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Visit of German Fleet
(Admiral and Mrs. Valois)


Apropos of the visit of the German fleet last week, it is not generally known that Mrs. Valois, the wife of the Admiral in command of the squadron, is a famous German beauty, admired greatly in court and social circles in most every capital in Europe.  She is the idol of Berlin’s most exclusive set.  Of beautiful features and dignified carriage, she attracted much attention at the Palace Hotel, where she was for some weeks past.  Her maiden name was Minna von Behrendt.  Six years ago she was the belle at all society events where she appeared.  She comes of a noble and well-known family, and was born in Koenigshaven.  After two seasons spent in Berlin and other European capitals, Miss Von Behrendt was wooed and won by Admiral Valois, then on home service.  Two blissful years passed by, when the Admiral was assigned to the command of a fleet, which was ordered to proceed to Zanzibar and the African coast.  It was then that he selected the Leipzig as his flagship. From Africa he was ordered to Australia, and thence to the Asiatic station.  When Mrs. Valois learned that her husband would probably be required to remain on the Chinese coast for a long time, she made up her mind to join him there.  With Mrs. Von Frantzius, the wife of the Captain of the Alexandrine, a vessel under Admiral Valois’ command, Mrs. Valois made the voyage to Hong Kong, via the Suez Canal, and arrived there about six months ago.  In April last, while the fleet was at anchor in Yokohama harbor, orders came for the three ships to proceed at once to San Francisco, where they would receive further instructions. 

Mrs. Valois and Mrs. Von Frantzius took passage on the City of Peking, and arrived here two weeks in advance of the fleet.  They anticipated an enjoyable visit, but declined all invitations sent them while awaiting the arrival of the squadron.  The fleet entered the harbor on June 5th, only to find imperative orders to proceed without delay to Chile.  Great was the disappointment of the ladies.  Their hopes of pleasant social entertainments in San Francisco were shattered, and what was worse, their husbands had to leave them after remaining here only three days.  On Sunday evening, when the three war ships passed out of the Golden Gate, two ladies, with tear-stained faces, watched their departure from the Presidio Heights.  They were Mrs. Valois and Mrs. Von Frantzius.  The flagship, whose commander knew where the ladies were stationed, ran up signal flags when opposite the Presidio, which spelled the word “Farewell,” and from the bridge of the Leipzig a full-bearded, gold-buttoned, German Admiral eagerly watched two tine white handkerchiefs, which fluttered in the breezes on the heights in response to that signal.

Mrs. Valois and her companion visited the Yosemite Valley and Monterey during their stay, and left for Germany, via New York on Wednesday last.  Admiral Valois expects to join his wife in Berlin in a few months, he having been on foreign service long enough to be entitled to a relief.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
June 13, 1891