Richard Hornig to King Ludwig II
October 29, 1871
The morning is crystal clear today, compared to the drizzle of rain that was falling yesterday during both day and night. I welcome the sight of green fields covered in morning dew and the warm sun that enters through my window. The other servants have run off to their chores, but I lingered behind just so I could write you just for a few minutes. The rooms are empty without you, and I cannot bring myself to speak, because my lips thirst for you. When will we be able to be together again? I find myself missing the quite evenings we used to share together and your uneasy temper. I pray that as I close this letter and send it away, you are done with your business, and are contemplating your return. I must leave you now, for already they knock on my door, and I must tend the horses.
King Ludwig II to Richard Hornig
October 31, 1871
My dearest friend, how I smiled when I received your letter, and how my heart felt peace as if I was in a fresh field. At first, I must admit, I stood holding the letter, not wishing to open it nor read it. I felt ashamed, I guess, at having such a small piece of you, and such a secret, neatly folded little paper. Oh, but the sweet smell of roses and the softness of your paper made my thought disappear, and I lay back on my bed, enjoying your letter as if I were eating delicious berries. I am terribly sorry it has been such fowl weather. It seems we have nothing but sunshine, and the roads to Berlin are so stuffy with heat, I often pray for rain, which you seem to be hugging all for yourself. But, I chant be mad, because you relieved me, my friend, and kept me from going insane with your small letter. I have hidden it inside the wooden drawer set in my room, beneath the Bible, where no one will look.
It seems we are to travel westward tomorrow, to meet with a certain Frau Vogl, and it appears we are to spend two entire nights in her manor, much against my will, since I hardly know the woman. Still, it appears time presses me even now, and that it will be long until we meet again, dearest.
I shall run my fingers over your signature, as if it were your lips, until then.
King Ludwig II to Richard Hornig
November 3, 1871It is indeed sad, dearest one, that I still cannot return to Linderhof, or better, take us out into the Alps, and away from all these ridiculous business travels. Surely you must be tired of waiting for me, Richard, and cursing the day I left. I know I am, since it seems the people in this country have a mania for gawking. Quite embarrassing, if I may say. Already I have been stopped by one to may a village person, who mean well, but can be so tiring. The company of Frau Vogl is quite strange and I feel like a prisoner in this home. She keeps twenty or so dogs and cats around herself, and treats them like royalty. Surely, this gives me a great idea, should I treat my horses this way. The kindest nature she displays towards them, and towards me, far too much attention for my good. It is indeed a miracle I have managed to take pen and write to you, for she lets me have no time for myself. It has occurred to me I shall have to hide in the bathroom and lock the door.
Forgive me dearest, for keeping you waiting and this delay. It is quite against my will.
Richard Hornig to King Ludwig II
November 7,1871How cruel you are majesty, to leave me alone for so long, and without even the blessing of your letters. I should have gone with you on your trips, even if I were to serve as much as I do here. The letter you sent has kept me going, hoping that you share the same fate I do. How fate has been cruel to me, so shall it be towards you, and make this Lady Vogl quite a spectacle.
My, how my mind betrays me. Ludwig, I sincerely hope that the trip is going splendid. I hear the outskirts of Berlin are a sight. Do enjoy them, perhaps one day we can go together, if you please. As for Frau Vogl's company, I can say, make the best of it. I am sure she is a sight. Have she stables? Probably not.
As for the castle, all is well and fine, sir, save for a few mouths that tend to wager on their own. It appears Wagner will be returning from his trip to Austria this following Sunday, and I pray he wont meet with their evil tongues. Oh, Ludwig, do return soon, before the castle eats me. Count Berlioz has invited Count Varicourt back to Linderhof, and it seems he wishes to remain for weeks. I know he hardly welcomed anymore, and he gives the hardest commands. I shall do as he say, since it is my duty, as always. But, both man are rather impossible, it seems. They say you are to stay in Berlin for a month! And I shall go insane if I must be taken from you for so long.
Oh, must I ruin your sunny day over my babbling? The complaints of a man who loves you, if those words will make you easier. Forgive my boldness, and my incessant whining, Ludwig. Please forgive me. I wish you a good time in Berlin, and may you enjoy all her pleasures.
