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Bismarck in the Franco-German war 1870- 

3 1924 031 172 590 



Cornell University 

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Vol. I. 

ttotrtJmt : 






The aim in the present translation has been faithfully to 
reproduce Dr. Busch's remarkable portrait of the eminent 
statesman who ■ conducted the affairs of Prussia and of 
Germany during the memorable months of the Franco- 
German war. A few lines ; — not more than half-a-dozen — 
where tedious explanations would have been required, have 
been omitted. 

Measures and money have been generally expressed by 
their English equivalents. 


It is almost like the recollection of a dream, when I call up 
before my mind the circumstances under which, more than 
eight years ago, I made my first and last tour through 
France, and ponder on all I was permitted to observe and 
pass through. No other tour I ever made stands out so 
clearly and livingly in my memory. This will be readily 
understood, when I say that my route led from Saarbriicken 
to Versailles, by way of Sedan, and that I had the honour 
of passing the seven months it took me to traverse it in the 
immediate society of the Imperial Chancellor — or, as he was 
then called, the Chancellor of the Confederation. My visit 
to France was connected with the campaign of 1870 and 
1 87 1, during which time I was attached to the mobilised 
Foreign Office, which accompanied the first section of the 
main headquarters of the German army. 

That I had the opportunity of witnessing from a favour- 
able position some of the decisive actions of the war, and of 
seeing and hearing in the closest proximity other important 
events, was a circumstance which might well seem dream- 
like, both then and afterwards, to a man in a modest 
position, who eight months previously could not even have 
imagined his ever coming into personal contact with the 
Chancellor. Immediately under my eyes, I saw consum- 
mated a world-historical evolution which had scarcely any 

vi A uthor's Preface. 

precedent. Standing in the midst of these events as they 
developed themselves, we could feel the quick-drawn breath 
of the spirit of our people ; we heard its voice in thunder 
over the battle-fields; we felt the awful anxieties of the crisis, 
and trembled with joy at the news of every victory. Not 
less fruitful and important were the quiet, sober, laborious 
hours in which we were permitted to glance into the work- 
shop whence issued so important a part of that evolution, 
where the results of that trial of arms were weighed and 
measured and their effects calculated, and where men whose 
names were on the lips of all— crowned heads, princes, 
Ministers of State, generals, negotiators of the most various 
kinds, leaders of parties in the Diet, and other interesting 
personages — went in and out among us at Ferrieres and 
Versailles. Pleasant, too, was the thought, after the day's 
work was over, of being one of the small wheels in the 
machinery with which the Master was working out his mind 
and will on the world, and shaping it according to his plans. 
Best of all, however, was the consciousness of being near 
him, and that continued to be my highest reward. 

In these recollections I believe that I possess the greatest 
treasure of my life, and I trust that I may now be permitted 
to allow others to participate in some of them. It will be at 
once understood that a great portion of what I might have 
given must, for the present, be suppressed. Much also of 
what I relate or sketch will appear to many trivial and 
superficial. To myself nothing is so, for trifles " of which 
the Praetor takes no notice " not seldom display men's 
feelings and characters more truly than great or striking 
deeds; and things and situations, in themselves unim- 
portant, may suggest to the mind flashes of thought, and 
associations of ideas fraught with consequences for the 
future. I might instance the origin — often accidental and 

Author's Preface. vii 

insignificant — of epoch-making inventions and discoveries ; 
the tin can glittering in the sun, which transported Jacob 
Bcehmen into his metaphysical world ; or the spot of grease 
on the table-cloth at Ferrieres, which gave the Chancellor 
his starting-point for a most remarkable and characteristic 
dinner discourse. The influences of morning and evening 
on nervous constitutions are different ; the weather and its 
changes act upon men and things. Philosophers have laid 
down theories which, broadly expressed, lead almost to the 
view that man is what he eats ; and absurd as it may sound, 
we do not know how far they are wrong. Lastly, it appears 
to me that everything pertaining to this glorious war is of 
interest — a war which won for us a German Empire and 
a strong frontier to the West; and that things the most 
apparently trifling have their value, in proportion as they 
are connected with the part which Count Bismarck played 
in the events of the war. 

Everything, therefore, should be preserved. In a great 
Time, what is little appears less ; in after centuries, it is the 
reverse ; the great becomes greater, and that which was 
without meaning becomes full of significance. People then 
often deplore that they can form no living image of the 
events and persons of the past in colours true to nature ; 
because materials at first regarded as unessential, but then 
seen to be indispensable, are wanting, because there was no 
eye to see, and no hand to describe and preserve while 
there was yet time. Who would not now delight to possess 
ampler details of Luther in the great days and hours of 
his life — even very innocent and insignificant traits, cir- 
cumstances, and situations? In a hundred years Prince 
Bismarck will take his place, in the thoughts of our 
people, by the side of the Wittenberg doctor : the liberator 
of our political life from the pressure of the foreigner 

viii Author's Preface. 

by the side of the liberator of the conscience from the 
tyranny of Rome ; the creator of the German Empire by 
the side of the creator of German Christianity. Many 
have already assigned this place to our Chancellor in their 
hearts and amongst the portraits that hang on their walls ; 
and I will run the risk of being blamed here and there, 
because I have spoken of the husk and have scarcely touched 
the kernel. Perhaps it will hereafter be permitted to me to 
make the attempt in some modest fashion to portray the latter 
also with some new features. For the present I merely act 
on the principle of the text, " Gather up the fragments that 
remain, that nothing be lost." 

The groundwork of my notices is a journal which recorded 
with the utmost fulness and fidelity — especially at the time 
when we were stationary — the events and sayings which I 
saw and heard when I was in immediate contact with the 
Chancellor ; who is everywhere the central figure round 
which persons and things are grouped. To note down, 
for myself- only in the first instance, as an observant and 
conscientious chronicler, how our Chancellor bore himself 
in the great war, so far as I was an eyewitness, or had 
trustworthy direct information how he lived and worked 
during the campaign, how he judged of the present, what 
he related from the past, at dinner, at tea, or on any other 
occasion, was the first and immediate task which I proposed 
to myself. In the execution of that task, and especially in 
writing down what he said in the outer or inner circles of 
his friends, I was aided by a habit of attention which had 
been strengthened both by my reverence for him, and my pre- 
ceding official intercourse with him ; and by a memory, 
which, though of moderate capacity, had also been cultivated 
by the severest official exercise in the half-year preceding 
the outbreak of the war, to such a degree, that it was able 

Author's Preface. ix 

to. retain, in all essential points, even the longer discourses 
of the Chancellor, whether grave or sportive, until I found 
time to commit them to paper — that is, of course, if nothing 
intervened, and against such intervention I could in most 
cases guard myself. My notes of his sayings were written 
down, almost without exception, before the lapse of an hour, 
for the most part indeed at once. He who has eyes, ears, 
and a memory for the style in which our Chancellor gene- 
rally clothes his thoughts when he expresses himself among 
his intimate friends, will at once recognise this. When 
our Chancellor relates anything, he will almost always meet 
with those sudden and rapid transitions and silent pre- 
suppositions which remind one of the style of ballads, and 
he will find that a vein of humour usually runs through the 
whole — and both of these are highly characteristic of the 
way in which the Prince expresses himself. 

For the rest, these accounts, and the sayings and remarks 
in connection with them, are untouched photographs. In 
other words I will venture to say not only that I observed 
and attended sharply and well, but that I am conscious 
that I have omitted nothing that could be communicated, 
that I have altered nothing, and above all, that I have added 
nothing. Where gaps were necessary, I have generally 
marked the fact by . . . Where, on certain occasions, I 
could not exactly understand the speaker, I have noted it. 
Many things said about the French may appear severe, 
some even cruel. Let it be remembered that war hardens 
and inflames men, and that Gambetta's " war to the knife " 
urged with all his fiery passionateness, and the treacherous 
acts of his Francs-tireurs, evoked feelings in our camp, in 
which gentleness and mercy had little place. The expres- 
sions of these feelings are not of course published in order to 
wound and to irritate now, when all this belongs to the past, 

x Author's Preface. 

but merely as contributions to the history of the war, and as 
characteristics of the Chancellor. I would remark, in con- 
clusion, that the descriptions of places, battle-fields and the 
like, which I give, as well as much accessory matter, are 
added for variety's sake, and the articles in newspapers are 
only inserted to show how certain thoughts shaped them- 
selves at a certain time. 



I. Departure of the Chancellor — I follow him 
to Saarbrucken — Journey continued to the 
French frontier — The mobilised Foreign 
Office i 

II. From the Frontier to Gravelotte 13 

III. Commercy — Bar-le-Duc — Clermont in Argonne . 44 

IV. We turn Northwards — The Chancellor in Rezon- 

ville — Battle and Battle-field of Beaumont 74 

V. The Day of Sedan — Bismarck and Napoleon at 

Donchery 94 

VI. From the Meuse to the Marne 118 

VII. Bismarck and Favre in Haute-Maison — A Fort- 
night in Rothschild's Chateau 155 

VIII. The Journey to Versailles — The House of 

Madame Jesse — Our usual Life there . . . 201 

IX. Autumn Days in Versailles 215 

X. Thiers and the First Negotiations for an 

Armistice 270 

XI. Lothar Bucher and Privy Councillor Abeken . 342 







On the 31st July, 1870, at half-past five in the afternoon, 
the Chancellor, who had some days before partaken of the 
Sacrament in his own room, drove from his residence in 
the Wilhelm Strasse to the station, accompanied by his wife 
and daughter, in order to start with King William for the 
Seat of War, in the first instance for Mainz. Several Coun- 
cillors of the Foreign Office, a secretary of the despatch 
department of the Central Bureau, two experts in secret 
ciphering, and three or four messengers of the Chancellor's 
department were appointed to go with him. The rest of us 
followed him only with our good wishes, as, helmet on 
head, he walked down the stairs between the two Sphinxes, 
through the great hall, and stepped into the carriage. I 
had resigned myself to taking part in the war only on 
maps and in newspapers. But a much better fate was in 
store for me. 

On the evening of the 6th of August the Government 
vol. 1. - b 

2 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

received the telegram announcing the victory at Worth. 
Half an hour afterwards, work being over, I carried the 
joyful news, still fresh and warm, to a company of friends 
who were waiting in expectation in a wine-shop in Potsdam 
Street. Every one knows how Germans celebrate good 
news, and this was so good that it was celebrated by 
many too well, and by most of us at any rate, too long. 
In consequence I was still in bed when next morning a 
chancery messenger appeared, bringing the copy of a tele- 
graphic despatch, requiring me to set out for headquarters 
in the course of the day. 

Benignant fate ! say I. So quickly were my few neces- 
saries collected, that by midday I had my railway-pass, my 
passport, and my military billet ; and by eight o'clock in 
the evening I was joined by the two companions ordered 
by the Minister to accompany me. We travelled by the 
Anhalt railway, going by Halle, Nordhausen, and Cassel, 
anxious, by God's help, to reach headquarters as fast as 

We began our journey in a first-class coupe, but we came 
down to a third-class, and at last to a luggage-van. Every- 
where there were long delays, which seemed longer, to our 
impatience than they really were ; and it was not till the 
9th of August, about six in the morning, that we arrived at 
Frankfort. Here, where we had some hours to wait, we 
endeavoured to find out where headquarters were estab- 
lished ; but the superintendent of the despatch of troops 
could give no information, and the telegraph director could 
say nothing certain. " Perhaps," he said, " they are still 
in Homburg ; or very likely they have already reached Saar- 

About noon we again started, this time in a luggage-van, 
to Mannheim and Neustadt, by Darmstadt, in the Oden- 

L l By Rail to the Seat of War. 3 

wald, the dark mountains of which were veiled in heavy 
white fog. The journey seemed more and more tedious, 
and the train was continually delayed by other long military 
trains on the road before us. At every place where we 
stopped, the people crowded to bring the soldiers food and 
drink, among them poor old women, who had nothing to 
offer but cafe au lait and dry black bread. 

We crossed the Rhine by night. As the day broke we 
found, lying beside us on the floor of the van, a well-dressed 
gentleman, who was talking English to some one, whom 
we afterwards discovered to be his servant. This turned 
out to be the London banker, Mr. Deichmann, who was 
bound for headquarters, in the hope of obtaining leave from 
Roon to serve as a volunteer in a cavalry regiment, for 
which purpose he had brought his horse with him. The 
train being now brought to a stand in consequence of the 
many others blocking up the line in front of us, we drove 
across the plain, by Deichmann's advice, in a fast-trotting 
country car to Neustadt in the Palatinate, which we found 
swarming with soldiers — Bavarian riflemen,. Prussian red 
hussars, Saxons, and other uniforms. 

Here, for the first time since we left Berlin, we had 
something hot to eat. Up to this time we had had nothing 
but cold meat, and our attempts to sleep at night on the 
hard wooden seats, with our travelling-bags under our heads, 
were not very successful. However, we were going to the 
war ; and, after all, I have been more uncomfortable on a 
tour with much humbler objects in view. 

From Neustadt, after an hour's delay, we went on diago- 
nally through the Hardt mountains, among narrow pine- 
covered valleys, through a number of tunnels, till we reached 
the gap in the hills in which Kaiserslautern lies. Up to this 
time rain and sunshine had alternated, but now the rain 

4 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

poured down without intermission, so that when we reached 
Homburg, the little place seemed to be nothing but darkness 
and water. Shouldering our trunks, in the pelting rain, we 
waded through mud and slush, asking our way, and stumbling 
over the rails to the hotel Zur Post, where we found all the 
rooms crammed and everything that could keep body and 
soul together eaten up. However, if our stopping-place had 
been ever so pleasant we should have had little opportunity 
of making use of it, for we learned here that the Count 
and the King had already gone on, and by this time were 
probably in Saarbriicken ; and we should have to hurry to 
overtake them on German soil. 

To set off again in this deluge was not very pleasant, but 
we philosophised by the way, reflecting that others were still 
worse off. In the parlour at the Post, men were sleeping on 
chairs and tables put together, amid the fumes of tobacco, 
beer, and lamp-oil, added to a mixture, not at all aromatic, 
of leather and damp clothes. In a hollow to the left of the 
station smouldered the great watch-fire, nearly extinguished 
by the rain, of what were Saxon troops, if our question 
was lightly answered. As we waded back to the train, we 
caught sight of the arms and helmets of a Prussian battalion, 
which was stationed in front of the railway hotel. Thoroughly 
wet through, and very tired, we at last found our way back 
to a luggage-van, on the floor of which Deichmann had 
found a corner where we could stretch ourselves out, and 
a handful or two of straw to put under our heads. Our 
fellow-travellers, among whom were a baron and a professor, 
were not so fortunate ; they had to snatch what rest they 
could among the mail-bags, letter carriers, soldiers, and 

About one o'clock the train began to move slowly on, 
and, after many delays, we found ourselves, when morning 

I.] Saarbriicken. 5 

broke, close to a little town with a beautiful old church. 
In the valley was a mill, round which the road wound to 
Saarbriicken, which, we heard, was only about three English 
miles distant, so that we were nearly at the end of our 
journey; but our locomotive seemed to be quite out of 
breath, and though we might at any moment cross the 
frontier and come in sight of headquarters, neither railway 
nor any other mode of getting on seemed available to us. 
Heavy clouds and a fine drizzle did not help to enliven our 
impatient and anxious minds. We had waited for about 
two hours for the scream of our engine to announce our 
departure, when Deichmann again came to our help. He 
disappeared, and after a time returned with the miller, whom 
he had persuaded to drive us to the town, on an under- 
standing from Deichmann, that his horses should not be 
appropriated by the soldiers. 

During the drive the miller told us, that the Prussians 
had already advanced their outposts almost as far as Metz. 
Between nine and ten we reached St. John, a suburb of 
Saarbriicken lying on the right bank of the Saar, where we 
saw few traces of the French bombardment of a few days 
before, though it presented a lively picture in other respects 
of a state of war. A medley of forage-carts, baggage- 
waggons, soldiers on horse and on foot, Knights of St. 
John with their crosses, and such like, hurried through the 
streets. Hessian troops, dragoons and artillery, were march- 
ing along, singing the while : 

" Red dawn that lights me to my early grave." 

At the inn where we alighted, I heard that the Chan- 
cellor was still in the place, and had taken up his 
quarters at the house of one Haldy, a merchant and manu- 
facturer. In spite of all difficulties, I had thus happily 

6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

reached the desired haven. It was not a moment too soon, 
for as I was going to Haldy's house to report myself I heard 
on the stairs from Count Bismarck-Bohlen, the Minister's 
cousin, that we were to move on immediately in the after- 

I took leave of my fellow-travellers from Berlin, for whom 
there was no room in the Minister's carriages, and of the 
London banker, whose patriotic offers General Roon had 
reluctantly declined. I then moved my baggage from the 
inn to the cook's van, which, with other vehicles, had crossed 
ever at the Saar bridge. Having arranged this, I turned 
back to Haldy's house, where, in the anteroom, I presented 
myself to the Chancellor, who was just coming out of his 
own room on his way to the King. I then sought out the 
newly-established Bureau, that I might hear whether there 
was anything for me to do. There was plenty to do ! The 
gentlemen had their hands full ; and I immediately under- 
took the translation of the Queen of England's speech on 
opening Parliament, which had just come, for the use of 
the King. Of the highest interest, even though I did not 
quite understand it, was the declaration in a despatch, which 
they gave me to dictate in secret . cipher to one of the 
experts, that we on our side should not be content with the 
mere overthrow of Napoleon. 

It seemed like a miracle ! Strassburg ! Perhaps the 
Vosges ! Who could have even dreamed of this three weeks 

Meanwhile the weather had cleared up. A little before 
one o'clock, in the bright sunshine, the carriages drove to 
the door, all with four horses, with soldiers for outriders 
one for the Chancellor, one for the councillors and Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen, one for the secretary and the two cipherers. 
After the Minister had taken his seat with Privy-Councillor 

I.] The Mobilised Foreign Office. 7 

Abeken and his cousin, and the two other councillors had 
mounted their horses, the others followed with their portfolios 
beside them. I took a seat in the carriage of the councillors, 
as I always did afterwards, whenever those gentlemen rode 
on horseback. Five minutes afterwards we crossed the 
river and entered the long main street of Saarbriicken. 
From thence the poplar-shaded road led up to Forbach, 
past the battlefield of the 6th of August, and in half an hour 
after leaving St. Johann we were on French soil. Of the 
bloody battle which had raged here just on the frontier, 
five days before, there were still many traces to be seen : 
trunks stripped by the balls, knapsacks thrown away, tattered 
garments, linen rags lying about the stubble fields, trodden- 
down potato fields, broken wheels, holes made by shells, 
little wooden crosses roughly tied together to show the place 
where some of the fallen were interred, and so on. But, so 
far as we could see, all the dead were already buried. 

And here at the beginning of our journey through France, 
I will interrupt my narrative for a little, to say a few words 
about the mobilised Foreign Office, and the mode and 
fashion in which the Chancellor travelled, worked, and lived 
with his people. The Minister had in his suite the acting 
Privy Councillors Abeken and von Keudell, Count Hatzfeld, 
and Count Bismarck-Bohlen. There were besides, the pri- 
vate secretary Bolsing from the Central Bureau, the cipherers 
Willisch and Saint- Blanquart, and lastly myself. Engel, Theiss, 
and Eigenbrodt acted as messengers and attendants ; the 
last of whom was replaced in the beginning of September by 
the active and intelligent Kriiger. We were accompanied 
by Herr Leverstrom in a similar capacity, the "black horse- 
man," so well known in the streets of Berlin as a govern- 
ment courier. • For the care of our bodies we had a cook, 
whose name was Schulz or Schultz. Let it be noticed, how 

8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap- 

exact I am trying to be, and that I rob no one of his name 
or title ! In Ferrieres the group of Councillors was completed 
by Lothar Bucher, and a third cipherer, Herr Wiehr, also 
joined us there. Holnstein, young Count Wartensleben and 
Privy Councillor Wagner joined us at Versailles. Bolsing, 
being unwell, was replaced there for some weeks by Woll- 
mann, and business increased to such an extent that we 
required the services of a fourth secret cipherer, as well as 
of one or two additional messengers whose names have 
escaped me. The kindness of our "Chief," as the Chan- 
cellor was called in ordinary conversation, by those belonging 
to the Foreign Office, had arranged things so that his fellow- 
workers, both secretaries and councillors, were all to a 
certain extent members of his household. We lived, when- 
ever circumstances would permit, in the same house with 
him, and had the honour of dining at his table. 

The Chancellor wore uniform during the whole of the 
war, generally the undress of the yellow regiment of heavy 
Landwehr cavalry, with its white cap and great top-boots. 
When riding, after a battle, or in watching its course, he 
wore a black leather case, fastened by a strap round the 
chest and back, which held a field glass, and sometimes a 
revolver and a sword. During the first months he generally 
wore as a decoration the cross of the order of the Red 
Eagle; afterwards he also wore the Iron Cross. I never 
saw him but once, in Versailles, in a dressing-gown, and then 
he was not well — his health was excellent through the whole 
campaign. During the journey he generally drove with 
Councillor Abeken, since dead, and once, for several days in 
succession, with me also. As to quarters, he was most easily 
satisfied, and even where better were to be had, he put up 
with the most modest accommodation. At Versailles, when 
colonels and majors had splendidly furnished suites of 

I.] The Chancellor's Day's Work. g 

apartments, the Chancellor, all the five months we were 
there, was content with two little rooms, of which one was 
study as well as bedchamber, and the other, on the ground 
floor, though neither spacious nor elegant, served as a re- 
ception-room. Once, in the school-house at Clermont, in 
Argonne, where we stayed some days, he had not even a 
bed, so that we had to make him up one on the floor. 

During the journey we generally drove close behind the 
King's carriage. We started about ten in the morning, and 
usually accomplished nearly forty English miles a day. 
On arriving at our quarters for the night we at once estab- 
lished a Bureau, in which work was seldom wanting, especially 
when the field telegraph reached us ; by its means the Chan- 
cellor again became — what, indeed, he always was at this 
time, with brief interruptions — the centre of the civilised 
world of Europe. Even where we only halted for one night, 
restlessly active himself, he kept all about him in constant 
employment till quite late. Orderlies came and went, 
couriers arrived with letters and telegrams, and were imme- 
diately sent off again. According to the directions of the 
Chief, the Councillors prepared notes and orders ; the clerks 
copied and registered, ciphered and deciphered. Material 
streamed in from all points of the compass in the shape of 
reports, questions, articles in the newspapers, and such like, 
most of which required immediate attention. 

Among the councillors the one who was fastest at work 
before the arrival of Bucher, was, undoubtedly, Abeken. 
He was in fact a very power in himself. From long years 
of service he was thoroughly acquainted with all the ins 
and outs of business, a lover of routine, furnished with a 
fine store of phrases, which dropped from his pen without 
much necessity for thought. Master of several languages, 
so far, at any rate, as was needed for the work required of 

10 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

him, he seemed made to put the thoughts of his Chief 
into proper dress. He did it with the rapidity of a steam- 
engine. The substance was supplied by the genius and 
knowledge of the Minister, who occasionally improved the 
style in which Abeken had presented his ideas. 

The almost superhuman capacity of the Chancellor for 
work, sometimes creating, and sometimes appropriating and 
sifting the labours of others, his power of solving the most 
difficult problems, of at once seeing the right thing, and of 
ordering only what could be practically done, was, perhaps, 
never so wonderfully displayed as at this time ; and this 
inexhaustible power of work was the more remarkable as 
his strength was kept up with so little sleep. The Minister 
_ljved in the field much as he did at home. Unless an ex- 
pected battle summoned him before daybreak to the army at 
the side of the King, he generally rose late, as a rule about 
ten o'clock. But he passed the night sleepless, and fell over 
only when the morning light shone through his window. 
Often, hardly out of bed, and not yet dressed, he began to 
think and work, to read and make notes on despatches, to 
study the newspapers, to give instructions to the Councillors 
and other fellow-workers, to put questions or state problems 
of the most various kinds, even to write or dictate. Later 
in the day there were visits to receive, or audiences to give, 
or a statement to be made to the King. Then came the 
study of despatches and maps, the correction of papers he 
had ordered to be prepared, the jotting down of ideas with 
the well-known big pencil, the composition of letters, the 
news to be telegraphed or sent to the papers for publication, 
and in the midst of all this the reception of unavoidable 
visitors, who must sometimes have been far from welcome. 
It was not till two or often three o'clock that the Chancellor, 
in places where a halt of any length was made, allowed 

!•] The Chancellor's Table. 1 1 

himself a little breathing-time ; then he generally took a ride 
in the neighbourhood. Afterwards he went to work again 
till dinner at five or six o'clock, and in an hour and a half 
at the latest he was back once more in his room at his 
writing-table, midnight frequently finding him reading or 
putting his thoughts on paper. 

The Count differed from other men in the matter of 
sleep, and he arranged his meal times in a peculiar manner. 
Early in the morning he took a cup of tea, and perhaps one 
or two eggs; after that, generally nothing till dinner in 
the evening. He very seldom took a second breakfast, 
and then only tea, which was served between nine and ten 
o'clock. Thus, with very few exceptions, he ate only once 
during the four-and-twenty hours, but then, like Frederick 
the Great, he ate plentifully and with appetite. Diplomatists 
proverbially keep a good table, and, I am told, come 
next to prelates. It is part of their daily business to en- 
tertain distinguished guests, who, for some reason or other, 
have to be put into a good humour by the contents of a 
well-stocked cellar and the efforts of a skilful cook. Count 
von Bismarck therefore kept a good table, which, when cir- 
cumstances permitted, rose to the rank of a very good table. 
This was the case, for instance, at Rheims, Meaux, Ferrieres, 
and Versailles, where the genius of the artist who wore the 
livery of the household prepared breakfasts and dinners 
for us, to which persons accustomed to simple fare did 
justice, feeling almost as if they were sitting in Abraham's 
bosom, especially when, beside the other good gifts of God, 
champagne was not wanting in the list of drinkables. For 
such feasts the travelling kitchen contained pewter-plates, 
tumblers of some silver-like metal, gilt inside, and cups of 
the same kind. During the last five months of the campaign 
presents from home added grace to our hospitable board : 

12 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. I. 

for home, as it was right it should, thought lovingly of its 
Chancellor, and liberally sent him dainty gifts both solid and 
fluid, corned geese, game, fish, pheasants, cakes, capital 
beer, and fine wine, with many other excellent things. 

To conclude this chapter I remark that, beside the Chan- 
cellor, only the Councillors at first wore uniform, von 
Keudell that of the Blue Cuirassiers, Count Bismarck-Bohlen 
that of a regiment of Dragoon Guards, Counts Hatzfeld and 
Abeken the undress uniform of officers in the Foreign Office. 
It was afterwards suggested that all persons belonging to 
the Minister's permanent staff, not of course the two first- 
named gentlemen, who were also military officers, should 
wear this dress. The Chief consented, and so Versailles 
saw the chancery messengers in a costume which consisted 
of a dark blue coat, with two rows of buttons, with black 
velvet collar and cuffs, a cap of the same colour, and for the 
Councillors, secretaries and cipherers, a sword with a gold 
porte-kpee. In this costume old Privy Councillor Abeken, who 
made his horse prance about bravely, had quite a military 
air, and I think he knew this and liked it. He was well 
pleased to look like an officer, just as he once travelled 
through the Holy Land in Oriental costume, without under- 
standing either Turkish or Arabic. 

( 13 ) 



In the preceding chapter I halted at the French frontier. 
That we had crossed it, was evident from the names of the 
villages. '' Ddpartement de la Moselle " was to be read 
on all the way-posts. The white road swarmed with carts 
and waggons and troops on the march, while soldiers were 
quartered everywhere. In the neighbourhood, which was 
hilly and partly wooded, little camps were to be seen rising 
up here and there, with horses fastened to picket-posts, 
guns, ammunition waggons, forage-carts, holes for the cooking 
fires, and soldiers in their shirt-sleeves, busied in the pre- 
paration of food. 

In about two hours we reached Forbach, which we passed 
through without stopping. In the streets where we drove, 
we observed that while the goods and trades of the dif- 
ferent shops were described in French, the names of the: 
proprietors were mostly German : for instance, " Schwarz, 
Boulanger." Many of the inhabitants who were standing 
before their doors saluted the carriages as they passed ; 
most of them looked very cross, which did not add to the 
charm of their appearance, but was very easily explained, 
for they had evidently more soldiers quartered on them 
than they liked. Every window was full of blue Prussians. 

We went up hill and down dale, through woods and 
villages, till we reached Saint-Avoid, where, about half-past 
four o'clock, we were quartered with the Chancellor in the 
house of a M. Laity, No. 301, in the Rue des Charrons. 
It was a one-storied house with white blinds, and though it 

14 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

had only five windows in front, it went back a long way, 
and was tolerably roomy. It opened behind on a well- 
planted garden, with trim walks among fruit and vegetables. 
The day before our arrival the possessor, apparently a 
retired officer, and well-to-do, had gone away with his wife, 
and had left an old woman, who could speak nothing but 
French, and a maid. The Minister had the one front-room ; 
the rest of the party shared the rooms opening on the 
passage leading to the back parts of the house. In half 
an hour, the Bureau was established in the first of these back 
rooms, which served also as a sleeping-room for KeudelL 
The next room, which looked out on the garden, was given 
to Abeken and me. He slept in a bed placed in a recess 
in the wall. At the head of the bed there was a crucifix, 
and over the feet a Madonna with a bleeding heart. The 
people in the house, therefore, were thorough Catholics. 
They made a very comfortable bed up for me on the floor. 
The Bureau was at once set to work ; and as there happened 
to be nothing to be done in my particular line I endeavoured 
to help in deciphering some despatches, a task which pre- 
sented no great difficulty. 

After seven we dined with the Count in the little parlour 
next his room, the window of which looked into a court 
prettily ornamented with flower-beds. The conversation at 
table was lively, the Minister taking the lead. He thought 
a surprise not impossible ; for, as he had seen for himself, 
our outposts were only three English miles from the town, 
and very far apart. He had asked at an outpost where the 
next one was, but the men did not know. Afterwards he 
remarked that in his flight our landlord had left' all his 
drawers full of clean linen, and added : " If the people 
from the ambulances come here, they will cut up his wife's 
fine chemises to make lint and bandages, and very properly 

II.] Religious Liberty. 1 5 

too. But then, of course, it will be said that Count Bismarck 
carried them off." 

We then talked of the disposition of the troops, and the 
Minister said, " Steinmetz has shown himself very self-willed 
and disobedient. He will," said he, in conclusion, " come 
to grief with his obstinacy, in spite of the laurels he won 
at Skalitz.'' 

We had on the table cognac, red wine, and sparkling 
Mainz wine. Some one spoke of beer, and remarked- that 
we had none. The Minister rejoined : " That is of no con- 
sequence. The wide-spread use of beer is much to be 
deplored. Beer-drinking makes men stupid, lazy, and im- 
potent. It is the cause of all the democratic pot-politics 
which people talk over it. Good corn brandy would be 

I do not know, how or in what connection the subject 
of the Mormons came up, but the conversation turned on 
the question, whether they and their many wives should 
be tolerated. The Count took the opportunity to express 
his own opinion on religious liberty, and declared himself 
very decidedly for it ; only it must, he said, be impartially 
managed. " Every man must be saved after his own fashion," 
he added, " I will one day agitate this question, and the 
Reichstag will certainly vote with me. But the Church 
property must of course remain with those who stand by the 
old Church which acquired it. A man who secedes from 
the Church ought to be able to make a sacrifice for his con- 
viction, or rather for his unbelief. It does not offend us 
when Catholics or Jews are orthodox. Where Lutherans 
are so it does ; and the Church is constantly accused of a 
' persecuting spirit ' when she casts out the non-orthodox ; 
but people consider it quite en regie that the orthodox should 
be persecuted and maligned by the press and in their lives." 

1 6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

After dinner the Councillors walked with the Chancellor 
in the garden, whence, at some little distance, they saw a 
large building on which fluttered a white flag with the 
red cross, where some nuns at the windows were looking 
at us with spy glasses. It was probably a nunnery which 
had been turned into a hospital. In the evening one of the 
cipherers expressed great anxiety and apprehension of a 
surprise, and there was much consultation as to what should 
be done with the portfolios containing the state papers and 
the secret ciphers. I tried to quiet them, and offered in case 
of necessity, either to save or destroy the papers according 
to circumstances. 

The gentlemen had, however, alarmed themselves un- 
necessarily ; and when morning and coffee appeared, it was 
found that the night had passed peacefully enough. With 
the morning, too, there arrived a green orderly from Berlin 
with despatches. Such messengers have winged feet, yet 
this one had not been quicker than I in my fright lest I 
should arrive too late. He had started on Monday, the 
8 th of August, and had changed horses several times, and yet 
it had taken him quite four days and nights to reach us. 
Early in the morning I again assisted the cipherers with 
their work. Later, while the Chief was with the King, I 
went with the Councillors to see the fine large church in the 
' town, over which the sacristan conducted us. In the after- 
noon, when the Minister rode out, we inspected the Prussian 
park of artillery, placed on a hill behind the town. 

The Chancellor returned by four o'clock, when we dined. 
He had been a long way to find his two sons, who were 
serving as privates in the Dragoon Guards, and he had 
learned that the German cavalry had already gone forward 
to the upper Moselle. He seemed to be in good humour, 
perhaps because our cause was prospering, and quite inclined 

H-] The Gods of Greece. iy 

to talk. When the conversation turned on mythology, he 
said that " he never could bear Apollo. He had flayed 
Marsyas from conceit and envy, and for the same reasons 
had killed Niobe's children. He is,'' he continued, " the 
very type of a Frenchman ; that is, one who cannot bear 
that another should play the flute as- well or better than 
he. That he had sided with the Trojans, did not prejudice 
him in his favour. Honest Vulcan would have been his man, 
and Neptune would have suited him still better, perhaps 
because of the Quos ego I " He did not however say this. 

After dinner we had to telegraph the following joyful 
message to Berlin : " By the 7th August, we had above 
10,000 prisoners. The effect of the victory at Saarbriicken 
turns out to be much greater than we at first believed. 
They left behind a pontoon train, with about forty waggons, 
nearly 10,000 blankets, which are now of great use for the 
wounded, and a store of tobacco worth a million of francs. 
Pfalzburg and the pass over the Vosges at that place are 
in our hands. Bitsch is watched by a company, as it has 
a garrison of only 300 Mobile Guards. Our cavalry is 
already close to Luneville.'' A little later we were able to 
send another pleasant message, namely, that the Minister of 
Finance in Paris, evidently in consequence of the approach 
of the German army, had issued a proclamation warning 
the French not to keep their money at home, but to send 
it all to the Bank of France. 

The preparation of a proclamation was discussed, pro- 
hibiting conscription in the districts occupied by German 
troops, and putting an end to it for ever. News came in 
from Madrid that the Montpensier party, and the poli- 
ticians who belonged to the Liberal Union, as for instance 
Rios Rosas and Topete, and several other party leaders, 
were striving with the greatest eagerness to bring about the 

vol. 1. c 

1 8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

immediate convocation of the House of Representatives, in 
order that by the election of a king it might put an end to 
the provisional government ; that the Duke of Montpensier, 
whom they were thinking of for King, was already in the 
Spanish capital; but that the Government was opposing 
the plan with the greatest determination. 

Lastly, we learnt that we were to start early in the 
morning, and that our next halt was to be at the little 
town of Faulquemont. In the evening I again employed 
myself in deciphering, and I was able to make out, without 
help, a despatch of about twenty groups of figures in as 
many minutes. 

On the 13th of August, we did, in fact, arrive at Faulque- 
mont, or, as it is now written, Falkenberg. Like that which 
we had traversed at Saarbriicken, the country through 
which we drove was hilly, often covered with brushwood, 
and equally full of martial sights. The road was crowded 
with trains of waggons, artillery, ambulances, gensdarmes 
and orderlies. Long lines of infantry were marching on 
the road and to the right across the stubble fields to follow 
the course of the columns, marked out there by poles with 
wisps of straw round them. Sometimes we saw a man fall 
down in the ranks ; and here and there stragglers lay in the 
ditches, for the August sun shone fiercely from a cloudless 
sky. The troops who were before us, and, latterly, mostly 
behind us, were the 84th Regiment (Schleswig-Holsteiners), 
and the 36th. At last we got out of the thick cloud of 
yellow dust which rose from their steps, and entered the little 
town, where I was quartered on one Schmidt, a baker. 
The Minister had disappeared in the clouds of dust, and it 
was some time before I learned from one of the Councillors 
remaining in Falkenberg that he had gone on with the 
King to the village of Herny, five English miles farther. 

H-] The Woman with One Cow. 19 

Falkenberg is a place of some 2000 inhabitants, with 
only one tolerably long principal street, and sundry little 
narrow lanes on either side. It lies on the ridge of a gently- 
sloping hill. Nearly the whole of the day troops con- 
tinued to march through. Among them were some Hessian 
infantry. The Saxons were stationed close by. They sent 
their sutlers even in the night-time to my baker to get 
bread, who was soon left in consequence without any. 

In the afternoon Prussian hussars brought in more pri- 
soners, one a dark-brown Turco, who had changed his fez 
for a hat. In another part of the town, near the town-house, 
we came upon some noisy squabblers ; a sutler woman had 
stolen something from a little shopkeeper, I don't know 
what — some hats, I think — and of course she had to give 
them up. So far as I saw, our people paid for what they 
wanted with ready money, sometimes even more than was 
necessary. Count Hatzfeld told this story : "When Keudell 
and I were going along a bye-road, a woman approached us, 
who with many tears complained that the soldiers had taken 
away her cow. Keudell endeavoured to console her : he 
would see whether he could get it back for her again ; and 
when she told us that it was the cuirassiers that had taken 
it away, we went to seek them, taking with us a little lad as 
guide. He at last brought us to the open country, but 
neither cuirassiers nor cow could he show us, and we re- 
turned without having effected anything." Keudell was to 
pay for the cow. 

The people with whom I was quartered were very polite 
and agreeable. They cleared out for me the best of their 
rooms, and though I begged them not to trouble themselves 
on my account, they brought me a good breakfast with red 
wine, and coffee in the French manner, in a little bowl with 
a silver spoon, with which I was to drink it ; and this they 

c 2 

20 Bismarck in tlie Franco-German War. [Chap. 

made me take in spite of my reluctance. The woman 
spoke only broken German, but the man talked fluently, 
though in a German patois, and with here and there a word 
of French. The pictures in their rooms showed them to be 

I dined at the hotel where the Councillors were lodged, 
and when I came back to my baker I had the pleasure of 
doing him a slight service, in return for his readiness to 
oblige. About eleven o'clock at night I heard a noise -below, 
which grew louder and louder. After a time the baker's 
wife looked in and begged me to stand by her ; our men, 
she said, wanted to take food from them by force, and her 
husband had nothing ready yet. I got up quickly and found 
baker and bakeress surrounded by Saxon soldiers and sutlers, 
clamouring noisily for bread, which I must do them the 
justice to admit they were sorely in need of, and that they 
did not want it without payment. • But there were only two 
or three loaves to be had. I proposed a compromise. The 
baker was to give them each a large piece of bread — and 
they might rely on having forty loaves ready for them by 
the morning. After some parley, they agreed, and the night 
passed without further disturbance. 

Sunday, August 14. — After luncheon, when Keudell said 
he had paid the woman for tfie cow — fifty thalers I think it 
was — we followed the Minister to Herny. The sky over 
our heads was of the deepest blue, and the fields reeked 
from the scorching heat. Near a village on the left of the 
. road some Hessian infantry held divine service in the open 
air, the Catholic soldiers in one circle, the Protestants a 
little distance off in another, each round their own clergy- 
man. The latter sang the hymn — 

" Em, feste Burg ist unser Gott." 

Arrived at Herny, we found that the Chancellor had 

II.] Count Gramont and the War. 2 1 

taken up his abode in the first story of a long, low, white- 
washed house, a little aside from the principal street, where 
his window looked on to a dung heap. The house was 
tolerably roomy, so that we joined him there, and I was 
again with Abeken. Hatzfeld's room was also the Bureau. 
The King took up his quarters with the pastor, near a fine 
old church the windows of which were filled with painted 
glass. The village consists of one broad straggling street, 
with a well-built mairie, which contains also the parish 
school, and of houses mostly crowded close together, look- 
ing at the back into the little railway station. In that we 
found a great deal of wanton destruction, papers scattered 
about, books torn up, and such like. Near it some soldiers 
were guarding two French prisoners. After four o'clock we 
heard for several hours the heavy thunder of artillery from 
the neighbourhood of Metz. At tea-time the Minister said, 
" I did not think a month ago that I should to-day drink 
tea with you gentlemen in a peasant's house in Herny." 
Amongst other matters we talked of Gramont, and the 
Count wondered that this strong, healthy man, after such 
unhappy antecedents, had not joined a regiment, in order 
to atone for his stupidity. He certainly was big and strong 
enough. " I should have acted differently in 1866, if things 
had not gone well with me," said he ; "I should have 
joined a regiment at once ; I never would have allowed 
myself to be seen alive." 

When he returned to his room, which by the way was 
a low, countrified little parlour with very little furniture, I 
was frequently called to receive orders. It seemed useful 
to enable our illustrated papers to give a representation 
of the storming of the Spicherenberg. Then the assertion 
of the Canstitutionnel had to be contradicted, according to 
which the Prussians burned down everything in their march 

22 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

through France, and left nothing but ruins behind them ; of 
which, with every opportunity to know the facts, we could 
honestly declare we had seen nothing. Finally it was 
desirable to counteract the Nene Freie Presse, which had 
hitherto shown itself to be friendly to us, but these last few 
days its circulation had, according to the Constitutionnel, 
suffered, perhaps because of its partiality to the Prussians, 
and perhaps because there was something in the report that 
the Hungarian French party had bought the journal and 
had given it another tone. "Say this,'' said the Chan- 
cellor, concluding his directions with regard to another 
article of the Constitutionnel, " that there has never been the 
least question in the Ministerial Council of ceding Saar- 
briicken to the French, the matter not having been men- 
tioned except in confidential communications ; and of course 
a national minister — one in sympathy with the national 
feeling — could not therefore entertain it. Yet this rumour 
may have a little foundation : it may be a misunderstanding, 
or a perversion of the fact that the question was mooted and 
discussed in the Ministerial Council before 1864 whether 
it might not be advisable to make over the coal-mines at 
Saarbriicken, which are national property, to companies. I 
proposed to pay the cost of the Schleswig-Holstein war in 
this way, but the thing came to nothing in consequence of 
the King's aversion to any such transaction." (Notes p. 43.) 
Monday, August 15, seemed to begin all at once and 
unusually early. At daybreak, by four o'clock, the attendant 
called out in the room where Abeken and I slept, " His 
Excellency is going off directly; the gentlemen will please 
to get ready." I got up at once and packed up. It was, 
however, a mistake. By the "gentlemen" only the Coun- 
cillors were meant. About six o'clock the Chancellor started 
with Count Bismarck-Bohlen. Abeken, Keudell, and Hatz- 

II.] A Peasant Family in Lorraine. 23 

feld followed him on horseback. We others remained in 
Herny, where there was plenty to do, and where, when we 
had finished our work, we could make ourselves useful in 
other ways. Thick yellowish-gray clouds of dust were 
rising from long lines of infantry passing through the village ; 
amongst others, three Prussian regiments, partly Pomeranian, 
almost all large, fine men. The band played " Heil dir im 
Siegerkranz," and " Ich bin ein Preusse." One could see in 
the eyes of these men the burning thirst they were enduring, 
so we organised, as quickly as possible, a little fire-extin- 
guisher's brigade. We carried the water in pails and jugs, 
and reached it out to them as they marched along — for 
they dare not stop — in their ranks, so that at least one 
here and there could get a mouthful to carry him on a bit, 
either in the hollow of his hand or in the little tin cup which 
he carried by his side. 

Our host was named Matthiote; his wife, Marie. He 
spoke a little German; she, only the hardly-intelligible 
French dialect of this district of Lothringen. Neither of 
them showed any disposition to oblige, but I took no notice. 
Nor did the Minister know anything about it. He had, 
before our arrival, only had dealings with the man, and he 
" was not a bad fellow." " He asked me," he went on to say, 
"when he brought up my dinner, whether I would not, for 
once, try his wine. When I wished to pay him, he charged 
only for the dinner, but nothing for the wine, which was, 
moreover, very drinkable. He enquired- about the future 
boundary, and thought they would then be better off as to 

Of the other people in the village very little was to be 
seen; those whom we did meet were polite and pleasant. 
An old peasant woman, into whose house I went to beg a 
light for my cigar, followed me into her room and showed 

24 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

me, on the wall, a photograph of her son in a French 
uniform. Weeping, she blamed the Emperor for the war. 
Her paicvre garfon was certainly Tolled already^she thought, 
and she would not be comforted. 

Our Councillors returned from their ride about three 
o'clock ; the Minister was rather later. Meanwhile Count 
Henckel, a stately dark-bearded gentleman, and Bamberger, 
a member of the Reichstag, had arrived ; also a Herr von 
Oldberg, who was to be Prefect, or something of that kind, 
so that we begin to feel that we are masters of the con- 
quered land, and are settling down in it. How much of the 
country it is intended to keep had been told me in the 
morning by a telegram sent eastwards, in the deciphering 
of which I had been helpful, and which had said plainly 
that, God willing, we should keep Elsass. 

As we learned at dinner, the King and Chancellor had 
made a sort of reconnoitering tour to within three English 
miles of Metz, and had seen General von Steinmetz. The 
French army stationed outside the fortress had been violently 
attacked by him the day before near Courcelles, and driven 
into the town and forts. The enemy's loss was estimated 
at 4000 men ; they found forty dead " Red-breeches " in one 
ditch, most of them shot through the head. 

In the evening, as we sat on a bench near the house 
door, the Minister came up for a moment. Whilst he 
talked with us he asked me for a cigar, but Councillor 
Taglioni (one of the King's cipherers, formerly in the 
Embassy at Paris, now dead) was quicker than I in getting 
it out of his pocket. The more's the pity, for my weed 
was a great deal better than his. 

At tea the Chancellor said, among other things, that he 
was twice in danger of being shot by the sentinels — at San 
Sebastian and also at Schliisselburg, and from what he said 

II.] The Sentry and the Snowdrop. 25 

we discovered that he understands Spanish a little. The 
Schliisselburg affair suggested to him the following anecdote, 
which I relate as having happened to himself, but as I did 
not hear every word, I cannot say for certain that it did not 
really happen to some one else. The Count was once 
walking in the summer garden in Petersburg with the Em- 
peror. They came to an open lawn, in the middle of which 
stood a sentry. Bismarck took the liberty of inquiring what 
he was there for. The Emperor did not know, and turned 
to the adjutant, and he did not know. Then they asked 
the sentinel, who said nothing but "Ordered" — Bismarck 
gave the Russian word for it. This was no help, and the 
adjutant was directed to make further enquiries of the 
guard and the officers. He always got the same answer, 
" Ordered." Search was made in the military records, but 
nothing found —there always had been a sentinel there. At 
last they found an old servant, who remembered that his 
father, also an old servant, had once told him that on that 
spot the Empress Katherine had found an early snowdrop, 
and had given orders to protect it from being plucked. 
There was no better way of doing so than by placing a 
sentry there, and placed he was at once. 

He then spoke of the feeling of aversion to us which 
existed in Holland, and the causes of it ; that it might be 
traced back to the Minister van Guylen, who succeeded in 
making himself disagreeable as ambassador in Berlin, and 
who was, in consequence, not honoured quite as he wished, 
so that he returned to Holland with unkindly feelings to us. 

We were told that we were to proceed next day to Pont- 
a-Mousson, and as we turned in for the night, I thought to 
pay Abeken a compliment by telling him that the day's ride 
was quite astonishing for one of his years ; he really ought 
to be congratulated. But he did not take it altogether well ; 

26 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

he did not like to appear old, and I vowed to myself quietly 
that in future I would be more sparing of my surprise and 
my good wishes. 

On August 1 6, at half-past nine, a lovely, but warm 
morning, we set off again. I drove in the Councillors' 
carriage, as some of them rode, and by me sat Landrath 
Jansen, one of the Free Conservative party in the Reichstag ; 
a good-looking, pleasant man, who had come to take part in 
the administration of the conquered district. The journey 
took us over a broad undulating plain, to the chain of hills 
on the right bank of the Moselle, among which stood out 
the cone of the Mousson, with its extensive ruins. We 
drove on an excellent road, through some more villages 
with handsome mairies and schools. It was everywhere 
full of life and bustle, with the infantry soldiers, the detach- 
ments of Saxon horsemen in bright blue, and all kinds of 
carriages and carts. Here and there, too, there were little 

At last about three o'clock we drove over the slope of the 
hill, and down into the valley of the Moselle towards Pont-a- 
Mousson. It is a town of about 8000 inhabitants, stretching 
along both sides of the river, over which is a beautiful stone 
bridge, and with a great old church on the right bank. We 
crossed the bridge and came into a market-place surrounded 
with arcades, hotels, and cafes, and an old town-house, before 
which the Saxon infantry were lying on straw spread on the 
ground. Here we turned into the Rue Saint-Laurent, where 
the Minister, with Abeken, Keudell, and Count Bismarck- 
Bohlen, were quartered in a small mansion at the corner of 
the Rue Raugraf, which was covered with a red-blossomed 
climbing plant. His involuntary host was, so we heard, an 
old gentleman who had gone off with Madame on his travels. 
The Chancellor took possession of the apartments on the 

II.] An Ethnographical Cabinet. 27 

first floor, which looked out on the little garden at the back. 
The Bureau was established on the ground-floor, in a back 
room, and a smaller room next it served as the dining-room. 
The Landrath, I, Secretary Bolsing, Willisch, and St. Blan- 
quart, the other temporary cipherer, were about ten doors 
off, in the Rue Saint-Laurent, in a bouse which seemed to 
be inhabited only by some French ladies and their maid-ser- 
vants. I slept with Blanquart, or to give him his full title 
for once, Hofrath St. Blanquart, in a room which a chance 
visitor might have called an omnium gatherum of memorials 
from every country : dried flowers, wreaths of roses, palm 
branches, photographs from the city of David, also Vino 
di Gerusalemme, a darabuka, cocoa-nuts, corals, cray-fi'sh, 
sponges from the bottom of the sea, a sword-fish, and other 
monsters with gaping jaws and sharp teeth ; three German 
tobacco pipes, next which came three Oriental cousins of 
theirs — a tschibbuk, a nargileh, and a schischi ; then a 
Spanish Madonna with half-a-dozen swords in her breast, 
reminding one of a bull fight ; antelopes' horns, pictures of 
saints from Moscow, and, lastly, framed and glazed, a French 
newspaper, with an article in it obliterated by a Russian 
censor of the press. In short, a complete ethnographical 

We remained here only long enough to make ourselves 
decent. Then we hastened to the Bureau. On the way we 
saw different proclamations nailed up at the corners of the 
streets; one, of our victory of the 14th, a second, about the 
abolition of the conscription, and a third in which the mayor 
of Pont-a-Mousson exhorted the inhabitants to circum- 
spection, — which must have been issued the day before the 
attack of the civilians in this place on our soldiers, or even 
before. The inhabitants were also ordered by our people, 
under threat of punishment, to put lights in all the windows 

28 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

at night, and to leave open all shutters and doors, and to 
deliver up all their weapons at the town-house. 
. The distant thunder of cannon was heard during the 
greater part of the afternoon, and in the evening, at dinner, 
we learnt that there had again been a hardly-contested 
action near Metz; upon which, some one remarked that 
perhaps we should not succeed in preventing the French 
from accomplishing their object, and withdrawing to Verdun. 
To this the Minister replied jestingly, " Molk, the hard- 
hearted reprobate, said that such a mishap would not be to 
be lamented, for then we should have them safe." Which 
meant, I suppose, that then we should shut them in on 
every side, and prevent their further retreat, — in fact, anni- 
hilate them. Of the other sayings of the Chancellor on 
this occasion, I give only this, that he said " The little black 
Saxons, who looked so intelligent," had pleased him greatly, 
during the visit he had paid them the day before. He meant 
the dark green riflemen, or the 108th regiment, with the 
same colour of uniform. " They seem to be sharp, nimble 
fellows, and we ought to mention this in the public press." 

The following night I was awakened several times by the 
measured tread of infantry marching through, and the roll- 
ing and rumbling of heavy wheels over the uneven pavement. 
As we learnt afterwards in the Bureau, they were Hessian 
soldiers. We were told that the Minister had already, about 
four o'clock in the morning, ridden off towards Metz, 
where a great battle was expected to-day or to-morrow. As 
there was every probability of my having little or nothing 
to do, I seized the opportunity to take a walk with Willisch 
in the neighbourhood of the town. We first went up the 
river, over the pontoon bridge made by the Saxons, who 
had established in the meadows here a great park of artillery, 
in which were to be seen waggons from the villages near 

II.] Pont-cl-Mousson, 29 

Dresden. We swam across the clear deep stream, bordered 
on both banks by willows, and back again. Then we visited 
the church on the right bank, where we were surprised to 
find an extremely fine Sepulchre with a representation of the 
sleeping guards. The latter, especially, were, in attitude and 
expression, true masterpieces of the time of the transition 
from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. 

Returning to the Bureau we found it was still holiday 
there. I had time, therefore, to pay a visit with Jansen and 
Willisch to the top of the Mousson and its ruins. A steep 
path led up through the vineyards which cover the side of 
the cone next to the town and the river. From the ruins 
of the castle, which are so extensive that a tolerable-sized 
village once nestled there, we had a splendid view of the 
river valley, with its hills. Most of these regularly-shaped 
heights are planted with vines. The Moselle winds along, 
about as broad as the Saale at Giebichenstein, light-blue 
upon the green meadows. Villages and mansions .are 
scattered through the valley and on the sides of the hills. 
Down below on the white road, like swarms of ants, were 
columns of soldiers with their gleaming helms, caps and gun- 
barrels ; behind them thick clouds of dust ; now and then 
the sound of a drum or a signal-horn. All round us every- 
thing was lonely and quiet. Even the wind, which certainly 
blows strong enough up here sometimes, held its breath. 

We descended once more to the confusion of war time 
and to our house in the Rue Raugraf, but only to hear that 
the Chancellor had not returned. News had been received 
of a battle the day before to the west of Metz. We heard 
of the heavy losses of our side, and that Bazaine had with 
great difficulty been prevented from breaking through. The 
chief scene of the fighting seemed to have been the village 
of Mars-la-Tour. The Chassepot balls literally fell like a 

30 Bismarck ip the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

shower of hail. A Cuirassier regiment, so it was said then, 
with an exaggeration not uncommon in such cases, had been 
almost annihilated, and the dragoons of the guard had also 
suffered severely. There was no division whose battalions 
had not had terrible losses. To-day, however, when we 
would have the superiority of force, as the French had 
yesterday, a victory might be expected if the French 
attempted to advance. 

This, however, seemed not quite certain. Consequently 
we were rather uneasy — no sitting still, no steady thinking 
was possible ; as in a fever, certain thoughts were constantly 
recurring. On going to the market and to the bridge we 
found the slightly wounded gradually dropping in on foot, 
those badly wounded in waggons. Along the road from 
Metz we met a long line of about one hundred and twenty 
prisoners. They were chiefly small, meagre men, but still 
there were amongst them some well-grown, broad-shouldered 
fellows — Guards, recognisable by the white cord on the 
breast. Coming back from the market we went into the 
garden at the back of the Bureau, where, on the left hand, 
in a corner not far from the house, " the dog was buried," 
the dog of Herr Aubert, who was, apparently, our landlord, 
and who erected a stone in memory of the departed, with 
the following touching inscription : 


Ici tu gis, ma vieille araie, 

Tu n'es done plus pour mes vieux jours. 

O toi, ma Diane cherie, 

Je te pleurerai toujours. 

At last, about six o'clock, the Chancellor came back. No 
great battle had taken place to-day, but something would 
most likely happen next morning. The Chief told us at 

II.] The Chancellor and the Doctor. 3 1 

table, that he had been to visit his eldest son, Count Herbert, 
who had been wounded by a shot in the upper part of the 
thigh during a cavalry attack at Mars-la-Tour, and who was 
lying in the field hospital of Mariaville. The Minister, 
riding about, at last found it in a farmyard at the top of a 
hill, where were also a considerable number of other wounded 
men. They were left in the hands of a doctor who could 
not contrive to get water for them, and who, from a kind of 
prudery, refrained from taking the hens and turkeys which 
were running about the yard for the use of the sick. " He 
said he dare not," continued the Minister. " Friendly re- 
presentations made to him were no use. Then I threatened, 
first to shoot the hens with a revolver, and afterwards gave 
him twenty francs with which he could buy fifteen of them. 
At last I remembered that I was a Prussian general, and I 
told him so. Upon which, he listened to me. But the water 
I was obliged to look for myself, and get it taken to them 
in barrels." 

Meantime the American, General Sheridan, had entered 
the town. He came from Chicago, was staying in the 
market-square in the Croix Blanche, and wanted an interview 
with our Chancellor. I waited upon him by the Count's 
wish, and said that he would expect him in the course of the 
evening. The general, a little corpulent gentleman of about 
forty-five, with a dark moustache and a tuft, spoke a most 
decided Yankee dialect. He had with him his adjutant, 
Forsythe, and as interpreter, MacLean, a journalist, who 
was also war correspondent for the New York World. 

In the night, from our room, we heard again the heavy 
tramp of soldiers marching through the town, and we after- 
wards found they were Saxons. 

Next morning they told me in the Bureau that the King 
and the Minister had already driven out about three o'clock. 

32 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

There was fighting again almost on the battle-field of the 
1 6th, and it seemed as if matters were coming to a crisis. 
As may be easily imagined, we were more excited by this 
news than any time before in these last days. Restless and 
impatient to know what was going on, we started to walk 
in the direction of Metz, and arrived in a state of mental 
and bodily stew, at a spot about two miles and a half from 
Pont-k-Mousson. On the road we met some who were 
slightly wounded, walking — some singly, some in pairs, some 
in larger bodies — to the town. Many still carried their 
muskets ; others were supporting themselves with sticks, and 
one had enveloped himself in the red-lined cloak of a French 
cavalry soldier. They had taken part in the action the day 
before at Mars-la-Tour, and Gorze. About the fight which 
was going on this day they bring reports, good and bad, 
which were repeated in the town with exaggerations. At 
last, good news got the upper hand, but even when the 
evening was far advanced nothing absolutely certain was 
known. We dined without our Chief, for whom we waited 
in vain till past midnight. At last, however, we heard that 
he along with Sheridan and Count Bismarck-Bohlen was with 
the King at Rezonville. 

Friday, August 19. — When we knew for certain that the 
Germans had been victorious the day before, Abeken, 
Keudell, Hatzfeld and I, drove towards the battle-fields. 
Our road took us at first between the Italian poplars on the 
chaussee through the pleasant valley of the Moselle. On 
our right hand was the shimmer of the stream, on the left 
were vineyards, with villas and pretty villages, and ruined 
castles, showing themselves above the now widening, now 
narrowing levels of the valley. We passed by Vendieres, 
Arnaville, and Noveant. Then we made a bend to the 
left up to Gorze, a little town, which consists almost entirely 

H-] To the Battle-field. 33 

of a long narrow street running through a hollow in the 
chain of hills on this bank of the river. The Councillors 
here left the carriage, to proceed on horseback. I and our 
faithful Theiss tried to drive our conveyance through the 
crowd of vehicles which had got themselves into the narrow 
street, but it was impossible. From our side came rack- 
waggons with hay, straw, wood, and baggage ; from the 
other side vehicles of every kind with the wounded from 
the field and munition carts, so that for some time we were 
quite stuck fast. The little Geneva flags on nearly all the 
houses showed that they were turned into lazarettes, and at 
almost all the windows were men with their heads bound up 
or their arms in slings. 

After about an hour, the stoppage relaxed and we drove 
very slowly on, and after a time got out on to the plateau 
sidewards from the town. Here we went first through a 
wood, where we were overtaken by a severe thunderstorm 
with heavy rain, then out on a wide undulating plain, with 
stubble fields divided by roads, mostly planted with German 
poplars. In the distance to the right more villages could 
be seen, and beyond hills and dales with greenwood. 

Not far from Gorze the road bends downwards by a 
gentle slope to the right, which would have brought us to 
Rezonville in rather over half an hour, where I was to meet 
the Minister and those of our party who were'riding. But 
my map gave me no information about the villages and 
roads hereabouts. The road to the left as well as that to 
the right was, so far as the eye could reach, quite deserted. 
I thought we should come out by it somewhat too near 
Metz, and so I continued to drive along the main road, which 
brought us first to a solitary farm, where house, barn, and 
stable were full of the wounded, and then to Mars-la-Tour. 

Immediately after passing Gorze we came upon traces of 

vol. 1. d 

34 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

battle j ditches ploughed by cannon balls, branches torn 
from the trees by shot, and a few dead horses. Farther on 
there were more ; in some places we counted two or three 
close together, and in another there was a heap of eight 
such carcasses. Most of them were frightfully swollen and 
their legs were stretched up in the air, with their heads lying 
limp on the ground. Near Mars-la-Tour there was a Saxon 
camp. The battle of the 16th, as it appeared, had done 
little harm to the village ; only one house was burned down. 
I asked a lieutenant of Uhlans here where Rezonville was. 
He did not know. " Where is the King ? " " At a place 
about six (English) miles from here," was the answer. " Out 
there," said the officer, pointing towards the east. A peasant 
woman, who tried to show us where Rezonville lay, also 
pointed in that direction, so we drove on straight along a 
road which brought us after a time to the village of Vion- 
ville. Just before we reached that place I stumbled on the 
first of those killed in this fight — a Prussian musketeer lying 
between the ditches on the edge of the road and a stubble 
field. His face was as black as a Turco's, and his body 
fearfully swollen. All the houses in the village were full of 
badly wounded soldiers ; German and French doctors were 
moving along the road, and ambulance men with the Geneva 
Cross hurried backwards and forwards. 

I determined to wait here for the Minister and the 
Councillors, for I thought they would certainly come to 
this place, and that probably before long. I walked to the 
battle-field through a narrow path on the left side of the 
road, where, in a ditch, a man's leg which had been cut 
off lay under a mass of bloody rags. About four hundred 
paces from the village I came to two ditches about 300 feet 
long, running parallel to each other, neither wide nor deep, 
which men were still digging, and near them great heaps of 
dead bodies, French and German, huddled together. Some 

n.] After the Battle. 35 

were half-dressed, most of them still in uniform, all black- 
ened and frightfully swollen from the heat. There must 
have been 250 bodies, which had been brought together 
here, and carts were still arriving with more. Many others 
had, no doubt, already been buried. Farther on towards 
Metz the battle-field sloped upwards a little, and here more 
seem to have fallen than elsewhere. The ground was strewn 
with French caps, German helmets, knapsacks, arms and 
uniforms, linen, shoes, and papers, all strewn about. Among 
the furrows of the potato-field lay some single bodies, some 
on their faces, some on their backs ; one had lost the whole 
of his left leg, to a span above the knee ; another, half his 
head ; some had the right arm stretched stiff towards the 
sky. Here and there we came upon a single grave marked 
by a little cross made of the wood of a cigar-box and tied 
together with string, or by the bayonet from a Chassepot. 
The odour from the dead bodies was most perceptible, and 
at times, when the wind blew from the direction of a heap 
of horses, quite unbearable. 

It was time to go back to the carriage, and I had had 
quite enough of this picture of the battle-field. I took 
another road, but here, too, I had to pass heaps of the 
dead ; this time, " Red-breeches " only, heaps of discarded 
clothing, shirts, shoes, papers, and letters ; prayer-books and 
books of devotion. Near some dead bodies lay whole 
packets of letters which the poor fellows had carried with 
them in their knapsacks. I took two or three of them as 
memorials, two of them German letters from one Anastasia 
Stampf, from Scherrweiler, near Schlettstadt, which I found 
beside a French soldier, who must have been stationed at 
Caen just before the outbreak of the war. 'One was dated 
from "25, hay month, 1870'' (July), and concluded with the 
words, " We commend thee always to Mary's holy keeping." 

D 2 

36 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

When I got back to the carriage the Minister had not yet 
arrived, and it was four o'clock. We now turned round and 
took a nearer way back to Gorze, and I saw that we had 
driven round the two long sides of an acute-angled triangle, 
instead of choosing the shortest route. Here we met 
Keudell, to whom I explained our mistake and the unfortu- 
nate roundabout road we had taken. He had been with 
Abeken and Count Hatzfeld with the Chief, in Rezonville. 
While the battle of the 18th was raging, the decisive struggle 
taking place on Gravelotte, Bismarck had advanced with 
the King rather too far, and for a little time they were 
in some danger. Afterwards he, single-handed, had been 
carrying water to the badly wounded. At nine o'clock in 
the evening I saw him safe and sound in Pont-a-Mousson, 
where we all met together once more at supper. The con- 
versation at table turned naturally on the two last battles, 
and the gain and loss which accompanied them. The 
French had left masses of people on the field. The Minister 
had seen their Guards laid down at Gravelotte in rows and 
heaps. But our losses, too, were, he said, very great. Those 
of the 1 6th of August were, only now known. "A number 
of Prussian families will be thrown into mourning,'' remarked 
the Chief. " Wesdehlen and Reuss are laid in one grave ; 
Wedell, dead ; von Finkenstein, dead ; Rahden (Lucca's 
husband), shot through both cheeks ; a great number of 
commanders of regiments and battalions killed or severely 
wounded. The whole field at Mars-la-Tour was yesterday 
still white and blue with dead Cuirassiers and Dragoons." 
In explanation of this remark we learned, that a great 
cavalry attack had been made, near that village, on the 
French who were pressing forward in the direction of 
Verdun ; that though this attack had been repulsed by 
the enemy's infantry in the style of Balaklava, it had so 
far been successful, that it had arrested the enemy, till 

II.] The Battle. 37 

reinforcements reached us. The sons of the Chancellor 
had been present at this action, and had displayed great 
bravery ; the eldest had received no less than three shots, 
one through the breast of his coat, another on his watch, 
and a third through the fleshy part of the thigh. The 
youngest seemed to have come through it unhurt ; and the 
Chief related with manifest pride, that Count Bill in the 
retreat had, with his strong arms, dragged out of the fray 
one of his comrades who was wounded in the leg, and 
ridden off with him slung across his horse, till they got 
assistance. On the 18th, still more German blood was 
shed, but we had won the victory and attained the object 
of this destructive war. By nightfall Bazaine's army was 
decisively driven back on Metz, and the officers who were 
taken prisoners themselves admitted to the Minister that it 
was all over with them. The Saxons, who on the two pre- 
vious days had made very stiff marches, and had reached a 
position to take effective part in the fight at the village 
Saint-Privat, stood now across the road to Thionville, and 
thus Metz was entirely surrounded by our troops. 

The Chancellor, as it appeared, had not approved of 
some of the measures of the military in these two fights. 
Among other things, he said of Steinmetz, " that he had 
made a bad use of the really prodigious bravery of our 
troops — a blood-spendthrift ! " He spoke with vehement 
indignation of the barbarous manner in which the French 
waged war ; they had fired, it was said, on the Geneva Cross 
flag, and even on the bearer of a flag of truce. 

The Minister seemed to have Quickly got on very good 
terms with Sheridan ; for I had to invite him and his two 
companions to dinner next evening. 

On the 20th, early, came Herr von Kuhlwetter, who 
was to be civil commissioner, or prefect, in Elsass or 
Lothringen. At eleven the Crown Prince, who with his 

38 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

troops was stationed some twenty-five miles from Pont-a- 
Mousson, on the road from Nancy to Chalons, came to 
visit the Chancellor. In the afternoon there passed through 
the Rue Notre Dame nearly twelve hundred prisoners on 
foot, and amongst them two carriages with officers, guarded 
by Prussian cavalry. In the evening, Sheridan, Forsythe, and 
MacLean were guests of the Chief, who talked eagerly with 
the American General in good English, whilst champagne 
and porter circulated. The latter was drunk out of the 
metal pots I have described, one of which filled up to the 
brim he sent to me, saying : " Doctor, do you still drink 
porter?" I mention this because at this time no one 
took porter but the Minister and the Americans, and 
because the gift was extremely welcome and agreeable ; 
for though we had more than enough of wine, champagne, 
and cognac, we had had no beer since Saarbriicken. 

The General, well known as a successful general of the 
Unionists in the latter part of the war of Secession, talked 
a good deal. He spoke of the fatigues he had under- 
gone during his ride from the Rocky Mountains to Chicago, 
of the horrible swarms of gnats, of a great bone cave 
in California, in which fossil animals were found, and of 
buffalo and bear hunting. The Chancellor also told a 
hunting story in his best style. He was one day, in Fin- 
land, in considerable danger from a great bear, which he 
could not see plainly, as he was covered with snow. " At 
last I fired," he continued, "and the bear fell, about six 
steps in front of me. He was not dead, however, and 
was able to get up again. I knew what was the danger, 
and what I had to do. I did not stir, but loaded a<*ain 
as quietly as possible, and shot him dead as he tried to 
stand up." 

In the forenoon of the 21st we worked hard for the post 
and the telegraph in order to send off the news, and articles 

II.] Italy and Germany. 39 

commenting on it, to Germany. The parlementaire who 
had been shot at by the French, as he approached them 
with his white flag, was, we heard, Captain or Major Verdy 
of Moltke's staff; the trumpeter who accompanied him was 
wounded. We received certain intelligence from Florence, 
that Victor Emmanuel and his minister, in consequence of 
our victories, had determined to remain neutral, which 
hitherto had been far from certain. Lastly, we were now 
able to calculate, at any rate pretty nearly, the losses of 
the French on the 14th at Courcelles, on the 16th, at Mars- 
la-Tour, and on the 18th at Gravelotte. The Minister put 
these, for all the three days, at nearly 50,000 men, of 
whom 12,000 were dead, and added, " The jealousy of some 
of our leaders was the cause of our losing so many of our 

In the afternoon I spoke to one of the Dragoon Guards, 
who, on the 16th, had attacked the French battery. He 
told me, that beside Finkenstein and Reuss, the two Tre- 
skows were dead and buried, and that, out of the three 
squadrons of his regiment, which had been under fire, one 
had been formed after the battle ; and a single regiment 
out of the 1st and 2nd regiments of Dragoons. He spoke, 
too, most modestly of the bravery they had shown in action. 
" We had to go forwards, if only to save our artillery being 
taken by the enemy." As I was still talking with him, about 
150 more prisoners in the charge of Saxon infantry passed 
us, going through the town. I heard from the escort, that 
the Saxons had joined the fight at Roncourt and Saint-Privat 
after a long march, had attacked at once with bayonet and 
butt end, and had lost several officers, amongst them 
General Krausshaar. 

In the evening at tea the Chief asked me, as I entered 
the room, 

" How are you, Doctor?" 

40 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" Well, I thank your Excellency." 
" Have you been able to see anything?" 
"Yes," I replied, "the battle-field of Vionville." 
" Pity that you were not with us in our affair of the 18th." 
Whereupon he related fully his experiences on that day 
in the last hours of the battle, and in the night afterwards. 
These particulars, with other details supplied by the Minister, 
I shall give in one of the following chapters. The conversa- 
tion then turned on General Steinmetz, of whom the Chan- 
cellor said, " He is courageous but self-willed, and vain 
beyond measure. In the Reichstag he always kept near the 
President's chair, and stood up so that every one could see 
him well. He coquetted also as if paying great attention, 
and made notes on paper. He was thinking all the time," 
continued the Chancellor, " that the newspapers would take 
notice of this, and praise his zeal, and unless I am mis- 
taken, he did not miscalculate." The Chancellor was not 
at all mistaken ; the press had, as usual, done satisfactorily 
what was wished, and what it was his object to get done. 

The ladies in our house (I mean that with the ethno- 
graphical cabinet) were not at all shy, rather the contrary. 
They talked to us, so far as we could speak French, with 
the utmost freedom. 

Monday, August 22. — I wrote in my journal : 
" Went early with Willisch again to bathe before the Chief 
was* up. At half-past ten I was summoned to him. He 
asked at once how I was, and whether I had not been 
attacked by dysentery. He had not been well in the night. 
The Count and dysentery ! God preserve him from that ! 
That would be worse than a lost battle. All our affairs 
would fall into uncertainty and confusion." 

There is no longer any doubt that, in the event of ulti- 
mate victory over France, we shall keep Elsass and Metz 
with the surrounding country, and the following was 

II.] The Object to be secured. 41 

perhaps, the train of thought which led the Chancellor to 
this decision. 

