage was performed civilly. They have one child, a boy, about whose custody the now legally separated parents have instituted several actions in law. The boy has now been allotted to the care of Toselli's mother.
King Did Not Marry Again
King Frederick Augustus, though by the laws of Saxony and Germany allowed to contract a second marriage, has not availed himself of the license, probably in deference to the wishes of the Vatican. At the same time he spurned all of Louise's attempts at reconciliation, the most dramatic of which was her coup de tete of December, 1904, when she went to Dresden "to see her children," was arrested at the palace gate and conducted out of the kingdom by high police officials.
* * * * *
Other Royalties Mentioned in This Volume
Louise refers, in her Diary, to the Kaiser as "cousin." If there be any relationship between her and William, it is that imposed by the Saxon marriage, Saxon princes and princesses having frequently intermarried with the royal and princely Hohenzollerns, despite the differences of religion. There are four courts of Saxony despite that of Dresden: Weimar, Meiningen, Altenburg and Coburg and Gotha.
The latter duchy's ruler, Karl Eduard, is of English descent, a son of the late Duke of Albany. Hence, Louise's cousinship with Victoria Melita, sometime Grand Duchess of Hesse, now Grand Duchess Kyril of Russia.
Of course, Louise is closely related to all the Orleans and Bourbons.
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, who died on the scaffold at Paris, October 16, 1793, she calls her great-grand-aunt and namesake, claiming, at the same time, most of the Kings and princes of France of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as relatives.
A sterile Royal Family once fruitful—Diary true record of self—Long legs of Countess Solms—A child only because he can't help it—Wet nurse to Socialist brat—Royal permit for nursing—Royal negligee talk—A Saxon failing 1
THE SWEET FAMILY
Husband loving, but family nasty—Money considerations—Brutal caresses in public—Pests in the family—Awful serenity—Meddle with angels' or devils' affairs—Father-in-law's gritty kiss 7
WEEPING WILLOW—EMBLEM ROYAL
A pious fraud—Theresa Mayer—Character of the Queen—Mopishness rampant 11
MY UNPLEASANT YOUTH
Father hard to get along with—Royal imaginations—Kings cursing other kings—Poverty and pretense—Piety that makes children suffer—Up at five to pray on cold stones—Chilblains and prayer 15
A FIERCE DISCIPLINARIAN
Diamonds used to punish children—Face object of attacks— Grunting and snorting at the royal table—Blood flowing at dinner—My brother jumps out of a window 19
LEOPOLD DEFENDS MY HONOR AT HIS PERIL
Punished for objecting to familiarities—Awful names I was called—Locked in the room with wicked teacher—Defend myself with burning lamp—My brother nearly kills my would-be assailant 23
PRINCES AND PRINCESSES DANCE TO THE TUNE OF THE WHIP
The result shows in the character of rulers—Why English kings and princes are superior to the Continental kind—Leopold's awful revenge—Mother acts the tigress—Her mailed fist—"I forbid Your Imperial Highness to see that dog" 27
PLANNING TO GET A HUSBAND FOR ME
Dissecting possible wooers at Vienna—Royalty after money, not character—"He is a Cohen, not a Coburg"—Prince who looked like a Jew counter-jumper in his Sunday best—Balkan princes tabooed by Francis Joseph—A good time for the girls—Army men commanded to attend us 35
The fascinating Baron—The man's audacity—Putting the question boldly—Real love-making—Risque stories for royalty 41
MY POPULARITY RENDERS GEORGE DYSPEPTIC
The Cudgel-Majesty—Prince George's intrigues—No four-horse coach for Princess—Popular demonstration in my favor—"All-highest" displeasure 45
SCOLDED FOR BEING POPULAR
Entourage spied upon by George's minions—My husband proves a weakling—I disavow the personal compliment—No more intelligent than a king should be 53
ROYAL DISGRACE—LIGHTNING AND SHADOWS
Ordered around by the Queen—Give thanks to a bully—Jealous of the "mob's" applause—"The old monkey after 'Hochs'"—Criticizing the "old man"—Royalty's plea for popularity—Proposed punishments for people refusing to love royalty 57
UNSPEAKABLE LITTLENESSES OF PETTY COURTS
Another quarrel with my husband—Personal attendant to a corpse—Killing by pin pricks—The mythical three "How art thou's?"—Unwanted sympathy from my inferiors—Pride of the decapitated Queen of France is in me—Lovers not impossible—Court to blame for them—My husband acts cowardly—Brutalizes my household—I lock myself in 63
IMPERIAL RUSSIAN ETHICS TRANSFERRED TO DRESDEN
My husband's reported escapade—Did he give diamonds to a dancing girl?—His foolish excuses—"I am your pal"—A restaurant scene in St. Petersburg—The birthday suit 71
ROYALTY NOT PRETTY, AND WHY
Fecundity royal women's greatest charm—How to have beautiful children 77
MORE JEALOUSIES OF THE GREAT
Men and women caress me with their eyes—Some disrespectful sayings and doings of mine—First decided quarrel with Frederick Augustus—I go to the theatre in spite of him 81
THE ROYAL PRINCE, WHO BEHAVES LIKE A DRUNKEN BRICKLAYER
I face the music, but my husband runs away—Prince George can't look me in the eye—He roars and bellows—Advocates wife-beating—I defy him—German classics—"Jew literature" Auto da fe ordered 85
I DEFY THEM
Laughter and pleasant faces for me—Frederick Augustus refuses to back me, but I don't care—We quarrel about my reading—He professes to gross ignorance 91
ATTEMPTED VIOLENCE DEFEATED BY FIRMNESS
Frederick Augustus seeks to carry out his father's brutal threats—Orders and threats before servants—I positively refuse to be ordered about—Frederick Augustus plays Mrs. Lot—Enjoying myself at the theatre 95
TITLED SERVANTS LOW AND CUNNING
George tries to rob me of my confidante—Enter the King's spy, Baroness Tisch in her true character—Punishment of one royal spy 99
I am ordered to repair to a country house with the hated spy as my Grand Mistress—My first impulse to go home, but afraid parents won't have me 103
"POOR RELATIONS" IN ROYAL HOUSES
