INTO THE GRAVE--AND BEYOND IT
WHEN Metternich returned home on 13 March 1848 after being dismissed, he said to his wife: 'Oui, nous sommes tous morts.'1 Bismarck would not give up so easily. He was free to lead the life of an independent country gentleman. But forty years in the service of the state, twenty-eight years in supreme power, had spoilt him for retirement. He had always been easily bored; now he was bored all the time. 'I was turned out at 75, but I feel young, far too young to do nothing. I was used to politics; now I miss them.' He dreamt at first of an early recall, and said before leaving Berlin: 'Le roi me reverra.' When the public and the politicians ignored him, he came to feel that he was already dead, and he aimed instead at a revenge from beyond the grave. He would appeal from the present to the future. 'What the newspapers write about me is so much dust which I brush off. I only care what history will say about me later.' Herbert dashed off a bitter, spiteful account of his father's dismissal, which Bismarck approved,2 and took as his example. He would write a grandiose survey of his entire career in the same spirit, exalting his achievements and scoring off all his enemies past and present. Schweninger encouraged the project in order to give Bismarck something to do. Cotta, the publisher, agreed to take six volumes and to pay the fabulous sum of £5,000 a volume. Here was work which would last Bismarck's lifetime.
Bucher settled at Varzin to organize the material and to write at Bismarck's dictation. The work made slow pro-____________________