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In cold iiistory the. war between Austria and Servia will be set down as the sequel to a foul murder. With equal sincerity persons other than historians might attribute both crime and campaign to «i woman's curse. Uttered against him when lie was a hoy, the tragic misfortunes of the Krnperor Franz Joseph have fulfilled the curse to the letter. Only one particular remains, the culmination, as it were, and that this will be forthcoming during the present war is far from being a remote contingency. Consequently, taken in conjunction with what nas already happened, the whole affair has a very special significance at the present juncture. It was iu the year 1849—the year that witnessed the repression and absorption of Hungary—that the curse was uttered. Its author was the Countess Karolyi. whose husband had been one of the victims of Austrian ferocity. Her imprecation ran thus: May Heaven blast his happiness! May his family be exterminated ! May his children be brought to ruin! May he perish miserably, and brokenhearted I When this terrible malison was launched the subject of it' was only 19 years old, and had been but a brief year on the throne. For a considerable time afterwards there seemed little indication of its dreadful desires being realised, but once tragedy did step in, sorrow after sorrov% was poured upon the. stricken monarch. Riyht and left violent death or insanity robbed him of kith and kin. until, half a. century after the curse had been delivered, the old man was left practically alone. Here is only a partial list of the terrible happenings that have shadowed his life :

Emperor Maximilian, brother—shot in j Mexico. Crown Prince Rudolph, son and heir—committed suicide. Empress Elizabeth, wife—assassinated. Count Ludwig de Irani, brother-in-law—committed suicide. Ludwig 11. of Bavaria, cousin—committed suicide. Duchesse d'Aleneon, sister-in-law—-burned to death. Archduke Carl Ludwig, brother—died. Archduke Charles Louis, brother—-di-d. fit to of Bavaria, cousin—went mad. Princess Marie Charlotte, cousin—went mad. Archduke John, nephew --disappeared at sea. Archduke Francis Ferdinand, nephew —assassinated. Formidable as is the above list—and it is by no means complete-—it Rives only one phase of the Emperor's afflictions. His matrimonial and domestic affairs have always been a source of great unliappiness to him. And thereby hangs, not a tale, but a sort of weft woven by Fate and the almanac Perhaps, too. the curse had a hand in the weaving, but that by the way. The Emperor was born in the year 1830, and the Empress Elizabeth in 1837. By setting down the figures in either rear, and adding to them the sum of the other set. in each case the total is the same — 1849. Thus: Year Emperor born. Year Empress born. 1830 1837 1 1 8 8 3 3 7 0 1849 1849 Sow, as already stated, 1849 was the year in which Hungary was crushed, and that in which Countess Karolyi uttered her curse. Eighteen years later, in 1867, the Austrian Emperor and Empress were crowned King and Queen of Hungary. Note the result of adding these years in I similar fashion to the previous example: 186,7 1867 1 1 8 8 6 47 9 1839 1889 In 1889 fell what was perhaps the heaviest blow of all upon, the unhappy Emperor, the death by suicide of his son and heir Rudolph. Of course, the chronology may be purely coincidental, though rather more than curious. But the really strange part of the matter is that, in the same manner, nearly every one of the above-quoted tragedies can he connected up. Moreover, the same remarJcable connections can be made by going backward as well as coming forward in dates. How is it all to end? Will the war fulfil the curse, and leave the aged Emperor broken-hearted ? Time alone must tell, though it might be hinted that more than one coincidence in near approaching dates can be made after th» manner above indicated.

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CURSE OR COINCIDENCE?, Issue 15633, 26 October 1914

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CURSE OR COINCIDENCE? Issue 15633, 26 October 1914

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