Extracts from the memoirs of Carl and Paul Kupelwieser

Carl Kupelwieser / Memoirs 1913 / S. 17

In the first decade of the current century my brother Paul encouraged me to build a villa in Brioni and so an elegant house was constructed on Punta Naso, one of the most scenic places on the island. There, we hoped to be able to spend part of the winter. Unfortunately, my brother´s sanguinity made him overlook the storm-busting of the chosen place and soon all imaginable flaws in design and construction came out in uninterrupted order; the heating and lighting equipment failed. The storm-lashed downpours flooded the living rooms even with windows closed. In continuous order, Bora and Sirocco, with their salt splashes reaching far into the country, destroyed the expensive gardens that initially gave rise to such good hopes. Soon my poor wife was affected by rheumatic pains in every limb, and because of a sleep-wrenching nerve pain in my arms I finally had enough of this inhospitable place. First I offered the house to my brother for sale but then decided to give it to his children as a gift.

The worst episode of my life happened in the year 1908. A chauffeur of our automobile, who may not have been sufficiently trained and may not have controlled the condition of the vehicle’s wheel tires sufficiently and, despite my repeated warnings, may not have slowed down but taken the pace too quickly. In short, pneumatics came loose from the tire on a trip to Laxenburg, the automobile crashed into the ditch and buried my wife and brother under its wreckage. The latter was pulled out unconscious and seriously injured, but my wife was a body. A pain that can hardly be overcome. The unimaginable pain over the loss of this incomparable, noble woman has determined the course of my further life. My previous activity, which was aimed at expansion, was now replaced by restriction corresponding to my advanced age. I already have left part of my fortune to my children.

Paul Kupelwieser / Memoirs 1917 / UNPUBLISHED PART

The natural, simple, and reasonable manner in which the heir to the throne asked for all sorts of things and was interested in so many matters had made the best impression on Director Zuffar. I also found these royals very pleasing and moderate, sensible and amiable, and they also seemed to have the same impression of the island and me. Sitting at the table next to her, the Duchess assured me several times that she found great pleasure on Brioni and that I could expect them coming back soon for an even longer stay.

At that time, they had examined the recently completed hotel wing “Carmen” and found everything to be lovely. Meanwhile, opposite to Carmen, a new hotel wing, called “Neptune II”, was already being completed and I tried very hard to make this object better suited to the needs of such distinguished people, as a wider expansion of the quite too small rooms in Carmen was impossible.

But already in December 1909, still before the completion of “Neptune II”, the Duchess called me to inform me, that with February 1910, she wishes to move into the premises in “Carmen” that she had visited – with her three children, her husband and a smaller number of servants. The prices to be charged seemed to be of great importance to her. I assured the Duchess that she would be charged of course exactly the same rate as ordinary guests and that Brioni so far was an up-and-coming health resort with still very reasonable prices. However, she wished a stove to be installed, on a suitable place, so that she could have the kitchen taken care of by her own staff. She mentioned, that she had seen a nice gas stove somewhere, and she asked if we didn’t want to install one for her. Well, Brioni had no gas operation, but we had recently set up a gasoline apparatus in my brother Carl’s villa. Therefore, I was able to meet her wishes and I suggested that for all extras she should pay what she thought was appropriate. So, I bought the object of her desire during my stay in Vienna and it was immediately placed in a suitable location. However, the stove was never put into use, because it then seemed more convenient for her two chefs to work the second stove in the large hotel kitchen. It stayed that way over the course of three years when we accommodated Your Highnesses in Brioni during springtime.

A few days after I had discussed this matter with the Duchess of Hohenberg, the director-general of Her Imperial Highness, Elisabeth Fürstin Windischgrätz, a granddaughter of the emperor, came on behalf of her mistress to obtain accommodation in Brioni, already available in January.

