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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 23, 1903)
The Weary Kings
A Modern Romance
By Richard Voss
(Copy right, 1903, by J. W. Muller.)
'IK Roysl Pa lam, Winter. -.
Something I rotten tn the Stat
of Denmark. If I could know
what It la! Does my pasnlun for
introspection, this bit of lltmlft
nature, Jlo In ray blood, or la my training
to be blamed?
The century-old ancestry of my House
has something moat respectable about It.
something even demanding worship, dead
ening on Ita iirrw'Dra la to me. Krnm the
beginning there waa neither the word nor
tho deed for my House, but only the duty.
In my most noble House one la born out
of duty, one Uvea out of duly, doen good
to one's lcst ability out of duty, avoids
evil to one's best knowledge out of duty,
Iermlt: Mmaelf to be married nut of duty,
dutifully brings dutiful children Into the
world, (lien nt last' out of duty and surely
will arise from the dead some time out of
With nil great things, naturally all email
things nro duly for us. Hut there really
Is nothing small for us. The length of the
court trsiln. tho white cravat for dinner
and the black for evening tea are exactly
aa sacred greatnesses as any act of State.
Bo must wo aland, so move, so speok, be
It tho evening "circle," or a revolution,
or the end of the world.
And bow r,l am I that I assume ttie
right to utter such criticism of our CourtT
Recently, I became 20. lod be with me!
Still so young and already but was I ever
young? That, too. belongs to the many,
many matters over which I brood.
From tho Royal Pulnce.
That I was born nt all la a calamity for
me, who must live with tho whole ballast
of dim tradition, with all tho Jumbled mass
ef voneruhlo household articles of my an
cestors, with a chaos of Ideas that I can
not gr:ip were 1 to grope and search for
Happily, I am but tho second prince.
As such, I might even cite Hamlet In all
peace of soul, fur the Stnte of Denmark
cores not If t am or urn not and it does
not ask how I am.
My father (a a most excellent ruler, inch
for Inch a King. At the same time Inch
for inch the Hint oftlcer of his State, the
first servant of the people. He works with
all his thoughts, with all his powers. He
worka unceasingly, untiring.
Of course; that latter remark Is not true!
Tho King of this land Is weary. I have
watched It secretly, have discovered it long
ago. The weariness of the King goea about
In the Houao like the restless ghost of Ham
let's father. This, too, have I discovered:
The weariness Is a characteristic of our
House. Poring a century all the Kings of
our Houko have been weary, mortally weary.
Wearily they lived, reigned, labored, ful
filled their duties, mortally weary they
went in the end to their last rest. For
more than two centuries the weariness of
tho Kings of our House has been our family
ghost, our "White Ijndy."
Naturally, Ills Excellency, the Iord Mar
shal, knows what to do with the specter
about as well as the newe.nt kitchen menial.
As Ilia Kxcellcncy does not exactly belong;
among the clear minds, our splritua famll
terla, la decidedly uncomfortable to him.
But the ghost belongs once and for all to
the Royal household, so what can a Lord
Marshal do? Nothing, except to treat the
specter with all due reverence, make obeis
ance and tell it to Its face that It Is not a
specter at all not the shadow of a spec
ter. On the contrary, flesh and blood
and Royal flesh and blood, too. And for
the rest, he may comfort himself with the
knowledge that every House has Ita family
Of course, the weariness of my father Is
a secret of State. If tho King's eyes were
to cIobc at a table, if he were to drop,
tired to death, in audience, no lackey would
slave the impertinence to see It and His Ex
cellency, the Ijord Marshall, would rather
allow Ills head to be moat humbly chopped
ofT than to permit himself the remark:
"Tour Majesty Is weary. Your Majesty
Should go to bed."
No human being in the whole Kingdom
sees and feels my father's weariness in
such measure as my mother, and in the
Whole Kingdom not one would deny it so
positively, actually swear that it did not
exist, as my mother.
This la a woman, the Queen!
The Crown Prince was born only a year
earlier than I, but seems to be ten years
older. Hut my brother does not wish at all
ever to have been young or to be It still.
Ills wish would not agree with his duty,
and the frown Prince Is duty from head to
foot, duty with every thought, duty with
every sentiment therefore Inch for Inch
one of the true, the genuine. For bla gen
uineness there Is the proof of the right ear
lap and the family wart on the left cheek.
And for his genuineness there is that other
trait my young brother, too, la beginning
to be weary.
I love my brother. He Is an honest bring.
But I do not believe that he has great
thoughts. How can he have them, since It
Is one of his most noble duties to have aa
few thoughts of his own as possible? What
should he. wth the weary Hnee around the
eyes, do with great thoughts iu his ex
hausted Kplgoulan soult .
