Excerpt of Book 7

Excerpt of Book 7

That night Rudolph stayed with MC in their flat. Clearly Mary was having the placed staked out because come dawn the frantic girl appeared screaming in the lobby forcing Rudolph to come downstairs. Rudolph walked over to the lobby desk and gestured for the telephone to call police.

“No! Please! Please! The damn Jews are about to descend on my parents! They don’t know! They don’t know! If I don’t pay the Jews 25,000 gulden tomorrow I will be arrested! Please! I co-signed off my Marie Larisch’s debts! Why don’t you love me anymore!” Mary gestured to show the holy talisman: the iron ring.

“Oh! The lobby guard said. “My twelve year old daughter has one of those….”

“I never loved you Mary!” Rudolph said in a flat and totally emotionless voice as he dialed for the police. “I have never ever loved you. I have never written to you or telegraphed you and given you dirty socks or iron bangles or that ridiculous object or anything. Get it through you hysterical head Mary! I don’t love you! I have never loved you! I will never love you! How can I respect or trust, much less love, a bitch who is trying to shake me down for 25,000 gulden in blackmail money? I am calling the police to report a blackmailer trying to extort 25,000 gulden from me. I suggest you run now. Head start. Viennese jails are notorious.”

“No! Please! Please! My family is all but ruined! I will be arrested! I can’t pay the damn Jews!” Mary Vetsera screamed as she yanked the telephone piece out of Rudolph’s hand. People peered down the stairs to see what was going on. Mary’s screams could be heard to the rafters. And Rudolph’s howls could be heard to the roofline.

“Blackmailer!” Rudolph bellowed. “Blackmailer! Like mother like daughter! Nymphomaniac! Blackmailer! My professional career is about to be utterly destroyed, and the Imperial Infantry is in peril, and Steyr is about to be a victim of a hostile takeover, and there probably will be a ghastly European war in 89, and I have a concussion, and Bismarck is hiring every newspaper to libel me, and every spy organization in London and Paris and Brussels is warning me that I will be assassinated, and you pick this time for a cheap and venal shakedown by way of a cheap and venal and tawdry sex scandal! 25,000! Pimping by Larisch! Whoring to be provided by you! For which I am entirely innocent by the way!” Rudolph bellowed for everyone in the lobby to hear. “A cheap frame-up!” Rudolph bellowed as he gestured framed infamy.

“I love you! I have always loved you! I worship the ground you walk on! Why don’t you love me anymore?” Mary wept as Rudolph gestured to strike her.

MC ran down the stairs as Rudolph’s bellow could be heard from the lobby to the attic. The Viennese were an intensely private bunch. They might love to read tittle tattle but in their apartments and homes they expected intense privacy. This scene was embarrassingly unbecoming. Everyone stared down the staircase in horror as Rudolph bellowed “This cow is trying to blackmail me! 25,000 gulden extortion after appearing in my office uninvited! And the cow never even took her clothes off! And I never touched her! It is pure blackmail! Blackmail and extortion! Jesus! She was laced so tightly into that damn dress how was I suppose to ravish her anyway? And I have a concussion! I have post concussion symptoms! I am ‘walking wounded’! And my professional career is at crisis point! And there are rumors of war in 89!

Why are you doing this to me you silly cow? Right now! At the worst point of my entire miserable life! Why are you torturing me Mary? Who do you think you are? My femme fatale? My Nemesis? The female harpy of ruination come to usher in my doom and death? Jesus! I have a wife who is that! I don’t need anther woman plotting my death! If you love me like you claim then why are you tormenting me?” Rudolph bellowed. MC grabbed Rudolph as Mary Vetsera fell to Rudolph’s feet and wrapped both arms around his ankles while weeping. Rudolph gestured to kick Mary Vetsera in the face. Part of the symptoms of concussion was socially inappropriate and embarrassingly behavior and brittle rage. Rudolph was totally losing it.

