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Full text of "The love letters of Bismarck; being letters to his fiancée and wife, 1846-1889; authorized by Prince Herbert von Bismarck and translated from the German under the supervision of Charlton T. Lewis"

PRINCE BISMARCK 
1860 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF 

BISMARCK 

Being Letters to His Fiancee and Wife, 1846-1889 

Authorized by Prince Herbert von Bismarck 

and Translated from the German 

under the Supervision of 

CHARLTON T. LEWIS 



ILLUSTRATED WITH PORTRAITS 




HARPER r BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 

I9OI 




PO 



70 



Copyright, 1900, by HARPER & BROTHERS. 

All rights reserved 






CONTENTS 

PAGE 

LETTERS WRITTEN BEFORE MARRIAGE TO JULY, 1847 . . 3 

LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE IN THE PRUSSIAN PARLIA- 
MENT AND THE FEDERAL DIET, AUGUST, 1847-1858. 113 

LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE MINISTER TO ST. PETERSBURG 

AND PARIS, 1859-1862 313 

LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE MINISTER-PRESIDENT AND IM- 
PERIAL CHANCELLOR, 1863-1888 381 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PRINCE BISMARCK 1860 Frontispiece 

JOHANNA VON PUTTKAMER 1847 Facing page 1 6 

PRINCESS BISMARCK 60 

PRINCESS BISMARCK 1855 " IOO 

PRINCESS BISMARCK 1871 " 140 

BILL, MARY, AND HERBERT VON BISMARCK ... " 2CO 

PRINCESS BISMARCK 1873 " 250 

COUNTESS MARIE, PRINCESS BISMARCK, PRINCE 

BISMARCK " 300 

PRINCESS BISMARCK 1885 " 35O 

PRINCE BISMARCK " 376 

PRINCESS BISMARCK " 400 



LETTERS WRITTEN BEFORE MARRIAGE 
TO JULY 1847 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF 
BISMARCK 



P. A. TRUCHOT. 

H&tel de Prusse, Stettin. 
(Not dated : written about the end of December, 1846.) 

To Herr von Puttkamer: 

MOST HONORED SIR, I begin this communication 
by indicating its content in the first sentence it is a re- 
quest for the highest thing you can dispose of in this world, 
the hand of your daughter. I do not conceal from myself 
the fact that I appear presumptuous when I, whom you 
have come to know only recently and through a few meet- 
ings, claim the strongest proof of confidence which you can 
give to any man. I know, however, that even irrespective 
of all obstacles in space and time which can increase your 
difficulty in forming an opinion of me, through my own 
efforts 1 can never be in a position to give you such guaran- 
tees for the future that they would, from your point of view, 
justify intrusting me with an object so precious, unless 
you supplement by trust in God that which trust in human 
beings cannot supply. All that I can do is to give you 
information about myself with absolute candor, so far 
as I have come to understand myself. It will be easy for 

3 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [DEC. 

you to get reports from others in regard to my public con- 
duct ; I content myself, therefore, with an account of what 
underlay that my inner life, and especially my relations 
to Christianity. To do that I must take a start far back. 
In earliest childhood I was estranged from my parents' 
house, and at no time became entirely at home there again ; 
and my education from the beginning was conducted 
on the assumption that everything is subordinate to the 
cultivation of the intelligence and the early acquisition 
of positive sciences. After a course of religious teaching, 
irregularly attended and not comprehended, I had at the 
time of my confirmation by Schleiermacher, on my six- 
teenth birthday, no belief other than a bare deism, which 
was not long free from pantheistic elements. It was at about 
this time that I, not through indifference, but after mature 
consideration, ceased to pray every evening, as I had been 
in the habit of doing since childhood; because prayer 
seemed inconsistent with my view of God's nature; saying 
to myself, either God himself, being omnipresent, is the 
cause of everything even of every thought and volition 
of mine and so in a sense offers prayers to himself through 
me, or, if my will is independent of God's will, it implies 
arrogance and a doubt as to the inflexibility as well as the 
perfection of the divine determination to believe that it 
can be influenced by human appeals. When not quite seven- 
teen years old I went to Gottingen University. During 
the next eight years I seldom saw the home of my parents ; 
my father indulgently refrained from interference; my 
mother censured me from far away when I neglected my 
studies and professional work, probably in the conviction 
that she must leave the rest to guidance from above : with 
this exception I was literally cut off from the counsel and 
instruction of others. In this period, when studies which 

4 



1846! THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ambition at times led me to prosecute zealously or empti- 
ness and satiety, the inevitable companions of my way of 
living brought me nearer to the real meaning of life and 
eternity, it was in old-world philosophies, uncomprehend- 
ed writings of Hegel, and particularly in Spinoza's seem- 
ing mathematical clearness, that I sought for peace of 
mind in that which the human understanding cannot 
comprehend. But it was loneliness that first led me 
to reflect on these things persistently, when I went to 
Kniephof, after my mother's death, five or six years ago. 
Though at first my views did not materially change at 
Kniephof, yet conscience began to be more audible in the 
solitude, and to represent that many a thing was wrong 
which 1 had before regarded as permissible. Yet my strug- 
gle for insight was still confined to the circle of the under- 
standing, and led me, while reading such writings as those 
of Strauss, Feuerbach, and Bruno Bauer, only deeper into 
the blind alley of doubt. 

I was firmly convinced that God has denied to man the 
possibility of true knowledge ; that it is presumption to 
claim to understand the will and plans of the Lord of the 
World; that the individual must await in submission the 
judgment that his Creator will pass upon him in death, 
and that the will of God becomes known to us on earth 
solely through conscience, which He has given us as a 
special organ for feeling our way through the gloom of 
the world. That I found no peace in these views 1 need 
not say. Many an hour have 1 spent in disconsolate de- 
pression, thinking that my existence and that of others 
is purposeless and unprofitable perchance only a casual 
product of creation, coming and going like dust from roll- 
ing wheels. 

About four years ago 1 came into close companionship, 

5 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [DEC. 

for the first time since my school-days, with Moritz Blank- 
enburg, and found in him, what 1 had never had till then 
in my life, a friend; but the warm zeal of his love strove 
in vain to give me by persuasion and discussion what I 
lacked faith. But through Moritz I made acquaintance 
with the Triglaf family and the social circle around it, and 
found in it people who made me ashamed that, with the 
scanty light of my understanding, 1 had undertaken to 
investigate things which such superior intellects accepted 
as true and holy with childlike trust. 1 saw that the mem- 
bers of this circle were, in their outward life, almost perfect 
models of what 1 wished to be. That confidence and peace 
dwelt in them did not surprise me, for 1 had never doubted 
that these were companions of belief; but belief cannot 
be had for the asking, and 1 thought I must wait submis- 
sively to see whether it would come to me. I soon felt at 
home in that circle, and was conscious of a satisfaction 
that I had not before experienced a family life that in- 
cluded me, almost a home. 

I was meanwhile brought into contact with certain events 
in which 1 was not an active participant, and which, as 
other people's secrets, 1 cannot communicate to you, but 
which stirred me deeply. Their practical result was that 
the consciousness of the shallowness and worthlessness 
of my aim in life became more vivid than ever. Through 
the advice of others, and through my own impulse, 1 was 
brought to the point of reading the Scriptures more con- 
secutively and with resolute restraint, sometimes, of my 
own judgment. That which stirred within me came to 
life when the news of the fatal illness of our late friend in 
Cardemin tore the first ardent prayer from my heart, with- 
out subtle questionings as to its reasonableness. God 
did not grant my prayer on that occasion; neither did He 

6 



1846] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

utterly reject it, for 1 have never again lost the capacity to 
bring my requests to Him, and I feel within me, if not peace, 
at least confidence and courage such as 1 never knew be- 
fore. 

1 do not know what value you will attach to this emotion, 
which my heart has felt for only two months ; 1 only hope 
that it may not be lost, whatever your decision in regard 
to me may be a hope of which I could give you no better 
assurance than by undeviating frankness and loyalty in 
that which 1 have now disclosed to you, and to no one else 
hitherto, with the conviction that God favors the sincere. 

I refrain from any assurance of my feelings and purposes 
with reference to your daughter, for the step I am taking 
speaks of them louder and more eloquently than words 
can. So, too, no promises for the future would be of ser- 
vice to you, since you know the untrustworthiness of the 
human heart better than I, and the only security I offer for 
the welfare of your daughter lies in my prayer for God's 
blessing. As a matter of history I would only observe 
that, after I had seen Fraulein Johanna repeatedly in 
Cardemin, after the trip we made together this summer, 
I have only been in doubt as to whether the attainment 
of my desires would be reconcilable with the happiness and 
peace of your daughter, and whether my self-confidence was 
not greater than my ability when I believed that she could 
find in me what she would have a right to look for in her 
husband. Very recently, however, together with my re- 
liance on God's grace, the resolution which 1 now carry 
out has also become fixed in me, and 1 kept silent when I 
saw you in Zimmerhausen only because 1 had more to say 
than I could express in conversation. In view of the im- 
portance of the matter and the great sacrifice which it 
will involve for you and your wife in separation from your 

7 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

daughter, 1 can scarcely hope that you will give a favora- 
ble decision at once, and only beg that you will not refuse 
me an opportunity for explanation upon any considera- 
tions which might dispose you to reject my suit, before you 
utter a positive refusal. 

There is doubtless a great deal that I have not said, or 
not said fully enough, in this letter, and I am, of course, 
ready to give you exact and faithful information as to 
everything you may desire to know; I think I have told 
what is most important. 

I beg you to convey to your wife my respectful compli- 
ments, and to accept kindly the assurance of my love and 
esteem. 

BISMARCK. 

Address : Schonhausen, near Fischbek-on-the-Elbe. 

SCHONHAUSEN, January 4, 1847. 
To Herr von Puttkamer : 

MOST HONORED SIR, My cordial thanks for your 
letter of the 28th, which I received day before yesterday. 
Although it leaves your decision still in doubt, yet I gather 
from it permission to visit you in Reinfeld a permission 
of which I should have availed myself immediately if I had 
not been restrained for the moment by official duties. I 
passed yesterday in an inward conflict whether I might 
go or not. But leaving out of account the fact that my 
predecessor in the office of dike-captain was deposed at 
my instance on account of official misconduct, and that I 
must find in this circumstance an additional incentive to 
the conscientious discharge of my duty, I should not be 
able to leave here before the end of this week without vio- 
lating my oath of office. I shall accordingly take the ex- 
press that leaves Stettin on Monday, the nth inst., unless 

8 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

you write me at Stettin, general delivery, that my visit 
for the present would be untimely. As 1 compute, I shall 
thus arrive in Reinfeld towards evening on Tuesday. But 
should a genuine thaw set in before that time, and the Elbe 
rise, I shall be tied to my post here as sentinel. Having 
no deputy, I cannot leave it in that event under any con- 
ditions. Of course I should then send you word immedi- 
ately. 

You ask me, most honored Herr von Puttkamer, whether 
"my feet are firmly established/' I can reply only with 
an affirmative answer to your next question that I am 
fixedly and manfully determined to seek peace with every 
man, and holiness, without which no man shall see the 
Lord. That my footsteps are as sure as I could wish them 
to be, I dare not assert ; 1 regard myself, rather, as a crip- 
ple who will stumble, but whom the grace of the Lord will 
uphold. At present I can add nothing to my confession, 
as I uttered it in my previous letter; the less so because, 
in the wish to make the information 1 give in every point 
satisfactory to you, unavoidably a suspicion must needs 
suggest itself that I might unconsciously become untruth- 
ful to you and to myself. When I was writing the pre- 
vious letter I called upon God to help me to clearness in 
searching my inner man, so that no untrue word should 
flow from my pen, and what I wrote there is my open con- 
fession before everybody, of which 1 make no secret, and, 
to that extent, at least, it is a sure and straightforward 
step. 

Accept once more my heartfelt thanks for your letter, of 
which I am the more sensible the more I try to imagine 
myself in the position of a father whose only child a com- 
parative stranger seeks in marriage. A week hence I 
hope I shall have travelled half the distance to Reinfeld. 

9 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

It is, I think, the first time that I have wished for cold weath- 
er, and certainly the first that I have asked the dear Lord 
to send it a prayer, however, at which my heart sinks 
when I bethink me how many prayers of the poor ask 
the contrary. My most respectful compliments to your 

wife. 

BISMARCK. 

JERICHOW, Friday, January 29, '47. 

To Frdulein von Puttkamer, Reinfeld, near Zuckers, 
H inter pommern : 

ANGELA MlA, I arrived here safely, have patrolled 
everything, and convinced myself to my sorrow that I 
have come too soon, as usual. The ice on the Elbe is still 
firm, and everything is in the best order. I seize a half- 
hour of leisure, in a very bad tavern, to write you on very 
bad paper, if only a few words. I caught a hasty glimpse 
of my brother and Malvine, and found them both delighted 
with the change that has taken place in me. Last evening 
in Berlin I called on Bernhard* without finding him at 
home, and thus convinced myself, to my horror, that, be- 
sides the famous sausages, I had also mislaid your aunt's 
letters from Versin, and 1 haven't the faintest idea where 
they are. If they were left in Reinfeld by any chance, do 
send them immediately. I left a note for Bernhard, ex- 
plaining what a bad messenger I am, and I fancy your 
aunt will have no further use for me in that capacity. 

As soon as the floods (which, for that matter, have not 
yet arrived) are over, I shall fly again northwards, to 
look up the flower of the wilderness, as my cousin puts 
it. As soon as I am quiet in Schonhausen 1 shall write 

*B. v. Puttkamer- Versin, 
10 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

you more in detail ; for the present only this token of life and 
love, for the horses stamp, neigh, and rear at the door, and 
1 have still much to do to-day. Most cordial remembrances 
to your or, j'ose dire, our parents. Sans phrase, yours 
from top to toe. Kisses cannot be written. Farewell. 

BISMARCK. 



SCHONHAUSEN, February I, '47. 

I had only waited for daylight to write you, my dear 
heart, and with the light came your little green spirit- 
lamp to make my lukewarm water seethe though this 
time it found it ready to boil over. Your pity for my rest- 
less nights at present is premature, but 1 shall give you 
credit for it. The Elbe still lies turbid and growling in 
her ice-bonds : the spring's summons to burst them is not 
yet loud enough for her. 1 say to the weather : " If you 
would only be cold or warm! But you stay continually 
at freezing-point, and at this rate the matter may long 
drag on." For the present my activity is limited to send- 
ing out, far and wide, from the warm seat at the writing- 
table, diverse conjurations, whose magic starts quantities 
of fascines, boards, wheelbarrows, etc., from inland tow- 
ards the Elbe, perchance to serve as a prosaic dam in 
restraint of the poetical foaming of the flood. After 
1 had spent the morning in this useful rather than agree- 
able correspondence, my resolve was to chat away com- 
fortably through the evening with you, beloved one, as 
though we were sitting on the sofa in the red drawing- 
room; and with sympathetic attention to my desire the 
mail kept for my enjoyment precisely at this gossiping 
hour your letter, which 1 should have received by good 
rights day before yesterday. You know, if you were able 

It 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

to decipher my inexcusably scrawled note * from Schlawe, 
how 1 struck a half-drunken crowd of hussar officers there, 
who disturbed me in my writing. In the train 1 had, with 
my usual bad luck, a lady vis-a-vis, and beside me two 
very stout, heavily fur-clad passengers, the nearer of whom 
was a direct descendant of Abraham into the bargain, and 
put me in a bitter humor against all his race by a disagree- 
able movement of his left elbow. 

1 found my brother in his dressing-gown, and he em- 
ployed the five minutes of our interview very completely, 
according to his habit, in emptying a woolsack full of vexa- 
tious news about Kniephof before me: disorderly inspect- 
ors, a lot of damaged sheep, distillers drunk every day, 
thoroughbred colts (the prettiest, of course) come to grief, 
and rotten potatoes, fell in a rolling torrent from his oblig- 
ingly opened mouth upon my somewhat travel-worn self. 
On my brother's account 1 must affect and utter some 
exclamations of terror and complaint, for my indifferent 
manner on receiving news of misfortune vexes him, and 
as long as 1 do not express surprise he has ever new and 
still worse news in stock. This time he attained his ob- 
ject, at least in my inner man, and when 1 took my seat 
next to the Jewish elbow in green fur 1 was in a right bad 
humor; especially the colt distressed me an animal as 
pretty as a picture and three years old. Not before getting 
out of doors did 1 become conscious of the ingratitude of 
my heart, and the thought of the unmerited happiness 
that had become mine a fortnight earlier again won the 
mastery in me. In Stettin 1 found drinking, gambling 
friends. William Ramin took occasion to say, apropos 
of a remark about reading the Bible, "Tut! In Reinfeld 

* This note has been lost. 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Td speak like that, too, if 1 were in your place, but to believe 
you can impose on your oldest acquaintances is amusing/' 
1 found my sister very well and full of joy about you and 
me. She wrote to you, 1 think, before she received your 
letter. Arnim is full of anxiety lest 1 become "pious." 
He kept looking at me all the time earnestly and thought- 
fully, with sympathetic concern, as one looks at a dear 
friend whom one would like to save and yet almost gives 
up for lost. 1 have seldom seen him so tender. Very 
clever people have a curious manner of viewing the world. 
In the evening (1 hope you did not write so late) I drank 
your health in the foaming grape-juice of Sillery, in com- 
pany with half a dozen Silesian counts, Schaffgotsch 
and others, at the H6tel de Rome, and convinced myself 
Friday morning that the ice on the Elbe was still strong 
enough to bear my horse's weight, and that, so far as the 
freshet was concerned, 1 might to-day be still at your blue 
or black side* if other current official engagements had 
not also claimed my presence. Snow has fallen very 
industriously all day long, and the country is white once 
more, without severe cold. When 1 arrived it was all 
free from snow on this side of Brandenburg; the air was 
warm and the people were ploughing; it was as though 
I had travelled out of winter into opening spring, and yet 
within me the short springtime had changed to winter, 
for the nearer I came to Schonhausen the more oppressive 
1 found the thought of entering upon the old loneliness 
once more, for who knows how long. Pictures of a wasted 
past arose in me as though they would banish me from you. 
1 was on the verge of tears, as when, after a school vacation, 
1 caught sight of Berlin's towers from the train. The 

* In subsequent letters he speaks of her * blue-gray-black eyes." 

13 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

comparison of my situation with that in which 1 was on 
the loth, when 1 travelled the same line in the opposite 
direction; the conviction that my solitude was, strictly 
speaking, voluntary, and that 1 could at any time, albeit 
through a resolve smacking of insubordination and a 
forty hours' journey, put an end to it, made me see once 
more that my heart is ungrateful, dismayed, and resentful ; 
for soon I said to myself, in the comfortable fashion of the 
accepted lover, that even here I am no longer lonely, and 
1 was happy in the consciousness of being loved by you, 
my angel, and, in return for the gift of your love, of belong- 
ing to you, not merely in vassalage, but with my inmost 
heart. On reaching the village 1 felt more distinctly than 
ever before what a beautiful thing it is to have a home 
a home with which one is identified by birth, memory, 
and love. The sun shone bright on the stately houses 
of the villagers, and their portly inmates in long coats 
and the gayly dressed women in short skirts gave me 
a much more friendly greeting than usual; on every face 
there seemed to be a wish for my happiness, which I 
invariably converted into thanks to you. Gray -haired 
Bellin's* fat face wore a broad smile, and the trusty old 
soul shed tears as he patted me paternally on the back 
and expressed his satisfaction; his wife, of course, wept 
most violently; even Odin was more demonstrative than 
usual, and his paw on my coat-collar proved incontestably 
that it was muddy weather. Half an hour later Miss 
Breeze was galloping with me on the Elbe, manifestly 
proud to carry your affianced, for never before did she so 
scornfully smite the earth with her hoof. Fortunately 
you cannot judge, my heart, in what a mood of dreary 

* Inspector at Schonhausen. 
14 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

dulness 1 used to re-enter my house after a journey ; what 
depression overmastered me when the door of my room 
yawned at me and the mute furniture in the silent 
apartments confronted me, bored like myself. The 
emptiness of my existence was never clearer to me than 
in such moments, until 1 seized a book though none of 
them was sad enough for me or mechanically engaged in 
any routine work. My preference was to come home 
at night, so that 1 could go to sleep immediately.* Ach, 
GottI and now? What a different view I take of every- 
thing not merely that which concerns you as well, and 
because it concerns you, or will concern you also (although 
1 have been bothering myself for two days with the ques- 
tion where your writing-desk shall stand), but my 
whole view of life is a new one, and 1 am cheerful and 
interested even in my work on the dike and police matters. 
This change, this new life, I owe, next to God, to you, 
ma tres chere, mon adoree Jeanneton to you who do not 
heat me occasionally, like an alcohol flame, but work in 
my heart like warming fire. Some one is knocking. 

Visit from the co-director, who complains of the people 
who will not pay their school taxes. The man asks me 
whether my fiancee is tall. 

" Oh yes; rather." 

"Well, an acquaintance of mine saw you last summer 
with several ladies in the Harz Mountains, and you pre- 
ferred to converse with the tallest, that must have been 
your fiancee." 

The tallest woman in your party was, I fancy, Frau von 
Mittelstadt. ... The Harz! The Harz! 

* Compare the enclosure, in which I used often to find the expression 
of my inmost thought. Now, never any more. (Enclosed was a 
copy of Byron's poem, " To Inez.'') 

15 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

After a thorough consultation with Frau Bellin, I have 
decided to make no special changes here for the present, 
but to wait until we can hear the wishes of the lady of the 
house in the matter, so that we may have nothing to be 
sorry for. In six months I hope we shall know what we 
have to do. 

It is impossible as yet to sav anything definite about 
our next meeting. Just now it is raining; if that con- 
tinues the Elbe may be played out in a week or two, and 
then. . . . Still no news whatever about the Landtag. 
Most cordial greetings and assurances of my love to your 
parents, and the former the latter, too, if you like to all 
your cousins, women friends, etc. What have you done 
with Annchen?* My forgetting the Versin letters dis- 
turbs me; 1 did not mean to make such a bad job of it. 
Have they been found? Farewell, my treasure, my heart, 

consolation of my eyes. 

Your faithful BISMARCK. 

Another picture, a description of a storm in the Alps, 
which catches my eye as I turn over the pages of the book, 
and pleases me much : 

" The sky is changed, and such a change! night, 
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong, 
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light 
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along 
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among, 
Leaps the live thunder; not from one lone cloud, 
But every mountain now has found a tongue, 
And Jura answers through her misty shroud 
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud. 

* Fraulein von Blumenthal, afterwards Frau von Bohn. 

16 



i y^ 




JOHANNA VON PUTTKAMER 
1847 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

And this is in the night: most glorious night I 

Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be 

A sharer in thy fierce and fair delight 

A portion of the tempest and of thee! 

How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea, 

And the big rain comes dancing to the earth! 

And now again 'tis black, and now the glee 

Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth, 

As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth." 

On such a night the suggestion comes uncommonly 
near to me that I wish to be a sharer in the delight, a portion 
of tempest, of night ;* mounted on a runaway horse, to dash 
down the cliffs into the falls of the Rhine, or something 
similar. A pleasure of that kind, unfortunately, one can 
enjoy but once in this life. There is something intoxi- 
cating in nocturnal storms. Your nights, dearest, I hope 
you regard, however, as sent for slumber, not for writing* 
I see with regret that I write English still more illegibly 
than German. Once more, farewell, my heart. To-mor- 
row noon I am invited to be the guest of Frau Brauchitsch, 
presumably so that I may be duly and thoroughly ques- 
tioned about you and yours. I'll tell them as much as I 

please. Je t'embrasse mille fois. 

Your own 

B. 

SCHONHAUSEN, February 7, '47. 

MY HEART, Just returned through a wild, drifting 
snow-storm from an appointment (which unfortunately 
was occasioned by the burning out of a poor family). 
1 have warmed myself at your dear letter; in the twilight, 

* English in the original. 
B 17 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

even, 1 recognized your "Right honorable." All my 
limbs are twitching with eagerness to be off to Berlin 
again to-day, and to characterize the dikes and floods in 
terms of the unutterable Poberow* dialect. The inex- 
orable thermometer stands at 2 below freezing-point, ac- 
companied with howling wind and large flakes, as though 
it would soon rain. What is duty? Compare FalstafFs 
expressions touching honor. At any rate, 1 shall write 
you straightway, even if 1 ruin myself in postage, and no 
sensible thoughts find their way through the debris of the 
fire that still has possession of my imagination. After 
reading your last remark 1 have just lit my cigar and 
stirred the ink. First, like a business-man, to answer 
your letter. 1 begin with a request smacking of the 
official desk namely, that when you write you will, if 
you please, expressly state what letters you have received 
from me, giving their dates; otherwise one is uncertain 
as to the regular forwarding of them, as 1 am in doubt 
whether you have received my first letter, which 1 wrote 
the day of my arrival here, while on a business trip, in 
Jerichow, if 1 mistake not, on very bad paper, Friday, the 
29th of January. 1 am very thankful that you do not 
write in the evening, my love, even if I am myself to suffer 
thereby. Every future glance into your gray-blue-black 
eye with its large pupil will compensate me for possibly 
delayed or shortened letters. 

If 1 could only dream of you when you do of me! But 
recently 1 do not dream at all shockingly healthy and 
prosaic; or does my soul fly to Reinfeld in the night and 
associate with yours? In that case it can certainly not 
dream here; but it ought to tell about its journey in the 

* Von Puttkamer-Poberow. 

18 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

morning, whereas the wayward thing is as silent about 
its nocturnal employments as though it, too, slept like a 
badger. 

Your reminder of the bore, Fritz, with the letter-pouch 
transports me to Reinfeld and makes me long still more 
eagerly for the time when 1 can once again hug my black 
Jeannette for my good - morning at the desk. About the 
letter with the strange address, evidently in a woman's 
hand, 1 should like to tell you a romantic story, but 1 must 
destroy every illusion with the explanation that it comes 
from a man who used to be a friend of mine, who, if 1 do 
not mistake, once in Kniephof took a copy of an Italian 
address that 1 received. Again a curtain behind which 
one fancies there is all the poetry in the world, and finds 
the flattest prose. (1 once saw in Aix-la-Chapelle, while 
strolling about the stage, the Princess of Eboli, after 1 had 
just spent my sympathy upon her as she lay overwhelmed 
and fainting at the queen's feet in one of the scenes, eat- 
ing bread and butter and cracking bad jokes behind the 
scenes.) That cousin Woedtke is fond of me, and that the 
Versin sausage and letter affair is all right, 1 am glad to 
learn. 

1 need not assure you that 1 have the most heartfelt 
sympathy for the sufferings of your good mother; 1 hope 
rest and summer will affect her health favorably, and that 
she will recover after a while, with the joy of seeing her 
children happy. When she is here she shall not have any 
steps to go up to reach you, and shall live directly next to 
you. 

Why do you wear mournful black in dress and heart, 
my angel? Cultivate the green of hope that to-day made 
right joyous revelry in me at sight of its external image, 
when the gardener placed the first messengers of spring, 

19 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

hyacinths and crocus, on my window-ledge. Et dis 
moi done, pourquoi es-tu paresseuse? Pourquoi ne fais- 
tu pas de musique? 1 fancied you playing c-dur when the 
hollow, melting wind howls through the dry twigs of the 
lindens, and d-moll when the snow-flakes chase in fantastic 
whirls around the corners of the old tower, and, after their 
desperation is spent, cover the graves with their winding- 
sheet. Oh, were 1 but Keudell, I'd play now all day long, 
and the tones would bear me over the Oder, Rega, Persante, 
Wipper 1 know not whither. Apropos de paresse, 1 
am going to permit myself to make one more request of 
you, but with a preface. When I ask you for anything 
1 add (do not take it for blasphemy or mockery) thy will 
be done your will, 1 mean; and 1 do not love you less, 
nor am 1 vexed with you for a second if you do not fulfil 
my request. I love you as you are, and as you choose 
to be. After 1 have, by way of preface, said so much 
with inmost, unadorned truth, without hypocrisy or flattery, 
1 beg you to pay some attention to French not much, 
but somewhat by reading French things that interest 
you, and, what is not clear to you, make it clear with the 
dictionary. If it bores you, stop it; but lest it bore you, 
try it with books that interest you, whatever they may be 
romances or anything else. 1 do not know your mother's 
views on such reading, but in my opinion there is nothing 
that you cannot read to yourself. I do not ask this for 
my own sake, for we will understand each other in our 
mother tongue, but in your intercourse with the world 
you will not seldom find occasions when it will be dis- 
agreeable or even mortifying if you are unfamiliar with 
French. I do not know, indeed, to what degree this is 
true of you, but reading is in any case a way to keep 
what you have and to acquire more. If it pleases you, 

20 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

we shall find a way for you to become more fluent in talking, 
too, than, as you say, you are now. If you do not like it, 
rely with entire confidence on the preface to my request. 

I wrote to poor Moritz yesterday, and, after reading your 
description of his sadness, my letter lies like a stone on 
my conscience, for, like a heartless egotist, I mocked his 
pain by describing my happiness, and in five pages did 
not refer to his mourning by even a syllable, speaking of 
myself again and again, and using him as father-confessor. 
He is an awkward comforter who does not himself feel 
pain sympathetically, or not vividly enough. My first 
grief was the passionate, selfish one at the loss 1 had sus- 
tained ; for Marie,* so far as she is concerned, I do not feel 
it, because I know that she is well provided for, but that 
my sympathy with the suffering of my warmest friend, 
to whom I owe eternal thanks, is not strong enough to 
produce a word of comfort, of strong consolation from 
overflowing feeling, that burdens me sorely. Weep not, 
my angel; let your sympathy be strong and full of con- 
fidence in God; give him real consolation with encourage- 
ment, not with tears, and, if you can, doubly, for yourself 
and for your thankless friend whose heart is just row 
filled with you and has room for nothing else. Are you 
a withered leaf, a faded garment? I will see whether my 
love can foster the verdure once more, can brighten up the 
colors. You must put forth fresh leaves, and the old ones 
I shall lay between the pages of the book of my heart so 
that we may find them when we read there, as tokens of 
fond recollection. You have fanned to life again the coal 
that under ashes and debris still glowed in me; it shall 
envelop you in life-giving flames. 

* Frau von Blanckenburg. 
21 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

Le souper est servi, the evening is gone, and 1 have 
done nothing but chat with you and smoke: is that not 
becoming employment for the dike-captain? Why not? 

A mysterious letter from lies before me. He writes 

in a tone new for him ; admits that he perceives that he did 
many a wrong to his first wife; did not always rightly 
guide and bear with her weakness; was no prop to the 
"child/' and believes himself absolved by this severe cas- 
tigation. Quest ce qu'il me chante? Has the letter un- 
dergone transformation in the Christian climate of Rein- 
feld, or did it leave the hand of this once shallow buffoon 
in its present form? He asserts, moreover, that he lives 
in happiness never dreamed of with his present wife, whose 
acquaintance he made a week before the engagement, and 
whom he married six weeks after the same event : a hap- 
piness which his first marriage has taught him rightly to 
prize. Do you know the story of the French tiler who falls 
from the roof, and, in passing the second story, cries out, 
" Ca va bien, pourvu que $a dure ?" Think, only, if we had 
been betrothed on the I2th of October, '44, and, on Novem- 
ber 23d, had married : What anxiety for mamma 1 

The English poems of -mortal misery trouble me no more 
now; that was of old, when I looked out into nothing 
cold and stiff, snow-drifts in my heart. Now a black cat 
plays with it in the sunshine, as though with a rolling 
skein, and I like to see its rolling. I will give you, at the 
end of this letter, a few more verses belonging to that period, 
of which fragmentary copies are still preserved, as I see, 
in my portfolio. You may allow me to read them still; 
they harm me no more. Thine eyes have still (and will 
always have) a charm for me* Please write me in your 

* English in the original. 
22 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

next letter about the uncertain marriage-plans. I believe, 
by Jove!* that the matter is becoming serious. Until the 
day is fixed, it still seems to me as though we had been 
dreaming; or have I really passed a fortnight in Rein- 
feld, and held you in these arms of mine? Has Finette 
been found again? Do you remember our conversation 
when we went out with her in leash when you, little rogue, 
said you would have " given me the mitten " had not God 
taken pity on me and permitted me at least a peep through 
the keyhole of His door oi mercy? That came into my 
mind when I was reading 1. Cor. vii. 13 and 14 yesterday. 
A commentator says of the passage that, in all relations 
of life, Christ regards the kingdom of God as the more 
powerful, victorious, finally overcoming all opposition, 
and the kingdom ol darkness as powerless, falling in ruins 
ever more and more. Yet, how do most of you have so 
little confidence in your faith, and wrap it carefully in the 
cotton of isolation, lest it take cold from any draught of 
the world ; while others are vexed with you, and proclaim 
that you are people who esteem yourselves too holy to come 
into contact with publicans, etc. If every one should think 
so who believes he has found truth and many serious, 
upright, humble seekers do believe they find it elsewhere, 
or in another form what a Pennsylvania solitary-con- 
finement prison would God's beautiful earth become, di- 
vided up into thousands and thousands of exclusive co- 
teries by insuperable partitions ! Compare, also, Rom. xiv. 
22 and xv. 2 ; also, particularly, I. Cor. iv. 5 ; viii. 2 ; ix. 20 ; 
also xii. 4 and the following; further, xiii. 2; all in 
the First Ep. to the Cor., which seems to me to apply 
to the subject. We talked, during that walk, or another 

* English in the original. 
23 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

one, a great deal about " the sanctity of doing good works." 
I will not inundate you with Scripture passages in this 
connection, but only tell you how splendid 1 find the Epistle 
of James. (Matt. xxv. 34 and following ; Rom. ii. 6 ; II. 
Cor. v. 10 ; Rom. ii. 13; I. Epistle of John iii. 7, and count- 
less others.) It is, indeed, unprofitable to base arguments 
upon separate passages of Scripture apart from their con- 
nection; but there are many who are honestly striving, 
and who attach more importance to passages like James 
ii. 14 than to Mark xvi. 16, and for the latter passage 
offer expositions, holding them to be correct, which do not 
literally agree with yours. To what interpretation does 
the word " faith " not lend itself, both when taken alone and 
in connection with that which the Scriptures command us 
"to believe/' in every single instance where they employ 
the word! Against my will, I fall into spiritual discus- 
sion and controversies. Among Catholics the Bible is read 
not at all, or with great precaution, by the laity ; it is ex- 
pounded only by the priests, who have concerned them- 
selves all their lives with the study of the original sources. 
In the end, all depends upon the interpretation. Concert 
in Biitow amuses me : the idea of Biitow is, to my mind, 
the opposite of all music. 

I have been quite garrulous, have I not? Now I must 
disturb some document-dust, and sharpen my pen afresh 
to the police-official style, for the president of the provincial 
court and the government. Could I but enclose myself 
herewith, or go along in a salmon-basket as mail-matter! 
Till we meet again, dearest black oner I love you, c'est 
tout dire. 

BISMARCK. 

* English in the original. 
24 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 
(I am forgetting the English verses) : 

" Sad dreams, as when the spirit of our youth 
Returns in sleep, sparklihg with all the truth 
And innocence, once ours, and leads us back 
In mournful mockery over the shining track 
Of our young life, and points out every ray 
Of hope and peace we've lost upon the way!" 

By Moore, 1 think; perhaps Byron. 

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow 
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, 
To the last syllable of recorded time ; 
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle 1 
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, 
And then is heard no more : it is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing/' 

Cordial remembrances to your parents and the Redden- 
tin folk. 

SCHONHAUSEN, February 13, 1847. 

GlOVANNA MlA, ... A tiresome day this has been 
for me, as the provincial counsellor Alvensleben and his 
secretary were with me on business from morning till 
mid -day; but as 1 found myself bored, that was pre- 
cisely the right mood for putting in order heaps of papers 
that have come from Kniephof. Among many a dear 
letter, many a sad or gay reminder of the past, 1 found 

25 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

two things which 1 send you, that you may look through 
them, if they interest you, as contributions to the his- 
tory of your future life - companion. One of them is a 
letter * of my Carlsburg cousin,f Caroline's | mother, which 
she wrote to me when 1, then in Potsdam, wanted to take 
leave of the service. Of my answer 1 sent my father at 
his request an extract, which 1 find again here. 1 was 
then twenty -three years old (delightful age: still a lot 
of illusions). 1 was afterwards at times sorry that 1 did 
retire then, and two years ago 1 even made the attempt 
to take a fresh start towards a ministerial post, but rather 
from ennui than from an inward call. On the whole, the 
way that God has led me will prove to have been the best 
for me, and in the main 1 endorse my views of that day, in 
reference to the misere of our national service, even now. 
Only 1 have through experience got rid of my self-decep- 
tion in regard to the Arcadian happiness of a country- 
landlord incarnate, with his double-entry book-keeping 
and chemical studies. Over this occupation there lay at 
that time for me still the beautiful blue mist of distant 
mountains. Sometimes even now, when one of my fellow- 
students achieves a rapid success in his career, 1 am sen- 
sible of some mortification in the thought, "I also might 
have had that/' but the conviction then always resumes 
its sway in me that a person seeks happiness in vain so 
long as he seeks it outside of himself. (1 look upon our- 
selves in this as one person, and " in you " is not " outside 
of myself.") 1 offered my brother the Pomeranian estates 
at that time for 150,000 thaler, but he would not take them 
at that price; now in the division we have reckoned them 
at 200,000, and even that is cheap, for Kniephof alone, 

* Not extant. t Countess Bismarck-Bohlen. 

% Frau von Malortin, nte Bismarck-Bohlen. 

26 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

which is put at 60,000 in this estimate, is worth between 
80,000 and 90,000. We have, indeed, spent 20,000 thaler 
more on it since that time ; surely enough, by God's blessing, 
if we are sensible, to enable us to do good to many people. 
How many a government counsellor lives in town in elegant 
fashion with wife and child on a salary of I ooo thaler, or 
a little more, and must pay in cash for the things that 
we have here for nothing dwelling, wood, light, food 
and maintenance, for himself, his people, and horses, if 
he has any. And yet I'homme propose, Dieu dispose. 
Who can look into the future ? Who can tell whether 
anxiety and need may not press close upon us also one 
day? The richest may have to turn his back upon his 
homestead. In that event we shall be satisfied if we only 
have each other and trust in God through joy and 
sorrow, through glory and shame. Remember me in the 
kindest manner to your parents, and may God guard you 
my star, for whom my heart is ever sick with longing. 
Farewell, dearest, and make me a visit by letter soon: 
1 look forward to the arrival of the mail with impatience 
every day. 

B. 

GREIFSWALD, September 29, 1838.* 

To the Captain of Horse and Knight, etc., Herr von Bis- 
ma ck, Right Honorable, Berlin, Unter den Linden, 
No. 5 (al. Bellevue Strasse, 22). 

DEAR FATHER, Theodoref will have told you that 
he left me here well and cheerful, and I most sincerely hope 
that he found you in the same condition, and that mother's 
health has improved as much as the last news I had of her 

* Compare page 26. t Count Bismarck-Bohlen. 

27 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

at Lienchen's permitted me to hope. 1 am certainly not 
the man to reproach others about letter-writing, but yet 1 
cannot conceal the fact that, just at this moment, when 
the doctor has given such an auspicious hope of permanent 
improvement in mother's condition, the time seems very 
long in which 1 have received no news of its realization, 
and 1 wait for it eagerly, for I still remember how ill mother 
was when 1 said good-bye to her. It would be a great 
pleasure to me to have a few lines from mother's OWTI hand 
once more, after such a long time. At any rate, 1 shall 
get more detailed news from Theodore next Wednesday, 
if 1 should not receive a letter before then. That 1 am liv- 
ing here very quietly until the Jagers return from Stargard, 
I have already written you. Such time as I have not been 
in Carlsburg, I pass all alone, and, according to rule, here, 
for I have nobody to run around with, really, and that is a 
good thing, for I feel more comfortable than I ever did, and 
can study without interruption, which I never should have 
done in Potsdam, on account of my friends and the service. 
At present I am chiefly busy with chemistry, at which I 
work several hours every day with a medical student who 
is getting ready for his examination. I have looked at 
some of the farms in the neighborhood, w r hich, on an av- 
erage, are in nearly perfect condition, but almost entirely 
devoted to agriculture; and at table in the public-house 
(" Deutsches Haus " hotel) one hears all the burly figures 
with red faces, thick hands, and enviable appetite, who 
come there daily to the number of six or eight, or more, 
speak of nothing but tillage and the grain trade. Although 
they all shout terribly and gesticulate violently, I rarely 
understand what they say, for Low-German is commonly 
spoken, and very rapidly, so that I only distinguish, now 
and then, something like "rape-seed/' "oats," "peas/' 

28 



1838] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

"planting-machines/' "threshing/' "Pomeranian last/'* 
and "Berlin Schapel/'f I listen to this with a very in- 
telligent expression, think it over, and dream at night of 
threshed oats, manure, and stubble-rye. All the Eldena 
people are still out of town, the teachers as well as most of 
the scholars. The principal of the agricultural school, 
Schulz, is also manager of the rather important farm at 
that place; the latter is, however, stupidly enough, not 
connected with the school, so that, though the students are 
at liberty to observe what goes on if they please, it is not 
otherwise used for their instruction. The number of pu- 
pils ninety odd is too large to unite instruction with 
practice, according to the real design of the institution. A 
reliable opinion in this matter cannot be formed before the 
studies begin again, or I have, at least, spoken with the 
principal; but I hardly believe so far that I shall learn 
more in the lecture-rooms there than from good books. On 
the other hand, the principal also receives some pupils on 
the farm itself; this is admirably managed; Schulz has 
transformed a large part of the land which had a cold soil 
and was swampy into fields that now pass for the best in 
the neighborhood, so that he has taken in at the fall har- 
vest the fifteenth and sixteenth crop of grain; the fresh 
clover stands up everywhere like a brush, and, though 
the barns are large, one sees four or five ricks as high as a 
house standing in the fields. Tile-kiln, distillery, and 
brewery are there, too the two latter partly destroyed 
by fire this year, however, and so it is doubtful whether 
they will be in operation this winter. As Schulz 's pupil, 
one could certainly learn a great deal; the only question 
is whether he will receive me, and whether he will not 

* Last, a weight ; about 4000 pounds, 
"f S chapel, a measure ; a quart. 

29 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

charge a disproportionate tuition-fee. Moreover, Eldena 
is a good half-mile from here, and in winter the road will 
be bottomless. Since I must live in the town now on ac- 
count of the military, I shall first see how I may contrive 
to hear one or two of the lecture-courses there that are the 
most useful for me at present. Besides, I shall try to make 
such progress as I may towards my goal here at the uni- 
versity and by study at home, and, if 1 can get leave of 
absence for a considerable time, on one of the neighboring 
farms. It is a real pity that 1 could not stay longer with 
mother, instead of spending these four weeks here; but 
they had made hell so hot for me in Potsdam, to hurry me 
off as soon as possible to the division ; Captain Roder even 
thought I must march after them immediately, if no officer 
had remained behind to give different orders, so that I was 
afraid of having a bad reception here because I had not come 
sooner. Instead of that, I received, on inquiry, a very nice 
letter from Captain von Portatius, wherein he freely grant- 
ed leave of absence until his return. To return to Berlin 
immediately was very expensive, and I prefer to go there 
at Christmas-time, if possible. You expressed a wish to 
see the rough draft of my answer to Lienchen's letter, but 
it is written too badly " every which way " for you to get a 
clear idea from it. I prefer, therefore, to give you a copy 
of the most essential parts of the rather long letter, which 
I beg you to share with Bernhard some time, for he has 
written me a letter similar to Lienchen's, and in answering 
him 1 have (to avoid writing the same thing three times) 
referred him to this copy of my letter. The self-same be- 
gins with a string of apologies, regrets, and expressions 
of gratitude which will not interest you so much, and I 
shall only repeat that which was particularly designed for 
the defence of my views : 

30 



1838] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

. . . that the necessity did not exist for me 
to become a country squire, is my opinion, too; but, on 
the other hand, you will not seriously assert, although 
I ascribe to you pronounced bureaucratic views, that the 
duties to his country which are incumbent upon every one 
exactly require of me that I shall become a government 
official. Rather, I believe, I satisfy these obligations 
completely if, in whatever calling I choose, I do all that 
can be expected of a patriotic citizen. I believed, then, 
that I could be quite independent in making such a 
choice of profession as, with my inclinations and con- 
nections, seemed to me most sensible. That from the 
first the nature of the occupation and of subordinate 
places in our national official life has not appealed to 
me; that 1 do not think it unqualified good fortune to 
be an office-holder or even minister ; that it appears to me 
just as respectable and sometimes more useful to raise 
grain than to write administrative orders; that my am- 
bition strives rather not to obey than to command : these 
are facta for which 1 can allege no reason beyond my 
personal taste, and yet so it is. Of all the considera- 
tions that might have moved me to combat this disin- 
clination, the most worthy would have been the wish to 
work for the good of my fellow-citizens on a larger scale 
than is possible for a man in private life. Without regard 
to whether 1 am really noble-minded enough to employ 
my powers to promote the welfare of others rather than 
my own, my opinion is, even placing the least modest 
estimate upon my capabilities, that it would make no 
difference in the prosperity of Prussia's inhabitants whether 
1 or another of the many excellent people who strive for 
this aim shall be connected with or preside over the govern- 
ment of a province. The individual office-holder among 

31 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

us has but little independence in his activities, even in the 
highest place, and with the others it is practically limited 
to shoving ahead the administrative machinery in the 
path once prescribed. The Prussian office-holder is like 
an individual in an orchestra. Whether he plays first 
violin or triangle he must, without oversight or influence 
upon the whole, play off his fragment as it is assigned to 
him, whether he considers it good or bad. But 1 wish 
to make music such as 1 discern to be good, or none at all. 
In a country with a free constitution every one who con- 
secrates himself to the public service can openly put his 
whole strength into the defence and execution of those 
regulations and systems of whose righteousness and utility 
he is convinced, and he has no need to recognize anything 
but these qualities as his guide in his actions, since he 
transfers to his public career the independence of his private 
life. There one can really enjoy the consciousness of 
having done what he could for the good of his country. 
Let him succeed or not, let his views prevail or not, the 
effort remains equally meritorious. But with us it is 
necessary for one to be a salaried and dependent officer 
in order to take part in public affairs; one must belong 
wholly to the official caste, share their views, whether 
right or wrong, and forego all individuality in thought 
and action. Abuses, real or apparent, connected with 
our chiefs, superiors, and even our colleagues, we must 
observe without daring to attack them openly, and even 
that which is subordinated to us is under the influ- 
ence of tradition and inflexible rules rather than under 
that of the superior officer. Even in my short experi- 
ence 1 have often seen how the costly time and labor 
of highly paid officials were brought to nothing in a 
fashion to convince one that business is invented to 

32 



1838] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

give the office-holders at hand something to do, not that 
office-holders are appointed to transact necessary business ; 
and my distinguished superiors fought against this and 
other absurdities with all energy, but without success; 
it is in the nature of our government. 1 have often heard 
high-placed officials in Aix-la-Chapelle and Potsdam say 
that this or that regulation is injurious, oppressive, unjust, 
and still they did not dare to make even a most respectful 
protest, but on the contrary saw themselves obliged to 
further them with all their strength, against their convic- 
tion. Whence, then, is satisfaction to be derived in the 
practice of one's calling in the consciousness of originat- 
ing useful measures, or even of merely doing one's duty 
to his country? But conflicts of that sort in the service 
would be rather frequent in my case, especially as my 
political faith is radically opposed to that of our govern- 
ment. How, then, can I reach the conviction that 1 am 
useful to my fellow-citizens, if 1 consider the system by 
which 1 help to govern much less advantageous than the 
opposite one, and in any case unjust? How shall 1 make 
answer to my own conscience for enlisting under the banner 
of an administration whose principles 1 think 1 must attack, 
as far as obedience to existing laws permits, as one of my 
chief duties to my country? You may think it ridiculous, 
gracious cousin, for me to assert that 1 have a political 
conviction and even a conscience; yet you must admit 
that 1 cannot share in that best reward of a public servant, 
the consciousness of having devoted his life to the welfare 
of his fellow-citizens rather than to his own, except under 
the assumption that 1 have a conscience. So you must 
really permit me (the better to realize the event of my en- 
tering the service from that genuinely worthy motive) 
to borrow a conscience, if you will not admit that 1 have 
c 33 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

one of my own. Probably with few of the famous states- 
men, especially in countries that have an absolute system 
of government, was love of country the motive that took 
them into the service; much more commonly ambition, 
the wish to command, to be admired and famous. 

1 must confess that 1 am not free from this passion, and 
many kinds of distinction as that of a soldier in war, 
of a statesman under a free constitution, like Peel, 
O'Connell, Mirabeau, etc., of a participant in energetic 
political movements would attract me as the flame draws 
the moth. On the other hand, 1 am less stimulated by the 
results to which 1 may attain on the wide beaten road, 
through examinations, connections, study of legal docu- 
ments, antiquity, and favor of my superiors. Then, too, 
there are moments when 1 cannot think without painful 
regrets of all the gratifications for vanity that awaited 
me in the service : the satisfaction of seeing one's useful- 
ness and superiority officially recognized through rapid 
promotion and other distinctions; the consciousness of 
being a man of importance and influence, before whom 
the less important bow ; the self-complacent reflection that 
one is considered a capable and useful person, is noticed, 
talked about, and envied; all the real private glory which 
would finally irradiate me and my family, all that dazzles 
me when 1 have drunk a bottle of wine, and 1 need matter- 
of-fact and unbiassed reflection in order to say to myself 
that these are unsubstantial fancies of silly vanity, be- 
longing in the same category with the pride of the dandy 
in his coat and of the banker in his money ; that it is un- 
wise and fruitless to seek happiness in the opinion of others, 
and that a sensible person should live unto himself and for 
what he recognizes as right and true, but not for the im- 
pression he makes on others and the talk that may be 

34 



1838] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

current about him before or after his death. In short, 
1 am not free from ambition, but consider it as bad a pas- 
sion as any other and rather more foolish, because, if 1 
surrender to it, it will demand the sacrifice of my entire 
strength and independence, without giving, even in case 
of the greatest success, permanent satisfaction and con- 
tentment. 

Still oftener than from ambition our officials enter the 
service to obtain a respectable and secure livelihood, and 
because lack of capital prevents them from undertaking 
any other reputable business. In my situation, 1 give the 
preference to farming even in this respect. You make 
the very nattering representation, dear cousin, as does 
Bernhard, too, that 1 have talents which permit me to hope 
for exceptional success in the public service. If 1 should 
admit this, it would still seem to me to furnish no deci- 
sive reason for entering an official career: the same ca- 
pacities promise good results in any other business as 
well, and perhaps the conduct of a large landed estate now- 
adays requires more intellect than to be privy-councillor. 
1 believe especially that, in the case of a property so large, 
and, in general, situated as the Kniephof estate is, the 
full strength and industry of a clever man are required to 
get the yield from those farms which they are capable of 
perhaps, even, to maintain it as it is, if the times should 
get still worse. Bernhard does not mean to give up the 
public service altogether, and he is better suited to it, I 
think, than 1 am. He is decidedly attached to the prin- 
ciples of our administration, takes pleasure in his official 
work, always is on excellent terms with his superiors, 
knows very well how to adapt himself to the relations 
which the service involves, and has a lively desire to be 
minister, or even president. But that he or I, or both of 

35 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

us together, while away on the public service, could per- 
sonally administer three large estates, incidentally and 
par distance, I hold to be impossible without great and 
dangerous injury to our possessions ; for the management 
of an important estate, even when one lives on it, cannot 
be carried on efficiently even together with the affairs of 
the president of a provincial court, if these have consci- 
entious attention. Further, even if Bernhard's presence 
sufficed for the management of our estates, 1 am convinced 
that, from a purely material standpoint, I can employ my 
activity more advantageously in agriculture than in the 
public service, aside from the fact that 1 consider the pos- 
session of a large fortune as a prerequisite to enjoyment of 
the public service, so that 1 may make my appearance in 
public, whatever the situation, with the eclat that 1 think 
becoming, and also may be in a position easily to surren- 
der all advantages which my office affords as soon as my 
official duties conflict with my conviction or my taste. 
What would be the outlook, then, for me, in my utter pov- 
erty, who of old have a dangerous tendency to spend more 
than 1 get a tendency that 1 now combat successfully in 
my solitude, while 1 can scarcely endure falling behind 
any one in any respect when 1 am in the company of my 
equals? If my career were the most successful 1 could 
expect, 1 should have an income on which 1, with my re- 
quirements, could marry and set up a household in the 
city in my fortieth year, perhaps as president, or the like, 
when 1 shall be dried up with documentary dust, a hypo- 
chondriac, diseased in chest and abdomen from sitting, 
and need a wife as a nurse. For this moderate advantage, 
for the itch to have myself called H err Prdsident, for the 
consciousness that 1 am seldom worth as much to the 
country as 1 cost it, but that sometimes my influence is a 

36 






1838] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

hinderance and an injury, while in general 1 fulfil what 1 
indiscreetly assumed as a duty for this 1 am finally re- 
solved not to give up my convictions, my independence, 
my whole vital force and activity, so long as there are 
thousands, and among these many distinguished people, 
to whose taste those prizes are sufficiently precious to make 
them glad to fill the place which 1 leave empty. . . . 

Here follow some apologies for the length of the letter 
and other things a multitude of compliments, protesta- 
tions, and hopes ; and at the end a lot of good resolutions, 
uttered in the modest conviction that 1 shall always con- 
tinue to be a very estimable member of human society. 
But all this is not found in my rough draft, which is 
very incomplete and confused, so that 1 have been able to 
reproduce much of it only approximately, or not at all, 
for my letter was at least twice as long as this. 1 especially 
miss one thing that 1 regret, on Bernhard's account par- 
ticularly, a discursive argument against his proposition 
to be office-holder and agriculturist at the same time 
when one would certainly neglect one thing in favor 
of the other, attaining nothing perfect in either, and in 
the end falling between two stools. Yet this letter is al- 
ready too long, and you will certainly have trouble in study- 
ing it all through. When you go to Kniephof, please take 
it to Bernhard, or send it to him. And please write me 
soon whether it is your wish that 1 should go to Stettin 
or Kniephof when you are there, or whether you prefer 
to come to Carlsburg so that we may draw up the contract 
for the sale of Kiilz, since the election of Landrath may 
give us trouble, and then it would be important for us to 
have one vote more. When Bernhard once gets to be 
Landrath 1 shall make an effort to be chosen district deputy ; 
then he can do the representing very comfortably if he likes, 

37 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

When 1 came from Carlsburg I spent twenty-four hours 
in Putbus. An acquaintance of mine from the island * took 
me there with him. I dined with the prince and learned 
from him much of interest about his embassy.f He asked 
whether you still carried on the potato distillery so zeal- 
ously. He has founded a sugar factory, very pretty and 
complete, but it is not yet in operation. He invited me to 
inspect it, and was generally very nice. A very pretty 
Lady von Stockhausen, who comes from Hanover and now 
lives in Berlin, was taking the baths there, and I made her 
acquaintance on this occasion, as well as that of her fat, 
light-haired husband. On the return trip I suffered from 
sea-sickness, which did me a lot of good, by-the-way. I 
wish you the like i.e., without sea-sickness and beg 
you to give my cordial salutations to mother, and soon 
to send me news of her condition. Your obedient son, 

BISMARCK. 



SCHONHAUSEN, February 17, 1847. 

ONLY BELOVED JEANETTE FRIEDERICKE CHAR- 
LOTTE ELEONORE DOROTHEA, Just by way of va- 
riety I am going to write you in the morning, and, sooth 
to say, on a gloomy, rainy, morning. I will at least let 
the sun shine in me while 1 think only of you. It is 
half past eight, and here, sixteen feet away from the win- 
dow, it is so dark that 1 can scarcely write. So then, you, 
Black Sun, must shine within me very bright if I am to 
succeed. How can black give light? Only in the form 
of polished ebony or lava. Smooth and hard as that 
you are not; therefore, my metaphor of the black sun is 

* Riigen. f On the accession of Queen Victoria. 

38 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

false. Are you not rather a dark, warm summer night, 
with fragrance of flowers and heat-lightning? for I 
should hardly like to say a starry and moonlight night: 
that picture seems to me too monotonously placid. . . . 
I am interrupted. 

I have been bargaining for horses the whole morning, 
and I behaved like the women at Siegmund's or Rogge's. 
After 1 had made the dealer lead before me about twenty 
in the maddest rain on smooth ice, I bought nothing, 
although they were all Danish horses. Speaking of horses, 
it occurs to me that you must ride, even if 1 must turn into 
a horse to carry you. Haven't you any physician there 
who will make the necessity plain to your father? Make 
a tool of him so that he shall say that you can't fail to 
go blind, or something of that kind, if you do not ride. 
Without lying he can say that it is necessary for your 
health. For the rest, your letter of the I2th gave me quite 
uncommon pleasure : in the first place, because I am not 
such a spoiled creature as you are, and scarcely dared to 
hope that I should have a reply so early as Sunday to my 
letter which you could not receive before Thursday even- 
ing, according to the postal arrangements there, although 
it reached Stolp Wednesday morning. My most cordial 
thanks for it; and persevere in this course. Further, 
I notice with especial satisfaction that your letter to me 
is in the years of increase. When I first saw it, it was 
one leaf in size; the next time it was two, and now it is 
three. Let it keep growing until it comes to me as big 
as a volume. 

You are right, my heart; mistrust is the bitterest, most 
terrible torment. It is nothing else but doubt, the first 
seed of all evil, applied to the intercourse of men among 
themselves the source of almost all bitterness and hos- 

39 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

tility. Somewhere it is written : " He who does not love 
his neighbor whom he sees, how shall he love God whom 
he does not see?" I should like to say the same thing in 
reference to confidence instead of love. We have, even 
in the distrustful legal system, the adage, " Quivis bonus 
habetur donee mains probetur " (Let every one be accounted 
good until he is proved bad) . So then, if you wish to be 
nothing but a hard-hearted judge to me, you should trust 
me until you have learned by experience that 1 deserve mis- 
trust. But if you love me, you should forgive me seven 
times seventy times, even if 1 have actually sinned against 
you. Will you be able to do that? Four hundred and 
ninety times ! I shall not require it so often as that, at least 
for gross offences. But even if you are actually inclined to 
mistrust, you need not, on my account, make superhuman 
efforts to control yourself in that respect; time will cure 
that, and if my past life fails to inspire you with trust 
in my constancy, nevertheless you will soon convince 
yourself that you can have no doubt at least as to my true- 
heartedness. Besides, your possible mistrust will always 
be harmless between us, because (I could explain the psy- 
chological reasons were I not hurried to catch the mail) 
your mistrust will not offend me in the least, and be- 
cause I myself, who used to trust almost no one without 
the most convincing proofs, have an immovable and in- 
exhaustible confidence in you. The thesis, " Truth is the 
very fire that eternally vivifies and sustains the germ of 
existence," is one of those misty, indefinite phrases as 
to which it is difficult for one to get a clear conception, 
and which often have injurious results when they are 
transferred from poetry to actuality especially by women 
who as young girls have observed life almost exclusively 
through the spectacles of the poets (the life of the larger 

40 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

world, I mean). But forgive me: the gray rain is having 
its effect upon me, so that I involuntarily fall into the fret- 
ful doctrinaire tone of an old uncle. I do not want to 
instruct you or improve you remain as you are. What 
I say expresses only a sort of exercise of my thoughts. 

Appearances indicate that we shall not continue to have 
snow and thermometer at 10 up to April II, and presum- 
ably from Friday on, when you are snugly ensconced 
on the sofa in the evening, or at night are awakened by 
mamma, you may think how the torn little banner of 
your knight and servant flutters in the nocturnal storm 
and rain on the brink of the riotous floods, on a brown 
horse that, pricking up its ears and snorting, gives token 
of its terror at the thunderous noise of the conflict in which 
the gigantic fields of ice engage with one another when 
they have drawn apart in discord and their mighty ruins 
tower and split into pieces in the eddy. Have you never 
seen the ice-drive of a great river? It is one of Nature's 
most impressive spectacles. 

From my last letter you will, moreover, have formed 
the opinion that the summons of the sovereign king for 
April will apparently raise up no new separating wall 
between us, whose downfall we should be obliged to await. 
Country and king doubtless lose through this circumstance 
one of the most distinguished representatives and a pillar 
of the throne in the Reichstag but our love is the winner. 

I am so much obliged to you for taking up with French 
a little; and the fact that you did this before I requested 
it is a new guarantee of our mutual understanding, if 
there were need of it. 

If you are fond of sad poems Lenau, etc. at present, 
I do not see in that a reversal of your former cheerful mood, 
and still less a contradiction to your heart's healthful 

4 1 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

impulses, but rather an advance in sensitiveness to poetry 
and an insight into it. Innocent songs of spring are the 
verses of childhood and twelve-year-old-hood, of larks and 
lambs. It is, I think, deeply inherent in human nature 
I would say, in the unconscious recognition of suffering 
and woe on earth, and vague yet mighty longing for bet- 
ter and nobler conditions that, among people who are 
not quite easy-going and superficial, the dwelling upon 
the fragmentariness, the nothingness, the pain, that rule 
our present life, awakens more response than does the 
touching upon those less-potent elements which produce 
in us temporarily the flowers of untroubled cheerfulness, 
quickly fading, whose only native soil is childhood. Every 
person cultivated in intelligence and heart is affected and 
moved by the various kinds of tragedy on the stage and 
in real life in a fashion to which the idyllic and comic, in 
their most perfect form, can never attain. To be exalted to 
the level of cheerfulness (in the higher sense) and con- 
tentment, gives the conception of majesty, of the divine, 
which the human being can only in exceptional, favored 
moments and aspects feebly reflect. The thing that in 
an earthly sense is impressive and affecting, that can 
ordinarily be represented by human means, is always 
related to the fallen angel, who is beautiful, but without 
peace; great in his plans and endeavors, but without 
success; proud and sad. Such things as there are, out- 
side of the province of religion, to stir our emotions, can- 
not, therefore, be cheerful and happy, but only serve us as 
a constant finger-post, showing where we may find peace. 
If your mind has grown more receptive for the poetry of 
autumn, of frost on a night in May, and all human ex- 
periences of this class, then that fact proves that you are 
no longer a twelve-year-old. The storm that rages in 

4 2 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the tops of the old trees, bending and breaking them, 
passes over the heads of children, children in body and 
mind, as it does over the little trees in the forest; on be- 
coming larger they grow up into the layer of storms, and 
their roots must become stronger if they are not to fall. 
Our little Annchen seems to be growing also. When 
trees are injured in a storm, resin trickles from the wounds 
like alleviating tears, and heals them ; but if they seek not 
protection against lacerations of that kind in their own 
resistant power, but repeatedly draw upon the medicament 
of the resinous tears (what an accidental play on the 
word !*) they exhaust the source and wither. 

"Words, words, words/' you will say. 

How deeply I feel with you your mother's illness! It 
makes me uneasy perhaps without reason, as I do not 
yet know what her disease is; but do write me more ex- 
plicitly about it. What you write about Mathai is not, 
I fancy, to be taken in connection with the Versin cousin? 
I shudder at the thought: to marry a piano-forte, with a 
little monkey as a manikin on top of it! "Did I find the 
pastor's wife disagreeable?" From what you say it seems 
so, almost. In no event, however, was it a feeling of deep- 
seated aversion, for I don't remember her, either for good 
or evil : I have not the slightest idea what she looks like. 
If you wish, I shall make her acquaintance once more, 
nibbling at the hook of her amiability to see whether I 
shall be caught. 

Among the women correspondents who spoil you, you 
refer to a " Pauline." Who the devil is Pauline? Another 
cousin I do not know? Apropos of the devil, I can't find 
any place in the Bible where it is forbidden to take the 

* The word is the compound * Harz-thranen," resin-drops or heart- 
tears. 

43 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

name of the devil in vain. If you know one, tell me 
of it. 

My brother-in-law was obliged to return in haste because 
my sister expects her accouchement in a few days. Moritz 
has not yet answered me ; and as he has the habit of being 
very prompt with his replies to letters like my last, espe- 
cially I infer from this that he is in the humor of afflic- 
tion which can still find no echo to the tone of my letter. 
If I could do or say anything whatever for his consolation ? 
The only thing is the companionship of sympathetic people : 
how bright he was in Reinf eld ! I must divert him for a 
day or two when 1 go to see you again, even though you 
may scold; it is necessary. I mean to write him again 
this evening, if possible. 

I am really at war with myself as to whether or not, 
assuming that the danger from ice and water has passed 
by the 3d of March, I shall postpone the sessions which 
I have after that and employ the time up to the 20th in 
going to see you, my heart. On the 20th 1 must, infaillible- 
ment, be here. It is not certain, and yet it is likely, that 
I shall not be held by my official duties on the 4th; and 
what, then, you will ask, does prevent me? What interferes 
with this plan is a thing usually strange to me avarice, the 
root of all evil. This winter I have bothered myself some- 
what more than usual about the care of the poor in this 
neighborhood, and have found misery that could not be 
worse, if not in my villages, at least in the neighboring 
town of Jerichow. When I think how one dollar helps 
along such a hunger-stricken family for weeks, it seems 
to me almost like a theft from the poor who are hungry 
and cold if I spend thirty dollars to make the journey. 
I could, indeed, give that amount and still take the trip, 
but that does not change matters; twice or ten times that 

44 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

sum would relieve only a part of the suffering. Tell me, 
does this scruple hurt you that my haste to see you does 
not prevent me from balking at mere contemptible money? 
1 have, as I said, not yet reached a decision in this matter; 
nor do 1 yet know whether it will be possible for me to travel 
soon after the 3d; it depends on the weather. After the 
20th 1 think I shall unquestionably be able to travel, and 
the latest date on which 1 shall set out is, as I look at 
it, the 2ist that is, in about four weeks. Shall 1 come 
sooner if my duties will permit? Command, and 1 obey I 
1 shall then quiet myself like a sophist with the reflection 
that it is no extravagance which 1 indulge in for my pleas- 
ure, but a duty that 1 fulfil to my fiancee. That both 
come to the same thing is not my fault, and the poor shall 
still, in any case, have as much as the journey costs. This 
is a very ticklish question, how far I can hold myself 
justified in using for my pleasure the means that God 
has intrusted to my management, while there are people 
who are sick from want and cold in my immediate neigh- 
borhood, whose beds and clothing are pawned, so that 
they cannot go out to work. "Sell what thou hast, give 
to the poor, and follow Me!" But how far can or should 
that lead us? Of the poor there are more than all the 
treasures of the king can feed. Nous verrons how it will 
turn out. 

Titan is not here, as I have learned with regret ; Malvine 
must have taken him away with her, for he was here. 
I must think how I can get him, for I positively must have 
him. And I "am to wear a velvet coat/' angela mial 
Often have I heard that knights wore the colors of their 
mistresses ; but that the latter went so far as to prescribe 
the material of the garments of that I have never read a 
word in the romances. Does this little tailor's whim fail 

45 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

to impress you, or must I appear before you next time in 
Manchester goods? It would be obligatory, in the latter 
event, to strike up a correspondence with Jourez betimes, 
for I do not know whether he will be disposed offhand to 
allow one of his customers to walk in the street in such 
garb. . . . 

I have written this letter in most fragmentary fashion, 
from beginning to end of the day, subject to continuous 
interruptions and unrelated transactions; and when I 
read it over now it strikes me as being insipid as a com- 
missioner of justice.* Bellin has just left me, and at last 
it is still : I hear nothing but the ticking of the clock and 
Odin licking his paws. 

It is odd that as 1 write this I hear sounds as though of 
scribbling and turning over the leaves of books in the 
bed-chamber, whose door stands wide open. It is but 
half -past ten: not yet the hour when ghosts do walk. 
Don't let your mother hear that. 

My Jeanette, my Jeanneton, fare very well, hold dear 
and trust your dutiful 

B. 

SCHONHAUSEN, February 21, '47. 

JOHANNA, MY OR OUR BETTER HALF! I received 
your letter of the i8th to-day, and first I express my deep- 
felt thanks for the cordial love in it that touches me. 
Love knows no thanks and expects none, some one says. 
Thanks is a cold word. Never mind, I feel gratitude 
towards you, and yet love you. This afternoon I re- 
ceived your letter, and could not immediately sit down to 
reply to you, because I had to comply with a tiresome in- 

* I.e., as " Shallow, a country justice." 

4 6 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

vitation, and had postponed my departure until five in order 
to get the mail first. 1 have just come back, cold, wet, and 
irritated by the stupid people, but I must still write a few 
lines to-day. 

I answer your letter point by point. To be dike-captain 
is certainly very unfortunate this year, when one has a 
fiancee seventy miles away. Since last Sunday we have 
had thawing weather, and for several days we have ex- 
pected the river to break up, but it is quiet yet. A few hours 
ago I received a message by courier saying that the ice at 
Dresden and in Bohemia has been moving for two days 
a dangerous thing, when it breaks up above earlier than 
here, which may cause us much trouble. To-morrow, 
or Tuesday at latest, the ice -drive must extend to this 
point. A fortnight is the shortest period in which the per- 
formance can be finished; sometimes it lasts six, usually 
three to four weeks. My sentimental tirades in relation to 
poor people and expenses of the journey will apparently re- 
main empty phrases, and my virtue will not be put to the 
test, since the service will probably not leave me free much 
before the middle of March, without regard to possible 
postponements. At any rate, I will endeavor to have the 
meeting of the equestrian order, which was set for the 20th, 
held before that time. 

Tell me, my angel you write so earnestly about postage- 
scruples am I or are you the Pomeranian who does not 
understand a joke? Do you really believe it concerns 
me how much postage a letter costs? that I should write 
one less if it were ten times as much? This idea makes 
me uncommonly merry, if you meant it seriously, as by 
the tone I almost believe you did; and if I could draw 
caricatures I would depict my profile on the margin more 
sarcastic-sardonic-ironic-satiric than you have ever seen it. 

47 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

You remember, perhaps, that in Zimmerhausen I won- 
dered at your courage in accepting me, a half-stranger, 
in the character I still sustain; but that you know me so 
little that you regard me, a born spendthrift, as avaricious, 
shows that you have surrendered yourself in blind trust, 
in trust that can alone be inspired by a love for which I 
kiss your hands and feet. How little you know the world, 
my heart! 

Why do you so lament your last letter? I found noth- 
ing in it that was not dear to me, or could have been dearer. 
And, were it otherwise, where should you in future find 
a breast on which to disburden your own of that which 
oppresses it, if not with me? Who is more bound and 
entitled to share suffering and anxiety with you, bear 
your sicknesses, your faults, than I who have obeyed 
my impulse to do this, voluntarily, without being com- 
pelled to it by the obligation of relationship or other 
duty? You had a woman friend with whom you could 
take refuge at all times, by whom you were never re- 
pulsed. Do you miss her in this way in an exigency? 
My dear, dear Johanna, must I tell you once more that 
I love you ; sans phrase, that we ought to share with each 
other joy and suffering I your suffering and you mine; 
that we are not united for the sake of showing and shar- 
ing with each other only that which gives pleasure; but 
that you may pour out your heart at all times to me and 
I to you, whatever it may contain; that I must and will 
bear your sorrows, your thoughts, your naughtinesses, 
if you have any, and love you as you are not as you 
ought to be or might be? Make me serviceable, use me 
for what purpose you will, ill-treat me without and within, 
if you have the wish to do so. I am there for that pur- 
pose, at your disposal; but never be embarrassed in any 






1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

way with me. Trust me unreservedly, in the conviction 
that I accept everything that comes from you with pro- 
found love, whether it be glad or patient. Do not keep 
your gloomy thoughts for yourself while you look on 
me with cheerful brow and merry eyes, but share with me 
in word and look what you have in your heart, whether 
it be blessing or sorrow. Never be faint-hearted with me, 
and if anything in yourself appears to you indiscreet, 
sinful, depressing, reflect that everything of that kind 
is present in me a thousand times more, and that I am 
saturated with it far too thoroughly and deeply to look 
on such things with contempt when seen in others, or 
to become aware of them in you otherwise than with 
love, even if not always with patience. Look upon us as 
mutual f ather - confessors ; as more than that, since we, 
according to the Scripture, are to be "one flesh/' 

The 22d, morning. 

1 have just been abruptly torn from sweetest dreams 
to be told that the ice is beginning to move in itself a 
very favorable bit of news. The water is rising an inch 
every hour, and will probably continue at that rate and 
somewhat slower, if no ice-pack ensues, until it stands 
ten or twelve feet higher than at present. How long it 
will then remain at such a height on that it depends 
when 1 shall see you. For 1 must see you at last as soon 
as the Elbe allows me to go, in spite of the Diet of the 
Circle and everything: otherwise your image will grow 
fainter and fainter until it will be invisible. For the meet- 
ing of the equestrian order, however, 1 must be here. 1 
can only write a few lines while the horses are saddled, 
and that makes me heartily sorry, since 1 was so full of 
instruction last evening that to-day 1 should have liked 
D 49 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

to give you a good stroking until you purred comfortably ; 
but who knows when 1 can write again in the next few 
days? And so 1 will not keep this letter, though it is 
short. Do not take pains to become a stiff, smooth hedge 
from the outset: it can be strong and green only on con- 
dition that it grows up unrestrained and is trimmed down 
to the quick by the gardener and that 1 shall certainly 
not prevail on my heart to do. Rather have the free growth 
of the wild rose : the hateful moss and the too-sharp thorns 
we shall both endeavor to remove without pain, or at least 
carefully. Farewell; the cakes of ice are playing the 
" Pappenheim March " as a summons to me, and the chorus 
of mounted peasants is singing " Lively, Comrades !" Why 
do the ice blocks not really do it? How beautiful that 
would be, and how poetical ! It is to me like a breath of 
fresh life that this tiresome waiting is past, and the affair 
begins to move. To-night " 1 stand in the dark midnight," 
and you " To the Lord devoutly pray for your dearest far 
away/' Je t'embrasse. Your vassal. 

B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, February 23, '47. 

MY ANGEL! 1 shall not send this letter on its way 
to-morrow, it's true, but 1 do want to make use of the few 
unoccupied minutes left to me to satisfy the need 1 am 
conscious of every hour, to communicate with you, and 
forthwith to compose a " Sunday letter " to you once more. 
To-day 1 have been "on the move" all day long. "The 
Moorish king rode up and down," unfortunately not 
"through Granada's royal town/' but between Havelberg 
and Jerichow, on foot, in a carriage, and on horseback, 
and got mighty cold doing so because, after the warm 

50 






1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

weather of the last few days, 1 had not made the slightest 
preparation to encounter five degrees below freezing, 
with a cutting north wind, and was too much in haste 
or too lazy to mount the stairs again when 1 noticed the 
fresh air. During the night it had been quite endurable 
and superb moonlight. A beautiful spectacle it was, 
too, when the great fields of ice first set themselves mas- 
sively in motion, with explosions like cannon-shots, shatter- 
ing themselves against one another; they rear, shoving 
over and under each other; they pile up house-high, and 
sometimes build dams obliquely across the Elbe, in front 
of which the pent stream rises until it breaks through 
them with rage. Now are they all broken to pieces in 
the battle the giants and the water very thickly covered 
with ice-cakes, the largest of which measure several square 
rods, which it bears out to the free sea like shattered chains, 
with grumbling, clashing noises. This will go on so for 
about three days more, until the ice that comes from 
Bohemia, which passed the bridge at Dresden several days 
ago, has gone by. (The danger is that the ice-cakes by 
jamming together may make a dam, and the stream rise in 
front of this often ten to fifteen feet in a few hours.) 
Then comes the freshet from the mountains which floods 
the bed of the Elbe, often a mile in width, and is dangerous 
in itself, owing to its volume. How long that is to last 
we cannot tell beforehand. The prevailing cold weather, 
combined with the contrary sea wind, will certainly re- 
tard it. It may easily last so long that it will not be worth 
while to go to Reinf eld before the 20th. If only eight days 
should be left me, would you have me undertake it, never- 
theless? or will you wait to have me without interrup- 
tion after the 20th, or perhaps i8th? It is true that fiance 
and dike-captain are almost incompatible; but were 1 

51 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

not the latter, 1 have not the slightest idea who would 
be. The revenues of the office are small, and the duties 
sometimes laborious; the gentlemen of the neighbor- 
hood, however, are deeply concerned, and yet without 
public spirit. And even if one should be discovered who 
would undertake it for the sake of the title, which is, strange 
to say, much desired in these parts, yet there is no one here 
(may God forgive me the offence) who would not be either 
unfit for the business or faint-hearted. A fine opinion, 
you will think, 1 have of myself, that 1 only am none of 
this ; but 1 assert with all of my native modesty that 1 have 
all these faults in less degree than the others in this part 
of the country which is, in fact, not saying much. 

I have not yet been able to write to Moritz, and yet I 
must send something to which he can reply, inasmuch 
as my former letter has not as yet brought a sign of life. 
Or have you crowded me out of his heart, and do you fill 
it alone? The little pale-faced child is not in danger, 
1 hope. That is a possibility in view of which I am terri- 
fied whenever 1 think of it that as a crowning misfort- 
une of our most afflicted friend, this thread of connection 
with Marie might be severed. But she will soon be a 
year and a half old, you know; she has passed the most 
dangerous period for children. Will you mope and talk 
of warm hands and cold love if I pay a visit to Moritz on 
my next journey, instead of flying to Reinfeld without 
a pause as is required of a loving youth? 

That you are getting pale, my heart, distresses me. 
Do you feel well otherwise, physically, and of good courage? 
Give me a bulletin of your condition, your appetite, your 
sleep. I am surprised also that Hedwig Dewitz has written 
to you such a heterogeneous nature, that can have so 
little in common with you. She was educated with my 

52 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

sister for several years in Kniephof, although she was 
four or five years the elder of the two. Either she loves 
you which I should find quite easy to explain or has 
other prosaic intentions. I fancy that she, as is quite nat- 
ural, does not feel at home in her father's house ; she has, 
therefore, always made her home with others for long 
periods and with satisfaction. 

In your letter which lies before me I come upon "self- 
control" again. That is a fine acquisition for one who 
may profit by it, but surely to be distinguished from com- 
pulsion. It is praiseworthy and amiable to wean one's 
self from tasteless or provoking outbursts of feeling, or 
to give to them a more ingratiating form ; but I call it self- 
constraint which makes one sick at heart when one 
stifles his own feelings in himself. In social intercourse 
one may practise it, but not we two between ourselves. 
If there be tares in the field of our heart, we will mutually 
exert ourselves so to dispose of them that their seed cannot 
spring up; but if it does, we will openly pull it up, but 
not cover it artificially with straw and hide it that harms 
the wheat and does not injure the tares. Your thought 
was, I take it, to pull them up unaided, without paining 
me by the sight of them ; but let us be in this also one heart 
and one flesh, even if your little thistles sometimes prick 
my fingers. Do not turn your back on them nor conceal 
them from me. You will not always take pleasure in 
my big thorns, either so big that I cannot hide them; 
and we must pull at them both together, even though 
our hands bleed. Moreover, thorns sometimes bear very 
lovely flowers, and if yours bear roses we may perhaps 
let them alone sometimes. " The best is foe to the good " 
in general, a very true saying ; so do not have too many 
misgivings about all your tares, which I have not yet 

53 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

discovered, and leave at least a sample of them for me. 
With this exhortation, so full of unction, I will go to sleep, 
although it has just struck ten, for last night there was 
little of it; the unaccustomed physical exercise has used 
me up a bit, and to-morrow I am to be in the saddle again 
before daylight. Very, very tired am 1, like a child. 

The 24th, morning. 