Myself and Frederick Augustus quarrel and pound table—The Countess Cosel's golden vessel—Off to Brighton—Threat of a beating—I provoke shadows of divorce—King threatens force—More defiance on my part—I humble the King and am allowed to invite my brother Leopold 105
My correspondence is not safe from the malicious woman appointed Grand Mistress—Lovers at a distance and by correspondence—Fell in love with a leg 115
MORE TYRANNY OF A TITLED SERVANT
My daily papers seized, and only milk-and-water clippings are submitted—"King's orders"—Grand Mistress's veracity doubted—My threats of suspension cow her 119
THE TWO BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY UNITED
Leopold upon my troubles and his own—Imperial Hapsburgs that, though Catholics, got divorces or married divorced women—Books that are full of guilty knowledge, according to royalty—A mud-hole lodging for one Imperial Highness—Leopold's girl—What I think of army officers' wives—Their anonymous letters—Leopold's money troubles—We will fool our enemies by feigning obedience 123
FREDERICK AUGUSTUS CONTINUES VERY RAW
Manners a la barracks natural to royal princes—Names I am called—My ladies scandalized—Leopold turned over a new leaf, according to agreement, and is well treated—The King grateful to me for having "influenced Leopold to be good" 129
PRINCE MAX MAKES LOVE TO ME
Wants me to consult him on all spiritual matters—Warns me against the Kaiser, the heretic bishop—Princes as ill-mannered as Russian-Jew up-starts 133
THE SHAH OF PERSIA FALLS IN LOVE WITH ME
The "animal" and his show of diamonds and rubies—Overcome by love he treats me like a lady of the harem—On the defensive—The King of kings an ill-behaved brute—Eats like a pig and affronts Queen—Wiped off greasy hands on my state robe—When ten thousand gouged-out eyes carpeted his throne—Offers of jewels—"Does he take me for a ballet girl?"—The Shah almost compromises me—King, alarmed, abruptly ends dinner—I receive presents from him 135
THE SHAH COMPROMISES ME IN PUBLIC
Has only eyes for me at the grand manoeuvres, and I can't drive him from my carriage—Ignores the King and the military spectacle—Calls me his adored one—Court in despair—Shah ruins priceless carpets to make himself a lamb stew 139
MY LIFE AT COURT BECOMES UNBEARABLE
Laughter a crime—Disappointed Queen lays down the law for my behavior—Frederick Augustus sometimes fighting drunk—Draws sword on me—Prince George would have me beaten—To bed with his boots on 143
PRISON FOR PRINCES THAT OPPOSE THE KING
Duke of Saxony banished—Cut off from good literature even—Anecdote concerning the Grand Dauphin and his "kettledrums"—A royal prince's garrison life—His association with lewd women 147
PRINCE GEORGE SHOWN THE DOOR BY GRAND-DUCHESS MELITA
A royal lady who walks her garden attired in a single diaphanous garment—Won't stand for any meddling—Called impertinent—My virtuous indignation assumed—A flirtation at a distance—An audacious lover—The Grand Mistress hoodwinked—Matrimonial horns for Kaiser—The banished Duke dies—Princes scolded like school-boys 151
MELITA'S LOVE AFFAIRS AND MINE
The Grand Duchess tells me how she cudgeled George—Living dictaphone employed—Shows him who is mistress of the house—Snaps fingers in Prince George's face—Debate about titles—"A sexless thing of a husband"—Conference between lover and husband—Grand Duke doesn't object to his wife's lover, but lover objects to "his paramour being married" 157
MORE ABOUT THE SWEET ROYAL FAMILY LIFE
"Closed season" for petty meannesses—A prince who enjoys himself like a pig—Why princes learn trades—A family dinner to the accompaniment of threats and smashing of table—The Duke's widow and children robbed of their inheritance by royal family—King confiscates testament 163
FLIRTATION DEVELOPS INTO LOVE
At the theatre—My adorer must have felt my presence—Forgot his diplomacy—The mute salute—His good looks—His mouth a promise of a thousand sweet kisses—Our love won't be any painted business 169
COUNT BIELSK MAKES LOVE TO THE CROWN PRINCESS
Fearless to indiscretion—He "thou's" me—Puts all his chances on one card—Proposes a rendezvous—Shall I go or shall I not go?—Peril if I go and peril if I don't 171
RAPID LOVE MAKING IN THE BOIS
A discreet maid—"Remove thy glove"—Kisses of passion, pure kisses, powerful kisses—I see my lover daily—Countess Barnello offers "doves' nest"—Driving to rendezvous in state—"Naughty Louise," who makes fun of George 177
"IN LOVE THERE ARE NO PRINCESSES, ONLY WOMEN"
A diplomatic trick—Jealous of Romano's past—The pact for life and the talisman—If there were a theatre fire the talisman would discover our love to the King—Some ill-natured reflections—Bernhardt's escapades cover up my tracks—The "black sheep" jumps his horse over a coffin—King gives him a beating—Bernhardt's mess-room lingo—Anecdotes of royal voluptuaries—Forces animals to devour each other—Naked ballet-girls as horses—Abnormals rule the world 183
I lose my lover—Quarrels with me because I did my duty as a mother—Royalty extols me for the same reason—-My pride of kingship aroused by Socialist scribblers—Change my opinion as to Duke's widow—Parents arrive—Father and his alleged astrolatry—His finances disarranged by alimony payments—My uncle, the Emperor, rebukes mother harshly for complaining of roue father 193
A PLEBEIAN LOVER
In need of a friend—My physician offers his friendship—I discover that he loves me, but he will never confess—I give him encouragement—We manage to persuade the King to further our intrigue—Not a bit repentant of my peccadilloes—Very submissive—Introduced to my lover's wife 199
AN ATROCIOUS ROYAL SCANDAL
A royal couple that shall be nameless—The voluptuous Duchess—Her husband the worst of degenerates—"What monsters these royalties be"—Nameless outrages—A Duchess forced to have lovers—Ferdinand and I live like married folk—Duchess feared for her life—Her husband murdered her—I scold and humiliate my overbearing Grand Mistress—The medical report too horrible to contemplate 205
I LOSE ANOTHER OF MY LOVERS
Happily no scandal—Rewarded for bearing children—$1250—for becoming a mother—Royal poverty—Bernhardt, the black sheep, in hot water again—The King rebukes me for taking his part 213
