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Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918 [NOOK Book]

Overview

These fascinating, never-before-published early diaries of Count Harry Kessler—patron, museum director, publisher, cultural critic, soldier, secret agent, and diplomat—present a sweeping panorama of the arts and politics of Belle Époque Europe, a glittering world poised to be changed irrevocably by the Great War. Kessler’s immersion in the new art and literature of Paris, London, and Berlin unfolds in the first part of the diaries. This refined world gives way to vivid descriptions of the horrific fighting on the...
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Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918

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Overview

These fascinating, never-before-published early diaries of Count Harry Kessler—patron, museum director, publisher, cultural critic, soldier, secret agent, and diplomat—present a sweeping panorama of the arts and politics of Belle Époque Europe, a glittering world poised to be changed irrevocably by the Great War. Kessler’s immersion in the new art and literature of Paris, London, and Berlin unfolds in the first part of the diaries. This refined world gives way to vivid descriptions of the horrific fighting on the Eastern and Western fronts of World War I, the intriguing private discussions among the German political and military elite about the progress of the war, as well as Kessler’s account of his role as a diplomat with a secret mission in Switzerland.
 
Profoundly modern and often prescient, Kessler was an erudite cultural impresario and catalyst who as a cofounder of the avant-garde journal Pan met and contributed articles about many of the leading artists and writers of the day. In 1903 he became director of the Grand Ducal Museum of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, determined to make it a center of aesthetic modernism together with his friend the architect Henry van de Velde, whose school of design would eventually become the Bauhaus. When a public scandal forced his resignation in 1906, Kessler turned to other projects, including collaborating with the Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the German composer Richard Strauss on the opera Der Rosenkavalier and the ballet The Legend of Joseph, which was performed in 1914 by the Ballets Russes in London and Paris. In 1913 he founded the Cranach-Presse in Weimar, one of the most important private presses of the twentieth century.
 
The diaries present brilliant, sharply etched, and often richly comical descriptions of his encounters, conversations, and creative collaborations with some of the most celebrated people of his time: Otto von Bismarck, Paul von Hindenburg, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, Vaslav Nijinsky, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Sarah Bernhardt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rainer Marie Rilke, Paul Verlaine, Gordon Craig, George Bernard Shaw, Harley Granville-Barker, Max Klinger, Arnold Böcklin, Max Beckmann, Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Éduard Vuillard, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Ida Rubinstein, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Pierre Bonnard, and Walther Rathenau, among others.
 
Remarkably insightful, poignant, and cinematic in their scope, Kessler’s diaries are an invaluable record of one of the most volatile and seminal moments in modern Western history.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harry Kessler (1868–1937) was among the most connected people in the German Empire and indeed in pre-war Europe. A diplomat, writer, philosopher, and patron of the arts with a great breadth of knowledge, Kessler socialized with everyone from Nietzsche to Einstein and the Aga Khan. He kept meticulous diaries spanning over 50 years, documenting Germany at its intellectual, political, and artistic peak, and its descent into the maelstrom of WWI and beyond. This volume comprises half the diaries (believed lost and recently discovered in a lockbox in Mallorca). Easton, Kessler's biographer, has capably translated and culled the voluminous work to give a glimpse into the ferment of aristocratic Europe. That said, Kessler's style is oddly impersonal and often dry. He enjoys passing judgment (English working-class girls were "the most repulsive, vilest creatures that one can imagine as still human”) but rarely mentions his personal life or emotions, even as his friends die in WWI. Easton makes much of Kessler's homosexuality, but the diaries give little hint of intimate relationships with men or women. An enlightening view of European high society, notable for its erudition and density of anecdote, for readers strongly interested in European history and culture. 59 photos. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“A document of novelistic breadth and depth, showing the spiritual development of a lavishly cultured man who grapples with the violent energies of the twentieth century…also a staggering feat of reportage. The war fever infected Kessler…[he] does not hide the grimness of the scene. For the reader, it is a shock to be deposited in such hellish landscapes several pages after watching the antics of Diaghilev and company; few books capture so acutely the world-historical whiplash of the summer of 1914…The supreme memoir of the grand European fin de siècle.”
            —Alex Ross, The New Yorker
 
“Kessler’s diaries are a trove of insightful…information about an absolutely amazing number of artists and writers.”
            —John Rockwell, The Threepenny Review