MC pulled the girl away by her dark hair and shoved her away. “Calm down baby! Calm down Howl! Let Momma handle it baby!” MC gently pushed Rudolph back. Then MC turned around to confront Mary who was wailing on the floor of the lobby as she made a total exhibit of herself before the inhabitants of the entire apartment townhouse. “You! Whatever your name is! Are you going to peddle that blackmail all over Vienna? I was there! You came uninvited to General Rudolph Howl’s Hofburg office! With your pimp Marie Larisch! Demanding 25,000 gulden! And General Howl never touched you! Loschek can also testify! ADC junior officers arriving can testify! How dare your blackmail General Howl! You descended uninvited! To sell yourself! No one even touched you!”

“And you stole a blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen! You stole it!” Rudolph bellowed. “And you tried to steal miliary documents! Top secret documents! Your stinky paws were all over military files and dossiers! Who hired you? And you waved a gun at me! Are you working for Countess Wimpffen? Who is paying you to play me? Who is paying you to threaten me?” Rudolph gestured to pull out his gun. MC frantically shoved the gun back in Rudolph’s pocket.

“Stay calm baby!” MC said as she held out her hands to calm down the concussed Rudolph. “Let Momma handle this! I will break her fat neck if need be but let me handle this baby!” Rudolph waved the gun wildly but then backed away. In the daylight his bony face was colorless as a corpse. Dark migraine eyeglasses covered his sunken eyes but his red hair was distressingly furry and thin on top. The stitches on his scalp from the fall from his horse were hideous. His body was painfully thin inside his military tunic. And the post concussion symptoms were terrifying. So Rudolph was anything but the Shining Prince of Mary’s adolescent imagination.

Everything was going so terribly wrong. Mary Vetsera’s delusions were shattering like that Italian glass fountain pen. Her adolescent dreams. Her imagination’s harlequin romance. Everything. The entire house of erotic -mania cards were tumbling down over her head. The glaring facts of day were shattering the glowing erotic dreams and deeply rooted delusions that governed her life. Everything was tumbling down around her like a nightmare. Rudolph was bellowing white face and livid. He gestured to strike her as MC, in man’s couture but now minus her stage moustache yanked Mary away. “Please! Please! I love you so much! I love you! I love you!” Mary wept as she gestured to the object of her obsession: a cheap and tawdry iron ring. “Why are you acting like this? This isn’t how it was suppose to be! Why aren’t you behaving like my dream prince? Where is my dream prince? What is wrong with you?” Mary screamed. “Where is my Shining Prince? I have dedicated my life to you! I have sacrificed everything for you! How dare you not acknowledge our love! My love! You owe me…….”

“25,000 in blackmail!” Rudolph bellowed. “You are blackmailing me! Extortion! Shakedown and extortion! See! See!” Rudolph bellowed to all of the shocked inhabitants of the apartment townhouse. “And you stole my fountain pen! My blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen! After trying to steal top secret military documents! A traitor! A traitor!” Rudolph bellowed as the crowd on the stairs gasped in unison.

” No! No! Wait! This isn’t how my love is suppose to be! Our love! Our love! Please! I have dreamed and planned and longed for this for so long! Please! What is happening? Why don’t you love me when I have loved you all of my life?” Mary pulled the holy talisman out of her muff and held it out with a shaking hand as Rudolph grabbed it. Rudolph grabbed the blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen as everyone on the stairwell cranked their necks to ogle it.

“Now that you have made a spectacle of us in front of everyone you might as well confess that you came uninvited!” MC said briskly as she dragged Mary over to the stairwell to face the apartment building audience. Florian Meissner! I saw you slither in earlier! For such a bag of lard you can slither in and out like a snake! I know you are here! Come out on the landing and write this down for your masters like the fat minion you are! Come on! Everyone! Listen up! This girl descended uninvited to General Howl’s Hofburg office! Didn’t you! Didn’t you!” MC crushed Mary’s arm behind her back. Mary whimpered genuinely confused by both the crashing of her delusions and by MC’s mixed signals of a male/female significant other to Rudolph.

