My best stroke was to add to my cable to The Journal, "Recommend ample recognition of special facilities afforded by telegraph official"--and then get him to read it himself under the pretext of wishing to learn if my writing was legible. He grinned all over himself, and said it was. After my first story is gone I will give him 200 roubles for himself in an envelope and say Journal wired me to do it. That will fix him for the coronation story, as it amounts to six months' wages about. But, my dear brother, in your sweet and lovely home, where the sun shines on the Cascine and the workmen sleep on the bridges, and dear old ladies knit in the streets, that is only one of the thousand things we have had to do. It would take years to give you an account of what we have done and why we do it. It is like a game of whist and poker combined and we bluff on two flimsy fours, and crawl the next minute to a man that holds a measly two-spot. There is not a wire we have not pulled, or a leg, either, and we go dashing about all day in a bath-chair, with a driver in a bell hat and a blue nightgown, leaving cards and writing notes and giving drinks and having secretaries to lunch and buying flowers for wives and cigar boxes for husbands, and threatening the Minister with Cleveland's name.
John A. Logan, Jr., is coming dressed in a Russian Uniform, and he wore it on the steamer, and says he is the special guest of the Czar and the Secretary of the visiting mission. Mrs. P. P. is paying $10,000 for a hotel for one week. That is all the gossip there is. We lunched with the McCooks today and enjoyed hearing American spoken, and they were apparently very glad to have us, and made much of T. and of me. We only hope they can help us; and I am telling the General the only man to meet is Daschoff, and when he does I will tell him to tell Daschoff I am the only man to be allowed in the coronation. I wish I could tell you about the city, but we see it only out of the corner of our eyes as we dash to bureau after bureau and "excellency" and "royal highness" people, and then dash off to strengthen other bridges and make new friends. It is great fun, and I am very happy and T. is having the time of his life. He told me he would rather be with me on this trip than travel with the German Emperor, and you will enjoy to hear that he wrote Sarah I was the most "good-natured" man he ever met. God bless you all, and dear, dear Florence. Lots of love.
I have just sent off my coronation story, and the strain of this thing, which has really been on me for six months, is off. You can imagine what a relief it is, or, rather, you cannot, for no one who has not been with us these last ten days can know what we have had to do. The story I sent is not a good one. It was impossible to tell it by cable, and the first one on the entry was a much better one. I do not care much, though; of course, I do care, as I ought to have made a great hit with it, but there was no time, and there was so much detail and minutia that I could not treat it right. However, after the awful possibility, or rather certainty, that we have had to face of not getting any story at all, I am only too thankful. I would not do it again for ten thousand dollars. Edwin Arnold, who did it for The Telegraph, had $25,000, and if I told you of the way Hearst acted and Ralph interfered with impertinent cables, you would wonder I am sane. They never sent me a cent for the cables until it was so late that I could not get it out of the bank, and we have spent and borrowed every penny we have. Imagine having to write a story and to fight to be allowed a chance to write it, and at the same time to be pressed for money for expenses and tolls so that you were worn out by that alone. The brightest side of the whole thing was the way everybody in this town was fighting for me. The entire town took sides, and even men who disliked me, and who I certainly dislike, like C. W. and R---- of the Paris Embassy, turned in and fought for my getting in like relations. And the women--I had grand dukes and ambassadors and princes, whom I do not know by sight, moving every lever, and as Stanhope of The Herald, testified "every man, woman and child in the visiting and resident legation is crazy on the subject of getting Davis into the coronation." They made it a personal matter, and when I got my little blue badge, the women kissed me and each other, and cheered, and the men came to congratulate me, and acted exactly as though they had got it themselves.