A contribution, however great it might be, would be no 
compensation for the enormous sacrifices we have made. 
We must secure South Germany, exposed as it is, from the 
attacks of the French : we must put an end to the pressure 
which France has exercised upon it for two centuries, 
especially since this pressure has essentially contributed to 
the derangement of German relations during the whole of 
that time. Baden, Wurtemberg, and the other countries on 
the south-west, must not again be threatened from Strass- 
burg and overrun at pleasure. It is the same with Bavaria. 
During the last two hundred and fifty years the French have 
undertaken more than a dozen wars of conquest against 
the south-west of Germany. Guarantees against such dis- 
turbances of the peace were sought, in 18 14 and 1815, in 
a policy adopted towards France, which, however, proved 
to be too forbearing. This forbearance was useless, and 
even now would be fruitless and without result. The danger 
lies in the incurable assumption and dominating spirit in- 
herent in the French character ; attributes which may be 
abused by any ruler — not merely by the Bonapartes — to pro- 
voke attacks on peaceful neighbours. Our protection against 
h does not lie in fruitless attempts momentarily to weaken the 
susceptibility of the French, but in the gaining of a well- 
secured frontier. France has, by her continued appropria- 
tion of German territory, and of all our natural defences on 
our west frontier, placed herself in a position to penetrate 
into the heart of South Germany with an army, relatively 
speaking, not very great, before any help can be brought 
down from the north. Since the time of Louis XIV. — 
under him and his successor, under the Republic, under 
the first Empire, — there has been a constant repetition of 
these attacks, and the feeling of insecurity compels the 

42 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

States of Germany to keep their eyes incessantly on France. 
That a feeling of bitterness will be created in the minds of 
the French by taking away a piece of territory, is really not 
worth considering. This bitterness would exist even without 
cession of territory. In 1866 Austria had not to cede one 
square rood of her territory ; and what thanks did we get 
for it ? Our victory at Koniggratz filled the French with 
aversion, hatred, and bitter vexation ; how much more effect 
will our victories at Worth and Metz have upon them ! 
Revenge for this defeat of the proud nation will, therefore, 
even if we took no territory, be the war-cry in Paris and the 
provinces influenced by Paris, just as, for many years, they 
thought of vengeance for Waterloo. But an enemy which 
cannot be turned into a friend by generous treatment after 
defeat, must be rendered permanently harmless. It is not 
the levelling of the French fortresses on the east frontier 
of France, but their cession, that can alone be of service 
to us. Those who cry out for disarmament must be the 
first to wish to see the neighbours of the French adopt these 
measures, for France is the sole disturber of the peace of 
Europe, and will remain so as long as she can. 

It is quite astonishing how naturally such opinions of the 
Chief already flow from my pen ! What ten days ago still 
looked like a miracle, is now quite natural and self-evident. 

At table the conversation again turned on the improper, not 
to say base, manner in which the Red-breeches carry on the 
war, and the Minister said that at Mars-la-Tour they had 
fallen upon one of our officers, who was sitting, wounded, on 
a stone by the wayside. Some said they shot him ; others 
said, and a doctor who examined the body was of the same 
opinion, that he was thrust through with the sword, where- 
upon the Chief remarked that if he had to choose, he would 
rather be stabbe'd than shot. Then he complained of Abe- 
ken's movements during the night, so that he, who was a bad 

n -] A beken and the Yorks. 43 

sleeper in any case, was disturbed by Abeken's calling out, 
running backwards and forwards, and banging the doors. 
" He thinks he is feeling for his connections by marriage," 
said he. This referred to the Counts York, with whom our 
Geheimrath had become distantly connected by his marriage 
with Fraulein von Olfers — a relationship on which, with his 
perpetual " my cousins, the Yorks," he plumed himself more 
than a man of self-respect and high feeling would have done. 
One of the two Yorks had been wounded at Mars-la-Tour 
or Gravelotte, and the old gentleman drove that night to see 
him. I can easily imagine him, under the pressure of high- 
wrought feeling, reciting on the way, as he sat behind the 
coachman, something gushing, or thrilling, or dithyrambic, 
from Goethe, or Ossian, or even out of the old Greek tragic 

Count Herbert was brought here to-day, from the field- 
ambulance to his father, on the floor of whose room they 
made him a bed. I saw him and spoke with him. His 
wound is painful, but apparently not at present dangerous. 
He will go back to Germany in a few days till he recovers. 

Note i. — According to the ConstitiUionnel of August 8, the pressure 
of public opinion in Vienna had grown steadily. It showed itself in this 
way, that in a. single day the Neue Freie Presse received more than a 
thousand letters from subscribers, to give notice to stop their papers, 
as they would no longer take in a print which continued to promote the 
interests of Prussia, to the injury of Austria. 

Note 2. — According to one of the articles inspired from Vienna in 
the Constitutionnel, the Morgenpost of that city, of August 2, contained 
revelations said to come from "a personage on a very friendly footing 
with the Grand Duke of Baden," "according to Bismarck" 
is said to have "proposed in full Ministerial Council to give up Saar- 
briicken and Landau to France. The Grand Duke himself," it goes on 
to say, " told the fact to the person, who published it in the Morgenpost, 
and the Grand Duke had it from the King of Prussia, who asserted that 
it was only through his own opposition that the proposition of M. de 
Bismarck was not adopted by the Council." 

44 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



Tuesday, August 23. — We set out again on our journey 
westwards. Sheridan and his people were to accompany 
us, or follow us immediately. President von Kuhlwetter 
remains here for the present as prefect ; Count Renard, of 
gigantic frame and corresponding beard, at Nancy, and 
Count Henckel at Saargemiind, in similar positions. We 
saw the Imperial envoy 'Bamberger again. Herr Stieber, 
too, made his appearance in the neighbourhood of the 
house at the corner of the Rue Raugraf. Lastly, as I paid 
a parting visit to the interior of the town, in order to take 
away a mental image to remember the place by, I saw the 
refined, wrinkled, smooth-shaven face of Moltke, for the 
first time since I saw him along with the Minister of War 
mounting the steps of Bismarck's residence, eight or ten 
days before the declaration of war. It wore to-day, as it 
seemed to me, a very happy and pleasant expression. 

An account of the way in which Thiers had spoken not 
long ago of the immediate future of France interested me 
not a little as I returned to the Bureau. He had clearly 
pointed out, that in the event of victory we should take 
possession of Elsass, that Napoleon would, after the loss of 
battles, certainly lose also his throne, and that he would 
be succeeded for some months by a Republic, and then 
by some member of the Orleans family, perhaps even by 
Leopold of Belgium, who, as my informant claimed to know 
from certain knowledge, was very ambitious. 

HI-] Westward for Paris. 45 

We left Pont-a-Mousson at ten o'clock. The fine weather 
of the last few days had changed between morning and 
afternoon to a grey cloudy sky and showers of rain. I drove 
in the Secretaries' carriage, which carried the portfolios of 
the Foreign Office from place to place. The road took 
us by Maidieres, then over the sloping hills in the valley 
of the Moselle, up to Montauban, Limey, and Beaumont. 
It cleared up a little about twelve o'clock, and we saw a 
rather high hill country before us, beneath which stretched 
an undulating land, with broad depressions. Now and 
then we drove through a bit of greenwood. The villages 
had all continuous streets, house to house, as in a town ; 
most of them had good mairie and school buildings. 
Some of them had also old Gothic churches. Beyond 
Gironville the road ascended a steep hill, from which there 
was a fine view over the plain beneath. We left the car- 
riage here, to ease the horses, the Chancellor walking with 
Abeken at the head of the procession for a quarter of an 
hour, in great wide top boots, which in size and shape re- 
minded one of those one sees in portraits from the Thirty 
Years' War. Next to him walked Moltke, the greatest artist 
in war of our days, by the side of the greatest statesman of 
our time, on a French road leading to Paris, and I could 
bet that neither thought it specially remarkable. 

When we returned to the carriages, we saw, to the right 
of the road, that a telegraph had been established by some 
smart soldiers. Soon afterwards we descended into the valley 
of the Upper Meuse, and shortly before two reached Com- 
mercy, a pretty little town with about 6000 inhabitants, 
close to a great forest. The stream here is still narrow and 
muddy. On it is an old mansion, with a colonnade in front. 
The white shutters of the better houses in the street were 
mostly closed, as though the proprietors were determined 

46 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

not to see the hated Prussians. The people in blouses, on 
the contrary, seemed more curious and less hostile. Over 
several doors was to be seen " Fabrique de Madeleines." 
These are biscuits in the shape of little melons, which are 
in great request all through France, so we did not fail to buy 
some boxes to send home. 

The Chief was quartered with Abeken and Keudell at the 
house of Count Macore de Gaucourt, in the Rue des Fon- 
taines, in which not long before a Prince of Schwarzburg had 
lived, and where only the lady of the house remained behind. 
Her husband was in the French army, and was therefore in 
the field. He was a man of very good family, descended 
from the old Dukes of Lorraine. There was a pretty flower- 
garden near his house, and a park with charming shade 
stretched behind it. I was not far from the Minister, at 
No. i, Rue Heurtebise, on the ground floor dressing-room 
of a man living on his means, whom I found a friendly and 
obliging host. He gave me an excellent four-poster bed. 
In walking through the town I met Sheridan's adjutant, in 
front of a house with steps leading up to the door. He 
told me that he left California in the beginning of May, and 
travelled to Chicago in great haste, and from thence to Lon- 
don ; then to Berlin, and from there to Pont-a-Mousson in 
five days. He and the. General, who was looking out at a 
window on the first floor, now wear uniform. Afterwards, 
I sought for the Chancellor, found him in the garden, 
and inquired whether he had anything for me to do. After 
some thought, he said " Yes," and an hour afterwards I set 
the field post, as well as the telegraph to work. I wrote, 
for instance, the following article : 

" It is now quite certain that, the Princes of the Orleans 
family, in the expectation of seeing the star of the Napo- 
leons pale and sink still lower, consider their time come. 

ill-] The Orleans Family. 47 

Emphatically declaring themselves Frenchmen, they have 
placed their sword at the command of France in the present 
crisis. By their indolence, for the most part — by adhering 
to the principle of laissez-faire in dealing with the affairs 
of their neighbours, the Orleans family lost their throne. It 
seems as if they desired to reconquer it by energy, and as 
if by indulging the passions of Chauvinism, the craze for 
glory and the assumption of the guardianship of the world, 
inherent in Frenchmen, — they would seek to maintain them- 
selves upon the throne. We are by no means at the end 
of our work. A decisive victory is probable, but not yet 
certain ; the fall of Napoleon is somewhat nearer, but it is 
not yet a fact If Napoleon actually falls, could we be 
content — in view of what we have just remarked — merely 
with this result of our enormous exertions ? Ought we to 
feel that we had attained, in that event, what must be our 
supreme object — -a peace with France, secured for many 
years ? No one will assert this. A peace with the Orleanist 
family reseated on the throne of France would be, without 
any doubt, far more delusive than a peace with Napoleon, 
who has had enough to do with glory. Sooner or later, we 
should be again challenged by France, when France pro- 
bably would be better armed, and more secure of powerful 

Three reserve armies are to be formed in Germany : 
one, the strongest, at Berlin ; another on the Rhine, and a 
third — on account of Austria's suspicious attitude — in Silesia 
at Glogau. The latter was a purely defensive measure. 
The troops on the Rhine were to be commanded by the 
Duke of Mecklenburg) those at Berlin by General von 
Canstein, and those at Glogau by General von Lowenfeld. 

Towards evening the military band played before the , 
house of the King, who had been quartered in Commercy ' 

48 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

during the War of Liberation, and the street boys were 
quite pleased to hold the notes of the music for the men 
who played the horns and hautboys. 

At dinner, where, among other good things, we had some 
marvellously fine white Bordeaux, Counts Waldersee and 
Lehndorf, and afterwards Lieutenant-General von Alvens- 
leben, were guests of the Chief. The latter related — I no 
longer remember in what connection it was said — a story 
of the "Marl-major" who used to reduce all things that 
happened here below to geognostic causes. He reasoned 
almost in this way : The Maid of Orleans could only have 
been born on fertile marl soil ; she must have gained a vic- 
tory on the chalk, and she was certain to die on sandstone. 

Alvensleben said, referring to the enemy's barbarous mode 
of warfare, that while they had fired upon the bearer of a 
flag of truce from Toul, another officer, who rode on to 
the glacis in a joke, had been able to hold a friendly chat 
with those on the walls. The question was put whether 
Paris could not be stormed in spite of its fortifications, and 
the military men thought it might. The General said : " A 
great city of this kind cannot be successfully defended, if 
the army attacking it is sufficiently numerous." One of the 
gentlemen wanted " Babel destroyed," and gave -reasons 
which pleased me uncommonly. The Minister, however, 
replied : " Yes, that would be right enough, but for many 
reasons it will not do, and for this, among others, because 
Germans also, good people from Cologne and Frankfort, 
have laid out considerable capital there." 

We then spoke of the country already conquered, and that 
still to be conquered, in France. Alvensleben wished to hold 
the country as far as the Marne. Our Count had another 
wish, although he did not seem to think it practicable. " My 
ideal would be," he said, " to have a kind of colony belong- 

- 111 -] The Bear and his Skin. 49 

ing to Germany, a neutral state of eight or ten millions, 
where there should be no conscription, and whose taxes 
should flow towards Germany, so far as they were not 
needed for internal purposes. France would thus lose the 
districts which furnish her best soldiers, and would be pre- 
vented from doing mischief. In the rest of France no 
Bourbons, no Orleanists, I don't know whether we should 
have Lulu, or the fat Bonaparte, or the old one. I wanted 
no war about the Luxemburg business, for I knew well 
enough that six wars would come of it. But there must be 
an end to this. Don't let us talk, however, of the bear's 
skin till we have shot the bear ; I confess I am somewhat 
superstitious on that point." ; ' Yes," said Count Waldersee, 
" but the bear is already wounded !" 

The Chancellor then began to speak of his sons, and said, 
" I hope now that I shall keep at least one of my young 
fellows — I mean Herbert, who is on his way home. He 
had got very much in his place in the field. When he lay 
wounded near us in Pont-a-Mousson, and common dragoons 
came to see him, he conversed with them more freely than 
with the officers." 

At tea it was mentioned that in 18 14 the King had lived 
in the very same street, and, indeed, in a house close by the 
one he was quartered in now. The Minister said, " My 
plan for His Majesty in the future campaign is to send the 
Staff Guard on in front. The country right and left of the 
road must be thoroughly searched by a company of soldiers, 
and the head-quarters must keep together. Sentinels must 
be placed at short distances from one another. The King 
agreed to this plan, when I told him that it had been 
followed in 1 8 14. At that time the monarchs did not drive, 
but always rode, and Russian soldiers, twenty feet apart, 
lined the road." Some one observed that it was quite 

vol. 1. E 

So Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

possible that peasants or Francs-tireurs might fire on the 
King in the carriage. 

The next morning my landlord drove me to the castle in 
which, during the last century, the father-in-law of Louis the 
Fifteenth, Stanislaus Leszczynski, held his court there as 
Duke of Lorraine and Bar, and which has of late years 
been turned into Cuirassier barracks. From the back win- 
dows there is a charming view along the slowly-flowing 
Meuse beneath, and the groups of trees on the opposite 
bank. We paid a visit also to the chapel of the castle and 
to its " Fabrique," which word seems to mean both work- 
shop and lumber room. Here our soldiers — they were 
hussars said the sacristan— had done much damage ; sundry 
images of saints, with the noses knocked off, a shattered 
marble medallion, a chandelier in fragments, the archives 
scattered about, and an old oil picture spoiled by a sabre 
cut. Perhaps it had all been done by mistake in the dark ; 
but the two Frenchmen were very angry about it, and 
I think I did not convince them when I said that such 
disorder was not customary amongst us. Yet the people 
with whom J came in contact were not ill-disposed ; espe- 
cially my kind host, who more than once assured me he. 
considered me not as an enemy but as his guest. He 
belonged to that class, so numerous in France, of people in 
business, who having till the age of fifty honestly worried 
and saved carefully, retire from business with some means, 
enough to let them bring the remainder of their lives to a 
comfortable close, with no heavier duties than those be- 
longing to a flower and fruit garden, relieved by the reading 
of newspapers, a gossip in a coffee-house, and visits to 
neighbours and friends. Gillot had two sons, of whom one 
lived in Cochin China, the other was a clergyman some- 
where in France. He hoped that, since there was some 

ill.] Precautions for the King 's Safety. 5 1 

talk of the clergy being called upon to serve in the field, his 
son might be employed — as soldiers of a few weeks could 
be of little service — as a notary, and not sent to fight. 

About twelve we drove back to Commercy, through 

beautiful green wood with different kinds of trees and much 

underwood, ivy, and climbing plants, a thicket full of fine 

hiding-places for murderous Francs-tireurs, and out into 

open, undulating country. The soil did not seem to be 

good, the grain which we saw, oats, was thin and poor. We 

overtook several columns on the way, and passed some 

more camps. The precautionary measures, of which the 

Chief had spoken, were carried out. We had a vanguard 

of Uhlans in front, and the Staff Guard as escort, which 

being picked out from the different bodies of cavalry in the 

army, all colours were there together, green, red, and blue 

Hussars, Saxon and Prussian Dragoons, and So on. The 

Chancellor's carriages followed close behind those of the 

King. For a long time we passed through no village ; then 

we reached Saint-Aubin, and soon afterwards we came to a 

milestone by the side of the "road, on which we read, " Paris, 

241 kilometres," so that we were now only about a hundred 

and fifty miles from Babel. Further on we come upon a 

long train of Bavarian baggage-waggons belonging to the 

regiments of King John of Saxony, the Grand Duke of 

Hesse, von der Tann, Prince Otto, and others, which 

showed us that we were now among the army commanded 

by the Crown Prince. 

Soon after this, we drove into the little town of Ligny, 
packed with Bavarian and other soldiers ; and here, in the 
market-place, we waited some three-quarters of an hour in a 
strange confusion of vehicles of every kind, while the Chief 
paid a visit to the Crown Prince. This over, we extricated 
our carriages from the throng, and pursued our way, soon 

E 2 

52 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

coming to a lovely green valley with trees and meadows, 
through which we reached Bar-le-Duc by the side of a 
canal. On the way we again passed masses of Bavarian 
infantry in their light-blue uniforms. Then we came on an 
encampment of light horse, with their flickering cooking 
fires ; then on a second by which was a herd of oxen 
guarded by soldiers ; and lastly, on a third, with a park of 
waggons drawn up for the night. 

Bar-le-Duc, the largest French town to which the cam- 
paign has yet brought us, has about 15,000 inhabitants. 
It lies on a canal with beautiful green water, and on the 
shallow and muddy little river, the Ornain, over which are 
several bridges ; the greater part of the town being built 
on the heights on each side of these watercourses it has 
a very picturesque appearance. The streets and squares 
were full of life as we drove through, and women's faces 
were to be seen peeping at the carriages curiously from 
behind the window-blinds. When the King arrived he was 
received by a Bavarian band, which played " Heil dir im 
Sieger Kranz." He took up his abode in the principal 
street of the lower town, in the house of the Bank of 
France. We were quartered over the way with a M. Per- 
nay. The Bureau was established on the ground-floor, on 
the right hand of the entrance ; the room on the left of 
it serving for us all to breakfast and dine in. The Chief 
had the front room on the first-floor, Abeken a little room 
which looked out on a pretty garden at the back of the 
house, with its roses in full bloom, its little fir-trees and 
flowering shrubs. I had a room hung with pictures of 
saints, portraits of clergymen, and all kinds of things 
connected with the Church. The master of this elegantly- 
furnished house, apparently well-to-do, had gone away, and 
had left only an old waiting-woman behind. 

HI.] Capua — The Saxons in Battle. 53 

At dinner the King's private physician, Dr. Lauer, was 
a guest of the Minister. He was, as usual, communicative, 
and indeed seemed to be in a particularly good humour. 
During the Crown Prince's visit at Ligny the Minister had 
been obliged to breakfast with him and the Princes and 
higher officers of his suite, and had fared exceedingly well. 
"The Augustenburg one was there too; he wore the Bavarian 
uniform, so that I really did not recognise him, and looked 
quite at a loss when he was introduced to me." We 
learnt also from what the Chief said, that Count Hatzfeld 
was to act as. a sort of prefect during the time we remained 
here ; a position he was particularly well fitted to fill, from 
his thorough knowledge of the French language and his 
familiarity with the manners and customs of the country, 
gained by long residence in Paris. From another remark 
of the Minister, it appeared that the head-quarters were 
likely to remain here for several days — " as in Capua," said 
the Count, smiling. 

In the evening before tea, some more articles were sent 
to Germany, amongst others, one on the co-operation of 
the Saxons at Gravelotte, whose praises the Chief never 
tired in repeating. It ran thus : 

"In the battle at Metz on the 18th, the Saxons distin- 
guished themselves by their usual heroic bravery, and con- 
tributed most essentially to the attainment of the object of 
the German troops. To bring the Saxon Army Corps into 
the field, very long marches from the right to the extreme 
left wing had been made the day before, and even on the 
1 8th itself. In spite of these fatigues they attacked with 
extraordinary energy, drove the enemy back, and completely 
fulfilled the duty they were charged with, preventing the 
enemy breaking through towards Thionville. Their losses 
in these actions amounted to 2200 men." 

54 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Here I will again allow my journal to speak for itself : 
Thursday, August 25. — Quite early, before there was any 
work to be done, I took a walk in the upper, evidently older 
part of the town, where there is a fine Gothic church 
dedicated to St. Peter, with richly ornamental doors, and 
some handsome houses of the period of the middle Re- 
naissance. The view from the castle over the town is quite 
lovely, nothing is wanting to the beauty of the valley but 
running water. The little streets of the upper town are in 
many parts very steep, and for the most part narrow, and 
also dark. Below it is more sunny. There are here numbers 
of one-storied, but strong houses, well-built of freestone, 
with white open-barred outside summer shutters. In these 
parts of the town there are some churches in a good style, 
and amongst them a couple of new ones. The shutters are 
nearly all flung open ; people of whom we aslc the road 
answer politely. Not far from our quarters there is an old 
stone bridge over the river, which has a little tower in the 
middle of it, and which doubtless saw the days when 
Lorraine and the Duchy of Bar did not belong to France. 
We visited the railway station, where the waiting-rooms and 
offices have been shamefully destroyed — they say, by the 
French themselves. 

About nine o'clock the Bavarians began to march through. 
They went along the Rue de la Banque, and therefore 
passed the King's abode as well as ours. There were 
more French spectators than was convenient to us, on the 
pavement, on both sides of the rows of trees which border 
the wide street. The light cavalry in green uniforms 
turned up with red ; dark-blue cuirassiers, among whom 
were many fine men; lancers, artillery, infantry, regiment 
after regiment marched for several hours past the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the German armies. As they marched. 

III.] The Francs-tireurs, 5 5 

in front of the house where the King stood, they raised loud 
ringing hurrahs, while the cavalry brandished their sabres, 
and the infantry held up their right hands and lowered 
their colours, amid blaring fanfare of the trumpets of the 
cavalry, and music from the bands of the infantry. Who 
after the war of 1866, or even three months ago, would 
have thought it possible ? 

More articles were written for the post, and others for the 
telegraph. Our people press rapidly forwards. The heads 
of the German columns already stand between Chalons and 
Epernay. In Germany the three reserve armies which have 
been talked of for some days, are in process of formation. 
In opposition to our plan of creating a safe frontier on the 
west, by the incorporation of French territory, the neutral 
powers for the most part raise difficulties, especially Eng- 
land, which, jealous of us for some time past, shows a dis- 
position to tie our hands. The accounts from St. Petersburg 
appear to be better, where the Emperor, though not without 
some doubts of the measures we have in view, seems dis- 
posed to favour us, and where too the Archduchess Helena 
has given us her active sympathy. We stand, however, by 
our plan, dictated by the necessity of securing South Ger- 
many from the attacks of France once and for all, and of 
thus making it independent of French politics, the achieve- 
ment of which will doubtless be demanded by the national 
feeling with an energy quite irresistible. The troops before 
us report much exciting news about the bands of Francs-tireurs 
which have been formed. Their uniform is of such a kind 
that they can hardly be known as soldiers, and what they 
wear to distinguish them as such can easily be thrown 
away. One of those fellows, when a troop of our cavalry is 
going along the road, lies apparently sunning himself in the 
ditch near a wood. As soon as our men have passed, 

56 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

up he starts and fires his rifle at them, which he had kept 
concealed in a neighbouring bush, and runs into the wood, 
out of which, perfectly acquainted with the paths in it, he 
comes again, a little farther on, an innocent countryman 
in a blouse. I am inclined to think that these are not 
defenders of their country, but assassins, who should be 
hanged without ceremony, if they fall into our hands. 

At dinner Count Seckendorf, Adjutant in the Crown 
Prince's general staff, was one of the guests. ( Vide note i, 
at end of chapter.) He denied that the Crown Prince had, as 
was reported, caused some treacherous French peasants to 
be shot; on the contrary, said the Prince, he had always 
behaved with great mildness and forbearance, even towards 
officers of the enemy, who showed great want of soldier-like 

Count Bohlen, who is always full of fun and anecdotes, 
said, "When the battery von Breinitz, on the 18th, was 
sustaining such a sharp fire that in a short time nearly all 
its horses, and most of its men, were lying on the ground 
either dead or wounded, the captain said, as he rallied the 
last who were left standing, ' A fine fight this, isn't it ?' " 

The Chief said, " Last night I aslTed the sentinel outside 
the door, who he was, and what he got to eat, and I heard 
that the man had not had anything to eat for four-and- 
twenty hours. Then I went in and found the cook, and cut 
a great hunch of bread, and took it to him, which seemed to 
be most acceptable to him." 

The conversation then turned from Hatzfeld's prefecture 
to other prefects and commissaries in spe, and when first 
one and then another name, which were all well known, were 
objected to, the Minister remarked, " Our officials in France 
may be allowed to do a few stupid things, if only their 
administration in general be energetic." 

HI-] Abeken and Stained Glass. 57 

We spoke »f the telegraph lines so quickly established 
behind us, and it was said that the telegraphists whose posts 
were taken away, and their wires cut, begged the peasants 
to watch them at night, but they would not do so even 
when they were paid for it. At last they were told that 
each post should bear the name of the man who watched 
it, and this speculation on the vanity of the French 
was so successful that the fellows watched faithfully the 
whole night in their night-caps, and no more mischief was 

Friday, August 26. — They say that we are to advance 

to-day towards Sainte-Menehould, where our troops, as I 

telegraphed this morning to Germany, have taken prisoners 

800 of the Mobiles. This expected move was announced 

by Taglioni, who by the way gave us yesterday some most 

excellent caviare, which he had, I believe, from fat Borck. 

The first thing this morning, I wrote an article on the 

Francs-tireurs, and described in detail their delusions as to 

what is permitted in warfare. Then — for the Chief had 

gone out, some said to see the King, others to make a 

tour of inspection in the upper town (vide note 2, at end of 

chapter) — in company with Abeken I went to see the fine 

old church of Saint-Pierre. The walls and pillars in this 

church are not so high, and the latter much less slender 

than is usual in Gothic churches, but the whole is very 

elegant. On one of the walls is a skeleton of marble, 

presented by one of the duchesses, who loved her husband 

in such a marvellous fashion that when he died she had his 

heart preserved in the hand of this skeleton. The windows 

are filled with painted glass, which throws a coloured shade 

over the nave. Abeken was strangely moved and excited 

by it. He cited passages from the second part of Goethe's 

' Faust,' and showed himself for once quite the romanticist 

58 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

he is or wants to be taken for. I fear that with the aesthetic 
tendencies of his character he imbibed during his residence 
in Rome, where he was preacher to the embassy, a strong 
leaning to the Catholic church, which was not weakened 
by the fact that distinguished people in Berlin, to whose 
circles he had the entre"e, were enthusiastic for it, and his 
heart will never be in the work if he has to form front 
against that Church. 

Back again we went down steep stairs, through the narrow 
little passages to the street called after Oudinot, coming out 
immediately in front of the house where he was born, and 
which is pointed o'ut as such by a tablet. It is a little 
mean, tumble-down place, which has only three windows, 
and in whose interior a saw is going. Abeken saw two 
photographs of the church in a shop window, and bought 
them " as memorials of the devotional inspiration " which 
he there experienced, and honoured me by presenting me 
with one of them. As we returned to our quarters we 
heard that Eigenbrodt is suddenly ill with dysentery, and 
that he must be left behind. 

On the 26th we did move on, but not towards Sainte-Mene- 
hould, where it was still unsafe, and Francs-tireurs and 
Gardes Mobiles were hovering about, but to Clermont in 
Argonne, where we arrived about seven o'clock in the 
evening. For the last few miles of the road, which took us 
through several large villages with fine old churches, soldiers 
were stationed at every 200 paces, as a precaution. The 
houses were all built of grey stone without whitewash, and 
stood close one to another. Everyone here hobbled along 
in heavy wooden shoes, and the features of the men and 
women, who stood at the doors in great numbers, were, so 
far as I could judge in passing, almost all of them ugly. 
But it is probable that the prettiest girls had been placed in 

III.] A Cartful of Franc-tireur Prisoners. 59 

safety, before the arrival of the German birds of prey. We 
several times passed by woods of an extent which I had 
not expected to find in France, which had been described 
to me as poor in wood. They were always of deciduous 
trees, with thick underwood and climbing plants. 

We met first some Bavarian troops and baggage-waggons, 
from whom the King, who was just before us on the road, 
received a salvo of hurrahs, of which the Chancellor came 
in for a share. Then we overtook, one after the other, the 
31st Regiment, the 96th, and the 66th, and afterwards passed 
some Hussars and Uhlans, and lastly some Saxon artille- 
rists. Just outside a wood, not far from a village that, if I 
mistake not, is named Triancourt, we passed a vehicle con- 
taining captured Francs-tireurs, and behind them a second 
containing their arms and knapsacks, and the weapons of 
some other people of the same kind. Most of these fellows 
hung their heads, and one was crying. The Chief halted 
and spoke to them. He did not seem to have had anything 
very cheering to say. Afterwards a superior officer, who 
rode up to the Councillors' carriage and got a friendly glass 
of cognac, told us that these fellows or comrades of theirs, 
had, the day before, not far from this place, shot or murdered 
a major of Uhlans, named von Fries or Friesen. When 
taken prisoners, they had not behaved like soldiers, but had 
escaped from their escort, but in the vineyards to which 
they had crept, the troopers, assisted by some riflemen, had 
driven them up into a corner like game, and some of them 
were again captured, others shot or cut down. It is evident 
that the war is now beginning, in consequence of the prac- 
tices of these Francs-tireurs, to take a savage turn. The 
soldier looks on them henceforward as men who meddle 
with things with which by right they have nothing to do, as 
those who do not belong to the profession, as mere bunglers, 

60 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and he hardly needs to add to that that they are likely 
enough to lie in wait to shoot him. 

We arrived at Clermont wet through, for we had, twice 
on the way, been overtaken by heavy showers of rain and 
hail, and with the exception of Keudell and Hatzfeld, we 
took up our abode in the town school, on the left side of 
the principal street. The King was quartered just opposite. 
In the evening we had an opportunity of taking a look at 
the place. It may have about two thousand inhabitants, 
and is picturesquely situated, partly in a .hollow on the side 
of a low hill in the wooded chain of the Argonnes, and 
partly on a conical-shaped hill with a chapel on its summit. 
The long Grande Rue was full of baggage waggons and 
carriages in consequence of our arrival, and the pavement 
was covered with thick yellow mud. Here and there a 
Saxon Jager was to be seen. At sunset Abeken and I 
climbed the stone steps behind the school-house, up to the 
old Gothic church which stands half-way up the hill, and is 
surrounded by tall shady trees. This church is dedicated 
to St. Didier, a saint of whose existence I was ignorant 
up to this time. It was open, and we entered, but in the 
twilight we could only see the outlines of the chancel and 
altar. The lamp shed a twilight on the figures on the 
walls, and the last rays of sunlight fell on the pavement 
through the painted windows. We were alone. All around 
us was quiet as the grave. Only a muffled murmur reached 
us from all the babel of men's voices, the rattle of wheels, 
the tramp-tramp of marching troops, and the hurrahs that 
were saluting the King. 

As we came down, a May fly flew past us. The Minister 
had gone, and left word for us to follow him to the Hotel 
des Voyageurs, where we were to dine with him, our cooking 
waggon being late, or not having arrived. We went there 

Hi-] A School Dormitory. 61 

and found food and places at the Chief's table, in a sort of 
back-room used for skittles, and full of noise and tobacco- 
smoke. An officer with a long black beard, wearing the 
cross of St. John, dined with us. This was Prince Pless. 
He said that the captive French officers at Pont-a-Mousson 
behaved in a very arrogant and shameless way, and spent 
the whole night in drinking and playing hazard. A general 
had wanted a private carriage, as proper for his rank, and 
had behaved in a very unseemly way when it was, as was 
natural, refused him. The Francs-tireurs and their unmen- 
tionable mode of warfare were then talked of; and the 
Minister mentioned, what Abeken had told me already, 
that when he overtook some of them in the road this after- 
noon, he had given them a terrible lecture. " I told them, 
' Vous seres tous fiendus ; vous rietes pas soldats, vous Hes 
des assassins ' ; upon which some of them began to whine." 
That the Chancellor is anything but hard we have already 
seen, and shall see often again. 

In our quarters, the Chief had a room on the first floor ; 
Abeken had, I believe, the back room on the same floor ; 
the rest of us were sent up to the second floor, to the 
dormitory of the two or three scholars whom the school- 
master seemed to have had — a very large room, in which at 
first there was, by way of furniture, nothing but two beds, 
with mattresses but without blankets, and two chairs. The 
night was bitterly cold, and I had nothing but my waterproof 
cloak for bedclothes ; but I got on pretty well, sleeping on 
the thought, How must the soldiers fare, camping out in 
muddy fields off the roadside ? 

In the morning a little quiet but ingenious contrivance 
and re-arrangement was required to fit. our sleeping-room for 
our very different requirements. It became, without losing 
its fundamental character, at once Bureau, dining-room, and 

62 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

tea-room. In the artistic hands of Theiss some trestles, on 
which stood a kneading-trough, a cask raised to the neces- 
sary height by a not very high box, a door which we appro- 
priated, and which was laid by the artist on the top of the 
kneading-trough and cask, made us a magnificent table, 
at which the Chancellor himself afterwards dined and 
breakfasted, and which between the meal times served 
as writing-table for the secretaries and Councillors, at 
which world-stirring ideas of the Count in the room below 
were reduced to shape and written out, and the most 
important despatches, instructions, telegrams, and news- 
paper articles penned. The want of chairs was happily 
supplied by a form from the kitchen and an empty box or 
two ; a cracked and altogether shaky washhand-basin was 
found, which Willisch, clever as an old sailor in mending 
and patching, made tight again by the help of sealing-wax. 
For candlesticks, the Minister and ourselves made use of 
the empty wine bottles — champagne-bottles answer the 
purpose best — and in the necks of these, good stearine 
candles burn as brightly as in the sockets of silver candle- 
sticks. Not so easily and happily as in the matters of 
utensils, furniture and lights, did we contrive about getting 
the necessary water either for washing or drinking purposes, 
for the crowds of men who had been besieging the little wells 
of Clermont during the two days before had pumped away 
all the water for themselves and their horses. Only one 
of us, who was something of a grumbler, complained of 
these little misfortunes; the rest, including Abeken, who 
was an old traveller, seemed to take them, as I did, good- 
humouredly, as giving a flavour to the expedition. 

In two little school-rooms on the ground-floor the Bureau 
of the War Minister, or the general staff, was established ; 
and there, quartermasters and soldiers wrote on the school 

HI.] The Chancellor's Work-room. 63 

tables and the masters' desks. On the walls were different 
kinds of apparatus for teaching, on one were maps and 
sentences and a black-board for teaching arithmetic, on the 
other an advice most applicable to these bad times : " Faites- 
vous une etude de la patience et sachez ceder par raison.'' 

While we were still drinking our coffee in the morning, 
the Chief came and angrily inquired, why the proclamation, 
according to which certain offences of the population con- 
trary to military law were to be punished with death had 
not yet been posted up. By his order I went to inquire of 
Stieber, who had found out good quarters for himself in the 
other part of the town, and I returned with the answer that 
Abeken had given the proclamation to the general staff, and 
that it was his duty as the director of the field police to post 
up only such. proclamations as issued from his Majesty. 

I took this message to the Chancellor and received some 
more commissions. I saw that he was hardly better put up 
than we. He had slept that night on a mattress on the 
floor, his revolver within reach, and he worked at a table 
so small that he could hardly put both elbows on it at once, 
in a corner near the door. The room was meanly fur- 
nished ; there was neither sofa, arm-chair, nor anything of 
the kind. He who for years had made the history of the 
world, in whose head its currents met and changed cha- 
racter according to his plans, had hardly a place to lay his 
head, while stupid courtiers in their comfortable four-posters 
had the sound sleep of the idle classes ; and even M. Stieber 
himself had managed to get much more comfortably housed 
than our master. 

On this occasion I saw a letter which had fallen into our 
hands, having been sent from Paris some days ago, and 
addressed to a French officer of high rank. According 
to its contents, the circles to which he belonged neither 

64 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

believed in the possibility of further resistance, nor hoped 
to maintain the dynasty on the throne. The writer did not 
know what to hope or expect in the immediate future ; a 
Republic without Republicans, or a monarchy without be- 
lievers in monarchy, appeared to be the choice which he 
saw before him. To him the Republicans appeared too 
much in love with moderation; the Monarchists too self- 
seeking. They were enthusiastic, he said, about the army, 
but no one showed any great activity in joining it in order 
to fight the enemy. 

The Chief began to speak again of the performances of 
the Saxons on the day of Gravelotte. " Especially the 
little black regiments ought to be praised," he continued ; 
" they speak so modestly of themselves in their papers, and 
yet they fought with extraordinary bravery. Try to get some 
details of their fine conduct .on the 18th." 

Meanwhile everyone was working hard in the Bureau. 
On the table, which still bore every sign of its origin as a 
kitchen door, councillors and secretaries wrote and de- 
ciphered with great activity, in the midst of a picturesque 
confusion of portfolios and papers, cloaks, shoes, and clothes- 
brushes, bottles with candles in them, with which to seal 
the documents, torn paper, and open envelopes, with which 
the ground was strewed. Orderlies came and went, couriers 
and Government messengers. Everybody talked without 
minding anyone else. We were too much in a hurry to 
take notice. Abeken darted in and out between the im- 
provised table and the messengers, and his voice was more 
distinct than ever. I believe that his nimble hand must 
have turned out a fresh piece of writing every half-hour this 
morning, so continually was he heard to push back his 
stool and call the messengers. From the street below rose 
the almost continual tramp, tramp, music, the rattle of 

in.] A Panorama in France. 65 

drums, and the rumbling of wheels. It was not easy to 
keep one's thoughts together, or to do one's work as one 
wished. But it had to be done with good will. 

The Chancellor and the Councillors dined with the King, 
and after our dinner, for which the cooking waggon had once 
more furnished its stores, Willisch and I mounted the steps 
up to the church, and then along a winding path to the top 
of the hill, where there is a chapel dedicated to St. Anne. 
Here, in the shade of a wide-spreading tree, a group of 
country folks, soldiers from a Freiberg rifle battalion, were 
enjoying their evening meal. They had been in the battle 
on the 1 8th, and I tried to obtain from them some par- 
ticulars of the action, but I did not get much out of them, 
except that they had lost a great many men. Here and 
there on the road we found traces of old walls, and on the 
flat at the top of the hill we observed a certain regularity in 
the trees and bushes which suggested that a great garden 
and grounds had once existed here. 

At one side of the chapel, between dark green trees of 
arbor vitas, a sloping path led up to some seats at a point 
where the prospect is lovely. In the middle of this path 
walked a clergyman in a black cassock, reading in a prayer- 
book, or book of devotion. It is a splendid point of view. 
In the foreground close at our feet lay the little town. North 
and East beyond it was a broad plain, with stubble-fields, 
villages, and churches with their spires, groups of trees, and 
reaches of woodland. To the south and west the ridge of 
the Argonnes, endless dark green woods stretching far away 
till they became a misty blue* This plain is traversed by 
three roads. One leads in a straight line to Varennes. 
Near this road, not far from the town, was a Bavarian camp, 
the fires of which lighted up the picturesque clouds of smoke. 
To the right, against the horizon, was the village of Faucoix 

vol. 1. f 

66 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

on a wooded hill. Further to the right more single hills, while 
behind and over these, just visible in the light blue distance, 
was the high-lying little town of Montfaulcon. More to the 
East a second road crossed the plain in the foreground, going 
towards Verdun. Still further to the right, in the semicircle 
near a Saxon camp, ran the road to Bar-le-Duc, on which 
troops were marching our way, their bayonets gleaming in 
the setting sun, and the, roll of their drums coming faint 
to our ears from the distance. 

We sat a long time looking at this lovely picture, flooded 
over with the light of the setting sun — so long that we 
watched the lengthening shadows of the hills creeping over 
the fields, till all was dark. On our way back we took an- 
other look into the church of St. Didier, where some Hessian 
troops were quartered. They lay on straw in the choir 
before the altar and — certainly without thinking any harm, 
for they were good quiet folks — lighted their pipes at the 
sacred lamp. 

I shall here introduce some interesting notes from the 
journal of a Bavarian superior officer, which have been 
placed at my disposal. In May, 187 1, on the return march 
to Clermont he was quartered in the same house in which 
King William had lived during our residence there, and he 
also visited the hill and its chapel to St. Anne. There, 
too, he met- the priest, made his acquaintance, and learnt 
from him all sorts of interesting things. The remains of 
walls which we noticed had belonged to an old castle, which 
was afterwards turned into- a cloister, destroyed at the 
time of the first French Revolution. The priest was an old 
man who had lived in the place for fifty-six years. He was 
a man of much feeling, and a good patriot. The mis- 
fortunes of his country lay heavy on his heart, but he did 

Hi.] The Dog and the Chancellor. 67 

not deny that it was a mischievous arrogance which had 
brought this sad fate upon it. Of this arrogance he gave a 
curious proof, which I will give as nearly as I can in the 
Father's own words. 

" Like you, gentlemen, the French Cuirassiers appeared 
here suddenly last August. The beautiful hill tempted 
them too, to admire the country from its summit. They 
went joking along, and coming to my church, standing open, 
as usual, they said that a public-house would have been 
more in place here. Whereupon they got a cask of wine, which 
they drank in the chapel, after which they had dancing and 
singing. Suddenly there appeared a sturdy cuirassier, who 
carried on his back a dog dressed in woman's clothes, which 
he set down in the circle of dancers. ' Cest Monsieur 
de Bismarck!' he cried, and their noisy delight over this 
wretched joke seemed as if it would never end. They pulled 
the dog by the tail, and as he howled they shrieked, ' Cest 
le langage de Monsieur de Bismarck ! ' They danced with 
the creature, and at last the soldier got it on his back 
again; after which they formed a procession, which was 
to go down the hill and through the town. This excited 
me past bearing. I begged a hearing, and told them it was 
a shame to compare any man, even an enemy, to a brute. 
In vain ; they overpowered me with noise and thrust me on 
one side. In a rage I called out to them : ' Look to it, 
that the punishment due to insolence does not fall on your 
head.' However, they would not be warned ; the noise 
went on and the crowd went away with their dog, shouting 
and brawling, unhappily, meeting only applause all through 
the town. Ah ! all that I feared was only too completely 
realised. Fourteen days had not passed before Bismarck 
stood as conqueror on the very spot where he had been 
ridiculed in so absurd a fashion. I saw this man of iron, 

f 2 

68 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

but I did not then think him such a terrible person, or that 
he would make my poor France bleed to death. Yes, I 
can never forget the day when these soldiers sinned against 
him so." 

The author of the journal continues : " We returned to our 
quarters, and our host willingly showed us the room in 
which the Emperor William lived and the bed on which he 
slept. The old gentleman could not sufficiently praise the 
Emperor's chivalrous manners, and he did not think Bis- 
marck nearly so dreadful as he was represented. The Count 
had come there one day to see the Emperor, but had to wait 
a very long time, for Moltke was already engaged with him. 
He had taken a walk with Bismarck through the garden 
while he was waiting, and found him very pleasant. He 
spoke French admirably, and no one would have thought 
him such a terrible Prussian. He had talked with him 
about all kinds of rural matters, and had shown himself as 
much at home there as in politics. Such a man, he said 
emphatically, is what France needs." 

Sunday, August 28. — When we got out of bed a fine, soft 
rain was falling from a dull grey sky, reminding us that 
Goethe, not far from here, in 1792, in frightful weather, 
amidst mud and dirt, had passed the days before and after 
the cannonade at Valmy. I went to General Sheridan, 
who had found a home for himself in the back-room of an 
apothecary's shop, and by the Chief's directions, took him 
the Pall Mall Gazette. Then I wished to get from the 
Saxons some details of the 18th, but at first I could only 
find single soldiers who had no time to tell me anything. At 
last, by chance, I came upon one of their Landwehr officers, 
a country gentleman, Fuchs-Nordhof, from Mocker, near 
Leipsic. But he could not tell me much that was new. The 

HI.] The Necessary Conditions of Peace. 69 

Saxons had fought nobly near Sainte-Marie-aux-ChSnes and 
at Saint-Privat, and had saved the Guard there, who had fallen 
somewhat into disorder, from entire defeat. The Freiberg 
riflemen had taken the French position on the right attack, 
at the point of the bayonet without firing a shot. The 
Leipsic regiment, the 107th, had lost many men and almost 
all its officers. This was all. He told me also that Krauss- 
haar had fallen. 

When the Minister rose we had plenty to do. Our cause 
makes excellent progress. I am to telegraph that the Saxon 
cavalry at Voussieres and Beaumont, in the North, have 
scattered the Twelfth Chasseurs. I learnt, and was allowed 
to repeat to others, that the determination to take some 
provinces from France was still firmly adhered to, and that 
peace would be concluded on no other terms. An article 
sanctioned by the Chief, explained our reasons in the fol- 
lowing manner : 

The German armies, since the victorious days of Mars-la- 
Tour and Gravelotte, have continually advanced, and the time 
appears to have come when the question may be put under 
what conditions Germany will conclude peace with France. 
In this we must not be governed by the love of glory or 
the lust of conquest, and as little by the magnanimity 
dinned into our ears by the foreign press. In all our pro- 
ceedings we have to consider merely how best to protect 
Germany, and especially South Germany, from fresh attacks 
of French ambition, such as we have had renewed more 
than a dozen times from Louis XIV. to the present day, 
and which will be repeated as often as France feels herself 
strong enough to do so. The enormous sacrifices, both in 
men and money, which the German people have made in 
this war, and all our victories, would be in vain, if the power 
of France to attack were not weakened, and Germany's 

Jo Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

capacity of defence not strengthened. The German people 
have a right to demand this. If we contented ourselves 
with a mere change of dynasty or with a contribution, no 
substantial improvement in our condition would ensue. 
Nothing would prevent this war from being the first of a 
series of wars ; and especially the sting of the present defeat 
would drive the pride of the French to revenge the German 
victories. The contribution would soon be forgotten, the 
riches of France being so great in comparison with our own. 
Each new dynasty, in order to maintain itself, would seek 
compensation for the disaster of the dynasty now in power 
by victories over us. Magnanimity is no doubt a very 
estimable virtue ; but, in politics, magnanimity, as a rule, 
gets little thanks. In 1866 we took not a single acre of 
territory from the Austrians. Have we found that we 
are thanked in Vienna for this self-denial ? Are they not 
full there of bitter feelings of revenge, simply because they 
were beaten ? And further, the French growled at us from 
envy because of Koniggratz, where, not they, but a foreign 
power were conquered. How will they ever forgive us the 
victories of Worth and Metz, whether we magnanimously 
renounce or do not renounce any cession of territory ? How 
they will dream of vengeance for the defeats which they 
have now suffered at our hands ! 

If in 18 14 and 18 15 the French were treated other- 
wise than as we here indicate, the result of the leniency 
with which France was then dealt with has sufficiently 
proved that it was a mistaken clemency. Had the 
French been weakened in those days, as it was desirable 
they should have been in the interests of the peace of the 
world, we should not have had to be carrying on this 
war now. 

The danger lies, not in Bonapartism, although Bona- 

III.] The Defence of South Germany. 7 1 

partism is specially pledged to a Chauvinistic foreign policy. 
It lies in the incurable, ineradicable arrogance of that por- 
tion of the French people which gives the tone to France. 
This trait of the French national character, which will pre- 
scribe its line of action to every dynasty, let it call itself what 
it may, even to a French republic, will continually be a 
goad to attacks upon peaceable neighbours. He who 
desires the load of military armament in Europe to be 
lightened, he who wants to see such a peace as will permit 
nothing of the kind, must wish for a solid and impreg- 
nable barrier against the war-chariot of the French lust of 
conquest, not in a moral but a material form ; that for the 
future it may be made as difficult as possible to the French 
to invade South Germany with an army comparatively small, 
so as by the possibility of such an invasion to constrain the 
Germans of the south, even in a time of peace, to consider 
France. To secure South Germany by defensible frontiers 
is our present task. To fulfil it is to liberate Germany 
entirely — is, in fact, to complete the war of liberation of 
1813 and 1814. 

The least, therefore, which we must demand, the least 
which the German nation in all its parts, but especially our 
countrymen and fellow-soldiers beyond the Maine, will 
demand is the cession of the sallyports of France towards 
Germany, the conquest of Strassburg and Metz for Germany. 
To expect a lasting peace from the dismantling [of these 
fortresses would be a short-sighted illusion of the same kind 
as the hope that it is possible to gain the French by mere 
clemency. It must not be forgotten, moreover, that when 
we demand these cessions we are demanding the cession of 
territory originally German, a considerable part of which is 
still German, the inhabitants of which may perhaps again 
learn in time to feel their German nationality. 

72 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

To us change of dynasty is a matter of indifference; a 
war contribution might weaken France for a time finan- 
cially. What we want is the increased security of the German 
frontier, and this is only attainable by the transformation of 
the two fortresses which threaten us, into bulwarks to protect 
us. From being French fortresses of aggression Strassburg 
and Metz must become German places of defence. 

He who sincerely desires peace on the continent of 
Europe, he who wishes that nations should lay down their 
arms, and that the plough should prevail over the sword, 
must wish above all that the neighbours of France on the 
East may secure this position, for France is the only dis- 
turber of peace, and will remain so, so long as she has the 

Note (i). — Among other matters we talked at dinner of the Augus- 
tenburg prince who was serving with the Bavarians. The opinion 
expressed of him was much what was said to me some months later by 
a kindly disposed friend of his, who was at that time a professor in Kiel, 
in a letter to myself. " We all know that he is not born for any heroic 
exploits. It is not his nature. It is a family trait, that he rather takes 
to a persistent waiting on Providence, an expectation of the mar- 
vellous things his inheritance is to bring him. He has never once made 
any attempt at heroism. It would have been much more seemly if, 
instead of hanging about the army as a mere amateur of battle-fields, he 
had led a company or a battalion of the soldiers who were once almost 
his own, as a captain or a major, or, if he preferred it, a Bavarian 
company. Probably little would have come of it, but one would have 
been glad at least of the goodwill it would have shown." 

Note (2). — In the latter case the following may refer to our stay in 
Bar-le-Duc. Charles Loizet says in the Paris Revue Politique et Litti- 
raire for February or March, 1874: — "In >• town in eastern France 
which had the sorry honour of harbouring the highest personages of the 
invasion for several days, and where the forced march on Sedan was 
decided on at a moment's notice, the famous Bismarck took a walk 
round alone, up and down through the most outlying quarters of the 
town, indifferent to the ill-wishes and the amazement of the people who 
pointed at him. A man whose heart was made bitter by domestic 

HI.] The Defence of South Germany. 73 

trouble, and who had ceased to care for his own life, secretly sought a 
concealed weapon for an enterprise which would have made a great 
sensation. It was refused him, the people were terrified for fear he 
should find one. The inhabitants of the town, who were very patriotic, 
had been previously disarmed. The man hung about for days, and his 
plan went to the grave with him. And the Chancellor went alone, in 
uniform, for a walk through the meadows above .the upper town 1" The 
regret with which M. Loizet concludes his story has something tragi- 
comical in it. 

74 Bismarck in the Franco- German War. [Chap. 



Sunday, August 28. — At tea we were surprised by great 
news. With the whole army, except what remains behind 
for the investment of Metz, we alter the direction of our 
march, and instead of going Westward to Chalons we move 
Northwards under the edge of the forest of Argonnes to 
the Ardennes, and the Meuse district. Our immediate 
object will be, it is said, Grand Pre". This movement is 
owing to Marshal MacMahon, who, with a strong force to 
the north of us, is marching to Metz to relieve Bazaine. 

On the 2gtA, by ten o'clock, we started. The weather, 
which was at the beginning of the day rainy and cold, now 
improved, and the sky gradually cleared. We passed 
different villages, and sometimes a pretty chateau and park. 
On the road were Bavarian camps, line infantry, riflemen, 
light cavalry, and cuirassiers. We drove through the little 
town of Varennes, by the small two-windowed house 
where Louis XVI. was arrested by the postmaster of Sainte- 
Menehould, and which now contains a store of scythes be- 
longing to the firm of Nicot-Jacquesson. The first market 
we came to in the town, with square-trimmed lime-trees, 
the little three-cornered square, which came next, and the 
large market-place further on, were all full of foot and 
horse soldiers, waggons, and guns. The crowd of men and 
animals was so great that we could with difficulty get 
through them out into the open ground, and then it was 

IV.] Setting out for Beaumont. 75 

only to pass through other villages and by more camps, past 
the Prussian artillery, to Grand Pre", where the Chancellor 
took up his quarters in the Grande Rue, two or three houses 
from the market. The King lived at the apothecary's, not 
far off on the left side of the road, towards the gloomy old 
castle above the town. The second division ,of the head- 
quarters, in which was Prince Karl, Prince Leopold of Ba- 
varia, the Grand Duke of Weimar, and the Hereditary Grand 
Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had arrived at the neigh- 
bouring village of Juvin. The quartermaster had got a 
lodging for me not far from opposite the Chief, in a modest 
little room belonging to a milliner, who had left home. 
On our arrival in the market-place we saw there some 
French prisoners, and towards evening more came in. I 
heard that a collision with Mac-Mahon's army was expected 
the next day. 

In Grand Pre", too, the Chief showed that he had no fear 
of any murderous attack on his person. He went about the 
narrow streets of the town freely in the twilight without a 
companion, in lonely places where he was quite liable to 
be attacked. I say this from my own knowledge — for I 
followed him at a little distance. It seemed to me possible 
that I might be of use to him. 

I heard the next morning that the King and the Chan- 
cellor were going out together, to be present at the great 
battue of this second French army. Remembering what the 
Chancellor said to me at Pont-a-Mousson, one day when 
he came back from Rezonville, and the proverb he quoted 
another time, " It is he who makes himself green that the 
goats will nibble," I took heart as the carriage drove up, 
and begged him to take me with him. He answered, 
" Yes, but if we stay out the night, what will you do ?" I 
replied, " Never mind, Excellency, I shall be able to take 

y6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

care of myself." ""Well, then, come along," said he, smiling. 
He then took another stroll to the market-place, while I 
joyfully got together my bag, my waterproof, and my faith- 
ful diary, and when he came back and got into the carriage, 
he beckoned to me to take a seat by his side. A man must 
have luck, as well as do his duty, to get on. 

It was a little after nine when we started. First we went 
back a little way on the same road we had come by a few 
days before, then to the left, up through vineyards, past 
more villages in a hilly country, with columns of troops and 
parks of artillery everywhere before us marching or resting, 
then down another road to the right, through the valley to 
the little town of Busancy, which we entered at eleven 
o'clock, where we halted in the market-place to wait for 
the King. 

The Count was very communicative on the way. First he 
complained that he was so often disturbed at his work by 
people talking outside his door, " especially as some of the 
gentlemen speak so loud. The common inarticulate noises 
do not irritate me. Music, or the rattle of carriages, does 
not put me out; but talking, if the words are audible, is 
quite a different thing. I then want to know what is being 
said, and lose the thread of my thoughts." 

Further on he remarked that it was not proper for me 
to return the military salutes of officers who passed the 
carriage. The salute was not to him as Minister or Chan- 
cellor, but simply to his rank as general, and officers might 
take it amiss if a civilian took their salutes as including 

He feared that nothing decisive would be done to-day, an 
opinion which was shared by some Prussian artillery officers 
standing by their guns close to Busancy, whom he asked 
about it. " This," said he, " reminds me of a wolf hunt I 

IV.] King and Chancellor in Danger. TJ 

once had in the Ardennes, which begin just here. We were 
for many long days up in the snow, and at last heard that 
they had found the tracks of a wolf. When we went after 
him he had vanished. So it will be to-day with the 

Then he expressed a hope that he might meet his second 
son here, about whom he frequently inquired of the officers, 
and he remarked, " You see how little Nepotism there is 
with us. He has been serving now twelve months, and 
has not been promoted, whilst others, who have not served 
much more than one month, are ensigns already." I 
ventured to ask how that could be. " Indeed, I don't 
know," replied he. " I have particularly inquired whether 
there was any fault in him — drinking or anything of that 
kind ; but no, he seems to have conducted himself quite 
properly, and in the cavalry fight at Mars-la-Tour he 
charged the French square as bravely as any man among 
them." A few weeks afterwards both sons were promoted 
to the rank of officers. 

Then, amongst other things, he told another of his ex- 
periences on the evening of the 18th : " I had sent my horse 
to water, and stood in the dusk near a battery, which was 
firing. The French were silent, but," he continued, " when 
we thought their guns were disabled, they were only con- 
centrating their guns and mitrailleuses for a last great push. 
Suddenly they began a quite fearful fire with shells and such 
like — an incessant cracking and rolling, whizzing and 
screaming in the air. , We were separated from the King, 
who had been sent back by Roon. I stayed by the battery, 
and thought to myself, ' if we have to retreat, put yourself on 
the first gun-carriage you can find.' We now expected that 
the French infantry would support the attack, when they 
might have taken me prisoner unless the artillery carried me 

78 Bismarck in the Franco- German War. [Chap. 

away with them. But the attack failed, and at last the 
horses returned, and I set off back to the King. We had 
gone out of the rain into the gutter, for where we had ridden 
to the shells were falling thick, whereas before they had 
passed over our heads. Next morning we saw the deep 
holes they had ploughed in the ground. 

" The King had to go back farther, as I told him to do, 
after the officers had made representations to me. It was 
now night. The King said he was hungry, and what could 
he have to eat ? There was plenty to drink — wine and bad 
rum from a sutler — but not a morsel to eat but dry bread. 
At last, in the village, we got a few cutlets, just enough for 
the King, but not for any one else, so I had to find out 
something for myself. His Majesty would sleep in the 
carriage, among dead horses and badly-wounded men. He 
afterwards found accommodation in a little public-house. 
The Chancellor had to look out somewhere else. The heir 
of one of the greatest German potentates (the young Here- 
ditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg) kept watch by our 
common carriage, that nothing should be stolen, and 
Sheridan and I set off to find a sleeping-place. We came 
to a house which was still burning, and that was too hot. 
I asked at another, ' full of wounded soldiers.' In a third, 
also full of the wounded. In a fourth, just the same ; but 
I was not to be denied this time. I looked up and saw 
a window which was dark. ' What have you got up there ? ' 
I asked. ' More wounded soldiers.' ' That we shall see 
for ourselves.' I went up and found three empty beds, 
with good and apparently fairly clean straw mattresses. 
Here we took up our night quarters and I slept capitally." 

" Yes,'' said his cousin, Count Bismarck-Bohlen, when the 
Chancellor told us this story the first time, and with less 
detail ; " you did sleep sound ; and so did Sheridan, who — 

IV.] Field Commissariat. 79 

where he got it I don't know — had rolled himself up in 
white linen all over, and who must have been dreaming of 
you, for I heard him several times murmuring, ' O, dear 
Count !' H'm, and the Hereditary Grand Duke, who 
took the thing very well, is a particularly pleasant and 
agreeable young fellow.'' " The best of the story is," said 
Bohlen, " that there was no necessity for such a pinch, for 
we found out that quite close by there was an elegant country- 
house, which had been prepared for Bazaine — with good 
beds, sack in the cellar, and what not — everything of the 
best. One of our generals lodged there and had a capital 
supper with his friends.'' 

On our way to Busancy, the Chancellor went on to say, 
" The whole day I had had nothing to eat but the soldiers' 
bread and fat bacon. Now we found some eggs — five or 
six — the others must have theirs boiled ; but I like them 
uncooked, so I got a couple of them and broke them on the 
pommel of my sword, and was much refreshed. When it 
got light I took the first warm food for six-and-thirty hours 
— it was only pea-sausage-soup, which General Goben gave 
me, but it tasted quite excellent." 

Afterwards they gave us a roast fowl, " over whose tough- 
ness the best teeth would have despaired." This had been 
offered to him by a sutler, after he had bought one un- 
cooked from a soldier. Bismarck had taken the former 
and paid for it, and gave the soldier's to the sutler, telling 
him, " If we meet again in the course of the war, you shall 
give it to me roasted ; if not, then I hope you will pay it me 
back in Berlin." 

The market-place in Busancy, a small provincial town, was 
full of officers, Hussars, Uhlans, messengers, and vehicles of 
every kind. After a time Sheridan and Forsythe came. At 
half-past eleven the King appeared, and immediately after- 

80 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

wards we started again, news coming that the French were 
unexpectedly going to make a stand. 

Some four kilometres from Busancy we came on higher 
land with bare depressions to the right and left, with heights 
again, beyond. Suddenly, a dull heavy crack in the distance. 
"A cannon shot," said the Minister. A little farther on, 
beyond the depression on the left, on a treeless rise, I saw 
two columns of infantry stationed, and in front of them two 
guns, which were being fired. But it was so far from us 
that we hardly heard the shots. The Chief was surprised at 
my sharp eyes, and put on his spectacles, as I now for the 
first time notice that he is obliged to do when he wants to 
make out anything distant. Little white round clouds, like 
air-balloons, floated for two or three seconds in the air over 
the hollow beyond which the guns stood, and vanished with 
a flash ; they were shrapnels. The guns must be German, 
and seem to aim at the slope beyond the declivity on the 
other side. We could make out a wood on the slope, and 
in front of it dark lines which were probably Frenchmen. 
Still further off on the horizon a high spur of hill, with 
three or four large trees on the top of it, stood forward ; on 
the map this was called the village of Stonn, where, as we 
afterwards heard, the Emperor Napoleon remained to watch 
the battle. 

The firing on the left soon ceased. Bavarian artillery, 
blue cuirassiers, and green light horse came along the road 
past us at full trot. A little further on, as we drove through 
some brushwood, we heard a crackling, rather like a long 
drawn out and badly-fired platoon salvo. "A squirt of 
shot,'' said Engel, turning round on the box. 

Not far from this, on a spot where Bavarian riflemen 
were resting in the ditches and in a clover field by the side 
of a road, the Minister mounted his horse, in order to ride 

IV.] The Battle of Beaumont. 81 

on with the King, who is before us. We remained some 
time standing on the same spot, and artillery kept continually 
galloping past. Many of the riflemen seemed to be drop- 
ping out of the ranks. One of them begged mournfully for 
water. " I have had dysentery for five days," he murmured. 
" Ah, dear comrade, I am dying ; no doctor can do me any 
good ! Burning heat inside, nothing but blood running from 
me ! " We comforted him, and gave him water with a little 
cognac. Battery after battery rushed past us, till at last the 
road was again free. Right in front, on the horizon, which 
was here very close to us, the white clouds from shells 
were again rising, so that we concluded that the fight was 
going on in a valley not far off. The thunder of the guns 
was more distinct, and the snarl of the mitrailleuses, the 
noise of which sounds to us something like a coffee-mill at 
work. At last we turned into a stubble field, on the right 
from the road, which goes down at that point into a broad 
depression to the left. The ground now sloped gently to a 
height on which the King had taken his stand with our Chief 
and a number of princes, generals, and other officers of 
high rank, about a thousand paces in advance of the 
horses and carriages which brought them here. I followed 
them over fresh ploughed fields and stubble fields, and a 
little apart from them I watched, till night fell, the Batile 
of Beaumont. 

A broad not very deep valley stretched before us, at the 
bottom of which was a beautiful deep green wood of leafy 
trees. Then an open, gently rising country in which the 
small town of Beaumont, with its fine church, was visible 
a little to the right. Still further to the right were more 
woods. To the left also, at the edge of the valley in the 
background, there were woods to which led a road bordered 
with Italian poplars. In front of them was a small village, 

vol. I. - G 

82 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

or rather a collection of buildings, belonging to an estate. 
Beyond the gently-swelling ground before and behind Beau- 
mont the prospect terminated with dark hills in the dis- 

Now the guns could be seen distinctly firing. From the 
heavy cloud of smoke hanging over it, the town seemed to 
be burning, and soon afterwards smoke burst up from the 
village or farm at the wood beyond the poplar-trees. 

The firing now slackened a little. First it was in the 
neighbourhood of the town, then it moved upward some- 
what to the left, and at last it came from the wood at the 
bottom of the valley, apparently from the Bavarian artillery 
which had passed us. 

To our left, behind a village which lay a little below our 
station, and is named in the maps Sommauthe, a regiment 
of Bavarian hussars and another of light cavalry filled up 
the foreground of the picture for some time. About four 
o'clock these bodies of cavalry galloped off towards the 
wood below, and disappeared there. Afterwards more ca- 
valry, Uhlans, if I remember right, went down into the 
hollow, beyond which we first saw the firing from the road 
behind the place where the carriages were left, and rode 
on to Stonn. At the edge of the wood beyond the burning 
village in front and to the left, the battle again seemed to 
be raging furiously. Once there was a bright burst of light, 
and then a dull report. Probably a munition waggon had 
exploded. It was said that the Crown Prince himself had 
been for some time taking part in the battle. 

It began to get dark. The King now sat on a chair, 
near which a straw fire had been kindled, for the wind blew 
keenly, and watched the battle through his field-glass. The 
Chancellor watched it too ; but he had taken his place on a 
grassy ridge, from which Sheridan and his adjutant also 

IV.] Losses of both sides. 83 

observed the spectacle. We now distinctly perceived the 
flash of the exploding shells, changing the little round balls 
of vapour in a moment into jagged stars of fire, and the' 
flames as they burst forth from Beaumont. The French 
were retiring more and more rapidly, and the battle dis- 
appeared behind the ridge of the treeless heights, which 
closed the horizon on the left of the woods beyond the 
burning village. The battle, which from its commencement 
appeared like the enemy covering his retreat, was won. 
We had caught the Minister's wolf, or would catch him that 
day or next. The following morning I wrote home, after 
making out additional details. 

The French, with whom were the Emperor and his son, 
gave way at all points, and the whole battle was in fact, 
a constant advance of our side and a constant retreat of 
theirs. They never showed the energy which they dis- 
played in the actions at Metz, and which showed itself 
there latterly in vehement attacks. They were either 
greatly discouraged, or the regiments had in their ranks 
many Mobile guards, who, as may be easily imagined, do 
not fight like real soldiers. Even their outposts were badly 
set, so that their rearguard could be at once surprised by an 
attack. Our losses in killed and wounded were far less this 
time than in the battles at Metz, when they were not far 
from equal to those of the French. They had lost, however, 
frightfully, especially in that surprise, and still more fright- 
fully at Mouzon, where they were crowded back over the 
Meuse. As far as_ yet ascertained we have captured about 
twenty guns, among which there are eleven mitrailleuses, 
the equipages of two tents, masses of baggage and military 
stores. Up to the present we have taken nearly 15.000 
men prisoners. The French army, which was estimated at 
from 100,000 to 120,000 on the morning of the day of battle 

g 2 

84 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

is now in Sedan, cut off from the possibility of a farther 
march round about the extreme end of our right wing 
towards Metz. I think we have cause to count August 30 
as one of the best and most productive of our days of 
victory in this war. 

From the position whence we had witnessed the fight at 
Beaumont, we returned, as darkness came on, towards 
Busancy. Everywhere along the road, and a great way off 
from it we were reminded of the night life of a great army. 
The road was full of Bavarian infantry. Further on gleamed 
the spiked helmets of Prussian line troops, whom, when 
we approached, we found to be the King's Grenadiers. 
Lastly, there were long lines of waggons, which had some- 
times lost their way, so that we were detained some time. 
At one place, where there was a steep declivity between two 
hills, and we were forced to make an unusually long halt, 
the Chief said, " I wonder whether the reason why we are 
stuck fast here is the same as that which made the five 
Swabians capable, after they had eaten the dumplings, of 
blocking up the defile." 

It was pitch dark when we reached Busancy. Round it 
blazed a hundred little fires, in the lights of which glided 
the silhouetted figures of men, horses, and waggons. We 
dismounted at the house of a physician, who lived at the 
end of the principal street, not far from the house in which 
the King had taken up his quarters, and in which those who 
had been left behind in the morning in Grand Pre" had also 
meanwhile found accommodation. I slept here in an almost 
empty back room on the ground floor, on a straw mattress, 
under a blanket fetched from the town hospital by one of 
our soldiers somewhere about ten o'clock. But the sleep of 
the righteous was none the worse on that account. 

Wednesday, August 31. — In the morning, between nine 

IV.] A cure for Cramp. 85 

and ten o'clock the King and Chancellor drove out to 
inspect the battle-field of the preceding day. I was again 
to accompany the Minister. At first we took the same 
road as the day before, past Bar de Busancy and Som- 
mauthe, and between these two villages we passed some 
squadrons of Bavarian Uhlans, who were resting, and who 
greeted the King with loud " Hurrahs." It seemed to me 
as if their lances were shorter than the others. Behind 
Sommauthe, which was full of the wounded, we drove 
through the beautiful wood between it and Beaumont, and 
it was after eleven when we reached the latter. King 
William and our. Chancellor here took horse and galloped 
across the fields to the right. I took the same direction 
on foot. The carriages went on to the town, where they 
were to wait for us. 

Before I started, indeed, as soon as I was alone, as on the 
day before, I carefully noted the commissions which I had 
received on the road, and any other remarks which had 
fallen from the Chief this morning were committed to paper 
as accurately as was possible. The Chancellor was again 
unusually communicative and very accessible to questions. 
He spoke rather as if he had a cold. He had had cramp, he 
said, in his legs all night, which often happened with him. 
He was then obliged to get up and walk about for awhile in 
his room with bare feet, and that usually gave him cold. 
So it was this time. " One devil drove out the other ; the 
cramp, went away, and the snivelling came on." He then said 
that he wished me again to notice in the press the horrible 
way in which the war is being carried on by the French, and 
their repeated violations of the Geneva Convention, " which 
indeed is good for nothing,'' said he, " and cannot be 
carried out in practice,'' and of their unjustifiable firing 
at those bearing white flags of truce, with their trumpeters. 

86 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" They have allowed German prisoners in Metz to be 
ill-treated by the mob," he continued, "giving them nothing 
to eat and shutting them up in cellars. But it is not very 
much to be wondered at. They have barbarians for com- 
rades, and from their wars in Algiers, China, Cochin China, 
and Mexico, they have become barbarians themselves." 

Then he related how the Red-breeches had yesterday 
made no great stand, and shown very little foresight. " At 
Beaumont," he said, " they were attacked in their camp on 
a clear morning by a surprise party of heavy artillery. We 
shall see to-day where their horses are lying, shot at the 
picket posts, with many dead soldiers lying in their shirt- 
sleeves, chests rifled, bowls full of boiled potatoes, pots with 
meat half-cooked in them and such like." 

While driving through the wood — perhaps the remark was 
suggested by our having met before we came to it the 
King's suite, to which, by the way, Counts Hatzfeld and 
Bismarck-Bohlen had attached themselves — he spoke of 
Borck, the Keeper of the King's Privy Purse, and from him 
passed to Count Bernstorff, who was then our ambassador 
in London, and who had (while he was in office) " kept him 
for a long time from entering on his diplomatic duties while 
he was laboriously weighing and considering whether London 
or Paris was the better embassy to appoint him to." I 
ventured to ask what sort of a man von der Goltz, of 
whom one hears such different opinions, had been — whether 
he was really as clever and as considerable a man as people 
say. " Clever ! Yes, in a certain sense, a rapid worker, 
well informed, but changeable in his judgment of men 
and things : to-day for this man, or these plans ; to-morrow 
for another man and quite opposite arrangements. Then 
he was always in love with the Queens to whose courts 
he was accredited ; first, with Amalia of Greece, then with 

IV.] Von der Golte. 87 

Eugenie. He seemed to think that what I had had the 
good fortune to do, he with his larger intellect might have 
done still better. Therefore he was continually intriguing 
against me, although we had been acquaintances when 
young. He wrote letters to the King in which he com- 
plained of me, and warned him against me. This did him 
no good, for the King gave me the letters, and I answered 
them. But in this respect he was unchangeable, and con- 
tinued writing letters, unexhausted and indefatigable. For 
the rest, he was not much liked by his subordinates. In 
fact they hated him. I remember, when I went,- in 1862, 
to Paris, and called upon him, he had just gone to take a 
nap. I wished to leave him undisturbed, but the secretaries 
were obviously delighted that he would have to get up, and 
one of them went off at once to announce me to him so as 
to cause him annoyance. He might so easily have gained 
the respect and attachment of the people about him. Any 
man can do so as ambassador. It was always a great object 
with me. But as Minister there is no time for that; there 
are so many other things to do and to think of, that I am 
obliged to manage at present in a more military fashion." 