Iff i8 I m f I
l - T
BKKORK IIK LEFT ME HE STOOD AT THE WINDOW AND LOOKED
INTO THE COURT YARD.
Fortunately for him, he Is conservative to
a truly wonderful degree, splendidly ortho
dox. God, I thank Thee that I
For what do I thank God? That I am
"only" the second Prince?
At any rate the State of Denmark may
congratulate Itself that it Is so. I would,
were I not only the second Prince, set the
universe afire to burn out what is rotten In
the State of Denmark.
Our first Sentimental Lady plays an Im
portant role. She becomes the faRhlon.
When she appears a great part of the Court
goes to the play. Sometimes the Crown
Prince appears in the little box. Then there
la a play at the play, although one acts as
If one saw only "Egmont" or "Cabals and
Love" or something else that Is classic.
In such nights the first row turns the
opera glass ostentatiously toward the
stage, which la something that Is not its
usual habit, and the Court society has de
veloped It into a verltablo art' to converse
of the Crown Prince and the Sentimental '
Lady, superficially yet enthusiastically,
apparently always critically, and yet al
ways admiringly. His Royal Highness
maintains an attitude of measured opposi
tion. And this is supposed not to be a
The House-ghost walks dally, receives
reports, holds council about Inner and outer
affairs, gives audiences, appears at table,
at great receptions and solemn functions
of State. Everybody sees the ghost no
body appears to see it Only I stare
straight Into the face of the spectre, hall
It: "Who are thou?" receive no answer,
brood and brood.
With, us there Is a second spirltus fa
miliaria, close at the aide of the first, truly
the shadow of the shadow. This is the
personal physician of my father. The
Herr Irlvy Councillor Is a groat profes
sor of psychiatry, he is a specialist and
authority. The famous man is everywhere.
Softly he treads. Hut I can hear his step.
I hear him forever by the side of the
King, clowe to his side!
But the Herr Privy Councillor, too, must
not be seen among us. To speak of him,
to treat of him as a real being. Is equal
to leae Majeste, high treason. His ap
pearance affects me like sorcery. What
eyea the man has! Like a sea-thing, so
dear, so deep, so aad endlessly Bad, aa It
he saw the primal reason of things, the
solved problem of the world, the whole
misery of mankind.
What la It that he aeea when his glances
sweep from the King to the face of the
Crown Prince, slow, dreaming, sorrowful
endleasly sorrowful? I watch those glances,
to catch them when they search me, bore
Into the depths of my being, sound my
Occaalonly I catch them. They look at
me, steady, sorrowful. Then It seems to me
as if I must leap up and scream: "Now
he sees my fate! What Is my fatef I mill
know it. I will!"
But I remain dumb. The all-seeing,
deathly sad eyes turn away from roe. I
brood and brood.
I am a miserable soldier. In the whole
land they know It, and still they torture
mo alowly to death with this frightful
militarism. It belongs to the tradition that
it is the duty of even the second Prince to
be good soldiers. But I do not possess the
organ for the ancient historical art of
opening the vein of humanity from time to
time according to the rules of the best
strategy, to pour a little bloody deluge over
a land, so that only the righteous remain
alive. Had I tho misfortune to be the Crown
Prince, and had I to become King some
time, and should God so curse me that I
should have to make war horror of my
self would seise me.
Since heaven has made a black sheep
of me, why, in heaven's name, cannot they
let me be and remain one? They do not
need me In the machine of State, not even
as oil that might smear Borne mysterious
little wheel and make it hum. My minor
number two does not count nt all in tho
problem of high politics. I am only a num
ber. Every hour of my life is a number.
Without pause I am being registered,
scheduled. That- might remain so for all
that I care. If only this Immeasurable loneli
ness did not exist AH around me every-thlng-empty,
barren. Not a single soul
In this world that is my world. In the
universe no heartbeat that answers mine,
that is related to it. Everything silence
and dumbness. Therefore f write. I must
write. It Is breath for me; else I would
choke. Often it is to me as If each word
were a cry of agony. And to feel so old
already, with my hair still blond!
la the Royal Palsvc.
Tho two gentlemen the spiritual and the
worldly who are assigned to trie knew as
little what to do with me as I with them.
Both have historical names, but their
names have nothing to do with the case.
Their bearers ore not individuals, but
charges Court charges!
Since recently I have my own Court, and
I reside in the oldest part of the palace,
the so-called Prince's Wing. The palace
dates back to the fifteenth century and Is
historical from cellar to roof.
Everything around me is historical.
