I still remember the dreams. I still dream them, sometimes. Schwester Anna, the night nurse, was the one who told me what they were giving me. Something new, she said, from Bayer-Leverkusen. For the pain, for the excitement, for sleep.

One dream I've dreamt so often is exciting and sad at the same time, because I'm making love, it is just unbearably good, but she is doing it all, she is on top and her breasts are in my face and I can't see her face and I don't know who she is. At first I don't. Too big to be Baby, too heavy. Too big to be Lili and I know she isn't Lili anyway. She might be Bärbel, but she isn't; she doesn't feel or move or smell like Bärbel and I keep trying to turn my head to see her face, and every time I think I do realize (remember?) who she is I feel the breath-stopping pain in my back and I'm face-down on the table in the white-tiled emergency room of the Charite' again, a room full of bare-armed nurses in bloody rubber aprons and green Schutzpolizei officers and the smell of ether, and I'm dreaming again, dreaming that none of it really happened, falling backwards endlessly through clouds of yellow ether, dreaming that it was all a dream....

I guess that's not the best way to begin this part. What is the best way to begin?

When I had to admit that it wasn't a dream?

When I saw in their eyes the same looks I had seen in France, after they dug me out from under all the people - parts of people - who had been blown out of Douglas Pratt's ambulance?

I don't know. P>

Maybe the place to start is with Miss Boatwright's quiet voice. "It's all right to cry. Remember? That was the problem then, thee couldn't cry."

So I cried.

That was after Miss Boatwright had moved me out of the huge icy disinfectant-reeking municipal hospital into Professor Jaffa's private clinic near the University, where I was in my own room with Schwester Gertrud in the daytime and Schwester Anna at night.

It is hard to tell about this period because I lost all sense of time. At first they kept the curtains closed. After a while I began to associate big fat Schwester Gertrud with morning sunshine on the ceiling and dark little Schwester Anna with the injections that were supposed to make me sleep, ease the pain, ease the excitement, give me nice dreams, but not addictive, not morphine, something new. (Schwester Anna and Schwester Gertrud had both served in France and wore medals on their starched blue uniforms.

Miss Boatwright told them I had come through Verdun without a scratch.

"Gnädiges Fräulein, nobody came through Verdun without a scratch!" was Schwester Anna's retort. "Some scratches are inside."

"I stand corrected, Schwester Anna - and I'm happy you are on this case.")

Professor Jaffa was a chalk-white bald eagle with a shiny skull and a long white coat. He swept in just after every dawn and watched his assistants change the drain in my back and that always hurt, but gradually it hurt less when I breathed.

Miss Boatwright came every day. Sometimes she came twice a day. She brought a sketch pad and pencils and charcoal and pens and ink, and she made the nurses rig a table so that I could at least try to work even though I had to lie on my side because of the drain and even though it hurt when I moved my arm.

"It doesn't matter if it hurts. Thee must not let those muscles weaken. Thee must not let those fingers forget their skill!" and Professor Jaffa said she was right, so finally I did try a little pencil sketch of Schwester Gertrud sitting in the chair and knitting and it hurt, but I guess maybe I understood that the physical pain distracted a little from the other pain.

The Amytal did not help the other pain. Nothing helped, ever.

Miss Boatwright did her best. "Peter, it is simply too much for them. Even the most peripheral connection with one political

murder was almost too much. We remember how that was, don't we? Now two more! A member of the family! An employee of the Bank! Suggestion of fratricide! They just can't face this kind of a scandal. And the newspapers have made a circus! Old photographs from the 1919 Revolution; 'Brothers! Don't Shoot!'; pictures of Jacob Waldstein in the days of Napoleon; pictures of Helena when she married the Prince; pictures of Christoph with his fighter squadron. They even sent photographers in a boat to take pictures of Schloss Havelblick. That's why Lili can't come. They won't let her."

"She could write."

"Oh, she will write. I know she will. But when Bobby went off, right in the middle of this - well, it was the last straw, they are convinced thee helped him -"

"How could I help him lying here?"

"They're not quite rational about this, Peter."

"Nobody seems quite rational. Frau Keith hasn't replied to my letter."

"That's also understandable. She bitterly resents thy statements to thy statements to the police."

"Miss Boatwright, I told them what happened."

"We cannot blame the woman if she refuses to believe that one of her sons has killed the other."

"But he did!"

"Dearest boy, thee knows that I believe it."

"The police don't, do they?"

"I have not spoken with the police, of course, but I understand that Dr. von Winterfeldt reports some skepticism, and so do the newspapers.

"Why? Why don't they believe me?"

"A skeleton stalking the Lützowufer? A bodyguard of Adolf Hitler puts on a false-face in order to ambush his own brother?"

