Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXII
MY RECOLLECTIONS OF BISMARCK -- 1879-1881

M Y first glimpse of Bismarck was obtained during one of my journeys through middle Germany, about the time, I think, of the Franco-Prussian War. Arriving at the Kissingen junction, we found a crowd gathered outside the barriers, and all gazing at a railway-carriage about to be attached to our train. Looking toward this, I recognized the face and form of the great North-German statesman. He was in the prime of life -- sturdy, hearty, and happy in the presence of his wife and children. The people at the station evidently knew what was needed; for hardly had he arrived when waiters appeared, bearing salvers covered with huge mugs of foaming beer. There- upon Bismarck took two of the mugs in immediate succession; poured their contents down his throat, evidently with great gusto; and a burly peasant just back of me, unable longer to restrain his admiration, soliloquized in a deep, slow, guttural, reverberating rumble: "A-a-a-ber er sieht sehr-r-r gut aus." So it struck me also; the waters of Kissingen had evidently restored the great man, and he looked like a Titan ready for battle.

My personal intercourse with him began in 1879, when, as chancellor of the German Empire, he received me as minister of the United States. On my entering his workroom, he rose; and it seemed to me that I had never seen another man so towering save Abraham Lincoln. On either side of him were his two big, black dogs, the Reichshunde; and, as he put out his hand

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