Rothschild’s faulty towers: grovel at the chamber pot

Of the first thirty-seven years of Edmond de Rothschild’s life little is known. According to his biographer, David Druck, he lived a sheltered, guarded, ivory tower existence. Life in palaces he certainly led. There was his family’s elegant town house on the rue Lafitte, which one of its habitues, the German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, described in his sardonic manner as a “palace” that “unites everything which the spirit of the sixteenth century could conceive and the money of the nineteenth-century could buy.

"Heine took strong issue with the Romantic movement founded by the Schlegel brothers, since he saw it as a politically reactionary movement, against the ideals of the American revolution, and a legitimization of the oligarchical-corporativist political model. Heine saw that, in its search for a national identity, this Romantic, ``anti-French'' movement, exercised a quietist influence over Germany's youth. Instead of thinking about the great aims of mankind, ``there began the mangiest, clumsiest, unwashed opposition to that disposition, which is just the most glorious that Germany has brought forth, namely against all humanity, against a universal respect for man, against cosmopolitanism, against our great spirits, Lessing, Schiller, Goethe -- whom every cultured person in Germany has always honored.'' The Romantic School. --- read more: image:

—Heine’s wit is playful and inventive. It was a devastating weapon when dealing with stupidity and political-oligarchical enemies. Above all, Heine loved word-play, [such as puns, and malapropisms]. In the Baths of Lucca, the servant, Hirsch Hyazinth speaks about “Diarrhetoric”. When Heine speaks about Rothschild, he ridicules him as the “millionairhead”, and his wife, the “millionairheadress”, with whom people associate quite famili-airheadedly. And then there’s the doctrinairhead… . A slipper becomes a hand-me-down, or rather a foot-me-down. When Major Duevent challenges the huge Israel Löwe [lion] to a duel with pistols, he says to him: “If you don’t respond, Herr Löwe, then you are a dog,” and Löwe answers: “I would rather be a living dog than a dead lion.” Read More:

Benjamin Disraeli, England’s once and future Jewish prime minister , pronounced it ” more gorgeous than the Tuileries” . The family’s country house was an immense chateau at Ferrieres, which Edmond’s father had had Joseph Paxton build for him in order to outdo Mentmore Towers, the Paxton-designed palace of Edmond’s English cousin, Mayer Amschel- “Build me a Mentmore, only twice as big,” was baron James’s order to the man who had designed the Crystal Palace.

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What young Edmond was carefully guarded against , to judge from Heine’s account, was the endless siege of the Rothschild’s by an army of designing toadies , men so sycophantic, said Heine, that it merited scientific study. ” I went to see M. de Rothschild,” the poet reported tongue-in-cheek, ” and saw a gold-laced lackey bringing the baronial chamber pot along the corridor. Some speculator from the Bourse, who was passing, reverently doffed his hat to the impressive vessel.” A lifetime of fending off importunate strangers probably contributed to the mixture of “arrogance” and “furtiveness” which came to characterize Edmond de Rothschild’s personality.

---Shooting party at the Château de Ferrières; the château was built at the center of 3,000 hectares for Baron James de Rothschild in 1859. Engraving, Riou Edouard/Huyot --- read more:

From Heinrich Heine: Ludwig Boerne, A Memoir:

Old Rothschild«, Boerne continued, »the progenitor of the ruling dynasty, was a virtuous man, full of piety and kindheartedness. He had a benevolent face and a goatee, he wore a triangular horned hat on his head, his clothes were modest, even poor. So he walked around, followed by a crowd of poor people, he handed out money and good advice. When you met a group of cheerful beggars on the street, you could be sure that old Rothschild had passed by previously.

When I was a small boy and walked through Jews Lane on Friday evenings with my father, we met old Rothschild co

from the synagogue. I remember him talking to me after speaking to my father and laying his hand on my head to bless me. I am absolutely convinced I owe it to Rothschild’s blessings that later in my life, though I became a German writer, I never ran out of money completely. Read More:


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