"They think I made that up?"

Miss Boatwright shook her head. "My impression is they don't know what to think. I'm afraid thy role in the Rathenau case and now in this one has made thee something of a mystery man to the newspapers - and to the authorities. Why was an American art student carrying a revolver, for example?"

"Miss Boatwright, they don't think I -"

"No, of course not. The bullets ... his bullets were of a different caliber."

"I don't remember firing -"

"The police report that the revolver was in thy hand, one bullet had been fired, and Helena's sofa was drenched with blood."

I hit him after he'd put a bullet through me? Makes me look like Wyatt Earp, doesn't it?"

"Makes thee look ... like something other than an art student."

"What should I do?"

"Get well," said Miss Boatwright.

We were sitting on the gunwale of the racing sloop and our feet were in the wet black sand and the sun was shining on Helena and Lili splashing toward us, pulling off their bathing caps and Christoph said, "Let's just forget about it. The corkscrew is at the bottom of the hamper," and Schwester Gertrud's body odor was beside me. "Mister Ellis? It is already ten o'clock and a gentleman from the American Embassy has been waiting half an hour...."She gave me a calling card.

Langdon W. MacVeagh III, First Lieutenant, Infantry, Deputy to the Military Attache' to the Ambassador of the United States of America, was acutely uncomfortable. He wore a business suit and a vest and his hair was parted in the middle and apparently he had come to see me to find out whatever happened to various members of the Harvard football varsity whom he had encountered at the Point. I only knew what happened to one of them.

"He was driving an ambulance that took a direct hit from a German shell on the Chemin des Dames. April sixteenth, 1917."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."

"Yeah, we were all sorry about it."

He tried politics. Stresemann had resigned as Chancellor, as I no doubt knew, but remained as Foreign Minister in the new coalition government of Wilhelm Marx, no relation, ha ha.

"But General von Seeckt is still running the country?"

"Well, not officially, of course -"

The Amytal from the night was wearing off and my back hurt. "What can I do for you, MacVeagh?

"Well, as a matter of fact. . ."

Well, as a matter of fact the Ministry of the Interior had just notified the Ambassador that my visa would be withdrawn as soon as I was well enough to travel.

They were throwing me out.

My first reaction was to ring for Schwester Gertrud, but I got
hold of myself.

"Did they give any reason?"

"Not at first. Merely that you were what they call persona non grata. That's Latin. It means -"

"I know what it means. Did anybody ask them why I'm suddenly persona non grata?"

"Yes. The Ambassador is aware of your friendship with the Waldstein banking family and with Mr. Wood, and he asked Harrison of our Civil Affairs section to see if the Foreign Ministry would ask the Ministry of the Interior--"

"So what did they say?"

"You haven't heard the latest news, of course, because the police have only notified the papers this morning-"

"What latest news?"

"They found this man yesterday, this fellow you said shot Keith and his wife -"

"They found Kaspar Keith?"

"They found his body."

"His body? Look, lieutenant, would you be good enough to tell me this whole thing and not make me drag it out of you this way?"

"Okay, here's what they told us: The manager of some estate out in the Mark Brandenburg called the local constabulary out there, they found a dead man in one of their hay barns. Didn't know who he was or how he got there. So a policeman went out on a bicycle. By the time he got to the place, the old lady who owns it had identified the body as Keith -"

"The old lady being the Countess Brühl?"

"That's right! You know these people?"

"Tell me the rest, will you."

"The Prussian State Police took over, they brought him in and did an autopsy. The guy's left arm and elbow were smashed, his left arm was in a cast, but that's not what killed him. What killed him was a fresh wound in his chest. Loss of blood, infection -"

"-and my bullet still in him?"


"How was he dressed?"

"Dressed as a farm worker."

"A farm worker. I see. Did the Prussian State Police talk to Lieutenant Count Brühl of the Reichswehr, do you know?"

" I wouldn't know anything about that."

"But in any event, now that the story I told the police turns out to be true, I'm suddenly declared persona non grata."

"I wouldn't put it that way."

"How would you put it? What did the Ministry of the Interior tell the Foreign Ministry?"

"Look, Ellis, I was sent over here as a courtesy to deliver the message, so you could make your plans. They could have written you a letter -"

"Come on, man, I've got the right to be given a reason, for God's sake!

"Well, the fact is we don't think they have a specific reason. We think they think you might be in our intelligence --"

"That's right! That's exactly what they think. And you know I'm not."

"No sir, I don't know any such thing."


"You could be working out of G-2 Washington, you could be in Naval Intelligence-"

"And your boss the Military Attaché' wouldn't know it? The Ambassador wouldn't know it? And if for some reason I were in our intelligence, why on God's green earth would I involve myself in a mess of this kind? What sense would that make?"