Only the rooms in the “Neptune I” hotel, which Her Imperial Highness Archduchess Maria Josepha had occupied the previous spring, could be considered. But still the new building of “Neptune II” was not finished and I should have completed this before the arrival of the heir to the throne, because disturbing noises caused by various craftsmen were inevitable. I drew her attention to these circumstances and had the urgent request to postpone her stay until the next year. But Her Imperial Highness, a resolute and impulsive lady, wanted to try out despite my warning. Finally, she found the noise difficult to bear.

I could not meet her wish to temporarily move into the future quarters of the heir to the throne because there was still a lot to be done, and so after a few weeks she parted with displeasure, which I was very sorry for, because I very much liked the temperament of the friendly and gifted lady, who tenderly loved her children. So, at that time as well as in the coming years I was particularly keen to make her stay as pleasant as possible. She had, however, grown fond of Brioni and everything connected with it. My brother Carl’s villa in Punta Naso was soon available to her, since he found it more convenient to move with his daughter and a chambermaid during the winter months into a hotel room near my apartment. My brother’s villa, at least a very limited space for the princess’s large household, became from now on the place that seemed comfortable to her despite many inconveniences. Sometime later, my brother Carl transferred his villa to my three children without telling me. However, they transferred it to the ownership of Brioni society they would share after my death. That time, I was just about to find an agreement with the princess to build a small house for the servants nearby. That was at the beginning of the war and since then, guests were anyway suspended from visiting Brioni.

At the beginning of February 1910, the Imperial Highness, the heir to the throne, arrived in Brioni with his family. With the greatest affection and a tremendous amount of financial resources we had made everything as cozy and comfortable as possible. A space between the rooms rented by the Duchess and the large dining room with its roomy terrace could easily be spared for her during the winter months, due to the relatively small number of other guests. Decorated with pictures of Charlemont, it made a peculiar but charming larger salon and social room; the large dining room, decorated as a winter garden, could already accommodate a fairly large company of the heir to the throne, and he, like the Duchess, always had words of appreciation, that we had arranged everything so nicely and so comfortably for them, much nicer than they ever could´ve expected it.

The heir to the throne had had barely set foot on land when he wished to be shown the rooms he and his family were to move in. Rushing through the rooms, he was captivated by a picture in his wife’s dressing room. A mountainous landscape, a slender young hunter sitting on a rock, a chamois laying at his feet. The young hunter was obviously the portrait of the heir to the throne, around the age of twenty-four, unmistakably similar in shape and facial features. I thought the Duchess would be happy to have her husband’s picture in her pretty room. Apparently delighted by the picture, the heir to the throne hurried back to fetch his wife and show it to her, and she seemed extremely pleased with it. Since the painting will still play a role over the next few years, I would like to explain how it came into my possession.

My brother Carl once bought this picture to help an older, barely recognized painter out of a squeeze. As a landscape painting it had no significant value – only the figure of the hunter was very pretty and compensated for everything else. So, my brother, when setting up a new apartment, had installed it over a fireplace. Once playing a game of bridge in front of this fireplace, however, my brother said that the painting might clash next to the large, beautiful family picture of Laslo, so he occasionally wanted to replace it with a mirror. I took the opportunity to suggest an exchange. I provided him with the mirror, in return I obtained the painting from which I hoped it would upgrade the Duchess´ dressing room.

It was only much later that I realized that the figure of the hunter was a very successful overpainted photograph, so cleverly inserted into the canvas of the oil painting that it was difficult to spot a fake.

The stay of the valued guests, I think it was almost eight weeks, seemed to make them feel very comfortable and I also often had the opportunity to talk to the heir to the throne when serving him as a guide. There was something extraordinarily winning in his personality, in his tender relationship with his wife and children. The strict observance of all rites and customs of the Catholic Church was practiced in our small, pretty chapel, often with the participation of our band, in a very dignified and solemn form.

In the entourage of the heir to the throne there was a young, very handsome and educated priest in the role of a Hungarian language teacher, an excellent piano player who came to our house very often to play for a while, since the Bösendorfer piano in the salon of the heir to the throne could not be used often without being interrupted.

