A portion of this park is devoted to a Zoological Garden, which must certainly rank among the largest, finest, and best managed in the world. Like most such gardens in Germany, it is owned and controlled by a stock company, and of late years has paid large dividends. It covers ninety acres of land, tastefully arranged, and on pleasant afternoons it is thronged with people. Whole families here spend hours at a time; the women with their fancy work, the children with their toys, - listening meantime to the music of one orchestra and sometimes that of two. In the latter case, one band will take up a selection the moment the other has concluded, so that the music is continuous.
An Avenue In The Thiergarten.
It is possible that the Germans enjoy and make use of outdoor life in summer more than Americans, because of the delightful contrast which the long summer days of northern Europe present to the short, gloomy days of winter in that latitude. Berlin is really as far north as Labrador, and in the winter most of the daylight is restricted to the hours between eight in the morning and four in the afternoon. School children, therefore, in midwinter must breakfast by lamplight, and go forth to school while it is still dark. In summer, however, the days are correspondingly long, and the hours of sunshine and the lingering northern twilight are thoroughly appreciated.
The little stream that flows through the Thiergarten encircles several diminutive islands, the prettiest of which is called "Luisen-Insel," after the beloved and beautiful Queen Louisa of Prussia. It is appropriate that, perfectly mirrored in the stream beside this island, should stand the marble statue of her husband, Frederick William III.; for it was by his order, and to please his wife, that this section of the Thiergarten was transformed from a wilderness into a charming park. It is in many ways a very suggestive monument, for it portrays the sovereign during whose reign Prussia received her terrible humiliation from Napoleon ; but while the Germans are reminded by it of the shame and suffering which that monarch and his consort endured after Napoleon's victory at Jena, it also calls to mind the complete retaliation effected by their son, the late Kaiser William. On this Luisen-Insel, and in close proximity to the figure of her husband, stands a beautiful statue of Queen Louisa, near which is the elegant vase sculptured by Schadow, with its brief but eloquent inscription, " To the returning Queen." This, too, is a memorial of the dark days of Prussian history ; for it was erected to welcome Queen Louisa, when the retirement of the French from Berlin made possible the return of the royal family to the capital.
Scenery In The Thiergarten.
The Germans excel in representations of their favorite Queen, and the likeness to Louisa in this statue is said to be remarkable. Her noble, womanly nature is depicted in the face; the robe about her graceful form seems satin in its softened finish; while from her shoulders falls a delicate lace mantle, marvelously chiseled. It is said that the late Emperor William, who adored his mother, would often halt before this figure in mute admiration.
Statue Of Frederick William III.
Nor is it strange; for what pathetic incidents of his childhood must have recurred to him, as he looked upon this beautiful memorial! One of these occurred after the defeat of Jena, when little William was but ten years old. Berlin was then occupied by the French, Prussia was panic-stricken, and Queen Louisa was fleeing with her children toward the frontier of Poland. Suddenly the carriage containing them broke down; and the unhappy Queen seated herself among her little ones beside the road, several miles distant from the nearest town.
The youngest children cried from hunger (for in the haste of their departure, all food had been forgotten), and at the sight of their suffering the Queen wept bitterly. However, a wheat-field was close at hand, and she sent William into it to gather the blue corn-flowers which grew luxuriantly there. With these she made wreaths for their little heads, and thus beguiled the weary time until they could renew their journey. The Emperor never forgot that incident, and the blue corn-flowers of the wheat-field were always those which he most dearly loved. In fact, a vase filled with these flowers usually stood upon his study table, since he protested that, without the inspiration of their beauty and of the memories they awakened, he could not do his work well. Accordingly, corn-flowers were specially cultivated for this vase all the year round in a conservatory at Potsdam.