Hollywood and endless adolescent teenaged dime store….NO! Strike that! I have betrayed my age! Obviously I am no adolescent teenager to remember dime stores! Make that 99 cent stores! Anyway! Where was I? Mary the immortal heroine of TV Movies and wasn’t Max von Thun eye candy! Yummy! Pity he did not look the slightest like geeky Rudolph!Where was I? Mary the heroine of endless paperback romances and TV movies! Movies, the new myths, have created the ironic image of Mary Vetsera as an innocent young virginal baroness! Underline baroness! Never mind she was a second rate baroness of a seedy family of dubiously mixed bloods of the Second Estate never allowed one step inside the Imperial Hofburg the largest palace in Europe without one functioning bathroom.
Mary! Mary! Who’s mother was famous for being ‘unbelievable’ and ‘notorious’ whose favorite saying was ‘I am sure we can reach an understanding’ Translation: $$$$ Never mind that Mary was considered a ‘fast’ ie not a respectable fashiontista and grandstanding diva whose low cut décolleté barely contained her overflowing charms and whose skin tight gowns required two maids to yank the cords of her corset until she could scarcely breathe and she was not a virgin and where was I? Mary! Mary!
Mary the vestal virgin so beloved by young adolescent teenaged girls all over the world! Ok. I confess it! This blog is already betraying my hand!
Drat those pesky facts that keep intruding! like the fact that during Mary’s first momentous meeting with Rudolph in his garret office which lasted all of ten minutes Rudolph spent the entire time quarreling with Larisch in the other room over Larisch’s brazen attempt to pimp Mary for 25,000 which was almost one half of his yearly Hofburg stipend of 45,000 (and his military pay was only 800 a month). So this was a gigantic amount of money. Study Mary’s pictures and ask yourself is you would be willing to pay one third of your entire year’s worth to dabble with the merchandise? Then Mary and Larisch were politely asked to leave. Yet mere days later Larisch told Mary to write to Rudolph to demand the money. And they kept dunning Rudolph for the money. Only some two days before Rudolph left for Mayerling he finally gave Larisch 10,000 which was one quarter of his year’s stipend but he did it to deliberately implicate her with her handlers by implicating her with other spies to make it appear she was paid to betray everyone.
Now ask yourself if this is an action of a sweet girl such as movies love to portray or else a ‘sweet girl’ which was the Viennese slang for an amateur whore and her pimp who was also a blackmailer and extortionist. What sort of girl offers herself for 25,000? To the poorest prince of Europe? Clearly the scam was to threaten the Crown Prince in such a way as to tap the deep pockets of the very rich Francis Joseph who was a notorious miser. But how can any romantic square this with the Myth of Mayerling? Money! Money! Money! And oh yes! Marie Larisch was desperate for money and so was Helen Vetsera who was all but bankrupt. Money! Money! Money! Oh those pesky facts!
Or else like the fact Mary deliberately deflowered herself in Egypt with a British officer and got gonorrhea and then poised nude for an oil painting in an era where even Madame X demanded that Sargent repaint that notorious portrait so the jewel shoulder strap of her black velvet gown was moved back into a morally upright position on one exquisite white shoulder. Pesky facts! Drat those pesky facts!
That has always been my Achilles Heel! I keep stumbling over pesky facts which quite ruin the romance! Was I always this way? It is so hard to remember back when! Not that I will confess how far back my teenaged days were but I will confess that my first version of Mary and her fatal Prince Charming was the Charles Boyer movie showing on TV after school.
Pesky facts are the first things tossed by TV Movies! Followed by logic! Then psychology! Then history! Never mind! All that Divine Mary needs is a fabulous skin tight costume and an exotic stage set! And that title too of course! Baroness Mary Vetsera!
Mary! Mary! Quite Contrary! You little devil you! ‘The little devil’ was as famous as her mother for not taking ‘no’ for an answer! Like Mother like Daughter! Mary! Mary! And oh yes! Mary’s Prince Charming who sole reason to exist is to transform Mary from dross to demigoddess through the alchemy of true love such as poor lower middle class Mizzi Caspar could never hope to achieve despite the fact Rudolph’s last night in Vienna was spent in MC’s arms and he told everyone in the last weeks of his life that he loved MC!
But heck! How can a lower middle class ‘sweet girl’. A ‘sweet girl is Viennese for amateur whore or girl friend or mistress or common law wife who is not a servant dollymop or street doxie or sophisticated courtesan but simply a ‘sweet girl’ or what today we would call a significant other or twin soul or a lover loyal to her lover. A lover who is also a friend and pal and ally who will guard your back and you can trust even if you can’t trust anyone else in the entire world including yourself.
MC was an utterly unknown lower middle something or other who arrived in Vienna with her mother at some unrecorded moment in time. MC met Rudolph before Rudolph because the Prince Charming or the Shining Prince. Rudolph was merely an overeducated but socially under developed adolescent Victorian geek or nerd whose idea of a good time was sneaking out of the Hofburg along the roof where he lived in a garret to go to an open air beer tavern called a heurigen to drink a cheap beer or cheaper ‘new wine’ in a corner while shyly ogling the robust girls and their robust boyfriends as everyone danced country dances and sang sentimental country songs while eating country food. There, totally unrecorded by history or romantic movies the geeky, skinny, distressingly red haired boy meet an ordinary girl and they became lovers despite the fact or because of the fact MC lived with her mother.
Was MC originally a waitress of the beer garden? No one knows who MC was before MC meet a boy of an assumed name in his military uniform of a raw young teenaged lieutenant who boasted a distressingly unflatteringly, furry red, military hair cut. The red hair meant everyone assumed he was either Jewish or an Irish riffraff or else a vampire. Oh yes! in Austro Hungary all vampires were red haired! Didn’t you know that?
Habsburgs had red hair too of course but no one would suspect that skinny geek of being a Habsburg. Rudolph actually looked remarkably like his father when Francis Joseph was young and everyone had high hopes that the moldering empire could be revived. But Francis Joseph had become so very old for so very long while becoming so bitterly disillusioned by power while becoming so bitterly hated by his people who had become so bitterly disillusioned by him. So no one remembered way back when Francis Joseph once was Shining Prince Charming engaged to Sisi the most beautiful girl in the world when everyone looked forward to their fairytale wedding and happy ever after —- which never happened as the fairy tale became the nightmare. So no one recognized his splitting image in this nerdy young geek.
Poor Rudolph! Red hair and brown eyes with flecks of gold and green and an odd tilt that was almost feral. And some times those unquiet eyes betrayed such rage! Fury! And hurt! Very deep hurt! Over inquiring ears too. Decided chin. And pronounced lower lip. Poor Rudolph! His spindly body too skinny and his unexpectedly low voice and overly educated speech too rigidly schooled with a Prussian accent instead of a nice soft if sloppy Viennese accent everyone expected to hear. But the geeky boy who liked not to use his Habsburg title wherever possible and spoke ten languages living and dead met MC who was likewise an unhandsome girl the way Rudolph was an unhandsome boy. And the boy and girl fell in love and did not live happy ever after.
But soon the boy and girl were such an item Rudolph apparently took MC to Belgium to meet the infamous Rubber Princess his future murderous wife. [Please read the Paramatta Mystery]. Princess Stephanie, the Flemish Camel, also known as the Flemish Giraffe, whose pasty, blotchy face, too pale hair, nonexistent eyebrows, and small, cold, nasty eyes betrayed her ruthlessly greedy nature and covetous personality. Stephanie’s favorite word was ‘ME’ and her sole object in life was to become Empress. Narcissism being her next favorite word. Vain being her next favorite word. Greedy being her next favorite word. Ruthless being her next favorite word. Shrewish Bitchy Naggard being her next favorite words. Well! You get the general idea!
The Rubber Princess’ ruthless self made parvenu father Leopold bought himself Belgium and then ruthlessly secured the bloody bleeding Congo as his personal ‘Wedding Cake’ of riches of ivory, gold, rumors of oil, and rubber. Rubber condoms had just been invented. Hence the name Rubber Princess! No wonder Rudolph wept in MC’s arms all the way to his wedding where he wept as if a man condemned to die while the Rubber Princess carefully climbed into her custom French high heels to deliberately appear one inch taller than Rudolph at their wedding. But I digress!
MC was a total nonentity of absolutely no title or beauty whatsoever who lived with her mother in a middle class flat bought for her by Rudolph on monthly payments because his Hofburg stipend was only 45,000 guiders or about four times the income of a professor plus his lieutenant’s pay. Lavish for MC but embarrassingly poor compared to any Habsburg archduke or European prince other than an Italian gigolo prince. And Rudolph was expected to pay for his entire Hofburg expenses and travel expenses and diplomatic expenses out of it and oh yes! No palace! No country estate! No expensive digs! Only grace and favor at such royal digs as might be offered — or not. So Rudolph’s favorite digs was a garret on the roof of the Hofburg next to rooms that aged meat and taxidermy rooms. Fortunately Rudolph loved birds and kept pet ravens who were very smart birds so it all worked out . Or not.
Rudolph probably delayed telling MC (and her mother) who he really was because being a Habsburg was not a happy experience for him. In fact his childhood as the crown prince was so dreadful he nearly died three times. Concussion. Typhoid. Child abuse. The later caused a near fatal physical and emotional breakdown. His parents told his next tutor after the Brutal Colonel to ‘flog the cowardice out of him’. Clearly Francis Joseph and Sisi had no concept what child abuse meant.
Fortunately Latour proved to be a good tutor who understood that a happy child does not naturally draw pictures featuring scribbles in red crayon featuring blood and dead things and towering bogeymen terrifying little scribbles who are little boys cowering under merciless authority figures garnished with lots and lots of furious red crayon. Latour struggled to salvage a damaged boy —- at least as much as he was able.
Thought not understood at the time Rudolph grew up displaying symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from child abuse as well as anxiety depression and probably OCD. The three mental illness tend to converge together into an emotional and physical knot of intense pain which leads to self medication and struggles with addiction, self harm, and potential suicide. Rudolph’s bed wetting, insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors never entirely went away even after the Brutal Colonel left. His parents declared Rudolph to be a coward not worthy of being their son.
Sisi casually ignored Rudolph and his sister Gisela until The Einzige Only One Valerie was born. Then Sisi turned amazingly hostile toward Rudolph. She routinely proclaimed him to be a dangerous boy and then a dangerous teenager and finally a dangerous man.
She routinely evoked the spirits to curse him and damn him. Valerie could do no wrong. Rudolph could do nothing right. Gisela was just the human afterthought who did not suffer the abuse which Rudolph suffered. But Gisela was forced to watch Rudolph being abused. Both children grew up wary and defensive of deceivers who claim to love before betraying .
The Only One got all of the praise and love and luxuries. Rudolph was treated like Cinderella. He got a barrack and cruel isolation and aching loneness and 13 hour school days and shabby digs and endless criticism and perpetually high standards impossible to achieve. In sort, like Cinderella, he was expected to toil away as the royal drudge as Valerie was showered with golden joy and bottomless love unearned which Rudolph could never ever earn no matter how hard he tried.
Francis Joseph occasionally inspected the children and then wrote long and disapproving memorandums to their tutors and surrogate parents who replaced absentee parents. But surrogate parents can never provide the love and trust and security a child needs. A child rationalizes the rejection by blaming himself. There has to be a reason why a parent cannot love the child. The child decides he is defective. He is unlovable. He is not worthy. He does not deserve happiness.
Francis Joseph was bland toward Valerie the probable Bed Pan Miracle because she was dynastically unimportant and kept the precarious Sisi half way sane. Francis Joseph was perpetually critical toward Rudolph.
Officially Prince Charming lives a charmed life.
Mary grew up oblivious to the pain of her Prince Charming’s real life. Prince Charming’s only role after all is to live in a palace and wear nice uniforms and appear rich and glamorous and offer to bestow all of that on the incarnation of love: Mary.
So Mary never bothered to ever inquire into the pain behind the façade of her Prince Charming Rudolph. Remarkably, most Mary romances totally ignore Rudolph except as the ‘Deux In The Machine ‘ who descends to bestow the alchemy of romantic transmutation upon the saintly Mary. His life is never investigated. His pain is never explained. His job is utterly unimportant. His sole form and function is to transform Mary into a demigoddess and a martyr. Mary the Martyr to Love.
When Rudolph grew up he dreamed of going to university. Unlike most Prince Charmings he actually desperately wanted to go. Not going to university was later declared by Rudolph to be one of his greatest disappointments in life. He was ordered off into the military instead. It was like The Draft.
His poor riding meant he was ordered into a middle class infantry regiment of ‘Blues’ populated mostly by Third Estate sons of professionals, Jews, Protestants, Freemasons, Liberals, Progressives, and university graduates in the sciences and technology. So Rudolph found that he finally actually fitted right in perfectly for the first time!