Lieutenant MacVeagh folded his hands. "It doesn't make any sense, and that's what has the Krauts worried. Now they've got three deaths, they've got to make some kind of judicial determination about what happened, technically they have to dispose of two homicide charges and they don't quite know what may turn up. The newspapers have been printing rather juicy gossip."

"What do you mean by juicy gossip?"

"I'm sure you can imagine --"

"No, I can't imagine! "

"Well, this lady who was killed, Frau Keith, before her marriage was a friend of General von Seeckt and of Walther Rathenau and now she's killed in a fight between two brothers - one a Nazi, the other an employee of Waldstein's bank - and an American who carries a revolver ... I guess some people in the German government think they've got enough trouble already, they can do without this. . .

"Mess? "

MacVeagh stood up. "Ellis, I guess I'd better go."

"Since everybody else is dead, if they get rid of me they get rid of the mess. Is that the theory?"

"I hope your wound heals very quickly, old man. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if I can be of any help to you." He was gone.

I rang the bell and Schwester Gertrud appeared.

"Give me a shot, please."

"But, Mr. Ellis! Only at night! Only for sleep! You cannot do the picture. What will Miss Boatwright say?"

"The Professor said I could have it if the pain is severe. It is severe, Schwester Gertrud. Please!"

"Don't wake him, Schwester!

"Baronin von Waldstein, Mr. Ellis! You don't want to sleep all afternoon, and Frau Baronin has come to see you, and I have made you some of Miss Boatwright's tea--"

Sigrid's black lamb coat was flecked with snow. Schwester Gertrud helped her take it off, hung it in the closet, poured the tea.... "Frau Baronin, he's had light medication several hours ago, he should drink a little tea, we do not want him to sleep all day. . ."

She left the room and closed the door.

Sigrid came to the bed and kissed my forehead. "Oh, Peter, my God! "

"I've been dreaming ... I'm not quite awake ... I'm so glad to see you-" I struggled out of the Amytal fog. They hadn't given me much.

She took a blue envelope from her purse and put it on my bedside table.

"From Lili."

"I'm glad to see that too."

We drank our tea and looked at each other for a minute.

"Peter ... I don't know where to begin."

"Why don't you begin in the hay barn of Schloss Zeydlitz?"

"You know about that? I came here to tell you."

I explained about Lieutenant MaeVeagh.

"Peter, I came in from the island the moment my brother telephoned. He didn't know anything about it until Mother called. He's been at the Bendlerstrasse and his barracks for weeks, he has not been to Zeydlitz, nobody knows how Kaspar got there, or what he wanted. "

"Well, I can imagine what he wanted. He wanted medical attention, he wanted a place to hide - and he wanted you."

"But we didn't know that, Peter. We had nothing to do with any of this!"

"You recognized him at the ball."

Sigrid shook her head slowly, looking out of the window. "I don't know....I didn't really recognize him, I only had such a strange feeling, but then, just a moment later, there he was again! I mean his hunting suit.... Peter, I thought I was going mad!"

"Then why didn't you tell us?"

"Tell Alfred? I didn't have the courage."

"In Munich they had a warrant for his arrest."

"Yes. So I should betray him? I already betrayed him once."

"Betray him? He had a pistol in that sling!"

"How could I know that, Peter? I saw he was wounded."

"You thought he'd come to dance the Charleston?"

"No ... I thought he had come to be the ghost at the party, with that horrible mask - His friends are shot or hiding or in jail, and here in Berlin we are having a costume ball!"

"Sigrid, you're the one who warned me against him."

"Yes. "

Lying on my side, I stared out of the window. It was snowing again. I could only see the tops of bare trees along the river and the gray stucco wall of one of the University clinics. I couldn't see the river.

"Peter, I came here to explain. Try to explain. I just did not know what to do that night. I could not tell Alfred because Alfred would have called the police. You too, I think. But I did tell Christoph. You must believe that. I told him, 'I think your brother is in this crowd.' I told him, Peter! But Christoph was so , I don't know, so fatalistic, as if --" Sigrid shrugged her shoulders. "As if he didn't care: 'All right, so my brother is here, what can I do?' You understand me?"

... Christoph staring out of the taxi window. I turned to look at her, and my lung hurt. "You know that I killed Kaspar?"

"Of course. You had no choice. I only wish -"

"-That I'd shot first?"

Sigrid began to cry. She took a handkerchief from her purse and wiped her eyes. "My God, what has become of our country when a boy like that will shoot his brother, his brother's wife ---"

"Sigrid, he wasn't a boy anymore - and he'd shot... many

Sigrid blew her nose, stood up, and walked over to the window. "Ach Mensch, the whole thing's my fault, he loved me, and just when his world collapsed, when the workers tore off his epaulets, tore off the symbol of his position, of his manhood - just then I left him for another man!"