From these characteristic traits we see that von der 
Goltz was a kind of intellectual kinsman and forerunner of 

The Minister spoke, lastly, of Radowitz, and said, 
amongst other things : " They ought to have placed their 
army sooner in position before Olmutz, and it is his blame 
that this was not done." The very interesting and charac- 
teristic remarks with which he supported this assertion 
must, unhappily, for the present, be suppressed, like some 
others made afterwards by the Chancellor. 

The King and the Chancellor had ridden to the place 
where the " surprise patrols of heavy artillery " had done 

88 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

their work, and as soon as I had finished my notes, I 
followed them there. The part -of the field referred to lay- 
to the right of the road which brought us here, and about 
eight or nine hundred paces from it. Before it, near the 
wood at the bottom of the valley, were some fields sur- 
rounded with hedges, in which lay about a dozen dead 
German soldiers, Thuringians of the 31st Regiment. One 
of them was lying on the hedge, shot through the head. 
He was caught in the thornbush just as he was getting over 
it. The encampment itself looked horrible, all blue and 
red, withdead Frenchmen, some of whom had been blown to 
pieces by the bursting shells of the surprise party belonging to 
the Fourth Corps — in a manner quite impossible to describe.. 
Blackened with powder, stiff in their blood, they lay, some 
on their backs, others on their faces — many with staring 
eyes like wax figures. One shot had scattered about five in 
one place — like so many ninepins ; three of them had 
their heads quite or half shot away, some had their bodies 
ripped up, whilst one whose face had been covered with a 
cloth seemed to have been even more frightfully mangled. 
Further on lay a piece of a skull like a dish with the brains 
on it like a cake. Caps, shakoes, knapsacks, jackets, papers, 
shoes, clothes and blacking - brushes, were strewn about, 
Officers' chests open, horses shot at the picket post, pots 
with peeled potatoes, or dishes with bits of meat which the 
wind had salted with sand, at the extinguished cooking-fires — 
all showed how unhoped for had been success to us, how 
unexpected their loss to them. A bronze gun even had 
been left where it stood. I took a brass medal from one of 
the dead, which he wore next his bare breast on a bit of 
elastic. A saint was represented on it with a cross in his 
hand, and below it the episcopal insignia — the mitre and 
crosier, over which were the words and letters, " Crux S. P. 

IV.] After the battle. 89 

Bened." At the back in a circle of dots was a figure 
resembling one on our Landwehr crosses, covered with 
several letters, perhaps the initials of the words of. a prayer 
or some pious charm. Also an amulet, seemingly of eccle- 
siastical origin, given no doubt to the poor fellow by his 
mother or by his pastor, but which had not made him 
bullet proof. Sutlers and soldiers went poking about. 
"Are you a doctor?" they called to me. "Yes, but not 
a physician ; what do you want ? " " There is a man here 
still alive." This was true, and he was removed on a 
hand-barrow covered with linen. A little further on, in front 
of me, at a field-path which ran into the main road, lay a 
man stretched on his back, whose eyes turned as I ap- 
proached, and who still breathed, although he had been hit 
in the forehead by a German rifle bullet. In a space of five 
hundred paces square there must have been a hundred and 
fifty dead bodies, but not more than ten or twelve of them 
were ours. 

I had once more had enough of such sights, and hastened 
towards Beaumont, to reach our carriage. On the way, just 
before the first houses in the town, I saw a number of 
French prisoners in a redstone quarry to the right of the 
road. " About seven hundred," said the lieutenant, who with 
a detachment was guarding them, and who gave me some 
muddy Bavarian beer out of a cask, for which I showed 
my gratitude by giving him a pull at my flask of cognac. 
Further on along the road was a young wounded officer in 
a carriage, shaking hands with the men of his company. 
In the market-place and round the principal church of 
the town, which stood on a small patch of elevated ground, 
there were more captured Red-breeches, and amongst them 
some of high rank. I asked a Saxon rifleman where the 
King's carriages were. " Gone already — a quarter of an 

90 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

hour ago — that way." So I was too late. Alas ! I hurried 
in the direction indicated, in the piping heat, along the 
poplar-bordered road, uphill towards the town which was 
in flames last night, and asked the soldiers there. " They 
are just gone through." At last at the edge of the wood, 
behind the last house, where lay a great number of dead 
Bavarians as well as of Frenchmen on both sides of the 
ditches in the roadside, I saw the carriage of the Chief stop. 
He was evidently pleased that I had returned. " Ah ! there 
he is," said he ; "I wanted to have sent back for you before 
— I would if it had been anyone else. But I thought to 
myself, The doctor will take no harm. He will stay all night 
by a watch-fire if necessary, and can soon ask his way back 
to us." 

He then told me what he had seen and experienced since 
I left him. He also had seen the prisoners in the quarry, 
and among them a priest, who was said to have fired on our 
people. " When I charged him with it he denied it. ' Take 
care,' said I to him, ' for if it is proved against you, you 
will most certainly be hanged.' I allowed him in the mean- 
time to take off his priest's gown." 

" Near the church," the Chief continued, " the King 
noticed a soldier who was wounded. Although the man 
looked somewhat dirty from his work of the day before, 
the King held out his hand, to the great surprise, no doubt, 
of the French officer who was standing by, and asked him 
what was his trade. He was a doctor of philosophy. 'Well, 
you must have learned to bear your wounds philosophically,' 
said the King. ' Yes,' answered the soldier, ' that I had 
already made up my mind to.' " 

On the road, near a second village we overtook some 
Bavarian stragglers, common soldiers, who were dragging 
themselves slowly along in the burning sun. "Halloa, 

IV.] The Duke of Angustenburg. 91 

fellow-countryman ! " cried the Chancellor to one ; " will 
you have a drop of cognac ? " Naturally he would, and 
another with his longing eyes looked like wanting it, and 
then a third and so they and some more each had his pull 
at the Minister's flask and then at mine, after which each 
of them got a genuine cigar. 

A mile further on, at a village, the name of which my map 
did not give, but which sounded something like Crehanges, 
the King had arranged a breakfast, to which Count von 
Bismarck was also invited ; and there were all the princes of 
the second grade and gentlemen of the suite of the Crown 
Prince. Meantime, I made my pencil notes on a stone by 
the roadside, and then went to assist the Dutch, who had 
set up their ambulance close by in a large green tent, where 
they brought the wounded and nursed them. When the 
Minister came back, he asked me what I had been doing. 
I told him. " I should have liked to have go^£ too," he 
said, drawing a deep breath. 

On the road afterwards, the conversation wandered for 
a while into high regions, and the Chief discussed good- 
naturedly and fully all the questions suggested by my curiosity. 
I regret that, for various reasons, I must keep these utter- 
ances to myself, the more so as they were as wise as they 
were characteristic, and as they were full of genial humour. 
At last we came down from the sphere of the gods above the 
clouds back to men ; out of the region of the supernatural, 
or, if my reader likes it better, the extra-natural, back to the 
natural. There we stumbled on the Duke of Augustenburg 
in his Bavarian uniform. " He might have done better," 
said he — I mean the Minister — continuing, " I wanted 
originally no more from him than what the minor princes 
had conceded in 1866, But he would not yield (Thank 
goodness, thought I to myself, and thanks to the wisdom of 

92 Bismarck in the Franco-German War, [Chap. 

Samwer the advocate !). I remember a conversation which 
I had with him in 1864 — he was with us in the billiard-room 
beside my study — and which lasted till late at night. At 
first I called him ' your Highness,' and was rather especially 
polite. But when I began to speak of Kiel harbour, which 
we wanted, and he said, ' that would be about twenty square 
miles of water,' which I could not but allow; and when he 
would also have nothing to say to our demands with regard 
to the military, — I put on a different face. I now called 
him ' illustrious person,' and said to him at last quite calmly 
— plattdeutsch — that we were quite able to wring the neck of 
the chicken we had ourselves hatched." 

After an unusually long drive, over hill and dale, we 
arrived about seven in the evening at to-day's destination, 
the town of Vendresse. On the way we passed several large 
villages, a few mansions, one very old with towers in the 
corners, like a castle, by a canal with old trees on both 
sides, and latterly through a district which the Chancellor 
said reminded him of a Belgian landscape. At a window 
in one of the villages was Ludwig Pietsch from Berlin, who 
must have been here as war correspondent — who saw me and 
screamed down his salutations to me. In the next village, 
Che'me'ry, a halt was made for half an hour, whilst more 
infantry regiments defiled before the King and saluted him 
with the usual hurrahs. 

In Vendresse the Chancellor went to the house of Widow 
Baudelot, where the other gentlemen of the suite had already 
settled themselves. Keudell and Abeken, who I think had 
ridden here from Busancy, had met with an adventure on 
the way. When they were in the wood behind Sommauthe, 
or near Storm, suddenly eight or ten French soldiers, with 
chassepots, rushed on them out of a thicket, and then dis- 
appeared. The Councillors, thereupon, as was very natural 

IV.] Dangers of the road. 93 

had turned round and taken a less suspicious road. It was 
not impossible that each party wished to give the other a 
wide berth. But Saint Blanquart, who had travelled the 
same road, with Bolsing and Willisch, and seen the same 
suspicious Red-breeches, was firmly convinced that he had 
risked his life for the Fatherland. Lastly, Hatzfeld and 
Bismarck-Bohlen could boast of a pretty little heroic deed, 
for at the place, if I remember right, where the Chancellor 
had breakfasted with the Princes, they had discovered a 
fugitive Red-breeches hiding in a vineyard, had started him 
out of it, and had either themselves made him prisoner or 
got some one else to catch him. 

In Vendresse I saw Wurtemberg soldiers for the first time. 
They were mostly fine strong fellows. Their uniform, dark 
blue, with two rows of white buttons and black straps, 
reminded me of the Danish soldiery. 

94 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



On the ist September, Moltke's chase after the French in 
the district of the Meuse, according to all that we heard, was 
evidently drawing to an end, and it was permitted me to 
join in it the very next day. Having risen very early to get 
forward in my journal — that book which was waiting for so 
many interesting entries — I left the house where I had been 
quartered for that of the Widow Baudelot, and just as I was 
entering it a large squadron of cavalry, consisting of five 
Prussian hussar regiments, green, brown, black, and red 
(Bluchers), passed by the railing of the little garden before 
the Chief's window. He, we were told, was going to drive 
with the King, in about an hour, to a cqmmanding point ot 
view near Sedan, to witness the catastrophe which was now 
confidently expected. When the carriage came, and the 
Chancellor appeared, he looked round, and his glance 
fell upon me. "Can you decipher, Doctor?" "Yes,'' I 
replied, and he rejoined, "Then get a cipher, and come 
with us." I did not need to be told twice, and soon took 
my seat in the carriage, in which Count Bismarck-Bohlen 
had a place at the Minister's side, this morning. 

A few hundred paces on we stopped in front of the house 
where Verdy was quartered, behind the carriages of the 
King, who was not quite ready. In this interval Abeken 
came to us, to receive his orders respecting some papers 
he brought with him. The Chief explained his views pre- 

V.] Abeken and the Prince. 95 

cisely, and Abeken, as his habit is, insisted a little on a 
point he wanted made clear. Just at that moment Prince 
Karl, with his negro in Oriental costume, passed by. Now 
the old gentleman, who on such occasions had generally 
ear and thought for nothing but the Chief's words, had the 
misfortune to be over-much interested in everything con- 
cerning the Court, which this time brought him into trouble. 
The appearance of the Prince was evidently more engross- 
ing than the words of the Minister, who must have noticed 
it. On asking Abeken what he had just been saying, he 
got a rather mooning answer. He had a rather sharp 
rebuke. " Listen to what I say, Mr. Privy Councillor, and 
in God's name let princes be princes. We are talking busi- 
ness here." Afterwards he said to us, "The old gentleman 
is quite carried away if he sees anything belonging to the 
Court." Then, as if apologising for him, " But after all I 
could not do without him." 

When the King appeared, preceded by his bright uni- 
formed life-guards, we followed him, and so passed once 
more the towns of Cheme'ry and Cheliery, which we saw 
yesterday, and then by a third village, which lies to the 
left of the road in a hollow at the foot of a bare hill, halt- 
ing in a stubble-field on the right hand of the road. Here 
the King, with his retinue of princes, generals, and courtiers, 
mounted their horses, our Chief doing the same, and all 
hastened towards the flat top of the rising ground before us. 
The expected battle was already going on, as the distant 
thunder of the guns informed us. Bright sunshine from 
a cloudless sky lighted the scene. 

After a time I followed the riders, leaving the carriage 
under the care of Engel. I found the party in a stubble- 
field at the top of the hill, where there was a view of the 
country far and near. Before us it dropped into a broad, 

g6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

deep, green valley, on the hills enclosing which a wood 
was here and there to be seen, and through whose meadows 
the blue water of the Meuse wound along to a middle-sized 
town, the fortress of Sedan. On the rocky hill on our side, 
about a rifle-shot off, began wood, and to the left there was 
some brushwood. The foreground below our feet was 
formed by a slanting descent, over which we looked down 
the valley. Here on our right stood Bavarian batteries, 
which kept up a vigorous fire at and over the town, and 
behind were dark columns, first infantry, then cavalry. 
Still further to the right a column of black smoke curled up 
out of a hollow near the descent to the bottom of the 
valley. This was, as we heard, the burning village of 
Bazeilles. Sedan is, in a direct line, about a mile from 
us ; the weather being so clear, its houses and churches 
can be distinctly seen. Above the fortress, which joins the 
town on the left, and looks something like a straggling 
suburb, rises, not far from the farther bank of the stream, a 
long chain of hilltops, with its middle clothed with a wood, 
which also runs down into the hollow which here divides 
the ridge, bare on the left, and covered on the right with 
a few solitary trees and bushes. Near this gorge there 
are some cottages, if I am not wrong; or they may be 
villas. To the left of this ridge is a plain, from which 
swells up an isolated hill, with a group of tall trees on it 
with dark tops. Not far from this, in the river, are the 
pillars of a bridge which has been blown up. In the farther 
distance, to the left and right, are three or four villages. 
Behind, towards the horizon, the picture before us is closed 
in by ranges of high hills, covered all over with dark woods, 
seemingly pine forests. These are the Ardennes, on the 
Belgian frontier. 
The main position of the French now appears to be on 

V.] The Battle of Sedan. 97 

the hills immediately beyond the fortress, and it looks as if 
our troops were intending to surround them there. At 
present, however, the advance of our men is only obvious 
on the right ; the line of their artillery fire is slowly pushing 
nearer and nearer, with the exception of the Bavarian 
artillery below our point of view, which appear stationary. 
Gradually clouds of gunpowder smoke rise behind the line 
of hills with the gorge in the centre, and we infer from 
this that our masses enclosing the enemy are endeavouring 
to continue farther the semicircle they now form, so as to 
complete the circle. On the left of the picture, however, 
all is yet perfectly still. About eleven o'clock there rises 
from the fortress, which, by-the-way, is not firing, a black, 
grey pillar of smoke, edged with yellow. Beyond it the 
French are firing furiously, and above the wood of the 
gorge, rise unceasingly a number of little white clouds from 
bombs, whether German or French we know not; some- 
times also the crackling and snarling of a mitrailleuse. 

On our hill a brilliant assemblage had gathered; the 
King, Bismarck, Moltke, Roon, a crowd of princes, Prince 
Karl, their Highnesses of Weimar and Coburg, the Heredi- 
tary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, generals, aides-de-camp, 
marshals of the household, Count Hatzfeld, who after a 
time disappeared, Kutusoff the Russian, Colonel Walker the 
English military plenipotentiary, General Sheridan and his 
adjutant, all in uniform, all with field-glasses at their eyes. 
The King stood. Others, among whom was the Chancellor, 
sat on a grassy ridge at the edge of the stubble. I heard 
that the King had sent round word that large groups must 
not stand together, as the French in the fortress might fire 
on them. 

After eleven o'clock our line of attack on the right bank 
of the Meuse developed itself by a further advance in order 

vol. 1. H 

98 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to surround the French position in a narrower ring, and in 
my zeal I was explaining this perhaps somewhat more 
loudly than was necessary or befitting the place, to an 
elderly gentleman of the Court, when the. Chief hearing me 
with his sharp ears, turned round, and beckoned me to 
come to him. " If you are developing your strategical 
ideas, Doctor," said he, " it would be better to do it less 
audibly, otherwise the King will ask, Who is that? and I 
must then present you to him.'' Soon afterwards he re- 
ceived a number of telegrams, and came and gave me six 
of them to decipher, so that the contemplation of the 
spectacle, for me at least, came to an end for a time. 

I went back to the carriage and found in it a companion, 
Count Hatzfeld, who had also to combine the useful with the 
agreeable, but who did not seem at all to relish his change 
of position. The Chief had given him a French letter of 
four pages, which had been intercepted by our troops, to . 
copy out immediately. I mounted the coach-box, took the 
cipher I had brought with me, and with my pencil set to 
work at deciphering whilst on the hill beyond our position 
the battle was raging like half-a-dozen thunderstorms. In 
haste, eager to get done, I was not the least aware that 
the scorching midday sun had covered one of my ears with 
blisters. The first translated telegram I wrote out I sent 
to the Minister by Engel, that he, too, might see something 
of the battle ; the next two I took to him myself, as, greatly 
to the gratification of my propensity for sight-seeing, the last 
three did not correspond with my ciphers. Apparently not 
much was lost thereby, the Chief thought. 

It was now one o'clock. Our line of fire by this time 
swept the larger half of the enemy's position on the heights 
on the other side of the town. Clouds of smoke from the 
powder rose in a wide curve, and the little white balls 

V.] The Battle of Sedan. 99 

of smoke from the shrapnels which we knew the look of 
so well, kept rising and shattering. Only to the left there 
was still one quiet gap. The Chancellor now sat on a 
chair and studied an official document of many sheets. 
I asked whether he would like something to eat or drink, 
as we had it ready. He declined. " I should like it, but 
neither has the King anything," he answered. 

The enemy on the other side of the river must now 
have been very near, for we heard more frequently than 
before the hateful sound of the mitrailleuses, of which, 
by-the-way, we had been told meantime that their bark 
was worse than their bite. Between two and three o'clock 
by my watch the King came close past the place where 
I was standing, and said to the people about him, after 
looking for some time through a glass towards the suburb : 
" They are pushing great masses forward there to the left — 
that, I think, must be an attempt to break through." They 
were, in fact, columns of infantry advancing, but soon going 
back, apparently because they found that the gap, though 
quiet, was not at all open. Shortly afterwards we could 
see, through a telescope, French cavalry on the crest of the 
hill to the left of the. wood and the gorge_ make repeated 
charges, which were met by quick fire, after which at a 
semicircular sweep of the field we could see, even with the 
naked eye, the ground strewn with white objects — horses 01 
cloaks. Soon after the artillery fire became weaker at all 
points, and the French everywhere fell back into the town 
and its immediate neighbourhood. They had been sur- 
rounded, except for a small gap near the Belgian frontier, 
and for some time, on the left, there also, as the Wiirtem- 
bergers had planted a couple of batteries not far from our 
hill, to which, as we were told, they had now brought up 
the Fifth and Eleventh Army Corps. After half-past four 

ioo Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

all the enemy's guns were silent, and a little afterwards ours 

Once more the scene became more lively. Suddenly 
there rose, first in one part of the town, then in another, 
great whitish-blue clouds, signs that the town was burning 
in two places. Bazeilles, too, was still in flames, and sent 
up from just below the horizon to the right a column 
of thick yellowish-grey vapour into the clear evening sky. 
The burning light of the late afternoon became more and 
more intense, the valley below looking every moment 
brighter and more golden. The hills of the battlefield, the 
gorge in its midst, the villages, the houses and towers of the 
fortress, the suburb of Torcy, the ruined bridge to the left 
in the distance, shone bright in the evening glow, and their 
details became clearer every minute, as if one were looking 
through stronger and stronger spectacles. 

About five o'clock General Hindersin talked with the 
King, and I thought I heard him speak of the " bombard- 
ment of the town " and the " ruins of houses." A quarter 
of an hour afterwards a Bavarian officer galloped up the 
hill to us : General von Bothmer wished to tell the King, 
that General Maillinger said that he was with his riflemen 
in Torcy, that the French wished to capitulate, and that 
they were ready to surrender unconditionally. The King 
answered, " No one can negotiate this affair but myself. 
Say to the General, that the bearer of a flag of truce must 
come to me.'' 

The Bavarian rode back again down the valley. The 
King talked it over with Bismarck — then groups of these 
two with the Crown Prince, who had come up some time 
before from the left, Moltke and Roon. Their Highnesses 
of Weimar and Coburg stood close by, but a little aside. 
After a time a Prussian adjutant appeared, bringing word 

v.] The Surrender. 101 

that our losses, so far as was yet known, were not large ; 
moderate with the Guards, somewhat larger with the Saxons, 
less with the other corps which had taken part in the battle. 
Only a few of the French had escaped by the woods towards 
the Belgian frontier and were being pursued. All the rest 
had been driven into Sedan. 

" And the Emperor ?" asked the King. 

" Nobody knows," answered the officer. 

About six o'clock another adjutant appeared, and said 
that the Emperor was in the town, and would immediately 
send out a flag of truce. 

" This is indeed a great success !" said the King, turning 
round to his retinue. " And I thank thee " (to the Crown 
Prince), " that thou hast contributed to it." 

With that the King gave his hand to his son, who kissed 
it ; then to Moltke, who kissed it also. Lastly, he gave 
his hand to the Chancellor, and talked with him for some 
time alone, which seemed to me to make some of their 
Highnesses uncomfortable. 

About half-past six, a guard of' honour of cuirassiers 
appeared a little way off, and the French general, Reille, as 
the bearer of Napoleon's flag of truce, rode slowly up the 
hill. He dismounted about ten paces from the King and 
went up to him, took off his cap, and presented him with a 
letter having a large red seal. The general is an oldish, 
middle-sized, slight man, in a black overcoat, open, with 
straps and epaulettes, black vest, red stockings, and polished 
riding boots. He wore no sword, but carried a walking 
stick in his hand. All stepped back from the King, who 
opened and read the letter, and then told the now well- 
known contents to Bismarck, Moltke, the Crown Prince, 
and the other gentlemen. Reille stood a little way apart, 
below him, at first alone, then in conversation with the 

102 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Prussian generals. The Crown Prince also, Moltke, and 
the Coburg Highness, talked with him, whilst the King 
conferred with the Chancellor, who then commissioned 
Hatzfeld to sketch an answer to the Imperial letter. 
After some minutes he brought it, and the King wrote 
it out, sitting on one chair, while the seat of a second 
was held up by Major von Alten, who knelt before him on 
one knee, with the chair supported on the other by way of 

Shortly before seven o'clock, the Frenchman rode back in 
the twilight to Sedan, accompanied by an officer and a 
Uhlan trumpeter, with a white flag. The town was still 
blazing in three places, and the red lights flashing in the 
pillar of smoke rising over Bazeilles showed that the con- 
flagration there was still raging. But for these signs the 
tragedy of Sedan was played out, and the curtain of night 
fell on the scene. 

An after-piece only was left for the next day. For the 
present we went home. The King went again to Ven- 
dresse. The Chief, Count Bismarck-Bohlen, and myself, 
drove to the little town of Donchery, where when we 
arrived it was quite dark. We took up our quarters in the 
house of a Doctor Jeanjot. The place was full of Wiirtem- 
berg soldiers, encamped in the market-place. We made 
this diversion to Donchery, because it had been arranged 
that the Chancellor and Moltke should meet the French 
plenipotentiaries this evening, with a view to settling the 
terms of the capitulation of the four French Army Corps 
shut up in Sedan. 

I slept here in a little alcove in a back room on the first 
floor, separated only by the partition from the Chancellor, 
who had taken possession of the large front room. About 
six o'clock in the morning I was awakened by hasty steps, 

v.] The After -piece. 103 

and I heard Engel say, " Your Excellency ! your Excel- 
lency ! there is a French general down here at the door ; 
I don't understand what he wants.'' The Minister seems 
at once to have jumped out of bed, and held a short parley 
with the Frenchman out of the window — it was again 
General Reille. He then dressed as quickly as possible, 
mounted his horse — without touching breakfast, just as he 
had arrived the night before — and rode off at full speed. I 
went at once to the window of his room to see in what 
direction he had gone, and saw him trotting towards the 
market-place. Everything was lying about his room in 
great disorder. On the floor there lay, ' Tagliche Losungen 
und Lehrtexte der Briidergemeinde fur 1870/ * and on the 
night table there was another book of devotion, ' Die 
tagliche Erquickung fur glaubige Christen ' \ ; books in 
which, as Engel told me, the Chancellor was accustomed to 
read at night. 

I, too, now dressed quickly, and after I had learned 
downstairs that the Count had ridden off to Sedan, in order 
to meet the Emperor Napoleon, who had left the fortress, 
I followed him as quickly as possible. About 800 paces 
from the bridge over the Meuse, at Donchery, there stands 
on the right of the high road, which is lined with poplars, 
a solitary house, which was then inhabited by a Belgian 
weaver.- It is a one-storied house, painted yellow, with 
four windows in front, white shutters on the ground floor, 
and on the first floor white Venetian blinds. It is slated, 
like most of the houses in Donchery. Close beside it on 
the left there was a field of potatoes in flower, while to the 
right there were a few bushes across the path leading to the 
house, which was about fifteen paces from the high road. 

* ' Daily Watchwords and Texts of the Moravian Brethren for 1870.' 
t ' Daily Refreshment for Believing Christians.' 

104 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Here I saw that the Chancellor had already found the 
Emperor. In front of the weaver's little house, six French 
officers of superior rank were standing, of whom five wore 
red caps with gold lace, the sixth a black one. On the 
high road a carriage with four seats, apparently a hired one, 
was waiting. Opposite the Frenchmen stood Bismarck, 
his cousin Count Bohlen, and a little way off Leverstrom 
and two hussars, one in brown and the other in black 
uniform. About eight o'clock Moltke came, with some 
officers of the general staff, but after a short time he re- 
moved to a distance. Soon afterwards a little thick-set 
man came forward, behind the house, who wore a red cap 
with a gold border, a black paletot lined with red, with a 
hood, and red trousers. He spoke first to the Frenchmen, 
some of whom were sitting on the bank near the potatoes. 
He wore white kid gloves, and was smoking a cigarette. 

It was the Emperor. From the short distance at which 
I stood I could see his face perfectly. The look in his light 
grey eyes was somewhat soft and dreamy, like that of 
people who have lived hard. He wore his cap a little on 
the right, to which side his head also inclined. His short 
legs were out of proportion to the long upper body. His 
whole appearance was a little unsoldierlike. The man 
looked too soft, I might say too shabby for the uniform 
he wore : he gave one the impression that he could be 
occasionally sentimental — feelings which forced themselves 
upon one the more on comparing this little molluscous 
gentleman with the erect and lofty form of our Chancellor. 
Napoleon looked but not very unstrung, much broken 
down, and not so old as I had imagined him to be: he 
might have been a tolerably preserved man of fifty. 
, After a while he went up to the Chief and spoke for about 
three minutes with him, then he again walked up and down 

V.] The Terms of Surrender. 105 

alone, smoking, with his hands behind his back, through 
the potato-field in flower. Another short conversation fol- 
lowed between the Chancellor and the Emperor, which the 
Chancellor began. After it Napoleon conversed with the 
French officers of his suite. About a quarter to nine 
o'clock Bismarck and his cousin went away in the direction 
of Donchery — whither I followed them 

The Minister repeatedly spoke of the events of this 
morning and of the preceding evening. I throw these 
different statements together in the following paragraphs, 
which give always the sense, generally the very words. 

" Moltke and I, after the battle of the 1st September, had 
gone to Donchery, about three miles from Sedan, with a 
view to negotiations with the French. We passed the night 
there, while the King and the head-quarters returned to 
Vendresse. These negotiations lasted till after midnight 
without coming to any conclusion. Besides Moltke and 
myself Blumenthal and three or four other officers of the 
general staff were present. General Wimpffen was the 
spokesman for the French. Moltke's terms were short: 
the whole French army to surrender as prisoners of war. 
Wimpffen found that too hard. ' The army,' said he, ' had 
merited something better by the bravery with which it 
had fought. We ought to be content to let them go, 
under the condition that as long as this war lasted the army 
should never serve against us, and that it should march 
off to a district of France which should be left to our deter- 
mination, or to Algiers.' Moltke coldly persisted in his 
demand. Wimpffen represented to him his own unhappy 
position : that he had arrived from Africa only two days 
ago ; that, only towards the end of the battle, after 
MacMahon had been wounded, had he undertaken the 
command ; now he was asked to put his name to such a 

106 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

capitulation. He would rather endeavour to maintain him- 
self in the fortress, or attempt to break through. Moltke 
regretted that he could take no account of the position 
of the general, which he quite understood. He acknow- 
ledged the bravery of the French troops, but declared that 
Sedan could not be held, and that it was quite impossible to 
break through. He was ready, he said, to allow one of the 
general's officers to inspect our positions, to convince him 
of this. Wimpffen now thought that from a political point 
of view it would be wise for us to grant them better con- 
ditions. We must, he said, desire a speedy and an enduring 
peace, and this we could have only by showing mag- 
nanimity. If we spared the army, it would bind the 
army and the whole nation to gratitude, and awaken 
friendly feelings ; while an opposite course would be the 
beginning of endless wars. Hereupon I put in a word, 
because this matter seemed to belong to my province. I 
said to him that we might build on the gratitude of a 
prince, but certainly not on the gratitude of a people — 
least of all on the gratitude of the French. That in France 
neither institutions nor circumstances were enduring ; that 
governments and dynasties were constantly changing, and 
the one need not carry out what the other had bound 
itself to. That if the Emperor had been firm on his 
throne, his gratitude for our granting good conditions might 
have been counted upon ; but, that as things stood, it 
would be folly if we did not make full use of our success. 
That the French were a nation full of envy and jealousy ; 
that they had been much mortified with our success at 
Koniggratz, and could not forgive it, though it in no wise 
damaged them. How, then, should any magnanimity on 
our side move them not to bear us a grudge for Sedan ? 
This Wimpffen would not admit. ' France,' he said, ' had 

v.] The Emperor's Sword. 107 

much changed latterly; it had learned under the Empire 
to think more of the interests of peace than of the glory 
of war. France was ready to proclaim the fraternity 
of nations;' and more of the same kind. It was not 
difficult to prove the contrary of all he said, and that his 
request, if it were granted, would be likelier to lead to the 
prolongation than to the conclusion of the war. I ended 
by saying that we must stand to our conditions. 

" Thereupon Castelnau became the spokesman, and, as 
the Emperor's personal commissioner, declared that on the 
previous day he had surrendered his sword to the King 
only in the hope of an honourable capitulation. I asked, 
' Whose sword was that — the sword of France or the sword 
of the Emperor ?' He replied, ' The Emperor's only.' 
' Well, there is no use talking about any other condi- 
tions,' said Moltke sharply, while a look of contentment 
and gratification passed over his face. ' Then, in the 
morning we shall begin the battle again,' said Wimpffen. 
' I shall recommence the fire about four o'clock,' replied 
Moltke ; and the Frenchmen wanted to go at once. I 
begged them, however, to remain and once more to con- 
sider the case ; and at last it was decided that they should 
ask for a prolongation of the armistice in order that they 
might consult their people in Sedan as to our demands. 
Moltke at first would not grant this, but gave way at last, 
when I showed him that it could do no harm. 

" Early on the 2nd, about six o'clock in the morning, 
General Reille appeared in front of my house at Donchery 
to tell' me that the Emperor wished to speak -with me. I 
went with him directly, and got on my horse, all dusty and 
dirty as I was, in an old cap and my great waterproof 
boots, to ride to Sedan, where I supposed him still to be. 
But I met him on the high road near Fresnois, a mile 

108 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and three-quarters from Donchery. He sat with three 
officers in a two-horse carriage, and three others were on 
horseback beside him. I only knew Reille, Castelnau, 
Moscowa, and Vaubert. I had my revolver in my belt, 
and his eye rested upon it for a moment.* I gave the 
military salute. He took his cap off, and the officers did 
the same ; whereupon I took mine off, although it is con- 
trary to rule. He said, ' Couvrez-vous done' I behaved 
to him just as if in Saint-Cloud, and asked his commands. 
He inquired whether he could speak to the King. I said 
that would be impossible, as the King was quartered nine 
miles away. I did not wish them to come together till 
we had settled the matter of the capitulation. Then he 
inquired where he himself could stay, which signified that 
he could not go back to Sedan, as he had met with un- 
pleasantnesses there, or feared to do so. The town was 
full of drunken soldiers, who were very burdensome to the 
inhabitants. I offered him my quarters in Donchery, which 
I would immediately vacate. He accepted this. But he 
stopped at a place a couple of hundred paces from the 
village and asked whether he could not remain in a house 
which was there. I sent my cousin, who had ridden out as 
my adjutant, to look at it. When he returned, he reported 
it to be a miserable place. The- Emperor said that did not 
matter. He went across to the house and came back again, 
apparently not being able to find the stairs, which were 
at the back. I went up with him to the first floor, where 
we entered a little room with one window. It was the 
best in the house, but had only one deal table and two rush- 
bottomed chairs. 

" Here I had a conversation with him which lasted nearly 

* I must here omit an expression of the Chancellor's, veiy charac- 
teristic both of himself and of the Emperor. 

v.] Capitulation or Peace. 109 

three-quarters of an hour. He complained at first of this 
unhallowed war, which he had not desired. He had been 
driven into it by the pressure of public opinion. I rejoined 
that neither had any one with us wished war — the King 
least of all. We had looked upon the Spanish question as 
Spanish, and not German ; and we had expected, from his 
friendly relations with the princely house of Hohenzollern 
that the hereditary Prince would easily have come to an 
understanding with him. Then he turned to speak of the 
present situation. As to that, he wished above all for a 
more favourable capitulation. I explained, that I could not 
enter upon a discussion on that point, as it was a purely 
military question, on which Moltke must decide. Then we 
left the subject, to speak of a possible peace. He answered, 
he was a prisoner, and therefore not in a position to decide ; 
and when I asked him whom he considered competent for 
that, he referred me to the Government in Paris. I re- 
marked to him, that in that case, things were just where 
they were yesterday, and that we must stand by our former 
demands with regard to the army of Sedan, so as to have 
some pledge that the results of the battle of yesterday 
should not be lost to us. Moltke, who had been summoned 
by me, had now arrived. He was of the same opinion, 
and went to the King to tell him so. 

" Outside, in front of the house, the Emperor praise4 our 
army and its generalship • and when I allowed to him that 
the French had also fought well, he came back to the 
conditions of the capitulation, and asked whether it was 
not possible for us to allow the corps shut up in Sedan to 
cross the Belgian frontier, and there to lay down their 
arms and be ' interned.' I tried again to make him under- 
stand that this was a military question, not for me to 
decide without an understanding with Moltke. And as he 

1 10 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

had explained, that as a prisoner he could not take upon 
himself the Imperial powers of the Government. The 
negotiations on these questions could only be conducted 
with the general in command at Sedan. 

"Meantime, efforts had been made to find him better 
accommodation; and the officers of the general staff had 
discovered that the chateau of Bellevue, near Fresnois, 
where I had first met him, was suitable for his reception, 
and was not yet filled with the wounded. I told him so, 
and advised him to settle himself there, as the little weaver's 
house was not comfortable, and he perhaps needed rest. 
We would inform the King that he was there. He agreed 
to this, and I rode back to Donchery to dress myself. Then 
I conducted him with a guard of honour, consisting of a 
squadron of the first Cuirassier regiment, to Bellevue. At 
the conferences which now began, the Emperor wished to 
have the King present — from whom he expected softness 
and good-heartedness — but he also wanted me to take part. 

"I on the contrary was determined that the military 
men, who can be harder, should have the whole affair to 
settle. So I whispered to an officer as we went upstairs 
that he was to call me out in about five minutes — the King 
wanted to speak with me — and he did so. With regard to 
the King, the Emperor was told, that he could not see him 
till after the capitulation was settled. The arrangement 
between Moltke and Wimpffen was thus made much as 
we had wished it to be the evening before. Then the two 
sovereigns came together. When the Emperor came out 
after the interview, his eyes were full of tears. Towards 
me he was quieter, but friendly throughout." 

We had heard nothing about all these occurrences pre- 
vious to the forenoon of September 2, and from the moment 
when the Chief in his best uniform with his cuirassier's hel- 

v.] A Chance of Another Battle. in 

met on his head, rode away again from Donchery, till quite 
late at night, only indefinite reports reached us. About half- 
past nine some Wurtemberg artillery trotted past our house, 
and it was said that the French would renew the fight, that 
Moltke had granted them a respite till eleven o'clock for re- 
flection, and that the bombardment would then immediately 
commence from five hundred guns. In order to see this I 
went with Willisch over the Meuse Bridge, where, at the 
barracks, there were many French prisoners standing, to the 
high road, passing the little weaver's house, now become his- 
torical, and up to the top of the range of hills overlooking 
it, whence we could overlook Donchery with its grey slate 
roofs, and the whole neighbourhood. Everywhere on the 
roads and in the fields clouds of dust rose under the horses' 
hoofs of the passing squadrons of cavalry, and the weapons 
of columns of infantry flashed in the sun. Sideways from 
Donchery, near the bridge which had been blown up, wp saw 
a camp. The highway at our feet was taken up with a long 
row of waggons with baggage and forage. After eleven 
o'clock, when we saw there was no firing, we came down the 
hill again. Here we met the lieutenant of police, von 
Czernicki, who meant to drive in a little conveyance into 
Sedan, and who invited us to go with him. We had gone 
as far as near Fresnois when we — it was about one o'clock 
— met the King with a great retinue, amongst whom was 
the Chancellor. Expecting that the Chief might wish to 
go home we got out and went back. The cavalcade, which 
included Hatzfeld and Abeken, went on through Donchery, 
with the intention of riding round the whole field of battle. 
Not knowing, however, how long the Minister might be 
away, we remained where we were. 

About half-past one some thousands of prisoners marched 
through the town on their way to Germany ; partly on foot, 

112 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

partly in waggons — a general on horseback, and sixty or 
seventy officers of different grades. There were cuirassiers 
with white helmets, blue hussars with white lace, and 
infantry of the 22nd, 52nd and 58th regiments. The escort 
consisted of Wiirtemberg infantry. About two o'clock there 
came two thousand more prisoners, amongst them negroes in 
Arab garb — broad-shouldered figures with savage faces, 
looking like apes, and a number of old troopers wearing 
the Crimean and Mexican medals. A tragi-comical incident 
happened here. One of the troop of prisoners marching 
along noticed a wounded man in the market-place, and re- 
cognised his brother, with a cry, " Eh, mon frere !" He tried 
to run out to him. But Godfather Schwab, of the escort, 
said, " Is it freezing (frieren) you are ? I am freezing too ;" 
and pushed him back into the column. I beg my reader's 
pardon if this is a pun, but I am only telling the story, and 
did not make it. 

After three o'clock two captured guns with their ammu- 
nition waggons passed through our street, all still drawn by 
their own French horses. On one cannon there was written 
in chalk, " 5th Rifles, Gorlitz." Somewhat later a fire broke 
out in a side street close behind our quarters — the Wurtem- 
bergers had there broken open a cask of brandy and in- 
cautiously allowed it to catch fire; they were said to have 
demolished another house because the people refused them 
Schnaps. The damage done could not have been very great, 
for when we came to the place there was nothing of it to be 

There was hunger now among the inhabitants of our little 
town, and our host himself, who as well as his wife was a 
good soul, was in want of bread. The place was over-full 
from the numbers of soldiers quartered there, as well as of the 
wounded, some of whom were laid in the stables. People 

V.] The Secret of Pig Driving. 113 

from the court wanted to take our house for the Hereditary 
Grand Duke of Weimar, but we opposed this with success. 
Then an officer wanted quarters with us for a Mecklenburg 
prince. We showed him the door, and told him it would 
not do — this was the Chancellor's place. But when I was 
away for a little time, the gentlemen from Weimar had forced 
themselves in, and we might be glad that they had not ap- 
propriated the very bed of our Chief. 

About ten o'clock the Minister had not yet returned, and 
we were in trouble and perplexity. Some accident might 
have happened to him, or he might have returned with the 
King from the battle-field to Vendresse. He arrived after 
eleven, and I had supper with him. The Hereditary Prince 
of Weimar, in the light blue uniform of a hussar, and Count 
Solms-Sonnenwalde, formerly of the embassy in Paris, now 
attached to our bureau, but hitherto seldom to be seen, 
supped with us. 

The Chancellor told us all sorts of things about his ride 
over the field of battle. He had been nearly twelve hours 
in the saddle, with only short interruptions. They had gone 
over the whole battle-field, and found the greatest excitement 
in all the camps and bivouacs. In the battle itself 25,000 
prisoners were taken, and 40,000 more in Sedan after the 
capitulation, which had taken place at mid-day. 

The Minister had had the pleasure of meeting his youngest 
son. " I discovered in him '' — so he said at dinner — ''a new 
famous talent — he possesses exceptional dexterity in pig- 
driving. He had found out the fattest, on the principle 
the fatter the pig the slower his pace, and the more diffi- 
cult to run away. At last he carried it off in his arms like 
a child. It must have seemed odd to the French officers 
among the prisoners, to see a Prussian general embrace a / 
common dragoon.'' 

vol. 1. 1 

114 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" In another place," he went on to say, " they smelt sud- 
denly a strong odour as of roasted onions. I remarked 
that it came from Bazeilles, and it was probably the French 
peasants who had been killed by'the Bavarians, and had then 
been burnt in their houses, because they had fired at them 
from their windows." Then they spoke of Napoleon, who 
was to set off to-morrow morning to Germany, and indeed 
to Wilhelmshohe. " It was a question,'' said the Chief, 
"whether they should go by Stenay, and Bar-le-Duc, or 
through Belgium." " But here," replied Solms, " he would 
be no longer a prisoner." " That would not matter at all, 
even if he had gone in another direction. I was for his 
going through Belgium, and he himself appeared inclined to 
do so. If he should not keep his word, it would do us no 
great mischief. But to make this tour, we must have asked 
permission from Brussels, and could not have got an answer 
under two days." 

When I came back to my alcove Kriiger, the new mes- 
senger, had confiscated my mattress and blanket for the use 
of Abeken. He was standing by, and said, " But now you 
have no bed." I answered, " It of course belongs to you ;" 
as indeed was only fair ; for the old gentleman had gone 
valiantly through the whole long expedition with the King 
on horseback. 

I got through the night quite tolerably on the floor of the 
back-room opposite our doctor's kitchen. My resting-place, 
constructed by that most ingenious of servants, the excellent 
Theiss, consisted of four carriage cushions covered with blue 
cloth, one of which, leaning against the back of a chair he 
had turned upside down, made a comfortable pillow. My 
water-proof cloak and my fatigue made up for blankets, and 
in the morning when it had become bitterly cold, Kriiger 
added a blanket of brown wool which he had taken from 

v.] Short Commons. 115 

the French. On the floor beside me slept Engel on my 
right hand, and Theiss on my left, while two Bavarian sol- 
diers lay in the one corner on a trestle bed. In the next 
room, shot through the arm, was Captain Domberg, the 
Adjutant of General Gersdorfwho commanded the Eleventh 
Army Corps. Early in the morning I was wakened after 
a while by the noise of people in the room brushing trou- 
sers, cleaning boots, polishing buttons, calling to the maid 
in bad French for water, the barber, &c. &c, and I drank 
a bowl of coffee with a table-spoon, and ate a piece of 
dry bread with it. We tasted once at least a few of the 
privations of a campaign. 

About eight o'clock, as I was still busy with my breakfast, 
there was a noise just as if the firing had recommenced. 
It was, however, only the horses in a stable close by, stamp- 
ing their feet on the wooden floor — perhaps out of vexation 
that they were put on such short commons to-day, for the 
coachman could only get them half a peck of oats. Want 
reigned everywhere. I afterwards heard that Hatzfeld had 
gone to Brussels with a commission from the Chief. Soon 
afterwards he called me to his bedside. He had received a 
present of five hundred cigars, which I was to distribute 
among our wounded soldiers. I went for this purpose to the 
barracks, which had been turned into an hospital, then into 
the rooms, barns, and stables of the side street behind our 
house. At first I only allowed the Prussians to share my 
treasures, but the Frenchmen who were sitting among them 
watched me with such longing eyes, and their German neigh- 
bours on the straw begged so heartily for them, " they must 
not look on without getting any,'' " they have shared every- 
thing with us," that I thought it no robbery to give them 
some. All complained of hunger, all asked if they would 
soon be taken away from this place. But in time came soup 

1 2 

u6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and bread and sausages; indeed, those in the barns and 
stables were made happy with bouillon and chocolate, 
brought by a Bavarian ambulance-man. 

The morning was cold, dull, and rainy, but the Prussian 
and Wiirtemberg troops passing through in numbers seemed 
to be in the best of spirits. The music played and the men 
sang. More in harmony, probably, with the uncomfortable 
weather and the hidden sun were the thoughts of the occu- 
pants of a long train of carriages which passed about the 
same time through the town in an opposite direction to that 
which the troops had taken. As I was wading about ten 
o'clock through the frightful filth of the market-place in a 
drizzling rain, towards the barracks in the execution of my 
errand to the wounded, there crowded past me a long row 
of carriages from the bridge over the Meuse, escorted by 
the black Brunswicker hussars. They were chiefly covered 
coaches, then baggage and cooking waggons, and lastly a 
number of cavalry horses. In a closed coupe", immediately 
behind the hussars, by the side of General Castelneau sat 
the " Prisoner of Sedan,'' the Emperor Napoleon, on his way 
through Belgium to Wilhelmshohe. There followed him, 
in an open char a bancs, with Prince Lynar and some of the 
French officers, who had been present the day before at the 
meeting of the Chancellor and the Emperor, the general of 
infantry, General-Adjutant von Boyen, who had been selected 
by the King to accompany the Emperor. " Boyen will do 
admirably for this," said our Chief to us the night befdre, 
probably, thinking that the officers who surrounded the illus- 
trious captive might be somewhat insolent ; " he can be 
very rude in the most polite manner.'' 

We learnt some time afterwards that the route round by 
Donchery was taken because the Emperor very much wished 
not to pass through Sedan again. The hussars rode with them 

v.] Whose Guns are they ? 117 

to the frontier, near Bouillon, the first Belgian town. The 
Emperor was not badly received by the French prisoners 
whom they passed on the way. The officers, on the con- 
trary, had to put up with some disagreeable remarks. They 
were naturally "traitors," as from henceforth every one was 
who lost a battle or sustained any defeat from us. A par- 
ticularly bitter moment for these gentlemen seemed to be 
when they drove past a number of guns which had fallen 
into our hands. Abeken told us the following story about 
this : " One of the Emperor's adjutants — I think it was the 
Prince of Moscowa — thought these cannon were guns of 
ours, because the men and horses with them were Prussian, 
and yet something about them surprised him. He asked, 
' Quoi, est-ce que vous avez deux systemes d'artillerie ? ' 
' Non, monsieur, nous n'avons qu'un seul,' he was told. 
' Mais ces canons-la ?' ' Us ne sont pas de notres, mon- 
sieur.' (' Have you two systems of artillery, then ?' ' No, 
sir, only one.' ' Look at those cannon there.' ' They are 
not of our casting, sir.')" 

n8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



I will now let my journal once more speak for itself. 

Saturday, September 3. — We left Donchery this morning 
rather before one o'clock. On the way we were overtaken 
by a short but unusually heavy storm, with thunder which 
echoed through the valleys for a long time. The terrible 
downpour which followed, wet the Chancellor, who was in 
an open carriage, through and through, even under the 
armpits, as he told us at dinner. He had pulled on his water- 
proof, but had not found much good from it. Fortunately 
no evil consequences followed, but the time is arrived 
when diplomacy must come more to the front again in our 
affairs, and if the Chief were to fall ill, who could replace 
him ? 

I drove with the Councillors, and Count Bohlen gave us 
all sorts of details of the occurrences of the last few days. 
Napoleon had left Sedan so early — it must have been just 
about daybreak, if not sooner — because he did not feel safe 
in the midst of the enraged soldiers, who, crowded together 
in the fortress, were furious when the news of the capitu- 
lation spread through the town, and broke to pieces 
muskets and sabres, wherever they could get them. The 
Minister had said to Wimpffen at their first interview at 
Donchery, that he was well aware that the arrogance and 
pugnacity of the French, and their, envy of their neighbours' 
successes, did not come from the labouring or industrial 
classes, but from the journalists and the Parisians; but 

VI.] Seven Times Seven. 1 1 9 

these guided and controlled public opinion. Accordingly 
we could not reckon on those moral guarantees at which 
the general hinted, we must have material ones ; the army 
of Sedan must first be rendered harmless, and then the 
great fortresses in the East must be handed over. The 
troops had laid down their arms on a sort of peninsula 
formed by one of the bends of the Meuse. At the inter- 
view between the King and the Emperor, before which 
Moltke had ridden out a little to meet the King on his 
road from Vendresse, the two sovereigns were left for about 
ten minutes alone together in the drawing-room with the 
glass verandah, in the little chateau of Bellevue. The 
King afterwards called the officers of his retinue to read 
the capitulation to them, while he thanked them, with tears 
in his eyes, for helping to bring it about. The Crown 
Prince told the Hessian regiments that the King had sent 
the captive Emperor to Cassel as a reward for the bravery 
with which they had fought. 

The Minister dined with the King at Vendresse, where 
we were quartered for one more night, but he came back in 
time to eat pancakes with us. He read to us part of 
a letter from his wife, which in Biblical, but most ener- 
getic language, expressed her hope of the destruction of 
the French. He then said thoughtfully: " H'm ! 1866 in 
seven days. This time, perhaps, seven times seven. Yes, 
when did we cross the frontier ? On the 4th ? No, on the 
1 oth August. It is not yet five weeks since that. Seven 
times seven — it is possible." 

To show once more the myths that are made about us 
and how wild are their imaginations, I may mention that 
Bohlen asserted that at Bazeilles the inhabitants had joined 
treacherously with the French soldiers against the advancing 
Bavarians, that they had killed some wounded Bavarians, 

120 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

that a woman had shot four men from behind, &c, &c., 
and that Bazeilles had therefore " been deliberately set fire 
to, house by house," and that a woman and thirty-five 
peasants had been hanged there.* Keudell said that he 
met Court Councillor Freyberg, who had accompanied his 
Highness of Coburg and his Illustriousness of Augusten- 
burg into the war. The latter — with superfluous and utterly 
uncalled-for wisdom — dissuades us from putting any con- 
straint on the South Germans, and is particularly anxious 
that we should demand from the French the restoration of 
some manuscripts — I believe the Manasse collection of 
Middle High German poems — which they took away from 
Heidelberg during the Thirty Years' War. 

I again sent off some articles to Germany, amongst which 
was one on the results of the battle of the ist September. 
These results have grown greater bit by bit since yesterday, 
as at Koniggratz. We have made prisoners of more than 
90,000 Red-breeches, all told, and captured over 300 guns, 
an army of horses, and an enormous quantity of war 
material. In a few days we shall have still more, for 
of MacMahon's army, which, after Beaumont, was still 
reckoned at nearly 120,000. men, evidently not many have 

The Chief is again quartered in the house of Widow 
Baudelot. I am not this time at the Field Post, but in a 
side street, at the house of an elderly widower, a kindly, 
feeble soul, who complained to me with tears of the loss of 
his "pauvre petite femme]' showed me every attention, and 
cleaned my boots without being asked. It is said that we 
are to go on in the morning in the direction of Reims and 
halt at the town of Rethel. 

* The real facts will be given further on in the proper place. 

VI.] Into Champagne. 121 

Rethel, September 4, evening. — Early to-day the Chief called 
me to him, when we were still in Vendresse, to give me an 
account, the latter part of which he almost dictated, of his 
meeting with Napoleon, for the newspapers.* Soon after- 
wards, about half-past nine, the carriages drove up and 
we began our journey into Champagne. 

We first passed through a hilly country, then over a gently 
undulating plain full of fruit-gardens, lastly, through poor 
stretches where there was hardly a village. We drove past 
long lines of troops, first, Bavarians, then the 6th and 60th 
Prussian regiments, in which last, Willisch greeted his 
brother, who had come through the battle unhurt. A little 
while afterwards, the wheels of one of Prince Carl's carriages 
took fire, and he was obliged to remain behind in a village. 
Count Donhoff, his master of the horse, and Major von 
Freyberg, the adjutant of Prince Leopold of Bavaria, 
accordingly, came into our carriage, which made us look 
much more picturesque, the Count wearing a bright red 
Hussar uniform and the Major the familiar sky-blue of the 
Bavarian troops. The tragedy of Bazeilles was again spoken 
of, and the Major's account was very different from that 
which Bohlen gave us yesterday. According to him, about 
twenty peasants .were killed, and one woman, but all while 
fighting with the attacking soldiers. Afterwards a priest 
was shot, lawfully, according to the usages of war. The 
narrator had not, however, been an eye-witness, so that his 
version of the story may be no more historical than the 
other. He knew nothing of Bohlen's thirty-five men 
"hanged." There are people whose tongue is always 
crueller than their disposition. 

We arrived here, in Rethel, about half-past four. The 

* I have worked it in in the last chapter. 

122 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

place is a middle-sized town and full of Wiirtemberg 
soldiers. As we drove through to the market-place, we 
saw French prisoners Jpeking down at us from the first 
story windows of a house in the street. The quarter- 
master had assigned us the spacious and elegantly-furnished 
house of M. Duval, in the Rue Grand Pont, where I had, 
next to Abeken, a pretty little room with mahogany 
furniture and a four-poster with yellow satin hangings — a 
pleasant contrast to last night in Donchery. The whole 
of the mobilised foreign office is established here. The 
numerous family of Duvals are wearing crape and gauze, 
in mourning — if I understand rightly — for their country. 
In the evening, after dinner, I was summoned three times 
to report to the Chief. He said, too, " It is the fortresses 
of Metz and Strassburg which we' want and which we will 
take. Elsass " — he evidently referred to the strong em- 
phasis laid on the German origin and the use of the German 
language by its inhabitants in the periodical press — " is an 
idea of the professors.'' Afterwards, at tea, where there 
were only Keudell, Bohlen, and I, he again read us part 
of a letter from his wife, telling him that Count Herbert 
had arrived all right at Frankfort-on-the-Maine. 

Meantime newspapers had arrived from home. In these 
we saw that the press of South Germany is beginning to 
protest, in the most satisfactory way, against the foreign 
diplomacy which is so eager to effect a peace between us 
and France. It was quite in the Chiefs sense that the 
Swabian Mercury said, on this point, " When the German 
nations marched to the Rhine to defend their native country, 
it became the duty of the European Cabinets to let the two 
combatants alone, to confine themselves to localising the 
war. Well then, we have carried on the war alone, against 
those who threatened Europe ; we mean also to localise the 

VI-] Marching Order. 123 

conclusion of peace. We mean to dictate in Paris the con- 
ditions which are to protect the German people from the 
renewal of a burglarious attack like this war of 1870, and 
no diplomatist of the foreign Powers who kept their arms 
folded, shall dictate to us respecting these conditions. 
Those who have done nothing have no business to in- 
terfere." " This article will take the young fellows,'' said 
the Chief, and it did so. 

Reims, September 5. — The French do not seem to look 
upon us all as barbarians and villains. Many of them 
evidently suppose us to be honourable people. I went this 
morning to a shop to buy some shirt collars. The shopman 
told me the price of a box, and when I put down two thalers 
for them, he handed me a basket full of small money that I 
might take the change he had to give me. 

The stream which flows through Rethel, the Aisne, is 
beautifully green like the Rhine. Not far from our quarters 
there is a stone bridge over it, and during the whole of the 
forenoon great masses of troops were crossing. The last 
were four Prussian infantry regiments. There were singu- 
larly few officers with them ; several of the companies were 
commanded by young lieutenants or ensigns. This was 
the- case especially in the 6th and 46th Regiments, one of 
the battalions of which carried a French Eagle which they 
had captured. Then followed the 50th and the 37th. The 
heat was scorching ; the men were quite covered with a 
thick layer of the chalky dust of Champagne, but they kept 
marching steadily on in good form and firm on their legs. 
Our coachman put some pails of water on the road for 
them, out of which the thirsty men helped themselves as 
they passed, with tin cups, or bowls, or glasses, sometimes 
even taking a draught out of their helmets. 

Between twelve and one o'clock we started for Reims. 

124 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

The district through which our road passed is chiefly flat 
slightly undulating land, with few villages, and a whitish 
soil ; oftener pastures than fields with standing-grain ; here 
and there a windmill — an institution which I had not before 
noticed in France, then by the side of the road a stunted 
fir wood. On this road Keudell had a conversation 
with a captain in the Black Dragoons. " He is a son of 
Minister von Schon," said he. " He fought at Worth and 

At last, far away over the sunny plain, emerged the towers 
of the cathedral of Reims and beyond the town, hills, which 
at first looked bluish, but as we approached them became 
green, with white villages hanging on their slopes. We 
drove first through poor little streets, then through some of 
more pretensions and across a square containing a monu- 
ment, to the Rue de Cloitre, where we took up our quarters 
in the handsome house of M. Dauphinot, nearly straight 
opposite the grand cathedral. The Chief here lived in the 
wing to the right of the entrance into the court, on the first 
floor ; the Bureau was established on a raised ground floor, 
under the Minister's chamber, while a room close by was 
appropriated for a dining-room. I found my bedroom in 
the left wing, near Abeken. The whole house, so far as I 
can see, is elegantly furnished. Once more I sleep in a 
mahogany four-poster, with silk hangings, have cushioned 
chairs covered with crimson damask ; a mahogany commode 
with marble top, a washhand-stand and night table of the 
same kind, and a marble chimney-piece in my bedroom. 
The streets are thronged with Prussians and Wurtem- 
bergers. King William did the Archbishop the honour to 
take up his quarters in his palace. I hear that our host is 
the Mayor of Reims. Keudell thinks that the district to 
be held by us at the conclusion of the war will not be 

VI.] The Cathedral of Reims. 125 

given to one state, nor be divided among several, but that 
it will remain as the property of the whole of Germany. 

In the evening the Chief was at dinner, and as we were here 
between the two great champagne firms of the country, we 
tried different brands of that wine. It was mentioned that 
yesterday a squadron of our hussars had been fired upon 
from a coffee-house. " Then," said the Minister, " the 
house must be at once destroyed, and the occupier brought 
before a court-martial. Stieber must be directed to inves- 
tigate the matter without delay." The champagne recom- 
mended by Count Bohlen was good, and he was specially 
praised for finding it, I suppose by me among others. The 
Minister said, "Our Doctor is not like the rest of the 
Saxons, who drink nothing but coffee." I replied, "Yes, 
your Excellency, that is why I am so downright, occasion- 
ally perhaps not perfectly polite ;" at which there was great 
laughter. It is said that we shall remain here ten or twelve 

Tuesday, September 6. — Early betimes to the cathedral, 
the chimes of the bells having already awakened me several 
times during the night. A magnificent edifice of the best 
period of Gothic architecture, dedicated to Our Lady. A 
glorious main facade beneath the two unfinished towers, 
three portals richly decorated with sculptures ; in the in- 
terior, wonderful lights, falling from painted windows, on the 
pavement and on the sides of the pillars. The high altar in 
the great nave, where the kings of France were crowned, 
is a-blaze with gilding. Id. one of the side chapels, in the 
passage which runs round the choir, mass was being read. 
In front, fellow Christians in the shape of Silesian and Polish 
infantry and Cuirassiers, are kneeling, beside the French 
women with their rosaries. Outside, round the church, 
there are many beggars, some of them singing their petitions. 

126 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

From ten till three o'clock I worked diligently, without once 
looking up ; amongst other things, on two articles — one of 
considerable length, the other shorter — upon the conditions 
under which Germany can conclude peace. Our Chief con- 
sidered an article in the Volks-Zeitung; of August 31, "very 
sensible, and deserving to be more widely circulated." It 
pronounced against the incorporation of the conquered 
provinces of France in Prussia; and after attempting to 
show that this would not strengthen but weaken Prussia, it 
ended with these words : " Not the aggrandisement of 
Prussia, but the unity of Germany and the rendering France 
innocuous, are the objects to be pursued.". Bamberger has 
established in Nancy a newspaper in French ; to which news 
is-to be sent from us from time to time. 

Before dinner, Count Bohlen, counting the covers, said, 
"Are we not thirteen at table to-day?" "It is well you 
mention it, for the Minister does not like sitting down 
thirteen." Bohlen, to whom our bodily comforts seem to be 
entrusted, had evidently stimulated the genius of our chef de 
cuisine to do its very best. The dinner was quite sumptuous. 
Von Knobelsdorf, captain of the guards, Count York, and a 
tall, slender, rather shy youth, in the uniform of a lieutenant of 
dragoons with a crimson collar, who as we afterwards heard 
was a Count Bruhl, were the guests of the Chancellor. The 
latter brings great news with him, that in Paris the Republic 
is proclaimed, and a Provisional Government instituted, in 
which are the leaders of the former Opposition, Gambetta and 
Jules Favre. Rochefort, also, of La Lanterne, sits with them 
in high council. These gentlemen, it is said, intend to carry 
on the war against us. In that case our position is not im- 
proved, in so far as we wish peace, but it is by no means made 
worse, especially if the Republic lasts ; and if afterwards they 
want to win good friends for France at the different Courts. 

VI.] Fate of a Coffee-house Keeper. 127 

With Napoleon and Lulu all is over for the present ; the 
Empress has done as Louis Philippe did in 1848; she has 
left the field and is said to be in Brussels. What sort of a 
web, these advocates and literati will spin, who have come 
in her place, will soon be seen. Whether France will 
recognise their authority remains also to be seen. 

Our Uhlans are already at Chateau Thierry. Two days 
more and they might be before Paris. But, as is now certain, 
we shall be at least a week longer at Reims. Count Bohlen 
told the Chief about the coffee-house keeper, from whose 
premises our cavalry had been fired at. The man is a 
Sieur Jacquier, the hussars belonged to a Westphalian 
regiment, and their commander was a Captain von Vaerst, 
a son of a member of the Reichstag. The house, at the 
urgent entreaties of Jacquier, who says the man was innocent 
in the main, has not been destroyed, especially as the 
treacherous shot had not taken effect. They have simply 
ordered the landlord to give 200 or 250 bottles of champagne 
to the squadron — which he gladly agrees to do. 

Some one at tea, I don't remember who, turned the con- 
versation on the exceptional position in the North German 
Confederation which Saxony was permitted to take with 
regard to military matters. The Chancellor would not 
admit that any great weight should be attached to this. 
" Moreover, I am not the author of the arrangement," he 
added. " Savigny concluded the treaty, for I was then in bed 
exceedingly ill. Still less did I interfere with the foreign 
affairs of the smaller states. By many people too much 
stress is laid on this point, and we are threatened with 
danger from having diplomatic representatives of the smaller 
states beside those of the confederation. But if such 
states were, in other respects, powerful, they could even, 
without official representatives, both by letters and by word 

128 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

of mouth, intrigue at foreign courts. Whatever measures 
we adopted, a dentist, or somebody of that sort could carry- 
on an intrigue." 

Wednesday, September 7. — Early this morning I took a 
walk through the town. It seems well to do, and has some 
rather fine streets. The shops are, almost without exception, 
open, and some of them do, as I learn, a very good busi- 
ness with our officers and soldiers. In the square into 
which our street enters, is a handsome monument to Louis 
XV. In the middle of a broad street, which serves as a 
sort of market, having arcades on both sides, with shops and 
coffee-houses, is a statue of Marshal Drouet, tolerably exe- 
cuted. ' On my way back I again met, near the cathedral, 
quite a number of beggars, and among them some great 
originals. One little lad, with a still smaller one on his 
back, pranced about me whining all the time, "Je me 
meurs de /aim, M'sieur, je me meurs ; donnez-7noi un petit 
sou.'' (" I am dying of hunger, sir, dying ; give me a half- 
penny.") A man, without feet, slid along the pavement 
on his knees, whilst his companion played the accordion 
and collected alms for him. A woman, with a child in 
her arms, begs for something "pour acheter du pain'' ("to 
buy a bit of bread with "). A big strong man, certainly any- 
thing but ill in body, sings in a deep bass voice a verse 
with the refrain, " O, c'est terrible de 7nourir de faim ! " (•' O, 
it is terrible to die of starvation !") Five or six unspeakably 
dirty little scamps clamoured round one of our musketeers, 
who was carrying a loaf — they bake it here in the shape of a 
horseshoe — and when he broke off a large piece for them, they 
scuffled for the alms with savage cries. The stoppage of the 
manufactories must cause dreadful distress among the manu- 
facturing classes of Reims, and the authorities of the town 
were afraid there would be riots when we took our departure. 

VI.] A Ramble through the Town. 1 29 

After getting home, I wrote on several subjects ; for 
instance, an explanation of the attitude of Russia towards 
the war. In the afternoon, when the Chief went out, I 
made, with Abeken, a long excursion to see the principal 
sights of the town, which is very large in proportion to the 
number of its inhabitants, — about 60,000 — most of the houses 
being only one or two stories high. As people who had 
once been Latin scholars, we went first to the Promenade 
to see the Roman triumphal arch. Except for its age, there 
is not much to boast of. It has only a few ruined pillars and 
remains of sculpture, and the top of it is quite modern. 
We then went, in heavy rain, through the suburbs to the 
statue of Colbert, past the Circus, which now has soldiers 
quartered in it, to the Canal de Vesle and the dock in the 
harbour, full of great heavy barges. On a post is put up, 
"Peche inter dite" (" No fishing allowed"), but inter armasile?it 
leges. Just below the notice, three men in blouses were 
angling unmolested, and further on there must have been 
thirty more of these fishermen, dangling their rods over the 
light-green water. We then went through a poor street to 
the left, to see the second great church of the town. 
It is dedicated to St. Remits, and belongs to the period 
of the transition from the Italian to the German style 
of architecture. By its enormous depth, its noble sim- 
plicity, and its massive pillars, it makes a very grand im- 
pression. The saints' tomb behind the choir reminds one 
forcibly of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is a little 
temple under the cupola of the apse, open on all four sides. 
It is built of white marble and has red veined pillars 
in the style of the Renaissance. At the side is a chapel, 
where, over an altar of exceptional, perhaps unique, interest 
in the history of art, hangs a crucifix, in which the Christ 
wears a golden crown and is clothed in a purple robe 

VOL. I. K 

130 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

glittering with gold stars. The expression of the face and 
the handling of the drapery argue great antiquity. On the 
other side, in the Sacristy, the sacristan showed us several 
old pictures, which are done in needlework. 

Thursday, September 8. — I bathed this morning early in 
the Vesle, with Willisch, in a cold wind with bright weather. 
In the evening we had a great dinner, at which the here- 
ditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, his adju- 
tant, Nettelblatt, Stephan, the director of the post-office, 
and the three Americans were present. . . . They spoke of 
the different reports about the incidents at Bazeilles. The 
Minister said that it could not be tolerated that peasants 
should join in fighting to defend places. They were not in 
uniform, and therefore, when they throw away their muskets 
unnoticed, they cannot be known as combatants. The chances 
ought to be equal for both sides. Abeken thought the fate 
of Bazeilles too hard, and that the war ought to be carried 
on more humanely. Sheridan, to whom MacLean had ex- 
plained the case, took a different view. He thought the 
severest treatment of the population during a war quite justi- 
fied on political grounds. " The main thing in true strategy," 
what he said amounted to, is this, " First deal as hard 
blows at the enemy's soldiers as possible, and then cause so 
much suffering to the inhabitants of the country that they 
will long for peace, and press their Government to make it. 
Nothing should be left to the people but eyes, to lament 
the war !" Rather heartless, I thought to myself, but 
perhaps worth consideration. 

Friday, September 9. — In the forenoon till three o'clock I 
was writing at all kinds of articles ; amongst others, some on the 
inexplicable attachment of the Alsatians for France ; on their 
voluntary Helotism, and the infatuation which prevents their 
seeing and feeling that a Gaul regards them only as 

VI.] Amateurs of Battles. 131 

Frenchmen of the second class,' and treats them in many- 
respects accordingly. The news comes that Paris is not 
to be defended, but is to be declared an open city, which 
is doubtful, as according to other accounts they have still 
regular soldiers at their command, though not many now. 

I saw Hofrath Freitag, and spoke to him for a moment 
near the house where the Crown Prince is lodged. He 
and one of our messengers go home to-day, since, as he 
said to Keudell, there is nothing for him to do here — 
a very praiseworthy recognition of facts, and a sensible 
resolution, to which some other gentlemen, who have at- 
tached themselves to certain headquarters as mere amateurs 
of battles, ought to have come long ago. 

Saturday, September 10. — The Chief drove out early with 
Hatzfeld and Bismarck-Bohlen to Chalons, where the King 
also was going. They came back about half-past five in 
the afternoon. Meantime, after four o'clock, Minister Del- 
briick arrived : he had come by Hagenau and Bar-le- 
Duc, and had had many unpleasant experiences. He 
had travelled with General Boyen, who brought Napoleon 
— or, as he now calls himself, Count Pierrefo'nds — without 
accident as far as Cassel. He complained that he had not 
been able to bring with him a box of very old Nordhausen, 
which had been intrusted to him, I forget where, for head- 
quarters. Further, he said that "Napoleon had declared 
to Boyen that he had been forced into the war by public 
opinion, and that he had praised our troops very highly, 
especially the Uhlans and the artillery. 

The Chief dined to-day with the King, but for half an hour 
came back to us at table, where Bohlen, who had visited the 
imperial castle of Mourmelon, near Chalons, had previously 
told us how the people there had destroyed all the furniture, 
mirrors, &c. After the dinner, at which Boyen and Delbriick 

132 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

were present, the Chancellor talked a long time alone with 
these two gentlemen. Afterwards he sent for me to com- 
mission me to make a communique for the two papers which 
are published here, the Courrier de la Champagne, and the 
Independant Remois, to this effect : -From the fact of the 
journals which appear in Reims acknowledging the Repub- 
lic in France, and recognising the new form of Govern- 
ment by printing its decrees, the inference might be 
drawn that the action of these journals is taken with the 
approval of the German Governments, as the town is 
occupied by German troops. This, however, is not the 
case. The German Governments respect the freedom 
of the press here, as at home, but in France they have not 
hitherto recognised any other Government than that of the 
Emperor Napoleon. They are unable, therefore, for the 
present to consider any but the Imperial Government as 
authorised to enter into national negotiations. Then he 
asked me (I extract the following from my journal, only to 
show the remarkable kindheartedness and simple natural 
affability of our Chief), "You looked wretchedly ill this 
morning ; what is the matter ? " "A slight attack of dys- 
entery, your Excellency," said I. "And fever? headache?" 
" Yes, a little, your Excellency." "Have you seen a doctor?" 
" No, I prescribed something for myself and got it from the 
druggist's shop." " What was that ? " I told him. "That 
is no good," he answered. " You are your own doctor, 
tli en ? Do you not think much of the doctors ? " "I have not 
consulted one for many years." " Well, they often cannot 
help one much; sometimes make one much worse. But 
this is more than a joke. Send to Lauer, he is a clever fellow. 
I really don't know what I shall not have to thank him for, in 
the matter of health, before I get home again. And now go to 
bed for two days, that is the best cure ; otherwise you may 

VI.] The Men of Israel at Beth-car. 133 

have relapses, and not be able to get up again for three weeks. 
I often suffer myself from something of the kind, and there 
on the chimney-piece, you see my little bottle, wrapped up — 
thirty to thirty-five drops, on a piece of sugar. Take it, but 
give it me back again. And if I send for you, only say that 
you cannot come. I will then come to you, if I have any- 
thing for you to do. You can perhaps write in bed ? " 

Sunday, September 11. — The Chiefs little bottle was a 
capital cure. In the morning I got up quite well, and 
could work swimmingly. The substance of the communique 
was sent to the journal in Nancy, and to German news- 
papers. In reference to certain arguments in the papers, 
we pointed out that Prussia concluded the Peace of Prague, 
not with France, but with Austria, and that consequently 
France had no more right to complain of the 5 th article than 
of any other article of that treaty. 