Then the Hofburg picked ‘sanitation countesses’ to teach him sex after Latour’s birds and bees lecture at a trout pond almost caused Rudolph to faint of an asthmatic panic attack. The ‘sanitation countesses’ reported that the over educated geek could not ‘raise to the occasion’ unless drunk on champagne which he drank like water to calm his anxiety depression and asthmatic panic attacks. And Rudolph was already displaying odd behaviors like mysterious rituals, unexpected flashes of intense rage, wary defensiveness, suspiciousness, nervy hypo vigilance, insomnia, night terrors, endless migraines and headaches, stomach aches, muscular/ bone aches, bouts of odd exhaustion , fidgetiness, panic, fussbudget mannerisms, priggish academic inclinations, rigid routines, obsessive compulsive fixations on tiny details which bored people and held up meetings, elaborate micro managing organization, hands on obsessions with controlling a life out of control, perfectionism and despair of failure, worrywart behaviors, odd clutter, and strange nervosa, like the fact he was terrified of getting fat.
In fact he was starving himself like his mother the famous Sisi whose 18 inch waist was achieved by eating only one meal a day plus broth and cigarettes while endlessly moving food around her plates during banquets. Rudolph quickly picked all of that up from Mother Dearest One leading to a life time of appearing dreadfully fragile and painfully thin.
Despite the fact much of his behavior was shared with Sisi and was part of the Wittelsbach Bane she continued to totally ignore Rudolph except when she was lashing out at Rudolph.
Meanwhile, Francis Joseph communicated by memorandums which were highly critical. Who needs parents anyway? Like happy childhoods, parents were strictly optional to Prince Charming.
So MC and her mother had their hands full with the unhappy adolescent geek who was already displaying all of the classic symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder from child abuse along with anxiety depression along with obsessive compulsive disorder and self medicating. His parents and everyone else declared Rudolph defective and unworthy and doomed.
Most bios of Rudolph do the same. The symptoms are listed by people in his own time and bios today to prove his madness and decline and fall to justify declaring Mayerling a sordid murder suicide instead of something else which the authorities then and now don’t want people to ask about. But the symptoms are not identified or explained psychologically or placed in any context and the assumption is always that Rudolph was always doomed because the situation was always hopeless .
It is a given that Rudolph is defective and unworthy and doomed. So fast forward through his years of hard work and his struggle to raise above his torment to Mayerling the Crash And Burn of Rudolph where Mary is transformed by self sacrifice into romantic sainthood as if a romantic phoenix soaring up from the bier of doomed dead Rudolph.
So MC and Mrs. Caspar had their hands full with the profoundly unhappy teenager struggling in a middle class infantry regiment in the far reaches of the empire. And evidence exists that MC traveled with Rudolph to this barrack or that damp castle or some other dismal outpost. Camp followers are not romantic but their dedication is as loyal as it is underrated by romances.
Besides bad eyes weakened by too much reading along with perpetual eye infections and finally glaucoma there was asthma with asthmatic panic attacks and allergies and endless sicknesses and colds from stress. His body over generated the chemicals of fight or flight. He also suffered from migraines and insomnia which along with asthma were all fatally treated with one drug: morphine.
And addiction was not understood so court doctors recklessly over prescribed morphine along with opium and cocaine while the whole of society recklessly over drank and over smoked.
But most of all Rudolph suffered from overly critical absentee parents whose standards were so impossibly high Rudolph simply could not ever live up to them.
Whatever Rudolph did he simply was not good enough to be worthy of being their son. It was like carrying the weight of the world on his thin shoulders. The weight was crushing. So Rudolph was a tense knot of symptoms and syndromes and nervosa. Nevertheless MC (and her mother) committed themselves for the rest of their lives to Rudolph with a selfless loyalty no one else ever displayed.
But how can that compete with Mary! Mary! The Divine Mary! Heck! Never mind that Rudolph often lived with MC in her dowdy middle class flat —- along with Mrs. Caspar! And what sort of romantic movie would that make! Please! What sort of prince lives with his lower middle class sweet girl and her mother! That breaks Romance Rule # 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5!
Golly! It sounds like a dismal modern ‘indie movie’ instead of a romantic TV extravaganza! I can picture the first scene now! A mundane flat without any modern convenience! Spotless of course but so mundane! MC the most unbeautiful girl in Vienna darning Rudolph’s sock! Mrs. Caspar cooking in the kitchen! Bustling about as she fusses with how to make the country goulash less spicy. She throws a mass of country vegetables into the pot. Then she puts the wooden board into the battered metal sink and tosses soda on it. Then she looks around oddly before washing the kitchen knife and carefully securing it in a lockable drawer in the cold room . Then the stout frump assumes a beaming smile as she bustles out in her apron where Rudolph is typing on his newfangled typewriter. His thick reading glasses reflect the gaslight. Briefcases full of work from his military job cover the unromantic middle class living room while he tries to squeeze in bird articles and technology reviews. A magazine article about Tesla’s revolutionary alternating current is before him on the large desk. The desk takes up too much room in the small room. And the large dog bed does not help either.
‘What did your doctor tell you Howl? About your gastritis?’ asks the frump as she wipes her red hands on her apron. ‘No bone before dinner Maxim!’ the frump tells the huge dog curled up at Rudolph’s feet. ‘A dog named after a machine gun!’ The frump laughs.
‘Ulcers! Yes! Another illness!’ Rudolph exclaims with ironical black humor as he ritually pets his huge dog curled up at his booted feet. Then he ritually strokes a grotesque taxidermy experiment gone terribly wrong of a demented red fox pixated on arsenic and formaldehyde sitting berserk on top of mounts of academic papers mysteriously encircled with a complex arrangement of bird eggs and mineral displays. ‘ The Wittelsbach Bane strikes again!’ Rudolph exclaims jovially as he ritually arranges into a perfect line the silver framed photographs of famous people who do not love him. ‘Yes! Asthma! Migraines! Arthritis! Glaucoma! Stephanie’s Gift to me though she tells everyone it is my gift to her. Now gastritis turning into ulcers! Insomina! Post dated trauma from you know what in my past! Nervosa! My little mannerisms!’ Rudolph ritually straightens his magnifying glass and ruler and mechanical pencils. Then Rudolph strokes a cheap child’s toy MC bought him in Brussels after he cried after meeting the Rubber Princess. ‘ And now ulcers!’ Rudolph unconsciously strokes his middle class watch and pinkie ring given to him by Wowo his old nanny and Latour his old tutor. He strokes each symbol of surrogate parental love three times to reassure himself someone really does love him. Then he pulls off his thick eye glasses before rubbing his red and inflamed eyes accented by ugly sties. The odd greenish gold specks contrasting the brown depths. The brown eyes are such an unexpected contrast to that furry red hair which is cut into such an unattractive military hair style which everyone from his wife down finds gingerphobic — except MC and her mother.
Rudolph waves his thick glasses at the sympathetic country woman. ‘Father shouts when I move the food around my plate like Mother Dearest One! But nothing I eat doesn’t cause my upset stomach to become even more upset! It started during the Brutal Colonel’s rule of my barrack nursery when he forced me to eat military rations. I could cope with the maggots because birds eat maggots all of the time! It was the cheap rot gut ingredients! They just shredded my stomach! And only you bother to cook around all of my allergies!’
‘Does that mean I should half the sweet Hungarian Paprika dear Howl?’ the motherly frump asks sympathetically as she strokes his furry red head which distressingly matches the red of the dementedly pixated fox taxidermy experiment gone terribly wrong . Clearly it was some sort of sardonic joke about his famous mother’s passion for hunting foxes and watching the hunting pack tear the foxes to pieces before her as if watching her son being torn to pieces by proxy before her.
‘At this rate you will be cooking baby pap for me Mrs. Caspar!’ Rudolph replies as he pulls out a muslin cloth from a special medicated case to press over his deteriorating eyes. Then he tosses the cocaine cloth into his overflowing trash can. ‘I must not drink my eye medicine! After all of the trouble kicking the morphine I don’t want to get into another gillytrap do I!’ Rudolph grimaces at the memory of that dreadful month of nonstop vomiting all over MC and Mrs. Caspar after the court doctor he trusted over prescribed morphine for Rudolph’s insomnia and asthmatic panic attacks and migraines. Then Rudolph resumes typing which his love of technology and deteriorating eyes find more easy than hand writing.
He adjusts the massive magnifier lens bolted by a brass contraption to the desk’s edge. Then he levers the contraption’s lens over the paper inside the complex example of cutting edge technology called a typewriter so Rudolph can read the tiny spidery script better. No one comments on the unspoken reality that Rudolph is slowly going blind.
Rudolph shakes his right hand because for some reason his wrist tendons ache after writing long personal letters which his job and many committees requires. 40. 50. 60 meetings a week and each one requires a hand written note to each participant. ‘I just can’t seem to shake this odd numbness in my fingers nowadays Nana!”
Mrs. Caspar massages Rudolph’s swollen tendons from carpal tunnel professionally before bustling back into the small kitchen to agonize over how little spice she can add to the country stew. The savory stew bubbles on the expensive English imported stove which has been shoved into the old fireplace. Rudolph bought it on payments. Rudolph buys everything on payments. Mrs. Caspar worries what will happen after the fragile Rudolph dies and all of those payments, including five middle class pieces of jewelry, come due.Then she feeds more wood into the fire to artfully adjust the temperature.
‘You should type all of your letters Howl’ MC suggests. ‘Or use your military ADC to write the letters for you. Then you can just sign your name. You write so much! To much!Especially when you hold your ‘cattle drives’ of 40 receptions a day and 200 a week!’
Rudolph rubes his achy right wrist. ‘It is messing up my handwriting! That is for sure! Pretty soon I will have to switch to writing with my left hand and that will really piss off von Holstein’s pet rodent Smutty Petri the Forger Extraordinaire!’ Rudolph ritually lines up his magnifier and ruler and pencils again. Then he lights another cigarette with the old cigarette butt before tossing the butt into an overflowing ash tray. ‘No . People would be offended if I did that. They expect me to write personal notes to them. Especially the ‘cattle drives’ because they are so impersonal. It is the only way to create that personal contact. Not use a machine or an ADC. That would be rude. They expect a personal note from the Shining Prince! Not one from his Aide De Camp!’ Rudolph pets his dog which whimpers as it senses his anxiety. ‘It would be like giving speeches without taking off my dark migraine glasses or quarantine goggles when I have contagious red eye or else my reading spectacles. It would be considered unforgivably rude.’ Rudolph unconsciously strokes his watch and pinkie ring three times and then ritually touches the pixated fox. Then his nervy fingers touches the infantile toy MC gave him in Brussels. He picks up the infantile toy and rubs it on his nervy tick which throbs on his mouth and chin. ‘I wrote another twenty page memorandum to The Very Important Person about the Gun Crisis. But Taaffe did not even bother to route it into the Inner Sanctum. I can only answer questions The Very important Person asks. He only grills me on my hunting statistics and military performance ie lousy horse riding and my unworthiness to be his son.’ Rudolph hugs his dog which whimpers as Rudolph fugitively wipes a tear away.
MC comes up and hugs his thin body. Then she resumes darning his sock. Darning is a middle class art form of concealing what the poor have given up concealing and the rich don’t have to worry about concealing.
Meanwhile Rudolph debriefs MC like the middle class Third Estate professional he is despite his title . MC finishes darning his sock and then picks up a military shirt to turn a worn cuff. Rudolph ‘debriefs’ his tense day until his shoulders tighten up from the endless stress and anxiety. MC comes over and massages his tense shoulders and skinny neck.
‘And someone stole my other sock Mama! Someone at my Hofburgs digs are nicking my things! Loschek can’t find stuff and I swear spies are rummaging through my trash cans!’
‘Poor baby! Tell Mama all about it!’ MC replies as she bestows his sock upon him as if a metal before kissing him three times like a French general. ‘Can I type the unclassified reports so you can unwind baby?’
‘Thanks Mama!’ Rudolph replies he gets up so MC can tackle the non classified military files. Rudolph kisses her and then curls up on the chair which she has just vacated. It is still warm so he snuggles oddly infantile as his huge dog tries to sit in his bony lap. Rudolph hugs the dog and then pours out a stiff drink, the first of too many which he needs to relax . He goes to the window and stares out into the cold darkness as he smokes. Then he pulls down the shade. ‘I always feel nowadays that I am being spied on day and night!’ Rudolph goes over and kisses MC. Then Rudolph sprawls into the chair and vents about the pressures of his job and his overwhelming anxiety depression which he cannot confess to anyone else. MC types away while trying to be encouraging.
‘If you give up on me Mama then I will give up on me!’ Rudolph says.
Over the years MC has learned to do whatever she must do to help Rudolph. The vomiting withdrawal from morphine had been especially terrible and now Rudolph was self medicating with liquor. ‘Can I take you to that hypnotist which Dr. Benedikt suggested? That chap Dr. Freud works with? You said the hypnotism therapy worked on your nightmares for a while baby.’
‘I don’t want to work with Freud’ Rudolph replies as he lights another cigarette as he chain smokes. Dr, Benedikt told me that cigarettes don’t help with anxiety depression but I swear by them. They are suppose to help my asthma but my attacks are getting worse.’ Rudolph inhales the cancerous smoke as if a balm. ‘Normally I trust Jews above all people but this Freud! His talk therapy does not help me’ Rudolph replies as he vents the smoke as if an organic steam engine. ‘I don’t like to remember the Brutal Colonel and what he did to me. My bogeyman nightmares of being chased across the roof of the Hofburg are bad enough without deliberately opening old wounds by talking about my dreams. It would just be relieving my nightmares and night terrors. Why would I want to do that?’ Rudolph bottoms his liquor glass.