Strange to say, the water has not risen in the least over- 
night ; an ice jam and pack must therefore have occurred 
above, so that it can't get down. I am rather angry that 
I have no news about it, and will appease myself by turn- 
ing my thoughts to you, angela. It is quite cold and 
windy again, especially for riding. Every two miles, 
all along the Elbe, picket guards of four riders are posted, 
so that I may find messengers at my disposal eve^where, 
and news and orders may be forwarded as rapidly as 
possible, and yet since midnight the reports from up- 
stream are lacking it is an incredible lack of discipline, 
but in a few hours I shall know the cause of it, et j'y mettrai 
bon ordre. 

You poor heart, I am wearying you with the flood 
business, and you surely want to read of quite other things. 
So I will tell you also that SenfTt* writes to me, " A clever, 
good, and devout girl has become yours, and that is a 
great deal/' There you see how people of insight think 
of you. What does he find "a great deal" of in that? 
That a girl is clever, good, and devout, or that one of this 
kind has become mine? A verse, which I regard as emi- 
nently mendacious, has lodged somewhere in my memory : 
" Out of guile, cunning, deceit, and conceit, Nature wove 

*Von Senfft-Pilsach, later first President of Pomerania. 
54 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

with soft gossamer threads a fickle thing; it is called 
girl." Johanna, is there really a bit of truth in it, and 
can any one who knows the world, as Senfft does, enter- 
tain such views of the show-piece of creation? No; he 
finds it "a great deal" that happiness so unmerited has 
been accorded to a scamp like myself, and he is right. 
Though you should now modestly protest against this 
explanation, yet the moment will come when you will 
accept it. Half in jest, half in earnest, I believe that; 
however, it will pass by that moment. But I still retain 
the conviction that the fact is as S. says. 

Just now a sick old woman came from the village to 
beg, and I repulsed her harshly because her only daughter 
broke into a house and stole one hundred Reichsthaler, 
and is in jail, although she denies it with equal stupidity 
and boldness, and I believe her mother knew of it. I sup- 
pose that was very merciless on my part. "Judge not, 
that ye be not judged." But one is so often deceived by 
mendicity, and so many are in need who do not deserve 
to be. But I will inquire more closely into their circum- 
stances, and not meddle in God's retributive office. 

Evening. 

To-day was my deceased mother's birthday. How 
clearly it rises before me when my parents lived in Berlin 
on the Opernplatz next to the Catholic church, and when 
I used to be brought from the boarding-school by the game- 
keeper in the morning, and found my mother's room decorat- 
ed with lily-of-the-valley, of which she was particularly 
fond, and with gifts of garments, books, and interesting 
trinkets; then a big dinner, with many young officers, 
who are now old majors, and carousing, old, decorated 
gentlemen, who, ere now, have been devoured by worms. 

55 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

And when I had been sent away from the table, as though 
my hunger had been appeased, the chambermaid took 
me in hand, to ruin my stomach utterly with purloined 
caviar, kisses, etc. What a lot all these domestics did 
steal. My mother was a beautiful woman who loved 
display, with a clear and lively intelligence, but little of 
that winning warmth of manner which the Berliner calls 
"Gemuth." She wished me to learn much and to come 
to much, and it often seemed to me that she was hard, 
cold towards me. What a mother is worth to her child 
one learns only when it is too late when she is dead. 
The most mediocre maternal love, with all the dilution 
of maternal selfishness, is a very giant compared with 
any childish affection. My father I really loved, and 
when I was not with him I formed resolutions that had 
little endurance; for how often have I rewarded his truly 
unmeasured, disinterested, kindly tenderness for me with 
coldness and apathy. And yet I cannot withdraw the 
assertion that I was fond of him at the bottom of my heart. 
I never spoke with my father about matters of faith. His 
belief was not quite that of Christianity : he relied so upon 
God's love and mercy that everything else than this re- 
liance seemed to him superfluous. About my mother's 
religion I only remember that she read much in the Hours 
of Devotion, and that she was often terrified and angry 
at my pantheistic tendency and utter disbelief in the Bible 
and Christianity. She did not go to church and was 
much attached to Swedenborg, the prophetess of Pre- 
vorst, and the theories of Mesmer, Schubert, Justinus 
Kerner an enthusiasm that stood in strange contra- 
diction to her otherwise cold, intellectual clearness. So 
far as I know, her belief also was not Christian, as we 
understand the word. Do you know what a prince of 

56 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Friesland said at his baptism ? He asked the priest whether 
his heathen ancestors had been damned for their un- 
belief. Upon an affirmative reply he refused to let him- 
self be baptized, for, where his father was, he wished also 
to be. I mention that only as a fact, without applying it 
to myself. Many comfortless thoughts, I will not say 
doubts, connect themselves with it. Two shall be grind- 
ing at one mill ; the one shall be taken and the other rejected. 
If God will have it so, there is no grumbling, but Well, 
as to the " but " orally when we have opportunity. 

I, too, am already beginning to be spoiled with letters. 
I half thought the mail would bring me one from you 
to-day, but sought in vain for one that began with " Right 
Honorable." Irritating business letters, unexpectedly 
pressing demands for money going back to my father's 
day, and one from Moritz, which shows great depression, 
however much he tries to pick himself up the poor young 
fellow. The letter makes an impression on me as though 
written by a person who is tired to death, who tries by 
force to keep awake, and nods off between the confused 
sentences. It is a dangerous thing to love as he did, and 
yet it is a beautiful thing, so long as the hope of reunion 
is not abandoned. But he who should love in this fashion, 
and either not believe at all in continued life or resurrection, 
or believe in the damnation of the other part? "With- 
out thee, where would be my heaven?" That sounds al- 
most sacrilegious. But were it not the highest degree 
of love, consciously to sacrifice one's own salvation to 
her he loves? Can you imagine the case that some one's 
soul would be saved by another's voluntary perdition? 
The possibility is conceivable. Should I, in that case, 
consent to the loss of yours in order to save my own? 
All nonsense. Moritz is full of gratitude for our reciprocal 

57 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

friendship. The latter we will maintain for him; the 
former we will strive to deserve. About the conception 
of conjugal happiness he is moved by one of my expres- 
sions to dispense a priestly admonition which goes wide 
of the mark, because he attaches too narrow and trivial 
a sense to my words about "being happy" and "con- 
ferring happiness/' and seems to think 1 mean by them 
nothing more than freedom from domestic vexation and 
that sort of petty household woes. He directs my atten- 
tion to guidance from above ; but that goes without saying 
when I speak of "being happy." He begs earnestly 
for a visit from me, and he shall have it. ... 

Apropos of Stolp: It was strange that the hussars 
in Schlawe declared themselves all the more surprised 
by our engagement because it passed for certain there 
that 1 was engaged to a Countess Schulenburg. For a 
long time Caroline wanted to make such a match as that, 
and impressed it upon me daily last autumn in Unglingen, 
while 1 was forging entirely different plans. How come 
Caroline and the hussars to agree? 

On my window-sill, among all sorts of crocuses and 
hyacinths, stand two camellias which always inspire 
me with strange thoughts. One of them, slender and 
pretty, with its ornamental crown and soft, pale, very 
pale, pink blossoms, but little foliage and only two buds, 
transports me to Reddetin, holds itself rather stiffly and 
lisps English. The other strikes the eye with far less 
beauty, and its stalk betrays in its gnarled twisting lack 
of care in pruning. From the midst of the foliage looks 
out a dead branch, but the crown is rich in leaves and the 
leaves greener than its neighbor's: it promises a rich 
bloom in its eight buds, and its color is deep dark red and 
white in irregular, gay variegation. Do you take the 

58 



1847] TH E LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

comparison amiss? It is a lame comparison, moreover, 
for I do not love camellias, because they are without odor, 
and you I love precisely for the fragrance of your spirit's 
bloom, which is white, dark red, and black. 

I really am capable of a passion for flowers, but those 
without perfume which are the pride of most gardeners 
dahlias, peonies, tulips, camellias have been indifferent 
to me since I was a child. With regard to people, I have 
again and again been obliged to disabuse my mind of the 
naturally implanted error, which from external beauty 
unconsciously infers an interior to correspond. I never 
have found such an agreement: the nearest approach 
to it is in Caroline, but her beauty is very far from reg- 
ularity, and on the other hand her worldly-wise and 
world-loving sense lacks precisely that je ne sais quoi, 
that fragrant breath from the unfathomed inmost depths 
of the spirit, which is neither poetry nor love nor religion, 
but which reinforces and elevates all three, and, where its 
influence is felt, makes one more receptive to them. Its 
caricature I call sentimentality; the genuine thing I feel 
when I am with you. But I know no word for it just 
now. 

Perhaps I shall write a few lines more in the morning, 
or maybe I shall only have time to seal this up. The 
water does not seem to be dangerous on this occasion, but 
if we do not have warmer weather with rain, it will un- 
fortunately be slow in running off. Most cordial re- 
membrances to your dear parents, to whom I should also 
write, and to whom I beg that you will communicate any 
part of my letters that you think suitable. Farewell. 

Your 

BISMARCK. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

The 25th. 

At last the Elbe has risen two feet overnight. If she 
is going to be so tiresomely gentle-spirited every year as 
this year till now, then I should resign the command of her 
floods. I'd rather walk than ride lazy horses. It is now, 
at 7 A.M., four degrees below freezing, but feels warmer 
to me. The snow has been falling lightly, and, without 
the slightest breeze stirring, perpendicularly, for an hour ; 
mist lies over the country; and, as here the ticking of 
the big clock, so there is no sound outside but the light 
clink of the gliding ice on the river and the monotonous 
cry of the wild geese, which tell me the welcome news 
that the melting weather will last. Even the people are 
quiet on the dike to-day, and let themselves be snowed 
on like posts, and all look sleepy for which I can hardly 
blame them, as they had the worst night-watch, from 
twelve to six. Four times in twenty-four hours they are 
relieved, but I never. 

I enclose a sample of the camellias for you, but the dark 
red will fade if Herr Boge, or whatever the name of the 
Zuckers postmaster was, keeps it three days again. I 
wonder whether they read my letters there. I always 
get yours according to schedule the second day. At the 
little stations in Pomerania there are people enough who 
are curious and have nothing to do. Where the Dresden 
railway crosses the Elbe at Riesa, breaks in the dike have 
occurred. I do not understand why more water does not 
come here. May God guard you, Jeanne the black, and 
bring us soon together. Je m'impatiente. 

25th, Evening. 

DEAREST, I cannot write to your mother without send- 
ing you a few lines of thanks for your sausage-perfumed 

60 



^gb f 




PRINCESS BISMARCK 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

letter, and bringing to light a genuine bit of childish- 
ness. You wouldn't believe how superstitious I am, 
but just when I had come in, and, according to directions 
in your mother's letter, opened the package of sausages 
and broken the seal of your letter, the large clock sud- 
denly, and quite without occasion, stopped still at three 
minutes before six. It is an old English hall-clock that 
my grandfather had from his youth up, that for seventy 
years has been standing on the same spot, had never been 
out of order, and also never had run down. I jogged it 
and it went again. Write me immediately that you are 
well and in good spirits. Your mother also complains 
that you are getting pale and thin. All that makes me 
so anxious, childish as I am. A little while ago 1 had a 
distressing experience. A respectable official whom I 
had a mind to scold because he had not been at his post, 
replied simply, "My only son has just died." It made 
me so sad. I will come as soon as the flood is over, in 
spite of all the district meetings. Only write me that you 
are well. 

I did not assume that you were distrustful in spite of 
your letter at that time; else I should perhaps not have 
sent you the English verses. I only wanted to warn 
you against it, and should not have done that if you had 
not prompted it that is, the warning. My trust in you 
is so immovable: why should I not take for granted a 
similar confidence on your part? You must really take 
my letters less seriously than you seem to do : the written 
word has such a solemn and indestructible look, and there 
is need of an inflection of the voice to explain it; but, 
my heart, I write to you chatting as if we were sitting 
together many a word for which I do not wish to be 
held responsible, as though it were spoken in confiden- 

61 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

tial, easy-going talk and were blown away by the wind. 
I am beginning to be afraid that my last letters, which 
are still on the way, will make on you a more serious im- 
pression than they ought, for they were, I fancy, quite 
astonishingly over-wise. I would so much rather say 
all that to you while 1 hold you in my arms and look into 
your e3^es : then 1 could be sure not to give you pain, my 
heart, and could immediately see it in your features if 
1 had been unskilful like the bear who smashes the 
fly on his master's forehead with a stone. When you 
read the English poems, my angel, keep in mind that 
1 did not make them, but Byron. Had 1 been the poet 
and told the truth in them, the contents would certainly 
have been love once for all. 

Do write me immediately how you are getting on in 
health. I had such a hateful dream. Moritz had said 
to you that it was all up with us, we were lost together 
because my faith was not correct and firm, and you shoved 
me into the rolling sea from the plank which I had seized 
in the shipwreck, for fear it would not support us both, 
and you turned from me, and I was once more as of old, 
only poorer by loss of a hope and of a friend. When I 
awoke, I smiled with the accepted lover's complacency: 
"The English call that a nightmare, the Germans call 
it an Alp." You must have received a letter this even- 
ing, a fragmentary one, perhaps just as the old clock of 
fate stopped. 1 am so nervously excited to-day; I will 
take another ride to quiet myself, and look after the guards. 
Do take care of your eyes, my dear one. Soyez Jeanne 
la sage. How nice of your mother to write me. Forgive 
this too-hurried scrawl. My musical huntsman is play- 
ing on the flute down-stairs a very soothing tune, " Thine 
is my heart " and it shall always be, you angel. B. 

62 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

It is seven degrees below freezing again, and clear star- 
light: the water is kept back by it uncommonly. But 
were it otherwise the danger would be very great this 
year. At last the Elbe rose to-day three feet, and fills 
all its bed like a lake. If rains and high winds come while 
the water is up, there may be distress yet. So long as 
the Elbe does not take to its old bed i. e., from a lake 
become a river 1 cannot get away under the regulations, 
as 1 unfortunately have no substitute. Let us be patient 
during this time, and take comfort in view of other be- 
trothed couples severed for years. Bellin received the 
letters with deep emotion, and showed them to me with 
pride. 

Reading this letter at daylight, I had a great mind to 
burn it, and should have done so if I had had the time for 
writing another one. It's all humbug', but, the ink being 
spent, you must take your chance. Read it, tear it, and 
never mind.* 

SCHONHAUSEN, February 28, 1847. 

BELOVEDST, With but a few lines can I thank you 
for your letter of Friday, as I must still let streams of offi- 
cial ink (which is much more gray than other sorts) flow 
through my pen this evening; but to-morrow must start 
early, and not return to the house all day. 

In reply to your letter of last Sunday as yet the longest, 
and, therefore, most valued I would tell you how deeply 
1 was touched by the sympathy you have bestowed upon 
my past life : 1 took the occasion to pity myself once more 
quite unfeignedly that life and people have so played with 
me. 1 was actually quite aged already in my twenty-third 

* Paragraph in italics was written in English. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

year at any rate, far and away more blase than at pres- 
ent; and I regarded myself as quite unhappy, found the 
world and life in it stale and unprofitable, more so than 
I was willing to hint to my cousin or my father. I have 
perhaps grown more capricious, too, like my handwriting 
you are right in that: one usually grows more so with 
years; still, with women it becomes easier for me to con- 
trol this fault, and it will hardly be your lot to yield against 
your inclination. But how is it going to be with me? 
I am really curious to know whether you will yet get me 
into a black velvet covering or not. In March, at any 
rate, you cannot accomplish that without danger to my 
health it is only a summer costume. 

The Elbe begins to fall again, but is still eight to ten 
feet higher than the surrounding country, and this incal- 
culable mass of water is held together and prevented from 
inundating the country only by narrow dikes, just wide 
enough for a wagon to be driven on them. If God did not 
send the freezing weather to enchain the confluents from 
time to time, we should be exposed to very dangerous 
conditions. Meanwhile the larger part of the water has 
now passed down-stream, I hope, or is passing, and that 
which the cold held back will soon follow, for the weather 
has been mild since early this morning. Moreover, it 
has been superbly calm as yet, so that the dikes have not 
suffered from the waves. This peaceable solution of the 
matter is, however, a tiresome one also, for it results in 
a much longer duration of the freshet. If this quiet weather 
lasts, 1 think that all anxiety will have passed in eight to 
twelve days ; but if rain and storm come on, it may have 
finished two or three days sooner, though with risk, for 
there is still so much snow in the mountains that if it 
melts suddenly the water will rise above our heads. Be- 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

fore the loth, therefore, the flood will not set me free 
perhaps later. Then I have a few sessions with litigious 
peasant communities, which I could indeed arrange after 
the 20th; and yet they must come off, sooner or later. 
But even if I do postpone them, the question still remains 
whether, after deducting twice forty-eight hours for the 
journey there and back, I have time enough left over to 
go to you. Nous verrons : the result will show. 

I saw my good mare Miss Breeze depart to-day with 
some sadness. She fell on the dike several times with 
me, for no good reason- a sign that she had outlived her 
usefulness as a riding horse, at least for me. She has 
carried me over many a piece of land and many a ditch; 
in reward for which she shall find repose in the care of my 
friend, Ulrich Dewitz, a great horse-breeder, and devote 
herself till her death to the delights of maternity. I take 
the liberty of introducing to you and commending, as 
her successor here, and your future acquaintance, a six- 
year-old youth, Mr. Mousquetaire, son of Demetrius and 
Red-rover-mare, who is said to find no obstacle on the 
land too high or too broad, and who in the last stag-hunt 
in Ivenack never for a second lost sight of the leader of 
the pack. 

You care for nobody? But that is not a bit true, my 
heart, and the inference is also untrue, and, moreover, 
both of them will never be true, however romantic it seems 
to you ; it is so tiresome that, in the long run, nobody can 
endure it, even with Christianity's consolation for I 
believe it is in direct contradiction therewith, and the 
latter is eclipsed where that utterance can be true. That 
is another issue of the contest between faith and works. 
Faith that allows the believer to segregate himself from 
his brothers on this earth, so that he contents himself 
E 65 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

with a putative isolated relation to the Lord alone, in mere 
contemplation, is a dead faith, that I characterized, if 
I am not mistaken, in an earlier letter as quietism (from 
quies, rest) an erroneous way, in my opinion, into which 
pietism easily and often leads, especially with women. 
By this I mean w^ith the isolation surely not the spiritual 
arrogance that esteems itself holier than others but, 
I might say, the quiet waiting for the Lord's day, in faith 
and hope, but without what seems to me true love. Where 
that is, there the need exists, I believe, to unite one's self 
in friendship or through other ties more closely to some 
visible being than through the bonds of the universal 
Christian love. Jesus himself had a disciple whom he 
"loved/' that is, loved more deeply and differently from 
what the saying means, "Love one another" for I 
am sure you do not want to exclude this last command 
with your " caring for nobody." But you should do more : 
you should have souls that come nearer to you than others, 
even though you should some time live without me 
which, despite your sad premonitions about our never 
seeing each other again, is not likely to happen so soon. 
Nevertheless, fatta sia la tua volonta, and should it so 
happen, then think of this, my heart. I contend on 
principle against every gloomy view of the future, though 
I do not always master them; I make an effort to hope 
for the best in all circumstances, always, of course, with 
the foregoing Italian words of the Lord's Prayer as fun- 
damental thoughts. Suffering, when it comes, makes 
itself felt soon enough I do not wish to anticipate it 
through fear. 

You ask me whether a locked-up heart is a very bad 
thing. I cannot say yes, unconditionally, but 1 am very 
much of your opinion that one should not wear it on the 

66 



1847] TH LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

sleeve before everybody, but lay it open only to the eyes 
of intimate friends. 

The dividing-line between reticence and deceit, or even 
untruthfulness, it is not always easy to draw, and every 
one must act for himself as he can answer for it. In 
ordinary intercourse politeness imposes dissimulations 
enough, and a certain degree of perfection in these seems 
to me very desirable. Towards those who are greatly 
troubled and anxious when we are sick our love leads us 
to employ such dissimulations, to spare them pain; still 
oftener a lack of confidence is the occasion in cases where 
this is regarded very unfavorably, particularly towards 
parents. Nearly every mother sheds secret tears during the 
period when she must perceive that her children gradually 
perhaps against their wish, and while struggling for 
the contrary are estranged from her heart, and become 
colder and more reserved even towards her who formerly 
directed or knew every emotion of the childish spirit a 
sort of fall of man repeated in every child, in that it comes 
to feel that it must cover its faults before its mother, and 
veils itself. 

Would you really like to kill yourself with weeping, 
my angel? You should at least not let your parents hear 
that; but tell me why. (I am an Altmarker, who wants 
to know reasons ; from the time 1 was two years old until 
I was seven, I was brought up in Pomerania hence I 
sometimes can't understand a joke.) Why do you wish 
to cry? Because you have been thoughtless enough 
to promise yourself in marriage? Because your parents 
and the other people love you so? Because spring is 
coming, and we shall soon see each other again? The 
thing you lack is misfortune, my angel; or, because 
the Lord does not send it to you, you make some for your- 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

self. Among human beings, according to their con- 
stitution, every nature craves its due ration of trouble 
and sorrow; and if real troubles and sorrows are omitted, 
imagination must supply them; or if it cannot do so, one 
pines with pessimism, with general, unintelligent tear- 
fulness. Or are these still "Harzthranen?" * 

Moritz, instead of uplifting and strengthening him- 
self by your cheerfulness, is dragging you down into the 
sea of tears. In this grief, which cannot be assuaged, 
both of you betray a quite distinct lack of faith and sub- 
mission, dispute it as much as you like a doubt of re- 
union, of eternal life, a doubt of God's love. I am so very 
sorry that Moritz has not kept the joyful, trustful dis- 
position which he showed in the beginning. Would your 
grief be like this if Marie had gone away on a journey 
for "an indefinite period"? If it is different, then you do 
not believe what you profess: you only hope and wish 
it. And if you furthermore knew that she was happy 
and content on that journey? Then, too, were you not 
almost constantly separated in times past, without know- 
ing when you would see each other again or whether, 
at least in this world? With faith as I understand it, and 
as I ask God to give it, it is inconceivable to me that one 
can be inconsolable. When I write to Moritz I have the 
impulse to take him by the shoulders and shake him right 
heartily. 

Cordial remembrances to your parents. I must go 
out now, and have written these lines to-day in haste, 
while drinking salted milk as in Reinfeld. My head 
was so very full of business last evening, and still is, that 
I cannot write you freely. A cordial farewell, my love, 

* Compare letter of February 17, 1847. 
68 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

and do not weep so much; and yet if you do, at least let 
me know of it. B. 

March 1st. 

SCHONHAUSEN, March 4, 1847. 

MY DEAR HEART, On my return from the District Diet 
yesterday I was very agreeably surprised to find your 
letter, which I did not expect till to-day. All sorts of 
unforeseen police matters prevented my answering it 
this morning before the mail closed ; and now that a lively 
gallop on Mousquetaire has rid me of vexation and head- 
ache (consequences of the bad wine I had to drink yester- 
day with the delegates), I find myself for the first time in 
undisturbed tete-a-tete with your dear letter. 

You felt, no doubt, that you were a very sensible person 
when you beheld your cold-blooded, skeptical friend in the 
cloud-land of superstition and interpretation of dreams. 
Strange enough it is, too; but who will explain the con- 
tradictions that exist in the nature of every individual? 
Hobbes, the materialistic atheist, could not sleep alone 
for fear of ghosts. Now although I, trusting in God's 
supreme power and submissive to his will, am not ex- 
actly afraid of supernatural contacts and influences 
at least not more than of those which are corporeal yet 
I do believe, to express it in Hamlet's hackneyed words, 
that there are many things between heaven and earth 
of which our philosophers do not dream, or, if they do 
dream of them, of which they can give no satisfactory 
account. Yes, in the deeper sense, all in us, and out of 
us, belongs in this category, and the expression " a miracle" 
always draws from me an inward smile at the lack of 
logic, for we see miracles every minute, and nothing but 
miracles. Those for which we are blunted by daily usage 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

we account the natural course of affairs, that every pre- 
cocious fool thinks he can see through to the bottom; 
but if something attracts our notice that is new and ap- 
parently foreign to the course of the great machine hitherto 
observed, though not explained, then we cry out "mir- 
acles/' as though this were the only manifestation that 
we could not comprehend. 

One's neighbors in the country are really very burden- 
some. There I sit quite pleasantly at my writing; some- 
body knocks at the door unannounced. "Death! I 

know that is . Oh, that the tedious sneak should break 

in upon this throng of memories." As an individual 
he may be excellent; as a companion he was intolerable 
to me to-day. I made a face like a prison-door, said not 
a word, but he sat for wellnigh two hours, told me com- 
monplace stories, and talked to me about railways and 
horticulture. I have become quite unsociable a sign 
that I am growing old; I do not like to be disturbed in 
my daily customs and comfort. Immediately after he 
had left, resounded the command to Hildebrand (my 
valet) that from dinner till sunset I am never at home 
to any one. How different that used to be! any person 
with whom I could talk without formality I was glad to 
see in my house at any hour, could always find enter- 
tainment in him, and now even a scholar like Herr . . ' 
This was, however, at least the twentieth person to whom 
I was obliged to call out " Come in!" to-day, naturally with 
more of a growl each time. Shall you and I both be like 
bears in our passion to be undisturbed? In that case 
we shall have to go straightway to the Oie, and in winter 
up on the Brocken. 

Your letter made a very agreeable impression on me, 
as being quieter, less excited than sometimes by which 

70 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

I do not in the least mean to blame the excited ones, for, 
on the contrary, I like excitement, and I conceive both 
characterizations in the sense of praise (variety, etc.). 
Two things in them especially reassured me : that I have 
never wounded you in my letters, and that you clearly 
and decidedly express your indulgence and patience for 
my possible errors in religious belief and my skepticism, 
and that you will love me still, even though God should 
lead our hearts different ways. Probably in no field 
is the saying "Judge not, that ye be not judged/' more 
applicable than in matters of belief. According to my 
view, the latter are no impediment to earthly unions, pro- 
vided neither of those who are united is a scoffer and con- 
temner. A step further, and they yield an element of com- 
mon spiritual life, provided both associates are " believers " 
by which I do not mean that both believe precisely the 
same thing and attach themselves to the same formulated 
confession exactly and word for word, but only that both 
earnestly and humbly study and pray that they may 
attain to the true faith, while committing the outcome 
to God. I remember that when we were taking a walk 
from Wartensleben, we talked of some one who did not 
believe in the fall of man, or perhaps some other doctrine 
of the Bible. You were somewhat alarmed, as it seemed to 
me, because I did not accept your repudiation of such heresy 
with the same vivacity that you showed in expressing it. 
I do not know whether I am saying something new to 
you when I explain that I also have not hitherto been able 
to accept all that is written in the Bible. I certainly be- 
lieve that it contains the word of God, but only as it has 
been possible for this to be transmitted and communicated 
to us by persons who, even the most holy, were still sub- 
ject to sin and to misunderstanding. For such persons 

7 1 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

were the Apostles and the other authors of the sacred 
writings, and therefore they could only apprehend and re- 
state God's word according to their human characteristics, 
even when it came to them directly, as to the Apostles; 
still more so when it reached them, not from the Master 
himself, but through manifold human intermediation, 
as the Evangelist Luke. You know that Paul was not 
converted till after Christ's death; that this Evangelist 
was a later disciple of the Apostles and other disciples. 
Therefore, when I am in doubt, I attach more value to pas- 
sages from the writings of the Apostles themselves than 
to those of Paul and Luke. You will urge in answer the 
outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon those authors and the 
subsequent communication of it to their disciples, and 
that it is presumptuous to wish to judge of the Scriptures 
according to individual opinion; and in this you may 
perhaps be right. If it is not distasteful to you, I will 
tell you by word of mouth more about this subject and 
the foundation of my view : the written word always says 
too much for me, I think, and is so easily stretched by 
interpretation and misunderstood. Then, too, I should 
like to avoid even the appearance of wishing to draw you 
over into religious agitation like that which is going on 
in myself. I am so glad that you hold fast immovably 
to that which you have recognized as being true, and I 
should account it a sin on my part if the least item of your 
faith were shaken through my fault. I have uttered the 
foregoing merely for the sake of candor, and not as a 
result that I had won in faith, but as a way-station where 
I find myself at present, and from which God will help 
me on, as he has helped me hitherto. Be not anxious 
and concerned, therefore, at anything that might seem to 
you at all harmful or skeptical in that confession; in 

72 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

so doing you would be beginning to judge me : but recall, 
rather, what my prospects were on that Whitsuntide when 
we stood at the window together in Cardemin, and what 
a change has taken place in me since then. 

Rome was not built in a day, and all the houses in it 
do not look alike, any more than do the inmates, who 
are, nevertheless, all Romans. As for my journey, I can 
say, unfortunately, that it certainly will not take place 
before the 20th. The Elbe is harmless for the present, it 
is true, but with the great quantities of unmelted snow in 
the mountains, as soon as the thaw becomes more decided 
a second freshet cannot fail to occur. If this comes after 
the 20th, I shall not suffer myself to be detained by it: 
I am tired of waiting. But before that I have too much 
other business to be able to get away. I should be obliged 
to be here on the i8th, as a meeting of the estates pre- 
paratory to the 20th takes place on the I9th, and, accord- 
ingly, should have to leave Reinfeld on the i6th. On 
Monday, the 8th, I must be in Magdeburg, where I have 
business with Gerlach. Three long-drawn-out sessions 
here in the neighborhood and a matter with the minister 
of justice, which will necessitate a stop of several days 
in Berlin, are postponable, yet unavoidable, impediments, 
which, if I should disregard them now, would keep me 
the longer away from you after the 20th. Besides, I have 
to attend to some rather far-reaching literary work, as 
the estates of several districts of the province have in- 
trusted to me the development of a plan I suggested three 
months ago for transforming our judicial system, and 
chosen me as their representative in Berlin in this matter 
a very honorable, yet very burdensome office. If I 
had foreseen three months ago how it was going to be 
with us, I should have postponed the reform plans some- 

73 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

what ; but now they must be submitted to the King before 
the meeting of the Landtag, as the matter will probably 
come up for action in that [body]. . 

I was grieved to reach the conclusion to-day, and not 
for the first time, that I must get rid of Odin if we come 
into closer relations with B., for the foolish beast simply 
cannot stand any Jews, either genuine or baptized, and 
gives the rein to this prejudice so unrestrainedly and 
bloodthirstily that he has to be chained up as long as a 
descendant of the Patriarchs tarries in the neighborhood 
of the house which shows him to be a very sharp-eyed 
connoisseur of national peculiarities. Your mother's 
joke on my dislike of B. was not misunderstood, even 
if I did interpret it as a half-serious caution. Perhaps 
I should have done otherwise if you had made the re- 
mark, however much of a Pomeranian I have become. 
It is impossible to tell from the written word whether the 
ink, while it was wet, mirrored a bantering eye or the 
lines of anxious seriousness, and from ladies I am accus- 
tomed (I tell you in confidence) to regard many a saying 
as serious which in a man's mouth I should never take 
to be so. 

Enclosed I send you a rather insignificant view of the 
house here, as it looks on the gabled side when seen from 
the garden. The windows on this side belong to unin- 
habited rooms, in spite of the fact that they command a 
wide and quite pleasant view over the smooth plain of 
the Elbe Valley and the higher banks on the farther 
side. 

Day before yesterday I received from Moritz a very 
dear letter, much more calm and clear than the last, about 
which he himself speaks with disapproval. Do me the 
favor, my heart, not to excite each other to tears; events 

74 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

in themselves have done more than enough in that direc- 
tion ; but rather let each of you give courage to the other, 
make your music in a major key, and for my sake stop 
getting pale and thin, lest on the 23d I stand for a quarter 
of an hour shaking my head in front of you before I em- 
brace you. It is an abuse of privilege which our father- 
confessor is guilty of with you that he uses your eyes 
as watering-pots for the plants of his sorrow. . . . 

So, then, you think Senfft considered it a " good deal " 
that a girl could be clever and good and pious : I thought 
they all were that. Now, what are the others to me? I 
have nothing more to do with them, except perhaps your 
waiting-maid; see to it, then, that she does not belong in 
the opposite category, for should she be transferred from 
Reinfeld to this house she would have a long return trip. 
Even without taking that into account, I find it very hard 
to make up my mind to dismiss people, once I have taken 
them into my service, and I hope you will have the same 
principles with respect to the female part of the regiment. 
The atmosphere here preserves the rabble. Bellin is 
a peasant's son from the village here, who began as stable- 
boy in my father's employ, and has been forty years in 
our service thirty-two of them as inspector. His wife 
was born in our service, a daughter of the former, sister 
of the present, shepherd. The latter and the master- 
tiler, who also will soon be sixty, are of the second genera- 
tion in service here, and their fathers held the same posi- 
tions under my grandfather and father. The gardener's 
family, unfortunately, died out last year with the decease 
of a childless man of seventy-five, who had inherited the 
position from his father. The herdsman knew my father 
when he was an ensign; when my father died the land- 
steward and huntsman resigned their offices on account 

75 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

of the infirmities of age, both after serving almost fifty 
years the son of Nimrod after I had been obliged to assure 
him that he should have the shooting of all the hares that 
I needed for the kitchen, although the poor bungler can 
no longer see well enough to do it. Even among the 
birds of passage, the maids, are some whom 1 have known 
for ten years, and perhaps longer. I cannot deny that 
I am somewhat proud that this conservative principle 
has prevailed so many years in this house, in which my 
ancestors lived for centuries in the same rooms, where 
they were born and where they died, such as the pictures 
in the house and in the church show them to have been 
from knights in clanking mail to the cavaliers of the 
Thirty Years' War, with their long hair and pointed beards ; 
then the wearers of gigantic periwigs who strutted about 
with talons rouges on these boards, and the queue-wearing 
trooper who fell in Frederick the Great's battles, down 
to the degenerate offspring who now lies at the feet of a 
black-haired girl. 

Les extremes se touchent, mats Us se brisent, is one of those 
French sayings whose apparent literal truth hides the in- 
ner falsity, and which are invented by people who want to 
put the responsibility for their own baseness upon a neces- 
sary law of nature. The premise is true they do touch 
each other but they belong together, too, like ink upon 
white paper, like the hard seal upon the soft wax. Simi- 
lar characters repel or bore each other, for with them sharp 
corner hits upon sharp corner, and hollow upon hollow, 
without being able to close together and penetrate each 
other; whereas, in the case of dissimilar characters, each 
is complementary to the other, stimulates, and strikes 
chords hitherto silent. Two hard stones do not grind to- 
gether, nor do two soft ones, and, in the case of people, the 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

one must be soft where the other is hard, if they are to grind 
well together. 

I smiled a little at your protestations about Albert's* 
innocence and harmlessness, and am moved by this to re- 
peat that I am not jealous of men merely as such,, even if 
Bruno should spend two weeks in Reinfeld. When I say 
men, merely as such, I wish to imply that one may also 
have men as female friends, f I am very grateful for the 
letters and the remembrance of your and my dear parents. 
Please give them my cordial salutations, and say I shall 
reply in a few days. I am almost afraid you are going 
to lose your Thursday's letter this time, for, day after to- 
morrow, Sunday, I shall be in the royal military service ; 
from Monday, perhaps, till Tuesday noon, in Magdeburg, 
without a moment's leisure. I can only wish that this 
reach you on Sunday, as it should; but as it starts on 
Friday, I fear its bad luck will keep it on the way till Tues- 
day. A cordial good-bye, ma reine, and be patient with 
your faithful slave, who, until the 20th, serves two mas- 
ters. Your B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, March 7, '47. 

DEAREST, I really have not time to write you, as I ex- 
plained in my last letter. Until four o'clock I was standing 
with sword at my side, in the Wust churchyard, in order 
to prevent what is called a Controllversammlung [mass- 
meeting], over almost four hundred men of the first re- 
serve; then I came here just to mount Mousquetaire and 
ride four miles at a breakneck pace, as a ship has gone 
down beyond Arneburg, and in the efforts to save the crew 

* V. Below-Reddentin, nephew of Herr v. Puttkamer-Reinfeld. 
t Explained in letter of March 16, 1847. 

77 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

a quarrel with the natives ensued on account of injuries 
to the dike. Now I am indeed rather lame in the hip, and 
broken down, but, as you may infer from the foregoing, 
very well which I assure you hereby, as also that I have 
read the last word of your letter, foi de gentilhomme, at the 
risk that this letter will smell as strongly of horse as the 
previous one did of musk. The musk came, by the way, 
from Mecklenburg, and, with some knowledge of aromat- 
ics, you would have made the discovery that it was the 
odor of no medicinal musk, but of patchouli, the most hor- 
rid of all parfums, that all the letters of my friend Dewitz 
are scented with, and I presumably tore a sheet from one 
of these to use as an enveloppe for my letter. He who re- 
ceives musk into his house he who is so far gone he 
writes no more. Now I must once more protest in the most 
solemn manner against the idea that you, my darling, 
have pained me in any way. If anything of that sort was 
contained in my previous letter, always remember that 
I chat with you just as I happen to feel, and it may very 
well be that a cloud lay on my inner self that day which 
not even the thought of you could quite dispel whether 
it was business trouble, or that mysterious distress which 
often, sans rime et sans raison, arises in us, and which 
some lovely poem, perhaps by Lenau, represents as un- 
conscious remorse for sins committed in a previous exis- 
tence. 

Writing is a sad makeshift, and the cold, black ink- 
marks are exposed to so many misunderstandings and 
misinterpretations, giving occasion to useless anxiety and 
sorrow, especially to my dear Johanna, who examines the 
lines with such scrutinizing care, to see whether she may 
not find in them something to feed her appetite for distress. 
Do you not fancy all possible disasters that I am sick, have 

78 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

been offended by this thing or that, have scolded you in 
dead earnest, etc. ? If you could only see how contentedly 
I smile, or, at least, how contented I appear, while I am 
writing to you, chatting with you without thought of 
harm; and if I make a campaign against your fondness 
for grieving, 'tis only a sham battle, with blank cartridges, 
not designed to kill or wound. That being premised, I tell 
you that the poem "Oh, do not look so bright and bless'd" 
is a right pretty poem, but in my estimation, like nearly all 
poetry, is not adapted to be applied to one's own life and 
to screen one's own little perversities. It is a weak-hearted 
poem, with which I contrast the verse of the trooper's song, 
" Unless you will take your life in your hand, you can never 
win the prize of life itself" put your life at stake, if you 
would know what it means to live which I elucidate as 
follows in my own fashion : With dutiful trust in God, dig 
in the spurs, and let life, like a wild horse, take you flying 
over hedge and ditch, resolved to break your neck, and get 
fearless, inasmuch as you must some time part from all 
that is dear to you on earth though not forever. If Grief 
is near, well, let him come on, but until he arrives do not 
merely "look bright and bless'd," but be it, too; and when 
sorrow comes upon you, bear it with dignity that is to 
say, with submission and hope. Until that time, how- 
ever, I will have nothing to do with Mr. Grief nothing 
more than is implied in submission to God's will. If " fair- 
est things soonest fleet and die," then that is a reason the 
more for not spoiling the time while they are yours by self- 
torment about the possibility of their loss : be thankful for 
them, rather, and appreciative. Moreover, it is not even a 
true saying, and the reason why "fair things" appear 
to us so transitory is found in our own insatiableness, 
which, instead of thanking God for the blessing we have 

79 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

enjoyed, thinks only of lamenting the fact that we have it 
no longer, whereas others never had it at all. Precisely 
similar to this is the experience of young gentlemen who 
destroy so-called friendships by lending and borrowing 
money. The receiver, so soon as he has used up the 
loan, invariably ceases to be grateful for the complaisance, 
though it be marked, of the other who lent him the money ; 
on the contrary, he is only embittered when the latter asks 
to be repaid, and generally becomes an enemy of the lender. 
When I was a student, how angry I used to get over tailors 
and bootmakers ! When they wanted their bills paid, I con- 
sidered it the most irritating presumption, instead of being 
grateful for the credit they had extended. 

Moreover, the " rose of the gardens " is happier than that 
"of the desert/' for even to be but "a moment cherished" 
is better than to " live and die in vestal silence." " A mo- 
ment cherished and then cast away." I have often loved 
(if love it may be called) in that fashion, and others have 
restored them to favor once more, as was to be expected. 
"Worshipped while blooming when she fades forgot"? 
There are qualities that never fade ; so I shall worship you 
as long as I live, because you will never give up blooming. 
Et quand meme I 

When did I reproach you with having an icy heart? I 
must have been in a terribly mendacious mood then. It 
is not true in the least : I love the temperature of your heart, 
and yet I shiver so easily in any place that is not warm. 
How can your mother think that I misunderstood the note, 
or even took offence at it? It is really high time for me to 
see you ; otherwise you will represent me as a complete 
tyrannical monster in the pictures your fancy creates. 

You hurt my feelings somewhat in being so much sur- 
prised when people like Lepsius and others respect and 

80 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

love you, etc., for you thus indirectly express the opinion 
that you esteem me a man devoid of taste, since I entertain 
for you much stronger feelings of respect is too weak a 
word for me ; worship untrue and sacrilegious. You must, 
on the contrary, look with contempt upon every one who 
does not know enough to appreciate your merit; and to 
every one who has not yet proposed to you, or would not at 
least like to, you must say, " Sir, the fact is that Herr von 
B. loves me, and this proves that every male person who 
does not adore me is a blockhead without discernment." 
Why should not Lepsius worship you? 'Tis his duty and 
obligation. Don't be so insultingly modest, as though I, 
after wandering around among the rose-gardens of North 
Germany for ten years, had finally grabbed at a buttercup 
with both hands. 

Gather, then, from this very instructive letter, I, that I 
am tired; 2, that I am in good health, very; 3, that last 
Friday morning you did not write me silly stuff, but an 
amiable letter; 4, that I did not misapply to myself any- 
thing you said, and most heartily believe that you do care for 
me ; 5, that if we were together now, I should fall at your 
feet, seize both your hands, and cry, " Jeannetke, ich liebe 
dir!" 6, ch' io ti voglio ben'assai; 7, that I love you; 8, 
que je t'adore, mon ange; 9, to-morrow morning I go to 
Magdeburg, with Wartensleben of Carow, hold a long con- 
ference with Gerlach, dine there, buy little trees under 
whose shade you shall some time wander ditto cigars and 
other things. A fortnight hence, on Saturday (Rupertus), 
I flee away to a remote distance, and the following Tues- 
day, on Everard's (!!) day, I repose on your heart. For- 
give this unworthy scrawl, give my cordial greetings to 
your parents, and caress Finette for me, to keep your moth- 
er's heart favorably disposed. Good-night, beloved! 
F 81 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

How frightfully indistinct the writing is in this letter! 
I can scarcely read it myself ; forgive me, but I had to go to 
sleep quickly to-night, and was in such a hurry. 



SCHONHAUSEN, March II, 1847. 

CZARNA KOTKO, MILA DUSZOl If the meaning of the 
foregoing incantation should not be clear to you, in spite of 
the proximity of the heathen Kassuben, then look upon it 
for the present as a rebus which I shall explain orally, and 
now only add the remark that I make a practice of busying 
myself with the reading of grammars after dinner, as an 
aid to digestion, and to-day took up a Polish one. Ex- 
cuse this variegated ink, too; but I can't get any other 
at the moment, for Bellin, who has charge of everything, 
is not at home. Your letter with the little house on it, and 
the still smaller people staring at the bare autumnal tree, 
did not frighten me at all, as I, true to my often expounded 
principles, never let myself take fright prematurely through 
apprehensions that I make myself. I merely concluded 
from the Stolp postmark that you had suddenly gone to 
Reddentin, and wished to inform me of that in the improb- 
able event of my earlier departure. My sensations were 
untroubled and glad when I caught sight of your little rose 
seal, and aired themselves in an exclamation which my 
Polish grammarian would translate perhaps by pilna 
panna, "a diligent young lady/' Your letter-bag was 
not empty last Thursday, I trust, though I absent-mindedly 
took with me to Magdeburg the hurried letter that I wrote 
Sunday evening when very tired, instead of posting it in 
Genthin, and so it did not start on its travels till Tuesday 
morning. As an offset, it was in my pocket when I visited 
Gerlach, and can tell you how I surrendered myself to sad 

82 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

but not comfortless memories of last summer, both there 
and in the garden by the railway, where we took supper. 
In a business conference lasting several hours I had oc- 
casion once more to admire Gerlach, who was not merely 
witty as ever, but also the practical jurist, with rare knowl- 
edge of the law and general affairs. My stay continued, 
contrary to my intention, till day before yesterday, Tues- 
day, as our session was protracted until the train had left, 
so that I did not find your love-token until twenty-four 
hours after its arrival here. Be on your guard against 
Kautschlow* and Reddis: I have great respect for scarlet 
and nervous fevers, and am only glad that you are not 
afraid of them, since fear makes one more susceptible to 
contagion. Take every precaution, but sans peur et sans 
reproche : at least, always be the former, and we will both 
strive for the latter. Fear does not help matters, makes 
one confused and helpless on the approach of danger, and 
is a lack of trust in God's providence. Very wisely spoken, 
and yet I do not believe that I was never afraid. . . . 
Farewell, my angel ; may the others guard you. 

Your faithful B. 

You will not be able to ride Luna ; ride you must, though, 
even if it is to be on me. In 280 hours I shall be with you ; 
mais I'homme propose, Dieu dispose. 

SCHONHAUSEN, March 14, 1847. 

JEANNE LA MECHANTE ! What is the meaning of this? 
A whole week has passed since I heard a syllable from you, 
and to-day I seized the confused mass of letters with 
genuine impatience seven official communications, a bill, 

* That is, Alt-Kolziglow. 

8.3 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

two invitations, one of which is for a theatre and ball at 
Greifenberg, but not a trace of Zuckers [the Reinfeld post- 
office] and "Hochwohlgeboren." * I could not believe my 
eyes, and had to look through the letters twice; then I 
set my hat quite on my right ear and took a two hours' 
walk on the highway in the rain, without a cigar, assailed 
by the most conflicting sentiments "a prey to violent 
emotions/' as we are accustomed to say in romances. I 
have got used to receiving my two letters from you regu- 
larly every week, and when once we have acquired the habit 
of a thing, we look upon that as our well-won right, an in- 
jury to which enrages us. If I only knew against whom 
I should direct my wrath against Boge, against the post- 
office, or against you, la chatte la plus noire, inside and out. 
And why don't you write? Are you so exhausted with 
the effort you made in sending two letters at a time on 
Friday of last week? Ten days have gone by since then 
time enough to rest yourself. Or do you want to let me 
writhe, while you feast your eyes on my anxiety, tigress ! 
after speaking to me in your last letters about scarlet and 
nervous fevers, and after I had laid such stress on my 
maxim of never believing in anything bad before it forces 
itself upon me as incontestable? We adhere firmly to our 
maxims only so long as they are not put to the test ; when 
that happens we throw them away, as the peasant did his 
slippers, and run off on the legs that nature gave us. If 
you have the disposition to try the virtue of my maxims, 
then I shall never again give utterance to any of them, 
lest I be caught lying ; for the fact is that I do really feel 
somewhat anxious. With fevers in Reddis, to let ten days 
pass without writing is very horrible of you, if you are well. 

* " Right honorable, " a common form of address on letters. B. re- 
fers more than once to her distinctive way of writing this title. 

8 4 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Or can it be that you did not receive on Thursday, as usual, 
my letter that I mailed on Tuesday in Magdeburg, and, in 
your indignation at this, resolved not to write to me for an- 
other week? If that is the state of affairs, I can't yet make 
up my mind whether to scold or laugh at you. The worst 
of it now is that, unless some lucky chance brings a letter 
from you directly to Stolp, I shall not have any before 
Thursday, for, as I remember it, there is no mail leaving 
you Saturday and Sunday, and I should have received 
Friday's to-day. If you have not sworn off writing al- 
together and wish to reply to this letter, address me at 
Naugard. . . . 

Had another visitor, and he stayed to supper and well 
into the night my neighbor, the town-counsellor Gartner. 
People think they must call on each other Sunday evening, 
and can have nothing else to do. Now that all is quiet in 
the night, I am really quite disturbed about you and your 
silence, and my imagination, or, if not that, then the being 
whom you do not like to have me name, shows me with 
scornful zeal pictures of everything that could happen. 
Johanna, if you were to fall sick now, it would be terrible 
beyond description. At the thought of it, I fully realize 
how deeply I love you, and how deeply the bond that unites 
us has grown into me. I understand what you call loving 
much. When I think of the possibility of separation 
and possible it is still I should never have been so lonely 
in all my dreary, lonely life. 

What would Moritz's situation be, compared with that? 
for he has a child, a father, a sister, dear and intimate 
friends in the neighborhood. I have no one within forty 
miles with whom I should be tempted to talk more than 
just that which politeness demands; only a sister but 
a happily married one with children is really one no longer, 

85 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

at least for a brother who is single. For the first time I 
am looking the possibility straight in the eyes that you 
might be taken away from me, that I might be condemned 
to inhabit these empty rooms without a prospect of your 
sharing them with me, with not a soul in all the surround- 
ing region who would not be as indifferent to me as though 
I had never seen him. I should, indeed, not be so devoid 
of comfort in myself as of old, but I should also have lost 
something that I used not to know a loving and beloved 
heart, and at the same time be separated from all that 
which used to make life easy in Pomerania through habit 
and friendship. A very egotistical line of thought and 
way of looking at things this discloses, you will say. 
Certainly, but Pain and Fear are egotists, and, in cases 
like that referred to, I never think the deceased, but only 
the survivors, are to be pitied. But who speaks of dying? 
All this because you have not written for a week; and 
then I have the assurance to lecture you for gloomy fore- 
bodings, etc. ! If you had only not spoken of the deadly 
fevers in your last letter. In the evening I am always ex- 
cited, in the loneliness, when I am not tired. To-morrow, 
in bright daylight, in the railway carriage, I shall perhaps 
grasp your possible situation with greater confidence. 

Be rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing 
instant in prayer. All the angels will guard you, my 
beloved heart, so that we shall soon meet again with joy. 
Farewell, and salute your parents. I wrote your father 
this morning. Your faithful BISMARCK. 



BERLIN, March 16, '47. 

CHERE ET BONNE, Strange to say, I have just received 
at this place your dear letter of Thursday, after it had gone 

86 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

astray through a blunder of the Genthin post-office. Be- 
hold me now thoroughly ashamed of all my excitement 
of day before yesterday, with the greatest desire to thrash 
the whole postal service if I had it before me in person; 
with a brilliant justification, too, of my dear Johanna and 
of my principles touching useless anxiety if these were 
only more firm. I write you only a couple of lines on the 
jump, so that you may know what has become of your letter 
and to comply with your pressing request for an immedi- 
ate explanation of my surprising expression concerning 
" men as women friends. ' ' There are two kinds of jealousy, 
which are really quite different sensations. The basis of 
one is mistrust in regard to the honor and constancy of the 
other party; that of the other is a certain sense of being 
for the moment or constantly put in the background by 
the preoccupation of the other party with some women 
friends, flowers, birds, books, dogs, etc. I do not know 
precisely what words I wrote, but presumably I intended 
to say no more than that I am liable to the second kind of 
jealousy, which I should prefer to call a morbid sensitive- 
ness, but not to the first, which seems to me to be irrecon- 
cilable with true love. That I had really already had 
occasion to feel the second kind with you, I presume I did 
not say, or, at any rate, did not mean to say. . . . 

Your faithful B. 



KNIEPHOF, Wednesday Evening, April 28, '47. 
This morning, my belovedst beloved, I arrived at this 
place, after spending the night with three officers who knew 
me, without my knowing them, and with a pretty young 
lady, who, in reply to my polite offer to exchange my very 
comfortable corner for her seat in the middle of the coupe, 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

said, in an irritated tone, "I cannot ride backward, and, 
besides, this place was assigned to me" whereupon I 
respectfully held my peace. In Coslin there was rioting 
even after twelve, the streets so beset with crowds that 
we got through them with difficulty and only under the 
protection of a part of the national guard, that had been 
called out. Bakers and butchers looted, three grain- 
dealers' houses ruined, window-smashing, and so forth. 
I should have liked to stay there. The uncultivated 
meadows and the gooseberries are a soft green here ; bird- 
cherry-trees and elders, too, have leaves the size of a ducat, 
and the ground under the trees and bushes of the Dornberg 
(park) was thickly covered with blue, white, and yellow 
flowers, parading in all the colors of my coat-of-arms, as 
though for a parting salutation. On the whole region, 
with its grass-green waters and oaks without foliage, there 
lay the mood of tenderness and sadness, as I, after much 
vexatious business, paid my parting call about sunset on 
the places which were dear to me and where I had often 
passed dreamy and despondent hours. On the spot where 
I had thought of building a new house lay the skeleton of a 
horse : by the very build of the bones I recognized the re- 
mains of my faithful Caleb, who for seven years bore me, 
glad or sad, wild or lazy, many a mile on his back. I 
thought of the heaths and fields, the lakes and the houses 
and the people in them that we two flew by: my life 
unrolled itself before me back to the days when as a child 
I played on this spot ; the rain trickled gently through the 
bushes, and I stared for a long time at the dull sunset, 
filled to overflowing with sadness and regret for the lazy 
indifference and blind lust of pleasure in which I squan- 
dered all the rich endowment of my youth, my spirit, my 
property, my health, without purpose and without profit, 

88 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

until I looked to you, my heart, to receive into the haven 
of your unprofaned heart the wreck whose rich cargo I 
had wantonly and lavishly thrown overboard by the hand- 
ful. I went home much depressed ; every tree that I had 
planted, every oak below whose rustling top I had lain 
in the grass, seemed to reproach me for surrendering them 
to the hands of strangers, and all of my workmen did this 
more plainly whom I found gathered before my door, to 
complain to me about the present hard times and their 
anxiety for the future under the lessee. "Much will he 
care if we are sick and miserable!" and with that they 
represented to me how long they had served my father, and 
the old gray-heads shed bright tears, and I was not far 
from doing so. I did not know anything to say, either, 
by way of excuse for myself, for had I taken care of my 
property, instead of letting strangers manage it for me, 
and had I been as careful as I was wasteful, then it would 
not have become a financial necessity to lease it now or 
probably at any time. It makes me decidedly uneasy in 
my conscience to surrender to the covetousness of a lessee 
these people whose defence God intrusted to me. . . . Cordial 
remembrances to our mother. God bless you. Our love is 
the bright star that shines through the dreary darkness of my 
soul I* B. 

^^ 

BERLIN, May 2, '47. 

On our marriage, I have just had a thorough talk with 
your father, and found him disposed to celebrate it at the 
appointed time, entirely without display, as a mere wed- 
ding ceremony; also have notified my relatives that it 
cannot be otherwise on account of your mother's condition. 
Many remembrances to her. 

* English in the original. 

8 9 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

SCHONHAUSEN, May 5, 1847. 

BEST LOVED, At sunset I came from an inspection 
of the dikes, wet to the skin; found your letter and your 
mother's, and was quite put to shame by your love, with 
which I am covered as your letter is with yellow sealing- 
wax. 

My cordial thanks for your very warm, dear letter. . . . 

Your adventure with Brunette makes me anxious, and I 
beg of you earnestly not to ride her again until I come 
back. It is possible that Groth has made her fretful; 
still more probable that she finds riding about the place 
tiresome, and will go more quietly outside. In any case, 
it seems the best thing to do to send her to Stolp until my 
return, both to make her gentle and to give her as much 
exercise as her health requires. I shall avoid telling your 
father about this danger, and say to him merely that she 
must have exercise, and can get it nowhere else but in Stolp. 
I am not in a mood for writing a great deal, not so much 
for the reason that I have only six hours before my depart- 
ure as because my gall is stirred up and takes away my 
thoughts. I received a piece of news as I was writing, 
with the details of which I shall not trouble you beyond 
observing that a rather important pecuniary loss grows 
out of 's rank faithlessness. In spite of this confes- 
sion of my wrathful emotions, I must scold you for yours 
in reference to Brunette. Allow yourself to be propitiated 
by the consideration that she did not "mean it badly." 
She had positively no vicious intention to vex or harm you 
personally, but obeyed impulses of her excited blood and 
of her impatience. Look upon her as an instrument that 
you do not play in the right way, or that is out of tune 
owing to the weather. 

When you " long " for me too much, and discontent with 

90 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the short interruption of our companionship overcomes 
you, do not think then of what could be better and pleas- 
anter for the moment, but of misfortune and pain which 
might be present, but are not ; think that I might be dead, 
instead of absent, or might lie sick for months, or or, etc. 
in short, think of everything we both have to thank God 
for, if it is only because a friend was given to you who is 
so wise in admonition for you and so unwise in thought 
and action for himself. In your actions, follow my words, 
not my works. Learn to take grateful pleasure, too, in 
the joy you have had, and do not cry, as little children do, 
"More!" the moment it stops. I found my sister well, 
though still much enfeebled and languid in her way of 
holding herself and walking. She is very eager for you, 
and her heart goes out towards you. Your letter has no 
inharmonious sound whatever : it is so charmingly frank 
and confiding that I have a feeling about it as though you 
were saying all that to me in the sofa-corner. This reply 
is equally confused and hurried, but I am making haste to 
go to sleep, as in this respect I have not had my rightful 
allowance the last four nights; otherwise I shall sleep 
too late to-morrow. Your faithful B. 



BERLIN, May 8, 1847. 

DEAREST, ONLY BELOVED Ju ANITA, BETTER HALF 
OF MYSELF, I should like to begin my letter with 
every possible form of address through which I may win 
your favor, for I am in sore need of your forgiveness. I 
will not leave you to guess the reason why, lest you should 
imagine something worse than that I have been chosen to 
the Landtag and have accepted it. Although I hope I 
shall be able to go with your father to see you at Whitsun- 

91 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

tide, this makes, nevertheless, an essential change in all 
our plans for our next meeting. Let me tell you, in my 
own defence, how this came to pass. 

One of our deputies, Brauchitsch, is so ill that he can no 
longer attend the meetings. I have the first right to suc- 
ceed to his seat, but might have declined it, when the next 
substitute would have been called upon. But the Magde- 
burg estates, when the first place among the six substi- 
tutes became vacant, instead of adopting the usual prac- 
tice and letting the second, and so on, each move up one 
grade, and filling the sixth position by a new election, by 
way of exception immediately selected me as the first of 
the six, although I am quite new in the province, and had 
never been a substitute at all. They were moved to do this 
partly for the reason that they had a quite unusual degree 
of confidence in me, partly because the second, who would 
have advanced to the first position, was held to be incom- 
petent. He would now become deputy if I declined. More- 
over, the estates tried by every available means to put me 
into the Landtag instead of the first president. Brau- 
chitsch himself, alsb, who was already on the road to recov- 
ery, resigned with special regard to my becoming his sub- 
stitute, and the other deputies likewise urged him to do so 
for the same reason, and expressly desired my election. I 
write you all this to make it clear to you that I could not 
decline the call without positively offending the Magde- 
burg estates and destroying every prospect I have which 
is based upon my relations with the estates. So I ask you 
again to forgive me for accepting the thing, and in so doing 
cancelling the plans for our reunion next week. Think 
how entirely possible it was for my election to have taken 
place on the nth of April, and how many happy and cher- 
ished hours of companionship we should have lost in that 

92 



1847] TH E LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK! 

case hours that are precious in memory, too. Be my 
strong Johanna, and thank God for all that has come to 
us, without complaint and sorrow about that which you 
might like to have different. We shall often be obliged 
to learn to set the cup down when it tastes the best ; to re- 
joice in what we have drunk, and courageously to renounce 
what we must leave in it. Your faithful B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, May 10, 1847. 

TRES CHERE JEANNETON, It sounds rather hypokrite 
when I speak of my pain at thought of our prolonged 
separation, as I had it in my power, strictly speaking, to 
let the Landtag go hang. But you yourself know best 
what to think of it, and I feel that with you I do not need 
excuses. Last night I had a disquieting dream about 
you and three horses : I hope you are still Jeanne la sage, 
so far as riding goes. Your faithful B. 



BERLIN, Friday, May 15, '47. 

DEAR HEART, Your father gave me your letter this 
morning at the session, and in consequence I hardly know 
what subject was discussed, or, at least, lacked energy to 
form a clear, conscious conception of it. My thoughts 
were in Reinfeld and my heart full to overflowing of care. 
I am submissive in all that may happen, but I cannot say 
that I should be submissive with gladness. The chords 
of my soul become relaxed and toneless when I think of all 
possibilities. I am not, indeed, of that self-afflicting sort 
that carefully and artfully destroys its own hope and con- 
structs fear, and I do not believe that it is God's will to sep- 
arate us now for every reason I cannot believe it; but 

93 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

I know that you are suffering, and I am not with you, and 
yet, if I were there, I could perhaps contribute something 
to your tranquillity, to your serenity, were it only that I 
should ride with you for you have no one else for that. 
It is so contrary to all my views of gallantry, not to speak 
of my sentiments for you, that any power whatever should 
keep me here when I know that you are suffering and I 
could help and relieve you ; and I am still at war with my- 
self to determine what my duty is before God and man. 
If I am not sooner there, then it is fairly certain that I shall 
arrive in Reinfeld with your father at Whitsuntide, prob- 
ably a week from to-morrow. The cause of your illness 
may lie deeper, or perhaps it is only that the odious Span- 
ish flies have affected you too powerfully. Who is this 
second doctor you have called in? The frequent changing 
of doctors, and, on one's own authority, using between- 
times all sorts of household remedies, or remedies pre- 
scribed for others, I consider very bad and wrong. Choose 
one of the local doctors in whom you have the most con- 
fidence, but keep to him, too; do what he prescribes and 
nothing else, nothing arbitrary ; and, if you have not con- 
fidence in any of the local men, we will both try to carry 
through the plan of bringing you here, so that you may 
have thorough treatment under the direction of Breiers, 
or some one else. The conduct of your parents in regard 
to medical assistance, the obstinate refusal of your father, 
and, allied to that, your mother's arbitrary changing and 
fixed prejudices, in matters which neither of them under- 
stand, seem to me, between ourselves, indefensible. He 
to whom God has intrusted a child, and an only child at 
that, must employ for her preservation all the means that 
God has made available, and not become careless of them 
through fatalism or self-sufficiency. If writing tires you, 

94 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ask your mother to send us news. Moreover, it would 
seem to me very desirable if one of your friends could be 
prevailed upon to go to you until you are better. Whether 
a doctor can help you or not forgive me, but you cannot 
judge of that by your feelings. God's help is certainly 
decisive, but it is just He who has given us medicine and 
physician that, through them, His aid may reach us ; and 
to decline it in this form is to tempt Him, as though the 
sailor at sea should deprive himself of a helmsman, with 
the idea that God alone can and will give aid. If He does 
not help us through the means He has placed within our 
reach, then there is nothing left to do but to bow in silence 
under His hand. If you should be able to come to Zimmer- 
hausen after Whitsuntide, please write to that effect be- 
forehand if possible. If your illness should become more 
serious, I shall certainly leave the Landtag, and even if 
you are confined to your bed, I shall be with you. At such 
a moment I shall not let myself be restrained by such ques- 
tions of etiquette that is my fixed resolve. You may be 
sure of this, that I have long been helping you pray that 
the Lord may free you from useless despondency and bestow 
upon you a heart cheerful and submissive to God and upon 
me, also ; and I have the firm confidence that He will grant 
our requests and guide us both in the paths that lead to Him. 
Even though yours may often go to the left around the 
mountain, and mine to the right, yet they will meet beyond. 
The salt water has already gone from here. If you are 
too weak for riding, then take a drive every day. When 
you are writing to me, and begin to feel badly in the least, 
stop immediately ; give me only a short bulletin of your 
health, even if it is but three lines, for, thank Heaven, 
words can be dispensed with between us they cannot add 
or take away anything, since our hearts look into each 

95 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

other, eye to eye, to the very bottom, and though here and 
there, behind a fold, some new thing is discovered, a strange 
thing it is not. Dear heart, what stuff you talk (excuse 
my rudeness) when you say I must not come if I would 
rather stop in Zimmerhausen or Angermunde at Whitsun- 
tide! How can I take pleasure anywhere while I know 
that you are suffering, and, moreover, am uncertain in 
what degree? With us two it is a question, not of amusing 
and entertaining, but only of loving and being together, 
spiritually, and, if possible, corporeally ; and if you should 
lie speechless for four weeks sleep, or something else 
I would be nowhere else, provided nothing but my wish 
were to decide. If I could only "come to your door," I 
would still rather be there than with my dear sister; and 
the sadder and sicker you are, so much the more. But the 
door will not separate me from you, however ill you may 
be. That is a situation in which the slave mutinies against 
his mistress. . Your faithful B. 



BERLIN, Tuesday Morning, May 18, '47. 

DEAREST, The last letters from Reinfeld permit me to 
hope that your illness is not so threatening at the moment 
as I feared from the first news, although I am continually 
beset by all possible fears about you, and thus am in a con- 
dition of rather complicated restlessness. . . . My letter in 
which I told you of my election you have understood some- 
what, and your dear mother altogether, from a point of 
view differing from that which was intended. I only 
wanted to make my position exactly clear to you, and the 
apologies which to you seemed perhaps forced, as I 
infer from your mother's letter, you may regard as an en- 
tirely natural outflow of politeness. That I did not stand 

96 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

in need of justification with you, I very well know; but 
also that it must affect us both painfully to see our fine 
plans cancelled. It was my ardent wish to be a member of 
the Landtag; but that the Landtag and you are fifty 
miles apart distressed me in spite of the fulfilment of my 
wish. You women are, and always will be, unaccounta- 
ble, and it is better to deal with you by word of mouth than 
by writing. ... I have ventured once or twice on the speak- 
er's platform with a few words, and yesterday raised an 
unheard-of storm of displeasure, in that, by a remark which 
was not explained clearly enough touching the character 
of the popular uprising of 1813, I wounded the mistaken 
vanity of many of my own party, and naturally had all 
the halloo of the opposition against me. The resentment 
was great, perhaps for the very reason that I told the truth 
in applying to 1813 the sentence that any one (the Prussian 
people) who has been thrashed by another (the French) 
until he defends himself can make no claim of service 
towards a third person (our King) for so doing. I was re- 
proached with my youth and all sorts of other things. 
Now I must go over before to-day's session to see whether, 
in printing my words, they have not turned them into 
nonsense. . . . Yours forever, B. 



BERLIN, Friday, May 21, '47. 

TRES CHERE JEANNETON, When you receive this 
letter you will know that I am not to visit you in the holi- 
days. I shall not offer "apologies," but reasons why it is 
not to be. I should miss certainly four, and probably five, 
meetings of the estates, and, according to the announce- 
ment we have received, the most important proceedings 
are to be expected at the coming meetings. There it may 
G 97 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

depend upon one vote, and it would be a bad thing if that 
were the vote of an absentee ; moreover, I have succeeded in 
acquiring some influence with a great number, or, at least, 
with some delegates of the so-called court party and the 
other ultra-conservatives from several provinces, which I 
employ in restraining them so far as possible from bolting 
and awkward shying, which I can do in the most unsus- 
pected fashion when once I have plainly expressed my 
inclination. Then, too, I have some money affairs to ar- 
range, for which I must make use of one of the holidays. 
The Landtag will either be brought to a close on the jth of 
June and in that case I should stay here until that date 
or it will continue in session until all the matters have been 
arranged, in which event I should stay till after the de- 
cision of the important political questions which are now 
imminent, and shall be less conscientious about all the 
insignificant petitions that follow after, and await their dis- 
cussion in Reinfeld. It will, besides, be pleasanter for you 
and the mother not to have us both the father and me 
there at one time, but relieving each other, so that you 
may be lonely for a shorter time. . . . Your father will tell 
you how I stirred up the hornet's-nest of the volunteers here 
lately, and the angry hornets came buzzing to attack me ; 
on the other hand, I had as compensation that many of the 
older and more intelligent people drew near to me people 
I did not know at all and assured me that I had said 
nothing but the truth, and that was the very thing that had 
so incensed the people. But I must take the field now ; it 
is ten o'clock. Please ask your father to write immediately 
about your health. I should so much like to hear the 
opinion of another person besides your mother. I am all 
right only much excited. Farewell, and God guard you. 
Yours altogether and forever, B. 






1847] T H & LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. 

ANGERMUNDE, 2d Holiday, Morning, May 24, '47. 
DEAR JOHANNA, The result has shown once more 
that you are always right : instead of consoling my invalid 
fiancee, as her righteous father is doing, I am amusing 
myself here with my sister. But there's a hospital here, 
too. Frau von Derenthal has been attacked by fever here ; 
Frau von Arnim (without the dangerous widow) is here, 
and so is he, Derenthal. The house resounds like the 
Reinfeld one, and we have to walk on tiptoe, and are ter- 
rified if a door is slammed. To-morrow morning, at eleven, 
the session begins again at Berlin, and probably the im- 
portant matter of the government's financial report will 
come up at it a field fertile of strife. I shall soon be in the 
same state of excitement as Thadden, who starts up rest- 
lessly at night from dreams that transport him to the Land- 
tag, and by day forgets his dinner because of it. One be- 
comes all the more impatient because one almost never 
gets a chance to express his opinion after listening six 
hours long to all sorts of shameless things; and if one 
does finally get a chance, it is when twenty other speakers 
have already spoken after the matter one wishes to answer, 
and it is forgotten. It fares with the tribune as with a 
beauty en vogue at a ball, who is always engaged for every- 
thing beforehand. . . . Your faithful B. 



BERLIN, May 26, '47. 

DEAREST, . . . If I were only through with the Land- 
tag and the delivery of Kniephof, could embrace you in 
health, and retire with you to a hunting-lodge in the heart 
of green forest and the mountains, where I should see no 
human face but yours! That is my hourly dream; the 
rattling wheel-work of political life is more obnoxious to 

99 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

my ears every day. Whether it is your absence, sickness, 
or my laziness, I want to be alone with you in contem- 
plative enthusiasm for nature. It may be the spirit of con- 
tradiction, which always makes me long for what I have 
not. And yet, I have you, you know, though not quite 
at hand; and still I long for you. I proposed to your 
father that I should go with him ; we would immediately 
have our banns published and be married, and both come 
here. An apartment for married people is empty in this 
house, and here you could have had sensible physicians 
and every mortal help. It seemed to him too unbecoming. 
To you, too? It seems to me still the most sensible thing 
of all, if you are only strong enough for the trip. If the 
Landtag should continue longer than to the 6th of June 
which I still hope it will not let us look at the plan more 
carefully. . . . Your faithful B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, Friday, May 28, '47. 

MY POOR SICK KITTEN,. . . In regard to your illness, 
your father's letter has calmed my anxiety somewhat as 
to the danger, but yours was so gloomy and depressed that 
it affected me decidedly. My dear heart, such sadness as 
finds expression there is almost more than submission to 
God's will : the latter cannot, in my opinion, be the cause 
of your giving up the hope, I might say the wish, that you 
may be better, physically, and experience God's blessing 
here on earth as long as may be in accordance with His 
dispensation. You do not really mean it, either do you, 
now? when, in a fit of melancholy, you say that nothing 
whatever interests you genuinely, and you neither grieve 
nor rejoice. That smacks of Byron, rather than of Chris- 
tianity. You have been sick so often in your life, and have 

100 




PRINCESS BISMARCK 

I35S 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

recovered have experienced glad and sad hours after- 
wards; and the old God still lives who helped you then. 
Your letter stirred in me more actively than ever the long- 
ing to be at your side, to fondle you and talk with you. . . . 

I do not agree with you in your opinion about July, and 
I would urge you strongly, too, on this point to side with 
me against your parents. When a wife, you are as likely 
to be sick as when a fiancee and will be often enough, 
later; so why not at the beginning, likewise? I shall be 
with you as often as I am free from pressing engagements, 
so whether we are together here or in Reinfeld makes no 
difference in the matter. We do not mean to marry for 
the bright days only : your ill-health seems to me an utterly 
frivolous impediment. The provisional situation we are 
now in is the worst possible for me. I scarcely know any 
longer whether I am living in Schonhausen, in Reinfeld, 
in Berlin, or on the train. If you fall sick, I shall be a 
sluggard in Reinfeld all the autumn, or however long our 
marriage would be postponed, and cannot even associate 
with you quite unconstrainedly before the ceremony. This 
matter of a betrothed couple seventy miles apart is not de- 
fensible; and, especially when I know you are ailing, I 
shall take the journey to see you, of course, as often as my 
public and private affairs permit. It seems to me quite 
necessary to have the ceremony at the time already ap- 
pointed ; otherwise I should be much distressed, and I see 
no reason for it. Don't sell Brunette just now ; you will 
ride her again soon. I must be in Berlin at noon for a 
consultation about plans for to-morrow. Farewell. God 
strengthen you for joy and hope. 

Your most faithful B. 

To-morrow I'll send you a hat* 

* English in the original. 
101 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

BERLIN, Sunday, May 30, '47. 

CHERE JEANNETON, Your letter of day before 
yesterday, which I have just received, has given me pro- 
found pleasure and poured into me a refreshing and more 
joyous essence : your happier love of life is shared by me 
immediately. I shall begin by reassuring you about your 
gloomy forebodings of Thursday evening. At the very 
time when you were afflicted by them I was rejoicing in the 
happiness I had long missed, of living once more in a com- 
fortable Schonhaus bed, after I had suffered for weeks from 
the furnished - apartments couch in Berlin. I slept very 
soundly, although with bad dreams nightmares which I 
ascribed to a late and heavy dinner, inasmuch as the peace- 
ful occupations of the previous day consisting in viewing 
many promising crops and well-fed sheep, together with 
catching up with all sorts of police arrangements relating 
to dike, fire, and roads could not have occasioned them. 
You see how little you can depend upon the maternal in- 
heritance of forebodings. Also in regard to the injurious 
effects of the Landtag, excitement upon my health, I can 
completely reassure you. I have discovered what I needed 
physical exercise to offset mental excitement and ir- 
regular diet. Yesterday I spent in Potsdam, to be present 
at the water carnival a lively picture. The great blue 
basins of the Havel, with the splendid surroundings of 
castles, bridges, churches, enlivened with several hundred 
gayly decorated boats, whose occupants, elegantly dressed 
gentlemen and ladies, bombard one another lavishly with 
bouquets when they can reach each other in passing or draw- 
ing up alongside. The royal pair, the whole court, Pots- 
dam's fashionable people, and half of Berlin whirled in the 
skein of boats merrily, pell-mell ; royalists and liberals 
all threw dry or wet flowers at the neighbor within reach, 

103 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Three steamboats at anchor, with musical choruses, con- 
stituted the centre of the ever-changing groups. I had the 
opportunity to salute, hurriedly and with surprise, and 
throw flowers at, many acquaintances whom I had not seen 
for a long time. My friend Schaffgotsch is passionately 
fond of walking, and he was responsible for our returning 
to the railway station on foot a distance of almost three 
miles at such a pace as I had not kept up in a long while. 
After that I slept splendidly until nine, and am in a state of 
physical equilibrium to-day such as I have not enjoyed 
for some time. As the rather dusty promenades in the 
Thiergarten do not give me enough of a shaking-up in the 
time that I have available for that purpose, Mousquetaire 
will arrive here to-morrow, so that he, with his lively gallop, 
may play the counterpart to the tune that politics is dancing 
in my head. My plan about Berlin and the wedding imme- 
diately, etc., was certainly somewhat adventurous when 
you look at it in cold blood, but I hope there will be no 
change from July. If I am to be tormented, as you say, 
with an "unendurable, dispirited, nervous being/' it is all 
the same in the end whether this torment will be imposed 
upon me by my fiancee or forgive the expression by my 
wife. In either case I shall try to bear the misfortune with 
philosophical steadfastness; for it is to be hoped that it 
will not be so bad that I must dig deeper and seek 
Christian consolation for it. Your very faithful B. 



June 8, '47. 

DEAR HEART, Your last letter, which I received on 
Sunday evening when coming from Angermimde, was 
very sad once more, very sick like sick songs. I wanted 
to answer immediately, but there was no one still awake to 

103 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

whom I could deliver the letter so as to send it to the post- 
office Monday morning. Yesterday I made the acquaint- 
ance of Laura,* who has beautiful eyes, and also saw 
Petronio, who won my friendship entirely by giving me 
the most comforting assurances in regard to the probable 
course of your illness. He thought that it was very de- 
sirable for you to have company, agreeable company, 
near you. Should I not then come to you immediately? 
I hope you have Hedwig now. I was delighted to hear 
Carl Woedtke speak French quite fluently. Where in the 
world did he learn it? This all occurred at a concert at 
Gungl's, the same place in which we ate ice and music 
that time after the Harz, and which I made the terminus of 
my usual evening ride. I have come to know Carl more 
intimately, and am quite edified by him almost too in- 
telligent for his years. . . . God bless you, my heart, and 
give you rest and fresh love of life : I beseech Him daily 
for that. My compliments to the mother. I must to the 
fray. Your faithful B. 

BERLIN, Tuesday. 

BERLIN, Sunday, June 13, '47. 

MY DEAR HEART, I have been in Kniephof; half 
the way to you I had behind me, and yet I could not make 
the other half: it was hard enough for me to get away 
from here for two days, and, owing to the irresponsible 
irregularity of the lessee, who came a day later than we 
had agreed, as well as to financial arrangements at the 
Stettin bank, it took three days. The transactions 
in Kniephof were made disagreeable, in part provoking, 
by the circumstance that my lessee, who is himself the 

* Frau Lasius, ne v. Puttkamer. 
104 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

most harmless, good-natured person in the world, had 
brought with him an assistant whom all the country-side 
knows as the most disagreeable, malicious, litigious fellow, 
and who was embittered because he had offered me his 
assistance in this matter and I had refused him. Towards 
evening, after everybody, even the judge, had ordered their 
carriages, and when all our amicable agreement, brought 
about with difficulty, threatened to fall to pieces, I hit upon 
the lucky expedient of being so coarse to the assistant, 
without quite giving him cause of action, that he left the 
room forthwith and drove away. Thereupon I came to 
terms with the lessee in five minutes, and the signatures 
were exchanged after sunset. Taking leave of the place 
was very melancholy for me, when I thought how the 
rooms in which I had played as a child will be occupied by 
strangers, how all my plantations and pleasure-grounds 
will run riot and be overgrown, the white bridges and 
benches fall in pieces. It is the first time since Kniephof 
has been in the possession of our family that strangers live 
there, that it has been leased. But let by-gones be by-gones ; 
let us look to the future. Although the report that your 
father has from you about your condition sounds less re- 
assuring than Costetti's, still I share your mother's hope 
that the dear God will soon make you stronger in body and 
spirit. As soon as I but hold you again in these arms I 
will be your physician, and you shall get well, though you 
do it but for love of me. On the I9th the Landtag will be 
closed : the King has directed it, and we ourselves have 
moved for adjournment on the igih. Then I go for a day 
or two to Schonhausen, from there to Kniephof to clear up 
the final reckoning with the lessee ; so that I believe I can 
be in Reinfeld a day or two after St. John's. Four weeks 
later Sauer is to give us his blessing under the wooden 

105 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

roof of the Kolziglower church; then we shall set out, 
stopping, if you like, in Naugard and Angermunde as long 
as agreeable ; the same in Berlin and Schonhausen, and 
thence go to Vienna, Salzburg, and the Tyrol, unless 
you prefer another route. For the narrow-minded idea 
of taking no journey this year, I have utterly dismissed 
from my mind. So far as expenses are concerned, it 
would cost exactly as much next year as this, and it makes 
practically not the least difference, if we have decided to 
travel, anyway, whether it takes place this year or later. 
But it is quite possible that next year you will not be quite 
so much in the humor and in a condition for travelling as 
you are in this, if I have the time and disposition for it, if 
we are both alive still, and if who knows what else? So, 
then, the upshot of it all is that we are to be married on the 
24th, whether you are sick or well, and that, if the former 
is not the case to a greater degree than at present, we shall 
view the Alps from near by. Qu'en dis-tu ? B. 



BERLIN, Friday, June 18, '47. 