THE CROWN PRINCESS QUELLS A RIOT
Asked to play the coward, and I refuse—A hostler who would die for a look from me—Hostler marriages in royal houses—Anecdotes and unknown facts concerning royal ladies and their offspring—Refuse police escort and rioters acclaim me—Whole royal family proud of my feat 219
THE NEW LOVER, AND "I PLAY THE HUSSY FOR FAIR"
Who is that most exquisite Vortaenzer?—A lovely boy—"Blush, good white paper"—I long for Henry—My eyes reflect love—"I must see you tonight. Arrange with Lucretia"—Sorry I ever loved a man before Henry—Poetry even—I try to get him an office at court—Afraid women will steal him 227
LOVE AND THE HAPPINESS IT CONVEYS
My Grand Mistress suspects because I am so amiable—Pangs of jealousy—Every good-looking man pursued by women—A good story of my cousin, the Duchess Berri—We all go cycling together—The Vitzthums—Love making on the street—A mud bath 233
FEARS FOR MY LOVE
Some reflections on queens of old who punished recreant lovers—Henry was in debt and I gave him money—Indignities by which some of that money was earned—Husband accompanies me to Loschwitz—Reflections on Frederick Augustus's character 239
Bernhardt takes advantage of my day-dreams—My husband's indolent gaucherie—Violent love-making—Ninon who loved families, not men—Does Bernhardt really love me? 245
GRAND MISTRESS TELLS HUSBAND I KEEP A DIARY
He wants to see it, but seems unsuspecting—Grand Mistress denies that she meant mischief, but I upbraid her unmercifully—Threaten to dismiss her like a thieving lackey 251
I hear disquieting news about my lover's character—The aristocracy a dirty lot—Love-making made easy by titled friends—Anecdotes of Richelieu and the Duke of Orleans—The German nobleman who married Miss Wheeler and had to resign his birthright—The disreputable business the Pappenheims and other nobles used to be in—I am afraid to question my lover as to charges 255
TO LIVE UNDER KING'S AND PRINCE GEORGE'S EYE
Abruptly ordered to the royal summer residence—The Vitzthums and Henry take flight—Enmeshed by Prince George's intrigues—Those waiting for a crown have no friends—What I will do when Queen—No wonder Kings of old married only relatives—Interesting facts about relative marriages furnished by scientist 261
COLD RECEPTION—ENEMIES ALL AROUND
Frederick Augustus gives his views on adultery—Doesn't care personally, but "the King knows"—"Thank God, the King is ill"—I am deprived of my children—Have I got the moral strength to defy my enemies? 265
PRINCE GEORGE REVEALS TO ME THE DEPTH OF HIS HATRED
A terrible interview—"The devil will come to claim you"—Uncertain how much the King and Prince George know—I break into the nursery and stay with my children all day—Prince George insults me in my own rooms and threatens prison if I disobey him 269
REVOLVER IN HAND, I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION
An insolent Grand Mistress, but of wonderful courage—Imprisonment, threats to kill have no effect on her—Disregards my titles—My lover's souvenir and endearing words—How she caused Henry to leave me—My paroxysms of rage—Henry's complete betrayal of me 273
FORCED TO DO PENANCE LIKE A TRAPPIST-MONK
"By the King's orders"—I submit for the sake of my children—Must fast as well as pray—In delicate health, I insist upon returning to Dresden—Bernhardt, to avoid being maltreated by King, threatens him with his sword—The King's awful wrath—Bernhardt prisoner in Nossen—I escape, temporarily, protracted ennui 279
FRANCIS JOSEPH JOINS MY SAXON ENEMIES
Cuts me dead before whole family—Everybody talks over my head at dinner—I refuse to attend more court festivities—Husband protests because I won't stand for insult from Emperor—I give rein to my contempt for his family—Hypocrites, despoilers, gamblers, religious maniacs, brutes—Benign lords to the people, tyrants at home—I cry for my children like a she-dog whose young were drowned 285
I AM DETERMINED TO DO AS I PLEASE
I reject mother's tearful reproaches—I beard Prince George in his lair despite whining chamberlains—I tell him what I think of him, and he becomes frightened—Threatens madhouse—"I dare you to steal my children"—I win my point—and the children—"Her Imperial Highness regrets"—Lots of forbidden literature—Precautions against intriguing Grand Mistress—The affair with Henry—was it a flower-covered pit to entrap me?—Castle Stolpen and some of its awful history 291
I CONFESS TO PAPA
King Albert dies and King George a very sick man—Papa's good advice—"You will be Queen soon"—A lovely old man, very much troubled 301
MONSIEUR GIRON—RICHARD, THE ARTIST
The King asks me to superintend lessons by M. Giron—A most fascinating man—His Grecian eyes—He is a painter as well as a teacher—In love—Careless whether I am caught in my lover's arms—"Richard" talks anarchy to me—Why I don't believe in woman suffrage—Characters and doings of women in power 305
THE PEOPLE THINK ME A WANTON
Credit me with innumerable lovers, but don't disapprove—Glad the King feels scandalized—Picture of the "she-monster"—Everybody eager for love—I delight in Richard's jealousy—Husband's indelicate announcement at table—I rush from the royal opera to see my lover—A threatening dream—Richard not mercenary like my noble lovers 309
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT LOOMS UP
My Grand Mistress shows her colors—Richard advises flight—I hesitate on account of my children—My Grand Mistress steals a letter from Richard to me—I opine that an adulteress's word is as good as a thief's—I humble my Grand Mistress, but it won't do me much good—Pleasant hours at his studio 317
A MAD HOUSE FOR LOUISE—PROBABLY
My confidential maid, Lucretia, is banished—The new King has got the incriminating letter, but Frederick Augustus says nothing—On the eve of judgment the King falls ill 321
KING'S ILLNESS A BOON TO LOVERS