About twelve o'clock Abeken and I went to the Protestant 
church, or, as they call it here, the Protestant temple, on 
the Boulevard, in which there is a high oratory, with gal- 
leries, chancel, and a small organ, but without towers. 
The service, which was conducted by the military chap- 
lain, Frommel, and which the King, Prince Karl, the 
Grand Duke of Weimar, the Hereditary Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg, Bismarck, and Roon, as well as some Prussian 
and many Wiirtemberg officers and soldiers attended, 
began with military music, instead of organ playing. 
First, the psalm, " Praise the Lord," the soldiers singing 
from their Psalm Books. Instead of the Epistle, another 
psalm followed, and then the Gospel for the Thirteenth 
Sunday after Trinity. The preacher took his text from 
1 Samuel vii. n and 12 : "And the men of Israel went 
out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, 
until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, 

134 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it 
Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." The 
last words were his principal subject ; the subordinate heads 
dwelt on gratitude for the help of the Lord, and the vow 
sworn on the altar-stone Eben-ezer not to act like those 
whom the Lord had condemned, and the hope that the Lord 
would grant His help still further, especially for the permanent 
unity of Germany. The discourse was not unsuitable. Many 
good thoughts were well expressed ; but Clovis came in 
for somewhat undeserved honour because he was baptised 
(it took place, as every one knows, in Reims), although every 
student nowadays knows that he was none the better of it, 
as after baptism he continued to be a crafty and sanguinary 
tyrant. What the preacher said about St. Louis was equally 

Later in the day, again in company with Abeken, I at- 
tended the Catholic service in the cathedral, the bells of 
which, large or small, had been ringing all day. The 
choir was full of priests of all sorts and kinds. Priests in 
violet, in black and white, or black ; priests in red collars, 
purple drapery, black bands with white borders ; priests in 
silk or cloth or linen vestments, all passed before us, the 
archbishop, with a long train, walking first ; two other 
priests of high rank behind him, and his pages, the chorister 
boys, in white and red. As he rustled out, he bestowed his 
blessing from the door of the screen, with the two uplifted 
fingers of his right hand, on the pious women assembled. 
From the place where I was, I came in for a share of it. 

In the course of the day a M. Werle was with the 
Chief, a thin old gentleman with shaking head and the 
inevitable red ribbon in his buttonhole, which seems to be 
universal among well-dressed Frenchmen. He is a member 
of the legislative body, and proprietor or partner in the 

VI.] The German Soldiers and Communism. 135 

firm Veuve Clicquot, and it is said that he wishes to consult 
the Minister on the means of meeting the distress which 
prevails in the town, and averting a rising of the poor 
against the rich. The latter fear that the Red Republic 
may be declared by the workmen, who seem to be in a 
state of ferment ; and as Reims is a manufacturing town, 
having ten to twelve thousand ouvriers within its walls, the 
danger may well be serious when our soldiers have to leave 
the town. No one could have dreamt of this a month ago : 
German troops the defenders of the French from Com- 
munism — truly a miracle of miracles ! M. Werle speaks 
German, too ; indeed he is, by birth they say, a countryman 
of ours, like many of the proprietors of the great Champagne 
manufactories here and in the neighbourhood. Then there 
came other people from the town with one petition and 
another to the Bureau, and wished to speak with the 
Chancellor. Amongst others, a woman who complained 
that the soldiers had taken away several sacks of potatoes, 
and she wanted to get back her property. We directed her 
to the police, who would see her righted. But she refused, 
and repeated that we must help her. " Quoi, je sins mere 
de famille /" ("Am I not the mother of a family?") But 
we did not repeat the little farce of Faulquemont, where 
we paid for the cow. 

At dinner Knobelsdorf was with us again. Afterwards 
I was sent for several times to receive the Chief's orders. 
The Belgians and Luxemburgers have behaved unkindly to 
our wounded, and there is probably some foundation for 
the idea that Ultramontane instigation is at the bottom of it. 
The mitrailleuse balls seem to be alloyed with some poison- 
ous substance, for they cause gangrenous wounds. Favre, 
" who, for us, has no existence," has asked us in a round- 
about way, through London, whether we are inclined for an 

136 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

armistice and negotiations. He appears eager for it — the 
Chancellor not. 

In the evening, after ten o'clock, the Chief came down 
to tea. He wanted a " cheap light cigar," with which I was 
able to supply him, as my case now contains only such 
weeds. We spoke first of Rogge's sermon, and the Minister 
had his fling both at the unhistorical Clovis and the much- 
glorified St. Louis. Then he spoke of his son, whose 
wound in the thigh had become worse, and showed gan- 
grenous edges. The doctor had conjectured that the ball 
might contain some poisonous substance. 

At last the conversation turned on the politics of the last 
few years, when the Chancellor said, " I am, after all, proudest 
of our successes in the Schleswig-Holstein business, out of 
which a play representing the intrigues of diplomacy might 
be written for the stage. ... I expressed what I wished 
immediately after the death of the King of Denmark in a 
long speech at a sitting of the Staatsrath. . . . The person 
who drew up the protocol left out the chief passage .... 
he thought, indeed, that I had indulged too much at the 
dejeAner, and that it would be agreeable to me if it were left 
out. I took very good care, however, that it should be 
inserted again. My idea was, I admit, very difficult to carry 
out. Every one was against it — the Austrians, the English, the 
liberal and not liberal smaller states, the opposition in the 
Diet, the influential people at court, and the majority of the 
newspapers. . . . Yes, indeed, there were then hard battles 
to be fought, for which better nerves than mine were 
required. At the Frankfort Fiirstentag (Diet of princes) 
it was the same, when the King of Saxony was present. . . . 
When I left the room my nerves were so excited and I 
was so exhausted that I could scarcely stand on my legs, 
and in closing the door of the adjutant's room I tore off 

VI.] The French and the Belgians. 137 

the latch. The adjutant asked me if I was unwell. ' No,' 
said I ; ' I am all right again now.' " We went on talking of 
the particulars of these events till it got late, and the Chief 
took leave of us, saying : " Yes, gentlemen, a finely-strung 
nervous system has much to suffer. So I shall now go to 
bed. Good night." 

Monday, September 12. — I was writing different articles 
till midday. In Laon the French — though it may have 
been the act of a single individual person — have been 
guilty of a wicked treachery. Yesterday, after the conclusion 
of the capitulation and after the entry of our troops, they 
blew the citadel into the air, by which explosion about a 
hundred men of our 4th battalion of rifles have been killed 
or wounded. In the German papers we read, that the 
Chief said that in the battle of Sedan the allies of Prussia 
had done best. In fact, he said that they co-operated in 
the best manner. Under certain circumstances we might 
do a good turn to the Belgians, who exhibit such hatred 
to us, and such ardent love to France. It may be hinted 
to public opinion there that arrangements are not entirely 
out of the question even with the present French govern- 
ment through which some satisfaction might be given to 
this leaning of the Belgians towards France. The Bavarian 
Count Luxburg, who is at Kuhlwetter, has distinguished 
himself by his talent and zeal. He is to be invited in 
future for the discussion of important questions. 

There is a report that America has offered to mediate 
between us and the new French Republic. We shall not 
decline this mediation, we prefer it to others, of course. It 
is not credible that in Washington they can think of disturb- 
ing the military operations necessary on our side. The Chief 
appears to have been for a long while back favourably 
disposed to the Americans, and the rumour went abroad 

138 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

lately that he hoped to get permission in Washington for 
us to arm ships in American harbours, with which to injure 
the French marine. At present there is certainly no intention 
of such a thing. 

The following is the view which the Chancellor takes of 
the general position, if I understand him rightly. Peace 
seems yet to be far away, as there is no government in 
Paris which promises durability. When the time for nego- 
tiation comes, the King will invite his allies to come to a 
common understanding as to the terms which we ought 
to demand. Our main object is and will continue to be, 
the security of the South-West German frontiers against 
the centuries' old danger of a French invasion. A new 
neutral intermediate state, like Belgium or Switzerland, 
would be of no use to us, since such a state would certainly 
lean to France, if another war broke out. Metz and Strass- 
burg, with as much of their surroundings as is necessary 
to us, must become our frontier territory and belong to 
all Germany. A partition of this district amongst our 
separate states is not to be thought of. Carrying on war 
in common will not be without a salutary influence upon 
the demand for the unity of Germany. Prussia will as a 
matter of course, after the war, respect the free will of the 
South, as she has hitherto done, and will avoid even the 
suspicion of any pressure. A great deal will depend on the 
personal feeling and decision of the King of Bavaria. 

The proclamation of the Republic in Paris is approved 
of in Spain, as it may probably also be in Italy. The 
monarchical governments must see a danger in this which 
should warn them to draw closer to each other and to 
maintain a firm alliance. Every one of them is threatened, 
even Austria. This must be recognised in Vienna, though 
nothing is to be expected from Beust, whose rancorous 

VI.] Moltke and Blumenthal. 1 39 

hatred of Germany and Russia makes him coquette with 
the Poles and even with the Red Republicans. The 
Emperor Franz Josef will not perhaps refuse to listen to 
explanations. He will allow himself to be convinced that 
the interests of his own monarchy are really gravely im- 
perilled by the Republic, which may very easily take a 
socialistic form. This Republic is propagandist among 
its neighbours, and would gain followers even in Germany, 
if the wishes of the people came not to be respected by the 
princes. In return for their great sacrifices both in money 
and in men, they demand an effectual security against 
France and an enduring peace. 

To-day, before dinner, Prince Leopold of Bavaria had a 
conversation with the Chief, at which the Prince gave him 
some of these "historical and political views." 

Tuesday, September 13.' — Early this morning a military 
band of troops from Wiirtemberg gave the Chief a morning 
serenade, which must have delighted him very much. If 
the gentlemen of the Stuttgart Observer hear of it ! In 
the course of the forenoon the Chancellor summoned me 
six times, and I wrote as many as six articles for the press, 
among which were two for the French newspapers here, 
which had also received news from us on previous days. 
Further measures were taken to secure for General von 
Blumenthal the place which is due to him, when his portrait 
and biography are given, in the friendly illustrated journals. 
" The newspapers do not mention him at all, so far as we 
see, although he is chief of the staff of the Crown Prince ; 
and, after Moltke, has up to this time been of the greatest 
service in the conduct of the war." 

On the 14//1 September, a little before ten in the morning, we 
left Reims, the cathedral of which continued visible for a long 
time across the level country, and went to Chateau Thierry. 

140 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

We first crossed a broad plain with cultivated fields flanked 
by a ridge of hills with vineyards and villages on their sides, 
with woods at the top ; and then drove over this high ground 
down into an undulating country full of all sorts of little 
valleys and dells. In the little town of Dormans on the 
Marne, which we twice crossed here, we made a short halt. 
The river is about as broad again as the Moselle at Pont- 
a-Mousson, and the water is of a clear, bright green. The 
sky was full of drooping grey clouds, and we were twice 
overtaken by heavy showers. The road went close by 
the railway to the- left of us, which had been put out of 
gear by the retreating enemy, and not far from the river. 
On the right hand were vineyards, on the left on the hillsides 
mostly greenwood, out of which a pretty little mansion occa- 
sionally peeped. We passed three or four villages with old 
churches and picturesque side-streets, where houses built of 
grey flag-stones looked out at us half hidden among the vines. 
As we went on, vineyard after vineyard followed us, far and 
wide, the vines being very low, and the grapes blue. They 
say that these vines yield the must from which they make 
champagne in Reims and Epernay. 

All the villages were full of Wiirtembergers, and they 
had stationed outposts, both of infantry and cavalry, along 
the road for our protection. It must still be somewhat 
dangerous here, for the peasants who went hobbling about 
with their wooden shoes, or stood before their houses, 
looking quite harmless and unintelligent, are capable of 
very wicked tricks. To speak plainly, their faces are ex- 
tremely simple-looking, but perhaps the nightcaps which 
most of them wear give them that sleepy, weak appearance. 
They had, without exception, their hands in their long 
trousers pockets, but it might possibly not be mere apathetic 
indifference which made them clench their fists inside. 

VI.] Saint Crispin 's Church. 141 

About five o'clock we arrived at Chateau Thierry, where 
we all found comfortable accommodation together in the 
handsome house of a M. Sarimond in the square fronting 
the Church. The host was, so the Minister informed us, 
a pleasant man, with whom one could talk about all sorts 
of things. Chateau Thierry is a charming little town. 
It lies rather raised above the banks of the Marne below the 
moss-covered ruins of an old castle. It is spread over a 
large space of ground and has many gardens. Only the 
one long street in the heart of the town which leads up 
to the church, and a few of the side streets opening on it, 
have houses standing close to each other. The old church 
is dedicated to Saint Crispin the Cobbler — who was so 
benevolent as even to steal leather to make shoes for the 
poor — in French, Cre'pin, — perhaps an allusion to the 
fact that before the tanneries which still flourish here, the 
industry of shoemaking may formerly have provided food 
for a great part of the inhabitants. 

In the evening at dinner, the Chief was unusually cheerful 
and good-humoured. Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful 
moonlight on the terrace of the garden behind the courtyard. 

The next day (Sept. 15) we set out at noon, after break- 
fasting at the Hotel Nogeant, for Meaux, about 30 English 
miles from Chateau Thierry, and only about the same dis- 
tance from Paris. On the way we again passed for hours 
by vineyards of enormous extent. We crossed the Marne 
and drove through coppices, and over the spurs of the 
hills on the left side -of the valley. At the village of 
Lusancy we halted for half an hour. Our carriage was now 
drawn partly by horses captured at Sedan. The nearer 
we approached to Paris the closer together were the sen- 
tries posted, especially in the woods, and where there were 
alleys of trees. They now consisted of Prussian infantry 

142 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

(with yellow shoulder-straps). We could see very little of 
the inhabitants of the villages as we passed through. Only 
the landlords and the old people seemed to have been left 
behind. Girls and young wives were not to be seen, nor 
young children. In Lusancy we saw written in chalk over 
one house-door, "111 with small-pox." 

Shortly before coming to the little town of Trillport we 
crossed the Marne again, by a bridge of red Prussian pon- 
toons, as the fine new bridge over which the railway ran, 
as well as that not far from it, over which the high road 
went, had been destroyed by the French. The rails with 
the sleepers still fastened to them were hanging sadly about 
the pillars of the bridge among the ruined arches, or resting 
on the masses of shattered masonry lying in the river-bed. 
A little way farther on we crossed the river again by a 
temporary wooden bridge, and farther on by another over 
the canal, the original' footways over which had also been 
rendered impassable. All this seemed a very useless 
cutting into their own flesh, for the advance of our people 
could not be delayed more than an hour by all this de- 
struction, especially at the smaller watercourses. 

Meaux is a town of about 12,000 inhabitants, and stands 
in a pleasant, well-wooded neighbourhood. It has beautiful 
shady promenades, with large green gardens. The streets 
in the older part of the town are mostly narrow and poor. 
The Chief lived in the Rue Trouchon, in the splendid house 
of the Vicomtes de la Motte, which had an extensive garden 
behind it. I was quartered just opposite, in the house of a 
Baron Vandeuvre, an old gentleman, who had fled, and at 
whose writing-table I could work most comfortably. I had 
the choice also of two different bed-rooms, and of a four- 
poster bed with silk and another with linen or cotton 
hangings. Then the view from the Baron's study, the 

VI.] Mcaux. 143 

windows of which look out on a little garden with old 
trees and creepers, is of the kind that soon makes one feel 
at home, and the library would be most welcome if we 
were here for amusement. It is very well chosen. I find, 
for instance, Sismondi's ' Histoire des Francois,' Thierry's 
collected works, Cousin's ' Philosophical Essays,' Renan's 
'Histoire Religieuse,' Rossi's 'Economie Nationale,' and 
other works on history and national economy. The house 
has a number of little side-rooms, alcoves, tapestry-covered 
recesses, and concealed closets, and there is now no one 
living in it but me, except, on the ground-floor, the two 
body-servants who have to-day arrived from Berlin, and who, 
from this time, are to follow the Minister in plain clothes 
whenever he walks out. Walks out — but what if he rides ? 
At dinner we were told that a man had arrived from 
Paris, bearing a flag of truce, and they pointed out a thin 
dark-haired young fellow, standing in the court in front of 
the Chief's house. This was the person; and from his 
talk he seemed to be an Englishman. At dinner to-day 
both the Counts York were our guests. They explained to 
us why we had seen so few men in the villages. They had 
found great crowds of peasants in the woods, who had fled 
there with some of their belongings, especially with their 
cattle, and highly delighted they were when they were told — 
they were mostly unarmed — that they might go back without 
fear or anxiety to their villages. On hearing this, the 
Chief said, " If I were a soldier and had to order things, 
I know what I should do. I should treat all who remained 
at home with every possible attention and respect. But 
I should consider the houses and furniture of those who 
have run away, as found property. And if I caught them 
I would take away their cows and whatever else they had 
with them, declaring that they had stolen them and hidden 

144 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

them in the wood. It would be well if they could first 
be made aware that the different sauces with which we cook 
little French children are all lies.'' 

Friday, September 16. — A splendid bright sunny morning, 
with a deep blue sky over Bossuet's city. Early in the 
morning I translated for the King a letter sent to him 
by James Parkinson, an English prophet, who predicted 
that if the King did not put a stop to this shedding of blood, 
the vengeance of Heaven, of which the Emperor Napoleon 
would be the instrument, would overtake him for the 
" Slaughter of the Danes," and the " Blood of Austria's 
sons." This warning was dated August 29. Three days 
later the telegraph would have prevented it. The officious 
fool who sent this, and some other English fools in high 
places who meddle in our affairs, would have done better 
to remember that England has her own door-step to 
sweep clean, that we are defending ourselves against the 
most outrageous arrogance in a just war ; that we have not 
yet thought of wantonly burning peaceful villages, or of 
blowing men from the mouths of cannon, as they have 
done in wars ten times less justifiable. 

The young black-haired gentleman of yesterday, who was 
supposed to have come with a flag of truce, and who had 
a long talk with the Chief in the evening, over a bottle of 
Kirschwasser (cherry cordial), is Sir Edward Mallet, an 
attache" of the English Embassy in Paris. He had brought 
a letter from Lord Lyons, in which, he asked, whether the 
Count would confer with Favre on the conditions of an 
armistice. The Chancellor is said to have answered him : 
" On the conditions of a Peace, yes ; on the conditions of 
an Armistice, no." * 

* He cannot well have done so, if we compare this with what 
happened later. 

VI.] What is to be done with the Provinces. 145 

From the letters of Berlin friends, I see that many well- 
meaning people cannot get into their heads that the pro- 
vinces of France to be retained are not to be joined to 
Prussia. An epistle from a good patriot in Baden fears 
that Elsass and German Lothringen may be given to Bavaria, 
and sees in this the germ of a new Dualism. He says, in a 
memoir addressed to the Chief, " It is quite too obvious that 
Prussia alone possesses the power to re-Germanise the 
German provinces of France." He calls attention to the 
fact, too little considered in the North, that all sensible 
men in the South wish to see Elsass in the hands of Prussia, 
and he declares that it "is a gross mistake if people in the 
North imagine that the South must be rewarded with terri- 
tory and people." Whence he has his idea about the 
mistake in the North, I don't know ; no one with us, as far 
as I know, makes it for a moment. I believe the feeling 
here to be, that South Germany will be amply rewarded 
by being finally secured against the French lust of conquest. 
Other ideas of the writer's might, under certain circum- 
stances, be correct. Undoubtedly juster and more in 
harmony with actual relations, is our Chief's idea, which I 
have before noted — to make these provinces Imperial terri- 
tory, not, therefore, an object of envy and bitter feeling 
among the allies of Prussia, but a bond of union between, 
and a common point for, both North and South. 

There was some talk about the King not going to Paris, 
but of his awaiting the course of events at Ferrieres, the seat 
of Rothschild, lying about half-way between Meaux and 

At dinner, Prince Hohenlohe was a guest. The Chief, 
after returning from dining with the King, was also present. 
We learnt that Reims was to be the centre of administra- 
tion of the French provinces occupied by our army, outside 

vol. 1. L 

146 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Elsass and Lothringen ; that the Grand Duke of Mecklen- 
burg was to have the supreme control as Governor-General, 
and that Hohenlohe was to take office under him. 

In conversation, the Chief said to his Cousin, who was 
complaining of not feeling very well : " When I was thy 
age " (his cousin was about thirty-eight) " I was quite intact, 
and everything agreed with me. It was at St. Petersburg 
that I got my first shake.'' 

Someone turned the conversation to Paris, and the French 
in connection with the Alsatians ; and the Chief expatiated 
on this theme, telling me afterwards — giving me leave, or 
a hint at least, to report his words, or the sense of them, 
to the newspapers. "The Alsatians and German-Lor- 
rainers," he said, " supplied the French with many clever 
people, especially in their army. But they were little es- 
teemed among them, seldom advanced to the higher - 
offices of the state, and ridiculed by the Parisians in 
all manner of anecdotes and caricatures. It is the same,'' 
so he continued, "with the other French provincials, but 
not so much so. France breaks up, in a sense, into two 
nations : Parisians and Provincials, and the latter are the 
willing helots of the former. France may now be eman- 
cipated from the domination of Paris. The man who feels 
himself, as a provincial, out in the cold, and wants to 
come to something, settles in Paris, is ■ there received into 
the ruling caste, and shares their power. Might we not 
force the Emperor back on them as a punishment ? At any 
rate it is possible ; for the peasants do not want the tyranny 
of Paris. France is a nation of ciphers — a mere crowd ; 
they have money and elegance, but no individual men, no 
feeling of individuality ; they act only in the mass. They are 
thirty millions of obedient Kaffres, each without a native ' ring' 
or a personal value. It would be easy to get sixty people 

VI.] The German Republicans. 147 

together capable of holding down all the rest of these people 
who are without character or personality, so long as they 
are not united." 

In the evening several articles were written ; in which I 
had to point out that " the partisans, in Germany, of the 
Republic, the people who take their tone from Jacoby, the 
socialistic democrats and their allies, are refusing to listen to 
any cessions of territory from France to us ; because they 
are, in the first instance, republicans and only afterwards a 
little German. The security of Germany by the acquisition 
of Strassburg and Metz is odious to them, as a security 
against the Republic they wish so ardently, as a crippling 
of the propaganda for this form of government, as an 
injury to the prospects of its extension across the Rhine. 
Their party is higher than their country. They supported 
the war against Napoleon as an opponent of their doctrine ; 
since the Republic has taken his place, they are French in 
their proclivities." Another article treated of the wish 
Russia has expressed for a revision of the treaty, which was 
the result of her defeat in the Crimean war. The alteration 
of certain points of this treaty, which Russia had in view, 
seemed founded on reason. With respect to the Black Sea, 
the Treaty of Paris contained unjust stipulations, as its 
coast-line really belongs for the most part to Russia. 

Saturday, September 17. — I went early for an hour's walk 
with Willisch along the green Marne, where, at a great public 
washing establishment, women were beating shirts and bed- 
linen in the river, down to the old bridge, over the one half 
of which stand the buildings of a mill several stories high, 
and then on to the suburb on the left bank of the stream. 
At the end of the Rue Corillon another bridge, which has 
been blown up, crossed a gorge or deep cutting, at the 
bottom of which there is a canal. The interruption of traffic 

l 2 

148 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

caused by the destruction of this bridge has been already 
so far remedied by our pontooners, that not far from the 
ruins which block up the canal they have made a temporary 
bridge for single horsemen, over which a squadron of 
Bavarian cuirassiers happened to be just passing one behind 
the other. 

On the way back we met a long train of waggons, with 
military stores, which reached from the ruined bridge quite 
to the middle of the town. At one corner of a street we 
saw several placards, amongst them an address yards long 
from Victor Hugo to the Germans, very piteous and high- 
flown, at once sentimental and pompous ; a whipped-up 
trifle, with fine phrases stuck in it for plums, thoroughly 
French. What can the queer man take us for, if he thinks 
that our Pomeranians and East Prussians, with their sound, 
manly intelligence, can like such stuff as this ? A man in 
a blouse near me, who was reading it half aloud, said to me, 
' C'est Men fait, Monsieur, riest-ce pas 1 " (" Well written, 
sir, is it not ?") I answered that it grieved me to the soul 
to be obliged to say that it was utter nonsense. What a 
face he pulled ! 

We visited the church, which is a fine old building, with 
four rows of Gothic pillars. In the passage of the chapel 
behind the choir, there must have been a large annexe in 
a similar style: At the side of the choir, on the right 
hand, immediately on entering the great door, is a marble 
monument of Bossuet, who was bishop of this place, and 
probably preached from the pulpit of this church. The 
celebrated author of the four articles of the Gallican Church 
is represented sitting. 

At dinner the Chief was absent, and he did not appear 
till the evening. Then we heard that he had ridden to see 
his son Bill, who was with his regiment ten miles away from 

VI.] Vce Victis? 149 

Meaux, and had found him well and bright. He spoke 
of the young Count's courage and strength, some instances 
of which we have already mentioned. During the attack 
at Mars-la-Tour, Count Bill's horse stumbled with him at 
a dead or wounded Gaul, lying before him, within fifty 
feet of the French square. " But,'' said the Chief, " after 
a few moments he shook himself together again, jumped 
up, and not being able to mount led the brown horse 
back through the shower of bullets. Then he found a 
wounded dragoon, whom he set upon his horse, and cover- 
ing himself thus from the enemy's fire on one side, he got 
back to his own people.'' The horse fell dead, after shelter 
was reached. 

To-day, according tb instructions received yesterday, I 
worked much, both morning and afternoon, and threw into 
an article the following ideas characteristic of the Chan- 
cellor's mode of reasoning : 

" The morning edition of the National Zeitung of Sep- 
tember 1 1 contains a paper ' At Wilhelmshohe,' which, while 
it complains especially in its first paragraph, of the respect- 
ful treatment of the captive of Sedan, encourages a wide- 
spread error. ' Nemesis,' says the author of this article, 
' should have been less courteous to the man of the 2nd 
December, the author of the Mexican tragedy, the insti- 
gator of this horrible war. The conqueror has been far too 
chivalrous.' Popular sentiment, which the author seems to 
approve, is of that opinion. We do not at all share this view. 
Public opinion is, indeed, only too much inclined to view 
political relations and events as it views matters of private 
right and wrong, and to demand that in conflicts between 
states the victor should sit in judgment on the vanquished 
with the moral code in his hand, and punish him, not only 
for offences against himself, but, if possible, even for acts 

150 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Ct^p. 

committed against others. Such a demand is entirely with- 
out justification. To make it is quite to misunderstand 
the nature of political affairs, to which the notions of punish- 
ment, reward, vengeance do not belong. To respond to 
it would be to falsify the very essence of politics. Politics 
must leave the punishment of the sins of princes and nations 
against the moral law to Divine Providence, to the Ruler 
of Battles. It has neither the right, nor is it its duty, to 
usurp the office of judge ; it has, under all circumstances, 
to ask solely and merely, what is for the advantage of my 
country in this matter ? And how can I best and most 
profitably utilise the advantages I may gain ? Feelings 
and sentiments have as little place in politics as in com- 
merce. Politics ought not to avenge what has taken place, 
but to take care that it shall not happen again. 

" Applying these principles to our own case, to the pro- 
cedure against the vanquished and captive Emperor of the 
French, let us ask the question, Why should we punish in 
him the 2nd December, the laws of public safety, the 
events in Mexico, however much we might disapprove of 
them ? The law of politics does not entitle us to think even 
of vengeance for this war which he has conjured up on us, 
and if it did permit the thought, vengeance ought to be 
taken, not merely on Napoleon, but on every individual 
Frenchman, in the BKicher-like manner suggested by the 
National ; for all France, with its thirty-five millions of 
inhabitants, hailed the Mexican expedition, and even the 
present war, with the greatest enthusiasm. Germany has 
simply to ask herself the wider question, Which is best for 
us in present circumstances, a badly-treated or a well-treated 
Napoleon? We think the question not very difficult to 

"These were the principles on which we acted in 1866. 

VI.] Which French Government is Peace ? 151 

Had we aimed, in certain measures of that year, in some 
of the stipulations in the Peace of Prague, at vengeance for 
previous injuries, at punishment for the sins which brought 
about the war of that time, those who would have suffered 
from those measures and stipulations would not really have 
been those whose crimes called most for vengeance and 
who deserved the severest punishment." 

Sunday, September 18. — Early in the morning articles were 
written for Berlin, Hagenau and Reims. Among other 
things they dealt with the phrase of Favre : " La refiubliqtie 
c'est lapaix " ("The Republic is peace "). The line of thought 
which I followed was mainly this : France has, for the last 
forty years, always pretended to be peace, and has always 
and under all forms been the exact opposite. Twenty years 
ago, the empire said it was " peace,'' the Republic now says 
the same thing. In 1829, Legitimacy was "peace,'' and at 
that very time a Russian and French league was formed 
which was only prevented by the Revolution of 1830 from 
fulfilling its object, an aggressive war against Germany. It 
is notorious that the " peaceful " government of the Citizen 
King wanted, in 1840, to take the Rhine from us, and it 
can never be forgotten that the Second Empire has carried 
on more wars than all the preceding forms of government. 
We may infer what we have to expect from Favre's as- 
severation with respect to the Republic. To all such 
illusions Germany has to oppose the words, " La France 
c'est la guerre" (" France is war"), and it is in accordance 
with this conviction, that we demand the cession of Metz 
and Strassburg. 

If accounts from America, which appear to have been 
anticipated by a telegram, are not the result of a hoax, 
intentional or otherwise, an attempt on the life of the 
Chancellor, seems to have been or still to be intended. A 

152 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

very respectable person of the better classes in Baltimore says 
that he heard in a beer-house there that a man whom he can 
distinctly describe, and who, to judge from his language, must 
have been an Austrian, said to another that in the event of 
the war breaking out he would shoot Bismarck. The account 
goes on to say, that this person at first gave no heed to 
the expression. Shortly afterwards he again saw the fellow 
on board a Bremen steamer bound for Europe, and he 
has twice dreamt of seeing the villain in the act of dis- 
charging a pistol at an officer in a tent, who, according to 
photographs, must be Bismarck. In consequence of this 
it is as well that the personal attendants have been ordered 
here, and the most careful precautions must be taken, 
unless, indeed, the story is a pious fraud, meant to put the 
Chancellor more on his guard. 

The Chief was at breakfast to-day, and two dragoons of 
the Guard were present. Both had the Iron Cross. The 
Minister kissed one, and called him " Thou.'' 'I hear that 
he is Lieutenant Philipp von Bismarck, a brother's son of 
the Chief. The other was the Adjutant von Dachroden. 
The Chancellor's nephew, who is employed in time of 
peace in the High Court of Justice, impresses one as an 
unassuming and excellent man. When the Minister was 
rejoicing in his having obtained the Iron Cross on the 
proposition of his comrades, he replied that he had it 
merely by seniority. 

At tea the Chief asked about the Prince of Hohenzollern, 
who is with his regiment, " Is he a soldier, or merely a 
Prince ?" The answer being favourable, the Minister re- 
plied, " I was delighted with his first reporting his election 
as King of Spain officially to his commander." It was 
mentioned that a General Ducrot, who had been taken 
prisoner at Sedan, by way of return for the greater freedom 

VI.] Mr. Weak of Jenley. 153 

which he was allowed, has disgracefully broken his parole 
on his road to Germany — I think at Pont-a-Mousson. 
The Chief remarked, " If we lay hold again of such 
scoundrels who have given their parole — others who escape 
are not to be blamed — we ought to hang them in their 
red trousers, and write upon one leg fiarjure, and on the 
other infame. Meanwhile this must be represented properly 
in the press.'' When they spoke of the cruel manner in 
which the French are carrying on the war, the Minister 
said, " If you strip off the white skin of such a Gaul, you 
have a Turco before you."- 

I find this addition to my journal : To-day the Wiirtem- 
berg War Minister, von Suckow, was for a considerable 
time upstairs with the Chief. He reported that in Swabia 
the cause of Germany was all right ; that things looked less 
promising in Bavaria ; and that Bray, the Minister, had 
been as unnational as he well could be under the circum- 

In the afternoon a M. B. appeared at my house, who 
took up his quarters, with his two boxes, quite coolly down 
below with the guards. He had afterwards some conver- 
sation with the Chief; and from his passport appeared to 
be a merchant travelling for Count Pierrefonds. 

Monday, September 19. — In the morning I prepared for 
the Military Cabinet an extract in German from an English 
letter addressed to the King. The author, who claims to 
be descended from the Plantagenets, is named Weale, of 
Jenley, in Pembrokeshire, formerly an engine-driver. Like 
Mr. Parkinson, who some days ago obtruded himself with 
his prophecies, he has evidently a bee in his bonnet, but is 
at the same time a good sort of fellow. With many pious 
reflections, horribly spelt, he warns us of pits and traps 
which are laid for the Prussians in the woods of Meudon, 

154 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. VI. 

Marly, and Bondy, on the ground of a conversation between 
an Irishman and a Frenchman, which he says he heard. 
He winds up with blessing the King, ' his family, and all 
his subjects. 

We hear for certain that Jules Favre will be here to-day 
at twelve o'clock to treat with the Chief. The fine weather 
seems to favour him. About ten o'clock Count Bismarck- 
Bohlen comes down from the Chancellor. " We are to be 
off at once," to the Chateau of Ferrieres, fifteen miles away. 
We have to pack up and be off immediately. With great 
difficulty Theiss gets my clothes from the washerwoman. 
Then we learn that Abeken and I are to remain with one 
carriage and a servant and to follow at a later hour. At 
last, about eleven o'clock, we have breakfast with the Chief, 
at which there was some rare old white Bordeaux, which 
the owner of the house, a Legitimist lady by the way, 
honoured the Minister with, as it appeared, because we had 
done no mischief to her or to hers. The Chief had guessed 
the Legitimist feeling of the old lady from the Lucerne lion 
over his bed. 

( i55 ) 


bismarck and favre in haute-maison. a fortnight 

in Rothschild's chateau. 

At twelve o'clock on September 19, Jules Favre had not 
yet arrived, and they did not wait. The Minister, however, 
left a letter for him at the Mairie, and told the servant of our 
Viscountess to inform him of it if he came. To-day the 
Chief and the Councillors went round the estate of the great 
Parisian money-broker, and for some time they rode before 
the carriages, in the second of which I sat by myself. We 
first drove past the house where the King is, which is a 
fine mansion on the Promenade, and then out of the town 
along the canal on the left bank of the river, till we were 
able to cross the latter by means of a temporary bridge. At 
the village of Mareuil the road slightly ascended, running 
along the first steps, so to speak, of the chain of hills which 
on this side run parallel to the river and the canal, through 
a well-cultivated country, with vegetable gardens, orchards, 
and vineyards of blue grapes. 

Here, between the villages of Mareuil and Montry, at a 
place where the high-road made a sharp descent, under fine 
shady trees, we met a carriage and pair, close shut, in which 
were three gentlemen in ordinary dress and a Prussian 
officer. One of the civilians was an oldish grey-bearded 
gentleman, with a protruding under-lip. " That is Favre," 
I said to Kriiger, who was sitting behind me ; " where is 
the Minister ?" He was not to be seen, but was probably 
on before, hidden from our sight by a long train of waggons, 

1 56 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

some of them piled high with baggage. I made them drive 
quickly, and after a time met the Chief with Keudell 
riding back to us, in a village called, I believe, Chessy, 
where some peasants had covered a dead horse with straw 
and chaff, and then set fire to it, causing a most dreadful 

" Favre passed us, your Excellency," said I ; " and is up 

" I know it," answered he, smiling, and trotted on. 

The day after Count Hatzfeld told us some particulars of 
the meeting of the Chancellor with the Parisian Advocate 
and Regent. The Minister,- the Count, and Keudell were a 
good mile and a half before us on the road, when Hofrath 
Taglioni, who was with the King's carriages, had told him 
that Favre had driven by. He had come by another road, 
and reached the spot where it joined this one, after the Chief 
and his companions had passed. The Chief was indignant 
that he had not been told of it before. Hatzfeld spurred 
after Favre and turned back with him. After a time Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen met them, and galloped back to tell the 
Minister, who was still a good bit off with Keudell. At last 
they met near Montry. The Minister himself thought of 
going with the Frenchman into a house here ; but as the 
high-lying chateau of Haute-Maison was only about ten 
minutes' walk distant, and was considered a more suitable 
place, they went there. 

Here they met with twoWiirtemberg dragoons, one of whom, 
with his carbine, was posted as guard at the door. A French 
peasant also was there, whose face looked as if he had had 
a severe beating, and whom they asked if there was anything 
to be had to eat and drink. Whilst they were speaking to 
him, Favre, who had gone into the chateau with the Chan- 
cellor, came out and had a discourse with his countryman 

VII.] Guards against a Surprise. 157 

full of pathos and fine feeling. "Surprises might be attempted : 
this must not be. He was no spy, but a member of the new 
Government, who had taken the weal of the country in 
hand, and was responsible for its honourable conduct ; and 
he called upon this peasant, in the name of the rights of 
nations and the honour of France, to see that this house 
was held sacred. His, the Regent's, honour, and the 
peasant's honour peremptorily demanded this;" and such 
like fine phrases. The worthy but somewhat stupid peasant 
lad listened to this flood of words with a very simple look, 
evidently understood as little of it as if it had been Greek, 
and made such a face, that Keudell said, " If that fellow is 
to protect us against a surprise, I had much rather depend 
on the soldier there." 

I learnt , from another source in the evening that Favre 
had been accompanied by M. Rink and M. Hell, formerly 
secretaries of Benedetti, as well as by Prince Biron, and 
that quarters had been found for him in the village near 
Ferrieres, where he hoped to have another interview with 
the Chief. Keudell said, " When the Chancellor left the • 
room where he and Favre had been talking, he asked the 
dragoon at the door where he came from." " From Hall in 
Swabia." " Well, you may boast hereafter that you were on 
guard at the first peace negotiation in this war." 

The rest of us, meanwhile, had to wait a long time at 
Chessy for the Chancellor, and took occasion, probably 
with his leave, to drive on towards Ferrieres, which was 
about six miles off. On the road we crossed the line of the 
zone round Paris, within which the French have diligently 
destroyed everything. But here the destruction was only 
partial. The inhabitants of the villages which we visited 
seemed to have been mostly driven away by the Gardes 
Mobiles. So far as I know, we did not see one dog, but 

158 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

in some yards there were a few hens. On most of the 
doors which we passed there was written in chalk " The 
Corporal's Guard N.," or " One officer and two horses," or 
something of that kind. In the villages one comes occa- 
sionally to town-like houses, and outside of them there were 
villas and mansions with parks, showing the proximity of 
the great city. In one of the villages through which we 
passed lay several hundred empty wine bottles in the ditch 
and on the field near the road. A regiment had disco- 
vered here a good source whereat to quench its thirst, 
and had halted for that purpose. There was no sign to 
be seen on the road of the guards, or the other prudential 
measures which had been observed at Chateau Thierry and 
Meaux, which might have been hazardous for the Chief 
when he returned late in the evening and with only a small 

At last, as it began to grow dusk we drove into the 
village of Ferrieres, and soon after into Rothschild's pro- 
perty, which is situated close by, in the castle of which the 
King, and with him the higher division of the great head- 
quarters, took up their abode for some time. The Minister 
was to have his quarters in the last three rooms of the right 
wing on the first floor, where he looked out on the meadows, 
the lake, and the castle park; while the Bureau took posses- 
sion of one of the larger rooms of the ground floor, and a 
smaller room in the same corridor was used as a dining- 
room. Baron Rothschild had fled, and was in Paris, and 
had left behind only a house-steward or castellan, who 
looked a person of the highest consequence, and three or 
four women servants. 

It was dark when the Chief arrived last of all, and he soon 
after sat down with us to dinner. While it was going on 
Favre sent to enquire when he could come to continue the 

VII.] First Negotiations for Peace. 159 

negotiations, and from half-past nine till after eleven he had 
a conference alone with the Chancellor in our Bureau. 
When he left he looked — as my journal remarks — perhaps 
he had not quite laid aside the part he had been playing so 
as to act on our feelings — crushed and depressed, almost 
despairing. The conversation appeared to have led to no 
result : the gentlemen in Paris will have to become more 
pliable. Their emissary and representative was rather a big 
man, with grey whiskers coming round under his chin, a some- 
what Jewish type of countenance, and a hanging under lip. 

At dinner, a propos of the King having gone to Clayes 
as a precaution against an attack from outside, the Chief 
said that many of our generals " much abused the devotion 
of the troops in order to -win victories. . . . The hard- 
hearted villains in the general staff," he continued, " may be 
right when they say that even if the five hundred thousand 
men whom we now have in France were used up, that 
would but be our first stake in the game, if we ultimately win. 
But to take the bull by the horns is poor strategy. . . . The 
1 6th at Metz was all right, for the French had to be held 
where they were at whatever sacrifice ; but the sacrifice 
of the Guard on the 18th was unnecessary. They should 
have waited at Saint-Privat till the Saxons had completed 
their flank movement." 

During dinner we had to admire an illustration of the 
hospitality and sense of decency of the Baron, whose house 
the King was honouring with his presence, and whose pro- 
perty, therefore, was spared in every way. Baron Rothschild, 
the hundredfold millionaire, who, besides, had been till a very 
recent date Consul-General of Prussia in Paris, insolently 
refused us, through his steward, the wine which we wanted, 
although I may remark that this and every other requisition 
was to be paid for. When cited before the Chief, the man 

160 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

impudently persisted in his refusal, positively denied that he 
had any wine in the house, though he afterwards admitted 
that he had in the cellar a few hundred bottles of "petit 
Bordeaux " — in fact, there were more than seventeen thou- 
sand bottles — but declared that he could not let us have 
any. The Minister, however, explained his point of view 
to the man in a very forcible manner, insisting that it was 
a most uncourteous and niggardly way in which his master 
was returning the honour which the King had shown him 
by putting up in his house; and, when the burly fellow 
looked as if he intended to give us a little more insolence, 
asked him sharply if he knew what a " Strohbund " was ? 
Our friend appeared to guess, for he became pale, though' 
he said nothing. It was then explained to him that a 
" Strohbund " is a truss of straw upon which refractory and 
insolent house-stewards are laid, back uppermost, and he 
might easily imagine the rest. Next day we had what we 
wanted, and, as far as I know, afterwards had no cause of 
complaint. But the Baron received for his wine not only the 
price that was asked, but something over and above for 
the good of the house ; so that, on the whole, he made a 
pretty good thing out of us. 

Whether things went on in this way after we left, was to 
me for a long time more doubtful than the answer to the 
question, whether they should have been allowed to do so. 
To speak more plainly, I never could see any rational ground 
why the millionaire Rothschild should be exempted from 
requisitions, even requisitions corresponding with his vast 
wealth, when no more needed to be said but that they were 
required for the King and his retinue. There was a story 
afterwards in Versailles that on the very day of our depar- 
ture, half-a-dozen men with requisition orders appeared at 
Ferrieres and carried off a quantity of eatables and drink- 

YII.] Baron Rothschild at Ferrieres. 161 

ables, and that even the deer in the preserves by the lake 
had been eaten up by our soldiers to their great satisfaction. 
To my deep distress I learned from very authentic sources, 
that this was not the case. These tales were only pious 
wishes transformed into myths, as so often happens. The 
exceptional respect for Rothschild's seat was in every respect 
maintained till the conclusion of the war. The greater was 
our annoyance, therefore, at learning that Rothschild had 
spread in Parisian society a report exaggerating and falsi- 
fying the words of our Chief, saying that the Prussians had 
wished to flog , his house-steward at Ferrieres, because the 
pheasants which he set before them had not been truffled. 

The morning next but one the Minister came into the 
" Chambre de Chasse" of the mansion, a room fitted up with 
beautifully carved oak furniture, and ornamented with precious 
china vases, which we had transformed into our bureau, 
and inspecting the game-book, which was lying on the table 
in the middle of the room he showed me the page, dated 
November 3rd, 1856, which recorded that on that day he 
himself, with Gallifet and others, had shot here, and that 
he had killed forty-two head of game, fourteen hares, one 
rabbit, and twenty-seven pheasants, " Now," he said, " along 
with Moltke and others, I am after nobler game, the wolf 
of Grand Pre - ." At that date he had no presentiment of it, 
and his fellow sportsmen! assuredly and even less. 

About eleven o'clock he had a third meeting with Favre, 
subsequent to which a council was held with the King, at 
which Moltke and Roon were present. After some letters 
had been written to Berlin, Reims, and Hagenau, I had 
two hours on hand to make myself acquainted with our 
new abode. I used this time in looking over the mansion, 
so far as it was open to us, and in rambling about through 
the park, which lay on the south side of the house, and a 
vol. 1. M 

1 62 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

flower garden on the north. About 400 paces to the west 
of the mansion are the stables and farm buildings, and 
opposite these, on the other side of the carriage drive, a very 
large fruit and vegetable garden, with rows of fine green- 
houses and hot-houses. I saw also in the park a Swiss 
cottage, fitted up to accommodate some servants, and to be 
used as a laundry. 

About the castle itself I will be brief. It is a square 
building, of two stories, and at each of the four corners a 
three-storied tower, with a rather flat roof. The style is a 
mixture of different schools of the Renaissance, which do 
not produce a very effective whole. The edifice does not 
look so large as it really is. The south front, with its flight 
of steps ornamented with stately vases, leading to a terrace, 
upon which are orange and pomegranate trees in tubs, 
looks the best. The chief entrance is on the north side, 
having a vestibule, with busts of Roman emperors, which 
are very handsome, though it is not easy to see what they 
have to do in the house of the Croesus of' modern Judaism. 
From this a somewhat narrow staircase, the walls of which 
are lined with marble, leads to the chief room of the 
house, round which runs a gallery, supported by gilded 
Ionic columns. The walls above these are hung with 
Gobelin tapestry, and among the pictures of this gorgeously- 
furnished room there is an equestrian portrait by Velasquez. 
Amid so many beautiful objects, the eye wanders first to 
one and then to another, but the whole gives one the im- 
pression that the possessor thought less of beauty or comfort 
than of bringing together the costliest articles. 

If, however, the mansion leaves one somewhat cold, the 
gardens and park deserve the highest praise. This applies 
not only to the flower-garden in front of the north facade, 
with its statues and fountains, but in a still higher degree 

VII.] Croesus at home. 163 

to the more remote parts of the park, which end in forest, 
and through which there are straight-lined carriage drives and 
paths, some of them leading to a large manor-farm. Here 
there are beautiful foreign trees, both singly and in tasteful 
groups, and there is a' charming variety of wood, meadow, 
and water, with occasional lovely glimpses through the trees 
and shrubberies. In front of the mansion lie smooth grass 
plats, with gravel walks winding through them to a lake, 
with black and white swans, Turkish ducks, and other 
bright-coloured water-fowl. Beyond this water, to the right, 
rises an artistically-planted hill, where winding paths lead 
through shrubberies, fir woods, and leafy trees, to the sum- 
mit. On the left of the lake is a small deer-park, and 
further on, on the same side, a little stream, which runs 
murmuring at the edge of a clearing through a wood of tall 
forest trees. On the grass in front of the steps were sheep 
and poultry, and among them a few pheasants, which were 
running in great troops on the more distant sward. Of these 
birds, there are as many as four or five thousand in the park. 
Our soldiers acted towards all these good things as if they 
were not made to be enjoyed; but they took, doubtless, 
another view of them, pre-eminent in which was a healthy 
hunger. " Tantalus in uniform," said one with a mythological 
turn of mind, when we saw three of those dainty birds, which 
are uncommonly good, even without sauer kraut a la Roth- 
schild — that is, boiled in champagne — walk past a sentry, 
so close that they might have been spitted with his bayonet. 

Another of us wondered whether one of the Mobiles 
would have shown the same self-restraint ? 

On the hill close by the lake we sought and found, 
directed to it by Abeken's love of art, a statue, with which the 
master of the mansion has been pleased to decorate this 
portion of his estate. It seems to be one of his tutelary deities. 

164 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Placed on the top of the rising grounds, made of red terra- 
cotta, this statue represents a lady with a spear in her hand 
and a mural crown on her head, about half as large again as 
life. Probably to guard against any misconception, and to 
prevent our suspecting that the Prussian consul-general had 
placed a Borussia in his park, " AUSTRIA," in large letters, 
is inscribed on the pedestal of this statue. It occurred to me 
that this was perhaps a memorial of the Baron's gratitude 
that he had made so much out of Austria's financial diffi- 
culties. A visitor full of ill-regulated sentiments, seeing 
the inscription, and desiring to warn people against mis- 
understanding, had written on the lady's garment, in pencil : 
" Heil dir, Germania ! Deine Kinder sind einig " (" Hail 
to thee, Germania ! thy children are at one.") A friend 
of Kladderadatsch had written beneath this : " Det war doch 
friiher nich. Ein Berliner Kind " (" That they were not a 
little while since. A lad of "Berlin") — a gloss suggested to 
him by a second expression of dithyrambic feeling which 
another enthusiast had scrawled on the shield of the terra- 
cotta Mamsell : " Deine Kinder sind auf ewig vereint, Du 
grosse Gottin Deutschland ! " (" Thy children, O great 
goddess Germany, are now for ever united ! ") 

Upstairs in the Swiss cottage there was a miserable state 
of confusion; doors broken open, the servants' things all 
strewed about. On the floor there lay scattered about linen 
for the wash, women's gowns, papers and books, among 
them, Liaisons dangereuses, charming reading no doubt for 
washerwomen and maid-servants. 

When we returned from our travels of discovery we learned 
that the house steward, who had at first been so insolent, 
had come at last to regard us as not altogether unwelcome 
guests. He had an uncommon dread of the francs-vokurs, 
as the francs-tireurs were now often called by people of 

VII.] The Steward and the Francs-tireurs. 165 

property in the country, and this fear had won from him 
the admission that our presence had a pleasant as well as a 
vexatious side. He said to one of us that those gentlemen, 
who rivalled the Mobiles and the Chasseurs d'Afrique in 
plundering and devastating the neighbourhood, had destroyed 
everything in the country houses at Clayes, and had forced 
the peasants sword in hand to leave their houses and fly into 
the woods. They might have taken it into their heads, had 
we not been at Ferrieres, to pay a visit to the chateau. 
The possibility had presented itself to his sorrow-stricken 
mind, that they might have considered it advisable to burn 
it down. Probably in consequence of these reflections he 
had bethought himself that the Baron's cellar contained 
champagne, and that he might cede to us a number of 
bottles at a good price, without committing a deadly sin. 
In consequence of this change of mood we began now to 
feel more at home. 

At breakfast we heard that the news had arrived at the 
general staff that Bazaine, who must have been completely 
surrounded and shut in in Metz, had asked Prince Frederick 
Karl by letter whether the news of the defeat at Sedan, and 
of the proclamation of the Republic, which he had received 
through exchanged prisoners, was correct, and that the 
Prince had answered him in the affirmative, both by letter 
and with the corroboration of Parisian newspapers. 

In the evening I was summoned to the Chief, who did 
not appear at table, and who, it was said, was not very well. 
A narrow winding stone staircase, which was honoured with 
the name of the " Escalier parliculier de Monsieur le Baron" 
took me up to an elegantly-furnished room, where the Chan- 
cellor lay on a sofa in his dressing-gown. I was to tele- 
graph that the day before the French — we had heard the 
cannonade but had not known what it was — had made a 

1 66 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

sortie with three divisions in a southern direction, but had 
been utterly routed and driven back. We had taken seven 
guns and more than two thousand prisoners in the affair. 

Wednesday, September 21. — When the Chief had recovered 
from his indisposition, there was again more to be done. 
These labours, both in their matter and intention, are 
not meant for publicity, like many other excellent things 
then done, heard, or experienced. I say this once for all, 
solely to obviate the suspicion that I take part in this 
campaign more as a pleasure-loving Phaeacian than in the 
spirit of a true " soldier of the pen." 

The following passage may now be given from my 
journal : — 

" The Imperial emigrants in London have established an 
organ for the representation of their interests, La Situation. 
The journals established by us in the East of France will com- 
municate its contents to the world, specifying the sources of 
their information, so that our opinions may not be identified 
with the views of that party ; that is, our journals are not 
intended to prepare the way for our reseating the Emperor 
on the throne. Our only object is to perpetuate the differ- 
ences which exist among the French parties all of which, 
without exception, are hostile to us, to which end the reten- 
tion of the Imperial emblems and formulae for the transaction 
of business will contribute. Otherwise, Napoleon is perfectly 
indifferent to us ; and the Republic equally so. Chaos in 
France, for the present, is useful. The future of the French 
in no way concerns us ; it is their own affair to see that it 
shapes itself favourably for them. For ourselves its import- 
ance is only so far as our interest is affected by it, for 
self-interest must be the guiding-star in politics." 

When the Chief had gone out and his orders had been 
attended to, we again made an excursion into the park, 

VII.] The Mobiles and the Regulars. \6"} 

where the pheasants seemed to-day also not to have mas- 
tered the fact that there are sportsmen and shot guns here 
with no ill-will towards them. Count Waldersee was a 
guest at dinner; he comes from Ligny, not far off, where 
the second division of the great headquarters is lodged. 

He tells us that the circle of troops which has been 
gradually drawing round Paris for some days is now com- 
plete, and that the Crown Prince is at Versailles. Officers 
who have been prisoners in that Babel on the Seine, 
report that the Mobile Guard is very odious to the regular 
troops, who reproach them with having behaved in a 
cowardly manner in the last action, and even with having 
fired upon one another. They also mentioned that, in three 
stone-quarries, peasants had been found who had taken 
refuge there. In a wood, our people had stumbled on 
Mobile Guards, or Francs-tireurs, who were driven out with 
shells, and who were all killed because they had shot down 
our officers, with the exception of one, whom the soldiers 
allowed to run away in order to give the fact of the punish- 
ment a wider circulation. This was, apparently, a specimen 
of the sort of fables which sprout up in a time of excitement, 
which are always woven of the same worthless stuff — such 
as we often came across. Lastly, in Sevres, which lies between 
Paris and Versailles, the inhabitants were said to have asked 
a Prussian garrison so as to be protected against the plun- 
dering and ill-treatment which they have received from the 
Francs-voleurs and Moblots. 

At tea we heard something more about the last negotia- 
tion of the Chancellor with Jules Favre. The attention of 
the latter is said to have been drawn to the fact, that the pre- 
cise conditions of a peace could not be communicated to him 
until they had been settled in a meeting of the German 
powers immediately concerned ; but that peace would not 

1 68 Bismarck in the Franco-German War- [Chap. 

be concluded without a cession of territory, as it was a 
matter of absolute necessity that we should obtain a better 
frontier against French attacks. There was, however, less 
discussion in this conference about peace and our require- 
ments in connection with peace, than about the concessions 
from the French side on which we could grant a truce. 
When the forfeiture of territory was mentioned, Favre had 
been very much excited, sighing and raising his eyes to 
Heaven, and shedding many patriotic tears. The Chief 
does not expect that he will come again. It is as well, and 
this was the answer sent to the Crown Prince, who had 
telegraphed this morning to inquire. I wrote these last 
words early on the 22 nd. 

Thursday, September 22, evening. — The French are never 
tired of denouncing us to the world as tyrants and barbarians, 
and the English press, especially the Standard, notoriously 
very hostile to us, eagerly lends its help. Almost without 
intermission that journal pours out upon the breakfast- 
tables of its readers the bitterest calumnies as to our conduct 
to the French population and to the prisoners we have 
taken. It is always asserting that eye-witnesses, or people 
otherwise well-informed, drawing what they say from the 
best sources, furnish these lies, or these perversions and 
exaggerations of the facts. Thus within these last few days 
the Duke of Fitzjames has drawn a horrible picture of our 
atrocious cruelties in Bazeilles, which he pretends to have 
depicted only in its true colours ; and in the same spirit a 
M. L., who plays the part of an ill-treated French officer 
taken prisoner at Sedan, laments, in lugubrious tones, the 
inhuman conduct of the Prussians. We might leave this to 
answer itself, but a duke makes an impression even upon 
those on the other side of the Channel who are more favour- 
ably disposed to us, and with calumnies sufficiently auda- 

VII.] The Vuke of Fitz James. 169 

cious something always will stick. Therefore a refutation of 
these aspersions goes off to-day to the London journals 
favourably disposed to us. To this effect : 

" In this war, as in every other, a great number of 
villages have been burned down mostly by artillery fire, 
German as well as French. In these, women and children 
who have taken refuge in the cellars, and who have not had 
time to escape, have perished in the flames. This is true 
also of Bazeilles, which was taken by discharges of musketry, 
and retaken several times. The Duke of Fitz James was 
an eye-witness merely of the ruins of the village, which he 
saw after the battle, as thousands of others have seen, and 
deplored them. Everything else in his account is derived 
from the stories of unfortunate and embittered people. In a 
country where even the government developes an unex- 
ampled and systematic capacity for lying, it is scarcely to 
be expected that angry peasants, with the ruins of their 
burnt houses before their eyes, should have any great incli- 
nation to speak the truth about their enemies. It has been 
established by official inquiry that inhabitants of Bazeilles, 
not in uniform, but in blouses and shirt-sleeves, fired upon 
wounded and unwounded German troops in the streets, 
and that whole rooms full of wounded men were murdered 
in the houses. In like manner it has been proved that 
women, armed with knives and guns, committed the greatest 
cruelties against mortally wounded soldiers, and that other 
women, certainly not in the uniform of the National Guards, 
took part in the battle along with the male inhabitants, 
loading their companions' guns, and even themselves firing, 
and that while thus engaged they were wounded or killed 
like other combatants. These circumstances were of 
course not told to the Duke by his informants, but they 
would have perfectly justified our setting fire to the village, 

170 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

even if it had been done designedly to drive the enemy from 
his position. But an intentional setting fire to the village 
has not been proved. That women and children were 
driven back into the fire is one of the malignant lies with 
which the French alarm the population, and goad them to 
hatred against us. They thereby cause the flight of the 
people, who usually return to their villages a few days after 
the advance of the Germans, quite astonished that they have 
been better treated by the latter than by French troops. 
Where fear does not suffice to drive the inhabitants to 
flight, the Government sends hordes of armed men in 
blouses, supported sometimes by African troops, to drive 
the peasants from their dwellings with sabre cuts, and to 
lay waste their homes as a punishment for their want of 

As for the letter of a " Captive Officer " (Bouillon, Sep- 
tember 9), that too contains more lies than truth. With 
respect to the treatment of the prisoners, Germany can 
appeal to 150,000 better witnesses than this anonymous and 
lying officer, whose whole letter is but the expression of the 
love of revenge, which is the vain and arrogant element in the 
French character, and which will probably animate them for 
a long time to come. From this spirit of revenge results the 
certainty of a new attack to which Germany will be exposed, 
and this certainty constrains us to aim at nothing less, in 
concluding peace, than the strengthening of our frontiers. 
What is said in the letter of this pretended officer — this 
" Monsieur L." — that there was a want of provisions after 
the surrender of Sedan is quite true j not merely for the 
prisoners, but for the conquerors too, who shared what 
they had with the others. But when they themselves had 
nothing, they could give nothing. When this M. L. com- 
plains that he had to bivouac in the rain and mire, it is 

VII.] What Campaigning is. 171 

the best proof that he is no officer, and that he has not 
been engaged in this war. He is some hired scribbler, who 
has never left his room. His complaint leads us to infer 
that everything the man tells us of his being taken prisoner 
is mere invention. Had he been an officer in active service, 
he would have known that most of his comrades — certainly 
it holds good of the Germans — have spent at least thirty 
out of the forty nights since the war began in similar cir- 
cumstances. When it rained at night, they lay down in the 
rain ; and when the place where they bivouacked was miry, 
they lay in the mire. Only one who had not been present 
in this campaign, could be in any doubt about this, or could 
be surprised at it. 

M. L. congratulates himself on preserving his leathern 
purse. This is the strongest proof that he was not plun- 
dered ; for there is no soldier who does not carry money in 
such a purse next to his skin at the present day, just 
as they did a hundred and fifty years ago. If the Ger- 
man soldiers had meant to have the money of M. L., 
they knew very well from their own experience where to find 
it on him. The few Germans who were taken prisoners 
by the French can tell how quickly the hands of their 
opponents tore open the uniform of the captives, and, when 
the leather purse stuck too closely, cut into it with sword or 
knife, without troubling about the skin. We declare the 
assertions of the ill-treatment of prisoners taken at Sedan 
to be shameless and unfounded lies. A great number of the 
French prisoners — perhaps a fourth of them — were beastly 
drunk, having plundered as they did in the last hours 
before the capitulation, all the stores of wine and brandy in 
the town. That drunken men are more difficult to manage 
than sober ones, is intelligible enough ; but acts of ill-treat- 
ment such as are related in that article occurred neither 

172 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

at Sedan nor anywhere else, from the discipline which pre- 
vails among Prussian troops. It is notorious that this 
discipline excited the admiration of the French officers. 

We cannot, alas, speak as favourably of the troops of 
the enemy in this respect as of their bravery under fire. 
Often the French officers were unable to restrain their 
men from murdering the severely wounded as they lay on 
the ground, and this was true, not merely of the African 
troops, but happened even when officers of higher rank 
attempted to defend the wounded Germans against the 
attacks of their own men. It is well known that the 
German prisoners who were brought to Metz were led 
through the streets, were spat upon, beaten, and stoned ; and 
when they were discharged, that the African troops formed 
a lane and made them run the gauntlet, amid blows from 
sticks and whips. 

We can show these to be facts by official protocols, which 
are of a very different character from the anonymous letters 
of M. L. But such things are not to be wondered at 
when the journals of a city like Paris, which asks to be 
treated with special consideration, under the hypocritical 
pretext of civilisation, demand, without raising any protest, 
that the wounded who cannot be removed should be knocked 
on the head, and give it as their advice to treat Ger- 
mans like wolves to manure the fields with. The essential 
barbarism j of the French nation overspread with a thin 
layer of culture, has been fully developed in this war. 
French insolence used to say, " Grattez le Russe et vous 
trouverez le jBarbqre " (Scratch a Russian and you will find a 
Tartar). No one who is able to compare the conduct of the 
Russians to their enemies in the Crimean war with that 
of the French in the present will be in any doubt about 
the description recoiling on the French themselves. 

VII.] The Crown Prince's Quarters. 173 

I note once for all — First, it is held in England that the 
razing of the French fortresses in the East is sufficient for our 
security, but the obligation to demolish fortifications con- 
stitutes a servitude which is always more grating than their 
cession. Second, they pretend to infer in England that the 
fact of Strassburg defending itself so long against us, proves 
the devotion of its inhabitants to France. But the fortress of 
Strassburg is defended .by French troops, not by the German 
inhabitants. The obstinate defence, therefore, is no display 
of German fidelity. 

Just as we are at the soup one of the Royal servants 
comes and announces that the Crown Prince proposes to 
dine and stay the night, and he, the secretary, Fourier, or 
whoever it was, adds the request that the Bureau and 
the large room upstairs next to the Chancellor's room should 
be given up to the five gentlemen in attendance on his 
Royal Highness. The Chief answers, " The Bureau ? cer- 
tainly not ; that won't do. It is needed for business." He 
then places at their disposal his own dressing-room, and 
offers to take Blumenthal or Eulenberg into his bedroom. 
He requires the drawing-room for the reception of the French 
negotiators, and when princes come to him. The quarter- 
master retired with a long face. He had expected an 
unconditioned yes, as a matter of course. 

Count Lehndorf was present at dinner, and the conver- 
sation was lively. When mention was made of the covering 
old Fritz in the Linden with black, red, and yellow colours, 
the Minister disapproved Wurmb having allowed the con- 
troversy about colours to be raised. " For myself," says 
he, " when the North German colours were accepted the 
question was settled. Otherwise the discussion about colours, 
is a matter of indifference to me, green and yellow, or 
the colours of Mecklenburg-Strelitz ; only the Prussian troops 

174 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

will have nothing to do with black, red, and yellow." Rea- 
sonable people will not take it amiss in him, when they 
remember the March days in Berlin and the badge of their 
opponents in the Mainfeld campaign in 1866. 

The Chief afterwards said, that peace was still far off. 
" If they go to Orleans we shall follow them, even if they go 
further still, to the sea." He then read out the telegrams 
which had been received, and among them the lists of 
the troops in Paris ; " they are said to amount to 180,000 
men, but there are scarcely 60,000 real soldiers among them. 
The Mobile Guards and National Guards, with their snuff- 
boxes, are not worth counting." The conversation then 
turned for a time on matters of the table, and it was said 
among other things that Alexander von Humboldt, the ideal 
man of our democracy, was " an enormous eater, who, at 
Court, heaped on his plate whole mountains of lobster salad 
and other indigestible delicacies and then swallowed them 
down." At the last course we had roast hare, and the Chief 
remarked, " This French thing is not to be compared with 
our Pomeranian hare ; it has no game flavour. How 
different is our hare, which gets its fine flavour from the 
heath and thyme on which it feeds." 

About half-past ten he sent to inquire whether any one 
was still at tea. He was told, " Doctor Busch." He came, 
drank two cups of tea, with a little cognac, which he 
rightly considered wholesome when it is good, and ate, con- 
trary to his usual habit, some cold meat. He afterwards took 
away with him a bottle of cold tea, which he seems to like 
to drink in the night, for I have often, during the campaign, 
seen it in the morning on his night-table. He remained 
till after midnight, and for the first time we were alone. 
After a time he asked where I was born. I answered, 
in Dresden. Which town did I like best ? Of course my 

VII.] Shooting in the Park. 175 

native town? I replied rather decidedly in the negative, 
and said that, next to Berlin, Leipzig was the town which 
suited me best. He answered, smiling, " Really ; I should 
not have thought that; Dresden is such a beautiful city." 
I then told him the chief reason why, in spite of that, it did 
not please me. He was silent for a little. 

I asked whether I should telegraph that some here think 
they have heard the firing of cannons and rifles in the streets 
of Paris. " Yes," he said, " do so." " But not about the 
conference with Favre ? " " Surely," and then he continued, 
" Haute Maison, near — what do you call it ? Montry the 
first time, then at Ferrieres the same evening, the second, 
then a third interview the next day but one, but with no result, 
either as regards an armistice or peace. Negotiations with 
us have also been attempted on the part of some of the 
other French parties," to which he added some remarks 
leading me to infer that he was alluding to the Empress 

The Chief praised the red wine standing on the table, 
from the Baron's cellars, and drank a glass of it. He then 
again complained of the behaviour of Rothschild, and thought 
the old baron had better manners. I spoke of the crowds 
of pheasants in the park. Could we not have a shot at 
them ? " H'm," he said ; " it is forbidden to shoot in the 
park ; but what can they do if I go out and get some ? 
They can't arrest me, for they would have no one to see after 
the peace." He afterwards talked of hunting : " I hunt 
sometimes with the King at Letzlingen, the old forest of 
our family. Burgstall, too, was taken away from us three 
hundred years ago, simply on account of the hunting. At 
that time there was nearly twice as much wood as now. It 
was then worth nothing but for the hunting j now it is worth 
millions. . . . The indemnification given us was trifling, 

176 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

not a fourth part of the value, and almost all of it has 
vanished like smoke." 

Another time, speaking of dexterity in shooting, he 
said that when he was a young man he was such a good 
shot that he could hit pieces of paper at a hundred paces, 
and had shot the heads off the ducks in the pond. 

He remarked, on a subject to which he often recurred, 
" If I am to work well I must be well fed. I can make no 
proper peace if they don't give me proper food and drink. 
That is part of my pay." 

The conversation turned — I no longer remember how — ■ 
on the ancient languages. " When I was in the highest form 
at school, I wrote and spoke Latin very well. Now it has 
become difficult to me, and I have quite forgotten my Greek. 
I don't understand why people spend so much labour on 
them. Perhaps merely because scholars do not like to 
lessen the value oTwhat they themselves acquired with so 
much difficulty." I took the liberty of reminding him of the 
" mental discipline," and remarked that the twenty or thirty 
meanings of the particle dv must be quite delightful to those 
who have them at their fingers' ends. The Chief replied, 
" Yes, but if it is contended that Greek gives the ' mental 
discipline,' Russian does so in a still higher degree. People 
might introduce Russian at once instead of Greek ; there 
would be immediate practical use in that. It has innumerable 
niceties to make up for the incompleteness of its conjugation, 
and the eight-and-twenty declensions they used to have were 
capital for the memory. Now, indeed, they have only three, 
but then the exceptions are all the more numerous. And 
how the roots are changed ; in many words only a single 
letter remains.'' 

We spoke of the treatment of the Schleswig-Holstein 
question in the Diet in the years about 1850. Count 

VII.] The Cigar Story. 177 

Bismarck-Bohlen, who had joined us, remarked that it must 
have been good to produce sleep. " Yes," said the Chief, 
" in Frankfort they slept over negotiations with their eyes 
open. Generally a sleepy, insipid set, only supportable when 
I came among them like so much pepper.'' He then told 
an amusing story of Count Rechberg, at that time ambassador 
of the Diet. 

I asked about the "famous" cigar story. "Which do 
you mean?" " When, your Excellency, Rechberg kept on 
smoking a cigar in your presence, and you took one your- 
self." " You mean Thun. Well, that was simple enough. 
I went to him, and he was working and smoking at the 
same time. He begged me to wait a moment. I did wait ; 
but when it seemed too long, and he offered me no cigar, I 
took out one, and asked him for a light, which he gave me 
with a rather astonished look. But there is another story of 
the same kind. At the sittings of the military commission 
when Rochow was the Prussian representative at the Diet, 
Austria alone smoked. Rochow, who was a furious smoker, 
would certainly have liked to do it, but did not venture. 
When I succeeded him, I too hankered after a cigar ; 
and as I did not see why I should not have it, I asked the 
Power in the President's chair to give me a light, which 
seemed to give him and the other gentlemen both astonish- 
ment and displeasure. It was evidently an event for them. 
That time only Austria and Prussia smoked. But the other 
gentlemen obviously thought the matter so serious that they 
reported it to their respective Courts. The question required 
mature deliberation, and for half a year only the two Great 
Powers smoked. Then Schrenkh, the Bavarian envoy, 
asserted the dignity of his position by smoking. Nostitz, 
the Saxon, had certainly also a great wish to do so, but 
had not received authority from his minister. When, how- 

vol. 1. n 

178 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

ever, he saw Bothmer, the Hannoverian, indulging himself, 
at the next sitting, he must — for he was intensely Austrian, 
having sons in the army — have come to some understanding 
with Rechberg ; for he also took out a cigar from his case 
and puffed away. Only Wiirtemberg and Darmstadt were 
left, and they did not smoke themselves. But the honour 
and dignity of their states imperatively required it, so that 
next time we met, Wiirtemberg produced a cigar — I see it 
now ; it was a long thin light yellow thing — and smoked at 
least half of it, as a burnt-offering for the Fatherland." 

Friday, September 23. — This morning the weather is glo- 
rious ; and after eleven o'clock exceedingly hot. Before the 
Chief rose I took a ramble in the park, where, on the left 
of the stream, I saw a large herd of roe-deer ; and further on 
a splendid aviary, in the spacious wire-cages of which there 
were a number of foreign birds, Chinese, Japanese, New 
Zealand birds, rare pigeons, gold pheasants, and so on, 
and a quail-house. When I returned I met Keudell in the 
passage. " War !" he cried. " A letter from Favre, who 
rejects all our demands." We shall prepare this, with com- 
mentaries on it, for the press, and at the same time hint 
that the present inhabitant of Wilhelmshohe is after all not 
so bad, and that he may be of some use to us yet. 

After breakfast I receive, a number of English letters from 
Paris, which have been seized, the contents of which I am to 
make use of mostly for the newspapers. There is, however, 
very little of interest for our press. Lamentations on the 
damage done to the beautiful boulevards, on the attacks 
of the people upon the generals of the Empire, e.g. Vaillant ; 
the publication of a letter from Jules Favre, and the like. 

At dinner, when Tauffkirchen, who is to be stationed 
at Reims, and Stephan, chief director of the post-office, were 
guests of the Chief, the latter mentioned that the villages 

vii.] The Desertion of Houses. 179 

nearer Paris, and all their mansions and villas were abandoned, 
and most of them frightfully damaged. At Montmorency, 
where there was a fine library and a collection of coins and 
antiquities, the gold and silver coins have been stolen, the 
copper ones being left behind ; and everything else has 
been scattered about and damaged. The Chief said : " There 
is nothing wonderful in this. The Government have driven 
away with the sabres of the Mobile Guard or the Chasseurs 
d'Afrique, people who would have run off for a day and 
then returned, and have wrecked their houses as a punish- 
ment for their unpatriotic desire to be allowed to stay there. 
Our soldiers steal no coins and tear no books. This is the 
work of the Mobiles, among whom are many vagabonds. 
When people do not give, our soldiers take what is neces- 
sary for them to eat and drink, as they have a right to do ; 
and if, in their search for food, they break open a door or a 
cupboard, nothing is to be said against it. Who told the 
householders to run away?" 

