The Hohenzollerns in America
By Stephen Leacock

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The proper punishment for the Hohenzollerns, and the Hapsburgs, and the Mecklenburgs, and the Muckendorfs, and all such puppets and princelings, is that they should be made to work; and not made to work in the glittering and glorious sense, as generals and chiefs of staff, and legislators, and land-barons, but in the plain and humble part of laborers looking for a job; that they should carry a hod and wield a trowel and swing a pick and, at the day’s end, be glad of a humble supper and a night’s rest; that they should work, in short, as millions of poor emigrants out of Germany have worked for generations past; that there should be about them none of the prestige of fallen grandeur; that, if it were possible, by some trick of magic, or change of circumstance, the world should know them only as laboring men, with the dignity and divinity of kingship departed out of them; that, as such, they should stand or fall, live or starve, as best they might by the work of their own hands and brains. Could this be done, the world would have a better idea of the thin stuff out of which autocratic kingship is fashioned.

It is a favourite fancy of mine to imagine this transformation actually brought about; and to picture the Hohenzollerns as an immigrant family departing for America, their trunks and boxes on their backs, their bundles in their hands.

The fragments of a diary that here follow present the details of such a picture. It is written, or imagined to be written, by the (former) Princess Frederica of Hohenzollern. I do not find her name in the Almanach de Gotha. Perhaps she does not exist. But from the text below she is to be presumed to be one of the innumerable nieces of the German Emperor.


Preface  •  Chapter I  •  Chapter II  •  Chapter III  •  Chapter IV  •  Chapter V  •  Chapter VI

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