“Marie Larisch said you received my love letter and wanted to see me!” Mary whimpered to Rudolph as MC twisted her arm behind her back. “I brought you my photograph! You gave me this love token! The iron ring! Love United Unto Death Eternally!” Mary gestured to the cheap ring. “And the talisman! The fountain pen! You left it for me to find! A symbol of our love!”

“You stole it!” Rudolph screamed as the post concussion symptoms unhinged him. “You stole my blue swirl Italian Murano glass fountain pen! And you tried to steal one of MC’s toys! And you tried to steal state secrets! And you waved a gun at me! Who paid you? Who are you working for? Who are you working for?”

“No! No!” Mary cried. “You meant me to find the talisman! It is the proof of our love! Our love! Our great love! So I could write magic love letters to you! Why are you behaving like this? I don’t understand why you are behaving like this?”

The apartment dwellers filling the stairwell murmured and shook their heads. No sophisticated Viennese gentleman would give a cheap iron ring to even a lower class ‘sweet girl’ much less a child of a baron of the Second Estate not eligible to attend Court which the Vetsera Clan belonged to. Spanish Etiquette and elaborate social protocols and sophisticated pretensions all demanded elaborate rituals of romance pegged to social castes and estate strata. Only a scullery maid or shop girl would boast of a cheap iron ring from her admirer. Not only was Mary equating herself to a scullery or shop girl, she was implying that the Shining Prince was either a cheap vulgarian or else a crude miser. No proper Viennese gentleman would give his love a mere iron ring.

“Does it have his crown and name engraved?” a stout housewife asked. “Is it gold or silver? Why isn’t it a cigarette case of silver per your rank as a Second Estate baroness? Is the engraving his initials or his full name? With his crown or insignia? Surely you can’t be implying General Howl would give you that thing? That is an insult to the Crown Prince!”

“His Ledger of Conquests are famous” another housewife added. “Perfect Spanish Etiquette good taste!”

“Quite right! Quite right!” a retired Second Estate bureaucrat chimed in.

“Is your social rank listed?” a gentleman asked. “Ladies of princely families of the First Estate allowed at Court get a gold cigarette case if Habsburg or silver cigarette case if Hochadel embossed with a crown and also an engraved signature. Ladies of the Second Estate allowed at Court get his royal initials and an embossed crown. Ladies of ancient pedigree but not qualified to attend court balls but only balls at court get cigarette cases engraved ‘Rudolph’ plus an embossed crown. Ladies of lessor nobility not allowed at Court get a case with only an embossed crown. Ladies of common pedigree along with associates of the Prince’s establishment and members of the Prince’s staff get a cigarette case with only the archducal coat of arms. Are you allowed at Court? How far back do your ancestors run? Can you account for all of your ancestors just in case there are any …. well …. mongrels ….?” Everyone nodded. That was right and proper! That was how an archduke and crown prince was suppose to behave! Mary looked at her cheap iron ring with it’s generic initials of meaningless capitals with dazed shock as tears welled up in her eyes. She held the cheap iron up as if a holy talisman which everyone else considered piffle. Insulting piffle. Piffle insulting Crown Prince Rudolph.

“My ten year old daughter has one of those! How dare you imply the Crown Prince would give you such a worthless thing!” the lobby guard shouted. “That is an insult to the Archduke! That is an insult to the Hofburg! You are not even allowed in Court! I bet one of your ancestors was …..(gasp)….. a Jew!”

“Only a Jewess would try to extort 25,000 out of our Crown Prince!” a housewife sniffed.

“Oh shocking! How unforgivable!” The audience on the stairs murmured in agreement, shocked at her disgraceful conduct. That cheap iron ring ridiculed and debased the entire protocol of Spanish Etiquette on which the whole of genteel Vienna society was obsessively based. It was like going out bare headed sans gloves. It was like calling someone by their first name minus their rank and title or at least ‘Madame’ or ‘Monsieur’. It was like talking to someone without a letter of introduction. It was beyond the pale of social protocols.