‘But you don’t remember your hypnotism therapy baby’ MC says softly. ‘And you said the hypnotism gizmos worked when you were having asthmatic panic attacks. You need to find an alternative to morphine. The asthmatic panic attacks leave you coughing as if you have TB. Paralyzing.’
‘I know! I know! What the hell is a ‘closed personality’ anyway Mama?’ Rudolph asks as he pours out another stiff one.
‘Someone who can’t talk about the pain which is tormenting them baby’ MC replies soothingly. ‘So they bury it deeper inside. That is what is eating up your guts baby. You bury your pain inside like a tight knot. Like a rat eating you from the inside out. Like that Greek God being devoured by an eagle eternally eating his liver. ‘
‘What a perfectly mythic portrait of ulcers!’ Rudolph quips. ‘The Very Important Person and the Very Beautiful And Remote Person both are agreed I am just a coward’ Rudolph says as he drinks to self medicate. ‘I am not worthy of being their son!’ Rudolph snarls as he mimics a very famous voice. ‘I don’t know why you bother with me! I should just blow my brains out and make my family happy! Don’t worry Nana!’ Rudolph shouts into the kitchen . ‘I am speaking metaphorically! That one time with the kitchen knife was just one of my ‘stupid accidents’!’ Rudolph tugs his left cuff down to hide his cutting scars.
‘You have another letter from Wales!’ MC says as she waves a thick envelope. ‘He always remembers to write! He is a true friend!’
‘And so cleverly transparent while being so cunningly devious so the spies and censors who open my mail can’t figure out what he is really saying! So I don’t have to translate code! Coding is damn hard on the eyes now days!’ Rudolph rubbed his red eyes. ‘Stephanie was digging in my garret office for bimbos again and then tried to find my code books among my fake ‘trashy romances’! I can’t believe she used her letter opener to pry open my desk to read my updated last will and testament! I will load marbles into the drop down desk to piss her off next time she tries that!’
‘Plant mouse traps by Hungarian letters from old Andrassy so she will think she has found Magyar treason conspiracies!’ MC suggested wickedly. ‘How did you know she was ferreting among your things?’
‘She left her gold pinch nez! And the letter opener gorged the wood!’ Rudolph scoffed. ‘Mouse traps! Brilliant! What would I do without you Mama?’
‘Mama loves you baby!’ MC replies soothingly.
‘Mother Dearest One has accused me of threatening her Einzige Only One Valerie the Bed Pan Miracle again!’ Rudolph told MC. ‘She said she will hex me with her damn evil spirits! I wish I could hex her! What sort of mother hates her own son?’ Rudolph pours out another stiff one. ‘Valerie! The Golden Child! The Einzige Only One! What does that make me? Clopped liver?’
‘War Games coming up baby?’ MC asks to change the subject away from Rudolph’s hateful parents and odious kid sister. ‘What barracks are we visiting this season? I hope they have running water. The barracks in Croatia were dreadful! You should get the best barracks baby. But the damn ‘Reds’ make sure you always get the worst! And the worst nags! Loaner horses that are broken down! Or mean spirited to throw you ! Or ADC nags that follow the commander’s horse come hell or high water! All to make you look bad! Want to go out tonight baby? To your favorite heurigen beer garden where Bratfisch is entertaining tonight?’
Rudolph grimaces . ‘Not tonight Mama! Bratfisch won’t mind if I defer will he? I am just so damn tired and there are more and more reports for the upcoming War Games. The gunnery issue is just eating my guts out! I spat out blood yesterday. The stress and anxiety are just shredding my guts!’
‘But baby!’ MC said as she turns around in her chair. ‘I thought Leopold and you salvaged the 11 mm Blunder?’
Rudolph grimaces as he rubs his deteriorating eyes. ‘We did! I have! But now there are rumors of Spandau guns blowing up Mama! It is the pressure Mama! The Mauser bolt applies the most pressure but the new Rubin full metal jacket bullet is rupturing inside the receiver mechanism! The latest rumor is of Mauser bolts blowing back into the shooter’s faces! Blinding the shooters testing the new prototype gun! Blinding them! How horrific ! I can relate of course! To blinding I mean! And the nitro!’ Rudolph grimaces as he rubs his aching eyes. ‘I have insider rumors that the Spandau nitro is pig shit! A bad knock off of Vielle! Unstable! Blowing up inside of the receiver! And don’t you see Mama? If Spandau stole a knockoff of our Mannlicher which uses a straight bolt then the Mauser bolt won’t be compatible!’
‘Because the Mannlicher straight bolt applies the EXACT NEEDFUL PRESSURE and the Mauser bolt applies the MOST pressure? Right?’ MC asks as she turns around in the chair.
‘Exactly Mama! A Frankenstein Gun!’ Rudolph replies as he presses his deteriorating eyes. ‘Why can’t Albrecht and The Very Important Person understand modern repeater technology? It is too much pressure! It is too much pressure Mama!’ Rudolph all but cries as MC comes over to hug his thin shoulders. ‘It is all just too much pressure!’
‘Why don’t you just tell all of them to bugger off then baby!’ MC whispers to the stressed out man. ‘Tell them all to bugger off! Albrecht! Bismarck! Willy! and Francis Joseph! It is not worth it baby! This job! Tell your bastard of a tyrant of a father to take the damn job and shove it! After all! You did not even want the damn job! You got the damn job because Leopold recommended you after he was ordered to take the fall for the 11 mm Blunder caused by Albrecht and your father! We can go to America! You can write for a living! Why not tell the whole Hofburg to go f#$%@ off!’
‘Oh Mama! I wish I only could…..’ That nervous tick throbs in Rudolph’s mouth and chin. It throbs so badly his flamboyant Hungarian mustache quivers as he holds her hands to his face. ‘Oh Mama! if only I could…’
Oh dear! This is so unromantic! This is definitely an ‘indie’ movie which no teenager would want to see! Certainly Mary could not possibly care about such humdrum stuff! Her Prince Charming is only suppose to exist to sweep her off her feet! Not cling to a ‘sweet girl’ he calls ‘Mama’ because of separation issues originating from emotional abandonment from absentee parents and the lack of childhood security and love. Mary wants her Prince Charming to be glorious ! Not a cutter who self medicates for Anxiety Depression with PTSD and OCD from child abuse and Wittelsbach Bane genetics caused by inbreeding! Not like this! Even if this is who the real Inspector General of Infantry Archduke Crown Prince Rudolph was…..
I mean! Look at MC! How can MC’s love compare to Mary! Where is the Strauss? Where is the glamour? Gee! No one wants to see an indie movie about Rudolph and MC! They want palaces and extravagant clothes and titles and well! Mary!
Now that is much better! I don’t care if Rudolph hated that Hofburg Spanish Etiquette and loved nothing so much as going to an ordinary place with an ordinary girl on his arm to do ordinary things after a stressful day at his ordinary job of being Inspector General of Infantry overseeing modern gunnery! Who cares if a technological revolution in gunnery was occuring! Who cares if heads were rolling and Rudolph replaced Inspector Of Infantry Archduke Leopold who was ordered to take the fall for royal incompetence! Who cares if Supreme Commander Albrecht the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’ wants to pull the same stunt on Rudolph!
Who cares if every modern army is hysterical about prototype repeater rifles and full metal jackets and nitro powder!
Who cares if rumors of a war are filling the papers! Who cares if Bismarck stormed into Rudolph’s parlor in the wee hours of night just to confront Rudolph over guns blowing up! Spandau guns! Bismarck’s guns! Who cares if Bismarck is stonewalling to Kaiser Willy! Who cares if Bismarck knows that Rudolph knows that Bismarck is stonewalling to Kaiser Willy! Who cares if Rudolph is confiding to friends that ‘I am going to be assassinated. I know too much’!
Rudolph’s job is totally boring and completely unimportant and has nothing whatsoever to do with beautiful glamorous Mary and her grand passion of Love & Death! Love & Death! That is all that matters!
And who cares if Rudolph spent the last night in Vienna in the arms of MC! Pleassssse! I mean! Look at the cow! How can anyone love a cow like that compared to the gloriously romantic Mary!
Cow! Cow! Cow! I don’t care if MC never betrayed Rudolph while Mary was boasting of her supposed affair which embarrassed Rudolph! I don’t care if MC never took money when Mary tried to get 10,000 guilders from Rudolph! I don’t care if MC traveled all over empire with Rudolph and lived in dismal barracks while putting up with Rudolph’s job! I don’t care if she patiently listened to him whine and wail about his job and held Rudolph as he wept after Francis Joseph insulted Rudolph to his face by asking who ghost wrote Rudolph’s famous articles! I don’t care if she held Rudolph as he vomited as he resolutely tried to kick morphine after his court doctor hooked Rudolph on morphine for his asthmatic panic attacks and migraines and insomnia! And MC was a damn fool! After Mayerling she refused to cash in on the infamy to make money the way Helen Vetsera made money off Mary’s garish tomb! Enough with MC! The boringly loyal provincial middle class cow! I mean! Compared with Mary! Pleeeessss! Glorious Mary! There is no comparison! Fortunately today Mary’s gigantic tomb stands in all of its notoriety while MC’s grave has vanished off the face of the earth! Romance’s Mecca is Mary’ Tomb!
So what if MC was Rudolph’s ‘Camilla’ just like Charles who insists on loving dog ugly old Camilla instead of worshiping the glorious icon of Diana! Really! That is the trouble with princes! They irrationally persist in mistaking true love with movie romance! Pleassssse! Baroness Mary! She is just so Diana!
And how dare that latest illegal autopsy comment on Mary’s knock knees while timidly and most reluctantly confirming the two 1950s forensic autopsies which proved that Mary was bludgeoned and not shot! And just because Mary chose to die au natural that does not mean Mary was a nymphomaniac! I am sure there was a perfectly rational reason why Mary chose to invite herself to Mayerling sans luggage or lady’s maid or underwear or even knickers to die au natural on top of the made bed in that cold room! Freezing au natural to prove her love just so the newspapers would remember her forever! That takes determination! And what is wrong with wanting to die famous? And if you can’t be famous then be infamous! Always die young and leave a beautiful corpse! That takes determination! No wonder Hollywood loves Mary! Mary was the Hollywood movie star before there was a Hollywood! Love & Death! Too bad the bludgeoning popped out one eyeball and her nude corpse was shoved into a laundry basket! But her mother built a huge tomb and made lots of money —- at least for a while. Where was I? Oh yes!
Mary! Mary! Divine Mary! And don’t comment on Mary’s double chin! Or her ‘ferret teeth’ as that rude newspaper wrote in the last year of her notorious life. Really! Have you no shame? Mary! Mary! Mary! The incarnation of beauty!
Never mind that Mary deflowered herself in Egypt with a British officer and got gonorrhea and posed nude for an oil painting and boasted to absolutely everyone that she was meeting her lover dressed only in furs au natural in public places to make mad love while waving romantic letters from Rudolph written in Mary’s own handwriting while advertising of her supposed affair to absolutely everyone down to the local flower girl and the vendor of the magazine shop where Mary bought her magazines so she could cut out pictures of Rudolph while underlining words in the article about gunnery or else the economic impact of the Orient Express Railroad Corridor or the need to finish Treste dry docks or find credit lines for the empire’s desperate merchant marine after the loss of Venice! The randomly underlined words in such BORING articles actually revealed mysterious messages from Rudolph to Mary about Love & Death! Not technology and economics! Rudolph was deliberately fooling spies by droning on and on about BORING stuff while secretly communicating his love to Mary! And the Ouija Board worked great too! Mary could hear Rudolph whispering to her in her dreams! And that mysterious iron ring with those mysterious initials engraved inside! They must mean something!
Oh what a wonderful person Larisch is to be Mary’s contact with the elusive Rudolph! How dare Mary’s spiteful sister say the sacred token is just some cheap ring Larisch got from a cigar shop that is not fit for even a lady’s maid to wear! It is sacred! Sacred! Like the gun which Larisch got for Mary! So Mary can poise nude before the mirror with both the gun and the blessed talisman around her neck! Posing with the sacred talisman and the gun that must climax the ultimate romance of the ages! Love & Death!
After all! You can’t have Love without Death! Or Death without Love! Death and Love are conjoined eternally like lovers. Mary is the incarnation of Rudolph’s Love & Death! Rudolph’s Love! Rudolph’s Death! Mary is Rudolph’s Nemesis, the incarnation of his doom, the deliverer of his tragedy. Except the exquisite death she promises to bestow on Rudolph is transforming! Not destroying! Mary’s Love & Death will make Rudolph immortal—- as a supporting player to Mary of course!
Mary’s spiteful sister is so wrong! How dare she say that Mary is anointing herself as Rudolph’s assassin! His murderer! Such mundane brains just cannot understand the exquisite Love & Death Mary is going to bestow upon her Beloved Rudolph!
Oh Mary! Mary! Poor Mary! She dresses up in her best fashionista to sit across the brand new opera house from the royal box just for Rudolph to see her! But the object of her obsession watches the opera instead! Doesn’t he see her crescent pin in her luxurious dark hair designed to look like a tiara when Mary is not First Estate Hochadel to qualify to wear a tiara? Why is Rudolph watching the damn opera! He is suppose to be staring rapturously at Mary! Blinded by his love for her ravishing beauty! Not rubbing his temples from a migraine as his shrew of a nag of a bitch of a wife the Rubber Princess harps and nags and belittles him relentlessly in her bad German while Sisi storms out after Valerie kicks Rudolph in the shins so he stomps on her foot! While Stephanie nags and nags and nags and nags and nags! While Francis Joseph criticizes Rudolph’s 11 mm Blunder which was actually caused by Albrecht and Francis Joseph’s miserly decision to order a revolutionary repeater rifle to shoot obsolete bullets to use up surplus supplies of obsolete bullets.
