“You stood here, my husband there, and I with my smaller children stood here. How well I remember that day; but, oh, what changes!”
The Dowager Empress invited us to come to her palace next day and meet the Queen of Greece, her niece by marriage, and her sister-in-law who was visiting Russia just then, but we were obliged to decline because of previous plans. Very graciously she wrote her autograph for us and promised to send me her photograph, which later on I received. We were driven back to the station in the Imperial carriage, where a representative of the American Embassy met us and rode back to St. Petersburg with us.
So ended a day of absorbing interest such as I shall never experience again. There is a touch of humour always to the most important events in life. I shall never forget Dr. Talmage’s real distress when he found that the sword which he had borrowed from Mr. Pierce, the Charge d’Affaires of the American Embassy, had become slightly bent in the course of its royal adventure. I can see his look of anxiety as he tried to straighten it out, and was afraid he couldn’t. He always abhorred borrowed things and hardly ever took them. Fortunately, the sword was not seriously damaged.
Our objective point after leaving Russia was Ober-Ammergau, where Dr. Talmage wanted to witness the Passion Play. We travelled in that direction by easy stages, going from St. Petersburg first to Moscow, where we paid a visit to Tolstoi’s house. From Moscow we went to Warsaw, and thence to Berlin. The Doctor seemed to have abandoned himself completely to the lure of sightseeing by this time. Churches, picture galleries, museums were our daily diet. While in Berlin we returned from a drive one day to the hotel and found ourselves the objects of unusual solicitude and attention from the hotel proprietor and his servants. With many obsequious bows we were informed that the Russian Ambassador had called upon us in our absence, and had informed the hotel people that he had a special package from the Czar to deliver to me. He left word that he would be at the hotel at 2 p.m. the following day to carry out his Imperial Master’s instructions. At the time appointed the next day the Russian Ambassador called and formally presented to me, in the name of the Emperor, a package that had been sent by special messenger. I immediately opened it and found a handsome Russian leather case. I opened that, and inside found the autographs of the Emperor and Empress of Russia, written on separate sheets of their royal note paper.
We had a very good time in Berlin. The presence of Sousa and his band there gave it an American flavour that was very delightful. The Doctor’s interest was really centred in visiting the little town of Wuerttemberg, famous for its Luther history. Dr. Dickey, Pastor of the American Church in Berlin, became our guide on the day we visited the haunts of Luther. One day we went through the Kaiser’s Palace at Potsdam, where my daughter managed to use her kodak with good effect.