She looked out at the snow falling into the River Spree.

"It wasn't your fault. You couldn't change your feelings. You couldn't compare Kaspar with Alfred."

She continued to look out of the window. "Did Miss Boatwright tell you about the funeral - all the fuss? No, perhaps she did not hear the details. Oh, it was dreadful, Peter. Dreadful! Frau Keith wanted Christoph buried with his father at Potsdam, in the military cemetery -- with or without Helena. But Christoph wasn't in the army anymore, he did not die in service, the regulations don't permit this - so Frau Keith sends her colonel to get special permission from General von Seeckt - can you imagine? And in the meantime Helena's father insists his daughter will not be buried in the garrison at Potsdam, no matter what von Seeckt decides. And what about the funeral service? It turns out that Helena is Catholic, became a Catholic before the War, when she married the Prince, so what kind of funeral do we have? And where? Everybody talks to everybody else, everybody argues and is furious - and in the end of course Alfred must decide, so we have a simple memorial service in the big hall at the Pariser Platz, the string quartet plays Haydn, different people stand up and say things - very much like the Quaker Meeting except it is an enormous crowd of people --- the whole family, theatre people, bank people, Christoph's old army people... and then we drive them out to the island and we carry them up the hillside to the orchard beneath our Little House, the men have dug a grave there, the Protestant chaplain says a little prayer and then they throw the earth on the coffins ......"

Sigrid was crying again, still looking out of the window.

"And now they find Kaspar. In my mother's barn! Your American bullet proves he shot his brother. Where are they going to bury Kaspar? Is she going to ask von Seeckt for special permission again? "

"Sigrid -"

She turned to face me. "And the newspapers! You cannot imagine! Every newspaper sees its own political opinions justified: the National Socialists see Jewish bankers destroying a family of Prussian officers; the Centrists and the Social Democrats see confirmed erosion of the solid virtues of German society, failure of the business community to support the democratic principles of Weimar, echoes of the Rathenau affair; the Communists see costume balls while millions are starving, debauchery among the plutocrats, treachery among their hired mercenaries. Even the Vossische Zeitung, conservative as they are, wrote a crazy editorial about the March on Berlin being physically halted at the Feldherrnhalle in Munich but symbolically carried out by this what they call 'Cain-and-Abel murder' in the apartment of a socially prominent actress on the Lützowufer. And the Berliner Illustrierte prints pictures, pictures, pictures!"

"And the Waldsteins don't like it."

"Don't like it? They are beside themselves! They don't mind to be rich and important, they like to have money and power and beautiful houses and the Chancellor at the dinner table, but they don't like publicity. They don't like to be conspicuous. And they certainly want nothing to do with Fememord or anything of that sort."

"Which now includes me."

She nodded. "Not Alfred, of course. But his father and his uncle and the others, and you must understand the reason, Peter. On one hand they feel secure, they have been here hundreds of years, they have their money, they have their titles, they are accepted -- but then they see what happened to Walther Rathenau, they see the crowds listening to Hitler when he screams terrible lies about the Jews, they see Kaspar Keith shoot his own brother, they see Kaspar Keith shoot Helena, they feel millions of eyes turning to look at them, they suddenly feel . . ." She paused, seeking the right word. "Not so secure? Exposed? Nothing to do really with you. You are only somehow ... somehow a part of what has happened, and that is why -" She stopped, looking down, compressing her lips.

"That's why they don't want to see me."

No answer. She looked at the floor.

"Or let me see Lili."

Still no answer.

"So there is no point asking them to help me, asking them to speak with Dr. Stresemann so that I can stay in Berlin?"

Sigrid's eyes came up. "Why do you want to stay in Berlin?"

Snaredrums beating march time. Massed bands moving in step. Thousands of boots crashing in step: two ... four ... six ... eight ... a hundred thousand voices:

Die Fahne hoch!
Die Reihen dicht geschlossen!
S.A. marschiert
Mit ruhigfestem, Schritt....

And the banners are everywhere; huge, blood-red with fat black swastikas, fluttering above the marching columns, hanging motionless from every window....

No matter how much Amytal they gave me, I couldn't have dreamed that dream in 1923.

Horst Wessel was a Neukölln pimp; Horst Wessel was a Neukölln S.A. commander; Horst Wessel didn't write that song until 1930.

We know that, don't we?

So I couldn't have dreamed that dream in 1923.

But I did.

previous chapter, next chapter

first pages of book
1. PARIS 1922
2. VERDUN 1916
17. THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 1922
18. MONDAY, JUNE 19, 1922
19. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 1922
20. FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 1922
21. SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 1922