And instead of staring longingly at Mary Rudolph slumps down into his chair as Valerie stucks out her tongue at Rudolph as Stephanie nags and nags and nags and nags and nags and nags while Rudolph rubs his temples as that migraine pounds and that nervous tick in his mouth and chin throbs as Francis Joseph growls ‘I command to be obeyed Rudolph! I want your resignation by January First or else!’
Mary! Mary! Mary! Poor Mary! Why isn’t Rudolph savoring her beauty while secretly signaling their love? Instead, Rudolph is turning green with pain as he rubs his forehead as Valerie smirks as Stephanie nags and nags and nags and nags and nags and nags and nags as Francis Joseph’s fingers drum the gold chair with quiet rage. ‘Did you hear me Rudolph? I want your resignation by January First or else by January 30th Albrecht will have his way! And Albrecht isn’t called the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs for nothing! January 30st at 6:30 A.M. Why force me to sign what I don’t want to sign? You know the Red Book of Regulations compels me! Why force both of us to cross the Rubicon? This whole pointless stand of yours is ….well…. pointless!
Leopold agreed to resign under disgrace! Benedek agreed to be court martialed in disgrace. And I allowed them to live didn’t I? An emperor expects all of his subjects to willingly sacrifice themselves for their King & Country! If Leopold and Benedek were willing to fall on their swords and take the fall for the sake of their Emperor then why can’t you? Just do the needful thing! I command to be obeyed Rudolph! You are running out of time! January First or else January 30st at 6:30 A.M….’
Mary stares frantically at the object of her obsession! Rudolph! Why isn’t he adoring her? Doesn’t he understand? It is fate! It is true love! What could be more important than True Love? True Love! And the Ultimate Death!
A look of doubt flickers across Mary’s face. Why isn’t Rudolph looking at her? Why would Rudolph joke that he wanted to offer the Vetsera Clan ONE WAY TICKETS to Monte Carlo while setting up a mysterious rendezvous in his garret office with ….. gasp…Clemenceau! Not Mary! Why doesn’t Rudolph declare his love for Mary? What is wrong with the man? Damn it!
‘I have to make him see me!’ Mary weeps. ‘Why can’t he see me! He must see me! I have spent my whole life wooing the object of my obsession! I have devoted my entire life to my obsession! Every waking moment of every day! Why is he still pretending he does not love me? He must love me! I must make him love me! I will follow him and confront him! He must love me! Doesn’t my Prince understand? We are destined to love and die together! Love & Death! Love & Death! Love & Death!
So Mary starts to stalk Rudolph. She follows him every night as he leaves his offices. She follows him as he walks with his dog in the dark. It is so erotic! To follow the slim form of her beloved as they walk through the park together ……Rudolph walking ahead with his briefcases and dog ……and Mary following behind like his invisible shadow! He knows she is following him! It is their erotic secret waltz in the darkness! Rudolph walking briskly ahead! Mary following silently behind. His shadow! She has become her beloved’s shadow! But then doubt cuts her!
‘I hate the dog! he loves the dog more than me! I can’t share our love with that damn dog! How much rat poison does it take to kill that dog…..
A day later Mary savors her romantic rendezvous in the darkness with her lover. Rudolph walking briskly through the dark park with his briefcases. Mary following so erotically behind. They are alone together! Sharing the dark park! Sharing their love! The erotic waltz so rousing! ‘He knows I am following him!’ Mary weeps. ‘Nothing else is so passonate! Our love has never ever been so intense!’ But then Mary doubts!
‘Why is my Beloved avoiding me? He never conspires to meet me at our rendezvouses which Larisch sets up! He is avoiding me!My beloved is avoiding me! At that race track he deliberately cut me! He walked right past me with that fat swine the Prince of Wales! My beloved chose to take Wales to the nightclub to meet of all people that dirty Jew the Baron Hirsch instead of taking me to the nightclub! I watched across the street and shivered as they partied! Why is my beloved avoiding me? Why? Why?’ Mary weeps hysterically.
And it had to be admitted that Rudolph dropped Countess Wimpffen when Mary tried to ambush him there ….I mean rendezvous with Mary there …..and Larisch tried so hard to set up rendezvouses with Rudolph for Mary in dark desolate parks only for Rudolph to be too busy with his job to come. But the important thing was Mary went! Everyone time Larisch set up a potential rendezvous! Mary proved her love as she shivered in her fur and galoshes ready to rip off her fur coat to reveal that she was stark naked in all of her au natural glory! Too bad Rudolph was too busy with his 40 or 50 or 60 official events a week to come and instead, exhausted, either went back to his Hofburg garret office or else his drafty old castle in the suburbs or else that unromantic middle class flat.
Mary doubts. And the doubts cut Mary to the quick! She stalks Rudolph to a middle class apartment building where he goes inside. The door is secured! A door man glares at Mary! The name plates don’t hint who her Beloved is visiting! So Mary runs across the street and stares until her Beloved’s precious face appears framed in one precious window! And Mary all but faints for love! But then Mary doubts!
Who is that cow Mary is spying Rudolph with? Frantically Mary peers at Rudolph through the upper window with her opera glasses? That cow! Who is that cow!She is too ugly to be a lover but who is she then? A female secretary? Of course!Her beloved has both male and female secretaries as well as military aides de camp! Mary knows because Mary has sent flowers dusted with rat poison to every female secretary her Beloved employs! How much rat poison will it take! ‘I will not share OUR LOVE!’ Mary cries as she spies on the object of her obsession!
Poor Mary! She watches frantically in the freezing darkness as Rudolph smokes by the window of that mundane flat while Mary hovers in the freezing shadows! Then Rudolph pulls the shade down! And then his precious shadow kisses someone! Who? Who? Who? ‘How much rat poison will it take? I won’t share OUR LOVE! No! No! No!’ Mary hurls the opera glasses across the street and barely restrains her screams!
But then she pulls out the chain and clutches that sacred talisman of a cheap iron ring! I mean! The sacred talisman! Mary holds it as if her cross! She kisses the sacred talisman! This must be one last final test to prove her love! That is it! She might almost suspect that her dear Rudolph is being unfaithful to her with that cow! But no! no! That cow is so ugly it can’t be possible! She is a secretary! Her beloved brought brief cases of work for her to do! What sort of female trains to be a secretary anyway? What sort of job is that for a female? What sort of female types at those sinister machines and takes dictation and keeps files? As if that is even soul crushingly respectable! Mary tugs at her fur coat. ‘I am a baroness of the Second Estate! I would never ‘work’ like that! It would be too humiliating even if Papa and Momma says we are bankrupt! Really! What sort of female works? There is only Love! Love is a full time job! That cow must be a secretary! Rudolph only loves me! Only me!’
Mary knows it! Mary hugs her sacred talisman to her pounding heart! ‘I know my Beloved loves me!’ Mary wails. ‘When I confront him at the German Embassy Ball Rudolph will announce to the entire world how much he loves me and how he plans to ask the Pope to bless our Love & Death!’ But then she glares! ‘How much rat poison will it take? I will not SHARE OUR LOVE!’
But then Mary doubts. The last chance Mary has to confront her Beloved will be the German Embassy Ball! What if it goes wrong? What if her Beloved won’t declare his love? Why won’t he declare his love?
So Mary rushes home to worship at the altar of her Beloved. She strokes his touching love letters and weeps hysterically as her plain and spiteful sister confronts her mother. ‘Mary keeps boasting of this amazing love affair with Crown Prince Rudolph but Mama! The love letters are all written in Mary’s own handwriting! And what sort of Habsburg would give someone a cheap iron ring and bangle? Spanish Etiquette is very clear what sort of jewel or cigarette case goes to which lover! What sort of gold or silver. What sort of crown or insignia or badge.What sort of title or rank. What sort of engraved signature. There are strict rules ! There are protocols! There is Spanish Etiquette! Mama! Not even a common soldier would give his ‘sweet girl’ a cheap bangle! Why are you agreeing to take Mary to the German Embassy Ball? What if Mary makes a scene? You know how Mary loves to make scenes! The Hofburg will blacklist us!’
‘The stakes are as high as our finances are low!’ Helen Vstsera replies. ‘ We must cast one last throw of desperate dice! Or we are ruined anyway!’
But Mary has no doubts! After all hasn’t her dear, dear, dear friend Larisch delivers her iron rings and cheap bangles and sheets of commercial music and magazine articles with secret codes for Mary to find by underlining random words! If that is not evidence of true love then what is it? And last week Larisch gave Mary a sock! A treasured sock! From her beloved! with his manly smell still on it! And a hole. The hole must mean something mysterious!
And telegrams! Yes! Stiff with Spanish Etiquette apparently returning that cigarette case Mary paid Larisch to smuggle into the Hofburg! But surely Rudolph is not rejecting Mary’s protestations of love! He better not! No! No! Rudolph surely did not hold up that precious gift to Coburg and laugh about unwanted attentions and how Mary was as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘notorious’ as her mother was when Helen Vetsera stalked him that autumn in Hungary after Francis Joseph dropped Helen after Helen’s sister and Mary’s aunt committed suicide in the Danube causing Helen to spitefully seduce her ex-lover by bedding his son? No! No! There has to be an explanation for Rudolph’s refusal to confess his passionate love for her! Rudolph must love Mary! He must! He must! HE MUST!!!!
Mary frantically rereads every single scrap book she has assembled. She struggles to decipher the mysterious codes in random newspaper clippings and drafts of economic speeches and railroad schedules taken out of his trash can by Larisch! Rudolph is so cunningly to use his trash can to leave his secret messages and love tokens for Larisch to smuggle out of the Hofburg to Mary! Spies and enemies are everywhere! But no one will stop Mary’s Love & Death with her Beloved!
Mary weeps with love as she strips off her clothes to stand naked with only the Sacred Talisman as she worships at the shrines which fill her bedroom! Shrines to Rudolph! Shrines to her Beloved! The Object of her Obsession! Mary’s bedroom is a gigantic shrine to the object of her obsession! Pictures and illustrations fill every wall! Commercial mementos and memorials! Books about Rudolph. Not by Rudolph. They are so boring! Books about The Shining Prince! Her Prince Charming! Rudolph! Rudolph! Rudolph! Everywhere! His beloved face staring down at her from every inch of every wall! And row upon row of scrap books filled with mysterious messages from her beloved! Bird articles! The birds are codes! And economic articles! Alas Mary cannot decipher them! And torn pages of half done drafts of speeches about electricity! The code is there! Somewhere! The secret code declaring his love for her! For Mary!
Rudolph is a prisoner of the Hofburg! He can’t declare his love openly! Francis Joseph is the enemy! He is preventing Rudolph from declaring his love for Mary openly! That is why Rudolph’s few telegrams appear frosty and stiff with Spanish Etiquette! It is a secret code!
And that bitch Stephanie is deliberately preventing Rudolph from making every rendezvous which Larisch sets up in dark parks! That bitch! The Rubber Princess!It is all her fault! How much rat poison will it take? Wait until the Pope receives Mary’s plea to have that dreadful marriage annulled! The Pope will understand ! He must! Rudolph can’t be married when he embraces Mary finally and at last before they kiss for the first and last time before shooting each other! After all ! They are biological half brother and sister! Their love is like Bryon for his Augusta! As passionate as it is doomed! Love & Death! Such love can only end with glorious death!
But what sort of death? Or else poison! But not rat poison! That is only befitting murdering the rivals to Mary’s all consuming love! A gun! Or else jumping into the Danube like her dead aunt! Mary can’t make up her mind about the final glorious form that Love & Death will take yet ! But surely Rudolph will understand why their erotically forbidden love must climax with death! Love & Death! There is no other ending!
It is everyone’s fault! Everyone is conspiring to keep her from her beloved! It is a conspiracy! But Mary knows Rudolph loves her! That one fleeting meeting proved it!Mary savors the memory. It is the validation! Mary savor the memory as she recalls that momentous moment in November! She relieves it eternally in her mind!
Mary spends the entire day with Larisch preparing for the monumental meeting! Photographs! Mary poured into her skin tight fashiontisa dress! Larisch kindly gives Mary a morphine tablet because Mary is shaking so much! All but hypo ventilating in her tight corset! It makes Mary blurry but then the evening turns into a rainbow of mysterious shadows and strange delights! Strange halos glowing from every gaslight street lamp! The very air suddenly magical!
Then Larisch smuggles Mary through the barriers of the royal bastion to the Hofburgs to arrive by devious means to Rudolph’s garret office. Larisch explains that sometimes Rudolph uses the garret office when his endless meetings run on so long they make returning to his drafty castle in the suburbs impossible.