Prayers mixed with joy—Espionage disorganized, and I can do as I please—Love-making in the school-room—Buying a ring for Richard—"Wishing it on"—"Our marriage"—King's life despaired of—My tormentors obsequious—Smile at my peccadilloes—Husband proud of me—My popularity a great asset—Frederick Augustus delighted when he hears that King can't last long—The joyous luncheon at Richard's studio—Making fun of majesties—I expect to be Queen presently 325
WHAT I WILL DO WHEN I AM QUEEN
A foretaste: titled servants put me en route for lover—The bargain I will propose to Frederick Augustus—Frederick Augustus will be a complaisant King—To revive Petit Trianon—I am addressed as Queen 331
THE KING IS ALIVE AND PUNISHMENT NEAR
My queenship postponed—King George publicly acclaimed—Cuts me dead in church—Frederick Augustus's disappointment—Terrible power of a king over his family, and no appeal—I am like the nude witch of old 335
FISTICUFFS DON'T SAVE MY CROWN
The attempted theft of my Diary—Grand Mistress discovered after breaking open my desk—Reading Diary like mad—Personal encounter between me and Grand Mistress—I am the stronger, and carry off the manuscript, but have to leave all my love letters, which go to the King—I discover that they had stolen the key to my Diary from my neck 339
My titled servants withdraw from me—An old footman my sole support—Queen takes the children—Old Andrew plays spy for me 343
FAMILY COUNCIL AT CASTLE
Rendezvous at studio—State takes my children from me—Madhouse or flight—I brought fifty-two trunks to the palace—Depart with small satchel—If I attempt to see my children I'll be seized as "mad woman"—Varying emotions of the last ten minutes—Threatening shadows thrown on a curtain decide me—Ready for flight—Diary the last thing to go into the satchel 345
THE STORY OF LOUISE, CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY
A sterile Royal Family once fruitful—Diary true record of self—Long legs of Countess Solms—A child only because he can't help it—Wet nurse to Socialist brat—Royal permit for nursing—Royal negligee talk—A Saxon failing.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, February 17, 1893.
I did my duty towards the Saxons. I gave them a Prince. The Royal House ought to be grateful to me:—I am helping to perpetuate it. Who would, if I didn't? My sister-in-law, Princess Mathilde, is an old maid. The other, Maria Josepha, as sterile as Sarah was before she reached the nineties. This applies also to Isabelle, the wife of brother-in-law, John-George. And Prince Max, tired of ballet girls, is about to take the soutane.
There is just one more royal Saxon princess, Elizabeth, and she succeeded in having children neither with her husband de jure, the late Duke of Genoa, nor with her husband-lover, Marquis Rapallo.
Louise, then, is the sole living hope of the royal Saxons that, only 160 years ago, boasted of a sovereign having three hundred and fifty-two children to his credit, among them not a few subsequently accounted geniuses. Augustus, the Physical Strong (1670 to 1733), was the happy father, the Mareshal de Saxe one of his numerous gifted offspring.
Alas, since then the House of Wettin has declined not in numbers only.
Poor baby is burdened with ten names in honor of so many ancestors. Why, in addition, they want to call him "Maria" I cannot for the life of me understand, for there never was a Saxon princess or queen that amounted to a row of pins.
I wonder whether they will say the same of me after the crown of the Wettiners descended upon my brow. Those so inclined should consult these papers ere they begin throwing stones, for my Diary is intended to contain my innermost thoughts, my ambitions, my promises for the future, Myself, and let no one judge me by what I say other than what is recorded here.
These pages are my Father Confessor. I confess to myself,—what a woman in my position says to members of her family or official and semi-official persons—her servants, so to speak—doesn't signify, to borrow a phrase from my good cousin, the Kaiser Wilhelm.
Father-in-law George tells me to trust no one but him, my husband, and Frederick Augustus's sisters, cousins and aunts, and to rely on prayer only, yet, stubborn as nature made me, I prefer respectable white paper to my sweet relatives.
Up to now my most ambitious literary attempts were intimate letters to my brother Leopold, the "Black Sheep." As I now start in writing letters to myself, it occurs to me that my worse self may be corresponding with my better self, or vice versa. If I was only a poet like Countess Solms, but, dear, no. All real bluestockings are ugly and emaciated. Solms is both, and her legs are as long and as thin as those of Diana, my English hunter.
I think this Diary business will be quite amusing,—at any rate, it will be more so than the conversation of my ladies. Ah, those ladies of the court of Saxony! If they would only talk of anything else but orphans, sisters of charity and ballet girls. The latter always have one foot in Hades, while you can see the wings grow on the backs of the others.
When the von Schoenberg struts in, peacock fashion, and announces "his royal Highness did himself the honor to soil his bib," I sometimes stare at her, not comprehending at the moment, and the fact that she is talking of my baby only gradually comes to mind. Isn't it ridiculous that a little squalling bit of humanity, whom the accident of birth planted in a palace, is royalty first and all the time, and a child only because he can't help it?
As for me, I am a woman and mother first, and my child is an animated lump of flesh and blood—my flesh and blood—first and all the time. Of course, when baby came I wanted to nurse it. You should have seen Frederick Augustus's face. If I had proposed to become a wet-nurse to some "socialist brat" he couldn't have been more astonished. Yet my great ancestress, the Empress Maria Theresa, nursed her babies "before a parquet of proletarians," at the theatre and at reviews, and thought nothing of giving the breast to a poor foundling left in the park of Schoenbrunn.
Frederick Augustus recovered his speech after a while—though he never says anything that would seem to require reflection, he always acts the deep thinker. "Louise," he mumbled reproachfully,—"what will his Majesty say?"