“What makes [Kessler] such an appealing figure is his struggle with the received ideas of his age…His diaries fascinate on various levels, first of all as an observant, witty, frequently catty chronicle of European culture and high society between the fin-de-siecle, and following that [though not this volume] between 1918 and the Nazi regime.”
            —Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books

“An unusual guided tour of belle époque and early-20th-century artistic and high life in Berlin, Paris and London…with great sensitivity and occasional flashes of humor.”
            —Louis Begley, The New York Times

“The well-connected diplomat’s gimlet-eyed view of a teetering Belle Epoque Europe.”
            —Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“A Henry James figure come to real life: a fusion of high society and high intellect, his diaries dramatize with the most stellar possible international cast the twilight settling on a peak.”
            —Frederic Morton, author of A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889

“Harry Kessler was an extraordinary exemplar of the crisis that overwhelmed Europe in the 20th century.  He captured, in his person and in his thoroughly engrossing diaries, all the dichotomies of his era:  the ideals and the devastation, the passion and the despondency, the frisson and the horror . . . Absolutely riveting.  In its literary brilliance and evocative power, the diary is the equal of those of Virginia Woolf, Harold Nicolson and André Gide.  Mr. Easton ranks it one of the greatest diaries ever.  Many will agree.” 
            —Modris Eksteins, The Wall Street Journal

"At last a diary as penetrating on Berlin as the Goncourt brothers' on Paris has been translated into English...Laird Easton is to be congratulated on leading English-speaking readers, via Kessler's masterpiece, into the heart of Germany before its catastrophe."
            —The Spectator

“Count Harry Kessler became, through his experiences and through the anguished searching of his spirit, something close to a representative man. He seeks out great artists and gives us memorable portraits of Verlaine in old age, of Degas and Renoir, of Rodin and Maillol, of Rilke and Hofmannsthal, of Cosima Wagner, of Richard Strauss, of Diaghilev and Nijinsky, and of other great dancers and theatrical figures of the age. He tells us of the intrigues of the German Imperial Court. The cast list alone makes this an amazing diary. This is such an important book. It is a great act of historical witness, and a great source of scandalous insight and gossip.”
            —James Fenton, The Atlantic

“Kessler was a sophisticated aristocrat who knew everyone and understood everything. He rode with Nijinsky in a Paris cab the night that The Rite of Spring changed artistic history. He could size up a German princess with level-eyed candor. He was passionate about the arts and politics—and is one of the best observers of his epoch.”
            —Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and Genet: A Biography
 
“Take a grand tour through the Belle Époque without leaving your chair . . . This is a classic book for the ages to keep and reread.”        
            —Kirkus (starred review)
    
“I have been a huge fan of Harry Kessler since my early youth because of my mother. Even the way I dress is in a way inspired by him. The eight volumes of his diaries are always near my bedside in my houses. Kessler represents for me Germany at its best, a Germany now gone forever.”
            —Karl Lagerfeld
 
“Harry Graf Kessler was a central figure in German cultural life in the early twentieth century and during the Weimar Republic. A man of many parts, highly educated, a democrat when this was not at all fashionable—he knew everyone, and everyone knew him. His massive diaries are of absorbing interest, essential reading for all those interested in European cultural history of the period.”
            —Walter Laqueur, author of Weimar: A Cultural History
 
“What a life! To read Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918 is to revisit, at least in revery, a lost world of European civilization, to experience for a while all the cultivated douceur de vivre that disappeared forever in the blood-soaked trenches of World War I.”
            —Michael Dirda, The Barnes & Noble Review

“An enlightening view of European high society, notable for its erudition and density of anecdote, for readers strongly interested in European history and culture.”
              —Publisher’s Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

Take a grand tour through the Belle Époque without leaving your chair.

Count Harry Kessler's diaries from 1880 to 1918 bring to life the many highly influential artists, royals and politicians who affected the 20th century in myriad ways. A German born in Paris and educated in England and Germany, he was fluent in all three languages by the time he was 18. Kessler knew and dined with all the major players of that period, including writers, sculptors, artists and the royalty of Germany. In this impressive translation and editing job (which includes copious footnotes), Easton (History/California State Univ., Chico, The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler, 2002) depicts a voracious reader who, despite claiming that his interests were completely absorbed by art, still managed to capably discuss philosophy, politics, the classics and even the lovely little bits of court gossip. Kessler often mentions his very low impression of the Grand Duke who wished to control all the arts in Germany. In 1890, after viewing an exhibition of the Artistes Indépendents, he describes the "orgies of hideousness and nerve-shaking combinations of colors I thought impossible outside a madhouse." Only two years later, Kessler became one of Ambroise Vollard's best customers, and he couldn't get enough of Cezanne, Monet, Degas and Renoir. Kessler also published travelogues. Reading his personal journals of his trips—particularly America, Greece and Fiesole, Italy, which he blissfully describes—will convince readers that they must journey there, book in hand, and see these wondrous sights. Kessler's insightful views of the aesthetic freedom that art provides and of the need to reread books to gauge how much the reader has changed are just samples of his astute outlook. He illuminates the innocent world he inhabited in the years before the horrors of World War I destroy the last vestiges of intelligent "civilization."