The impression I got from all these royals was the best possible, and when I came to meet my friends in Vienna I could only report how enthusiastic I was about the simplicity and modesty of the heir to the throne and that I had the firm hope that once he came to reign, he would surely be helpful in clearing all the residues in my beloved fatherland.

A few days before March 13, the Duchess’ birthday, the secretary of the heir to the throne came on behalf of his lord to ask whether I would allow a copy to be made of the painting hanging in the Duchess’ dressing room. I answered this might not be necessary, because it would give me the greatest pleasure to leave the original to His Imperial Highness. And when I was invited to lunch at noon on March 13, the heir to the throne showed me the painting, taken from the wall and placed on the table of the Duchess, next to many other beautiful birthday presents. So, it was now the property of the Duchess, which made me very happy and I had no idea what unpleasant discussions this object should lead to two years later.

The valued guests repeatedly expressed that they felt as comfortable in Brioni as the climate was beneficial and that slight asthmatic conditions of the heir to the throne, which were not completely absent even during their stay on the Riviera and in St. Moritz, were not present in Brioni.

The morning of the third day I was visited by the chairman of the chancellery, Colonel Brosch, and informed that His Imperial Highness no longer had the intension of acquiring the terrain that he had been visiting a few days ago. He was now 49 years old and therefore he wanted something already finished and that was Brioni. It was the future emperor that I was dealing with and if he had put something in his head there was only one way of reaction and that was to give in. If I had only seen him like Colonel Brosch, sitting on a bench for hours, apparently watching his children play, actually brooding how he could get hold of Brioni without too many sacrifices, then it would have been clear to me, that I had no alternative but to fulfill his wish. Colonel Brosch assured me of his understanding of the bitter pill that I therefore had to swallow.

Colonel Brosch was very sorry to inform me about this fact, because he himself did not consider it in the interest of his master to add a nineteenth property to his other eighteen, more or less costly volunteers. What Brioni already offered in terms of comfort and convenience to the heir to the throne and his family was already more than he could get anywhere else.

The prospect of building a residence on the Castelier, as I had proposed, that would certainly meet his needs, may have been an ideal solution to the question. However, whatever the matter, I could count on him to do everything that I would not be treated too harshly. Knowing, that my children would be deeply disappointed if I sold Brioni, I started to be prepared to relinquish the island to the heir to the throne in exchange of all verifiable spending and investments and in additional compensation for my work in the past 17 years.

Colonel Brosch found this very loyal and seemed to be very satisfied that he had successfully completed the mission he had been given by the heir to the throne.

I was already thinking about the idea of ​​using part of the money received for the relinquishment of Brioni to acquire the terrain that I had warmly recommended to the heir to the throne. With much smaller resources, I believed that I could successfully accomplish a task similar to that which I had set myself in Brioni, yes, I was convinced that I could also create something there that was not inferior to Brioni in beauty, perhaps even surpassing it. But my meeting with Colonel Brosch, which was certainly communicated to the heir to the throne, did not initially seem to decide anything about Brioni’s future fate.

At Easter 1911, the confessor of the heir to the throne, the Jesuit father Fischer arrived, accompanied by his younger, amiable colleague. Almost at the same time, Umlauft, the director of the Royal courtyards and gardens, who had visited Brioni before and found great pleasure in my work, paid a visit. Both were guests of the Archduke and it was the last time that I, invited to the table by the heir to the throne, sitting next to the Duchess of Hohenberg, could enjoy this privilege.

