0Sunday. 26th [March 1911]—Ca’ Capello, Venice
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26 March 1911 — Ca’ Capello, Venice
Sunday. 26th [March 1911]. We all went to morning service, Lord K. included. Mr Price our chaplain was unwell & his remplaçant came so late that one thought there would be no service & I whispered to Lord K. that he might have to read it himself– At the end of the sermon the clergyman gave us a shock by announcing the death of the Bishop of Gibraltar– We knew he was very ill of consumption of the throat. He was here while I was away in Egypt for one day & stayed with Mme Wiel & had said he wd return here to stay with me in April. He is a loss as a Bishop & as an historian. The work he did at Messina after the earthquake helping to dig out the sufferers was what gave him his death blow tho’ he had always been a delicate man. After church Lord K. & I went to the Piazza to take a walk on our return Giuseppe said a message had come from the Kaiser to say he would call on me about 3 on his way back from Pal. Papadopoli where he was going to luncheon. Lord K. & Eda began at once to arrange the drawing rooms & to put them in order & to the astonishment of my servants he helped himself to carry the sofas & chairs from one room to another—as he thought more suitable. Mr James (pianist) came to luncheon & was glad to remain to see the Kaiser. Judge Castellani came to call but did not remain—& in fact decamped at once. The Kaiser did not arrive till 3.30. Lord K. went down to the door to receive him for me. I waited in the long hall on 1st floor. He was accompanied by 3 gentlemen. I presented my guests, Eda, Mr Biddulph, his boy, Mr Arbuthnot and Mr James—& then begged H.M. to be seated in the 1st drawing room– He said “You must give me a chair I shall not break” so he sat in a Venetian “poltrone” covered with red damask which Lord K. had carried in from a further room. He then called to Lord K. to come & sit with us. Eda took the suite into the next drawing room & we 3 sat & chatted for 1 hour very pleasantly. The talk soon fell on military matters—on the different systems of getting soldiers in our respective countries—& he explained at length the German way & how after a man has served his time he still remained on the army list & the esprit de corps was strong with him to the end—that when it after life they were employed in houses of commerce they often met together in memory of former days. H.M. said he did not believe in the success of the same sort of conscription in England & thought it would be a mistake to try it—that the races were different—that what suited the one who had 900 years experience might not suit the other (Germans) who had only 40 years of it. He thought we had made a mistake in disbanding our Volunteers for whom he had had a great admiration. He added that the Germans had always been divided into small provinces & took no interest in politics wh they had been in the habit of leaving to their Prince or Grand Duke. This in reply to my remark that it had been a mistake of European natives copying our Parliamentary system wh had evolved little by little in the course of centuries– The Kaiser talked on for 1½ hour Lord K. only added a word here & there to keep the ball rolling. I think Lord K. was not sorry to leave all the Kaiser to declaim & not to commit himself. He took a turn round the drawing rooms & glanced at the pictures before leaving. I asked him whether Dr Bode had bought any thing fine of late for the Berlin Gallery & the Kaiser said, no there was no money to do so & that when Bode was very anxious to acquire some work of great value he had a way of asking the Kaiser if he had not a few millions to spare! I laughingly asked whether Bode had bought any more wax busts at wh the Kaiser said he had not but that the one about wh there was so much controversy last year was certainly by Leonardo da Vinci & was a splendid thing– I said, “You & I who care about beautiful things do not mind by whom they are done as long as they are really fine—the name is nothing—& I know Lucas could do lovely things as I have a cameo wax portrait by him of my husband which is very fine. On going out the Kaiser stopped in the long hall before the Gian Bellini portrait of the Sultan & admired. I accompanied him to the head of the staircase—& Lord Kitchener conducted him down to his launch & he went off to pay a visit to the Countess Mocenigo Wallis on the other side of the Canal. She is the last of the family of the Mocenigo of San Samuele– The Palaces (3) are very fine. One of the apartments had been inhabited for some time by Lord Byron. The house contains fine things & is well kept up. As soon as the Kaiser had left us I went off in gondola to Cav. Salvatore Arbibs with Lord Kitchener where he showed me an old spinet he has bought & to advise about a stone fountain which he is enclined to buy for his new place Broome. We returned home for 5 o’clock tea & went out no more. We had a puzzle put out in the evening to amuse the young people– Lord K. used to like to piece one together when last he was here—it is a ridiculous pastime but rather fascinating.

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