In the evening, by the Minister's directions, we telegraphed 
that Toul has surrendered under the same conditions as 

Saturday, September 24. — The Minister was led to speak at 
dinner, of the show things in the great saloon upstairs which 
he had just seen, for the first time. Among them, we heard, 
that there was a throne or table which had casually stuck 
to the fingers of some French marshal or general in China—. 
or was it in Cochin China? — and which had been afterwards 
sold to our Baron, a remarkable object which in our visit to 
the room I had stupidly not observed. The opinions of 
the Chief on this display of luxury were almost the same as 
those which I recorded in my journal two days ago : " Every- 
thing dear, but little that is beautiful, and still less comfort- 
able." He then went on : " A property like this finished and 

N 2 

180 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

complete, could never give me any satisfaction. Not I but 
others would have made it. There is indeed much that is 
beautiful, but the satisfaction of creating and transforming is 
wanting. It is quite different when I have to ask myself, 
Can I spend five or ten thousand dollars upon this or that 
improvement ? to what it must be when one has not to think 
about money. To have always enough and more than enough 
must at last be wearisome." To-day we had pheasants (not 
truffled), and our wine proved that the enlightenment and 
improvement of the house-steward's inner man had made 
considerable progress. Further, the chief purveyor of the 
mobilised Foreign-office — which honourable post was filled by 
Count Bismarck-Bohlen — announced that some benevolent 
Berlin friend had sent the Chief a present of four bottles of 
curacao, of which a trial was made. The Chancellor 

asked : " Do you know ?" I did not catch the name. 

" Yes.'' " Well, telegraph to him : ' Old Nordhauser quite in- 
dispensable at headquarters, two jars immediately.' " After- 
wards the subject of conversation at table was, the posi- 
tion of owners of estates ; when the Minister spoke of the 
former and present condition of an estate at Schmoldin, and 
expressed himself warmly as to the care the landlords 
ought to show for the people under them. 

In the evening it was again thought advisable to make 
some communication in an article to our good friends the 
French Ultramontanes, who in war, as formerly in peace, 
put forth all their strength against the German cause, 
exciting the people against us, spreading abroad lies about 
us in the newspapers, and stirring up the peasants to join 
in the war, as they did at Beaumont and Bazeilles. 

Sunday, September 25. — Quite an off day. Nothing of 
importance to record. The Chief went to church in the 
morning with the King, and in the afternoon he did not 

VII.] The Honesty of the Jews. 181 

appear. Perhaps he has some important thing specially on 
hand. We had letters from Berlin telling us that they had 
received in good condition the biscuits which we sent from 
Reims in the despatch bags of the messengers, and that they 
had no taste of Leverstrom's oiled boots with which they 
had travelled. One return despatch-bag had been very un- 
lucky. When Bolsing opened it, it gave out a strong smell 
of port wine, and the contents of the broken bottle had 
stained with a deep blush red the accompanying papers, as 
if they would protest against such company in future. The 
messengers had possibly, when the bottle was packed up, 
taken it for an innocent red ink. 

At dinner there was some talk about the Jews. " They 
have still really no true home," said the Chief; " but are 
a sort of universal-European, cosmopolitan nomads. Their 
fatherland is Zion," (to Abeken) "Jerusalem. Otherwise 
they belong to the whole world, and hang together through- 
out the whole world. It is only the Jew child that has a little 
home feeling. But there are good honest people amongst 
them. There was one near us in Pomerania, who dealt 
in skins and such-like articles. But, for once, this did not 
succeed, and he was bankrupt. Then he came to me 
and begged me to help him, and not bring forward my 
claim ; he would repay me as soon as he could, bit by bit. 
For old acquaintance' sake, I agreed, and he really paid me. 
Even when I was at Frankfort as Envoy, I had remittances 
from him, and I believe that I lost less than the others. 
Perhaps there are not many such Jews now. But they have 
their virtues ; respect for, their parents, fidelity in marriage, 
and charitableness.'' 

Monday, September 26. — Early this morning I worked for 
the press on different lines on the following theme : It 
is asserted that Paris, with its collections, fine buildings, 

1 82 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and monuments, must not be bombarded, that it would be 
a crime against civilisation. Why not indeed ? Paris is a 
fortress. That there are within it treasures of art, splendid 
palaces, and other fine things, does not alter its character. 
A fortress is an apparatus of war, which must be rendered 
harmless, without reference to what is ' involved in doing 
so. If the French wish to keep their monuments, and 
their collections of books and pictures safe from the risks 
of war, they should not surround them with fortifications. 
For the rest, the French themselves did not for a moment 
hesitate to bombard Rome, which contains monuments 
of quite another kind, some of which could never be re- 
placed. Then, an article on the desire for war of the French 
Left before the declaration of war, to be made use of in our 
newspapers in Elsass. 

At dinner, the King's physician, Dr. Lauer, was present. 
The conversation turned for some time on culinary and 
gastronomical matters. In the course of this we learnt that 
cherries are the Chancellor's favourite fruit, and next to 
them large blue plums, called " Bauernpflaume." The four 
carp, which formed one of the courses at dinner, led the 
Chief to speak of the carp's place among eatable fish, 
on which point he expressed himself very fully. Among 
freshwater fish he gave the first place to Maranen, not to be 
confounded with Murdnen, and to trout, of which last he had 
some, very fine, in the streams about Varzin. Of the large 
trout which are so prominent in banquets at Frankfort-on- 
the-Main, he thought very little. He preferred sea-fish, 
and among them all he placed the cod first. "A good 
smolced flounder is not at all bad, and even the common 
herring is not to be despised when it is perfectly fresh.'' 
Oysters were discussed, and he said, "In my young days, 
when I lived at Aachen, I conferred a benefit on the in- 

VII.] Oysters and Mushrooms. 183 

habitants such as Ceres did when she revealed the art of 
agriculture to mankind ; in fact, I taught them how to roast 
oysters." Lauer begged for the recipe, and he got it. If I 
understood rightly, the fish was strewn with bread crumbs 
and Parmesan cheese, and roasted in its shell on a coal fire. 
I stuck quietly to my own opinion that the oyster and 
cooking have nothing to do with each other. Fresh and 
nothing with them, that is the only true recipe. The 
Chief then spoke as a thorough connoisseur of wild fruits, 
bilberries, whortle-berries, and moss-berries, and of the nume- 
rous tribe of mushrooms, of which he had eaten many in 
Finland, of kinds not known among us, but excellent. Then 
he spoke of eating in general, and said jocularly, " In our 
family we are all great eaters. If there were many in the 
country with such a capacity, the state could not exist. I 
should emigrate." I rememberecTthat Frederick the Great 
had done great things in the same line. 

The conversation then turned on military matters, and 
the Minister said that the Uhlans were still the best cavalry. 
The lance gave the man great confidence. It is said that 
it is troublesome among trees, but that is a mistake. It 
is very useful in moving aside the branches. He knew this 
from his own experience, having served first with the rifles 
and afterwards with the Landwehr Lance Cavalry. The 
abolition of the lance in all the cavalry of the Landwehr 
was a mistake. The bent sabre, especially when it is 
badly ground, is of very little use. The straight cut-and- 
thrust sword is much more practical. 

After dinner there came in a letter from Favre, in which 
he asked, first, that due notice should be given of the bom- 
bardment of Paris, in order that the diplomatic body might 
have time to get away ; secondly, that correspondence with 
the outer world should be permitted them by means of letters. 

184 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

When he came down from the Chief with the letter, Abeken 
said, that he meant to answer it by way of Brussels. 
" Then," said Keudell, " the letter will reach its destination 
late, or, perhaps not at all : it will come back to us." " That 
does not matter," replied Abeken. . . . The King wishes to 
see newspapers, and the most important things are to be 
marked for him. The Chief proposed to him the Nord- 
Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, and I am to attend to the 
marking and to send up the numbers to the Minister. 

In the evening I am several times called up to the Chief 
to receive my orders, I learn that " Favre's account of 
his conversations with the Chancellor shows an anxiety to 
be truthful, but at the same time is not quite exact, which, 
under the circumstances, and considering that it is a report 
of three conversations, is not to be wondered at." In par- 
ticular the question of an armistice is put in the back- 
ground, whereas in reality it was the prominent question. 
There was no talk of Soissons, but of Saargemund. 
Favre was prepared for a considerable pecuniary indemnity. 
The question of a truce hung upon two alternatives ; either 
the surrender to us of the portion of the fortifications of 
Paris dominating the city, the Parisians having free inter- 
course with the outer world : or the surrender of Strassburg 
and Toul. We claimed the latter because in the hands 
of the French it threatens our supplies. Upon the cession 
of territory, on the conclusion of peace, the Chancellor 
spoke to the effect that he could only explain himself on 
the question of the frontiers after the principle was accepted. 
Then, when Favre asked for some indication at least of our 
demands in this respect, it was remarked to him that we 
needed Strassburg, "the key to our house," and the Depart- 
ments of the Upper and Lower Rhine, also Metz and a 
part of the Moselle Department for our security in the 

VII.] Diplomatic Papers to be written in German. 185 

future. The Armistice was to enable the French National 
Assembly to be consulted. 

After dinner great news arrives : Rome is occupied by 
the Italians, while the Pope and the diplomatists remain in 
the Vatican. 

Tuesday, September 27. — Bolsing showed me, by order 
of the Chief, his answer to Favre's letter, which he had re- 
written and made shorter and firmer. It said with respect 
to the first point : A notice beforehand is not the usage of 
war ; and as to the second, a beleaguered fortress does not 
appear to be an appropriate position for diplomatists. We 
shall allow open letters, containing nothing objectionable, to 
pass through. In this view of things we hope to have the 
concurrence of the diplomatic corps. This body may indeed 
go to Tours, where we hear that the French Government in- 
tends to go. The answer was written in German, a practice 
which Bernstorff had begun, but which Bismarck has carried 
out more persistently. In earlier days, so Bolsing says, most 
of the secretaries in the foreign office belonged to the French 
colony, of which Roland and Delacroix still survive, and 
almost every business was transacted, even by the coun- 
cillors, in French. Even the registers of exports and 
imports were kept in French. Ambassadors usually sent in 
their reports in French. Now the language of those " vile 
Gauls," as Count Bohlen calls the French, is only used 
exceptionally — for instance, to those Governments and 
ambassadors whose mother-tongue we cannot read fluently 
— but the registers for years past have been kept in 

Abeken is not to be seen to-day in the Bureau, and we 
hear that he has had an apoplectic attack, and that Lauer 
has been summoned. It does not, however, seem to be very 
serious. The Chief is at work unusually early — by eight 

1 86 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

o'clock. He has again not been able to sleep. I got from him 
several commissions which I finished in the course of the 
forenoon — articles about the hostile conduct of the Luxem- 
burgers ; on the Chiefs conference with Favre ; upon Eng- 
land and America. We now receive an abundance of news- 
papers, and letters from Germany have been arriving 
earlier for some days past. B. has left Hagenau, because 
among the Bureaucrats whom he met there it was too 
confining and uncomfortable. He had worked for three 
weeks with great zeal, and with acknowledged talent, and 
attained what was attainable under very difficult circum- 
stances, and had set everything going. With many others, 
he feels disturbed by the idea that we may be thinking of 
the restoration of Napoleon, though he considers it a moral 
impossibility, and is therefore inclined to suppose that the 
intimations in the press, in which that restoration is sug- 
gested as possible, are only intended to put pressure upon 
the Provisional Government in Paris. 

At dinner Prince Radziwill, and Knobelsdorff of the 
general staff, were present. We were speaking of the pas- 
sage in Favre's account of his negotiations with the Chief, 
where he is said to have wept. " It is true," said the Minis- 
ter. " He seemed crying, and I endeavoured in a fashion 
to console him ; but when I looked a little closer, I posi- 
tively believe that he had not shed a tear. He intended, 
probably, to work upon my feelings with a little theatrical 
performance, as the Parisian advocates work upon their 
public. I am almost convinced that at Ferrieres, too, he was 
painted white, especially the second time. That morning 
in his part of the injured and much-suffering man he looked 
much greyer than he did before. It is possible, of course, 
that he feels all this ; but he is no politician. He ought 
to know that bursts of feeling are out of place in poli- 

VII.] General Burnside. 187 

tics." After a little while the Minister went on : " When I 
dropped a word about Strassburg and Metz, he made a face 
as if he thought I were joking. I should like to have told 
him what the great Kiirschner once said to me in Berlin. 
I went to his shop with my wife to ask the price of a fur 
cloak, and when he mentioned a high price for one that 
pleased me, I said, 'You are joking!' 'No,' he replied; 
' in business, never.' " 

Later in the evening the American General Burnside was 
announced. The Chief answered that he was now at dinner 
and wished the General would be so kind as to call again — 
" In an hour or two ? " " Ah ! as far as I am concerned, in 
half an hour." Then he asked me, " Now, Doctor Busch, 
who is this man?" I said, "A very prominent General in 
the Civil War, and, after Grant and Sherman, leaving the 
Confederate generals out of account, the most important." 

We then spoke of the occupation of Rome and of the 
Pope in the Vatican; and the Chief said of the Pope, "Yes; 
sovereign he must remain, only we are obliged to ask how. 
We should be able to do much more for him if the Ultramon- 
tanes were not always so active against us. It is my custom 
to pay people back in their own coin." "I should like to 
know, too, how our Harry (von Arnim, the North-German 
Ambassador at the Papal Court) finds himself now? 
Probably to-day so, in the evening, so, and in the morning •■ 
again something quite different, like his reports. He would 
be too much of an ambassador for a small sovereign, but 
the Pope is not merely the Prince of the States of the 
Church ; he is the head of the Catholic Church.'' 

After dinner, as we were having our coffee, Burnside came 
with an older gentleman, who wore a red flannel shirt and a 
paper collar. ' ' The general is a rather tall, well-made man, 
with thick bushy eyebrows, and singularly fine white teeth. 


188 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

With his precisely-trimmed short cropped King William's 
beard, he might have been taken for an elderly Prussian 
major in plain clothes. The Chief sat with him on the sofa 
to the left of the window in the dining-room, and had an 
animated conversation with him in English over a glass of 
Kirsch-wasser (cherry cordial), which was replenished after a 
little. Meantime Prince Radziwill talked with the other 
gentleman. When the Minister remarked to his visitor that 
he was rather late in coming to see the campaign, and Burn- 
side had explained why, the Minister told him that in July 
we had not had, neither the King nor the people, the 
slightest intention of war, and when we were surprised 
with the declaration of war, had not a thought of conquests. 
Our army is excellent for a war of defence, but not easy to 
use for plans of conquest, for the army is the people, and 
the people are not desirous of glory. They need, and they 
wish, peace. That is why the press, which is the voice 
of the people, now demands a better frontier. For peace' 
sake we must now, in presence of an ambitious people, 
greedy of conquest, think of our security for the future, and 
we can only find it in a better defensive position than we 
have at present. Burnside appeared to see this, and was 
emphatic in praising our excellent organisation and the 
heroism of our troops. 

In the evening, after nine o'clock, I had telegraphed, by 
the Chiefs direction, that the Mobile Guards were deserting 
in great numbers, and that they were shooting a number 
of them. While we were sitting at tea Kriiger brought the 
news that Strassburg had fallen. Keudell asked how he 
came to know it. Bronsart had just been with the Chief to 
announce it, and Krausnick then told us that Podbielski had 
also arrived with the news. Somewhat later Bronsart himseli 
came into the Bureau to Say that a telegram announcing the 

VII.] The Imperialist Mediator. 1 89 

capitulation had arrived, and he added that the Chancellor 
had said that if he had been a younger man he would have 
had a bottle of champagne on the head of the good news, 
but he must not, or he would be unable to sleep. 

Wednesday, September 28. — The King has forbidden all 
sporting and shooting in the park. To-day he drove early 
to a great review of the troops in the cantonments, near 
Paris. About twelve o'clock I wished to see the Minister, 
in order to ask him a question. In the ante-room I was told 
that he was not at home. " Has he ridden out, then ? " 
" No ; the gentlemen are shooting a few pheasants. Engel 
was to go after them." "Have they taken their guns?' 
" No, but Podbielski sent them on before." The Chief 
came back about two o'clock, and he and Moltke and 
Podbielski had been shooting, not in the park, but in the 
woods to the north and north-east of it, but, as it seemed, 
with little success. Abeken was now better, and appeared 
once more in the Bureau, but not yet at dinner. 

While the Minister was away, an elderly gentleman in a 
grey overcoat and grey hat, with snow-white hair, very sharply 
aquiline nose, grey moustache and chin tuft, was having 
breakfast. He was, as we afterwards heard, the Reynier so 
much spoken of by the newspapers after the war, who, about 
the end of September, half on his own responsibility, and 
half not, played the part of mediator between the Empress 
Eugenie and Bazaine. He now wanted an audience of 
the Chancellor. Burnside also asked to-day, by telegraph, 
whether he could wait upon him again, and at what hour. 
It looked as if he also wished to come and mediate as a 
confidential person. I answered him, by order of the Chief: 
" The Chancellor will be happy to receive you this evening, 
-at any hour you please." 

At dinner, when Count Lehndorff, and Landrath Count 

190 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Fiirstenstein, in the uniform of a light-blue dragoon, with 
yellow collar, and a Herr von Katt were our guests — of 
whom the two latter were to be prefects in the conquered 
French districts — the Chief told us that the sport in the 
morning had not been very successful, which he attributed 
to some fault in the cartridges. He had killed only one 
pheasant, and had wounded three or four others, but had 
not got them. He said, that when he had been here before 
he had done better, at least with the pheasants ; with the 
other game, however, it had not been so. With Dietze, in 
Magdeburg, he had once, in five or six hours, shot a hundred 
and sixty hares. After the sport was over, he had been with 
Moltke, where he had tasted a new kind of drink, a sort of 
punch made with champagne, hot tea, and sherry, which, if 
I heard fightly, was an invention of the great general, — 
the man who thinks battles. 

Graver conversation followed. The Chancellor complained 
first, that Voigts-Rhetz had said nothing in his report about 
the brilliant charge of the two regiments of dragoon-guards 
at Mars-la-Tour, which he himself suggested, and which had 
saved the Tenth Army Corps. " It was a necessity, I must 
admit, but he should not have passed it over in silence." 
He then began a longer discourse suggested, as to the image 
which started him off, by a spot of grease on the table- 
cloth, and which at last assumed the character of a dialogue 
between the Minister and Katt. After remarking that the 
feeling that it is noble to die for honour and the Fatherland, 
even without recognition, is among us Germans spreading 
through the nation more and more, Katt went on to say : 
" The non-commissioned officer has essentially the same 
view and the same feeling of duty as the lieutenant and the 
colonel. With us this runs through every stratum of the 
nation." " The French are a mass easily brought under the 

VII.] The Chancellor's Faith. 191 

influence of one leader, and are then very powerful. With 
us, every one has his own opinion ; and with Germans it is 
a great step gained when any considerable number of them 
hold the same opinion — if they all did so, they would be 
omnipotent." "The feeling of duty in a man who submits 
to be shot dead, alone, in the dark " (he meant, no doubt, 
without thinking of reward and honour for steadfastly sticking 
without fear and without hope to the post assigned to him), 
" the French have not. It is due to what is left of belief in 
our people ; from the fact, that I know that there is Some 
One who sees me, when the lieutenant does not see me." 
" Do you believe, your Excellency, that they really reflect 
on this ?" asked Fiirstenstein. " Reflect — no, it is a feeling, 
a tone, an instinct, I believe. If they reflect, they lose it. 
Then they talk themselves out of it." ..." How, without 
faith in a revealed religion, in a God, who wills what is good, 
in a Supreme Judge, and a future life, men can live together 
harmoniously — each doing his duty and letting every one 
else do his — I do not understand." " If I were no longer a 
Christian I would not remain for an hour at my post. If I 
could not count upon my God, assuredly I should not do so 
on earthly masters. Of course I should have to live, and I 
should be in a good enough position." " Why should I disturb 
myself and work unceasingly in this world, exposing myself 
to all sorts of vexations, if I had not the feeling that I must 
do my duty for God's sake ? If I did not believe in a 
divine order which has destined this German nation for 
something good and great, I would at once give up the 
business of a diplomatist, or I would not have undertaken 
it. Orders and titles have no charm for me.'' ..." I owe 
the firmness which I have shown for ten years against all 
possible absurdities only to my decided faith. Take from 
me this faith and you take from me my Fatherland. If I 

192 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

were not a good believing Christian, if I had not the super- 
natural basis of religion, you would not have had such a 
Chancellor. . . . Get me a successor on the same basis 
and I give up at once — but I live among heathens. When 
I say this I don't want to make proselytes, but I am 
obliged to confess my faith.'' " But the ancients," said 
Katt ; " surely the Greeks displayed self-denial and devotion, 
surely they had a love for their country, and did great things 
with it ;" and he was convinced "that many people now do 
the same thing from patriotic feeling and the consciousness 
of belonging to a great unity." The Chief replied, " This 
self-denial and devotion to duty, to the State, and to the 
King, is only the survival of the faith of our fathers and 
grandfathers transformed — indistinct and yet active ; faith 
and yet faith no longer." ..." How willingly I should be 
off. I delight in country life, in the woods and in nature. 
. . . Take from me my relation to God, and I am the man 
who will pack up to-morrow and be off to Varzin to grow 
my oats.'' (Vide note at end of chapter.) 

After dinner the Grand Duke of Weimar was upstairs 
with the Chancellor, then Reynier, and lastly Burnside, with 
his companion of the day before. 

Thursday, September 29. — Early in the morning I wrote 
an article upon the folly of some German newspapers, which 
oppose our claiming Metz and the neighbourhood, because 
French is the language there, and another against Ducrot's 
inexcusable escape, while he was being conveyed to Ger- 
many. The second article is to be sent also to England. 

In the newspapers there is a statement regarding the 
feeling in Bavaria, which appears to be derived from 
authentic sources, the substance of which accordingly I 
note here in its essential points. The accounts given in 
it are for the most part good, though some might be better. 

VII.] Feeling in Bavaria. 193 

The German idea has evidently spread and gained in strength 
through the war, but the specifically Bavarian self-conscious- 
ness has also grown. The participation of the army in 
the victories of the German host at Worth and Sedan, and 
the great losses it has sustained, have naturally spread en- 
thusiasm for the war with France through all classes of 
the people, and filled them with pride in the deeds of 
their sons. People are convinced that the King hopes for 
the victory of the German arms, and is thoroughly in 
sympathy with all the efforts made for securing it. Those 
immediately about him are equally well disposed. This 
is not supposed to be the case, however, with all his 
ministers. The Minister of War is certainly earnestly 
anxious for the successful issue of the war, and he does 
all that is possible for it. Confidence, therefore, may be 
placed in him, and we may assume that in the conditions 
of peace he will be on the right side. 

With regard to the re-arrangement of the future relations 
of Germany, which may be developed in peace through per- 
manent closer connections originating in the common action 
begun in the war, no conclusion can be drawn from the tone 
of the Bavarian press, which is very sanguine on the point. 

Many persons of great influence regard the vigorous co- 
operation of the Bavarians in the German victories less as 
a means to a greater unity of Germany than as a proof of 
the power of Bavaria, and a security for its complete in- 
dependence. The Particularists, not of the Ultramontane 
party, take almost the same view. They are delighted at 
our successes, and proud of the share which the Bavarians 
have had in them. They admire the Prussian conduct of 
the war, and desire, as we do, the security of Germany 
against further attacks from the West; but they show no 
wish for a union of Bavaria with the North German Con- 

vol. 1. o 

194 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

federation in its present form. In these circles also there 
is much discussion on the distribution of the conquered 
French territory. They would like to see Elsass united 
with Baden, provided that the Baden Palatinate, were ceded 
to Bavaria. Sagacious men see ground to fear that after 
the peace Baden and probably Wiirtemberg will desire union 
with the Northern Confederation. The Ultramontanes are 
still the same as before, though they do not express their 
thoughts. Happily, they have lost all confidence in Austria, 
so that they are without support, while, on the other hand, 
the Bavarians in the field have a very different opinion of 
the Prussians from what they had before the war. They are 
full of praise for their comrades of the north, not merely 
for their military qualities and deeds, but their readiness to 
help with their own stores, when they happen to be sooner 
or more amply provided than the Bavarians. More than 
one has written home that their priests have deceived them 
about the Prussians ; that it is not true that they are all 
Lutherans — many are Catholics, and they have even seen 
Catholic chaplains among them. As the officers think in 
the same way, the army on its return home will be an 
effective propaganda against Ultramontanism, and indeed 
against extreme Particularism. We may suppose that the 
National German party in Bavaria feel themselves stronger 
than ever, and they would do their utmost for the cause : 
but they have not the majority in the Second Chamber, 
and in the Upper House scarcely more than two or three 
think with them. 

At dinner, when Count Borck, the proprietor of a large 
estate in Pomerania (in military uniform), and Ensign von 
Arnim-Krochlendorf, a cuirassier and nephew of the Chief, 
dined with us, very little passed -which was worth relating. 
They talked of the Grand Duke of Weimar and such like. 
Then the Minister said that some one had asked him what 

VII.] The German Press on Clemency, 195 

they were going to do with the Mobile Guards taken prisoner 
at Strassburg. " Are they to be sent home ?" somebody 
asked. " God forbid," said I, " they should be sent to 
Upper Silesia." 

Friday, September 30. — Another letter received from B. 
in B., who continues to employ his talent and influence to 
express the Chancellor's views in the papers. He was 
asked in answer to make a stand against the absurdity 
some German journalists are falling into, who while we are 
at war, and scarcely out of the very thickest of it, prate so 
zealously about moderation. These gentlemen are very free 
with their advice as to how far we Germans may go in 
our demands, and plead in favour of France, when they 
would show far more wisdom by pitching our demands high. 
" By doing this," said the Minister, when he complained of 
these articles, " we shall get at least what is fair, though not 
everything we want. They will force me yet to demand the 
Line of the Meuse." 

The great people are having a feast to-day. They keep, 
it is said, the Queen's birthday. We have again heard shots 
from the neighbourhood of Paris, and in the evening the 
Chief allowed me to telegraph the news with the addition 
that a sortie had taken place, and that the French had been 
driven with great loss and in wild disorder back into the city. 

Saturday, October 1. — I wrote two articles, one for Berlin 
and the other for Hannover. At breakfast there were the , 
Bern Professor of National Economy, Dr. Jannasch, and a 
companion. These gentlemen have gone through many 
difficulties and fatigues in getting here. At dinner, where 
the Minister was not present, we had Count Waldersee as 
our guest. He wishes Paris, as a Sodom which corrupts the 
world, to be thoroughly humbled. 

Sunday, October 2. — Count Bill came to visit his father. 

o 2 

196 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Early in the morning I despatched a telegram, and in the 
evening two articles. Not much else to be noted to-day. 

But — at tea Hatzfeld mentioned that he had visited our 
neighbour at Guernant on the road to Lagny, and that the 
proprietor, the Marquis Tolosan or d'Olossan, a comfortable, 
paunchy gentleman, had complained of the people quartered 
on him. The Prussians, he said, were charming, but the 
Wurtembergers were quite too familiar. No sooner had 
they entered his house than they had slapped him on the 
stomach, saying, " A splendid corporation." They made 
continual demands. He had given them four thousand 
bottles of Bordeaux and the keys of his cellar, and yet 
they were always looking about as if more were concealed. 
He had given them two out of the three carriages in his 
coach-house, and only wanted to keep quite a little one for 
himself, which he much needed as it was difficult for him to 
get about. But they had taken even that carriage out for 
the whole day, and when he remonstrated they laughed, and 
said it was always the way in war. 

This led some one to remark that a poor man had 
relatively more to endure than the rich and people of rank. 
The Chief said, recalling a speech of Sheridan's in Reims, 
that this did not signify, as there are more poor people 
than very rich ones ; we must keep in view the end of war, 
which is an advantageous peace. "The more French people 
who had to suffer, the more would they long for peace, 
whatever conditions we made." " And as for their treache- 
rous Francs-tireurs, who stand about at one moment in their 
blouses with their hands in their pockets, and next moment, 
when the soldiers are past, whip out their guns from the 
ditch and fire at us, it will come to this, that we shall have 
to shoot every male inhabitant. This really would not be 
worse than in battle where they kill each other at 2000 paces, 
when they cannot distinguish each other's faces.'' 

vii.] Russian Life. 197 

The conversation then turned upon Russia and the com- 
munistic partition of land which exists there among the 
village communities, and upon the families of the smaller 
nobility, who used to lay out their savings in buying serfs, 
extorting rent from them in the shape of obrok* and of the 
incredible riches of many of the old Boyard families. The 
Chief quoted many examples, and spoke at length of the 
Jussupows, whose property, although it had been several 
times half confiscated in punishment for their conspiracies, 
was yet far greater than that of most German princes, and 
had borne, without noticing the fact, two serfs who acted as 
managers, draining three millions from it during their time of 
service. The palace of the prince in St. Petersburg contains 
a large theatre, a ball room in the style of the White drawing- 
room in the palace at Berlin, and magnificent halls in 
which three or four hundred persons can comfortably dine." 
Old Jussupow, twenty years ago, kept open house every 
day. A poor old retired officer had dined for many years 
in the house daily without their knowing who he was. Once 
he stayed away a longer time than usual and they inquired 
after him from the police, when they learned the name and 
condition of their guest of many years' standing. 

Monday, October 3. — Except for my journal, to-day was 
for me a dies sine tinea, for the Minister was invisible both 
before and after dinner. At dinner, at which were Marshal of 
the Household Perponcher and a Herr von Thadden, who 
was designated as a member of the administration in Reims, 
the Chief told several good anecdotes of old Rothschild in 
Frankfort. On one occasion he had spoken in his presence 
with a corn merchant about a sale of wheat, when the 
merchant said to Rothschild that being so rich a man he 

* The obrok was a rent levied by the proprietor, not on the tenants' 
individual farms but on the whole communities. The institution was 
common between 1830 and 1863, when the serfs were emancipated. 

198 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

would never think it necessary to put the highest price on 
his wheat. " What rich man do you mean ?" replied the old 
gentleman. "Is my wheat worth less because I am a rich 
man ?" " He used to give dinners sometimes which were 
quite worthy of his great riches. I remember once when 
the present King was in Frankfort I invited him to dinner. •' 
Later in the same day Rothschild also asked his Majesty 
to dine with him, to which the King replied, that he must 
settle matters with me, that for his own part he did not 
care with which of us he dined. The Baron now came and 
proposed that I should cede his Royal Highness to him and 
that I should join them at dinner. I refused this, but he 
had the naivete to suggest that his dinner might be sent to 
my house, although he could not eat with us, as he only 
partook of strictly Jewish fare. This proposal also I begged 
leave to decline — naturally, though his dinner doubtless was 
better than mine." Old Metternich, who, by the way, was 
very kind to me, told me that once when he had been 
visiting Rothschild, the Baron gave him some luncheon to 
eat on the way back to Johannisberg, with which there were 
packed six bottles of Johannisberg wine. When they 
reached Johannisberg (Metternich's estate) these bottles 
were taken out unopened. The Prince then sent for his 
wine steward, and inquired how much that wine cost him a 
bottle. "Twelve gulden," was the answer. "Well, take 
those bottles, and the next order you get from Baron 
Rothschild send them back to him, but charge him fifteen 
gulden, for they will then be older.'' 

Tuesday, October 4. — Again, to-day, the Chief did not call 
for me. After breakfast, Legations-Rath Bucher and Secre- 
tary Wiehr, a cipherer, came to us. The former seems to 
have been summoned to replace Abeken, who was to have 
gone home, but has now recovered, and is only ordered to 
live very carefully. No one could have filled his place 

VII.] Molthe as a War Weather-glass. 199 

better than B., who is undoubtedly the most learned, in- 
telligent, and laborious of all the higher workers who surround 
the Chief, and give expression to his thoughts. The gentle- 
men had travelled by rail to Nanteuil, and had stayed the 
night in La Ferte", where the ruins caused by the explosion 
had not been cleared away. They dined with us in the 
evening. With that the Chancellor came to speak, about 
Moltke, and how he had held out bravely over the sherry 
punch-bowl, and been pleasanter than ever. Some one 
remarked that the General looked wonderfully well. " Yes," 
said the Chief, "and I, too, have not been so well for a 
long time as now. That is the war — and especially with 
him. It is his business. I remember when the Spanish 
was the burning question that he looked at once ten years 
younger. When I told him the Hohenzollern prince had 
given the thing up, he became all at once quite old and 
worn-looking; but when the French made difficulties, 
Moltke was fresh and young again immediately." 

Whilst we were dining, a letter came to the Minister from 
Bancroft, the ambassador of the United States in Berlin, 
which he gave me to translate into German for the good 
of the company, and in which the American thinks him- 
self fortunate to live in an age including men like King 
Wilhelm and our Count. Before this, when I went into the 
dining-room, where the Chief and , his visitors the two dra- 
goon officers were at first alone, he presented me to these 
two gentlemen as " Doctor Busch, from Saxony," and then, 
with his friendliest look, called me, " Biischlein (my little 
Busch)." Our secretaries have for some time been longing for 
a uniform. To-day this was spoken of at dessert by Bolsing, 
and behold, a good word brought a good deed. " Why 
not ? " said the Chief. " Only send me a little statement 
on the subject, and I will soon arrange it with the King.'' 
This evening there was much joy in the tents of Israel. 

200 Bismarck in the Franco- German War. [Chap. VII. 

In the morning we are to start betimes. We have a long 
journey before us; our next night quarters will be at 

Note. — Compare the discourse of Herr von Bismarck on June 15, 
1847, in the United Diet. He said, " I am of opinion that the idea of 
the Christian state is as old as the ci-devant Holy Roman Empire, as 
old as the whole group of European states, that it is the very ground 
in which these states struck their roots, and that every state which 
wishes to secure its own permanence, or to justify its existence, must 
rest on a religious basis. The words, 'By the grace of God,' which 
Christian sovereigns usually put after their names, are, for me, no 
empty words. I see in them the confession that these princes are to 
bear the sceptre put into their hands on earth by God, in accordance 
with His will. I can only recognise as God's will what is revealed in 
the Christian Gospels, and I believe myself justified in calling a state 
Christian when it imposes on itself the mission of realising the teach- 
ing of Christianity. We can recognise nothing but Christianity as the 
religious principle of the state. Take it away, and the state is nothing 
better than a casual aggregate of rights, a. sort of bulwark against a 
war of everyone against everyone else, a conception familiar to ancient 
philosophy. Its legislation will not derive a regenerating power from 
the fountain of eternal truth. It will fashion itself according to the 
vague and uncertain conception of Humanity as it is found in the minds 
of the men at the head of affairs. I cannot see how such states can 
combat the ideas — e.g., of the Communists on the immorality of pro- 
perty, or the high moral value of theft, as an attempt to restore the 
inborn right of the individual man to make himself something, when 
he feels conscious of the power to do so. These ideas are considered by 
those who hold them not merely humane, but as the first flower of 
Humanity. Let us not, therefore, gentlemen, humiliate the Christianity 
of the people by showing that we do not think it necessary for their 
lawgivers — let us not take the conviction away from them that our 
legislation comes from Christianity as its source — that the state aims at 
the realisation of Christianity, though it never attains its aim When I 
think of a Jew as a representative to me of the consecrated Majesty of 
the King, whom I am to obey, I must confess that I feel myself deeply 
humiliated and depressed, and that the delight and the honourable self- 
respect with which I now fulfil my duties to the state have a heavy 
burden laid on them.'' 

( 201 ) 




We left Ferrieres on the $th of October about seven o'clock in 
tlje morning. At first we drove by country roads, in capital 
condition, through a great wood and a number of pretty 
villages, which seemed to be quite deserted by their inhabi- 
tants, and occupied only by German soldiers, past parks and 
castles. Everything looked uncommonly rich and well-to-do 
— as rich as Brie cheese, in the native county of which I 
believe we now are. In these villages we found first 
Wiirtemberg and farther on Prussian soldiers quartered. 

It was after ten when we reached the upper edge of the 
valley of the Seine, where we got down through a vineyard 
to the low country on the banks of the river to a new and 
dreadfully steep road, so steep that everyone had to get 
out of the carriage, which wa-s only kept, by careful tacking, 
from upsetting and breaking to pieces. Then we drove 
through the charming town of Villeneuve Saint-George, the 
villas in which have been shockingly devastated. In several 
of them which I visited whilst our horses were resting after 
their fatigue, the mirrors were broken, the furniture des- 
troyed, and the linen and papers scattered about. When we 
started again, our road took us over a canal or tributary 
water out into the open country, and then to a pontoon 
bridge across the Seine, at the ends of which great black 
and white flags were waving. The water of the river was 

202 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

clear and green, so that one could distinctly see the many 
weeds at the bottom, and its breadth seemed much the 
same as that of the Elbe at Pirna. On the other side we 
were met by the Crown Prince and his retinue. He had 
ridden out to meet the King, who mounted his horse here 
as he was going to review the troops. The Chancellor 
accompanied him, and we drove on alone. 

Not far from this our way opened into the high road 
leading up a little farther on to Villeneuve-le-Roi, where 
some peasants, mostly old people, had remained behind, 
and where we halted in a farm building in front of manure 
heaps to eat the cold breakfast we had brought with us. 
Out of the wall of the house flows a clear stream of water, 
and a tablet above it says that on such and such a day 
Sieur X. and his wife found this water, and made it 
accessible to the public by means of a pipe. Just below it 
is a tablet which states : " The doers of good deeds are 
forgotten, their good deeds remain." An old man in the 
blouse common to the country, and the high, grey, night- 
cap of the French country people, who was shuffling about 
in wooden shoes, tapped me on the shoulder and asked 
whether it was not a pretty saying. I then learnt from 
him that he himself was the male half of the pair of 
benefactors whom the tablet recommends to the thankful 
remembrance of a forgetful world. One ought not to hide 
one's light under a bushel, says the Frenchman, when he 
puts up a tablet to himself. 

We passed a second village where there was a camp of 
straw barracks. The guards on the roadside had sentry 
boxes, which were made of two doors taken off their hinges, 
a white Venetian blind for the back, and a bundle of straw 
for a roof. Prussian infantry massed in battalions on the 
road, waited for their royal commander-in-chief, and further 

VI11 '] First Sight of Paris. 203 

on — encamped in a field near a wood — was a division of 
cavalry — green, brown, and red Hussars, Uhlans, and 

For a long time I kept hoping to see Paris come in sight. 
But on the right hand, where it must lie, the view was 
bounded by a rather high wooded line of hills, on the sides 
of which a village or little town could be seen here and 
there. At last there was a depression in the ridge, a narrow 
valley, over which a yellowish elevation with sharp edges, 
perhaps a fort, could be seen, and to the left of it, over 
an aqueduct or viaduct, amid the columns of smoke rising 
from factory chimneys, the bluish outlines of a great dome- 
shaped building. The Pantheon! Hurrah, we are in 
front of Paris ! It can hardly be more than seven miles 
from here. 

Soon afterwards we came to the point on the great paved 
Imperial road, where -it was crossed by the high road into 
Paris. A Bavarian picket was stationed there ; on the left 
was a wide plain, on the right a continuation of the wooded 
hills, and half-way up them a white town, Villejuif or 
Sceaux? Then down again, past two more villages, where 
the inhabitants have not fled, but await us in considerable 
numbers. At last we drive through iron gates with gilded 
spikes into a broad street, through more streets full of life, 
across a straight avenue of old trees, through a short street 
with three-storied houses, fine shops, and a cafe, and up 
a second avenue and another street which drops down into 
it. We are at our allotted quarters in Versailles. 

On the 6th of October, the day after our arrival in the old 
royal city of France, Keudell wagered me that our stay here 
would probably extend to three weeks — and this seemed to 
me quite possible, for we had been accustomed to rapid suc- 
cesses during this war. In fact, as the Minister anticipated, 

204 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

according to a note which will be found in the next chapter,, 
we remained five whole months. As the house where we 
found shelter was the theatre of most important events, a 
detailed description of it will probably be welcome. 

The house which the Chancellor occupied belonged to a 
Madame Jesse", the widow of a prosperous cloth manufac- 
turer, who, with her two sons, had fled shortly before our 
arrival, to Picardy or Sologne, and had left behind, as the 
protectors of their property, only the gardener and his wife. 
It stands in the Rue de Provence, which connects the 
Avenue de Saint-Cloud, near its upper end, with the Boule- 
vard de la Reine, and is numbered 14. The street is one 
of the quietest in Versailles, and in only a part of it do the 
houses stand close together. The gaps between the others 
are gardens, separated from the street by high walls, over 
which the tops of trees show here and there. Our house, 
which was to the right hand of a person coming from the 
avenue, has a tolerably wide open space on both sides. It 
lies rather back from the street, above which, in front, 
rises a little terrace with a balcony, ending with the wall 
enclosing the whole. The entrance is through this wall on 
the left hand by a gate of open ironwork, in which there is 
a small door. During the last months of our stay there 
waved over it a flag of black, white, and red. On the right 
a noble pine shades the whole building, which is a villa 
plastered yellow, with five windows in front fitted with 
white blinds. Above the raised ground floor is a second 
story, and above that an attic story, with Mansard windows, 
which, as well as the sloping roof, is covered with slates. 
The house is approached from the entrance through a 
court by means of stone steps leading up to the main door, 
which opens into an entrance hall. On the right of this 
is the chief staircase ; on the left is the door to a little 

VIII.] Madame Jesse"s House. 205 

back staircase, and two large folding-doors. These lead 
into a middle-sized room, looking on the garden, which 
was made into our dining-room. A third folding-door 
opposite the entrance opens into the drawing-room, a fourth 
to the right of that into the billiard-room, from which we 
step into a winter-garden, a long room built of glass and 
iron, with all kinds of plants and trees and a little fountain, 
whilst on the opposite wall is a door which leads to a small 
room containing the library of the late M. Jesse". Under 
the main staircase, a passage leads to the kitchen, which lies 
below the terrace. 

In the drawing-room is a cottage piano, a sofa, easy chairs, 
and two mirrors. In front of one of them is a little table, 
on which stood an old-fashioned timepiece, surmounted by 
a demon-like bronze figure, with great wings, and biting its 
thumbs, perhaps a model of the family spirit of Madame 
Jesse", who afterwards showed herself to be anything but an 
amiable person. He watched with a sardonic grin the ne- 
gotiations which led to the treaties with the South German 
States, to the proclamation of the German Emperor and 
Empire, and later to the surrender of Paris and the settle- 
ment of the conditions of peace — treaties, all of which were 
signed in this drawing-room, which is therefore a world- 
famous place. On the little table in front of the other mirror 
lay, on the day after our entrance, a small map of France, 
upon which the movements of the French army were marked 
by pins with different coloured heads. " Probably it belongs 
to Madame,'' said the Chief, as I was contemplating it ; 
"but you see it is not marked after Worth." 

The billiard-room was fitted up as the Bureau for the 
Councillors, the despatch secretaries, and the cipherers. 
A part of the winter garden, when the severe frost began 
in January, was occupied by a detachment which furnished 

206 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

sentries for the entrance, and which, at first, consisted 
of infantry of the line, and afterwards of Green Rifles. 
The library was appropriated by orderlies and chancery 
messengers, and now and then a corpulent leather despatch- 
bag, which sometimes was so obliging as to carry things 
not official, like our winter clothes — and, for some days, by 
a heap of French letters which had formed the freight of 
a balloon captured by our soldiers. 

On ascending the main flight of stairs another fore-hall 
was reached which had a square opening above, and over 
that a flat window in the roof which admitted a kind of 
twilight. Two doors led from it into the apartments of 
the Minister, two little rooms communicating, neither more 
than ten paces long and seven broad. One, the windows 
of which occupied the right side of the main front and 
looked out on the garden, served both as his study and 
sleeping-room, and was rather barely furnished. To the 
right by the wall, opposite the window, stood the bed, 
and farther on in a sort of alcove the washhand-stand. On 
the other side was a mahogany commode, with brass 
handles to pull out the drawers by, on which, during the 
last months, stood the boxes of cigars sent to the Minister 
by his friends in Bremen. The window-curtains were of 
flowered woollen stuff on a dark ground. On the fourth 
wall was the fireplace. A sofa, which was latterly some- 
times drawn up to the fire, a table in the middle of the 
room, at which the Minister worked with his back to the 
window, and on which there was no lack of maps of the 
country, and a few chairs completed the extremely simple 

The other room, which was furnished somewhat better 
but by no means luxuriously, was, as well as the drawing- 
room on the ground floor, to serve for the reception 

VIII.] Our Rooms and Furniture. 207 

of strangers. It was, if I remember rightly, the room 
of the elder son of the proprietress, and, during the nego- 
tiations for the capitulation of Paris, it was devoted to 
Jules Favre, for his meditations and his correspondence. 

It had only one window looking out on that side of the 
house where the pine-tree stood, with curtains of green 
woollen stuff. 'There was a figured grey carpet. The fur- 
niture consisted of a writing-table, on which were two globes 
and a tellurium ; a large commode with marble top, a sofa 
covered with chintz, with black and grey birds of paradise 
sitting on branches, on a red ground, a large and a small 
arm-chair covered with green, two cane-chairs, and a round 
table in the middle, on which stood writing-materials, and 
lastly, a small mirror over the mantel-piece. All the fur- 
niture was of mahogany. Before the sofa lay a small green 
rug with red arabesque patterns. On the chimney-piece 
there stood an old-fashioned clock with warlike emblems, 
two obelisks with burning shells, chainshot, trophies, and a 
warrior in Roman costume drawing his sword. Over the 
clock were two little vases with gold stripes. The walls 
were hung with various pictures : an oil-painting, in an oval 
gold frame, of a pretty young woman in a dark dress, another 
of a gentleman dressed in the fashion of twenty years ago, 
a steel engraving after Raphael's Madonna della Sedia, 
photographs of an old lady and gentleman, a landscape ; 
lastly, a lithograph, the inscription on which told us that 
Gustav Jessd took his first communion in June i860, in 
such and such a church. Gustav was the eldest son of 
the family ; the lady in black, probably his mother in her 
better days : the other portrait appeared to be Gustav's 
father, and the two old people were probably his grandfather 
and grandmother. 

In the room, the door of which opens on the left of that 

208 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

leading to the Chancellor's, Count Bismarck-Bohlen lived, 
also with a look-out to the park and garden. Opposite to 
him was Abeken, with a view into the street. Near the 
back stairs Secretary Bolsing had a little room, whilst I was 
lodged on the second floor, above Bohlen's room. 

I had a good bed, two chairs, one for myself and another 
for any visitor that might turn up, a washhand-stand, a large 
commode, and a table at which I could work quite comfort- 
ably, although it had been made by no carpenter, but had 
been improvised by our ever-helpful and skilful Theiss. It 
consisted merely of two trestles on which was laid a torn-off 
window-shutter. For my artistic nature M. Jesse", sen., a 
devoted sketcher and painter, according to the account 
of the gardener's wife, had provided some of his artistic 
work, a Discobolus, and two landscapes in chalk, which 
hung right and left over the chimney-piece, and showed the 
hand of a not unskilful amateur. My love of nature 
found abundant satisfaction for its wants in the park — at 
first brilliant in its autumn colouring, and then shining in 
the snow and silvery rime of winter. As protection against 
the goblin of the house, nightmare, and other spectres, a 
consecrated twig of boxwood was fastened on the wall 
behind my bed. To warm the room there was a marble 
fireplace, the heating power of which, when it became cold 
— we had sometimes twenty-two degrees below freezing- 
point — left much to be desired. 

The park behind the house is not large, but very pretty, 
with winding paths running under old trees covered with 
ivy and evergreens, and in the background between thick 
bushes and shrubberies. From the wall on the right, to 
which it is brought by a pipe, a spring of water bubbles out 
among stones covered with moss and overgrown with ferns 
and bioad-leaved plants. It forms a rivulet and a little 

VIII.] Night Watchers in the Park. 209 

pond for the ducks. On the left, by the wall, rows of 
espalier fruit-trees ran out from a coach-house, over which 
the gardener's people live, and in front of them beds of 
flowers and vegetables, partly open, partly covered with 

In the bright autumn nights, we used, in our walks in 
the park, to see the tall form and the white cap of the 
Chancellor issue from the shadow of the bushes into the 
moonlight, and walk slowly up and down. What was the 
unsleeping man thinking of? What ideas were revolving in 
the head of the solitary wanderer ? What plans germinated 
or ripened in the still midnight hours ? Another friend of 
the park inspired us with less reverential feelings, that ever- 
young disciple of the Muses, Abeken, as we heard him 
reciting in the evening, with no melodious voice, strophes 
from the Greek tragedians, or the Wanderer's Nachtlied. It 
looked almost comical when the old man's feelings made 
him search in the morning under the dry leaves for violets 
to send to his wife, the " Frau Geheime-Legations Rathinn'' 
in Berlin. But it was not pretty in me to laugh inwardly at 
him, for I must confess that, instigated by him, I afterwards 
sent some myself to my own " Frau Doctorinn," to give her 

Of course not all of the mobilised Foreign Office were 
quartered in the house of Madame Jesse. Lothar Bucher 
occupied a handsome abode in the Avenue de Paris, Keudell 
and the cipherers were lodged in houses rather farther 
up the Rue de Provence than ours, and Count Hatz- 
feld was not far from opposite them. More than once it 
was proposed to move the Chancellor's quarters, and to 
give him a more roomy and better-furnished house. But 
the matter dropped, perhaps because he himself did not feel 
much need of a change, perhaps also because he liked the 

vol. 1. P 

210 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

quiet which reigned in the comparatively lonely Rue de 

In the daytime this calm and repose was, however, not 
so idyllic as many newspaper correspondents then re- 
presented it. I do not mean on account of the drumming 
and fifing of the battalions marching out and in, which we 
heard every day, even as far off as we were, nor of the dis- 
turbance occasioned by the sorties, two of which were made 
by the Parisians in our direction ; nor even of the fury of the 
hottest days of the bombardment, to which we became as 
much accustomed as the miller to the sound of his clattering 
mill-wheels. I refer especially to the many visits of every 
conceivable kind, in these eventful months ; and among 
which some were unwelcome ones. For many hours of 
the day our house was like a dove-cot, — so many acquaint- 
ances and strangers went in and out. From Paris there 
were at first only non-official people who came to hear or to 
bring news ; afterwards, as official negotiators, Favre and 
Thiers occasionally, with a more or less numerous retinue. 
From the Hotel des Reservoirs came princes, the Crown 
Prince several times, and the King himself once. The 
Church too was represented among the visitors by persons 
of great dignity, Archbishops and other prelates. Berlin sent 
deputations from the Reichstag, single leaders of parties, 
bankers and high officials. From Bavaria and the other 
South German States came Ministers to assist in the settle- 
ment of the treaties. American generals, members of the 
foreign diplomatic bodies in Paris, amongst them a gentle- 
man in black — an envoy of the Imperialists, all wished to 
speak to the busy statesman in his little room upstairs. 
That the curiosity of English reporters should try to intrude 
itself on him was a matter of course. Then field messengers 
with despatch bags full, or waiting to be filled, Chancery 

VIII.] Afternoon Relaxations. 211 

messengers with telegrams, orderlies with news from the 
general staff; and besides all these, work in abundance 
equally difficult and important. Weighing, inquiring, and 
acting were necessary when obstacles, vexatious annoy- 
ances and troubles occurred. Expectations were deceived 
which seemed to be well grounded. Now and then we were 
not supported or our views were not met half-way. There 
were the foolish opinions of the German newspapers, which 
grumbled in spite of our unheard-of successes, and the 
agitation of the Ultramontanes. In short, it was very diffi- 
cult to understand how the Chancellor amid all this, with 
all these claims on his powers of work and patience, and 
^11 these disturbances and vexations about serious matters 
and about trifles, preserved his health — he was only once 
seriously unwell in Versailles for three or four days — and 
the freshness of spirits, which he often displayed even late 
at night in talk both grave and gay. 

Of recreation the Minister allowed himself very little. A 
ride between three and four o'clock, an hour at dinner, 
half an hour afterwards for coffee in the drawing-room, and 
sometimes later, about ten o'clock a little rest for tea and 
a talk, sometimes long and sometimes short, with those who 
happened to be there; a few hours' sleep after the day 
began to dawn. With these exceptions the whole day was 
given to study or production in his own room, or to con- 
ferences and negotiations, unless when a French sortie or 
some rather important military business took him out to the 
side of the King, or to some point of observation where he 
could be alone. 

The Chancellor had guests at dinner nearly every day, 
and in this way we came to know by sight almost all the 
persons whose names were famous or became celebrated 
in the course of the war^ and often heard their conversation. 

p 2 

212 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Favre dined with us repeatedly, first with hesitation, " be- 
cause his countrymen were starving inside," then listening 
to sound advice, and doing justice as heartily as the rest 
of us to the many good things which the kitchen and the 
cellar provided. Thiers, with his acute and clever face, 
dined with us once. On another occasion the Crown Prince 
did us the honour of dining with us, when the fellow- 
workers of the Chief, with whom he had not been hitherto 
acquainted, were presented to him. Prince Albrecht also 
once dined with us as a guest. Of the other guests of the 
Minister, I mention here the President of the Chancellery, 
Delbriick, who remained several times for weeks in Ver- 
sailles ; the Duke of Ratibor, Prince Putbus, von Ben- 
ningsen, Simson, Bamberger, von Friedenthal, and von 
Blankenburg, then the Bavarian ministers, Count Bray, and 
von Liitz, the Wiirtembergers, von Wachter and Mittnacht, 
von Roggenbach, Prince Radziwill ; and, lastly, Odo Russell, 
the English ambassador to the German Court The con- 
versation when the Chief was present was always animated 
' and varied ; often very instructive as to his mode of viewing 
men and things, or to certain episodes and passages in his 
past life. Home furnished some of the material good things, 
as presents and offerings, which arrived in the shape of solids 
or fluids sometimes in such excess that the store-rooms 
could scarcely contain them. A present of the best wine of 
the Palatinate, if I remember right, Deidesheimer Kirchen- 
stiick and Forster Hofstiick, which Jordan, or perhaps it 
was Buhl, supplied to us, and gigantic trout pasty, sent by 
Frederick Schultze, the landlord of the Leipzig garden in 
Berlin, whose patriotic benevolence at the same time pro- 
vided us plentifully with excellent beer, were among the 
noblest of these presents. Among the most touching, I 
reckon a dish of mushrooms which some soldiers had found 

vill.] Madame Jesse". 213 

in a hollow or cellar in the town, and reserved for the 
Chancellor. Even more precious and poetical was a bunch 
of roses, which other soldiers had gathered for him under 
the enemy's fire. 

We were waited on mainly by our Chancery servants. 
What had to be left to women was done by a hired char- 
woman and the gardener's wife ; the latter of whom was 
always a flaming French patriot. She hated the Prussiens 
with her whole heart, and considered that Paris could not be 
taken, even after Favre had already signed the Capitulation. 
Bazaine, Favre, Thiers, were three traitors ; of the ex- 
Emperor she spoke only as of a " cochon" who if he ever 
put his foot in France again would be sent to the scaffold. 
When she said so, the black eyes of the little thin hectic 
woman, blazed so fearfully and so cruelly that one might well 
have feared for him. 

Madame Jesse" showed herself only on the last days before 
our return home, and made, as I have remarked, not a 
very pleasing impression. She spread abroad all manner of 
stories about our pillaging, which were repeated with pleasure 
by the French press, and indeed even by those journals 
which generally in other respects exercised some discretion 
and showed some sense of decency in what they stated. 
Among other things, we were said to have packed up her 
plate and table linen and carried them off. Count Bismarck, 
too, had wanted to extort from her a valuable clock. The 
first assertion is a simple impertinence, as the house con- 
tained no silver plate, or if it did, it must have been de- 
posited in a walled-up corner of the cellar which, at the 
express order of the Chief, was never opened. The history 
of the clock was rather different from what Madame repre- 
sented it to be. The clock was the one in the drawing-room 
with the little bronze demon. Madame Jessd offered this 

214 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. VIII. 

piece of furniture, of no great value in itself, to the Chan- 
cellor, at an exorbitant price, under the idea 'that he would 
value it as a memento of important transactions. I believe 
she asked 5000 francs (^200) for it. She did not get 
them, as the offer of a woman, who showed no gratitude 
in her greed for our exceedingly considerate usage of her 
house, was rejected. " I remember," the Minister said after- 
wards, in Berlin, " that I made the remark at the time, that 
the Kobold-like figure on the clock, with its grimaces, might 
perhaps be valuable to herself as a family portrait, and 
that I would not deprive her of it." 

( 215 ) 



On the day of our arrival at Versailles, a thick white fog, 
which filled the air till close on ten o'clock, warned us that 
autumn was about to show us its rough side, although the 
trees were still quite green in the avenues and gardens, as 
well as on the wooded heights round Paris. 

With respect to the noise which the German press, and 
that not merely of the Democratic and Fortschritt parties, 
the latter of which always judges even political and military 
matters from the point of view of private rights, made over 
Jacoby's imprisonment, the following exposition of the 
character of the measure, written in the sense of the Chief, 
was sent off to-day. 

"We still constantly hear it said that law has been violated 
by the imprisonment of Jacoby. The measure may have been 
inopportune. Less importance should, perhaps, have been 
attributed to his Demonstration ; but it was not a violation 
of law, for we are living in a state of war, when civil law 
necessarily gives place to military necessity. The interning 
of Jacoby is a measure which belongs to the conduct of a 
war ; it has nothing to do with the police or penal action. 
It is by no means a question of judicial punishment, for 
Jacoby is simply a prisoner of war, like the spies captured in 
Germany, with whom, of course, in other respects, we have 
no intention of comparing him. He is, in other words, one 
of those powers which render difficult the attainment of the 
objects of war, and which, therefore, must be disabled. 

216 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" A glance at the numerous cases where the powers of the 
State, entrusted with the conduct of war, are compelled to 
invade the rights of persons and of property as recognised 
by the constitution^ will make this clear. For the purposes 
of a successful defence, private property may be destroyed, 
houses may be burned down, trees may be felled, private 
houses may be entered, street traffic stopped, and every 
other measure of constraint adopted, without any claim to 
future compensation being admitted. With the same object, 
ships and carriages, for example, may be confiscated or 
destroyed without 'the consent of the owner, and this holds 
as good of home as of abroad. To the same category, of 
the rights of a country in a state of war, belongs also the 
removal of persons who render moral or material assistance 
to the enemy, or even excite the suspicion that they are 
doing so. 

" So far as they apply to the immediate theatre of war, 
these principles are undisputed, but the idea on which they 
are founded is not affected by locality. The State must 
exercise the rights and duties assigned to it by the objects 
of war, without respect to the question whether the hin- 
drances of which we have spoken actually occur in the 
place where war is being carried on. The State is bound 
to make even occurrences at home impossible which im- 
pede the attainment of peace. We are now carrying on a 
war to extort conditions which shall prevent the enemy 
from attacking us in future; the enemy is struggling to 
resist these conditions, and is essentially encouraged and 
strengthened by the views of Germans who denounce these 
conditions as unnecessary and unjust. The manifesto of 
the Brunswick artisans, and the resolution of the Konigs- 
bergers, have been turned to the best advantage by the 
newspapers of France, and have evidently confirmed the 

IX.] The Palace of Versailles. 217 

Republicans who are now at the helm in Paris, in the 
opinion that they are rightly apprehending the state of 
things when they reject our conditions, for these French 
Republicans measure the influence of their German sympa- 
thisers upon the policy of German governments by their 
own circumstances and experiences. The influence which 
these demonstrations have had in Brunswick and Konigs- 
berg is probably very little, but the influence of these move- 
ments upon Paris is another question. It is such that 
further revelations of this kind must be made impossible, 
and, in short, that the authors of them must be removed." 

Before dinner I paid a visit to the Palace. The town 
front of this very handsome building is too much broken 
in detail ; towards the park it is much more simple. The 
greater part of it is now turned into a hospital. We looked 
into the galleries filled with pictures, the lower rows of which 
are boarded over ; the beds, full of the sick and wounded, 
being placed close in front of them. The statues of gods 
and the groups of nymphs by the great basin, between the 
park and the Palace, are wonderfully beautiful. The second 
basin in front of the broad staircase below, which may be 
about a mile long, and the one which stretches away beyond, 
are similarly ornamented. More to my taste are some of 
the marble columns on the walks leading from the second 
basin to the third. The park is very large, and not so 
stiffly and architecturally laid out as I had imagined from 
descriptions. But the trees and bushes cut into cones and 
pyramids near the staircase are exceedingly artificial and 

At dinner Count Bismarck-Bohlen did not appear, and 
different reasons were given for his absence. In the morning 
Keudell said to me that our stay in Versailles might last 
three weeks ; that Metz must soon capitulate, as they had 

21 8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

only horseflesh there, and no salt with it. In Paris greater 
confidence prevailed, although many animals were dying, the 
cattle being chiefly fed on compressed hay, a statement which 
Burnside, who meantime had been in Paris, confirmed in 
the Bureau. The views of the Minister are not now so 

The question of the uniform for the secretaries again 
came up, and the Chief thought, in connection with this, 
that the war might last perhaps till Christmas, possibly till 
Easter, and that part of the army might even have to remain 
in France for years. They ought to have stormed Paris 
on the 1 8th September. He then said to his servant, "Look 
here, Engel ; send to Berlin for my fur coat — or better, for 
both of them ; the rough fur, and the light thin one." The 
conversation then turned to the life led by their Highnesses 
of the different headquarters in the Hotel des Re'servoirs, 
and to the question whether the expenses of their mainte- 
nance should be paid by the King, by themselves, or by the 

In the Daily Telegraph, "An Englishman at the headquarters 
at Meaux " relates that the Chief said, at the close of his 
conversation with Mallet, " What I and the King most fear 
is the influence of a French Republic upon Germany. We 
know well what influence Republicanism in America has 
had upon Germany; and if the French fight us with a 
Republican propaganda, they will do us more damage by 
that than by their arms." The Minister has written on the 
margin of this quotation, "Absurd lie." 

Friday, October 7. — This morning, soon after daybreak, I 
heard several shots from heavy artillery, which appeared 
not much more than a couple of miles from here. Later 
in the day I was enabled . to announce to Berlin that our 
losses in the last action had not been, as the French falsely 

IX.] A Government to treat with, necessary. 219 

asserted, much greater, but far less than those of the French. 
The French were said to have had about 400, and we 
500 killed and wounded. In fact they left, in front of the 
1 2 th Division alone, 450, and upon the whole field, about 
800 men ; whilst we had only eighty-five killed. 

The Greek ambassador in Paris has come out to us, 
Hatzfeld told us at breakfast, with a "family" of twenty- 
four or twenty-five persons, on his way to the Delegation 
of the Government of National Defence in Tours. The 
Ambassador's boy told the Count he was not at all pleased 
with Paris, and when asked why not, answered, because he 
got so little meat to eat there. 

The following ideas were developed into articles for the 
press : " We are not carrying on the war in order to occupy 
France for ever, but to achieve a peace on our own con- 
ditions. It is a first necessity, therefore, that we should treat 
with a Government which represents the will of France, 
by whose concessions and declarations she can bind herself 
and satisfy us. The present is not such a Government. It 
must be confirmed by a National Assembly or replaced 
by another. General elections are necessary for this, and 
we are quite ready to permit these in the parts of the 
country occupied by us, so far as strategical considerations 
allow. The present authorities in Paris, however, appear 
to have no inclination for it. They thus damage, in their 
own interests, the interests of their country, which has in 
consequence to bear the miseries of war for a longer 

In the afternoon I again walked in the park at the 
Palace, taking on this occasion not the way by the Avenue de 
Saint-Cloud and the Place d'Armes, but by the Boulevard 
de la Reine, towards the basin of Neptune, over which this 
god, with his wife and all manner of grotesque water deities, 

220 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

is enthroned. At some distance from this spot, in a very 
lonely place, we met the Chancellor and Hatzfeld on horse- 
back — no escort to be seen. What are they here for ? 

At dinner Hatzfeld complained that the Greeks, who 
wanted to get away, tormented him with lamentations. From 
what he afterwards said, it was evident that they and other 
visitors from Paris had excited suspicions as to their in- 
tentions. After this the talk turned upon the exhausted 
condition of the town of Versailles, which had been put to 
great expense during the last two weeks. The new mayor 
of the town, Monsieur Rameau, had asked and obtained an 
audience with the Chief, about which the Chief went on 
to speak. "I told him that they should raise a loan. 'Yes,' 
he replied, ' that would be very well ; but then he must ask 
to be allowed to travel to Tours, because for such a measure 
he needed the authority of his Government. This, how- 
ever, I could not promise him. He might not get the 
permission he was going there to ask — probably they thought 
in Tours that it was the duty of the people in Versailles to 
starve, so that we might starve with them. But they do not 
consider that we are the stronger, and will take what we 
want. They have not the least notion what war is." The 
assembly of a Constituent French Assembly in Versailles was 
afterwards discussed, and its possibility was doubted — there 
was no hall here large enough for the purpose, the Palace 
being occupied with the wounded. The Assembly of 1789 
first met as a whole in a church, and then in different 
places, according to its Three Estates. Ultimately, the 
gentlemen had all met together in a ball-room — which, 
however, no longer exists.* 

The Minister then spoke of the Palace, with its park, 

* A mistake (see below) ; but this place would not hold any very 
great number of people. 

IX.] The Presbyterians and Thomas Paine. 221 

praising the beautiful Orangery on the terrace with the two 
great nights of steps. He said, however, " What are these 
trees* in tubs to the orange-groves of Italy ?" 

Some one now brought up the subject of Toleration, and the 
Chancellor expressed himself as he had done before in Saint- 
Avoid. He declared himself very decidedly for toleration 
in matters of faith ; but, he continued, the " illuminati " 
" are not tolerant ; they persecute those who believe, not, 
indeed, with the scaffold, for that is not possible; but 
with contempt and insolence in the press. And among the 
people, so far as they belong to the unbelieving party, Tole- 
ration has made but little way. I should not like to see how 
delighted they would be here to have Pastor Knak hanged." 

It was mentioned that the old Protestantism itself taught 
nothing of Toleration, and Bucher pointed out that, according 
to Buckle, the Huguenots were zealous reactionaries, and 
that this was true of the Reformers of those days generally. 
" Not exactly reactionaries," replied the Chief, " but little 
tyrants. Every pastor was a little Pope." He cited Calvin's 
persecution of Servetus, and added, " even Luther was the 
same.'' I ventured to remind them of his treatment of 
Carlstadt, and of the disciples of Miinzer,. as well as what 
the Wiirtemberg theologians after him had done, and of 
Chancellor Krell. Bucher said that the Scottish Presbyte- 
rians, at the end of last century, condemned anyone who 
only lent Thomas Paine's book on the " Rights of Man " 
to banishment for twenty -one years. I again referred to the 
Puritans of the New England States, with their strong in- 
tolerance to those who differed from them in opinion, and 
to their tyrannical liquor law. " And the ' keeping holy the . 
Sabbath day,' " said the Chief, " that ^isjt perfectly horrible I 
tyranny. I remember^ when I _first went to England, and 
landed in Hull, that I began to whistle in the street. An 

222 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Englishman, whom I had got acquainted with on board, 
told me that I must not whistle. ' Pray, sir, do not whistle.' 
' Why not ; is whistling forbidden here ?' ' No,' said he, ' it 
is not forbidden ; but it is the Sabbath.' This so disgusted 
me that I at once took my ticket by another steamer going 
to Edinburgh, as I did not choose not to be able to whistle 
when I had a mind to. Before I started I had made ac- 
quaintance with something exceedingly good — toasted cheese, 
— Welsh rabbit, for we had gone into an inn." When Bucher 
remarked that Sunday in England is in general not so bad, 
and that for himself he had always delighted in its quiet, after 
the noise and bustle of the week-days in London, where 
the theatre is not over till the early morning : " I, too," 
Bismarck went on to say, " am not at all against the obser- 
vance of the Sunday ; on the contrary, I do all I can, as a 
landed proprietor, to promote it, only I will not have people 
constrained. Each man must know best how to prepare 
himself for a future life. On Sunday no work should be 
done ; not so much because it is against the commandment 
of God, as on man's account, who needs some repose. This, 
of course, does not apply to the service of the state, espe- 
cially not to the diplomatic service, for despatches and 
telegrams arrive on Sunday, which must be attended to. 
Nor is anything to be said against our peasants bringing in 
their hay or corn on a Sunday in the harvest after long 
rain, when fine weather begins on a Saturday. I could not 
find in my heart to forbid this to my tenants in the contract, 
although I should not do it myself, being able to bear the 
possible damage of a rainy Monday. It is thought by our 
proprietors rather improper, to let their people work on a 
Sunday even in such cases of necessity.'' 

I mentioned that pious folk in America allow no cooking 
on the Sunday, and that in New York I was once asked to 

IX.] Sunday in Germany. 223 

dinner and got only cold meat. " Yes," replied the Chief, 
" in Frankfurt, where I was still freer, we always dined more 
simply on Sunday, and I have never used my carriage, for 
the sake of my servants." I allowed myself one remark more, 
that in Leipzig during the Sunday all business, with the 
exception of the bakers and many cigar shops, were closed. 
" Yes, and so it should be ; but I would have no one con- 
strained. I could, perhaps, manage in the country to buy 
nothing from the .baker; but, then, everything must be par- 
ticularly good, otherwise I do not know if I could get on. 
But care should be taken that noisy work, as in black- 
smiths' shops, &c. &c, should riot be carried on too near 
the churches on Sunday." 

In the evening I was summoned to him. " There ! Some 
one writes to me that there is in the Nord-Deutsche Zeitung 
a terrible article against the Catholics. Is it yours ?" " I 
do not know which it may be, your Excellency, I have 
lately several times directed attention to the activity of the 
Ultramontanes." He sought and found the cutting, read 
about half of it aloud, saying, " H'm, this is all quite true 
and right ; yes, quite good, but the best parts are just those 
passages marked by Savigny. He is beside himself that 
we have not helped the Pope." 

Saturday, October 8. — In the morning, before the Minister 
rose, I walked to the Palace of the Bourbons, over the centre 
of which the black and white Prussian colours were waving, 
and close beside them the flag with the red cross. I find 
that the French heroes in marble in the court in front of it, 
when they are more closely inspected, are mostly very 
moderate performances. Among them are Bayard and 
Duguesclin, Turenne, Colbert, Sully, and Tourville. The 
naval heroes attitudinise like second-rate actors, and one 
fears that they may fall from their pedestals and come to 

224 Bismarck in tlie Franco-German War. [Chap. 

grief on the pavement. The bronze Louis XIV. is much 
finer, but I prefer the Great Elector in Berlin by Schliiter. 
The morning is dull and cold, and autumn begins to be 
more apparent. The leaves on the tree-tops in the avenue 
are growing red and yellow, and we shall soon be able to 
bear a fire. 

I was sent for, several times to-day by the Chief, and four 
articles were again despatched to Germany. At breakfast I 
♦said that the sentimental, and occasionally lachrymose tone 
in Favre's account of Haute Maison and Ferrieres was mere 
acting. " Oh, no !" replied Keudell, "it is nature, and he 
really felt it. This is the ministry of honn&tes gens (respect- 
able people), which, with the French, always implies a slight 
flavour of soft-heartedness." The Chancellor dined to-day 
with the King, and the conversation at dinner was con- 
sequently of little interest to me. 

Sunday, October 9. — Bad weather, cold, and rainy. The 
leaves fall fast, A sharp north-west wind sweeps over 
the plateau. In spite of this I take a walk through the 
town, which must be gradually explored, by the Rue Saint- 
Pierre to the prefecture in the Avenue de Paris, where 
King William lives, and then down another street to the 
monument erected to the teacher of the deaf and dumb, 
Abbe" l'Epe'e. On the way back I meet Keudell, whom I ask 
whether he has heard nothing as yet of the commencement of 
the bombardment of Babylon. He thought that next week, 
probably on the 18th, our heavy artillery would make itself 
heard. In the course of the forenoon I was three times with 
the Chief; and had his commands executed by the after- 
noon. At breakfast Delbriick was again present, and the 
Minister seemed to be highly delighted with his appearing. 
We drink,' among other excellent things, very old corn- 
brandy, on which the President of the Chancery pronounced 

IX.] A Claim by the Foreign Diplomatists. 225 

an intelligent panegyric, for in the science of what tastes 
well, he has evidently made successful studies. It was said 
that a squadron of Flensburg Hussars, the. same regiment 
which had dismounted at Vonc and carried by storm a 
position defended by infantry, had had the misfortune to be 
surprised at Rambouillet by Francs-tireurs and cut to pieces. 
They are said to have lost sixty horses. 

We were to-day thirteen persons at dinner, amongst 
whom was Dr. Lauer. Late yesterday evening an officer 
arrived with a despatch, whereupon I went to fetch the Chief, 
who had gone to walk in the garden. To-day we learnt 
that it was a letter from Paris, in which the foreign diplo- 
matists who remained there claimed the right of carrying 
on a correspondence through our lines. The Chancellor, 
from what he said on the matter, appears to refuse to 
recognise the right. He has lately given consolatory assur- 
ances to the mayor of Versailles, and the contribution of 
400,000 francs imposed on the town is to be remitted. 