"I thought you were the father of the child," I remarked innocently.
"No levity where the King is concerned," he corrected poor me. "You know very well that for an act of this kind a royal permit must be previously obtained."
Followed a long pause to give his mental apparatus time to think some more. Then: "And, besides, it will hurt your figure."
"Augusta Victoria" (the German Empress) "nursed half a dozen children, and her decollete is still much admired," I insisted.
Frederick Augustus paid no attention to this argument. "Anyhow, I don't want the doctors to examine your breast daily," he said with an air of mixed sentimentality and brusqueness.
These were not his own words, though. My husband, not content with calling a spade a spade, invariably uses the nastiest terms in the dictionary of debauchery. When he tells me of his love adventures before marriage it's always "I bagged that girl," or "I made something tender out of her," just as a hunter talks of game or a leg of venison.
He doesn't want to be rude; he is so without knowing it. His indelicacy would be astounding in a man born on the steps of the throne, if the Princes of this royal house were not all inclined that way.
Two weeks after my accouchement George and Isabelle called. Though brother and sister-in-law, we are not at all on terms of intimacy. Frederick Augustus made some remarks of a personal nature that sent all the blood to my head; Isabelle seemed to enjoy my discomfort, but George had the decency to go to the window and comment on the dirty boots of a guard lieutenant just entering the courtyard. Frederick Augustus thought he had made a hit with Isabelle and applauded his own effort with a loud guffaw, while pounding his thighs, which seems to give him particular satisfaction.
THE SWEET FAMILY
Husband loving, but family nasty—Money considerations—Brutal caresses in public—Pests in the family—Awful serenity—Meddle with angels' or devils' affairs—Father-in-law's gritty kiss.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, February 24, 1893.
I have been married some fifteen months and I love my husband. He is kind, not too inquisitive and passionate. I have better claims to domestic happiness than most of my royal sisters on or near the thrones of Europe. Of course when I married into the Saxon royal family I expected to be treated with ill-concealed enmity. Wasn't I young and handsome? Reason enough for the old maids and childless wives, my new sweet relatives, to detest me.
Wasn't I poor? I brought little with me and my presence entailed a perpetual expense. Now in royal families money is everything, or nearly so, and the newcomer that eats but doesn't increase the family fortune is regarded as an interloper.
If I hadn't "made good," that is if, in due time, I hadn't become a mother, my position among the purse-proud, rapacious and narrow-minded Wettiners would have become wellnigh intolerable. But I proved myself a Holstein. I rose superior to Queen Carola, who never had a child, and to Maria, Mathilda, Isabelle and Elizabeth, who either couldn't or didn't. But, to my mind, acting the cow for the benefit of the race did not invite stable manners.
I wasn't used to them. They hadn't figured in the dreams of my girlhood. I thought love less robust. I didn't expect to be squeezed before my ladies. Even the best beloved husband shouldn't take liberties with his wife's waist in the parlor.
And Frederick Augustus's negligee talk is no less offensive than his manner of laying loving hands on my person. As a rule, he treats me like a third-row dancing girl that goes to petition the manager for a place nearer the footlights. There is no limit to his familiarities or to the license of his conversation. "Fine wench" is a term of affection he likes to bestow on his future queen; indeed, one of the less gross. He has the weakness to like epithets that, I am told, gentlemen sometimes use in their clubs, but never towards a mistress they half-way respect.
My father-in-law, Prince George, is a pest of another kind. While Frederick Augustus is jovial and rude, George is rude and serene of a serenity that would make a Grand Inquisitor look gay.
One of my famous ancestresses, the Princess-Palatine, sister-in-law of Louis the Fourteenth, once boxed the Dauphin's ears for a trick he played on her, by putting his upright thumb in the centre of an armchair which her royal highness meant to sit on.
Whenever I behold George's funereal visage, I long to repeat the Dauphin's undignified offense. I would like to see this royal parcel of melancholy jump and dance; change that ever-frowning and mournful aspect of his. Indeed, I would like to treat him to one of the anecdotes that made the Duchess de Berri explode with laughter.
Frederick Augustus lives in deadly fear of him, and never gets his hair cut without first considering whether his father will approve or not. George isn't happy unless he renders other people unhappy. I actually believe he would rather meddle with the angels' or devils' affairs than say his prayers, though he is a bigot of the most advanced stripe.
Sometimes when the itch for meddling has hold of him, he cites all the married princes of the royal house and lectures them on the wickedness of having no children, winding up by commanding each one to explain, in detail, his failure to have offspring.
Of course, these gentlemen put the blame on their wives, whereupon the ladies are forthwith summoned to be threatened and cajoled.
Prince George had the great goodness to approve of my baby and to congratulate me, also to set me up as an example for Isabelle. When I return to Dresden I shall be made Colonel of Horse.
Twice has George kissed me,—upon my arrival in Saxony and five days after the birth of my child. It felt like a piece of gritty ice rubbing against my forehead.
WEEPING WILLOW—EMBLEM ROYAL
A pious fraud—Theresa Mayer—Character of the Queen—Mopishness rampant.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, March 1, 1893.
Prince Max came unexpectedly. He is studying for the priesthood and looks more sour than his father even. I was in bed, nursing a sick headache, but presuming upon his future clerical dignity, he walked in without ceremony and sat down on a chair near my bed. Then he raised his hands in prayer and announced that he had come to assist in my devotions.
"Forget that I am your brother-in-law and cousin," he said; "tell me what's in your heart, Louise, and I will pray to the good God for thee."
"Don't trouble yourself," I replied, "I have a court chaplain charged with these affairs. Rather tell me about the latest comic opera."
"Comic opera!" he stammered. "You don't intend to go to such worldly amusements now that you are a mother?"
"Of course I do. The very day I return to Dresden I will take a look at your girl."
"My—what?" gasped Max.
"Your Theresa—Theresa Mayer. I understand she made a great hit in the Geisha, and everybody approves of your taste, Max."