Count Berlioz to Duke Pfeitmeister
November 2, 1871My good friend, Herr Pfeitmeister
Long and hearty cheers, for it seems your crafty plan has worked. I shall have to commend you to Herr Von Bismarck, for your cunning and wit. Tish, and I save myself the embarrassment of falling small at words. Still, I command you, and I hope you are laughing in Berlin, like I am laughing in Linderhof. How is our dear King Ludwig? I trust he is in the finest dispositions and doing as chipper as a squirrel with Frau Vogl. Quite a dear, isn't she? I must laugh, for sending him off to Berlin has been the greatest ideal you've had so far. The castle has fallen into Herr Holstein's hands completely, and he has always been in our lap, say true? He runs it like a military countership, save the man drinks far too much, and lacks discipline. Tish, that's when I come in, friend! I rear these servants like they were mine, which is why I am so pleased, and my fat belly round and full. Oh, do keep his majesty with you as long as Frau Vogl wishes, because I rather enjoy my post as Haus-Meister.
Seems to me, though, you should've have taken Herr ------ [Hornig] with you. The blond servant is quite a pain in my fat ass. He refuses to work as I say, and manages to keep spirits high, and somehow, I know he contacts Ludwig. Letters. Get rid of the letters. He is calm, sensible, and I have yet to break his will, and those eyes stare at me with understanding. That little frigger knows, and what he doesn't know, his cunning mind reveals. What is worse is, he and Herr Holstein are together quite often, and both seem to enjoy each other's company. I don't trust Holstein with my beer, save with that boy. But, I have plans, and I do love my fiendish mind, friend. Don't you?
For the love of me, take your time, and celebrate, esteemed Court Disrupter!
Count Berlioz to Duke Pfeitmeister
November 10, 1997Dear Pfeitmeister
Friend and Prince of lies, I salute you. Another week in Berlin? How goes the views, and what about the partridges? Good hunting? I'd be lying if I said I was not having the best of times, my lord. The festival in town was splendid, as was the polo games we had yesterday, where the Court displayed it's best behaviour. Good show, I say! Count Varicourt, whom I've invited in, has fine horse man ship. Indeed, never have i seen a man bolder with character than him, when it comes to horses. He beat us all, the lucky yule.
You should have heard him scream, friend. The young blond, nosey boy. I sent a couple of men out into the woods with him, to accompany him, and I lingered behind, and how he pleaded, you have no idea. I told you, I'd teach him a lesson. It's left him scarred for a lifetime, I am sure, and he deserves it, for taking my happiness away. Has he no idea that he hurts my pride when he accuses me of "wishing Ludwig ill"? How I laughed to hear his small cries, like a wounded animal, and see the blood run in the field. I searched for the ugliest, burliest country men, i could find, with the harshest bodies. Do laugh, for the poor boy could hardly walk afterwards, and his ass bled horribly. That should teach him not to talk against me, say true? Next time, should his tongue wag again, I shall have his member removed. That'd be fun, say true?
But, I run away with my fetish, and must have you pinned against your covers, friend. Do tell me of your good deeds, next time.
Frau Vogl to Frauline Maria Schweirder
November 3, 1871Dearest Frauline Schweider
Maria, oh, blessed am I to have such a joy as the likes of Ludwig II in my home! I must write you, my dear, save this anxiety kills me, for I must get this off my chest. Such a lovely boy he is, and so young, and respectable. He carries himself like a prince from a book, the kind of mother read us when we were but children. His manners are refined, and when he speaks he is the sunshine and a thousand bells, for his speech is marvellous. He is much too quiet, and keeps to himself mostly, refusing my visits and my affection. It seems he longs for solitude, and for his home. Dearest Maria, how he sighs. It breaks my heart that he should have little to do with me, but feel most happy that he enjoys my horses. He stays long hours outside and talks to the dogs as if they were real friends. His companions are very amiable as well, yet I sense a certain animosity towards their king, I fear. Indeed, twice has Herr Pfeitmeister spoken of lunacy, and I fear our childlike king be ill, as Princess Alexandra was. But, I resist such accusations, when I see the joy in his eyes. Oh, he like a fairy king, Marie, and oh so beautiful.
I shall invite him to join us, for already his companions wish him to travel onwards, and perhaps I may invite him to our lodges in Wurzburg, where you may meet him for yourself, and be equally blessed.
Frau Vogl und Triad
Princess Sophie to King Ludwig II
November 4th, 1871My sovereign leige, Ludwig II.
My Mother has told me of your departure to Berlin, and I thought it fitting that I write you a small note. I have few opportunities as it is to speak to any great deal of interesting people. Dear Gakl has been bringing some of his friends over to our home, but none are as charming or as witty as you. They lack... a something, I find that I cannot quite describe it myself. Often I wish that you could be here again, and that we may speak together. I suppose I should give thought to that disastrous engagement of ours... but at the present moment, I am of the state of mind that I really do not care about all that, so long as I can have you to talk to, dearest Heinrich. I can still call you Heinrich, can I not?