A hefty tome that may prove daunting for some readers, but this is a classic book for the ages to keep and reread.

The Barnes & Noble Review
Who was Count Harry Kessler (1868–1937)? For years, I confused him with Count Heinrich von Keyserling, author of the once bestselling but now rather forgotten Travel Diary of a Philosopher. But at some point I ran across W. H. Auden's description of Kessler as "the most cosmopolitan man who ever lived." This was seriously intriguing –– it came from a review of In the Twenties, a 1971 translation of the German aristocrat's later diaries –– but I naturally suspected Auden of exaggeration.

Never doubt poets.

One might define "cosmopolitan" in multiple ways, but the concept should, I think, include being comfortable in any sort of society; a wide–ranging knowledge of art, literature, politics and history; and, not least, an address book filled with lots of interesting names. Here, for instance, are just some of the men and women who appear in Journey to the Abyss, nearly all of whom Kessler dined with, observed in their studios, commissioned art from, or regarded as friends.

Poets: Paul Verlaine, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Rainer Maria Rilke.

Artists: Edvard Munch, Rodin, Monet, Degas, Aristide Maillol, Augustus John, Matisse, John Singer Sargent, Vuillard, Bonnard, Picasso.

Prose writers: August Strindberg, André Gide, Maurice Maeterlinck, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Gerhart Hauptmann, Max Beerbohm, Colette, Jean Cocteau, Bernard Shaw, Maxim Gorky.

Composers: Richard Strauss, Ravel, Stravinsky, Schoenberg.

Theater people: Sarah Bernhardt, Max Reinhardt, Gordon Craig, Isadora Duncan, Eleanora Duse, Diaghilev, Nijinsky.

This hardly exhausts this marvelous book's catalog of celebrity. In his youth Kessler frequently visited the insane Nietzsche and later helped plan the philosopher's funeral. He consulted with Arts and Crafts mastermind William Morris and the great bookbinder Douglas Cockerell before he started his own Cranach Press. He also seems to have attended every major theatrical and musical event of the Belle Époque, including, of course, the riotous Paris premiere of The Rite of Spring. He missed the first London performance of Peter Pan in 1904 but caught the play in 1905.

Impressive, yes, but Kessler didn't just frequent the company of artists and creators: He knew all the great aristocratic families listed in the Almanach de Gotha. He hobnobbed with the beau monde of Paris, the upper crust of London, the Junker aristocracy of Germany. At one point he became the artistic impresario of Weimar and eventually an ambassador to Warsaw. He spoke English and French perfectly –– after all, as a boy, he'd been a student at St. George's School in Ascot (where he nearly overlapped with Winston Churchill), and he lived for long periods in Paris. His library included works in all his languages, as well as Latin and Greek, which he read for pleasure regularly. Yet Kessler was no scholarly antiquarian. As he once said, "Our home is the present, may it be ever so heterogeneous nationally."

The son of a German financier and a beautiful Anglo–Irish mother, the twelve–year–old Kessler begins his diaries –– which he wrote in English for the first decade –– by describing a visit from Emperor William I to the resort town of Ems. There, the elderly German sovereign pays particular attention to Kessler's vivacious young mother, so much so that rumors would linger for years about the paternity of the diarist's sister Wilhelmina.

In short order, though, Kessler finds himself attending St. George's, studying Cicero and Caesar and discovering early models for his own writing in Pepys, Boswell, and Macaulay. On school holidays he travels to London to see plays and operettas, including Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, and at the age of fourteen announces that he is an esthete: "I am utterly consummately intense wearing sunflowers and poppies and dahlias in my buttonhole."

But then his father, no doubt worried that his heir might forget his sturdy German heritage, has Kessler transferred to a German Gymnasium. There the teenager devours Dante, Rousseau, Balzac, Madame Bovary, Dickens, Zola, Crime and Punishment. For a break he attends Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He eventually enrolls in the University of Bonn and later transfers to Leipzig. One university friend commits suicide; another murders a girlfriend.