“Bloody hell I gave her that cheap thing!” Rudolph bellowed. “I did not get any love letter or a photograph either! Nor did I ask for them! Or expect them! And I did not ask you into my garret office! And Loschek tried to keep you out and you forced yourself in to blackmail me!” Rudolph bellowed. “You and Larisch! Right off the bat! Blackmail! Blackmail! 25,000 in blackmail! Who hired you to steal top secret military files? Who hired you to plot against me? Tell me who you work for! You bitch!” MC grabbed the concussed Rudolph as he tried to kick Mary in the face.

Mary sniffled as she held up the cheap iron ring. “I thought you loved me! I don’t understand! Why are you treating me this way? I thought you wanted me.”

“Is it engraved?” a housewife asked.

“ILVBIDT” Mary cried as she held up the cheap iron ring.

“But that is not remotely what Spanish Etiquette requires” a gentleman in a dressing jacket replied. “It cannot be love if it is not done by Spanish Etiquette! A whore on the street would not accept that!”

“Even a whore in the street would be insulted” a soldier added.

“A whore on the street would be insulted if she was not paid” an accountant added.

“What does that mean?” a wife of a Second Estate bureaucrat asked. Everyone shrugged.

“Did you write that on your photograph you gave away to General Howl?” a wife of a diplomat asked.

“Giving away unsolicited photographs! Shocking!” another housewife retorted.

“Was the photograph generic or inscribed?” another housewife asked.

“Oh I hope not! Generic might be forgivable but not inscribed!” a gentleman retorted. “The next thing will be females walking up to one on the public streets and introducing themselves!”

“Did you have a letter of introduction?” a plump matron asked.

“Was your father or else your brother escorting you to the Hofburg?” wife of a doctor asked.

“What time of day was it? Surely not close to midnight!” a Third Estate entrepreneur asked as his wife gasped shocked.

“Could she have sneaked into the Hofburg?” a maid gasped.

“Isn’t Larisch a minor countess of the Hofburg? Oh my! Don’t you see! If this Larisch is used by members of the Hofburg to …. well…. I am a respectable wife but…. you know the word!” The respectable housewife nodded.

“Pimping!” an officer said out loud as every respectable female held their hands over their ears.

“Procuress!” a British businessman said.

“Well every barrack has one!” the soldier said. “Every great house has one too. Or else a figure of lower stairs authority to expel the pregnant house maids and compromised footmen!”

“Oh no!” members of the spontaneous jury of her peers gasped as they stood along the stairwell to stare down at poor Mary.

Mary held the cheap iron ring up at her audience. Even unraveling, Mary was an exhibitionist. Now she held up the cheap iron ring. ” ILVBIDT” she cried. “ILVBIDT!” But everyone shook their heads at the emotionally unraveling girl in her too tight and too low cut dress which showed off way too much of her bosom to be respectable. And the half moon crescent in her unraveling hair seemed somehow cheap in the light of day as well as socially inappropriate per Spanish Etiquette which forbad anyone from wearing tiaras or diadems except the royal elite. And poor Mary’s red face boasted the embarrassing evidence of makeup!

“She is wearing stage makeup!” a housewife whispered to her neighbor. That shocking detail was stage whispered right up the stairwell as every female shook their heads in shock and every male winked at each other.

“And to steal that fountain pen!” a member of the unplanned audience said as she stood on the stairs. Other housewives shook their heads in shock.

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid chimed in.

“And then you sent your pimp Larisch in the inner room with General Howl and myself and Loschek to arrange an assignation to whore you! For 25,000 gulden! Confess!” MC said as she shook the girl. The audience along the stairwell shook their collective heads in shock.

“No. No. I love Crown Prince Rudolph! Please!” Mary Vetsera whimpered as MC manhandled her.

“To whore you!” MC said as she shook the girl as she twisted Mary’s arm behind her back.

“For 25,000 gulden!” Rudolph bellowed. “What whore even in Paris is worth 25,000 gulden?”

“No! Please!” Mary whimpered.

