THE MOST UNCOMPROMISING OPPONENT
of the extension of France's territory in Northern Africa, and of her power in the Mediterranean, while' it is not so long ago that the present Prime Minister of Spain, during /the course of a public speech at Madrid^ announced that French intris^ie in Morocco was being carefully ■watched, and that Spain, which still possesses Ceuta and a few other settlements on the northern coast . of . Morocco, -where formerly some of her most beautiful cities were situated, will oppose any attempt on the part of France to annex the Moorish Empire. And Spain would prove a powerful ally to Engj land in the event of a war with France, since the latter would need at least a couple of hundred thousand men to defend the long line of the Pyrennes. Russia's sympathies would 1 undoubtedly be with France. But whether they would go to the length- of armed assistance is a matter open to question. The Russian Government has, however, given France no little aid in a diplomatic sense in' Morocco. For, although there is but one Russian subject in Morocco, yet the Russian Government maintains there a full-fledged Legation, with a numerous staff, at the head of which is Baron Basil Bacheracht, whose entire .energies seem to be devoted to fostering French interests, so much so, indeed, that it is claimed that it is the French Government which pays the entire expenses of the mission. Still more active, however, than the Russian envoy is ihis clever and fascinating ' wife, who is prompted not only by her ' desire, to serve her husband and France., but likewise by her bitter animosity against everything English. Particularly venomous is her hatred of Queen Victoria, her sentiments toward the latter being due to the part which her Majesty played in breaking off the morganatic marriage which she had contracted with the late Grand Duke of Hesse. For the Baroness de Bacheracht is no other than the once so notorious Madam© de Kaloai'ine, who, after being the heroin© of several sensational duels at Berne while her husband was Secretary of the Russian Legatim there, secured a divorce from him after his appointment as charge d'affaires at Darmstadt, in order to contract A MORGANATIC SECRET UNION with tihelate Grand Duke of Hesse, whose wife, Princess Alice of Great Britain, favourite daughter of Qu«en Victoria, . had died, under particularly pathetic circumstances, only a few months previously,. Queen Victoria happened to be staying at Darmstadt for the wedding of the grand duke's daughter, Elizabeth, to Grand Duke Sergius of Russia, when this secret mar: riage took place. .^•-On becoming acquainted therewith, the Queen summoned her son-in-law to her presence in the middle of the night, and, under threats of depriving thim of all the financial, assistance which she iliad until that time so generously accorded both to himself and to his family, she forced him then and there to sign an order for the immediate expulsion of the la'dy from the Grand Duchy, which was put into execution without his seeing Iher again, madame being bundled into a carriage and driven to tie frontier under a strong escort of mounted police before daylight. A few weeiks later the marriage was annulled by the Supreme Court of the Empire, on the pretext that the Grand Duke, as a General of -the German army, had failed to previously ask the consent of the Comman-der-in-Chief, namely, old Emperor William, to the match ; and, by way of providing for ;the future of the lady, she was created by the Hessian Crown ai Countess Romrod, while an allowance of 10,000 dollars a year was settled upon her. Later on she married the Russian diplomat, whose wife, she -now is, but still draws her annuity, which is believed to ocme from the purse of no less a personage than Queen Victoria.