And since a horse threw Rudolph during a distant outpost military inspection late in October Rudolph had been backlogged because of his concussion which he is still denying. Why deny a concussion? A concussion is serious. It is Rudolph’s second or perhaps even third concussion and its disconcerting symptoms are lingering. Stephanie is so spiteful she is reporting the concussion as Rudolph’s Decline and Fall which a mysterious drug Stephanie has just signed out of the court pharmacy ledger will aid and abet. Stephanie is especially sour spirited because she has sent her lover Lonyay to Egypt until after January 31th while Stephanie for once decides to actually stay in Vienna instead of her luxurious hotels and spas. No one knows why. Why? Why send her lover away until after January 31st? It is just making Stephanie more vindictive than usual.
Stephanie claims she is worried about Rudolph’s Decline and Fall but her concern appears to be mostly reporting Rudolph’s Decline and Fall as terminal despite the fact a concussion, despite lingering, is not fatal. And while the symptoms are disconcerting they are slowly receding .It is almost as if Stephanie ‘s broadcasting of Rudolph’s Decline and Fall is creating a paper trail for later events while apparently proving Stephanie’s ‘devotion’ so no one will ask her why she signed out that drug. ‘I will have to backdate that entry before January 31…..’
Sure! Rudolph should not be trying to work because of the effects of the concussion which Stephanie is packaging as evidence of his Decline and Fall. But his nausea and bellowing yesterday was caused by Stephanie deciding to practice her foghorn singing while he was queasy with pain from a concussion migraine. If Rudolph is still trying to do all of his meetings and duties despite a concussion why isn’t anyone cutting the poor guy any slack?
It is so odd that Rudolph is desperately working as many hours a day as Francis Joseph yet everyone in authority are not only not praising his work ethic but actually ratcheting up their endless criticism and negativity . And the newspapers are shredding Rudolph’s honor and reputation horribly despite the fact Taaffe could stop the libels with a snap of his fingers. The powerful Hofburg is blandly allowing everyone to crucify Rudolph with complete impunity such as no other Habsburg endures . It is a mystery — especially as many of the hostile papers are based in —– Berlin.
So why is Rudolph still trying frantically to work despite a concussion? It is because it might allow Francis Joseph an excuse to force Rudolph to resign his job for reasons of ill health instead of gross incompetence related to the 11mm Debacle which occurred before Rudolph took over Leopold’s job. Or else it could be over Rudolph’s decision to support Mannlicher’s and Steyr ‘s decision to sue Spandau for copy right and patent infringement which now endangers the Prussian Austrian Alliance. Or else it could be Rudolph’s refusal to order soldiers to goosestep in front of Kaiser Willy which endangers the Imperial Army. Or else it could be rumors of insubordination or mutiny for refusing direct orders from Albrecht or Francis Joseph to abandon the Mannlicher Repeater Rife and Steyr 1610 fps full metal jacket bullet to adopt the superior Spandau products and resign in disgrace. Or else it could be over rumors of Hungarian treason with Andrassy. No one quite knew. But everyone knew something bad was about to go down.
That is why the whole Hofburg is buzzing with rumors why Albrecht , Bismarck, and Kaiser Willy are all pressuring Francis Joseph to fire Rudolph as Inspector General of Infantry over seeing gunnery. The mystery is that the recent war games went amazingly well. Old Habsburg actually has the best revolutionary repeater rifle and second best full metal jacket bullet in the world. The Steyr Miracle has tied the Meille Miracle . So why is Rudolph being pressured to resign in disgrace ? Because of course Francis Joseph can’t fire an officer. If that officer won’t resign he must be court martialed . It is all a mystery. But one that Mary has absolutely no interest in.
Larisch laughs an oddly cold laugh. ‘You don’t care about any of this do you pet? For you life is so simple! Love & Death! Silly men! All they think about are Guns & Wars and Honor & Reputation! Men die for Guns & Wars or else Honor & Reputation! Not for Romance! Not for Love & Death! A soldier does the right thing as an officer and a gentleman and shoots himself! How silly! Only we females understands the real priorities! Romance! Love & Death! Or else Revenge for being scorned! You take the first ! I will take the latter!’
Larisch pets Mary as the morphine pill kicks in. Mary giggles in reply. Oblivious . Intoxicated . All that registers with Mary is that this the first time Rudolph has returned to the Hofburg where Larisch had passes to gain access! Finally! At last! The climatic meeting Mary has waited for her entire life has arrived!
Rudolph acted surprised! Mary struggles to remember the magical moment of confirmation when her love was finally and at last returned and she finally and at last knew that Rudolph returned her love.
Rudolph acts surprised as if he did not expect Mary. But it was just an act! Then Rudolph rubs his brow as if in pain before smiling his divine smile as the intoxicatingly royal debonair prince drags Larisch into the back room. There he bellows something about 10,000 and about taking the ‘sweet girl’ somewhere else to pimp. But Mary knows Rudolph is just talking about some camp whore! Not her! Not Mary!
So while Rudolph bellows at Larisch about that 10,000 Mary savors the glories of that divine bastion! The garret of her beloved! On the roof as if Mount Olympus! The darkness concealing the whitewash and tarnished gilt and damp and odd clutter .
Mary savors the exotic divan until one of Rudolph’s dogs growls at her from the exotic divan designed for lovers to fall into each other’s arms. Why is her beloved allowing those disgusting dogs to sprawl there?. How many dogs does her beloved have? How much rat poison will it take? ‘I won’t share our love!’ Mary hisses as the dogs growl to protect their territory. The divan does smell suspiciously like a dog bed! But no! No! Her lover sprawls there with beauties and not the dogs which are sprawling there growling at her! And soon Mary would sprawl there in all of her glorious nakedness for Rudolph! Her Rudolph!
Damn that ugly raven pecking at the window! It is an omen! No! Actually the ugly black bird is pecking at raw meat left by Rudolph! Ugh! But soon Rudolph will have Mary to love so he will give up those ugly birds! And dogs! How much rat poison does it take to kill all of those huge dogs cluttering up the garret? And those damn ravens? ‘I will not share our love!’
Then Mary savors the dissection skull! So romantic! Then she spies a complex electric gizmo. She ignores it. What is it? She spies a taxidermy bird. Ugh! Then her greedy fingers fondles the silver framed photographs of famous royals who were Rudolph’s parents! Francis Joseph! Her real biological father! Mary preens. ‘I am a princess! Not a mere baroness!’ And there is the famous Sisi! And Gisela! And the Rubber Princess! Ugh! And Erzi who is Rudolph’s beloved child! Mary resists throwing it at the ugly raven pecking at the raw meat! Rudolph must only love her! Mary! Mary! Only Mary must be Rudolph’s Einzige Only One! ‘I will not share our love!’
Then Mary’s greedy fingers moves the painstakingly neat piles of tidy military dossiers and gunnery reports and top secret reports into the Spandau Debacle aside to find the love token her Beloved has surely left for her! There it is! Mary shoves aside the thick magnifying glass and some unhandsome person’s thick eye glasses. She knocks over some unhandsome person’s glaucoma medicine! There it is! The love token!
Mary cries in joy as she picks up a newfangled fountain pen which Rudolph has left just for her! She slips it into her muff because her skin tight dress naturally has no pockets. She clutches the muff to her beating heart as she feels the love token all but pierce her heart! Then she spies the gun and picks it up and aims it and ….
……Rudolph yanks open the far door and shoves Larisch out as he bellows ‘Pimp your sweet girl somewhere else Larisch! But not even Lily Langtry is worth 10,000! Hey! Don’t play with that pistol! Willy gave me that dueling pistol for my birthday! It is a bad sport dueling pistol designed to kill the holder of the gun! It is a rare example of devious murder designed to look like the death for honor of an officer and a gentleman!’
Then Rudolph grabs the gun as he bellows in an amazingly deep voice for his spindly frame. Loschek rushes out to open the door to gesture for Mary and Larisch to depart! The gaslight dances off Rudolph’s suddenly greenish brown eyes with their odd Wittelbach tilt which gave them a wolfish look of —— rage! Rage! Oh no! No! Something is going wrong!
‘…..and I am going to report your shakedown to your husband Larisch!’ Rudolph bellows. ‘And to Otto! He is an expert in heavy handed extortion plots by cheap adventuresses! I may be gullible but he is not being an expert cad ! You know I don’t have The Pater’s deep pockets for extortion and blackmail!’
‘Wait! Wait! Rudolph! My beloved! Don’t you understand? This is our monumental meeting of True Love!’ Mary cries! It can’t be over in just ten minutes with all of those ten minutes spent quarreling with Larisch in the back room over money Larisch is extorting! The valet curtly gestures to the open door for Mary to leave!
Then Rudolph sees the military dossiers in disarray! The top secret report into the Spandau Debacle tossed aside! Rudolph grabs it and howls furiously! The rage is shocking! Rudolph is all but screaming! ‘Don’t you know how I am suffering from this damn concussion while everyone is pressuring me to resign? Resign in disgrace! Like Leopold! Like Benedek! Taking the fall for royal incompetence over the 11 mm Blunder and Bismarck’s stonewalling to that prat Willy about the preproduction hiccups at Spandau which are anything but hiccups! Or preproduction teething pains which are anything but teething pains ! Don’t you understand the pressure I am under? My job is on the line! For blunders committed by others! My honor and reputation is on the line! For incompetence committed by others!
Well! I won’t go down like Leopold! I won’t play the mute swan like Benedek! I won’t take the fall! And I won’t fall on my sword! Damn them all! And damn you too! You bitch! Who are you working for? Von Holstein? And Holstein’s pet rodent Smutty Petri? Are you in league with Wollheim da Fonseca? Or Florian Meissner who is threatening MC? Don’t you bullshit me! My agent at Larricardas’ Nest of Vipers ‘ saw you there with this poor deluded nutter here! Anyone who is associating with Wimpffen is colluding with von Hostein! The Spy Master of Bismarck! Well! You can tell Bismarck that despite his ‘singular good luck’ in seeing people who stand in his way ‘disappear at just the right time’ that I won’t end up like Leon Gambetta or poor Ludwig of Bavaria! I won’t go down quietly!
And if you are at all concerned for this poor pathetic girl here you should be worried! Because Smutty Petri does not just do forgeries! His penchant is to manufacture ‘Venus In Furs’ sordid sex scandals garnished by brutally and sadistically dispatched girls! Mary and her madness would be ideal for Smutty Petri the ex-cleric and his penchant for deviant sadistic sexual murders! Or don’t you care who dies just so you get your 10,000 guilders?
Now get out! Get out! and take your ‘sweet girl’ (amateur whore ) with you!’ And the next thing poor Mary remembers is Larisch dragging her away through the back of the royal museum as Larisch curses and snarls.
Mary is hysterical. But then the morphine kicks in big time and later Mary wakes from a wet morphine dream making love to her Beloved in his garret. The intense memory is sure proof of Rudolph’s love for her! As sure a proof as his passionate love letters and a sacred love token. Mary crushes the love letters to her beating heart ! And her grand passion prevents her from recognizing the handwriting —- as her own.
‘At the German Embassy Ball I will confront my Beloved and demand he acknowledge our love in front of everyone! Alas the only other time Mary actually confronts Prince Charming in late January nothing goes to plan either. It is as if Rudolph is not aware of their grand love affair at all….
Surely Rudolph did not exclaim ‘If only someone would deliver me from her!’ Referring to Mary after Mary deliberately grandstanded at the German Embassy Ball to make a spectacle of herself in front of Stephanie who could barely contain her urge to use her genuine tiara to garrote Mary while Mary’s Mother tried to extort money while Francis Joseph glared from across the ball room after Helen Vetsera tried to ambush him in front of Sisi to extort money while saying ‘I am sure we can reach an understanding …’
Why couldn’t Rudolph understand that Mary promise her dear friend Countess Larisch 10,000 guilders which was one quarter of Rudolph’s entire Hofburg stipend for the whole year! Larisch was Mary’s sole contact with her beloved Rudolph so Larisch was bound to incur expenses and Mary just had to co-sign off on Larisch’s gambling debts because they are such dear friends and if it had not been for Larisch Mary would never have been able to contact Rudolph who never attends parties where Mary grandstands …… I mean sparkles …… so Mary had to ambush …… I mean confront ….. Rudolph at the German Embassy ball because she does not qualify to get into the Hofburg! So nothing goes according to plan …..
So now Mary wails as her bitter mother drags Mary from the German Embassy Ball as she curses and snarls! ‘He loves me!’ Mary wails. ‘He loves me! It is all your fault Mama! Rudolph loves me more than he ever loved you!’
Helen Vetsera slaps Mary across her face. ‘You silly cow! There is no such thing as love! There is only Passion & Money! And we are bankrupt! And your obsession with Rudolph has cost us a rich catch! A widower with money! Tonight Francis Joseph fobbed me off! Again! Well! I will have my revenge! Revenge & Money! I won’t be scorned — again!
Von Holstein is paying for a little sex scandal to smear an enemy of Bismarck! Larisch and Wimpffen will deliver you to the train station so I won’t appear to be implicated ! Play out your delusions however you like! If we cannot score a rich widower then infamy will do just as well! Infamy well packaged will launch you into the courtesan trade! ‘Venus In Furs ‘ is the guilty erotica for bored playboys! And it pays just as well! Even better!
Who needs Mrs. Wolfe if I have you and a two way mirror with a camera on the other side ? Porn & Blackmail my dear! It plays to your perchant for exotic fashions and grandstanding while au natural! I will make money off your madness if I can’t make money off your nymphomania!’