In 1891 Kessler embarks on a trip around the world. New York, he records in his diary, is a city of "nervous haste and unrest. People don't walk, they run, most while reading a newspaper." By contrast, the streets of Washington are deserted and "everything seems dead." Passing through Georgetown, he observes "countless Negro shanties out of which a black child's face with large white eyes stares." He travels to St. Augustine and Tampa, then on to New Orleans, where he drops in at "the most elegant place of entertainment" in the city. "On stage a corpulent lady sings couplets. Men in slouch hats and dirty flannel shirts drink absinthe on little tables. Women in d?collet?, smelling strongly of musk and with naked legs, their faces bloated and garishly made up, sit at the tables or on the laps of the men. As soon as someone enters one of these women is all over him."

In Texas Kessler stops at the Alamo; in Los Angles he encounters a traveling opera company that includes "seventeen dogs and nine parrots." After heading up the coast to San Francisco, he admires the architecture of Stanford University, which had opened only the year before. Then he takes ship to Japan, where, again, he hungrily absorbs everything, from Kabuki drama to the details of the tea ceremony, before sailing to Shanghai, where he spends an evening in an opium den. And then it's on to Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, and Calcutta. Of the Taj Mahal, he writes that it "is the only building in the world that would be worthy of housing the Holy Grail."

The year 1893 finds Kessler back in Germany, performing his military service and falling in love with one of his comrades. He reads J. K. Huysmans's decadent masterpiece A Rebours and calls it the work of "a frightful showoff." (In later years he will be entertained by Robert de Montesquieu, the inspiration for Huysmans's ultra–decadent hero, as well as the model for Proust's homosexual Baron de Charlus.) His stint in the army completed, Kessler utterly immerses himself in what we now call the Belle Époque, a time of artistic extravagance and erotic scandal. His diary grows increasingly heady and star–studded.

Following one late–night dinner, he records that "when only Nijinsky, Cocteau, Diaghilev, Bakst and Stravinsky were still there, the Aga Khan arrived in an Indian costume covered in precious gems." He writes that Natasha, Baroness Varnbüler von und zu Hemmingen was formerly "the divorced wife of the Petersburg Siemens, who purchased her from her father, a Russian sea captain, educated her in a convent, and on the day she turned sixteen, married her." Another friend's grandfather, he writes, produced nineteen children and "at the end of his life lived alone in a hut in the high mountains with seven eagles and a golden bowl full of wonderful precious stones." Everywhere the handsome count goes he observes people with a cool eye:

During the cotillion the princess Pless, who is the exact opposite of the grand duchess, sat on my other side: blond, white, milky, with soft, succulent flesh. Her face is pretty but without expression or dignity. Confronted with her pleasant, insipid radiance you understand Homer's description of the magnificent cow face of Hera. In bed she must be agreeable, boring, and sentimental.

When he meets his sister's fianc?, Kessler frankly confesses that the man "gives the impression of a pleasant philanderer." Paying a call on the ancient Princess Faucigny in Paris, he finds her gossiping with the Baroness Andrian: "The two old ruins...dressed in splendor sat almost frozen across from each other and conducted a stiff conversation about dead empresses." Lady Ottoline Morrell he sums up as "a tall, haggard, slender lady, only skin and sin like an angel by Beardsley." One night the black magician Aleister Crowley –– "a fat, disgustingly dressed, bohemian Englishman with a collar" –– "seemed in a bad mood and was silent except for proposing to us late in the evening an orgy with a new kind of intoxicating drink that causes colorful visions." He then adds: "Lola Lopez, the little Spaniard, danced on the table."

And always Kessler is on the move, journeying constantly from one European capital to another. In Paris he is present at the start of an 1895 automobile race to Bordeaux and back. He is awed by the Turner exhibition at London's National Gallery: "I hardly know a picture which I can compare in the beauty of its colors with the Temeraire" [i,e., The Fighting "Temeraire"] and, remarkably, is bowled over by William Blake's illustrations for his poems. "The English have had three great artists: Blake, Turner, and Rossetti." (Later he adds Constable and Hogarth.)

