The countess, however, fancied that he referred to her two children by a former marriage, and caused them to be put to death. Yet, when she told her lover of the frightful crime, perpetrated for his sake, he cast her off in horror, and she committed suicide. Her spirit found no rest, however, and is doomed to haunt the royal household as a messenger of woe. We feel inclined to laugh at such a superstition, yet a belief in the White Lady, or at least a fear of her, actually caused the death of the grandfather of Frederick the Great. One day, as he was seated in this palace, his insane wife, who had escaped from her attendants, came rushing toward him, and sprang directly through the large glass door of the conservatory. Startled by the terrific crash, the old King turned around and saw advancing, apparently to attack him, a female clothed in white, waving her bleeding hands and uttering fearful cries. Believing that he saw in her the traditional ghost of the palace, the King fell senseless to the floor, and never recovered from the shock. His grandson Frederick was then fourteen months old. The tourist cannot view this royal residence without some inconvenience; for, before he is allowed to take a step in its magnificent apartments, he is obliged to thrust his feet into enormous woolen slippers, so that his boots may not deface the exquisitely polished floors. Nothing is more ridiculous than to behold a group of travelers shuffling through a palace in this fashion; for these gigantic moccasins were modeled, apparently, not from the human foot, but after a canal boat on the river Spree. It is practically impossible to lift one's feet in them, and I have seen ladies and gentlemen helplessly staring at these pedal mastodons, or sliding recklessly about, like learners in the art of skating; while, since there are no small sizes, to see a wretched child trying to- keep his balance in these number eighty-five foot-coverings, is enough to provoke screams of laughter.
Palace With Water Front.
Courtyard To Palace.
The most magnificent apartment of the Royal Palace is its famous White Hall. This is of imposing size, and beautifully adorned with marble statues, elegant mirrors, bronze balconies, and crystal chandeliers, the total cost of which is estimated at more than a hundred thousand dollars. It has been used for many important ceremonies; and here the Prince of Wales, the Shah of Persia, the Tsar, and the King of Italy have been entertained. Here, too, the German Emperor always receives the members of Parliament at the opening of their session, when, standing beneath a gorgeous canopy, he delivers to them the imperial address.
To examine the seven hundred apartments of this palace would be, of course, a hopeless task; but there is one, at least, which the tourist should not pass unnoticed. It is the Throne Room. The decorations of this hall are extremely elegant; and beneath a gilded canopy and outlined against a background of velvet, studded with golden crowns, are the chairs of the Emperor and Empress. Blue was for many years the favorite color at festivals in this apartment, for of that tint old Emperor William was particularly fond. I do not know whether the present sovereign, his grandson, has the same taste; but, if so, it is probable that many ladies of the Prussian Court wear blue in an attempt to attract his attention. That this was done in flattery to the old Kaiser is no secret. In fact, all sorts of humorous stories have been told of this peculiarity of William I. Thus, a comic paper of Munich once declared that he chose a certain individual for his private secretary, simply because he wore blue spectacles.
During an earlier visit to Berlin, I saw in this Throne Room, instead of the two royal chairs, the solid silver throne presented to the Emperor by some officers of his army. A famous German artist once begged permission to paint a court ceremony in this apartment. He was told that he might do so, provided the Emperor could see the preliminary sketch. The artist consented, and the plan was finally submitted to the Kaiser for inspection. His Majesty was represented, seated on the throne, beside which stood the Crown Prince with one foot on the first step. The bluff old Kaiser frowned, and, seizing a pencil, quickly changed the position of his son, so as to bring both feet together on the floor. Then he returned the sketch to the painter with these laconic words, written beneath the figure of "Our Fritz," Noch nicht, not yet! Opposite the throne, on the other side of the apartment, stands what is claimed to be the most magnificent sideboard in the world. To the full height of the room, it is entirely covered with antique gold and silver plate of the most elaborate description, as though the legendary Midas had been there to transform every dish into gold. Moreover, in the foreground, and at the base of all this splendor, is a magnificently decorated beer-mug, several feet in height, capacious enough to satisfy the wants of the entire royal family.