Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original hardcover edition for enjoyable reading.
In 1902 Thomas Mann published Tonio Kröger, a spiritual autobiography exploring art and discipline.In 1905 he married Katja Pringsheim, the daughter of a wealthy Munich family; they had a total six children over the ensuing years. "Royal Highness" reflects his views of duty and sacrifice.
An excerpt from the PRELUDE
The scene is the Albrechtstrasse, the main artery of the capital, which runs from Albrechtsplatz and the Old Schloss to the barracks of the Fusiliers of the Guard. The time is noon on an ordinary week-day; the season of the year does not matter. The weather is fair to moderate. It is not raining, but the sky is not clear; it is a uniform light grey, uninteresting and sombre, and the street lies in a dull and sober light which robs it of all mystery, all individuality. There is a moderate amount of traffic, without much noise and crowd, corresponding to the not over-busy character of the town. Tram-cars glide past, a cab or two rolls by, along the pavement stroll a few residents, colourless folk, passers-by, the public—"people."
Two officers, their hands in the slanting pockets of their grey great-coats, approach each other; a general and a lieutenant. The general is coming from the Schloss, the lieutenant from the direction of the barracks. The lieutenant is quite young, a mere stripling, little more than a child. He has narrow shoulders, dark hair, and the wide cheek-bones so common in this part of the world, blue rather tired-looking eyes, and a boyish face with a kind but reserved expression. The general has snow-white hair, is tall and broad-shouldered, altogether a commanding figure. His eyebrows look like cotton-wool, and his moustache hangs right down over his mouth and chin. He walks with slow deliberation, his sword rattles on the asphalt, his plume flutters in the wind, and at every step he takes the big red lapel of his coat flaps slowly up and down.
And so these two draw near each other. Can this rencontre lead to any complication? Impossible. Every observer can foresee the course this meeting will naturally take. We have on one side and the other age and youth, authority and obedience, years of services and docile apprenticeship—a mighty hierarchical gulf, rules and prescriptions, separate the two. Natural organization, take thy course! And, instead, what happens? Instead, the following surprising, painful, delightful, and topsy-turvy scene occurs.