MON AMIE, (That sounds rather a little cold, but there 
is a member sitting next to me that looks over my arm, and 
reads what I write :* ga me gene /) I am writing to you, 
not with blood, but with the red ink we use to correct the 
wantonnesses of stenographers out of our speeches, and am 
just hearing Herr von Auerswald speak with great ardor 
in favor of the proposition that marriages between Jews 
and Christians shall be permitted. I did not get your last 
letter till Tuesday evening. It really gave me pleasure, 
although from beginning to end it contained a litany of 

* English in the original, 

106 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

discontent; but there spoke a certain wholesome resent- 
ment in all these complaints, which reassures me as to your 
condition much more than the soft, faded, broken melan- 
choly that found expression in a previous letter. It sound- 
ed nearly like your peevish "Na-a!" that always amuses 
me so. Only do not suspect me also, as you do poor Cos- 
tetti, of regarding you as not really ill, but only malade 
imaginaire ; moreover, that was not at all Petronio's opin- 
ion he only said that your mental and physical conditions 
were interdependent, each affecting the other unfavorably. 
Petronio did not make the impression on me that you had 
led me to expect by your descriptions. He is very polite 
and well-bred, save that his appearance lacks the note of the 
gentleman, which the Frenchman expresses by distingue, 
the German by vornehm an expression that is not quite 
exact. . . . 

It is quite pleasant writing here : I am sitting in a portico 
of the white hall, the hum of the assembly behind me, and 
before me the view of the pleasure-garden, museum, ar- 
senal, etc. At the moment a great tumult, ringing of the 
marshal's bell, calling of the roll upon the Jewish-marriage 
matter. That does not interest me ; I must go to the wool- 
market. The prices have grown worse than they were 
in Breslau and Stettin, but we shall travel, nevertheless. 
Farewell. Your very faithful B. 



June 22, '47. 

DEAREST, Again a very short, blustering letter, just 
to let you know that I am thinking of you and still love 
you a little bit. . . . Day before yesterday we were at our 
friend the King's, and I was quite spoiled by the noble 
company, and am now so proud that I shall always look 

107 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

over your head, and only in rare moments of condescension 
abase my eyes to your black-gray-blue ones. With me 
and your father, for the rest, it is well. The bracelet has 
been mended. Farewell, Jeanne la noire, la chatte 1 

B. 



MAGDEBURG, July i, 1847. 

MY DEAR HEART, Must I prostrate myself before 
you, too, and beg forgiveness for not having written for a 
century ? I do not know when the last time was ; the time 
seems to me so tremendously long when I look back that I 
shall certainly be ten years older when you see me again. 
No velvet coat, no Jean Paul, only law, politics, party- 
passion, fill my head, and the whole range of the Alps, 
with its lakes, will not entice a glance from me if the Prus- 
sian general assembly is anywhere near. It looks so 
dusty, inky, and papery in my head that I can't begin to 
fathom such a chaos. Still, that is in my head ; now my 
heart shall control once more, and you in it, and I will 
have no gods beside you. Forgive the blasphemy : I speak 
figuratively must I tell you that, you Pomeranian? . . . 

Now I have breakfasted, am rather sleepy, must dine at 
two with Gerlach to talk over newspaper projects, and at 
six take a train, so as to reach Schonhausen finally, which 
I have not seen since I was there with your father. There 
I must stay till to-morrow or day after to-morrow evening, 
depending on the matters that have to be attended to, whose 
nature I do not yet know, so that I shall be back in Berlin 
Saturday evening at the latest. There, too, I shall be 
busy with matters relating to founding a new paper until, 
on Monday, the 5th, at latest, I go to Angermiinde ; Tues- 
day, from there to Kniephof ; Wednesday, the jtb, beyond 
so that I request your father, if I do not write to the contrary, 

108 



1847] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

to send horses to Schlawe for me the morning of Thursday, 
the 8th. It may be a day later, but then I shall write be- 
forehand. Shall I then, in black velvet, with a waving 
ostrich-feather, sing under your window on a lukewarm 
evening, to the accompaniment of a cithern, "Oh, fly/' etc. 
(which, to tell the truth, I have, as I think, a good right to 
sing now, with special feeling in the words, " and rest upon 
my " etc.), or shall I appear at bright noon in a green rid- 
ing-coat and reddish-brown gloves, and embrace you with- 
out singing or speaking? Gerlach has a plan for a trip to 
Bavaria and Switzerland in the middle of August, by him- 
self, or, if possible, with Thadden, Moritz, and, perhaps* 
others, not to see regions, but persons (famous people). 
What a splendid thing that would be for our little Marie! 
I can hardly doubt that you will wish to join them, if any- 
thing comes of the design on the scale that Gerlach wishes, 
though I do not like to give up our plan about Vienna and 
the Tyrol, and am rather tired of seeing people and con- 
tending about politics and religion. We may perhaps 
agree to meet in Munich, and, if our funds suffice, go with 
them to Switzerland and down the Rhine. But if we have 
to choose between the two, I prefer Salzburg and the Tyrol 
to Switzerland, and then back by way of Munich and 
Nuremberg. Besides, paying visits to great geniuses is 
not always practicable for you, being a woman, and even 
if it were, you, whose interests are more remote from the 
movements of the day, will not always find, in looking at 
and listening to them, adequate compensation for tiresome 
journeys and towns. On the other hand, the travelling 
companionship is not to be despised, though for us twain 
not always without gene. Nous en parlerons plus tard. . . . 
God guard you. 

Your own B. 

109 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, '47 

BERLIN, July 4, '47. 

JUANININA, Happily, I have left Schonhausen behind 
me, and do not expect to enter it again without you, mon 
ange. Only some business matters detain me here, which 
I cannot attend to to-day because it is Sunday ; but I con- 
fidently anticipate starting for Angermiinde to-morrow at 
four, and accordingly, unless the very improbable event 
occurs that I am detained outrageously in Kniephof, 
shall arrive in Schlawe on Thursday. . . . Farewell, my 
heart. This is probably the last post-marked paper that 
you will receive from your Brautigam* (I hate the expres- 
sion). Our banns were cried to-day for the first time in 
Schonhausen. Does that not seem strange to you? 
But I had learned your given names so badly that I could 
mention only Johanna Eleonore: the other six you must 
teach me better. Farewell, my heart. Many salutations 
to the parents. 

Your very faithful B. 

* Fiance. 



ff 



LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE IN THE 

PRUSSIAN PARLIAMENT AND THE 

FEDERAL DIET, AUG., 1847-1858 



SALZBURG August 25 or 26, '47 

DEAR PARENTS, As Johanna gave you, during my 
slumber* that dates back to the Schafberg, full particu- 
lars of our experiences, I will offer you merely a token of 
life and remembrance on my part; otherwise you might 
believe I slept all the time, and not simply when Johanna 
is writing. I am very glad, though, that I did not act in 
accordance with the affectionate letter of mother which 
warned us so strongly against the journey, for, besides 
the pleasure it gives me to see these things myself, and to 
see Johanna's delight, I find that her health and cheerful- 
ness grow stronger day by day, as well from the pure 
mountain air as especially from the vigorous physical 
exertion, like the ascent of Schafberg, from which all my 
muscles still ache, and which she has already slept off 
better than I have. In order to reassure you somewhat, my 
dear mother, as to the expenses of the journey, I will tell 
you exactly to what they will mount up. We have now 
been fifteen days on the way to-day being the i6th 
and have spent 170 rthlr., or 30 fr'd'or; withal, sometimes 
had really very expensive places Vienna, steamboat, 
Linz. I fancy now we shall stay away three to four weeks 
more, according to which the whole thing is likely to cost 
not much over 400 rthlr., and will give us a fund of pleasure 
for life. Johanna has just looked at this letter, and is danc- 
ing with amazement at my calling my mother "Thou." 

* I think he might call it simply " sleep/* 
H 113 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

What is there surprising in that? She calms herself 
through anticipation of her beloved plums, pears, peaches, 
on which her stomach tests itself successfully as really ex- 
cellent every day. Grapes we have had, too, in abundance. 
If the weather continues to be as dull as it has been since 
yesterday, we shall travel without stop to Milan and Genoa, 
and see if it is better there, for in the mountains one does 
not see anything whatever at present. Now we want to 
ascend the Capuzinerberg. Please address letters to Meran 
in the Tyrol, where we shall leave directions for forward- 
ing. Good-bye, dear parents. Your loyal son, 

BISMARCK. 

I am well and cheerful ; live with Werdeck, 18 Leipziger 
Platz. Berlin is very quiet. Silesia, on the other hand, 
near complete break-up. Yesterday we had in the evening 
a preliminary conference of the whole Landtag. This 
body is in such terror, not of the Berliners, but of the whole 
European situation, that it unanimously wishes to avoid 
everything even the merest trifle that might oppose 
the present ministry, wishing to sustain and reinforce it 
by every possible means. An address was debated yes- 
terday, from which we with difficulty excluded the praise 
of the barricade fighters, but as an offset dropped out our 
demonstration in behalf of the troops also. Good-bye and 
salutations. Your very faithful B. 

BERLIN, April 2, '48. 

MY DEAR, I believe I can now reassure you most 
completely as to the safety of the members of the Landtag. 
The Landtag was opened to-day, minus King and minus 
cheers, with quite calm discussion. In a few words I 
uttered my protest against the thanks and exultation that 

114 



1848] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

were voted to the King, without hostilities becoming overt. 
Ten thousand men of the city militia were posted for our 
protection, but not even a slight disturbance occurred 
at the palace. I could be with you to-morrow, as there 
is no session, if I had ordered a carriage to meet me at 
Genthin this evening. But as the whole affair apparently 
will come to an end this week, perhaps as early as Thurs- 
day, I was too stingy to hire a carriage. Brauchitsch was 
taken violently ill again last evening. . . . Give cordial 
remembrances to your mother, and be of good courage. I 
am much calmer than I was : with Vincke one heart and 
one soul. Your faithful B. 

April 2, '48, Sunday Evening. 

I fear, my dear heart, the letter I wrote you last evening 
reached the post-office so late, through an oversight, that 
you will not receive it to-day, and not before to-morrow 
with this; and it pains me to think that you were disap- 
pointed in your hope when the mail was delivered, and 
now (9 o'clock in the evening) are perhaps troubled with 
disquietude of all sorts about me. I have spent a tiresome 
day, tramping the pavement, smoking and intriguing. 
Do not judge of the few words I spoke yesterday from the 
report in the Berlin Times. I shall manage to bring you 
a copy of the speech, which has no significance except as 
showing that I did not wish to be included in the category 
of certain venal bureaucrats who turned their coat with 
contemptible shamelessness to suit the wind. The im- 
pression it made was piteous, while even my most zealous 
opponents shook my hand with greater warmth after my 
declaration. I have just come from a great citizens' meet- 
ing, of perhaps a thousand people, in the Milenz Hall, 
where the Polish question was debated very decorously. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

very good speeches were made, and on the whole the sen- 
timent seemed to turn against the Poles, especially after a 
disconsolate Jew had arrived, straight from Samter, who 
told terrible stories about the lawless excesses of the 
Poles against the Germans : he himself had been soundly 
beaten. . . . 

Just for my sake do not alarm yourself if each mail does 
not bring you a letter from me. There is not the slightest 
probability that a hair of our heads will be touched, and 
my friends of all kinds overrun me, to share their political 
wisdom with me, so that I began a letter of one-quarter 
sheet to Malle this morning at 9, and could not finish before 
3. I am living in comfort and economy with Werdeck, 
only rather far away, in consequence of which I already 
feel the pavement through my soles. Cordial remembrances 
to the mother and the Bellins. I am writing on the table 
d'hdte table of the H6tel des Princes, and a small salad has 
just been brought for my supper. 

Your very faithful B. 

April 3, '48. 

SCHONHAUSEN, August 21, '48. 
8.30 P. M. 

To Herr von Puttkamer, at Reinfeld, near Zuckers, 

Pomerania. 

DEAR FATHER, You have just become, with God's 
gracious help, the grandfather of a healthy, well-formed 
girl that Johanna has presented me with after hard but 
short pains. At the moment mother and child are doing 
as well as one could wish. Johanna lies still and tired, 
yet cheerful and composed, behind the curtain; the little 
creature, in the meantime, under coverlets on the sofa, 
and squalls off and on. I am quite glad that the first 
is a daughter, but if it had been a cat I should have thanked 

116 



i8 4 8l THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

God on my knees the moment Johanna was rid of it : it is 
really a desperately hard business. I came from Berlin 
last night, and this morning we had no premonition of 
what was to come. At ten in the morning Johanna was 
seized with severe pains after eating a grape, and the 
accompanying symptoms led me to put her at once to bed, 
and to send in haste to Tangermunde, whence, in spite 
of the Elbe, Dr. Fricke arrived soon after 12. At 8 my 
daughter was audible, with sonorous voice. This after- 
noon I sent Hildebrand off to fetch nurse Boldt from Berlin 
in a great hurry. I hope you will not postpone your jour- 
ney now; but earnestly beg dear mother not to make 
the trip in an exhausting manner. I know, of course, 
that she has little regard for her own health, but just for 
Johanna's sake you must take care of yourself, dear mother, 
so that she may not be anxious on your account. Fricke 
pleases us very much experienced and careful. I do 
not admit visits : Bellin's wife, the doctor, and I attend to 
everything. Fricke estimates the little one at about nine 
pounds in weight. Up to the present time, then, every- 
thing has gone according to rule, and for that praise and 
thanks be to the Lord. If you could bring Annchen with 
you that would make Johanna very happy. 

22. Morning. It is all going very well, only the cradle is 
still lacking, and the little miss must camp meanwhile on 
a forage-crib. May God have you and us in his keeping, 
dear parents. Until we meet again, presently. B. 

Have the kindness to attend to the announcements, 
save in Berlin and Reddentin, in your neighborhood: 
Seehof, Satz, and so forth Johanna sends cordial greet- 
ings. She laments her daughter's large nose. I think 
it no larger than it has a right to be. 

117 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

SCHONHAUSEN, August 24, '48. 

To Frau von Puttkamer, nee von Glasenap, Reinfeld, near 

Zuckers. 

DEAR MOTHER, I am uncertain whether this letter 
will find you still in Reinfield, and write at hap-hazard; 
but I want to convey the comforting assurance in it that 
Johanna's condition is still good. Only a cough that she 
contracted several days before the child's birth troubles 
her somewhat in her feebleness, especially this morning. 
The little creature bellows precisely as though it were go- 
ing to be slaughtered, and in general has no misgivings 
about letting its voice resound mightily when it wakes 
up and does not find everything in order. In regard to 
nourishment, things are going badly still. The brat, 
with an obstinacy which she cannot inherit from me, 
positively refuses to take the breast, like a naughty hedge- 
hog, save that she also makes her aversion very clearly 
understood. Till now Boldt has been sleeping in your 
room, and I still behind the curtain, so that, at least at the 
first, I may be near her, for she has most confidence in me, 
and I am the most thoughtful for her, too. So I alternate 
all day long, like Schiller's knight of St. John, between 
political battles and plans at my writing-desk and the 
nurse's apron at the sick-bed. I seem to myself to be very 
nice in the comparison. Mail time is at hand A cordial 
good-bye, dear mother. Your faithful son, B. 



BERLIN, Saturday, n P.M., September 23, '48. 
To Frau von Bismarck, Schonhauscn, near Jerichow. 

MY PET! To-day at last I have news of your condi- 
tion, and am very grateful to mother for the letter. ... I 
am beginning to be really homesick for you, my heart, 

118 



1848] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

and mother's letter to-day threw me into a mood utterly 
sad and crippling: a husband's heart, and a father's at 
any rate, mine in the present circumstances does not 
fit in with the whirl of politics and intrigue. On Monday, 
probably, the die will be cast here. Either the ministry 
will be shown to be weak, like its predecessors, and sink 
out and against this I shall still struggle or it will do 
its duty, and then I do not for a moment doubt that blood 
will flow on Monday evening or on Tuesday. I should 
not have believed that the democrats would be confident 
enough to take up the gage of battle, but all their behavior 
indicates that they are bent on it. Poles. Frankfort men, t 
loafers, volunteers all sorts of riffraff are again at hand. / 
They count on the defection of the troops, apparently mis- 
led by the talk of individual discontented gabblers among 
the soldiers ; but I think they will make a great mistake. 
I personally have no occasion to await the thing here, and 
so to tempt God by asking him to protect me in perils that 
I have no call to seek. Accordingly, I shall betake my per- 
son to a place of safety not later than to-morrow. If noth- 
ing important occurs on Monday, on Tuesday I shall reach 
you ; but if the trouble begins, I should still like to stay 
near the King. But there you may (in an aside I say " un- 
fortunately ") assume with confidence that there will be no 
danger. You received no letter from me to-day, because I 
sent a report about the society to Gartner, and you will 
learn from him that I am all right. You will receive this 
to-morrow, and I shall write again on Monday. Send 
horses for me on Tuesday. God bless and guard you, my 
sweetheart. Your faithful B. 

Sunday, November 4, '48. 

MY SWEETHEART, ! did not write you yesterday 

119 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

because Hans had faithfully promised me to go from 
Potsdam to Schonhausen at ten o'clock. I hope he is with 
you. I was absent all day yesterday on State affairs; did 
not reach home till late at night, and am still in bed es- 
pecially as I have nothing to put on yet. Perhaps I shall 
find news from you in the H6tel des Princes (I am still 
living with Goltz). I am very homesick and disturbed 
about you, my beloved; your image is ever before me, 
so pale and large-eyed that I fairly long to lay hold on 
you as substantial flesh and bone, and to reassure myself. 
I will come to-morrow without fail, too ; send horses for me 
at noon, though I shall not come before evening, perhaps. 
Do not scold me; be not angry, my heart, for I could not 
leave before. My compliments to M. It is high time to 
close. Your B. 

(Postmark, BERLIN, November g, '48.) 

MY DEAREST, Although I am confident that I shall 
be with you in person a few hours after this letter, I want to 
inform you immediately that everything is quiet till now. 
I go to Potsdam at nine, but must post the letter here now, 
as otherwise it will not reach you to-day. Our friends 
have been steadfast till now, but I cannot take courage 
yet to believe in anything energetic. I still fear, fear, 
and the weather is unfavorable, too. Above all, you must 
not be afraid of anything, if I should stay away to-day 
by any chance. The K. may send for me, or some one else 
in Potsdam earnestly wish that I should stay there to ad- 
vise upon further measures, the trains may be delayed 
because the carriages are required for soldiers, and other 
things of the sort. Then, courage and patience, my heart, 
in any event. The God who makes worlds go round can 
also cover me with his wings. And in P. there is no danger 

120 



1848] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

anyhow. So expect me in the evening ; if I happen not to 
come, I shall be all right nevertheless. Cordial remem- 
brances to our cross little mother. 

Your most faithful B. 



POTSDAM, November 10, '48. 

MY ANGEL, Please, please do not scold me for not 
coming to-day either ; I must try to put through some more 
matters in relation to the immediate future. At two this 
afternoon all Wrangel's troops will reach Berlin, disarm 
the flying corps, maybe, take the disaffected deputies 
from the Concertsaal, and make the city again a royal 
Prussian one. It is doubtful whether they will come to 
blows in the process. Contrary to our expectations, every- 
thing remained quiet yesterday ; the democrats seem to be 
much discouraged. . . . Your V. B. 



POTSDAM, November 14, '48. 

MY DEAR PET, Long sleep can certainly become a vice. 
Senfft has just waked me at nine o'clock, and I cannot 
yet get the sand out of my eyes. It is quiet here. Yester- 
day it was said to be the intention to serenade the Queen 
(on her birthday) with mock music; one company posted 
there sufficed to make the audacious people withdraw in 
silence. Berlin in a state of siege, but as yet not a shot 
fired. The disarming of the city militia goes on forcibly 
and very gradually. The meeting in the Schutzenhaus 
was dispersed by soldiers yesterday ; six men who were 
unwilling to go thrown out at the door. Martial law will 
be proclaimed over there to-day. My friend Schramm 
has been arrested. That Rob. Blum, Frobel, Messenhauser, 

121 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

have been shot in Vienna, you already know from the 
newspapers. Good-bye, you angel; I must close. Many 
remembrances to all. The peasants of the neighborhood 
have declared to the King that if he has need of them he 
should just call them : that they would come with weapons 
and supplies to aid his troops, from the Zauch-Belzig- 
Teltow, the Havelland, and other districts. Mention that 
in Schonhausen, please, so that it may go the rounds. 

Your V. B. 



POTSDAM, Thursday Morning, 
November 16, '48. 

DEAR NANNE! I did not get your very dear, nice letter 
of Tuesday morning until yesterday afternoon, but none 
the less did I right fervently rejoice and take comfort in it, 
because you are well, at least in your way, and are fond of 
me. There is no news from here except that Potsdam 
and Berlin are as quiet as under the former King, and the 
surrender of arms in B. continues without interruption, 
with searching of houses, etc. It is possible that there 
may be scenes of violence incidentally the troops secretly 
long for them but on the whole the " passive resistance " 
of the democrats seems to me only a seasonable expression 
for what is usually called fear. Yesterday I dined with 
the King. The Queen was amiable in the English fashion. 
The enclosed twig of erica I picked from her sewing-table, 
and send it to keep you from being jealous. . . . 

If a letter from the Stettin bank has arrived, send it to 
me immediately, please, marked, " To be delivered prompt- 
ly." If I do not receive it before day after to-morrow, I 
shall return home, but must then go to Stettin at the be- 
ginning of next week. So let horses be sent for me on 

122 



1848] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Saturday afternoon; this evening I unfortunately cannot 
go to Genthin, because I expect Manteuffel here. . . . 

The democrats are working all their schemes in order 
to represent the opinion of the "people" as hostile to the 
King; hundreds of feigned signatures. Please ask the 
town-counsellor whether there are not some sensible people 
in Magdeburg, who care more for their neck, with quiet 
and good order, than for this outcry of street politicians, 
and who will send the King a counter-address from Mag- 
deburg. I must close. Give my best regards to mamma, 
and kiss the little one for me on the left eye. Day after 
to-morrow, then, if I do not get the Stettin letter sooner. 
Good-bye, my sweet angel. 

Yours forever, V. B. 

Friday Evening, November 17, '48. 

MY DARLING, I have a real heart's need to be with 
you, and I wander around impatiently, not because I fear 
lest you should grieve and fret and be angry with me for 
remaining away, but it is my own egotism: the restless, 
vagabond life, the -solitariness -in all this trouble, oppresses 
me beyond measure, and I just long to sit with you by the 
domestic fireside. In spite of that, however, I shall per- 
haps not be able to travel to-morrow. Politically, all 
goes according to my wish as yet, and I am very thankful 
to God that he has deemed me worthy of rendering impor- 
tant services to the good cause on several occasions, and 
again to-day. At the moment I am still in Berlin, at 
Savigny's, but in half an hour I go to Potsdam, whence 
I shall forward this letter to-morrow. Here it is entirely 
quiet ; the aspect of the streets has again become much 
more pleasing, and the troops are disarming without in- 
terruption. 

123 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

Potsdam. What with writing and speaking, one o'clock 
has come around again, and I would rather finish this 
to-day and sleep late to-morrow. My sincere thanks for 
both your letters, which have given me great pleasure 
in my uncomfortable homesickness. But do not ruin 
your eyes utterly, my sweet angel, so that the little stars 
may be quite wide and dark when I come. But to-morrow 
I cannot, my dear, as I have another conference here Sun- 
day morning. I hope I can then settle the money matter 
in Berlin, and need not go to Stettin. . . . 

A cordial good-bye. I kiss your hands, my sweet, and 
will go to sleep. Finkenstein is snoring near me like a 
tiger. Good-night. God protect you, with mother and 
daughter. Your most faithful V. B. 

BRANDENBURG, Friday, 
February 2, '49. 

MY DEAR! Again I am sitting at Franziska's little 
table, and the sun is shining straight into my face so that 
I can scarcely see. A very nice preacher is here whom 
Barschall* brought with him from Genthin. He lives 
not far from Briest a strong, devout nature, reminding 
me of Wagner somewhat. . . . 

My angel, is it well with you? Do you not write at all? 
Are there no letters for me? Last night I felt somehow 
very anxious on your account as I lay in bed, and I was 
really homesick; besought the dear God very earnestly 
that He would be pleased to guard you. I hope He has 
done so, although I do not deserve it at His hands. You 
received my letter yesterday, of course. I took it myself to 



* Governor of the prison in Brandenburg, and husband of Franziska 
von Puttkamer-Versin. 

124 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the station, and was assured that it would leave at nine. 
Now I will take this there, too; it is half past nine, 
and the train goes in an hour. My love to mother and 
daughter. Your faithful V. B. 

BRANDENBURG, February 5, '49. 

BELOVED HEART, Many thanks for your letter, which 
I received yesterday in the midst of the exhalation and noise 
of four hundred people, to whom I had, with God's help, 
just delivered a speech which was received with stormy ap- 
proval. Barschall brought it, and I read it under a stinking 
lamp. " When a sweet, familiar tone drew me from the awful 
turmoil:" thus was I for a moment withdrawn from the 
disorderly proceedings, and with you in a cosey little room, 
with the child and mother, with water boiling for tea and 
nice eggs. It will be a hard thing, if I should be elected 
this life without rest in the heart. . . . 

You will,, then, see me, not until to-morrow noon, either 
elected, and with a headache, or not elected, and then pre- 
sumably without one. Yesterday, already rejoicing over 
the result, at least fifty healths were drunk mine also, 
of course; there were over two hundred guests peasants, 
townspeople, and "of nobility/' as Luther used to say. 
They sang, " Hail to Thee ! " and " I am a Prussian. " How 
will it be to-day, if they should elect me? Democrats 
and republicans listened to my speech together, and even 
the worst of them kept so scrupulously quiet that one could 
hear a pin drop, and some of them came up afterwards 
to shake hands with me. All refrained very decorously 
from vulgar demonstrations. Cordial remembrances to 
mother, and may God protect you and your little one. I 
must close to take this to the station. 

Your most faithful and dearest V. B. 

125 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

Friday Evening. 
(Postmark, BERLIN, March 3, '49.) 

I have just received your letter of yesterday, my angel, 
and I am very sorry that you have again had so much 
trouble with the dear little one. If you are anywise dis- 
tressed about the conduct of the nurse, I advise you again to 
dismiss her instantly and take another. I cannot believe that 
such a change can do so much harm as her mental agitation 
and other possible bad qualities. If the child should begin 
to lose in health with her, that must certainly be done. . . . 

We have no apartment yet, but an agent is looking for 
one, and we shall find it easily. ... I regard it as 
positively settled and as natural that you are to come, 
only we will wait for the outcome of the debate on our 
reply to the speech from the throne; that must ensue next 
week, and then there will be something of a break, whether 
the matter is to last long or not. I must write still other 
letters to-night, and so take leave of you. I have just 
reread the I38th Psalm, and last evening the 64th, which 
is similar. I haven't Isaiah! I pray God very fervently 
that He may defend and sustain you, my sweetheart, and 
give you peace and confidence in His strong and loving 
hand. Give my love to M. and baby, and farewell, my 
beloved. Your very faithful v. B. 

Take good care of your eyes, too. Don't you notice 
the least effect from Bucking's belladonna? Write him 
more precisely about your condition, and I will look after 
the letter. How about your throat? I cannot count my 
wash now I have to bend over too much. It lies like 
cabbage and beets in my portmanteau. Excuse me; 
perhaps I shall do it Sunday. The little doctor may still 
get his appointment, perhaps, but it is not certain. 

126 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, Sunday. (Postmark, March 18, '49.) 
MY LOVE, It is very solitary here in my little room 
when one has to drink his coffee all alone, and your little 
bed is once more so littered with clothing and papers that 
it is in extreme disorder. Immediately after your de- 
parture I received a few dear lines from mother, according 
to which all was going well in Schonhausen. With God's 
assistance, nothing will have been changed in that situa- 
tion. Since then I have had two very tiresome division 
meetings, and a big dinner yesterday of four hundred 
persons, in which all the veterans of 1813, the Berlin militia 
officers, and those officers who are in the Chambers took 
part. One had to drink a great deal of wine, sing, shout 
"Hurrah," and my head is rather confused to-day. I 
slept beyond church time, too, and have no desire what- 
ever to dress to attend a tiresome conference on regulat- 
ing parishes. Please send back Malle's foot-pouch soon, 
when you have opportunity, or by mail; she might need 
it. She has an agreement with Arnim now for three games 
of whist in the afternoon ; but she is expected sometimes 
to play six, and then she is in a very bad humor. I could 
wish her both to manage and to take it differently. To- 
day I am to dine with Beps in the barracks, a thing I do 
tin willingly : there again one is forced to drink wine, one 
day like all the rest. There seems to be no thought of 
celebrating the i8th of March here; the town has an every- 
day appearance. It may be that in other places, Cologne, 
and so forth, there is something going on here there 
are too many troops for that. To-morrow the debates 
on the address begin, and from their course one will be 
able to judge of that of the Chamber as a whole, and by 
the end of the week we may, therefore, decide about our 
lodgings. . . . Your very faithful V. B. 

127 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

BERLIN, Thursday. 
(Postmark, March 29, '49.) 

DEAR NANNE, I received your little letter, thank 
God, apparently forwarded by the Gartners, and drew 
fresh hope from it that God will protect our little one from 
suffering. We have at last taken an apartment. . . . The 
Arnims have an entrance from the stairway ; we are, there- 
fore, quite separate, and have our own home to ourselves. 
. . . The arrangement seems to me to meet all your wishes, 
and yet it is the dreaded Antonin quarter, Wilhelmstrasse, 
corner of Behrenstrasse. I fancy your dislike of it was 
due merely to the division proposed by Malle; the present 
arrangement is my work, which I have worked out with 
difficulty. You are satisfied with it, are you not? It 
costs fifty -eight rix- dollars per month (seven hundred 
yearly), to which must be added the furniture, which I esti- 
mate at fifteen to eighteen, altogether about one-third of the 
salary. I do not think it too dear. It can be occupied Mon- 
day, and the Arnims move in immediately. We shall prob- 
ably have a week's Easter vacation from next Wednesday. 
This week we may spend either here or in Schonhausen, ac- 
cording to your choice : to me it seems, out of consideration 
for the child, almost better in Schonhausen. What does 
mammy say about it? In any event, we will and must 
spend the holiday with her: that will please God better. 
We have passed through our time of trouble together, 
and we will also thank God together on the day of the 
resurrection that He has brought us so far on our way. 
Church privileges, however, are better here. I leave it 
entirely to your will and God's ; the health of our child is 
to have its say, too. . . . 

Forgive me, my love, that I have not written you for 
three days. In the few hours that we had free I was so 

128 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

beset with callers friends from Mecklenburg, Silesia, 
and from the Rhine and so tired was I that I went to 
sleep in the meetings. In Genthin, on Monday morning, 
Unruh met me, and his first question was about the child. 
He is very sympathetic. I hope I told him the truth in say- 
ing that the danger was past. May God not punish me 
in this way for my sins, and not make you pay for my 
abundant demerits. Let us commend ourselves to His 
mercy. Many salutations to M. A cordial good-bye, 
and send me news of baby ; do not be angry, either, about 
the apartment, if it does not please you. The others 
were all unsuitable, or were already taken. 

Your very faithful, V. B. 

I have found the ribbon for mother. My sweetheart, 
you, do come on Sunday, or, if you are not coming, write 
so I may come. 

BERLIN, July 16, '49. 
To Frau von Bismarck, Reinfeld : 

MY DEAREST NANNE, I arrived here safely, and have 
in some degree slept off my fatigue. We have been parted 
but forty-two hours, and it seems to me that a week has 
passed since I saw you standing among the pines on the hill 
and waving a farewell ; then I looked towards the blue hills 
of Viartlum on the left, and our silent cousin considerately 
turned his head to the right, so as not to see that some 
salt-water ran down into my beard. It was, I believe, 
the first time since the school vacations that a leave-tak- 
ing cost me tears, and in those days they meant the 
end of freedom and the return to school servitude quite as 
much as the separation from loved ones. This retrospect, 
in view of the melancholy fields of Neu-Kolziglow, made 
I 129 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

me thank God ardently that I again have something from 
which it is hard to part, and I besought Him that He would 
be pleased to bless our marriage still further with true 
love. It was very disagreeable in Schlawe : many strange 
people in the room and no light, bad beer, and smoky soup. 
My companion as far as Coslin was a very talkative Herr 
von Loper, brother of the Lietzow Eisenhart, and later, 
as far as Stettin, Schwerin, our revolutionary Minister 
of Education, who slept until we reached Naugard, and 
then all the way to Stettin argued very zealously with me. 
He is a good, honorable man, but a dyed-in-the-wool con- 
stitutionalist. In Naugard I saw Bernhard at the post- 
office. From Stettin to this place I travelled with two 
German-Polish ladies, mother and daughter, who told me 
much about the excesses of the Poles in Wreschen, and 
the continued reign of terror under which the Germans 
there are living: they dare not even demand that what 
is left of the property stolen from them during the out- 
break be returned by the notorious robbers and thieves, 
who strut about in it before their eyes, and Wreschen 
townswomen are wearing shawls worth sixty and eighty 
rix-dollars in the presence of the German owners from 
whom they were taken. My gallantry served me a bad 
turn once more. The ladies had never been in Berlin, 
had not, of course, ordered a carriage to meet them, and I 
had to take them with me in mine, the only remaining 
one, as far as Meinhard's.* They overlooked the fact 
that I had paid their luggage-porter, and when we drew 
up in front of Meinhard's the mother protested very ener- 
getically against my having paid for the carriage alone, 
misunderstood my response that the driver had not yet 

* Meinhardt's Hotel. 
130 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

been paid at all, and vanished into the hotel with most 
gracious regrets that I had been put to trouble and expense 
on their account, so that I finally, half amused and half 
vexed at the naivete of the provincials, found myself com- 
pelled to pay the driver double for the fair sex and its in- 
credible mass of bundles. For in summa ten groschen 
I went to bed with the reassuring consciousness that I had 
behaved like a polite nobleman. 

I went to Arnim's yesterday, late as it was, a little be- 
fore ten o'clock. Malle was very well, according to Sade- 
wasser's report; Arnim had already been asleep for an 
hour. I waked him, as he was going to Angermunde this 
morning; but, in spite of manifold expectorations, could 
not get him to understand clearly that I no longer lived 
in the apartment, so drunk with sleep was he. He had 
passed the previous night, as well as I could gather from 
his fragmentary, half-dreaming words, with several land- 
stewards; asked, with a glazed look, "Where were you 
yesterday, and how is Johanna doing?" and went off 
gently to sleep again on my hands. . . . 

God defend you all, and the little one, too. Do not wear 
your dress too tight, and take care of your eyes, my pet. 
Good-bye. Your most faithful V. BISMARCK. 



SCHONHAUSEN, July 1 8, '49. 

MY PET, ... I wanted to write you in the evening, 
but the air was so heavenly that I sat for two hours or so 
on the bench in front of the garden-house, smoked and 
looked at the bats flying, just as with you two years ago, 
my darling, before we started on our trip. The trees 
stood so still and high near me, the air fragrant with linden 
blossoms; in the garden a quail whistled and partridges 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

allured, and over beyond Arneburg lay the last pink 
border of the sunset. I was truly filled with gratitude 
to God, and there arose before my soul the quiet happi- 
ness of a family life filled with love, a peaceful haven, 
into which a gust of wind perchance forces its way from 
the storms of the world-ocean and ruffles the surface, 
but its warm depths remain clear and still so long as the 
cross of the Lord is reflected in them. Though the re- 
flected image be often faint and distorted, God knows 
his sign still. Do you give thanks to Him, too, my angel ; 
think of the many blessings He has conferred upon us, 
and the many dangers against which He has protected us, 
and, with firm reliance on His strong hand, confront the 
evil spirits with that when they try to affright your sick 
fancy with all sorts of images of fear. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BRANDENBURG, July 23, '49. 

MY BELOVED NANNE! I have just received your 
short letter of Friday, which reassures me somewhat, 
as I infer from it that our little one has not the croup, but 
the whooping-cough, which is, indeed, bad, but not so 
dangerous as the other. You, poor dear, must have wor- 
ried yourself sick. It is very fortunate that you have 
such good assistance from our people and the preacher, 
yet are you all somewhat lacking in confidence, and in- 
crease each other's anxiety instead of comforting one 
another. Barschall has just told me that all of his children 
have had this croupy cough that it was endemic in 
Posen in his time; his own and other children were at- 
tacked by it repeatedly in the course of a few days; that 
every family had an emetic of a certain kind on hand in 

132 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the house, and by that means overcame the enemy easily 
every time, and without permanent consequences for the 
child. Be comforted, then, and trust in the Lord God; 
He does, indeed, show us the rod that He has ready for us, 
but I have the firm belief that He will put it back behind the 
mirror. As a child I, too, suffered from whooping-cough 
to the extent of inflammation of the lungs, and yet entirely 
outgrew it. I have the greatest longing to be with you, 
my angel, and think day and night about you and your 
distress, and about the little creature, during all the wild 
turmoil of the elections. . . . 

Here in Brandenburg the party of the centre is decidedly 
stronger than ours; in the country districts I hope it is 
the other way, yet the fact cannot be overlooked. It is 
incredible what cock-and-bull stories the democrats tell 
the peasants about me; in fact, one from the Schonhausen 
district, three miles from us, confided to me yesterday that, 
when my name is mentioned among them, a regular shud- 
der goes through them from head to foot, as though they 
should get a couple of " old-Prussian broadsword strokes " 
laid across their shoulders. As an opponent said recently, 
at a meeting, "Do you mean to elect Bismarck Schon- 
hausen, the man 'who, in the countryman's evening 
prayer, stands hard by the devil'?" (From Grillparzer's 
"Ahnfrau.") And yet I am the most soft-hearted person 
in the world towards the common people. On the whole, 
my election here in these circumstances seems very doubt- 
ful to me; and as I do not believe I shall be elected in the 
other place either, when I am not there personally, we 
may live together quietly the rest of the summer, if it be 
God's will, and I will pet you into recovery from your 
fright about the child, my darling. Have no anxiety 
whatever about my personal safety; one hears nothing 

133 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

of the cholera here except in a letter from Reinfeld. The 
first rule to observe, if it should come nearer to you, is to 
speak of it as little as possible; by speaking, one always 
augments the fear of others, and fear of it is the easiest 
bridge on which it can enter the human body. . . . 
God guard you and your child, and all our house. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

It is better not to leave the doors all open constantly, 
for the child often gets shock from the draught, when one 
is opened, before you can prevent it. 



BERLIN, August 8, '49. 

MY PRETTY DARLING, I arrived here day before yes- 
terday evening, rather tired from Schlawe to Stettin in 
an extra coach again, changing, therefore, at each sta- 
tion, but less uncomfortable. The conductor was my only 
company as far as Naugard, and happily was silent. . . . 

Hans lives here in the hotel, too. I am still undecided 
whether I shall live with him in a chambre garnie. He is 
somewhat too tyrannical for me, with my habits ; wakes 
me every morning before I want to get up, and orders 
my coffee so that it gets cold ; then suddenly pulls Gossner's 
little jewel-box out of his pocket, and grants me as a privi- 
lege a morning devotion with a hymn, which he reads aloud. 
That is all very fine, but for me often untimely. Nothing 
must be said to him about it, however, or he will get skit- 
tish again; he is much more affectionate at present. I 
went to see Malle yesterday ; you will have received her 
letter meanwhile. The wet-nurse's sister wished to 
have the news of the child's death kept from her, as other- 
wise her milk might fail. I am only afraid she will some- 

134 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

how learn of it, nevertheless, and then will be still more 
shocked. Follow your own judgment in the matter. 
I cannot pass upon it at this distance. If it affects her very 
much, you must send her away. For the rest, the child 
had every assistance and care, and its father had ac- 
cepted it with much love. . . . 

Your very faithful V. B. 



(Postmark, BERLIN, August 8, '49.) 

MY LOVE, I sent you a letter this morning, and have 
just received yours, in reply to which I will add a few 
more words touching the wet-nurse. If any one besides 
you and father and mother already knows about the 
matter, in the house or outside, then tell her the truth 
unhesitatingly, for in that case it will not stay hidden. 
If the matter is still known to yourselves alone, let it con- 
tinue so, but then keep watch on the mail-bag, lest she 
learn of it unexpectedly. The wet-nurse's sister here 
is unwilling to have it told to her. I shall look her up 
to-day and speak with her. But if you do not wish to 
keep it secret any longer, when once the child is rid of her 
cough, you should at any rate look about you for a wet- 
nurse or woman who, in case of necessity, can take Fried- 
erike's place immediately, if the effect is such that the 
child cannot stay with her. I shall get the sister to give 
me a letter to her, in which the story will be told exactly 
and soothingly ; this I shall send to you, so that you may 
make use of it in case of need; that, I think, is the best way 
she can learn of it. To tell her first that her child is sick, 
and so forth, I do not consider a good plan, for anxiety 
has a worse effect than the truth. God will graciously 
bring us out of this trouble. He holds us with a short 

135 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

rein lest we should become self-confident, but He will not 
let us fall. Good-bye, my best-of-all; pray and keep your 
head up. Your very faithful v. B. 



BERLIN, August H, '49. 

MON ANGE, I went to see the wet-nurse's kinsfolk, and 
there learned that the fiance had written to her last Wed- 
nesday and revealed all to her; so the matter will go as 
God directs. If you chanced to intercept the letter, and on 
receipt of this have not yet delivered it, please delay it until 
my next arrives. I could not find the fiance himself, and 
directed him to come to me this evening, and shall write 
you what I learn from him. If Friederike knows every- 
thing already, my wishes will reach you too late; other- 
wise I should like, if in accordance with medical opinion, 
not to have the wet-nurse sent away altogether, but only 
relieved from service for a few hours or days ; if, however, 
there are scruples on that point, it can't be done, of course. 
From my many doubts, you will see that I cannot decide 
the matter very well at this distance. Act quite in accord- 
ance with the advice of your mother and the other ex- 
perienced friends. I give my views, merely, not com- 
mands. ... Be content with these lines for to-day; 
be courageous and submissive to God's will, my darling ; 
all will surely go well. Cordial remembrances to the 
parents. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Friday. 
(Postmark, August 17, '49.) 

DEAREST NANNE, . . . Your last letter, in which you 
inform me of the happy solution of the wet-nurse difficulty, 
took a real load off my heart ; I thanked God for His mercy, 
and could almost have got drunk from pure gayety. May 

136 



1849] TH E LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

His protection extend henceforward, too, over you and the 
little darling. I am living with Hans here at the corner of 
Taubenstrasse, three rooms and one alcove, quite elegant, 
but narrow little holes; Hans's bed full of bugs, but mine 
not as yet I seem not to be to their taste. We pay twenty- 
five rix-dollars a month, together. If there were one ad- 
ditional small room, and not two flights of stairs, I could 
live with you here, and Hans could get another apartment 
below in this house. But as it is, it would be too cramped 
for us. I have talked with the fiance of the wet-nurse, a 
modest-looking person. He spoke of her with love, and 
declared in reply to my question that he certainly is willing 
to marry her. What he wrote about the " white pestilence " 
is nonsense ; no such sickness exists, least of all in Berlin. 
The cholera is fast disappearing. I have not heard a word 
more about it since I came here; one sees it only in news- 
paper reports. Isn't our mammy jealous because, accord- 
ing to the paper, I ,have been in company with " striking- 
ly handsome" Englishwomen? Lady Jersey was really 
something uncommon, such as is usually seen only in 
keepsakes. I would have paid a rix-dollar admission if 
she had been exhibited for money. She is now in Vienna. 
For the rest, I have not had a letter from you this long 
time; my last news comes from Bernhard, who left you a 
week ago to-day. God has upheld you meantime, I trust, 
my angel. It is possible that a letter from you is here. 
The delivery is always rather irregular : sometimes the 
letter-carrier brings them, sometimes they are delivered 
at the Chamber postal station. I will go immediately 
and inquire if anything is there; then I will take a bath, 
and return at least ten calls that have been paid me. It 
is a misery that now the people always receive one one 
loses a terrible amount of time at it. ... Hans is 

137 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

still inclined to treat me tyrannically, but I resist, and 
have been so far successful that I sleep as long as I please, 
whereat the coffee grows cold, however, as he is obstinately 
bent on not breakfasting alone. So, too, he will not go 
to bed if I do not go at the same time, but sleeps, just like 
my little Nanne, on the sofa. . . . Now, good-bye, my 
much-beloved heart. I am very anxious on your account, 
and often am quite tearful about it. Best regards to the 
parents. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Wednesday, 
(Postmark, August 22, '49.) 

MY DEAREST NANNE, As I wrote you last Friday, 
at the very moment of posting my letter I came upon your 
nice one, which was a real pleasure and a tonic to me, be- 
cause everything was going so well with you, and you are 
so fond of me, my angel. I fear, however, that my thanks 
to God for it were not exactly in His spirit, for I went off 
and drank a great deal of champagne in my delight. . . . 
Hans went out long ago, and I, just out of bed, am sitting 
on a red plush sofa and drinking in solitude the tea I made 
myself, for which Malle, the angel, has given me half a 
pound, and the hostess polished up her brass Sunday 
kettle. The people are tailors, just recently married, and 
very obliging. With Hans I lead a peaceable married 
life, and I flatter myself that he is becoming more amia- 
ble and human in consequence. He sings and whistles at 
times, and whinnies as he used to do, but still he is old 
far beyond his years. . . . 

Yesterday I went to the industrial exposition with Malle ; 
there I should have liked to be a millionaire in order to buy 
you a lot of pretty things writing-tables for six hundred 
rix-dollars, and the like. . . . 

138 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

In the morning I sometimes ride out with Oscar, and in 
the afternoons we take the customary drive in the little 
green carriage, with Malle and cigars, along the old Thier- 
garten roads, every stone and every hole in which the horses 
know by this time. The Hungarian affair is now probably 
over it is believed here that Gorgey was bribed, but it is 
rather to be assumed that he himself perceives the useless- 
ness of prolonging a struggle which will only cost more 
blood and money, without offering to the Hungarians any 
prospect of advantage. Our Frankfort people are very much 
staggered by the affair, which will perhaps give a differ- 
ent trend soon to the entire German policy. . . . Hans 
sends best regards, and urges me to dress and go out. He 
sticks close to my side, and I must now end, w r hile in spirit 
I embrace you, my most deeply beloved Nanne. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, Thursday, 
(Postmark, August 23, '49.) 

MY DARLING, Again, just when I took my letter to 
the post-office, I found both of your nice ones there. I 
must countermand this receiving of letters through the 
branch office in the Chamber; it is too irregular. I suffered 
this morning from the shady side of living with another 
man: Hans is intolerable with his many visitors. ... I 
have finally emancipated myself, and am writing to you in 
my little bedroom only a few words to thank you for your 
dear, very dear letters. How can you possibly believe that 
there could be too many of them for me? I am always 
cheerful and content for a whole day when I have read in 
your handwriting that you all are thriving and God has 
His hand over you. The conditions in our apartment 

139 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

are not so bad as you think : the bugs have not yet troubled 
me. Hans seems to taste better to them. . . . 

Hosel wants to be cordially remembered to all of you; 
Hans also, of course, and the latter commissions me to 
tell you, in regard to the Hagens, in Langen, that they 
will go to Berlin at the end of September, and are prepared 
and have room to take you and child with them, if you will 
come to Langen at that time. You might correspond with 
them about it. I still think, indeed, I shall be able to fetch 
you myself; but there is always some uncertainty what 
the situation will be in the Chamber just at that time. 
We have before now suffered severe defeats at the hands 
of the Frankforters in the division-elections, through the 
absence of individuals of our party, and it might suit me 
better, in some circumstances, to fetch you from Stettin 
than from Reinfeld. All that, however, is said provision- 
ally, and if there is anything unpleasing to you in the plan 
about the Hagens, I shall contrive, I fancy, to come my- 
self. But write to them, nevertheless, if just for the sake 
of politeness. Don't forget, either, to have the Brabant 
coach made water-proof. Again a new caller is with 
Hans in the next room. . . . 

Once again a thousand thanks for your dear diligence 
in writing, and the same number of salutations for the 
parents and Annchen. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Monday. 

(Postmark, August 28, '49.) 

MY DARLING, I sit here in my corner room, two nights 
up, and survey the sky, full of nothing but little sunset- 
tinted lambs, as it appears, along the Taubenstrasse 
and over the tree-tops of Prinz Carl's garden, while along 

140 




PRINCESS BISMARCK 
1871 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Friedrichstrasse it is all golden and cloudless; the air 
damp and mild, too. I thought of you and of Venice, 
and this only I wanted to write to you. News has come 
to-day that Venice has surrendered at discretion; so we 
can go there again, and again see the tall white grenadiers. 
... I dined with Manteuffel to-day, yesterday with Prince 
Albert, of course, day before yesterday with Arnim, and 
then I took a ride with him of fourteen miles at a gallop 
which suited me well, save for some muscular pains. In 
the Chamber we keep on doing nothing whatever; in the 
Upper House the German question, happily, has been 
brought forward again in very good speeches by Gerlach, 
Bethmann, and Stahl, and yet to-day the Camphausen 
proposition was adopted with all the votes against nine- 
teen. With us, too, it is beginning to excite men's tempers. 
The proposition is bad in its tendency, but its result in- 
significant, even if it goes through with us, as is to be 
expected. Tant de bruit pour une omelette. The real 
decision will not be reached in our Chambers, but in diplo- 
macy and on the battle-field, and all that we prate and 
resolve about it has no more value than the moonshine 
observations of a sentimental youth who builds air- 
castles and thinks that some unexpected event will make 
him a great man. Je m'en moque? and the farce often 
bores me nearly to death, because I see no sensible object 
in this straw-threshing. Mother's little letter gave me 
great pleasure, because, in the first place, I see that you 
are well, and then because she has her old joke with me, 
which is much pleasanter at a distance, as it does not lead 
to strife ; and yet how I should like to quarrel with mammy 
once more! I am genuinely homesick to be quietly with 
you all in Schonhausen. Have you received the ribbon 
for Annchen? 

141 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

Tuesday. . . . Hans is just breakfasting, and eating 
up, from sheer stinginess, a quarter pound of butter that 
he bought three days ago, because it begins to get old. 
Now he screams that my tea is there, too. I close for to- 
day, as I have something to do afterwards. My love to 
FatherMotherAnnaAdelheidMarie and all the rest. God's 
blessing be with you and keep you well and merry. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Friday. 

(Postmark, August 31, '49.) 

MY DARLING, I have many letters to write to-day, 
it is true, but you shall have the first of them, were it only 
to set your mind at rest about my being able to be angry 
with you! How can you even for a moment think seri- 
ously, my heart, that I might have taken amiss your 
solicitude? On the contrary, it is but a proof how dear 
I am to you. 

I shall very willingly take the gardener, but that cannot 
be done before Easter, as Kahle cannot be notified sooner. 
I will write to Bellin, however, whether he has not by 
chance already given him notice, and I, perhaps, have 
simply forgotten it. You write recently about several 
letters from mother: up to the present time I have only 
one from her, the very little one last week, for which I was 
very thankful, however. Yours to Bucking and to Malle 
I have delivered ; the latter wished to write to you to-day. 
She is now alone, as Oscar is giving possession of Mitten- 
walde, which, thank God, he has leased advantageously. 
I received your dear long letter day before yesterday at 
bedtime, after that rascal Hans had been with me the 
whole afternoon and evening at Finkenstein's and in the 
conservatives' beer -house without saying a word to me 

142 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

about letters having come. I was very anxious for news ; 
read it in bed, and fell asleep greatly relieved. . . . 

My matrimony with Hans is still getting along very well. 
He is now quite tolerant, acknowledges that we are living 
together, not in a confederate state, but in a confederacy 
of states, and lets me sleep till ten o'clock in certain cir- 
cumstances. Our host and hostess in adjoining rooms 
have four children, the oldest five years, and the smallest 
cries at night just as much as our pet, next to my bed- 
room ; and when I wake up at night I often fancy, drunk 
with sleep, that I hear my daughter and am with you, my 
angel. It is a right good thing for me not to lose the 
habit. . . . 

A thousand thanks, my love, for the purse, and to Ann- 
chen, too, for her help ; I am saving the nice red one now, 
which will get dirty otherwise. Most cordial remembrances 
to our parents. God take you all under His gracious pro- 
tection as heretofore. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Monday. 
(Postmark, September 3, '49.) 

MY LOVE, I have just received your letter with much 
pleasure, and have read it in a very tiresome committee- 
meeting, held to consider the punishment of people who 
want to corrupt the soldiers. The hair-splitting lawyers 
and the vain, flowery speakers so enlarge upon the simple 
question that I can't prevent my thoughts from wandering, 
but give them a free course to you, my angel, whither 
your dear little letter points the way. In the first place, 
I am very thankful and glad that you are all well; but 
do not let melancholy dash down on your little head. It 
it hard for both of us that we have been constantly sep- 
arated since that hateful March, but remember, too, that 

143 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

it cannot always be so here under the changeful moon, 
and especially do not let fear of next December master 
you. All of us thousand million human beings were born 
of woman, you know, and to every living soul clings a 
mother's pain and danger ; and how rare are misfortunes 
in that connection. Every time they do occur some neg- 
lect may be pointed out some folly, or a natural defect, 
which you have not ; and we will take care of you, be sure. 
That you stay in Reinfeld altogether is out of the ques- 
tion. I must set myself resolutely against any such un- 
wifely proposal. If possible, I shall look for a chambre 
garnie that is let by the month, as it seems to me as yet 
more fitting and comfortable for you to meet your trial 
at Schonhausen. I shall, therefore, take leave of absence 
as long as till your bad days are over, and shall stay all 
that time at Schonhausen. . . . 

From now on I shall number my letters, and begin this 
with I. Do the same, too; then we shall know if one is 
lost. Forgive this disconnected letter; I have to be al- 
ways quarrelling with the lawyers between times, and 
listening with half an ear to what they say. I regret 
very much that Annchen is leaving you. She is such a 
needful corrective for your disposition, and you will fall 
melancholy much oftener when she is gone. Mammy 
scolds me in her letter to Hans for not writing often enough. 
That is no fair reproach; I am very nice about writing, 
at least twice, often three times in a week, and now I still 
have time ; but when the meetings get to be more frequent 
I am afraid, my darling, that my letters will become, not 
indeed less frequent, but shorter. It is disagreeable when 
one has callers the first thing in the morning, and Hans 
is a great magnet for them mostly petitioners, often 
ladies, who sit for hours in front of my clothes-press, so 

144 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

that I cannot get my socks. I am often dragged in, too. 
Then, if I only get out-of-doors, it is hard for me to come 
back to the neighborhood of the Taubenstrasse, as the 
attraction of luncheon directs my steps to other quarters. 
Then I come home at 1 1 or 12; want to write to my Nanne; 
then Hans sits there and we barter our day's experiences, 
read the Kreuzzeitung, and go to sleep with the firm 
resolve to write next morning, when, very often, another 
tiresome colleague is on hand, before I have had my sleep 
out. But do not allow yourself to be deterred by my pos- 
sible laziness, or by bad-tempered scoffers, from writing 
to me as often and as fully as ever you like. I am always 
so much pleased by every report, and still more delighted if 
the letter is rather thick. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 

(Postmark, BERLIN, September 8, '49.) 

MY PET, I wrote you two words this morning, and have 
just time to add two more this evening. You will see in 
the newspaper what sort of an experience I had this morn- 
ing, as I wrote you, with the palaverer Beckerath. But 
I had my morning of limitation and dulness, on account 
of a cold and severe stoppage in the head. I forgot, 
therefore, the best of what I wanted to reply to him. It 
is probably in to-day's Zuschauer. I have not read it 
yet. About the fatted calf of the prodigal son, and the 
story of Beckerath and the Stein proposition it was in- 
credible how I could forget that, beyond measure stupid 
and irretrievable. But I was like a blockhead. God 
would not have it so. Opportunity, if not seized by the 
forelock once for all, does not come again. . . . Fare- 
well, my beloved. If I only had quarters for you first, 
I have a great longing to complain to you of human folly. 
K 145 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

Hans sits by me, and is working over his speech for news- 
paper articles. God with you, my heart. 

Your V. B. 



BERLIN, Sunday. 
(Postmarked September 10, '49.) 

DEAREST NANNIE, I have just found your charming 
letter, much to my delight, for already the time was begin- 
ning to hang heavily on my hands, and I was getting jeal- 
ous of Hans, who meanwhile had a letter from mother in 
which she is again hard on me ; but that is no matter she 
will come back to Schonhausen, anyway. I am physically 
well, and probably God will not allow my spirits to fail. 
Day before yesterday I wrote you two letters, Nos. 2 and 3 ; 
since then I have nothing new to tell you, only the old news 
that I love you very much, and that, therefore, I cannot let 
you remain at Reinf eld, much as it grieves me for your dear 
parents' sake. Le vin est tire, il faut le boire he who gives 
another man his daughter in marriage must accustom him- 
self, withal, to the fact that she is married ; to have your 
confinement at Reinf eld would be a semi-divorce ; I neither 
can, nor will, be so long without my Nan ; we are separated 
often enough as it is. About the end of this month I shall 
take you away either from Reinf eld or from Zimmerhausen, 
that is certain, if God wills. . . . Early this morning Malle 
and I heard Biichsel ; he preached about the ten lepers, of 
whom only one showed gratitude. Very pretty, if he would 
only prepare himself somewhat ; he always talks out of his 
sleeve ; but his sermon made me deeply realize once more 
how ungrateful we are towards God. However, I am never 
satisfied with the singing of the Protestant congregations ; 
I like much better to pray silently, while good church music 
is played by people who are proficient in it, and, withal, I 

146 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

prefer a church whose interior is like that of the Tein church, 
and Morlach masses, with white-robed priests, smoke of 
tapers and incense ; that is more solemn, is it not, angela ? 
There Buchsel had a boy choir, who sang without the or- 
gan, a hymn inserted in the service ; somewhat out of tune, 
and in truly democratic Berlin dialect ; this innovation also 
disturbed me. . . . Only let me thank you once again most 
heartily for your very dear letter, and do write soon, my 
darling; it is always for me the "sweet familiar note in 
the terrible confusion " whenever I read anything from you, 
and then, to Hans's terror, I have an inclination to get out 
of politics, resign my mandate, and live quietly with you 
at Schonhausen ; for it is all very much like my good old 
father at Kniephof, getting men and hounds to search the 
little bushes, and on every such occasion waiting with 
earnest and anxious watchfulness for the fox to appear, 
though he surely knew quite as well as I that there was no 
fox there. . . . God protect you, my angel. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, September n, '49. 
(Postmarked September 10.) 

I wrote yesterday, my Nannie, but as it costs me nothing, 
not even for paper, for this is the Chamber's, I do want to 
improve a wearisome moment, during which I must listen 
to the reading of a confused report on normal prices, to send 
you another little greeting ; but again without the ribbon, 
for I am going to buy that later on. This morning I at- 
tended the cavalry manoeuvres, on a very pleasant horse of 
Fritz's ; rode sharply, swallowed much dust, but, neverthe- 
less, had a good time ; it is really pretty, these brilliant, 
rapidly moving masses, interspersed with the clanking of 
iron and the bugle signals. The Queen, my old flame, 

147 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

greeted me so cordially. Having driven past without notic- 
ing me, she rose and turned backward over the bar of the 
carriage, to nod to me thrice ; that lady appreciates a Prus- 
sian heart. To-morrow I shall take a look at the grand 
parade, in which the infantry also participates. I believe 
I have written you that the King and Leopold Gerlach 
visited the Emperor of Austria at Teplitz, where there was 
also a Russian plenipotentiary. The proletariats of the 
Chamber are now gradually coming to see that on that 
occasion something may have been concocted which will 
cast mildew on their German hot-house flowers, and the 
fact that his Majesty has conversed with the ruler of all 
the Croatians frightens them somewhat. Qui vivra verra. 
These Frankfort cabbage-heads are incorrigible ; they and 
their phrases are like the old liars who in the end honestly 
believe their own stories ; and the impression produced on 
our Chamber by such ridiculous things as they say, with- 
out any regard for the matter in hand, or for common- 
sense, will be sure at last to convince people generallv 
that peasants and provincials are not fit to make laws 
and conduct European politics. Now I must listen. Fare- 
well, my much-beloved heart. Love to my daughter and 
your parents. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Wednesday. 
(Postmarked September 12, '49.) 

. . . Yesterday I was much pleased to receive mammy's 
little letter ; it is gratifying to me to know that many hearts 
outside of the Chamber are in accord with me, particularly 
that of my beloved ; in the Chamber I am like the owl among 
the crows. . . . Just now, as I was writing this and not 
paying attention, I voted on the wrong side, very stupidly, 

148 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

because I let myself be guided by my neighbor, Dewitz- 
Wussoff, who is usually right, instead of sticking to the 
much safer plan of always voting in opposition to Auers- 
wald. I will close, so as not to let it happen again. 
Farewell, my beloved heart. Don't forget that you must 
leave in about two weeks, and keep well for my sake, my 
angel. . . . Farewell, my darling. Hearty love to the 
old folks. Your most faithful V. B. 



(Postmarked BERLIN, September 14, '49.) 
Just now, my Nannie, Friday noon, in the usual tiresome 
Auerswald Committee, I received yours of Monday, and 
your letter and your love truly strengthen my heart in 
this ocean of boredom. What Hans told Adelaide about 
cholera symptoms was simply a lie to make himself inter- 
esting; he is even suffering from the reverse malady, the 
gray little wight, and I feel like a fish in water, but not 
like a trout in the Kamenz,* rather like a carp in its mouldy 
hole, bored and dull in spirit, I must have you here, my 
angel. What are we married for? And the middle of Oc- 
tober is quite out of the question, even if you are not ill ; 
by that time, too, it would be too cold for the child to remain 
so long en route, and if you don't come soon I shall take to 
gaming and drinking. I will not hear of your awaiting 
your confinement there; that could be only provided we 
were first definitely dissolved or adjourned, and provided 
I could remain during that time in Reinfeld; for other- 
wise we are half divorced, since it will then be impossible 
to return home before May. I sympathize most deeply 
with our parents' loneliness, but that is the course of events 

* A river near Reinfeld. 
149 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

for people with daughters; it is none of my doing, but 
God's, and it will be the same way with us, too, when we 
are old. Kiss mammy for me, and tell her I will not do it 
most certainly not. . . . Best love to father and mother, 
and to Adelaide. Your most faithful v. B. 



B., Sunday. 
(Postmarked September 16, '49.) 

MY BELOVED HEART, Yesterday during the session 
I received your letter, and will now make it my business to 
answer it. 

Do not write so late ; do not sit up so long ; mammy is 
quite right in scolding you for it. I must do so, too, re- 
luctant as I am. 

Whether I shall really myself come to take you from 
Reinfeld is uncertain, and depends on what matters may 
be before the Chamber just then. If they are important, I 
cannot get away for so long, and will only meet you at 
Zimmerhausen. In this you are quite right, that in the 
autumn air you must make short daily stages, for the 
child's sake, and still more for your own ; neither of you 
must be fatigued or ride in the night air. Arrange 
the stops entirely to suit yourself, whether I come or 
not. If, contrary to expectations, I should not be able 
to come as far as R. myself, father will surely escort you 
to Coslin or thereabouts, and Moritz come for you there 
or at Coslin. I took you a distance of about three hundred 
miles to give our parents pleasure, have been without 
you for months, so father will not refuse me this knightly 
service in return, in case I do not come myself. I will not 
have you travel without male escort, not even by the ex- 
press. . . 

150 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

The lonesomeness of our dear parents is affecting to me, 
also. I wrote you about it the other day, and can well 
picture it to myself from my own experience. But just 
to make it easier for them, we have made the journey to 
them with the child, and been separated from each other 
for such a long time; it cannot continue forever; times 
will come, with us, too, if God lets us live, when we shall 
long for our children, but we, too, shall have, I hope, the 
consolation of knowing they are happy and in God's hand ; 
then we shall yearn to be with them, and shall love our 
grandchildren, and be glad if we can live with them for a 
few weeks in the year. . . . 

Good-night, my beloved heart. May God's angels shield 
you, and do pray for me that I remain faithful to Him ; I 
am getting to be so worldly and so bad-tempered here, when 
you are not with me. Yesterday Malle and I were in 
Friedrichshain,* and I could not forgive even the dead, my 
heart was so filled with bitterness at the idolatry practised 
about the graves of these criminals, where every inscrip- 
tion on the crosses prates about "Freedom and Right/' a 
mockery to God and men. It is true, I say to myself, that 
we are all sinful, and God alone knows how He may 
try us, and Christ our Lord died for yonder rebels, too; 
but my heart is full of resentment when I see what 
they have made of my fatherland, these murderers, at 
whose graves the Berlin citizen worships idolatrously 
to this day. Farewell, my sweet angel. What have 
you to do with such things, that I should be writing 
you about them? Love one thousand times over to 
mother and father. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

* Frederick Cemetery. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

BERLIN. 

(Postmarked September 19, '49.) 

MY DARLING, I am again sitting on this tiresome 
commission, and write to you at the risk of again voting 
the wrong way. The weather is cold and rainy, and I am 
worrying lest it may be so when you start. Shall I still 
see that you get some warm clothing from Schonhausen, 
or have you everything there furs, etc. ? The child's in- 
disposition will surely not last so long, and, as to your fear 
of cholera, I have never yet heard that little children at the 
breast are attacked by it ; goodness knows what sort of a 
blood-and-thunder story some one has hoaxed Louise with 
the one she told you, wind-bag that she is ! All women 
are invariably happy if they can frighten and alarm oth- 
ers ; it is mere envy of your charming child. . . . Whether 
I can come to R. to call for you depends entirely upon 
what matters may be before the Chamber towards the end 
of the month. You will need a good week for the journey, 
including one or two days of rest ; so that I should want 
at least ten days' leave, and I cannot yet say whether I can 
have it. We shall now have in the Chamber the press 
law and the law on public meetings; the committee's 
recommendations have generally a decisive influence on 
the conclusions of the Chamber, and in the committee 
we are so fixed that it often turns on one vote. If papa 
cannot accompany you to Zimmerhausen, then I must, of 
course, go under all circumstances, no matter what may 
be on hand here ; for you shall not travel alone, my darling. 
If it does not rain afterwards, or not hard, I shall buy 
the waist and send it specially. Give M. and F. my best 
love; I reproach myself for not writing to our dear par- 
ents direct, but I always feel as though I were depriving 
you of your due, and, at any rate, you can communicate 

152 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

whatever I could write them. May God protect you! 
Last night, while reading the 28th Psalm, I thought of you 
very much, praying that He would keep and preserve you 
in all that lies before you. Farewell, my angel. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

Do not speak slightingly of the King; we are both at 
fault in that respect, and should not speak of him other- 
wise than of our parents, even if he errs and has faults, for 
we have sworn faithfulness and homage to his flesh and 
blood. Once more, farewell, my darling. God preserve 
you ! Our separation will soon be over, and in the course 
of it I have truly felt how much we have grown together. 
Thanks be to the Lord therefor, and may He long postpone 
the real separation, for I no longer know what the world is 
without you. 

BERLIN, Friday. 
(Postmarked September 21, '49.) 

I am well, my darling Nan, but I am cold, for in the 
morning the rooms are already so chilly that I long very 
much for the Schonhausen fireplaces, and matters in 
the Chamber are so tedious that I often have serious 
thoughts of resigning my commission. In the ministry 
there is again a shameful measure preparing; they now 
want to submit a real property tax bill, according to 
which those estates which are not manors are to be indem- 
nified, while the manors must suffer, as the number of 
nobles is not dangerous. Only if encumbered for more 
than two-thirds of their value, they are to be assisted by 
loans. What good will a loan do a bankrupt, who has it 
to repay? It is a mixture of cowardice and shameless in- 
justice such as I could not have expected. Yesterday we 

153 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

had soft, warm autumn weather, and I took a long walk 
in the Thiergarten, by the same solitary paths which we 
used to traverse together; I sat, too, on our bench near 
the swan-pond; the young swans which were then still in 
their eggs on the little island were now swimming viva- 
ciously about, fat, gray, and blase, among the dirty ducks, 
and the old ones sleepily laid their heads on their backs. 
The handsome large maple standing near the bridge has 
already leaves of a dark-red color; I wished to send you 
one of them, but in my pocket it has become so hard that it 
crumbles away; the gold-fish pond is almost dried up; 
the lindens, the black alders, and other delicate things be- 
strew the paths with their yellow, rustling foliage, and the 
round chestnut-burrs exhibit a medley of all shades of 
sombre and attractive fall coloring. The promenade, with 
its morning fogs among the trees, reminded me vividly of 
Kniephof , the woodcock-hunt, the line of springes, and how 
everything was so green and fresh when I used to walk 
there with you, my darling. . . . On the 1st of October I 
shall probably have to attend the celebration of the nine- 
hundredth anniversary of the founding of the cathedral 
there, to which the King is coming. For the 2d and the 
following days I have been invited to go on a royal hunt 
to the Falkenstein. I should be very glad to shoot a deer 
in those woods which we and Mary saw illuminated by the 
moon on that evening; but even if matters in the Cham- 
ber should not prevent, I am at a loss how to reconcile that 
with our journey, and I feel as though I should steal my 
days from you by going. ... I am now going out to buy a 
waist, to call on Rauch, and then again to the Thiergarten. 
All love to father and mother, and may God preserve you 
in the future as hitherto, my dearest. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

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1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, September 25, '49. 

DEAREST NAN, . . . I shall now, as you wish, take the 
Behrenstrasse apartment. Bellin writes me in great un- 
happiness about our not wishing to be at Schonhausen 
during the winter. It would be more agreeable to me, 
too, but it will be quite impossible ; if you were there, and 
I were here, it would mean my travelling continually back 
and forth, and when Christmas-time comes you cannot go 
through it without me, nor shall you ; and who knows but 
just then I may be needed here, if we remain in session so 
long. It must, therefore, follow that our pet will not be 
born behind the red curtain, much as 1 regret it, if it is to 
be a boy, and no Schonhauser. Farewell, my beloved 
angel. A thousand thanks for your precious letters, and 
write me at once, and at more length than I do; to-day I 
am too full of politics. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, September 27, 49. 

MY DARLING, I see it is much easier to get rid of one's 
wife than to get her back again ; I counted on having you 
here by the end of this month, and now it is proposed to 
wait till October 20th. That will not do, my sweetheart. 
. . . You are now perfectly well ; the weather is fine, and the 
travelling season is just about to close its gate, so we must 
not neglect to avail ourselves of this favorable state of 
affairs, and I wish you would not wait until the jth or 8th. 
If father will have the kindness to escort you as far as Cos- 
lin, and see you safe into the carriage there, you will travel 
alone only to Zimmerhausen, where I shall meet you. For 
this purpose, write me the precise day of your leaving 
Redd., and your arrival. . . . Many thanks for your kind 
little letter; we agree in everything except the plan of post- 
155 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocx. 

ponement. You are so good about writing that I shall 
fondle you very much for it when I hold you once more 
in my arms. I shall treat myself to-day to a bottle of 
champagne on the score of father's health. Nowadays 
I am over head and ears in work so many minor matters 
to attend to that I am quite harassed. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Friday. 
(Postmarked September 28, '49.) 

MY DEAR, I have taken the apartment in the Behren- 
strasse; that on the Thiergarten is too uncomfortable for 
you in going in and out in wet winter weather. ... It is 
better that I should procure and arrange everything for you 
in advance ; then you need only alight here and sink into 
my open arms and on a ready sofa ; that would be so pretty ; 
only come soon, my beloved angel; to-day the weather is 
already bitter cold, and write me exactly when I can come 
for you to Z. Do not be offended, either, at my note 
of yesterday, and do not think that you have offended me, 
but please come quickly. I am not going to the Harz. 
Much love. In great haste. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

Over the blue mountain, 
Over the white sea-foam, 
Come, thou beloved one, 
Come to thy lonely home. 

Old Song. 
* 

SCHONHAUSEN, October 2, '49. 

MY BELOVED NAN, I am sitting in our quiet old 
Schonhausen, where I am quite comfortable, after the 
Berlin hubbub, and I should like to stay here a week, if the 

156 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. 

old Chamber allowed. This morning Odin awakened me, 
and then retreated as usual between the beds; then the 
Bellins groaned very much about the bad qualities of the 
tenant, with whom they lead a cat-and-dog life, and I dis- 
cussed with her, pro and con, all that is to be sent to Berlin. 
The garden is still quite green for the fall season, but the 
paths are overgrown with grass, and our little island is so 
dwarfed and wet that I could not get on to it; it rains 
without let-up. The little alderman, of course, sat with me 
all the afternoon, otherwise I should have written you sooner 
and more at length. 1 want to leave again to-morrow morn- 
ing, and I have still several business letters to write. Yes- 
terday, with the King, 1 celebrated the nine-hundredth 
anniversary of the Brandenburg Cathedral, after it had 
been thoroughly exorcised and the bad national spirits 
driven out. The entire royal family was there, except the 
Princess of Babelsberg, who is at Weimar ; also Branden- 
burg, ManteufTel, Wrangel, Voss, and many high digni- 
taries, among them myself, quite courageously at the front 
in church, next to the princesses. At dinner his Majesty 
said many pretty things about his electoral and capital 
city of Brandenburg, and was also very friendly to me. 
I introduced to the Queen a number of village mayors, 
who had been of particular service in my election; they 
were so much moved by it that afterwards they embraced 
me with tears in their eyes. Finally, the King became 
very angry at Patow, who had made his appearance as 
President-in-chief, and to whom he had not spoken till 
then. "Sir/' said he, in a very loud and angry voice, 
" if you belong to the Right, then vote with the Right ; if 

you belong to the Left, vote, in the name, with the 

Left ; but 1 require of my servants that they stand by me, do 

you understand?" Breathless silence, and P looked 

157 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocx. 

like a duck in a thunder-storm. ... It is right good that I 
did not take the apartment on the Thiergarten ; aside from 
the wet feet which my angel would get in dirty and damp 
weather, the house has been broken into seven times dur- 
ing the couple of years of its existence, a fact of which sym- 
pathizing souls would surely have informed you ; and if on 
some long winter evening I were not at home, you and the 
two girls and baby would have shuddered mightily over it. 
The little old clock is just clearing its throat to strike 
seven ; I must to my work. Farewell, dearest ; and, above 
all things, come-mmmm quickly in a hurry, swiftly, in- 
stantly to your dear little husbandkin. Most hearty 
greetings to our parents. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, 7. 
(Postmarked October 8, '49.) 

To Fran von Bismarck, Zimmerhausen, near Plathe, in 

Pomerania : 

MOST BELOVED NAN, It is so chilly in my little room, 
and I shall not get any wood to heat it till to-morrow, that 
owing to cold feet I am writing you only three words, 
after having at last obtained possession, to-day, of writing 
materials. I am waiting anxiously for the things from 
Schonhausen. Bellin began packing on Saturday, and 
nothing has yet arrived ; and I wanted to have everything 
nicely and comfortably arranged for you before I leave, so 
that you may not enter cold, dreary lodgings here, I was 
long in doubt whether I should not surprise you in Coslin 
by night, but in that case our things would probably still 
be standing at the railway station on your arrival, and to- 
morrow we have a very decisive committee conference on 
the subject of the Press Act. Day after to-morrow there 

158 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

is a session on section 105, one of the main points in the 
Constitution ; I cannot be absent from that. Theref ore, un- 
less there is a change, I can only come to Z. on Wednes- 
day, and you will remain there one day longer, which 
will hardly be disagreeable to you. It is too bad I could 
not call for you this week; things would then have been 
much better so far as the Chamber is concerned, but in that 
case the whole packing business at Schonhausen should 
have been arranged sooner. So there are still three times 
twenty-four hours ; then I shall again have my little va- 
grant in my arms, and then I will not let you go again so 
soon, not for ten years; the old folks may say what they 
please; to be without a wife is to lead a dog's life. Kinkel 
is to go to the penitentiary at Naugard, so Bernhard will 
be glad. Farewell, my darling. I must go out. My 
fingers are getting cramped here. Greet all the Zimmer- 
hausners. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, November 4, 1849. 
To Frau von Puttkamer, Reinfeld, near Zuckers : 

DEAR MOTHER, It is true I have strongly intrenched, 
behind the paper ramparts of Chamber affairs, my laziness 
in writing, but your smoked meat has victoriously forced 
its way into this fortress ; it is, or rather it was, too good 
for this world ; I have, therefore, jointly with Johanna and 
Malvinia, who breakfasted daily on it while it lasted, taken 
care that it should not suffer very long. ... If, as your 
letter of yesterday indicates, you are afraid that Johanna 
takes a bloodthirsty delight in the Austrian court-martial, 
you may be easy on that score. She is so ignorant of public 
affairs that I had to tell her, and that only after your let- 
ter came, that a number of rebels had been hanged in Hun- 

159 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

gary. But you, my dear mammy, are haunted by Rous- 
seau's educational principles, which brought Louis XVI. 
to such a pass that he who had shrunk from bringing about 
the just death of a single human being became guilty of 
the destruction of millions. You have so much compassion 
on the family (if one there be) of Bathyany; have you 
none, then, for the many thousands of innocent people 
whose wives and children have become widows and orphans 
through the insane ambition or the conceit with which these 
rebels, like Carl Moor, resolve to make the world happy 
after their fashion ? Can the execution of one human being 
give satisfaction, even to mere earthly justice, for the burned 
cities, the devastated provinces, the murdered inhabitants, 
whose blood cries out to the Emperor of Austria that God 
has intrusted him with the sword of supremacy? Ef- 
feminate pity for the bodily pains of the criminal is respon- 
sible for most of the bloodshed during the last sixty years. 
You fear that the Austrian government is pointing out 
the way to the Democrats, but how is it possible to put on 
the same level a rightful authority and a party of high 
treason? The former owes to the subjects whom God has 
intrusted to it the protection of its sword against male- 
factors ; but the rebels continue to be murderers and liars, 
and if they violently seize that sword, they may kill, but 
may not judge. 1 was just now reading to Johanna 
Luther's sermon on Matthew xviii. 21, etc. ; it is full of 
love and forgiveness, but at the beginning old Luther ex- 
plicitly says, "Earthly governments are not to forgive, 
but to punish, wrongs." Excuse my writing you on this 
at such length, but I feel that it touches me personally, 
for if I should ever be called upon to exercise governmental 
authority, I should not like Johanna to look on me with the 
same eyes as you do on Haynau. . . . The struggle with this 

160 



1849] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

gang of Democrats was, after all, more interesting in the 
last Chamber than it is now with these insipid Constitution- 
alists, who preach the same principles as the others did, 
but have not the courage to carry them out to the end ; and 
they sugar over their poison with hypocritical patriotism, 
while the kernel always remains egotism and lust of power, 
in behalf of themselves and of their "intelligent citizens/' 
We are living here in very homelike, quiet fashion, eating 
with Hans from a tray over a spirit-lamp, struggling with 
the discomfort of calls to be made and received; and our 
chief affliction, at least Johanna's, is the little cry-baby, 
who for several days now has been very good in the day- 
time, but at night will not yield his right to try the patience 
of a mother's love. Just now Johanna is taking a nap on 
the sofa, to recoup what she lost during the night. All this 
often wears her down very much, but I do not know how to 
help this, much as it occupies my thoughts, for in another 
room she gets no sleep at all, because her fancy, with all 
sorts of bugbears, abides with the child. But God will 
surely give her strength to carry through that which is in 
the very nature of a mother's life. I close, dear mother, 
because I must go out, only I still add hearty love a thou- 
sand times over to our dad, and also to the kindly, if some- 
what constitutional, people of Reddentin, not forgetting 
Adelaide. Farewell. 

Your faithful son, VON BISMARCK. 