In Berlin he visits Edvard Munch's studio –– Munch would later paint his portrait –– and in Paris the hovel of Paul Verlaine, where the old poet sketches Rimbaud's head in the diarist's copy of Illuminations. At one dinner Kessler records Degas saying: "It's like that Englishman who went to die in a hotel, rue de Beaux–Arts, what was his name again?" His protégé, Jean–Louis Forain replies: "You mean Oscar Wilde, old Oscar." He finds that Renoir "has a quite small apartment on the second floor of a new house, about what you would expect of a minor postal official. The walls in all the rooms are completely covered with sketches and paintings by him..." When Maillol takes a two–month trip to Italy with Kessler, the sculptor brings nothing but a little sack: "Everything I need is inside."

While his diary startles with one famous name after another, Kessler appears closest to Maillol, Hugo von Hofmannsthal –– who dedicated the libretto of Der Rosenkavalier to him –– and the blubbery–lipped Rilke: When the poet leaves Paris, Kessler asks him "if he believed he could write in Duino." He could. (See the Duino Elegies.)

Perhaps my own favorite character, however, is Gabriele D'Annunzio, the melodramatically vain Italian poet, novelist, ladies' man, and adventurer. Kessler attends his play The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (with music by Debussy) and then meets the author: "I said the only honest thing I could about his play, that I admired his masterful command of the French language. D'A: 'I accept the compliment, monsieur, because I owe this to a terrific amount of work. I can truly say that I have been heroic!" Later a friend asks if D'Annunzio is fond of music, to which the Italian replies: "I believe yes, I have made nothing but music all my life. It is even because of this that I decided to write a play in French, since no translation could do justice to my efforts." Kessler then describes the man himself:

His suit is also Italian: light gray summer pants such as one sees in bazaars in Florence, or Sunday on Italian traveling salesmen. Add to that rundown patent leather shoes, a somewhat frayed coat with a black–braided casual suit, and a no longer new, light lilac necktie, the whole outfit in the style of a fading coffeehouse Don Juan from an Italian small town, Bologna or Pisa. The bald scalp and the yellow, wrinkled face with the pale blond little beard completes the burned–out impression, standing in contrast, it must be said, to the clever, often witty, often cruelly indifferent eyes.

Naturally, D'Annunzio's current mistress is radiantly beautiful and abjectly devoted to him. When Kessler visits the couple, he picks up a book the writer has dedicated to her: "To Nathalia, born drunk." When he later breakfasts with them, D'Annunzio speaks with frank admiration of his own foreword to Saint Sebastian: "There are some very remarkable passages in it. They have already made a big impression. They will have a great influence on French prose." The Italian's every gesture is operatic, pervaded with a "light half–ironic melancholy." When taking his leave of the young American woman who will soon become Marguerite Caetani, Princess of Bassiano, D'Annunzio dramatically pauses at the doorway to look back at his hostess:

But truly what a charming woman you are! One of those women of whom you retain a delicious memory. And we will never see each other again. Perhaps later, seeing each other more often, one would discover faults, but, like this, it will be one of those memories that you have in life, the memory of something exquisite that you will never see again.

Delicious as such vignettes are, Count Harry Kessler isn't just an observer of the social scene. Sometimes he grows reflective: "The fundamental fact of human sexuality is the back and forth between the imagination and copulation, through which the imagination is continually enlarged whereas the sensual pleasure remains the same and therefore falls ever behind the imagination." He speculates on the character of nations: "[T]he Englishman acts, the Frenchman speaks, the German thinks (dreams?)." There are, admittedly, far too many off–putting comments about the Jews: "Jewish irony, sentimentality, slyness are incarnations of cowardice toward things, toward themselves, toward people." It's some consolation to know that after World War I Kessler repudiated such racism.

Like many others, he initially welcomed the war as an almost mystical struggle, glorying in his combat on the Eastern Front before suffering what may have been a breakdown, followed by relegation to a diplomatic mission in Switzerland. After 1918, however, the disillusioned Kessler would work hard for increased amity among nations and peoples. When a right–wing friend declared he wanted to rid Germany of the Jewish spirit, Kessler sardonically asked whether in that case there would "be much spirit left in Germany afterward." The count even came to America in 1923 to present a series of lectures at Williams College, largely pleading for "a reconsideration of the reparations imposed by the Versailles Treaty." In one talk he referred to a certain "Bavarian agitator." A decade later, Kessler fled the Third Reich, saw his fortune gradually disappear, and died, close to poverty, in a village near Lyons in 1937.

