18 SEPTEMBER 1880, Page 2

Prince Bismarck and Baron Haymerle, the Chancellor of the Austrian

Empire, have been in conference at Friedrichsruhe, and the whole Continent is agog to know what they have been saying to each other. The most popular report is that they have been agreeing to the terms of a treaty of offence and defence, under which Germany is to guarantee any acquisitions Austria may make in the Balkans, while Austria guarantees Germany against attack by more than one Power. That the two Powers have drawn together is tolerably certain, and is announced to the world by the extra consideration which the German Emperor has shown to the Austrian Heir-Apparent at the autumn manoeuvres; but we rather doubt the treaty. The Hapsburgs have a faculty of political forgiveness which has often stood them in good stead, but their love for the Hohen- zollerns is limited, and they are not likely, if they can help it, to free Prince Bismarck's hand. They know quite well that it is not for their sakes that he wishes them to advance farther and farther into the Balkans, and cannot altogether desire a position in which he might be their protector and suggest his own reward. An agreement for mutual defence is still, we imagine, all that has been formally arranged.