ERFURT, Tuesday. 
(Postmarked April g, "50.) 
Frau von Bismarck, Schonhausen, near Jerichow : 

MY BELOVED NAN,. . . I cannot yet rid myself of the 
thought of the pains you must have suffered under the 
L 161 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

hand of the old tooth-breaker, and am anxious lest you 
may be enduring them still; I hope I shall soon receive 
news of the contrary, my darling. With the disorganized 
postal service, you will probably not receive this letter until 
day after to-morrow, your birthday, and I have been much 
in doubt whether I should not again utilize the two free 
days to come myself ; but besides the duties of secretary, I 
must now prepare myself in earnest, if I am not to be dis- 
graced on Friday; for I cannot very well keep silent in 
the position in which I now find myself, for it would be con- 
strued on all sides as a cowardly backdown. Gerlach and 
Stahl were extremely irritated by a remark of mine to the 
effect that I would leave the honor of the struggle to them 
alone; and they rightly pointed out to me the duty which, 
before God and man, I had undertaken in accepting my 
seat. Therefore, I shall remain here ; I could not stay with 
you, at any rate, for more than twenty-four hours. That 
I wish you happiness is, perhaps, a superfluous formality ; 
I might just as well wish it to myself ; but I will thank you, 
with my whole heart, for all your love and faithfulness, 
with which you have brought happiness and quiet into this 
life of mine, before so grievously lacking in both ; for your 
meekness and patience, with which you help me to endure 
the trifling sorrows that God's goodness sends us, as well 
as the more serious ones which my own failings and sharp 
corners, and the egotism which is stronger in us men than 
in your sex, bring upon us. I will celebrate your birthday 
by imploring God, more earnestly than on other days, to 
keep you in life and good health, to grant me peace and 
humility, and to let me prove always, not merely by my 
feelings, but by my deeds as well, with unchangeable gen- 
tleness and solicitude, the love and faithfulness which I 
rightly owe to you; and then I hope, too, that God will be 

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1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

kind to us, and never deprive us of the great mercy which, 
through and in our married life, He has vouchsafed, and 
which is daily the principal subject of my thanks ; for that 
do you also implore Him, often and earnestly. Hearty 
love to mother. Beg her again, in my name, for forgive- 
ness of all my misdemeanors, and tell her "quite frankly" 
that I, nevertheless, love her very much. 

Here is a caller. Good-bye, dearest of all, and may the 
Lord grant you a happy and healthful birthday. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



ERFURT, April 13, '50. 

MY DARLING, For two days a touch of homesickness, 
driving me towards you at least by letter, has been strug- 
gling in me with the dreary restlessness incident to pre- 
paring a speech on the principal question which we are 
now treating. But as it is gradually growing unlikely 
that 1 shall get the floor, since out of sixty-two speakers I 
drew lot No. 44, and could only get an exchange to No. 26, 
1 will, at the risk of indigestion, swallow my fine phrases, 
and talk down to the tenor of ordinary mortals. 1 have 
received your two letters, my angel, and I thank God that 
you are well, only I am still furious at the dentist. . . . 

So I did not think of you on the I ith? The weather was 

delightful, and 1 took a long walk in the woods for three 

hours, alone with God and my thoughts of you, and of all 

the good things He has given us. Then I drank your 

health, with Hans, in champagne. God be with you and 

our loved ones. I am busy; things are going badly for 

the Gotha people; the government is intrenching itself 

against them. Farewell, my most precious, my darling. 

Your most faithful V. B, 

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THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

ERFURT, April 19, '50. 

MY BELOVED NAN, It is bad to live in such a small 
town, with three hundred acquaintances. One is never 
sure of his life a single moment, for calls. An hour ago I 
got rid of the last bores ; then, during supper, I walked up 
and down in my room, and annihilated almost the whole 
fat sausage, which is very delicious, drank a stone mug of 
beer from the Erfurt " Felsenkeller," and now, while writ- 
ing, I am eating the second little box of marchpane, which 
was, perhaps, intended for Hans, who has not got any of 
the sausage, even ; in its place I will leave him the little 
ham. During the last few days we have been valiantly 
quarrelling in Parliament; but neither at the beginning 
nor later could I obtain the floor for my principal speech; 
but I relieved myself of some gall in minor skirmishes. . . . 
I am sick and tired of life here; attending the sitting 
early in the morning, thence directly to a screaming and 
chattering table d'hdte, then for coffee to the Steiger, a most 
charming little mountain, a mile from the city, where one 
can walk about through the pleasantest hours of the day, 
with a pretty view of Erfurt and the Thuringian woods; 
under magnificent oaks, among the little light-green leaves 
of prickles and horn-beam; from there to the abominable 
party caucus, which has never yet made me any the wiser, 
so that one does not get home all day. If I do not attend 
the caucus meetings, they all rail at me, for each one 
grudges the others any escape from the tedium. . . . Good 
bye, my heart. May God's hand be over you and the chil- 
dren, and protect you from sickness and worry, but par- 
ticularly you, the apple of my eye, whom Roder envies me 
daily in the promenade, when the sunset makes him sen- 
timental, and he wishes he had such a " good, dear, devout 
wife." For the rest, my allowance suffices for my needs 

164 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

here, and I shall still bring treasures home. Good-night, 
my darling. Many thanks for your faithful letter, and 
write me again at once; I am always anxious for news. 
Hans has just come in, and sends you sleepy greetings, 
after sitting on the lounge for hardly ten seconds. Once 
more, good-night, my Nan. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



ERFURT, April 23, '50. 

MY DARLING, ... We shall probably be released a week 
from to-day, and then we have before us a quiet Schon- 
hausen summer, as the cry of war is also dying. It is really 
going to be summer again, and on a very long walk, from 
which I am returning home dead tired, 1 took much pleasure 
in the small green leaves of the hazel and white beech, and 
heard the cuckoo, who told me that we shall live together for 
eleven years more ; let us hope longer still. My hunt was 
extraordinary; charming wild pine- woods on the ride out, 
sky-high, as in the Erzgebirge; then, on the other side, 
steep valleys, like the Selke, only the hills were much high- 
er, with beeches and oaks. The night before starting I 
had slept but four hours ; then went to bed at nine o'clock 
in Schleusingen, on the south side of the Thuringian wood ; 
arose at midnight; that evening I had eaten freely of the 
trout and had drunk weak beer with them; at one o'clock 
we rode to a forge in the mountains, where ghostlike people 
poked the fire; then we climbed, without stopping, until 
three o'clock, in pouring rain, I wearing a heavy overcoat ; 
so steep that 1 had to help myself with my hands ; so dark 
in the fir thickets that I could touch the huntsman ahead 
of me with my hand, but could not see him. Then, too, we 
were told there is a precipice on the right, and the torrent 

165 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

sent up its roar from the purple depths below; or that 
there is a pool on the left, and the path was slippery. 
1 had to halt three times; repeatedly 1 almost fainted 
from weakness, lay down on the dripping heath, and 
let the rain pour on me. But 1 was firmly resolved to 
see the grouse ; and 1 did see several, but could not shoot 
them, for reasons which one must be a huntsman to 
understand. My companion shot one, and, if I had been 
well, I might have shot two ; I was too exhausted. After 
three it cleared and became wonderfully fine, the horn- 
owl gave place to the thrush, and at sunrise the bird- 
chorus became deafening ; the wood-pigeons singing bass, 
withal. At five 1 was down again, and, as it began to 
pour once more, I abandoned further attempts, returned 
hither, ate very heartily, after a twenty-four hours' fast, 
and drank two glasses of champagne, then slept for four- 
teen hours, until yesterday at one o'clock, noon, and now 
I am feeling much better than before the excursion, and 
am glad of the good constitution which God has given me, to 
get through it all. ... I send you lots of love, my heart, 
and will piously celebrate fast-day to-morrow at the Wermel 
church. God preserve you. Love to mother and Melissa. 
Excuse my haste. I had really left myself an hour of leis- 
ure, but that little old Mass has his fourteenth child, just 
born. The only son of our poor Eglof stein, of Arklitten/ 
twenty - three - year - old lieutenant of cuirassiers, has shot 
himself in hypochondria; I pity the father extremely, a 
devout, honorable man. Your most faithful V. B. 



ERFURT, Friday. 
(Postmarked April 27, '50.) 

MY DARLING, Hans has just gone out to a reception 
in a white vest and cravat, the same as every evening; it 

166 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

is just the contrary from what it was in Berlin; he is the 
society-hunter. I stay properly at home, fix myself tea and 
lapwings' eggs, which I duly received to-day, unbroken, all 
nicely packed ; a thousand thanks for them. . . . To-day 
1 was again provoked that I did not get the floor ; I should 
gladly have aimed a blow at the babbler Beseler, who, with 
perfidious garblings, pounced upon our beloved Stahl, who 
is truly casting his pearls before swine here. He still has 
pearls left for me, but, nevertheless, the time when our 
paths diverge will probably come with the years, if we live 
to see it. Roder* sends his regards again, and word that 
his companionship exerts on me a highly beneficial influ- 
ence, which is daily increasing. . . . How I thank God that 
you are all well. 1 am always anxious on that score, and 
on opening a letter that is always the first thing I look for. 
As to vaccination against small-pox, I am more in favor 
of it than opposed to it; if, after Busch's answer, you are 
still in doubt, send for Dr. Biinger, of Stendal ; he is a good 
physician. . . . Pray for me, as I do for you. Hearty 
greetings to Mam. and Mel. Your most faithful V. B. 

KULZ, Sept. 23, '50. 
To Frau von Bismarck, Reinfeld, near Zuckers : 

MY BELOVED NAN, Father will have told you how we 
Almost missed the mail-coach. ... A terrible rain-storm 
at Coslin; I had an abominable seat in the coach, with a 
bombardier and a Jew smelling of wet furs; a wretched 
dinner; the white pillow was my only consolation for the 
badly covered iron bars against which 1 rested. William 
Loper is lying ill of typhus, with little hope, at Colberg, 
and his wife, a much-desired goldfish of three hundred 
thousand, is also deadly miserable. Of what good is the 

* At that time a deputy, subsequently introducteur des ambassadeurs, 

167 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

money? Let us be very grateful for our better portion. 
William Ramin is said to have scraped together what he 
could, and disappeared, leaving two hundred thousand 
rix - dollars of debts. 1 hope it's not so. Lettow was 
here, and Moritz. The latter full of war business. Here 
everything is going as usual; Elsie and Jenny are here 
for good ; the gentlemen have just left, and only now do I 
find leisure to write you, while the ladies are conversing 
with me, Malvina* is round as a barrel. 

It was right sad and gloomy on our journey to Schlawe, 
and your little gown still kept waving before me in the 
dark, like a bright streak between the garden bushes. 
Let my dear little one not be sad. I shall be back very 
soon. If you write me directly on receipt of this, address 
Magdeburg, in care of Gerlach. Do not prepay your 
letters to me hereafter; I will not do so, either; every one 
is complaining how many prepaid letters are now lost or 
intercepted, because no further record is kept of them. 
I give you a thousand kisses, my dear heart ; take care of 
yourself at night, too, and do not get up unnecessarily. 
Many thanks to mother for everything, and at this moment 
particularly for the white cushion. Give a hug to our 
gray-bearded dad, too, and to both the little scamps, and 
be not discouraged. God will shield us all for His love's 
sake. To-morrow morning I continue my journey, and 
shall write wherever I have time. Farewell, my little pink 
angel. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Wednesday. 
(Postmarked September 26, '50.) 

MY DARLING, How is it that to-day is Wednesday? 
Did I not leave Reinf eld, then, on Saturday afternoon, spend- 

* Mrs. von Bismarck, of Kiilz. 

168 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ing Sunday at Ktilz, leaving there early on Monday, and 
arriving here the same day, i. e., last night? Je n'y com- 
prends rien, I have lost track of one day; I have only 
reached Tuesday, but here every one says it is Wednesday ; 
one day less of separation from you ; with that I console my- 
self in my bewilderment. . . . Last night, wishing to take out 
a nightshirt, I found, in place of my own trunk, that of a 
Jewish tailor, A. Rosenberg, of Coslin ; that brand pursues 
me. This morning I ascertained that at Stettin they pasted 
my number on the wrong luggage, and that the Jew en ques- 
tion is expected this evening ; I have written by the mid-day 
train, and I hope my things will be sent along, provided 
they can be identified by the description. So I have had 
to spend the day here, and at least find time to write you ; 
but I am running about the streets like a ragman. Frau 
von Manteuffel, whom I visited in this costume, threw up her 
hands in surprise, and I explained to her how my shabby 
state was a result of her husband's measures against the 
landed gentry. She sends you cordial regards, and bids 
me tell you that the boy's cough and Marie's attacks of 
sore throat have an intimate connection with the teeth, 
and will return periodically, but always less severely. . . . 
I am at a loss to remember what you wished me to get for 
you in Berlin; I should now have time enough to at- 
tend to it. Provided my things arrive to-day, we intend 
to go to Magdeburg to-morrow, and the following day I 
shall probably go on to Schonhausen ; I dread the solitude ; 
there I shall probably find the first news that you and 
our little tot are well, and our parents, too ; I pray God very 
earnestly to extend His protection over the little red house, 
but you have spoiled me by your anxiety, and I have to 
muster all the little trust I have, so as not to see some mis- 
fortune when 1 think of you. Nothing definite is heard 

169 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

as yet concerning the assembling of the Houses. The 
Czar is said to have intimated that he could no longer em- 
ploy one of his best diplomats as a physician of the insane ; 
therefore, Meyendorff was to leave, and no envoy be sent 
here for the present, as sensible people could be of no service 
to him here. Very flattering, also, for Budberg, who is now 
managing matters. Radowitz, the great magician, as he 
is called, stands better than ever with the King, who con- 
siders him a martyr for his (the King's) person, as all turn 
their backs on him ; ministers, chamberlains, court ladies 
have not a word to say to him, and even the old lackeys with 
the Iron Cross play pranks on him wherever they can. God 
mend it. Farewell, my beloved angel. May the Lord pre- 
serve you from sickness and misfortune. Give heartiest 
love to our parents. 

Your most faithful and dearest V. B. 

SCHONHAUSEN, Sunday Evening. 
(Postmarked JERICHOW, September 30, '50.) 

MY BELOVED NAN, . . . I regained possession of my 
things in Berlin at some cost, after twenty-four hours had 
elapsed ; when I left, the unfortunate Jew had not yet 
claimed his. Partly on my account and partly on Hans's, 
we had to stay in Berlin two days, but this time the bill was 

more reasonable May the devil take politics ! Here I 

found everything as we left it, only the leaves show the 
rosiness of autumn; flowers are almost more plentiful 
than in summer ; Kahle has a particular fondness for them, 
and on the terrace fabulous pumpkins are suspended by 
their vines from the trees. The pretty plums are gone; 
only a few blue ones still remain ; of the vine, only the com- 
mon green variety is ripe ; next week I shall send you some 
grapes. 1 have devoured so many figs to-day that I was 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

obliged to drink rum, but they were the last. I am sorry 
you cannot see the Indian corn ; it stands closely packed, 
three feet higher than I can reach with my hand ; the colts' 
pasture looks from a distance like a fifteen-year-old pine 
preserve. I am sitting here at your desk, a crackling fire 
behind me, and Odin, rolled into a knot, by my side. . . . 
Mamsell received me in pink, with a black dancing-jacket ; 
the children in the village ridicule her swaggering about 
her noble and rich relations. She has cooked well again to- 
day, but, as to the feeding of the cattle, Bellin laments bit- 
terly that she understands nothing about it, and pays no 
attention to it, and she is also said to be uncleanly; the 
Bellin woman does not eat a mouthful prepared by her. 
Her father is a common cottager and laborer ; I can easily 
understand that she is out of place there, with her grand airs 
and pink dresses. Up to this time the garden, outside of 
Kahle's keep, has cost one hundred and three rix-dollars this 
year, and between now and Christmas forty to fifty will prob- 
ably be added for digging and harvesting, besides the fuel. 
The contents of the greenhouse I shall try to have taken 
care of in the neighborhood ; that is really the most diffi- 
cult point, and still one cannot continue keeping the place 
for the sake of the few oranges. I am giving out that you 
will spend the winter in Berlin, that in the summer-time we 
intend going to a watering-place again, and that, therefore, 
we are giving up house-keeping for a year. . . . Hearty love 
to our parents. 1 shall celebrate father's birthday with 
you, like a Conservative, in the old style. May the mer- 
ciful God, for His Son's sake, preserve you and the chil- 
dren. Farewell, my dear Nan. Your V. B. 

Since leaving Reinf eld 1 no longer have heartburn ; per- 
haps it is in my heart, and my heart has remained with Nan. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocx. 

SCHONHAUSEN, October I, '50. 

MY ANGEL, I am so anxious that I can hardly endure 
being here; I have the most decided inclination to inform 
the government at once of my resignation, let the dike 
go, and proceed to Reinfeld. I expected to have a letter 
from you to-day, but nothing except stupid police matters. 
Do write very, very often, even if it takes one hundred rix- 
dollars postage. I am always afraid that you are sick, and 
to-day I am in such a mood that I should like to foot it to 
Pomerania. I long for the children, for mammy and dad, 
and, most of all, for you, my darling, so that I have no peace 
at all. Without you here, what is Schonhausen to me? 
The dreary bedroom, the empty cradles with the little beds 
in them, all the absolute silence, like an autumn fog, in- 
terrupted only by the ticking of the clock and the periodic 
falling of the chestnuts it is as though you all were dead. 
I always imagine your next letter will bring bad news, 
and if I knew it was in Genthin by this time, I would send 
Hildebrand there in the night. Berlin is endurable when 
one is alone; there one is busy, and can chatter all day; 
but here it is enough to drive one mad ; I must formerly have 
been an entirely different mortal, to bear it as I did. . . . 
The girl received the notice to leave very lightly and good- 
naturedly, as quite a matter of course ; Kahle, on the other 
hand, was beside himself, and almost cried ; said he could 
not find a place at Christmas-time, and would go to the 
dogs, as he expressed it. I consoled him by promising to 
pay his wages for another quarter if he failed to find a place 
by New Year's. The girl is quite useless except in cook- 
ing, of which more orally. I cannot enumerate all the lit- 
tle trifles, and certainly Kahle does not belong to the better 
half of gardeners. ... I feel so vividly as if I were with 
you while writing this that I am becoming quite gay, until 

172 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

I again recollect the three hundred and fifty miles, including 
one hundred and seventy-five without a railroad. Pome- 
rania is terribly long, after all. Have you my Kiilz letter, 
too? Bernhard has probably kept it in his pocket. Do 
not prepay your letters, or they will be stolen. Innumer- 
able books have arrived from the binder; he claims one 
section of Scott's Pirate is missing; I know nothing about 
it. The tailor says that he has been able to make only 
five pair of drawers from the stuff; presumably he is 
wearing the sixth himself. Farewell, my sweetheart. 
Write as often as you can, and give love and kisses to 
every one from me, large and small. May God's mercy 
be with you. Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 3, '50. 

MY ANGEL, I was delighted to get your letter yester- 
day, and thanked God that you are well. He will surely 
help the boy to pull through, too. Be sure and don't spoil 
little Marie, if she is so charming, and do not let her have 
her own way too much. If the weather at all permits, let 
her out-of-doors, and the boy, too, if his condition allows of 
it. I live here very quietly, sleep long, go out walking, 
attend to my dike duties in the afternoons, and write 
evenings. Had it not been for Prick's stupid money mat- 
ters, I could still be staying quietly with you; in Magde- 
burg, too, they might have done without me ; but certainly 
I don't know how I could have attended to the payments 
of interest from there ; it is difficult to find money in those 
Rummelsburg hills. ... I know nothing new since the day 
before yesterday, except that I am still in anxiety, and 
love you quite as much as yesterday, and am just as 
eager for letters ; I am writing you to-day primarily to set 

173 



TH LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. [Ocf. 

you a good example. I must close, for I have just eaten 
such a hearty supper, with thick gruel, ham and eggs, 
that I can no longer sit up straight, but am going to pace 
the floor a bit, and to-morrow I ride out early. Farewell, 
all three little tots in God's keeping. Dearest love to our 
parents. Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 8, '50. 

To-day, at last, my darling, I receive the letter which 
you began on the 2d and posted on the 4th, together with 
the dike seal ; it is certainly strange how slowly the mail 
travels under Heydt. . . . But as to the girl, my angel, it is 
quite out of the question; despite your objection, I stick 
to it that, in the kitchen, at any rate, she is dirty, although 
she has an incredible amount of washing done for her- 
self: the kitchen looks inordinately greasy, and even 
Hildebrand, for the first time since I have had him, com- 
plains of the food on the score of uncleanliness (mag- 
gots, mould), and feeds it to Odin. Besides, she is half 
crazy, burns wax candles, presumably ours (I don't know 
where they are kept, or how many there were), and when 
the Bellin woman expresses surprise, she says : " Shall I 
not do that? I am not used to anything different!" and 
lets a candle, presumably ours, too, burn down so low in 
her room as to make a hole in the table. She is half crazy 
from vanity, and all taken up with her brother, a whole- 
sale merchant in Berlin, who, as she asserts, " bosses the 
railroad, and can have a locomotive hitched to a car all by 
himself, and travel wherever he pleases." Drop her, my 
dear; it is no use keeping her. Alvinia's* things I shall 

* Nurse. 
174 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

forward by Hildebrand, and talk to her mother on the oc- 
casion of the dike inspection. How sorry I am that the 
boy disturbs you so much at night! he probably has a 
slight whooping-cough, it continues with him for such a 
long time. . . . Hearty love. God keep you and the babies. 
Write me, too, whether I am to send anything at once. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 10, '50. 

MY DARLING, In a sullen rage I swoop down upon my 
inkstand after just lighting the Town Councillor down- 
stairs with the kindliest countenance in the world. He sat 
here for two and a half hours by the clock, moaning and 
groaning, without the least regard for my wry face ; I was 
just about to read the paper when he came. From ten to 
two I crawled about the Elbe's banks, in a boat and on 
foot, with many stupid people, attending to breakwaters, 
protective banks, and all sorts of nonsense. This is, in 
general, a day of vexations; this morning I dreamed so 
charmingly that I stood with you on the seashore ; it was 
just like the new strand, only the mud was rocks, the beeches 
were thick - foliaged laurel, the sea was as green as the' 
Lake of Traun, and opposite us lay Genoa, which we shall 
probably never see, and it was delightfully warm; then I 
was awakened by Hildebrand, accompanied by a sum- 
moner, who brought me an order to serve as a juror at 
Magdeburg from October 20th to November i6th, under 
penalty of from one hundred to two hundred rix-dollars 
for each day of absence. 1 am going there by the first 
train to-morrow, and hope to extricate myself ; for God so 
to punish my deep and restless longing for what is dearest 
to me in this world, so that we shall not have the fleeting 

175 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [OCT. 

pleasure of a couple of weeks together, would, indeed, be 
incredibly severe. I am all excitement ; that is our share 
in the newly achieved liberty that I am to be forced to 
spend my few days of freedom sitting in judgment over 
thievish tramps of Jews, like a prisoner in a fortress. I 
hope Gerlach can free me ; otherwise I shall never speak to 
him again. To-morrow I shall at once drop you a line 
from Magdeburg, to tell you how I succeed. . . . The people 
have abandoned the dike-captain conspiracy against me; 
the Town Councillor says he will not press it at all. He 
chattered to me for hours about his land-tax commission, 
in which his anxiety drove him to rage against his own 
flesh, and also, unfortunately, against ours. Our chief 
misfortune is the cowardly servility towards those above 
and the chasing after popularity below, which character- 
ize our provincial councillor ; consequently public business, 
the chase, land-tax, etc., are all deleteriously affected. It 
is due principally to the fact that he is grossly ignorant 
and bungling in affairs, and is, therefore, for better, for 
worse, in the hands of his democratic circuit secretary, 
to whom he never dares to show his teeth ; and, despite all 
that, the fellow wears trousers, has been a soldier, and is a 
nobleman. La-Croix is district-attorney at Madgeburg, 
withal, and he, too, must help me to sneak out of it. It is 
still impossible for me to acquiesce in the notion that we 
are to be separated all winter, and I am sick at heart when- 
ever I think of it ; only now do I truly feel how very, very 
much you and the babies are part of myself, and how you 
fill my being. That probably explains why it is that I ap- 
pear cold to all except you, even to mother ; if God should 
impose on me the terrible affliction of losing you, I feel, so 
far as my feelings can at this moment grasp and realize 
such a wilderness of desolation, that I would then cling so 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

to your parents that mother would have to complain of 
being persecuted with love. But away with all imaginary 
misery ; there is enough in reality. Let us now earnestly 
thank the Lord that we are all together, even though sep- 
arated by three hundred and fifty miles, and let us expe- 
rience the sweetness of knowing that we love each other 
very much, and can tell each other so. To me it is always 
like ingratitude to God that we choose to live apart so 
long, and are not together while He makes it possible for 
us ; but He will show us His will ; all may turn out differ- 
ently; the Chambers may be dissolved, possibly very 
quickly, as the majority is probably opposed to the Min- 
istry. Manteuffel was resolved upon it in that event, and 
it seems that Radowitz, since he is Minister, has approached 
him, and, in general, wants to change his politics again. 
Best love to all. Farewell. God keep you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 12, '50. 

MY BELOVED NAN, I hasten to inform you of the 
particulars of my Magdeburg expedition, and the pros- 
pects of my getting rid of the jury nuisance. First of all, 
I went to Gerlach, who told me he could do nothing in the 
matter, but that the decision as to the validity of excuses 
rests solely with the presiding judge, Meier ; the latter, a bap- 
tized Jew, gave me the same answer, referring me to Fritze, 
the director of the criminal court, who in turn said, again, 
that he, for his part, could make no change in the list ap- 
proved by the court; that he had done so once, and been 
severely reprimanded for it, and that he had risked having 
all the proceedings attacked by counsel for the accused as 
invalid for informality. That the only thing for me was to 
M 177 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr. 

put in writing my reasons (which he thought valid) for wish- 
ing to be excused, and that the court, on assembling on the 
22d, would consult the other jurors, and decide whether it 
was permissible to excuse me. He, as well as other 
members of the court, were of opinion that I should be re- 
leased. I have looked up a whole lot of people, partly even 
in the witness-room of the criminal jail. Then I begged 
the government to claim my services as captain of the 
dikes for the time of the inspection, and they have 
promised to do so ; but that will only help me for the first 
days, even if the court should recognize such a claim. I 
believe I shall get out of it, but 1 shall not know definitely 
till the 22d. If I fail, 1 shall at least be able to obtain my 
dismissal a few days after reaching Magdeburg, and shall 
then stay with you until after the Chambers are opened, 
which will probably be on the I5th ; as, in all probability, 
not much of moment will come before them at the beginning. 
Yesterday I was so angry about the whole business at 
Magdeburg that I thought I should be ill, and went to bed 
here with a slight fever ; but to-day 1 am quite well, only 
I am very sad over the possibility, still not removed, of 
having to stay away from you still longer, and seeing our 
short time together still further curtailed. It is truly an 
incredible arrangement that thirty-six people in the dis- 
trict, of whom only twelve are made use of, may, without 
having committed any crime, simply at the caprice of a 
magistrate, be condemned to four weeks' confinement at 
Magdeburg, and without living at the King's expense, 
either, like other prisoners ; and that only a week's notice 
is given of such a thing. Since '48 how little have I been 
at home, and now I am to be imprisoned in the fortress the 
few days left me to arrange for a long absence. Withal, 
the whole thing rests essentially on the ignorance of the 

178 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK! 

court; they had proposed, with the best of intentions, to 
draft jurors only from Magdeburg and its immediate vicin- 
ity, and they do not know that only two places in the whole 
district are farther away than Schonhausen, namely, 
Hohengohren and Neuermark: there the district ends. 
Gerlach was quite at a loss to comprehend why I should 
be so anxious to avoid a duty which we ought to be eager 
to perform; he considered only the inconvenience and 
tedium of staying four weeks in Magdeburg ; such a thing 
as longing for wife and child he appears neither to expe- 
rience nor to suspect in others, and disposed of that with a 
smile and a shrug of the shoulders. I was in such a rage 
that they were both offended, and he remarked that, once I 
was angry, it seemed to me immaterial with whom, and 
he is right, in a measure. After having vented my ire 
internally on the return journey, and also externally 
upon Magistrate Alvensleben, who sat in the coupe with 
me from M. to Genthin, and left me somewhat hurt, I 
prayed God in the evening to pardon my unruliness, and 
submitted to His will; perhaps it is only a merciful hint 
from Him to show me, in my excited dissatisfaction over 
our separation, that it could very easily be worse, and we 
will endure obediently what He imposes on us, and not 
make each other more sad. I shall be thankful and con- 
tent that He allows us all to be alive and well, and does not 
punish me more severely for my many sins. I had at first 
intended to go to Reinfeld at once, and be here again on 
the 22d ; but if they had discovered that, they would cer- 
tainly not let me go, alleging that my business is settled. 
Now, too, I cannot get away because of money matters. . . . 
Yesterday the mamselle made me a fricassee in which there 
was so much mould that I was frightened; in fact, the 
food she prepares oftentimes tastes so strange that I be- 

179 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [OCT. 

gin to be nauseated. Just now I had some smoky milk- 
porridge for supper, and must close so that I may still write 
to Bernard, who has been expecting me for a week, in order 
to invite the Arnims to meet me. Do not grieve, my be- 
loved heart, over all our little vexations; if only God will 
preserve your health and the children's I pray for that 
with immoderate passion then He will surely grant us a 
happy meeting very soon. A dissolution of the Houses 
some time before Christmas seems to me not improbable. 
Love one thousand times over to our parents. 

Your ardently loving and most faithful V. B. 

SCHONHAUSEN, Monday. 
(Postmarked JERICHOW, October 15, '50.) 

... In the matter of the jury there has been no change as 
yet ; I am awaiting every mail-day a certificate from the gov- 
ernment that 1 am indispensable here, in order to submit it 
with a request to be released, which I have already drawn 
up. It is damp and cold here continually, raining from 
morning till night, but in the garden things are still rath- 
er green, although already of a faded appearance. To- 
morrow there will be a grand dinner at Genthin; but I 
shall not go, as I have no appetite for their bad wine and 
their constitutional toasts, but shall celebrate his Maj- 
esty's birthday alone with old Bellin, and hope to receive 
at dessert the longed-for tidings from you. Do not be 
hindered from writing me. If perhaps some one has fallen 
very ill, any news at all is better than this distressing si- 
lence, which gives most senseless scope to the imagination. 
This jury business, and the dike nuisance, rent liquida- 
tions, tedious neighbors, the bad weather, and the solitude 
have put me so out of sorts that I am heartily sick of Schon- 
hausen, and, nevertheless, I lack decision when a pur- 

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1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

chaser comes, as I look on the old walls and the high trees 
which stand motionless in the rain. Alvensleben the 
other day again accosted me about it. Then, too, my 
cigars have suddenly given out. My next letter I am go- 
ing to address to mother, otherwise she will not write to 
me again ; only I am too ill-tempered to-day, and should, 
after all, only vex her by my effusions. Do not worry, my 
darling, thinking I am angry over the want of letters; I 
am only anxious, and in bad humor, withal, owing to the 
absence of anything that could cheer me; but please do 
write, every mail-day if possible, be it but one little word ; 
it is always the only ray of light in my solitude, whenever 
Hildebrand brings me a letter marked "Zuckers." God 
is gracious and merciful, and will hear my prayer and 
shield you from harm. To His protection I commit our- 
selves and all Reinfeld, with all that is therein. Farewell, 
my heart, and write, write, write to 

Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 15, 1850. 

DEAR MOTHER, I had hoped to be with you again 
for your birthday ; to the delay of the dike inspection is 
due the fact that I can only in writing express my most 
hearty congratulations; I thank God that He has pre- 
served you to us, through the great amount of trouble and 
sickness which you have suffered with us during your year 
just passed, and I pray Him to preserve to us henceforth, 
too, your faithful support ; and I thank you, dear mother, 
for the rich measure of love for us, which has always en- 
dured to overflowing, and with which you have constantly 
met me, even though you sometimes believed I did not re- 
alize it as you had a right to expect. God is my witness, 

181 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr. 

or, rather, yours for me, that I have often had to ask His 
forgiveness for wrong done to you, and that I have prayed 
to Him for strength to fill my stubborn heart with humility 
and peace. May He, by His Holy Spirit, support me in it ; 
then I shall have to ask less forgiveness of you during next 
year, dear mother, than in this. I believe we have both 
experienced, too, that the Lord helps us to round off the 
edges which must be polished smooth in every newly 
formed relation between persons who are past the age of 
early youth, which is easily moulded and pliant, and He 
will also help us in it henceforth. If there have been dis- 
cords between us, they were, after all, but superficial ; we, 
who four years ago to-day were like utter strangers, and 
hardly had any common acquaintances, have, never- 
theless, in the course of time, through war and peace, and 
with ever less war and ever more peace, approached so 
near to each other that, outside of Johanna, 1 have not any 
one, not even my brothers and sisters, with whom I share 
so frankly and openly my cares and joys, internal as well 
as external, and am always certain of true sympathy, even 
in those cases in which I might expect to have forfeited it ; 
that is surely more than any one whose relationships I 
have come to know can say of himself and his mother-in- 
law. If I could succeed, with God's help, in banishing 
out of my heart its fierce temper and mastering the ill- 
nature which casual vexation easily brings to expression 
in my manner, then there would never be a moment in 
which you would doubt my deep and warm love, or my 
gratitude to you ; but only the grace of God can make one 
person out of the two in me, and so strengthen in me His 
redeemed portion that it shall kill the devil's share; it 
must come at last, otherwise it would go ill with me. But, 
believe me, the man of God in me loves you deeply, though 

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1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the devil's slave may provoke you, and the former is full of 
gratitude for all your kindness, faithfulness, and your for- 
giving nature, even though the other behaves like an icicle. 
God will certainly stand by His portion, so that He remains 
Master of the house, and the other one can only show him- 
self in the hall, even if he sometimes acts there as if he were 
host. 

To-day I have at last received a long-desired letter from 
Johanna, and yesterday I wrote a very impatient one. My 
poor dear is suffering in tooth and eyes ; do see that she is 
very careful of herself, so far as is possible, without bur- 
dening you, and do not let her foolishly strain her eyes 
with writing and working by artificial light. To-morrow 
morning I have the Triibe inspection, and the following 
day I begin packing Johanna's commissions; a week 
from to-day is dike inspection, and I hope to be able to 
leave two days later, if only I am first rid of the jury. Fare- 
well, dear mother. Heartfelt love to father from 

Your faithful son, V. BISMARCK. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 17, '50. 

MOST BELOVED NAN, One thousand thanks for 
your two nice letters yesterday and the day before. So 
now you are behaving properly! I wrote to you and to 
mother by the mail of day before yesterday. Yesterday 
Triibe inspection. Starting out at seven o'clock, to a place 
behind Havelberg, mostly afoot, I plodded through ten or 
twelve miles of swamps, in great boots, then regaled my- 
self at Jederitz with peasants' sausage and schnapps; 
did not return for dinner till dark, and was dead tired; 
foolishly read Scott's Monastery during half the night, and 
slept like a top until 10.30, so that I can only hurriedly 

183 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr. 

give you my thanks and tell you I am well, before going to 
Scharteucke. I have just extracted from all your letters 
a whole sheet of commissions, and instructed the Bellin 
woman to look for everything. Yesterday I was in a 
wonderfully pretty primeval oak forest (you must go there 
with me in the summer by water), leading to a charm- 
ing little river ; oaks twenty-five feet in circumference. 
At dinner-time to-day I shall drink to dear mammy's 
health. God preserve our dear parents, and you and the 
children and your Most faithful V. B. 

Nothing new as yet concerning the jury; but a week 
from to-day I expect to be on the way to my angel. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 18, '50. 

MY DARLING, Yesterday I received your letter of the 
1 4th, and thank God that you in Reinfeld are well, after 
your fashion. Only dear mother is so pestered with swol- 
len feet; I beg her earnestly to take care of herself when 
she is sick, and to leave to you the nightly disturbance, if 
you are well, or to the numerous serviceable spirits at Rein- 
feld; the most robust constitution must at last succumb, 
if it is constantly deprived of regular sleep, and the old 
night-watchman's saying, " Mortal watching cannot help, 
God in heaven see to it," is true for children, if anywhere. 
At Scharteucke there was a real fairy festival yesterday; 
the house has become more and more like a casket of treas- 
ures; to the right, on entering, a very handsome round 
balcony has been opened out on the garden; the table 
and everything on which there is room is overloaded with 
bric-a-brac, marble vases, and all the little playthings in 
which childless people commonly seek variety; I would 

184 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

not give Marie's little finger for all the attractive luggage; 
but you, you like bric-a-brac? ... It is doubtful whether, at 
best, I shall be with you as early as the 2jth. . . . Perhaps 
I can write more definitely in my next letter. But I shall 
only ascertain for certain on Wednesday whether I am rid 
of the jury, and then it will be too late to order horses for 
Sunday (2yth) to Schlawe, therefore I shall probably have 
to take the extra-post. Hearty love to our parents. God 
keep you. Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONHAUSEN, October 21, '50. 

MY BELOVED NAN, . . . With your letter I received an- 
other, which somewhat embarrasses me; it is an invita- 
tion from the King to be in Letzlingen the 28th and 29th, 
with a summons to acknowledge receipt of the missive at 
once, and to appear at Letzlingen as early as the evening 
of the 27th. Now I shall only ascertain by the mail of day 
after to-morrow, the 23d, whether I shall get rid of the jury, 
and it is possible it has even been covertly told me by the 
court officers themselves that all they will expect of me 
will be that, after the dike inspection is completed, I shall 
present myself for a few days at Magdeburg, simply for 
honor's sake, after which I shall be excused for the rest of 
the time on the plea of business, so that I shall have to be 
in Magdeburg, say, on Friday and Saturday. On Sat- 
urday the King is to pass through there, and then it can- 
not but happen that he will learn from his hunting com- 
panions of Magdeburg (Witzleben, Hirschfeld) that I was 
seen there, and that the excuse which I might give, that I 
was already on the way to Pomerania, or what not, was a 
mere pretence; and, if I must stay so long, anyway, I 
shall be glad to take in the chase, too. On the other hand, 

185 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocx. 

if, as I like to imagine, 1 get away altogether from jury 
duty, 1 could be ready to leave on Friday, or, at the latest, 
Saturday, and be with Nan on father's birthday, or, at any 
rate, on Monday, as I wrote you last night, and at the same 
time ordered horses. In short, if 1 knew that 1 could leave 
on Friday, then I should leave, but if 1 must stay until Sun- 
day, at any rate, I should go to the King, too. But much 
as I may tramp back and forth in my little room, and look 
at the glimmering peat in the fireplace, it is quite certain 
that, even if the court people write very promptly, I shall 
not know for certain till the day after to-morrow. The 
chase 1 should like to take part in, and I should also be 
glad to speak to the King with the leisure which is usual 
there; but then, my angel, I cannot be with you before 
November 2d; that makes four or five days of the short 
time during which we shall be together, and if I cannot 
leave before Saturday, 1 shall be in danger of meeting the 
King's train, and it is possible that I shall have to do jury 
duty, anyway, for two or four days. I believe I wrote you 
yesterday that I am already excused for the days of the 
dike inspection, up to and including Thursday; those 
people are, after all, then, not so surly as is supposed. I 
appear to myself so stupid in my indecision; so stupid 
when, after laboriously overcoming all obstacles with 
God's gracious help, I, nevertheless, remain here for the 
sake of a chase, and again stupid when I sit in Magdeburg 
and see the King riding through with rifle and hanger 
and cannot go along. Bellin, who has just been here, 
says, of course, that I must go to the chase. I was just 
counting my buttons, and wondering whether, in such 
childishness, I ought to think of God or not ; but, after all, 
the thought of Him does make me come to a decision, for 
the simple reason that I cannot decline the invitation with- 

186 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

out telling an untruth; for I certainly would not allege 
simply that 1 longed to be with you at once, although that 
is as cogent a reason as any other, but it is not presentable at 
court. But, on the other hand, if 1 lie, and must stay here, 
anyway, it will serve me right ; if 1 stick to the truth, I can 
certainly say, " as God will." It is quite probable, too, that 
the King wishes to speak to me ; for otherwise I do not know 
why I should be honored again, and, withal, not as a " gen- 
tleman from the neighborhood," who are always invited 
for a particular day only, and in a certain fixed rotation, 
but rather as " guest of the castle," i.e., for the whole chase, 
with night lodgings ; and I am, by explicit order, to come 
as early as Sunday, whereas usually the gentlemen ap- 
pear only on the morning of the chase, and return home 
after dinner. Pardon me for writing so much idle chat, 
but I am simply setting down how my thoughts have 
swayed back and forth for the last two hours, and how I 
seem to myself now as one who wantonly rejects that for 
which he has prayed God passionately, our early reunion ; 
and anon, as one who in Magdeburg hankers after the 
chase as the fox after grapes, and dreads being found out 
like one caught in a trap by his own false excuses. The 
more I picture that to myself, the more am I resolved to 
acknowledge receipt for the present, and accept the invi- 
tation, and then wait and see how it may be arranged, and 
what decision God will allow me to adhere to. If I can and 
will leave sooner, I can still forward to Letzlingen on Thurs- 
day some pretext or other that I may consider valid, " His 
Lordship begs to be excused ; he has taken ship for France. " 
. . . To-day the weather has been charming sunshine, even 
warm. The garden is still pretty well f oliaged ; the cherry- 
trees of a reddish tint, the lindens yellow, the numerous 
wild maples in the thicket are pale yellow, the oaks still 

187 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

green, and the acacias full and dark-green as in June. 
On the whole, green still predominates, and the trees re- 
tain their foliage, though there is the rustling of autumn 
under foot. I have given Bellin instructions as to what 
he is to plant in the bosket, and eight or nine more young 
chestnuts in the great avenue. . . . Farewell, my beloved 
angel. Next week, at any rate, whether at its beginning 
or its end, I hope to hold you in these arms of mine, and the 
children, too. Much love to mother and father. I shall 
bring along the cigar-case, even though it is mout. apres 
diner; otherwise it will still be the wrong one. Good-night, 
my darling; to-morrow I have dike inspection, so I must 
do a little more writing. God preserve you and 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, Sunday Morning. 
(Postmarked November 16, '50.) 

MY MOST BELOVED NAN, If you have not trusted 
implicitly in God, you have had a needless alarm. For 
the present there is not the least probability of war; 
so little that there appears to be some embarrassment 
about getting rid of the masses of troops in a decent way. 
On the principal question at issue, how matters shall be 
handled in Germany hereafter, the Austrians have yielded ; 
so, too, their troops in Hesse will remain for the present^ 
and ours will keep the three Prussian highways through 
Hesse occupied. The Hessian and Holstein matters, 
moreover, are not of sufficient interest to Prussia, or to our 
party in particular, to make it profitable to sacrifice people 
for them, and soldiers at that. I arrived here day before 
yesterday at 10 P. M. ; went at once for Stockhausen ; did 
not find him; then to Manteuffel (and again in travelling 

188 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

attire, as I either left the key at R. or lost it), who asked 
me not to go to Stendal at all, as the Chamber people were 
urgently needed here ; and, as I awoke yesterday morning 
with a raging headache, I did not go. During the day I 
heard from all well-informed quarters that there was no 
probability of war, certainly not for the present; so I re- 
mained here quietly, and am only writing to Stendal; I 
have also written the major asking why Hildebrand is 
not on hand, and that if he is to come they should send 
the order to him at Reinf eld ; if he receives it, he must leave 
at once. Mousquetaire can stay at home for the present. 
The armaments are continued until the negotiations with 
Austria are really concluded, provided the Austrians do 
not dismiss their troops sooner. The immediate cause of 
the mobilization was that Austria drafted one hundred and 
fifty thousand men, and that eighty thousand Austrians 
in all are posted in Bavaria and Bohemia, who could be 
before Berlin in two weeks' time, without anything oppos- 
ing them. . . . The King and the Prince of Prussia are for 
war, and the Ministers have a hard time to oppose it (but 
nothing must be said to any one about that, except to your 
parents) ; the Chambers, if they are very reckless, can still 
bring about war ; but it is hardly probable. My position in 
the squadron will be filled, and if it does come to blows un- 
expectedly, I shall be utilized somewhere else. God protect 
you and ours henceforth with His true love. 

Your most faithful forever, V. B. 

Do not worry about my health; I am very well to-day, 
and only had a headache yesterday because I had fool- 
ishly eaten nothing on the road. I have still much writ- 
ing to do. I shall be with you at Christmas, as I never 
doubted. 

189 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

BERLIN, Monday Evening, November 18, '50. 
MOST BELOVED NAN, I wanted to write you yes- 
terday and to-day, but my soles are still burning, I may 
say with the Moor in " Fiesco " ; just at present this is a 
scene of the most miserable intrigues one can imagine. 
Gotha, the bureaucracy yea, it is sad to relate, the court 
all are working together for ManteufTers downfall, but 
God has given me reasonable hope that they will not suc- 
ceed. ManteufTers fall would mean, just now, a return of 
the Radowitz principle, defended by straw puppets whom 
he leads war with all monarchical states, in the back- 
ground revolutionary imperialism, whose mantle now, 
after years of preparation by Radowitz, is perhaps more 
dazzling than before. If M. remains, there is every pros- 
pect of an early, honorable peace, whose main feature 
would be that Prussia and Austria would become recon- 
ciled to each other, with entirely equal rights, at the ex- 
pense of the small states. I pity Manteuffel; he looks 
like a candidate for nervous fever, or something worse, 
when he gets tired at night. From the most diverse quar- 
ters people feel authorized to call him cowardly and cor- 
rupt; even his two Radowitz colleagues are intriguing 
against him, and he goes his own way with Stockhausen, 
quite undisturbed. All day yesterday I manipulated the 
Centre, with unhoped-for success, mainly because diplo- 
matic communications "had placed me in a position" to 
make clear their total ignorance of the state of affairs. I 
send this to Bernard, who wants news, and my time is 
very limited. 1 beg Bernard to send this along immedi- 
ately. Hearty love goes with it. So far as can at present 
be foreseen, Manteuffel will surely retain a majority in the 
first Chamber, and pretty certainly in the second, and then 
all is well, even if, contrary to expectation, war should 

190 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

still come ; then we shall probably only have Austria and 
Bavaria against us, and for them, with God's help, we are 
quite strong enough. Your most faithful V. B. 

The preparations will not cease until we have attained 
what we desire. 

BERLIN, November 22, '50. 

Like last year, my darling, I am writing you at the green 
table directly under the platform, amid the noise and dis- 
turbance of the Chamber. Pardon my letters being rarer 
now than from Schonhausen ; my longing for you, when- 
ever I have a moment's quiet in the confusion, remains the 
same. All the occupation and intrigue of the year 1848 is 
as nothing to these days. So far no one here has any 
doubts of peace, although from morning till night I have 
had to defend its necessity against quite sensible people 
with the same warmth with which I disputed last night 
against General Gerlach for the necessity of war under 
certain circumstances (i. e., excessive Austrian imperti- 
nence). We both became very angry; so did even Hans, 
who quite agreed with me. Gerlach takes altogether a 
lawyer's view of the matter, and considers Austria to be 
in the right. But we cannot permit one hundred thousand 
Bavarians and Austrians to post themselves between our 
eastern and western provinces. Russia seems to support, 
so far, all our demands that are prompted by a feeling of 
military pride, as well as our claims for enlargement of 
power; if only Holstein becomes quiet, and we drop the 
parliamentary confederation. 

I am well, and this harrying makes me, happily, smaller 
in girth. . . . Farewell, my love. God preserve you and 
ours. Love to all. Your most faithful V. B. 

191 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

BERLIN, November 24, '50. 

MY BELOVED NAN, It seems to me as though I had 
not written to you for an eternity, but, when I calculate, it 
was day before yesterday; since then I have experienced, 
talked, and done much, so that it seems to me like a fort- 
night. To my knowledge, there never was a time when 
the fate of seventy millions of people stood on the pinnacle 
of chance, as it does here at present; every moment pre- 
sents a different picture. This morning 1 ordered field 
equipments for myself at the cobbler's and tailor's, looked 
for horses, and was just about to write for Mousquetaire, 
and this afternoon peace seems to be again quite near, al- 
most certain; Sesselberg, who, like all citizens, at heart 
desires peace at any price, has cried twice from fright, on 
my telling him that my long boots must be ready in the 
evening, and twice wanted to embrace me when I revoked 
the order. If we remain at peace, God has deemed me 
worthy to assist in it, because diplomats and Ministers 
find in me, as they did in '48, a convenient and unofficial 
mediator, through whom it is easier to negotiate than by 
official notes. I have sent what I may call a special envoy 
to our old friend with the big feet, namely, the husband of 
your most respected friend, who sends you cordial regards ; 
I put him on the train at twelve last night, and this morning 
at seven 1 was again negotiating with the wife, who must, 
nolens volens, help diplomatize. War would now be rank 
nonsense, and would result from the very first in our gov- 
ernment making a slide of ten miles farther towards the 
left. . . . After the death of hundreds of thousands and the 
squandering of a hundred millions, the present grounds 
of quarrel would seem trifles to any one in retrospect, while 
the devastation of Europe for their sake would appear to be 
sacrilege. All are agreed on the principal matters, the 

192 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

future of Germany; the only question is whether and to 
what degree we shall abandon the occupation of Kassel, 
which was undertaken on Radowitz's initiative, against 
the law of nations and the Constitution of the Confedera- 
tion, which we ourselves have recognized as valid. Al- 
ready they have practically agreed on joint occupation, and 
yet for the sake of such bagatelles there still remains the 
gravest danger that conservative armies, which love and 
respect each other, will tear each other to pieces, and that 
Germany's destinies will be intrusted to strangers, as 
must inevitably happen in case of a rupture between 
ourselves and Austria. England admonishes us to peace 
and leaves us in the lurch; France wants her president 
to take the imperial crown in Cologne Cathedral, and 
our own ally is il re traditore (as both parties call him 
in Turin) and the democracy of all countries. Robert 
Blum's bust, draped with black-and-white sashes and cock- 
ades, is the emblem by which members of the Berlin militia, 
and democrats of all countries here, at Frankfort-on-the- 
Main, and elsewhere, celebrate their festivities and swear 
vengeance on monarchs ; to this has Prussia grown. It is 
for these people we shall be victorious, if we are victorious ; 
and every democrat will exhibit his wounds to the King as 
an unpaid bill, when, with his help, we have conquered. 
I cannot restrain my tears when I reflect what has become 
of my pride, my joy, my fatherland, the faithful, brave, 
honest Prussian nation, intoxicated by the giddy cup which 
they call Prussian honor, in the leading-strings of a gang of 
Rhenish place-hunters and scoffing democrats. " I know of 
no honor which begins where ordinary common-sense ends," 
Stockhausen said to a high personage who grossly insulted 
him, and I know of no honor which consists in damning 
the path of revolution in words and following it in deeds. 
N 193 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. 

I cannot be undisturbed for a moment; there are un- 
conscionable people who consider me a bureau of newsy 
gossip, sit for hours and smoke, until I openly request 
them to leave me. Now I must go again to Manteuffel; 
to-day or to-morrow it must be decided whether he or 
Ladenberg remains. 

The 2$th. To-day the prospects of peace have drawn 
very near. It is to be hoped that to-morrow Manteuffel 
will have a conference with Schwarzenberg at Oderberg, 
but the ambition of Frau von Ladenberg to pose as Countess 
of Brandenburg, and the Prince of Prussia's passion for 
war, may quite as suddenly rob us again of the prospect of 
peace. As yet Hans and 1 have not had a minute's time 
to look for lodgings. The jacket, etc., and your dear little 
letter 1 received to-day, and unfortunately burned it at 
once, as I have no locker. Now I don't know the four 
remedies for boys; camomile I send at once, and shall 
ask Bucking; order the rest, prepaying postage, at the 
Unicorn Pharmacy the street is Kurstrasse, I believe, but it 
is unnecessary to mention it. I read daily in the little 
Testament, and yesterday I listened to a noble sermon by 
Biichsel, cutting to the quick, Psalm xc., verse 12, festival 
for the dead. He spoke strongly against war. I pray 
for you and the children. Farewell, my angel. 

Your faithful V. B. 

Are you, then, in need of treatment for yourself? 



B., November 27, '50. 

MY DARLING, My horses are not yet to leave, but 
must keep in marching order; things look quite peace- 
able to-day. Manteuffel has a conference with Prince 

194 



1850] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Schwarzenberg on the frontier to-morrow, which of itself 
is great progress. Hildebrand is to leave if ordered, but 
then some one must be found who can, if necessary, start 
at a moment's notice with the horses. 

You have doubtless received my Bucking letter; I shall 
send the Russian leather ; if I should go out with the army, 
you will receive the rent-roll. 1 am still of opinion that I 
shall be here at Christmas. 1 am well, but am anxious 
about the boy, and have election and diplomatic business 
day and night. Manteuffel asked yesterday to be dis- 
missed ; that was refused, therefore his politics are on top 
to-day ; God grant it may last ; may He preserve you and 
restore our youngster. 1 am well, but tired. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, December 7, '50. 

MY HEART, MY DEAR, I shall ask you by word of 

mouth, with cogent reasons, to forgive me for writing 
you so seldom and hurriedly ; and will only tell you that I 
love you, and shall love you forever. Give thanks with 
me to the Lord who grants us peace, and has not denied 
His blessing to my own modest work. Tuesday, the loth, 
I think it is, I expect to leave here early, and therefore beg 
for horses for Wednesday. If 1 only knew what to bring 
along for you, my heart! Should I have to stay here a 
day longer, I shall write to the inn-keeper at Schlawe that 
the horses are to wait. Privy-Councillor-of- Justice Poltz 
will probably be made Minister of Agriculture, Raumer 
Minister of the Interior, Manteuffel Prime Minister ; Uech- 
tritz cultus. Ladenberg goes. A thousand hearty greetings. 

Your most faithful 

v. B. 
195 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 
(Postmarked December 30, '50.) 

MY DARLING, The mail does not leave on the yth, 
but on the 5th, via Stolp ; so I came too late. I could not 
turn back to-day, the horses were tired, and to-morrow it 
would only mean riding back and forth. I am feeding 
them here at Venzke; and shall then ride to Reddentin, 
to go on to-morrow about noon, by stage. That is very 
annoying; perhaps I may see Albert still. Who knows 
what good may come of it? From Kulz I shall again write 
you a word, my angel. Would that I had remained, but 
then, perhaps I should be too late to-morrow. God keep 
you from illness. Hearty greetings to F. and M. I might 
have inquired beforehand, if I were what I am not, a pru- 
dent man; but I am your dearest, nevertheless. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, January 4, 1851. 

I have just now, my dear, received your letter of the 1st 
and 2d, and am very much worried over the illness of our 
dear little midget. I still hope that it will prove to be a 
result of the Christmas indigestion; but then it may be 
scarlet - fever, by the symptoms you mention. I have 
spoken to a few people here who know scarlet-fever, who 
in some degree quiet my apprehensions, since the disease, 
while at present widespread, is mild in its attacks. Do 
write me, if possible, a line every day, as to her condition ; 
if you wish it, I will come over, in case the thing becomes 
worse. It is not necessary to remind me to remember little 
Marie in my prayers ; I do so daily, and trust to the Lord 

that He will not try us beyond our strength I have 

again got into the old hurry, having been up to-day before 
daylight, and to bed at one yesterday. How painful it is to 

196 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

me that you spent New Year's Eve so sorrowfully ! I was, 
in fact, at Kiilz, and drank punch in which Tarragon vin- 
egar had been mixed by mistake. But take care of your 
health, my angel, and don't presume on your strength; it 
will follow you up later, even if you don't feel it at once ; you 
are too much weakened from nursing. I write you in the 
confusion of the presidential election, with people next to 
me who look into my letter from right and left, and inter- 
rupted every moment by curious questioners. Hearty 
greetings to father and mother. Let nothing disturb you 
in the belief that I love you as a part of myself, without 
which I would not and cannot live, at least what one may 
call living ; 1 am afraid I should never amount to anything 
that will please God if I did not have you; you are my 
anchor on the good side of the shore ; if it gives way, may 
God have compassion on my soul! May God's mercy 
help us graciously through every trouble, and especially 
allow our dear little child to abide with us and recover. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, January 7, 1851. 

For four days, my darling, I have been in the utmost 
anxiety, and after your last letter it could not be other- 
wise. Has little Marie the scarlet-fever? Does she live? 
Are all well? Why do I receive no news? Owing to 
these questions I can't go to sleep, and I lie awake at 
night; I must at last believe that you, my heart, have be- 
come ill from exertion and night-vigils, else you would not 
be so merciless as to write me that the child has scarlet- 
fever and then be silent four days; every morning I have 
gone to the post-office, and always in vain. I should scold 
much if I did not believe that you yourself are ill, or per- 

197 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

haps sad and anxious. Surely you will not keep bad news 
from me ; when one knows the disease, fancy brings daily 
the worst news possible. If you are sick, some one else 
might mercifully drop me a line, for I can't endure this 
uncertainty. There is nothing terrible which I have not 
experienced in spirit during these days. For the rest I am 
physically well. Yesterday I dined with the King; he 
and the Queen were very gracious to me. In the Houses 
no improvement is apparent since December 4th, and a dis- 
solution, even if delayed for some weeks, seems inevitable. 
How I long to be with you again ! If the dissolution does 
not come, we can no longer remain parted thus. Yester- 
day, in prayer, I thought I was assured that all was well 
with you and Marie; during the night and to-day I am 
again anxious beyond measure. You know not, unfort- 
unately not, how I love you, else you would know how I 
suffer in this uncertainty; after all, I am most anxious 
about you. Marie's condition may since have been better 
or worse ; anxiety and night- watching have probably got 
the better of you, and therefore I receive no news. Do, 
please, write me, and never let me be again so tantalized as 
in these four days ; you have no idea what it means to be far 
away from all one loves and to receive a letter containing 
news of a deadly, dangerous sickness, and nothing there- 
after for four mails. God grant that all my sad fancies are 
empty and groundless, and that to-morrow I shall receive 
good news, or news, at any rate, for any is better than 
none. The Lord bless and keep you and all I love. Do 
not think I am angry ; I am only sad and apprehensive, 
and I should not love you if I were not so. Farewell, my 
heart, and write to 

Your most faithful 

v. B. 
198 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, Wednesday, January 8, '51. 

To-day, at last, my love, I have received your letter of 
Saturday; it is too bad about Heidt; four days en route. 
If the news does not entirely reassure me, at any rate it 
does not seem to be scarlet - fever ; that goes on rising 
steadily without change. You don't write what the doctor 
says about it. Of course, prayer is better than pills, but 
don't neglect the human help that God offers, and don't 
spare any expense in this matter. . . . Oh, my beloved heart, 
if we were only safely reunited again ! I pray to God, in 
the Chamber and on the street, that it may please Him not 
to take from us that which He so graciously gave to us. 
On Friday I must go to Genthin. Hearty greetings to 
father and mother. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, January 15, '51. 

. . . Praise and glory be to God that He has heard 
our prayers; may He also hereafter not look upon our 
sins, but be gracious to us. A thousand thanks for hav- 
ing written to me so faithfully, and a thousand thanks to 
all who have faithfully helped us to bear our troubles I ... 
I believe I have not written you for three days; forgive 
me, but immediately on getting out of bed I must usually 
go on the street, to the bank, to Ministers, to Wagner, 
and go home to get hurriedly into a dress-coat for dinner, 
and then not again before midnight, including com- 
mission, committee, and diplomatic evening - conspiracy . 
Then I think I shall write to-morrow morning, and already 
before rising some mortal of a Senfft or a bank personage 
is on hand. I often receive several calls, even from entire 
strangers, while in bed, because whenever any one is in 
the room I do not get up without a screen. Is General 

199 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

Grtinwald, who is here now, an acquaintance of yours? 
The Emperor's Adjutant-General, somewhat taller than I, 
about fifty years old, pock-marked, a small mustache, says, 
in his Esthonian fashion, " The Ke-iser will be-e much 
beholden to me when I tell him about you." Your letters, 
my sweetheart, are not lost, but they take three or four 
days in coming ; I have made a complaint about it. I have 
now had news almost daily, my obedient angel ; only after 
the 2d you did not write for three days. ... I write from 
the Chamber, after having received to-day (Wednesday) 
your consoling epistle of Saturday. Once more, my sweet- 
heart, we thank the faithful and merciful Lord on our knees 
for having left us our dear ones, and rely hereafter on His 
gracious protection. Hearty greetings to pa and ma. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



(Postmarked BERLIN, January 20, '51.) 
MY SWEETHEART, It is quite impossible that you 
have not had a letter from me for four days ; three are the 
very most I have omitted, and that but once. For the rest, 
you can gather from this how I felt when I read of scarlet- 
fever, and then nothing for four days. I have this long 
time been complaining about the mails, but it is of no use. 
Last night I was with the Stolbergs ; she is very kind, but 
not well, and wants to be remembered to you. I am much 
obliged to mammy for her kind letter. Hans laughs at 
me when I tell him he should write to you; he thinks a 
letter from me every Sunday is quite sufficient. . . . 

Farewell. God's mercy will be with you and the children, 
and will again give you strength ; of that I am confident, 
or I should be good for nothing here. I thank you for hav- 
ing always honestly informed me how the children are; 

200 



> 

s a 

> w 

70 

n 
* 




1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

do the same hereafter, but each of your letters, except the 
two last, awoke and kept alive in me the idea that while I 
read it (three days pass, you know), our little boy was per- 
haps no longer alive; the same with to-day's letter. So 
there is not much pleasure in " sociability. " I have not yet 
seen Melissa. 1 will attend to the collars. I have not yet 
had time for Keudell. God protect you, my angel, and help 
you to bear His trials. Your most faithful V. B. 

Take great care more than seems necessary of the 
children ; particularly shield them from cold. 



BERLIN, January 22, '51. 

MY POOR SWEETHEART, You have so much anxiety 
and care to endure! But your letter has reassured me. 
Marie's attack of quinsy seems to me like a familiar friend, 
when I compare it with scarlet-fever, and by God's grace 
the latter appears in Bub's case, too, to be past the critical 
stage, for which I thank the Lord with my whole soul. I 
cannot understand why you received no news for five days ; 
I failed to write for only three days, and that with the 
knowledge that the Neu Presse would inform you of my do- 
ing one and another thing in the Chamber, and consequent- 
ly that I was alive and well. I am extremely sorry that 
your anxieties should have been increased by this break 
in the correspondence ; it may easily happen, for that mat- 
ter, that one letter travels faster than the following one, 
but of course I am never seriously ill, so there is no ground 
for anxiety about me. To be sure, I have to dine and sup 
daily, but I hope you do the same. Mammy, to whom 
many thanks for her letter, cannot refrain from exclaiming 
at the contrast between your life and mine ; let her reflect 

201 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

whether she would not a thousand times rather have been 
with you if she had known you were at a distance and ill. 
When those we love are in danger, taking care of them is 
the more toilsome part, but it is harder, much harder, at 
least for me, at such times to have to go without the conso- 
lation of being with them and of seeing them about me, 
and to have to say to myself that if the children die to-day, 
Wednesday, I shall not know it before Saturday. One ex- 
periences in fancy every day all that in fact can happen 
only once. . . . And now, listen! 

I don't want to scold you, but I most explicitly demand 
of you, according to the obedience which by the word of 
God you owe me, that for at least six hours out of every 
twenty-four, counting from midnight to midnight, you 
shall be in bed and asleep, or, at least, honestly try to sleep, 
no matter what happens. If you don't want me to doubt 
your love, you will follow these instructions ; it is necessary 
and rational to do so, if you don't want death to take you 
from me. 

Farewell, my dearly beloved sweetheart; thank every 
one, and particularly our dear mother, once more, for their 
faithfulness in this trying time; may God's mercy preserve 
you and keep you well, as I am firmly convinced He will 
help the children to recover. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, January 23, '51. 

. . . Last night, to mommy's sorrow be it said, I was at 
three parties, two of them for political intrigue, and the last 
for recreation at Malle's, where I again saw Theresa Rabe, 
nee Schenk, arriving after eleven and staying till one, 
drinking tea and chatting about dancing-lessons and old 

202 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

times. How one does get old ! that is twenty years ago 
now, and if at that time any one had considered me as not 
grown up I should have thought it an insult. You were 
then four years old ; how wonderfully has God led me since 
then ! I now hope and believe that He will not again let me 
go. Dearest love to mother and father. When opportunity 
offers I will get hold of the little Sauer boy* of the Wilhelm- 
strasse, and take him to the opera yes, to the Italiana. 
Only I hardly have time for it. God protect you. 

Your most faithful, loving V. B. 

BERLIN, January 25. 

MY DEAR, . . . Yesterday I did not receive your letter 
until the afternoon ; finally, after a tussle from eight to one 
with the Jews of the shipping department, I had two hours 
in which to take a walk, and wandered through every nook 
and corner of the Thiergarten, in memory of school-times 
and our joint promenades and resting-places on the benches 
by the quiet water. It did me real good to hear the rustling 
of the trees once more ; now I want to take a brisk walk for 
at least an hour every day ; this eternal indoor and salon 
atmosphere oppresses me and makes me dizzy. I have to 
think much of the poor Tienchens ; the affair with Albert 
is truly very sad; we ourselves know what it means to 
bring a child safely through the reefs of the first years, 
followed by stormy youth, and, after having overcome all 
that, to see him struck down in early manhood is some- 
thing terribly hard for a mother to live to see. But may God 
help them well through, and restore Albert to health ! He 
has helped us with our children hitherto, and how poor my 
standing with Him compared with that of Aunt U. If If it 

* Son of Mr. Sauer, the pastor at Old-Kolziglow. 
f Ulrike i. e., Frau von Below-Reddentin, nte von Puttkamer. 

203 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JAN. 

were not for those nuisances of reports on banking and ship- 
ping affairs, I should now be with you ; the happy few who 
have escaped every committee appointment are all hurry- 
ing home, while I am daily detained, like a bad school-boy. 
May God preserve our beloved mother. When she says, 
"You will understand it when I am dead," we tease her 
about it ; but it is a serious truth ; and when her feebleness 
suggests the thought that she may leave us, I feel in earnest 
how many thanks, how many apologies, and how much love 
I owe her ; but the latter 1 not only owe she has it. Tell 
her that from me; even though, between two sensitive 
hearts, the love may be covered over at times, it is covered 
only externally and temporarily, and I earnestly long to 
see her kind, large eyes resting searchingly on my face and 
my " sick hand. " . . . God's protection be with you. Hearty 
love to our dear parents. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, January 29, '51. 

MY HEART'S NAN, Your answer to "Observer," la- 
conic, dateless, and unsigned, was to-day received at 
Hans's, and from it I judge that at least at the time of its 
despatch everything, by God's grace, was in order. 

Evening. I have just returned, with Hans, from old Ex- 
cellency Massow, and both of us are using my hunting- 
knife to do justice to the fine sausage that came in the pack- 
age of socks. Many thanks for everything ; it tastes very 
well, although for the moment we have no bread for it. ... 
To-day I failed to find Busch, to speak with him about 
bathing the children. I am afraid of it, and I don't alto- 
gether trust Thiele;* dirt is always better than disease. 

* Physician near Reinfeld. 
204 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

If I find Busch to-morrow, I will at once write you what he 
says. Take great care that the urchins don't catch cold, 
otherwise some after-trouble is so easily left, and please do 
not deprive yourself of sleep; if you can't do so at night, 
sleep during the day, going regularly to bed ; do me this 
kindness, otherwise you will not bear up under it, and when 
the tension of anxiety relaxes you will collapse, and every- 
thing will follow which you don't suspect now. When will 
the time come when God will permit us to dwell continually 
under the same roof? Certainly things can't always go 
on this way ; but as long as the children are not well there 
is no help for it, and God's will be done, even if we have to 
put our hands into our purses and move again to the ex- 
tension of Dorotheenstrasse. Despite all night noises, I 
have still a fond recollection of the ground floor in Behren- 
strasse, and I always look in sorrowfully whenever I pass 
by. Have you received from your adorer Sigismund* a 
package containing some fine liqueurs? The heartiest 
love to our parents and all kind friends. May the Lord 
graciously protect you and the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, January 30, '51. 

I am writing you in haste at Malle's, my angel, to say 
that at last I have spoken to G. Simon. He told me that 
he bathes those affected with scarlet-fever only after the 
scaling has ceased that is, in the sixth week. He does not 
believe that, sooner, it would be positively harmful ; some 
even use cold baths from the beginning in cases of scarlet- 
fever (but not for my children) ; he says that bathing is 

* Baron Arnim. 

205 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

beneficial when the skin is dry and hard, but quite super- 
fluous when it is soft and in perspiration ; and that wash- 
ing will do just as well. In washing (with warm water), 
each limb is washed separately, while the rest remain cov- 
ered, and is then dried and dressed, to be followed by an- 
other. If a bath is given, it should not be too warm, only 
tepid, a few (three to four) minutes, and then rubbed with a 
woollen cloth. If the skin is not very hard and dry, Simon 
considers bathing as at least superfluous. Your nice little 
letter and mother's fell out of my stockings to-day. I am 
well. God be with you and the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, February 3, '51. 

Still, my darling, the knick-knacks have not been de- 
spatched, but I have all that 1 wanted to buy, only Malle is 
still in arrears with collars and toys; she must dance 
every evening and go horseback-riding in the morning, 
and then she is so tired that she can't stir. Certainly I 
can't buy mull collars myself. To-day and yesterday I 
have had no letter from you ; I hope the little chap is well, 
but I am no longer anxious about little Mollie; God's arm 
will not be too short to be helpful to both. I am well ; so 
is Hans. We devoured the sausage at bedtime, without 
bread, in three slices ; the small end was not so good as 
the fat one, but the impression left by the whole was quite 
favorable. The pens I have are too abominable; this is 
the sixth that I am throwing away, and no knife ; I must 
close, and be on the watch over ministerial responsibility ; 
Hans talks as loud as a trumpet. God's gracious protec- 
tion be with you and all the loved ones. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

206 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, February 6, '51. 

MY HEART'S NANNIE, I am alive and well, and love 
you, and will write you soon a very long letter, in which 
there will be nothing but love. Ever since I awoke I have 
sat here quarrelling with Bloch the Jew; it is now one 
o'clock, and I utilize the opportune appearance of Kunze, 
the bootblack, to give him these two lines for you ; at two 1 
am going out for a walk, then dinner; then committees, 
and many people to be seen, diplomatists, babblers, dep- 
uties, and then tea, and to bed. So it goes day by day; 
once I am out I do not get home again, and still I never 
finish what I have on hand for the day. Just now the man 
has given me your note. How anxious you are on Monday, 
and God has already helped on Tuesday! It is quite im- 
possible that the children should be well so soon ; the sick- 
ness always lasts six weeks in scarlet-fever. God will not 
forsake us, as He has helped us thus far ; only be glad in 
your trust in Him, my darling ; He has graciously turned 
aside the great dangers ; He will also help us over the small 
ones. Why does that donkey want to use iodine on the boy ? 
Don't allow that, rather let Scheunemann come; he doesn't 
drink ; iodine is quite poisonous. God protect you all, and 
particularly you, the dearest treasure I have. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, February 10, '51. 

I have just received your letter of the yth, my angel, 
which, in fact, came here yesterday, because the mail now 
travels twenty-four hours faster, owing to my complaint. 
My first feeling is one of very humble thanks to the Lord 
that all is well with you. Our little one seems to be at once 
in mischief, telling you we are going to stay here until June. 

207 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

How can she make you believe such unpleasant foolish- 
ness? I hope we shall be through before April, if we are 
not dissolved still sooner. I have spoken to Simon again 
about our youngster ; he says the gland swellings are en- 
tirely without danger, and that nothing should be done 
except to poultice them when they are ready to burst; 
therefore, let the infamous iodine alone, otherwise the boy 
will suffer the after-effects for years, in his teeth and else- 
where. Even if the glands become hardened, that will 
pass off without the aid of medicine. Did I say that the 
Countess Gorz was nicer than your dear rosa unica ? If so, 
I probably said too much : I can only say I like her, and I 
wish you could make her acquaintance. Do not be afraid 
that, after the din which prevails here, solitude will weigh 
heavily on me ; certainly never, in company with you and 
the children and parents ; but absolute solitude is just what 
I often long for, after a whole day's wild chase among dry, 
dull documents and superficial chatter; I am only com- 
fortable when I get to bed at night, smoke, and read, and 
then turn round to implore God to take you in Reinfeld 
under His protection. There is a fancy that follows me in 
all my work to lie with my head in your lap, in a quite 
solitary, deep mountain ravine, in the warm summer-time, 
close to the brook, to contemplate the blue sky above me 
through the smoke of my cigar and the tops of the beech- 
trees, and to be looked at and petted by you, and for a long, 
long while to be quite idle. When is that coming to pass? 
In the Selke Valley, or where? The session at which I 
write this is adjourned, and I am going home again, to read 
and copy from books which contain nothing but piles of 
figures. Farewell. God keep you. and let the iodine 
alone. Your most faithful and very dear 

v. B. 
208 






1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, Tuesday Morning. 
(Postmarked February 18, '51.) 

MY WELL -BELOVED, ... On Sunday we attended 
the Lutheran Church. Hans was not altogether satisfied 
with the sermon ; then we went to Lasius, but the ladies all 
stayed in Brandenburg; then to Dutke,* I39,f and we each 
gave him one rix- dollar with which to attend concerts 
with E. Kumme ; besides, 1 told them that I shall be at their 
disposal when that is all gone, or when he needs anything 
else. He cannot go with me, however, as I have no time, 
and for two first-class tickets he can go four times. The 
boy was quite well and very happy ; they seem to be good 
people there, even the waiter, who praised Dut as a sober, 
saving boy who takes good care of his money. How small 
the garden is that used to be my whole world ! and I can't 
understand what has become of the spaces through which 
I so often ran breathlessly, and my little garden with water- 
cresses and Turkish wheat, and all the places where I built 
my now-fallen air-castles, and the bluish vapor of the hills 
which then lay on the other side of the board fence. The 
trees were old acquaintances. I still remember their vari- 
ous kinds of fruit. And there, too, were the chickens which, 
every time I looked at them, made me homesick for Kniep- 
hof ; and then I used to make note of every hour, or quarter 
of an hour, that must elapse before vacation and the Stettin 
mail-coach. How I longed, then, to go out into life and the 
world. As I stood in the garden the whole parti-colored 
earth arose before my eyes as I then imagined it, with its 
woods and castles and all the adventures that awaited me 
in it, and I could have wept if prosaic Hans had not called 
and importuned me, and made me remember the fact which 

*Son of Pastor Sauer. See p. 203, note, 
t Wilhelmstrasse, previously Plamann. 

o 209 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

I now know very well that the garden is a small spot in the 
Wilhelmstrasse, with nothing particular roundabout or 
behind the fences, and that the Rabbit Heath, where we 
played on Sundays, is a poor, stupid pine- wood; that the 
" Dornberg " in Kniephof is sixteen acres in size, and that 
we had business with General Gerlach. I could sit for 
hours in the garden and dream ; when you come here again 
you must go to it with me. Let us humbly thank God that 
the children are getting on so much better, and that He 
does not punish us through them for our sins. On Sunday 
I am to receive Communion, with Hans, at Knaak's. Hearty 
greetings to the dear folks, and God's blessing upon you, 
my angel. Your most faithful V. B. 

G. Simon is of opinion that iodine will not do any harm, 
and that it is the best remedy for swollen glands ; he ought 
to know more than we do about it ; but don't use too much 
of it. 

BERLIN, February 28, '51. 

You know, my sweetheart, variety is the spice of life, 
therefore I am now writing to you with the red legislative 
ink which is used for correcting speeches and reports. It 
is your favorite color, anyway, even if it is not the exact 
shade. Despite all legislative cares, I am very bright since 
I know that you are again in a fair way with the babies. 
So true is it that God must do with us as that general of a 
convict battalion did with his men he had them whipped 
every other day, because they then enjoyed the free days 
so much. We are too apt to become ungrateful for all 
His benefits unless we are reminded of the possibility of 
loss. I am very glad that we both received the Lord's Sup- 
per at the same time ; I trust our little Sauer has touched 

210 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the depths of your heart, just as Knaak did mine ; I was 
almost hopeless and helpless when it came to the point, 
and wanted to leave the church because I did not consider 
myself worthy to join in the ceremony, but in the final 
prayer from the altar God gave me leave and a summons, 
too, and afterwards I was very happy. It had a good in- 
fluence also on Hans ; he is outwardly much nicer since 
much more human. I have no antipathy to him ; at least, 
it does not come out, even if I sometimes (though seldom) 
am angered at his disposition, so out of harmony with mine 
he is too good for me. . . . To-day I was invited out to 
Gross-Kreutz, but I am voting quietly here in the Chamber. 
God keep you, my beloved sweetheart. Love to our parents 
and Melissa, and kiss the children for me. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, March 3, '51. 

I have just read your letter to Hans, my darling, and 1 
am sorry for your poor eyes ; that is due to too much night- 
watching. May God have mercy on you, my poor dear, 
that you may not suffer always; during your whole life 
you have never enjoyed the feeling of being entirely well 
and free from pain; certainly it will be put down to your 
credit some time in the next life, otherwise you would come 
poorly off compared with me. I suppose my eyes will then 
be sore, since 1 am now so entirely well that I do not even 
suffer from heartburn any more. But how can my little 
good-for-nothing believe that I took no notice at all of the 
craving for photos? Hans has even less time than I; I 
bothered your rose Elizabeth about it several times, but 
she refused point-blank, saying she had had her picture 
taken once and is too vain to do so again, and that she 

211 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

has become as ugly as " a Pavian. " But she has a pretty 
fair portrait in oil which she will send for and have photo- 
graphed for you. Now you must apologize to me for what 
you wrote to Hans about me. ... Who told you that I 
was passionately fond of dancing? Don't trust the person 
who said so, for it was not said in a kindly spirit, and it is a 
falsehood, besides. . . . I earnestly hope we shall be through 
before May. Before that time I shall probably run over 
on leave once to my dear one. But if the prospect regard- 
ing the criminal law changes again, and the session bids 
fair to last till the end of May or June, then you will have 
to come here, anyway, my angel; there are days when it 
seems as though I could not bear my homesickness for you 
and the babies, and feel like resigning my commission and 
hurrying home. Then Hans scolds me, and I represent 
to him that his meeting again with Butzke and Schneider 
will certainly not be very pleasant. For the rest, little 
Hans has lately thawed out, more particularly since we 
attended Holy Communion. Now I must again be on the 
alert. Farewell, my sweetheart. God's blessing be with 
you. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, March 5, '51. 

MY DARLING, . . . On my advice Hans gave your letter 
to Eberhard's wife (with whom I have been on familiar 
terms for some time), and yesterday at the palace he re- 
ceived the photo in exchange for it, and I reproached her 
most severely for not having given it to me, and, to con- 
sole me, she executed a quadrille with me. The King took 
occasion to call to me as I was standing before him, and 
said, " The Queen has been making sheep's-eyes at you for 
half an hour, and you don't know it. " The beloved mother 

212 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

of my country (an expression which, I regret to say, al- 
ways calls up to me a robust woman who feeds children 
with bread and butter) spoke to me quite graciously and 
kindly; she remarked that I had said I danced only for 
my health, and she thought that was pretence, whereupon 
I explained to her what a miserable life I had led during 
the day. The conversation was not at all flattering to the 
Duchess Agnes of Dessau, my partner at my side; but I 
could not help it. At supper I sat next to Don Carlos Sa- 
vigny, who always speaks of you very lovingly, even when 
I am not at hand, and who sends you cordial remembrances. 
Frau von Usedom told me that he had called you a very clever 
and sensible woman. You see that my jealousy of Carlos 
is exceeded by my honesty. I drank lots of cold champagne 
at his Majesty's, drove there with Malle, and smoked, read 
the newspapers, then read the u8th Psalm with Hans, 
and slept very soundly. For Malle 's sake I am very glad 
that Shrovetide will end the season of grand balls; she 
devotes herself to them too passionately, and physical and 
mental exhaustion will come after. . . . Every time I take up 
my pen I purpose writing to our dear parents, but it always 
turns into a letter to you ; as the apex of the Reinf eld tri- 
angle pointing in my direction, you may always inform 
the two other dear corners of the triangle that I love both 
of them very much, and implore God's blessing on them. 
My idea is so to arrange the leave of absence which I pur- 
pose taking as to be able to spend my birthday with you, 
my sweetheart. But I shall hardly be able to get away 
for more than a week ; already Hans is raising a hue and 
cry about my frivolous plans ; however, I shall ask no one, 
but disappear utterly at the end of this month, for, my sweet- 
heart, I must see, hear, and feel you, and all of you, once 
again. . . . Farewell, my most beloved angel. I trust in the 

213 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

Lord's mercy that He will continue to take you and all of 
us into His gracious protection. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, March 6, '51. 