‘No! No! He loves me! Rudolph loves me!’ Mary wails .
‘Then why does he live with a ‘sweet girl ‘ called Mizzi Caspar?’ Helen Vetsera snarls viciously. ‘Father & Son! Exactly alike! Both dumping me! Rudolph dumped me for a Jewess! And he prefers a frump to you! At least that bastard Francis Joseph has better taste and better balls! I had to all but rape that impotent kid! And Francis Joseph just laughed at my revenge! Well! That old bastard won’t be laughing when I am done this time! Revenge is best served cold in January 30!
And if you want to shove some of that rat poison down the throat of Mizzi Caspar then go right ahead! Believe me! I have it from Florian Meissner personally that the secret police are not going to investigate what is going down on January 30th!’
Mary’s sanity crashes onto the reality of Rudolph’s betrayal of her love! Mary’s little mouth suddenly snarls as she bares her small, ferret -like teeth. ‘How much rat poison does it take to kill a Shining Prince?’
Helen Vetsera shakes her mad daughter. ‘All you have to do is go garnish a crime scene! Others will deliver the poison and gun! Larisch says she knows someone who has the perfect poison which can’t be traced to any commercial pharmacy ledger and Wimpffen can procure a civilian gun which can’t be traced to any gun store! And a forged invitation! Larisch will perform a pantomime and then pass you to Wimpffen to deliver you to the train station! Get off at Baden and hire acommercial hack to Meyerling! There is a an insider embedded at Mayerling! A cook! Roll Commandos will do it all! Five Prussians will monitor to report back to Berlin! All you have to do is garnish the crime scene and enjoy the sight of your Shining Prince going down! Francis Joseph has signed the death warrant for a military hit! All you have to do is go and enjoy your revenge and become infamous! Infamy becomes you my dear!Infamy my dear will make us all the money we need! ‘
But Mary is not listening. Mary’s madness has already transformed from Love to Hatred. Murderous Hatred. Hatred & Death.
But you sputter! This scenario not only cannot qualify as an romantic TV movie or ‘indie’ film but even hovers dangerously close to a ‘Venus And Furs’ prequel to ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’! A retro Victorian Porn Snuff Film! The trouble is…..that was exactly Smutty Petri’s perchant. As an ex- Catholic cleric Smutty Petri inclined toward Victorian Snuff Scenarios to garnish von Holstein’s ‘suicides’ frosted with forged suicide notes. Or do you really think Bismarck’s amazing ‘good luck’ in seeing his enemies vanish at just the ‘right time’ was sheer chance?
And the scenario I have drawn for you are based on all of those pesky facts which the endless Mary Romances carefully omit! Why embrace the Myth of Mary The Martyr To Love when it is based on lies? Especially as the entire romantic double suicide was actually manufactured by von Slatin as a back fire to ward off an aggressive Berlin selling of Mayerling as a Victorian snuff bludgeoning/ sordid sex scandal/ cowardly murder suicide? All while international newspapers were collectively protesting that Mayerling was another patented von Holstein/Smutty Petri ‘suicide’ garnished by a ‘sex scandal’ frosted by forged ‘suicide notes’?
The common people were all but rioting after Mayerling. Francis Joseph was facing a ‘Diana’s Death’ scenario such as the Windsors faced about a century later. Francis Joseph was not beloved like the Shining Prince. And the mad grief of the people of the empire was not just over the top! It was dangerous!
Francis Joseph appeared unwilling or else unable to do anything as accusations of a Berlin hit raced throught Vienna. Francis Joseph could not admit to a destabilizing assassination of the People’s Prince even as the official spiel crashed on accusations and contradictions and exit wounds in right temples and rumors of horrible defensive wounds and poison and mysteriously civilian hand guns with all chambers previously discharged and Roll Commandos and key witnesses contradicting each other! Everything unraveling any attempt to package the military hit as anything other than officially sanctioned assassination!
Francis Joseph could not declare war on the all powerful Second Reich.
Nor could Francis Joseph sign that scary Entente with Wales to ally with Britain and France and Belgium against the Reich.
Francis Joseph was pathologically terrified of Bismarck.
Who wouldn’t be! And Francis Joseph was also pathologically terrified of Albrecht the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’. Who wouldn’t be!
Francis Joseph was even scared of Willy who grandstanded during his coronation as if an over the top warmonger after boasting at Queen Victoria’s jubilee that he intended to dissect Austro Hungary and confiscate the tasty parts for his Imperial Second Reich while tossing the dross to Russia to secure his rear flank. After France fell in the upcoming war Willy would not need Francis Joseph and his moldering empire anyway! Dissection time! And Francis Joseph mutely cowered. Even when Willy publically humiliated Francis Joseph in his own capital city! Francis Joseph mutely cowered.
Despite all of his blistering about contemptible ‘tailors’ (cowards or dishonorable curs) Francis Joseph was a coward. So how could Francis Joseph face down these people who were directly implicated in the assassination of his son?
And Albrecht prepared the military hit after preparing the paralegal star chamber court martial after Rudolph threatened to expose everyone’s sins at a public court marital which Albrecht could not rig. Albrecht’s Roll Commandos, aided and abetted by Five Prussians from Berlin, conducted the military hit. The Hofburg’s own liaison was Coburg. And Coburg presided over the actual hit itself.
And for the hit to happen Francis Joseph had to sign off on the death warrant per his beloved Red Book of Regulations to execute his own son.
And despite the famously early sentimental engagement dinner party at the Hofburg on the 29th, Francis Joseph did not change his mind and order Coburg to call off the hit which occurred shortly after midnight after Coburg took that one half hour commuter train from Vienna back to Mayerling. So what could Francis Joseph do? He was trapped!
Sure! The hit occurred premature to the actually date and time of 6:30 A.M. on the 30th. Sure! Sure! Apparently the hit went terribly, terribly wrong. Sure! Sure ! The hit went wrong despite the fact Francis Joseph promised Rudolph there would be a quid pro quo if Rudolph went quietly to his death at Mayerling and shot himself as an officer and a gentleman. Sure! Sure! In fact Rudolph was brutally murdered along with a bludgeoned Mary to garnish the Petri snuff scenario. Sure! Sure! Things did not quite go per plan. Sure! Sure! It was a tad embarrassing that he let Rudolph believe a quid pro quo that Francis Joseph could not deliver. Sure! Sure! It was a pity that Rudolph died thinking Francis Joseph lied to him to trick him into going to his death in Mayerling. Sure! Sure! By the time Rudolph reached Mayerling the place was surrounded by Roll Commandos so it was a death trap he could not escape then. Sure! Sure! After defying four powerful men for months Rudolph went to Mayerling as if a lamb to his slaughter because he trusted his father’s quid pro quo that he would be permitted to do the right thing and shoot himself as an officer and gentleman so his honor and reputation would be preserved. Sure! Sure! Mary’s bludgeoned corpse and Rudolph’s mangled body made the promise of a dignified ‘heart attack’ impossible to sell. Sure! Sure! Now Francis Joseph had to lie to his wife Sisi and order the Habsburgs to lie. Sure! Sure! Francis Joseph found himself trapped in a corner as Mayerling unraveled into a horrible embarrassment while a supposedly clean military hit turned into another von Holstein/Smutty Petri sordid death. Sure! Sure! But what else could Francis Joseph do now? He had to order Taaffe to lock all of the evidence exonerating Rudolph away in that metal box of his and peddle the sordid murder by madness! At least it was better than admitting the terrible truth that a Hofburg authorized military hit was highjacked into a porn and snuff assassination!The monarchy was at stake!
But post Kennedy’s Grassy Knoll isn’t a covet conspiracy to cover up a military hit (See Taaffe’s Metal Box) far more interesting? Personally, I think the Conspiracy to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle is far more intriguing.
Personally I find the real climax of the German Embassy Ball infinitely more tragic than that frosty five minute ambush of Crown Prince Rudolph and Crown Princess Stephanie by Mother and Daughter Vetsera which few ball goers even remembered except for Rudolph’s later protestation to the wife of the British Ambassador that Rudolph wished someone would do something about Mary’s embarrassing behavior.
More people remembered Francis Joseph suddenly walking across the ballroom where Rudolph stood pale after Francis Joseph apparently cut him. Father and son who only days before raised voices in the inner sanctum now whispered together. Then Rudolph took the gloved hand of his father and kissed it. The next day Rudolph prepared to go to Mayerling despite a full calendar of upcoming events and brief cases of work being carried to Mayerling. Bratfisch helping Rudolph to carry brief cases of work into Mayerling. Rudolph kissed MC goodbye before atypically drawing a sign of the cross on her teary face while saying ‘It must be so!’
‘The truth is even more serious than anything than anyone has ever said…..I couldn’t do otherwise. The Monarchy’s existence was in danger!’ Francis Joseph
‘I am going to be assassinated. I know too much!’ Rudolph
It’s not like they always say. ….It’s not a suicide’ Bratfisch
So why cling to a romantic murder suicide when Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe testified under oath that Edward Taaffe the last known guardian of the infamous metal box of Taaffe said Mayerling was a military hit? The General Staff was signed off on it. The Supreme Commander Albrecht was signed off on it. The chain of command all the way up to Francis Joseph was signed off on it. Prime Minister Taaffe told Francis Joseph after Mayerling the hit occurred (though Dr. Widerhofer only told Francis Joseph HOW the hit occurred 24 hours after Mayerling). Then Taaffe stopped all investigation into Mayerling and locked 99% of all of the evidence away in his metal box never to be seen again. Coburg who used his missing 24 hours of an nonexistent alibi to preside over the hit then presided over the unveiling of the hit. Von Slatin manufactured the romantic murder suicide as a back fire to ward of the Berlin version of sordid sexual murder while ordering Dr. Widerhofer to perjure himself repeatedly (including saying Mary was shot instead of bludgeoned and Rudolph’s exit wound was an entry wound and Rudolph sustained no other defensive wounds and was mad and dying of syphilis when Rudolph only had gonorrhea which is a minor STD compared to syphilis).
‘You tell me that Lord Salisbury is certain that poor Rudolph and that unfortunate girl were killed’ Wales to Queen Victoria.
John Ford once famously said that if faced with the choice between the truth and the myth people will always pick the myth. Mary is a myth completely unsupported by facts so of course everyone embraces the myth in movie after movie after movie! And now a ballet! And some romantic homage in Japan with a matinee star! Toss the dross of facts! Love the Myth of Mayerling! Except I don’t!
The Myth of Mayerling is a cynical lie to cover up an unraveling conspiracy to cover up the Crime of the Fin De Siecle! And I don’t like cynical lies used to cover up conspiracies. Mary and her madness was manipulated and then exploited by cynics to create a von Holstein /Smutty Petri snuff porn smear to befoul a military hit of an officer and a gentleman who was promised if he died quietly his honor and reputation would be saved .
Instead both his honor and his reputation were befouled by Mary’s Madness which was cynically exploited by ruthless men and women.
Those pesky facts keep me grounded on the grimmer truth too terrible to be revealed! A truth so terrible that even after Francis Joseph confessed to his heir Karl that he possessed evidence to exonerate Rudolph all that Karl later found was a drawer full of dusty old newspapers.
Francis Joseph took the secret of Mayerling to his grave and ordered the metal box of Taaffe to never ever be opened just as he ordered the Hofburg Archives to never ever release any of the supposed suicide notes —-ever! In short Francis Joseph conspired to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle.
What could be more terrible than calling his son a crazed drug addicted lunatic dying of syphilis who murdered Mary Vetsera and then cowered cravenly for 13 hours by her au natural corpse before cravenly shooting himself —- even as Albrecht quietly told minions that two Roll Commandos plus others executed Rudolph—– brutally? And the brutal military hit occurred well before 6:30 A.M. on January 30th and did not allow Rudolph the honorable way out.
Why create lies and then stand by those lies which destroyed the honor and reputation of his one and only son forever?
Because the only thing worse than the Lie Of Mayerling is the Truth Of Mayerling —- a truth that directly implicates Francis Joseph. And Mary’s bludgeoned corpse and cynically exploited madness and tragically deluded Love & Death is still being exploited today to cover up the terrible truth which implicates Francis Joseph.
And part of that terrible truth is that Crown Prince Rudolph was not allowed to do the right thing and shoot himself as an officer and gentleman in a quid pro quo so his honor and reputation would be preserved by the lie of a dignified ‘heart attack’. Rudolph did not die like an officer and a gentleman. Rudolph died prematurely and brutally and horribly and the Habsburgs have been officially repeating the Big Lie ever since even as they whisper the terrible truth…..
Rudolph the real man has been buried under the lies including the von Slatin lie of a romantic Romeo and Juliet Love & Death with Mary Vetsera. And that is the most terrible lie of all!
Rudolph never loved Mary. Rudolph was only bemused by Mary. Rudolph was only irritated by Mary. Rudolph was only exasperated by Mary. Rudolph was only embarrassed by Mary. Rudolph was only disturbed by Mary. Rudolph was only upset by Mary. Rudolph was only confused by Mary. Rudolph was only frightened by Mary. Rudolph was only threatened by Mary.