But as his editor, biographer (The Red Count), and translator Laird M. Easton observes in the hugely informative notes to this volume, during that second half of his life, as in the first half, Harry Kessler "never lost his fondness for society and for meeting the leading artists and writers of the day. He rarely missed the premiere of an important cultural production, whether it was Sergei Eisenstein's film Battleship Potemkin or Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, or Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author." To his already astonishing circle of glitterati, he would add, among many others, the dancer Josephine Baker and the physicist Albert Einstein, the politician David Lloyd George, the actor Paul Robeson, and the novelist Virginia Woolf.

What a life! To read Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880–1918 is to revisit, at least in revery, a lost world of European civilization, to experience for a while all the cultivated douceur de vivre that disappeared forever in the blood–soaked trenches of World War I. The only diary I know that can compare with it is Robert Craft's wonderfully gossipy Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship.

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World. He is the author of the memoir An Open Book and several collections of essays, including Classics for Pleasure. His latest book, On Conan Doyle, has been published by Princeton University Press.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307701480
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 960
  • Sales rank: 873,136
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Laird M. Easton is chair of the Department of History at California State University, Chico. His book The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler was named one of the best biographies of 2002 by The Economist.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

1880-1890

Ems. June 16, 1880. Wednesday.

This morning we have arrived at Ems. We are staying at the villa Monrepos which is situated on the Lahn. We traveled in sleeping cars Baby, Mamma, Marie, and Sophie in one car and Papa and I in another. We arrived here at a quarter to twelve.

Ems. June 19, 1880. Saturday.

The whole of Ems is in mirth today for the emperor is coming. The Bahnhofstrasse and the bridge by which he must pass are decorated with flags, flowers, and shields. The emperor is to arrive at a quarter past five and at five ready to go and meet him after a most awful bustle, for the flowers Mamma and Baby want to give him have not arrived, we are all ready to go and meet him. Presently I see the carriage with, mamma, papa, and baby come back: the emperor is only coming at half past six. At six, deputations of schoolchildren, masters, and men pass our door, the men and boys with flags and drums the girls with bouquets and corn flowers. Soon we also go-nurse, Sophie, and I in the mob and mama, papa, and Baby to the station. We place ourselves behind the schoolchildren who have lined up all down the way the emperor must pass. As the festive hour approaches the crowd gets greater. Soon a screech as if everybody was at least being murdered reaches our ears but it presently appears to be the emperor's train that has arrived. Now the emperor's carriage comes and a hail of bouquets come down on it probably meant to put out his eyes, next to the emperor sits Count Lehndorff. Behind him come all his suite in other carriages.

Ems. June 20, 1880. Sunday.

This morning the emperor comes on the promenade and speaks to Mamma.

Ascot, St. George's School. September 23, 1880. Thursday.

Thursday I came to school here today and I am all ready friends with some boys.

Ascot. December 2, 1880. Thursday.

This morning I put down Uffington

a peg, at breakfast. We were talking together, when Uffington says, "Who is that blunderbuss, that fat female who came to see you." "I never knew I had any blunderbusses or fat females in my family," I answer with the greatest calm. This only shows too well how I and all my family are hated here by almost everybody.

Ascot. May 23, 1881. Monday.

It is my birthday today. I was born in Paris at the corner of the rue de Luxembourg and the rue du Mont Thabor at the 3 etage in 1868 but soon after went to Hamburg. When four I went to America and stopped there till I was five then I came to England and Mamma and Papa soon after (about two years after) settled in Paris where I was during the remarkably cold winter of 1879-1880. In which the cold amounted to 24 degrees Cent. I saw the Seine frozen. Papa came to see me today and brought me a barometer and microscope.

Ascot. July 9, 1881. Saturday.

Went to a review of sixty-two thousand volunteers but the most interesting of the thing was the queen's procession. In the first carriage was the queen in black the Princess of Wales in dark blue and the crown princess of Germany in white. In the same carriage but behind the queen sat John Brown the queen's favorite servant in black and silver. Then followed some huntsmen next came another carriage with the duchesses of Teck and Connaught and two other ladies then some more huntsmen and the princesses of Hesse-Darmstadt in blue then the officers of police and last but not least the king of the Sandwich Islands in another carriage. After these carriages came a royal huntsman in gold and dark crimson then came the Prince of Wales in some dark color with the badge of the Order of the Garter (blue), riding next to the crown prince of Germany in a white uniform, then came the dukes of Teck, Connaught, and Cambridge and the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt the husband of the late unfortunate princess Alice. A lot of others of their staff closing the procession.