Monday, October 10. — -This morning, between seven and 
eight o'clock, about a dozen shots were heard, and Willisch 
thought he also heard at' the same time musketry fire. I 
was summoned this morning twice to the Chief. Some- 
what later he went to the Crown Prince, with whom he 
remained to breakfast. At table they spoke particularly of 
the conversation of the King with Napoleon in the Maison 
Bellevue, near Sedan, of which Russell has given a circum- 
stantial account in the Times, although no one was present 
at it but the King and the Emperor, and even the Chancellor 
knew only so much of it that the King had assured him that 
not a word of politics had been spoken. Then some one, I 
do not know why or how, turned the conversation on danger- 
ous and sensational travelling adventures, and the Minister 
told us of several rash exploits of his under this head. 

vol. 1. Q 

226 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" I remember," said he, "I was once at Pont du Gard, in 
South France, with some people, among whom were the 
Orloffs. There is there an old Roman aqueduct, which is 
carried across a valley by several tiers of arches. Princess 
Orloff, a lively lady, proposed that we should walk along the 
top of it. There was a very narrow footway by the side of 
the conduit, only about a foot and a half broad, then the 
deep-cut conduit, and on the other side again a wall with stone 
slabs at the top." " It looked rather serious, but I could 
not be outdone in courage by a lady. So we both made 
the venture. Orloff, however, went with the others in the 
valley below. For some time we walked on the slabs, 
and then we got on very well along a narrow ledge, from 
which we looked down more than a hundred feet ; then we 
came to a place where the slabs had fallen, and we had to 
walk on the bare narrow wall itself. Further on were slabs 
again, but soon only the dangerous wall with its small 
stones. Then I plucked up courage, stepped quickly up 
to the lady, seized her with one arm, and jumped with her 
down into the conduit, some four or five feet down. But 
our friends below, who suddenly lost sight of us, were thrown 
into the greatest anxiety, till we came out again at the end." 

Another time he had made a tour with some companions 
in Switzerland — if I mistake not, it was an excursion to 
the Rosenlaui glacier. A narrow ridge had to be passed. 
A lady and one of her two guides were already on it. Next 
to them came a Frenchman, then Bismarck and the other 
guide. " In the middle of the ledge the Frenchman called 
out, l Je ne peux plus,' and would not go a step farther. I 
was close behind him, and asked the guide, ' What are we to 
do now ? ' ' Climb over his back, and when you are over 
we will slip our alpenstocks under his arms and carry him 
across.' ' Very fine,' said I, ' but I shall not climb over his 

IX.] A Mauvais Pas. 227 

back ; for the man is ill, and in his desperation he will lay 
hold of me, and we shall both go to the bottom.' ' Well, 
then, turn round.' That was difficult enough, but I managed 
it, and then the guide carried out his manoeuvre of the 
alpenstocks, with the help of the other guide." 

I told the story of my dangerous passage across the 
mauvais pas on the Kaki Scala, between Megara and 
Corinth. He had done something still more hazardous, I 
forget where, but it was somewhere in the mountains. 
They came to a narrow ledge, running along the front of 
a precipice, so that the rock formed a wall on one side, 
and on the other you looked down into the deep gulf 
below. " I and my wife had to cross this by a path 
scarcely an ell broad. At one place the ground had partly 
fallen away, and partly was unsafe. I said, ' I will go on 
before, and try whether the bushes on the wall at the side 
will hold firm. When I am well over, do you come after 
me.' I was trying them just at the most anxious point, 
when she came along the wall behind and threw her arms 
around me. I was dreadfully startled, but happily the 
shrubs did not give way, and we got to firm ground. 
Nothing annoys me more than when people startle me.'' 

In the evening the Chief had me called to his room to 
give me something to do with regard to Garibaldi, who, 
we learnt by telegraph, had arrived at Tours and had 
offered his services to the French Republic. Then the 
Chancellor continued : " But tell me now why you have 
lately been so clumsy, I mean, in what you have been 
writing. I do not mean merely about text of the telegram, 
but what you said lately about the Ultramontanes was very 
strong in its expressions." I took leave to reply that I 
could also be civil, and that I thought I was rather good 
at fine malice. " Well then," said he, ' : be fine, but without 

Q 2 

228 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

malice. Write diplomatically ; even in declaring war people 
are quite polite." 

At half-past nine o'clock Burnside and his companions 
came again and staid till half-past ten with the Chancellor, 
who then gave me another commission. Later still 
we saw him walking up and down the garden in the bright 
moonlight till the ghostly hour of midnight, whilst from 
the direction of Paris there came the thunder of guns, and 
once, too, a heavy report as of an explosion. 

Tuesday, October n. — In the morning it was said that 
the explosion of the foregoing night was caused by the 
blowing up (on our side ?) of two bridges. 

Not merely in England, but at home, private persons'feel 
a vocation to busy themselves with advice about procuring 
peace. This morning there came to the Bureau a complaining 
letter from Norder-Ditmarsch, in which a Herr R. requested 
the Minister "most humbly, and with the deepest respect," 
to put an advertisement into the Times to persuade the 
French from " any further insurrection," for which purpose 
he enclosed thirty thalers, ten silver groschen (£4 11s.). 
At ten o'clock I was again permitted to telegraph news of 
a victory. The day before, von der Tann had fought with 
French regulars, and taken three guns. He had made, 
when the news was despatched, about a thousand prisoners, 
and was following hard upon the enemy in the direction of 

In the afternoon, when the Chancellor had ridden out, 
I paid a flying visit to the great picture-galleries on the side 
of the Palace, where the church is, and beheld, immortalised 
by pencil and chisel, the "Famous deeds of France" (Toutes 
les gloires), to which, according to the inscription over the 
entrance-hall, this wing of the building is dedicated. On the 
'ground-floor are mostly pictures of scenes in the ancient 

IX.] A Congress of German Princes. .229 

history of France, amongst them some very good things, 
some ordinary pictures of the time of Napoleon I. and 
Louis XIV., battle-pieces, sieges, and such-like. Upstairs are 
the gigantic canvases on which Horace Vernet has depicted 
the " gloires" of his countrymen in Algeria, as well as 
more modern pictures from the wars in the Crimea 
and in Italy, with marble busts of the generals who com- 
manded there. The days of Worth, Metz, and Sedan will 
probably not make their appearance here. We will look 
at these again more at our leisure, but even in our hasty 
visit to-day, we observe that there is a system in these 
galleries, and that on the whole they are more like the 
hatching oven of an ambitious Chauvinist, swollen with 
insolence, than a museum for the triumphs and delights of 

According to the talk at table, there has been an inten- 
tion for some time of assembling a congress of German 
Princes at Versailles. It is hoped that the King of Bavaria 
may come ; and Delbriick thinks that some of the historical 
rooms of the Palace should be appropriated and furnished 
as a suitable residence for his Majesty. He was told, how- 
ever, that, unhappily, this could not be done, as the greater 
part of the Palace was now turned into a hospital full of 
typhus. The Chief dined to-day with the Crown Prince, 
and did not come home till ten o'clock, when he had an 
interview with Burnside. 

Wednesday, October 12. — A damp disagreeable day. In 
the morning, two letters from an English general of hussars 
were translated and extracts made from them for the King. 
In these we were advised to employ the bridge at Sevres 
to dam up the Seine, and in this way to flood Paris. Then 
I prepared an abridgment of a report of a German Com- 
panion of St. John, very gratefully recognising the kind 

23a Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

treatment of our wounded soldiers in Bouillon by the people 
of Belgium. Lastly, I wrote a paper on the hostile position 
which the Ultramontanes had taken up towards us in this 
war. When I read it over to the Chief, he said, "Still you 
do not write politely enough for me ; and yet you told me 
you were a master of fine malice. Here there is more 
malice than fineness. You must reverse this. You must 
write like a politician ; and in politics it is not one's object 
to affront people." 

In the evening a gentleman came to beg admittance to 
the Chancellor. He was a Spanish diplomatist who had 
come out of Paris, and, like other gentlemen, could not get 
back again. He remained a long time with him. Some of us 
think his coming rather suspicious. While we were at tea, 
Burnside came in. He is going from here to Brussels, to 
settle his wife there, who is now at Geneva. We hear from 
him that Sheridan also is travelling in Switzerland and Italy. 
There is indeed nothing more for the Americans to do here. 
The general wished to visit the Chief this evening once 
more. I represented to him, and persuaded him, that though 
the Chancellor, in his predilection for Americans, would 
receive him if he were announced, one ought to remember 
the little time he has at his command. He needs five or 
six hours more than the twenty-four for his daily business, so 
that he is forced to sit up late into the night and to curtail 
as much as possible conversations even with Crowned Heads. 

Thursday, October 13. — A very clear, but windy morning 
which stripped the last leaves from the trees. I read and 
used an account from Rome which draws the conclusion, 
from the result of the voting, that there is no Papal party in 
Rome. We may say, the writer remarks, that the whole 
political organisation of the Papal Constitution has crumbled 
to dust, like a corpse which is kept for a thousand years from 

IX.] The Germans in America. 231 

the open air, and then suddenly comes in contact with it, 
when nothing is left, neither a memory nor an empty space. 
The voting which is necessary according to the constitu- 
tional principles of Italy is valuable in so far as it shows the 
feelings of the nation, for which feelings few or no sacrifices 
have been made, except by the emigrants. So far as these 
feelings express opposition to the Temporal government 
of the Popes, no reaction is to be feared. With respect, 
however, to the wish of the Romans to be and to remain 
subjects of the King of Italy, its duration will depend upon 
the way in which his government is carried on. 

If we may judge from a letter dated from St. Louis, 
September 13, of the tone of the Germans in the United 
States, a satisfactory and increasing national feeling, a con- 
sequence of the war and its results, far outweighs Repub- 
licanism with them. "A German living here for twenty 
years, who was formerly her deadly enemy, and whose 
ideal he now is, greets the Chancellor enthusiastically, 
not blinded by the Republican form into which the French 
character has just been moulded. Forward, Bismarck ! 
Hurrah for Germany ! Hurrah for Wilhelm I., Emperor of 
Germany ! " It seems that our Democrats must go abroad 
before they can feel as they ought to do. 

French people, too, come to our Chancellor with good 
advice and prayers, in order to move him in the direction 
of peace. Only these petitions are not of the right sort, 
and their offers do not agree with our wants. " Un Liegeois " 
implores the Chief, " au nom de Vhumanite, au nom des 
veuves et des petits enfants de France et d'Allemagne, victimes 
de cette affrense guerre " (in the name of humanity and of 
the widows and children in France and Germany who are 
victims of this frightful war), to call Jules Favre back, and to 
crown his own fame by concluding a peace on the ground of 

232 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

compensation for the costs of the war, and the ' levelling of 
the fortresses. "Eh! que ne peut-on les renverser toutes et 
aniantir tons les canons ! " &c. (Ah ! that one could destroy 
every one of them and break up all the cannon !) 

At breakfast a lieutenant of hussars, von Uslar, was 
introduced to us by Hatzfeld. He came from the outposts, 
and told us that where he was, every time that a single 
rider or the head of one of our men was seen by them, 
half-a-dozen of the iron sugar-loaves from the Paris forts 
were hurled at him, but almost always without doing any 
damage. They appeared, at any rate, not to be suffering 
from want of ammunition. 

Rain about one o'clock. After this I was in the Petit 
Trianon. Hundreds of thrushes were sitting on the tops 
of the trees, on the right of the great avenue leading to it. 
We visited the sitting-room of Marie Antoinette. Different 
pictures represent her as a child, in a group with her sisters, 
and as a queen. There is a portrait of her husband, some 
old rococo furniture which she used, and her sleeping-room, 
with its bed and other articles which the conscientious French 
guide submitted to our inspection, with friendly explanations. 
In the evening I was sent for to the Minister five times, 
so that I was fully occupied. 

Friday, October 14. — Busy up till noon for the post. Later 
I telegraphed to London and Brussels in reference to 
Ducrot's false assertions in La Liberie. It was announced 
in the same way that General Boyer, Bazaine's first adjutant, 
had arrived from Metz at Versailles as a negotiator. The 
Chief appears, however, to wish to undertake nothing serious 
with him to-day. He said in the Bureau, " What is to-day ? " 
" The 14th, your Excellency." " Well, that was Hochkirch 
and Jena (both on 14th October). A bad day for settling 
any business." No doubt he reflected it was Friday, too. 

IX.] The Authors of the War. 233 

During dinner, the Chief, after thinking for a moment, 
smiled and said, " I have a charming idea ready for the time 
when peace is concluded. It is this, to establish an Interna- 
tional tribunal, to try those who instigated this war — news- 
paper writers, deputies, senators, ministers." Abeken added, 
" Thiers, too, indirectly, and indeed especially for his Chau- 
vinistic ' History of the Consulate and the Empire.' " " The 
Emperor, too, who is not so innocent as he pretends to be," 
added the Minister. "I thought of an equal number of judges, 
from each of the great Powers, England, America, Russia, 
&c. &c, and that we should be the accusers." " The English 
and the Russians would, of course, not enter into this pro- 
posal ; and then we might form the Court from the nations 
who have most suffered from the war; from French and 
German representatives." He said, further, " I have read 
the article of the Independance, which is said to be Gra- 
mont's. He blames us for not letting Napoleon go after 
Sedan, and he is not pleased that we marched upon Paris 
instead of merely occupying Elsass and Lothringen as ma- 
terial guarantees. I thought at first that the article was by 
Beust or some other good friend in Austria, but I am quite 
persuaded that the author is a Frenchman." He gave his 
reasons for this opinion, and then went on : " He would be 
right if his assumption were correct, that we really did not 
wish for Elsass but only for a money indemnity. It will 
be much better if, besides Elsass, we have Paris also as a 
guarantee. When a specific object is wanted, the guarantee 
cannot be too great." 

Mention was made of Boyer, who has excited much 
notice in Versailles in his French general's uniform, 
which has not been seen here for a long time, and which 
was saluted by the masses with loud cries of, " Vive 
la France!" It is said that he has expressed himself to 

234 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

this effect : " That the army in Metz adheres to the Em- 
peror and will have nothing to do with the Republic 
of the Paris advocates.'' This is what the Chancellor 
himself said, and he added : " The General is one of 
those men who suddenly grow thin when anything ex- 
cites them ; he can turn red too.'' He then said : 
" Let us remember that Gambetta meanwhile urges war 
d outrance ; that the Parisian press almost daily recommends 
some new infamous action ;* that recently, various horrible 
deeds of these bands of Francs-tireurs have been brought to 
light ; and let us not forget the proverb, ' When the hunter's 
horn is heard in the wood it will soon be heard outside it' 
The idea of letting those treacherous Francs-tireurs off ! 

* The following was not the worst of them, in the Petit Journal of 
the 14th September. Thomas Grimm, after complaining that the 
Prussians knew how to plunder methodically, and wreck by rule ; 
that they had, everywhere, at Nancy, Bar-le-Duc, Reims, Chalons, 
and Troyes, left a desert behind them ; that they murdered husbands 
and shot down fathers to be able to dishonour their wives and daughters, 
concluded his peroration with the following tirade : "Rise workmen ! 
peasants ! citizens ! Let the Francs-tireurs be armed and organised, 
and understand what they have to do. Let them gather in crowds, 
or in little groups, to weary out and exhaust the enemy. Let them 
imitate those who track out wild animals, lying in wait for them at 
the edge of the wood, in the ditches, behind the hedges ; let the 
narrowest footpath and the darkest corner serve for their meeting- 
place. All means are good, for it is a holy war. The rifle, the knife, 
the scythe, and the club, are permitted weapons against the enemy 
who falls into our hands. Let us place wolf-traps for them ; let us 
tumble them down wells, throw them to the bottom of cisterns, burn 
them in the woods, drown them in the rivers, burn the huts they are 
sleeping in over their heads. Let us have everything which can kill, 
in whatever way it can do it. Be on the watch ! Make ready to fly 
at them !" 

The Combat, the organ of Citizen Felix Pyat, wishes to collect sub- 
scriptions for a presentation rifle to be given to the man who re- 
moves the King of Prussia out of the way by assassination. 

IX.] Vengeance on Villages. 235 

There is criminal negligence in not taking them out and 
shooting them, and it is treason to the country. Our people 
are all ready to fire at them in the field, but not to shoot 
them down in cold blood afterwards. . . . All villages where 
treachery is practised should be at once burned down, and 
all the male inhabitants hanged." 

Count Bismarck-Bohlen thereupon told us, that the village 
of Hably, where the Schleswig Hussars had been attacked 
eight days ago by Francs-tireurs, acting in concert with the 
inhabitants, and had come back with only eleven horses, 
had been utterly burned down, and the Chief, as was reason- 
able; praised this energy. At the, end some one said that 
quite recently, in the twilight, two shots had been fired 
quite close to our house, and that one of the men on guard 
had been sent out to ascertain the cause. " It was a sentry, 
perhaps," said the Chief; "perhaps some suspicious fellow 
had been seen. I remember," he said, " that the night before 
last, when I was taking a turn in the garden, late, I found a 
ladder and at once felt an irresistible impulse to mount the 
wall. Suppose, now, a sentry had been standing there ?" 

" I had some conversation with the sentinel at the door. 
He had served in the campaign of 1866, and was thoroughly 
up in it. I asked him whether he thought that we should 
get into Paris. He said, yes, we could if it were not for 
the great fort on the left of Saint-Cloud. I told him that 
it would not help them much if hunger should appear in 
the city." 

In the evening, the body-guard with the long beard, told 
me in the anteroom below, " We have got that Spaniard, 
Doctor." "Ah," said I; "what Spaniard do you mean?" 
"The man who was with his Excellency yesterday or the 
day before, and his servant too. He is a spy ; he has been 
seized, and a plan of the position of our troops found on 

236 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

him." I heard afterwards that the man's name was Angelo 
de Miranda. 

About ten o'clock, Moltke and another high officer, the 
War Minister, I think, came to the Chief to confer with 
him, probably on the mission of Boyer. 

Saturday, October 15. — In the morning I wrote an article 
on the destruction of the Palace of Saint-Cloud, which was set 
on fire by the French without any rational cause, whilst our 
soldiers busied themselves in saving the works of art and 
other valuables. Then a second on Jacoby's imprison- 
ment, in much the same sense as the former article on that 
subject, but with this addition, that in carrying out these 
general principles, no judgment ought to be passed on the 
timeliness of the action in taking this particular case. 

About half-past two o'clock, Boyer had another audience 
of the Chief. Outside, in front of the open ironwork gates, 
a number of people waited for him, and when he came 
out, about four o'clock, they took off their caps and hats 
and cried " Vive la France!" which the Minister, when this 
was mentioned at dinner, " could not blame them for." I 
had meantime made a tour through the park round the 
Palace, where I saw on one of the marble vases the following 
poetical effusion by an angry Gaul on the unity of feeling 
among the Germans : — 

"Badois, Saxons, Bavarois, 
Dupes d'un Bismarck plein d'astuce, 
Vous le faits bucher tous trois 
Pour le Roi'de Prusse. 

" J'ai grand besoin, mes chers amis, 
De mourrir Empereur d'Allemagne, 
Que vos manes en graissant la campagne 
Mais que mes voeus sont accomplis." * 

I copied this exactly, errors included. 

IX.] The Worry of Advisers. 237 

The same sort of thing was to be found on a marble seat 
close by, for the custom of scribbling on walls, benches, 
pedestals, with pencils or chalk, seems to have fqund many- 
friends here. On more than ten walls in the town I have 
read during the last few days, " A has les Prussiens" (Down 
with the Prussians) and worse. 

At four o'clock, a slight and well-dressed negro called 
on the Minister. On his card was " General Price, Envoy 
of the Republic of Hayti." The Chief regretted that he 
could not receive him, on account of pressing business 
(Moltke and Roon were again upstairs with him) ; would 
he be good enough to write what he wanted ? About five 
o'clock the Crown Prince came to join the conference of 
the Chancellor with the generals. There seems to be con- 
siderable difference of opinion between the people here and 
at Metz. 

On other sides, too, there were difficulties in the way 
of carrying out what the Chancellor had in view as a politi- 
cian. As he said at table, " It is very annoying that every 
plan I have must be first talked over with five or six persons, 
who understand very little about the matter, and yet whose 
objections I must listen to and meet politely. Thus I have 
lately had to give up three whole days to settle a matter 
which under other circumstances I could have finished in 
three minutes. It is just as if I .were to give my advice 
about the placing of a battery here or there, and as if the 
embarrassed officer had to give an explanation to me who 

know nothing of his business.'' " ■ has an excellent 

head, and I am convinced that whatever he might have 
undertaken he would have become something exceedingly 
respectable in it. But having occupied himself for years, 
only with one and the same thing, he has now feeling 
and interest for that alone." He did not allow a single 

238 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

word to escape him about the negotiations with Boyer, or 
what was likely to result from them. Hatzfeld and Keudell 
too, knew nothing about them, and only guessed. 

Sunday, October 16. — In the morning another letter was 
received from B. in L. He disapproved of our proceedings 
against Jacoby, and thought that Bismarck could do what 
he liked if he was only sound in German politics, that 
is if, at this moment, the Unity of the German Confederate 
State at least should be secured and completed. He 
went on to say, " We, in Germany, are so firmly per- 
suaded that the solution of this difficulty lies in the hands of 
the Chancellor, that every opposition is laid at his door 
by public opinion. It is said that if Count Bismarck did 
not secretly encourage this opposition it would not venture 
to be active, at such a momentous time.'' He ended 
with asking whether he should come here. In com- 
pliance with B.'s wish, I laid the chief parts of the letter 
before the Minister, who said that the coming of B. would 
be very agreeable to him, as his local knowledge would be 
exceedingly useful in Paris when we were once in. "He 
might also, after his return, give information and explanations 
in his own circles, which it is not easy to give by writing. 
It is comical that they should think that I do not wish the 
unity of Germany. It is for very different reasons that 
the cause does not advance. ... It will be for the same 
reasons, that, if we ever do attain that position, they will 
have to regret the omission of some things here and there." 

This morning, in the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, I met Borck 
just arriving, in the uniform of a major. He told me that 
Soissons had fallen, and that the bombardment of Paris 
was to begin on the 28th. Almost the whole of the park 
of artillery has arrived, and in three days they hoped (that 
is, he did) to destroy it. The stout gentleman thinks that 

IX.] Music. 239 

we shall be back in Berlin, at the latest, by the 1st of 
December. He said, too, that a congress of princes in 
Versailles was under serious consideration, and that they 
were getting the Trianon ready for the King of Bavaria. 

We learn that discord reigns in Paris. The Reds, under 
Blanqui and Flourens, do not like to see the Blue Repub- 
licans at the helm — they attack them violently in their 
papers, and on the 9th the mob had uttered cries of 
" Vive la Commune .'" in front of the Hotel de Ville. We 
hear that Seebach, who was once, I think, Saxon ambas- 
sador in Paris, and who is acquainted with Lend and 
Trochu, intends to offer the Chancellor his assistance 
towards procuring an understanding with the Parisians. 

While we were taking our coffee Keudell played some 
soft music to the Minister on the piano. In answer to 
my enquiry whether the Chief was musical, he said, " Cer- 
tainly, although he does not play himself. You must have 
remarked that he sings softly when I play. It is good for 
his nerves, which are much affected to-day.'' 

In the evening the Nuncio Chigi came with a companion 
also in clerical costume. He had a long conversation with 
the Chancellor, and will go on to-morrow to Tours. Of 
ambassadors, there are now in Paris, they say, only the 
Belgian, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Swiss, one from 
the United States, and some from South America. The 
Spaniard lately arrested here is, to give him his full title, 
Angelo de Vallejo-Miranda, and he was arrested, not for 
the reason given by the man on guard, but because, in 
Versailles, he only gave his first name, and represented 
himself as a Spanish secretary of legation, whereas he 
belongs to the Spanish Debt Commission. His companion, 
who passed as his servant, was one Oswald, a joint editor 
of the Gaulois, which is very hostile to us. By all these 

240 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

lies and misrepresentations the gentlemen had managed 
to get themselves suspected of being spies. He is said 
to be a friend of Prim, which is very compatible with what 
Stieber said of him yesterday in the Bureau.* 

After eleven o'clock two important telegrams arrived. 
Bourbaki, who had gone from Metz to London, does not 
return to Metz, but places himself at the disposal of the 
Government of National Defence; and next Wednesday, 
Bray and Pranckh, with the approval of King Louis of 
Bavaria, will start for Versailles. 

Monday, October 17. — Two articles written in the forenoon. 
Before dinner an excursion to the Grand 1 rianon, where there 
is a beautiful marble group in the great reception room. 
Italy is represented as thanking France for the assistance 
given her against the Austrians. The Milanese presented 
it to Eugenie. Delbriick and Lauer dined with us. The 
Chief again expressed himself very energetically in favour of 
the inexorable punishment of villages which had been guilty 
of treachery. They must be made responsible if a traitorous 
attack takes place in them. Otherwise what will become 
of our poor soldiers ? 

The discussion now turned on things culinary, when it 
appeared that the Chancellor liked good mutton, and pre- 
ferred the part of beef called in Berlin the " brisket." He 
did not care much for fillet or for roast beef. 

In the evening, we were warned to pack up our trunks, 
and in case there should be an alarm in the night the 
carriages were to be drawn up in the Prefecture, in front of 
the King's quarters. A sortie has been expected since 

* The fellow was afterwards taken to Mainz. Here he gave his word 
of honour not to escape, in order that it might not be necessary to 
resort to imprisonment. But after a few days he nevertheless ran away. 

IX.] Hard-boiled Eggs. 241 

Tuesday, October 18. — The night is over and nothing has 
happened. A splendid autumn morning. I sent off a con- 
tradiction of the French reports that our troops have bom- 
barded Orleans. This is the birthday of the Crown Prince, 
and the Chief and the Councillors go, about 12 o'clock, to 
congratulate him. They have sent us a number of the 
Kraj, in which it is asserted that the Minister not long ago 
had a conversation with a nobleman of Gallicia, in which 
he advised the Poles to abandon the Austrians. I learned, 
on inquiry, that this is untrue ; that for a long time he has 
not spoken with any Gallician and certainly with no Pole. 
I contradict the story in the press. 

The Chief breakfasted with us for once, and remarked 
(we will not leave even suqh little traits unnoticed) " that he 
was very fond of hard-boiled eggs ; that now he could only 
manage three, but the time was when he could make away 
with eleven." Bohlen boasts of having once eaten fifteen 
plover's eggs. " I am ashamed to say what I have done 
in that line," replied his cousin, who, in conclusion, recom- 
mended Delbriick to provide himself with hard-boiled eggs 
for his journey, as he is soon going back to Germany, which 
Delbriick declined to do, as he cannot endure them hard- 
boiled. The Chief then read us some of the specially 
edifying private letters to the Emperor Napoleon, which 
the Provisional Government has published, with commen- 
taries on them which throw side lights on the characters of 
several personages in Berlin. 

Afterwards he mentioned the notice in Kraj, and in con- 
nection with this, spoke of the Poles generally. He dwelt 
for some time on the victories of the great Elector in the 
East, and on his alliance with Charles X. of Sweden, which 
had promised him great advantages. It was only to be 
regretted that his relations with Holland prevented him 

vol. 1. R 

242 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

from following up these advantages, and turning them to 
proper account. Otherwise he had good prospects of ex- 
tending his power in West Poland. When Delbriick said, 
" Then Prussia would not have remained a German state," 
the Chief replied, "I don't think it would have been so bad 
as that ; but after all no great harm might have been done. 
It would have become in the North what Austria is in the 
South. What Hungary is to Austria, Poland might have 
been to us," a remark with which he connected the state- 
ment he had made once before, that he had advised the 
Crown Prince to teach his son the Polish language ; but 
that this, to his regret, had not been done. 

Wednesday, October 1 9. — Dull weather in the morning ; 
afterwards it cleared up. I wrote to the editor of the 
Nouvelliste de Versailles, a little journal which has been 
established by the German correspondents of the Cologne 
Gazette and the Allgemeine Zeitung, who have been driven 
from Paris, and is connected with Brauchitsch. It should 
also be brought into relation with us, and receive infor- 
mation, &c. In the forenoon and afternoon I was several 
times with the Chief. He appears to be in excellent humour. 
He showed me a French telegram, according to which the 
heroes in Lutetia have performed the most tremendous 
exploits against us. If such swaggering had any object ! 

At dinner, where Count Waldersee was present, the Chief 
remarked : " It would be a very good thing, in those 
districts where they have fired from the bushes upon our 
trains, loosened the sleepers, and placed stones on the rails, 
to carry off the inhabitants of a good many square miles, 
transport them to Germany, and settle them there, where 
they could be well looked after.'' When Bucher related, 
that on his journey here an officer had taken out his 
revolver, in order to play with it in a demonstrative manner 

IX.] Why not summon the Electors f 243 

before a bridge from which the French ruffians were used 
to spit down, the Chief replied : " Why play ? He should 
have waited till they spat and then fired at once." . . . 
In the evening comes L. with a somewhat confused Herr H., 
who had been joint editor of the Nouvelliste as far as No. 4, 
and says he gave it up at that point because it wished to 
treat the Parisians with too much consideration. He de- 
clares that he will gladly accept our offers. In the morning 
he is going to publish a letter to this effect : 

" The chiefs of the Natibnal Defence in Paris will not 
summon the electors. Why not ? Jules Favre and his 
colleagues owe their position to that kind of patriotic frenzy 
which possessed a part of the population of Paris after the 
fatal day of Sedan. They are subject to the general law for 
political authorities, set forth, in the well-known words of 
the Latin historian : ' A government rests on the principle 
from which it issues.' From the very beginning the Parisian 
government has found it necessary, in respect to the con- 
ditions of peace, to betake itself to the region of the 
impossible. To-day, when they have sown destruction all 
around them, and used every means to work Paris and its 
defenders into excitement, and have, in the most frightful 
way, armed the Revolution, both in the city and outside, it is 
less possible than ever for them to escape from the circle of 
perplexities in which they have shut themselves up. Feeling 
in the provinces, on the contrary, and especially in the flat 
country, has not been able to soar to this heroic standpoint. 
They are experiencing the bitterest evils of the war ; they 
begin to doubt the success of a prolonged resistance ; they 
fear the advance of social disintegration ; they look for 
deeds, and listen no longer to fine phrases. Many pro- 
vincial papers have already had the courage to utter the cry 
for peace. It is not probable, then, that the majority of the 

244 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

French voters will agree with M. Gambetta, that they 
' ought to bury themselves beneath the ruins of their father- 
land ;' or that they have any fancy for what he says in his 
proclamation : ' Mourons plutbt que de subir la mort du 
demembrement 1 " (Let us die rather than submit to the 
death of dismemberment.) This is the reason why the 
Paris government will not and cannot hold the elections. 
These people who have spent their lives in appealing to the 
Rights of the people and the Sovereignty of the people, are 
now condemned to exercise and maintain a Dictatorship of 
the Public Welfare without any commission from their 
.country, and they will bring about her ruin." 

Thursday, October 20. — Both morning and afternoon I 
was very diligent, and worked at different articles and tele- 
grams. At table the conversation again turned on the im- 
prisonment of Jacoby by the military authorities, and the 
Chief said, as before, that he had strong doubts whether the 
measure had been well timed. One of the gentlemen 
expressed his delight that " the lazy babbler was shut up." 
But the Chancellor answered, quite in keeping with his usual 
feeling, " I do not rejoice at it in the very least. A party 
man may do so because his zeal for vengeance is satisfied. 
The politician may not, for in politics he knows no such 
feelings. He asks only whether it is useful that political 
adversaries should be ill-used." 

In the evening L. was again here. The Nouvelliste will 
to-morrow contain a letter which a Parisian has sent to some 
one in Versailles, in which he thus speaks of the condition 
of things in Babylon : 

" The Clubs already assume to govern in the name of the 
Commune of Paris, and red hand-bills are posted up in its 
name, summoning the National Guard to the election of 
the Parisian Municipality. If this election takes place, 

IX.] The Commune and the Terror. 245 

we shall see an armed demonstration with, the view of insti- 
tuting the Commune in Paris — that is, the Reign of Terror. 
The Commune already reigns and governs in Belleville, 
the headquarters of the party of terror; and its members 
are resolved to depose the mayor of the 19th arrondisse- 
ment from his office, and to supply his place by one of their 
own friends. This Club has decreed the imprisonment of 
M. Godillot, a manufacturer of military equipments, and the 
confiscation of his goods, and ordered the closing of his 
establishment, on the charge of high treason." The letter 
further says : " While the journals maintain that a formidable 
attack of the Prussian masses is to be expected within the 
next few days, the friends of General Trochu assert that he 
is positively assured that the enemy have renounced the 
idea of attempting to storm Paris, and that in Versailles 
they have adopted the plan of reducing the city by 
hunger. The Prussian army, divided into dense masses, 
occupies strong positions at different points round Paris. 
Their very numerous cavalry serve both to connect these 
positions with each other, and to prevent any supplies 
or assistance being brought in from the provinces. The 
population of Paris, increased by the poor and needy popu- 
lation of the JSanlieue, will soon suffer hunger, and before 
eight days are over, will prepare for the Government in- 
surmountable difficulties, by which the enemy will profit." 
" The bolder the party of Terror becomes, the weaker does 
the Government show itself, and it will not be long before 
it is thrown overboard and swallowed up by those savage 
brutes, unless it soon takes energetic decisions. The leaders 
of the party of terror are resolved to remove Generals 
Trochu and Leflo, Admiral Fourichon, and Jules Favre, 
Thiers, Jules Simon, and KeYatry, who are all suspected 
of being Royalists. If General Trochu does not soon 

246 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

interfere vigorously, the Reign of Terror will take his place 
in Paris." 

The German Liberal press is unable as yet to satisfy itself 
about the imprisonment of Jacoby ; but the Chief thinks 
that much depends on their clearly understanding the view- 
he takes of the case, and on their adopting his view. The 
Weser Zeitunsc of October 16, which has arrived to-day, 
contains the following article : 

" The Chancellor justifies the imprisonment of Dr. Jacoby 
and of Herbig, the merchant, though at the same time he 
declares that it is illegal. The instruction which the Chan- 
cellor has sent us on this occasion, through von Horn, the 
magistrate at Konigsberg, has an exceedingly practical inte- 
rest for all Germans on this side the Maine ; for it is obvious 
from it that the fate of Dr. Jacoby may be that of any 
one who, according to the opinion of a military tribunal, 
utters any expression which may possibly strengthen the 
French, either mediately or immediately, in continuing their 
resistance, without his being able to appeal to the law for 
protection. Apart from this, this instruction possesses, in the 
views which it sets forth, the interest of complete novelty. 

" In the first place the Chancellor declares that the opinion, 
hitherto probably shared by all, that the measure had been 
adopted by the Governor-General on the authority of the 
law on the State of Siege as a war measure, is erroneous. 
According to this law the measure, he admits, would be 
unjustifiable — which indeed is evident. On the other hand, 
he considers it not inapplicable as a measure of actual 
warfare. The question is not one of a penal measure, but 
of an effectual displacement of all those powers, the activity 
of which might render difficult the attainment of the objects 
of the war. 

" In this definition we can find no other meaning'than 

IX.] Inter Anna Silent Leges ? 247 

this, that the same rights belong to military authorities at 
home as to military persons in an enemy's country. We at 
least do not see what wider scope could be given to them 
than the ' displacement of all those powers, the activity of 
which might render difficult the attainment of the objects 
of the war.' The decision what powers are to be displaced, 
and by what measures, is left, in an enemy's country, and 
especially on the theatre of actual hostilities, absolutely to 
the military authorities. Their powers are perfectly un- 
limited. If the military authorities have the same prero- 
gatives at home, the words inter arma silent leges receive a 
fearful meaning never before dreamt of. It cannot logically 
be denied that the military governor in Hannover would be 
as able as his colleague in Nancy to condemn men to be 
hanged or shot without trial. The Chancellor, although 
he does not draw this extreme inference, appears expressly 
to point in that direction. He enumerates a series of 
exceedingly unpleasant operations in which a Government 
is justified in the theatre of war : such as burning down 
houses, confiscating private property, and rendering merely 
suspected persons incapable of doing mischief, &c. &c, 
and he adds, that ' the just idea which lies at the basis of 
these exceptional rights is independent of locality, indepen- 
dent of the distance from the place where the more manifest 
actions of war take place.' That is plain enough. 

" We must say, then, if Count Bismarck's theory be the 
right one, that we do not see the object of any special law 
on the state of war, or why we proclaim the application of 
this law in the Baltic provinces, in Hannover, and the 
Hanse towns. If the military authorities have, as a matter 
of course, a power during war above the law, independent 
of locality, an authority for all measures which appear to 
them serviceable for carrying it on, there is evidently no 

248 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

sense in proclaiming a law to place this power under certain 
limitations. We cannot, therefore, persuade ourselves that, 
any such supreme and all-absorbing power is given by the 
State law of North Germany or Prussia, to the military 
authorities by the outbreak of war. 

" According to our view two cases are to be distinguished, 
according as we are dealing with the theatre of actual 
hostilities or with territories beyond it. In the first case, 
common law is extinct, and the martial law, pur et simple, 
as the Chancellor explains very forcibly, comes into opera- 
tion. In the other case, the military authorities either 
maintain their usual powers, or where a state of war is 
proclaimed, invest themselves with those exceptional rights 
which the law on the state of war gives them in that event. 
It is the latter position in which East Prussia now stands. 
If the interning of Dr. Jacoby is not admissible according 
to the law upon the state of war, it is not admissible at all, 
and the statement that the manifestations of Dr. Jacoby 
inspired the French with fresh courage, even if it were 
better founded than, from the daily and tolerably extensive 
study we have made of the French journals, it appears to 
us to be, does not alter the question. For if it were actually 
the case, there is no want of legal ways of preventing such 
manifestations. The law upon the state of war and of 
siege expressly prescribes that freedom of speech, freedom 
of the press, and the right of meeting may be suspended, 
and under what formalities. But in Konigsberg none of 
these rights had been legally suspended, as they certainly 
should have been, before proceeding against an individual, 
all whose guilt consisted in the exercise of the Consti- 
tutional right of expressing his opinions in public. We 
do not of course mean to say that it would have been wise 
to do so. The French would have had just as many wrong 

IX.] . Dr. Jacoby. 249 

ideas put into their heads by such a measure, more perhaps 
than by the interning of Dr. Jacoby ; certainly far more 
than they ever could have had by the speeches and resolu- 
tions of the Konigsberg apostle of the future. 

" In general we are not inclined to take cases of the kind 
now under discussion too seriously. We do not believe, that 
we are practically so much without law as we should be, 
according to the theory of the Chancellor, or that the danger 
of being marched off under martial law is greater in North 
Germany, than that of being eaten by a crocodile. We are 
not idolaters of the letter of the law ; we can easily imagine 
cases where we should heartily vote, not only indemnity 
but even thanks for the somewhat illegal interning of a 
profitless disturber of this sacred war. We have a very 
lively respect, notwithstanding, for the sections of the Act, 
and we are profoundly distressed to see them ignored, 
without a manifestly overpowering necessity. This feeling 
is moreover strengthened by the consideration that Dr. 
Jacoby has been imprisoned for the expression of an 
opinion which at the time that he expressed it, no one knew 
to be opposed to the Government's Programme of Peace. 
An official declaration, that we meant to keep Elsass and 
Lothringen did not then exist. The question was an open 
one, and it is no secret that even very Conservative people 
in Berlin were then vehemently opposed to the Annexation 
of those ' dangerous elements.' In short, we must insist, 
that wrong was done to Dr. Jacoby, and although we do 
not fear any terrible consequences, we regret this episode 
in a very glorious history, all the more deeply the more 
glorious the history is." 

The answer to this was to the following effect : 
"The Weser Zeitung of the 16th instant contains a lead- 
ing article, on the instruction which the Chancellor has 

250 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

addressed through President von Horn to the Magistrate 
of Konigsberg in the affair of Jacoby. Permit me to say 
a few words in reference to that criticism. The Weser 
Zeitung, in this article, touches upon two different things. 
The statement of the Chancellor in the communication to 
von Horn is a purely theoretical one upon the possibility, 
that when war has broken out the military authorities may, 
in the interest of- military operations, permit themselves to 
do things which in peace would, under all circumstances, be 
inadmissible. Almost the same thing is said there, as the 
Weser Zeitung must mean when it remarks : ' We can easily 
imagine cases where we should heartily vote, not only 
indemnity, but thanks for the somewhat illegal interning 
of a profitless disturber of this sacred war.' This is exactly 
the Chancellor's view of the law s and if this be considered 
absolutely inadmissible, it would be quite impossible to 
fight a battle on home soil in an invasion of North German 
territory, even if we succeeded in finding an extensive 
and utterly uninhabited heath as a battlefield; for even 
then the proprietor would be able to prove the violation 
of his rights. 

" Either the military authority is bound by the forms of 
the law or the Constitution in spite of the breaking out of 
war, or it is entitled in a reasonable way, adapted to the end 
of the exclusive prosecution of the war, to devote itself to its 
military task. To this question one must in theory either 
say Yes or No. If we say No, it must be remembered, 
by how many officials of the law, every body of troops 
fighting in its own country must be accompanied, and what 
legal formalities it would have to go through, with respect 
to individual houses and men, before it would be constitu- 
tionally entitled to begin any military operation. If we say 
Yes, we must admit, that it is impossible to codify suffi- 

IX.] Extent of Military Power. 251 

ciently directions to the discretionary power, which must 
rest with a commander in time of war, in such a way, that 
the general or soldier shall be able to cite the article of the 
constitution or the local law, justifying every military act 
which he does in his own country. 

" To deduce, theoretically, anything different from the pre- 
ceding, on which of course there may be differences of 
opinion, cannot have been the aim of the Chancellor. 
According to the present Constitution, it is not competent 
for the Prussian Ministry of State to judge whether a 
military commander has done well in any particular case 
in using his power to the extent which he has done. The 
General Governorships instituted before the outbreak of 
the war were not established at the recommendation or 
under the authority of the Minister, but for military reasons 
and in the plenitude of military authority, as in all other 
military offices, without consulting him. The Chancellor 
and the other Ministers of State are not the superiors of the 
Military Governors, who, though they would not obey a 
ministerial order, would obey any military command which 
came to them without the Minister's counter signature. 

" It is, therefore, a thoroughly unpractical proceeding, 
when those who consider themselves injured in their rights 
by the action of the Military power in its conduct of the 
war, appeal to Ministerial action for redress. They should 
rather look to the military superiors of those of whom they 
complain. We may, therefore, suppose that the Chancellor 
has not felt himself bound to express his opinion officially 
about the appropriateness of the time chosen in a particular 
case, Jacoby's for example. He has only spoken upon the 
theoretical question whether, during war and in the interests 
of war, the imprisonment of persons, whose proceedings 
were prejudicial in the judgment of the military authorities 

252 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to the conduct of the war and useful to the enemy, could 
be temporarily permitted. 

" In this general view, politicians and soldiers will hardly 
say No, although there are many nice and difficult points 
involved, as in the whole subject of military law. But the 
concrete question — Whether this right of war ought to have 
been used by the Government in the case of Jacoby ? lies 
as much beyond ministerial competence, as the question, 
whether it be necessary or expedient to set fire to a village 
in a battle in one's own country, or to intern, a couple of 
hundred miles from the field, a private individual, who is 
suspected of favouring the enemy, though there is no legal 
evidence to convict him. In what way a military com- 
mander may be made responsible for an erroneous, pre- 
cipitate, or unjust solution of this question is foreign to 
the present inquiry, in which we have only endeavoured to 
show, that the constitutional authority of Ministers does not 
give them any immediate right to interfere in such cases.'' 

Friday, October 21. — This morning, about eight o'clock, 
firing was heard from the heavy artillery, more vigorous and 
long-continued than usual ; but we did not allow ourselves to 
be disturbed by it. Different articles were prepared ; among 
them, one on the departure of the Nuncio and the other 
Diplomatists from Paris. At breakfast Keudell would have 
it that the French had battered down the porcelain manu- 
facture close by, in Sevres. Hatzfeld told us that his 
mother-in-law, an American lady who remained behind in 
Paris, had sent him good accounts of the ponies, of which 
he had often spoken to us. They were exceedingly fat. 
We wondered whether they would be eaten. He said, for 
heaven's sake, let them do it ; but he reserves the right to 
get back the price of the animals when the terms of peace 
are settled with the French Government. 

IX.] The Chancellor's Parliamentary Jubilee. 253 

Meanwhile the artillery fire outside continued, and be- 
tween one and two it seemed as if an action were going on 
in the woods to the North of the city. The firing became 
still more vehement ; the cannon shots followed each other, 
bang after bang, and mitrailleuses were also to be heard. 
It seemed as if a regular battle had developed itself, and 
was drawing nearer us. The Chief got into his saddle and 
rode away. The rest of us set off in the direction where 
the battle appeared to rage. On the left, above the wood 
through which the road leads to Jardy and Vaucresson, we 
saw the well-known white clouds rise and burst from the 
shells. Orderlies galloped up the street. A battalion 
marched off to the scene of action. The fighting lasted till 
past four o'clock. Then we heard , only a few single shots 
from the great fort on Mont Vale'rien, and at last this too 
was silent. We now learned that the French had not been 
so near us as they seemed : their sortie had been directed 
against our positions at La Celle Saint-Cloud, and Bougi- 
val, — villages, the first of which was at least four miles 
from Versailles, and the second seven. During the after- 
noon there was, of course, great excitement among the 
French in the town, and the groups which formed them- 
selves before the houses expected every moment, as the 
noise came nearer and nearer, to see our troops in full 
flight before the Red-breeches. Later in the afternoon, 
however, they made long faces and shrugged their shoulders. 

At dinner the Chief said that he would celebrate his 
parliamentary jubilee either to-day or one day soon. 
About this time five-and-twenty years ago he had become 
a member of the provincial diet of Pomerania. " I re- 
member," he continued, " it was frightfully tedious there. 
I had, as my first subject, to treat of the excessive con- 
sumption of tallow in the poorhouse. Only to think of 

254 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the number of stupid speeches I have heard there, and 
afterwards in the National Diet, and," — after a pause, smiling, 
— " have myself made." 

We spoke of the magnificence of the Prefecture here, and 
that it cost two million francs. "None of our public 
offices in Berlin are to be compared with it," remarked the 
Chancellor, "not even the War Office, which, however, is 
rather imposing. The office of the Ministry of Commerce 
may also pass ; but we of the Foreign Office — seldom has 
a Minister been so poorly housed. Where we sleep, the 
room was originally about twice as big as this, and out of it 
they have made three ; one tolerable-sized one for myself, a 
little one for my wife, and one where my sons have slept 
hitherto. When I receive people, I must do like the small 
country gentry, borrow chairs, and turn everything about, 
even my study." Some one joked about the Chinese carpet 
in the great hall at Berlin. " Ah ! you may laugh," said the 
Chief; "when the State can make no further use of it, I 
shall buy it for Schonhausen. It is an old friend of mine ; 
we have gone through a good deal together, and it is really 
beautiful in its way." 

Between half-past seven and half-past eight, the mayor of 
the town was again with the Minister. Afterwards, an article 
upon the uncourteous behaviour of our host at Ferrieres was 
sent off to Germany. It was to the following effect : — 

" In a letter dated Paris, Place de la Madeleine, 70, some 
one writes to the Countess Moustier among other untruths 
the following ; ' The Prussians demanded pheasants from us. 
Rothschild tells me that they had had some at his chateau, 
but that they wanted to beat the steward because they were 
not truffled.' To every one who saw the royal housekeeping 
at Ferrieres, the impression of its unusual simplicity and of 
the careful regard for everything belonging to Rothschild 

IX.] The French Baron Rothschild. 255 

so predominated, that comparisons on the treatment of the 
property of this millionaire, who was protected by the good 
fortune of the King living in his house, and the inevitable 
hardships a poorer man has to bear, forced themselves upon 
him. Considering that the presence of the King constituted 
a protection, his Majesty did not even permit the game in 
the park, including the pheasants, to be shot so long as he 
was there. Baron Rothschild, formerly Prussian consul- 
general, who resigned that office in an uncourteous way, 
when he still hoped for the victory of France, had not even 
so much politeness as once to inquire through his servants, 
during the whole stay of the King in Ferrieres, about the 
wants of his royal guest. None of the Germans who lived 
at Ferrieres can say that they enjoyed the hospitality of the 
possessor even to the extent of a piece of bread, and yet 
the preceding proprietor of this seat notoriously left behind 
him, according to the computation of the stamp office, 
1700 millions of francs. Should Baron Rothschild really 
have uttered the lying complaint against any one quoted in 
the above letter, we can only hope that troops may yet be 
quartered upon him, who will make him feel the difference 
between the modest claims of the Court and the rights of 
troops in quarters in war time, so far as this is possible for 
the heir of 1700 millions." 

Saturday, October 22. — Different telegrams and articles 
sent off: upon the sortie of yesterday, upon Ke'ratry's 
mission to Madrid, &c. 

The attack of the Parisians, undertaken with some twenty 
battalions of the line and Mobile guards, protected by the 
fire of Mont Valdrien, was directed chiefly against the village 
of Bougival on the Seine. It was occupied by our outposts, 
who retired upon their supports, and the French made 
themselves masters of the place, but were soon afterwards 

256 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

attacked and driven out again by one of the divisions of the 
fifth German army corps. In this action, a considerable 
number of prisoners and two pieces of artillery fell into the 
hands of our people. The prisoners, some hundreds in 
number, passed through the town to-day, which led to 
disturbances, so that the Yellow Dragoons were forced, it 
is said, to charge the crowd and strike them with the flat of 
their swords. 

The Chief said, yesterday evening, that we ought not to 
allow groups to be formed in the streets during a battle ; 
that the inhabitants should be required in such cases to 
remain in their houses, and that the patrols must be ordered 
to fire at once on those who offered any opposition, which 
has now been done. To-day the commandant of Versailles, 
von Voigts-Rhetz, proclaimed, that after the alarm signal all 
inhabitants of the town are to go home without delay, and 
that the troops have been ordered to use their arms against 
those who disobey. 

Keratry, the prefect of the Paris police, has appeared in 
Madrid to submit to General Prim two proposals, of which 
the first is an offensive and defensive alliance between 
France and Spain, in virtue of which Spain would send an 
army of 50,000 men to help France. The object of this league 
would be the common defence of the interests of the nations 
of t ! e Latin race against the supremacy of the Teutonic. 
When Prim declined this strange proposal (strange; for it 
would have been an act of self-renunciation, and a mistaking 
of its own clear interest, without a parallel, if Spain had 
supported France, when only three months ago France 
sought to impose her will on Spain in the most presumptuous 
manner) the French negotiator demanded that Spain should 
at least permit the export of arms to France. To this also 
Prim would not listen. 

IX.] The Condition of Metz. 257 

Before dinner, accompanied by Bucher, drove through 
the forest of Fausses Reposes to the little town Ville 
d'Avray, pleasantly situated between Sevres and Saint- 
Cloud, to visit the Villa Stern, whence a good view of Paris 
is to ,be had. The sentry posted there, however, did not 
admit us ; but we found, on the other side of the valley, 
close to a park, a thatched summer-house, which answered 
our purpose. Across the suburbs of Paris we saw with the 
naked eye a great part of the city itself lying in the yellowish 
evening light, with the straight white line of the enceinte, the 
dome of the Invalides, with its golden ring, the low towers 
of Notre Dame, the cupola of the Pantheon, and, quite on 
the right, Val de Grace. While we were watching the scene, 
a train passed over the viaduct near the ramparts. 

On starting for our drive to Ville dAvray, I saw Bennigsen 
coming down the Rue de Provence, and when we returned 
we found that he had left his card on the Chief. The 
latter dined to-day at four o'clock with the King, and then 
made his appearance at our table for half an hour. It 
was mentioned that Metz would probably surrender in the 
course of the next week. Famine had appeared in the 
city, which suffered also from a want of salt. " Deserters 
eat it by spoonfuls, in order to restore the necessary 
quantity to their blood," said the Chief. Prince Friedrich 
Karl desires a capitulation, if I understand rightly, on the 
conditions of Sedan and Toul, but the Chancellor, from 
political motives, is disposed to a milder treatment of the 
garrison, and the King appears to hesitate between the 

The Chief said yesterday to the Mayor of Versailles, " No 
Elections, no Peace ; but the gentlemen in Paris will not 
hear of them. The American generals who went into 
Paris to suggest this told me that nothing was to be done 

vol. 1. s 

258 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

with them. Trochu had only said they were not yet so far 
reduced as to be obliged to negotiate, while the others 
would not hear of any elections, or of the country being 
appealed to." ' ; I then said to the Mayor, finally, No 
other course will be left to us but to come to terms with 
Napoleon, and to force him upon them again. This he 
thought we should not do ; a greater insult could not be 
offered them. I replied that it might become the interest 
of the conqueror to leave the conquered to a power which 
could only support itself by the army, for in that case they 
would not be able to think of foreign wars. I advised him, 
in conclusion, not to give way to the mistaken idea that 
Napoleon has no roots in the country. He has the army 
on his side. Boyer treated with me in the name of the 
Emperor Napoleon, and it is still a question how far the 
present Government has really struck root. In the flat 
country districts there were few who did not feel that they 
ought to think of peace. The Mayor then gave me his 
own ideas of a peace ; the razing of their fortresses and of 
ours, disarmament on both sides, in proportion to the popu- 
lation, and so forth. These people have not yet, as I told 
him from the beginning, any sufficient notion of what the 
war is.'' 

The Nouvelliste, as it is now the only newspaper food of 
the people of Versailles, and naturally does not ask too 
much of them, is not despised here. L. reports that the 
number of the copies sold varies ; that of some numbers no 
copies remain ; of others from thirty to fifty, and of the 
number before the last a hundred and fifty are left in his 
hands. His weekly account, however, hitherto shows no 

In the evening I wrote an article, to show that the election 
of a body representative of the will of France is the first 

IX.] Garibaldi and France. 259 

condition which the Chancellor proposes to the different 
parties who have treated with him on the subject of peace. 
He has made the same demand of the emissaries of the 
Republicans, the Imperialists, and of a third party. He 
will facilitate in every possible way such an appeal to the 
people. The form of Government is absolutely indifferent 
to us ; only we must have a real Government to deal with, 
recognised by the nation. 

Sunday, October 23. — -The following thoughts will appear 
in a French dress in the Nouvelliste of to-day : " Things are 
constantly met with in the present day in France which are 
flagrantly opposed to sound sense and moral feeling. People 
who were formerly Papal Zouaves, not merely those who 
by their nationality are French become at once soldiers of 
a republic which is governed by Voltairians. Garibaldi 
makes his appearance in Tours, and offers, as he himself 
expresses it, what is left of him to the service of France. 
He has, probably, not forgotten that this same France, 
twenty years ago, crushed the Roman Republic by force 
of arms, and he must have a still fresher recollection 
of the strange events of Mentana. He must distinctly 
remember that Nice, his own birthplace, was torn by 
this same France from Italy, and that the State of Siege 
alone keeps it at this moment from withdrawing itself from 
the rule of France." 

About one o'clock the Ministers of Wiirtemberg, Mittnacht 
and Suckow, paid their visit to the Chancellor. 

I had seen soldiers brought from the hospital to the church- 
yard several times these afternoons — three the day before 
yesterday ; two yesterday. To-day a long procession came 
from the Palace across the Place d'Armes into the Rue 
Hoche. There were five biers. On the first, under a black 
pall, an officer of the 47th Regiment; and on the others, 

s 2 

- - 260 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

covered with white sheets, common soldiers. A band of 
music, in front, played a chorale ; then followed the muffled 
drums. There was a minister with the procession. As the 
coffins passed by the French took off their hats and caps — 
a touching custom ! 

At dinner Delbriick directed attention to the fact, that the 
Prussian officials here felt the necessity, very soon after their 
institution, of devoting themselves seriously to the duties 
committed to their care, to discover what was best for the 
inhabitants placed under their charge, and to secure the 
preservation of order in the districts assigned to them, ex- 
cept where our interests are directly concerned. Thus, for 
instance, Brauchitsch is exceedingly put out at the quite 
shameless thieving of wood carried on in the forests here, 
and wishes to take vigorous measures against these malprac- 
tices, in the interest of the French Ministry of Woods and 
Forests. We learned that Freydorff, Jolly, and a third, 
whose name escaped me, were soon to be expected from 
Baden, and this led to our speaking of Usedom. 

Delbriick mentioned that, in the preliminary negotiations 
upon a new organisation of Germany, Bavaria had raised 
a claim to a kind of joint representation of the Bund in 
foreign countries, of such a character that, if the Prussian, 
or rather the German, ambassador were absent, the Bavarian 
might transact business. The Chief said, " No ; anything 
else but that; for unless we are to have two Ministers of 
Foreign Affairs for Germany, everything must depend, not 
on the ambassador, but on the instructions he receives." 
On this matter he dwelt at greater length, and explained it 
by examples. 

Monday, October 24. — In a telegram from England in- 
tended for Wilhelmshohe, there occurred this passage : 
" Much time will be lost, I am afraid." " Is lost," the Chief 

IX.] The Reds in Marseilles. 261 

wrote on the margin with his pencil. I sent a notice to be 
forwarded to the English newspapers upon the murder, in 
Rochefort, of Captain Zielke, of the German ship Flora. 

Strange news arrived from Marseilles. The Reds appear 
to have got the upper hand. Esquiros, the resident prefect 
of the Mouths of the Rhone, belongs to the theatrical section 
of the French Republicans. He has suppressed the Gazette 
du Midi, because the clubs of his party assorted that the 
paper favoured the candidature of the Comte de Chambord, 
whose proclamation it had printed. He has, moreover, 
expelled the Jesuits. A decree of Gambetta hereupon 
dismissed the prefect, and annulled the measures against 
the newspaper and against the Jesuits ; but Esquiros, sup- 
ported by the working men, has paid no attention to these 
orders of the Government in Tours. He keeps his post, 
the Gazette du Midi remains suppressed, and the Jesuits 
are still expelled. Nor was more regard paid to the decree 
of Gambetta which dissolved the Citizens' guard, recruited 
from the ranks of the Red Republicans and which is dis- 
tinct from the National Guard of Marseilles. The Chief 
said, " Well, civil war seems already to have begun there, 
and possibly there may soon be a Republic of the South." 
I worked up these accounts for some articles written in the 
spirit of this comment. 

About four o'clock, a M. Gautier, who came from Chisle- 
hurst, called on the Chancellor. . . . We have to-day Count 
Waldersee at dinner; the Chief dines with the King. In 
the evening, between seven and eight, a great fire must, we 
think, have broken out in Paris ; the whole northern heaven 
was overspread with a red glare, and in fact I see, above 
the woods to the north of the city, the reflection of an 
enormous burning. However, gradually it was evident that 
we were deceived. The red light grew into shapes, pillar- 

262 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

like beams shot out from it, and at last we became aware 
that it was the Northern Lights, which streamed magni- 
ficently above the horizon. This is a sure sign that we shall 
soon have winter and dry cold weather. 

Sunday, October 25. — Good news received and sent out. 
Yesterday the fortress of Schlettstadt capitulated, and the 
day before, General Wittich with the 22nd division occupied 
Chartres. Among the fragments of the French Army of the 
Loire, according to a letter from Tours, great want of dis- 
cipline prevails. Drunken soldiers are said often to refuse 
obedience to their officers, whom they accuse of incapacity 
and treachery. The surrender of Metz will take place to- 
morrow or the day after, and portions of the German 
armies detained there will be able in eight days to sup- 
port the troops fighting in the district of the Loire. This 
morning the Chief said, in reference to the article in the 
Pays, which placed the war indemnity at one and a 
half Milliards, " Nonsense, I will require much more from 

During dinner to-day, the conversation turned, I cannot 
now say how, upon William Tell, and the Minister confessed 
that even as a boy he could never endure him, first, because 
he had shot at his son ; next, because he had killed 
Gessler in an assassin-like manner. " It would have been 
far nobler and more natural," he added, " if, instead of 
shooting at the boy, whom the best of marksmen might have 
hit instead of the apple, he had at once shot the Landvogt 
himself." " This would have been just anger at a cruel 
demand. Tell's hiding himself and lying in wait for Gessler 
does not please me. It is not becoming in a hero, not 
even- in Francs-tireurs." 

Two copies of the Nouvelliste are stuck up at different 
street corners, and although people, when they stand to 

IX.] A Tragedy at Bougival. 263 

read it in groups, criticise it when the Germans are passing, 
with " Mensonge" — '■'■Impossible" yet they read it. To-day 
some one had written on the copy near the prefecture, 
" Blague" but Stieber's people or other watchers had seized 
the fellow in the act. He was an artisan, and it is said that 
he is to be deported to Germany. 

We heard this morning at breakfast that a pendant to 
the tragedy at Bazeilles is said to have occurred in Bougival 
in the recent sortie. When our advance guards left the 
village, several of its inhabitants imagined that the German 
troops at the place were meditating a retreat, whereupon 
they considered it their patriotic duty to fire with air guns 
on a detachment of soldiers, protecting the colours of the 
46th Regiment. Punishment at once followed this trea- 
cherous conduct. Our people dashed into the houses from 
which the shots had been discharged and seized nineteen 
peasants who were brought before a court-martial next day. 
Yesterday, it was said, those who were guilty were shot. 
The commune had to pay an extraordinary contribution of 
50,000 francs (^2, 000). The houses from which the shots 
were fired were burned down, and all the inhabitants were 
forced to leave the village. 

Wednesday, October 26. — In the morning, I translated 
Granville's despatch for the King, and afterwards extracted 
a portion of it for the press, accompanying it with the 
remark that we had already twice offered a truce under 
favourable conditions through Favre, and on October 9 
through Burnside, but that they had refused it, simply 
because we offered it. I then telegraphed to London that 
Thiers had received a free pass to our headquarters, and 
the permission to go thence to Paris. Further, that the 
Comte de Chambord had had a meeting at Coppet with the 
Comte de Paris. 

264 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

In the afternoon, when the Chief had ridden out, I went, 
accompanied by Bl., an Englishman, who writes for the 
Inverness Courier, and an American war correspondent of 
a paper in Chicago, to a farm near the Chateau Beau- 
regard, in order to visit H., who had recovered from the 
wound which he had received at Worth, and rejoined his 
regiment, the forty-sixth. We met there a number of offi- 
cers, nice bright fellows, with whom we quickly became inti- 
mate and had much pleasant talk. Bl. meantime drove to 
Bougival with First-Lieutenant von H. ; and as they were 
later in returning than they had promised, I was too late 
for dinner at home, which the Chief does not approve of. 
He only asked, however, at table : " Where can little Busch 
be?" (Wo das Bilschchen seii) And when he returned later 
from the King he again asked if I was there, and expressed 
apprehension that the sentries might fire on me. 

In the evening I wrote an article to the following effect : 
" It is said that the Diplomacy of Vienna has recently taken 
steps to induce the Germans to grant an Armistice to the 
French. We can hardly believe this rumour. An armistice 
at present would only strengthen the French in their resist- 
ance, and perhaps make the attainment of the conditions 
of peace we recognise as necessary more difficult. Are we 
to believe that Austria, in taking the step, has the end in 
view? The following reflections may help us to answer. 
If the fruits of our victory disturb them in Vienna, if they 
do not allow us to secure the safe frontier on the West, 
which is the object of our aspirations, there cannot fail to 
be a riew war against France, or rather a continuation of 
the present war, after an interruption. It is easy to see 
where the French would seek and probably find their allies ; 
but it is equally clear that in that case Germany would not 
wait till France had again helped herself out of the chaos 

IX.] The Fallof Metz. 265 

in which an interruption of this war would leave her. Ger- 
many must and would anticipate this future ally of France, 
and seek to make her incapable of doing harm, and, while 
she remained isolated, would make her pay the penalty in- 
curred by her interference with our attainment of the objects 
we have in view.'' 

Tuesday, October 27. — The capitulation of Metz will pro- 
bably be signed in the course of to-day. The whole army 
there, including the officers of all grades, will be sent 
prisoners to Germany, whither we shall then have transported 
— with the exception of about 60,000 men — the entire army 
of Imperial France. In the morning I telegraphed that it 
was observed by our troops before Paris, that an artillery fire 
had been opened from Montmartre upon the suburb of La 
Villette. Musketry fire, lasting for hours, had also been 
heard in the streets ; perhaps a rising of the Radicals. I 
then wrote a second article upon the interference of Beust 
in our affairs with France. 

In the evening, Hatzfeld told us that he had been 
to-day at the outposts, where a number of American 
families had arrived from Paris, determined to turn their 
back upon the besieged city, in which things had become 
uncomfortable. There were a dozen carriages of them with 
white flags, taking the road to Villejuif ; the members, too, 
of the Portuguese embassy have now left Paris on their way 
to Tours. 

Friday, October 28. — In the course of the afternoon Moltke 
telegraphed to the Chief, That the capitulation of Metz 
had been signed to-day at 12.45. The French army thus 
captured numbers all in all 173,000 men, of whom 16,000 
are sick and wounded. Von Bennigsen, von Friedenthal, 
and von Blankenburg, the last a friend of the Chiefs youth, 
dined with us. From the French officers who had become 

266 Bismarck in the Franco-German. War. [Chap. 

our prisoners at Metz, and their deportation to Germany, 
the conversation turned upon General Ducrot and his 
shameful flight from Pont-a-Mousson. " Yes,'' said the 
Minister, " he has written me a long letter in which he 
explains, that the reproaches which we make against him for 
his treacherous escape, were unfounded ; but in spite of this 
I adhere to my former opinion." He then related that 
a negotiator from Gambetta had been with him recently, 
who asked him at the end of the conversation, whether he 
would recognise the Republic. " Without doubt or hesi- 
tation," I replied ; " not merely a Republic, but if you like 
a Gambetta Dynasty, only that dynasty must give us a 
secure and advantageous peace" — "and, in fact, any dynasty, 
whether of Bleichroder or of Rothschild," he added, where- 
upon these two gentlemen became for a short time the 
subject of conversation with his guests. 

In the evening comes L., as usual, to get information for 
himself. I heard from him that Legationsrath Samwer, 
once premier of Duke Frederick VIII. , has followed his late 
and present master hither, and has been staying here for 
sometime. He provides correspondents of newspapers with 
news. The Nouvelliste is to depart this life. A journal 
of more imposing form will take its place, to be called the 
Moniteur Officiel de la Seine-et-Oise, and will appear at the 
expense of the Government. 

Saturday, October 29. — In the transformation of the 
Nouvelliste to the Moniteur Officiel, certain preliminaries do 
not appear to have been well arranged, or there is some 
intrigue on hand. This morning, whilst I was at work, a 
M. Theodor N., collaborateur du Moniteur Officiel de la Seine- 
et-Oise, sent in his card to me. Following his card came 
a young man, who said he had been sent to me by the Pre- 
fect, and wished to get from me notes for leading articles. I 

IX.] A Whist Party. 267 

remarked to him that L. was sufficient for this object ; that 
he would remain with the journal in his old capacity, and that 
I could only communicate with him at the request of the 
Chancellor. He asked whether he should tell the Prefect 
that he might converse on this matter with Count Bismarck. 
"The Prefect must be perfectly aware that I can say nothing 
to such a request." 

At breakfast St. Blanquart said he knew that Thiers would 
come to us to-morrow, and Bolsing afterwards asserted that 
preliminaries of peace were in the very air. We shall take 
the liberty to doubt it till the Chief intimates the good news. 
We hear also that Moltke has been made a " Count," and 
that the King has made the Crown Prince and his nephew, 
the conqueror of Metz, field-marshals. 

At dinner the Chief asked, when we were about to attack 
the soup, whether this were not pease sausage soup, and when 
he was told it was he praised it as quite excellent, an opinion 
in which Delbriick agreed. Then the talk was of the great 
success at Metz. " This just doubles the number of our 
prisoners," said the Minister. " No, it does more ; we have 
now in Germany the army which Napoleon had in the field 
at the date of Weissenburg, Worth, and Saarbriicken, with 
the exception only of those who have been killed. Those 
whom the French now have, have been brought since from 
Algiers and Rome, or are new levies. To these may be 
added Vinoy, who escaped before Sedan with a few thousand 
men. Their generals are almost all prisoners." 

He then said that Napoleon had asked for Marshals 
Bazaine, Lebceuf, and Canrobert, who were in Metz, to 
be sent to Wilhelmshohe. " If this is a whist party," said 
he, " I have nothing to say, and will recommend it to the 
King." Then he said that so many strange things happen, 
which nobody before could have dreamt of, that we may 

268 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

consider the most wonderful things as possible. " It might 
be possible, for instance, that we should hold the German 
Imperial Diet at Versailles, whilst Napoleon assembled the 
Corps Legislatif and the Senate at Cassel to consult about 
peace. Napoleon has the conviction, against which not 
much is to be said, that the old national representation still 
subsists de jure, and that he may summon it to meet where 
he will, of course only in France. About Cassel there might 
be some dispute." He then remarked that he had sum- 
moned hither Friedenthal, Bennigsen and Blankenburg, the 
representatives of parties with whom one is bound to consult, 
in order to hear their opinion about the meeting of our Par- 
liament in Versailles. " The ' Fortschritt ' (Progress) party 
I must disregard, for they want only what is not possible ; 
they are like the Russians, who eat cherries in winter and 
will have oysters in summer. When a Russian comes into 
a shop, he asks, ' Kak nje bud', which means, ' What is 
there, out of season ?' " 

After the first course Prince Albrecht, the father, with his 
adjutant was introduced and sat down at the right hand of 
the Chief, in the first place to drink a glass of Magdeburg 
beer with us (a present to the Chief, and exceedingly good) 
and then champagne. The old gentleman had pressed on 
even as far as Orleans with his cavalry, like a genuine 
Prussian Prince, ever bold and true to duty. The battle 
at Chiteaudun had been, he said, a " fearful " one. He 
praised the Duke of Meiningen warmly, whom no dangers 
or sacrifices daunted. "May I ask," said the Prince, 
"how the Countess is?" "Oh, she is quite well, now 
that her son is better, only she suffers still from her bitter 
hatred of the Gauls, all and sundry of whom she would 
like to see shot and stabbed, even the little children, who 
are not responsible for having such horrible parents." He 

IX.] Metz in Black and White. 269 

then spoke of the state of Count Herbert, whose wound on 
the shoulder had at first gone on very well, but had then 
become much worse, so that the physician thought that the 
ball had been poisoned. 

In the evening we talked in the Bureau of sending a 
number of copies of No. 13 of the Nouvelliste, ordered by 
Abeken, into Paris, " in order that they might have the news 
of the capitulation of Metz in black and white." 

270 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



On October 30, as I took. a walk in the early morning 
through the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, I met Bennigsen, who 
was to return home that day with Blankenburg. In reply to 
my question how far our people there had got with the unity 
of Germany, he said they had got well on, and that in 
Bavaria the only point on which there was any difficulty was 
the separate position of the military people. The feeling of 
the majority of the public was all that could be wished. 

When I got back, perhaps a little after ten, Engel told me 
that Thiers had been there a little before, but had at once 
gone away again. We were told afterwards that he came 
from Tours, and wished only a safe-conduct to enable him 
to pass through our lines, as he wanted* to get into Paris. 
During breakfast Hatzfeld told us that he had breakfasted 
with" him at the Hotel des Reservoirs, and had afterwards 
brought him round in the carriage, which was to take him 
as far as the French outposts under the escort of Lieutenant 
von Winterfeldt, and that he was " the same clever and 
amusing man as ever, although as soft as a baby." He had 
first discovered him among us in the house, and told him 
that the Chief was just getting up, after which he took him 
below into the salon, and reported his arrival to the Minister, 
who got ready at once, and came downstairs very soon 
after. They talked together only a couple of minutes, of 
course alone. The Chief then summoned Hatzfeld, and 
gave him directions to make ready what was necessary to 

X.] The Breadth of the German Soldiers. 27 1 

enable Thiers to pay his visit to Paris. He told him after- 
wards that Thiers had at once said, after they had saluted 
each other, that he had not come to talk to him. " I think 
that quite natural," said Hatzfeld ; " for though Thiers 
would like greatly to conclude peace with us, it would then, 
of course, be M. Thiers' peace, and though he is frightfully 
anxious to get the credit of it, he does not know what the 
people in Paris would say." 

In the meantime the Chief went with his cousin to the 
review of nine thousand Landwehr Guards, which the King 
held this morning. While we were still at breakfast, he 
came in and brought with him a little round gentleman with 
smooth-shaven face and black-striped waistcoat, who, as we 
heard afterwards, was the Saxon Minister von Friesen. 