It was a beautiful spring day, Brioni was full of guests, almost more than it could possibly accommodate. All the rites and customs of the Catholic Church with which it celebrates Easter were practiced with a thoroughly poetic solemnity. With the participation of many naval officers of all levels, including a small but excellent elite from the music band of the Navy. I was able to enjoy how much and how pretty things were going on in Brioni and made a visible impression on all of our spa guests. On this occasion, the Duchess asked me to do everything possible to hold all these celebrations next year, not in the small, probably very pretty chapel, but in the already somewhat larger church, dedicated to Saint Germanus, built in the year 1483 and very in need of restoration. I promised to do my best in this regard. As private counsellor Mr. Umlauft told me later, he had already been commissioned to estimate the value of Brioni. Mr. Umlauft reported that as Brioni’s climatic conditions were based on the same isotherms as Lussin, in regard of the abundance of rich and fertile soil and its relative proximity to Vienna, in his opinion it was worth 25,000 crowns and His Royal Highness could easily even pay 30,000 crowns. However, these were amounts that far exceeded what I had invested in Brioni, and this overestimation, as it seemed to me, was probably the reason why His Highness no longer thought of buying, but started looking for ways to achieve his goal differently.

A few weeks after this estimate by private counsellor Umlauft, an article appeared in the Paris edition of the “New York Herald”, which was then also published in some Austrian newspapers, in which it was argued, that the political situation with Italy made it necessary to have Brioni nationalized. The parts of the islands not used for fortification purposes could be left to the heir to the throne, since a stay there would have been very beneficial for his health.

I had to be prepared to be expropriated if this suggestion was followed and I was at risk that my property, which had been so laboriously acquired, might be taken from me far below its worth. This caused me to share my concerns with Father Fischer, the confessor of the heir to the throne, and maybe I owe it to him that this wrong was averted from me.

Admiral Excellency von Ripper, certainly capable in many directions, very hardworking and very ambitious, believed himself to acquire the particular goodwill, indeed the gratitude, of the heir to the throne by doing everything possible to prevent Brioni’s further development. As I had learned from very reliable sources, it was his intention to wear me down, that is, to torture me in such a way that I would have to offer Brioni to the heir to the throne and should be grateful for any price that he was willing to pay. The funny estimates and figures he was dealing with, showed his complete misunderstanding of Brioni’s meaning already gained at that time.

By his very nature, always wanting everyone to feel his power at all times, his power as the supreme authority of the Pola fortress, he liked to ignore civil law by using martial law already in times of peace. I have no doubt that all of his actions were the result of what his understanding of patriotism was. He repeatedly apologized to me, even when he left Brioni, that he did not like to cause any inconvenience to me, but he had to do it in the performance of his duty, as he reaffirmed. He, as the highest fortress commander, should strive to ensure that there shall leave no people with conveniences and drinking water in the vicinity of the fortress – circumstances that could attract the enemy and would be of great value to him; and just the opposite of what he should strive for, I do strive for. Even back then I replied that everything I had created and hoped to achieve, especially in war, would certainly prove extremely useful not to the enemies but to us, the defenders. Indeed, this had also been true since the outbreak of war. I am heartily sorry that Admiral Ripper, not lessoned for the better by the experience of war, did die shortly after his retirement. I am still convinced that he would have been honest enough not only to see his error, but also to admit his mistake.

The ongoing delays in the completion of “Neptune III”, which he had initiated, kept the progress low and increased the expenses without being able to prevent the finishing in the long run. Finally, I decided to ask the heir to the throne for an audience and to ask for his help in order to put an end to Ripper’s actions, which also harmed me personally. The heir to the throne, apparently inclined to avoid my request, using words which obviously afflicted him and which prompted the Duchess, who was attending the conversation, to help her husband out of the embarrassment. This gave me the opportunity to explain the legal situation to the Duchess, which seemed to impress her. Not knowing at all whether I could count on the hearing of my request, I nevertheless resumed my construction project which from then on was no longer impeded by Ripper. I had the feeling that, in this case, I would have to be grateful to the Duchess for her sense of justice and that I was given the help I´d asked for.

The tendency of the heir to the throne, to deviate a little from what the majority of his subjects would consider justified as soon as his interest was at stake, had been proven for many years based on many examples. In my opinion, this was unjustly attributed to the influence of his wife. She was not only the beautiful beloved wife and mother of his children, at the same time she was the most loyal and obedient subject to her master. She also knew how to ensure her protection through the most meticulous observance of the customs and rites of the Catholic Church, a protection that could one day be necessary for her.

