Fourteen

IN EXILE: I BIDE MY TIME

WILHELM DROVE through the rain for thirty minutes to Count Godard Bentinck's estate at Amerongen, where arrangements had hurriedly been made to receive the fallen ruler and the thirty‐ odd members of his retinue. On arrival, the Kaiser's first request was for "a cup of real good English tea." 1 Wilhelm felt relieved to be with Bentinck and his wife, whose piety he greatly admired, but he recognized that this could be only a temporary residence. "Everything is very uncertain here," he wrote on 13 November to the Kaiserin, still a prisoner of the revolutionaries in Berlin. He was confined to the grounds of the house, and there was nothing to do but read, make archaeological drawings, and begin writing his memoirs. 2 Neither the Kaiser nor anyone else knew whether he would remain in Holland and, if so, where or whether he would be delivered over to the victorious Allies or to his own former subjects, now engulfed in a civil war that pitted communist revolutionaries against the army and the moderate socialist government. Wilhelm was in fact to remain as Count Bentinck's increasingly unwelcome guest until May 1920, when he established at nearby Doorn what would prove to be his domicile for the rest of his long life.

At the very end of November 1918, the republican government in Berlin allowed the Kaiserin to leave the capital and join her husband in Amerongen. Dona arrived in Holland on the twenty-eighth broken in health but still determined to shield the Kaiser from anyone who would do him harm. The royal couple believed that the prospect of Wilhelm's extradition was imminent, and at Christmas 1918 she wrote a letter to their children as a last greeting in the event that they would never see one another again. 3 The Kaiserin assured their sons and daughter that neither she nor their father would permit themselves to be delivered to the enemy, but even if that fate was avoided, there was no certainty as to where they could wile away their old age. The hostile reception Wilhelm encountered as he crossed over the border at Maarn on 10 November indicated how detested he was in Holland, and he himself recognized that his presence

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