You need not reply to this. I know you must be busy, and that perhaps you do not wish to speak to me at all. One cannot have a meaningful conversation through letters anyway. All the charm of it is gone, I think. Still, I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to write to you again, even if that opportunity is a dreadful boredom. I hope that you will be all right in Berlin. Oh, do please visit the square. You'll find it most diverting.
Count Maximilian von Holstein to Duke Pfeitmeister
October 31. 1871Herr PfeitmeisterNovember 20th, 1867
A miserable night. And a miserable rest of the week. I tell you, I shall be but a wet poodle when you return. You lucky a--, being taken all over the country side while I must stay here in this wretched kingdom of leaks and nothing but rain! I've had to stuff a few rags into the shutters of my windows, or otherwise they'd blow right in and shatter. That would be just another great pleasure for me in this world of so many f-----g pleasures. Can't even right f--k in peace because the whole d--n streets to be flooded by the blasted rain. We've had ourselves quite a time salvaging his majesty's horses from the flooding [at the stables]. Do you know what stables smell like after they've been flooded? It sticks to you for hours. I had to scrub about twenty times, which is the only thing this f-----g rain's good for. A man can just take a bar of soap and scrub under some roof or drain pipe, and he'll be as good as new. Better, I might say, than those luke warm tubs we keep around here. At least one does not run the risk of slipping and breaking one's d----d neck out in the rain--
May you enjoy yourselve tremendously at Berlin, you little s--t wit. I dare say we shall smack the lot of you with the water pitchers when you return--
Max von Holnstein
The Diary of King Ludwig IIThis pen I use to write is faulty, as is the incessant red sun that bathes me, and as is the country, Berlin, where I have been forced to stay for the last days. It will be a month before I leave, and already I fear to be driven insane by those who keep me here. How I miss the letters my Richard would write, and if were able he'd be writing. Save I know he is not, an perhaps against his will, and I fear. I will not write him this, but keep it in this diary, where he may read when I see him again. If I see him again, for I fear Herr Pfeitmeister has taken a liking to this land, and a fetish to keep me away from Bavaria. Away from Richard.November 21th, 1867
I am lying in the field that leads away from Frau Vogl's manor, and I must say it is a very beautiful place, surrounded by greenery. Frau is a charming woman, but still I feel she gawks at me as those who meet me in the street. I wish I could but once walk as if I were not the king, but a mere commoner in the hands of fate. She treats me with a high respect I long to destroy, and insists that I spend time with her cousin Marie, whom she believes, no doubt, I may find lovely enough to marry. Gott, how I hate that, and I put it down in my diary for proof!
There is no one in this hill, save for me and one of her horse, a dark mere I have taken the liberty of keeping by my side almost constantly, for Frau may be wise about dogs and cats, but horrend towards horses. The gorgeous animal, I believe, loves me, and has allowed me to keep it. I believe I shall take him to Linderhof, and shall find little resistance for doing so, since Frau treats me so kind. Too kind. I have named her Night Swan, for her eyes are as swan eyes, and her skin is so dark. Oh, and she seems to know that I speak of her, for her ears had stood up, and she nozzles me neck. all right, Night Swan! You are already mentioned here, and a fine love you are, my only true friend in this imprisonment in Berlin, where every wall kidnaps my thoughts. When I touch your dark mane, I make believe I touch my fair Richard, and long to have him see you. For I am taking you to Linderhof, just for him.
It is night, and the sounds of the wild dogs rushing to their homes enter through my window. Such lively creature make me jealous of their free state. But, I am not sad, and would like to write a few words in this diary. It is dark, and I am sleepy, for after a long day of work, I grow so tired. I have not received any letters from R, and I feel so sad. My heart is but popping out from my chest, and twice I have cried. Foolish me, for doing so, for I must know that he is unable. I hold his letters to my face, and kiss the signature he's given me, and hold the letters to my skin, closing my eyes and believing he is with me. I wish to have no other men, though I am tempted, and Gott, have I met beautiful boys in Berlin, but they have not his eyes and their voice do not resemble his. I can see him in his bed, naked and perhaps tearful, his long, yellow hair over his smooth back, and I bite my lips, for I hate that he is so far away from me. So far.November 24, 1867
I grow too tired to make any sense now, diary, and perhaps when I wake, I will find that I've written too much nonsense, so I shall say good night for today. Already sleep beacons, and I long it to be death.