“If this was a romantic rendevous then why didn’t General Howl even know that you were coming? And why did Marie Larisch immediately demand 25,000 gulden! Bang! Right off! 25,000 gulden! And you wrote a letter demanding 25,000 gulden the next day! Money! Money! Not love! Money!” MC shook Mary as the impromptu audience along the stairwell gasped in disgust.

“The Jews will arrest me!” Mary screamed. “The dirty Jew money lenders will arrest me! Please! I will be ruined! My family will be ruined! My brothers are young cavalry officers! Their mess clubs will black ball them! My sister Hanna will be ruined by my ruin! I co-signed off on Marie’s debts! Please! Please! I thought you loved me!”

“Florian Meissner! Come down here and earn your keep!” MC said as various apartment dwellers shoved the embarrassed fat man down the stairs toward MC. MC grabbed the double agent working for both von Holstein and for Taafe by one ear. Then she dragged the fat man over and shoved him before Mary Vetsera. “25,000 gulden blackmail in a scheme hatched by Marie Larisch! With your aid and guile? Blackmail! Extortion! Shakedown!”

“And to steal top secret military files!” Rudolph shouted.

“And a fountain pen!” the apartment dweller chimed in.

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid added.

“Madame! No! Please! I have never ever even meet this notorious female!” the fat man said as he brushed off his black suit that fitted his stout body like a sausage skin. “Everyone knows the Vetsera females are ‘notorious’! And ‘unbelievable’!”

“Then you can testify to everyone and to newspaper reporters and to Taafe and to von Holsein that General Howl is a victim of a shakedown by a minor Habsburg female and a cousin no less to General Howl for 25,000 gulden! Pimping! And whoring! Selling herself! And allowing a female courtier to sell her! Sell her! When did pimping and whoring and extortion and shakedowns become lawful?” MC asked rhetorically for the audience on the stairs to hear. The spontaneous jury gasped in shock and horror.

‘Madame! Please! This is shocking! Shocking I say! Shocking!” the fat double agent replied as the audience on the stairs nodded, everyone was suitably shocked.

“And don’t forget the fountain pen!” the female apartment dweller chimed in. “She stole a fountain pen!”

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid added.

“You can have it!” Rudolph barked as he tossed the pen to her. “After that creature pawed it with her perfume stinky hands I don’t want it!”

“And the inscribed photograph to a gentleman she was not been formally introduced to! Sans a letter of introduction!” a bureaucrat chimed in.

“What about calling cards?” his wife added.

“A calling card minus a letter of introduction does not suffice per Spanish Etiquette!” the plump matron replied.

“Unless it is a business calling card” an officer added. “And you know what sort of ‘sweet’ business does not hand out calling cards!” Everyone snickered cruelly.

“What about Mrs. Wolfe?” the Britisher whispered to the military officer.

“Well ….but….. that chit is definitely not a demimondaine of that elite establishment! Mrs. Wolfe would never ever allow any of her ‘sweet’ girls to dare blackmail her elite clientele!” the officer whispered back as he covertly passed a card to him. The Britisher surveyed the card. “But believe me you have to have the scratch because Mrs. Wolfe does not offer cheap ‘sweets’ the soldier warned the Britisher. “And you still need a letter of introduction.” Then both men twisted their waxed moustaches in unison.

“Marie Larisch brought this professional ‘sweet girl’ uninvited to General Howl’s office to proposition him! Isn’t that illegal!” MC said as she grabbed the fat spy’s ear. “And then she planned to blackmail him! Extortion and blackmail! And a shakedown!” MC grabbed the fat man’s ear and winced it. “Blackmail only works if the victim cowers! Lies or not! Blackmail only works if the victim cowers! We don’t cower!” MC released the fat ear at last.

“Monsieur MC! I mean Mademoiselle Caspar! Please!” the fat spy said as he held one hand over his aching ear. “Absolutely! I am shocked at the public depravity of young girls nowadays! To proposition herself for 25,000 gulden! The vulgarity! The shame!” The fat spy wagged a fat finger at Mary Vetsera who wept as she sprawled on the floor of the middle class apartment building lobby before the spontaneous jury of her peers. “You should be ashamed of yourself! And your father is a baron too —- admittedly only the Second Estate!”

