wife's hand and linked it with the Chancellor's hand, as a pathetic, last plea that he might protect her.

The theme of mournful death changed to the extravagance of opera. The new Emperor, William II, strutted through his mother's rooms in the palace, wearing a uniform and carrying a sabre, while he searched for his father's papers, which had already been smuggled to London. Nine days later William II spoke at the opening of the Reichstag, of

"a leaning towards Russia,"
but he made
"no mention of England. "
7


{136}

1888-1889

A FEW weeks after his father's death, the Emperor William II wrote 1 to his grandmother of his plan to inspect his fleet, and of a trip to the Baltic, where he would meet the Emperor of Russia. Queen Victoria was naturally alarmed as she read his opinion,

"I deem it necessary that monarchs should meet often and confer together to look out for dangers which threaten the monarchical principle from democratical and republican parties in all parts of the world. It is far better that we Emperors keep firm together. ... "
This was lofty language from a grandson she had nursed on her knee. The Queen telegraphed Lord Salisbury,
"Trust that we shall be very cool, though civil, in our communications with my grandson and Prince Bismarck, who are bent on a return to the oldest times of Government. "
2

The Emperor never escaped from awe of his grandmother, bred in him as a child; but his scorn for the Prince of Wales gathered force the day after his father died, when they met in Berlin. The genial Prince, in whom friendliness was stronger than rancour, had not treated his nephew with the respect due to an Emperor, during the solemn visit. William II complained to Prince Bismarck, and through a string of gossip the story reached Queen Victoria, who thought it all "too vulgar and too absurd, as well as untrue. ... " 3 She told Lord Salisbury that it was

"perfect madness"
for her grandson to pretend that he should
"be treated in private as well as in public as 'His Imperial Majesty'"
and that if he had
"such notions"
he
"had better never come here."
With fine pride she added,
"The Queen will not swallow this affront. "
4

But the affronts went on, culminating in the "Vienna incident" when the Emperor refused to meet his uncle during a visit to the Emperor

-333-

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