It was a beautiful sight; the Czarina much more beautiful and more sad-looking than ever before. But it was not solemn enough, and the priests groaned and wailed and chanted and sang, and every one stood still and listened. All that the Czar and Czarina did was over ten minutes after they entered the chapel, and then for three hours the priests took the center of the stage and groaned. I was there from seven until one. Six solid hours standing and writing on my hat. It was a fine hat, for we were in court costume, I being a distinguished visitor, as well as a correspondent. That was another thing that annoyed me, because Breckinridge, who has acted like a brick, did not think he could put me on both lists, so I chose the correspondents' list, of course, in hopes of seeing the ceremony, but knowing all the time that that meant no balls or functions, so that had I lost the ceremony I would have had nothing; but he arranged it so that I am on both lists. Not that I care now. For I am tired to death; and Trowbridge did not get on either list, thanks to the damned Journal and to his using all his friends to help me, so that I guess I will get out and go to Buda Pest and meet you in Paris. Do not consider this too seriously, for I am writing it just after finishing my cable and having spent the morning on my toes in the chapel. I will feel better tomorrow. Anyway, it is done and I am glad, as it was the sight of the century, and I was in it, and now I can spend my good time and money in gay Paree. Love to all.
From Moscow Richard went direct to Buda Pest, where he wrote an article on the Hungarian Millennial.
CHAS: May 8th, 1896.
I have just returned from the procession of the Hungarian Nobles. It was even more beautiful and more interesting than the Czar's entry than which I would not have believed anything could have been more impressive-- But the first was military, except for the carriages, which were like something out of fairyland--to-day, the costumes were all different and mediaeval, some nine hundred years old and none nearer than the 15th Century. The mis en scene was also much better. Buda is a clean, old burgh, with yellow houses rising on a steep green hill, red roofs and towers and domes, showing out of the trees-- It is very high but very steep and the procession wound in and out like a fairy picture-- I sat on the top of the hill, looking down it to the Danube, which separates Buda from Pest-- The Emperor sat across the square about 75 yards from our tribune in the balcony of his palace. We sat in the Palace yard and the procession passed and turned in front of us-- There were about 1,500 nobles, each dressed to suit himself, in costumes that had descended for generations--of brocade, silk, fur, and gold and silver cloth-- Each costume averaged, with the trappings of the horse, 5,000 dollars. Some cost $1,000, some $15,000. Some wore complete suits of chain armor, with bearskins and great black eagle feathers on their spears just as they were when they invaded Rome-- Others wore gold chain armor and leopard or wolf skins and their horses were studded with turquoises and trappings of gold and silver and smothered in silver coins-- It would have been ridiculous if they had not been the real thing in every detail and if you had not known how terribly in earnest the men were. There is no other country in the world where men change from the most blase and correct of beings, to fairy princes in tights and feathers and jewelled belts and satin coats-- They were an hour in passing and each one seemed more beautiful than the others-- I am very glad I came although I was disappointed at missing the accident at Moscow. It must have been more terrible than Johnstown. I found the ----s quite converted into the most awful snobs but the people they worship are as simple and well bred as all gentle people are and I have had the most delightful time with them. It is so small and quiet after Moscow, and instead of being lost in an avalanche of embassies and suites and missions, I have a distinct personality, as "the American," which I share with "the" Frenchman and four Englishmen. We are the only six strangers and they give us the run of all that is going on-- At night we dine at the most remarkable club in the world, on the border of the Park, where the best of all the Gypsey musicians plays for us-- The music is alone worth having come to hear, and the dear souls who play it, having been told that I like it follow me all around the terrace and sit down three feet away and fix their eyes on you, and then proceed to pull your nerves and heart out of you for an hour at a time-- One night a man here dipped a ten thousand franc note in his champagne and pasted it on the leader's violin and bowed his thanks, and the leader bowed in return and the next morning sent him the note back in an envelope, saying that the compliment was worth more than the money-- The leader's name is Berchey and the Hungarians have never allowed him to leave the country for fear he would not be allowed to come back-- He is a fat, half drunken looking man, with his eyes full of tears half the time he plays. He looks just like a setter dog and he is so terribly in earnest that when he fixes me with his eyes and plays at me, the court ladies all get up and move their chairs out of his way just as though he were a somnambulist--
I leave here Wednesday and reach Paris Friday MORNING the eleventh-- You must try to meet me at the Cafe de la Paix at half past nine-- Wait in the corner room if you don't wish to sit outside and as soon as I get washed I will join you for coffee. It will be fine to see you again and to be done with jumping about from hotel to hotel and to be able to read the signs and to know how to ask for food. Russian, German and Hungarian have made French seem like my mother tongue--