Royal Sideboard

Royal Sideboard.

The presence of this flagon is not altogether inappropriate; for, firmly as the Kaiser is seated on the throne, the sovereign to whom the Germans pay absolute allegiance is old Gambrinus, king of beer. The father of Frederick the Great advised his subjects to drink beer, which strengthened the body, rather than wine, which stole away the brains; and the Germans of to-day have this significant proverb: " He who is not strong before twenty, handsome before thirty, wise before forty, and rich before fifty, on such a man even beer is altogether lost."

Dining Room


National Gallery

National Gallery.

Not far from the Royal Castle is another structure, which, though much smaller and plainer in appearance, has for the tourist far greater interest. It was formerly the residence of old Kaiser William. Its situation is more imposing than the edifice itself, for it occupies a prominent position on the Unter den Linden, in close proximity to the armory and the museum, while the magnificent statue of Frederick the Great stands directly in front of it. I was surprised, as I suppose every visitor is, to find the exterior of this palace so unpretentious. Compared with other homes of royalty in Europe, such as the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, or the Palace at Madrid, it appears insignificant. It is merely a plain, substantial house of stuccoed brick. A stranger might walk by, and fancy it the home of some private individual, unless the sentries at the door and the imperial eagles on the roof betrayed its ownership. The corner windows of this palace, on the ground floor, were those of the old Emperor's study; and every day at a quarter before one o'clock, when the troops marched past to take their station at the neighboring Guard House, one could almost invariably see, at the window fronting on the Unter den Linden, the aged Kaiser and his favorite great-grandchild, returning the salutations of the soldiers and populace. This ceremony-had for the child an unusual significance ; for it is the custom of every Prussian prince at his tenth year to become a lieutenant in the army. This daily greeting of his soldiers William I. maintained to the last days of his life, yet he would never present himself at the window save in military attire. In fact, when dressed, he was never without his uniform. In the privacy of his study he would, occasionally, loosen and throw back his coat, but at the sound of fife or drum he would always button it again, and stand thus till the troops had passed. On being asked once why he took such pains to fasten every button, he replied : " I wish to set a suitable example; for, let me tell you, it is the one clasp left unbuttoned that is the ruin of an army."

Old Emperor William's Palace

Old Emperor William's Palace.

At The Kaiser's Window

At The Kaiser's Window.

A Parade In The Unter Den Linden

A Parade In The Unter Den Linden.

Since the Emperor's death his home has been transformed into a kind of museum (one might almost say a shrine), devoted to memorials of William and his wife Augusta. It is freely open to the public at certain hours every day, and it is interesting to observe the love and reverence evinced by the old Kaiser's subjects, as they behold his table, chair, personal ornaments, and articles of clothing, as well as the magnificent collection of presents bestowed upon him at different epochs in his reign, particularly on the occasion of his golden wedding. Yet, while these gifts are wonderfully rich and beautiful, the apartments of the Emperor are extremely plain. In his bedroom, for example, I found the royal couch to have been a simple iron cot, - a relic and reminder of his military life. His antechamber also was simply furnished, and bore no trace of regal luxury. Some ordinary paintings and a few engravings hung upon the walls, and a sheaf of battle-flags stood stiffly by the door; but sculptured ornaments were rare, except, indeed, a little marble bust of Bismarck, standing without a rival on the centre table. A wonderfully impressive place to me is such a royal anteroom as this, when I reflect on all the thousands who have waited here at some great crisis in their lives, their fortunes staked, perhaps, on the result of the approaching interview, and destined probably, an hour later, to leave this room, their faces radiant with happiness or hopeless from disastrous failure. On entering the private study of the Emperor, I could have easily supposed myself to be in an artist's studio; for the ottomans and tables are covered with portraits, photographs, and medallions. There is, too, a confusion on the desk that makes every literary man immediately feel at home. Few writers are, however, favored with such beautiful table ornaments as those which here surrounded William I.