I write you only two lines, my sweetheart, to thank you 
that you and the children are well, and to scold you for 
having vowed to send me no more commissions. I demand 
one with your next letter. Who else should execute them? 
Julie Behr! She may attend to the tulle and gauze, for 
aught I care, but if you don't send me a commission with 
your next letter you do not love me. But I want to find 
fault, nevertheless, and be pitied, after I have executed 
them. What would you say if some time you should jok- 
ingly complain of too much knitting, and I should there- 
fore refuse to wear any more stockings of your making? 
Take counsel with yourself and apologize to me. . . . Love 
to all, and farewell, under God's protection, my angel. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, March 12, '51. 

MY DARLING, . . . The burned-out First Chamber meets 
to-day in our hall. The fire day before yesterday made a 
very good show; particularly the churches in the Gen- 
darmenmarkt, Werder's, and the theatre were illuminated as 
if by magic. Berliners were full of humor : here Vincke's 
foundations of law are burning; there Bismarck's youth- 
ful fancies go up in smoke (the common folk do not distin- 
guish between the two Houses); "burning questions," 
"Who would have thought that old thing had so much 
fire in it?" and "At last there's a light dawning on her," 
etc., interspersed by rows with the constables and whistling. 

214 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

I was just dining with Budberg when a servant announced 
that the Second Chamber was on fire ; to my shame I must 
say that my first feeling was one of egoistic pleasure that 
I should not need to write a long report in the evening 
and read it next morning at nine; with a frivolous glass 
of very cold champagne I consoled myself for the mis- 
fortune, the whole extent of which (100,000 rix-dollars) I 
began to realize only when, after all, I had to sit down re- 
luctantly at the inkstand, write until far into the night, and 
then, at half past eight yesterday, hurry here to the torture- 
chamber, which I left only at half past five that is to say, 
nine hours later because, after the sitting, I had to spend 
an hour and a half correcting a wretchedly reported speech 
on the military budget, which you will read in to-day's 
Kreuzzeitung. . . . These Stolbergs are all very nice people, 
and yesterday " my Eberhard " suddenly delivered a long 
and very good speech in the House anent the army. To- 
day I am dining with the Stolbergs and the Fritzes and the 
old Carlsburgers, who have been here (at Oscar's) for sev- 
eral days. Poor Fritz has grown very quiet. I think that 
the confusion of his political ideas, due to his poorly di- 
gested university lectures and to his friend Oriolla, is to 
blame for his colder relations to his comrades and to other 
people. They all speak of him with esteem and commis- 
eration. His mother, too, has some leanings towards Lib- 
eralism, which are nourished by association with crack- 
brained men of learning ; but, nevertheless, I like her very 
much. ... I still want to go to Schonhausen this month, to 
arrange for the payment of the capital, and then by the 
1st I hope to be with my angel, unless there are extremely 
important matters on hand here. Good-bye, my dear 
sweetheart. May the Lord grant my prayers for you and 
the children. Your most faithful V. B. 

215 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

BERLIN, March 17, '51. 

Yesterday, my love, I received two letters from you, en- 
closing one for the Countess Stolberg, and to-day, to my 
joy, I find one again, and for your diligence I praise you 
very much and thank you. It makes me all the more 
ashamed because for three days now I have not written to 
you, and this time not owing to immersion in business, 
but from sheer laziness. Since Friday evening I have 
been pretty well through with my committee labors, and 
felt so well over it on Saturday that I cut the meeting which 
I should have attended, loafed all morning in my dressing- 
gown, reading and smoking, and then went out riding with 
Oscar for three hours in the delightful spring weather. 
The sun shone quite warm; already there are shoots on 
the willows, the saucy honeysuckle leaves are coming 
out as large as groschen, and we rode so hard that both 
legs still ache from it ; then I lay for a very long time in a 
warm bath, ate well and heartily at the inn, smoked, went 
to the theatre, and finished up with beer at Schwarz's 
on the whole, a very well-spent day. . . . The Stolbergs 
have left for Silesia, and will remain there ten days ; I am 
sending your letter after them ; but, out of regard for my 
Philistine disposition, you must be good enough to write 
the address in bald prose, otherwise I cannot put such a 
letter in the mail ; right across through " your Elizabeth " 
I wrote a new address in broomstick characters; love her 
very much inside, and be cold and courteous on the en- 
velope ; so the custom of the world demands. I think that, 
after all, I shall have to go to Schonhausen on April 1st, 
because there will be many expenses if I am not there my- 
self, and perhaps I shall have to go, anyway, if the grant 
to the hospital means further extensions. Then I will so 
arrange as to be in Reinf eld with my dear little one on the 

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1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

nth. But I want to make you lots of presents with my 
saved-up pay, if mammy would only write what. Tulle 
or mull? I have already secured Eichendorf. Do you 
know that the man is still alive? He lives here in the 
Cadet Corps with his son-in-law, who is an instructor or 
an officer there. Don't let the fact that he is a Privy-Coun- 
cillor be any check to your enthusiasm. Now, good-bye, 
my angel. Love to parents and cousins. God watch over 
you. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, March 25, '51. 

MY DEAREST, In this most beautiful spring weather 
I am sitting here in the hazy atmosphere of the House, 
wrangling over the discipline of officials. During the last 
few days I have taken fine long walks, and arrived home 
dead tired and sweating like a horse. In the Thiergarten 
the flower-beds have already been laid out, and appear red, 
white, and blue through the trees, and the alders, honey- 
suckles, and other pretty forward things have long leaves, 
the lawn is green as in summer, and the air like a tepid 
bath. I should like to amble about all day on horseback. 
I thought that I should be quit of society after the carnival, 
and be able to make evening calls at my pleasure, but now 
one little reception is following another. ... I think I 
shall have to give up the position of dike captain, otherwise 
I shall have to inspect the Schonhausen dikes again early 
in May. The sending of money to Schonhausen is a very 
wearisome matter to me; I have to pay on the 3 1st the 
30th is a Sunday, when I don't like to travel and if I arrive 
as early as Saturday I shaVt be able to endure listening 
to the complaints and praises of the aldermen and Bellin for 
three da3^s; and the road from Genthin on a mail-coach 

217 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

or a farmer's wagon will kill me; but I am afraid that un- 
less 1 go there in person the business will fall into confusion. 
By the time my birthday comes around I should at least 
like to be here with Malvina, and not with the Aldermen. 
Now, in the first place, I am going out for a walk, to think 
it over, and see how I can overcome my aversion to Schon- 
hausen. I have delivered the letter to Busch. I think this 
fine weather will certainly benefit our little youngster. 
Take courage, my sweetheart ; the Lord will not deprive 
us of His protection. Good-bye, and remember me most 
lovingly to our dear parents. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, March 29, '51. 

MY BELOVED NANNIE, This invigorating spring 
weather makes me hate ink so that I have not written you 
for three days. I am now rid of all my committees, and 
have a very vivid impression of the times when school was 
out and I could run about in the Thiergarten. I stroll for 
hours as far as the water near the house on the Charlotten- 
burg Causeway, and, besides, I go out riding daily with 
Oscar, so that all my limbs are lame from the unaccus- 
tomed exertion. Yesterday, while riding, a very refreshing 
spring rain wet me pretty thoroughly. I almost envy 
Oscar his horses ; the other day, for twelve hundred rix- 
dollars, he bought two road-horses and a very nice English 
mare, whose gait is remarkably fast and steady. Now I 
am not going to Schonhausen at all, but have settled the 
matter by correspondence. Monday was the only day that 
suited the man, and on that day a vote is to be taken here 
from which I cannot be absent. Once recently we stood one 
hundred and thirty-four against one hundred and thirty- 

218 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

three, and the other time one hundred and thirty-four to one 
hundred and thirty-four. The books which you want from 
Schonhausen 1 shall have sent; only write me the name 
of the author of the history of England, for there are 
several of them in the library ; Melissa will probably rec- 
ollect his name. 1 shall now spend my birthday quietly 
here, and on that occasion, between four and five o'clock, 
I shall drink a glass of champagne to your health. . . . 
Hans has been to Halle and Naumburg, visiting Leo and 
his nephews and other friends, and has returned quite 
cheerful ; he intended to stay away two days, and for five 
nights he was not in his bed. Much as he tyrannizes over 
me, I worried about him, and I had search made for him 
through the Observer, whereupon he came at once. It is 
already said here that he is going to make a very wealthy 
match, but 1 don't believe it; he is as closely shut up con- 
cerning his own person and his inner life as if we had 
known each other only three days. The girl is sensible, 
pretty, amiable, and pious, and, withal, a great heiress 
and of good family ; 1 should be glad to see him win her, if 
only the parents are of the same opinion as I am. The 
other day I was again sounded as to Schonhausen through 
the medium of the Carlsburgers, who did not, however, 
wish to say for whom, if I would not take the matter up. 
Much to their delight, 1 said no. May God direct my con- 
science otherwise, if it was wrong ; it seemed to me almost 
atrocious, but perhaps owing only to considerations which 
have no validity before God. How about our summer 
country-place and the dike captaincy? The idea of trav- 
elling alone to Schonhausen, living three days with the 
aldermanic people, and listening to Prick's complaints and 
Bellin's boastful chatter seemed to me terrible, and 1 am 
amost grateful to the Chamber for keeping me from it, if I 

219 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

can only know first that Bellin has attended to everything 
without confusion. I wish it were possible for the dear old 
folks to live with us at Schonhausen, but it is impossible 
to expect that of father. Greet them a thousand-fold and 
fondle them for me with great love. I want to bring along 
for your birthday all sorts of pretty things, but unless you 
write me more fully what you desire I shall be growling 
all the time I am there; I have made large savings from 
allowances, and shall be very generous. Theodore is still 
sick in bed, but is now improving. Good-bye, my sweet 
angel. Take good care of yourself, so as to keep well. 
Has Busch not yet answered about the boy? I shall have 
a talk with him before I leave, and bring along his wisdom 
with me. I am going to see the Versines again to-day. 
A great many people send regards to you ; Manteuffel's wife 
is always exceedingly solicitous about you and our babies. 
Good-bye, my sweetheart. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, March 31, '51. 

MY DEAR, ... As to-morrow is my birthday, I am to 
be feted by the Arnims, Stolbergs, Hans, and others; we 
shall not begin dinner till 4.30, on account of the Chamber; 
therefore you will most likely be drinking my health be- 
fore I drink yours, which will probably not be before six 
o'clock. Much love to our parents. Just think, Andrae 
has heard that I tyrannized over you by letter, urging 
you to nurse the children and watch over them beyond 
your strength. How people will chatter! 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, April 3, '51. 

I could not write to you on my birthday, my angel, al- 
though my first thought in the morning, after my thanks 

220 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

to God for all His blessings during the past year, was 
with you, and my dearest prayer was for yourself and the 
children. In the morning I was awakened by Andrae, 
who had been with Hans ; then Malle called, brought me 
a very useful pair of slippers and a cravat (from you or 
mammy?), and burnt almonds; then came Knaak, whose 
congratulations were very cordial and kind; then I had 
to yawn from ten to four in the Chamber, and for dinner 
Roder and Stolberg had arranged a Luculline feast, which 
appeared to me to be terribly expensive. I was the guest 
of the company, consisting of Oscar, Malle, the Stolbergs, 
Hans, Roder, Prillwitz, Mimchhausen (the new magis- 
tate for the first Jerichow district), and Andrae, the latter 
being also a guest. We caroused until eight, and spent 
the evening with the Stolbergs. Yesterday 1 still felt quite 
fatigued owing to this copious dinner, took a bath, then 
rode sharply for three hours with Malle, a Fraulein von 
Veltheim from our neighborhood near Magdeburg, and 
several gentlemen. After all this I was sleepy in the even- 
ing, and I am now writing you that I am well, love you 
very much, and still hope to be with you by the nth. . . . 
Farewell, my sweetheart. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, April 7, '51. 

Your poor birthday, my angel; here it is already the 
yth, and the matter of the many millions, for which all sick 
people and those on furlough have been summoned, will 
not come up to-day, either, nor will it be finished to- 
morrow; on the other hand, it is increasingly probable 
that we shall close before Easter. 1 have just tried hard to 
persuade Manteuffel, and he is favorably inclined. So we 

221; 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

shall either finish just before Easter, or else adjourn at 
Easter for ten or twelve days, so that, in any event, I shall 
at least spend the holidays with you ; in the former case 
remaining with you, and, I hope, also in the latter, for I 
can no longer endure this tedious business. My only 
amusement is walking. The Thiergarten is charming, and 
because it is always raining a little (so that I have to 
splash through the mud in heavy boots), there is not an- 
other living soul there, a fact which I find quite agreeable, 
once I am out of the city gate without meeting an acquaint- 
ance who seizes my arm. The leaves of the alders are like 
f our-groschen pieces ; gooseberries, spiraea, even the horn- 
beams glisten green through the woods, the latter, of course, 
still very light-colored. Day before yesterday I heard the 
Hungarian musicians, with Malle; their ordinary music 
has more movement than melody, but the Hungarian 
national airs which they played were quite the contrary, 
songs without words by Lenau; sickly as the howling 
of wolves on an autumn night; I will see whether I can 
get the notes, but they will not be so pretty for the piano, 
for everything flows together as in a bagpipe. Yesterday 
Hans and I were at General Gerlach's; besides ourselves 
and Hoppner, there was nothing but Gerlachs, young and 
old, male and female. Yesterday morning, at your com- 
mand, I was again with Knaak ; he takes too high a strain 
for me ; he not only considers all dancing as sinful, but also 
any attendance at theatres and any music which ministers 
not to the " Glory of God " but simply to pleasure ; he thinks 
of all this as denial of God as Peter says, " I know not 
the man." This is going too far for me fanaticism. But 
1 am fond of him personally, nor do I really think evil of 
him, and even though I do not share his point of view, I 
wish there were more such fanatics. I long very much for 

222 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

you, the more spring advances, and I am always tired and 
yawning here, except when I go out to walk or ride; I 
wish I could be out-doors all the time. The amaranth 
emblem was put in by Hans ; I only wrote his name on it 
so that you should not suppose it was from me. For the 
rest, he has been for some weeks much brighter and more 
sociable, although I do not believe he had serious thoughts 
of love and marriage. He thinks that he would like very 
much to make Fraulein von Ranzau, of Bethany, his wife. 
Wagener is to return to-day from Ziebingen. Just imag- 
ine what nonsense! They wanted to make me Chamber- 
lain (i.e., in title) ; I opposed it, as I don't attach any value 
to it, and it costs money, and a very expensive uniform, too. 
But say nothing about it, for I think it will not be agreeable 
to the King to learn that I was not willing; he considers 
it a grand thing for any one to become Chamberlain. Good- 
bye, my sweetheart. God protect you and our parents and 
the babies and all. Your most faithful V. B. 

If I do not come home by the nth, we will celebrate both 
our birthdays on my arrival. I have already a very 
pretty little dress for you, and keepsakes and nice things 
besides. Your very tired HUSBAND. 

BERLIN, April 10, '51. 

I write you in great anger, my dear, because they have 
just, by adjournment, choked off a long and carefully pre- 
pared speech, with all possible new material which I had 
collected with much trouble, so that all my bother was in 
vain, and I must content myself with voting. Despite all 
the bitterness, which is hardly kept in check by thoughts 
of you and all I love, because it came about through the 
stupidity and cowardice of our "friends/' I must, never- 

223 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

theless, send you love and best wishes for to-morrow; and 
even if this letter does not arrive till day after to-mor- 
row, still be assured that I shall think of you very lovingly, 
and ask God's blessing on you more earnestly than ever. 
Whatever presents 1 have for you 1 shall bring with me. . . . 
If 1 finish my packing and other business Saturday, I will 
leave on Sunday (God will pardon me, I think), and if not, 
early Monday. It is possible I may have to return here 
after Easter, and on May loth the Chamber is to close. May 

it go to the ! 

Good-bye, for to-day, my sweetheart. Soon after this 
letter you will have me, too. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Friday, 8 A. M. 
(Postmarked April 25, '51.) 

You will sympathize with me, my sweetheart, when you 
see that at this hour I am already in the committee, having 
risen at seven, and Vincke opposite me, whom I never saw 
before at this time of day. Late last night I was still 
at " Fra Diavolo " ; they really intend to use me in some 
diplomatic capacity; but in my opinion I cannot at once 
accept an entirely independent post, because I should make 
myself ridiculous through ignorance of the usual docu- 
mentary forms, which I have no inclination to do. Be- 
sides, I wish a position on which I can count for some time, 
so that I can settle down with you, my angel; otherwise 
our separation will be prolonged indefinitely ; it is possible 
that these wishes of mine will make the matter come to 
naught, which, on the other hand, I should regret, as the 
mere nomination of myself and Hans to any positions what- 
ever would be a public pledge that the government has 
really cut loose altogether from the Revolution. But I 

224 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

should immediately give up any position in which I can- 
not live with my family. It is certainly a source of pleas- 
ure to me that the King has made himself familiar with 
the idea of my appointment, less for my own sake than 
for the cause which we support, for if I let that yoke be put 
upon me I must give up for a long time to come every habit 
of comfort, as well as the hope of living as quietly with 
you and the children as during our first winter. God will 
certainly arrange it according to His will and for our souls' 
good, and in this frame of mind we will await develop- 
ments; I have not expressed any selfish desire, and am 
not pushing myself forward. As soon as anything def- 
inite is decided I shall write you. The Chamber will cer- 
tainly be adjourned before the loth, perhaps by the 3d, so 
that we shall soon be in each other's arms, and can talk 
over everything. Yesterday afternoon I was in the Thier- 
garten ; there everything is already shady and thickly 
foliaged, except that the oaks have as yet only tiny thin 
leaves, and the beeches, limes, and chestnut-trees already 
afford protection against rain, the clumps are impenetra- 
bly green, the fruit trees are in full blossom, and all sorts 
of pretty shrubs, red-thorns, blooming currants, and much 
besides are blossoming in full richness of color ; the grape- 
like buds of the horse-chestnut are just about to burst. It 
was delightful out in the green, only too many people, but 
that did not prevent the nightingales from screaming as 
if they were quite alone at Schonhausen. ... Is father en- 
tirely well again? Much love to him and M., and farewell. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, April 28, '51. 

MY DEAR SWEETHEART, Mother's premonition that 
I would remain long away has, unfortunately, proved cor- 
p 225 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

rect this time. . . . The King was the first to propose my 
nomination, and that at once, as a real delegate to the 
Diet ; his plan has, of course, encountered much opposition, 
and has finally been so modified that Rochow will, it is 
true, remain Minister at Petersburg, whither he is to re- 
turn in two months, but meanwhile, provisionally, he is 
commissioned to Frankfort, and I am to accompany him, 
with the assurance that, on his leaving for Petersburg, I 
shall be his successor. But this last is between ourselves. 
Now I want to go, first of all, to Frankfort, and take a 
look at the situation, and hear how I shall stand pecunia- 
rily pending my definite appointment, of which I know 
nothing at all as yet. Then I shall see whether I can leave 
again shortly after the start, and whether I am to count 
on staying any longer; for, although I have, indeed, ac- 
cepted, still I am not yet sufficiently familiar with the 
ground to be able to say definitely whether I shall stay there 
or shortly get out again. As soon as that is decided, we 
shall probably, after all, have to consider for you, too, the 
prospect of exchanging your quiet Reinfeld existence for 
the noise of the Diet's diplomacy. You folks have often 
complained that nothing was made of me by those above 
me; now this is, beyond my expectations and wishes, a 
sudden appointment to what is at this moment the most 
important post in our diplomatic service ; I have not sought 
it; I must assume that the Lord wished it, and I cannot 
withdraw, although I foresee that it will be an unfruitful 
and a thorny office, in which, with the best intentions, I 
shall forfeit the good opinion of many people. But it 
would be cowardly to decline. I cannot give you to-day 
further particulars as to our plans, how we shall meet, 
what will be done about your going to the sea-shore ; only 
I shall try to make leisure, if possible, to see you before. 

226 



i$5i] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. 

I feel almost like crying when I think of this sudden up- 
setting of our innocent plans, as well as of the uncertainty 
when I shall see you again, my beloved heart, and the 
babies ; and I earnestly pray God to arrange it all without 
detriment to our earthly welfare and without harm to my 
soul. God be with you, my dear, and bring us together 
again soon. With heartfelt love, 

Your most faithful V. B. 



(Postmarked BERLIN, May I, '51.) 

I have just received your little letter of the 29th, my be- 
loved heart; its tenor is quite as melancholy as are my 
feelings when I think of Reinfeld and of our quiet plans 
for the summer ; I feel as though we ought to emigrate to 
America, taking leave of all our dear old ways; for who 
knows when the wheel which is now catching us up will let 
us go again, so that we may once more spend a quiet sum- 
mer in the country ? But then, too, it may be sooner than 
we suppose, for who can foretell the ways of the Lord even 
for a moment? But how can you believe that we should 
be parted until Christmas? I do not yet know to-day how 
I shall be fixed pecuniarily; if so that we cannot live 
together on my income I shall not remain in Frankfort ; but 
if it is amply sufficient, we will probably both remove there, 
with the children and the maid-servants ; if that could not be 
done, I could not undertake the post; if these separations 
on account of the Chamber were also to extend over all the 
intervals, that would end the whole business; I shall not 
do that, come what may ; God has not brought us together 
for that. Only I am sorry for our poor, dear parents, that our 
charming circle is to be broken up, and that they are to be 
left in solitude, but in the human and Divine order nothing 

227 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

else is feasible; 1 have not brought about the situation for 
myself ; I have not contributed to it by a desire or by a sin- 
gle word ; that is a consolation to me. . . . 

It seems as though sickness came among you the mo- 
ment 1 am away; the first advices 1 receive here are in- 
variably disquieting; I trust that the dear little ones' 
health has now been restored by this fine weather. You 
should all be very careful not to ruin digestion, and please 
insist with iron severity on regularity in meals, and that 
the children do not eat "for pleasure/' but for health; for 
the former they are as yet too small and weak. How de- 
lightful the spring is ! unfortunately I can go out but little ; 
all is blooming and green; the chestnut - trees are now 
charmingly full of white flowers; it would have made me 
so glad to experience all that once more in Reinfeld next 
week! Have the storks arrived yet? . . . Hearty love to 
the dear parents and children. God protect and bless all of 
you in the little red house. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, May 3, '51. 

MY SWEETEST, DEAREST HEART, Why so sad? 
for it is pleasant in the foreign country, but I can hardly 
restrain my tears when I think of the quiet country-life 
with you, and all that goes with it, which will probably 
for some time to come hover about me in a distant region of 
dreams, and which just now appears to be more charming 
than ever. Why do you talk of a long separation, my 
angel? Do accustom yourself to the idea that you must 
go out into the winter of the great world ; with what am I 
to warm myself otherwise? It is possible, even probable, 
that for long years to come I shall be at home only a tran- 

228 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

sient visitor, absent on leave ; we cannot and must not be 
separated so long. Lift your soul's anchor, and make 
preparations to leave the haven of home. I know by my 
own feelings how painful the idea is to you, how sorrowful 
the prospect is for our parents. But 1 repeat, 1 have not 
at all desired, or contributed with a syllable to, what has 
come about; I am God's soldier, and whither He sends me 
thither must I go, and I believe He sends me, and that He 
shapes my life as He needs it. 

From a material point of view my position is very good, 
and your complaints on that score are unjust; of which 
more orally; my post is more important than a Presi- 
dency. . . . 

Give a great deal of love to our kind parents, and ask 
them to pardon me for thus destroying our quiet life, but 
I cannot withdraw without being false to the flag. Farewell ; 
take courage in prayer, and do not look askance at what 
is inevitable. What God does is well done, and let us enter 
upon this thing in that belief. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, May 4, '51. 

Yesterday, my heart, I wrote to mammy from Schonhaus- 
en, but only mailed the letter here, so that it will probably 
arrive simultaneously with Hans's official notice of his 
engagement. Shortly after my return from Reinfeld he 
poured out his heart to me concerning his intentions, and 
we decided, as a plan of campaign, that he was first to put 
himself in communication with the Eberhard lady* in 
order to get some light upon the intentions and views of 
his beloved and her family, of which he is in total ignorance 

* Countess Stolberg, born Princess Reuss. 
229 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

now. The lady in question thereupon wrote him two very 
pretty and charming letters ; the old man was with her, and 
she had at once shown him Hans's letter; the old gentle- 
man came here day before yesterday; Charlotte* was 
taken away from Pastor Schulz and the Lady Superior, 
not without a painful struggle; and yesterday they were 
duly betrothed, and already address each other in the fa- 
miliar second person. Hans is inordinately happy, does 
not go to bed at all, and carries on like a child ; it was not 
to be announced as yet, but he could not keep it to himself, 
was under the necessity of "engraving it on every pebble/' 
and mentions it to friend and foe, in the blessed belief that 
all the world's bickerings have now ceased, and that every 
one is happy. His face is entirely changed, and when 
alone in his room he capers about and sings the most ex- 
traordinary songs; in short, you can no longer recognize 
the cross, peevish fellow that he was, and if in his happiness 
he would only allow me to sleep at night, he would be very 
agreeable ; almost too excited. . . . Farewell, my darling, 
with lots of love. Your most faithful V. B. 

I have just received mamma's letter, full of love and 
truth; she takes the matter harder than I do. God helps 
me to bear up, and with His assistance I am more fit for the 
thing than most of our politicians who might be in Frank- 
fort in my stead, without Him. I shall fill my office; it 
rests with God to give me the ability to do so. 

BERLIN, May 7, '51. 

MY BELOVED HEART, ... I must tell you in two words 
how I am almost consumed by the longing to be with you, 

* Countess Stolberg, afterwards Frau von Kleist, 

230 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

and homesick for you all, and for the green spring and 
for life in the country, so that my heart is very heavy. 
To-day at noon, i.e., before dinner, I was at General Ger- 
lach's, and while he was grinding away about treaties and 
sovereigns I saw how the wind was gambolling among 
the chestnuts and alder-blossoms under the windows in 
Voss's Garden, and I imagined I heard the nightingales 
and stood with you at the dining-room window looking 
out on the terrace, and I did not know what G. was 
talking about. Your letter with the pistols, which you 
should have quietly kept if they made you anxious, came 
last night, and I grew so sad and sick from longing that I 
had to weep when I lay in bed, and earnestly implore God 
to give me strength to do my duty. Hans was in Pots- 
dam overnight, where his fiancee lives with her sister, 
Countess Keller, and I had such an oppressive feeling of 
loneliness that I could not sleep. I am firmly convinced 
that the merciful God is protecting you and the children, 
and that He will grant us a joyful reunion ; but life is fleet- 
ing, and still we are apart from one another. I am to go 
to the King to-morrow morning, and I leave the day after, 
or perhaps not before Saturday, for I am to be in Frank- 
fort on Sunday, and I have still so much to attend to here 
that I am almost in despair. Perhaps during the first 
weeks, after the initial rush of work is over and matters 
have been put sufficiently into shape to keep going in an 
orderly fashion, I shall be able to get away from Frank- 
fort for a few days, so that we may have a rendezvous at 
Stettin or Kiilz, for I am dying with eagerness to see you. 
For the last few days it has been impossible to spare here 
the four days which are necessary in order to spend one 
day at Reinfeld. To-morrow I shall send you the little box 
of books, gloves, etc. ; there is no room in it for the rubbers, 

231 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

which I shall send separately. For the boys I have pro- 
cured two pairs of shoes, one somewhat larger than the 
sample; in case they do not fit now, save them for the 
future. In Frankfort they will pay me for the present a 
salary of three thousand rix-dollars, but if they keep their 
promises I shall not be drawing that amount very long, but 
shall have more in a few months; however, I shall also 
have to spend more. That I must become Privy-Coun- 
cillor is a mockery by which God punishes all my libels 
upon Privy-Councillors. Hans, who has just got home, 
sends cordial regards, and says that everything is "ex- 
ceedingly nice and attractive, the Stolbergs very kind, 
and she an extremely brilliant girl, who suits him splen- 
didly " ; he says that he and his betrothed will both write 
to mother from Wernigerode. He is provokingly happy, 
while I My angel, when shall we see each other again? 
Would that 1 could hold you in my arms for only a mo- 
ment, and tell you how I love you, and beg you to pardon 
me for whatever evil 1 have ever done you, my sweetheart. 
How anxious I am about you ! Kiss the children for me, 
and give our parents all sorts of nice messages. Good- 
night, my darling. God's blessing be your guard. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

Saturday Morning. 
(Postmarked BERLIN, May 10, '51.) 

MY BELOVED NAN, This evening, then, I am act- 
ually to start out, and to-morrow afternoon I shall be in 
Frankfort. Hildebrand is packing round about me, in a 
chaos of trunks, clothes, books. Yesterday I did wonders 
in the way of business and farewell calls, but to-day much 
still remains for me. Day before yesterday I had a long 
audience with the King, whose attitude towards the affairs 

232 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

with which I shall be concerned is, in my view, very satis- 
factory. He thanked me very much for accepting the thing, 
and promised that, on Rochow's return to Petersburg, he 
would appoint me Ambassador to Frankfort. This sudden 
distinction frightens me, and I am longing more than ever 
for you and Teifke, or Freichow. My angel, if I only had 
you here and could travel with you ! Hans has gone off to 
Wernigerode, and 1 am so cold, and anxious to be with all 
that I love! Just imagine that I, miscreant that 1 am, 
dreamed just now that I was whipping our youngster so 
hard with a switch that the blood flowed after every stroke; 
I must apologize to him, the dear little duffer. 

Two hours later. 

Callers as early as half past seven, and now there 
will be no end to it. Everybody wants to go along to 
Frankfort. I must break off. I love you more than ever, 
my sweetheart, and am in such a state of longing and 
anxiety that I am becoming quite useless for business. 
Possibly in a few weeks I may have occasion to return to 
Berlin for a few days ; perhaps I shall then find time for 
Reinfeld, but we must see each other then by all means. 
Love a thousand times over to our beloved parents. The 
bell is ringing again. 

Your most faithful and very loving V. B. 



FRANKFORT, May 12, '51. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I have not been able to realize 
at all that we should be so widely separated, until the rail- 
road delivered me here last night, after a journey of twenty- 
five hours, and until, from the time of arising this morning 
till now, towards evening, I had been engaged in a ceaseless 

233 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

struggle with despatch-writing, calls, and telegrams. At 
last, after a tedious and complaining caller has left me, I 
find a moment's leisure in which to write you. The picture 
of yourself and of the children crosses my thoughts at 
every step and in every occupation, and my longing in- 
creases with the distance. Were it not for the sea-bathing 
for you and the children, which I do not dare to interfere 
with or prevent, 1 should endeavor to bring you here as 
'quickly as possible, although I see your dear parents' 
sorrow of heart, and should want to apologize to them again 
for taking you from them a second time, and so far away, 
too. . . I am, really, still at a loss to comprehend how the 
wheel of life has got hold of me so suddenly, pulled me out 
of all pleasant summer dreams, and cast me here; I must 
put my things in order before I can realize my new plan 
of life. This noon I sat among Englishmen a melancholy 
reminder of our trip; they were going to Heidelberg and 
Switzerland; how near all that is to this place, and as 
soon as we are together you shall see Heidelberg at leisure, 
where you were so ill the Rhine, as well ; that is the ex- 
cursion of two days, and points of light in my vision of 
the future. Now 1 must get accustomed to being a regular 
dry business man, having many and fixed hours of work, 
and growing old; gaming and dancing are over. God 
has placed me on the spot where I must be an earnest man 
and pay the King and the country what I owe them. I am 
determined to do His will according to my best strength, 
and if I am lacking in wisdom I shall implore Him; He 
grants abundance, and charges it to no one. May He 
have you and ours in His faithful keeping, protect you 
from sickness and trouble, for that do I pray morning and 
night more earnestly than ever, and believe that I am heard. 
I must close six is my mail time. Do not prepay letters 

234 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

when you write. Farewell, dearest of all I possess ; there 
is no time during the day when I do not think of you with 
true love and longing. Hearty love to father and mother. 
Yours forever, V. B. 

Hildebrand is all that I have here that is homelike, and 
is very agreeable to me; in his new livery he looks like a 
count. 

FRANKFORT, May 14, '51. 

MY LITTLE DEAR, . . It seems to be getting constantly 
more certain that I shall take Rochow's position in the sum- 
mer. In that event, if the rating remains as it was, 1 shall 
have a salary of twenty-one thousand rix-dollars, but I 
shall have to keep a large train and household establish- 
ment, and you, my poor child, must sit stiff and sedate in 
the drawing-room, be called Excellency, and be clever and 
wise with Excellencies. . . . The city is not so bad as you sup- 
pose; there are a great many charming villas before the 
gates, similar to those in the Thiergarten, only more sunny. 
As Councillor of Legation, it will be difficult for us to live 
there, owing to distance and expense ; but as Ambassador, 
quite as charming as is possible in a foreign land. By letters 
of introduction I have quickly become acquainted with the 
charming world hereabouts. Yesterday I dined with the 
English Ambassador, Lord Cowley, nephew of the Duke 
of Wellington; very kind, agreeable people; she is an 
elegant woman of about forty, very worldly, but benevo- 
lent and easy to get acquainted with ; I have immediately 
put myself on a friendly footing with her, so that when 
you step into the cold bath of diplomatic society she may 
be a powerful support for you. Previously I called on a 
Frau von Stallupin (pronounce Stolipine), a young woman 

235 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

without children, kindly, like all Russian women, but ter- 
ribly rich, and settled in a little castle-like villa, so that 
one hardly dares to take a step or to sit down; a Schar- 
teuck interior is a rude barn compared with it. Day be- 
fore yesterday evening I called on Frau von Vrintz, a 
sister of Meyendorfs wife; the diplomatic folks assemble 
every evening in her drawing-room. Countess Thun was 
there, a very handsome young woman, in the style of 
Malvinia; also the Marquis de Tallenay, French Am- 
bassador, a polite fifty-year-old; Count Szechenyi, a gay 
young Magyar, full of pranks, and divers other foreign 
personages. They gamble there every evening, the lady 
of the house, too, and not for very low stakes ; I was scolded 
for declaring it boresome, and told them it would be my 
role to laugh at those who lost. Society probably does not 
appeal to you very strongly, my beloved heart, and it 
seems to me as though I were harming you by bringing 
you into it, but how shall I avoid that? I have one favor 
to ask of you, but keep it to yourself, and do not let mother 
suspect that I have written you one word about it, otherwise 
she will worry needlessly over it: occupy yourself with 
French as much as you can in the meantime, but let it be 
thought that you yourself have discovered that it is useful. 
Read French, but if you love me, do not do so by artificial 
light, or if your eyes pain you ; in that case you had better 
ask mother to read to you, for it is almost harder to under- 
stand than to speak. If you know of any agreeable piece 
of baggage you can get in a hurry to chatter French to you, 
then engage one; I will gladly pay the bill. You will 
enter here an atmosphere of French spirit and talk, any- 
way; so you cannot avoid familiarizing yourself with it 
as far as possible. If you know of no person whom you 
like and who is available, let it go; and, at any rate, I beg 

236 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

you sincerely not to consider this advice as a hardship, or 
otherwise than if I asked you to buy yourself a green or a 
blue dress; it is not a matter of life and death; you are 
my wife, and not the diplomats', and they can just as well 
learn German as you can learn French. Only if you have 
leisure, or wish to read anyway, take a French novel ; but 
if you have no desire to do so, consider this as not written, 
for I married you in order to love you in God and according 
to the need of my heart, and in order to have in the midst of 
the strange world a place for my heart, which all the world's 
bleak winds cannot chill, and where I may find the warmth 
of the home-fire, to which I eagerly betake myself when it 
is stormy and cold without; but not to have a society 
woman for others, and I shall cherish and nurse your little 
fireplace, put wood on it and blow, and protect it against 
all that is evil and strange, for, next to God's mercy, there 
is nothing which is dearer and more necessary to me than 
your love, and the homelike hearth which stands between us 
everywhere, even in a strange land, when we are together. 
Do not be too much depressed and sad over the change of 
our life ; my heart is not attached, or, at least, not strongly 
attached, to earthly honor; I shall easily dispense with 
it if it should ever endanger our peace with God or our con- 
tentment. . . . Farewell, my dearly beloved heart. Kiss 
the children for me, and give your parents my love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, May 16, '51. 

DEAR MOTHER, ... So far as I am at present ac- 
quainted with the highest circles of society, there is only one 
house which seems to me to promise company for Johanna 
that of the English Ambassador. As this letter will 

237 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

probably be opened by the Austrian (Frankfort) post-office 
authorities, I shall refrain from explaining on this occasion 
the reasons therefor. Even those letters which, like my 
last ones, I took occasion to send by a courier, are not 
secure from indiscretions at Berlin; those to me as well 
as those from me ; but those which go by the regular mail 
are always opened, except when there is no time for it, as 
the gentleman who will read this could probably testify. 
But all that, for better, for worse, forms part of the petty 
ills of my new position. 

In my thoughts I must always ask you and our dad to 
forgive me for depriving you of the pleasure and the hap- 
piness of your old days, inasmuch as I transplant to such 
a distance the bright child-life, with all its dear cares, and 
take Johanna away a second time from her father's house ; 
but I see no other way out of it, which would not be unnat- 
ural, or even wrong, and the strong arm which separated us 
when we hoped to be united can also unite us when we least 
expect it. You shall at least have the conviction, so far 
as human purpose can give it, that I shall wander, together 
with Johanna, with the strong staff of the Word of God, 
through this dead and wicked activity of the world, whose 
nakedness will become more apparent to us in our new 
position than before, and that to the end of our joint pil- 
grimage my hand shall strive, in faithful love, to smooth 
Johanna's paths, and to be a warm covering to her against 
the breath of the great world. . . . 

Your faithful son, V. B. 



FRANKFORT, May 18, '51. 

MY DARLING, Frankfort is terribly tiresome ; I am so 
spoiled by so much affection and so much business that 

238 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

I am only just beginning to suspect how ungrateful I al- 
ways was to some people in Berlin, to say nothing of you 
and yours ; but even the cooler measure of fellowship and 
party affiliation which came to me in Berlin may be called 
an intimate relationship compared with intercourse here, 
which is, in fact, nothing more than mutual mistrust and 
espionage, if there only were anything to spy out or to con- 
ceal ! The people toil and fret over nothing but mere trifles, 
and these diplomats, with their consequential hair-splitting, 
already seem to me more ridiculous than the Member of 
the Second Chamber in the consciousness of his dignity. 
If foreign events do not take place, and those we over- 
smart Diet people can neither direct nor prognosticate, I 
know quite definitely now what we shall have accomplished 
in one, two, or five years, and am willing to effect it in 
twenty-four hours if the others will but be truthful and 
sensible for a single day. I have never doubted that they 
all use water for cooking ; but such an insipid, silly water- 
broth, in which not a single bubble of mutton-suet is visi- 
ble, surprises me. Send me Filohr, the village-mayor, 
Stephen Lotke, and Herr von Dombrowsky, of the turnpike- 
house, as soon as they are washed and combed, and I shall 
cut a dash with them in diplomatic circles. I am making 
headlong progress in the art of saying nothing by using 
many words ; I write reports of many pages, which read 
nice and smooth as editorials ; and if Manteuffel, after he 
has read them, can tell what they contain, he can do more 
than I. Each of us makes believe that he thinks the other 
is full of ideas and plans, if he would but speak out, and 
yet we none of us know a jot better than the man in the 
moon does what is to become of Germany. No mortal, 
not even the most malevolently skeptical Democrat, will 
believe what a vast amount of charlatanism and conse- 

239 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

quential pomposity there is in this diplomacy. But now I 
have done enough scolding, and want to tell you that 1 am 
well, and that I was very glad and gave thanks to the Lord 
that, according to your last letter, all was well with you, and 
that I love you very much, and look at every pretty villa, 
thinking that perhaps our babies will be running about in it 
in summer. Do see that you get the girls to come along, or, 
if they absolutely refuse, bring others from there with whom 
we are already somewhat acquainted. I don't care to have 
a Frankfort snip in the room, or with the children ; or we 
must take a Hessian girl, with short petticoats and ridicu- 
lous head-gear ; they are half-way rural and honest. For the 
present I shall rent a furnished room for myself in the city ; 
the inn here is too expensive. Lodgings, 5 guilders per day ; 
two cups of tea, without anything else, 36 kreutzers (35 are 
10 silbergroschen), and, served as the style is here, it is 
insulting. Day before yesterday I was at Mayence; it is 
a charming region, indeed. The rye is already standing 
in full ears, although the weather is infamously cold every 
night and morning. The excursions by rail are the best 
things here. To Heidelberg, Baden-Baden, Odenwald, 
Hamburg, Soden, Wiesbaden, Bingen, Rudesheim, Nie- 
derwald, is a leisurely day's journey ; one can stay there 
for five or six hours and be here again in the evening; 
hitherto I have not yet availed myself of it, but shall do so, 
so that I may escort you when you are here. Rochow left 
for Warsaw at nine o'clock last night; he will arrive there 
day after to-morrow at noon, and will most likely be here 
again a week from to-day. About politics and individu- 
als I cannot write you much, because most letters are 
opened. When once they are familiar with your address 
on my letters and with your handwriting on yours, they 
will probably get over it, because they have no time to read 

240 , 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

family letters. Do not be afraid of the local aristocracy; 
as to money, Rothschild is the most aristocratic, but de- 
prive them all of their money and salaries, and it would be 
seen how little each one is aristocratic in himself ; money 
doesn't do it, and otherwise may the Lord keep me in 
humility, but here the temptation is strong to be content 
with one's self. 

Countess Puckler, sister of the Countess Stolberg, re- 
sides at Weistritz, near Schweidnitz. Now, farewell; I 
must go out. God's blessing be with you. Give F. and 
M. much love. Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, May 27, '51. 

MY DARLING, ... On Friday there was a ball at Lady 
Cowley's, which lasted until five in the morning; they all 
dance here as if possessed; the oldest delegates of fifty, 
with white hair, danced to the end of the cotillon, in the 
sweat of their brows. At midnight " God Save the Queen " 
was solemnly played, because her birthday was dawning, 
and it was all a transparency of English coats-of-arms and 
colors from top to bottom, and very many odd, stiff ladies, 
who "lisp English when they lie," as I read once upon a 
time the translation of that passage in " Faust " ; that is to 
say, they all have a passion for talking bad French, and I 
am altogether forgetting my English, as I have discovered 
to my dismay. . . . Oftentimes I feel terribly homesick, and 
that is to me an agreeable sadness, for otherwise I seem 
to myself so aged, so dryly resigned and documentary, as 
if I were only pasted on a piece of card-board. . . . Give your 
dear parents my heartfelt love, and kiss Annie's pretty 
hand for me, because she stays with you so sweetly. Now, 
I shall not write another word until I have a letter from 
Q 241 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

you in hand. Yesterday I attended the Lutheran church 
here; a not very gifted, but devout, minister; the audience 
consisted, apart from myself, of just twenty-two women, 
and my appearance was visibly an event. God bless and 
keep you and the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, Ascension Day Evening. 
(Postmarked BERLIN, June I, '51.) 

MY HEART, How good it is of you all that, directly 
after I had mailed my complaint of lack of news, there 
arrives such a shower of letters. A thousand thanks to 
your dear parents, and I shall answer dad to-morrow, when 
I am less hurried than to-day, for on this dear holiday, 
after a big dinner, I must still write some long despatches. 
I was at the French church to-day, where at least there 
was more congregation and devotion, and the minister was 
passable, too, but I cannot talk French with my dear, faithful 
Lord and Saviour ; it seems to me ungrateful. For the rest, 
they sang pretty hymns, these insipid Calvinists, almost 
in the sweet Catholic tune which you always play. . . . 
Your most faithful v. B. 

Your letter had been opened again. 



FRANKFORT, June 4, '51. 

MY DARLING, Were you not going to write to me any 
more? I was resolved even yesterday not to put pen to 
paper until I should have a letter from you, but, anyway, 
I will be good, and tell you that I am well and love you, 
even if you let your little inkstand dry up. I long exceed- 

242 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. 

ingly for you and the children, and for quiet, comfortable 
domesticity at Schonhausen or Reinfeld. As soon as I 
have finished my hitherto rather unimportant occupations, 
my empty lodgings, and the whole dreary world behind, 
face me, and I know not where to set my foot, for there is 
nothing which particularly attracts me. Day before yes- 
terday I ate at Biberich, with the Duke of Nassau, the first 
fresh herrings and the first strawberries and raspberries 
of the season. It is certainly a delightful piece of earth 
along the Rhine, and 1 looked pensively from the castle 
windows over to the red cathedral of Mayence, which, 
almost four years ago, we both went to see very early in 
the morning, in times for which we were not then sufficient- 
ly grateful to God ; 1 remembered how, on board the steam- 
er, the blue hills before us, we passed by the Duke's hand- 
some castle, without dreaming how and why I should 
stand there at the window this year, an old wig of a Minister 
before me, who unravelled his views on national politics, 
while I was thinking, with an occasional absent-minded 
" Quite so," of our trip of '47, and sought with my eyes the 
spot on the Mayence bridge whence you, in your little Ge- 
neva coat, embarked on the steamer ; and then I thought of 
Geneva. . . . Countess Thun unfortunately left on Sunday 
for Tetschen, to spend three months with her father-in- 
law. She is a kindly lady, womanly and devout (Catholic, 
very), attributes which do not grace the women here in 
general; her husband gambles and flirts, I believe, more 
so than is agreeable to her. 1 hardly believe that you will 
like her, but she is one of the better specimens of women 
of the great world, even though that just proves to me that 
a woman of that world would not have been suitable for 
me ; 1 like her to associate with, but not to marry. Perhaps 
by comparing her with the others of her sort, you will 

243 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

learn to appreciate her. The gentlemen are unendurable. 
The moment 1 accost one he assumes a diplomatic coun- 
tenance, and thinks of what he can answer without say- 
ing too much, and what he can write home concerning my 
utterances. Those who are not so, 1 find still less con- 
genial; they talk equivocally to the ladies, and the latter 
encourage them shamefully. It makes a less morbid im- 
pression on me if a woman falls thoroughly for once, but pre- 
serves a sense of shame at heart, than if she takes pleasure 
in such chatter; and 1 value the Countess Thun, because, 
despite the general fashion prevailing here, she knows how 
to keep decidedly clear of all that sort of thing. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, June 10, '51. 

MY SWEETHEART, 1 returned late last night from 
Baden and the Odenwald, and found mother's and the 
children's and your dainty letters, and thank God that 
you are well, and 1, too, so far as our separation permits ; 
the tulip-leaves were still in it, my heart; furthermore, 
that letter did not appear to have been opened; perhaps 
they now know your handwriting, and don't consider you 
dangerous. . . . Baden-Baden is charming, and I regret that 
in the course of our trip 1 did not take you there. Last 
night 1 slept at Carlsruhe, where my darling was so ailing, 
at the same inn ; left there at four o'clock in the morning, 
in order to meet Lynar, Thun, and a dozen other diplomats 
and ladies from Frankfort, at Bickensbach (in the Berg- 
strasse). 1 arrived at the rendezvous three hours before 
the Frankforters, went to a village church beautifully 
situated on the mountain slope, a Lutheran oasis in the 
Catholic country, heard a preacher who spoke in distinc- 

244 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

lively South-German fashion, but was a sincere believer, 
withal; listened to the confirmation of the children, for 
which the entire church had been decorated with garlands ; 
then 1 went to sleep on a pile of hay at the railroad station, 
until my company arrived; and we rode on a rack- wagon 
with four horses, into the Odenwald and up the Melibokus 
a very pretty valley on the way up, something like the 
Helenenthal near Vienna, but so much rain that we were 
all dripping. The ladies here are too easy-mannered to 
suit me, coquettish, wellnigh lewd in ways and speech; 
it was the haute volee of the local city folks. We returned 
here at two o'clock at night, and at eight 1 had to enter 
his Majesty's service; have been writing uninterruptedly 
since, so that my hand is lame, and still German Unity 
makes no headway. . . . Kiss the children for me, and tell 
Midget that yesterday 1 brought home an immense May- 
bug from the Odenwald, and installed it in my garden ; it 
was a slow-legged beetle. . . . Farewell, my heart. Take 
good care of your health, and use the milk-diet ; God grant 
that it agree with you. In the New Testament I am now 
reading the Romans; to-day chapter viii., which is still 
marked by a leaf of golden-rod from you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, June 18, '51. 

MY ANGEL, ... I am dining to-day with old Roth- 
schild, "Baron Amschel," who had an invitation sent to 
me as long as ten days ago ; my answer, that " if 1 were 
still alive 1 would come/' has upset him, so that he tells 
everybody about it : " Why shouldn't he live ? What should 
the man die for? Isn't he young and strong?" . . . 

Your very loving V. B. 

245 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

FRANKFORT, June 23, '51. 

MY DARLING, How nice it was of you that you have 
all written to me, a true comfort for me, so that I could read 
myself right into Reinfeld. ... 1 am determined to remain 
here only as Envoy to the Diet ; if they want to keep me in 
my present post, a peaceful Indian summer at Stolpmiinde 
and a very pretty autumn at Reinfeld await us both, for 
in my present position 1 shall be of no use in the long run, 
and 1 will return home very gladly and without resent- 
ment if they don't keep their word, as. to which, indeed, 1 
do not as yet know anything definite; but it's time that I 
should find out, for a judicious father of a family cannot 
always be ready to march. In case I do not become En- 
voy, and am not re-elected in Brandenburg, concerning 
which 1 have no news as yet, I shall be right glad to spend 
once more a very quiet and gladsome year with you, my 
sweetheart, and the children. The fragrant w r ooded hills 
of Heidelberg, and the ivy on the castle, which you so 
greatly admired, allowed me to dream and meditate wheth- 
er 1 should perhaps stand there this year and watch the sun 
set, with you and the babies, or, at any rate, with Midget, 
if the little chap is too small. How charming Baden is, 
and the people are devoid of character, jumbled together 
by the treaties of the last generation under a non-heredi- 
tary sovereign house ; but they are amiable, and it touched 
me to see how they loved and greeted our hussars, and 
exhibited their pleasure and gratitude. In a wine-room 
at Bruchsal, where I went in the evening with six or eight 
officers, the landlord and his wife would absolutely not 
accept payment of our not inconsiderable bill; the honor 
of once again having had Prussian officers with them suf- 
ficed them. The hussars had brought along a former 
corporal of the regiment, Barella, a Pole. His only son 

246 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

had at that time marched out with the regiment, and the 
old man had said to him at parting, " God preserve you to 
me, but if you accept quarter from those rascals, do not 
again cross my threshold." In the course of the attack 
the boy had been cut off from the main body, surrounded 
by the insurgents, and commanded to surrender; he re- 
plied, "At your hands a Prussian hussar accepts no 
quarter, you damned hounds!" and they struck him from 
his horse. The old man wept bitterly at his grave, and in 
the midst of his weeping said to me, " The brave lad died 
like a hussar; he owed that to the King." . . . The mail 
leaves at six, and I don't like to hold this letter over until 
to-morrow, because I have not written you since Wednes- 
day, when the Rothschild dinner took place. There was 
many a hundredweight of silverware, gold forks and spoons, 
fresh peaches and grapes, and excellent wines. May God 
grant us always our daily bread and the interest we have 
to pay, and keep you, my sweetheart, and our parents and 
children in good health, and bless you all richly with His 
mercy, and I shall then be quite content, whether here or 
in Pomerania. Farewell, my angel. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

The poodle was washed with soap to-day, snow-white, 
and sends his regards to Midget. 

FRANKFORT, June 26, '51. 

MY DARLING, To-day 1 have been suffering all day 
long from homesickness. I received your letter of Sunday 
early, and then 1 sat in the window and smelled the summer 
fragrance of roses and all sorts of shrubs in the little gar- 
den, and while so doing I heard one of your dear Beethoven 
pieces, played by an unknown hand on the piano, wafted 

247 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

over from some window opposite, distantly and in snatches, 
and to me it sounded prettier than any concert. 1 kept 
wondering why 1 must, after all, be so far away, for a long 
time, from you and the children, while so many people who 
do not love each other at all see one another from morning 
till night. It is now seven months since 1 received at 
Reinf eld the order to join the regiment ; since then we have 
twice paid each other a hasty visit, and it will be eight or 
nine months before we shall be again united. It must, in- 
deed, be the Lord's will, for 1 have not sought it, and when 1 
am sorrowful it is a consolation to me that 1 did not speak 
a syllable in order to come here, and that ambition for out- 
ward pomp was not what led me to this separation. We 
are not in this world to be happy and to enjoy, but to do our 
duty; and the less my condition is a self-made one, the 
more do 1 realize that I am to perform the duties of the office 
in which 1 am placed. And I certainly do not wish to be 
ungrateful, for 1 am, nevertheless, happy in the knowledge 
of possessing so much that is dear, even if far away from 
here, and in the hope of a happy reunion. On the arrival 
of every letter from Reinf eld my first feeling is one of hearty 
gratitude for the unmerited happiness that 1 still have you 
in this world, and with every death of wife or child which I 
see in the newspaper the consciousness of what 1 have to lose 
comes forcibly home to me, and of what the merciful God has 
granted and thus far preserved to me. Would that gratitude 
therefor might so dispose my obstinate and worldly heart 
to receive the mercy of the Lord that it shall not be neces- 
sary for Him to chastise me in what I love, for 1 have greater 
fear of that than of any other evil. ... In a few weeks it must 
be decided whether I shall be made Envoy here or stay at 
Reinfeld. The Austrians at Berlin are agitating against 
my appointment, because my black-and-white is not suf- 

248 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ficiently yellow for them ; but I hardly believe they will suc- 
ceed, and you, my poor dear, will probably have to jump 
into the cold water of diplomacy; and the boy, unlucky 
wight that he is, will have a South-German accent added 
to his Berlin nativity. ... As far as can now be foreseen, I 
shall not be able to get away from this galley for two or 
three weeks, for, including Silesia, that amount of time 
would probably be necessary for it. But much water 
will flow down the Main before then, and I am not wor- 
rying before the time comes. How I should like to turn 
suddenly around the bushy corner of the lawn and surprise 
all of you in the hall! I see you so plainly, attending to 
the children, covering up Midget, with sensible speeches, 
and father sitting at his desk smoking, the mayor beside 
him, and mammy bolt-upright on her sofa, by wretched 
light, one hand lying on the arm-rest, or holding Musee 
Frangais close before her eyes. God grant that at this 
moment everything at Reinfeld is going as smoothly as 
this. I have at last received a letter from Hans, one that is 
very charming, and, contrary to his custom, mysterious, 
in view of the post-office spies. You may imagine how 
Senfft writes to me under these circumstances. I received 
an unsigned letter from him the other day, out of which 
the most quick-witted letter-bandit would have been at a 
loss to decipher what he was driving at. If you occasionally 
come across some unintelligible notices at the tail end of the 
Observer, they will thus seem to you more puzzling still, 
and to the blockhead who breaks open this letter they will 
remain unintelligible, even if I tell you that they are a part 
of my correspondence. Only give me frequent tidings, 
my beloved heart, even if short ones, so that I may have 
the assurance that you are alive and well. I have picked 
the enclosed leaves for you in the garden of old Amschel 

249 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

Rothschild, whom 1 like, because he is simply a haggling 
Jew, and does not pretend to be anything else, and, at the 
same time, a strictly orthodox Jew, who touches nothing 
at his dinners, and eats only " undefiled " food. " Johann, 
dage vid you some bread for de deers/' he said to his ser- 
vant as he came out to show me his garden, in which there 
were some tame fallow deer. " Baron, dat blant costs me 
two thousand guilders, honor bride, two thousand guilders 
gash ; I vill let you have it for one thousand, or, if you vant 
it for nuddings, he shall bring id to your house. God knows 
I abbreviate you highly, Baron ; you are a nize man, a brave 
man." With that he is a little, thin, gray imp of a man, 
the patriarch of his tribe, but a poor man in his palace, 
childless, a widower, cheated by his servants, and ill- 
treated by aristocratically Frenchified and Anglicized 
nephews and nieces, who will inherit his treasures without 
gratitude and without love. Good-night, my angel. The 
clock is striking twelve ; I want to go to bed and read chap. ii. 
of the Second Epistle of St. Peter. I am now doing that in 
a systematic way, and when I have finished St. Peter, at 
your recommendation 1 shall read the Hebrews, which I do 
not know at all as yet. May God's protection and blessing 
be with you all. Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, July 3, 1851. 

MY PET, Day before yesterday I very thankfully re- 
ceived your letter and the tidings that you are all well. 
But do not forget when you write to me that the letters are 
opened not by me alone, but by all sorts of postal spies, 
and don't berate particular persons so much in them, 
for all that is immediately reported and debited to my 
account; besides, you do people injustice. Concerning 

250 




PRINCESS BISMARCK 

1873 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

my appointment or non - appointment I know nothing as 
yet, except what was told me when I left ; everything else 
is possibilities and surmises. The only crookedness about 
the matter thus far has been the government's silence 
towards me, for it would have been only fair to let me know 
by this time, and officially, at that, whether during next 
month I am to live here or in Pomerania with wife and 
child. Be very careful in your remarks to every one there, 
without exception, not to Massow alone; particularly in 
your criticisms of individuals, for you have no idea what 
one experiences in this respect after once becoming an ob- 
ject of surveillance; be prepared to see warmed up with 
sauce, here or at Sans Souci, what you may perhaps whis- 
per to Charlotte* or Annie in the boscages or the bathing- 
house. Forgive me for being so admonitory, but after 
your last letter I have to take the diplomatic pruning-knif e 
in hand a bit. Do not write me anything that the police 
may not read and communicate to King, ministers, or 
Rochow. If the Austrians and many other folks can suc- 
ceed in sowing distrust in our camp, they will thereby at- 
tain one of the principal objects of their letter-pilfering. 
Day before yesterday 1 took dinner at Wiesbaden, with 
Dewitz, and, with a mixture of sadness and knowing wis- 
dom, I inspected the scenes of past foolishness. Would 
that it might please God to fill with His clear and strong 
wine this vessel, in which at that time the champagne of 
twenty-two-year-old youth sparkled uselessly away, leav- 
ing stale dregs behind. Where and how may Isabella Lo- 
raine and Miss Russel be living now? How many of those 
with whom I then flirted, tippled, and played dice are now 
dead and buried! How many transformations has my 

* Frau von Zanthier, born von Puttkamer. 
251 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

view of the world undergone in the fourteen years which 
have since elapsed, while I always considered the existing 
one as alone correct! and how much is now small to me 
which then appeared great, how much now deserving of 
respect which I then ridiculed! How many a green bud 
within us may still come to mature blossom and wither 
worthlessly away before another period of fourteen years is 
over, in 1865, if we are then still alive! I cannot realize 
how a person who is thoughtful and, nevertheless, knows 
nothing or wishes to know nothing of God, can endure 
living a despised and tedious life, a life which is fleeting as 
a stream, as a sleep, even as a blade of grass that soon 
withers; we spend our years as in a babble of talk. I do 
not know how 1 endured it in the past ; if I should live now 
as I did then, without God, without you, without children, 
I should, in fact, be at a loss to know why 1 should not cast 
off this life like a soiled shirt; and yet. most of my ac- 
quaintances are thus, and they live. If in the case of 
some one individual I ask myself what reason he can have, 
in his own mind, for continuing to live, to toil, to fret, to 
intrigue, and to spy verily I do not know. Do not con- 
clude from this scribbling that I happen to be in a particu- 
larly black mood; on the contrary, I feel as when, on a 
beautiful September day, one contemplates the yellowing 
foliage ; healthy and gay, but a little sadness, a little home- 
sickness, a longing for woods, lake, meadow, you and the 
children, all mingled with the sunset and a Beethoven 
symphony. Instead of that I must now call upon tiresome 
serene Highnesses and read endless figures about German 
sloops of war and cannon -yawls, which are rotting at 
Bremerhaven and devouring cash. . . . Farewell, my beloved 
heart. Much love to our parents, and God keep you all. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

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1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

FRANKFORT, July 8, 1851. 

MY DARLING, Yesterday and to-day I wished very 
much to write to you, but owing to a hurly-burly of business 
I have not been able to do so till now, late in the evening, 
after returning from a walk during which, in the charm- 
ing summer-night's air, with moonlight and the rustling 
of poplar-leaves, I have brushed off the dust of the day's 
documents. On Saturday, in the afternoon, I went with 
Rochow and Lynar to Rudesheim, hired a boat there, 
rowed out on the Rhine, and swam in the moonlight, noth- 
ing but nose and eyes over the tepid water, as far as the 
Mouse Tower near Bingen, where the wicked bishop met 
his death. There is something strangely dreamlike in 
thus lying in the water on a quiet, warm night, carried 
gently along by the tide, seeing only the sky with moon 
and stars, and, alongside, the wooded hill-tops and the 
castle battlements in the moonlight, hearing nothing but 
the gentle purling of one's own motion. I should like to 
swim thus every evening. Then I drank some very nice 
wine, and sat for a long time smoking, with Lynar, on the 
balcony, the Rhine beneath us. My little Testament and the 
starry firmament caused our conversation to turn on Chris- 
tian topics, and I hammered for a long time at the Rousseau- 
like chastity of his soul, with no other effect than to cause 
him to remain silent. He was ill-treated while a child by 
nurses and private tutors, without having really learned 
to know his parents, and by reason of a similar bringing- 
up he has retained from his youthful days opinions similar 
to my own, but has always been more satisfied with them 
than I ever was. Next morning we went by steamer to 
Coblentz, breakfasted there for an hour, and returned by 
the same route to Frankfort, where we arrived in the even- 
ing. I really undertook the expedition with the object of 

253 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

visiting old Metternich at Johannisberg ; he had invited 
me, but the Rhine pleased me so much that I preferred to 
take a pleasure ride to Coblentz, and postponed the call. 
You and I saw him that time on our trip directly after the 
Alps, and in bad weather; on this summer morning, and 
after the dusty tedium of Frankfort, he again rose high in 
my esteem. I promise myself much relish from spending 
a few days with you at Rudesheim, the place is so quiet 
and country-like, good people and low-priced, and then we 
shall hire a little row-boat, ride leisurely down, climb the 
Niederwald, and this and that castle, and return by the 
steamer. One can leave here early in the morning, remain 
for eight hours at Riidesheim, Bingen, Rheinstein, etc., 
and be here again at night. My appointment at this place 
does not appear to be certain, and Hans is going to Coblentz 
as Lord-Lieutenant ; will live there in a stately palace, with 
the finest view in all Prussia. By leaving here early, one 
reaches Coblentz by half past ten, and is back in the even- 
ing ; that is easier than from Reinf eld to Reddentin, and a 
prettier road. You see we are not forsaken here ; but who 
would have thought, when we went to the wedding in Kie- 
kow, that both of us should be removed from our innocent 
Pomeranian solitude and hurled to the summits of life, 
speaking in worldly fashion, to political outposts on the 
Rhine? The ways of the Lord are passing strange. May 
He likewise take our souls out of their darkness and lift 
them to the bright summits of His grace. That position 
would be more secure. But He has certainly taken us vis- 
ibly into His hand, aftd will not let me fall, even though 
1 sometimes make myself a heavy weight. The interview 
with Lynar the other day has truly enabled me to cast a 
grateful (but not pharisaical) glance over the distance 
which lies between me and my previous unbelief; may it 

254 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

increase continually, until it has attained the proper meas- 
ure. ... 1 am already beginning to look about here for a 
house, preferably outside of the city, with a garden ; there 
my darling will have to play a very stiff, self-contained part, 
see much tedious society, give dinners and balls, and as- 
sume terribly aristocratic airs. What do you say to hav- 
ing dancing at your house until far into the night? Prob- 
ably it cannot be avoided, my beloved heart that is part 
of the "service/' I can see mother's blue eyes grow big 
with wonder at the thought. I am going to bed, to read 
Corinthians L, 3, and pray God to preserve you all to me, 
and grant you a quiet night and health and peace. Dearest 
love to your parents. Your most faithful V. B. 

LlEBENSTEIN, July 26, 1851. 

MY DARLING, From my little letter which I wrote you 
from Berlin you know how it is that 1 happen to be here ; 
I arrived the night before last in such a terrific thunder- 
storm that I hardly survived the four miles from Eisenach 
up into these mountains, as the lightning was my only 
torch; all else was so jet-black that in the open carriage I 
was unable to see as far as the driver on the box. I found 
Albert tolerably clear in his mind again, but with the train 
of thoughts of a three-year-old child. ... I do not believe 
that he will leave Liebenstein alive; the symptoms are 
those of approaching death; but God's help is mighty, and 
aunty is calm and quiet, untiring and kind in her nursing 
by day and night. Yesterday he was somewhat more lively, 
but worse again this morning, so that at aunty's solicita- 
tion I countermanded the order for my carriage, as to-mor- 
row is Sunday, anyway; but I cannot stay longer than 
to-morrow morning. The doctors say that, considering his 
uncommonly sound constitution, he may, indeed, recover, 

255 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

but that it is not likely, and already they are treating him 
as if they were more at pains to ameliorate his last days 
than to sustain hopes of his life. I am very glad that I 
came here ; I was able to be of assistance to them mentally 
as well as physically, or, rather, in a doctor-like way. May 
God, by His grace, assist aunty to maintain the strength 
and calm which she now has. This is a miserable hole; 
nothing to be had no beds, no furniture, no human beings. 
For the past week they have kept ice poultices on his head, 
and the body's natural functions have to be in part as- 
sisted artificially, while in part they go on unconsciously. 
It is pitiful to see. . . . 

Late at Night. 

Albert is getting along better since noon ; he talks more 
sensibly and moves his limbs. Still I cannot indulge in 
hope as yet; he is too low. Farewell, my beloved angel. 
Day after to-morrow I shall write from Frankfort. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, July 29, '51. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I am very sad because I have 
not yet a letter from you, and am tortured by anxieties on 
that account. You have doubtless received mine from 
Berlin and Liebenstein? When I left, Albert had been 
much better for several hours; his mind was clearer, and 
he had an idea of his situation, and a sense of gratitude 
for the nursing; it was touching to see his modesty and 
contentment ; his behavior was just like that of an obedient 
child. But still the doctors had no confidence that he would 
recover. God strengthen the poor aunt. It seemed to me 
at parting that 1 was leaving the last piece of Pomerania 
behind me, and now had to go back to school here. . . . 

256 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Since seeing the tiresome people here again it seems to me 
quite unnecessary that you should be so afraid of appearing 
among them ; it is not at all worth while. I am quite sick 
with longing for you and the children ; I feel here as I did 
in the solitude of Kniephof on returning there after a long 
absence; and the papers which have accumulated lie so 
thickly about me; every one is storming in on me with mat- 
ters that are in a hurry, and it all vexes me. ... Do write 
me quite often ; it is my only ray of light here when I see a 
letter from you, which forms the long, thin thread of com- 
munication between my love and me, otherwise 1 live here 
simply like a machine. If you could realize my situation 
here, you would overwhelm me with letters. God's bless- 
ing be with you, my heart, and bring me quickly glad 
tidings from you. Give love to Annie and your parents 
from Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August 5, '51. 

MY SWEETHEART, Day before yesterday I had to 
pay Hans a visit in Coblentz, on business ; before leaving 
I went to the post-office to see whether a letter had come 
from you overnight, but in vain ; sad and anxious, I took 
my departure. Yesterday, on the way back, I wanted to 
see Metternich on the Johannisberg, but when, at Bingen, 
it was a question of getting out, the impulse to come here, 
where I now confidently hoped to find tidings, was too 
strong; I remained on the boat, passed by the Johannis- 
berg, came here by rail, and entered my room expectantly ; 
there were letters enough, but none from you. But, at any 
rate, there was one from father, written at Liebenstein, 
which gave me the semi-reassurance that up to the 2yth 
you had all been well. But I am very sorry that dad is not 
R 257 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

coming here from Liebenstein ; that is a short day's trip ; he 
writes that he is starting on the 5th, i.e., to-day, on his return 
trip from L., so that I, or a letter from me, would not find 
him there, even with the utmost expedition. Moritz, too, 
has written me a short letter, in which he confirms what 
he foresaw when 1 passed through Plathe, and confided to 
me under the pledge of secrecy; you will probably read 
it in the papers before this letter arrives Hedwig's be- 
trothal to Wangemann. If it has not yet been made public, 
then say nothing about it. _ Now I shall still wait here 
until to-morrow morning for a letter from you, then I must 
go to Johannisberg, to Prince M., who has already in- 
vited me for the third time without my having been there. 
I have now been away from you for seventeen days, and 
not a syllable of news as yet; my consequent anxiety 
does not leave me for a moment, and unfits me for all oc- 
cupations. I shall have to endeavor to become more in- 
different in my solicitude as to the welfare of my family, 
for otherwise, if such intervals in our correspondence occur 
again, I shall be unfit to perform the duties of my office 
here. This is the fifth letter I have written you since my 
departure, and I also addressed one to mother last week, 
begging her to inform me as to your health. Father holds 
out little hope regarding Albert; you will doubtless have 
word from him direct. May the Lord have you and the 
children in His keeping, and soon put an end to my uncer- 
tainty, which makes me physically and mentally ill. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August u, '51. 

MY DARLING, The salutary shower of letters which I 
am enjoying, after a long period of drought, has refreshed 

258 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

my soul and brought about a change of mood of which I 
was much in need. For when the seventeenth, eighteenth, 
nineteenth day passed with no sign from your generally 
active pen, I exhausted myself in adventurous surmises; 
now I was angry, and bethought myself how I would scold 
you ; now anxiety got the upper hand ; 1 went sadly to bed, 
and awoke with that sort of fright which generally, in 
unpleasant situations, accompanies the first return to con- 
sciousness. Now all is well again, and I will not scold 
further, but rejoice that you and the children are well, and 
that you are having good weather for bathing. Some of 
my ejaculations will have reached you in the meantime ; I 
wrote last to father at Stolpe, the day before I received your 
first letter. Meanwhile 1 have been with Hans; he lives 
charmingly, in a mansion which is larger than Bellevue 
Palace at Berlin, with a terrace and veranda just over 
the Rhine, facing Ehrenbreitstein. Our new Aunt Char- 
lotte is lovely, and pretty, too, save for her mouth; she 
seems to me almost too demure; they both appear to be 
very fond of each other, as is natural; she is orientally 
obedient, and he is all official zeal, which, in a way, seems 
rather forced; once he is sitting among his papers he no 
longer knows a mortal soul. Wednesday and Thursday 
I spent with old Metternich ; he was very kind and cordial, 
conversed uninterruptedly about 1788 to 1848, about poli- 
tics and vineyards, about literature and forestry, and com- 
bated my doleful absent-mindedness, which was brooding 
over the reasons for your silence, with his best Johannis- 
berger. I had a room overlooking the Rhine and the hills ; 
it was a splendid, warm, moonlight night, and I lay for a 
long time in the window, thinking sorrowfully of Vevay, 
of the Lake of Traun, and of the cold October day when we 
both travelled down the Rhine, and how green overcoats 

259 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

may guard against outward cold, while against inward 
frost there is no protection but austere endurance and ab- 
negation. I dreamed I was in Schonhausen, where child- 
hood and the present were unpleasantly interwoven, and 
when I awoke I found it difficult to bring my thoughts back 
to Johannisberg. Early in the morning, pending the ar- 
rival of my boat, I took a drive to the Niederwald ; when 
you come you shall see how charming that is. It is some- 
thing like the Rosstreppe, only with the Rhine instead of 
the Bode River below. . . . The Prince of Prussia was here 
yesterday. I accompanied him from Darmstadt, and 
found that he is now very well disposed towards me, of 
which I am very glad, for, apart from external appear- 
ances, he is a noble-minded soul. He did not touch on the 
matter of Hans's appointment, and neither did I. I can 
easily realize that Hed wig's engagement must agitate you 
greatly. Moritz spoke to me about it at Plathe, as of some- 
thing unavoidable, unless Wangemann returns changed 
from his trip to Switzerland. I shall be glad if Hed wig's 
ossifying life-plant greens out once more; after the joyless 
life she has led lately, I do not begrudge her the happiness 
she seeks ; whether she will find it, we are not competent to 
judge. That Moritz must marry is certain, and in all 
probability his sister will not leave him before then. 
Could we not make a couple of him and Therese? 
But I am ashamed to be mentally making her a bridal- 
wreath while she is, perhaps, standing beside Albert's 
death-bed. ... In affectionate love, 

Your most faithful 

v. B. 

Who told you the yarn about Petersburg? I am not 
thinking of it ! 

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1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

FRANKFORT, August 16, '51. 

It is already late, my darling, but after writing all day 
in his Majesty's service, and receiving calls, then partak- 
ing of an interminably long and solemn dinner with the 
reigning mayor, taking a digestive promenade, and now 
working again for a few hours, I must still have a little 
chat with my dearest, particularly as 1 shall probably 
not have time to write during the next few days. I am a 
real heathen, for I do not get to church any more, and al- 
ways travel on Sundays arriving here four weeks ago 
from Reinfeld, and three weeks ago from Liebenstein; 
two weeks ago to Hans, last week to Darmstadt, to call for 
the Prince of Prussia, and to-morrow to Coblentz, King- 
ward. I have a very guilty conscience about it; for 1 
serve men on the day when I should serve only God, and 
always have the stupid excuse that it's useful or necessary 
to do so. The King will stay at Mayence day after to- 
morrow, and will ride through here on Tuesday. To-mor- 
row evening he arrives at Stolzenfels. I have now really 
received my appointment as delegate to the Diet, and in a 
few days I shall be initiated, and Rochow will take his de- 
parture. They have cut off three thousand rix-dollars 
from my salary ; neither do they seem disposed to pay me 
an allowance for installation expenses. The latter fact is 
most unpleasant to me, for the initial establishment will 
cost several thousand dollars, at any rate. It is possible, 
moreover, to get along well and elegantly with eighteen 
thousand, which is fifty rix-dollars per day, but I feel un- 
comfortable by reason of not having a criterion and estimate 
of this new sort of existence, so that I could cut my cloth 
accordingly, as to lodgings and furnishings. As soon as I 
am at leisure I shall write to Fritz about a second valet, and 
a maid for you; I shall probably not engage additional 

261 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

people now, as I can hardly procure horses and a carriage 
before spring, and meanwhile I shall make out by rent- 
ing a carriage. Your coming here will now, next to your 
own wishes and requirements, depend on whether I find 
lodgings, of which there is not a large variety to choose 
from, because I want a garden by all means, and not many 
spacious dwellings stand available. I have received, with 
many thanks, a long, kind letter from dad, and have gladly 
given thanks to God that you are all well, with the excep- 
tion of your teeth, my poor little wight; would that these 
agitations, which are undoubtedly caused by your sea- 
bathing, might prove to be good signs that you will return 
from the sea-shore quite well. Hearty love to mother, and 
many thanks, too, for her kind letters. I am too much 
driven just now to be able to answer her. I can hardly go 
out walking as much as I need to, in order not to be troubled 
with headache. Generally I go out in the evening, in 
these grand, warm, moonlight nights, before going to bed. 
The latter I am going to do now, moreover, as I am getting 
sleepy, and must rise early to-morrow. Fare very well, 
my sweetheart. May God's blessing and protection be 
with you and all the loved ones. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August 23, '51. 

MY DARLING, In the midst of business the mail time 
comes on, and yet I will write you hurriedly rather than 
not at all. I have been continually on the move since 
Monday. First of all, a great gala dinner here for the 
Emperor of Austria, at which certainly twenty thousand 
rix- dollars' worth of gold -encumbered uniforms sat at 
table; then to Mayence to receive the King; he was quite 

262 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

gracious with me, joking harmlessly and gayly for the 
first time in a long while. A grand supper, then work with 
Manteuffel until nearly two, then a cigar with dear old 
Stolberg, up again at half past five, review, then by rail to 
this place, the King taking me into his coupe"; a grand 
presentation here, I going along to Darmstadt; dinner 
there, the King went afterwards to Baden, I returning here 
again in the evening, after three weary hours with the 
Minister there. On Wednesday, while still in bed, I was 
called to go to the Duke of Nassau at Biberich; ate there; 
the Duchess asked me to come again often without invi- 
tation, particularly with you, my heart, when you should 
be here. I returned late in the evening, to be awakened 
early next morning by President Gerlach and Jacob, who 
seized me and bore me off to Heidelberg, where I stayed 
overnight, and spent some charming hours with him at 
the Wolfsbrunn Castle and in Neckarsteinach ; I returned 
from this spree only last night. G. was more charm- 
ing than ever; did not dispute at all; was enthusiastic, 
poetical, and devoted ; but she was impervious to all that, 
otherwise good. Day before yesterday, at the castle, we 
saw a sunset like ours on the Rigi ; yesterday we break- 
fasted on the summit, went on foot to Wolfsbrunn, where 
I drank beer at the same table as with you; then we 
rode up the Neckar to Steinach, and separated at Heidel- 
berg in the evening. To-day G. goes to Coblentz, Jaocb 
to Italy. It was quite charming ; only you were having a 
good time, too, while 1 was so gay; only write me oftener 
than hitherto; in the last nine days I have again had 
only one letter, but a very dear one. I have not had time 
in the midst of all these doings to reflect on poor Al- 
bert. Alexander wrote me of his death. May the Lord 
graciously and mercifully receive his peaceful spirit, and 

263 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

grant future firmness of faith to the dear aunt, that she 
may not suddenly collapse, now that all is over and quiet ; 
hitherto she has been heroically strong. How will things 
go in Reddentin? Surely she will go on living there. 
That can be arranged with Uncle Henry, and it will be 
more agreeable to her. God keep you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August 28, '51. 