He dined with us ; and as Delbriick was present, we had 
the honour to dine with three Ministers. The Chief spoke 
first of the Landwehr, who had arrived to-day, and said they 
were broad-shouldered fellows, and must have made an 
impression on the Versaillese. " The front of a company," 
he added, " is at least five feet broader than a French com- 
pany, especially in the Pomeranian Landwehr." Turning 
then to Hatzfeld, he said, " I suppose no mention of Metz 
was made between Thiers and you ? " " No, he said 
nothing, though no doubt he knew about it." " Certainly 
he knew, but I did not mention it either." Hatzfeld then 
said that Thiers had been very charming, but that he had 
lost none of his old vanity and self-satisfiedness. He had told 
him, for instance, how he had met a countryman a few days 
ago, whom he asked whether he wished for peace. "Yes, 
indeed, badly." Whether he knew who he was? — "No." 
Well, he was Monsieur Thiers ; did he not know about 
him? The man said "No" to that, too. Then a neigh- 
bour came up, and the old countryman asked him who 

272 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

might M. Thiers be ? and was told that he must be ' one of 
them from the Chamber.' Hatzfeld added that "Thiers 
was obviously vexed that they knew no more than that 
about him." 

His Excellency Friesen, gave us a good illustration of the 
reckless haste with which some of the Versailles people took 
to flight and of the honesty of the German soldiers. He 
told us that he had found, to-day, in his quarters, where, at 
least, three or four sets of soldiers had been quartered 
previously, a commode unlocked, in which he discovered, 
besides all sorts of women's finery, caps, linen, and ribbons, 
first one and then another " rouleau" of 50 napoleons each. 
He wanted to hand over these 2000 francs to the porter, 
who said however that he would rather that he, Friesen, 
should take them himself. The money was then sent, I 
believe, to the office established for the safe-keeping of such 

The Chief went out of the room for an instant and came 
back with the case in his hand containing the gold pen 
presented to him by a jeweller at Pforzheim to sign the 
treaty of peace with. He admired it greatly, especially the 
feathers. This work of art was about six inches long and 
set on both sides with small brilliants. After it had gone 
round the table and been sufficiently admired as it deserved, 
the Chancellor opened the drawing-room door, saying to 
Delbriick and Friesen, " I am at your service now, gentle- 
men." " Well," said Friesen, looking at Delbriick ; " I have 
been discussing the matter with his Excellency in the mean- 
time," and they went into the salon. The rest of us spoke 
of Thiers again, and Hatzfeld said that he would come back 
in a day or two, and that he had not wished to pass through 
the gate on the road from Charenton into Paris. "He 
thinks the fellows there might hang him," said Bohlen ; " I 

X.] Lost in the Wood. 273 

should like them to do it." " What for ?" we asked ourselves 
without answering him. 

In the afternoon the weather, which had been unsettled, 
cleared up and there was blue sky to be seen more than 
once. On one of the wooded heights above La Celle Saint- 
Cloud there is a good view towards Mont Vale'rien, the 
" Baldrian " or " Ballerjan '' of our soldiers. When the 
Minister rode out, Bucher and I settled to drive there. On 
the road beyond Petit Chesnay we came at different points 
on abattis and loopholes cut through the park walls. On 
the right of the long stretching stone enclosure wall of 
the Beauregard estate, a small battery had been established 
in a high-lying field. Where the road rises a little way 
further on, there was an alarm post with a park of artillery. 
An officer here pointed us out our road after the point, at 
which we pass the outposts beyond La Celle, where we could 
see the fort, but we missed the right road on the other side 
of the park of the Palace under the village, getting into the 
first houses of Bougival on the left, and finding ourselves 
again, half an hour after, at the artillery park. A second 
attempt to get to the place met no better success, as we lost 
our way that time to the right. We drove through the village 
of La Celle ; got into a thicket with cross-roads through it, 
and unfortunately took the wrong turning. Nobody at the 
outposts where we now found ourselves could advise us, so 
we drove on at a venture, past a second alarm-post, and 
down into a little wooded valley which opens out after passing 
Malmaison. The fort was nowhere to be seen. The wood 
was all round us ; everything was quiet, and the sun was be- 
ginning to set. At length, on the road in the bottom of 
the valley, which was broken up here and there with barri- 
cades, we met three officers, who requested us to go back, as 
a shell might reach us from the gunboats in the Seine, on 

vol. 1. t 

274 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

which account it was not allowed for any one to show him- 
self here in any kind of conveyance. They pointed out the 
way to Vaucresson, which we reached by a road dreadfully 
cut to pieces, and from which we got home by Glatigny, 
through a fine beech wood. We had never set eyes on the 
fort, but we had seen part of the battle-field of October 21. 

At dinner-time the Chief again discussed fully the pos- 
sibility of the German Reichstag sitting in Versailles, and 
the French Corps Legislatif at the same time in Cassel. 
Delbriick remarked that the Hall of the Estates there was 
scarcely large enough for so numerous an assembly. " Well," 
said the Chancellor, " the Senate might sit somewhere else 
then — at Marburg, or Fritzlar, or some such place." 

Monday, October 31. — I wrote several articles in the 
morning, one of them in approval of the idea of establishing 
an International Court to sit upon the crimes of those who 
had urged on the war against us ; and a hue-and-cry after 
M. Hermieux, a French commander of battalion, who, like 
Ducrot, has broken his word of honour by making his escape 
from a hospital, and is now being pursued by warrant of 
caption. About twelve o'clock Gauthier appeared again, and 
had a long talk with the Chief. At breakfast we learned 
that on the day before the village of Le Bourget, on the east 
of Paris, which fell into the hands of the French on the 28th, 
had been recovered by storm. It must have been a severe 
struggle. We made over a thousand " red-breeches " pri- 
soners, but we lost some three hundred men killed and 
wounded, thirty of whom were officers. Count Walder- 
see's brother is said to have fallen. We then spoke of 
Thiers ; and Hatzfeld and Delbriick wagered with Keudell 
and Bismarck-Bohlen that he would be back in Versailles 
before twelve o'clock to-morrow night. Both the others 
believed that the French authorities would not let him out. 

x -] Disturbances in Paris. 275 

Hatzfeld won his wager. He was able to report at tea that 
the old gentleman had arrived, and that he himself had 
spoken with him. He had told him that he had been dis- 
cussing matters with the gentlemen of the Provisional Govern- 
ment, from ten last night till three this morning ; that he had 
got up at six, and spent his time till two this afternoon in 
paying all sorts of visits, after which he had driven back 
here. He wanted a conference with the Chancellor of the 
Confederation to-morrow morning. " He was beginning to 
mention/'^said Hatzfeld, " that there had been disturbances 
in Paris yesterday, but an incautiously emphatic ' indeed ?' 
which escaped me, made him break off:" 

A few days after we heard about these disturbances. On 
the 30th the authorities in Paris had declared the report of 
the surrender of Metz to be false, but had admitted it to be 
true the day after. They had further announced that the 
neutral powers had proposed an armistice, and the public 
naturally connected the arrival of Thiers with this state- 
ment. All these things had made bad blood in the city, and 
when the news of our recapture of Le Bourget came in, 
and the government organs laboured to show that this posi- 
tion, which had cost the Parisians so dear, was not vital for 
our defence — there was more of it. The Radical leaders 
took advantage of this feeling. About midday on the 31st, 
an armed crowd collected in front of the Hotel de Ville, 
and about two o'clock the rioters forced an entrance into 
the building, when they demanded the resignation of the 
Government and the proclamation of the Commune. 
The Government were saved by battalions of National 
Guards, who remained true to them ; but it was only after 
a struggle of ten or twelve hours' duration. 

Let us return to the 31st October and Versailles. I was 
instructed that night to get the order to Vogel von Falken- 

t 2 

276 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

stein, which appeared in the Staats Anzelger on the 27th, 
reproduced by our other journals. I was also to commence a 
collection of newspaper statements of the ill-treatment of the 
German prisoners by the French. Finally, I began a second 
article on the interference of Beust in our struggle with 
France, which, however, was not used, as the circumstances 
changed before it was ready for publication. But I give the 
article as indicating the position of affairs at the time. It said : 

" In a struggle between two powers, when the one has 
been proved manifestly the weaker, and is at the yery point 
of succumbing, it certainly rather argues consideration for the 
weaker party than an equal friendliness for both, and it must 
be regarded as a distinct interference in favour of it when a 
Third power, which has hitherto remained neutral, urges an 
armistice. An armistice is, of course, for the advantage of 
the power which is on the point of being defeated, and for 
the disadvantage of that which has got the upper hand. If 
the third power goes farther, and tries to induce other 
neutrals to support its proposals and give weight to its 
advice by their adhesion, it is stepping more and more com- 
pletely out of its neutral attitude. Its partisan advice be- 
comes partisan interference ; its action becomes conspiracy ; 
its conduct is something very like a threat and a violence. 

" Austro-Hungary is manifestly in this position, if, as the 
officious newspapers in Vienna report, it has been the mover 
in the attempts of the neutrals at the mediation of an 
armistice between France, which is at the point of succumb- 
ing, and victorious Germany. The attitude of Count Beust 
becomes even more dangerously significant when we know 
that it was instigated by M. Chaudordy, Favre's deputy at 
Tours, and that it originated in a previous understanding 
between the Cabinet of Vienna and the Delegation of the 
Provisional Government. This action of Austro-Hungarian 

X.] Austrian Mediation. 277 

diplomacy reveals itself in its true light still more clearly as 
a hostile interference in our settlement with France, when we 
know the language in which its representative in Berlin sup- 
ported the representations of England. The British Foreign 
Office took pains to preserve a thoroughly objective attitude 
friendly to Germany. Italy did the same. Russia has hitherto 
abstained from any kind of intervention. All the three 
powers worked together earnestly at Tours to obtain an in- 
dulgent but unprejudiced consideration of the facts. But 
the despatch which M. von Wimpffen read over in Berlin — 
we know nothing about the advice given by Austro-Hungary 
at Tours — is expressed in a way which is not at all friendly. 
It accentuates the fact that in Vienna they still believe in 
general European interests. It fears that History will con- 
demn the neutrals, if, in face of the impending catastrophe 
at Paris, they offer no remonstrance. It permits itself what 
is manifestly a bitter and invidious taunt when it says that 
Humanity requires that the conditions of peace should be 
made easier to the vanquished, but that Germany wishes to 
allow no measure of the rights of the conquered except the 
power of the conqueror. A tone of irony runs through the 
whole despatch which contrasts very unfavourably with that 
of the English document. 

" It is as clear therefore that there is hostility in the attitude 
of Count Beust as that there is none in that of Lord Granville. 
Has the Chancellor of the Empire at Vienna maturely con- 
sidered the possible consequences of this new game of chess ? 
Is it likely, after the fall of Metz, that we shall tolerate a suc- 
cessful attempt by the Vienna people to prevent Germany 
from completely securing the peace we need for the future 
protection of our frontier towards the West ? If we did we 
should certainly keep a note of such an interference and 
obstruction. The good impression which the neutrality of 

278 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Austro-Hungaiy, so far, has made on public opinion in Ger- 
many would be wiped out. The friendly advances we were 
ready to make to the Dual Empire on the Danube will be 
interrupted, in all probability, for a long time. In the other 
event, and assuming that the interference of Count Beust 
really deprives us of some part of what we are entitled 
to demand from France — if we are actually compelled to 
remit a portion both of the old and the new debts, which 
at present we mean to make her pay — does the Imperial 
Chancellor fancy that it would not some time occur to us to 
force our unfriendly neighbour in the South-East to make it 
up on the first opportunity ? Does he think us stupid enough 
to put off our reckoning with a neighbour who is always 
manifesting himself as our enemy, till, in recompense for 
the vital service that is now to be .done, his French prot'egk 
has so far recovered strength as to be a valuable ally to 
him against Germany ?" 

Tuesday, November 1. — In the early morning twilight there 
was tolerably active firing again from the heavy guns. About 
eleven, Deputy Bamberger paid me his visit. He had taken 
two whole days in travelling from Nanteuil to Versailles. At 
breakfast we talked of the battle of Le Bourget, and some- 
body said that the French had behaved treacherously, making 
as if they wanted to surrender, and when our officers came up 
unsuspectingly, shooting them down. Somebody spoke of 
over 1200 prisoners we had taken, and it was mentioned 
that some of them were Francs-tireurs ; the Chief said 
" Prisoners ! That they should ever take Francs-tireurs 
prisoners ! They ought to have shot them down by files." 

At dinner, besides Delbriick, there was a Count Oriola in 
a red Companion of St. John uniform, with a great black beard 
and strongly-marked oriental features. This afternoon he 
had been with Bucher at the aqueduct of Marly, when 

X.] What the Chancellor Eats. 279 

they had an admirable view in the evening light of the 
fort which we recently attacked unsuccessfully, and of a 
section of Paris. The princely personages of the Hotel 
des Reservoirs, the Dukes of Weimar, Coburg and so 
on, had also been there. Some one mentioned Friesen's 
treasure-trove, and the order of the War Minister or 
of the commandant of the town that all articles of value 
found in houses abandoned by their inhabitants were to be 
publicly advertised, and after a certain time, if not claimed 
by their owners, to be confiscated for the benefit of the 
military chest. The Minister thought this quite right, " For,'' 
he added, "properly, such houses would be burned down, 
but that would be an injury to the rational people who 
have stayed at home, so that unfortunately it does not 
suit.'' He told us that Count Bray intended to pay him his 
intended visit this evening. After a while he mentioned 
that Thiers had been with him about midday for more than 
three hours to negotiate an armistice, but that they could not 
agree on the conditions. During the conversation Thiers had 
begun once to speak of the amount of provisions still left in 
Paris. He had interrupted him there, saying, " ' Pardon me, 
but we know better about that than you do. You have 
been only a day in the city. They have provisions till 
the end of January.' What a look of astonishment ! I had 
only been feeling his pulse, but his amazement betrayed 
that there was not so much." 

At dessert he spoke of the amount he had eaten. " To-day 
a beefsteak and a half, and two slices of pheasant. It is a 
good deal, but not too much, as it is my only meal. I 
breakfast, certainly ; but only on a cup of tea without milk, 
and a couple of eggs ; after that nothing till the evening. If 
I eat too much then, I am like the boa constrictor, but I 
can't sleep.'' " Even as a child, and always since then, I have 

280 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

gone late to bed, seldom before midnight. Then I usually 
fall over quickly, but I waken up soon after to discover that it 
is hardly more than one or half-past, and all sorts of things 
come into my brain, especially if any injustice has been done 
me. I have to turn them all over. I then write letters and 
despatches, naturally without getting up, in my head. 
Formerly, shortly after I was first made Minister, I used to 
get up and write them down. When I read them over in 
the morning, they were worthless, mere platitudes, trivial 
confused stuff, as you might find in the Vossische. I don't 
want to do this, and would much rather sleep. But think- 
ing and speculating keep going on in my brain. When 
the first grey dawn begins to shine on my bed, I fall over 
again, and sleep straight on till ten o'clock and sometimes 

During the night the French artillery were again very 
active; they made a great disturbance, their discharges 
following hard upon each other, especially about .the spirits' 
hour of midnight. These nocturnal disturbers of the peace 
were probably Mont Valerien and the gunboats on the 

Wednesday, November 2. — Engel tells me that the Chief 
got up during the furious cannonade last night, which, how- 
ever, is nothing unusual with him. In the morning, before 
nine, I take a run out through Montreuil on the Sevres road 
as far as the railway viaduct with the five arches which crosses 
it at Viroflay. While I was out, the Minister, who was still in 
bed, had wanted me. When I got home, about ten, Bronsart, 
an officer of the_general staff, was with him to take him back 
to the King. After he returned he told me to telegraph 
to Berlin and London that Thiers had spent three hours 
with bim yesterday, that what was discussed in the course of 
the conversation had been considered at a military council 

X.] M. Thiers. 281 

at which his Majesty had been present, this morning, and 
that Thiers was to come back to him this afternoon. 

About two o'clock I saw him below in the entrance hall. 
He is below the middle height, with grey hair and no beard, 
an intelligent face which suggests sometimes a merchant and 
sometimes a professor. As he was likely to remain a good 
while, and there was nothing for me to do, I repeated 
my morning's excursion, and passed through the villages of 
Montreuil, Viroflay and Chaville, the two last forming one 
continuous street about three miles long. I came im- 
mediately after Chaville to Sevres. I wanted to go through 
the great battery or fortification on the right, and across 
the town, but the sentry at a place where the roads 
divided would not let me. No officer even, he says, is 
allowed farther without special permit from the general. 
I chatted a bit with the soldiers before the canteen. They 
had been under fire at Worth and Sedan. In one of these 
battles one of them had his cartridge-pouch exploded by an 
enemy's shot, and the contents spattered over his face. 
Another told me how they had recently surprised French 
soldiers in houses, and that he had given no quarter. I 
hope they were Francs-tireurs. In the villages along the 
road there were numerous public-houses. Most of the inha- 
bitants have stayed at home ; they appear, almost all of them, 
to be poor people. Very little was to be seen of the wreck 
which is said to have overtaken the French sugar places in 
Sevres, and the ruined porcelain manufactory must be a 
mere fable. The soldiers say, that not more than ten shells 
can have fallen there, and they only seem to have knocked 
a couple of stones out of the wall and smashed a few doors 
and windows. 

When I returned, about half-past four, to the Rue de 
Provence, I learned that Thiers stayed with the Chief till a 

282 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

few minutes before my return, and that he looked tolerably 
contented when he went away. The Chief went out for a 
turn by himself in the garden. From four o'clock onwards 
there was more heavy firing. 

To-day's dinner was graced by a great trout pasty, the 
love-gift of a Berlin restaurant-keeper, who sent the Chan- 
cellor of the Confederation a cask of Vienna March beer 
along with it, and — his own photograph ! During dinner the 
Minister talked about his visitor, and said, " He is an able 
and likeable man, witty and ingenious, but with hardly a 
trace of diplomatic quality — too sentimental for business. 
Beyond question he is a superior kind of man to Favre ; but 
he is not fit to make a bargain about an armistice — hardly 
fit, indeed, to buy or sell a horse. He is too easily put out 
of countenance; he betrays his feelings; he lets himself 
be pumped. I got all sorts of things out of him; for 
instance, that they have only three or four weeks' provisions 
left inside." The Berlin pasty reminded him of the quan- 
tities of trout in the Varzin waters ; and he told us how, 
some time before, he had caught in a pond, supplied only by 
a few little springs, a five-pound trout, so long (showing us 
with his hands) : and all the gamekeepers of the neighbour- 
hood said that they could not explain how it got there in a 
natural way. 

In connection with the attitude we shall have to assume 
about the elections which must be held in France, I take 
occasion, in the newspapers, to remind people of the fol- 
lowing precedent, which may decide the matter for us, and 
to which we may ask the attention of those people who 
consider the exclusion of Elsass-Lothringen from the voting 
something unprecedented. An American tells us that in the 
last war between the United States and Mexico an armistice 
was concluded, with the view of allowing the Mexicans to 

X.] The Armistice Negotiations. 283 

elect a new Government, which might make peace with the 
United States ; and it was stipulated that those provinces 
which the States wanted given up to them should not take 
part in the election. This is the only precedent absolutely 
on all fours with ours, but it certainly appears to be so. 

Thursday, November 3. — Fine clear weather in the 
morning. From seven o'clock onwards, the iron lions on 
Mont Vale'rien again growl furiously down into the sur- 
rounding wooded valleys. I make extracts for the King 
horn the. Morning Post of the 28th and 29th. There are 
two articles on the Empress Eugdnie, which must have been 
inspired by Persigny or Prince Napoleon. The assertion 
they make, that in our negotiations with her commissioners, 
only Strassburg and a narrow strip of land in the district of 
the Saar, with perhaps a quarter of a -million inhabitants, 
were claimed by us, rests, the Chief tells me, on a misunder- 
standing. I am told to telegraph that, after the Council of 
yesterday, the Chancellor offered M. Thiers an armistice for 
twenty-five days on the basis of the military status quo. 

Thiers came back about twelve and stayed with the Chief 
till half-past two. The French demands are exorbitant. We 
learn at breakfast that besides twenty-eight days' armistice, 
to allow of the elections, of their verification, and of the 
settlement by the National Assembly, the Provisional 
Government asks nothing less than the right to re-provision 
Paris and all the other fortresses at present in their posses- 
sion and besieged by us, and it requires freedom of election 
in the eastern Departments to which we lay claim as our 
future possessions. Re-provisioning and military status quo 
differ a good deal from each other, according to ordinary 

When Thiers was fairly closeted with the Chancellor, I 
took a walk with Willisch and Wiehr to the aqueduct at 

284 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Marly, on the platform of which Delbriick and Abeken soon 
after turned up also. In the foreground below us lay the 
houses of Louveciennes, scattered amid their clumps of 
trees ; further on, among woods and parks, the villages of 
La Celle and Bougival, and the light blue riband of the 
Seine, with a long line of white hamlets on its banks. Beyond 
it, on the left, rose Fort Mont Valenen, on a height with 
very few trees about it, its windows glowing in the afternoon 
sun ; and still further westward the eye made out the western 
quarters of Paris, with the dome of the Invalides. To the 
left the Seine flowed away round its islands, past the but- 
tresses of the bridges that had been blown up. On the same 
side, perhaps three miles away from our position, we saw the 
town and castle of Saint-Germain, and behind us appeared 
the Chateau of Versailles — which seems higher here than 
when one is close to it — and a number of villages and estates. 
Through the telescopes of the soldiers, who observe here and 
telegraph their observations to Versailles, we could clearly 
make out a crowd of people, apparently gathering potatoes 
in the fields below the fort, and we could see a division of 
French soldiers, with glittering bayonets, marching past a 
white house not far from the walls. 

About four o'clock we were again in Versailles, where 
we heard that Thiers had this time gone away with a less 
cheerful look on his face. Somebody mentioned that Bolsing, 
who had been for some time ill and out of spirits, had 
asked the Chief for leave to return to Berlin, and that Woll- 
mann was to succeed him. When I was summoned to the 
Chief, I was told to telegraph to London that in future they 
need not telegraph him proclamations like Gambetta's of 
the first of this month, as it was not his interest to be in- 
formed of it any sooner than necessary. 

At dinner we talked of the Berlin elections, and Delbriick 

X.] Town and Country. 285 

thought they would turn out better than usual, and that 
Jacoby, at all events, would not be re-elected. Count Bis- 
marck-Bohlen said he took a different view, and expected 
little improvement. The Chancellor said, " The Berlin people 
must always be in opposition, and have their independent 
opinion. They have their virtues — numerous and highly 
respectable ones. They think things over ; but they would 
feel themselves very common persons if they could not know 
everything better tharflhe Government." That, however, 
he went on to say, was a failing not peculiar to them. All 
large towns had something of it, and many were much worse 
than Berlin. They were certainly less practical than the 
country districts, which had more to do with life, and more 
direct contact with nature, and which in this way had a 
more correct judgment of what was really possible, better 
corresponding to the facts as they developed themselves. 

"When so many people live close together," he said, "in- 
dividualities naturally fade out and melt into each other. All 
sorts of opinions grow out of the air, from hearsays, and 
talk behind people's backs ; opinions with little or no foun- 
dation in fact, but which get spread abroad through news- 
papers, popular gatherings, and talk in beer-shops, and get 
themselves established and are ineradicable. There is a 
second, false nature, an overgrowth on the first, a sort of 
faith or superstition of crowds. People talk themselves into 
believing the thing that is not; consider it a duty and obli- 
gation to adhere to their belief, and excite themselves about 
prejudices and absurdities." " It is the same in all big 
towns. In London, for instance, the Cockneys are a quite 
different race from the rest of Englishmen. It is the same 
in Copenhagen; in New York, and, above all, in Paris. 
With their political superstitions they are a very peculiar 
people in France ; narrow and limited in their views, which 

286 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

seem to them to come from some sacred source, but which 
when looked at closely are mere shifty phrases." How 
admirably this characterises what our popular democrats 
and fashionable poets delight to call the " Soul of the 

The Minister told us little about Thiers, except that 
shortly after the commencement of their conversation to-day 
he had suddenly asked him the question whether he was yet 
provided with the necessary full powers for carrying on the 
negotiations. " He looked quite amazed at me, and I told 
him that our outposts had reported to us, that after he set 
out there had been a Revolution in Paris, and that a new 
Government had been summoned into power. He was 
manifestly startled, and I inferred that he considered a victory 
of the Reds possible, and that Favre and Trochu had no 
very secure footing." 

L., who now regularly gets narratives and hints for the 
Moniteur, was told to reproduce there a judgment of the 
Norddeutsche Allgemeine Ztitung, on the capitulation of Metz, 
but said he would rather not, as Bazaine was a " traitor." 
On my talking to him he declared himself ready to do it, 
but he must resign the editorship, as he " could not give the 
lie to his own convictions." Really? 

Thiers was again with the Chief from nine till after ten. 

Friday, November 4. — In the morning the weather was 
wonderfully fine and clear. At the request of the Minister 
I answered the mis-statements of an article which appeared 
in the Daily News about his conversation with Napoleon at 
Donchery. He had spent three-quarters of an hour at the 
very least inside the weaver's house, in the room above, and 
was only a very short time outside talking with the Emperor 
in the open air, as he told the King in his official report. 
In his conversation with Napoleon he never struck the fore- 

x -] Two Balloons. 287 

finger of his left hand into the palm of his right hand, as 
that was not a trick of his. He did not speak German with 
the Emperor, " though I have at other times, but not then. 
I talked German," he said, " with the people of the house, 
as the husband knew a little of it, and the wife knew it 
pretty well." 

Thiers is again in conference with the Minister from 
eleven o'clock. Yesterday he sent his companion, a M. 
Cochery, into Paris, to learn whether the Government of 
September 4 was still in existence ; and the answer given, 
as we learned at breakfast, was Yes. After Blanqui with 
his Reds had got possession of the Hotel de Ville, and 
kept some of the members of the ministry prisoners there 
for several hours, Picard relieved the gentlemen — Abeken 
says with 106 battalions, probably with the 106th battalion — 
and the Government was re-established. 

I was wakened up early with the news that a balloon, 
coming from the north, was passing over the town. As the 
wind was favourable, a second followed in the afternoon. 
The first was white, the second was painted the colours of 
the French Tricolor. Bamberger was with us at dinner. 
The Chief said, " I notice that the papers are blaming me 
for putting off the Bombardment ; I am said to wish nothing 
serious to be done before Paris, and I won't allow firing into 
the town. Rubbish! They will some day complain of me 
as to blame for our losses during the investment, which 
have certainly not been small. We have lost here in little 
skirmishes more soldiers probably than we should have done 
had we stormed the place. That is what I wanted, and 
what I want now." We talked then of what officers of the 
general staff had previously said, that in thirty-six hours or 
so they could silence the two or three forts which would 
be the first objects of attack. Afterwards we spoke again 

288 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

about summoning the Reichstag here, and the Chief 
remarked that perhaps the Customs Parliament would 
follow it. Among other things of interest mentioned in 
the course of dinner, Bohlen told us that an official in 
Versailles — I think he said an attorney-general — had been 
surprised in a correspondence by letter with Paris. How 
he managed it is not known ; possibly through some secret 
outlet of the sewers, which are said to run under the Seine 
as far as here and then across the river to the bank on this 

L. tells us in the evening that Bamberg, who was Prussian 
Consul in Paris up to the beginning of the war has been 
appointed to take over the editorship of the Moniteur, and 
he describes the gentleman to me. About nine o'clock we 
are told in the Bureau that Thiers is outside again in the 
ante-room. I see him once more before he goes in to the 
Chief in the drawing-room, where he stays till after eleven. It 
is supposed that he will return to Paris to-morrow morning. 
During the interview a telegram comes which says that 
Beust gives in, and that he has said something like this, that 
if Russia hesitates about the demands which Prussia is to 
make on France, Austria will do the same, but not otherwise. 
It is sent in at once to the Chief in the drawing-room. 

At tea, Bismarck-Bohlen entertained us with an anecdote 
from the outposts. A few days ago a man came to one of 
the commanding officers here, and went with him into a 
house, from which he emerged immediately after in the 
dress of a Frenchman, making his way through the hedges, 
and at last running clean away. The sentries fired on him, 
but he managed to get safe to the bridge of Sevres, off which 
he jumped into the river, and by swimming and wading got 
to the other side, where he was heartily welcomed by the 
French as a brave friend of his country. " He is said to 

X.] Schnaps for Generals. 289 

be one of our best spies," said the narrator of this anecdote 
in conclusion.* 

Saturday, November 5. — In the morning, broken weather 
and a low-toned grey sky, but in a few hours afterwards it 
cleared up. We hear that the officers of the Papal Zouaves 
in Rome, who have now nothing more to do, are coming 
back to France through Switzerland, to fight under Charette 
against the Germans— against the enemy of the Ultramon- 
tane camp, but not for the Republic — a fact which I shall 
make known through their newspapers. 

About One o'clock there was a short conference between 
the Chancellor and Delbriick and the other German Minis- 
ters, in which we were told at dinner that our Chief gave 
the gentlemen an account of his negotiations with Thiers, 
and also spoke of the arrival of the German sovereigns who 
are not yet represented here. At four in the afternoon 
Keudell left for Berlin. All day long firing was/going on, 
but it was not so violent as during the last few days. 

At dinner we had none of their Excellencies at first but 
Delbriick. Afterwards the Chancellor came in; he had 
previously dined with the King. He asked Engel to pour 
him out a glass of corn-brandy, and then told us of an 
amusing saying : Not long ago — if I am not mistaken it 
was in Ferrieres — a general, talking of drinks, had laid down 
the principle, " Red wine for children, champagne for men, 
Schnaps for generals.'' He then complained, as he has 
often done, that certain eminent personages worry him 
with all sorts of questions, and make all kinds of claims. 

* This anecdote has a suspicious resemblance to another which was 
given afterwards by the French papers in which, however, not the 
French but our people are represented to have been deceived. The 
hero of the anecdote in that account was called Bonnet, and was a 

VOL. I. U 

290 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Just then a telegraphic despatch was handed to him which 
declared that Favre and the other ministers in Paris had 
got on their high horse again and proclaimed that there 
could be no question at present of any territorial compen- 
sation, that the only duty of Frenchmen was the defence 
of their country. The Chief said, " Well, that gets us rid 
of any more negotiations with Thiers." " Yes," said Del- 
briick ; " with such obstinate imbecility there will naturally 
be no farther talk about that." After a little the Minister 
said to Abeken, that Prince Adalbert meant to write to 
the Emperor (of Russia?) and proposed to address him 
as "my cousin," which was not right. Taglioni asked 
whether the Emperor had first called him so. " Even then 
he ought not to address him so," said the Chief. "He 
should call him, perhaps, 'my uncle.'" Many German 
princes, even those who are not related to him, address 
the Emperor as " my uncle." Finally he ordered an in- 
quiry to be despatched by telegram to Berlin about the 
usual form of address. 

Somebody mentioned that excellent wine had been dis- 
covered in the Chateau Beauregard, and that it had been 
confiscated for the troops. Bucher remarked that this 
charming estate of the Emperor's had been laid out for 
Miss Howard. Somebody else said, Yes, but it now belongs 
to a Duchess or Countess Bauffremont. " That reminds me 
of Thiers," said the Minister. " He probably means still to 
write something in history. He protracted our negotiation, 
perpetually dragging in all sorts of extraneous matter. He 
told me what he had done or advised on such-and-such an 
occasion, asked me the real situation of so-and-so, and 
wanted to know what would have been my course in such- 
and-such circumstances. He reminded me, for instance, of 
a conversation I had had with the Due de Bauffremont in 

X.] The Emperor Napoleon in 1 866. 29 1 

the year 1867. I had then said that the Emperor had not 
understood his game in 1866, that he might have got some 
advantage for himself, though not in German territory," &c. 
" That was substantially correct. I remember it ; it was in 
the gardens of the Tuileries, and a military band was playing 
at the moment." In 1866 Napoleon had not the courage 
to take what in his position he would have been entitled to 
do. He might have — at that time he should have — laid 
hold of what was the subject matter of the Benedetti pro- 
posal, and held it provisionally as a material guarantee for 
what might happen. We could not then have prevented 
him, and it was not likely that England would have attacked 
him — at all events he could have awaited the issue. When 
we had conquered, he should have set himself back to back 
with us, and encouraged us to proceed to excesses. But " 
(turning to Delbriick) bending a little forward, and then 
pulling himself straight again, as his habit is on such 
occasions, " he is, as he continues to be, a Tiefenbacher 
(a respectable Philistine— Schiller's Wallenstein.") 

He then discussed , who belonged, he said, to a 

very old family, with large estates, in Burgundy, a rout, a 
first-rate cancan dancer, at home in the dancing saloons 
of' the Parisian grisettes and cocottes, an intelligent, dissolute 
fellow. After he had run through his own property, he had 
married a rich wife, and begun to waste her money too, till 
a divorce a mensa et thoro put a stop to it. 

We hear that Keudell wants to be a deputy — if I under- 
stand rightly he means to come forward as a. candidate in 
the district of Nieder Barnim. After a conversation with 
Trochu and Ducrot on the bridge of Sevres, Thiers came back 
and had a conference with the Chief, lasting from half-past 
eight till after half-past nine. At tea it was said that Ducrot 
and Favre considered our conditions of armistice inadmis- 

u 2 

292 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

sible, but that the opinion of their colleagues was to be 
taken, and that Thiers would bring back the final answer of 
the Ministry to-morrow morning. 

I interrupt the narrative of my diary to insert here a few 
matters which may throw light on what was said above about 
Napoleon and Belgium in 1866. 

That France at that time wanted to acquire Belgium, 
although in a way requiring less resolution than that indi- 
cated above, is well known. An unanswerable proof of the 
fact was the draft of a treaty on the subject which Benedetti 
handed to the Chancellor of the Confederation, which was 
published by the Foreign Office shortly before the outbreak 
fo the war. In his book Ma Mission en Prusse Benedetti 
attempted to disavow it. He says there, p. 197 : 

" It will be remembered that on August 5, 1866, I laid 
before M. de Bismarck the draft of a treaty with reference 
to the Maine and the left bank of the upper Rhine, and 
I need not say that M. Rouher refers to this communication 
in the second paragraph of his letter on the 6th. But 
it also proves, and this is what it is important to establish 
against the assertions of M. de Bismarck, that nobody in 
Paris dreamt of making Belgium pay for the concessions 
which were indispensable to France, and to use the "very 
words of the Prussian ambassador, 'were due to her.' " 

Count Benedetti was ignorant when he wrote this that 
during the war certain secret papers had fallen into the 
hands of the German troops, which contradicted him. But 
the Foreign Office did not hesitate to use this defensive 
weapon against him. On October 20, 187 1, it answered 
his disavowal pretty much as follows : 

"He (Benedetti) attempts here, and in the following 
statements, to mix up two distinct phases of the protracted 

x -] France and Belgium. 293 

negotiations which the Prussian Minister President conducted 
with him during several years. He confounds the demand 
for a cession of German territory including Mainz, which 
he addressed to the Minister President on the 5th and 7th 
of August, 1866, with the later demand for Belgium, and 
attempts to make the papers found in the Tuileries, and 
already published, relate solely to the former, though that 
incident was really closed by the letter he gives on page 181 
of his book, addressed by the Emperor to the Marquis de la 
Valette. But the difference in his understanding of the 
two phases is clearly established by his own report, now in 
the hands of the Foreign Office. He wrote a report on 
the Maine episode, on August 5, 1866, the first part of which 
runs thus : — 

" ' M. le Ministre, — 

" ' On my arrival I found your telegraphic dispatch 
awaiting me, in which you communicate the text of the 
secret agreement, which you instruct me to present for the 
acceptance of the Prussian Government. Your Excellency 
may rest assured that I shall spare no effort to secure that 
all of these instructions are favourably received, however 
vehement may be the resistance which I am sure to meet. 
Convinced that the Emperor's government is acting with 
moderation in confining itself, in view of the future aggran- 
disements demanded by Prussia, to the stipulations for its 
own security mentioned in your draft, I should be most 
unwilling to admit any modifications in it, even to the extent 
of reporting them to you for your consideration. My opinion 
is that in this negotiation firmness is the best, I might 
almost add, the only argument, which I can properly use. I 
shall show my settled resolution to reject every inadmissible 
proposal, and I shall do my best to point out that if Prussia 

294 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

denies us the pledges, which the extension of her territories 
forces us to demand of her, she will be chargeable with 
refusing to recognise what justice and prudent foresight 
require — a task which appears to me easy. Meanwhile, I 
must also be prudent, and considering the kind of man the 
Minister President is, I think it best not to be present the 
first moment when he discovers for certain that we demand 
the bank of the Rhine up to and including Mainz. With 
this view, I have this morning sent him a copy of your 
draft, and written a private letter to accompany it, of which 
I enclose a copy. I shall try to see him to-morrow morning, 
and I shall inform you of the disposition in which I find 

This letter was followed by a conversation to which 
Benedetti briefly refers in his letter, but in such a way as 
to avoid as far as possible coming forward himself as the 
narrator ; otherwise he could not have helped giving some 
indication of the fact that he himself approved of the demand 
made by his Minister, and cordially supported it. He 
replied to the Minister President's observation that this 
demand meant War and that he would do well to go off at 
once to Paris to prevent the War, that he would go to Paris, 
but that it was impossible for him on his own personal con- 
viction, to recommend the Emperor not to persist in his 
demand, as he himself believed that the Dynasty would be 
in danger if public opinion in France were not satisfied by 
some such concession on the part of Germany. The last 
expression of the views of the Minister President, which 
Benedetti took with him on his road back to Paris, was 
something in this fashion. 

" Point out to his Majesty the Emperor that in certain 
circumstances such a war might have to be fought with 
Revolutionary weapons, and that in presence of Revolutionary 

X.] The French Secret Instructions. 295 

dangers, the German Dynasties are confident that they would 
prove themselves more solidly established than that of the 
Emperor Napoleon." 

These communications were followed by a letter of with- 
drawal from the Emperor on the 12 th, with which the curtain 
dropped on the demand for concessions of German territory. 
Four days afterwards the second act of the drama opens, 
involving Belgium. In a letter dated August 16th, brought 
to Count Benedetti from Paris by -a certain M. Chauvy, 
which contained " le resume le plus succinct et le plus precis 
possible '' (" the briefest and clearest possible summary ") of 
his instructions, it is said : 

" 1. The negotiation must be of a friendly nature. 

" 2. It must be essentially confidential (and the persons 
are expressly named to whom the knowledge of it is to be 

" 3. According to your prospects of success, your demands 
will.pass through three successive stages. You must, in the 
First place, point out the essential connection between the 
questions of the boundaries of 18 14 and the annexation of 
Belgium ; you must require the cession of Landau, Saar- 
Louis, .and Saarbriicken, and of the Grand Duchy of Luxem 
burg, in a public treaty, and demand that Prussia shall 
make a secret treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, one 
article of which shall authorise us ultimately to incorporate 
Belgium. Secondly, if it appears to you impossible to secure 
these bases, you must give up Saar-Louis and Saarbriicken, 
and even Landau,, that wretched old barracks (vieille bicoque) 
which German sentiment is attempting to set up against us, 
and confine your public treaty to the Grand Duchy of 
Luxemburg, and your private treaty to the incorporation 
of Belgium with France. Thirdly, if the complete and 
immediate incorporation of Belgium with France raises too 

296 Bismarck in tlte Franco-German War. [Chap. 

serious difficulties, you must accept an article in which, in 
order to soothe away the opposition of England, you are to 
consent to make Antwerp a free town. But you must in no 
event allow the transference of Antwerp to Holland, or that 
of Maestricht to Prussia. Should M. de Bismarck ask what 
advantages such an arrangement offers him, your answer will 
be simple ; he acquires for himself an important ally, he 
secures all his recent acquisitions, he consents only to the 
taking away of what does not belong to him — in return for 
the advantages which he wishes, he is not asked to make 
any important sacrifice. To sum up : an ostensible treaty 
which concedes at least Luxemburg to us ; a secret agree- 
ment for an offensive and defensive alliance, permitting us 
to incorporate Belgium, in which it must be recognised as 
essential that Prussia shall expressly promise to stand by 
us, even to the extent of armed support — these are the 
bases of the treaty which you are never to lose out of 

Benedetti replied to this instruction from Paris on August 
23 in a letter which is all in his own handwriting, in which 
he submitted the sketch of the Treaty which he was charged 
to negotiate. This sketch is also in his own writing. It is 
now in the possession of the Foreign Office in Berlin, with 
the autograph side-notes of the emendations made in Paris. 
After these alterations it agrees entirely with the copy 
which Benedetti laid before the Minister-President, and 
which he published in the summer of 1870. 

Benedetti's letter of August 23 begins as follows : 
" I have received your letter, and I conform myself to the 
best of my abilities to the views it expresses. I send you 
my draft in this inclosure. I need not tell you why Landau 
and Saarbriicken are not mentioned in it, for I am convinced 
that if we ventured to include them we should encounter 

X.] Belgium, Luxemburg and Holland. 297 

insuperable difficulties, so that I have confined myself to 
Luxemburg and Belgium." 

In another passage he says : 

" As a matter of course it is a first draft that I am sending 
you, and we shall modify it if necessary." 

The letter goes on in another place : 

" You will notice that instead of drafting two agreements 
I have only sent you one. When I came to write it out 
I was compelled to recognise that it would have been 
difficult to express stipulations which could be published 
about Luxemburg. I might perhaps make the proposal to 
give Article IV., the one referring to Belgium, the form and 
character of an article in a Secret Appendix, by putting it at 
the end. Do you not think, however, that Article V. ought 
to be as little known as the contracting parties to it ?" 

A draft of the answer to this letter of Count Benedetti's 
lies in the Foreign Office, also written on official paper. It 
is obvious from it that Benedetti's draft was approved in 
Paris, but that it was thought necessary to take a little 
longer time to turn the matter over. It discusses the case 
of the King of the Netherlands requiring some compensation 
for Luxemburg from the territory of Prussia. The pecu- 
niary sacrifices which the treaty may require are weighed. 
The view is put forward that the right of occupying the 
Federal fortresses according to the former Federal Constitu- 
tion was extinguished, and that their maintenance in Southern 
Germany was no longer reconcileable with the independence 
of the states there. They give up Landau and Saar-Louis, 
but they point out that it would be " an act of courtesy " if 
Prussia were, by razing the works in these two fortresses, to 
take away their aggressive character. It is pointed out 
at the same time that people in Paris regard the Unifica- 
tion of Germany as an inevitable eventuality which must 

298 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

come to pass pretty soon. Article IV. must not, however, 
be made absolutely dependent on Article III. It was 
obvious that the extension of the Supremacy of Prussia 
beyond the Maine would be to France a natural, almost a 
compelling reason for making herself mistress of Belgium, 
But other opportunities might arise — the exclusive right to 
judge of them must be claimed for her — perfectly clear 
and accurate expressions in the draft would preserve for 
France a liberty in this respect which might be very 

It is repeatedly stated, clearly and precisely, that the 
acquisition of Luxemburg is the immediate, and that of 
Belgium the ultimate object of the agreement to be made 
with Prussia, but that this and the Offensive and Defensive 
alliance are both to be kept secret. The paper goes on to 

" This combination puts everything right ; it relieves the 
strain of public feeling in France by giving it an immediate 
satisfaction, and by directing the public mind to Belgium, 
as this action naturally does. It preserves the necessary 
secrecy, both in respect to the project of alliance and the 
proposed annexations. Should they be of opinion that even 
the giving up of Luxemburg ought to remain a secret till 
the moment when we lay our hands on Belgium, you must 
combat this view by observations in detail. To put off the 
exchange of territory for a longer or shorter period of inde- 
fmiteness might involve a momentous acceleration of the 
Belgian question." 

At the end of the letter Benedetti is empowered, if he 
thinks it necessary, to go to Karlsbad for some time. Count 
Benedetti answered this letter on August 29th. It is at this 
time that he first expresses his doubt whether they could 
reckon on Prussia's sincerity in the transaction. He remarks 

X.] Prussia in search of Allies. 299 

that Count Bismarck had signified to him some doubt whether 
the Emperor Napoleon might not make use of such negotia- 
tions to produce ill-feeling against Germany in England. 
He remarks upon that, "What sort of reliance can we have 
on our side on people accessible to such calculations ?" He 
mentions General Manteuffel's mission to St. Petersburg, 
and is afraid that " Prussia may have been looking out else- 
where for strengthening alliances, which may enable her not 
to face the necessity of reckoning with France. Prussia 
requires — as M. de Bismarck asserts that the King once said 
— an alliance with one of the great Powers. If they show 
themselves disinclined to France, it is because they have 
another already quite or very nearly ready." In order to 
wait for light on the subject, Benedetti thinks the moment 
opportune for him to go off for a fortnight to Karlsbad, 
where he will hold himself in readiness to return to Berlin 
on the receipt of any telegram whatever from Count Bis- 
marck. During his absence, however, the Minister Presi- 
dent also left Berlin, and did not return till December. 

The secret negotiations accordingly remained in abey- 
ance for several months. They were re-opened later, on 
various occasions, always by'Benedetti. In his book he says 
(p. 185), that it is a mistake for M. de Bismarck to displace 
the negotiations about Belgium in the year 1866, and to put 
them in 1867 ; but the fact is merely this, that the French 
ambassador reopened the negotiations interrupted in the 
previous year, and the representatives of Prussia took part 
in them only with the view to put off an attack from France, 
confining them, however, to Belgium alone after the failure 
of his attempt on Luxemburg. The attitude of France at 
the time of the dispute about the Belgian railways, taken 
along with what has been said, makes it seem not incredible 
that even at that time she had not given up the hope of 

300 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

procuring the consent of North Germany to her favourite 



We return to 1870, and to extracts from the chronicle of 
our life in Versailles : 

Sunday, November 6. — We learn in the morning that 
one of the air-balloons which recently escaped, after cross- 
ing the town, has fallen into the hands of our hussars 
at Chartres. The soldiers had hit it, so that it came down. 
The two aeronauts who were sitting in the car were made 
prisoners, and the letters and papers, which were confis- 
cated, are to be sent on here for our perusal. 

I am informed that Bucher was summoned here by the 
Chief especially to work out the German question ; but he 
has very little to do, as Delbriick has taken a great deal of 
this branch of the business to himself. 

About three o'clock Thiers comes back, and I seize the 
opportunity to take a run to see the officers of the 46th 
regiment, now quartered in Grand Chesnay. The gentle- 
men were very merry, full of all sorts of tricks and jests, 
though the alarm signal might at any moment summon 
them to battle. When I came back I learned that Thiers 
had spent only half an hour in negotiation with the Chan- 
cellor, and had gone away, not to return, with a downcast 

At dinner we had Count Lehndorff and a hussar officer, 
called, if I heard rightly, Count Schroter. The Chief 
told us that Johanna (his wife) had written him, and 
read out a passage of her letter in which she said some- 
thing like this : "lam afraid that there may be no Bibles 
in France, so I shall send thee the Psalm-book by the first 
opportunity, so that thou mayest read the prophecy in it 
against the French, ' I say unto thee that the wicked shall 

X.] Letters from Home for the Chief. 301 

be rooted out.' " Also Count Herbert, who is well again, 
has written a despairing letter to his papa, because he has 
been appointed to a depot squadron. He complains," 
says the Minister, " that he has now had nothing out of 
the whole war except that he rode with the army for a 
fortnight, and then spent three months on his back. I 
wanted to see whether anything could be done, and to-day 
I met the War Minister. But he advised me, with tears 
in his eyes, to do nothing ; he had himself interfered with 
the natural course of things, and had lost his son in con- 
sequence.'' He then suddenly asked Abeken, "What was 
it you were reciting with so much earnestness in the garden, 
Privy Councillor ? I could not make out what language 
it was in." " Oh, that was German, your Excellency — 
Goethe. It was the Wanderer's Sturm Lied, my favourite 
poem,'' and then he repeated a passage to us with his best 
feeling and emphasis. 

The conversation then turned on the recent fight at 
Le Bourget, and the Chief said it was quite wrong for 
General von Budritzki to join the ranks of the soldiers 
in the storming party and to carry the flag. " The general's 
place," he said, " is not among the troops ; it is behind, 
where he can see things properly and direct them through 
his adjutants. This performance was nothing better than 
an imitation of Schwerin's statue on the Wilhelms Platz — 
a Decoration performance." Finally, some one spoke of 
the danger that France might fall to pieces. In the south, 
for instance, the " Ligue de Midi," the head of which 
was Esquiros, seems to have contemplated cutting itself 
loose from the country which is governed from Paris. 
People there are in favour of the plan of a forced loan 
from the wealthy classes ; and it is said that Mieroslawski 
is to be called to Marseilles to organise the battalions 

302 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

of Reds there, who have the ball at their feet, into an 

In the evening we read the Comte de Chambord's pro- 
clamation to the French. He will consecrate himself, like 
the rest, " to the Welfare of France •" and he says that, 
" Governing does not mean flattering the passions of the 
people, but resting upon their virtues." Instead of serving 
up these commonplace phrases, he would have done better 
to tell them how to put an end to the present condition 
of affairs. Unless the political and social confusion which 
has diffused itself, in consequence of September 4th, over 
more than Paris, soon terminate, it will be difficult to re- 
establish order in accordance with the wish of Germany 
and of all Europe. If the present state of affairs lasts 
much longer, whatever government comes after the Re- 
public will take over a country afflicted with anarchy that 
will not allow it to reckon on the virtues of the people. 
It will have to rest on its passions instead. 

Monday, November 7. — The Chief orders me this morning 
to telegraph to London : " During five days of negotiation 
with Thiers, he has been offered an armistice on the basis 
of the military status quo for any length of time up to 
twenty-eight days, so as to hold the elections, which were 
to be allowed even in the occupied portions of France. 
Ultimately, he was offered permission and facilities for 
holding the elections even without an armistice. But after 
further consultation with the Parisian authorities, held in 
the outpost lines, he was not empowered to accept either. 
He insisted above all things that Paris should be re-pro- 
visioned, but he was unable to offer any military equiva- 
lent. This demand could not be granted by the Ger- 
mans for military reasons, and yesterday M. Thiers had 
orders from Paris to break off the negotiations." 

X.] Failure of the Negotiations. 303 

From other sources we learned the following additional 
particulars of the course of these events, and the present 
situation. The order reached Thiers in a short dry letter 
from Favre, which sent him back to Tours, whither he went 
to-day. He was very much depressed at the foolish stiff- 
neckedness of the Minister in Paris with which he himself 
could not sympathise, and which seemed not to animate 
several of the members of the Provisional Government. 
Favre and Picard, especially the latter, are eager for peace, 
but are too weak compared with the others to carry their 
object. Gambetta and Trochu want no elections, as in all 
probability these would make an end of their domination. 
This domination is itself, however, on a very weak footing. 
It may be overthrown in Paris any day, and the provinces 
are also unsteady in their support. In the South, Marseilles, 
Toulouse, and a number of Departments no longer recog- 
nise the Government of National Defence, which is not 
Radical enough for them, that is to say, that it is not Com- 
munist. There and everywhere else, among all who belong 
to the propertied classes, the prospects of the Imperialist 
party are steadily improving. 

I wrote articles substantially saying that we were pre- 
pared for whatever might happen ; but that the ambition of 
MM. Favre and Trochu, who were afraid of being con- 
strained by the voice of the real representatives of the 
French nation to let go the helm to which they had been 
called, in consequence of an emeule, refused to listen to 
any of our concessions. It was this ambition alone which 
was prolonging the war. We had shown, on the other 
hand, by our readiness to concede the utmost possible, that 
we wanted peace. 

In the afternoon I spent another hour with the officers at 
Grand Chesnay. They were in constant expectation of an 

304 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

alarm, and were eagerly waiting for the bombardment to 

At table, where we had Major von Alten, Adjutant-Major 
to the King, Count Bill, and Lieutenant Philip von Bismarck, 
the Minister's nephew, we talked of the delay of the bom- 
bardment, and the Chancellor declared the rumour now 
going the round of the newspapers, that he did not 
want it, while the military authorities were urging it on, to 
be thoroughly " unreasonable and inexplicable." " It is just 
the other way," he said. " Nobody urges and presses it 
more than I do, and it is the military people who do not 
want to begin. A great part of my correspondence is 
spent on the effort to remove the scruples and objections 
of the military authorities.'' 

The conversation seemed to make it clear that the artillery 
still wanted more preparation, and that they thought they 
had not enough ammunition. Some one spoke of ninety 
waggon loads every day. At Strassburg, too, they had 
insisted on more than was really needed, and in the end, 
though they used up an enormous quantity of powder and 
shot, two-thirds of the accumulated ammunition was left 
over. Alten said that if we had occupied the forts we should 
have been exposed to the fire of the enceinte, and would 
have had to begin everything over again. " It may be 
so," said the Minister, " but in that case it ought to have 
been well known to them beforehand, for there is no Fortifi- 
cation with which we have been so thoroughly well ac- 
quainted from the time the war began as with Paris." 

Some one said that two air-balloons had been caught, 
in the one of which two prisoners had been taken, and in 
the other three. The Chief said that there was no doubt 
that they must be treated as spies. 

Alten said that they would be brought before a military 

X.] The Capture of the Balloons. 305 

tribunal, and the Chief replied, " Then certainly nothing 
will be done to them." He then spoke of Count Bill's being 
so well in health, and so strong, and that at his years he 
himself had been slim and lean. " In Gottingen," he said, 
" I was as thin as a knitting needle.'' Somebody said that 
last night a sentry posted before the villa where the Crown 
Prince was living had been shot at, that the man had been 
wounded, and that the town would have to pay 5000 francs 
compensation to him. The Chief remarked that in his 
evening walks he would not take his sword with him, but a 
revolver, as he said, " I may very possibly get murdered in 
certain circumstances, but I should not like to die without 
my revenge. 7 ' 

In the evening the Chancellor instructed me to telegraph 
the narrative of the breakdown of the negotiations with 
Thiers once more, but in somewhat different words. When 
I permitted myself to remark that the despatch had been 
already telegraphed that morning, he replied, " Not quite. 
Here you have Count Bismarck proposed, &c. You must 
notice such shades of difference if you are to work in the 
ministry of foreign affairs.'' Afterwards I was summoned to 
him again. I was told to telegraph : " From private com- 
munications with Paris we learn that Favre and the majority 
of his colleagues were in favour of holding the elections and 
of the armistice arranged by Thiers, but that Trochu, by 
agitating against it, had carried his point." > 

Tuesday, November 8. — A telegram was sent off in the 
morning to order the persons captured in the air-balloons to 
be sent on to a Prussian fortress, and then brought before a 
military tribunal, and further stating that the letters con- 
fiscated in the balloon car compromised diplomatists and 
other persons to whom communication with outside Paris 
had been hitherto allowed out of respect to their position 

vol. 1. x 

306 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and their sense of honour. This communication, an article 
founded on these facts said, could no longer be permitted. 

About half-past ten, when we were at breakfast, the Chief 
received a visit from an elderly gentleman wearing a silk 
cloak and a scarlet cap, with a scarf of the .same colour. 
He was Archbishop Ledochowski from Posen, and we 
should have liked to know whether his business was about 
the Pope's offer to intervene in our interests with the French 
Government. Probably they hope in that way to procure 
an intervention of the German Government in the interests 
of the Pope. The Archbishop stayed till about three 
o'clock, and after he left the Chief went off to the King. 
He dined afterwards with the Crown Prince, where the 
Grand Duke of Baden, who had just arrived, was also 

Before dinner I again visited H. and his lieutenants, who 
were now quartered in a little mansion house on the main 
road, near Chesnay, which belonged to the famous Parisian 
doctor, Ricord. They were as "jolly" and as inclined for 
fun as ever, and they were still longing for the bombard- 
ment to begin. 

Wednesday, November 9. — A broken and cloudy day. I 
wrote an article. Then we read, marked, and made extracts 
from the Times, as usual. It was pleasant to come across 
passages in the Kolnische like : " The tooth of Time has 
peopled the walls with moss." A picturesque writer wrote : 
" The great ditch at Sedan, whose grey lips shut them- 
selves down in thunder on the greatness of France.'' Well 
roared, lion ! 

The Minister wishes me to inquire into the antecedents 
of an American called O'Sullivan, who is doing no good 
here, and who seems a suspicious character. I shall first 
inquire of L., who seldom misses fire in questions about 

X.] The Chancellor's Private Life. 307 

people here. At midday it was reported to us that the 
fortress of Verdun capitulated yesterday. 

At dinner, Delbriick, General Chauvin, and Colonel 
Meidam, superintendent of field telegraphs, were the Chief's 
guests. Some one spoke of the improper use which distin- 
guished personages made of the telegraph for their private 
occasions. Some one else said that at Epernay the con- 
nections had been destroyed, and other mischief done, by 
the Francs-tireurs and by peasants ; and the Chief said : 
" They ought to send three or four battalions there at once, 
and transport 6,000 of these peasants into Germany, till the 
war is over." " From four to six hundred would probably 
be plenty," said Delbriick ; " the fright could not help 
having its effect on the rest." Afterwards the Chief spoke 
of the French newspapers, and said it was almost incredible 
what invectives many journals discharged against us. 

" I sent one of them to the King, rather imprudently I 
must say, for he is cruelly handled in it himself, in which 
all sorts of horrors are told about my way of going on in 
private life. I thrash my wife with a dog-whip ; no shop- 
keeper's daughter in Berlin is safe not to be dragged off into 
my harem ; I have embezzled money ; I have made use of 
state secrets in my possession, and speculated on the ex- 
change with them, and so on. They don't yet do that sort 
of thing in Germany." * 

" The harem is probably behind the house, in the cottage 
where the porters live," said Delbriick. " If the French 
journalists only knew about that cottage, what mysteries 
they would discover in it ! " 

In the evening L. tells us that Chateaudun has again 
been evacuated by our troops, and occupied by the van- 

* Compare a passage later on. 

308 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

guard of the French ; and he believes he knows that there 
was a sortie of the Parisians to-day against the part of our 
line held by the Bavarians. About O'Sullivan he knows 
only this, that he was formerly an American diplomatist, an 
adherent of the slave-holders ; that before his arrival in Ver- 
sailles he had gone in a meddling way to the Grand Duke 
of Mecklenburg, to propose attempts at mediation, and that 
he had come here with a letter of recommendation for the 
Crown Prince, and had dined with him in company with 
our Chancellor yesterday. Probably he was also unable 
on that occasion to refrain from offering his good services 
as an amateur mediator. 

Many troublesome fellows of the same description have 
got in here, and make the Hotel des Reservoirs an unsafe 
place with their importunity and their projects. Even the 
Chancellor himself will not always be able to avoid them 
when they come and button-hole him with their advice. 
There are some very extraordinary suggestions, e.g., the 
neutralisation of Elsass and Lothringen, the annexation of 
these provinces to Belgium or Switzerland, the restoration 
of the Emperor, the restoration of the Orleans family, the 
making the French a present of Belgium, so that they may 
not feel it unkind of us when we retain Metz and Strassburg 
and their appurtenances, the incorporation of Luxemburg 
with Germany, so as to secure the same object. ' Perhaps it 
would be a good thing to make an example, which would 
show these benevolent people that they are not wanted. 

At tea the rumour was mentioned that the influence of 
ladies had contributed to put off the bombardment. After 
half-past ten the Chief came to us out of the salon, where he 
had been talking with the Bavarian general, von Bothmer, 
and had, it appears, been discussing military questions in 
connection with the larger Unity of Germany, which is now 

X.] Where will the Pope retire to f 309 

in progress. He stayed perhaps an hour with us. When he 
sat down he called for a glass of beer. Then he sighed, and 
said, " I wished once more to-day, as I have often wished 
before, that I could say for even five minutes, this is to be 
or it is not to be. One has to bother about whys and where- 
fores, to convince people, to entreat them even about the 
simplest matters — what a worry is this eternal talking and 
begging for things ! " 

Hatzfeld asked, " Has your Excellency noticed that the 
Italians have broken into the Quirinal ? " " Yes,'' said the 
Chief, " and I am curious to see what the Pope will do. Will 
he leave the country, and where will he go ? He has already 
asked us to ascertain for him from Italy whether she would 
allow him to leave the country, and whether it might be done 
in a reasonably dignified way. We did so, and they replied 
that they would be careful throughout to respect his position, 
and would act in the same way if he determined to leave 

" They would be very unwilling to let him go," said Hatz- 
feld. " It is for their interest that he should remain in 
Rome." The Chief said, " Certainly ; but perhaps he may 
have to go, notwithstanding. Then where will he go to ? 
Not to France, for Garibaldi is there. He does not wish to 
go to Austria. There is Spain, of course. I offered him to 
Bavaria. He thought for a moment, and then said, ' There 
is nothing left for him but Belgium, or — North Germany.' 
In fact, we have often been asked whether we could secure 
him an asylum. I have no objection to Cologne or Fulda. 
It would be an exraordinary turn, but it would not be an 
unlikely one, and for us it would be a great advantage that 
we should appear to the Catholics as we really are, the only 
power in the present day willing and able to offer security 
to the supreme prince of their church. Then Stofflet and 

310 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Charette and their Zouaves might at once go home. Every 
pretext for the opposition of the Ultramontanes would dis- 
appear ; and in Belgium and Bavaria, too, Malinkrott would 
have to support the Government." 

" People with lively imaginations, especially women, when 
they are in Rome, with the incense and the splendour of 
Catholicism about them, and the Pope on his Throne dis- 
pensing blessings, feel an inclination to become Catholics. 
In Germany, where they would have the Pope before their 
eyes as an old man in want of help, a good kind gentleman, 
one of the bishops eating and drinking like the others, 
taking his pinch, perhaps even smoking his cigar, there would 
be no such great danger. And, finally, even if some people 
in Germany did go back to Catholicism there would not 
be much to grieve about, as long as they continued good 
Christians. People's confessions don't make the difference, 
but their beliefs. One ought to be tolerant." He developed 
these views further in the most interesting way, but I 
cannot reproduce it here. 

Then we turned to other matters. Hatzfeld said that his 
Highness of Coburg had fallen off his horse. " Fortunately 
without hurting himself," added Abeken, who had just 
hurried in, with a happy look on his face. The Chief was 
tempted to tell us about similar misfortunes which had 
befallen himself. 

"I believe," he remarked, "that if I say that I have 
fallen off my horse fifty times I am not up to the mark. To 
fall off your horse is nothing, but it is bad to fall with him, 
and to have him lying on the top of you. The last time I 
had that was in Varzin, when I broke three of my ribs. I 
thought then that it was all over. There was not so much 
danger as appeared, but it was frightfully painful." 

" Once before, I had a remarkable tumble, which proves 

X.] Suspended Brain Power. 311 

how people's power of thinking depends on the matter of 
the brain. I was on the road home with my brother, and 
we were riding as fast as the horses would go. Suddenly 
my brother, who was a little in front, heard a frightful crack. 
It was my head, which had knocked on the road. 

" My horse had shied at the lantern of a waggon which 
was coming up, had reared backwards, and fallen with me, 
on its own head. I lost consciousness, and when I came 
out of this state it was only a half recovery, that is to say, a 
part of my thinking machinery was quite clear and sound, 
but the other half was not there. I felt over my horse, and 
found that the saddle was broken. Then I called my 
groom, ordered him to give me his horse, and rode home. 
When the dogs there barked at me — a friendly greeting — I 
took them for strange dogs, and was vexed with them, and 
scolded them. Then I said that the groom had fallen with 
the horse, and that he must be brought back on a litter. I 
was very angry when, on a sign from my brother, they did 
not carry out my orders. Did they mean to leave the poor 
man lying in the road ? I did not know that I was myself, 
and that I had got home, or rather I was myself and the 
groom at the same time. I then asked for something to 
eat, and went to bed. In the morning, after I had slept it 
off, I was all right. It was a singular case ; I had looked 
at the saddle, had got myself another horse, and had done 
other things like that, everything, in fact, that was practical 
and necessary. In all this the fall had produced no con- 
fusion in my ideas. It is a curious example to show what 
different powers of the mind the brain accommodates. Only 
one of mine was benumbed for any length of time by the 

" I remember another tumble. I was riding fast through 
young brushwood in a great forest, a good bit away from 

312 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

home. I wanted to get on by a near cut right through the 
wood, but I fell, with my horse, and lost consciousness. I 
must have lain there three hours or so, insensible, for it was 
getting dark when I woke up. The horse was standing 
close by. The locality, as I told you, was quite away from 
our property, and unfamiliar. I had not yet properly 
recovered my faculties ; but I did what was necessary here, 
too. I loosened the martingale, which was in two bits, put 
it in my pocket, and rode off by a way which, as I then 
understood, was the nearest — it crossed a river by a pretty 
long bridge — to a neighbouring farm, where the tenant's 
wife ran away when she saw a big man ride up with his 
face covered with blood. But the husband came out and 
washed the blood off. I told him who I was, and that I 
had ten or twelve miles to ride to get home, that I was not 
very able to do it, and that I should like him to drive me 
over, which he did. I must have stumbled forward fifteen 
paces when I came to the ground and tumbled over the 
root of a tree. ' When the doctor examined my hurts, he 
said it was contrary to all professional rules that I had not 
broken my neck." 

" I was other times, too," continued the Chief, " in danger 
of my life. Once, when the Sommering railway was being 
made — I believe it was in 1852 — I was going with-a party 
through one of the upper tunnels. I remember Count Ottavio 
Kinsky was there, who was somewhat older than I, and 
wore curls. It was quite dark inside. I went before the 
rest with a lantern. There was a pit or fissure diagonally 
across the floor, which might be fifty feet deep and half as 
wide again as this table. They had laid a board across, 
with a railing on both sides, so that the wheelbarrows might 
not fall over. This board must have been rotten, for 
it broke when I was half-way over, and I went down, but 

X.] In a Tunnel. 313 

as I had instinctively spread my arms out, I kept hanging 
on by the side railing. Those who were behind me thought 
I had fallen in — for the lantern of course had dropped, and 
the light gone out. When they shouted out, ' Are you alive ?' 
they were not a little astounded to get the answer back, not 
from the bottom of the pit, but from straight before them, 
' Yes ; I am here.' In the meanwhile I had taken hold with 
my legs too, and I was asking whether I should come back 
or go across. The guide said it was better to cross, so I set 
to work and managed it. The workman who was leading 
us lighted a candle, looked out for another board, and got 
the rest of the company over. In this affair of the board 
one saw how carelessly and frivolously such things are 
taken at the moment. Afterwards, when we were out of the 
tufanel, we went roaring down the line in a shallow truck. 
We had heavy sticks to check the speed, and we used them 
as we swung round the curves. At the worst of these we 
kept ourselves right only with the greatest difficulty, for the 
truck all but ran off the rails. Had it done so, it would 
have gone over into one of the two abysses at the spot. We 
could not see to the bottom of the one, and the other went 
down some sixty feet." 

The Chief then told us of a case in which old Baron 
Meyendorff was almost in danger of his life. At Gastein he 
had once let himself be wound up the incline of rails which, 
if I understood the matter correctly, make the shortest way 
to the height where the old gold-mines were. " It might be," 
he said, " perhaps 3000 feet to the top, and the railway 
ran up at an angle of perhaps forty degrees. The car on 
which one had to sit was pulled on a grooved way. If the 
rope had broken, he would have run down 10,000 feet back 
with enormous velocity, and would not likely have reached 
the bottom with whole bones." 

314 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Thursday, November 10. — Winter is upon us, and it has 
been snowing, with a rather low temperature, for several 
hours in succession. In the morning the Chief tells me to 
telegraph that there have already been calamitous results for 
the poor, and that more are to be anticipated from the Pro- 
visional Government's deliberate misappropriation of the 
funds of Savings Banks and of corporations for the purposes 
of the war. Afterwards I am to study for my own infor- 
mation the documents relating to the unsuccessful peace 

Thiers has put on record how he and the Ministers of 
France whom he represented understood the basis of the 
armistice which was to have been made. Their line was as 
follows : The object of the agreement was to be to put an 
end as soon as possible to the effusion of blood and to 
summon a National Assembly, which, as expressing its 
wishes, would represent France before the Powers of Europe, 
and which might sooner or later conclude a treaty of peace 
with Prussia and her allies. The armistice would have to 
last twenty-eight days at least, twelve of which would be 
needed for summoning the electors, one for the voting on 
the candidates, five for the assembling of those elected in 
some place to be determined on, and ten for the validation 
of the elections and the constitution of a Bureau. The place 
of meeting might for the present be Tours. Free and un- 
disturbed elections must be permitted, even in the districts 
of France at present occupied by the German armies. 
Military operations must stop on both sides, but both sides 
were to be permitted to bring up recruits, to undertake de- 
fensive works, and to construct camps. The armies were 
to be allowed to supply themselves by any means at their, 
disposal, but requisitions must cease, " being a war measure 
which must necessarily stop with hostilities." The fortified 

X.] Why the Negotiations Failed. 315 

places were to have liberty to re-provision themselves for the 
period of the armistice, in proportion to the numbers of the 
population and garrison shut in. With this object, Paris 
was to be supplied, by four specified railways, with cattle 
and various other necessaries as follows : 54,000 oxen, 
80,000 sheep, 8000 swine, 5000 calves, and the necessary 
fodder for these animals, consisting of 400,000 tons of hay 
and straw; 5000 tons of salted beef, 10,000 tons of meal, 1500 
tons of dried vegetables, 100,000 tons of coals, 640,000 
cubic yards of wood for fuel : the population of Paris being 
reckoned for the purposes of this calculation at 400,000 of 
a garrison, and 2,700,000 to 2,800,000 within the lines of 

These demands of the French were not to be listened to. 
If the Germans had conceded them, they would have given 
away the larger and better half of the advantages they had 
secured by great efforts and sacrifices during the seven 
weeks just past. In other words, they would have put themr 
selves back in essentially the same position as on September 
19th, the day when our troops completed the investment. 
We were to let Paris be supplied with provisions, though 
she was then suffering from want, and would soon be driven 
of necessity, either to endure a famine or to surrender. We 
were to give up our operations, at the very time when Prince 
Frederick Charles's army had just been set free, by the fall 
of Metz, for further operations, which could be prosecuted 
with still greater effect. We were to sit still and permit the 
levies and the recruiting, by which the French Republic 
hoped to create a new army for itself in the field, to go 
quietly on while our own army was in no want of recruits. 
While we were asked to allow Paris and the rest of the 
French fortresses to re-provision themselves, we were to 
leave our army to supply itself without the requisitions 

316 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

permitted in an enemy's country. All these demands we 
were to concede, without our opponents offering us a single 
military or political equivalent — such, for instance, as the 
evacuation of one or of several of the forts round Paris, 
as the price'of allowing it to be re-provisioned ; and without 
their putting forward any assured prospect of peace. To pro- 
cure through the armistice a general election of a Constituent 
Assembly to restore order and establish a government such 
as all might recognise, the object which Thiers' memorial 
puts forward as the first thing to be got by it, would 
certainly be far more in the interest of the French than in 
ours. When we remember the inflamed state of the public 
mind in France, kept up by the continual stimulating pro- 
clamations of the Provisional Government, it is impossible 
to feel that there was any security for us. If the existing 
Government had really wished the elections, they could have 
obtained what they wished without the elaborate apparatus 
of an armistice. 

With such proposals, it was useless for the Germans 
even to begin to treat. Everything must be put quite 
differently : and the Chancellor accordingly offered M. 
Thiers an armistice on the basis of the military status 
quo, to last for twenty-five to twenty-eight days, and 
which the French might employ in quietly calling their 
electors together, and in summoning the resulting Con- 
stituent Assembly. This itself was a concession on our 
side, all the advantages of which were with the French. 
If, as Thiers asserted, Paris was really supplied with 
provisions and other necessaries for several months — 
and this was scarcely doubtful about the one article of 
meal — it was not intelligible how the Provisional Govern- 
ment should have allowed the negotiations for an armis- 
tice, which at the worst prevented the French from making 

X.] The Inhabitants of the Water-pipes. 317 

further sorties, to break down on this question of the re- 
provisioning of Paris. France would have had the immense 
advantage of confining the otherwise inevitable occupation 
of French territory, which the army just set free after the 
siege of Metz was preparing to accomplish, within a line of 
demarcation. Thiers, however, rejected this very liberal 
offer, and insisted on regarding the re-provisioning of Paris as 
the condition sine qud, non of an agreement. He was not 
even ultimately authorised to offer any military equivalent 
for it, such as the evacuation of one of the forts of Paris. 