It was, I think the last meeting I had with the heir to the throne that year. I had to go to Vienna and could not be present when he left. But when he came back with his family the following year, “Neptune III” was almost completely habitable. Then Brioni was already welcoming a much larger society of members of the most distinguished circles of Vienna, as well as Imperial Germans.

The old church of St. Germain had been given a pretty sacristy using many stones and remnants from the Middle Ages. In addition to the 14 chairs made of bent wood donated by the heir to the throne, simple, stylish oak church pews and a confessional donated by Ms. Ludwig were installed, a church choir stall built in and the harmonium, which I hadn’t used for years, had to replace the organ. Only the copy of a very pretty altarpiece from my father and the altar surrounding it had not yet been completed. In the meantime, the Duchess pushed for the completion and use of the church. She hurriedly had ordered, at our expense, a statue of a blessing Christ made at our expense and quickly got the inauguration of the church from the bishop of Parenzo. All this was happening during my absence and when I came back to Brioni after 14 days, the church was already inaugurated and a co-adjuter of the parish of Fasana was set up with a fixed salary of 1200 crowns per year, also at our cost.

I had very little contact with the royal guests during this third season and was not present when they left. Only during a chance encounter did the heir to the throne casually mention to me he had invited the German emperor to visit him in Brioni, when travelling from Venice to Corfu. He expected news as soon as possible whether his invitation was successful. Only a few hours after this conversation the invitation was accepted by telegraph and a few days later Wilhelm II. arrived on a most beautiful day – accompanied by the roar of guns of numerous warships and with the lively participation and cheering greetings from the illustrious 400 spa guests.

The emperor was accompanied by his daughter, one of his sons and his young and very pretty daughter-in-law, then, I believe Prince Fürstenberg, Count Eulenburg and other gentlemen. To the emperor, I could only say a few words, but I could have a longer conversation with his daughter and daughter-in-law, and the latter, when I was saying goodbye, expressed in amiable, kind words her favour for the island by saying that she would much rather stay here in Brioni, than travel on to Corfu. The green of the meadows and the lush vegetation seemed to give her more pleasure than the olive groves of Corfu.

The previous year, on the occasion of the visit of the King of Saxony, I was invited for dinner by the heir to the throne. This time, despite the large number of guests, I wasn´t. I was very sorry for that, since I had the greatest interest in the personality of the German emperor. During his stay, I spent most of the time in the company of my dear friend Hagenbeck, who was unfortunately already in a very bad condition. Hagenbeck was recognized by the emperor as soon as he had arrived among our spa guests and Wilhelm II. immediately started a conversation with special kindness. In the morning, the heir to the throne led the emperor around Brioni in his car. As I was informed he is said to have told the emperor that he was planning to set up a permanent home on Brioni. Lunch was enjoyed with the sound of excellent music, always dominated by the emperor’s stimulating and witty words, with the greatest diligence of the heir to the throne and the duchess to make the emperor interested and pleased in everything Brioni was able to offer. The emperor is said to have also said to Franz Ferdinand: “You are lucky, because from Vienna you´ll be in your paradise just within twelve hours and it will take me 4 days to get to Corfu.” In the afternoon, the emperor visited the zoo. Hagenbeck took the lead and captured the emperor’s interest in such a way that the heir to the throne could hardly hide his impatience. This visit was indeed an excellent event for Brioni, favoured by nice weather; everything flowed harmoniously and seemed perfect and I cannot completely deny the hope of being able to relive the return of such a high visitor.

Soon, however, I had to go back to Vienna and when I returned, Your Highnesses had already left Brioni. But in my absence, the heir to the throne had taken contact with my son Carl, who, in a short, handwritten note pointed out the essentials of an agreement which, he believed, would be just as satisfying for the heir as for his father. Basically, it was the same I had suggested the year before. The construction of a residence, according to his wishes, including the surrender of a larger complex around this castle-like villa.

