ROYAL LOVE TRAGEDY.
A WOMAN'S REVENGE.
The whole of Vienna and the Court circles of Austria and Germany are now ringing with a love tragedy that, recalls the death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and the Baroness Marie Vetsera, says, a, Buda Pesth correspondent writing in "Lloyd's Weekly." Tho victims are Prince Leopold of Coburg and the beautiful daughter of an Austrian officer, Court* Councillor Itybicska. It is another chapter in the terrible history of Austrian Court life; for the father of tho unfortunate Prince Leopold is Prince Philip of Coburg, who is an Austrian general, while Prince Leopold is a captain in an Austrian Hussar regiment. It is a case of a Royal, Prince deeply in love with a lady of high social standing, but below him in rank, and unable, owing to the stringent German Royal family laiw, of marrying tho woman of his choice. The woman lies dead, and the Prince is injured for life, and may even die, at the hands of the woman lie devotedly loved.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.
The circumstances are pathetically simple. The Prince, who is only thirtyseven years of age, met at a social function somo two and a-half years ago Mile. Lotte Rybicska, who, as the daughter of an officer in the- Vienna State Police, moved in high social circles, iin-d immediately fell in lovo with her. The attraction was mutual ; the girl became devoted to him and hung on his every word. The Prince, being fully acquainted with the inexorable German law against matrimonial arrangements beyond the Royal circle, could not have contemplated marrying Mile. Rybicska; for it must have been quite ■evident to him that the Royal family would not .. give its consent to such an alliance. She was, however,- young —only twenty years old—inexperienced, and Prince Leopold sticceeded in persuading her that in a short time lie would be in a position to overcome any difficulties the family might present. With this plea he succeeded in inducing her to leave her home. The family .scene- w*as pathetic in the extreme. Her sisters— tall, beautiful girls, with all the charm of the- Austrian aristocracy—pleaded with her, but in vain. She insisted on leaving her'home with the Prince, and, after a few weeks' travelling in the country, took apartments with the Prince in another pert of the city.
BELIEF IN THE PRINCE.
She was of a very determined character, and would never allow anyone to interfere with her plans. Moreover, she herself regarded the. prospects of ultimately becoming the bride of her Royal lover as certain. As she explained to. her mother at the time, she was quite confident that in time her influence over the Prince would be strong enough to allow her to achieve her aims of marrying Prince Leopold, in whose devotion she had the strongest possible belief. She knew she was; sacrificing her social position. She was willing to do it. She was certain of becoming the wife of the nian she loved, and she was prepared to sacrifice honour, position, family pride, and future prospects, well understanding that once leaving her home in such a way her father would never allow her to return. The story, of the tragedy begins on ! Tuesday, October 14th. On that day Mile. Rybicska, who was living in a flat !in Marokkaner Street, Vienna, gave 1 permission to her servants io go out, and told them not to return until eight o'clock in the evening. She was expecting her Royal lovor. She had asked him to come and see her at five o'clock. At this hour he arrived in his motor car, telling his chauffeur to return at a quarter to seven.
A fow minutes before six,a soldier passing the house heard revolver shots from the Hat on the ground floor. It startle^ him. H© entered the house, and called tho attention of tho porter to it. They both hurried up- tho steps of the flat, to find that fill tho doors were locked. . They knocked at one of the doors. A faint voice answered :— "Fetch a locksmith; the keys are. missing." A locksmith arrived, and the porter and the ■.-oldier entered. A terrible scene met their eyos. The Prince was seen lying on the floor with four bullet wounds in his body; ono had pierced his lungs. He was holding a handkerchief to his eyes, and was murmuring: "I have been blinded! I have been blinded!"- Mile. Rybicska was Hdng in a big armchair, head thrown backwards, evidently dead. By this time the Prince's -motor car had arrived. He was1 carried down to it, and taken to hospital, where it was found that in addition to dangerous bullet wounds, he was suffering from the effects of vitriol thrown in his- face. One of his eyes had to be removed and the other was discovered to. be dangerously injured.
ORDERED TO THE FRONT
What passed between the- two previous to the. tragedy lias not yet been .ascertained',, for the Prince was unable to give an account of what happened. Yet the story may be reconstructed from facts that were known to many. Prince Leopold had been ordered to the front, and the girl had been urging him to arrange the marriage before he^left. The Prince hlad tried his best to 'get the consent of his father. All his entreaties -were of no avail. . Despairing of acknowledgment of Mile. Rybicska as his wife,'ho offered her half a million kronen as recompense. She disdainfully refused. In Viennese society everybody knew of the intimate relations between the Prince and Mile. Rybicska, and they also knew that the Prince loved the girl very deeply and sincerely. The girl was never seen alone anywhere. When walking in the street her maid always followed her. She went with the Prince on all his travels, and, as & matter of fact, the tragedy is regarded in Viennese social circles as the outcome of a brutal family struggle against tho / natural inclinations of the Prince, who is not accused of any disloyalty -towards the girl. The blame is being placed on Prince Philip of Coburg, the father, who would rather see his son blind, and even dead^ than happy with the girl he loved.
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