"But," said the young clergyman, "my lord, what can a preacher possibly say in only ten minutes?"
"That," answered the statesman, "will be a matter of indifference to Her Majesty."
Sir Frederick Leighton, the eminent English artist, and at one time president of the Royal Academy, was one of the most charming men of his time. His reminiscences were delightful and told with rare dramatic effect. I remember a vivid description which he gave me of the wedding of one of the British royalties with a German princess. Sir Frederick was one of the large and distinguished delegation which accompanied the prince.
The principality of the bride's father had been shorn of territory, power, and revenue during the centuries. Nevertheless, at the time of the wedding he maintained a ministry, the same as in the Middle Ages, and a miniature army. Palaces, built centuries before, housed the Cabinet.
The minister of foreign affairs came to Sir Frederick and unbosomed himself of his troubles. He said: "According to the usual procedure I ought to give a ball in honor of the union of our house with the royal family of England. My palace is large enough, but my salary is only eight hundred a year, and the expense would eat up the whole of it."
Sir Frederick said: "Your Excellency can overcome the difficulty in an original way. The state band can furnish the music, and that will cost nothing. When the time comes for the banquet, usher the guests with due ceremony to a repast of beer and pretzels."
The minister followed the instructions. The whole party appreciated the situation, and the minister was accredited with the most brilliant and successful ball the old capital had known for a century.
For several years one of the most interesting men in Europe was the Duke d'Aumale, son of Louis Philippe. He was a statesman and a soldier of ability and a social factor of the first rank. He alone of the French royalty was relieved from the decree of perpetual banishment and permitted to return to France and enjoy his estates. In recognition of this he gave his famous chateau and property at Chantilly to the French Academy. The gift was valued at ten millions of dollars. In the chateau at Chantilly is a wonderful collection of works of art.