I would have to provide the financial means and the heir to the throne to pay the interest as long as he used this place as a residence. The temporary duration of this rent should be 20 years and the heir to the throne should be entitled to extend it under the same conditions as long as he wanted. After expiration of this contract, Brioni would also repay the interest. My son’s proposal only deviated from mine at the request of the heir to the throne, as far as the choice of location was concerned. Not on the Castelier, which I had recommended, should the castle and its park be located, but on the heights of the Paneda peninsula. The entire peninsula, which was about 1/5 of Brioni Grande, with the exception of the large vineyards should become the park surrounding the castle.

The heir to the throne took my son Karl’s suggestions on a sailing trip, seemed very satisfied with my son’s design, and kept this document because he wanted to send it to his legal advisor in order to ensure the appropriate legal form for this agreement. When saying goodbye to Brioni, he assured my wife, who represented me, in very kind words that he was very happy to have reached an agreement. When I learned all of this after my return, I was happy that this matter, which had been so worrying for me over the past 2 years, seemed to had come to a satisfactory end. In Vienna, the proposal was submitted to the legal advisor, but when he returned with the elaborated document, the heir to the throne could not remember an order in this regard and assured that he would never have made such concessions. So, my old worries came back in one fell swoop and the question of which dangers would still threaten from this side remained unanswered.

Just a few months later, I received a letter from the “Obersthofmeister” of the heir to the throne saying that he had been commissioned by his lord, to send the painting with the youthful figure of his master back to me. The object, with which I had decorated the duchess’s dressing room so full of the best intentions, about which the heir to the throne had been so delighted that he even wanted a copy. The wording of the message made it clear that the heir to the throne reserved the right to take legal steps. As I learned later there were rumours, that the heir to the throne had simply taken the object without asking for my permission. The evil slander, I believed to understand, was said to have gone from Brioni, but then certainly only from the heir to the throne’s own staff, who was commissioned to take the picture off the wall, pack it up and send it to Vienna, probably without knowing that I had given it as a gift to the heir to the throne.

The Duchess’s great thrift, probably caused by the fact that she herself had little cash and was very reluctant to approach her husband with a request for money, and the ability – which to a certain extent was extremely valuable for a future regent – to secure a maximum of services with a minimum of remuneration, had given rise to malicious, often untrue rumours in the immediate and wider vicinity of the heir to the throne. I did not answer the letter from Baron Rumerskirch, whose less tactful verbal offense hurt me. But I wrote to the Duchess that at the time it was a pleasure for me to decorate her toilet room with what I thought was a pretty picture of her husband at a young age. It had been a pleasure for me that the they had enjoyed it so much that I had gladly left the painting to her husband and was happy to notice that it was among her birthday presents. Unfortunately, it is an inevitable fact that an abundance of gossip of all kinds, sometimes malicious, develops in the area of ​​high rulers. The smartest thing in such a case seemed to me to ignore such gossiping. She could be sure that both me and my family would stop any such talk whenever we heard it. I did get the painting back, however, and was later able to find out that an attempt was indeed being made to construct an indictment against me or my family, since my brother Max

I did get the painting back, however, and was later able to find out that an attempt was indeed being made to construct an indictment against me or my family, since my brother Max was invited to a court hearing in Klagenfurt, which of course did not lead to any result. It was now clear to me that Brioni would have to do without the honoured and desired visit of the heir to the throne in the near future