Ascot. October15, 1881. Saturday.

We were to go to Hampton court, where we were to lunch with Mr. Hodgekin today but as it hailed and rained we went to London instead. In the train we thought we would have our dinner so just as we had taken out our things we arrived at a station and heard the guard crying, "All change for London," so out we had to get holding our bread in our hands but we managed to finish our dinner in the other carriage. We got to Waterloo at two o'clock whence we drove to the Savoy Theatre in a bus to see Patience a most intensely utter play in the aesthetic line. It is chiefly written in an incomprehensibly tattoo language. After the theater we walked down Piccadilly without a poppy or a lily as the people in the play did. We had chocolate grange not mange and got home at about seven thirty. I am growing intense.

Ascot. October 16, 1881. Sunday.

I am utterly consummately intense wearing sunflowers and poppies and dahlias in my buttonhole.

Ascot. July 27, 1882. Thursday.

I received about the worst news I could have received today. The head has received a letter from Papa saying that I must leave this school this term and go to some Gymnasium or something like it in Baden. I wish I could stop here for at least another term, or any time, because I can by no means relish the prospect before me. I am very sorry at having to leave this place.

Adolf Kessler did not want his son to forget his German heritage, so he sent Harry to his alma mater, the Johanneum, a well-known Gymnasium, or elite German high school, in Hamburg, where he boarded at the home of a Pastor Blümer.

Hamburg. January 23, 1886. Saturday.

Papa came. He arrived from Leipzig this morning. He was out here at about eleven thirty with Aunt Lulu and without much beating the bush we went to the heart of the subject at once. Papa put the question of my future pretty plainly. Now I had been for days and for weeks I may say for months thinking and thinking and turning the thing this way and that without coming to a decision, and as I had from the very first foreseen, my ultimate answer was the work of a moment, what I had been brooding over for six months was decided in my mind at last in as many seconds: I first hesitatingly and then after watching the effect pretty positively said I wanted to study.6 So Papa went down to Pastor B. and after almost an hour and a half conference, during which I read Mamma's new article in the Figaro and talked with Aunt Lulu, I was called down and told that I was anyhow to stop till Michaelmas. I am satisfied at this and we must then of course have to come to a final decision.

Hamburg. January 31, 1886. Sunday.

Everybody and everything full of Bismarck's great speeches on the Polish question. I can hardly sympathize with him on this point, although I would not join the opposition in Parliament. But I must say I think it rather hard for some unfortunate people because they are Poles, although they have committed no earthly wrong except having gone on speaking Polish when their masters were speaking German, eo ipso to have no right to stop in Germany. It is very like the repeat of the Edict of Nantes or the expulsion of the Salzburg Protestants and I do not think it will do much more good. Such a strong measure is I think only justified in cases where everything else has failed, in Ireland for example. There I should hardly be opposed to the measure. But really to eject thousands of industrious farmers and tradesmen when no danger is impending is to my mind very much like despotism and will probably do more harm than good. On the other hand I think it wrong to go on caviling at Bismarck for having taken this measure and I have still less sympathy with Windthorst than with Bismarck.

Hamburg. February 13, 1886. Saturday.

Row in London on Monday. Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Regent-Street, South-Audley-Street, etc., sacked by the mob, people in the streets robbed of their valuables, carriages broken, shops wrecked. Damage about 100,000 pounds and all this in broad daylight by about five thousand people in the face of the police, and the soldiers in the barracks. It really sounds incredible. Why on earth were not the horse guards commanded to charge and disperse the mob if need be with their swords; really when it comes to saving the richest part of London from all the horrors of a pillage nothing is too severe. However there being a nice, comfortable, sleepy, liberal, Gladstonian government nothing has been done and not even the ringleaders as much as arrested. The worst is not even the lost and destroyed property, but that now the scum of the population has seen that if it only assembles in sufficient numbers it can take whatever and as much as it likes, it will most certainly take or make the opportunity oftener of helping itself. The consequences of the inaction in London are already being felt in the form of rows in Leicester and Birmingham where the strikers have simply demolished the factories. God knows what will happen next. The French Revolution merely began by a mob and a pillage.

This week I have read Jefferson's Byron, "Childe Harold," Macaulay's Byron and some more of his essays, a little of Pickwick, a little of Voltaire, besides working a good deal in Greek and Latin.

Hamburg. March 30, 1886. Tuesday.