MY BELOVED ANGEL, I am beginning this letter 
with a lame wrist, for since eight o'clock my pen has not 
been at rest, and I am quite confused about the letters. 
Yesterday 1 was introduced in the Diet; Rochow left day 
before yesterday, and the matter is now settled. . . . This 
whole expedition will be a difficult piece of work for both of 
us, my darling, but then I am glad that I see at last some 
prospect of being reunited with you and the children in a 
lasting home-life. Then your poor dear parents lie always 
heavily on my heart with their solitude ; would to God that 
things had so shaped themselves that we might have con- 
tinued to live together, or, at least, not have drifted so far 
apart. We are not in this life, however, for the sake of com- 
fort, but we owe ourselves and our energies to the service of 
God, the King, and the country. Do write me at once con- 
cerning our poor dear Redden tins; ever since Liebenstein 
I have had no hope for Albert, and I did not receive the news 
unexpectedly. My continued occupations seldom give me 
leisure for reflection and sadness, but in thoughts of you 
and the children I have a criterion of what it means to lose 
one's only grown-up son, after having possessed him for 
thirty years. May the Lord's mercy protect us from such 
tribulation. I do not believe I am sufficiently resigned to 

264 



1851] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

bear it in such a Christian spirit as dear aunty does. The 
manner of your removal and the children's, and the selec- 
tion of what we need here from Schonhausen and what we 
shall have to purchase, I find wellnigh more difficult than 
the Diet affairs. . . . Write me the result of the discussions 
between your wisdom and that of your parents about the 
arrangements for the journey, and, at any rate, write me 
quickly and much and often; I have so very little time 
from morning to night, you must write much oftener than 
I. Many greetings to your parents. Farewell, my beloved 
heart. The Lord's goodness be your shield. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August 30, '51. 
To Frau von Bismarck, Reinfeld, near Zuckers : 

Your letter of Monday-Tuesday, my dear, which I have 
just received, has so frightened me that I can think of 
nothing but whether our Midget is still living to-day or 
not; according to your letter you have, in the natural 
course of things, but little hope. God, the Lord of life and 
death, can help her, perhaps has helped her, but at this 
distance it is terrible to have only tidings which are five 
days old, and not to know how things are going to-day. 
I confidently hope to hear from you again to-morrow, and 
pray God the news may be better than to-day's. Do write 
me oftener, anyway, my angel ; again this letter now lying 
before me is the first sign of life which 1 have had from 
you for over a week, and I was already beginning to be 
sorrowful that you think of me so seldom. Business mat- 
ters here have no regard for my feelings, and while my 
heart is filled with anxiety on the child's account, I must 

265 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. '51 

listen to and discuss the greatest variety of matters, attend 
three different committee meetings, and carefully weigh my 
words, and negotiate a dozen different things, which, with 
this solicitude and uncertainty, 1 find it very hard to do. 
If you wish to inform me hurriedly, write to the Neu Preu- 
ssischen Zeitung, under the direction, " To be forwarded at 
once by express/' asking that it be telegraphed to me; 
particularly if you have occasion to send good news after 
bad, make haste to free me from anxiety. I hope that 
our separation will last but a few weeks more, and by God's 
grace this manner of notifying me will no longer be requi- 
site. May the Lord's mercy preserve us from misfortune, 
and not punish us, and me particularly, in our children 
for our transgressions. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

I have just turned at random to a Psalm, to comfort my- 
self, and happened on the Ii2th, which is very beautiful. 



FRANKFORT, September 6, '51. 

As from the Chamber, my love, I now write you while in 
a session of the Diet ; which is somewhat more difficult, as 
little speaking is done here, but at every stroke important 
resolutions are taken, so that one must be very attentive 
when the readings take place. Therefore but two words. 
For a week I have been overburdened, just as in the Cham- 
ber hardly a moment of leisure, hardly an hour for taking 
a walk at night. . . . God be praised that our little daughter 
has recovered; I was very frightened and anxious. 1 
calculate that you will soon start on your journey, and that 
by the 1st of October we shall be installed here. ... I am 
much embarrassed in writing by the fact that his Excellency 



JAN. '52] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the Royal Bavarian Ambassador is looking over my shoul- 
der at the letter ; therefore I close with heartiest love to your 
dear parents, and to you, my sweetheart, and with a kiss 
for the children. Do write me at least twice a week, my 
angel; certainly you are not so busy that you could not 
do that. . . . Now 1 must vote so as to demolish the fleet 
and make it Prussian. God bless you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



HALLE, January 7, '52. 
To Frau von Bismarck, Frankfort-on-the-Main t Bocken- 

heimer : 

I have never, so far as I know, written to you from this 
place, and I hope that I shall not have to do so again here- 
after. 1 have been trying very hard to think whether per- 
haps yesterday was not Friday, after all, when 1 left; it 
was certainly a dies nefastus (Zietelmann* will tell you 
what that means). At Giessen I got into an abominably 
cold room, with three windows that would not close, a bed 
that was too short and too narrow, dirty, bedbugs. About 
two o'clock a shrewd idea occurred to me to put on the 
great fur coat, lie down on the bed with it, and sleep for 
one hour ; infamous coffee, than which I never knew worse. 
At Guntershausen some ladies entered the first-class, and 
the smoking ceased; one of them was a superior lady of 
business (Zietelmann will tell you what that is), with two 
chambermaids, Stolipinic sable-skin; spoke German with 
an alternately Russian and English accent, very good 
French, a little English ; but seemed to me to be from the 
Reezengasse, and one of the chambermaids was apparently 

* Government Councillor at the Legation. 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

her mother, or elderly business friend (Zietelmann, etc. , etc.) . 
Between Guntershausen and Gerstungen one of the pipes 
of the locomotive quietly burst ; the water ran out ; there we 
were, one and a half hours in the open air, a very pretty 
region and warm sunshine. I had taken a seat in the 
second-class in order to smoke, and there fell into the hands 
of a Berlin colleague, a Chamber and Privy Councillor, 
who had now been taking the Homburg waters for two 
weeks, for constipation (Zietelmann), and questioned me 
and called me to account, in the presence of several Jews, 
until, at my wits' end, I returned home to the Princess 
from the Reezengasse. By reason of the delay we reached 
Halle three hours late ; the Berlin train had left long before. 
I shall have to sleep here, and travel on the freight-train 
to-morrow morning at half past six, arriving at two. Here 
at the railway station there are two hostelries; through 
an oversight I happened into the wrong one ; a policeman 
walked up and down in the room and critically contem- 
plated my beard while I ate a musty beefsteak. I am 
very miserable, but shall still eat the remains of the smoked 
goose-breast, drink a little port-wine, and then go to bed. 
Sleep well, my sweetheart. Many greetings to Leontine* 
and all our children. Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, February 5, '52. 

DEAR MOTHER, The illness of Count Thun brings 
me some unexpected leisure to-day, which I utilize to write 
you a few lines after a protracted pause. In the next 
room Johanna is palavering like a waterfall with a French- 
woman, who is here to recommend another one, now resid- 

* Fraulein von Schlabrendorff, 
268 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ing at Leipsic. . . . The boy is just coming in with an 
infamous girl's-cap on his head, puts his fat hands on the 
table and asks me : " Papa, what are you writing?" Little 
Marie stretches herself in the big chair, and remarks 
precociously, "I am inordinately fond of my tot." Both 
scamps are cheerful and strong thus far, God be thanked. 
Leontine spoils the boy beyond measure, and accuses us 
of doing likewise with Marie, while I am conscious, withal, 
of my Aristidean fairness. . . . On Sunday we had a gala 
dinner at Darmstadt, with the Grand Duke. Johanna 
was quite stately in blue-and-white satin, entertained at 
table the Prince's heir-apparent, who is somewhat hard of 
hearing, as well as a stone-deaf old Minister with a sono- 
rous voice; and the reigning Princess, a Bavarian lady, 
told me many flattering things about my wife's "good 
look," which would have pleased your maternal heart. 
For the rest we lead a life which, despite its commotion, is, 
nevertheless, monotonous. My time from morning tea 
until twelve is usually taken up with ambassadors' calls, 
and still more with reports by officials of our embassy; 
then I have meetings which end any time between the 
hours of one and four, and give me until five o'clock either 
to go out riding and attend to the necessary autographic 
correspondence, or only for the latter. At five a primeval 
old Councillor, who has held that post ever since 1816, and 
is called Kelchner, makes his appearance, to extort from 
me the signatures necessary for mail time ; then we dine, 
generally in the company of one or both attaches ; and the 
hour for digestion, although I am often called away while 
the last bite is still in my mouth, constitutes, as a rule, the 
most comfortable part of the day, when, surrounded by 
Johanna and the children, I lie smoking in the great tiger 
chair, and skim over some twenty newspapers. Then, at 

269 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [FEB. 

nine or half past, word comes that the carriage is waiting, 
and, full of bitter reflections anent the strangeness of social 
" amusements " in the European world, we rush off to dress. 
Johanna has the privilege of being indisposed occasionally, 
otherwise she gossips with mothers while I am dancing 
with the daughters or talking stern nonsense with the 
fathers. Towards twelve o'clock, or later still, we are 
home again, and I read in bed what is to be read, and then 
sleep until Johanna inquires for the third time whether I 
am never going to get up. Our residence is more than 
a thousand steps from the city gate, and that gives us 
some illusion of rural independence, which even when, 
as to-day, the wind howls round the corners of the house, 
and the rain drives rattlingly against the windows I 
prefer to the clattering noise and stuffy streets of the city. 
My repeated trips to Berlin bring a disturbing change 
into our existence. For me there is more honor than en- 
joyment there; now, whenever 1 arrive there, all is sun- 
shine for me; the court spoils me, the great flatter me, 
the small want something of me or through me, and 
hitherto not much effort has been needed to make me 
hold fast the idea that perhaps all this gilded - king's- 
guard grandeur may have vanished day after to-morrow ; 
and that at a court entertainment 1 may see round about 
me quite as many cool backs as there are now kind faces. 
As the traveller sees in his mind's eye the warm and quiet 
place beside the fire, even so do I look forward to an inde- 
pendent home-life in the country, throughout all political 
good and bad weather, as to an agreeable goal, which, so 
long as 1 am vigorous and active, 1 shall not draw towards 
me of my own initiative, but which 1 shall, nevertheless, be 
glad to see arrive as soon as it is God's will. The River of 
Time, notwithstanding, continues on the way that is de- 

270 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

creed, and if I put my hand into it, I do so because I con- 
sider that to be my duty, but not with the idea of changing 
its direction thereby. . . . 

May the Lord's unmerited mercy preserve us all in body 
and soul. Your faithful son, V. B. 



GUNTERSHAUSEN, Saturday, March 13, '52. 
MY DARLING, Write me at once how you are; I fear 
that you caught cold in the railway station. 1 myself got 
a stomach-ache from the wretched train and the cold stones, 
and could only restore myself by a plentiful consumption 
of Reinfeld sausage and malmsey, with which 1 began just 
after Bockenheim, and at Vilbel not a drop remained in 
the bottle, but 1 felt entirely well. God grant that all is 
going equally well with you and the children; you have 
so infected me with your anxieties, my sweetheart, that I 
departed full of anxiety. From Langgons, 1 found some 
company in the first class, a Herr von Kr-r-rusen-ster-r-rn, 
apparently Russian mar-rine-officer-r, son-in-law of the as- 
sassinated Kotzebue (Sand, you know the story) ; he had 
with him two sons, five and seven years old respectively. 
He seemed a good fellow, and has pretty children, but 
they bored me, therefore 1 stayed here, because they wished 
to go on to Eisenach, and to-morrow to Weimar. 1 arrived 
here towards seven, have eaten an indifferent beefsteak, 
and am writing you these two lines before going to sleep, 
close to an iron stove which is just as hot as the room is 
cold; however, the latter doubtless affords a fine view in 
daylight. This time I find separation from you so par- 
ticularly hard for me that I want at least to open commu- 
nication by letter at once, and transmit to you a love-token 
from this place. I hope it will find you and the children 

271 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

well, for which I pray God very diligently. May He be 
near you all with His mercy, and bring me to you again 
soon and safely. 1 did not believe that 1 should ever in 
my life experience a feeling of homesickness for Frankfort- 
on-the-Main, but 1 felt very sorrowful when at Bockenheim 
our house, and later the last Taunus summit, which is vis- 
ible from our rooms, disappeared from view. Farewell, 
my heart. Remembrances to Leontine. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



(Postmarked BERLIN, March 25, '52.) 

MY BELOVED NAN, 1 cannot leave this evening, be- 
cause Fra Dia* betook himself to Lusatia yesterday. I 
have had to dispose of several Danish conferences in his 
absence, and their consequences have to be regulated with 
Fra to-morrow. I have therefore deferred my journey 
until to-morrow evening, and shall, God willing, embrace 
you, my darling, day after to-morrow, and hope to find the 
occupants of No. 40, large and small, in good health. 1 
have just dined with Malle, am going with her and Stolberg 
to the theatre, and 1 write you these few lines with an after- 
dinner cigar in my mouth. Meanwhile, do not worry about 
newspaper gossip, my sweet, and do not believe that 1 have 
any dangerous relations with Vincke and Harkort; all 
that is done away with, 1 give you my word for it, and you 
know 1 would not lie to you about it ; I would sooner keep 
quiet if it were not true. God preserve you and the chil- 
dren, my beloved heart. Remembrances to Leontine. 
Your most faithful 

V. B. 

* Minister von Manteuffel. 
272 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

FRANKFORT, April 4, '52. 

DEAR MOTHER, I wished to write you to-day at 
length, but I do not know how far I shall progress in it after 
having given myself up for so long to enjoyment of Sunday 
leisure by taking a long, loitering walk in the woods, that 
hardly an hour remains before the closing of the mail. I 
found such pretty, solitary paths, quite narrow, between 
the greening hazel and thorn-bushes, where only the 
thrush and the glede-kite were heard, and quite far off the 
bell of the church to which I was playing truant, that I 
could not find my way home again. Johanna is somewhat 
exhausted, in connection with her condition, or I should 
have had her in the woods, too, and perhaps we should still 
be there. . . . She has presented me with an exquisite anchor 
watch, of which I was much in need, because I always wore 
her small one. In the Vincke matter 1 cannot, with you, suf- 
ficiently praise God's mercy that no misfortune has occurred 
from any side. I believe that for me it was inwardly very 
salutary to have felt myself so near unto death, and prepared 
myself for it ; I know that you do not share my conception 
of such matters, but I have never felt so firm in believing 
trust, and so resigned to God's will, as I did in the moment 
when the matter was in progress. We can discuss it orally 
some time ; now I only want to tell you how it happened. 
I had repeatedly been disgusted by V/s rudeness to the 
government and ourselves, and was prepared resolutely 
to oppose him at the next opportunity that offered. He 
accused me of want of diplomatic discretion, and said that 
hitherto the " burning cigar " was my only known achieve- 
ment. He alluded to an occurrence at the Palace of the 
Diet, of which I had previously told him confidentially, at 
his particular request, as of something quite unimportant, 
but comical. I then retorted from the platform that his re- 
S 273 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

mark overstepped not only the bounds of diplomatic but 
also of ordinary discretion, which one had a right to de- 
mand from every man of education. Next day he chal- 
lenged me, through Herr von Sauken-Julienfelde, for four 
pistol-shots; I accepted it after Oscar Arnim's proposal, 
that we should fight with swords, had been declined by 
Sauken. Vincke wished to defer the matter for forty-eight 
hours, which I granted. On the 25th, at 8 A.M., we rode 
to Tegel ; to a charming spot in the woods by the seashore ; 
it was beautiful weather, and the birds sang so gayly in 
the sunshine that, as soon as we entered the wood, all sad 
thoughts left me; only the thought of Johanna I had to 
drive from me by force, so as not to be affected by it. 
With me as witnesses were Arnim and Eberhard Stolberg, 
and my brother as very dejected spectator. With V. was 
Sauken, and Major Vincke of the First Chamber, as 
well as a Bodelschwingh (nephew of the Minister and of 
Vincke), as impartial witness. The latter declared before 
the matter began that the challenge seemed to him to be, 
under the circumstances, too stringent, and proposed that 
it should be modified to one shot apiece. Sauken, in V. 's 
name, was agreeable to this, and had word brought to me 
that the whole thing should be called off if I declared I was 
sorry for my remark. As I could not truthfully do this, we 
took our positions, fired at Bodelschwingh's command, 
and both missed. God forgive the grave sin that I did not 
at once recognize His mercy, but I cannot deny it : when 1 
looked through the smoke and saw my adversary stand- 
ing erect, a feeling of disappointment prevented me from 
participating in the general rejoicing, which caused Bo- 
delschwingh to shed tears; the modification of the chal- 
lenge annoyed me, and 1 would gladly have continued the 
combat. But as I was not the insulted party, I could say 

274 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

nothing ; it was over, and all shook hands. We rode home 
and 1 ate with my sister alone. All the world was dissat- 
isfied with the outcome, but the Lord must know what He 
still intends to make of V. In cool blood, I am certainly 
very grateful that it happened so. What probably con- 
tributed much to it was the fact that a couple of very good 
pistols, which were originally intended to be used, were so 
loaded that for the moment they were quite useless, and 
we had to take those intended for the seconds, with which 
it was difficult to hit. An official disturbance has inter- 
rupted me, and now I must close time is up. Only I 
still want to say that I had consulted beforehand, about 
the duel, with old Stolberg, General Gerlach, Minister 
Uhden and Hans; they were all of opinion that it must 
be; Biichsel, too, saw no alternative, although he ad- 
monished me to desist. I spent an hour in prayer, with 
him and Stolberg, the evening before. I never doubted 
that I should have to appear, but I did doubt whether 1 
should shoot at V. I did it without anger, and missed. 
Now, farewell, my dearly beloved mother. Give love to 
father and every one from 

Your faithful son, V. B. 



BERLIN, Middle of May, '52. 

MY DARLING, Before going out I will at least tell you 
that I have arrived safely, for later on I shall hardly find 
another quiet moment all day; I have already been dis- 
turbed during these few lines by Eberhard, who fell upon 
me in bed ; by the huntsman, Engel, whom 1 have engaged 
(a handsome little lad of twenty-three) ; by the barber, 
who proceeded to relieve me of the goatee which you con- 
sider disagreeable, so that 1 now look just like a young 

275 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

girl with a little mustache. But I was better pleased with 
myself before. Now I want to go to Polte Gerlach, to old 
Stolberg, then to divers Russians. It seems to me strange 
that everything is as far advanced here as in Frankfort; 
chestnuts and alders in fullest bloom, and two walnut- 
trees in front of my window already give shade, and are 
certainly more advanced in foliage than those near Heidel- 
berg on Wednesday. But on the road, in Hesse and Thu- 
ringia, it was backward compared to this place and Frank- 
fort. Only these few lines to-day, so that you may know 
I am well. God's protection be with you and the children. 
Many regards to Leontine. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, June 5, '52. 

MY DARLING, I have arrived here safely, and hope 
that you and the little folks are well. I am actually to go 
south; all along I had not considered it certain. ... It 
seems to me that the agitation concerning the highest 
personages on the Rhine will end early in July, and 
that during the time for which I most earnestly implore 
God to assist you I shall be able to be with you, my heart, 
continually and undisturbed. Yesterday, towards even- 
ing, Lynar complained greatly about his condition, and 
he made as though he would give up the whole business. 
This vacillating alternation of impetuous starts and dead 
stops is his chief disease, and I have resolutely opposed it. 
He needs a change of air. Old Nostitz is just coming to 
see me. 

The 6th. 

My letter of yesterday from Sans Souci did not get 
away, either, because, owing to the fabulous rain, the 

276 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

train from Magdeburg was three - quarters of an hour 
late. From the depot I drove at once to the Hotel des 
Princes, where I was delighted to find mother and all, 
even the barrel of the old double gun. M. was a trifle 
hoarse, otherwise well and in good spirits. Cecilia is again 
running like a lapwing. I remained until they could not 
help yawning. I am going there again to-day; unfortu- 
nately, I must leave again for Potsdam in the afternoon. 
Your letter of Thursday I read in bed yesterday, with pleas- 
ure and sadness. You have done quite well with Deter. 
Do not worry too much; and pray God with me that we 
shall soon meet again in good health. Do not be anxious 
if my next letter is long in coming. I shall not be able to 
write before Wednesday from Vienna, and it will not reach 
F. before Friday night, nor be with you before Saturday 
morning. The Lord keep you, my love. Greetings to 
Leontine and the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



VIENNA, June 9, '52. 

MY DARLING, I arrived here safely with Lynar last 
night, and, after attending to the urgent despatches, we 
went to bed with a good supper and a bottle of cold cham- 
pagne. The journey was warm, otherwise charming. 
Still the old abominable coaches, in which we spent a night 
with the Sevitts, the first class hardly better than our third. 
The region was pretty, by starlight and sunrise, between 
Dresden and Prague ; at noon in the Moravian Mountains, 
which we missed this time by oversleeping, and here in 
Vienna at sunset. I lived entirely in '47 while passing 
the Prater, along the Jagerzeil and past the Lamb, and 
into the city and along a colonnade, where I remembered 

277 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

that while walking there we pouted a bit for the first time 
I forget why, but probably through my fault. For how 
much have we to thank the Lord since then? At that time 
you did not believe that we should have children. . . . God's 
gracious protection be with you all. Lynar is breakfasting, 
and sends remembrances. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



VIENNA, June 11/52. 

MY DARLING, "Don't like it 't all 'ere/' as Schrenk 
says, although it was so agreeable in '47 with you; but 
not only do I miss you, but I find myself superfluous here, 
and that is worse than I can make your unpolitical tem- 
perament appreciate. If I were now here for pleasure 
alone, as of yore, I could not complain; all with whom I 
have hitherto become acquainted are remarkably amiable, 
and though the city is hot and its streets narrow, yet it is 
a magnificent city, nevertheless. Business, on the other 
hand, is exceedingly dull; either these people are under 
no pressure of need to deal with us, or they ascribe to us 
a greater need than we have. I fear the opportunity for 
reaching an understanding will pass by unimproved; 
that will be a bad setback for us, for my embassy is looked 
upon as a very conciliatory step, and they will not soon 
send another who is so willing to come to an understanding 
and at the same time has such a free hand as I. Forgive 
me for writing you politics, but that which fills the heart, 
etc. I am mentally drying up altogether in this commo- 
tion, and fear I shall again acquire a taste for it. I am just 
returning from the opera, with old Westmoreland; "Don 
Giovanni," by a good Italian company, which made me 
doubly conscious how miserable the Frankfort Theatre is. 

278 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Yesterday I was at Schonbrunn, and thought of our ad- 
venturous moonlight expedition at the sight of the sky- 
high hedges and the white statues in the green niches; 
also looked at the cosy little garden into which we strayed 
at first ; it is strictly forbidden ground, so that the hunter's 
watchman, who stood there then, too, prohibits even glanc- 
ing into it. 

VIENNA, June 14, '52. 

MY BELOVED HEART, At this hour I ought to sit 
down and write a long report to his Majesty concerning 
a lengthy and fruitless negotiation which I had to-day 
with Count Buol, and concerning an audience with the 
Archduchess Empress-Dowager. But I have just taken 
a promenade on the high ramparts all round the inner city, 
and from them seen a charming sunset behind the Leo- 
poldsberg, and now I am much more inclined to think of 
you than of business. I stood for a long time on the red 
Thor Tower, which commands a view of the Jagerzeil and 
of our old-time domicile, the Lamb, with the cafe before 
it; at the Archduchess's I was in a room which opens on 
the homelike little garden into which we once secretly and 
thoughtlessly found our way ; yesterday I heard " Lucia " 
Italian, very good; all this so stirs my longing for you 
that I am quite sad and incapable. For it is terrible to be 
thus alone in the world, when one is no longer accustomed 
to it; I am in quite a Lynaric mood. Nothing but calls, 
and coming to know strangers, with whom I am always 
having the same talk. Every one knows that I have not 
yet been here very long, but whether I was ever here before, 
that is the great question which I have answered two hun- 
dred times in these days, and happy that that topic still 
remains. For folk bent on pleasure this may be a very 

279 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

pretty place, for it offers whatever is capable of affording 
outward diversion to people. But I am longing for Frank- 
fort as if it were Kniephof, and do not wish to come here 
by any means. F. must lie just where the sun went 
down, over the Mannhartsberg yonder ; and while it was 
sinking here, it still continued shining with you for over 
half an hour. It is terribly far. How different it was with 
you here, my heart, and with Salzburg and Meran in pros- 
pect ; I have grown terribly old since then. ... It is very 
cruel that we must spend such a long period of our brief 
life apart; that time is lost, then, and cannot be brought 
back. God alone knows why He allows others to remain 
together who are quite at their ease when apart; like an 
aged friend of mine, who travelled with me as far as Dres- 
den, had to sit in the same compartment with his wife all 
the time, and could not smoke; and we must always cor- 
respond at a great distance. We shall make up for it all, 
and love each other a great deal more when we are again 
together ; if only we keep well ! Then I shall not murmur. 
To-day I had the great pleasure of receiving, via Berlin, 
your letter of last Thursday ; that is the second one since I 
left Frankfort ; surely none is lost? I was very happy and 
thankful that all of you are well. ... As soon as I find 
myself once more on the old, tiresome Thuringian railroad 
I shall be out of myself, and still more so when I catch a 
glimpse of our light from Bockenheim ; I must travel about 
nine hundred miles thither, not including two hundred and 
fifty miles from Pesth back to this place. How gladly I 
shall undertake them, once I am seated in the train! I 
shall probably abandon my trip by way of Munich; from 
this place to M. is a post-trip of fifty hours ; by water 
still longer ; and I shall have to render a verbal report in 
Berlin, anyway. About politics I can, fortunately, write 

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1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

nothing ; for even if the English courier who takes this to 
Berlin is a safeguard against our post-office, the Taxis 
scoundrels will, nevertheless, get hold of it. 

Be sure to write me detailed information as to your per- 
sonal condition. Greet mother, our relations, if they are 
still there, Leontine, the children, Stolberg, Wentzel, and 
all the rest. Farewell, my angel. God preserve you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



(No date. VIENNA, about June 19, 1852.) 
MY HEART, I am delighted that our dear ones reached 
you safely, and I became quite melancholy over the fact 
that I shall have to stay here at a distance, and all alone, 
too. Werthern, the Secretary of Legation, is home on 
leave. Lynar and I took a climb up the mountains on the 
Leopoldsberg, behind Nussdorf, where we embarked once 
upon a time ; and in the golden evening fragrance we took 
a look at our old-time path, up the Danube, to Kloster-Neu- 
burg ; a steamer was just coming from Linz the Austria ; 
if I am not mistaken, we travelled on. her. . . . Why do you 
look with dread and pain for the appearance of the new 
baby? I am firmly convinced that the Lord will grant our 
prayers, and will not separate us ; and I also hope to con- 
vince you of that, as soon as I am with you again, my dar- 
ling. The happy married life and the children God has 
given me are to me as the rainbow that gives me the pledge 
of reconciliation after the deluge of degeneracy and want 
of love which in previous years covered my soul. Even 
when I am solitary, as here, the old sad and desolate spirit 
of the past approaches me, and I feel how little fitted 1 am 
to endure an outwardly forsaken life. The grace of God 
will not let go of my soul which He has once touched, and 

281 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

will not cut the thread by which primarily He has held 
and guided me on the slippery floor of that world in which 
I am placed without having desired it. Trust gladly, my 
darling, and pray in true faith ; I have the certainty that 1 
cannot do without you, not for a long while yet, and con- 
sequently the assurance that God will preserve you to me. 
Do not simply remain quiet and wait, but implore in ear- 
nest prayer, and confide in Christ's promise to give ear. 

Still 1 have not had an opportunity to go to Laxenburg, 
and to-day it is raining continually, so that I am staying 
quietly in my room, and shall later on write very long re- 
ports. . . . 

Do not believe the newspaper nonsense that I shall not 
come before the end of July, or shall be transferred to this 
place permanently. I certainly hope, God willing, to be 
with you the first three days of July, perhaps sooner, and 1 
am resisting any transfer to Vienna. It is much nicer at 
home, and, with the salary the same as at F., it is quite 
impossible to live here as a married ambassador. Em- 
brace my beloved little mother for me, and. all aunts, cous- 
ins, and children. The Reddentins have given me reason 
to hope that after my return they will again pay us a visit 
from Rehme. Do insist on it. May the Lord take you 
and the whole household into His gracious keeping. Fare- 
well. Your most faithful V. B. 



VIENNA, June 21, 1852. 

Many thanks, my dear, for your sweet little letter of 
Thursday, just received; only a word of heartfelt love and 
longing for you; I am quite tender every time I think of 
you. Frau Meiendorf is enraged at my sentimental long- 
ing, which drives me away from business in order to play 

282 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

soeur grise at F., as she says. The courier urges haste. 
Farewell, you dearest heart. My fingers are lame from 
writing. Love to M. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

V., 2lst. Six P.M., without dinner. To-morrow to Of en. 



OPEN, June 23, '52. 

MY DARLING, 1 have just left the steamer, and do not 
know how better to utilize the moment at my disposal until 
Hildebrand follows with my things than by sending you 
a love-token from this far-easterly but pretty spot. The 
Emperor has graciously assigned me quarters in his palace, 
and I am sitting here in a large vaulted chamber at the 
open window, into which the evening bells of Pesth are 
pealing. The view outward is charming. The castle 
stands high; immediately below me the Danube, spanned 
by the suspension-bridge; behind it Pesth, which would 
remind you of Dantzig, and farther away the endless plain 
extending far beyond Pesth, disappearing in the bluish- 
red dusk of evening. To the left of Pesth I look up the 
Danube, far, very far, away; to rny left, i.e., on the right- 
hand shore, it is fringed first by the city of Of en, behind it 
hills like the Berici near Venetia, blue and bluer, then 
bluish-red in the evening sky, which glows behind. In 
the midst of both cities is the large sheet of water as at 
Linz, intersected by the suspension-bridge and a wooded 
island. It is really splendid; only you, my angel, are 
lacking for me to enjoy this prospect with you; then it 
would be quite nice. Then, too, the road hither, at least 
from Gran to Pesth, would have pleased you. Imagine 
Odenwald and Taunus moved close together, the waters of 
the Danube filling the interval; and occasionally, par- 

283 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

ticularly near Wisserad, a little Durrenstein-Agstein. The 
shady side of the trip was the sunny side; it burned as 
if they wanted tokay to grow on the steamer, and the 
crowd of travellers was large; but, just imagine, not one 
Englishman ; it must be that they have not yet discovered 
Hungary. For the rest, there were queer fellows enough, 
dirty and washed, of all Oriental and Occidental nations. 
. . . By this time I am becoming impatient as to Hilde- 
brand's whereabouts; I am lying in the window, half 
musing in the moonlight, half waiting for him as for a 
mistress, for I long for a clean shirt. ... If you were here 
for only a moment, and could contemplate now the dull, 
silvery Danube, the dark hills on a pale-red background, 
and the lights which are shining up from Pesth below, 
Vienna would lose much in your estimation compared to 
Buda-Pescht, as the Hungarian calls it You see I am 
not only a lover, but also an enthusiast, for nature. Now 
I shall soothe my excited blood with a cup of tea, after 
Hildebrand has actually put in an appearance, and shall 
then go to bed and dream of you, my love. Last night I 
had only four hours of sleep, and the court here is terribly 
matutinal ; the young gentleman himself rises as early as 
five o'clock, so that I should be a bad courtier if I were to 
sleep much longer. Therefore I bid you good-night from 
afar, with a side-glance at a gigantic teapot and an entic- 
ing plate of cold jellied cuts, tongue, as I see, among the 
rest. Where did I get that song that occurs to me con- 
tinually to-day "Over the blue mountain, over the white 
sea-foam, come, thou beloved one, come to thy lonely home"? 
I don't know who must have sung that to me, some time 
in auld lang syne. May God's angels keep you to-day, 
as hitherto. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

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1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

The 

After having slept very well, although on a wedge- 
shaped pillow, I bid you good-morning, my heart. The 
whole panorama before me is bathed in such a bright, 
burning sun that I cannot look out at all without being 
blinded. Until I begin my calls I am sitting here break- 
fasting and smoking all alone in a very spacious apart- 
ment four rooms, all thickly vaulted, two something like 
our dining-room in size, thick walls as at Schonhausen, 
gigantic nut-wood closets, blue silk furnishings, a pro- 
fusion of large spots on the floor, an ell in size, which a 
more excited fancy than mine might take for blood, but 
which I decidedly declare to be ink; an unconscionably 
awkward scribe must have lodged here, or another Luther 
repeatedly hurled big inkstands at his opponents. . . . Ex- 
ceedingly strange figures, brown, with broad hats and 
wide trousers, are floating about on long wooden rafts in 
the Danube below. I regret I am not an artist; I should 
like to let you see these wild faces, mustached, long-haired, 
with excited black eyes, and the ragged, picturesque drapery 
which hangs about them, as they appeared to me all day 
yesterday. . . . Farewell, my heart. God bless you and our 
present and future children. 

Your most faithf ul V. B. 

Evening. 

I have not yet found an opportunity to send this. 
Again the lights are shining up from Pesth, lightning 
appears on the horizon in the direction of the Theiss, 
and there is starlight above us. I have been in uniform 
most of the day, handed my credentials to the young ruler 
of this country at a solemn audience, and received a very 
pleasing impression of him twenty-year-old vivacity, 

285 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

coupled with studied composure. He can be very win- 
ning, I have seen that; whether he always will, I do 
not know, and he need not, for that matter. At any rate, 
he is for this country exactly what it needs, and more than 
that for the peace of its neighbors, if God does not give him 
a peace-loving heart. After dinner all the court went on 
an excursion into the mountains, to a romantic spot called 
the Pretty Shepherdess, who has long been dead, King 
Matthias Corvinus having loved her many hundred years 
ago. Thence the view is over woody hills, like those on 
the Neckar banks to Ofen, its castle, and the plain. A 
popular festival had brought thousands up to it, and the 
Emperor, who mingled with them, was surrounded with 
noisy cheers; Czardas danced, waltzed, sang, played, 
climbed into the trees, and crowded the court-yard. On a 
grassy slope was a supper-table of about twenty persons, 
sitting along one side only, leaving the other free for a 
view of wood, hill, city, and country, high beeches over us, 
with Hungarians climbing among the branches; behind 
us a densely crowded and crowding mass of people near 
by, and, beyond, alternate horn-music and singing, wild 
gypsy melodies. Illumination, moonlight, and evening 
glow, interspersed with torches through the wood; the 
whole might have been served, unaltered, as a great scenic 
effect in a romantic opera. Beside me sat the white-beard- 
ed Archbishop of Gran, primate of Hungary, in a black 
silk talar, with a red cape ; on the other side a very amia- 
ble and elegant general of cavalry, Prince Liechtenstein. 
You see, the painting was rich in contrasts. Then we rode 
home by moonlight, escorted by torches; and while I 
smoke my evening cigar I am writing to my darling, and 
leaving the documents until to-morrow. ... I have listened 
to-day to the story of how this castle was stormed by the 

286 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

insurgents three years ago, when the brave General Hentzi 
and the entire garrison were cut down after a wonderfully 
heroic defence. The black spots on my floor are in part 
burns, and where I am now writing to you the shells then 
danced about, and the combat finally raged on top of smok- 
ing debris. It was only put in order again a few weeks ago, 
against the Emperor's arrival. Now it is very quiet and 
cosey up here; I hear only the ticking of a clock and dis- 
tant rolling of wheels from below. For the second time 
from this place I bid you good-night in the distance. May 
angels watch over you a grenadier with a bear-skin cap 
does that for me here; I see his bayonet two arm-lengths 
away from me, projecting six inches above the window- 
sill, and reflecting my light. He is standing on the ter- 
race over the Danube, and is, perhaps, thinking of his Nan, 
too. 

SZOLNOK, June 27, '52. 

. . . Yesterday I went by rail from Pesth to Alberti-Irsa, 
where a young Prince Windischgratz is garrisoned, who is 
married to a Princess of Mecklenburg, niece of our King. I 
waited on this lady that I might inform the Grand Duchess, 
her mother, as to her health. The place is situated at the 
edge of the Hungarian steppes between the Danube and 
Theiss, which I wanted to look at for the fun of it. They 
did not allow me to travel without escort, as the region is 
infested by bands of mounted robbers, called Petyars. 
After a comfortable breakfast in the shade of a beautiful 
linden-tree, I mounted a very low peasant - wagon, with 
straw sacks and three steppe horses before it ; the lancers 
loaded their carbines, sat erect, and away we went at a tear- 
ing gallop, Hildebrand and a hired Hungarian footman 
on the forward sack, and as driver a dark-brown peasant 

287 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

with a mustache, broad-brimmed hat, long black hair, 
shiny with grease, a shirt ending above the stomach and 
leaving visible a dark-brown band of his own skin about 
as broad as a man's hand ; thence white trousers, each leg 
of which is wide enough for a woman's skirt, and which 
reach to the knees, where the spurred boots begin. Imagine 
firm turf, level as a table, on which, as far as the horizon, 
for miles around, one sees nothing but the tall, bare trees 
and the bucket-well which has been dug for the half-wild 
horses and oxen. Thousands of white-and-brown oxen, 
with horns as long as a man's arm, timid as deer ; shaggy, 
mean-looking horses, kept by mounted, half-naked shep- 
herds with lancelike staffs ; endless herds of swine, among 
them invariably a donkey, which bears the shepherd's 
fur (bunda), and occasionally himself; then great swarms 
of bustards, rabbits, marmot-like susliks ; occasionally, at 
a brackish pond, wild geese, ducks, lapwings were the 
objects which flew past us, and we past them, during the 
three hours in which we covered the thirty-five miles to 
Ketskemet, with some pause at a czarda (lonely hostelry). 
Ketskemet is a village whose streets, when one does not see 
an inhabitant, recall the little end of Schonhausen, only it 
has forty-five thousand inhabitants, all peasants, unpaved 
streets, low houses closed against the sun in Oriental 
fashion, with large cattle-yards. A foreign ambassador 
was such an unaccustomed sight there, and my Hungarian 
servant made such a show of calling me Excellency, that 
they gave me at once a guard of honor; the authorities 
called on me, and a carriage was requisitioned for me. I 
spent the evening with a charming corps of officers, who 
insisted that I must take an escort in future, too, and told 
me many robber stories. The worst strongholds of the 
robbers are said to be just in the region towards which I was 

288 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

going, along the Theiss, where the marshes and wilds 
render their extermination wellnigh impossible. They are 
excellently mounted and armed, these Petyars; in bands 
of fifteen or twenty they assault travellers and invade 
cattle-yards, and next day they are one hundred miles 
away. They are polite to respectable people. I had left 
most of my ready money with Prince Windischgratz, and 
had only a little linen with me, and really had some in- 
clination to become more intimately acquainted with these 
mounted bandits, with great furs, double-barrelled guns in 
their hands and pistols in their belts, whose leaders are 
said to wear black masks and to belong to the landed gentry 
settled hereabouts. A few days previously several gen- 
darmes had fallen in a fight with them, but, on the other 
hand, two robbers had been caught, court-martialled, and 
shot at Ketskemet. One never sees such things in our 
own dull part of the world. About the time when you 
awoke this morning, you hardly thought that at that mo- 
ment I was flying in headlong gallop over the pusta (steppe) 
with Hildebrand, in Cumania, in the vicinity of Felegy- 
ha"za and Csongrad, a kindly, sunburned officer of lancers 
beside me, each one with loaded pistols lying in the hay in 
front of him, and a detachment of lancers, carbines ready in 
hand, galloping behind. Three fast little horses pulled us, 
regularly called Rosa (pronounce Ruscha), Esillak (Star), 
and Petyar (Vagabond), the latter running alongside; the 
driver continually addresses them by name and in a voice 
of entreaty, until he holds the whip-handle diagonally over 
his head, and calls out mega! mega! (more! more!) when the 
gallop changes to a mad pace a quite exhilarating sen- 
sation. The robbers did not show themselves; probably 
they already knew before dawn, as my charming brown 
lieutenant said, that 1 was travelling under escort, but cer- 
T 289 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

tainly some of them were among the worthy-looking, 
stately peasants who at the stations, in their embroidered, 
sleeveless sheepskin coats reaching to the ground, ear- 
nestly scrutinized us, greeting us with a respectful istem 
adiamek (God be praised). There was a glowing summer 
heat all day ; my face is as red as a lobster. I have done 
eighty-five miles in twelve hours, including from two to 
three hours spent in changing horses and waiting, as the 
twelve horses required for ourselves and the escort had first 
to be caught. Moreover, about one-third of the distance 
consisted of deepest quicksands and dunes, like those at 
Stolpmiinde. At five I arrived here, where a motley crowd 
of Hungarians, Slavs, and Wallachians enliven the streets 
(Sz. is a village of about six thousand inhabitants, but 
has a railroad and steamboat landing on the Theiss)/ and 
the wildest and craziest gypsy melodies penetrate to my 
room. Then, too, nasally and with wide-open mouth, in a 
sickly, complaining minor discord, they sing stories of 
black eyes, and of a robber's heroic death, in tones remind- 
ing one of the wind when it howls Lettic songs in the 
chimney. The women, as a whole, are well-formed, but, 
save a few exceptionally handsome ones, are not pretty; 
they all have jet-black hair, braided behind, with red rib- 
bons in it. The married women have on their heads either 
gaudy green - and - red cloths or little red - and - gold plush 
hoods, a very handsome yellow silk cloth over shoulder and 
breast, short black or dark-blue skirts, and red morocco 
boots which extend up under the dress, lively coloring, 
generally a yellowish brown in the face, and large, burning 
black eyes. On the whole, such a troop of women affords 
a play of colors that would please you, every color in the 
costume being as striking as possible. After arriving at 
five, and while waiting for dinner, I had a swim in the 

290 



1852] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Theiss, saw them dance the csardas, regretted that 1 could 
not draw so as to transfer these wonderful figures to paper 
for you; then ate some capsicum cockerel, sturl (fish), and 
tick; drank a good deal of Hungarian wine, wrote to Nan, 
and now want to go to bed, if the gypsy music will permit 
me to sleep. Good-night, my angel. Istem adiamek. 



PESTH, 

. . . My escort of lancers was not so bad, after 
all. At the same time that I went southward from Kets- 
kemet, sixty -three wagons were going to Koros, in a 
northerly direction, to market. Three hours later these 
were stopped and plundered. Because a colonel who 
happened to be riding in front of this wagon would not halt, 
they sent several shots after him, and shot a horse through 
the neck, but not so as to make it fall ; and as he, while gal- 
loping away with two servants, returned the fire, they pre- 
fered to confine their attention to the remaining travellers, 
who were unarmed. Otherwise they have hurt no one, only 
plundered thirty odd persons, or, rather, laid them under 
contribution; for they don't take all that one has, but de- 
mand a sum from each one according to his fortune or their 
own necessity; for instance, they will quietly watch you 
count forty florins, which they have demanded, out of a 
purse containing one thousand florins, without touching 
the remainder. Bandits, then, who can be reasoned with. 



VIENNA, 

Here I am again, sitting in the "Roman Emperor." 
Found your very kind letter from Coblentz, and thanked 
God that all was well with you. ... I intend to 
leave here in the course of next week, and to hurry 
over to you, my angel, by way of Berlin. I have, in- 

291 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

deed, no leave of absence, nor shall I ask for any, but 
shall arrange the matter verbally at Berlin. There they 
will realize that I must now be with you. Give mother my 
love; greet Leontine and the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

OSTEND, August 19, '53. 

MY DEAREST, I hope that by this time you, with your 
three little cuckoos, are cuckooing happily in your nest, 
and are settled there, warm and comfortable. ... I sup- 
pose you must have arrived two evenings ago, or else yes- 
terday morning, at Interlaken. . . . Thus far I have taken 
three baths, besides the one to-day, and liked them very 
much; strong surf and soft bottom. Most people bathe 
just below the breakwater that forms the walk, ladies and 
gentlemen together; the ladies in very unbecoming long 
skirts of dark wool, the men in jerseys, jacket and trousers 
in one piece, so that the arms and legs are almost entirely 
uncovered. Only the consciousness of a flawless figure 
can make a man bold enough to show himself off thus 
to the whole world of ladies ; and although I possess this 
consciousness to a high degree, still I generally prefer the 
more out-of-the-way paradis or bain des sauvages, where 
there are only gentlemen, but in the costume correspond- 
ing to the first description. I don't like to have the wet 
thing next to my skin. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BRUSSELS, August 21, '53. 

MY DEAREST, I was delighted and thankful to get 
your letter from Bellerive yesterday afternoon. By this 
time 1 hope you are comfortably settled at Interlaken, and 
have found a letter from me there, as well as received an- 

292 



1853] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

other probably to-day. I left Ostend with regret, and 
to-day am full of longing for it. I found an old love of 
mine there again, and she is unchanged and as charming 
as she was when I first knew her. I am feeling the separa- 
tion deeply just now, and am looking forward with impa- 
tience to the moment when I shall see her again at Norder- 
ney, and shall throw myself on her billowy breast. I can 
hardly understand why we may not always live at the 
seashore, or why I allowed myself to be persuaded to spend 
two days in this heap of stones with its tiresome regularity, 
where I must see ball-fights, Waterloo, and pompous pro- 
cessions. . . . Lots of love to all, and twice as much to you. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



AMSTERDAM, August 24, '53. 

MY DEAREST, In Brussels and Antwerp I have not 
been able to get a moment of quiet, there was so much 
going on, and so much to see, so I am making use here of 
the gloaming between dinner and theatre to tell you that I 
am well, and that I think of you with warmest love. I 
have passed a horrible night on a camp-stool, leaving Ant- 
werp at one o'clock at night on an overcrowded steamer. 
Through the twisting labyrinthine arms of the Scheldt, 
Meuse, and Rhine, I arrived early this morning in Rotter- 
dam, and here about four o'clock. This is a strange place; 
many streets are something like those in Venice; some 
just like them, with water up to the walls, others with 
canals as high-roads, and narrow paths set with lindens 
in front of the houses. These last, with fantastically formed 
gables, queer and smoky, almost spookish, and chimneys 
that look like a man standing on his head with his legs 
stretched wide apart. That which does not smack of 

293 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

Venice is the active life and movement here, and the multi- 
tude of fine shops, one Gerson after another, and more mag- 
nificently decorated than those of Paris and London, as I 
remember them. When I hear the play of the bells, and, 
with a long clay pipe in my mouth, look through the forest 
of masts and over the canals at the gables and chimneys, 
fantastically blurred in the twilight, then all the Dutch 
ghost-stories of my childhood occur to me, about Dolph 
Heyliger and Rip Van Winkle and The Flying Dutch- 
man. . . . 

I am very glad, indeed, to have seen Holland; from 
Rotterdam here it is meadow-land, always equally green 
and flat, and with many bushes, and cattle feeding, and 
some cities cut out of old picture-books ; no arable ground 
at all. Farewell, my beloved heart. Lots of love to all 
who are with you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



NORDERNEY, August 2J, '53. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I came in here last evening 
in a big Dutch tub, amid thunder, lightning, and rain; 
have had a glorious sea-bath to-day, after being without 
it for a week, and I am now sitting in a little fisherman's 
house, with a feeling of great loneliness and longing for 
you, which is partly heightened by the cry of children who 
are with the landlord near by, and partly gains a melan- 
choly accompaniment from the whistling rage of the storm 
about the gable and flag-pole. ... I wrote you last from 
Amsterdam, from Brussels before. Since then I have seen 
a charming little country West Friesland quite flat, but 
so bushy and green, with lots of hedges, and every nice 
peasant cottage alone by itself in the woods, so that one 

294 



1853] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

longs for the quiet independence that seems to reign 
there but perhaps this feeling of good-will should be at- 
tributed especially to the fact that all the girls are pretty 
as pictures, as they are at Linz and Gmunden, only taller 
and slenderer than there, fair colors like milk and roses, 
and a golden helmet-like head-dress that is very becom- 
ing. . . . 

I long for the south, but, above all, for my place by your 
side, my home, "wherever thou art." A thousand remem- 
brances to big and small. Farewell, 

Your most faithful V. B. 



NORDERNEY, September 5, '53. 

MY BELOVED HEART, ... I long to be with you, 
although I have nothing else to complain of, and am 
leading a life which is mentally very restful. At about 
eight I bathe; that is best of all; royal waves, high as 
a tree, and like a waterfall when they break; soft sand 
and no stones. It is always hard to leave them, to 
climb around them for about two hours among the miles 
of sand-dunes, to frighten the rabbits and birds, and to lie 
in the warm sand among the wild whortleberry bushes, 
smoking, dreaming, or thinking of Interlaken. Then the 
rest of the day is trifled away with bowling, target-shoot- 
ing, dinner, boating, promenade on the beach, and supper, 
so that I don't know where the day is gone, and, with a shy 
glance at my pens and paper lying ready, I slip, towards 
eleven o'clock, through my study into the chamber, to sleep 
capitally on a seaweed mattress. 

When I had written thus far yesterday, a Gottingen 
friend arrived suddenly with his wife to call on me. I have 
passed to-day with him, and he leaves again early to-mor- 

295 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auc. 

row. I have always considered it difficult to take up again, 
after twenty years, a melody that has died away into si- 
lence. I had in mind a jolly student, full of liveliness and 
wit, and I find a sickly official, whose buoyancy has been 
quelled and his circle of feeling narrowed down by years 
of depression, brought on by the conditions of life in a 
small town. There is something that always stamps the 
provincial German; my friend has still a clear mind and 
a noble soul, but there is something about him of a person 
who has spent many years in prison, and whose thoughts 
linger among the cobwebs that he used to watch there, or 
with the one green tree that stood before his window. The 
fact that he feels happy is comforting, and at the same 
time depressing, to me ; he seems to love his wife, and has 
three children. He is staying in the house with me, in 
Kleist's deserted place. I have taken him in here as my 
guest. . . . Farewell, my darling. The blessing of the Lord 
be with you and all Interlaken. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

NORDERNEY, September 7, 1853. 



PARIS, August 27, '55. 

MY DEAREST, For three days the paper has been 
lying ready to write to you, and always the wave of this 
mad activity has rushed me away from the table. There 
is always something to do, and still it's busy idleness. . . . 
Day before yesterday a ball at Versailles, very magnificent, 
and many remarkable people to see. I was presented to 
Queen Victoria, the Emperor and Empress, and I was treat- 
ed with remarkable kindness, according to the custom here. 
The Empress is more beautiful than any of the pictures I 
have seen of her, uncommonly gracious and charming, 

296 



1855] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

more the style of Malle than of Nelly,* but a longer, nar- 
rower face than the aforesaid, more beautiful eyes and 
mouth, and, of course, fabulous diamonds. The exhi- 
bition is tiresome except for the pictures. Millions of most 
different kinds of things whose name no one knows, and 
whose mass alone robs one of all clearness of impression, 
even without the deafening din of the machines. It would 
be necessary to devote several weeks of one's time exclusive- 
ly to it, in order to get one's bearings there at all. To-day 
I dine with Count Walewsky, the Manteuffel of Paris, and 
who has a very agreeable wife, an Italian woman. These 
everlasting dinners leave me no chance to rest or to go 
to the theatre; dinner at seven, lasting, with coffee and 
cigars, till nine ; and then an extra hour is needed, besides, 
because of the fabulous distances. When they speak here 
of the distance from us to Moritz Bethmann's, they say: 
"C'est tout pres d'ici." It is worse than in London, where 
one goes about in only one part of the city. A lot of streets 
of earlier times have entirely vanished, and their places 
have been taken by long, straight ones like the Friedrich- 
strasse, with four hundred and more house numbers. . ... 
I am through with Paris now; though I do not mean to 
say that it has not been very interesting to me hitherto. . . . 
The true taste for travel has really left me. If we can find 
out some pretty little place for a few weeks, I should like to 
go there with you. . . . Love a thousand times over to 
parents. Your most faithful V. B. 

PARIS, September 2, '55. 

Frau von Bismarck, 19 Gr. G alien g, Frankfort, Germany : 
MY DEAREST, By urging, and on other accounts, I 

* Vrints. 
297 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

have been persuaded to stay on here for a few days longer. 
I had other political acquaintances to make, and want 
to take part in a rabbit -hunt to-morrow at Fontaine- 
bleau. Forgive this lengthening of my absence; I prom- 
ise you to make up for it by coming home in good health 
and spirits, and in need of no more sea-baths. Also I shall 
probably give up going around by Ostend, and thereby 
regain a few days. In any case, I shall come on one of 
the last three days of this week, Saturday at latest. It is 
a wonderful city, this Paris. Think of ten Frankforts side 
by side, lots of streets full of shops like Zeil Street, and in 
every one of them the same noisiness, and as it is in Gallen 
Street, after the arrival of three crowded trains, and then 
ten quieter Frankforts set round it. A part of the environs 
is very pretty, something like the bank of the lake at 
Zurich, without water (unless one counts the Seine, which 
is smaller than the Main) ; green and hilly, with many 
cosey white houses, cities, and villages. If we are alive 
and well next year, I should like to go with you, via 
Lyons, to Marseilles, then along the Pyrenees, and back 
through Bayonne, Bordeaux, and Paris. It is a trip of 
three weeks less, if desired and would cost for us both 
about a thousand florins. I was very much tempted to do 
it, but do not want to be alone. We have had autumn 
weather for two days, stormy, with falling leaves, and 
half the day 1 am homesick, the other half I have not time 
to be so. An answer to this letter will not reach me here ; 
if you have not meanwhile had the instinct to write to me 
here, I shall have to content myself, without news, with 
trusting in God's mercy that all are well at home, and 
especially you, my love. The pleasure of enjoying the 
Rhine air for a couple of weeks we can still have, and 
perhaps the air of Switzerland, too, if the King does not 

298 



1855] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

come. We will talk it over verbally in four or five days. 
Until then, farewell, my heart. Give love to our dear 
parents and children. God keep you all. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, Tuesday. 
(Not dated.) 

MY LOVE, Hearty thanks for your letter received 
yesterday to you for the writing, and to God for the con- 
tents that you are all well. I am well, too, and plough 
bravely through all dinners, balls, hunts; yesterday I 
danced at the Frenchman's, even waltzed, with Malle, 
childish fashion; meanwhile, all manner of annoyance 
about Neuenburg; some of the Royalists who were taken 
prisoners are here, and they are tormenting the King in 
the worst way to give up Prussia rather than Neuenburg, 
and are behaving as though they had been of immeasurable 
service, while in reality they are about in the position of a 
man who wishes to oblige some one with a light for his 
cigar, and in so doing sets fire to the house ; in such a case 
I should make only modest demands of gratitude for the 
devotion I had shown, if the result were so unpleasant. 
In the end we shall be exposed to ridicule for not having 
decided quickly enough to do what must be done. . . . 

Meyerbeer is composing above me, is playing sickly, 
raging music, plays ten or twelve measures, repeating 
them with alterations of a few notes, then silence, then 
again other themes, many a one ten times before it suits 
him. Many people send you regards. I rode to Potsdam 
recently with Marie Stolberg. She was right charming, 
and invited me to dine with her, but I could not. I am all 
Chamber; the quarrel with the Ministry about the new 

299 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

taxes is serious Moritz in advance with Gerlach, in the 
breach against the government. . . . 

Farewell, my dear heart. Greetings to the children and 
Pauline, also Oertzen. God be with you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PARIS, April 9, '57. 

MY BELOVED HEART, To be sure, I have nothing to 
add to my sheet of yesterday, but I think you will receive 
these lines day after to-morrow, or at earliest to-morrow 
before going to bed, and so, in case the latter is true, I will 
wish you a good-night, with angels to guard you, but, 
besides that, God's richest blessing on your birthday, for 
next year and beyond ; may He keep sorrow and sickness 
from you, let the children be well, and let me be very seldom 
grumpy or absent, and reward you richly for all the love 
and truth you have shown me. I cannot procure the blue- 
breast here, it is true, but a heart full of thanks and love 
for God our Lord, and for you, my love, I shall bring back 
to you as a birthday present. I can only pray that things 
may continue a long, long time to go with us as hitherto. 

Yesterday I had lots of Hatzfeld, a very long call with 
Walewsky, and with a remarkable old lady remarkable 
in loveliness the old Grand Duchess Stephanie, who is 
very gracious to me. . . . Last evening I was at the opera, 
ballet very fine, many pretty people, but ballets always bore 
me. To-morrow I shall hear a German sermon ; to-day is 
the more important day to the Catholics, to-morrow to us. 

We will celebrate your birthday next week, the day after 
my return. God be with you, my heart. Love to the chil- 
dren. What shall I bring with me for Pauline? 

Your most faithful V. B. 

300 




COUNTESS MARIE PRINCESS BISMARCK PRINCE BISMARCK 



1857] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

PARIS, April n, '57. 

MY BELOVED HEART, 1 must at least tell you, on 
your birthday, that I am with you in my thoughts, and 
that I have drunk your health to-day in cold and good 
champagne at the Three Freres Provenceaux, a very good 
drinking-hall in the Palais Royal. Then I went to the 
theatre, and saw a witty play, and from there Rosenberg, 
Werther, W. Loe, and two Russians came to see me, and 
drank soda-water, and now I am going to bed, and shall 
dream of you if I can. 

I2th. 

I have been dreaming all night of dead and sick 
birds, a lark with blue feathers that 1 shot, and a crow 
that I wanted to hold by the tail, but he left it in my hand, 
and others, besides. You can see from this that your 
bad luck with the blue-breast has been in my mind all day 
long. I have already looked for one here, but it seems to 
be quite unknown ; there are blue-throated birds, to be sure, 
but screechers from across the water. . . . Farewell, my 
darling, and give love to the children. God protect you all. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



PARIS, 17, Friday. 

MY HEART, ... I was delighted to receive just now 
your copious letter, and to see that the children are well. 
. . . Yesterday, at the Emperor's dinner, I had the most 
charming neighbor, the Empress ; truly an extraordinary 
woman, not only outwardly. . . . Farewell, my angel. 
God keep you well. Tuesday or Wednesday, God willing, 
I shall be there. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

301 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AuG. 

COPENHAGEN, August 6, '57. 

MY HEART, I arrived here safely this morning at 
seven, after a very pleasant journey; soft air, red moon, 
rocks of lime formation lighted by burning tar-barrels, 
two storms at sea, a pretty Swedish girl, and some wind 
what more does one need? Only the beauty of the night 
kept me from going to bed, and when, at two o'clock, the 
rain drove me from the deck, it was so hot and stuffy and 
crowded below that I went up again at three, with coat 
and cigar. Now I have taken a sea-bath, breakfasted on 
lobster, at half past one must go to court, and now I want 
to sleep two hours more. Hearty love to all dear ones. 

Your V. B. 



NASBYHOLM, August 9, '57. 
Frau von Bismarck, Reinfeld, near Zuckers, Pomerania, 

Prussia : 

MY DARLING, You will have received my lines, writ- 
ten immediately after my arrival in Copenhagen. Since 
then I have been busy there for two days with museums 
and politics. Yesterday crossed over to Malmo, and rode 
about forty miles in a northeasterly direction, where I now 
find myself at this place, as guest of Baron Blixen, in a 
white castle, high up on a peninsula surrounded by a big 
lake. Through the window I look into thick ash-foliage, 
through which one catches some little glimpses of the 
water and the hills on the other side ; the sun is shining, 
flies are buzzing, the Prince of Hesse is sitting behind me, 
half reading, half dozing, under the window somebody is 
talking broad Swedish, and from the kitchen comes up the 
saw-like sound of a grater. That is all that I can write 
you about the present. Yesterday we went buck-shooting 

302 



1857] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

killed one; I didn't shoot, got soaked through, then mulled 
wine, and slept soundly nine hours. Roebuck are stronger 
here than anywhere that I have ever seen them, and this 
region more beautiful than I thought. Magnificent beech 
forests, hilly, and, in the garden, walnut-trees as thick as 
a man. We have just been to see the pheasant-preserve. 
After dinner we go out on the lake; shall shoot a duck, 
perhaps, if we are not afraid to disturb the Sabbath still- 
ness in this beautiful solitude by a report ; to-morrow there 
will be a grand hunt; next day return to Copenhagen, 
and from there to Gr. Plessen at Lindholm, near Roeskilde, 
Zealand Isle ; there deer-hunt on Wednesday. Thursday, 
via Copenhagen to Helsingborg, about one hundred miles 
into Sweden ; heath and mountain hens in desolate wastes, 
lodgings in peasants' huts, kitchen and provisions we 
take with us. That will last about a week, and I don't 
know yet what I shall do then. . . . May the Lord keep 
you all, and grant us a joyful reunion. 

Your most faithful VON B. 



COPENHAGEN, August n, '57. 

I have just come back from Sweden, and had been re- 
joicing all the way that I should find news from you here, 
but not even a line, although the mail comes daily. 1 con- 
clude from this not only that you are well, but also that 
your time is pleasantly filled up. . . . 

COPENHAGEN, i$h. 

For two days I have been hunting in the most charm- 
ing region of water and woods that one's picturesque fancy 
could summon. In two hours I leave for Helsingborg, from 
there farther on into Sweden. God continue to guard you 
and our dear parents. Your most faithful V. B. 

303 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

TOMSJONAS, August 16, '57. 

MY DEAREST, I make use again of the Sunday quiet 
to give you a sign of life, though 1 do not know what day 
there will be a chance to send it out of this wilderness to the 
mail. I rode about seventy miles without break, through 
the desolate forest, in order to reach here, and before me lie 
more than a hundred miles more before one gets to prov- 
inces of arable land. Not a city, not a village, far and 
wide ; only single settlers in wide huts, with a little barley 
and potatoes, who find rods of land to till, here and there, 
between dead trees, pieces of rock, and bushes. Picture to 
yourself about five hundred square miles of such desolate 
country as that around Viartlum, high heather, alternat- 
ing with short grass and bog, and with birches, junipers, 
pines, beeches, oaks, alders, here impenetrably thick, 
there thin and barren of foliage, the whole strewn with in- 
numerable stones of all sizes up to that of a house, smell- 
ing of wild rosemary and rosin, at intervals wonderfully 
shaped lakes surrounded by woods and hills of the heath, 
then you have the land of Smaa, where I am just now. 
Really, the land of my dreams, inaccessible to despatches, 
colleagues, and Reitzenstein, but, unfortunately, to you 
as well. I should like ever so much to have a hunting- 
castle on one of these quiet lakes, and inhabit it for some 
months with all the dear ones whom I think of now as as- 
sembled in Reinfeld. In winter, to be sure, it would not 
be endurable here, especially in the mud that all the rain 
would make. Yesterday we turned out at about five, 
hunted, in burning heat, up-hill and down, through bush 
and fen, until eleven, and found absolutely nothing; 
walking in bogs and impenetrable juniper thickets, on 
large stones and timbers, is very fatiguing. Then we 
slept in a hay-shed until two o'clock, drank lots of milk, 

304 



1857] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

and hunted again until sunset, bringing down twenty-five 
grouse and two mountain-hens. I shot four of the former ; 
Engel, to his great delight, one of the latter. Then we dined 
in the hunting-lodge, a remarkable wooden building on a 
peninsula in the lake. My sleeping-room and its three 
chairs, two tables, and bedstead are of no other color than 
that of the natural pine-boards, like the whole house, whose 
walls are made of these. A sofa does not exist; bed very 
hard ; but after such hardships as ours one does not need 
to be rocked to sleep. From my window I see a blooming 
hill rise from the heath, on it birches rocking in the wind, 
and between them I see, in the lake mirror, pine-woods on 
the other side. Near the house a camp has been put up 
for hunters, drivers, servants, and peasants, then the bar- 
ricade of wagons, a little city of dogs, eighteen or twenty 
huts on both sides of a lane which they form ; from each a 
throng looks out, tired from yesterday's hunt. . . . 

i7th. 

Six wolves were here this morning, and tore a poor ox 
to pieces; we found their fresh tracks, but did not catch 
sight of them. We have been on the go from 4 A.M. 
to 8 P.M., shot four heath-hens, slept two hours on mown 
heather, now dead tired and to bed. 

igth. 

There is no possibility of getting off a letter from here 
without sending a messenger sixty miles to the post- 
office, so I shall take this myself to-morrow to the coast. I 
fell yesterday just as the dog pointed, and I was looking 
more at him than at the ground, and I hurt my left shin- 
bone. Yesterday we had an uncommonly severe hunt, 
far away and rocky, and, though it brought me in a young 

u 305 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AuG. 

mountain-cock, it tamed me down to such an extent that 
to-day I am staying in the house putting on poultices, so 
that I shall be ready for travelling to-morrow, and for 
hunting day after. I admire myself for having stayed 
behind alone in this charming weather, and can hardly 
help hoping, with shameful jealousy, that the others, too, 
will not shoot anything. It is a little too late in the 
year; the fowl are shy, or the game would be much more 
plentiful. Charming surroundings we had yesterday, . . . 
all just as God made it forest, rock, heath, bog, lake. I 
shall probably emigrate to this place yet some day. ... I 
have amused myself all day trying to learn Danish from 
the doctor who makes my poultices. We brought him with 
us from Copenhagen. There are none here. Since the 
report that a doctor is present has spread through the 
woods, from twenty to thirty of the hut people have been 
streaming in here daily to get his advice. Sunday even- 
ing we gave a very jolly dancing affair for the peasants 
who live within the twenty-five square miles of forest in 
the hunting-grounds ; and the music was alternately sung 
and played. There they heard of the learned man, and 
now come people who have been hopelessly crippled for 
twenty years, hoping for help from him, as savages do 
from a magician. 

GUNARSTORP, August 21. 

Yesterday we took the journey out of the forest, and 
to-day here, about fifteen miles from Helsingborg, have 
hunted a little and dined. I couldn't walk, because of my 
leg, so went along on the hunt riding. In spite of this 
impediment, 1 was the only one that succeeded in bringing 
down a cock ; there are many here, but already too shy ; 
they don't stay near. It is incredible with what surefooted- 

306 



1857] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

ness my horse climbed over stones and broke through thick- 
ets ; no hunting dog can do better. It was as though 1 had 
four legs that I was moving myself; unfortunately he is not 
for sale, or I should buy him for you. . . . The conditions 
here are much milder than I expected. Fine fruit and wal- 
nut trees, glorious old beech forests, at whose edge stands 
the house, with its gables and towers, overlooking, towards 
the other side, a fine expanse of wheat ; under rny window 
a French garden, with old hedges of box and beech. The 
revolution seems to have passed this strange land, without 
leaving a trace, while in Denmark it turned everything 
topsy-turvy. In Sweden everything gives an impression 
of military discipline, more so than at home thirty years 
ago, almost more so than at any time up to 1806. . . . 

Now fare well, very well, my heart. God keep you, and 
all our family. Your most faithful V. B. 



MEMEL, August 29, '57. 

MY DARLING, To be sure, I cannot tell you much that 
is new since my Berlin letter of day before yesterday, but 
still I can give you the news that 1 have arrived here safely, 
and am casting loving glances towards you over the sea ; 
if the latter were not round, and my eyes were better, and 
the weather clearer, perhaps I could catch a glimpse of you, 
at this sunset hour, on the pier at Stolpmunde; there are 
no mountains, at least, between us, for I hardly believe 
that the rocks of Wertenhagen, near Freiche, reach as far 
as the straight line between here and the point where the 
pier extends. From Natel to Dirschau, my thoughts were 
centred on Reinfeld, and at Elburg I saw, not Hohendorf, 
to be sure, but still Saxe-Drausen and something of Schlo- 
bitten. Your most faithful V. B. 

307 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. '57 

KONIGSBERG, September 12, '57. 

MY DEAREST, It was with great delight that I found 
your four letters in Polaugen (which, by the way, is not in 
Prussia, but in Russia), and learned that things have gone 
well with you and the children. It seems that, up to the 
8th, you had not yet received any letters from me, which I 
don't understand, particularly in the case of the first, for 
I mailed it in Polaugen on August 29th; the other two 
might reasonably be still on the way. I have been pros- 
pering; the Finland folk all showed me touching kind- 
ness, such as one will rarely meet as a stranger in any 
other country. I have brought down, besides divers roe- 
bucks and fallow-deer, a very strong buck, which, by 
straight (not round) measure, was six feet eight inches 
high, and then, too, carried its colossal head above that, 
probably nine or ten feet high in the air. He fell like 
a hare, but, as he was still alive, I put another shot into 
him, in pity, and had hardly done so when another, 
and probably bigger one, came running by, so near me 
that Engel, who was loading, sprang behind a tree, so 
as not to be run down ; and I had to content myself with 
looking at him in friendly fashion, as I had no more 
shots. I can't seem to get rid of my vexation over this, 
and have to fret out some of it to you. I wounded one, 
besides, and they will probably find that yet, and one I 
completely missed. So I must have shot eight head of 
game. Day before yesterday evening we left Dondangen, 
and covered the distance of about one hundred miles back 
to Memel, without a road, through woods and wastes, in 
twenty-nine hours, in an open wagon, over stock and stone, 
so that it was necessary to hang on to keep from tumbling 
out. After three hours of sleep in Memel we came here 
early this morning by the steamer, and we leave here for 

308 






APR. '58] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Berlin this evening, arriving there to-morrow evening. 
" We " are, namely, Behr and myself. I can't stop in Ho- 
hendorf ; I ought to have been in Berlin by to-day, accord- 
ing to my furlough ; but then I should have had to give up 
the best hunting, that in Dondangen, with the big deer, or 
"bollen," as they call them there, and I should not have 
seen how the axle of a peasant wagon broke under the big 
beast's weight. Monday comes the Emperor to Berlin, 
and so 1 ought to be there beforehand, and was to get there 
"several days" in advance ! . . . Well, farewell, my angel. 
I must write some other letters; give lots of love to our 
parents and children, and tell the last that their letters gave 
me a great deal of pleasure. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Tuesday [April, '58 (?)]. 
(Not dated.) 

I count on being able to leave to-morrow morning, thus 
reaching you, my heart, to-morrow evening, where it is 
nicer than here, even though there is a lack of curtains. 
Here everybody is intriguing against everybody else, and 
every one is hoping I shall put my eggs in his nest. The 
result is that I hardly get any rest at night, and still 
make no progress in regular business matters. This even- 
ing I spend at the Princess's; then to bed late and up 
early. I shall sink very weary into your arms. . . . The 
news about old Schreck* is very sad ; the light of his mind 
is going out, and it is hoped that the increasing weakness 
will soon put an end to it all. Yet, if it is God's will, He 
can turn all this human anxiety to folly, and make the 
glorious brown eyes clear again. The case meets with 



* General von Schreckenstein. 
309 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

deep sympathy here; the journey to England, on which 
the old gentleman went along against his will, through a 
feeling of duty, used up his last remaining powers. . . . 
Last evening I was at Eb. Stolberg's. She sends you 
cordial regards. Your most faithful V. B. 



FRANKFORT, August i, '58. 

DEAR MOTHER, Both your dear letters have given 
me great pleasure in my loneliness ; every sign of life from 
the dear ones who belong to me fills in somewhat the 
emptiness that surrounds me, and of which I was espe- 
cially sensible last evening, when your letter of the 26th 
came. I had accompanied the Prince of Prussia as far 
as Rudesheim ; from there Princess Carl took me with her 
to Schlangenbad. . . . Then I was in Wiesbaden for sev- 
eral hours, on business with the King of Holland, and ar- 
rived in my quiet house just with the sunset light, which 
lay, very beautiful, on the Taunus, but somehow not con- 
ducive to a cheerful mood. . . . Farewell. 

Your true son, V. B. 



LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE MINISTER TO 

ST. PETERSBURG AND PARIS 

1859-1862 



BERLIN, January 15, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, I sent word yesterday through 
Engel of my well-being, because it was not possible for me 
to get to my desk. ... Do you know that Carl Canitz is 
engaged? to a young Englishwoman! More than that is 
not known about her here. She will have a hard time with 
the Benedick-devil in him. Pourtales is actually nom- 
inated for Vienna. 0. Usedom is still fighting for Frank- 
fort, but without prospect of result. She will probably go 
to Brussels, Savigny perhaps to Munich, Goltz to Con- 
stantinople. They are kinder to me at court than ever, 
especially the Prince, but the Princess, too. The Ministers 
are in an uncomfortable position; the Prince is urging 
them to the right; their professed friends in the Chamber 
are dragging them to the left, and, to be sure, a person can 
only go one way at once. I still think I shall be back on 
Thursday, though the Prince expressed the hope that I 
should be able to stay longer. As yet I have no letter 
from you. Love to the children and Jenny. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

Your letter has just come; many thanks. 



BERLIN, March 7, '59. 

MY DEAREST, BEST ONE, I have arrived safely here 
H6tel Royal. I couldn't say a real good-bye to you 
yesterday in the crowd of people, or to the children, either. 

313 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

There remained in me a feeling of dissatisfaction because 
of this, and the weather was depressingly sad. The last 
good look was at the Beckers ; as I could find no card, I 
threw them a pencil as the token of a last greeting, and I 
fear it went into somebody's face. In spite of the dull 
light, Bockenheim and the country about Vilbel never 
seemed so beautiful to me as at my departure. At Butz- 
bach it got dark inside and out. To-day a cold, glistening 
sun is shining, with wind and dust real diplomats' weath- 
er. ... I am well, but full of grievous longing for you. 
Give love to the children, and caress them for me, and 
lots of nice things to the Beckers. With all the wishes for 
blessings upon you that a human heart can hold. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

Don't fail to rest well at night. 

BERLIN, March g, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, Thanks for your letters, which 
came yesterday and to-day; I can but tell you, in few 
words, that I am well, and shall be happy if I can start in 
a week; it is hardly likely to be sooner. ... I shall not 
be able to take Putsch along to Petersburg, since Werther 
tells me I could not make use of more than two servants at 
most who speak no Russian. Do not tell him so as a 
finality, but prepare him for it. Werther's wife is tearful 
at having had to leave Petersburg. He thinks the salary 
enough to live on, though I find everything he tells me of 
horribly dear; he has, however, saved something. 

1 must go. God's grace be with you and all of us. Lov- 
ing greetings to children, Jenny, Beckers, Gayette. 

Your faithful V. B. 

Snow and sunshine alternate here. 

314 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

BERLIN, March 17, '59. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I am still here, to my great 
annoyance ; I am utterly at a loss what to do, and how to 
answer the eternally repeated questions about my de- 
parture. I had fixed on Saturday as my last day, and 
yesterday was told that a letter from the Prince to the Czar, 
which I must carry, will not be ready till the beginning of 
next week. Yesterday I had callers while still in bed, and 
one followed another, so that for more than two hours I could 
not rise and dress. I wanted to write you yesterday and the 
day before, but was kept beset, so that each time I had to 
drive the last caller away forcibly, in order to attend to my 
own affairs before meal-time. Day before yesterday, dinner 
with Schleinitz; yesterday, Prince Carl; to-day, Bud berg. 
I am utterly indignant with this purposeless time-killing, 
in which one cannot catch breath. The parcel with trav- 
elling comforts reached me to-day. Saturday or Sunday I 
shall go to Schonhausen, probably with Malle. What 
Olympia says of her is nonsense; she has hardly seen 
her all winter. Malle has Kissingenized for three months 
of the winter, and it has done her much good ; she is some- 
what stronger, and very cheerful. Speak very guardedly 
to Olympia ; she will have tales to tell even if you do not 
open your mouth. . . . Farewell, my sweetheart. I cannot 
start before Tuesday. Hearty love. God's mercy guard 
you all. V. B. 

Have the children's bad teeth stopped growing again, 
that they have to be plugged? 

BERLIN, March 22, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, Just what 1 predicted has hap- 
pened. After being made to wait here sixteen days need- 
lessly 1 was informed yesterday evening at five that 1 must 

315 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

be off in a hurry, and this evening at latest! That I find 
I cannot do, and shall not leave before to-morrow (Wednes- 
day) evening, and even by that time I shall have difficulty 
in getting through with all farewell notices. Your com- 
plaint that 1 do not treat you well in the matter of letters 
shows true feminine injustice; I wrote on Friday and on 
Monday, and had Kliiber write on Sunday. If I had want- 
ed to write between times, I should have had to do it from a 
Ghent or Potsdam coupe. If you were only to see how 
things go with me here, you would simply admire me for 
writing at all. I neither believe nor wish that we are to stay 
only a year in Petersburg ; and if it were so, it's the same 
thing whether we are saddled then with our own things or 
Werther's ; it depends entirely upon which can be arranged 
most cheaply for our use there. Hearty greetings to chil- 
dren, and Jenny and Beckers and Gayette and Eisen- 
deckers, etc. A week from to-day, God willing, I shall be 
skating on the Neva. Bucking, who has just been in to 
see me, says he would send me to Petersburg for my health 
if 1 were not going there, anyway. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



KONIGSBERG, March 24, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, I arrived here two hours ago, and 
already the diligence is waiting at the door one large 
four-horse affair, and one baggage-wagon with two horses. 
To-morrow at noon I expect to be in Kowno. We are both 
hale and hearty, and send best greetings. Lots of love to 
the children, Jenny, and all friends. Kliiber is a bit old- 
maidish; he must get married. May he make as happy 
a choice in it as your most faithful husband. I do not 
grudge it him. 

316 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

KOWNO, March 25, '59. 

MY LOVE, Snow-storms all the way from Konigsberg 
here, six inches deep; everything white; 36 to 47; ice. 
Rode one hundred and forty-nine miles in twenty-eight 
hours, with post-horses, in Prussia and Russia equally 
bad; crossed the Niemen at night in beautiful clear win- 
ter weather; old city, river banks mountainous, prettily 
lighted by stars and snow and window - lights ; black, 
rushing water, broad as the Elbe. Russians very amiable, 
but post-horses bad, and often none. We shall sleep here 
four hours, then on to Diina. Good-night, with love. 

Your most true V. B. 

PSKOV, March 28, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, Russia has stretched out under 
our wheels; the versts increased in number at every sta- 
tion, but at last we are in the haven of the railway. Drove 
ninety-six hours from Konigsberg without stopping, only 
in Kowno we slept four hours, and three in Egypt (a sta- 
tion near Diinaburg) I think it was day before yesterday. 
I feel very well now, only my skin burns, for I sat outside 
almost all the way, and the temperature was from two to 
twenty-four degrees below freezing-point. In the wagon 
there was not room for Kliiber and me, so I changed places 
with Engel. We had snow so deep that, with six and 
eight horses, we literally got stuck, and had to get out. 
Still worse were the slippery mountains, especially going 
down; for twenty paces we took an hour, because the 
horses fell four times and eight times interfered with one 
another; added to that night and wind, a real winter 
journey, without modification. The wagon was too heavy. 
Kliiber had about four hundred pounds of things ; for one 
it would hardly have been comfortable; for two it was 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAR. 

torture. It was impossible to sleep in my seat outside, 
on account of the cold, but still it was better in the open 
air; the sleep I can make up. The Niemen was open; the 
Wilia, a river that you hardly know, but as broad as the 
Main and very rapid, was thick with ice. The Diina had 
only one clear spot, where, by dint of four hours' waiting 
and three hours' work, we got across. The whole region 
is something like old Pomerania, without villages, much 
as it is between Biitow and Berent; some good forests, 
but the majority like the New Kolziglow pines. Plenty 
of birch forest, miles of marshes; road straight as an 
arrow ; every fourteen to twenty-two versts a post-station 
like Horuskrug, all well arranged, everything to be had, 
and all heated; everybody very polite, and service 
prompt; only the other side of Diinaburg not horses 
enough; waited at the station near Kowno three hours, 
and then tired beasts. Where the road was good they 
travelled splendidly, running miles at a time with the 
big, heavy wagon; but they cannot pull where the road 
is hard, however severe the postilions are. The ordinary 
man pleases me in general, judging from first appear- 
ances. It is now six; we have just dined; opposite me 
(1 am writing on the table-cloth) sits Kliiber, who is smok- 
ing pensively. At seven forty-five the train leaves, two 
versts away. To-morrow morning, at four fifteen (seven 
days after starting), if it is God's gracious will, I shall be 
in Petersburg. . . . God bless you and children. Give 
each one love and kisses. My head is growling a little. 
For miles around I see sheets of snow, birches, the sunset 
beautiful clear winter weather. To-morrow I shall sleep 
all day long. Farewell. Your most faithful V. B. 

Forgive this confused letter, but 1 have been five nights 
out of bed, and now the sixth. 