“Not allowed in Court!” the officer added.

“Second Estate? I wonder who the mongrel ancestors are which prevents the Vetsera clan from being admitted at court then?” a housewife asked.

“Jewish!” the housemaid stage whispered.

“I believe there are rumors this girl has ancestors who are Greek! And ……[gasp] Jews!” a bureaucrat replied. “Maybe even Balkans niggers!”

“No wonder she is merely Second Estate —- excluded from Court!” a wife of a diplomat added shocked.

“Not to mention stealing the fountain pen!” the female apartment dweller chimed in.

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid added. “It is so beautiful!”

“I bet she was never invited to a court ball or invited to a ball at court!” anther housewife sniffed.

“It thought it was a ball at court but not a court ball?” her best friend asked.

“What is the difference?” a visiting Englishwoman retorted.

“Oh there is a fundamental social difference between a court ball and a ball at court!” the Viennese housewife replied. “Spanish Etiquette must be preserved!”

“Ten generations!” another fat housewife explained. “Or you are not allowed into the Hoffburg!”

“But if you have any Jewish or nigger blood that stain never goes away!” another housewife explained to the Englishwoman.

“I am about to be ruined! “Mary cried. “Please! Please! I am over my head with the Jew moneylenders! Everyone knows what the dirty Jews are like! I am about to be ruined! Marie Larisch is in hock too! I co-signed her loans. The interest is 40%! Please! Please! I will be ruined! We went to see her kindred out of ….. out of ….. out of……” Mary Vetsera floundered desperately as her daydreams and delusions crashed into emotional rubble as she cowered before everyone.

“General Howl” one of the apartment dwellers said. “Everyone has been in hock to the dirty Jews at one time or another. Everyone knows what fiends the dirty Jews are. Everyone knows what they do to innocent girls. White slavery! I am sure this foolish and deluded girl and your kindred Countess Larisch were just scared of the dirty Jews! So they came uninvited to see you to beg for money to save them from white slavery and prostitution to fiends!”

“Probably to be sold to some Turkish hareem or else to some sex crazed Indian Rajah or else to a Chinese opium den!” another inhabitant of the respectable apartment house chimed in. Everyone nodded. That sounded absolutely credible. Surely even a minor Habsburg born on the wrong side of the blanket would not act like a pimp to sell a child of a dubious Second Estate Baron!

“Surely Countess Larisch would not dare to blackmail a Crown Prince of the Hofburg!” the housemaid chimed in.

“But there still is the question of the stolen fountain pen!” the female apartment dweller chimed in.

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid added. “It is so beautiful!”

“And the stolen top secret military files!” the bureaucrat added.

“Gunnery files!” the soldier told the Britisher. “Inspector General Howl is presiding over the rollout of modern weaponry! Any nefarious spy would use sex or else blackmail to extort top secret files about weaponry!”

“Oh no!” people gasped. The tide was turning against poor Mary!

“Wait! Wait!” Florian Meissner said melodramatically. “Surely Countess Larisch would not aid and abet spies!” the fat spy declared dramatically. The fat spy was desperate to scheme a way to salvage the debacle which would see Mary Vetsera arrested for public obscenity. If she went to jail she could hardly be exploited in a sex scandal later. Cheap propositioning be it on the common street or else in dubious beer gardens happened all of the time. If every man who was propositioned by whores was arrested there would be no men left! A man could not walk a street or stroll through the beer gardens or Viennese Woods without being propositioned half a dozen times a night! Even passing over money, while illegal, was hardly the crime that normally demanded prosecution. Prostitution was just too common. But if Marie Larisch was nailed for acting as a semi-royal pimp and if Baroness Mary Vetsera was nailed for deliberating attempting to proposition herself then they would be ruined and their usefulness as sexual pawns would be at an end.