Absolutely no hard evidence exists he ever acknowledged Mary’s obsessive love and inability to take no for an answer other than comments of first bemusement , then dry irony, then irritation, then quips about ONE WAY TICKETS to Monte Carlo, then frigid Spanish Etiquette, then embarrassed comments to family members and the wife of the British Ambassador that he wished someone would do something about Mary and her increasingly unwanted and embarrassing attentions toward him.
His last known meeting with Mary before Mayerling lasted all of five minutes when Mother and Daughter Vetsera ambushed him to his acute embarrassment . Rudolph’s body was as stiff and formal as his Spanish Etiquette. This is not love. This is staking.
According to the social conventions of the time Mary and her mother were both behaving shockingly badly at the German Embassy Ball. No one who witnessed the five minute confrontation said it was love . It was offence. This climaxed months of both Vetseras extorting or trying to extort money with shake downs and blackmail schemes. Just before ambushing Rudolph and Stephanie the Vetseras actually tried to ambush Francis Joseph within sight of Sisi to extort money. The Vetsera clan was near bankruptcy and was desperate for money. Maybe poor Mary was already too mad to understand but Helen Vetsera knew exactly what she was doing even as she exploited her own child as blackmail.
Rudolph used no gifts from Mary and acknowledged only one gift of a cigarette case which he showed Coburg and others before either returning it or else tossing it. It was never found on him or in his possessions after his death. His few telegrams were frosty Spanish Etiquette. Mary’s evidence were love letters from Rudolph written in Mary’s own hand , junk, clippings, magazines, dross and toss. And Mary admitted her conduit to Rudolph was Larisch. Mary did not meet Rudolph at known Hofburg events and Rudolph dropped Wimpffen when Mary surfaced there. Wales and Rudolph deliberately walked past Mary at the race track. There is absolutely no evidence Rudolph even know Mary was in London.
Rudolph’s secretary and Bratfisch both confirmed that Mary invited her self to Mayerling and Mary was sleeping her way through Rudolph’s clique to get to Rudolph. The clique originally found Mary amusing until the psychology of stalking became dangerously obvious to them.
But Rudolph’s excessively busy calendar proves that the only possible time Rudolph and Mary could have met other than that late November ten minute meeting in his garret (during which Rudolph only confronted Larisch in the back room over Larisch’s extortion and pimping of Mary) was once in January before the ball. If then. Not seen. No evidence. Just Mary’s word.
And Rudolph’s gonorrhea, anxiety depression, PTSD, and concussion symptoms during this time all promote low libido, impotence, sterility, terrible headaches, blurry vision, ‘flattening’ of the senses, dizziness, suspiciousness, wary defensiveness, and exhaustion. The concussion symptoms, while receding according to the secretary, were still acute. Sex with a teenaged nymphomaniac would be the last thing on Rudolph’s mind. It would be beyond his concussed body .
Contrary to the Mary Myth, Rudolph was anything but a sexual stud. Quite the contrary. And there is only evidence of one bastard —- Jewish . Rudolph could only manage to breed one legal child in almost six years of trying with
Stephanie who had as strong a sexual drive as Rudolph did not. Rudolph had a penchant for Jewesses but Mary was not a Jewess. She might have been his half sister but Rudolph did not have a penchant for incest with blackmailing adventuresses savvy with extortion.
During November Rudolph’s job was reaching critical mass. The last thing Rudolph needed was this one unexpected ambush meeting with Larisch pimping a delusional girl right after being ambushed by Bismarck in a frightening wee hours of night surprise confrontation in his own parlor. Everyone agrees December was impossible. The only mysterious meeting was with Clemenceau.
And what would be on Rudolph’s mind in January would not be Mary .It would be the secret court martial and if his father really would sign off on that death warrant that Albrecht was aggressively pushing no less than Bismarck and Willy. Rudolph was between the rock of an Albrecht military hit and the hard place of von Holstein hit. Mary was the very last thing that would be on Rudolph’s mind. And the only proven January Meeting is the five minute Embassy Ball ambush meeting .
So the only evidence to prove this nonexistent affair of the Fin de Siecle is Mary’s own testimony and two proven meetings —-of unexpected and short duration in defiance of psychology STD and a concussion during a proven crisis involving his refusal to resign in the face of ultimatums of Albrecht, Bismarck, Willy, and Francis Joseph .
Consolation and sanctuary in the face of acute danger? Sure! Mary? Who did Rudolph choose to spend his last few hours of night in Vienna with? Mizzi Caspar. She was Rudolph’s consolation and sanctuary. Not Mary. And the trouble is there is evidence that Mary was mad.
After the autumn War Games the gun crisis zeroed into Spandau’s unexpected preproduction hiccups and teething pains with the revolutionary Commission Repeater Rife and prototype Spandau nitro full metal jacket bullet. As guns blew up Bismarck unleashed furious newspaper wars against Rudolph. A double agent told Rudolph’s contact in the ‘Nest of Viperss ie the townhouse of Wimpffen (who was murdered some two weeks after Mayerling) that von Holstein was manufacturing another ‘suicide’ garnished by sordid sex scandals frosted by forged suicide notes which destroyed other famous enemies of Bismarck. Bismarck famously boasted that ‘A far sighted policy must take into account all eventualities which lie within the realm of possibility ….. I have had singular good luck in seeing people who stood most in my way disappear at just the right time….’
In late November Bismarck took a secret train to confront Rudolph in the wee hours of night before storming away without getting what he came for.
After this Bismarck and von Holstein unleashing their minions to wage even shockingly vicious newspaper wars libeling Rudolph’s character and integrity and honor and reputation while Smutty Petri forgeries surfaced counterfeiting Rudolph old style of handwriting which recently had changed because of either hand injury or carpal tunnel pain which many Victorian writers complained from (Rudolph was an obsessive compulsive letter writer). Scotland Yard, Belgium Secret Services , and Paris Secret Services warned Vienna that Rudolph was all but unprotected amidst growing rumors of assassination.
Bismarck wanted Rudolph not only fired from his job but terminated. Why? Bismarck knew that Rudolph knew that Bismarck was stonewalling Spandau’s defective guns and ammo which were blowing up. Bismarck was lying to Willy even as plans to mass produce the guns were officially being signed by the deluded Willy. The first guns and ammo were to be handed out to soldiers on the Western Front with France in anticipation for a war in 89 or 90. The stonewalling had just become a criminal cover up. This is what was really happening in November of 88 which got Rudolph killed in January of 89. The person who visited Rudolph in the depths of night in November 88 which history should be remembering is Bismarck. Not Mary.
As international newspapers protested that Mayerling looked exactly like a von Holstein/Smutty Petri ‘hit’ the ordinary people of Austro Hungary rose up in rage and wild grief which resembled a prequel of the death of Diana around a century later. They loved their People’s Prince and refused to allow his name and honor to be trashed. The Hofburg apparently was allowing the patented von Holstein smear to befoul Rudolph to be unchallenged. Bismarck, every newspaper and privately every royal proclaimed, had yet again gotten away with murder. Brutal and sordid murder. No less than assassination. Assassination that left undisputed would destabilize or even topple the moldering Habsburg Monarchy.
And rumors of poison and a mysterious civilian revolver found at the scene with all of its chambers previously discharged and Roll Commandos engaged in mysterious maneuvers and mysterious Prussians posing as ‘hunters’ loitering at the front gates of Mayerling appeared to confirm rumors of something terrible involved with Rudolph’s job as Inspector General of Infantry. Despite Rudolph’s recent highly successful unveiling of ultra modern gunnery rumors whispered of mysterious run-ins with Supreme Commander Albrecht and Kaiser Wilhelm II and Bismarck over rumors of unexpected pre-production glitches of the Spandau modern gunnery being rushed into mass production. Glitches of ‘hiccups’ and ‘teething pains’ and even ‘guns blowing up’ which surely could not be true because Spandau was the best in the entire Industrial World. Surely!Surely! But now rumors swirled around Rudolph’s mysterious demise. Rumors linked Mayerling to Rudolph’s job of Inspector General of Infantry overseeing gunnery. Then swirling rumors linked Rudolph’s mysterious demise to the rumors about the jinxed ‘Jew’s musket’ at Spandau.
But the Hofburg assured everyone that what happened at Mayerling had absolutely not connection whatsoever with Rudolph’s job despite rumors which said he had been pressured to resign despite the highly successful roll out of Austro Hungarian gunnery because of something happening back at Spandau amidst rumors of a fast approaching war which Rudolph warned Spandau and the Imperial Second Reich were not ready to wage because of problems with gunnery which would dangerously impact Austro Hungary if it was dragged into a losing war lost because of bad guns. Whose bad guns? Spandau’s bad guns.
But the Hofburg assured everyone Mayerling had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Rudolph’s job as Inspector General of Infantry which oversaw gunnery. Clearly a distraction had to be manufactured fast!
Mayerling, the Hofburg explained, was entirely a romantic tragedy between Rudolph and Mary Vetsera instead of a collision between Rudolph and Bismarck and Albrecht. The only gun in dispute was the gun Rudolph used to shoot Mary and then himself. Mayerling had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any gunnery crisis.
And the Hofburg insisted that relations between Francis Joseph and his only son and heir had never ever been better despite rumors of a verbal run in only a week before Mayerling….
And two telegraphic memorandums from Francis Joseph to the Pope pleading for Catholic Burial for Rudolph in the official Hofburg Catholic Church did not help.
The Pope turned Francis Joseph down flat when he floated the murder/suicide/madness scenario. The Pope only agreed to Catholic Rites after the second much larger communication crafted by Galimberti and Count Esterhazy the Ambassador to the Vatican and co-signed off by Francis Joseph peddled an entirely different scenario: affair of state and not affair of the heart. Death. No murder/suicide. That also allowed Francis Joseph to later create the Nunnery of Mayerling for nuns to pray for a soul in torment and for a MAN WHO WAS KILLED.
The growing thousands of ordinary people rioted to see their People’s Prince libeled and besmirched. No Habsburg prince had traveled so much of the empire, met so many ordinary people, gave so many speeches, traveled so near and far, spoke to so many people in their own languages, and aspired to represent them while preaching of the coming of the Twentieth Century and that shining ‘Sea of Light’ . Rudolph was their Shining Prince who gave them hope for a brighter future than simply seeing their moldering old empire collapse from old age and hopelessness. Now their Shining Prince was dead. After promising such a bright future how could he give up on them and kill himself?
The growing thousands kept pouring into Vienna to mourn their Peoples’ Prince. They piled thousands of flowers and wept with the hysteria of mad grief. All while they demanded that the Catholic Church hold masses despite the official spiel that Rudolph murdered poor Mary before killing himself out of syphilis madness. They refused to believe that accusation as well.
They rioted before churches and all but rioted to see his embalmed corpse which was finally artfully arranged on a towering pedestal so high up no one could actually see the corpse to confirm or deny terrible rumors of foul murder.
Rumors of Rudolph’s entire right temple being shattered (exit wound) and other bullet wounds and bludgeoning by champagne bottles and missing fingers and an all but severed right wrist and other gruesome defense wounds circulated despite all attempts by the Hofburg to keep to the official spiel. Rumors of a crime scene that looked like something out of a battle fed the flames of rumor and then rage.
The people, thousands pouring into the capital city of Vienna, hundreds coming by every train, people of every race and religion and language and class, all mad with grief, all about to riot, all forced von Slatin to hastily manufacture a romantic double suicide by two tragically doomed lovers like something out of ‘Romero And Juliet.
The mobs decided to accept that. Slowly the wild grief abated and the vast mounds of flowers were swept away to the trash heap by the disgusted Hofburg. A month after Rudolph’s funeral Francis Joseph was jovially hunting again. Every evidence of Rudolph was removed from the Hofburg. While Sisi told confidents her son was murdered she did nothing about it. She roamed aimlessly after her Enzige Only One Valerie married to escape her mother’s clutches. Only Francis Joseph continued to pretend there was a functioning marriage.
Stephanie gave away or threw away everything Rudolph possessed. She was delighted when Bombelles died mysteriously. She turned Rudolph’s garret office into her office though she thereafter never used it because it reminded her of the man she always called ‘ugly’ and ‘repulsive’ who prevented her from achieving her one goal: to become Empress. She backdated the court pharmacy ledger to conceal something she signed out late in 88 which she did not want anyone to know about. Unfortunately her crude backdating featured her signature of ‘Crown Princess Widow Stephanie’ for that mysterious drug signed out in Nov/Dec of 88 pre Mayerling! Opps! And her lover Lonyay blabbed about Mayerling some 24-48 prior to Mayerling to a Catholic missionary in the middle of the Mediterranean. Opps!
Fortunately Taaffe called off the investigation into Mayerling two hours before it was slated to start and locked everything away in his infamous metal box. The rumors of other men beside Rudolph’s dying at Mayerling was declared not connected. Nor the death of Rudolph’s dog at Mayerling. Nor the Paramatta Steamer Mystery. Nor the backdating done by Stephanie . Nor the sudden deaths of Countess Wimpffen and the Mayerling cook. Nor the death of Count Bombelles who was Rudolph’s handler. Nor the terror of Latour who was Rudolph’s tutor and confidant frantically telling his son to burn every scrape of paper linking him to Rudolph. Nor how Bratfisch told Wodiczka that Rudolph was dead 90 minutes before the body was unveiled. Nor the Wolfe Brothers contradictions. Taaffe boasted how his wonderful metal box was big enough to contain every scape of evidence so Mayerling was firmly secured and locked down and locked away forever….