Max turned red, then green, and I thought to myself what a fool I was. He's a favorite with the King and Queen, and my father-in-law believes every word he says.
* * * * *
CASTLE WACHWITZ, March 10, 1893.
Queen Carola is a good soul though she doesn't dare call her soul her own. I never heard her say "peep" in the presence of his Majesty. She looks forlorn and frightened when King Albert is around.
I like her better since I am a mother, for she loves baby. Yes, though she is a Queen, I saw her actually smile at the child once or twice.
Poor woman, the point of her nose is always red, and, like Father-in-law George, she believes weeping willow the only fit emblem for royalty. The look of the whipped dog is always in her weak eyes.
I am too young and—they do say—too frivolous to stand so much mopishness. These mustard-pots, sedate, grave, wan and long-faced, make me mad. I don't know what to say,—all I can do is try to hide my "un-princess-like" cheerfulness when they are around.
I wish I had an ounce or so of diplomacy in my composition. It might enable me to sympathize with the fancied troubles of the Queen and Prince George, but I am incorrigible.
MY UNPLEASANT YOUTH
Father hard to get along with—Royal imaginations—Kings cursing other kings—Poverty and pretense—Piety that makes children suffer—Up at five to pray on cold stones—Chilblains and prayer.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, March 11, 1893.
It occurs to me that, if this is intended as a record of my life—somewhat after the fashion of the Margravine of Bayreuth's Memoirs—I ought to tell about my girlhood.
Let me admit at once that my marriage to the Crown Prince of Saxony was, politically speaking, a stroke of good luck. My father, the Grand-duke of Tuscany, had been deprived of land and crown ten years before I was born, and, though he likes to pose as a sovereign, he is, as a matter of fact, a mere private gentleman of limited resources, whom the head of the family, the Austrian Emperor, may coax or browbeat at his sweet pleasure. If papa had been able to save his thronelet, I have no doubt he would be a most agreeable man, open-handed and eager to enjoy life, but instead of making the best of a situation over which he has no control, he is forever fretting about his lost dignities and about "his dear people" that don't care a snap for his love and affection. This makes him a trying person to get along with,—mention a king or prince in the full enjoyment of power, and father gets melancholy and calls Victor Emanuel, the second of his name, a brigand.
He seldom or never visits his confreres in the capitals of Europe, but when I was a girl our gloomy palace at Salzburg saw much of the ghosts of decaying royalty. The Dukes of Modena and Parma, the King of Hanover, the Kurfurst of Hesse, the King of Naples and other monarchs and toy-monarchs that were handed their walking papers by sovereigns mightier than themselves, visited us off and on, filling the air with lamentations and cursing their fate.
And, like papa, all these ex'es are ready to fly out of their very skins the moment they notice the smallest breach of etiquette concerning their august selves. If they had the power, the Imperial Highnesses would execute any man that called them "Royal Highness," while the Royal Highnesses would be pleased to send to the gallows persons addressing them as "Highness" only.
And papa has other troubles, and the greatest of them, lack of money. Poverty in private life must be hard enough, but a poor king, obliged to keep up the pretense of a court, is to be pitied indeed.
Add to what I have said, father's share of domestic unhappiness. Mother is a Bourbon of Parma, serious-minded and hard like my father-in-law, and almost as much of a religious fanatic.
Oh, how we children suffered by the piety of our mother. There were eight of us, myself the oldest of five girls, and seven years older than my sister Anna. Yet this baby, as soon as she could walk, was obliged to rise, like myself, at five o'clock summer and winter to go to the chapel and pray. The chapel was lighted only by a few wax candles and, of course, was unheated like the corridors of the palace. And like them it was paved with stones. Many a chilblain I carried away from kneeling on those granite flags.
And the stupidity of the thing! Instead of saying our prayers we murmured and protested, and as soon as we were old enough we slipped portions of novels in our prayer-books, which we read while mass was said. That trick was not unfraught with danger though, for mother's spies were always after us, and the bad light made reading difficult.
I am sure that if mother had found us out, she would have whipped us within an inch of our lives.
A FIERCE DISCIPLINARIAN
Diamonds used to punish children—Face object of attacks—Grunting and snorting at the royal table—Blood flowing at dinner—My brother jumps out of a window.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, April 1, 1893.
Nothing of consequence happened since my last entry, and I continue the story of my girlhood.
Her Imperial Highness, my pious mother, had a terrible way of punishing her children. The face of the culprit was invariably the object of her attacks. She hit us with the flat of her bony hand, rendered more terrible by innumerable rings. The sharp diamonds cut into the flesh and usually made the blood flow freely.
The court chaplain at Salzburg was a peasant's boy without manners or breeding of any kind. While the least violation of etiquette or politeness on the children's part was punished by a box on the ear, or by withholding the next meal, mother overlooked the swinishness of the chaplain simply because he wore a black coat.
One of the chaplain's most offensive habits was to grunt and snort when eating. On one occasion my brother Leopold gave a somewhat exaggerated imitation of these disgusting practices at table, whereupon mother, blind with fury, for she thought a priest could do no wrong, struck Leopold in the face, causing the blood to gush from his lacerated cheek.
Father immediately rose from table and savagely turning upon mother said, "Understand, Madame, that as a sovereign and head of the family I will have no one punished in my presence. If I think punishment necessary, I will inflict it myself in a dignified way."
Mother immediately began to cry. She always had a flood of tears ready when father offered the slightest reprimand. Afterwards she upbraided father and us, the children. If it were not for her incessant prayers, she said, and for the Christian life she was leading, God would have destroyed the Tuscans long ago, and she wasn't sure that either of us would attain Paradise except for her intercession with the Almighty.
This and similar scenes and incidents disgusted me with religion early in life. Myself and all my brothers and sisters hated the very sight of the court chaplain who licked our mother's boots, while heaping punishments and indignities upon us.
At one time my brother Leopold didn't know his catechism. "I will teach your Imperial Highness to skip your lessons," said the court chaplain. "Kneel before me and read the passage over ten times as a punishment."