Like melting nothingness, these mountains are. They are of the wilderness of tomorrow and of yesterday. The roads we have chosen through the cold whiteness are terribly ill and deformed at some points. The horses and the carriage bobble up and down through the wrecks of rocks and nature groans as we make our way through the ranges. Frau was sad to see me go, but finally I was allowed to leave her estate, taking Night Swan with me. She made no sound when I told her my request as if she feared angering me. Bless the Frau, for she was too innocent to see beyond her own nose and to have any dignity to admit when she was wrong. I shall not hate her for keeping me by her side when I did not wish it, and I shall not hate her for keeping me away from my castle. She was too old and cried too much when I left her home for me to hate her.
"Shall we stop for the night?" asks the coach man who is driving my carriage. There are two other, black carriages in front for my travel companions. Herr Pfeitmeister rides in the front with his companions and two servants and some of my family rides in the second one, distant uncles from these regions. My own carriage remains far behind as I had instructed the old driver. This man now made the vehicle take a different road, allowing the others to continue onwards.
I personally hired this old man, making the original royal driver take a day off with a handsome reward he loved dearly as he headed towards the Beerhaus. The old man had been sitting by the side of the road, and was more than glad to receive nice pay for driving a king. That old man had seemed to know the pain in my heart for he guessed my intentions and agreed to help me lose the rest of the royal campaign.
We stopped by a dark lake that resembled a huge pool mirror in which the heavens could bathe. The old man, whose name is Reich, let me off from the vehicle and hood it behind some bushes that looked like a falling canopy of leaves. Behind so many flowers and greenery, the black carriage melted into nothingness and I feared never to find it again, but I dismissed the thought. The old man returned from the hiding the vehicle and joined me. I was walking down a soft path of dead leaves, headed downwards into the pool's bank. I believe the old man thought I would mind his company, for he stayed behind almost shy to be discovered walking behind a king. I lay down, not caring about my clothes or shoes, on one of the fallen tree trunks that rests by the waterside. There are some small fishes swimming in the water and I see some movements in the other side of the bank, but I can 't see what it is. There are a few bugs in the air, but they fly away and bother me not. There is nothing by the lake, just fallen trees and weeds and plants that climb down from the tree branches, dipping into the waters. I wonder if anybody comes here, but I cease to think on such things as the old man coughs softly. I remember he looked ashamed to have molested me while I enjoyed the solitude and quiet of the lake, but I smiled at him. Riech smiled back, his brows wrinkling together in a funny way, like some old rag, but I called him over so he could sit by me. He hesitated, but soon joined me and I was glad. At that moment, sweet diary, I was so glad he did. Our bodies melted into the darkness and the soft mist that surrounded the lake and we sat close to each other as if we were friends. I closed my eyes and allowed the soft breeze that moved through the leaves and through my hair. I felt my soul so glorious and happy, released from its prison and I knew that Night Swan, hidden in the bushes thought the same thing.
We talked of nothing and everything, at first afraid of each other. Riech told me about his woman and their children and I told him about Linderhof and Bavaria. He said he worked in a small mill by the edge of town and I told him I only did kingly things. He laughed at my job, patting my shoulder, and I said I hated being king. He looked straight at me when I told him I was sad and lonely in such big castles.
"Some poor folks would love to live in a palace," he said. I tossed a stone into the water.
"I wish I could not," I said. "They take my freedom." He looked down a few moments and then back at me, and I knew he understood me. Right then and there, I knew he understood me.
My dear Hornig, I saw in those eyes what I see in yours. A lovely soul reaching for mine and holding my spirits softly, realizing the fears that swallow me. So softly that I moan as they escape me. Riech laughed, his breath wheezing in the cold air, and patted my leg. I laughed too, hoping God was aware of such a man. It was then when I felt my eyes water as I watched the old man shift in the wet leaves, his white hair matted under the small cap he was wearing. I smiled softly, brushing my tears as I heard his frail voice sing. His song started low and soft, hardly a whisper, and then it grew into melody. I sat as still as the waters before us listening to his frail, old voice as it grew louder."Fly away, bird of sorrow and leave this soil behind.I'll remember that song, faint and old, forever. The way his thick accent rose and the words flowed like water into the soul. Had he known what he was causing me? Had he known? I do not remember much after the beautiful melody, because I must have fallen asleep. I fell into a sweet dream, where the song kept repeating like a soft humm of a bird.
Fly away, and touch tomorrow, when the pain will hurt no more."