But a year later the antsy people almost rioted again when Catholic churches tried to refuse to conduct masses yet again. Like Windsor, the Hofburg survived by the collective skin of its teeth.
It survived by embracing the Myth of Mayerling as a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ doomed loved affair manufactured by von Slatin to ward off a sordid von Holstein/Smutty Petri manufactured ‘Venus In Furs’ sexually deranged murder suicide. It survived by embracing a red herring to distract everyone away form the obvious suspects and more obvious contradictions. Whatever you do, don’t look at Rudolph’s job! Don’t look at events happening from the War Games through the death of Mayerling and then the sudden aborting of the proposed war slated to occur in 89 or 90 after so many guns blew up Willy fired Bismarck. Just keep looking at Mary! Mary! And Love & Death!
Francis Joseph would later say ‘The truth is even more serious than anything than anyone has ever said’ and later confessed to his final heir Archduke Karl that ‘I couldn’t do otherwise. the monarchy’s very existence was in danger’. Francis Joseph assured Karl that evidence existed to exonerate Rudolph. Even while making sure Taaffe’s notorious metal box kept all evidence locked away from absolutely everyone forever.
So it is ironic that the Romeo and Juliet Romantic Love & Death Myth of Mayerling saved that old tyrant’s neck! So his minions kept promoting the Big Lie. If the power of the machinery of state just keep repeating the BIG LIE over and over and over soon everyone believes it. So today everyone believes the BIG LIE.
But after all of this time why not expose the truth at last?
It was all a lie invented by von Slatin to save Francis Joseph’s grip on power during the ‘People’s Prince’ Riots.
Then the Big Lie was used as the ultimate red herring in a murder mystery. Mayerling is not a TV romance . It is Poirot! Use your little grey cells and play CSI!
Too late naïve Karl and Zita opened the promised drawer where Francis Joseph swore evidence existed to exonerate Rudolph only to find naught but dusty old newspapers. The old tyrant lied to them the same way he lied to Rudolph that night during the German Embassy Ball and then later lied to Sisi and his children and later lied to the Habsburg Clan and later lied to his country and perhaps even himself. Too late the naïve young Karl and Zita understood the mysterious vision of the saintly Sister Catherine: ‘I saw it all. There is no need for me to come to Vienna. There would only be many confusing questions which I have no desire to answer. But tell the Emperor he may rest in peace in his grief. There is no need to deprive the Crown Prince’s unfortunate soul of Christian charity. Requiem masses may continue to be said for the peace of his soul. Tell the Emperor that his son did not commit suicide. He was murdered. It would have been easy enough for the Imperial Court to find the guilty person if it had wanted to do so.’
Mary’s Madness is a red herring no less than her delusion of love! Both conceal the truth rather than reveal the truth!
Mayerling is a conspiracy to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle! Play sleuth! Ignore Mary and look at everything the Hofburg told everyone NOT TO LOOK AT! Start with Rudolph’s job! Start with the Gun Crisis! Start with why Bismarck trained to confront Rudolph in the dead of night!
As for poor Mary. Today the best Mary Movie is ‘Play Misty For Me’! Today there are TV shows all about stalking. Stalking movie stars. Stalking ordinary people. Sting wrote a hit song about stalking. ‘Every breath you take’. Mary was a stalker. Erotomania is a famous mental illness. Everyone is so busy fobbing off Rudolph’s mental illnesses they ignore Mary’s. The most dangerous nutter was Mary. Think about it.
Mary went to Mayerling sans luggage or overnight case or fancy night gown for a midnight rendezvous or underwear or a lady’s maid. Back then that would be shocking behavior. Even a romantic rendezvous required all of the above! Mary could not even get out of her skin tight couture and corset without the help of the only female there that night: the suborned cook who was then murdered to silence her role in the conspiracy. The cook who also had keys to unlock the normally locked back staircase so Mary could escape her cage in the Stephanie Suite and arrange herself on top of the made bed in Rudolph’s bedroom for her spectacular death scene.
Mary planned an one way ticket to Mayerling. Mary planned it to be her suicide. Mary had talked about suicide for months. Her spectacular suicide. Their spectacular suicide. Love & Death.
Meanwhile Rudolph calendered endless future events and worked nonstop up to the final hours of his life and left a note in the out box pleading for more time from his publisher for that pesky academic article (for which he asked his secretary to find more research books and train to Mayerling to deliver those books). All the while Mary planned her death.
While Rudolph bellowed off telegrams to that poor Magyar in Budapest who botched up the defense bill and demanded he train to Vienna to meet Rudolph so Rudolph could meet him in Vienna to personally bellow at him, Mary planned her death.
While Mary brought nothing but madness, poison and a gun to Mayerling, Rudolph brought desperate hope for a reprieve and brief cases of work, so much work that Bratfisch had to help Rudolph carry briefcases of work into his improvised office at Mayerling.
While Rudolph faced a military hit by January 30th at 6:30 A.M. he waited for Coburg to come back from Vienna just in case his executioner changed his mind. Rudolph wanted to live. He agreed to die as an officer and gentleman to save his honor and reputation in a quid pro quo with Francis Joseph. But Rudolph wanted to live. And when Rudolph realized that the quid pro quo was a lie he desperately fought off two Roll Commandos while sustaining terrible defensive wounds before being brutally murdered. Rudolph died fighting. Meanwhile Mary just arranged herself au natural on that made bed to prepare for her death scene. Mary wanted to die. Rudolph wanted to live.
All of the rumors of his suicidal thoughts were suspiciously backdated post Mayerling. After all, if a crown prince is really talking about suicide wouldn’t the secret police and Hofburg spies and court doctors and family members try to stop it? NO ONE DID. NO ONE? NO ONE! Pleaaasssse! That is backdated doctoring of events retroactive to Mayerling like Stephanie’s crude backdating of the court pharmacy ledger.
The secretary to Rudolph later recalled a happy midnight symposium party in Rudolph’s garret for all of Rudolph’s guy friends just before going to visit MC one last time. Fritsche said everyone who attended later said Rudolph was not suicidal. Fritsche said the same thing. Rudolph wanted to live. Rudolph’s last letter in the Mayerling out box pleading for more time to finish that pesky academic article was so Freudian! Despite everything , Rudolph wanted to live.
Rudolph did suffer from anxiety depression and PTSD and OCD but his self harm was mostly a struggle against his urges. Cutting and talking about death is a cry for help! If absolutely no one (other than MC) contacted authorities and offered to help Rudolph then either the Hofburg and Secret Service were the most grossly incompetent pair of organizations in the Fin De Siecle or else backdated rumors of ‘suicide’ were manufactured post Mayerling to cover up a confirmed military hit.
A suicide does not work on a military defense bill about German as the command language up to his final hours while hauling brief cases of work to Mayerling unless he hoped to live. Not die. Live!So his life and death was not in his control. His life and death were in the control of Albrecht and Bismarck and Willy who wanted him dead and Francis Joseph who might possibly change his mind and save his son’s life. Compare Mary’s determination to make Mayerling her last act with Rudolph’s determination to work up to almost the last moment with the hope that Francis Joseph would change his mind and let him live.
And the final kicker to Mary’s determination to embrace Love & Death while Rudolph struggled with desperate hope to live is this: Hoyos gibbered out stuff about Mary threatening to take poison or taking poison or waving poison. Stephanie’s poison. And where did that mysterious civilian gun appear from? The gun found tossed on Rudolph’s side table with all six chambers ‘previously discharged’? Rudolph was proud of his guns and had a fetish for guns. Guns under his pillow. Guns in his overcoats. Guns everywhere. Military guns. Where did that civilian gun come from? And how did it discharge all six bullets?
Obviously Mary brought the poison which Stephanie signed out of that court pharmacy ledger and then passed to Larisch to pass to Mary. Just as obviously Wimpffen or else Larisch gave Mary the gun.
Mary’s choice of items to bring to Mayerling? Luggage? No. Overnight Case? No. Romantic nightgown? No. Lady’s Maid? No. Knickers? No. A gun and poison. Mary planned to die at Mayering and she tried to kill the object of her obsession: Rudolph. All six chambers were discharged. Mary certainly did try! Sooner or later that is what all stalkers are compelled to do. Kill the thing they love. Obsessive Love turned to Murderous Hatred.
Mary failed of course. But the von Holstein/Smutty Petri Victorian Porn and Snuff Plot did not require Mary’s success on her terms. They always planned on success on their terms: Rudolph brutally murdered in a sordid sex porn and snuff plot. A manufactured sex scandal garnished by Mary’s bludgeoned corpse au natural to justify a ‘suicide’ frosted by forged suicide notes. The entire sordid 13 hour cowering cravenly by bludgeoned Mary au natural corpse scenario. Willy probably asked Coburg to ratchet up the scandal. Willy wanted his birthday present. Why else celebrate his birthday in Vienna just before Mayerling? Why else did Coburg and the two Roll Commando ‘Reds’ decide to highjack a straight forward military hit? Willy wanted Rudolph not only dead but destroyed. Mary’s Madness was the perfect von Holstein/Smutty Petri garnish to dress (or undress) the crime scene.
Unfortunately Willy’s request for Coburg to ratchet up the shock and horror messed up the carefully calibrated von Holstein assassination so the result was a mass of contradictions and forgeries of birdy calls that clash with 13 hours cowering cravenly by Mary’s bludgeoned side etc etc etc.
Albrecht probably just planned a straight forward military hit. But his choice of Reds to do the hit derailed the hit as well. ‘Reds’ hate ‘Blues’ and The Reds who volunteered probably brought their own agenda of revenge to the crime scene. But Albrecht probably did not care that Rudolph was brutally executed. Rudolph was a traitor in senile Albrecht’s all but blind eyes.
Traitors are not officers and gentlemen who are entitled to preserve their honor and reputation even if they agree to do the right thing. Despite Francis Joseph’s offer of a quid pro quo, no one really planned to allow Rudolph the option of a dignified death with his honor and reputation saved. Too many players wanted Rudolph brutally killed and his honor and reputation utterly destroyed. Once the crime was done Francis Joseph would have no choice but to go along with the conspiracy to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle. He would be too implicated not to.
What cynical and brutal men did not anticipate was that in the face of popular hysteria von Statin would manufacture a perfectly ludicrous Romero and Juliet Love & Death scenario which the grief stricken mobs would embrace!
So a gun crisis spawn a flurry of ultimatums for Rudolph to resign —
–which Rudolph stubbornly refused to do —
— which led to threats of a court martial —
— where Rudolph threatened to spill the beans about the sins of four powerful men —
— which led to a star chamber court martial —
— which led to a death warrant —
— while Stephanie signed out poison —
— while Francis Joseph stalled signing the death warrant as Rudolph stubbornly dug in his heels —
— which led to a final ultimatum of Albrecht setting January 30th at 6:30 A.M. —
— which Francis Joseph finally reluctantly signed after offering Rudolph a quid pro quo —
— which after months of defiance Rudolph agreed to —
–possibly because Florian Meissner was increasingly threatening MC —
— which von Holstein’s alternate scenario rendered moot —
— which led to Rudolph willingly entering his site of execution: Mayerling —
— as Mary and her Madness was delivered to Mayerling —
— which was surrounded by Roll Commandos —
— with Coburg The Sinister as the house guest and executioner —
— which the famously early Hofburg dinner failed to mellow Francis Joseph enough to change his mind —
— which sent Coburg back to Mayerling around midnight —
–where he met the Roll Commandos assigned to do the hit —
–while Mayerling was infiltrated by the suborned cook who was aiding and abetting the von Holstein plot by undressing and uncaging Mary —
— while Hoyos played Chopin —
— while Rudolph waited for the final decision for either his life or death with dignity —
— which neither Coburg or the Roll Reds intended to offer him —
— which resulted in a straight forward military hit turning into a von Holstein/Smutty Petri porn & snuff crime scene —
— which Bratfisch had to turn into a suicide crime scene by gritting his teeth as Loschek wept hysterically and Hoyos cowered by entering that battle field of blood and gore in order to LOCK THE DOOR FROM THE INSIDE before exiting from the ground level windows to go to the stable to prepare the horses to rush Hoyos to the train station 90 minutes later —
–which accidently caused Bratfisch to blurt out that Rudolph was already dead —
— which led to Coburg materializing to unveil the Crime of the Fin de Siecle at 8:30 A.M. after executing the Crime of the Fin de Siecle around midnight —
— which led to Taaffe’s metal box —
— which led to von Slatin desperately concocting the Romantic Love & Death farce —
–which caused Stephanie to crudely backdate the court pharmacy ledger in 89 for the poison she signed out in 88–
–while the saintly Nun Catherine dryly replied that of course Rudolph was murdered and anyone who really wanted to know the truth could find the truth so very easily if they really wanted to —
–which led to Francis Joseph spending the rest of his life covering up with lies after lies after lies after lies all the way to his grave.
Let’s junk the lies! All of them! The Big Lie and the small lies! All of the lies! Mary was a victim. Just not the victim people think. Mary’s madness was exploited. She was unable to kill Rudolph but her madness aided and abetted his death and destruction. Rudolph died fighting. MC spent the rest of her life mourning. Bismarck was fired by Willy. Bad men and worse women got away with foul murder. And Mayerling was murder!