Leopold promptly answered: "I won't."
"Yes, you will, Imperial Highness, for such are my orders," cried the court chaplain.
Leopold said doggedly, "I kneel before the altar and before the Emperor, if he demands it, not before such as you."
"Suppose I call on your Imperial Highness's mother and ask her to forbid you to mount a horse for a month or so?" queried our tormentor.
Horseback riding was Leopold's chief pleasure, and the chaplain had no sooner launched his threat, when Leopold opened the window and apparently jumped out. As the school-room was situated in the third story, the teacher thought his pupil dead on the pavement below, but Leopold was merely hanging on to the stone coping and shutters. That gave him the whip hand over the teacher. "I will let go if you don't promise not to inform mother," demanded the twelve-year-old boy.
"I promise, only come in," moaned the teacher.
"Promise furthermore there shall be no punishment whatever for what I did and said."
"None whatever, your Imperial Highness."
"Swear it on the cross."
The chaplain did as ordered and Leopold crawled back to safety.
Leopold is a good deal like me, and has been in hot water more or less all his life.
When I was a girl of fifteen, he defended my honor at the risk of the fearful punishments my mother had in store for those children that wouldn't buckle down to the chaplain, but that is so sad a chapter of my girlhood days I cannot bring myself to put it down today.
LEOPOLD DEFENDS MY HONOR AT HIS PERIL
Punished for objecting to familiarities—Awful names I was called—Locked in the room with wicked teacher—Defend myself with burning lamp—My brother nearly kills my would-be assailant.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, April 2, 1893.
I want to finish with evil recollections. Maybe I will be able to forget them, when I have done with this narrative. My mother, as pointed out, had more confidence in our rascally court chaplain than in her own children, and was far more concerned about the chaplain's dignity than ours. She never hesitated to doubt her children's veracity, but regarded all the chaplain said as gospel truth.
About two weeks before Easter, 1885, the time when I was just budding into young womanhood, the chaplain began to pay me a great deal of attention. The lessons he gave me to learn were insignificant compared with those of my brothers and sisters, and it mattered not whether I came to school prepared or otherwise. The strict disciplinarian had all of a sudden turned lenient. He began to pat my hair, to give me friendly taps on the shoulder, and never took his eyes off me. I was too young and innocent to see the true significance of his strange behavior, but I woke up suddenly and ran crying to my mother, telling her what had happened.
"I won't take another lesson from that man, unless my lady-in-waiting is present," I sobbed.
"You are a malicious, lying, low-minded creature," hissed my mother, at the same time striking me in the face with her big diamonds. "It's mortal sin to throw suspicion on so holy a man, and I will not have him watched."
I ran out of mother's room crying, intending to go to papa, but met the boys in the corridor, who told me that father had just departed for the chase. Then I took Leopold aside and told him everything. He was half-mad with rage and was hardly able to articulate when he rushed to mother's room demanding protection for me.
"I will protect the holy man instead," answered my fanatic mother. "Louise shall be locked in the room with the chaplain while she has her lesson." And my mother actually carried out that wicked design inspired by fanaticism.
Locked in a room with me, the chaplain was sweetness itself, but for a while at least remained at a distance. When he attempted to approach me, I seized the burning kerosene lamp, as Leopold had advised.
"One step more," I cried excitedly, "and I will throw the lamp in your face."
The coward stood still in his tracks, and began whispering to me in a hoarse voice things I hardly understood, but that nevertheless wounded me to the quick. I kept my hand at the burning lamp during the whole hour and was ready to faint when the fiend at last left me.
As the door opened, I saw Leopold standing outside, an enormous dog whip in hand. Without a word he applied the whip to the chaplain's broad face, lashing him right and left. The scoundrel offered no resistance, but fled like the dog he was, Leopold after him through the long corridors, upstairs and downstairs, through the picture gallery and the state apartments, lashing him as he ran, the two of them filling the palace with cries of rage and pain. Only the fact that Leopold stumbled over a footstool, enabled the chaplain to reach his room alive, where he barricaded himself.
PRINCES AND PRINCESSES DANCE TO THE TUNE OF THE WHIP
The result shows in the character of rulers—Why English kings and princes are superior to the Continental kind—Leopold's awful revenge—Mother acts the tigress—Her mailed fist—"I forbid Your Imperial Highness to see that dog."
CASTLE WACHWITZ, April 21, 1893.
If my Diary ever fell into plebeian hands, I suppose such stories as the above would be branded as rank exaggerations.
A Queen endangering life and health of her children by a form of punishment otherwise known only in the prize ring.
An Imperial Highness using her diamonds to graft scars on the cheeks of a little girl!
Royal children beaten worse than dogs, deprived of sleep, subjected to cold and damp and, withal, given over, bound hand and foot, so to speak, to the tender mercies of low-minded, unworthy, and even dangerous persons without manners or education.
And, to cap the climax, a Royal maid in the first blush of budding womanhood grossly repulsed and physically attacked when she appeals to her mother for protection; that child locked in a room with her would-be ravisher and obliged to defend her honor by a threat of murder.
Only the uninitiated—men and women living outside the pale of royal courts—will deem such things impossible. Let me tell these happy ignoramuses that all through the nineteenth century the princes and princesses of Europe were brought up to the tune of the whip and of physical and mental humiliation. It was the fashion.
The only eminent monarch of the immediate past—Frederick the Great—was all but flayed alive by his father when a boy and young man,—emulate the second King of Prussia's brutalities and your offspring will be destined for greatness, argued princes.
The first Emperor William of Germany had a gentle mother, my famous namesake; he was always a gentleman. The Russian Czars, Paul, Nicholas I, and Alexander III, were brought up with the knout, their preceptors used the boys at their sweet pleasure. The first turned out a madman; the second a brute; the third his people's executioner.
Czar Paul would run a mile to cane a soldier who had a speck of dust on his boots. My grand-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, sometimes travels tens of miles to box the ears of a member of his family.
Francis Joseph had a cruel bringing up.