318 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

PETERSBURG, March 29, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, With God's help 1 have arrived 
here safely, stopping for the present at the Hotel Demuth, 
and I have suddenly grown twelve days younger, for they 
date here the iyth. Through incorrect translation into 
Russian of my Pskov despatch, it failed of its purpose; 
and this morning early, at five, after I had left Engel and 
the conductor with our wagon and baggage, I found myself 
face to face with the driver and the hostler of the hotel, and 
thrown upon the Russian that I had managed to learn en 
route. My magic formula, " Pruski paslaunik," extracted 
only the reply that he did not live there; but when I 
said, " Jassam" ("1 myself am he") the Russian became 
wide-awake, and ran to get various people with barbarous 
names ; but even they spoke none of the Western languages. 
But I am tolerably well fixed here now, and although the 
"German servant" is ill, I was able to get washed, to 
breakfast, and drive to the legation. You see I have trav- 
elled continually from Wednesday evening until this morn- 
ing (Tuesday). In summer they tell me it is a trip of 
sixty hours to Konigsberg, but now it has been a hundred 
and eight. I have come out of it splendidly. The railway 
coupes are much better than ours, and heated. I slept 
eight hours as if I were in bed, and now need no more rest. 
When you write to me, bear in mind that all foreign letters 
are opened, and that this is generally known. So don't 
scold about anything, for it is taken for granted that one 
means to say to the government what is written by mail. 
A traveller will take these lines along with him; nobod3^ 
knows how long they will be stuck in the snow ; do not be 
anxious and impatient if you are a long time without news. 
It's thawing here to-day, but barely so. My head is still 
full of post-houses and verst-posts, and the ringing of the 

319 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

horses' bells, the screaming of the postilions, and the out- 
rider's eternal " Pravee i verrater, skarree, i, skarreeee i!" 
and the blinding snow and wind, and the poor horses that 
were so willing to gallop when the wheels would only go 
round. A "kareta potschtowaja" stood on top, and a ram- 
shackle affair it was, a thing like a house, and packed so 
high that we brushed the highest lintels. With this mon- 
ster the people drove not only at a gallop, but at full speed, 
with six and eight horses, two or three miles at a time; 
with us it is forbidden to drive rapidly down hill or over 
bridges, but in Russia the gallop seems to be prescribed in 
both cases, even where it is very steep and the horses have 
just fallen. But, after all, it was amusing if 1 only did 
not have to do it right over again. Perhaps you would 
like it in summer or wouldn't you? About every fifty 
miles the Czar has resting-quarters in a post-station; and 
there everything is very comfortably arranged, and you 
would be allowed to use them as well as I. 

Farewell, my angel. I must be off now to Gortchakoff. 
Love to the children. Your very loving V. B. 



PETERSBURG, April i, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, How nice it was to be wakened 
this morning by the letter from you and the children ! For 
half an hour I managed to forget that fifteen hundred miles 
lie between us. 

4*. 

I wrote these few lines on my birthday; then busi- 
ness interfered. It is singular that 1 have taken up my 
office just on the ist of April, for it was on the same 
day that 1 had my first audience with the Czar, which his 
amiable manner made really a birthday present. Then 

320 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

1 drank to your health a bottle of Rhine wine, and one of 
champagne, with Kliiber, all for seven rubles; but we 
enjoyed it immensely. 1 wanted to write you a long letter, 
my beloved, and now 1 must scribble in great haste; yet 
there is no one 1 want so much to write to. On April 1st 
(i3th) 1 shall have another birthday here, just coinciding 
with your dear one. The Neva stands like granite, and 
bears loaded wagons, and street-lamps stand on the ice at 
the crossings. Kiss the children for me. Be always my 
dearest. God be with you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PETERSBURG, April 4, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, Now that the rush of to-day noon 
is past, 1 sit down in the evening to write you a few more 
lines in peace. When 1 closed my letter to-day 1 did it with 
the intention of writing to you next a birthday letter, and 
thought 1 had plenty of time for it; it is only the 23d of 
March here. 1 have thought it over, and find that a letter 
must go out to-day exactly to reach Frankfort on the nth; 
it is hard to get used to the seven days' interval which the 
post needs. So 1 hurry my congratulations. May God 
grant you His rich blessing in soul and body, for all your 
love and truth, and give you resignation and contentment 
in regard to the various new conditions of life, contrary to 
your inclinations, which you will meet here. We cannot 
get rid of the sixtieth degree of latitude, and we have not 
chosen our own lot. Many live happily here, although 
the ice is still solid as rock, and more snow fell in the night, 
and there is no garden and no Taunus here. 

1 could get along very well indeed here if I only knew 
the same of you, and, above all, if 1 had you with me. All 
X 321 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BlSMAkCK [APR. 

official matters and in them rests really the calling which 
in this world has fallen to my lot, and which you, through 
your significant "Yes" in the Kolziglow church, are 
bound to help bear in joy and sorrow all official matters 
are, in comparison with Frankfort, changed from thorns 
to roses; whether they will ever blossom is, indeed, un- 
certain. The aggravations of the Diet and the palace 
venom look from here like childishness. If we do not 
wantonly make ourselves disagreeable, we are welcome 
here. Whenever the carriages are called here, and " Prus- 
ku passlanika" ("Prussian carriage ") is cried out among 
those waiting, then all the Russians look about with pleas- 
ant smiles, as though they had just popped down a ninety- 
degree glass of schnapps. There is some social affair every 
evening, and the people different from those in Frankfort. 
Your aversion to court life will weaken. You cannot fail 
to like the Czar; you have seen him already have you 
not? He is extremely gracious to me, as well as the Czar- 
ina the young Czarina, 1 mean. And it is easy to get 
along with the mother, in spite of her imposing presence. 
1 dined with her to-day with the Meiendorf s and Loen,* and 
it was just like that dinner at our house with Prince Carl 
and the Princess Anna, when we enjoyed ourselves so 
much. In short, only take courage, and things will come 
out all right. So far 1 have only agreeable impressions; 
the only thing that provokes me is that smoking is not al- 
lowed on the street. One can have no idea in what dis- 
favor the Austrians are over here; a mangy dog will not 
take a piece of meat from them. I am sorry for poor Szech- 
enyi; 1 do not dislike him. They will either drive things 
to a war from here, or let it come, and then they will stick 

* Military chargG. 
322 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK: 

the bayonet into the Austrians' backs ; however peacefully 
people talk, and however I try to soften things down, as 
my duty demands, the hatred is unlimited, and goes be- 
yond all my expectations. Since coming here 1 begin to 
believe in war. There seems to be no room in Russian 
politics for any other thought than how to strike at Austria. 
Even the quiet, mild Czar falls into rage and fire whenever 
he talks about it, as does the Czarina, although a Darm- 
stadt Princess; and it is touching when the Dowager 
Czarina talks of her husband's broken heart, and of Francis 
Joseph, whom he loved as a son, really without anger, but 
as if speaking of one who is exposed to God's vengeance. 
Now 1 have still much to write for the carrier to-morrow, 
and this you will not receive, I suppose, until two days 
after your dear birthday, just when 1 am celebrating mine 
by the calendar here. Farewell, my dear, and give each 
child a sweet orange from me. Love to all. 

Your most faithful V. B, 



PETERSBURG, April 8, '59. 

DEAR PARENTS, The loss of the letter was an ad- 
vantage to me, for in this way 1 had the pleasure of seeing 
the Zuckers post-mark two days in succession; the lost 
one came to-day, the other yesterday. The tokens of your 
love cannot tell me anything that had not already reached 
me in embodied form. And yet my delight in them is al- 
ways new, and the home-note does me twice as much good 
here amid the strange din in a foreign land. 1 heartily 
thank God and yourselves for the love and truth which 1 
know is in your hearts, and of which I am sure until our 
earthly end, and, if God will, beyond. I have good news 
of Johanna and the children one letter just on the 1st, 

323 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

and one since, written on the 1st. I want for nothing 
here, except her presence then I shall be able to endure 
God's long winter; there are even Laplanders, with lung 
trouble, who come here to seek recovery in the milder cli- 
mate. 1 left Berlin Wednesday evening, and reached 
here early on Tuesday; the first and the last night (from 
Pskov) by railway, but all the time between I slept only 
six or seven hours on stage -seats. Now the snow was 
deep as sand-dunes, and now there was none. At many 
stations horses were lacking, as all coaches needed twice 
or three times as many as usual; crossing half -frozen 
rivers at night; slippery, steep mountains, where the 
horses were worn-out going up, and kept falling on the 
way down. You would not have liked it, dear mother, 
when the horses, eight in number, after lying in a snarl 
one upon another, had hardly been harnessed again, be- 
fore, with the heavy and high -packed wagon, they went 
tearing at full gallop down the mountain into the night. 
Now and then we walked, because the coach stuck fast in 
the snow-drifts. Thus it happened that it took us the 
entire time from Thursday afternoon to Monday evening 
to travel about five hundred miles, from Konigsberg to 
Pskov, without stopping anywhere for the night. At 
Pskov we were caught up by the exceedingly well-ap- 
pointed railroad coupe*, in which 1 slept nine hours without 
stirring, and was wakened only with difficulty here at the 
station early on Tuesday. I am very glad to have taken 
this trip; 1 shall hardly repeat the experience, since the 
rapid progress of the railway is yearly reducing the stretch 
of road without one. 

The weather has been changeable since I came, with 
moderate temperature, between clear frost, snow, and mud ; 
the Neva still stands stable, yet it seems closed to wagon 

324 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

traffic to-day; at any rate, I saw only foot passengers on 
the ice. You, my dear father, 1 want to thank for thinking 
kindly of my fondness for rearing forest trees. May 
our grandchildren find God's blessing in their shade. 
Johanna writes constantly very dear letters ; to-day one of 
Herbert's came with hers. God be praised that they are 
all well, and may He, dear parents, grant the same to you. 
Somewhere about the time of the Fte of St. John I shall 
probably take Johanna away from you, if it is God's will. 
With hearty love, the true son of you both, V. B. 

PETERSBURG, April 19, '59. 

Your account of spring colors and sounds has made me 
right homesick ; I have been feeling badly about it all day, 
and 1 have just now, before sunset, taken a good look again 
at the Neva ice, to see whether it will not be kind enough 
to go soon ; it is already grayish-black, which they say is 
a good sign. But the sea of houses, the ice of stone will 
not melt. For three weeks I have seen only stone and ice ; 
either the city has no gates, or they are inaccessible. That 
is an extra reason for my preference for the Stenbach house, 
which stands right by the large Neva bridge leading to the 
islands. 1 felt quite sorrowful when 1 saw from there 
something like forest or hills glistening on the horizon 
far over the water. I have not seen God's earth since 
Kobbelbade, the last station before Konigsberg; there 
it began to snow the 24th of March. 1 drive out to make 
calls every day, and still do not get through, in this city, 
so many miles wide. In doing this I never learn my way 
around, looking out of the closed coupe ; the houses have 
no numbers, and 1 cannot find any of my acquaintances 
again without a coachman. Then the order is, "Demidoff 
house, on Nevski Prospekt," but Nevski has certainly 

325 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

two hundred houses; then let's see you pick out Demi- 
dofFs! My guides are the merchants' signs, especially 
the Russian forms, under which one is touched to decipher 
the names Schulze, Muller, and Schmidt. To-day I dis- 
covered Jager, too, and your mother's friend Hanoschke, 
really Ganoschke, for there is no H at all. Just respectable 
citizens of Berlin under the frizzled beard of the Muscovite 
hieroglyphics. This week, much to my delight, calling 
stops, on fait ses devotions, piety is all the fashion, and no 
calls are received. Towards dinner-time I am glad to rest 
half an hour from boredom at the Princess Obolenski's; 
she is so attractive that 1 ask for your indulgence to do 
homage to her now and then ; she goes to Moscow to-mor- 
row. 1 have found many lovely women besides. A right 
pretty Frau von Korssakoff has already gone she, too, 
to Moscow. Our politics put me out of humor; we are 
only driftwood, blown about without object on our own 
waters by strange winds; and what mean winds, and ill- 
smelling ! But how seldom people have any wills of 
their own in so estimable a nation as ours. We like the 
r61e of Leporello, and Austria that of Don Juan. 

I have an idea I advised you to sell the old bronze chan- 
deliers; you had better not do it, if they are not already 
sold. . . . Yesterday, at the house of the Spanish Duke of 
Ossuna, I saw some bronzes beside which our poorest 
could hold their own ; the metal seems to be very dear here. 
This grandee showed us, besides, photographs of all pos- 
sible fine castles and gardens which he owns in Spain, 
Italy, Belgium, and Sardinia, and which he himself knows 
only through the pictures. He has an income of mill- 
ions, the biggest name in Spain, and lives here on the 
frozen Neva, lonely and unmarried, in a vast, rambling 
house, w r orth twelve thousand rix-dollars rent, furnished, 

326 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

and has no longing for the shade of his chestnut 
forests. . . . 

April 2oth. 

The Neva is just breaking up. As usual, Gortsch 
served me with a summons, and afterwards 1 went to 
take a look. Thank Heaven ! Farewell. 1 must hurry to 
catch the mail. 1 have had to write ciphers and telegrams 
for some hours. May everything dear and good be yours 
and the children's ! 

Your most faithful V. B. 

PETERSBURG, April 28, '59. 

MY HEART, Three days and three nights I have writ- 
ten, and not to you ! The chasseur is fumbling mustachios 
and sword in his impatience ; but two words to you he must 
take along, nevertheless. 1 am well, somewhat over- 
worked. I have taken a house for a year, Stenbock, of 
which you have a drawing. . . . War, then (though not 
quite as yet) ; Austria has granted two days more, but the 
troops are marching, and now perhaps they are firing on 
each other. As God wills. To-day, with Czar and parade, 
we buried or, rather, celebrated the funeral rites of one old 
Prince Hohenlohe. I stayed with Gortschakoff in the 
church, with its black hangings, after everybody went out, 
and sat on the catafalque and velvet death's-head cover, 
talking politics that is, working over them, not just chat- 
ting. The preacher had talked of the psalm about life's 
transitoriness (grass withered by the wind), and we planned 
and plotted as though one were never going to die. He is 
fumbling again. A thousand greetings, and luck to your 
trip; if not before the 4th, then this will find you still in 
Frankfort. Kiss the children and all. 

YOUR MOST FAITHFUL, 
327 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

ZARSKOE-SELO, May 5, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART ! I have wanted every day to write 
you so as to greet you in Berlin ; but it is again almost time 
for the chasseur to start; I dictate to Kliiber from break- 
fast until four o'clock ; then I take a walk ; in the evening 
I do nothing more, because it tires my eyes; the evening 
does not begin, however, until after nine; until then one 
can see without a light. With three cipher despatches that 
come and three that go, we never pass a day independent of 
dictation. In short, I am glad to find this free moment here 
in the Petersburg Potsdam, where I have arrived at the 
anniversary reception of the Dowager Czarina's baptism 
at eleven o'clock, and am not needed until after twelve. 
I am sitting in a very stately room, with ladies' knick- 
knacks of the time of Alexander I. ; before me a garden 
laid out in straight lines, with fine leafless lindens, sun- 
shine, and some beautiful plastering of snow on the grass- 
plots, which fell freshly yesterday. Kliiber is walking 
to and fro behind me, unhappy over the wrinkling and 
riding-up of his lace-trimmed breeches. I am smoking 
paper cigars and using all sorts of agate and bronze 
knick-knacks as ash-receivers, in my favorite way. This 
morning early I received your last Frankfort letter, full of 
woe at parting from birds, flowers, and people. What good 
does bothering and pothering do? What must be, must 
be. ... Now it is getting to be time for me to wash away 
this tobacco smell, for it will probably cling about my 
uniform. Her Majesty, the Czarina mamma, does not 
like it at all, so 1 will do what I can with eau de cologne 
and finish these lines in Petersburg. I shall probably not 
get back there before evening. 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

PETERSBURG, May 6, '59. 

1 did come earlier, after all, because I cut the Marshal's 
table, ate at Versen's (husband of Elise Rauch) a good 
and lively dinner, was at Mr. Pickens's in the evening, 
the American ambassador, a real Pickwick, exceedingly 
funny, but hardly amusing. This morning 1 wrote a let- 
ter to Alvensleben, then the parade, about forty thousand 
men, Circassians, Georgians, Tartars, all possible queer peo- 
ples. The whole thing lasted nearly three hours, dust and 
cold wind, otherwise clear weather ; the Czar devoted him- 
self to me as particularly as though he had got up the 
parade for my benefit. As they marched by he took me 
forward to a place beside him, and explained to me every 
separate troop, and where they stood and recruited, and 
who commanded them. . . . Farewell, my dear heart ; I 
must dress. We are three hundred and ninety miles nearer 
to each other, anyway. To see the Neva, with its boat 
traffic, is a pleasure that I am looking forward to for the 
children ; we have it under the window ; the Stettin steam- 
ers moor there, too. Love to Oscar, Malle, children, and 
write how you feel about the life at court. . . . Kiss all the 
children, and give them sweet oranges for me. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PETERSBURG, May 7, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, In the courier-and-parade hurry- 
scurry of yesterday I did not say a single word about how 
I enjoyed the children's picture, though it lay right before 
me ; but it did not seem to occur to me that it was anything 
unusual ; I thought I had had it for years. It is splendid, 
and 1 must praise all three especially for keeping so still 
the two older ones even their eyes. Yesterday my head 

329 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

was so full of war and peace, Circassians, Cossacks, Tar- 
tars, grand princes, and chasseurs, that it is only to-day, 
after sleeping myself out, that I can collect my thoughts. 
I dreamed in the night of bedsteads with high legs, short 
and with white stripes! In free moments my thoughts 
are entirely with your journey and with our house arrange- 
ments. . . . You must break up at Reinfeld by the time of 
the Fte of St. John at latest, for I should like to have you 
here by the 1st of August, so the children can get acclimated 
before the cold nights come. ... It is hard to make use of 
more than one servant here who does not speak Russian. 
In the salons hardly a word but French is heard, but as 
soon as one sets foot over the threshold one is flooded with 
foreign tones, and rarely finds anybody who understands 
a syllable of German, and still less French. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PETERSBURG, May 14, '59. 

MY BELOVED HEART, Thank Heaven your letter of 
the 6th arrived yesterday; I had begun to feel anxious, 
since I could not find in the Kreuz Zeitung news of your 
arrival in Berlin, and still supposed that you had started on 
the 3d. How sorry I am for you about all the bother of 
packing and sending things off, and about the donkeys 
that have made things hard for you, besides. You shall 
now get thoroughly rested from all that and pick up again. 
. . . Please write me in greatest haste in what form my 
second telegraphic despatch reached you three weeks ago 
not the birthday one, but the following, for which I 
had to pay eight rubles and divers kopecks, in order to 
tell you not to buy anything, consequently no carved fur- 
niture, and now I see from your letter that I owe it entirely 

330 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

to your mother- wit that we have not acquired this embarras 
de richesse ! Do send me the despatch in the original, if 
you, by any chance, have it at hand, so that I can teach the 
telegraphers here their manners or recover my money. . . . 
A right joyful surprise was your photo, a bit strained, 
thinking of packing and visits, but still your dear face, 
not seen for three months. The one hundred and thirty 
calls were an excess of virtue. . . . 

Your most faithful V. B. 

I had something I wanted to add in closing, but in the 
hubbub it has escaped me, and I cannot remember, ex- 
cept that I wanted to tell you something very nice. 



PETERSBURG, Monday, May 16, '59. 

... If you have really, by early this morning, made 
some progress towards Schonhausen, then I shall begin to 
believe in dreams; just before waking, somewhat late, I 
had quite a vivid dream that you embraced, in a lively 
and affectionate fashion, a woman at Schonhausen, who 
was dressed in the costume of the place. ... I already 
have my third coachman. The people drink so that one 
cannot trust one's own horses to them. They are exem- 
plarily virtuous for thirteen days out of fourteen, and then 
one finds them, when waiting for a carriage, lying as if 
dead under the horses, head in the water-bucket, quite 
useless for the day. ... It does not get dark at all any 
more towards twelve still a sunset sky; to-day I came 
home early towards one, and the morning light was al- 
ready full rosy, with twilight in the streets. ... It is fort- 
unate that 1 have lots of work, always something to do, 
always in a hurry, writing or company or hunting ; other- 

33 1 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

wise the feeling of loneliness in this hotel asylum would 
have long ago made me sick with yearning. . . . Much 
love and God's blessing. By all means let the children 
go to Schonhausen. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PETERSBURG, May 28, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, . . . The spring came on here 
like an explosion. In forty-eight hours, from the con- 
dition of budding twigs to that of a thick green curtain. It 
is very hot now, with occasional storms, and I have no 
summer stuff with me, also no beds and no cooking uten- 
sils, and must move into Stenbock's in two weeks, where 
both are lacking. What could I buy of that sort of thing 
that would not be superfluous afterwards? Bedsteads 
are there, cook, too, but copper and linen and beds! I 
should have cried out before about my need of these things, 
but where was my letter to find you? You woman with- 
out a date! The things will hardly come before July, as 
I have as yet had no notice at all from Rotterdam of their 
arrival there. Farewell heartily well. Boat will not wait. 
Lots of love, parents and children. 

Your V. B. 



PETERSBURG, May 31, '59. 

(No letter on June 1st either.) 

MY DEAR HEART, Since finding that the mail-boat 
that has just come in, too, brings no letter from you, I 
feel quite downcast, and shall be ill if you keep on forget- 
ting me this way in my hot and lonely hotel room. In the 
entire month of May I had two letters from you, the first 
from Frankfort, just at the beginning, the other long one 

332 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK. 

from Berlin on the i8th; and this boat brings everything 
that could leave Stettin up to the evening of the 28th. I 
do not even know whether you are in Berlin, or where else, 
as your last letter contained nothing about plans for trav- 
elling or stopping, and I wanted so very, very much to fol- 
low you on your way with my thoughts, and to be able to 
write to you at definite places. I know very well that it is 
hard to find time to write when one is travelling, or when 
one is finding old Pomeranian friends again, but surely I 
might be allowed a couple of lines during the week. If I 
were not to write at all, as long as 1 was in a hurry and rush, 
then you would have had no letter from me since Berlin. 
Think how much it meant to you to receive a few hasty 
lines of news from me from any one of the stations on my 
way, and then consider how much lonelier and more in need 
of news I am here, in comparison with you ; you had chil- 
dren and the Beckers and Arnims, and I don't know whom 
besides, while I sit the entire day at my desk, or with people 
who do not understand German, and from nine to eleven 
in the evening I ride, chiefly alone, rarely with Kliiber. 
When I have not dined with him, we seldom come togeth- 
er again in the evening. It does not get dark any more at 
all ; when going out into company at eleven one can read 
in the open air, and it is the same thing returning home- 
ward at one o'clock through the still inhabited streets. I 
hardly go to bed before three, and then it is like day. . . . 
The heat is oppressive 100 to 120 in the sun; I never 
get into the shade, as I have the sunny side, and when I 
drive in an open carriage, I cannot look out for shade. Dust 
and great 'drought ; everything longs for rain. Agreeable 
acquaintances are leaving, more and more. . . . Farewell, 
my beloved one. Love to all. And do not worry me any 
longer with lack of news. Your most faithful V. B. 

333 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

PETERSBURG, June 4, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, At last, day before yesterday, 
came the long-yearned-for news from you, with the reas- 
suring post-mark, Stolp. I could not go to sleep at all in 
the evening, because of anxious pictures of my imagina- 
tion, whose scenes were all the stopping-places between Ber- 
lin and Reinfeld. . . . Yesterday I dined at the Czarina's, 
in Zarske, where I found the Grand Princess Marie, who 
could tell me at least that she had seen you in Berlin, and 
that you were all right. On the way back the Czar met 
me at the station, and took me into his coupe very con- 
spicuous here for a civilian with such an old hat as I gen- 
erally wear. In the evening I was, of course, on the islands, 
on a lively dark - brown horse, and drank tea there with 
a nice, old, white-haired Countess Stroganoff. The lilac, I 
must tell you, has flowered here as beautifully as in Frank- 
fort, and the laburnum, too; and the nightingales warble 
so happily that it is hard to find a spot on the islands where 
one does not hear them. In the city, during these days, we 
had such unremitting heat as we almost never have at 
home. The captain of the Eagle told me that the tem- 
perature in southern Pomerania was actually refreshing 
in comparison; with such short nights, too, the morning 
brings no real coolness, and I could ride or drive about for 
hours in the mysterious gloaming which hovers at mid- 
night over the surface of the water, if the increasing bright- 
ness did not give warning that another day is waiting 
with its work and care, and that sleep demands its rights 
beforehand. Since I have had the drosky, in which 
there is too little room for an interpreter, I am making, to 
the smirking delight of Dmitri, the coachman, progress in 
Russian, since there is nothing left for me to do but to 
speak it tant bien que mat. I am sorry that you have not 

334 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

been able to watch with me the sudden awakening of vSpring 
here; as if it had suddenly occurred to her that she had 
overslept her time, she is putting on, in twenty-four hours, 
her entire green dress, from head to foot. . . . This whole 
preparation for war is somewhat premature, and is caus- 
ing us unnecessary expense. I hope we shall come to our 
senses finally before setting all Europe on fire, for the sake 
of obliging some little princes, and, at our own cost, help- 
ing Austria in glory out of her embarrassment. We cannot 
allow Austria either to be annihilated or, through brilliant 
victory, to be strengthened in her feeling of self-confidence 
and to make us the footstool of her greatness. But there 
is plenty of time for either case before we take the plunge, 
and many a piece of Lombard water can be dyed red, for 
things will not go forward so easily as hitherto when the 
Austrians have once placed themselves in their line of 
forts, as they should have done at the first. . . . 

It is a misfortune that I always write to you in a steam- 
ing hurry; now the foxy face of the chancery servant, 
who is in the police pay, besides, is before me again al- 
ready, and is hurrying me up, and everything I wanted 
to say is shrivelling before the fellow, who is useful, how- 
ever. I was just thinking of much more that I wanted to 
write, and now I do not know anything except that I should 
like to beat him. ... In the greatest love, 

Your most faithful V. B. 



MOSCOW, June 6, '59. 

A sign of life, at least, I want to send you from here, my 
dear, while I am waiting for the samovar, and a young 
Russian in a red shirt is struggling, with vain attempts, 
to light a fire; he blows and sighs, but it will not burn. 

335 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

After complaining so much before about the scorching heat 
I waked up to-day between Twer and here, and thought 
I was dreaming when 1 saw the land and its fresh green 
covered far and wide with snow. Nothing surprises me 
any more, so when I could no longer be in doubt about the 
fact, I turned quietly on my other side to continue sleeping 
and rolling on, although the play of the green-and-white 
colors in the morning red was not without charm. I do 
not know whether the snow still lies about Twer; here it 
is all melted, and a cool, gray rain is drizzling down on the 
sheet of roofs. Russia certainly has a perfect right to 
claim green as her color. Of the four hundred and fifty 
miles hither I slept away one hundred and eighty, but of the 
other two hundred and seventy every hand's - breadth 
was green, of all shades. Cities and villages, especially 
houses, with the exception of the stations, 1 did not notice ; 
bushy forests, chiefly birches, cover swamps and hills, 
fine growth of grass under them, long meadows between. 
So it goes for fifty, one hundred, one hundred and 
fifty miles. I don't remember to have noticed any fields, 
or any heather or sand; lonely grazing cows or horses 
waken in one now and then the conjecture that there are 
people, too, in the neighborhood. Moscow looks from 
above like a corn-field, the soldiers green, the furniture 
green, and I have no doubt that the eggs lying before me 
were laid by green hens. You will want to know how I 
happen to be here ; I have asked myself the same question, 
and presently received the answer that variety is the spice 
of life. The truth of this profound observation is es- 
pecially obvious when one has been living for ten weeks 
in a sunny hotel-room, looking out upon stone pavements. 
Besides, one's senses become somewhat blunted to the 
joys of moving, if repeated often in a short time, so I de- 

336 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

termined to forego these same pleasures, handed over all 
papers to Kliiber, gave Engel my keys, explained that 
I should take up my lodgings in the Stenbock house in 
a week, and rode to the Moscow station. That was yes- 
terday, twelve noon, and to-day early, at eight, I alighted 
here at the H6tel de France. ... It lies in the nature of 
this people to harness slowly and drive fast. I ordered 
my carriage two hours ago, and to all inquiries which I 
have been making about every ten minutes during the last 
hour and a half they say (Russian), " Ssitschass," ("im- 
mediately "), with unshaken and amiable calm, but there 
the matter ends. You know my exemplary patience in 
waiting, but everything has its limits; hunting comes 
later, and horses and carriages are broken in the bad roads, 
so that one finally takes to walking. While writing I have 
drunk three glasses of tea and made way with a number 
of eggs ; the attempts at heating up have also been so en- 
tirely successful that I feel the need of getting some fresh 
air. I should shave myself for very impatience if 1 had a 
mirror, in default of which, however, I shall send a greet- 
ing to my dear Tata, with yesterday's stubble beard. It is 
very virtuous really that my first thought is always of you 
whenever I have a moment free, and you should make an 
example of that fact. Very rambling is this city, and 
especially foreign-looking, with its churches and green 
roofs and countless cupolas, quite different from Amster- 
dam, but the two are the most original cities that I know. 
Not a single German conductor has any idea of the lug- 
gage that can be slipped into one of these coupe's; not a 
Russian without two real, covered head-cushions, chil- 
dren in baskets, and masses of provisions of every sort, 
although they eat five big meals at the stations on the 
way, breakfast at two, dinner five, tea seven, supper ten; 
Y 337 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

it's only four, to be sure, but enough for the short time. 
I was complimented by an invitation into a sleeping-coup, 
where 1 was worse off than in my easy-chair; it is a won- 
der to me that so much fuss is made over one night. 

MOSCOW, June %th. 

This city is really, for a city, the most beautiful and 
original that there is; the environs are pleasant, not 
pretty, not unsightly ; but the view from above out of the 
Kremlin, over this circle of houses with green roofs, gar- 
dens, churches, towers of the most extraordinary shape 
and color, most of them green or red or light blue, gener- 
ally crowned on top by a colossal golden bulb, usually five 





or more on one church, and surely one thousand towers! 
Anything more strangely beautiful than all this, lighted 
by slanting sunset rays, cannot be seen. The weather is 
clear again, and I should stay here some days longer if 
rumors of a big battle in Italy were not going about, which 
may result in lots of diplomatic work, so that I must get 
back to my post. The house in which I am writing is 
wonderful enough, really; one of the few that have out- 
lived 1812 old, thick walls, as in Schonhausen, Oriental 
architecture, Moorish, large rooms, almost entirely occu- 
pied by the chancery officers, who administer, or malad- 
minister, Jussupow's estates. He, his wife, and I have 
the one livable wing in the midst of them. Lots of love. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

338 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

PETERSBURG, June 25, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, I should not have been satisfied 
with the hasty lines I wrote you a week ago, and should 
have written again some days sooner, but I have had at 
last to pay some tribute to the climate. Lumbago, in un- 
usual perfection, seized upon my limbs from various sides 
at once, and though in the beginning I would not recognize 
it, it finally made itself so evident that I soon lay fettered, 
or, rather, sat, for lying down was not always an easy 
matter when these nomadically inclined tormentors chose 
their seat in my back, instead of in legs and ribs. I have 
risen from the milder mustard remedies to those of cupping 
and the Spanish fly, and in their management of these 
operations have found the Russians not quite free from 
the savagery which my political sympathy for them had 
been glad to reckon among the inventions of preju- 
dice. I believe now in the knout, although I have 
seen none as yet. Now 1 am rejoicing in the free use of 
my limbs, but I am covered, like Lazarus, with wounds 
and boils; however, that will soon heal, and I will not 
embitter my thanks to God for my recovery with com- 
plaints about this. This rheumatism, as you know, is not 
dangerous, but very painful ; and one cold followed another 
here, excessive night work, political vexation, everything 
had contributed to stomach trouble, too, and 1 am still on 
a diet, with a passion for fresh compote, which, at the price 
of one and a half rubles for the pound of cherries, and 
three and a half for the pound of strawberries, is ruin- 
ous for the father of a family. But after already eating 
cherries here three months ago at twelve rubles, and 
grapes at I don't know what, though not at my own ex- 
pense, and after being served constantly since then at 
every dinner with everything that the year produces in 

339 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

any one of its months, I think I will not deny myself these 
" rublish preserves/'. . . I was dreadfully homesick for you 
and all about you when I had to lie here so quiet and soli- 
tary, and whenever I looked at the pictures of you and 
the children 1 felt doubly forsaken. One pampers himself 
then like a house-dog, and it was the first occasion since I 
left you in Frankfort that the restless disquietude of busi- 
ness and court life had spared me time for relaxing thought. 
I am thinking more than ever of the possibility of giving 
up this driving existence, at a suitable opportunity. Who 
knows how long we shall still live together in this world, 
and who knows what kind of times we may see here? A 
man becomes a stranger to God, his own family, and him- 
self, and the keys of his soul are so out of tune that he has 
not a note left among them that could give pleasure to a 
single person. This life is lacking in what I might call 
the Sunday element not a Frankfort, but a Kolziglow 
Sunday a drop of rest in this feverish confusion, a bit of 
holiday-time in this workshop, where lies and passion 
hammer restlessly at the anvil of human ignorance. We 
say to ourselves, to be sure, that the world is going God's 
ways, and after thirty years it's all the same to us, perhaps 
even after one, whether things happened this way or that ; 
but if we try to hammer, too, we lose our breath, unless 
(like many of our friends) we provide ourselves with a 
neat-looking hammer of pasteboard and a mild little Of- 
fenbach heart of pressed leather. You must bring both 
along with you for me; here at Stenbock I haven't yet 
found them, although there is lots of wonderful furniture 
here, and the place for ours will be scant. . . . Fare- 
well, my sweetheart, and do not worry over all these 
things I have been grumbling to you about ; with God's 
help everything will come out well, and I shall be 

340 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

well and happy with you. Much love to parents and 
children. Your most faithful VON B. 



PETERHOF, June 28, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, From this date you see that I 
am on the heights again. I came here early to-day to take 
leave of "Ssudarina Matuschka," Czarina Mammy, who 
goes to sea to-morrow. To me she seems to have some- 
thing motherly in her lovely naturalness, and I can talk 
to her as unreservedly as though I had known her from 
childhood. She talked to me a long time to-day about 
many things; on a balcony with a view over the green, 
knitting at a white-and-red woollen shawl, with long wood- 
en needles, she lay dressed in black, in a chaise-longue. I 
should have liked to listen for hours to her deep voice and 
honest laughing and chiding, so much at home did 1 feel. 
I had come in a dress-coat for a couple of hours only, but 
when she finally said she did not want to say good-bye to 
me yet, but I had probably a tremendous amount to do, I de- 
clared, " Not in the least" ; and then she said, " Stay, then, 
until 1 leave to-morrow." I was glad to take the invita- 
tion as a command, for it's charming here, and so stony 
in Petersburg. Imagine the heights of Oliva and Zoppot 
all dressed up with pleasure-grounds and with a dozen 
castles between, with terraces, fountains, and lakes, with 
shady walks and lawns, all the way to the sea, blue sky 
and warm sun, with white clouds, and out beyond the greerv 
sea of tree-tops the real, blue sea, with sails and gulls; 
nothing has done me so much good for a long time. The 
Czar and Gortschakoff come in a few hours ; then, 1 sup- 
pose, some business will break in upon the idyl ; but, thank 
Heaven, it looks somewhat more peaceful in the world, in 

341 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

spite of our preparations for the field, and I do not need to 
trouble myself so much about resolutions that I could not 
approve. I have come to feel sorry for the Austrian sol- 
diers ; they must be led too stupidly, to have met with so 
many defeats on the 24th again! The French will be- 
come over-confident. It is a lesson for Rechberg and his 
Ministers which they, in their obduracy, will not take to 
heart at all. We should undoubtedly have stood by them, 
if we had had even enough confidence in them to believe 
that they would not betray us while we were fighting for 
them. I should fear France less than Austria from the 
moment we took the war upon ourselves. . . . Have Schmidt* 
bring along what he needs for the children in the way of 
teaching things, books, etc., etc. There is nothing of the 
kind here. Dearest love to old and young and middle- 
aged. Farewell, my darling. 

Your most faithful VON B. 



PETERSBURG, July 2, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, I received your letter of the 25th 
yesterday, and you will probably get to-morrow the one 
that I sent to Stettin on Wednesday with the Dowager 
Czarina. My homesick heart follows its course with yearn- 
ing thoughts; it was such charming clear weather and 
fresh winds when we escorted her Highness on board in 
Peterhof that I should have liked to leap on the ship, in 
uniform and without baggage, and go along with her. 
Since then the heat has grown worse, about the tem- 
perature of a freely watered palm -house, and my lack 
of summer materials is making itself decidedly felt. I 

* Tutor. 
342 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

go about in the rooms in my shirt alone, as the dear 
blue dressing-gown is too narrow, even now at six 
o'clock in the morning. A courier wakened me half an 
hour ago, with his war and peace, and I cannot sleep 
any more now, although I did not get to bed until 
towards two. Our politics are drifting more and more into 
the Austrian wake, and as soon as we have fired a shot on 
the Rhine, then it's all over with the war between Italy 
and Austria, and, instead of that, a war between France 
and Prussia will take the stage, in which Austria, after 
we have taken the burden from her shoulders, will stand 
by us or will not stand by us, just as her own interests 
dictate. She will certainly not suffer us to play a glori- 
ously victorious role. It is quite remarkable that in such 
crises Catholic ministers always hold the reins of our des- 
tiny Radowitz once before, now Hohenzollern, who just 
now has the predominant influence, and is in favor of war. 
I look very darkly into the future ; our troops are not better 
than the Austrian, because they only serve half as long; 
and the German troops, on whose support we reckon, are 
for the most part quite wretched, and, if things go ill with 
us, their leaders will fall away from us like dry leaves in 
the wind. But God, who can hold up and throw down 
Prussia, and the world, knows why these things must be, 
and we will not embitter ourselves against the land in 
which we were born, and against the authorities for whose 
enlightenment we pray. After thirty years, perhaps 
much sooner, it will be a small matter to us how things 
stand with Prussia and Austria, if only the mercy of 
God and the deserving of Christ remain to our souls. 1 
opened the Scriptures last evening, at random, so as to rid 
my anxious heart of politics, and my eye lighted imme- 
diately on the 5th verse of the iioth Psalm. As God wills 

343 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocx. 

it is all, to be sure, only a question of time, nations and peo- 
ple, folly and wisdom, war and peace ; they come and go 
like waves of water, and the sea remains. What are our 
states and their power and honor before God, except as ant- 
hills and bee-hives which the hoof of an ox tramples down, 
or fate, in the form of a honey-farmer, overtakes? . . . Fare- 
well, my sweetheart, and learn to experience life's folly in 
sadness ; there is nothing in this world but hypocrisy and 
jugglery, and whether fever or grape-shot shall bear away 
this mass of flesh, fall it must, sooner or later, and then 
such a resemblance will appear between a Prussian and 
an Austrian, if they are of the same size, like Schrech and 
Rechberg, for example, that it will be difficult to distin- 
guish between them ; the stupid and the clever, too, prop- 
erly reduced to the skeleton state, look a good deal like each 
other. Patriotism for a particular country is destroyed 
by this reflection, but we should have to despair in any 
case, even now, were it linked with our salvation. Fare- 
well once more, with love to parents and children. How 
impatient I am to see them ! As soon as Vriendschap so 
our vessel is called is in sight, I shall telegraph. With 
love, as always, Your most faithful VON B. 



LAZIENKI, October 17, '59. 

MY DEAR HEART, Here I am at Lazienki. This 
morning I was looking in the first Polish station for the 
ticket-office, so as to be registered for this place, when a 
benevolent fate in the shape of a white-bearded Russian 
general seized me (Prittivitz is the angel's name), and be- 
fore I could really recover my senses my passport was 
wrested from the police and my luggage from the custom- 
house officials, and I was transplanted from the way-train 

344 



1859] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

to the special of the Prince of Orange, and was sitting, a 
cigar of this charming young gentleman in my mouth, be- 
tween three Dutchmen and two Russians in a royal draw- 
ing-room car, and, after a good dinner in Petrikau or Piots- 
koff, arrived at the station here, where the Emperor was 
awaiting the Prince, and where I was separated by the 
gilded crowd from Alexander and baggage. My carriage 
was waiting ; I had to get in, and my questions, which I 
called out in various languages, as to where I was to lodge 
and as to my wish to notify Alexander Raymond of the 
place, died away in the clatter of the wagon with which 
two excited stallions were galloping me off into the night. 
It must have been half an hour that I was driven in wild 
haste through the darkness, and now I am sitting here in 
uniform with the ribbon of the order which we all donned 
at the last station, tea near me, a mirror before me, and I 
don't know a thing beyond the fact that I am in the Stanis- 
laus August pavilion, in Lazienki; I don't know where 
that is, and live in the hope that Alexander, with a some- 
what more comfortable costume, will soon discover traces 
of me. Judging from the rushing noise, there seem to be 
high trees or fountains in front of my window ; except for a 
great many people in court-livery, I haven't discovered any 
human beings about. . . . The Emperor comes early on 
the 23d to Breslau, stays there till a week from to-day, 
and then, my angel, with two days' delay, I shall come to 
you. . . . With hearty love, 

Your most faithful V. B. 



LAZIENKI, October 19, '59. 

MY BELOVED, I can only tell you simply that I am 
well. Yesterday 1 was en grandeur all day: breakfast 

345 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [APR. 

with the Emperor, then long audience, just as gracious as 
in P., and very sympathetic; calls, dinner at his Maj- 
esty's theatre in the evening, very good ballet, and all 
boxes full of pretty women. Now I have slept splendidly, 
the tea is standing on the table, and after I have drunk it 
I go out driving. Early on the 23d the Emperor comes to 
Breslau; early on the 25th we shall probably go to Ber- 
lin. The aforementioned tea, which I just drank, con- 
sisted really not only of tea, but of coffee, six eggs, three 
kinds of meat, pastry, and one bottle of Bordeaux, and 
from the breach that I made in it early in the morning you 
would see that my journey did not do me any harm. The 
wind is blowing here over the Vistula as though giving 
vent to its wrath, and is rummaging in the chestnuts and 
lindens that surround me, so that the yellow leaves whirl 
against the windows; but here, within, with double win- 
dows, tea, and the thought of you and the children, it is 
easy to smoke my cigar in cosey comfort. Unfortunately 
all comfort in the world has its precise limits, and I am only 
waiting till the people in the next room, where I hear Alex- 
ander's voice gayly asking for a corkscrew, have finished 
their breakfast, to throw myself into a carriage and to 
drive first to various castles and castellets, and then into 
town. Eulenburg * has just been announced. Farewell. 
Lots of love to all. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, Wednesday, April 25, '60. 

"No hope is realized; in the young man's/' etc., etc. I 
have just come out from my audience of leave No. 4 ; but it 

* Consul-General at Warsaw. 
346 



i86oj THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

is not the last. Kindly but imperative request that I re- 
main " a few days " longer, and regards to you. 

Yesterday I dined with old Fr. Lottum. I have now 
discovered that new port wine is very good for me. In 
the evening I was with Agnes Pourtales until twelve. I 
had really hoped to leave to-morrow, and am now some- 
what bewildered and depressed. My longing grows with 
every glimpse of the sun. Give hearty love to old and 
young, and especially to dad. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

The sparrows are sitting, with ruffled feathers, on the 
balcony railing, and thinking, " Where is Nannie with the 
Zwieback?" 

BERLIN, Friday. 
(Postmarked April 27, '60 ) 

As in old days, my heart, I write to you once again from 
the Chamber to-day the Upper House. . . . My longing to 
get away from here is getting to be a disease with me; 
homesickness for the northeast, and ideal pictures of home- 
life on the Neva infest my dreams. How long, God, 
how long? The flight of marble stairs, the green-room, 
and the boats on the Spree are unendurable to me. Fare- 
well. God be with you all, and bring us together soon. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

B., Friday. 

(Postmarked BERLIN, May 4, '60.) 

I have sent you envelopes to-day, my dearest heart. 
If there are not fifty, or if they are not the right ones, then 
we are defrauded, but they cost only ten silver groschen. 
Last evening I was at the Regent's. I was complaining 

347 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

about the cold, windy weather. " And do you want to go to 
Petersburg in this weather?" he put in. I said it wasn't 
any worse there than here, and a person must live some- 
where, hence my wish to leave. Then Prince Fr. Wilh. 
said : " I sha'n't say good-bye to you any more, however, 
for I have done so four times already, and you are still 
here/' Thereupon I cast at his father a glance which 
meant, "There, you hear it from your own son," but just 
as I did so he turned away and left us standing there. 
Those are bad prospects, and yet I cannot say anything 
to your Reinfeld questions of to-day, but will await the 
reply to an official inquiry about my leaving, which I sent 
in yesterday to the Ministry. 

The delegates had a sharp quarrel to-day. Moritz fell 
upon Schleinitz, good in thought, weak in expression, 
but courageous. It would only lead to their suspecting 
me of it and saying to me, " Sir, just clear off to your post!" 
I make myself as disagreeable as possible. I must go to 
Oscar's now, or they'll die of hunger there. 

BERLIN, Monday. 
(Postmarked May 7, '60.) 

... I am sitting here on the balcony cliff, 1 ke the Lorelei, 
and I see the Spree skipper pass through fie lock, but I 
am not singing and am not taking the troubl 3 to comb my 
hair. I think I am getting terribly old in this hotel ; the 
seasons and the tribes of travellers and waiters pass by 
before me, and I stay on in the little green-room, feed the 
sparrows, and lose more hair every day. . . . The wheel of 
time has forgotten me, like the Red-beard in the KyfT- 
hauser, and I wait and wait for things that never come. 
After three days' vain efforts I met Schleinitz yesterday, 
accidentally, at a dinner at Redern's; my request that the 

348 



1860] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Countess Perpoucher and 1 should be either freed from 
suspense, or else temporarily married to each other for the 
rest of the time of waiting, seemed to him just, and he was 
willing to help the Countess, at least, by giving Per- 
poucher* leave of absence, and handing the business over 
to Croy again, as there wasn't anything special to do. I 
declared, rather dryly, that I should prefer going away to 
enduring any longer this " lagging and dragging torment 
of suspense/' He then begged me to wait quietly "a few 
days" longer, and hinted vaguely at important changes. 
I told him that I had no desire for such a thing ; I wanted 
to remain what I was; let them send me to Frankfort, if 
they wanted, and then the anxieties now weighing upon 
him could be lightened. "Would you really if it were 
offered?" "Yes." "But Olympia?" "Well, I can't 
marry her, but my house in Petersburg shall be free to 
her if we exchange." Therewith the conversation ended. 
The fact that Schleinitz is at one with Auerswald, Ho- 
henzollern, and the Regent, in wanting to keep me here, 
proves that no decisions have been made even yet in the 
most important matters. The thought of living in Berlin 
is not agreeable to me; if I cannot go to Frankfort, then 
my first choice would be Petersburg, and then London 
or Naples, rather than here. But as God wills; it is al- 
ready too much that I have expressed the wish to go to 
Frankfort. . . . Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, Saturday. 
(Postmarked May 12, '60.) 

I am well, my heart ; sending, herewith, pictures, gloves, 
lorgnette. Upon my further attempt to get off, irritability, 

* Count Perpoucher was charge d'affaires in Petersburg. 
349 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, '60 

and command to remain, sans phrase. So for the present 
I can do nothing but grumble inwardly. Thousand greet- 
ings. Thiergarten my comfort. Nightingales charming ; 
green, but very hot. Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, May 17, '60. 

MY DEAR HEART, This is Ascension-Day that is 
all very fine, but, unfortunately, not Departure-Day, and 
that is very sad. I am waiting in quiet resignation, and 
reckoning, dejectedly, that I still have a whole week before 
the session ends. For almost two weeks I haven't spoken 
a word of business, or, at any rate, business of my office, 
and for a week longer it will be just the same. Couldn't I 
have been with you quietly for three weeks? I am very 
melancholy over this wasting of the most beautiful time 
in the year, especially when I say to myself beforehand 
that no substantial result of any kind will come of it. Feed- 
ing sparrows, Roder and Harry appearing as usual, dinner 
at Oscar's all just as before you left, only no more heat- 
ing, and the bare bushes in the green plot have turned 
into mountains of white blossoms. I called on the Coun- 
tess Perpoucher yesterday, and found her in mild despair ; 
she is going off with the children to some watering-place 
without waiting for her husband. The children wrote me 
very nicely to-day ; thank them for it, and tell them to read 
their letters over carefully before they send them, so as to 
discover where they have dropped words or written non- 
sense, and correct them. That much time they must be 
willing to give it. I am going to the Thiergarten my only 
amusement. Only to-day it will be very full. Farewell. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

Rooce challenged Vincken; but I hope we can smooth 

350 




PRINCESS BISMARCK 

1885 



MAY,'6 2 ] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the matter over. Really, this time there is no reason for it ; 
we ourselves say much more aggravating things to other 
Ministers; business must bring that in its train, and in 
every Parliament there are churls, but one doesn't always 
shoot them down right away. Love to all. 

BERLIN, May 17, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, At last I have had news of you 
yesterday evening and am very thankful that God's 
gracious protection has accompanied you and kept you 
through all dangers. . . . You have behaved with courage 
and decision, like Joanna of Orleans, but still it makes me 
rather anxious to have you travel without a servant. The 
exertion of going to Wygode, and the care connected with 
it, cannot have done you any good, in your poor, feeble 
health. Our dear parents will nurse you into better weight 
again. Mother has probably scolded well at my handing 
you over in such a thin condition. I am thankful that you 
are in the haven. Our future is just as uncertain as in 
Petersburg; Berlin is more in the foreground; I do noth- 
ing for and nothing against it, but I shall drink myself 
tipsy when I once have my Paris credentials in my pocket. 
London is entirely out of the question for the present, but 
everything may be changed again. The King is very 
gracious, talks over everything with me, except future 
ambassadorships. . . . Hearty love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, May 21, '62. 
Fran von Bismarck, Schonhausen, Reinfeld, near Old 

Pomerania : 

MY DEAR HEART, Your letter came yesterday, to 
my delight, with the Wentzel enclosure, which I will at- 

351 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [MAY, 

tend to. There is still no decision made here. Perhaps 
Heydt's ambition will save me; he wants to be minister- 
president himself ; besides, I do not wish for this position 
unless I have the foreign office with it, and Bemstorff 
wants to stay, or to hold London open for himself, too. 
Saturday I shall have been here two weeks ; then I shall 
explode and demand my dismissal. . . . Yesterday 1 was 
with the widowed Queen an hour and a half ; very amiable 
in sadness, reminiscence, and tears. The photograph in 
mourning is not in the least like her. I was in Sans Souci 
again for the first time since the autumn of '57, and many 
pictures of the past rose up before me out of the blossoming 
bushes. I am engaged every hour of the day, without 
really having anything to do, and necessity for calls just 
as bad as in Petersburg. Farewell, beloved angel. Much 
love. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, May 23, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, You have already seen in the 
papers that I have been appointed to Paris. I am very 
glad of it, but the shadow remains in the background. 1 
was already as good as caught for the ministry; my dis- 
approval of the affair over the electorate of Hesse and the 
indecision of Bernstorff have set me free for the present. 
I asked definitely and officially for an appointment, or 
leave to depart, and three hours later received my appoint- 
ment, as Bernstorff could not decide so quickly about his 
resignation. I leave as soon as 1 can get away, to-morrow or 
day after, for Paris. ... I am not coming to you beforehand, 
because I want first to take possession in Paris ; perhaps 
they will discover another minister-president when I am 
once out of their sight. I am not going to Schonhausen, 

352 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

either, for fear they might keep me tied down here again. 
I rode about as major for four hours yesterday, so I re- 
ceived my appointment to Paris in the saddle. The chest- 
nut mare is here, and is my joy and relaxation in the Thier- 
garten; 1 shall take her with me. The bears left yester- 
day for Frankfort. I have both hands full to make it pos- 
sible to get off. The next letter, I hope, from Paris ; write 
me there, "Ambassade de Prusse, Rue de Lille." Fare- 
well, my sweetheart. A thousand greetings. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, May 25, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, You write very seldom, and with- 
out doubt you have more time for it than I. I have hardly 
had a really good night's sleep since I have been here. 
Yesterday I went out at eight in the morning, came back 
in haste to the house five times to change my clothes ; at 
eight went to Potsdam again to see Prince Frederick 
Charles, and back here again at eleven. To-day, at four, 
1 have just had my first free minute, and am using it to 
heap this fiery coal on your black head. I expect to leave 
for Paris to-morrow, at latest Tuesday; whether for long 
Heaven only knows; perhaps only for months or weeks. 
They are all conspiring here to make me stay, and I shall 
be very thankful when I have gained a resting-place on 
the Seine, and have a porter who will admit no one to me 
for several days. ... I don't know yet whether I can send 
our chattels to Paris at all ; for it's possible I shall be called 
back here before they arrive. I am attempting flight, 
rather than taking up a new abode. I have had to be very 
severe in order to get away, for the present, from this hotel 
life of procrastination. I am ready for all that God may 

z 353 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JuNE, 

send, and bewail only being separated from you without 
being able to calculate on the time when we shall see each 
other again. If there is any prospect of my staying in 
Paris till winter, then, I think, you will follow me soon, 
and we will settle down comfortably, even though it be for 
a short time. It will have to be settled in July whether 
I return before the end of the summer session, or remain 
longer in Paris, and long enough to bring you all over. 
I shall do what I can to bring about the latter result, and, 
anyway, I should like to have you come to Paris, if only 
for a short time, and without any regular establishment, 
so that you may have seen it. There was a grand military 
dinner yesterday, where I figured as major parade be- 
forehand. The chestnut mare is my daily delight in 
the Thiergarten, but not quite enough for military pur- 
poses. Now I am going to a farewell dinner at Malle's 
with numerous friends; at last a free noon. Give love 
and kisses to big and small, and write to me. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



PARIS, May 31, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, Only a few lines in the press of 
business to tell you I am well, but very lonely, with a view 
out over the green, in this dull, rainy weather, while the 
bumble-bees hum and the sparrows twitter. Grand au- 
dience to-morrow. It's vexatious that I have to buy linen, 
towels, table-cloths, and sheets. . . . Farewell. Hearty 
love, and write! Your most faithful V. B. 

PARIS, June i, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, The Emperor received me to-day, 
and I handed over my credentials ; he received me kindly, 

354 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

is looking well, has grown somewhat stouter, but by no 
means fat and aged, as he generally is in caricatures. 
The Empress is still one of the most beautiful women I 
know, in spite of Petersburg ; she has, if anything, grown 
more beautiful in the past five years. The whole affair 
was official, ceremonial; I was taken back in court-car- 
riage with master of ceremonies, etc. Next time I shall 
probably have a private audience. I long for business, 
for I don't know what to do with myself. To-day I dined 
alone, the young gentlemen were out; the entire evening 
rain; and at home alone. To whom should I go? In 
the midst of big Paris I am lonelier than you are at Rein- 
feld, and sit here like a rat in a deserted house. The only 
pleasure I have had was sending the cook away because 
of overcharges. You know my indulgence in this mat- 
ter, but Rembours was a child in comparison. I am dining 
for the present in a cafe. How long that will last, God 
knows. I shall probably receive a summons, by telegram, 
to Berlin, in eight or ten days, and then good-bye to this 
song -and -dance. If my opponents only knew what a 
boon their victory would be to me, and how heartily I de- 
sire it ! Then Rechberg would, perhaps, out of malice, do 
his best to have me called to Berlin. You can't have any 
more aversion to Wilhelmstrasse than myself, and if I am 
not persuaded that it must be, then I will not go. I con- 
sider it cowardice and disloyalty to leave the King in the 
lurch, under pretence of illness. If it is not to be, then 
God will permit those who search to find another princillon 
who will offer himself as cover for the pot. If it is to be, 
then "s'Bogom" ("with God"), as our Russian drivers 
used to say, when they took up the reins. . . . 

Your V. B. 
355 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

PARIS, June 18, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, To-day, at the above date, I have 
had to bring myself to lighting a fire, after struggling 
against the thought for several days. It rains every liv- 
ing day, hard only last night, and when the sun once shows 
himself I sit down on a chair in the garden and let him 
shine on my back. I don't like to go out any more in the 
evening; for, as the Parisians have the firm and fixed 
idea that they live in a very warm climate, they would 
consider it insulting to the honor of their country if they 
did not have doors and windows open until midnight, and 
did not sit in forty-five or fifty degrees, in a draught, and 
in damp, cold winds. They are incredibly hardened to it, 
and wear linen trousers because the calendar says it is 
summer. . . . Nothing definite yet from Berlin. Bought 
Paris guide. Farewell, my beloved angel. God be with 
you and your flock. Hearty love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

LONDON, June 30, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, So you see I did have to come to 
London, and I have been here, with Harry Arnim, for an 
hour, having left Paris at nine to-day; very pretty green 
country on both sides of the channel, and a merry wind on 
the sea; the ride took about one and three-quarter hours 
from Boulogne to Folkestone, and now I am sitting at No. 
41 c, Park Street, Grosvenor Square, in a cosey room, wait- 
ing for dinner, very hungry Now I have had dinner, 
and am going out, so I will close ; I only wanted to tell you 
that I am here and well, and send you hearty love. I ex- 
pect to go back to Paris on Thursday, and to find there, 
by God's help, good news of you and the children. Lots of 
love. Your most faithful V. B. 

356 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

PARIS, July 5, Evening. 

MY DEAR HEART, I have just got back from London ; 
rejoice to find your two letters, the second Tuesday's, 
and send only the news that I am very well, but too sleepy 
to say one word more. It was very nice there, but the 
English ministers know less about Russia than about 
Japan and the Mongols, and they are not cleverer than 
ours, either. Hearty love. 

Your tired V. B. 

Harry is playing very nicely on the embassy's Erard. 



July 18, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I got leave, yesterday, of six 
weeks, and it seems very strange to me that I do not use 
it to make a bee-line to you, so as to enjoy the delight of 
being in your midst, after so long a separation. But I 
have only the choice of growing fast to the hotel in Berlin 
again, or taking advantage of mountain and sea air here. 
There is nothing to keep me in Paris. The city is deserted 
by the people with whom I have to do. My request for 
leave was answered at once by a summons to come first to 
Berlin. I know the business. I answered that mountain 
and sea air had been prescribed for me, and that I needed 
to be invigorated by it if I were to play the minister after- 
wards. Thereupon leave was granted me to go to Ba- 
gneres de Luchon. I dare not venture to slip incognito 
through Berlin, or to Reinfeld, close by, without giving 
offence in high quarters, and if I made my way to Stolp- 
munde, still I should not be able to get through Berlin 
without paying toll of several weeks. They all declare 
there that they are in need of sea-cure, and unhappy at 

357 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

having to spend their time in Berlin. Besides, I really 
promise myself the best effect on my health from my so- 
journ in the mountains, and hope, after six weeks, when I 
have promised to come to Berlin, to see you all again, safe 
and sound. . . . 

It's not endurable here any longer; annoyance with 
the cooking is my only change. Theatre in this heat a 
sweat-bath, and almost nothing to do and no acquaint- 
ances. Yesterday Ewald Ungern was a passing relief. 
He has gone to Berlin to-day, and turns in at Hohendorf, 
if he finds that Uncle Alex is there. I am divided between 
contentment at leaving the hot dust here and vexation at 
seeing our separation so prolonged; but I would rather 
stay here and yawn than be at anchor in the H6tel Royal. 
Commending you all to God's faithful protection, and with 
dearest love, Your most faithful V. B. 



TROUVILLE, July 20, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, I came out here to see whether I 
could get a few baths here; but it is too tiresome, and the 
thought of spending weeks here unendurable. Shore, 
sea, lay of the coast as beautiful as can be, but the egoistic 
unsociableness of the French makes a stay here only pos- 
sible when one brings an establishment along. Every 
one lives by himself, with his wife. The Metterniches have 
a bevy of relatives who live, six couples strong, in a big 
house. There it is moderately amusing in the evening, 
as much so as it can be for one who finds himself a stran- 
ger in a circle of intimate friends. But during the entire 
day everybody lives unto himself alone; one dines here 
with French people at table d'hdte, silent as in a Carthusian 
monastery, and my room, without a sofa, would be unen- 

358 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

durable if it had not a view over the sea. I should leave 
this evening if I had not accepted an invitation to Metter- 
nich's. So to-morrow I shall probably move on, either to 
Cherbourg, to see fleet and iron-clads, or to Paris, thus 
leaving one day later for the south. Whether I shall put 
the trip through I don't yet know; I have a feeling of 
homesickness that next thing I shall be casting all con- 
sideration for Berlin to the four winds and coming to you 
all. A very pretty Countess Pourtales is here, but I am 
so bored that I can't manage to fall in love with her even 
the least little bit. Otherwise I am very well, and am 
breathing the sea-air with delight. But one forgets en- 
tirely how to talk, among these doleful French, every one 
of whom fears to be taken for less than he would like, and 
with that idea stares at his own nose and has nothing to 
do with anybody else. 

My pen won't write, steel and sputters! Farewell, my 
angel. I shall find news from you in Paris to-morrow, or, 
if I should go to Cherbourg, then Thursday. Lots of love. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



BLOIS, July 25, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, ... A strange mixture of outer 
luxury and inner poverty is a French provincial town like 
this. I am sitting before a mar.ble mantel-piece with a 
gold mirror, in front of it a handsome clock which won't 
go. I am writing at an old broken gaming-table, with a 
narrow-necked earthen bottle as inkstand, in a room ten 
feet square, drinking seltzer (siphon), with sir op de gro- 
seilles. For affluence such a town is far beyond one of 
ours of its size, but I could not live here. The disparity, 
not only in education, but in manners and good-breeding 

359 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

is very appreciable in comparison with our customs. Even 
in Paris polite forms are customary only in the higher 
circles of society, and just as soon as you have left the ban- 
lieue behind, you encounter a peasant-like awkwardness 
in forms of intercourse beside which the good tone of the 
bourgeoisie in Rummelsberg or Schlawe appears in brilliant 
light. The officers, too, whose fleeting acquaintance I 
made in the cafe, disturb, by their bad manners, the feeling 
of sincere appreciation I have for this really excellent army. 
In a military way, we can learn a great deal from them, 
and you know my preference for all soldiers, but c'est 
etonnant, comme on est mat eleve et inhospitalier. . . . Best 
love to parents and children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BORDEAUX, July 27, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, You cannot refuse to testify that 
I am a good correspondent; I wrote this morning from 
Chenonceaux to your birthday-child, and now this even- 
ing, from the city of red wine, to you. But these lines 
will arrive a day later than those, as the mail does not 
leave until to-morrow afternoon. I left Paris only day 
before yesterday noon, but it seems to me a week. I have 
seen very beautiful castles Chambord, of which the en- 
closure (torn out of a book) gives only an imperfect idea, 
corresponds, in its desolation, to the fate of its owner (I 
hope you know it belongs to the Duke of Bordeaux). In 
the wide halls and magnificent rooms, where so many 
kings kept their court, with their mistresses and their 
hunting, the Duke's only furniture consists now of the 
children's toys. My guide took me for a French Legiti- 
mist, and squeezed out a tear as she showed me the little 

360 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

cannon. I paid for the tear-drop, tariff-wise, with an ex- 
tra franc, although it is not my vocation to subsidize Carl- 
ism. The castle court-yards lay in the sun as quiet as 
deserted churches; there is a distant view round about 
from the towers, but on all sides silent woods and heather 
to the farthest horizon; not a city, not a village, not a 
farm-house, either near the castle or in the region round 
it. The enclosed sprigs, specimens of heather, will no longer 
show you how purple this plant I love so much blooms 
here, the only flower in the royal garden, and swallows 
the only living creatures in the castle; it is too solitary 
for sparrows. The situation of the old castle of Amboise is 
glorious ; from the top you can look up and down the Loire 
for about thirty miles. Coming from there to this place one 
passes gradually into the south ; wheat disappears, giving 
way to maize ; between, twining vines and chestnut woods, 
castles and country-seats, with many towers, chimneys, 
and jutties, all white, with high-pointed slate roofs. It 
was boiling hot, and I was very glad to have a half-coupe 
to myself. In the evening glorious lightning in the whole 
eastern sky, and now an agreeable coolness, which I should 
find sultry at home. The sun set at 7.35; in Petersburg 
one can see now, without a light, at eleven o'clock. As 
yet there is no letter for me here; perhaps I shall find one 
in Bayonne. I shall stay here probably two days, to see 
where our wines grow. Now, good-night, my angel. 
Dearest love. Your most faithful V. B. 



SAN SEBASTIAN, August i, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, I could not have believed last 
year that I should celebrate Bill's birthday this time in 
Spain. I shall not fail to drink his health in dark red 

361 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

wine, and I pray God earnestly to take and keep all of you 
under His protection ; it is now half past three, and I imag- 
ine you have just got up from table and are sitting in the 
front hall at your coffee, if the sun permits. The sun is 
probably not so scalding there as it is here, but it doesn't 
do me any harm, and I am feeling splendidly well. The 
route from Bayonne here is glorious ; on the left the Pyre- 
nees, something like the Dent du Midi and Molson, which, 
however, are here called "Pie" and "Port/' in shifting 
Alpine panorama, on the right the shores of the sea, like 
those at Genoa. The change in entering Spain is sur- 
prising; at Behobie, the last place in France, one could 
easily believe one's self still on the Loire; in Fuentarabia 
a steep street, twelve feet wide, every window with bal- 
cony and curtain, every balcony with black eyes and man- 
tillas, beauty and dirt; at the market-place drums and 
fifes, and some hundreds of women, old and young, danc- 
ing a fandango, while the men in their drapery looked on, 
smoking. Thus far the country is exceptionally beauti- 
ful green valleys and wooded slopes, with fantastic lines 
of fortifications above them, row after row; inlets of the 
sea, with very narrow entrances, which cut deep into the 
land, like Salzburg lakes in mountain basins. I look 
down on such a one from my window, separated from the 
sea by an island of rocks, set in a steep frame of mountains 
with woods and houses, below to the left city and harbor. 
My old friend Galen, who is taking the baths here, with 
wife and son, received me most warmly; I bathed with 
him at ten, and after breakfast we walked, or, rather, 
crawled, through the heat up to the citadel, and sat for a 
long time on a bench there, the sea a hundred feet be- 
low us, near us a heavy fortress-battery, with a singing 
sentry. This hill or rock would be an island did not a low 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

tongue of land connect it with the mainland. This tongue 
of land separates two inlets from each other, so you get 
towards the north a distant view of the sea from the citadel, 
towards the east and west a view of both inlets, like two 
Swiss lakes, and towards the south of the tongue of land, 
with the town on it, and behind it, landward, mountains 
as high as the heavens. I wish I could paint you a picture 
of it, and if we both were fifteen years younger then we 
would take a trip here together. To-morrow, or day after, 
I go back to Bayonne. ... I am very much sunburned, and 
should have liked best to float on the ocean for an hour to- 
day ; the water bears me up like a piece of wood. It is still 
just cool enough to be pleasant. By the time one gets to 
the dressing-room one is almost dry, and I put on my hat, 
only, and take a walk in my peignoir. The ladies bathe 
fifty paces away custom of the country. ... I do not like 
the Spaniards so well as I like their country; they are not 
polite, talk too loud, and the conditions are in many ways 
behind those in Russia. Custom-houses and passport 
annoyances without end, an incredible number of turn- 
pike tolls, four francs for one hour's drive, or else 1 should 
stay here still longer, instead of bathing in Biarritz, where 
a bathing-suit is necessary. Love to our dear parents and 
children. Farewell, my angel. 

Your V. B. 



BIARRITZ, August 4, '62. 

. . . I am sitting in a corner room of the H6tel de TEurope, 
with a charming lookout over the blue sea, which drives 
its white foam between wonderful cliffs and against the 
light-house. I have a bad conscience, seeing so many 
beautiful things without you. If one could only bring 

363 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auc. 

you hither through the air, I would go right back again to 
San Sebastian. Imagine the Siebengebirge with the 
Drachenfels placed by the sea; next to it Ehrenbreit- 
stein, and between the two an arm of the sea, somewhat 
wider than the Rhine, forcing its way into the land, and 
forming a round bay behind the mountains. In this you 
bathe in water transparently clear, and so heavy and salty 
that you can lie easily right on top of it and can look 
through the wide gate of rocks to the sea, or landward, 
where the mountain chains tower up one after another 
ever higher and ever bluer. The women of the middle 
and lower classes are strikingly pretty, sometimes beauti- 
ful; the men surly and impolite, and the comforts of life 
to which we are accustomed in civilized lands are entirely 
lacking. In this respect I find Russia pleasanter to travel 
in than Spain. What actually drove me out of the country 
was the swinishness in certain indispensable arrangements, 
and then the cheating in the hotels, and the tolls. The 
heat there is no worse than here, and doesn't bother me; 
on the contrary, I am very well, thank Heaven. Day be- 
fore yesterday there was a storm whose like I have never 
seen. I had to make three attempts before I succeeded in 
climbing the flight of four steps at the head of the pier. 
Pieces of stone and of trees flew through the air; so I un- 
fortunately gave up my place in a sailing-vessel for Ba- 
yonne, as I didn't believe it possible that all would be quiet 
and cheerful again in four hours' time; so I missed a 
charming sail along the coast, stayed one day longer in 
San Sebastian, and left yesterday by the diligence, rather 
uncomfortably packed in between attractive little Spanish 
women, to whom I could not speak a single word. Still, 
they understood Italian enough for me to make clear to 
them my satisfaction with their exterior. Gr. Gallen and 

364 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

wife were very kind to me. As I was looking for a fan, they 
presented me with theirs for you ; it is simple, but painted 
in style characteristic of the country. You would like the 
wife very much ; he, too, is a good fellow, but she amounts 
to more intellectually. 1 got Bernhard's long-expected 
letter to-day. He looks very black over politics, is ex- 
pecting another child, and is building barns and stables. 
I long for news from you and the children. . . . Dearest 
love to all. Your most faithful V. B. 



BIARRITZ, August 10, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART, ... I am living about as at 
Stolpemiinde, only without champagne; I drank some 
with Orloff to-day, for the first time since 1 left Paris. In 
the afternoon I wander about among the cliffs, heaths, 
and fields, see orchards with aloe, figs, almonds, and bor- 
ders of tamarinds, then I do some target-shooting, take 
my bath, sit on the rocks, smoking, gazing at the sea, and 
thinking of you all. Politics I have entirely forgotten; 
don't read any papers. The 15 th has some claims upon 
me; for propriety's sake I ought to go to Paris, too, since 
I am in France, so as to congratulate the Emperor, hear 
his speech, and attend the dinner. But I shall hardly 
bring myself to the point of travelling over five hundred 
miles and interrupting the air-and-water cure, which is 
doing me so much good that 1 actually hate the thought 
of the dusty, close air of the royal residence. The Em- 
peror is too reasonable a gentleman to take my absence 
amiss, and from Berlin I have an honest leave of absence. 
. . . Farewell, my angel, with dearest love. 

Your most faithful 

V. B. 
365 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

BIARRITZ, August n, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I am hoping every day that 
the mail will bring a letter from you here to the shore, in 
consequence of my asking you to write via Paris, where 
it is known that 1 am here; to-morrow, perhaps! I have 
been without news since 1 left San Sebastian, and may God 
grant that the next may be good. It is my fault for stay- 
ing here; but the first baths in the warm, salty foam of 
the waves did me so much good that I stayed, and so it 
is still ; after each bath I feel a year less in my aging head ; 
and if it should amount to thirty (seventeen I have taken 
already, counting Trouville and Sebastian), you will see 
me again as a Gb'ttingen student. Unfortunately, the 
catch-polls are after me. A letter from Bernstorff is pur- 
suing me, has been announced to me by telegram, was 
sent by a lucky misunderstanding to Bagneres de Luchon, 
whence it cannot reach me for four days mountains with- 
out railroad and daily mail. If it only does not bring a 
direct summons to Berlin ! I am all sea-salt and sun. Since 
the Orloffs have come I have not wanted companionship. 
Him you know, and you would like her just as well. She 
has quite your distaste for court and salon, like a Pom- 
eranian damsel with just enough tincture of the big world. 
We walked to-day from seven to ten, over roads and heaths, 
then till after twelve 1 climbed alone about the cliffs laid 
bare by the ebb of the tide, lay three hours lazily on the 
sofa, reading and dreaming ; into the water at three, which 
I should like best never to leave; I stayed in over half an 
hour, and since have had the feeling that I lack only wings 
to fly. After dinner we rode along the firm beach in the 
moonlight at falling tide, and then I walked alone again. 
You see my old vigor is coming back to me, and I am full 
of gratitude to God for it. If 1 could only know that you 

366 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

are all well, and that I can go from here to Reinf eld without 
getting stuck anywhere, then everything would be fine 
and delightful. It is ten now, and I am going to bed; 
shall get up at six and bathe twice to-morrow. I talk only 
of myself, as you see, like an old hypochondriac; but 
what else can I tell you of this place, except that air and 
water are like balsam. May God keep you in just as good 
health. With heartiest love to all. Your V. B. 



BIARRITZ, August 14, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, To my great delight, yesterday 
I received at last good news from you your letter of the Qth 
sent to Paris. You will have seen in the meantime, from 
my letter, that I have followed the advice of you and Liep- 
mann* without knowing what it was, and have already 
been here eleven days, during which I have taken fourteen 
baths, besides these four in Normandy and three in Spain, 
making twenty-one, and I shall probably bring it up be- 
yond thirty, as I am now taking two a day, the first in 
the morning at seven, then promenade till about ten, break- 
fast, a few hours' siesta, and reading ; at four another bath, 
and after dinner a long walk, with the sunset in the sea 
and the moonrise over the Pyrenees ; all this & trois with 
the Orloffs, since whose coming I have not been lonely 
any more. You remember your partiality for him, and I 
am now revenging myself a little with her, by finding her 
very attractive and charming. We three act as though 
we were alone here. . . . Lots of love, and kiss all for me. 
God keep you as hitherto. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

* Physician in Stolp. 
367 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

... I am rather ashamed not to have remembered our 
wedding-day, and Frau Orloff calls me un monstre sans 
entrailles on account of it. But you know that, while my 
heart is weak in point of dates, it is not ungrateful, either 
for God's mercy or for your love and truth. It has con- 
tinued to be with us just as on the day of our wedding, 
and I have never thought that that was so long ago five 
or six thousand happy days. May the Lord not consider 
how unworthy of them I was, and may He continue to pour 
out the fulness of His blessing upon us without regard to 
our deserts. Every year I come back to the error of be- 
lieving that we were married in August, but, anyway, 
it was a good month. Day after to-morrow I shall write 
to our firstling. Your V. B. 



FALAISE DE GOELANDS, August 19, '62. 
MY DEAR HEART, You will look in vain on all the 
maps for the place I date from above. About one mile 
north of Biarritz is a narrow gorge in the bluff, grassy, 
bushy, and shady, out of everybody's sight ; between two 
rocks, with heather in blossom, I see the sea, green and 
white in foam and sun; beside me the most charming of 
all women, whom you will like exceedingly well when you 
know her better. . . . Orloff is lying before us on the 
grass, smoking, she is writing to her mother, and I to 
you, my heart; you know her very slightly from Peters- 
burg, ne Trubetzkoi. Her parents live in Fontainebleau, 
and when you meet you will forgive me for raving about 
her a bit. I am writing on a book, not very easy to 
do, sitting in the grass, under tamarind bushes. Am 
absurdly well, and as happy as I could be away from 
you dear ones. Monotonous country life, with walking- 

368 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

tours by rocks, bushes, and heath. In a few days I shall 
put an end to this Robinson Crusoe existence, and find in 
the direction of home my comfort for the sorrow at parting 
from this idealized Stolpmiinde, the mighty ocean, and the 
charming Russians. ... It was a real godsend to me that 
the Orloffs came, about ten days ago, or I should have left 
then, and should not have found again in the sea the health 
of former days and the cheerful spirits. Outside of my 
home I will say outside of six persons in Reinf eld I want 
for not a jot or a tittle of anything, and in the end I shall 
buy a country-seat here on the heath, where we shall spend 
our old days eating peaches and muscadine grapes, as 
if they were potatoes. Farewell, my heart; the wind is 
tearing my paper away from me, but it is a warm, mild 
wind. Love a thousand times over to parents and chil- 
dren. Your most faithful V. B. 



BIARRITZ, August 22, '62. 

MY HEART, I cannot let our little daughter's birth- 
day go by without writing you how I have been drinking 
her health. First, this morning, in sea-water, for the 
warm waves were so powerful that, while rolling around 
in the sand, I took many a swallow of them ; then in Ma- 
deira at breakfast; and then in wonderful, soft, humid 
Atlantic air on a point of rock extending out into the sea. 
After some hours of resting and writing letters to Paris 
and Berlin, I took my second drink of salt-water, this time 
in the Narbonne, without surf, with plenty of swimming 
and diving ; two surf baths in one day would be too much 
for me. Then I dined with Orloff, and the birthday chil- 
dren were toasted royally with good old Moet in Russian, 
German, and French. The other child was the sixty-year- 
2A 369 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

old Matvel Stepanitsch Wolkow, and his birthday was 
really yesterday, but was celebrated later, with the other. 
After dinner the Princess played to me, at the open win- 
dow over the sea, C dur, as dur, ' ' The Winter Journey, " and 
some of Chopin; then we went two ladies, three gentle- 
men, and several dogs to the light-house crag, ensconced 
ourselves in the heather, and watched stars, waves, and 
sea-gulls ; only the waves and gulls we heard more than 
saw, far below in the darkness, only once in a while a 
wave flashed up to us in foam and sea-light, or a gull 
skimmed by near us, chattering and screaming, probably 
attracted by the light of our cigars. I always go to bed 
at eleven, often earlier, and wake up, myself, towards seven. 
My bed is very mediocre ; still I always have to fight against 
falling asleep before the "Amen," while my thoughts 
linger with you loved ones somewhat longer than my 
words. Keep on writing to Paris ; give lots of love to all 
From your most faithful V. B. 



FALAISE, August 25, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, I was delighted to get your letter 
of the 20 th, yesterday, forwarded from Paris. As you are 
still worried about my health (which you won't recog- 
nize at all when you see it), 1 have asked Kathy,* the love- 
liest of women except one, to give me the enclosed cer- 
tificate of health. I am writing to you again in the open 
air, on the grass, as I did recently, in warm, still air, over 
the sea, which shows at its edge three white, leaping waves, 
but behind that stretches out blue and smooth into the 
boundless, with fishing-boats' little white sails on the ho- 

* Princess Orloff. 
370 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

rizon. . . . Yesterday we drove to Cambo, about fifteen 
miles from Bayonne, up the Nive, and spent the day in 
the mountains, a gorge like the valley of the Selke, called 
Pas de Roland, a roaring mountain-stream, and, near by, 
ripe figs, plucked from the tree. On the ride home, won- 
derful sunset, with glowing Pyrenees, and half Spain on 
fire the other side of the sea, then deep, very dark-blue, 
and fantastic lace-work of boughs as in the Italian Alps. 
. . . Day after to-morrow the Emperor comes, then the air 
of the court will draw through the crags and ravines, some 
politics will mingle with the idyl, and a few days later 
I shall start back again, shall devote about a week to the 
Pyrenees, and then try to break through the barriers at Ber- 
lin, although the King, as it seems, will not allow political 
work to pause at all. If I still must stay dangling at the 
Hotel Royal, then I can't help it, and shall simply dangle. 
. . . But if I manage to go and take you, either to Berlin 
or Paris, I cannot endure the uncertainty through Septem- 
ber; rather Schonhausen. If you want to answer the 
Princess Orloff in a friendly way, then write her in Ger- 
man; she speaks it as well as we do, but prefers to write 
in French. Every day the Princess plays me the Men- 
delssohn pieces that the Bechers used to sing to us, and 
Beethoven and the " Winter Journey," and is a woman 
you will be wildly enthusiastic about when you know her. 
Hearty love to little and big. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BIARRITZ, August 30, '62. 