He spent the wintertime of the next two years at Miramare Castle near Trieste. But shortly before his so unexpected and terrifying murder, he came to Brioni again, he himself did not leave the ship, but let his children enter the island and in the company of our amiable Vice-Pastor, Father Krallinger, they´ve visited our zoo and other places they loved. From many reports of people from his environment we learned, that his love for Brioni had not been not completely extinguished, and that we would probably have been honoured again with his visit in the coming years, if not for the terrible events that we have all experienced and deeply mourned. Just once more, it was the last time, I had the opportunity to see and greet the heir to the throne and his whole family, but not to speak. Through my brother Karl, I found out about a very interesting book entitled “Seven Great Statesmen“. The name of the previously unknown American author was Andrew White. The abundance of the varied knowledge of the historical development of Europe over the past centuries, and the clarity and nobleness of the point of view to which the author had come through extensive observation made a deep impression on me. I have always believed that it is the duty of every thinking person, to have a stimulating effect not only in the social class to which he belongs but also in the social class that stands above him. I have always faithfully fulfilled this duty, even in the communication with the heir to the throne who is socially so far above me, as he would be – as future emperor of Austria-Hungary – the cell of the state organization of my fatherland, which I had become so fond of. The greatest attention to this cell, indeed the idea of help, gave me the impulse to translate the book, so that the heir to the throne could read it even though he didn’t speak English. Usually I could only work on it completely undisturbed during the night. For a few weeks, this work was usually preceded by a pleasant conversation with Ms. Emilie von Gutmann and her sister, Baroness Ferstel, which I used to have on the terrace of our hotel. This company was also joined by a young girl, Baroness Gertrud Haupt-Stummer, who was very close to both women, and with whom I soon became connected with a warm friendship. Since then I owe this friendship to the receipt of many dear and always stimulating letters, but also warmer relationships with Ms. Gutmann, a particularly kind lady and her husband, Max Ritter von Gutmann, with whom I had lost almost all social contact since I had left Witkowitz. The whole Gutmann family, the simple kindness of the landlord, the witty and kind nature of the housewife and their well-behaved and pretty children offered me the charm of a very rare harmonious life, which I hardly had the opportunity to observe in other families. The wish of Frau von Gutmann, Master Zumbusch to make a bust of mine, led to a 5-week stay in Brioni and brought me and my wife the great pleasure of a more intimate relationship with the great artist.
The stay, as he repeatedly assured me, had given him the greatest joy, a joy that he had not experienced in decades. Unfortunately, my bust was the last, and as I believe, a perfect and diligent work by the 83-year-old artist.

To my great pain, Zumbusch’s prospective next winter stay in Brioni was no longer possible. His life energy was inexorably exhausted and had gone out the following spring. But the thought that this man, who always seemed so particularly attractive to me, had still had the opportunity to enjoy Brioni in its early summer splendour with all of its charms, is still pleasing me today.

The preface to the book shows how my share of the translation of the “Seven Great Statesmen” has become relatively small. Of the first three copies that the publisher sent me, I brought the first to Mr. Nikic, the secretary to the heir to the throne, accompanied by a personal letter for him. The wish to serve the heir to the throne in any way had prompted me to translate a book that was very valuable for everyone, but also for him. When I left the secretary’s office, the heir to the throne and his family were passing by, and my awe-inspiring bow was returned with a somewhat astonished greeting. I did not receive any confirmation of receipt of the book, but I had to assume that it had reached its address. I can imagine, however, that the same was put aside, just as all my suggestions in the past; usually with a simple warm word from the future emperor, pretending to show a good will to improve apparent grievances. It seemed as if his interest would only turn to the many factors that could serve him to put himself above everyone else; in these factors, he always showed keen interest. The welfare of others seemed rather indifferent to him. “The lower the others were, the higher he had to appear”, the long-time chief of the military chancellery, a very capable and loyal servant of his master, worried about his future. I was often unable to completely defend myself from thinking that he could show the first signs of a creeping disease, which I had already been familiar with years ago because of my poor son-in-law and which ultimately made many things explainable and excusable.

As promised, I sent the second copy of the book to my young, witty friend Baroness Gertrud Haupt-Stummer. The third copy I handed out to my adorable friend Eduard Süss, who was already well over 80 years old. All of them assured me with the warmest words of acknowledgements of the high value of my writings.