At the Royal Library in Berlin I saw the manuscript of Les Memoires de ma vie: la princesse de Prusse, Frederice Sophie Wilhelmine, qui epousa le Margrave de Bayreuth,—the original, unedited save by the corrections of the authoress. A good many passages of this "most terrible indictment of royalty" reminded me of home. There is even a parallel, or a near-parallel, of my own case just recorded. The Princess Wilhelmina's all-powerful governess was Madame Leti, who pummelled the child "as if she had been her mother." This Leti was undoubtedly a Sadist; to inflict torture, to practice refined cruelties was a joy to her. Not content with whipping the little girl, she added, shortly before her dismissal, some poisonous matter to Wilhelmina's wash water "that gnawed the skin and made my face all coppery and inflamed my eyes." This species of wickedness, at last, resulted in the discharge of Leti, "but she decided to leave me a few souvenirs in the shape of fisticuffs and kicks. She had told my mother that I was suffering from nose bleed and punched my nose whenever she was unobserved. During the last week of her stay at the palace I sometimes bled like an ox, and my arms and legs were blue, green and yellow from her kicks and cuffs. I am sure if she could have broken my legs with impunity, she would not have hesitated a moment to do so."
History and the court gossip of the day afford plenty of precedents for what happened to me and my brothers and sisters in Salzburg. Indeed, Prince Albert, Consort of the late Queen Victoria, was the only royal father of the first half of the century that used the rod in moderation. To my mind that is one of the reasons why English kings and princes are so far superior to the Continental kind.
But to return to Salzburg.
Leopold had it all his own way for a quarter of an hour, as none of the servants would interfere in favor of the hated chaplain and mother was engaged in her oratory in a far away part of the castle. So my brother kicked in the door and went for the cowering brute again, raining stripes on every part of his bloated body, alternately using the whip and the whip-end. Undoubtedly Leopold would have killed him then and there if his boy's strength had not given out. He left him more dead than alive, bleeding and moaning.
I will never forget the spectacle when Leopold came down the stairs after leaving the chaplain's room. I and my brothers and sisters were huddled together behind our ladies in the blue ante-chamber. A dozen or more lackeys stood in the corridor, whispering.
Leopold's face was deathly pale as he descended the stairs, and blood was dripping from his whip, reddening the white linen runners protecting the carpet. He wore his army uniform, that should have saved him from violence at any rate. At that moment I prayed my sincerest that father would come home. I would have thrown myself on my knees and told everything, servants or no servants. But mother came instead.
She was fully informed and she sprang upon poor Leopold like a tigress, knocking him from one end of the corridor to the other with her diamond-mailed fist. It was terrible, and all of us children cried aloud with terror. But the more we cried and the more we begged for mercy, the harder were the blows mother rained upon poor Leopold's face and head. His blood spattered over the white enameled banisters and doors until finally he was dragged out of my mother's clutches by an old footman who placed his broad back between the Imperial Highness and her victim.
Now, it was the rule in our house that the whipped child had to ask our mother's forgiveness for putting her to the trouble of wielding the terrible back of her hand.
Six weeks Leopold stayed at Salzburg after the scene described, and daily my mother urged him to beg her forgiveness. The boy stood stockstill on these occasions, never twitching a muscle of his face and never saying a word in reply. During all these six weeks he waited on mother morning, noon and night, according to ceremony, but never a word escaped him, never did he look in her direction unless actually forced to do so. He played the deaf and dumb to perfection.
Father must have thought that Leopold got enough punishment, for he never mentioned the matter to him and forbade the servants to even allude to the court chaplain. Mother, on her part, placed the chaplain in charge of two skilled surgeons and sent every little while to inquire how he was doing.
On the third day she said to my father at table, that she was going to pay a visit to the court chaplain.
"I forbid your Imperial Highness to see that dog," said my father in an icy voice that brooked no reply. "I will have his carcass thrown out of here as soon as his condition permits."
That was the only time I heard father speak like a sovereign and man.
That Leopold nearly killed the scoundrel, as he promised to do, is evident from the fact that the court chaplain lay in the castle three weeks before he could be transported to a monastery. Some monks—for none of the servants would lend a helping hand—carried him away by night and none of the children ever saw or heard of our tormentor again.
The only sorry reminder of the episode is the estrangement of Leopold and our mother. Though mother tried her hardest to win back the boy's confidence and affection, he remained an iceberg towards her, ceremonious but cold, polite but wholly indifferent.
PLANNING TO GET A HUSBAND FOR ME
Dissecting possible wooers at Vienna—Royalty after money, not character—"He is a Cohen, not a Coburg"—Prince who looked like a Jew counter-jumper in his Sunday best—Balkan princes tabooed by Francis Joseph—A good time for the girls—Army men commanded to attend us.
CASTLE WACHWITZ, April 25, 1893.
A change of scene. I was eighteen and my parents were anxious to get a husband for me. Royalty marries off its princes at an early age to keep them out of mischief; its princesses as soon as a profitable suitor turns up or can be secured by politics, diplomacy, the exercise of parental wits or the powerful influence of the head of the House.
Sister Anna, now Princess John of Hohenlohe, myself and mother were invited to Vienna. It was my introduction to royal pomp and circumstance. The Hofburg, our town lodging, seemed to me the first and also the last cry in sumptuousness—all that was beautiful and expensive in days gone by is there, and all that is new and desirable is there, too; Schoenbrunn, the Imperial summer residence, is a dream of loveliness wedded to grandeur. Between the Emperor and my mother and between her and the numerous archduchesses and archdukes every second word uttered referred to me as the possible wife of someone or another. And that someone was well dissected as to fortune, success in life and political exigencies.
Whether he was good-looking or a monkey in face and figure mattered not. Health, good character, uprightness didn't count.
Has he expectations for gaining a throne? Will he be wise enough to retain that throne? What kind of an establishment will he be able to set up? How long may his parents live, hanging on to the family fortune?—These were the only considerations deemed worthy of discussion.