“Why did that damnable Larisch try to shake down Rudolph for that damn 25,000 gulden?” the fat double agent asked his soul. “That turns bogus romance into sordid prostitution! No one will believe the scenario of scandalous true love and death after this! Damn Larisch! That greedy bitch just had to try to shake down the target! Now the victim will never voluntarily step into the sexual snare!”

“I think this poor girl was just desperate to be saved from the fiendish Jews!” the double agent said aloud. “She came in all desperate innocence to see General Howl to save herself from shame! Not to proposition herself for 25,000 gulden! But out of desperation! A loan! A loan! She is the daughter of a respectable baron! Howbeit second Estate not allowed at Court! And Countess Larisch was just misguided! They failed to make their desperation understood! General Howl is entirely innocent! But so is this poor misguided child! Too innocent to understand that her desperation might be misconstrued! She was asking for a loan to save her innocence! Not sell her innocence!”

“What about the top secret files?”

“And the fountain pen!”

“A blue swirl Italian glass Murano fountain pen!” a housemaid added. “It is so beautiful!”

“And the inscribed photograph! Sans letter of introduction?”

“Bullshit! Why not ask that British officer who was her lover in Egypt then? Or other men that….” MC said as neighbors in apartments gasped. The tide had turned. Mary Vetsera was now the innocent victim. MC was casting aspersions over an innocent girl’s sincere desperation to be saved from white slavery. MC rolled her eyes. “Ok! Fine!” MC replied. “Florian Meissner! You can be the good angel and rescue her! 25,000 gulden! Here she is! Rescue her!” MC shoved Mary Vetsera into the fat arms of the double agent. “Everyone! Florian Meissner has announced that he will rescue this poor innocent girl from white slavers!” Then MC and Rudolph gestured to wash their hands of the whole mess.

“Stay away of me! Or I will break your back!” Rudolph snarled to Mary as he walked up the stairs with MC. Through tears Mary finally realized who the ‘junior officer’ was that night. MC.

“I thought ….. I thought… I thought….. you….”

“Say that lie one more time and I will have you arrested for propositioning right now!” Rudolph snarled.

Mary wept sincere tears as the fat spy helped her out of the apartment building. “I thought he loved me! I was so sure he loved me! I remember that night! I think….. but was that horrible woman there the whole time? I don’t understand…… I thought he loved me!”

“My dear child” the fat double agent purred as he shoved her into a cab before sliding into the seat beside her as his fat quivered inside that sausage tight black suit. “How can you blame Rudolph for denying your love and fearing the resulting scandal? The scandal if the public finds out would be terrible! You are not a simple Ledger of Conquests my dear child! Why has the Emperor Francis Joseph personally ordered his son to never see you? Why did the entire royal box glare across the opera house at you that opening night when you sat so ravishingly beautiful across the auditorium from the royal family? It was not the fact you wore a fake diamond moon crescent in your dark hair which mimicked an imperial tiara or diadem! Don’t you know? Didn’t your mother tell you? You are the child of Francis Joseph. Rudolph is your half brother. Your tragic love is as romantic as it is doomed! Like Lord Byron for his beautiful half sister Augusta which drove the famous poet to his ruination and his damnation and his death…..”

“I am …… I am…..” Mary gasped. The cunning spy had guessed right. Mary’s insane erotic-mania seized on the desperate crumb and ran with it. It was the only thing that could explain away reality and reaffirm her delusional grand passion. “I am…. I am……. it is…… it is….. like Lord Byron for his half sister Augusta! Doomed love! Illicit and tragic doomed love! Doomed lovers who must…. die for their tragic love!….. Yes! Yes! It all makes sense now! My beloved does not hate me! He loves me! He is as obsessed by his love for me as I am obsessed by my love for him! He is as obsessed and possessed as much as I am obsessed and possessed by our all consuming grand passion! A tragic grand passion that must consume us! Though we die for love we will be immortal! Tragic lovers…. until death.”

“And death my dear is the only ending possible” the fat spy whispered to the tragically insane girl. “Love …… and…… death…..”

Purchase the official eBook version of Book 7 on Amazon here

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