Historical are the Irregular court yards,
the gloomy corridors, the wide hallways,
tho desolate rooms. Throughout the gray
monumental building every arabesque,
every water Jet, Is historical. Historical are
the faded frescoes, the yellowing tapestries,
the blackening panelings, the shadowy an
cestral portraits, historical are the furnish
ings, the table services, the silver; his
torical the moths, the dust, the atmosphere.
Great historical memories move at midday
through the whole house. Even from the
walla there streams history.
In such surroundings dwells my young
old Princely I. and broods over the fly on
the wall, which, of course. Is historical,
tea The two gentlemen assigned to me have
too much to do with the past to know tiny
thing certain about the present. I cannot
even interrogate my old valet, since ho lux
mriales exclusively In the glorious knowl
edge that his father, grandfather and gren.
grandfather poured Eau do Cologne over
the most noblo pocket handkerchiefs of a
Royal Highness In tho Prince's Wing. And
my young lackey wears the historical livery
with a dignity that forhida every conde
How do I live?
By tho clock I am awakened, attend mass,
the morning rldo, the breakfast. By the
clock I hear the lectures of many profes
sors, the psychology of peoples, national
economy, domestic history, world history,
military science, other sciences. By the
clock I wait on their Majesties, visit the
Crown Prince, receive this and that one,
during which time I listen to this and that,
say and think this and that. By the clock
I drive, practicing In fencing, shooting, ball
playing. By the clock, toilet; by the clock,
I fear 1 am very unhappy.
Strnnge! I am supposed to be "popular.
My valet let It slip today.
"Doe not your Royal Highness know
how popular His Highness Is?"
I did not know it, truly and really did not
Popular what Is It that sounds and ring
so strangely out of that word? A second
Prln-e popular? How could I arrive at it?
To be popular means to be loved gener
ally, warmly beloved! To be loved by all,
loved by a whole nation. To be loved what
have I to do with the people; what have
the people to do with me? Nothing.
To be popular one must do something;
something good, great; something that
earns love, wins love tho love of a whole
nation! But I have done nothing. And I
shall not do anything cannot do anything.
One can love only what one knows. Does
the nation know me? No. How, then, caa
it love me? And I do not know It either,
consequently do not love It.
All that the nation knows of me is that I
am tho second Prince. All that I know of
the nation is that it has been pleblaa
through eternities, will remain pleblaa
through eternity, and withal bears a great,
glorious name nation.
How that sounds! Almost more ma
Jest ical than "Majesty." Why, one even
speaks of the "Majesty of the Nation."
And this common-illustrious mass loves
me? And that without seeing an advantage
in it for itself?
But is remains curious that I am sup
posed to be "popular."
I feel shame tor my thoughts. They
should be good and pure. I should be
humble, warm-hearted, amiable.
There are so many dissonances in me,
so many sharp, false notes. And I long
so for for what? For all that is beautlul,
good and great.
It cannot be expressed.
From the RcVal Palace.
Great things arc doing. Every day there
are mysterious cabinet sessions, secret
reports, mysterious hints and looks. Ah,
if one can only be mysterious in the State
of Denmark! Secretly they deal with a
foreign government, secretly they make
treaties. The Ambassador drives to the
Ministry every day, is received often by
their Majesties, is in extraordinary favor
with the Most High ones,' and shines in
consequence aa a second sun at Court. Ills
Excellency the Lord Marshal, the old,
venerable factotum of our House, talks
about with a face as If a world rested oa
his shoulders. The haughty Madame Lord
Marshal would give her lire to help the
modern Atlas carry the world-ball. An
the Court ladles and Gentlemen would
assist and help to carry, but His Excellency
holds fast to It
Today the Crown Prince visited me.
As his habit is, he wandered restlessly
through the room for a long time. Now he
stood here, now there, picked up this object
and that, all in silence. On his forehead,
between his brows, there appeared the little,
sharp, painful wrinkle thafthe King has,
too. I noticed it today on my brother for
the first time. I had to look nt it always aa
If It were a peculiar characteristic. At last
tho Crown Prince said, in his customary
quiet, shy way: "Has the Lord Marshal
"I must travel and you must accompany
"What muat we do there?"
"I have become engaged to tho Princess
Silence, long silence. The Crown Prince
walked to and fro. I sat and looked at him,
looked at the little, sharp wrinkle, which
appeared to me more and more like a deep
At last I said: "You do not know her at
"No. I do not know her at all. What dif
ference does that make?" Again silence.
"Perhaps she will please you." I encour
aged him. "She Is said to be charming."
And then silence sgaln.
I should have liked to speak mora with the
Crown Prince, but what could I say? Be
fore ho left me. he stood at the window and
looked Into the coutryard. which lies like
a dark abyss evea In the sunlight of Hy.
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