News better. Although the strike has spread and is still spreading in Belgium, the worst seems to be past and the troops are apparently slowly but surely getting the better of the rebels. But the signs of the times are bad. Before the first French Revolution the marquesses and abbés talked incessantly about bettering the situation of the tiers état, and now the tiers état talks a good deal about bettering the situation of the working men. If the better classes do not look sharp and really do something we will wake up one morning and find ourselves in the midst of the wreck of social order as the marquesses one fine day woke up and found themselves in the midst

of the wreck of the old aristocracy. It seems to me we are now since 1789 going through the same sort of process of regeneration the Roman world went through between 300 and 500. It is only to be hoped all civilization will not again be destroyed by the anarchists.

Hamburg. August 30, 1886. Monday.

Prince Alexander has returned to Bulgaria.8 Bismarck has crowned his meanness in this question by publishing a spiteful article in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine. On the whole B. has sunk 60 percent in my esteem by this question. He might have left A. to his fate with a few words of sympathy, instead of which he has had the most biting and insulting articles published against him. It is very cheap fun to exult over people who are too weak to hurt you. Added to his dirty behavior toward us personally, this completes his picture in my mind. His behavior toward us I had always forgiven, and always defended him against Mamma, but his behavior in this Bulgarian question is impardonable. He is a great man with a great deal of littleness and petty spitefulness at the bottom of his character.

Hamburg. January 23, 1887. Sunday.

Went out visiting in the afternoon. The general impression here is that war will break out before very long. German government is going to forbid horses being taken out of Germany; the French are building large wooden barracks on the German frontier, and the amount of wood they use is so great that the wood trade in Alsatia [Alsace?] that was very depressed but a week or two ago is now flourishing. Boulanger9 is going to mobilize, "just as an experiment," he says; besides this repeater rifles and melinite are being worked at night and day in the French factories. If war breaks out, I am afraid it will not be only between France and Germany.

Hamburg. March 22, 1887. Tuesday.

Emperor's birthday; ninety. Where shall I be in seventy-two years?

Hamburg. May 23, 1887. Monday.

My birthday; nineteen. First thing that arrived this morning was a box from Paris containing a picture from Mamma, gloves, cravats, pamphlets, etc., from Papa, and a little shoe and sachet from dear little Gee. Received bad news from Mamma; Papa will probably lose his trial and consequently half his fortune: Mamma writes I am to pursue my present career; but of course I should not think of doing so ungenerous a thing; but try and help poor Papa in his misfortunes.

Hamburg. May 29, 1887. Whitsunday.

Stopped at home reading. Have lately read Pope, Sheridan, Gray, a little of Macaulay, and finished Caesar all but the Bellum Hispaniense. He was certainly one of the greatest men and one of the least bloody conquerors that ever lived. His account too of the Gauls is of the highest interest; the French character has not changed a bit in two thousand years; it is an eminently feminine character: vain and vindictive, proud yet easily dispirited, impetuous yet fickle, half fire and half sleet they have ended by falling in love desperately with a man: Boulanger; and just so Caesar represents them to have been in his time.

Hamburg. June 2, 1887. Thursday.

Read Pepys in the afternoon, and one of the most delightful books I know.

Hamburg. June 5, 1887. Sunday.

As to Pepys, I think him even superior to Boswell as far as delineation of character goes; not a foible, not a thought, not a pleat in his heart is hidden; poor Pepys! He would rather have hanged himself than have allowed his diary to be seen by anybody; he seems to have been a very vain and rather heartless man and a little too fond of money; his taste too is not irreproachable: he always treats Shakespeare's plays with the most provoking contempt. But he was a good fellow at heart, and even capable of sacrificing his own to his friends' interests. This his behavior to Lord Sandwich plainly shows. His conduct too in the navy office was highly honorable. On the whole I can not help having a fondness for him, notwithstanding all his faults and failings.

Hamburg. July 6, 1887. Wednesday.

Walked home in a regular hurricane, my hat flying away three times on my way home. My Evelyn came this morning, so spent the time till dinner cutting the leaves and looking into him here and there. I am very fond of these old diaries. Knowing old memories is like having a friend in a distant country.

Hamburg. August 20, 1887. Saturday.

One thing I miss in Evelyn that pleased me so much in Pepys: that is the boundless openheartedness with which the latter relates even the smallest and sometimes the not very creditable occurrences of his life; but then Evelyn wrote for other eyes but his own, while Pepys probably never imagined that anybody but himself would ever see his diary.

From the Hardcover edition.

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