MY DEAR HEART, I don't know whether this letter 
will be readable, for I am writing on bare rock, with a news- 
paper underneath; presumably our last breakfast here 
in the open air. We are sitting in a grotto, which has an 

371 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. 

entrance from the land, and has a vaulted opening to the 
sea, forty feet above the surf, and the rocky ceiling above 
is twice as high. The glance strays over the wide sun- 
bright sea, and over a dozen odd craggy islands, on which 
the sea breaks, booming : behind them Biarritz stretching 
out over field and hill, and still wider and higher the blue 
chain of the Pyrenees, a thick Taunus-like mountain, 
over Fuentarabia, which commands the centre of the pict- 
ure; to the right of that is spread out the Spanish coast 
of St. Sebastian, Bilboa, ever a paler blue in the distance 
until it mingles with ocean. It would be wellnigh im- 
possible to produce a more charming, magnificent picture 
of sea, mountain, crag, city, and sunlight. Day after 
to-morrow the glory of the shore-life will come to an end; 
to-morrow the last bath. I cannot thank God enough 
for the measure of health that I have found here, and that 
I did not go to Luchon, as the Parisian physician bade me : 
there are springs there that are very effective against 
gout and rheumatism, but the people that I see coming 
through this place from there are as limp and run-down 
as ever any one came from Carlsbad, who did not belong 
there. At first I wanted to stay only one day, then three ; 
then I felt so well after every bath that I kept putting off 
my departure till the following day, no matter how bored 
I was, until the Orloffs came; since then I have had com- 
panions in my out-of-door life and in my enjoyment of 
nature, in which the French and Spaniards are absolutely 
unimpressionable; they know only dressing and the club, 
and my fine Kathy wears such clothes that the Russian 
ladies don't even look at her ; Aunty 1 ' in Reinf eld is certain- 
ly more elegant. But even if she is not dressy, still she 

* Fraulein von Reckow. 
372 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

makes up for it by playing to me every evening all Bee- 
thoven and all the Bechers' Mendelssohn pieces of Frank- 
fort days, and Leiermann's " Winter Journey." It had to 
be so, if I was to stay here four weeks and get strong; 
otherwise I could never have endured the casino life and 
table d'hdte and French way of living. We dine together 
every day, mostly at the Orloffs', and I take my revenge 
by little dinners in remote ravines and caves. If you 
were with us, you would find this life charming, and we 
could continue it a month longer; even up to the I sth of 
November, the bathing goes on here and the out-of-door 
life. Day after to-morrow morning we pull up stakes 
together for Pau, make an excursion to Luchon so as 
to see the Hochgebirge, go from Toulouse by rail to Avi- 
gnon, where we separate, and the Orloffs go to Italy, I to 
Berlin ; whether I go via Paris, or direct by way of Geneva 
and Frankfort, depends still on letters from the Ministry, 
which I expect en route. The King's trip seems to have 
been entirely given up ; I am glad not to have lost my leave 
of absence in Berlin; as soon as that is over, it doesn't 
matter whether I get stuck fast in Paris or Berlin ; on the 
contrary, I should hope, from B., to steal out to Reinfeld 
and to decide my fate at last, so that our goods and chattels 
shall not become ice-bound at Bertheau's, and so that our 
eternal separation (almost four months) would have an end. 
May God unite us soon, in good health ; I have been daw- 
dling about as only an old house-dog of my species could. 
But now I must get back into the home rut. Give all 
hearty love. Your most faithful V. B. 

CAUTERETS, September 2, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART, The small size of this sheet 
means that I am very sleepy, and am to get up early to- 

373 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

morrow ; but vstill I do not want to go to sleep without send- 
ing you a sign of life and thanking you and Marie for your 
last letters. We left charming Biarritz yesterday morn- 
ing, restored in body and soul, spent the night in Pau, 
had this morning a view, somewhat veiled, to be sure, 
but still wonderfully beautiful, from Henry IV. 's castle 
to the chain of the Pyrenees, and then we came here by 
way of Lourdes and Pierrefitte, through rocky vales whose 
character recalled the Jura, and then the Italian slopes of 
the Alps in their wilder forms. . . . We all miss the sea- 
baths and sea-air ; but as far as my health is concerned I 
am transformed into an entirely different person ; neverthe- 
less, from the bottom of my heart I am still ever and always 
your most faithful, now very weary V. B. 



BERLIN, September 21, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART/ I reached here yesterday 
morning, rather tired from the jolting of a wagon which 
played ball with me from Paris to Cologne. I should have 
slept it off here, but I find myself in just the same situation 
as in the month of May. Heydt and Bernstorff have 
asked for leave : the request of the former the King simply 
returned ; what happened to the latter I don't know at all, 
and have not yet seen the King. I shall simply ask his 
Majesty to permit me to go to Reinfeld to get my family and 
take them to Paris. If I have to enter on my duties here 
immediately, then I must go next to France, to hand over 
my letters of recall. If affairs here remain in suspense 
as they have been hitherto, and I go back to Paris with 
no definite time fixed for ending my mission there, then I 
believe that in a few weeks we shall move thither. I would 
then accept no position but that in Paris for the next six 

374 



i862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

months. Our mission there is now raised to an embassy, 
and if you come you will be formally presented as ambas- 
sadrice before an empty throne, and will have to go through 
all sorts of troublesome ceremonies besides, like Frau 
Montebello and Lady Napier. Much honor, little pleasure, 
yet on the whole much pleasanter than here. Yesterday 
morning, on arriving, I walked over to call on Roon, heard 
from him how matters stand, took coffee with the ladies, 
but was so shocked, on glancing at the mirror, by the 
chimney-sweep color which the twenty-five-hours-old coal- 
dust had laid on my face, that I took flight at once, bathed, 
slept two hours, and then paid a few ministerial and diplo- 
matic visits. Hans came to see me beforehand, full of 
political schemes. I dined at five at Roon's, with Moritz, 
who was in the wildest embellishment of beard, which 
draws his already heavy chin too low down on his shoul- 
ders to suit my artistic eye. He thought me thin and 
burned as though I had crossed the desert on camels, 
but all agree with him that I look better than for 
years. I passed the evening there; went to bed at 
eleven o'clock and slept until seven, with all sorts of 
dreams of Southern sky, rocks, and fig-tree shades, till 
I awoke on the Wilhelmstrasse in the dingy reality of a 
rainy day in autumn. I must go to Reinfeld, and soon. 
I am getting melancholy here; rather at once into the 
Chamber, into strife and work, than this loafing hotel and 
calling existence. I expect Roon back from Babelsberg 
at three, and hope for news of the King. I am going over 
to call on Schlozer at 60 Behrenstr., then on Schleinitz, 
and others. I hope a letter from you is on its way here, 
bringing me good news. Dearest love to all our family. 
Moritz tells me that Theresa is there, and that mammy is 
better, thank Heaven. Your most faithful V, B. 

375 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr. 

BERLIN, September 24, '62. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I am worried a little because 
I still receive not a living word from you. My Paris letter 
to mother and to you, in which I said I was coming here, 
must surely have reached you on Sunday, at latest, for it 
left Paris on Wednesday or Thursday. You will already 
have read of our bad luck in the papers. I have been 
appointed Minister, with provisional chairmanship until 
Prince Hohenzollern has secured his discharge; then I 
shall become definitely Minister-president, and later am 
to take the Foreign Office. To-day I move over to No. 
47, where Auerswald used to live. All this is not cheering, 
and I am struck with fear about it every time I wake up 
in the morning. But it must be. I am in no condition 
to write you now more than these lines. I am besieged on 
all sides with business affairs of every kind, and cannot 
leave Berlin for the next few weeks. . . . Dearest love 
to parents and children, and give yourself into God's 
hands; this is no easy matter for me either. Above all, 
please write me at once, if you have not done so already. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



October I, '62. 

MY DEAREST HEART, Now for the first time I rec- 
ognize the deep wisdom of the saying : "In the morning at 
eight, when as yet none thought evil. " I got up at seven, 
and have time at eight to send you two lines with my dearest 
love, for the world as yet leaves me in peace. The Lord 
has never yet forsaken me in an unexpected and unsought 
position, and my trust stands firm that He will not let 
evil come upon me in this place, or upon my health either. 
I sleep little, but feel well, ride every day on horses from 

376 




PRINCE BISMARCK 



1862] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the royal stables in the Thiergarten, and dine at Roon's, 
when I am not invited out. We cannot move in here until 
the Houses are dissolved, about the isth. I could not en- 
dure the double confusion of the Chamber without and 
the moving within. As soon as our things from Peters- 
burg are here, I shall write asking you to stay here with- 
out unpacking for a few days, so as to talk over every- 
thing and to see each other at last. Farewell, my heart, 
and do not be cast down. Dearest love. 

Your most faithful v. B. 



(Without date : probably October 12, '62.) 
MY HEART, Please come now! We close Tuesday, 
God willing ; telegraph me from Coslin the hour you will 
arrive, so that I can meet you. If you have procured a 
good, respectable -looking servant there, bring him with 
you. Note to Rode attended to. 

Your V. B. 

Come straight off, my angel ! 

Friday. 
(Postmarked BERLIN, October 24.) 

MY DEAREST HEART, It is horribly empty here, and 
I am painfully homesick for you, and for the conscious- 
ness that you are sitting in the little room near by, and 
I could go to you if I would. I dined with the King, with 
Netherlands royalties, did not get a ride, and am writing 
letter after letter. For you only this hearty greeting and 
sigh. I go Monday to Paris. To-morrow three deputa- 
tions again, and one Grand Duke. Lots of love to parents 
and children, and how about the fine horses? 

Your most faithful V. B. 

377 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. '62 

PARIS, November 2, '62. 

MY DARLING, Your crinoline desires I cannot satisfy. 
Yesterday was All-Saints-Day, to-day Sunday and All- 
Souls'; all shops closed, and not a lady at hand who could 
give me information. . . . Yesterday I had a farewell audi- 
ence at St. Cloud with Emperor and Empress, everything 
lovely and regretful; calls and business all day long. 
This morning I might have left, but I want to rest a day 
longer, and am expecting the Orloffs in the city to-day, 
to dine with them. I leave to-morrow morning, reach 
Magdeburg Tuesday morning, go to bed there, and expect 
his Majesty at two o'clock; after dinner we go to Letz- 
lingen, three fine days in forest and hunting, and then 
back to the tread-mill. I shall be installed about the 8th. 
Lots of work is waiting for us ! Do please do me the favor, 
I pray, of not sealing your letters clear up to the top; I 
always have to tear them across, and read them piece- 
meal! The weather is foggy, oppressive, and not a bit 
pleasant for travelling; I should like best to be on some 
bench by the stove, where I did not have to stir until sum- 
mer. Again this year I have covered more than 10,000 
miles, and there is no telling where my home is any more. 
In two weeks, or in one, we shall all be together again, 
with God's help, and then I shall lock myself in with you 
and shall never be at home to any one. Meanwhile give 
dearest love to parents and children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



fti) 

LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE MINISTER- 
PRESIDENT AND IMPERIAL CHANCELLOR 
1863-1888 



CARLSBAD, June 24, '63. 

MY BELOVED HEART, You will have received my lines 
from Schwarzenberg to-day, and have been informed by 
telegram of my arrival here. The King is well, still it 
is getting to be difficult to keep his craving for business 
within the bounds necessary for the cure, and I fear that 
as the cure progresses he will want to work just as much 
as he is working now, and that will not do. I left Schwarz- 
enberg to-day at seven ; beautiful region ; good weather, 
but cold ; cloak and plaid very useful. I am staying at the 
White Lion; in front I look down on the market-place; 
in the rear straight down into the water I don't know 
what the thing is called and over that at the big church ; 
on the right, into the King's windows, between them three 
pheasants, swan, city of Frankfort, etc. This will give 
you the bearings; the apartment is pretty; two stories, 
airy. I dined with the King; drank coffee on the lawn 
with Aug. Malzan, Perpoucher, etc.; promenaded over 
the hills; saw Nolde at the shooting-gallery, and recog- 
nized most cordially a Baroness Scholl from Frankfort, 
whom I had absolutely forgotten; the valley is beautiful, 
especially from above. Well, good-bye; I must go to the 
King for tea. Dearest love to mother and the children. 
Your most faithful, V. B. 

Where did you stay here? 

Send me by the next chasseur some French visiting- 
cards on which is " Pre*sid. du conseil et Min. des a.-6tr. de 
Sa M. le Roi de Prusse." 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JUNE, 

CARLSBAD, Jwne 27, '63. 

MY DARLING, I received your undated letter yester- 
day. That you pay parting respects in Potsdam (Alex- 
andrine, Queen Dowager, Crown Princess, Friedrich Carl) 
is very suitable. Arrange it in the form of questions; 
write to the court ladies : " You are going for a few months 
into the country, and would your Royal Highnesses be so 
gracious as to receive me in order to give me leave to 
depart?" I suppose it will not be possible to go with the 
Crown Princess, as she wants to leave on the 1st ; and you 
cannot get off so soon, I suppose, unless our beloved 
mammy feels well enough to travel. It won't really be very 
dreadful if you do not get to Potsdam. Box for opera- 
hat must be there, as Bodelschwingh would say; it doesn't 
look like a hat-box, is quite flat, like a bed-pan, and red. 
Farewell; God keep you and mother and children. I am 
going to walk for two hours. No assassins here; good 
police. The Emperor has given, notice that he is coming; 
day still uncertain. Your V. B. 

Please send me two dozen photographs of myself in 
plain clothes. I am in furious demand here, and can be 
had only in uniform. 

CARLSBAD, June 28, '63. 

MY DEAR, The enclosed bread-and-butter letter came 
to me by mistake. I dined to-day with Helen,* whose very 
good cigar I am still smoking ; Keudell, too ; he must marry 
Rhaden's daughter. Aside from that, I didn't go out 
to-day at all, although the weather's charming, so I will 
rather think of you on top of the mountains than spill ink 

* Grand Duchess. 

382 



1863] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

here any longer. Hug the children for me, and remain 
in God's protection. Your most faithful V. B. 

If there are more photos of me, send them; they are 
tearing off my coat-tails here for them. 



CARLSBAD, July 7, '63. 

MY DEAR HEART, This letter, I presume, will find you 
no longer in Berlin. I shall probably have news from you 
about that to-morrow. God grant you a safe journey, 
with bag and baggage (under which I involuntarily in- 
clude mammy). . . . Disraeli is leader of the Conserva- 
tive opposition in England, something like Stahl against 
the Auerswald ministry, and is also a baptized Jew, like 
Stahl. 

Aunty has my warmest sympathy; it is worse to lose 
children than to die one's self, it is so contrary to the nat- 
ural course of things. But how long is it till we follow 
them? . . . 

NUREMBERG, July 19, '63. 

MY DEAR HEART, . . . Engel hasn't a clean shirt in the 
bag and the luggage is at the station, so that I am sitting 
here in railway-dust and discomfort, waiting for a dinner 
which will presumably be bad. I have no news of you 
since I left Carlsbad, of course, as letters have not been 
forwarded to me from there. With God's help, you will 
all be well. What shall I give Bill for his birthday? 
Travelling agrees with me splendidly ; but it is very annoy- 
ing to be gaped at like a Japanese at every station ; it is 
all over with the incognito and its pleasant features, until 
I pass out of ken, like Fra Diavolo, and somebody else has 

383 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auo. 

the advantage of being the object of general ill-will. I 
should have liked very much to go by Vienna to Salzburg, 
where the King is to be to-morrow ; I should have lived our 
wedding-trip over again; but political considerations kept 
me from it, for people would have ascribed to me Heaven 
only knows what schemes if I had arrived there simul- 
taneously with the Russian replies. . . . Dearest love to 
old and young. Your most faithful V. B. 

SALZBURG, July 22, '63, 6 A.M. 

MY DEAR HEART, I must send you the date at least 
from this charming little town, at the moment of leaving. 

GASTEIN, 24^. 

I wanted to send you some edelweiss with this letter, 
but I mislaid it at the Lueg Pass. . . . The King is 
well, but the affair of the Crown Prince is gnawing at 
his heart. Since the day I left Carlsbad, when a paper 
accidentally found its way into his hands with those 
things in it which we had carefully kept from him, his 
good humor seems to be gone; he is quiet and brood- 
ing, and forces himself to be gay! It makes one's heart 
ache to see how he fights down his feelings, but likes to 
be alone. The exposure seems to come entirely from Co- 
burg. I must write for the chasseur, and these words 
are only to say that I am well, and to carry you hearty love. 
Your most faithful V. B. 

GASTEIN, August 12, '63. 

I am well, my heart, but bothered with messages from 
all directions. Yesterday, at a height of 7000 feet, I shot 
two chamois; to do it had to sit three hours on the rocks 
in the burning heat ; baked through in spite of the height. 

384 



1863] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

On the I5th we go from here to Salzburg, i6th Stuttgart, 
iyth Baden. I cannot leave the King, on account of the 
blustering at Frankfort. H. R. H. here; leaves in half 
an hour; very friendly towards me, but cool relations 
yonder. Farewell! Zietel is urging me to close. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BUKOW, September 21, '63. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I wanted to write you a right 
comfortable, nice letter on this last day of summer, and 
with this thought I lay down three hours ago on the sofa, 
but went to sleep and have just waked up, when I have 
only a quarter of an hour left before dinner, which is at 
six. I turned out at seven, rode uninterruptedly till half 
past one, as "major/" to see our brave soldiers burn pow- 
der and ride to the attack. At first I joined Fritz, who 
was commanding three regiments of cavalry ; then I went 
over to the Garde du Corps, chased like mad over stock 
and stone, and have not passed such a pleasant day 
for a long time. I am living here next to the King and 
two adjutants, in a nice old house belonging to Count 
Flemming, the ambassador and cellist: pretty country, 
with hills, lakes, and roads, and, above all, nothing to do, 
after finishing my business with his Majesty yesterday. I 
am sorry to say I must get back to the tread-mill to-morrow 
morning; and now to dinner, after having slept myself 
stupid and meanwhile got a stiff neck from the sharp edge 
of the sofa. We have eighty persons at table, all sorts of 
strange officers, funny English, very nice Russians, and 
the whole wretched Diet. 

I have no plain clothes along; have been all major for 
forty-eight hours. It seems to me all the time as though 
2B 385 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr. 

dear mother must be going to see this letter, and to rejoice 
that things are going well and peacefully with me; but 
her large blue eyes are closed and her short little arm will 
not hold this paper up to them. Give love to father and 
the children. I must dress. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, October 21, '63. 

MY BELOVED HEART, Your little circular letter I 
have received with thanks and sent off. I have just come 
in from riding; glorious, still, mild autumn air; feel just 
like a fox-hunt. I expect Keudell, Zietel, and others to 
dinner at five; in the minute between I am writing you 
this, because I am going to Magdeburg to-morrow with 
his Majesty to dedication of Cathedral, and shall not 
write. If our dad feels very badly about your going away 
on the 27th, then leave me alone another week or so ; I 
sha'n't get away from my work-room and the sessions of 
the Ministry, anyway, while the Chamber is opening. 
I shall be heartily glad if you come earlier, but will not be 
selfish to our lonely old dad. I am very well, but am get- 
ting buried deeper and deeper in documents. Hearty love to 
father and children. Your most faithful V. B. 

I have had an awfully sad letter from Canitz! I don't 
want at all to send it to you, and don't know how to an- 
swer it. 

BERLIN, October 27, '63. 

MY HEART, It is bitter cold, but I am well. Have 
you begun heating yet at Reinfeld? I hope so; we have 
been doing it here for a week. I was sitting alone with 

386 



iS6 3 ] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Keudell in the blue salon yesterday after dinner, and he 
was playing, when I got your Sunday's letter. Truly 
a fine holiday mood in which you wrote! Trust in God, 
my heart, and in the saying that barking dogs do not bite. 
I did not escort the King to Stralsund, because it is a fa- 
tiguing trip and would set me back two days in my work. 
His Majesty is here again this evening ; the threats against 
his life are far more to be feared than those directed against 
me, but that, too, is in God's hand only. Do not let worry 
spoil the last fine days for you, and when you do break up 
there, then send some woman or other ahead to arrange 
things here as you wish them. I must to work. Farewell, 
with much love. Your most faithful V. B. 

Only about thirty-eight degrees to-day, and glistening 
sun. I got this* anonymously, twice from different direc- 
tions. 

BABELS BERG, November I, '63. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I am going to use a moment, 
while waiting here for the King, who is dining at Sans 
Souci, to write you two words, as I used to do from Zarskoe 
or Peterhof . Only to say that I am well and am heartily 
glad that I am now so soon to see you holding sway again 
in the empty Berlin rooms. The Diet comes on the 9th, 
with all its torments ; still I expect to go on the opening 
day to Letzlingen with his Majesty, and to live two days in 
the woods. During that time I hope you will get through 
with the hammering and hauling which will necessarily 
accompany your moving in, my love, and then on my 
return I shall find everything in order. 

* Psalm xci., enclosed, written by a lady's hand. 

387 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

During these days I have been living and working en- 
tirely by myself, have eaten alone generally, and except 
for riding have not left the house ; quiet and irksome, once 
in a while a council of ministers. These will be held every 
day this week, I suppose, in view of the dear Chambers, 
and after the King has been a week in Stralsund and Blank- 
enburg and much put in store. I hear the rolling of his 
carriage now and must close. With hearty love to dad and 
the children. Your most faithful V. B. 



CARLSBAD, July 8, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I have received your Kroch- 
lendorf letter with thanks, and the courier gives me a 
few minutes to write, after finishing my work. I am 
going to use them to complain of the weather; it rains 
day and night, and is so cold that I have had to have my 
rooms heated every morning for four days; all the world 
is catching cold. I have such a bad one that I can't see 
out of my eyes catarrh, as the book says. ... I found 
a splendid pretext for shaking off King Otto, from whom 
I am never safe when I go to walk ; hereafter I shall make 
the most of it. Lauer had to declare, in his medical capac- 
ity, that I should do very little talking, and thus I keep 
clear of all conversation. ... I associate with nobody 
here, really; since the Stolypin woman took advantage 
of a rainy walk over the hills, which I was foolish enough 
to take with her, and used it for politics from beginning 
to end, I trust nobody any more, but sneak through 
covered paths towards the less respectable side (Eger Val- 
ley), and away, where one meets only peasants, and I 
climb up undiscovered mountains through pathless ways! 
And still this didn't prevent me from meeting Sigmund 

388 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Arnim in the thick woods, on a spot where no one with 
gloves had ever been before ; and, of course, he accompanied 
me for two hours, as he couldn't find his way home with- 
out me. Pardon this torn sheet. I began writing on it 
to Eulenburg. Dearest love to all of you, especially dad. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



CARLSBAD, July 20, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, The King has just left for 
Marienbad; trains of lovely women with enormous bou- 
quets, which filled his carriage to overflowing; a grand 
hurrah and emotion. Now things will seem rather empty 
to me; all acquaintances gone, too, except Abeken and 
Keudell. They are dining now; I have done so already 
with the King. He thanked me, in saying good-bye, 
and was much moved, and gave me all the credit for the 
good that God's help has done to Prussia. May God 
preserve us, continue mercifully to guide us, and not 
leave us to our own blindness. In this calling one truly 
learns that one may be as clever as the cleverer of this 
world, and still, at any time, may go into the next moment 
as a child into the dark. Well, to Vienna to-morrow morn- 
ing ; we spend the night at Prague ; perhaps we may have 
peace with the Danes in a week; perhaps still war next 
winter. I shall make my stay in Vienna as short as pos- 
sible, so as not to lose too many baths in Gastein. After 
that I shall, I suppose, go to Vienna again with his Maj- 
esty; thence to Baden; then the Emperor of Russia is 
coming to Berlin, at the beginning of September. Before 
that no prospect of rest, if then. 

Interruption after interruption! And now it is five, 
and at six Itzenplitz, and then Helen, and then the mail 

389 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

goes out. So farewell, my heart; I want to walk an hour 
now, the first to-day. God be with you all. 

Yours, V. B. 



VIENNA, July 22, '64. 

MY DEAR HEART, I left Carlsbad this morning. . . . 
I am staying at Werther's, whose wife is not here ; mean- 
while have seen nobody but Rechberg and a letter from 
Motley. Was rained in at the Volksgarten for two hours, 
and listened to music ; the people looked at me as though 
I were a new rhinoceros for the zoological garden, for 
which I sought consolation in some very good beer. I 
can't yet tell how long I shall stay here. A great many 
calls to make to-morrow; dine at Rechberg 's, in the coun- 
try; then, if possible, conclude peace with Denmark, and 
flee in all haste into the mountains of Gastein. I wish 
all that were over and done. The two days of travel have 
rested me a little, mentally, but physically I am very tired, 
and bid you good -night. God keep you and all who 
are under the Reinfeld roof. You will, perhaps, have this 
letter by Monday evening; write me, then, your next to 
this place still. Your most faithful V. B. 



VIENNA, July 27, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I have had one letter from you 
here, and am longing for the second. I am leading a 
laborious life four hours daily with unmanageable Danes, 
and not yet through. It must be settled by Sunday, 
whether war or peace. I dined with Motley yesterday; 
very agreeable wife; evidently has been a beauty; two 
nice daughters; the oldest and handsomest visiting in 

390 






1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

America. We drank a great deal, were very merry 
which is not often so with him during these war troubles. 
He has grown gray, and has cut his hair off short. After 
the conference to-day, I dined with the Emperor at Schon- 
brunn, took a stroll with Rechberg and Werther, and thought 
of our moonlight expedition. I just spent an hour in the 
Volksgarten, not incognito, I am sorry to say, as seven- 
teen years ago, but stared at by all the world. Music of 
a Hungarian regiment played a Prussian song in my 
honor, and the leader explained to me in broken German 
that his sympathies were Prussian. The Prussian song 
again while we were leaving ; very well-meant of the bearded 
rascals, with their narrow blue trousers ; but this existence 
on the stage is very uncomfortable when one wants to drink 
a glass of beer in peace. I hope to go to Gastein on Satur- 
day, whether there is peace or not. It's too hot for me 
here, especially at night. Kurt* has just come in with 
a lot of signatures, and so I bid you good-night, with 
love one thousand times over. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



GASTEIN, August 6, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, The work is growing worse 
and worse, and I don't see at all how I am going to get 
time for it here, where I do nothing in the morning after 
my bath. Since my arrival on the 2d, in a storm with 
hail as big as musket - balls, I have just managed for 
the first time to take a regular hour's walk in glorious 
weather. Returning, I wanted to make use of half an 
hour to write to you, but, behold, in walks that Abeken 

* Chancery servant. 
391 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

with drafts and telegrams, and now I have to go to the 
King. Dinner and tea every day, between times driving 
with his Majesty, is all very nice, and I am glad to see 
the King so well and in such good spirits, but the time, 
the time! . . . Farewell my heart, God guard you. Write! 
With much love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



SCHONBRUNN, August 20, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, It is most remarkable that I 
happen to be staying in just those rooms, on the ground 
floor, which open on the retired private garden into which 
we intruded by moonlight almost exactly seventeen years 
ago. Looking over my right shoulder, I see through a 
glass door along the dark path hedged with beeches by 
which, secretly enjoying what was forbidden, we wandered 
up to the glass windows, behind which I am living. It 
was then one of the Empress's apartments, and I am now 
repeating by moonlight, in more comfort, that former stroll 
of ours. I am now thoroughly sleepy; wish you and all 
the family good-night. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BADEN, September I, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, Yesterday I received Bill's 
letter with your postscript, and am awaiting a telegraphic 
answer about your condition with some anxiety, for you 
are so very ready to report yourself not sick, and it must 
take strong hold on you before you fall silent. May 
God help you speedily and completely. I can hardly 
expect an answer before evening, since, there being no 

392 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

telegraph open at night, my despatch only went off at seven 
this morning. Please have the children write every day, 
and fully, how you are, or I shall have no peace. It is now 
near four o'clock, and I hope the messenger with the an- 
swer is already in sight of the towers of Stolp. The 
King came to-day from Mainau, well and in good spirits, 
driving to the races with the Queen. Her Majesty received 
me very graciously day before yesterday, and talked of 
politics of every sort. I am staying in the Villa Stadtel- 
hofer, on the hill above the Lichtenthal road, since there 
was no room in the town. I look out through the open 
window before me upon the old castle, the rocks beside it on 
which the mists hang, and the Mercury with its top invisi- 
ble, the whole through a veil of rain drawn across the warm 
air. The outlook over city and mountains is charming, 
but storm, homesickness, and anxiety for you make me 
sad; besides, I am to dine at six with Princess Anna; 
Prince and Princess Carl are here; Flemming lodges over 
me, scrapes his violoncello, the Countess sings, and Keu- 
dell accompanies her. Abeken's busy hand is constantly 
showering on me a new store of scribbled notions as soon 
as I have labored through the old ones. I do not recall 
from where I wrote you last. All the way from Vienna here 
I have not stopped to reflect. I slept a night in Salzburg, 
the next in Munich, talked much and long on business 
with Schrenk, who has become very thin, and our friend, 
Beust's enemy; then I slept at Augsburg, came thence 
by way of Stuttgart hither, hoping to pass in restful idle- 
ness the two days before the King came, but was able only 
two hours yesterday morning to loaf in the forest. Hunts- 
men, inkstand, audiences, and visitors whirled about me 
ceaselessly. Uexkull, too, is here, Chreptowisch lodges next 
to me, and I must not show myself on the promenade; 

393 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

nobody leaves me in peace. Hearty love to our papa and 
the children, and, above all things, get well, and write me 
at once how you are, for the telegraph will give only a 
syllable of the truth. Your most faithful V. B. 



BADEN, September 5, '64. 

What has really been the trouble with you, my angel? 
Praise and thanks to God that you are better; I was deeply 
distressed, and the telegraph was so slow in response to 
my first inquiry that I still feel oppressed; it was almost 
forty hours after the question that the answer came. But 
what was the cause of the sickness? Have you suffered 
from annoyances, anxiety, exertion, or did it befall you 
suddenly when quite well? Your nerves have never given 
you trouble before, and suddenly to be so threatening! 
I am strongly inclined to look for the blame in the doctors, 
mineral water, and drugs. Only keep quiet and rely on 
the healing force of your constitution and of rest. 

I write and walk about among the hills ; for two days 
I have not gone down into the city at all, only seeing it 
from the window. In three or four days I shall probably 
start away for Berlin. Hearty love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, September 30, 1864. 

After a very vexatious morning, to be followed by a 
Roon dinner and an evening session of the ministry, only 
two lines of love and greeting. A remnant of melancholy 
shows through the splendid news of your health, in your 
lament over the matter of expense ; and if it were an hundred- 
fold more, you must not let your gratitude and joy for your 

394 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

recovery be troubled by it. Did the grapes from Borchart 
arrive in good order? I have commissioned him to send 
a little box every other day; they are very good from 
Fontainebleau. If they are spoiled when they reach you, 
cancel the order ; otherwise not ; they will certainly be good 
for you. I shall probably go to Baden to-morrow evening 
or early next day. Whether from there to Biarritz will 
then be decided. A passport for there I take with me, 
but whether the journey is to be made, God knows. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BADEN, October 3, '64. 

MY DEAR, God grant that your recovery has proved 
as permanent as, to my gratitude and joy, it appeared from 
the two letters which reached me in Berlin to have been 
complete. I am a little uneasy at your having written 
the first long letter yourself; do not presume too much on 
your strength, but call in the children; if you were able 
to do it without being worn out, that is certainly great prog- 
ress. It is distressing that aunty leaves you. I have 
begged Jenny on this account to hasten her return. Can 
you not have another friend with you, some lady of the 
neighborhood? Or keep one of the children always at 
hand ; let her read to you ; that is good practice for her at 
the same time; whether they cut lessons in consequence 
is in this case of no consequence at all. I arrived here 
yesterday, expecting to go to Biarritz to-morrow, but 
must delay at least one day, because the Empress Eugenie 
is coming here to-morrow. I have been confirmed in the 
purpose from several quarters, even if I take only fourteen 
baths. Goltz has just come from there, stout and hearty 
as I never saw him before. He says that as soon as he had 

395 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [OCT. 

taken those baths he felt like another man, and kept im- 
proving all the time he was there; besides, hot weather 
continually, while here it is as cold as it was and is in 
Pomerania frost at night, and I have fire. But I am 
likely to have a struggle with his Majesty yet about the 
journey, and I am this moment going to meet him. . . . 
In Berlin I dined at Roon's one day, at Murder's another. 
Mrs. Muhler is pretty well again ; her sickness had a strong 
resemblance to yours, save that in your case, thank God, 
there are no complications from pains in the head. Frerichs 
prescribes iron for her, too, also ferruginous baths, very 
strong broths. Commending you all to God's gracious 
protection, Your most faithful V. B. 



BADEN, October 4, '64. 

MY DEAR HEART, I found the King to-day so much 
inclined to favor my trip to Barritz that I seized the op- 
portunity at once and start to - morrow morning. . . . 
May God only grant that your recovery goes on steadily. 
That will do me as much good as the sea-bathing. I 
have still much packing and writing to do ; have just come 
from the castle, where Eugenie is. It is twelve o'clock; 
I must rise at five. Your most faithful V. B. 



BIARRITZ, October 7, '64. 

Here I really am, my heart it seems like a dream; the 
sea before me, Kathsch at work on Beethoven overhead, 
such a sky as we have not had the whole summer, and no 
ink in the house! In Paris, yesterday, we still had fires; 
here I had to put on summer clothing at once, which I 
had not expected to do again this year. ... It is all very 

396 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

fine, if I only had news first that you are well. I will not 
do any work at all ; if despatches are sent me, I will retire 
into the Pyrenees, to Itzazu. I am just going to take my 
first bath ; the water is at seventy degrees, the air at least 
eighty-eight degrees. Hearty love. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



BIARRITZ, October 11, '64. 

At last the mail has brought me your letter of the 5th, 
after I have been for several days in real distress from the 
want of it. Letters from Berlin usually come here in two 
days. I am glad that Liepmann, at least, regards you as 
better, but it is a pity you do not feel so yourself. How 
do you eat and sleep? In these points is the surest measure 
of your progress. I reproach myself for not having re- 
mained with you, for certainly separation has a disturbing 
effect upon your nerves, but it will be a consolation to you 
that, with God's help, I am going to get entirely well again 
here. I have to-day taken my sixth bath since the yth, 
when I began, and now I take two every day, feeling after 
each one light and strong. In the intervals we loaf about 
on the shore, sit reading and writing on the rocks over the 
water in short, a real time-killing life. I have so habituat- 
ed myself to write that this utter idleness gives me a very 
bad conscience. I received day before yesterday a cipher 
despatch from the King, and yesterday I spent an hour 
dictating the answer to Bolsing (secretary), who attends 
me; apart from this, I do absolutely nothing but loaf and 
eat when not asleep. . . . 

By all means do not stop the grapes from coming plenty 
of them. I firmly believe that they do you more good than 
the poisonous concoctions from the drug-shop. For the 

397 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Oct. 

children, I send a few postage-stamps from to-day's mail. 
. . . May God of his mercy relieve you speedily of your sick- 
ness, and give us all a happy reunion I hope in about a 
fortnight. Farewell, my angel; love to old and young. 
I am now going to dinner, seven o'clock, but we break- 
fasted thoroughly at eleven. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



ITZAZU, October 17, '64. 

MY HEART, I have already sent you a letter by the 
courier this morning, but pour la r arete du fait I must 
write you from this magic place. We have taken breakfast 
here, fourteen miles east of Biarritz, among the moun- 
tains, and are sitting in a charming summer atmosphere 
on the bank of a murmuring stream, whose name we do 
not learn, because nobody speaks French, but only Basque ; 
high, narrow rocks before and behind us, with all sorts 
of heath, ferns, and chestnut-trees. The valley is called 
Le Pas de Roland, the western edge of the Pyrenees. Be- 
fore starting, we took our bath; the water cold, the air 
like July; despatched the courier, then a charming drive 
through mountains, forests, and meadows. After eating, 
drinking, and climbing ourselves tired, we five are sitting, 
Orloff and French reading aloud together; Kathsch, Mile, 
de Meynard, and I are writing, I on the lid of the box which 
held the grapes and figs we have eaten. At five we drive, 
by sunset and moonlight, to Biarritz, and dine at eight. 
It is too comfortable a life to last, and I am distressed to 
enjoy it all without you, and cannot wish it to last longer, 
because it keeps me from you. They are acting foolishly 
at Berlin, and I have already threatened to go to Spain 
with Orloff if they will not be reasonable. Bodel and 

39* 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Itz* are as if beside themselves, under the direction of all 
sorts of privy-councillors, Delbriick included 

The 2oth. 

Day before yesterday evening the Orloffs went to Pau 
to visit the Panins; I went along; back yesterday. 
It was oppressively close there ; thunder - storms and 
showers in the evening while we were on the railway; 
from Bayonne here in the carriage; the ocean beautiful. 
After being as quiet as a duck-pond for several days, with 
the land breeze, it looks to-day like a boiling kettle. But 
with it all the wind is soft and moist, sun and rain alter- 
nate real Atlantic weather. I take my fourteenth bath 
to-day ; I shall hardly go beyond the fifteenth, for it seems 
as if I must leave this warm coast to-morrow. I do not 
wish to pass through Paris if the Emperor is not there, 
and his Majesty will probably go to Nice on Sunday 
to visit all the Reusses. To await his return would put 
my plans out too much, and trouble my conscience for too 
long absence from Berlin. I am still struggling between 
duty and inclination, but the former, I fear, will prevail. 
I will first take my bath, and then decide whether there 
shall be only one more. In any case, the fortnight here 
has done me much good, and I only wish I could trans- 
plant you hither or to Pau, without the trouble of the 
journey, then probably your strength would grow faster. 
Your description of your winter on the 15th, which reached 
me yesterday, has really frightened me. Did you ever 
get a letter of the 6th from me at Bordeaux? God help 
you to speedy and full recovery. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

* Bodelschwingh and Itzenplitz. 

399 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [OCT. 

PARIS, October 25, '64. 

Before going to bed after an exhausting day, I want 
to report to you my safe arrival here. Yesterday noon I left 
dear Biarritz; mowers were in the meadows as I drove 
away under a hot sun ; friendship escorted me to Bayonne ; 
at six this morning I arrived here ; much politics, an audi- 
ence with the Emperor and Empress at St. Cloud, calls, 
dinner with Drouyn de Lhuys, and now I am going to 
bed tired. God be with you and all Reinfeld. 

Your v. B. 



BERLIN, October 30, '64. 

MY LOVED HEART, My joy in being a thousand 
miles nearer you, and in the hope of speedy reunion, was 
clouded last evening on my arrival by your letter of the 
day before, which was less assuring than either of the two 
I received in Paris from you and Herbert. I had firmly 
hoped that I should find you here already without notice, 
since on the journey I read in a Hanover newspaper that 
you had arrived in Berlin; and now you are in real trou- 
ble, my poor darling, and again tortured by the saddest 
thoughts. I constantly reproach myself that I have not 
been with you instead of at Biarritz; you would surely 
then be stronger by this time, and, in any case, full of 
confidence. I would gladly go for you now, but the ac- 
cumulated arrears of business overwhelm me so that last 
night, after my arrival, I sat up till two, and to-day get my 
first chance to write you at midnight. For at least three 
hours I was busy signing my name, and reports in abun- 
dance, for the King. Gortschakoff was waiting here for me, 
and all possible ambassadors. The treaty of peace with 
Denmark was signed to-day, but now the negotiations 

400 










PRINCESS BISMARCK 



1864] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

are just beginning in earnest on what is to be done with the 
Duchies. Besides the tariff business, over which I am 
greatly at odds with certain colleagues, and perhaps 
shall fall out with them entirely, and then all the prepara- 
tions for the precious Chamber. I am thought here wholly 
to have recovered my health, thinner and stronger, but 
they will soon drive it out of me again. The weather 
in Paris, as it looks to me from here, was still very mild, 
only it rained; in Cologne very cold; here it is a fine winter 
day to-day, without snow. I was at Essen, at Krupp's 
cannon foundry, half a day, as I heard that the King 
would not come from Blankenburg till to-day ; in the four 
weeks they have deprived him, too, of a bit of health. May 
God but lend ear to prayers, and give you yours again, 
so that we may together again lead a happier life than 
this now is. As soon as I have you here, you will once 
more find strength and fresh spirits ; the very change of air 
will do you good. How did the driving out affect you? 
Can you think without dread of a journey to Stolp? You 
could stop a night there, the next at Coslin, and again 
in Stettin. I can go for you, I hope, there or to Coslin. 
God grant it be soon. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

BERLIN, November 3, '64. 

That is, November 4, I A.M. 

MY HEART, Since I shall have no chance to write 
from Letzlingen to - morrow and next day, I will tell 
you to-night, or rather this morning, that I am well, and 
that I earnestly long for you. I have done two unwonted 
things to-day: joined in the hunt in the Grunewald, in 
which I was among the first at the death, and played whist, 
at which I won ten rix-dollars and eighteen silver groschen 
2 C 401 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Nov. '64 

from the Czar, then supped at Adlerberg's, whence I have 
just returned to go to bed, as we start for Letzlingen at 
seven. Love to papa and the children, and God make 
you well speedily, my darling. 

Your most faithful and very tired V. B. 



BERLIN, November 14, '64. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I was in fine spirits a little 
while ago, since the treaty of peace has actually been 
completed, and several other matters settled as I wished. 
The King had just left me; had signed the treaty in my 
office; given me the order of the Black Eagle, and, what 
I cared more for, embraced me very warmly; and I was 
saying that just at that time day after to-morrow I should 
be reunited with you here, and meanwhile, to-morrow, 
should shoot many pheasants, when in came the little 
bird of ill omen, Jenny, and told me, to my terror, that on 
Friday you had had a relapse, and afterwards had felt very 
weak again. I am in deep anxiety and distress at this, 
and my hope revives only at the thought that I have as 
yet no telegram giving up your journey, so that you must 
still feel strong enough to travel. Your latest letters were 
so favorable, and the very last one of Friday did not at 
least contradict them, that they rocked me into the dream 
that now everything is well again, and that at last, day 
after to-morrow, we shall be together. As you know, 
I am prone to believe what is most pleasant, and reckon 
that Jenny exaggerates; but I pray God very earnestly 
that it prove so, and that we may at last meet day after 
to-morrow. Jenny says that the doctors, even after the 
relapse, were in favor of the journey. If I only knew 
beforehand how you will stand the travelling. If it is 

402 



JuLY/65] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

too much, be sure not to force it, but take a rest at Coslin, 
and do not go on to Stettin till afternoon, and then sleep 
there. ... In thirty hours more I hope to see you in 
Stettin. May God add his blessing. Much love to the 
children. I send nobody to meet you, since you have 
expressly forbidden it. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



CARLSBAD, July i, '65. 

MY DEAR HEART, It delights me to learn from your 
two letters that it is well with our scattered band every- 
where. Give yourself no anxiety about the budget ex- 
cesses; what must be, must be, and whether you spend 
more or fewer of these petty gulden has no result of moment 
for the future heir of each of our children. Practise no 
Pomeranian hospitality in Hamburg, but, as to what 
you want, do not dicker about farthings, as you dear 
women are apt to do. Your table seems to me inexpensive, 
and your meals will be more agreeable at home than at 
the table d'hote, where at times you fare as between Steiglitz 
and the Turk.* We are having wretched weather; espe- 
cially when I have time to go out it rains like a cataract, and 
when the sun shines I am sure to be driven with work. 
Keudell has not come yet ; he must have had frightful ar- 
rears. Our abode might have its charms in good weather. 
My outlook extends over the city, along the Tepl to the Erz 
Mountains, northwest, and thus into the sunset, should 
there be one, but mostly to a gray cloud bank ; and to climb 
several times a day one hundred and eighty feet of steep 
and stony path down to the ship and up again is not one of 

* Between whom she had fainted on one occasion at dinner in Peters- 
burg. 

403 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

my favorite occupations. For the rest, it is quiet, visits 
made difficult by the remoteness, a cow-stable under my 
floor, fowls in the yard eating out of the bowl set for a 
chained-up lame dog, and evenings the lowing of the kine 
under me, with distant baying of dogs, " the watch-dog's 
honest bark/' as in the country. . . . All happiness to you 
and Marie. God guard you both and Reinfeld. The hunts- 
man takes this to Leipsic. 

Your faithful V. B. 



CARLSBAD, July 7, '65. 

At last, my heart, it is warm here, seventy-two in the 
shade, one hundred and four in the sun. . . . The en- 
closed will show you at last that you have an uncommonly 
good-looking husband, beside whom even le beau Guiche, 
now Grammont, appears to no advantage, though I think 
him right handsome. But you will not believe it, and 
therefore I close, provoked. One thousand good wishes to 
Mary and all friends. The Miihlers are here, on the way 
to Berchtesgaden. Your faithful V. B. 



CARLSBAD, July 17, '65. 

MY HEART, I am very sorry you have been worried 
by silly rumors of my sickness. Folks are always short 
of stuff, and, as they cannot keep silence, they give out 
gabble. I am as well as is possible with the heat and work. 
Keudell in white, Abeken and Zietel in light gray and 
white, make peculiar effects of the glowing sunbeam! 
The Miihlers go to-day by Eger to Berchtesgaden, off 
into the night. She stirred things up here, indeed, and 
her tyrannical hunt for pleasure upset my habits of life. 

404 



1865] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

Yesterday Princess Lippe, coffee for forty people, jugglers, 
dance in the Kaiser Park behind Friendship Hall on the 
Tepl. The King stayed from five o'clock till nine. I 
seceded from the table of Princes and Excellencies, and 
joined the young folk, Polish, Wallachian, and Hessian 
girls. But as a bathing resort for folks in search of pleasure, 
Carlsbad is the most wretched I know. After receiving 
this write me no more here, but at Salzburg, where I hope 
to be the 23d, or at Gastein the 24th. Heartfelt love. 

Your faithful V. B. 



GASTEIN, August i, '65. 

MY EIGHTEEN -YEARS -BELOVED HEART,* Thirteen 
years ago to-dayt you were in a critical condition, and we 
have so many a deliverance since to thank God for, and to 
draw from His grace in the past confidence for present and 
future. May He restore you to perfect health and preserve 
you to the children. It is well with me, and you may dis- 
miss all anxiety. The beer was so good at Ratisbon and 
Salzburg that I gave up banting, but here I am beginning 
again. I take seven baths, and a fortnight from to-day 
we shall probably, if God will, move on, stay one day in 
Salzburg, whither the Emperor is likely to come. We 
shall then, perhaps, get some more light on the political 
future, and with it on my own further prospects. If any- 
thing comes of Biarritz, and you go along, your servant 
may as well stay behind, since Engel goes with you, but 
you possibly cannot do without a maid, nor without dresses ; 
for since you have the misfortune to be my wife, the news- 
papers will surely take notice on occasion of you and your 

* They had been married eighteen years, 
t The second son's birthday. 

405 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AuG. 

attire. It is the misery of this position that all freedom 
of private life ceases, and therefore it is I warn you that 
in Homburg you practise no economies which might be 
out of that measure for the Prussian Minister-President's 
wife which the public defines for you, not by your taste 
or means, but mercilessly by your rank. We are un- 
fortunately forced to regard a thousand dollars less than 
criticism in our appearance, and the part of a modest coun- 
try housekeeper is no longer permitted you, at least not at 
the watering-place 1 ... Your most faithful V. B. 



GASTEIN, August 14, '65. 

For several days I have found no leisure to send you 
word. Gr. Blome is back here, and we are hard at work, 
preserving the peace and patching up the breaches in the 
structure. Not to seem too zealous, I gave a day yesterday 
to the chase ; I think I wrote you how fruitless the first hunt 
was; this time I at least shot one fawn, but did not even 
see more in the three hours that I surrendered myself, 
motionless, to the experiments of many varieties of insects, 
and the lively murmur of the waterfall below me made 
me understand the depth of feeling which extorted from 
somebody before me the wish : " Rivulet, stop thy murmur- 
ing." In my chamber, even, this wish is justified day and 
night ; it makes freer breathing to reach a place where the 
brutal noise of the waterfall is not heard. But, after all, 
it was a right pretty shot, at an angle across the ravine, 
dead on the spot, and fell head foremost into the stream, 
some steeples' lengths under me. My health is good, and 
I feel much stronger ; whether from bathing is hard to say ; 
the doctors, at least, want to keep cutting me down in num- 
ber, time, and warmth of baths. What shall I give our 

406 



1865] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

daughter for her birthday? I hope you are attending to 
that. I will write her a letter. ... If you stay in Homburg 
long enough, I hope to make a side trip to you, and to en- 
joy the comfort of home, for which the Miihlers here do not 
entirely compensate. God guard you and ours. Best love 
to our little girl, who is beginning to be terribly old. Fare- 
well. Your most faithful V. B. 

BADEN, September I, '65. 

MY BELOVED HEART, I reached here day before 
yesterday morning, slept till half past twelve, then much 
work, dinner with the King, a long address, in the evening 
a quartette at Flemming's with Joachim, who really 
strokes his fiddle with amazing skill. Yesterday on the 
race-course; many acquaintances whom I could not readily 
name. 

September begins with rain; two-thirds of the year gone 
since we have become accustomed to write 65. Princelinesses 
abound here. At four Marussa* wishes to see me ; she is 
said now to be very handsome. Two Lucca pictures 
come next. We both look stout and like very good chil- 
dren. The King means to leave here on the 5th, undecided 
yet which way, Coburg or Coblentz, on account of Queen 
Victoria, whom he wants to meet. In any case I hope to 
pass through Frankfort the 5th or 6th; whether I can be in 
Homburg, and how long, will have to be determined not 
longer than one day anyhow, since I must be in Berlin 
with the King. 

It rains very thoroughly and prospectively long. Loving 
greetings to Marie and both boys. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

* Princess of Baden. 
407 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY, 

SlCHROW, July i. '66. 

MY BELOVED HEART, We started to-day from Reich- 
enberg, have just reached here, still uncertain whether we 
stay one night here or in Turnau. The whole journey 
was one of danger, and I am glad to have no responsibility 
for it. Yesterday the Austrians, if they had sent cavalry 
from Leitmeritz, might have captured the King and all of 
us. Poor Carl, the driver, has just had a terrible fall, 
with the red mare that ran away with him. He was taken 
at first for dead. He lies in the hospital here at Sichrow, 
in the next village. Kurt is to come for him. We meet 
prisoners everywhere; there appear to be already more 
than 15,000, by the reports received here. Jitschin was 
taken by us yesterday with the bayonet, the Frankfort 
division, Gen. Tumpling severely wounded in the thigh, 
not fatally. The heat frightful, the bringing of supplies 
difficult. Our troops suffer from fatigue and hunger. 
In the country to this point few marks of the war save 
trodden fields of grain. The people are not afraid of the 
soldiers, but stand with wife and child in Sunday dress 
before the doors and stare in wonder. In Trautenau the 
inhabitants murdered twenty unarmed stragglers of ours, 
who had stayed behind the van when their regiment 
marched through. The guilty ones are in Glogau before 
a court-martial. At Munchengratz the proprietor of a 
brewery enticed twenty-six of our soldiers into a cellar of 
spirits, made them drunk, set it on fire. The brewery 
belonged to a convent. Aside from such things, we hear 
less news here than in Berlin. This castle, very imposing, 
belongs to Prince Rohan, whom I used to meet every year 
at Gastein. 

Farewell. Warm love to the children and our guests. 
God guard you all. Your most faithful V. B. 

408 



1866] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

JlTSCHIN (not GlTSCHIN), July 2, '66. 

Just arrived here from Sichrow; the battle-field on the 
way was full of corpses, horses, arms. Our victories are 
far greater than we thought; it seems that we already 
have more than 15,000 prisoners, and the Austrian loss in 
killed and wounded is reported still higher, about 20,000. 
Two of their corps are destroyed, several regiments an- 
nihilated to the last man. I have hitherto seen many 
more Austrian prisoners than Prussian soldiers. Send me 
constantly by the couriers cigars, as many as one thousand 
each time if you can, price twenty rix- dollars, for the 
hospitals. All the wounded ask me for them. Also 
either by collections or from our own means subscribe 
for some dozens of copies of the Kreuz Zeitung for the hos- 
pitals for example, that in Reichenberg ; for the places of 
the other hospitals have inquiry made at the War Office. 
What is Clermont-Tonnerre doing? Isn't he coming? I 
have no mail yet. 

Send me, besides, a revolver of large caliber, a saddle- 
pistol. Carl, the coachman, is better; he will probably 
suffer no permanent injury, but will be unfit for service 
for some time. Carl B.* deserves much praise, the active 
centre of our travelling household. 

Best love. Send me a French novel to read, but only 
one at a time. God protect you. 

Your most faithful V. B. 

This moment comes your letter with the Homburg 
enclosure: a thousand thanks. I can feel with you the 
loneliness of your setting out ! Here, in the bustle, there 
can be no sense of the situation, or at most only at night 
in bed. 

* Bismarck-Bohlen. 
409 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

HOHENMAUTH, Monday, September 7, '66. 
Do you remember, sweetheart, how we passed through 
here nineteen years ago, on the way from Prague to Vienna? 
No mirror showed the future then, nor in 1852, when I 
went over this railway with good Lynar. How strangely 
romantic are God's ways! We are doing well, in spite of 
Napoleon ; if we are not unmeasured in our claims and do 
not imagine we have conquered the world, we shall achieve 
a peace that is worth the trouble. But we are as easily 
intoxicated as disheartened, and it is my thankless part to 
pour water into the foaming wine, and to insist that we do 
not live alone in Europe, but with three other powers 
which hate and envy us. The Austrians hold position 
in Moravia, and we are bold enough to announce our head- 
quarters for to-morrow at the point where they are now. 
Prisoners still keep passing in, and cannon, one hundred 
and eighty from the 3d to to-day. If they bring up their 
southern army, we shall, with God's gracious help, defeat 
it too; confidence is universal. Our people are ready to 
embrace one another, every man so deadly in earnest, 
calm, obedient, orderly, with empty stomach, soaked 
clothes, wet camp, little sleep, shoe-soles dropping off, 
kindly to all, no sacking or burning, paying what they 
can and eating mouldy bread. There must surely be a 
solid basis of fear of God in the common soldier of our army, 
or all this could not be. News of our friends is hard to 
get; we lie miles apart from one another, none knowing 
where the other is, and nobody to send that is, men might 
be had, but no horses. For four days I have had search 
made for Philip,* who was slightly wounded by a lance- 
thrust in the head, as Gerhardf wrote me, but I can't find 

* Von Bismarck, the oldest nephew. 

t Von Thadden, commanding a squadron in the First Dragoon Guards. 

410 



i866] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

out where he is, and we have now come thirty-seven miles 
farther. The King exposed himself greatly on the 3d, 
and it was well I was present, for all the warnings of others 
had no effect, and no one would have dared to talk so sharp- 
ly to him as I allowed myself to do on the last occasion, 
which gave support to my words, when a knot of ten cuiras- 
siers and fifteen horses of the Sixth Cuirassier Regiment 
rushed confusedly by us, all in blood, and the shells whizzed 
around most disagreeably close to the King. He cannot 
yet forgive me for having blocked for him the pleasure of 
being hit. " At the spot where I was forced by order of the 
supreme authority to run away/' were his words only 
yesterday, pointing his finger angrily at me. But I like 
it better so than if he were excessively cautious. He was 
full of enthusiasm over his troops, and justly so rapt that 
he seemed to take no notice of the din and fighting close to 
him, calm and composed as at the Kreuzberg, and con- 
stantly meeting battalions that he must thank with " Good- 
evening, grenadiers/' till we were actually by this trifling 
brought under fire again. But he has had to hear so 
much of this that he will stop it for the future, and you 
may feel quite easy; indeed, I hardly believe there will 
be another real battle. 

When you have of anybody no word whatever, you may 
assume with confidence that he is alive and well; for if 
acquaintances are wounded, it is always known at latest 
in twenty-four hours. We have not come across Herwarth 
and Steinmetz at all, nor has the King. Schreck, too, I 
have not seen, but I know they are well. Gerhard keeps 
quietly at the head of his squadron, with his arm in a 
sling. Farewell I must to business. 

Your faithfullest 

v. B. 
411 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Auc. '66 

ZWITTAU, MORAVIA, July n, '66. 

DEAR HEART, I have no inkstand, all of them being 
in use ; but for the rest I get on well, after a good sleep on 
a camp bed with air mattress ; roused at eight by a letter 
from you. I went to bed at eleven. At Koniggratz I 
rode the big sandy thirteen hours in the saddle without 
feeding him. He bore it very well, did not shy at shots 
nor at corpses, cropped standing grain and plum-leaves 
with zest at the most trying moments, and kept up an 
easy gait to the last, when I was more tired than the horse. 
My first bivouac for the night was on the street pavement 
of Horic, with no straw, but helped by a carriage cushion. 
It was full of wounded ; the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg 
found me and shared his chamber with me, Reuss, and 
two adjutants, and the rain made this very welcome to me. 
About the King and the shells, I have written you already. 
All the generals had a superstition that they, as soldiers, 
must not speak to the King of danger, and always sent 
me off to him, though I am a major, too. They did not 
venture to speak to his reckless Majesty in the serious 
tone which at last was effectual. Now at last he is grateful 
to me for it, and his sharp words, " How you drove me off 
the first time/' etc., are an acknowledgment that I was 
right. Nobody knew the region, the King had no guide, 
but rode right on at random, till I obtruded myself to show 
the way. . . . Farewell, my heart. I must go to the King. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



PRAGUE, August 3, 1866. 

MY DEAR HEART, ... In a few days it will be nine- 
teen years since we saw all this together. How much 
that is amazing had to occur, in order to bring me thus 

412 



DEC. '69] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

again to the same place, without Bernets. ... A great com- 
plication in the ministry on the speech from the throne; 
Lippe takes the lead in heavy debate against me on the 
conservative side, and Hans Kleist has written me a pro- 
voking letter. All the petty folk have too little to do, 
see nothing beyond their own noses, and practise their 
skill in swimming on the tempestupus wave of phrases. 
We have done with the enemy, but our friends! They 
all have blinding flaps before their eyes, and see but one 
spot in the world. 

Farewell, my dear. Here are people and papers. Hearty 
love. Your most faithful V. B. 



BERLIN, Tuesday Evening. 
(Postmark, December 7, 1869.) 

To the Countess von Bismarck-Schonhausen, Bonn, at the 
Star : 

MY DEAR HEART, I am glad to hear from Keudell 
that you get on well under the circumstances; I only ap- 
prehend lest the reaction will be severe on your strength, 
when the strain is over. Of the poor weak boy I can find 
little that is assuring in your reports, though still my re- 
liance on God's help is firm. How recklessly must they 
have neglected him ! Greet my beloved youngster heartily, 
and keep him right quiet ; he will still be patient and weak, 
but if his strength, with God's help, begins to return, great 
caution will be needed to keep him from presuming on it. 

I dined with Roon on Sunday, and yesterday was with 
him at Giitergotz, where he has built himself a very im- 
posing chateau. I don't want to take you there, or you 
would have nothing to do with the Varzin house. He 
builds and plants on a huge scale, but he gets no rents. 

413 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [DEC.'69 

Yesterday I dined at Malle's, to-day at Roon's again. 
Have no anxiety, I am very prudent. I have slept well; 
the first night like the dead, ten hours, and then woke with 
the impression that I had just lain down. May you have 
many a night like it ; I am much afraid you waste yourself 
in anxiety and watching. I have seen the King, but did 
not engage in the service. If I do not go to Bonn, a ques- 
tion I shall not decide till after Marie comes, I do not really 
know whither. Here I cannot live incognito; everybody 
has left Varzin, and I have no liking to go abroad. Malle 
wished to go with me to Krochlendorf . I might go hunting, 
but till I have trustworthy assurance from Bonn, do not 
like to accept any invitation. Love to the dear children, 
comfort H., keep him quietly patient, .and spare yourself. 
No telegram to-day? Your V. B. 



BERLIN, December 13, 1869. 

MY DARLING, God be thanked that your letters are 
of comforting tenor. The retiring disease still rises and 
falls perhaps, but on the whole keeps on the ebb, and 
through your accounts of the situation there breaks now 
and then a comforting bit of humor, which indicates that 
the spirit of joyful hope is uppermost in your heart. Poor 
Thile, alas! has suffered what threatened us, and worse; 
he had but one child, the son who stood with the Uhlans 
at Perleberg, and has just received a telegram announcing 
his death by apoplexy. He had suffered from epilepsy 
before, but was thought to be cured. 

With all Herbert's good prospects, I cannot yet but fear 
that he will not be fit to travel at Christmas. Will it suit 
you if we keep the holiday together in Bonn, or is the poor 
boy still so weak that it would be inadvisable? Write 

414 



o] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

me, without mistaken consideration for me, what you 
think. The journey would not hurt me; there must be 
lodgings to be found there, so that Herbert will not be 
disturbed. I cherish the idea of transplanting both the 
boys hither, as soon as the recovery, with God's help, 
has gone far enough. Of course, they are in God's hand 
anywhere, but after this time of anxiety you will still be 
uneasy if they stay out of your sight, and you will regard 
Bonn in particular with less confidence than before, though 
you are in all seriousness a brave and God-gifted lady; 
in fact, even more so in the actual presence of calamity 
than when fancy still gives fear full play. Write me 
your opinion. As soon as I am a little calmer, I will go 
for some days to Barby to hunt, taking Marie thither 
perhaps Saturday or Monday. If we then go for the holi- 
day to Bonn, we might make our journey direct from there 
without entering Berlin again; if you think it better that 
the invalid's quiet still remain unbroken, write me so with- 
out reserve, and we must this time divide the Christmas- 
tree, half here, the other half at Schmitz's. If Herbert 
could leave his room by that time, there might be a place 
near Bonn Rolandseck, Honnef, or the like where we 
could spend a few days quietly together. Hearty greet- 
ings to both boys, over whose Christmas Marie is splitting 
her head. Your V. B. 

MAINZ, August 6, '70. 
To Count H. Bismarck : 

MY BELOVED BOY, Hearty thanks for your letter 
of two days since, received to-day ; where this will find you, 
I know not. We go with the King to-morrow morning 
to the border; I should like to meet there the dear blue 
colors. The beginning, under God's blessing, is good; 

415 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [SEPT. 

would it might keep so to the end. From Weissenbourg, 
four hundred French prisoners came through here to- 
day, and four hundred through Darmstadt. At Saar- 
briick to-day the retreating marauders, who fired this 
unfortified town in their wantonness, were overtaken 
by Goben, and (Frossard's corps) utterly routed. Within 
a few days the same, with God's help, will be the case with 
the main army. I have good news of your mother, only 
throw in the mail frequent letters for her, when you can. 
I hope she will soon go to Nauheim. 

Hearty love to Bill, and join me and your mother in 
prayer that God will reunite us all in health, but, above 
all, that He will give us victory of His grace. 

Faithfully, your father, V. BISMARCK. 

Should either of you be wounded, telegraph me at the 
King's headquarters as quickly as you can. But not 
to your mother first. 

VENDRESSE, September 3, 1870. 
To Mrs. von Bismarck : 

MY DEAR HEART, Day before yesterday I left my 
quarters here before dawn, but came back to-day, and 
have meanwhile been through the great battle of Sedan 
on the 1st, in which we took some thirty thousand prison- 
ers, and shut the remainder of the French army, which 
we had chased ever since Bar-le-Duc, into the fortress, 
where they had to surrender, with the Emperor, as prison- 
ers of war. At five yesterday morning, after I had dis- 
cussed the terms of capitulation with Moltke and the 
French generals till one o'clock, General Reille, whom 
I know, called me up to say that Napoleon wished to 
speak with me. Without washing or breakfast, I rode 

416 






1870] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

towards Sedan, found the Emperor in an open carriage 
with three adjutants, and three more at hand in the saddle, 
on the main road before Sedan. I dismounted, saluted 
him as politely as in the Tuileries, and asked his com- 
mands. He desired to see the King. I told him, as was 
true, that his Majesty's quarters were fourteen miles 
away, at the place where I am writing now. Upon his 
question, whither he should betake himself, I offered him, 
since I was unfamiliar with the region, my quarters in 
Donchery, a village on the Maas close to Sedan; he ac- 
cepted them, and drove, escorted by his six Frenchmen, 
by me; and by Carl, who meanwhile had ridden after 
me, through the lovely morning, towards our lines. He 
was distressed before reaching the place, because of the 
possible crowds, and asked me if he might not stop at 
a lonely workman's house on the road. I had it examined 
by Carl, who reported that it was wretched and dirty. 
" N'importe," said Napoleon, and I mounted with him 
a narrow, rickety stairway. In a room ten feet square, 
with a fig-wood table and two rush-bottomed chairs, we 
sat an hour, the others staying below. A mighty con- 
trast to our last interview, in '67, at the Tuileries. Our 
conversation was difficult, if I would avoid touching on 
things which must be painful to those whom God's mighty 
hand had overthrown. Through Carl, I had officers 
brought from the city, and Moltke requested to come. 
We then sent out one of the first to reconnoitre, and dis- 
covered, a couple of miles off, at Fresnoi's, a little chateau 
with a park. Thither I conducted him, with an escort of 
the Cuirassier body-guards, which was meanwhile brought 
up, and there we concluded the capitulation with Wimpf en, 
the French general-in-chief. By its terms, from forty 
to sixty thousand French I do not yet know the number 
2D 417 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AuG.';i 

more exactly become our prisoners, with everything 
they have. The two preceding days cost France one 
hundred thousand men and an emperor. He started 
early this morning, with all his court, horses, and wagons, 
for Wilhelmshohe, at Cassel. 

It is an event in universal history, a triumph for which 
we will thank God the Lord in humility, and which is de- 
cisive of the war, even though we must continue to prose- 
cute it against headless France. 

I must close. With heartfelt joy I have learned to-day 
from your letter and Marie's, of Herbert's reaching you. 
I met Bill yesterday, as I telegraphed you, and took him 
to my arms from his horse before the King's face, while 
he stood with his limbs rigid. He is entirely well and in 
high spirits. Hans and Fritz Carl and both the Billows 
I saw with the Second Dragoon guards, well and cheerful. 

Farewell, my heart. Kiss the children. 

Your V. B. 



GASTEIN, August 30, '71. 

Happy the man to whom God has given a virtuous wife, 
who writes him every day. I am delighted that you are 
well, and that you have come to be three, to whom I hope 
to add myself as fourth on the yth or 8th. . . . You 
see I have enough mental leisure here to devote myself 
to the unaccustomed work of making plans; but all on 
the presupposition that the excited Gauls do not worry 
my little friend Thiers to death, for then I should have to 
stay with his Majesty and watch which way the hare runs. 
I do not think that likely, but with such a stupid nation 
as they are anything is possible. Hearty love to both 
fat children. Your most faithful V. B. 

418 



MAY, '72] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

GASTEIN, September 2, '71. 

MY DARLING, Your refreshing letter of the 3ist, with 
the postmark Reichenhalle, the morning of the 1st, has 
come hither uncommonly quick, after I had been four 
days long without any, which, in view of your usual faith- 
fulness in writing, made me uneasy. The stout quarrellers 
might also write a line once in a while; it need not be a 
letter, but just a sign of life. I get on well, only work 
piles up for me. The King of Greece came to-day, and 
leaves me no time to write ; I must breakfast at his Majesty's 
with the exalted guest; hardly time for the bath. Do not 
count on me for Gmunden, but rather go there before I 
come, if, as I presume, you want to see the place and the 
little lady again. I am sorry Jagow stays away, on Bill's 
account. But at this season he no doubt finds vagabonds 
to make friends of on the great routes of travel. Fare- 
well, the bath - house fiddle has already struck up the 
Grecian national hymn. A right cheerful march move- 
ment. Your V. B. 



VARZIN, Trinity, May 26, '72. 

It is distressing that you are gone, and I worry so that 
I don't know whether I can stand it for four weeks. Per- 
haps I shall drive to Reinfeld to-morrow with Westphal, 
but the depressing thing is to come back to the empty 
house. I was at church with Bucher, then we loafed two 
hours in the close, dined with Westphal and Wistinghausen, 
and I have just inspected protected places for young trees 
for three hours till sunset. Weather and forest are fine, 
but if unscrupulous doctors, by their pompous pretensions 
with bathing-cures, break all family ties, then the finest 
Varzin of all can do me no good. I feel as if all men were 

419 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [Ocr.'78 

dead, I alone left. I trust you arrived safely; did you 
forward the letter to his Majesty? Greet my darling 
urchin, and speedily send one of the youngsters here. 

Your V. B. 



(TELEGRAM.) 

VARZIN, May 31, '72. 
Princess Bismarck, Soden Spa : 

I am doing as well as any childless straw-widower in 
good weather can. BISMARCK. 



FRIEDRICHS, Wednesday. 
(Postmark, October 23, '78.) 

Hearty thanks for your letter, my dear. I have come 
here, after a long interval, for my first rest, found my 
enlarged chamber more comfortable than anything for 
a long time, slept tolerably, spite of all excuses and strong 
coffee at ten o'clock. My first meeting with Ti.* to-day 
almost frightened me, as a reminder of the chains of office. 
The air fills the lungs splendidly, like good old wine in 
comparison with small Berlin beer. In the forest the 
foliage is rich, autumn coloring prevailing as seen from 
above, many trees still in summer green from below. I 
walked an hour in the morning, drove then with Ti. through 
Braken, Altenhau, Schonau, Silk, where I saw the first 
full barns; lit on Stumm in the forest surveying with 
huzzars, invited him to dinner, and have just let him go, 
nine o'clock. Ti. is somewhat chilled; Bill comes to- 
morrow morning, according to a telegram just received. 
Tiras and Flora are chasing each other like mad through 

* Tiedemann. 
420 



JULY, '8iJ THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the big rooms in the delight of meeting again, and the 
curtains with foolish trains on the ground hem in the space. 
In the ice-cellar for weeks not a piece, because of defective 
plumbing. The stoves heat well ; some of the chimneys 
still smoke. Horses well ; the general impression satis- 
factory, especially the quieting outlook on the wall built 
around us! A clear sky with fifty-nine degrees temper- 
ature; in short, I should be comfortable if you were with 
me and no visit expected. Hearty love to Marie and R. 
Your most faithful V. B. 



VARZIN, Tuesday, November 18, '79. 

The frosty weather suits me better than what preceded 
it, only the languor still does not go. "That is good for 
you/'* is like a journey afoot, with much standing and 
resting; but I have probably four weeks left yet for rest. 
How is it with the grandson? Was it wind? Hearty 
love to the would-be mother and Rantzan. Adelheid is 
reading Italian, Herbert is writing close by, Tiref is crack- 
ing an enormous bone, and the tea-kettle is singing to all. 
God be with you and Marie. 

Your faithf ullest V. B. 



KlSSINGEN, July 12, '8l. 

To the Princess von Bismarck, Kreuth, Upper Bavaria : 

BELOVED HEART, God be thanked for all the good 
tidings from you; may the distress of separation bring 
rich fruit of health. It is very empty here, in the house 
and outside in walks and drives; even Tiras feels it, and 

* Words cut in the bark of a tree at Varzin. f Tiras. 

421 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JuLY,'8i 

whines inquiringly in the mornings why Herbert comes 
and not you. We drive every evening, to get out in the 
open, bravely and long, and then before eleven I go to bed, 
and yet after a good night's sleep struggle in vain to get 
up at nine. The ideal distribution of the day is even yet 
not attained. We have a few guests at dinner every day : 
yesterday Seydewitz, Mischke (adjutant to the Crown 
Prince), and Kracht; to-day Muhler (on business, unfort- 
unately), and the good Mrs. Wallenberg, who not long ago 
dined at our home with Ohlendorf ; she is always sociable 
and agreeable. I now bathe only every other day, and 
drink only two glasses, because favorable symptoms in- 
dicated that it was enough. After a while I will bathe 
oftener. Pains gradually diminishing, day by day, but 
they do not yet leave me entirely at peace, since I was 
on the fortifications at Strasburg till about three o'clock. 
Herbert, for similar reasons, is to drink Rakoczy too, and to 
diet. I have persuaded Elise* to stay till Thursday; 
she is free from pain, but walks stiff and lame, so that she 
would bring disgrace on your facade. To-day seventy- 
nine degrees in the shade, moderate for Kreuth, here very 
warm. God bless you. Hearty love to Bill and the ladies. 

Your V. B. 



KlSSINGEN, July 28, '8l. 

MY BELOVED HEART, With joy I have received your 
telegram to-day, and join in thanks to God for all the 
grace that has been shown us in these thirty-four years. 
The very fact that His mercy has preserved us and all 
our family till now, and, as I firmly trust, will preserve 

* Chambermaid. 
422 



MAY, '84] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

us still, is a special and not common favor, and how won- 
derfully Has his guardian hand repeatedly worked for each 
of us five. I have had much anxiety, toil, and trouble, but 
in the retrospect of a third of a century my heart over- 
flows in humble gratitude, with the confession that it 
has been well with me, beyond all desert and hope. May 
God's grace continue with us. In 1847 it was warmer 
than now ; early this morning it was only fifty-two degrees ; 
is now fifty-seven degrees. At noon Mrs. Wallenberg and 
Schlozer were with us, and we ate a hare from Barby; 
then I drove with Herbert to the bridge over the railway, 
and we walked back to Arnshausen, with the view over 
the blue Rhon. Under the treatment I continue to improve, 
though I have days of pain now and then ; without them the 
mischief cannot be extirpated, and none of them is as bad 
as formerly. To-day I have been almost wholly free, and 
besides sleep and appetite are in excellent order. I go to 
bed earlier every day (at ten thirty), and to-day I drank 
Rakoczy at nine o'clock. I take deep delight in all good 
news from you, and it will be still nicer when we are once 
both together again in rugged health. Much love to 
aunty and Madame Lully.* 

From your most faithful V. B. 



ROGATE, 84, FRIEDRICHSRUHE. 

(Postmark, May 18, 1884.) 
To the Princess von Bismarck, Berlin, W. : 

Would you may have slept, my heart, as well as I have 
here; it was seventy-two degrees when I awoke, now it is 
eighty-four degrees in the shade; but I wish you better 

* Mrs. von Stiilpnagel. 
423 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [DEC. '86 

ink when you write; this runs out at the first touch, and 
is all gone after three words. I therefore take a pencil. 
It is very fine here, although the alders are three days 
behind those in Berlin, and the oaks six. The thorn-roses 
are just as in Berlin, and the oaks in Silk the same. 
No nightingales, but countless grasshoppers, starlings, 
and the like, especially the cuckoo, which I had not yet 
heard in Berlin. I asked him, how much longer? The 
flatterer answered, twelve, but the last two only faintly. 
The mill-race is a veritable cataract, but makes a fine ap- 
pearance for the eye. The natural swamp there used to 
be, mould and water mixed, has been pushed some hundred 
yards upward, by art and expenditure, and the clear 
water is much enlarged. The mill grinds, but lets the 
rain through. I went in a carriage with Bill to Silk, 
where it is charming, but the stand of rye is rather thin, 
and the barley wants more rain; the farm-hand com- 
plained of the " big drought. " The fish-ponds have become 
very fine ; the new plantings again too deep in the ground ! 
But the tilled field is charming. May God heal you 
speedily! Love to Mary and aunty. 

Your V. B. 



FRIEDRICHSRUHE, December 22, '86. 
To the Princess von Bismarck : 

MY DEAR HEART, The disturbance and the pro- 
longed separation are, indeed, very distressing, but much 
more so is your chill. Our festival can be postponed at 
pleasure, but must not override your health. We may 
celebrate it in two or three days, or, as the French do, 
at New Year's Day, but do me the favor not to drive through 
the winter air before you are entirely well again. What 

424 



JULY, '87] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

can all festivities or gifts do for me, if you fall sick? Misery 
then takes the place of joy, and no candle-lighting is of 
any help against it. I earnestly beg you not to drive 
to-morrow and next day (24th) ; we certainly will not cele- 
brate on Christmas Eve this time. Don't be obstinate; 
you will make me sick if you are, and apart from that 
will get stalled in the snow. It is snowing here all that 
the sky has to send. Everything else is well, and I in 
particular, but I shall fall sick with anxiety for you if 
I am not sure that you stay quietly in your warm room. 
Please telegraph me at once that you will do so, or I shall 
have no peace. Abundant love to all the children. 

Your most faithful V. B. 



VARZIN, July 15, '87. 

MY DEAR HEART, Thanks for your letter of this 
morning. I have been out in the oppressive heat all day ; 
an early walk over the Park and the Richtberg, then a 
drive with Rantzau to Wisdow; saw Laura down with 
her confinement ; back by the beeches ; dined not till half 
past seven with Adelheid, and now, just going to bed, 
write you this loving word : May God grant us as a recom- 
pense for the painful separation rich blessing in health. 
We shall hope for the compensation in the winter, and at 
least will not have it to say of every indisposition, this 
comes from your wilfulness in the summer. In assured 
prospect of happy reunion, 

Your most faithful, but, at the moment, weary, 

v. B. 

It is raining hard. The trees have suffered in their 
foliage from May-bugs and lack of warmth. Rain has 

425 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [JULY/88 

been plenty. The fields look well ; the summer's harvest 
better than at Schonau. Much love to H. and Marie. 



(TELEGRAM.) 

VARZIN, May 26, '88. 

Without horses or wife, I can't bear it here longer. We 
return to-morrow. V. BISMARCK. 



FRIEDRICHSRUHE, July 16, 1888. 
To the Princess von Bismarck, Homburg-on-the-H eight : 

MY DEAR HEART, I salute your happy arrival at 
Homburg with a few lines in my own hand, that you 
may have sure proof that I am well. Last night, as often 
as I turned over, I had to keep thinking how we are flung 
around the world: you rolling through the night on the 
railway in Thuringia, Herbert on the lake between 
Arcona and Bornholm, Marie in Berlin, Bill in Hanau, 
we here in the forest. Why can we not be together? To 
many travel is the highest enjoyment, to us a burden. 
Every day till now we two have dined alone, not even 
Lange once with us. I do not want to see strangers, 
much as I miss my own folk when they are not with me. 
Since this morning the weather is warm, the sun out too ; 
it had been till then fifty or fifty-five degrees, and rain, 
but early this morning, while Kuno was hunting (to no 
purpose), he saw it down to thirty-nine degrees; yet at 
nine, when I rose, it was sixty-eight degrees. The forest 
is as fine as it can be ; the grain-fields poor, except pota- 
toes and oats, the hay soaked, wherever it does not still 
stand thick, adorning the meadow and awaiting the scythe. 
There is no lack of summer guests, spite of the cold, in all 

426 



AUG. '89] THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 

the small houses. They make the forest unsafe. I spend 
the whole day under the sky, walking, riding, driving, 
and have at least six hours of open air every day for one 
in Berlin. Nor do I so quickly get tired here on horse- 
back or on foot. I do no work, on principle, when in the 
house. I read novels, reclining by the fire. If this does 
no good 

God be with you and strengthen you, so that you may 
come back robust and in spirits. Hearty love to aunty. 

Your V. B. 



FRIEDRICHSRUHE, August 22, '89. 
To the Princess von Bismarck, Homburg-on-the-Height : 

MY DEAR HEART, Many thanks for your letter, 
which assures me you are well housed. Our separation 
is a misfortune which we will not make harder for each 
other by complaints. I must comfort myself here in 
company with Rottenburg, who is just as lonely, and 
Marie will soon have to part with her Cuno, too. Yester- 
day we celebrated her day and Christian's with many 
bouquets and with the foaming Moselle, which she likes. 
I brought her the only Niel rose I could find, and a huge 
garland, which I gathered behind the castle, of the splen- 
didly colored leafage of the Ohe heath. When I went to 
bed, after ten, Christian was still playing, not yet tired, 
with leaden soldiers, a helmet on his head, as their com- 
mander. But I have had to leave poor Tiras in the 
veterinary school. He could not be transported, and 
there is little succor here for sick dogs only horses and 
kine are known to the veterinary practitioners. I have 
still all along been somewhat anxious for the intrusive 
black calf's head, with his good-humored awkwardness. 

427 



THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK [AUG. '89 

Tiras hardly knows me any more ; he has not grown any. 
The forest is charming in its oaks; the beeches are in 
places eaten bare by caterpillars, not around the house, 
but farther in the forest, and are generally poor in foliage. 
At Schonau I saw at least good lupines, huge seradels, 
and potatoes ninety hundredweight to the acre, twice as 
much as last year; besides, the rye harvest is good, but 
oats, barley, and clover have turned out very poorly. 
There has been nothing else in my life here; I am just 
out of the bath, and am now going to Rott's lecture; on 
the way I want to stop at the desk at least to send you a 
word of love, wish you good weather, and report that all 
is well except as to the lame puppy. Please give much 
love to Merly/' and sincere remembrances to all you see fit. 

Your V. B. 

*Mrs. Mary Meister. 



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THE BROWNING LETTERS 



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