As we were going in to dinner, the Chief told us that the 
Minister of War was seriously ill. He was feeling very 
weak, and had not been able to get up for fourteen days 
past. Afterwards he joked about the washing water in the 
house — " The occupants of the water-pipes here seem to 
have their seasons like other people. First come the 
centipedes, which I don't like at all, with their hundred 
feet going all together; then there are the cockroaches, 
which I can't bear to touch, though they are harmless crea- 
tures enough — I would rather handle a serpent; then we 
have the leeches. I found a quite little one to-day, which 
had rolled itself up like a button. I tried to develop him, 
but he would not move, and remained mere button. At 
last I poured spring water over his back, when he pulled 
himself ,,out as long and as fine as a needle and got 
away.'' We then talked of all sorts of simple dainties, 
none the' less excellent on that account : herring, fresh 
and salt, new potatoes, spring butter, &c. The Minister 
said to Delbriick, who paid his tribute also to these 
good things, " The sturgeon is a fish which is not ap- 
preciated, though it is thought much of in Russia, and 
is getting more in favour with us. In the Elbe, for 
instance, about Magdeburg, it is constantly caught, but 

318 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

it is eaten only by fishermen and poor people." He 
then explained his own preferences, and came to talk of 
caviare, the different kinds of which he characterised with 
the feeling of an amateur. After a while he said : " How 
many points of resemblance there are between these Gauls 
and the Slavs I It struck me to-day again very forcibly, 
after the snow. The same broad streets, the same closely- 
packed houses, the same frequently flat roofs, as in Russia. 
Nothing but the green-onion looking church spires is want- 
ing. And there are other points. The verst and the kilometre, 
the ardschine and the mfetre are the same. There is the 
same tendency to centralisation, the same absolute identity 
in everybody's views, the same Communistic strain in the 
National character." He then spoke of the wonderful world 
of to-day, which " turned everything that used to stand on 
its feet upside down, and showed the most extraordinary 
displacement of relations." "When one thinks of it," "he 
said, " that the Pope may perhaps end his days in a little 
Protestant town in Germany" ("Brandenburg on the Havel," 
interposed Bohlen) "that the Reichstag may be in Paris, 
the Corps Ldgislatif in Cassel, that in spite of Mentana 
Garibaldi is a French general, that Papal Zouaves are 
fighting side by side with him ;" and he enlarged a while 
longer on the same subject. 

" To-day I had a letter from Metternich," he said sud- 
denly. " He wants me to let Hoyos go in to bring out 
the Austrians in Paris. I told him that since October 25th 
they have been allowed to come out, but that we now let 
nobody whomsoever go in — not even a diplomatist. Nor 
do we receive any in Versailles, only I would make an 
exception in his case. He will then probably bring up 
once more the Austrian claims on the Confederation pro- 
perty in the German fortresses." 

X.] Cups and Puzzle-bottles. 319 

We spoke about doctors and the way in which Nature 
occasionally puts herself to rights ; and the Chief said that 
once when he had been on a hunting party for two days, 
with the Duke of (I could not catch the name), he had 
been " all wrong there in his inner man.'' " Even the two 
days' hunting and the fresh air did nothing for me. I went 
the day after to the cuirassiers at Brandenburg, who had 
been getting a new cup " (I think he added that they 
were celebrating a jubilee). " I was to drink out of it first 
and handsel it, and then it was to go round. It might hold 
a bottle. I held my breath, drank it to the last drop, and 
set it down empty. I astonished them greatly, for they 
don't expect much from men of the pen. But it was the 
Gottingen way. The remarkable thing, though perhaps 
there was little in it, was that I was never so right inside 
as in the four weeks after that. I tried to cure myself in 
the same way on other occasions, but I had never again so 
delightful a success.'' " I remember too, once when we were 
with the Letzlingen hunt, under Frederick William IV., one 
of these puzzle bottles, of the time of Frederick William I., 
was emptied at a draught. It was a staghorn, so made 
that the drinker could not put the mouth of the horn, 
which might hold three-quarters of a bottle, to his lips, and 
yet he was not allowed to spill a single drop. I took it 
up and emptied it, though it was very dry champagne, 
and not a single drop went on my white waistcoat. The 
company stared when I said, 'Another.' But the King said, 
' No, there must be no more,' and the thing had to remain 
so." " Formerly, feats of that sort were the indispensable 
passports into the diplomatic service. They drank the 
weak-headed ones below the table, then they asked them 
all sorts of things, which they wanted to know, and forced 
them to make all sorts of concessions which they had no 

320 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

authority to make. They then made them sign their names, 
and when the poor fellows got sober they could not imagine 
how their signatures got there.'' 

The Minister then remarked, though I forget what occa- 
sioned him to do so, that all the families in Pomerania which 
rose to the rank of Count died out. " The country cannot 
tolerate the name," he added. " I know ten or twelve 
families with whom it has been so." He mentioned some, and 
went on to say, " So I struggled hard against it at first. At 
last I had to submit, but I am not without my apprehensions, 
even now." 

When the roast came on, the Chief asked, " Is it horse ? " 
One of us at table said, " No, it is beef." He said it 
was " very odd that people won't eat horseflesh unless they 
are forced to do so, like the people inside Paris, who will 
soon have nothing else left. The reason, perhaps, is that 
the horse seems to come nearer to us than any other animal. 
When he is riding, the man is almost one with the horse. 

" ' Ich hatt' einen Kameraden, 
Als war's ein Stuck von mir.' 

(' I had a comrade, who was like a piece of myself.') It 
is nearest us in intelligence. It is the same thing with the 
dog. Dog-flesh must taste well enough, but we never eat 
it." One of the gentlemen expressed himself unfavourably, 
and another said a word for dog-steaks. The Chief went 
on with his parable : " The liker anything is to us, the less 
can we eat it. It must be very loathsome to have to eat 
monkeys, which have hands so like men's." Somebody 
reminded him that the South American savages ate monkeys, 
and then we began to talk of cannibals. " Yes," he said, " but 
that must have been commenced at first through hunger, and 
I believe I have read that they prefer women, who are, at 

X.] O' Sullivan's Retirement. 321 

least, not of their own sex. Man really does not care for 
the food of many animals, savage brutes, for instance, like 
lions and wolves. To be sure he likes bears, but they live 
rather on vegetable than on animal food. I can't eat a bit 
of a fowl which takes on fat, not even its eggs.'' 

When L. came in in the evening to get material, he told 
us that O'Sullivan, who was formerly temporary Minister of 
the United States in Lisbon, had taken his warning to leave 
us in the right spirit, and gone. L. is always fishing out 
something, and he has made out that the New York Times, 
about whose sources of information here he has been in- 
quiring at my request, is served by two correspondents, a 
Mr. Scofferen, who is staying with the chief huntsman, von 
Strantz, at Ville d'Avray, and a Mr. Holt White, who resides 
at Saint-Germain. After eight o'clock Count Bray is with 
the Chief in the little reception-room upstairs. 

Friday, November n. — This morning, to judge from the 
noise of a furious cannonade by Ballerjan (Vale'rien), coming 
from the north-west, our friends of the 46th are in particularly 
bad temper, and seem to be spitting back fire and flame. 
On our side we are always the same tame set, without a 
bark in our voice. The Chief tells me to telegraph the 
capture of Neu Breisach, and wishes me to speak to the 
English correspondent, Robert Conningsby, who has asked 
him for an audience as the correspondent of several news- 
papers. I was to tell him that the Chancellor regretted he 
had no time to spare. Then he handed me the Brussels 
Indiscrete. " There is a wonderful biography of me there, 
which is extremely comical. They would find it as true 
to my character as the pictures are to the text which they 
illustrate. Possibly something in it might be made use of 
for our own papers " (Frederick the Great also made lam- 
poons on himself more accessible to the public). 

vol. 1. Y 

322 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

I fulfilled these commissions, after which I saw Conningsby, 
whom I found a very intelligent man, and who appeared to 
wish well to our side. He had married a German wife ; but 
he had not made himself master of our language. When I 
came back I took up the Indiscrete. It was the print to 
which he referred recently when he complained of the 
crimes the French journalists laid to his charge. I noted a 
single passage as proof of the extent to which the French 
press carries the clumsy, downright and stupid lying which 
has for some time been its weapon against us. It says this 
of our Chancellor : — 

" He made great personal profit out of diplomatic hints 
of what was being got ready in the dark, and of the effect 
which serious news is sure to have on the public funds when it 
is made generally known. He made profit in this way out of 
the fact that he was in a position to gamble, holding a win- 
ning hand, on every exchange in Europe. In these shameless 
speculations on the good faith of the public his confederate 
was a Jew banker in Berlin, Herr Bleichroder. In this way 
Bismarck's avarice has enabled him to amass colossal sums 
of money, which he shares with the banker and his creatures. 

" Bismarck, as a great man, of passionate habits, seldom 
denies himself the gratification of carrying off a pretty 
woman. It was so in his youth, and in later years his pas- 
sions have impelled him to repeated crimes, such as carrying 
off a daughter from her father's house, or a wife from that of 
her husband. Such a violent abduction was the fate of an 
extraordinarily beautiful woman in Breslau. He brought her 
to a place where he has established a kind of seraglio. After 
a time his- passion dies out and his wanton eyes turn to 
another object. Among other instances, it is told of him 
that having become enamoured of a wonderfully beautiful 
nun, he got people to drag her from her convent and deliver 

X.] How the Chancellor treats his Wife. 323 

her up to him." " In Berlin people reckon that he has fifty 
illegitimate children. He is a brutal husband, is always 
vexing his lawful wife, and making her bear the burden of 
his fiery, wanton, malicious, and brutal nature. He forgets 
his high place, and treats her as a Prussian peasant would, 
i.e., he belabours her with a whip, for we are told that that 
is by no means uncommon in Germany. In the year 1867 
he was seized by the demon of jealousy when he heard that 
one of his mistresses had gone to the theatre with a good- 
looking Russian nobleman. Considering himself entitled to 
thrash a woman to whom he paid a yearly allowance, he 
went straight into the box where she was and brought the 
whip heavily round her naked shoulders." "When this 
Vesuvius of a diplomatist was in Paris, in June 1867, he 
went out, usually in the evening, in plain clothes, often incog- 
nito, to prowl after that sort of prey. He has been seen, for 
instance, at the Bal Mabille." 

" If we follow Bismarck step by step in the different epochs 
of his life, we see him in politics weaving a perpetual web 
of intrigue, and placing at the disposal of the ambition of a 
haughty despot all that the human mind can conceal within 
itself of crafty malice, of rascally disposition, and of criminal 
sentiment. In 1863 he robbed the people of Prussia of 
their freedom. In 1864, he crushed Denmark in her weak- 
ness, and robbed her of two Duchies. In 1866 he humiliated 
Austria, and annexed the kingdom of Hannover, the electo- 
rate of Hesse, the duchy of Nassau, and the free states of 
Frankfort, cheating them all frightfully. In 1870 he has 
throttled France, beaten her to the ground, and refused to 
hold out to her the olive-branch of peace. In all these 
cases M. de Bismarck has always speculated in cold blood 
on the death of the innocent. This imperious, arrogant, and 
brutal man stands unmoved, a heartless witness of the death- 

324 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

throes of whole nations, and proves to the world how far the 
heart of man can go in the refinements of barbarous cruelty. 
"From as far back as 1867, Prussia had been zealously 
preparing for the war which she intended to wage against 
France. She kept arming without intermission, steadily col- 
lecting the elements necessary to ensure success. Bismarck, 
as the Chancellor of the new Northern Confederation ; Roon, 
as the War Minister ; Moltke, as chief of the general staff, 
each in his own sphere, placed himself at the disposal of the 
ambition of the haughty despot who governs Prussia. Moltke 
himself, and other officers of the general staff of the Prussian 
army, travelled through part of France, so as to convince 
themselves on the spot of the correctness of the reports sent 
in to the Provisional Government. They took plans of the 
French fortresses ; they had topographical surveys ; they 
drew reports on the models destined for the new system of 
armament." (Here several incredible instances ' are given 
of our system of reconnoitering the strong and weak points 
of France.) " By Bismarck and Roon's orders, a crowd' of 
spies spread themselves over France, under regular chiefs, 
handsomely paid, some of them officers in plain clothes, 
others civilians. They accurately reported everything which 
they noted in their industrious inquiries. High officers of 
the Departments of War and of the Interior were bribed by 
fabulous sums of money to betray the particulars which the 
Prussian army had an interest in knowing. The legion of 
traitors who had wormed their way into the French army 
was the sole cause that Prussia was in a position to manoeuvre 
her troops so freely, and to fall in overwhelming masses on 
mere army corps of the French. This secret treason became 
more and more evident every day during the campaign of 
1870 : the French Government possesses abundant proofs 
of it." 

X.] Fate of a German Journalist. 325 

Could people lie more shamefully or more coarsely? 
What can the public be, on whose belief in such stories 
people can confidently reckon ? 

At breakfast we learned that Orleans was again evacuated 
by our troops, and that the Bavarians there under von der 
Tann were 16,000, and the French 40,000 strong. "No 
matter," said Bohlen ; " the day after to-morrow Prince 
Frederick Charles will be there, and the Gauls will be cut 
to pieces." 

The Chief is not with us to-day. All day long we have 
changeable weather. Sometimes it is sleet or snow, then 
there is blue sky and the sun comes out. In the evening 
L. brings us the news that Hoff, the writer, who was for- 
merly associated with him as editor of the Nouvelliste, has 
poisoned himself, and is to be buried to-morrow. He had 
been warned by the commandant of the town to leave 
Versailles immediately for having complained a few weeks 
before, in a letter to the National Zeitung from the seat of 
war, that the English correspondents were more favoured at 
headquarters than the Germans — which, by the way, was 
the fact, though it was not our fault in the Rue de Provence. 
Hoff was the son of an eminent Baden member of parlia- 
ment, and brother of the Diisseldorf painter. He wrote 
also in the Hamburger Nachrichten, and in the Augsburger 
Allgemeine Zeitung, and since 1864 always in a patriotic 
sense. The Grand Duke of Baden, to whom he had appealed, 
or the people about him, had said they could do nothing, 
and the poor fellow felt himself threatened with disgrace, 
and saw his means of livelihood cut off as he would lose 
his place as a correspondent by being sent away from here. 
When I told him the story the Chief remarked, " It is 
a great pity, but he was a fool for his pains; if he had 
applied to me he would have been let off." 

326 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

At tea Hoff was much pitied by Hatzfeld and Bismarck- 
Bohlen, and Count Solms, too, told them that he was a well- 
meaning man, and had several times been useful to us. 
Apropos of his banishment, Bohlen told us a little more 
about the honourable O'Sullivan. The Chief had sat next 
the American when he dined recently with the Crown Prince, 
and in talking with him had arrived at the settled con- 
viction that the gentleman with the Irish name was a poli- 
tical swindler. After dinner he had accordingly taken an 
opportunity to ask the Crown Prince who had recommended 
him. He was told the Duke of Coburg. " Well," said the 
Chancellor, " would your Royal Highness take it ill of me 
if I put him in prison, or sent him away ? for he impresses 
me as a spy and swindler." " Not at all," said the Crown 
Prince, and Stieber had been accordingly directed to get a 
little more information about the gentleman. The result of 
it was that O'Sullivan was ordered by Blumenthal to take 
himself off immediately, and had to do so, though his wife 
represented that he was ill. 

Bohlen, who seemed in a particularly communicative 
mood to-day, told us several pleasant stories about the 
personages in the Hotel des Reservoirs, ending with an 
anecdote of our Minister, which I may note, though I 
imagine that the story-teller has imported into it a little of 
his own, or I should rather say, given it his own tone. 
Be that as it may, the Count told us that a woman had 
come to the Minister at Commercy to complain that her 
husband had been put in prison for having struck a hussar in 
the back with his spade. The Minister looked pleasant, and 
heard her story out, and — said my authority — '' when she had 
done, he said to her, in the kindliest tone, ' My good woman, 
you may take my word for it, that your husband— and he 
drew his fingers round his throat — will be hanged at once." 

X.] Gambetta and Garibaldi. 327 

The new Imperialist journal Situation may have its faults, 
but it has some merits. What it said a few days ago about 
Garibaldi's intervention in this war, for instance, is perfectly 
correct. " Gambetta's presence in Tours," it writes, " has 
inspired some confidence there. It is hoped that he may 
infuse a little activity into the defence. In the meantime 
the first act of the so-called young Dictator has n;ade no 
particular impression. It is the nomination of Garibaldi 
as Commander-in-Chief of the Francs-Tireurs in the East. 
Garibaldi has never been regarded in France as a serious 
phenomenon. He will be looked upon as a general of the 
Comic Opera, and people are impatiently asking themselves, 
' Have we really fallen so low that we have to go to 
this political theatre-puppet for help ?' Under pretext of 
awakening enthusiasm and putting vigour into the nation, 
its self-respect is cruelly wounded. But it must be remem- 
bered that the people who have undertaken to govern us are 
advocates, fond of pompous discourses, high-sounding phrases 
and coups de theatre. The nomination of Garibaldi is one 
of those stage effects which can be tricked out in effective 
language. In the mouth of the Government of the 
National Defence, it signifies the Union of Free Nations, 
the Solidarity of Republics. It is possible, however, that 
M. Gambetta, worried by Garibaldi's ways, and not liking 
his presence in Tours, where he might easily have become 
a cause of dissension, may have despatched him to the 
East, merely to get him out of his own road. We are very 
doubtful whether he will accomplish anything, but these 
people, who are never at a loss for an argument, say, 
' His is a name of glory,' and think that that answers all 

Saturday, November. 12. — A clear sky in the morning. 
The Chief is complimented with an hour's early military 

328 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

music. I am summoned afterwards to receive his instruc- 
tions. I draw reports on the past history of Cluseret, the 
old soldier of the Red Revolution, who is now to organise 
the forces of resistance of the Sduthern Federation which is 
about to be created ; and I give him again the numbers of 
the French soldiers who have fallen into our hands as 
prisoners since the capitulation of Metz, so that the Chief 
may see them at a glance. Nearly 14,000 men surrendered 
at Schlettstadt, Fort Mortier, Neu Breisach, Le Bourget, 
Montereau, Verdun, and in several smaller affairs, and are 
now on their road to Germany. 

Wollmann, who has just arrived, is at breakfast. At 
dinner we have Dr. Lauer with us. We have smoked 
salmon, Pomeranian goose-breast — an institution of 
Bucher's, who has had it as a love-gift from Rodbertus — 
Magdeburg sauerkraut, and Leipzig larks — probably also 
presents from home. The Chief is called away when the 
salmon is on the table. He goes back through the 
salon and comes back through the one door opening on the 
hall, accompanied by an officer in Prussian uniform, wear- 
ing a big beard, into the dining-room, through which they 
then go into the salon. We hear that the officer is the 
Grand Duke of Baden. After about ten minutes the 
Minister comes back to us. 

We happened to speak of Arnim Boitzenburg, the ex- 
minister. The Chief said that he had been his own prede- 
cessor in Aachen. He described him as " amiable and 
talented, but disinclined for any steady work or energetic 
action." " Like an indiarubber ball, which goes up and 
down, bounding and rebounding, always getting feebler, till 
it stops altogether. First he had an opinion, then it got 
weaker when he had to meet his own objections, then an 
objection to his objections occurred to him, till in the end 
there was nothing left, and the whole thing came to an end." 

X.] Titles and Orders. 329 

Delbriick said the son-in-law was a well-trained and in- 
genious man, but thought he was wanting in sympathy and 
energy. " Yes," the Chief said ; " there is not much of the 
rocket at the back of him." He added : " Otherwise he has 
a good head ; but his reports, this way to-day, that way to- 
morrow, often with two essentially different views on the 
same day, — there is no relying on him.'' 

From Arnim's want of ambition somebody took occasion to 
bring us round to the subject of titles and orders, and Abeken 
took eager part in it as a connoisseur and amateur of these 
delicacies, sitting all the time bent in two, and with his 
eyes drooped, only casting a sidelong glance now and then 
in the direction of the Minister. The Chief said that his 
first decoration had been the medal of the Humane Society, 
for taking a servant out of the water. " I became an Ex- 
cellency first," he said, " in the castle yard at Konigsberg 
in 1861. I was one in Frankfort certainly; not a Prussian, 
but a Confederation Excellency. The German Princes had 
decided that every ambassador from a Confederated parlia- 
ment must be an Excellency. However I did not concern 
myself much about it, and I have not thought much of these 
matters since. I was a man of rank without the title." 

After dinner articles were written for L., and others were 
marked for extracts. 

Sunday, November 13. — The Minister stayed in bed an 
uncommonly long time to-day, and he did not go to church. 
He appeared to be nervous and in bad form, perhaps a 
consequence of last night. After getting through my usual 
morning work, I went out to La Celle Saint-Cloud, where 
H. and his first lieutenant were at the outposts ; and then 
to a place where Mont Valenen, which we had again re- 
cently vainly tried to see, was really to be made out. The 
way, which took us through the village and up the hills 

330 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

towards the other side, was soon found out and travelled 
over. I had to avoid a clearing among the trees, and take 
a roundabout there, as people from the fort could see it, and 
had already fired in that direction. 

Under the sheltering roof of this wood everything looks 
very warlike. Little camps and bivouacs, with pyramids of 
war munitions, wooden barracks, newly run up, glimmering 
here and there like big dog kennels among the trunks of 
the trees. Farther on, little white tents ; everywhere a puddle 
of filth. At a pretty cottage, covered with green leaves, 
the way to which, through the filth, is by a bridge made of 
window-shutters and other planks, I meet First-Lieutenant 
Kr., who took me to H. The latter has rigged up quarters 
which he would hardly have dreamed of occupying three 
months since, for himself and a military surgeon and two 
officers, the younger of whom is the one that danced the 
cancan with such elasticity at Chesnay. The gentlemen 
live in a kiosque of the Empress's, and go straight into their 
dining-room to the right from the door. They have had, H. 
tells me, no animal food but mutton for several weeks now. 

Before the house are piled the arms of the 6th com- 
pany of the 46th Regiment, and beside them, on torn-off 
doors and window-shutters, are laid their knapsacks, because 
of the filth elsewhere. Some of the doors, which have 
been used here also to make steps up to the house, have 
gilding on them. The big hall inside is full of Polish 
soldiers, lying about on trusses of straw and smoking 
the most detestable tobacco. First-Lieutenant H. warns 
me not to sit down on the sofa in the room. There are 
vermin ! To-day he had himself made an uncomfortable 
discovery. Otherwise, except for the everlasting inevitable 
mutton, things are bearable, though the place is not very 
safe. Mont Valerien fires over the range of hills in which 

X.] Feeling at the Kiosque. 331 

this kiosque of Eugenie's stands, straight away as far as 
Louveciennes, and it is marvellous that the French have 
not yet sent any of their shells here. While we were drink- 
ing our bottle, the fort fired twice. 

After our refreshment, H. took us to the observatory 
of this outpost, a spot among chestnut trees, where we 
could see with the naked eye the savage " Baldrian," 
beyond the wooded slope, so distinctly that we could 
count the windows of the larger buildings. A black cloud 
of smoke is rising over Paris. Is it on fire ? We are 
recommended to be prudent. We are told to keep our- 
selves as much as possible behind the trunks of the trees, 
and where there is an open space to go down along the 
ditch dug out there. We learn that our farthest outposts 
are stationed below at the edge of the wood, perhaps 800 
paces from our present position. A little farther up there 
is a second chain of sentries. The Kiosque is very anxious 
that the bombardment should begin ; it does not understand 
the delay at all. It has heard whispers about the influence 
of ladies. " The petticoats," grumbled one of its inhabitants, 
" are in it." Kiosque, Kiosque, I am afraid you are not far 
off the true scent. ... I left after an hour, having got the 
password for the day, as it might be getting dark before 
I reached home. It was " Fressbeutel, Berlin" ("Paunch, 
Berlin"). Yesterday, or the day before it was " Erbswurst, 
Paris " (" Pease sausage, Paris "). Appetising ideas ! On 
the road to the village below I overhauled a musketeer, 
escorting a Zouave, who was his prisoner. I did the four 
and a half miles from this point to the Rue de Provence in 
not much over the hour. 

To-day the Chief ate only his soup and a little ragotit 
with us before going off in his general's uniform, and with 
his helmet and several orders on, to dine with the King. 

332 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

In the evening he told me to contradict the false report 
in a South German paper, that Count Arnim had been 
on a visit to headquarters before he left for Rome. 

I made a note the day before yesterday of an instance 
illustrating the way in which the French calumniate us. 
To-day I happened, in the newspapers, upon a collection 
of examples of their lying throughout this war. The com- 
piler has sent the Post the sum total of the men whom the 
war has cost us according to the French bulletins. It is 
impossible to believe one's eyes when one sees what mar- 
vellous execution chassepots and mitrailleuses have done 
among our troops. According to these reports we lost, 
up to the end of October, neither more nor fewer than 
about a couple of millions of men, and they include a 
crowd of distinguished and illustrious names. Prince Al- 
brecht, Prince Karl, Prince Friedrich Karl, and the Crown 
Prince are dead, carried off by shots or illness. Treskow 
has been cut down ; Moltke is buried ; the Duke of Nassau 
died the death of a hero for his country though he has 
never happened to be in the field ; the Chancellor of the 
Confederation fell shot, or cut down by sabres, trying to 
appease a mutiny among the Bavarian troops ; th e King, 
tortured by his conscience for having brought the scourge 
of war on the " holy soil " of France, has become insane. 
And these shameless liars presume, with no very striking 
wit, to call L.'s Monitcur, Menteur. 

Monday, November 14. — The Chief is not well, and not 
to be seen till dinner-time. About twelve o'clock Bolsing 
leaves us to return home by Nanteuil, Nancy, and Frank- 
fort. Count Maltzahn, a big man with mutton-cutlet 
whiskers, in a blue uniform, who is a companion of St. 
John, is with us at dinner. He tells us that the Francs- 
tireurs in a village attacked our hussars. The Bavarian 

X.] The Duke of Coburg at Worth. 333 

riflemen there had driven the Free Companions out of the 
houses, and the hussars had then chased them across the 
open and sabred 120 to 170 of them. "Well, and what 
about the three others,'' asked the Chief, who could not 
have rightly heard what was said. " Were they not shot ? 
Yes, it is a bad business. These assassins are spared far 
too often. I remember at Saint-Avoid, I took the trouble 
to erase from the proclamation, declaring the state of war, 
a number of contingencies in which death ought to be 
threatened. But they left — they bothered me so, saying, 
This must remain, it was a usage of war, and so forth — half 
a dozen or more, which were too many. And now, all 
these stand in the paper. Where the soldiers don't shoot 
or hang a Franc-tireur on the spot, he is safe to get off. 
It is a crime against our own people." 

L. tells us for certain — he says he had it from P. — that 
the Duke of Coburg has ordered a great picture from 
Bleibtreu, in which he dashes into the middle of the troops, 
who are fighting among clouds of powder-smoke, at the 
battle of Worth, and is hailed by them as the conqueror. If 
so, the picture will probably be hung up next to that of 
Eckernforde. Why not? It looks well. Poetical licence 
is admissible, why not pictorial ? Artists are not historians. 

At tea Hatzfeld tells us that the attitude of Russia causes 
him anxiety. She seems to wish to take the opportunity of 
the present war to annul the Peace of 1856, and serious 
consequences may follow. I wonder whether the Chief takes 
the same view ? 

From numerous entries in the old papers one might 
conclude that the French had lost all political sense, and 
spoke only from passion and infatuation. Yet there are 
exceptions, possibly many, who not yet having taken leave 
of their five senses, are still in a condition to use their 

334 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

reason. A letter which is to be published in the Moniteur 
one of these days, expresses ideas which look as if the writer 
might be one of these exceptions. It is a little rhetorical, 
but the meaning is intelligible enough. 

" How are we to get out of the blind alley into which France 
has run herself? A great country, dismembered, split to 
pieces, paralysed by the government in possession, and even 
more so-by disorders which are of its own making; a whole 
nation without a government, without a supreme authority, 
without a recognised central power, without a man who can 
represent it or who can speak for it — that is our situation. 
Can it go on for ever ? Assuredly not. But how are we to 
get out of it ? That is the question every intelligent man is 
asking himself, a question put to us on all sides, and to 
which no answer seems to be forthcoming. But an answer 
must be found, must be found soon, and must be decisive. 

" When we ask what authority is left standing after this 
terrible shipwreck, there is only one to which the country 
can cling, as its last hope — we mean the General Councils. 
They are the only authorities to which France can rally in 
her desperate condition, because at present they are the only 
authorities emanating from the nation. From their constitu- 
tion, through the experience and social distinction of the men 
who are members of them, and their knowledge of the 
wants, the interests and the feelings of the people in each 
of the departments which they represent, and among whom 
they live, these bodies are alone in a position to exercise an 
undisputed moral influence on those from whom they received 
their mandate. 

"But what part can the General Councils take in our 
present relations ? It appears to me that their part is pre- 
scribed to them by the position of affairs. Let them meet 
in each of our departments, and associate with themselves 

X.] Salvation in the General Cotmcils. 335 

the deputies chosen at the last election. Let them use 
all possible means both in the departments still free, and in 
those occupied by the German forces, to meet each other in 
different localities, and to come to a common understanding. 
Let them issue a distinct and intelligible proclamation appeal- 
ing to the sober sense of the masses of the people. (And 
certainly it will not be easy to bring so many bodies to 
a single plan and a common profession of faith ; and it will, 
at all events, take some time.) Let a universal vote, an 
expression of the national will be asked for and organised. 
The nation, whose sovereignty is appealed to, has by three 
solemn decisions, set aside one government ; it belongs to it 
alone to say clearly what it has done, and, if necessary, to 
choose another government. Who could dare to dispute its 
right ? Who could venture, without justification, to sub- 
stitute himself for the country and to take upon himself 
to decide on the destinies of the nation without its 
instructions ? 

" I know the objections that will be raised. I know well 
enough what difficulties and dangers this magnificent mani- 
festation of the public will would encounter. But it must 
be made in spite of them, for there is no other way out. It 
is a sorrowful truth, but it must be spoken, for it is the fact. 
I am convinced that it is just in the departments now 
occupied by the Germans that the public will would find 
its fullest and freest expression. The reason is that the 
Germans have as deep an interest as we have in speedily 
obtaining an enduring peace, and that nothing but their 
presence will be sufficient to prevent agitators from falsify- 
ing through violence the free expression of the national 
will. As for the other departments — those parts of France 
where every element of disorder and anarchy is at present 
active and dominant — even there, I believe that the free 

336 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

expression of the national will, whatever it may be, is still 
possible. Do we not know that the agitators, the terrorists, 
the elements of destruction and intimidation are everywhere 
—yes, everywhere, even in Paris, their headquarters — in a 
contemptible minority (which, however, is active and auda- 
cious, while the reasonable people, the friends of order, will 
venture nothing, and leave things to take their course), and 
that it has always sufficed to throw these people back into 
their original nothingness, when those who wish things to 
go in a well-ordered way choose to come forward to the 

The article concludes : " If the nation cannot comprehend 
this momentous necessity, if in its apathy and dejection it 
can resign itself to despair, we shall have to bow our heads, 
confessing, not that we are beaten, but that we are annihi- 
lated, and the only hope of our salvation will be from some 
impossible miracle.'' 

Tuesday, November 15. — The Chief is still out of sorts. 
Catarrh of the stomach, some call it, others say it is a bilious 
attack. " The people at Court have their things ready 
packed up to-day," Theiss tells us, and the news is confirmed 
at breakfast, with this addition, however, that Kanski may 
perhaps only be putting his subordinates to the test, and 
getting them in training for what may possibly be wanted. 

For the time being matters between this and Orleans are 
not in the state we could wish. The Minister himself, 
when he came down to dinner with us, said that it was 
possible we might have to retreat, and evacuate Versailles 
for some time. An advance on us here from Dreux, in 
concert with a great sortie from Paris, is not out of the 
question, and even a layman can understand that a success- 
ful attempt of this kind, the consequence of which might be 
that not merely the Court and the general staff, but the 

X.] Russia and the Black Sea Question. 337 

most important pieces of our siege artillery might be in 
danger of falling into the hands of the enemy, offers the 
only prospect of relief for Paris, and may consequently very 
well be in contemplation. He then told Hatzfeld, after 
reading through a despatch from Paris, to say that the 
Americans mentioned may get out, but the Roumanians, for 
whom a permit to pass through our lines had been also 
asked, are not to get it — he had his reasons, he said. 

We are afterwards told that the pastor of Barwalde, in 
Pomerania, has sent a magnificent love-gift of six roast geese 
in tinned boxes, one for the King, one for the Crown Prince, 
one for the Chief, one for Moltke, and so on. We are living 
here every day much as if we were in Canaan. We get 
presents almost daily of smoked goose-breast, game, pasties, 
or noble sausages, and cigars, fine wines and brandies. 
The store-room is sometimes hardly able to hold the baskets 
bottles, and casks, full of these and other supplies. 

L., who must have an invisible cap, or a magic ear- 
trumpet, which brings him by seven holes one behind the 
other, whatever is said beyond the farthest away, says he 
knows that a Russian diplomatist has arrived at head- 
quarters, bringing notice that the Petersburg Cabinet either 
considers the restrictions imposed upon Russia in 1856, 
with respect to the Black Sea as removed, or wishes< to have 
them removed. He asks whether I know anything of it. I 
say, "No." I advise him not to say anything about the 
matter in correspondence. 

At tea we learn that Savigny, who takes a great deal on 
himself at present in Wilhelmstrasse, No. 67, in the Chiefs 
absence, has been very hard on the gentlemen in the cipher 
Bureau, because he cannot, by any amount of work, get to 
the meaning of three or four minutes, which he tells them to 
write out for him in full. A former Secretary of State had 

vol. 1. z 

338 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the gift of thinking and putting his thoughts on paper in 
even a more parsimonious way, and seldom could bring it 
further than the beginning of a minute. " The continuation 
and the conclusion — those must make out whose place it is." 
Books of riddles, and pens chewed to bits are not, after all, 
very much in place in a Foreign Office ; but in the good old 
pre-Bismarckian era it probably did not much signify. 

In the evening I read through several balloon letters. 
One of them, dated November 3rd — which will do for in- 
sertion in the Moniteur and elsewhere — was the expression 
of the opinion of a man of rank on the present situation in 
Paris. I omit the address and the signature : — 

" My dear Joseph, 

" I hope you got my last letters all right. In the first 
of them I told you my forebodings, all of which have since 
been fulfilled : in the second, I advised you of my arrival in 
Paris, for which I started when I learned that it would 
be attacked ; in a third I told you how nobody is less 
free than under the Government of Freedom ; how impos- 
sible it is to go out without risk of being set upon as a spy, 
and, lastly, how the common people seem to think they 
have the right to insult ordinary citizens, under the pretence 
that they are their equals. To-day I will give you my 
account of myself and the siege, although you probably 
are as well informed about the latter as I am. 

" My business as a National Guard is certainly not always 
pleasant. I have often to be seven-and-twenty hours on 
guard on the walls, which involves the duty of marching 
up and down all night backward and forward, on the bas- 
tions, shouldering my musket. When it rains, it is very dis- 
agreeable, and it is always tedious, the more so, that when 
I come back to the guard-house, I have to lie down in straw 

x -] Fighting at the Hotel de Ville, 339 

full of vermin, and have every small shopkeeper, public- 
house man, and servant in the quarter as my bedfellows. 
So far from being any good to me, my name and position 
do me harm by making them envious and jealous, and 
they do not try to conceal their feelings. If there is a nasty 
place, where our common straw is unusually filthy, or where 
it is always rained upon, it is assigned to me, on the 
pretext that no preferences must be allowed. But the 
feeling that I am doing my duty raises me above all these 
annoyances. What I like worst is having to mount guard 
in the neighbourhood of the powder-mills inside the town. It 
Seems to me that that is the duty of the new town police, 
who, by-the-way, do nothing at all, from fear of disturbing 
the comfortable repose of the inhabitants. 

" I went at six the other morning in an icy fog to practise 
firing behind the polygon of Vincennes. Next day I had 
once more to get up at five to go to the Mairie, where my 
porter was to be elected corporal. Finally, on October 29th, 
I had to mount guard for seven-and-twenty hours in the 
Cirque de l'Impe'ratrice, which is now turned into a cartridge 
factory. I thought I had earned a little rest ; but suddenly 
the alarm-drum went through all the streets on the evening 
of the 31st, and I had to put on my uniform once more, and 
repair to the Hotel de Ville. There we stood from ten at 
night till five next morning. I happened to be placed right 
before the famous door which the Mobiles tried to break 
in, some fifteen steps away. If they had succeeded, there 
would assuredly have been a fight just there, and I should 
have been hit for certain at the first volley. Fortunately 
some means were found of getting into the building by some 
underground passage, and we left it by the same way with a 
dozen balls, which however, hurt nobody, whistling after us, 
as a parting salute. Our battalion is always on the order of 

340 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the day. It is the 4th, and its commandant is your colleague, 
M. I was fortunate enough to get safe through a day which 
will no doubt be famous in history, and to have contributed 
to its happy issue. 

" On the evening before the day when the Committee of 
Public Safety met, I went about five o'clock, to the square 
before the Hotel de Ville to get a little fresh air and exercise. 
I saw there a raging spouter, surrounded by a considerable 
crowd of people. He was stirring them up against the 
priests, and pointing to the Cathedral : ' There,' he said, ' is 
the enemy, Our foes are not the Prussians ; they are the 
Churches, the Priests, the Jesuits, who demoralise and 
brutalise our children. We must pull down and destroy the 
cathedral, and make a causeway of the stones.' All is quiet 
to-day, thanks to the cannon and the troops (Mobiles and 
National Guards), who line the whole road through the 
Champs Elysdes up to the Tuileries. 

" What a war, my dear Joseph ! There is no precedent for 
it in the world's history, for Csesar took seven years to con- 
quer Gaul when it was in a state of barbarism, and in three 
months we have been invaded and utterly ruined. 

" It seems all over with the Imperial family. This makes 
one party the less, at any rate, and there may be some 
advantage in that. 

" Till now I have not been compelled to eat horseflesh ; 
but the beef is of a melancholy toughness, and the buffalo 
flesh, which comes from the Botanic Gardens, some of which 
was served up to me the other day, is not much better. I 
am quite alone here, which does not sound nice; but, 
thanks to music and books, to which I give all my spare 
time, I never weary. 

" If .there should be an armistice, and you can write to me, 
do not forget, for it is of great importance for me to learn 

X.] A Diplomatist in the National Guard. 341 

what you think about all that is going on. I should like to 
give you some right again to honour the name of a French 
diplomatist, which has for the present become a laughing- 

I have now reached the middle of the campaign, and the 
middle of the series of recollections which my Diary pre- 
served during its course, and it appears a good opportunity to 
insert here an attempt to sketch the character of the one of the 
gentlemen about the Chancellor, who, both then and since, 
seemed to me the most considerable of them all. A couple 
of words, in addition to what has been several times said in 
what I have written above about the other, who, according 
to my view, took the place next after him, will complete this 
first half of my work. I think that I ought not at present, at 
least, to attempt sketches, either general or minute, of any 
of the rest. 

342 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



It does not often happen that long residence in a foreign 
country influences men for good who have been forced, on 
political grounds, to forsake their native land and their 
previous sphere of activity. Only natures of quite excep- 
tional excellence retain their sterling quality, developing 
and purifying it, shaking off the delusions which, for one 
reason or another, possessed them in days gone by, and 
misdirected their actions. As a rule, the exile — I speak 
from personal observation in the United States and in 
Switzerland — appears to leave right feeling behind him with 
his home-life, so that usually only the first half of the proverb 
" Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis " (" Times 
change, and we with them ") is verified. Regardless of all- 
changing time, with little or no appreciation of newly- 
arisen and more deeply-seated forces, wants, and struggles, 
he has always in his mind the picture which his former life 
presented when he crossed the frontier. Embittered by 
unsuccessful attemp'ts to bring about a reconstruction of 
society according to his convictions, disgusted, clinging 
obstinately to his " principle " and the dogmas deduced 
from it, and no longer being able to take part in affairs at 
home, he confines himself to a criticism which knows 
everything better than its neighbours, although in truth it 
knows nothing properly. 

Some waste life thu.s, in mental solitude, in a world of illu- 
sions. Most join coteries, whose members have had much 

xi.] Exceptional Ex-Exiles. 343 

the same experience as themselves ; together they culti- 
vate the phrases they brought from home with them, amus- 
ing themselves with them in fruitless conspiracies. Many 
are thus entirely and for ever unfitted for true and productive 
political thought and action. Some languish in political 
idealism and in illusions. Others forget their home and attach 
themselves to a new National existence, which becomes of far 
greater importance to them than that of their Fatherland. 
Others, again, return home, it is true, when the compulsion to 
live in exile is removed, but they look at the world which 
has grown up in the meantime with the eyes of the Seven 
Sleepers, not understanding and therefore taking no pleasure 
in the fact that it has changed for the better, without the 
help of their venerated ideal. 

However, as we have said, there are exceptions. Won- 
derful things sometimes happen at home to such men. 
They have brought back with them not only a warm heart, 
but an intellect naturally clear and sharp, a good fund of 
knowledge, with the impulse to add to it, and an independent 
character, not such as one can find anywhere in the mere 
crowd of politicians. All this now stands them in good 
stead. Involuntary leisure gives them time to consider the 
past, to examine their foreign home, to compare it with 
their own country, to appreciate the defects and advan- 
tages of both, till step by step their judgment becomes 
completely clear in the most various directions. Many 
a man has in this way got all sorts of good from his 
foreign sojourn, without, however, finding the ideal which 
he expected to have seen there realised. Many a one has 
thus learned for the first time how to render full and com- 
plete justice to his own country, and understood how he 
could best serve her. 

Two instances of such men rise before me as I write, as 

344 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

well as many who are the very reverse. Both were at the 
outset Radical Democrats from head to foot. Both submitted 
to the education of life, and have at last become practical 
politicians, who, in their aspirations after popular liberty, have 
learnt its limits and capabilities, and now devote themselves 
first of all to the service of that liberty which consists in 
the security and independence gained by the nation's uniting 
to oppose foreign power and lust of dominion. 

Such a man was Karl Mathy, the radical journalist, the 
teacher of Grenchen, the friend of Mazzini, the zealous patriot 
in Saint Paul's Church, the minister of Baden, who has 
worked with all his heart in the cause of German unity. A 
second such is the subject of the present sketch. 

Adolph Lothar Bucher, somewhat incorrectly described in 
the press as "Bismarck's right hand" — by this I do not mean 
to say — very far from it — that this title belongs to any other 
Councillor — but certainly the ablest, soundest, and most 
sensible of the Chancellor's assistants, and the man who is 
most devoted to him and enjoys much of his confidence, was 
born on October 25, 1817, so that at the present time he is 
sixty, being about two and a half years younger than Prince 
von Bismarck himself. He is a native of Neustettin ; but 
when he was only two years old he came to Coslin in Lower 
Pomerania, where his father, an able philologist and 
geographer, and, it is to be remarked, a friend of Ludwig 
Jahn, had been appointed Professor and pro-Rector of the 
Gymnasium. Here the child received his first education 
and his first conscious impressions of life and the world. 
The account which he gave us of his further life down to the 
beginning of the year i860 was a story so full of delicate 
humour and at the same time of poetic pathos, that many 
people could not believe it of the serious, sober, and 
silent man. Although the narrative, as it appeared in the 

XI.] A German Graft on a Slav Stem. 345 

feuilleton of the National Zeitwig, on December 24 and 25, 
He 86 1, is called ' Only a Story,' I must use it constantly in 
the following sketch, to supplement the information gathered 
from other sources, with some of its traits, which seem to 
me taken from life. 

To those first impressions, which permanently influenced 
Bucher's nature and ideas, belonged the feelings which 
resulted from the circumstance of his having grown up 
at Coslin, one of those places on the coast between the 
Oder and the Weichsel, "which might be called German 
' grafted-towns.' The German did not found them, or con- , 
quer them, but he grafted a shoot on a Slav stem, which! 
gradually made the whole German." A Slav village is easily 
converted into a town, for its houses lie thickly clustered 
" as if fear had driven them together. Besides, the graft 
was well-selected ; for it consisted of merchants, dealers, and 
artisans, who brought with them from their homes crafts of 
all kinds, and the ways of a developed community. As 
the saps mingled improvement gradually went on. The 
German only learnt as much Slav as was necessary to make 
himself understood ; the Slav found it to his advantage to 
learn German ; and long before the Dukes of Pomerania 
offered their dominions in fief to the German Empire, 
• the country itself was thoroughly Germanised. Even on 
the plains they had themselves summoned German farmers 
from Lower Saxony, and begged them to bring with them 
the heavy German plough, that the native might learn what 
ploughing was. Coslin, like all these grafted-towns, lies in 
the bend of a river and on its west bank, so that it 
possesses a natural moat, a protection against foes from 
the east ; it is, moreover, specially well protected on the 
east side; for they were an unpleasant set, the nation- 
alities who lived further towards Asia." The town is 

346 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

built in the form of a circle. In its midst is the market-place, 
and in the centre of this the town-hall. Broad streets run 
from the market-place, connected by little alleys. "The 
houses have their small ends, with pointed gables, turned 
to the street, and look at night like a row of foot-soldiers, 
set shoulder to shoulder.'' 

Any one who can read between the lines will find in many 
places here what is to be gathered of the political views 
entertained by Bucher at the time this 'Story' was 

Observation and reflection seem to have shown themselves 
early in the boy. Even his imagination was soon awakened 
to lively activity. Campe's narrative of the conquest of 
Peru by Pizarro, which he once got as a Christmas present, 
made a special impression upon him. He seems to have taken 
less delight in his ' Robinson the younger,' a book he pre- 
served as late as 1861, as a memorial of the gloomy feelings 
of childhood. " Only trusted friends were allowed to see it, 
and they heard then usually the following remarks. The long 
row of volumes to which this belongs relates the actions and 
adventures of Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, French- 
men, and Russians. Only the first one has to do with, a 
German ' Robinson Crusoe,' and what does this Hamburg 
child do? He has certainly the roving impulse, which 
brought the Germans to Europe, and which always survives 
in them when they live by the sea. But he has to run 
away by stealth, for his mother warned him, ' Stay at home 
and learn an honest livelihood,' while his father said, ' If you 
mean to go to foreign parts, you have first much, very much, 
to learn.' And what does he achieve out there ? He does 
not conquer an empire, found a city, or make a fortune. 
He runs like a coward from the footprints of the savages, 
strikes up a friendship worthy of Jean Jacques Rousseau, 

XI.] Buchers Boyhood. 347 

stumbles upon a heap of gold, but loses it on his way home, 
and brings back nothing for himself or his country but 
a story for children. He lives, it seems, as an upholsterer 
in Hamburg, and goes to the tavern every evening.'' 

Let us return from Pizarro and ' Robinson ' to our subject, 
and hasten to the end of his boyhood. Among his school 
lessons, nothing came to him so easily as mathematics and 
natural history. In his leisure hours he took up wood 
carving and turning, when he was not wandering in the 
forest. When his parents at last thought it time to ask him 
what he would be, he wanted at first to be a sailor, and 
when his mother objected, to be a builder. They objected 
to that too. He must be a student, and when he had to 
make his choice among the four faculties, he decided for 
law, " where he became a referendary,* and danced with 
all the pretty girls, afterwards becoming Counsellor of 
Justice, Director of Resources, Knight of the Red Eagle, 
Wolfhunter, and generally a great man." 

Bucher left the Gymnasium when the persecution of the 
Burschenschaftf was at its hottest. Many of his school- 
fellows were implicated. One had taken part in the attempt 
at Frankfort. The obnoxious association had not yet been 
quite rooted out in the small university towns, and on leaving 
school he was obliged against his will to enrol himself in the 
University of Berlin. He came in the middle of the quarrel 
which had arisen at that time between the historical and philo- 
sophical schools of jurists, represented by Savigny and Gans. 
If I mistake not, he first joined the philosophical side, and 
studied his Hegel diligently. Afterwards he lost taste for 
philosophy, and neglected it for a long time in favour of 
jurisprudence, which he had to study hard and then 

* A young lawyer practising without emolument, 
t A political association of students founded in 1815. 

348 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to practise. From 1838 onwards he was active in the 
provincial court at Coslin, and five years after he became 
assessor to the provincial and city court at Stolp. At the 
same time he managed some estates there, which made him 
acquainted with the conditions of the country. 

His office in Stolp began after a time to pall upon 
him, as the judge at that time was still burdened with a 
quantity of business not properly legal. By way of relief 
he, like many good and clever enough people in those 
days, read Rotteck and Welker, whose views about history 
and politics he mastered with characteristic thoroughness 
and energy, and wished to translate them into real life. 
He might have made something of it, but the March days 
came on in Berlin, and soon afterwards the meeting of the 
Prussian National Assembly. 

To this assembly Bucher was sent in 1848 by the 
electors of Stolp, and the following year found him re- 
presenting the same town in the House of Deputies, which 
had been formed in the meantime. There had been no 
public life in Prussia till 1840. The new deputy from Lower 
Pomerania was a jurist with some idea of civil law, but no 
experience of any sort in affairs of State. Taking into 
account the influence of Rotteck, and Welker's views of 
politics and history, and remembering that Bucher was a 
young man of vigorous intellect and will, it was not wonder- 
ful, but natural, almost inevitable, that he should have joined 
the ranks of the Radicals in the Chamber ; neither those, 
however, who disregard wholesome formalities, nor those 
who delighted in pathetic phraseology. 

"I never heard any one," says a fragment of General 
von Brandt's memoirs,* " speak with more skill or modera- 

* See the Deutsche Rundschau for June, 1877. 

XI.] A German Saint- Just. 349 

tion than Bucher displayed on this occasion " — the delibera- 
tions of the Commission which had to pronounce upon 
Waldeck's pet child, the so-called Habeas Corpus Act. 
" His fair hair, his passionless attitude, reminded me vividly 
of the pictures I had seen of Saint-Just. Bucher was a reck- 
less leveller of everything established — all ranks, and all pro- 
perty; one of the most consistent members of the National 
Assembly, and ready for any step which seemed likely to lead 
towards the end he had in view : virtue in principles, and 
brotherly love in carrying them out. With no knowledge of 
society, devoted to barren juridical abstractions, he was firmly 
convinced that the welfare of the world could only be se- 
cured by a sudden, vigorous, and mighty destruction of the 
existing state of things. He helped to organise the public 
resistance, and eagerly diffused the idea — which was specially 
his own — of goading on the ambitious and turbulent faction 
in the National Assembly to the adoption of a Dictatorship. 
The ironical contempt with which he treated the powers 
that were, openly showing his hatred of the old constitution, 
and his dogma of the Sovereignty of the People, with the 
radical chimeras of which he intoxicated them, at the 
same time developing his own capacities as a Demagogue, 
would have placed him very far beyond all his adherents in 
his strictly logical efforts. 

" What views Bucher upheld in the National Assembly, and 
how he was already prepared to lay aside the jurist in con- 
sideration of a political opportunity, may be further seen by 
a passage from the speech in which, on September 4, 1848, 
after the Minister had refused the demand, he defended, 
against Hausemann and the orators of the Right, the 
motion made by Stein on August 9, then referred to a 
Commission, and finally adopted in a milder form, demand- 
ing that the Ministry of War should warn the officers of 

3 So Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the army against reactionary efforts, and recommend their 
hearty co-operation in the establishment of a constitutional 
state of law. While opposing those who had questioned 
the lawful authority of the National Assembly in this 
instance, because the Electoral law of April 8 only gave it 
power to unite the Constitution with the Crown, he remarked 
that he must characterise such a notion as very naive. 

" The history of the world," he proceeded to say, " will not 
remain within the compass of an electoral law. A new age 
needs quite another basis than a page in our legal code. I 
myself belong, and am attached, to the legal profession, 
but I have already often had occasion to regret that we are 
so numerously represented in this house. We look only too 
readily from the limited judicial standpoint at the enormous 
questions which, if we do not decide, we are yet called upon 
to help in deciding, and we apply to them only too readily 
the narrow judicial standard. We cannot and we ought 
not to behave like the judge who pronounces his sentence 
with scrupulous regard for the laws which are before him 
and which he cannot touch. We are bound with states- 
man-like purpose to recognise our necessities, to recognise 
a mission, for which perhaps no precedent exists — the mission 
of directing the consequences of a Revolution not yet born 
along the peaceful path of Legislation. If we hold fast 
to that, we shall easily recognise the extent of our rights, 
or still better, of our duties. There is so much talk about 
our authority and our rights. Let us at last, for once 
in a way, speak of our duties towards the people, which 
bleeds from a thousand wounds." 

The orator then enumerated the defects and disadvantages 
of the Constitution left by the old government, and asked 
whether the discussion ought to consist of anxious inquiries 
after the form of remedy. The old organs of the government 

XI.] The National Assembly and the Ministry. 351 

were not in many cases able to give the Ministry a true 
idea of the state of things ; but the National Assembly, which 
represented the people itself, was well able to do so. The 
Minister-President had attempted to bring about a unity 
of view between the government and the majority of the 
National Assembly; this, to him, was inconceivable. A 
resolution was passed on the 9th of August, which, after 
two days, was communicated to the Ministry. They did 
not think it necessary to answer it. If they had at least 
expressed their opinion, and explained that they took 
umbrage at the abrupt form of the concession demanded 
of them, and had asked the National Assembly to take 
the matter once more into consideration, so as to soften 
the form of the resolution, the position of things would 
be quite different, and more satisfactory to the Assembly 
and the country. They had done nothing of the kind. The 
National Assembly felt bound to make the Ministry aware 
that they did not rightly appreciate the conditions and re- 
quirements of the hour, and as they had not acted upon this 
advice, they must be requested to carry the resolution into 
effect ; for a constituent assembly, so long as it possesses no 
executive powers, has no organ but the Ministry. As re- 
gards the substance of the resolution, the idea of any altera- 
tion could only be discussed if the circumstances which 
dictated it four weeks ago had changed ; but this was not 
the case. The Minister of Finance said that we ought 
not to trouble ourselves about the political opinions of 
the officers, for the province of the army was merely to 
obey. But for that very reason it was not to be tolerated 
that individual leaders of the army should openly express 
tendencies opposed to the prevailing system, and calcu- 
lated to effect its overthrow. Glancing at the danger which 
the Minister of Finance had suggested, the orator concluded : 

352 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

"I do not fail to notice that the political atmosphere is 
overcharged; but I know one thing — and I say this in 
the name of my friends — we are faithfully following the path 
pointed out by our convictions, and we are not frightened 
by what the Minister has suggested to-day ; for the respon- 
sibility, and it is one of terrible gravity, does not fall on 
our heads." 

In the House of Deputies Bucher did conspicuous 
service towards establishing organised laws. He played 
an important part as referee on the occasion of Waldeck's 
motion for obliging the Ministry to withdraw the state of 
siege which had been imposed upon Berlin on Novem- 
ber 12, 1848 — a motion which when adopted resulted 
in the dissolution of the House of Deputies. Bucher found 
no difficulty in proving the illegality of the state of siege. 
For there could be no possible doubt that the right to 
impose it was not deducible from Article no of the Con- 
stitution, which only came into force three weeks later, 
especially as this article treated merely of the suspension of 
certain fundamental laws in case of War or Insurrection. On 
November 12 neither war nor insurrection had taken place 
in Berlin, yet the Ministry had not only suspended these 
laws, but had put the citizens under military tribunals, 
of which Article no said nothing, and for allowing which 
in such cases even older laws contained no provision. 

The consequence of the resolution thus carried into effect 
was the dissolution of the House of Deputies, followed, on 
February 4, 1850, by the so-called stoppage of supplies case, 
which lasted till the 21st. Some forty members of the 
National Assembly were tried for passing the resolution on 
November 15, 1848, that the Government had no right to 
control public money or raise taxes, so long as the repre- 
sentatives of the people could not carry on their deliberations 

XL] Bucher in London. 353 

in Berlin unmolested, and for further issuing a proclamation 
on the 1 8th intended to secure respect for this resolution 
and charging their opponents with stirring insurrection. 
The trial was a bit of Cabinet justice. It was so obvious 
that the Criminal Court in Berlin was not competent to try 
them that the President forbade the accused and their counsel 
to urge this plea. Bucher's view of the illegality of the 
state of siege in Berlin probably accounted for the extreme 
hatred entertained towards him in higher quarters, which 
this trial brought to light. The proceedings ended with 
the acquittal of most of the accused. Bucher, on the con- 
trary, with Burgomaster Plathe from Leba, Kabus, the 
miller, from Schwademiihl, and Nennstiel, the householder, 
from Peiskretscham, were declared guilty, and both Bucher 
and Plathe were sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment, 
with the usual addition of loss of the national cockade, 
removal from office, and the like. 

This sentence occasioned Bucher's going abroad, and 
finally to London. It is easy to understand that after 
his fifteen months' imprisonment he was still persecuted 
by the police. In London he spent his time first in 
the careful study of political economy and politics, in 
observing English conditions and peculiarities, and in 
the consideration and analysis of the characteristics of 
the English parliamentary system' — an occupation during 
which he found hypocrisy, corruption, and deception, which 
filled him ever afterwards with anger, repugnance, and 
contempt, in many men and things highly praised and 
admired in Germany. Among the acquaintances he made 
was Urquhart, with whom he afterwards quarrelled. Only 
in the last years of his stay in London did he come to 
know, through English Socialist connections, other famous 

vol. 1. 2 A 

354 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

political exiles, such as Mazzini, Ledru Rollin, and Herzen. 
They were of further assistance to him in his political re- 
searches, as he observed how all these gentlemen had 
it in view to cut a strip out of the hide of the sober and 
consistent German bear by means of the principle of nation- 
ality ; or, to speak more plainly, they speculated each for his 
own nation on a piece of Germany ; as, for instance, the 
Rhine-border, the rocky heights of the Alps, or the Poland 
of 1772. Even liberal German papers, out of reverence for 
the " principle," that is to say, a mere phrase, actively oc- 
cupied themselves with the question, how a chemically pure 
Germany was to be constructed. The Volkszeitung, for ex 
ample, wanted Posen to " be given up," of course without 
saying to whom it properly belonged. Such foolish non- 
sense was opposed to the sound human understanding and 
the patriotic spirit which had never ceased to animate 

During his stay in England Bucher worked for various 
German newspapers. In particular he wrote for several 
years in the National Zeitung, under the signature n, highly 
valuable reports and thoughtful political essays, which at- 
tracted general attention, from their deep and quite unusual 
grasp of subject. He gave, among other things, an excel- 
lent description of the first great Exhibition in London, 
information upon English domestic arrangements and 
customs, upon ventilation, Turkish baths, which he had 
come to know about from a journey to Constantinople, and 
other practical matters. But he rendered quite an exceptional 
service in the enlightenment of liberal German politicians 
by his letters on the English parliamentary system. They 
put an end, with conclusive argument, to the superstition that 
German popular representation should be built up and 
arranged after the British model, and established the con- 

XL] Bucher and the Manchester School. 355 

viction that constitutional organisations and usages should 
not be everywhere the same, but must be adapted to the 
character, to the historical development, and to the resources 
of each individual country. A further very welcome conse- 
quence of these parliamentary letters was the recogni- 
tion, which has since become almost universal, of the 
fact that the English art of government is, as regards the 
outside world, a purely commercial policy, with no grand 
historical point of view, or ideal motive or aim of any kind. 
In this way the foibles of Palmerston, Gladstone, that 
" doctor sujternaturalis " (heaven-born prophet), Cobden, 
and the whole body of hypocritical and egotistical apostles 
of the English Free-traders, were brought to view as by 
the strong beams of the electric light. It was an unmask- 
ing which to this day they have scarcely outlived. 

These and some other productions of Bucher's brilliant 
pen did not sometimes quite fall in with the creed of the 
paper in which they appeared, and in regard to the gospel of 
the Manchester School, which flourished in its office, as well 
as in reference to the solution, of the German question, its 
correspondent □ was looked upon as decidedly heretical. 

About the year i860, Bucher, probably tired and disgusted 
with newspaper writing, contemplated an entire alteration of 
his circumstances. As the essay, 'Only a Story,' implies, 
and as I, in spite of the extravagance of the idea, have 
reason to believe certain, he intended to make a home for 
himself under the palms and mango-trees of tropical America, 
and — turn coffee-planter. This fancy, overlaid with prac- 
tical, perhaps also with unpractical additions, seems soon, 
however, to have taken flight — Thank God ! we may add, 
and probably he would say so himself. If his sphere was 
not in England, still less was it among the half-negroes of 
Costa Rica or Venezuela. His proper course was to come 

2 a 2 

356 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

back to Germany, and the amnesty of i860 opened the 
door to his return. 

Once more in Berlin, Bucher renewed his friendship with 
Rodbertus, and made the acquaintance of Lassalle, whom 
in his turn he introduced to Rodbertus. The Socialistic 
agitator, whom we know to have been a man of quite dif- 
ferent stamp from his forerunners, the Liebknechts and 
Mosts, a genuine patriot, a man of the greatest ability, of 
quite remarkable learning, but at the same time inspired 
by a fiery and reckless ambition, stood just then at the 
turning-point of his life. The Party of Progress had rejected 
him and his efforts to rouse them to a more consistent 
and effectual opposition. He then thought of displacing it 
by a Working Man's party, to be led by himself, and with 
this object he sought zealously to come to an under- 
standing with Rodbertus, who certainly felt the charm 
of this man of genius. Although, like Lassalle, regard- 
ing the iron law of wages as unassailable, he declared, 
however, that he could not consent to a political agitation 
with aims economically untenable. 

About this time a request came to Lassalle, Rodbertus, 
and Bucher, on behalf of the Leipzig workmen's union, for 
advice respecting the means by which the condition of the 
working classes, whom it was intended to summon to a 
Workmen's Congress, could be improved. Upon the basis 
of his iron law of wages, Lassalle answered, not by means 
of the self-help notions propounded by Schulze-Delitzsch, but 
by proposing State Credits, directed towards the establish- 
ment of companies of producers, to which end the work- 
men must organise themselves into a political party. Rod- 
bertus advised against this step. Bucher wrote, " I lose no 
time in expressing my conviction that the doctrine of the. 
Manchester School, that the State has only to care for trie 

XI.] One Hat or Three Hats. 357 

security of the person and let everything else go, will not 
stand in the face of science, history, or practice " ; but 
he had clearly no confidence in Lassalle's practical pro- 
posals. Indeed, his now published correspondence shows 
that Lassalle himself had them so little at heart that he ex- 
pressed himself ready to " let them go " joyfully whenever 
Rodbertus could hit upon some other plan. As regards 
Bucher, he holds firmly, to my knowledge, the same 
negative opinion to this day, and I can only agree with 

Bucher found also in Berlin the agitation for " Prussian 
Supremacy." But the gentlemen who urged it wished for no 
" brotherly war." As will be remembered — perhaps with 
some head-shakings and shruggings of shoulders — their 
speeches and leading articles urged that the struggle, 
the victory, and the conquest must be " moral." Bucher 
of course wished for a closer union among the Germans 
as against foreign ambition, but he could not get up the 
necessary strength of faith to believe that Austria could be 
sung out of Germany, or to realise the possibility of the 
" Central Government," and the smaller states being brought 
under the famous Prussian spiked helmet, or into any 
unity (under one hat) by means of rifle competitions and 
gymnastic clubs, by ink written or printed, or by the reso- 
lutions of well-intentioned popular assemblies. Even the 
great saying of Herr von Beust, " Song itself is a power," 
could not convince him that he was mistaken. He saw 
clearly, and said it as plainly, both in speech and in writing, 
that without war there must be three hats ; in other words, 
that something in the nature of a Triumvirate was the 
best that could be attained ; and the reproach that Bucher 
belied his convictions by accepting a post under Bismarck, 
is quite without foundation. He regards with a special 

2 a 3 

358 Bismarck hi the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

dislike people who would not give a halfpenny even if the 
Croats stood before the gates of Berlin, and who were able 
to get up enthusiasm for the Augustenburg farce even 
during the last scene of its final Act. It is exceedingly 
amusing to look through the list of gentlemen who voted 
in the Prussian House of Deputies for the famous direct 
address to the Crown to the effect that the policy of Prussia 
under this Ministry, could only result in the Duchies being 
handed over to the Danes. 

During the war of words against Bismarck, Bucher was 
already working to some purpose. At that time many 
people regretted that he could have behaved so falsely ; now 
he is hated by many because they are obliged to admit that 
he acted honestly. His adhesion to the policy of the leading 
Minister came about in the following way. For some con- 
siderable time after his return to Berlin he was still working 
for the National Zeitung. The connection was afterwards 
broken off when he found himself in increasing disagree- 
ment on more than one point with the party represented 
by the paper, and he worked for some months in Wolff's 
telegraph office. The very limited salary he received there 
for hard work, and undoubtedly, too, his distaste for such an 
occupation, led him to think next of once more taking up 
the law, and turning advocate. He spoke of this idea to an 
acquaintance of Bismarck's, who advised him against it. 
Soon afterwards the Minister, unprejudiced as usual, sent 
for him, and told him that he could give him an opportunity 
of making himself useful in another way. So Bucher, in 
1864, made his entrance into the Foreign Office, first as a 
clerk, and then as an occasional Councillor of Legation. In 
the following year he had to solve an important question, 
the administration of Lauenburg, which had come into the 
hands of Prussia by the Convention of Gastein. It took 

XL] Bucher with Bismarck. 359 

Bucher, under the direction of his chief, till 1867 to get 
it into proper order. The little Duchy was a juridical 
curiosity, and compared with other states a monstrosity ; 
it represented in fossil form the code of the Seventeenth 
century ; its proper place was the German Museum. It had 
no codified legislation, only the common law. In the last 
years before 1865 it had come for the first time under 
the authority of the German Confederation, and afterwards 
under that of Prusso-Austrian commissioners. The order 
of the day was the absorption of the numerous fat official 
posts by a few "noble families" who were in the habit 
of leasing out the enormous domains among themselves. 
Bucher had to work the whole matter out in the rough, 
to redress abuses in a hundred directions, and to bring 
back right and reason. Luckily he was under the guidance 
of the Minister, who, however, during the greater part of 
this very period was laid up with serious illness at Putbus, 
in Rugen, so that his Councillor was in the embarrassing 
position of being obliged to govern without having full 

I must pass, briefly over Bucher's further activities. 
Usually in the immediate company of the Chancellor, he 
was repeatedly set by him to prepare and work out matters 
, of the greatest importance, and we may suppose that he 
executed all his commissions with skill and cleverness, and 
that in the work which he entrusted to him his Chief seldom 
found anything wanting, or any part of his wish or inten- 
tion misunderstood or ill-expressed. Bucher understood him 
from the beginning, and at once threw himself into his way 
of looking at and dealing with things. In 1869, and in the 
spring of 1870, he spent several months with the Minister 
at Varzin, where he was the medium of correspondence 
between his chief and the authorities of Prussia and the 

360 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

German Confederation. During the French war, he was, 
as I have mentioned, summoned in the last week of Sep- 
tember to the principal headquarters, where he remained 
with the Chancellor till the end of the campaign. In 1871 
he was at Frankfort during the negotiations for peace. In 
the next years, too, as if indispensable, he followed the 
Prince whenever he retired to his Pomeranian estate. He 
seems to shun the air of the court. 

I have to add that Bucher has remained unmarried, and 
that to my knowledge he sees little company compared with 
other men in his position. He gives me the impression 
of a silent, sober, and prudent man, not wanting, however, 
in certain poetic impulses and not without a healthy vein 
of humour. His thoughts, his sympathies, and his anti- 
pathies are expressed gently, but with no lack of energy. 
A cool head, with a warm heart below. Still water, but 

I have completed my portrait, and when I now glance 
over it, it strikes me that, in spite of my high esteem for 
the original, I have drawn it not exactly in rose colour, 
but in the honest tints of truth. If I add a piece of 
strong praise by way of superscription, it comes from 
another mouth. " A genuine pearl," the Chancellor said 
of Bucher, when I parted from him in 1873. 

When Lothar Bucher was chosen by the Chancellor to be 
his fellow-worker, it was Privy Councillor Abeken to whose 
place he succeeded. Heinrich Abeken was in every respect 
an official of the old school. He belonged in his whole nature 
to the epoch in our history which may be called the literary- 
aesthetic ; to the time when political interests gave way to 
the occupations of poetry and philosophy, and to the con- 
sideration of philological and other scientific questions. He 
was most at home in that range of ideas which prevailed at 

XI.] Abeken in Rome and the Holy Land. 361 

court and in high official circles before the new era. He 
has never gone into politics ; on the contrary, a matter of 
aesthetics often seems to him of greater moment than a grave 
political move. It not unfrequently happened that while 
others were anxious about the result of a critical turn in 
this or that important political situation, his head was 
running on some verse or other of a poet, ancient or 
modern, which usually found feeling utterance from his 
lips, although the poetic effusion might have no bearing 
upon the situation. 

Abeken came from Osnabriick, and was born in 1809. 
His education for the University was directed by an uncle, 
the philologist and aestheticist, Ludwig Abeken, who moved 
in Weimar circles in Schiller's time, and had fitted himself 
to appreciate their ways. The nephew afterwards studied 
theology, and in his ' thirties ' became chaplain to the 
Embassy at Rome under Bunsen. Here he married an 
English wife, whom he lost by death after only a few 
months. Becoming the friend of Bunsen, with whose views 
and efforts in a religious direction he sympathised, he 
turned his attention, about 1841, to diplomatic business. 
He first drew up a memorial on the establishment of an 
apostolic bishopric at Jerusalem — an idea, by the way, 
which hardly anyone in Berlin would now think of. Later 
on, we 1 find him again with Lepsius in Egypt, from whence 
he afterwards travelled through the Holy Land. He entered 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Heinrich Arnim, 
and stayed there till his death in the autumn of 1871, 
although most important changes had taken place there in 
the meantime. 

With Councillor of Legation Meier, who published a 
memorial of his friendship for him in the Allgemeine Zeiiung, 
we see in him, " the quiet virtue of loyal and conscientiously 

362 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

continuous faithfulness and assiduity," but we see also that 
Politics were never dear to his heart, or at least did not 
appeal to his heart and conscience as other things did. 
We may draw yet another conclusion, and the biographer 
we have named does not hesitate to draw it. " Abeken," 
he begins, " shows a_ resemblance, partly innate and partly 
acquired, to Bunsen, whose disciple he was, and whose life 
he has written. His disposition was versatile and his mind 
many-sided. On the other hand, his character was neither 
independent nor creative. For this reason he escaped," 
so the Memoir proceeds, " the danger that he might, in 
pursuit of some new and bold idea or conviction, have 
been tempted to struggle in the whirlpool of the circum- 
stances of the time, or against the customary action of the 
machine of State, and so been cast on shore. With his easier 
and less independent political versatility he was able to keep 
his water-way for the space of four-and-twenty years, under 
seven different Ministries and systems, with no shock either 
from within or from without. If any one reproaches our 
friend with this, and censures as unmanly his dexterity in 
tacking, his steady persistence in his office and position in 
consequence of his involuntarily giving way to wind and 
weather, the stoical comment would apply less to indi- 
vidual instances of his thought and action than upon his 
whole life and work, which were inseparably connected 
with these questions." If we read between the lines, and 
consider both the praise and the blame as expressed a 
little too plainly and concisely, we shall be doing the late 
Privy Councillor no wrong by subscribing to this judgment. 
Of his usefulness in business and the limits of this use- 
fulness, we have already spoken ; as well as of the unusually 
strong attraction which everything connected with the Court 
exercised upon him. In this respect he was the direct 

XL] Abeken at the Grceca. 363 

opposite of Bucher, as he was also in being uncommonly 
sociable and talkative. Among other ways of satisfying 
his craving for intercourse with pleasant people, he often 
moved among the circles which met in Prince Radziwill's 
Palace. He could not give up these visits, even when 
the Ultramontane opposition against the Chancellor's church 
policy was directed from these circles. Passing by these 
and other societies of high rank, we shall find him at his 
happiest in the weekly meetings of the " Graeca,'' a society 
principally composed of old " Romans," the statutes of which 
excluded all political conversation, and, besides friendly talk, 
only allowed discussions on philology and aesthetics. Here 
he was in his element. " But even in the midst of official 
work," writes Meier, and I can confirm what he says, " even 
in his office, he could find time for aesthetic or philological 
interludes, and at one time entertain his colleagues, tired 
out with Hesse or Schleswig-Holstein, with some of his 
Roman or Eastern recollections, at another astonish them 
with a quotation from some German or foreign poet — 
Goethe, Sophocles, Heinrich, Kleist, Shakespeare, or Dante." 
I may be permitted to add, that he oftener awoke other 
feelings. An anecdote which Meier tells us of his friend, 
without seeing what a farce he is setting before us, may 
show how far it was so. 

" When Abeken, in November, 1850, as he often told us, 
accompanied his then chief from Berlin to Olmiitz, to 
conclude that unlucky Convention which he of course would 
never recognise as other than a happy diplomatic deliverance 
for Prussia, they both saw suddenly, during their night 
journey, the winter morning sun rise before them, and 
greeted it, the Minister first, with the chorus in the Antigone, 
equally familiar to them both, 'Aktis 'AeAiov, (' Thou beam 
of the sun ')." 

364 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. XI. 

This, I think, needs no commentary. I only say, lucky 
for Abeken that the Minister who assisted at this doubly 
unnatural expression of feeling, exhibited probably not 
for the first time, was called von Manteuffel and not von 
Bismarck. I should like to have seen Bismarck's indig- 
nation if the deceased had intoned the chorus to the rising 
sun before him, at the time when the sun of Prussia was 
setting for years.