XXXIII Gaeta 29/III/I904
You will I am sure be interested in the cruise1 of mine in the Mediterranean. Our voyage on the big Lloyd Steamer "König Albert" was most successfull. We allways had smooth water; even the Bay of Biscay behaved like the lake at Peterhof. When we had some breeze or sea it was direct from the aft. The big ship -- she displaced between I5000-I6000 Tons, was most comfortable without any motion, no vibration from the engines, was very well kept, and splendidly handled by her first rate Captain. The kitchen was excellent, the company was merry. What a pity you could not be there, how you would have enjoyed it all! The Spanish coast is very fine but without vegetation. Vigo a grand bay with room for all the fleets of the world. British fleets visit there every month; Henry was there last year with our Squadron. The Straits are imposing. But Gibraltar is simply overwhelming! It is the grandest thing I ever saw. Words are utterly inadequate to give the slightest idea of what it is. Grand in its nature by the military Power, that is stored on and around this mighty Rock. In military circles I found much interest in the war but no preparation for it and no animosity against Russia. Port Mahon is a quiet and the cleanest Spanish town, with a pretty land locked harbour. Something like Malta en miniature. Naples is too lovely and bewitching; summer climate, lots of flowers, carnations especially, orange trees full of oranges! The King was well, and much interested in the war, which he is accurately studying. He mentioned that he had news of the mobilisation of the Turkestan and Caucasian Troops, who were allready moving. I said I thought it most unlikely, and that I had never heard a word about it. I quited him about the Balkans, which always have, it seems, a great attraction for him and said that nothing would happen there, the great Empires beeing resolved not to stand any nonsense from anybody. By the way I see from the papers that our Treaty of Commerce2 seems to have come to a deadlock. I fancy the Geheim-Räthe and Tschinowniks3 are gone off to a sweet slumber, after having spoiled a lot of ink, more than is good in fact. I would give anything to see it, what a lark it would be if you suddenly were to thump your Imperial fist on the "Table of green cloth" and give the lazy ones a jumpl After all one cannot wait for ever considering the many months that have allready been wasted. A promise of a nice pic-nic in Siberia will I am sure do wonders. Perhaps it would tend to quicken the pace of affairs if you were to send some person of importance to Berlin straight to Bulow to finish the game off with him personally; a man of first rate capacity and well versed, in such matters; that would do much good.
Tomorrow we leave for Sicily-Messina where we shall spend Easter week. Good-bye, dearest Nicky, God bless you and be with you through all the important times, you know how my thoughts are now with you. Best love to Alix from Your
affectionate cousin and friend
1. The Kaiser left Bremerhaven in the "König Albert" on March 12th. He met the King of Spain at Vigo, and arrived at Gibraltar on March I8th. He was entertained by Sir George White, the Governor, and by Lord Charles Beresford on board his flagship. He is said to have remarked when visiting the signal station on the Rock: "It has quite reached my expectation. It is grand like everything British. I am not surprised at Gibraltar's being impregnable." He reached Naples on March 24th and there boarded the "Hohenzollern." He met the King of Italy on March 26th.
2. The Russo-German Commercial Treaty was signed on July 28th, 1904. This treaty at the time of its conclusion provoked a storm of protests in Russia. Germany had made use of Russia's difficulties in the war against Japan and exacted from the Czar's Government important economic concessions. Russia was compelled to grant practically an open market to German manufacturers and preferential railway terms without any reciprocal benefit.
3. Literally civil servants, but in the popular terminology bureaucrats.