They've tried to get me
now, but I can't figure out how it was administered. I've attended no diplomatic buffets or met with political dissidents; I cook at home most of the time or dine with trusted friends. But shortly after arriving at and attending to Court matters I had a dizzy spell and nearly collapsed on a poor houseboy. (The rumors of my chasing him TO collapse upon him are scurrilous lies.)
Since I had not even had morning tea, my suspicions immediately fell on the cab driver. I always make a quick assessment of the drivers; is he Haitian and I'm likely to be listening to someone in Port-au-Prince ranting or an aging hippie I might get an interesting local bit of lore from, and so on. Today's was Russian and I usually like to bandy my limited memories of it from high school, but I was tired and simply gave him the address.
Who knows how that Bolshevik administered the polonium to me, perhaps a small, undetectable mist as I opened the door to leave or the touch of hands (though mine were gloved) in the giving of a tip. I remember the poison-tipped umbrella in the New York subway in the 80's.
And the reason? It is obvious. I was about to write about a superb twist in the fates of History and throw my well-regarded opinion in favor of Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, great granddaughter of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
When Franz Ferdinand insisted marrying the noble but not royal, Sophie Chotek (pictured here), his angry father,Franz Josef, put forth a series of humiliating rules. Sophie could never be an Arch-Duchess and none of their children could inherit any of the Hapsburg royal titles; they were essentially banished and bullied. She had to enter state functions at the very end of the line, she could never sit with her husband at the opera or the theatre or even during a carriage ride in the Vienna Woods. Her husband could not ever write "My wife" in his letters.
Oddly, it never affected their love for each other. Since they could never live in any of the royal residences, they chose to live a much less regulated and happy life outside of the Imperial Family. Casual pictures of them at home show a warm and loving family. In June of 1914 they were both shot dead riding in an open car in Sarajevo; her husband's last words were, "Sophie, please live for the children." The Hapsburgs made their funeral as humiliating as possible: a fifteen minute service unattended by the family and their caskets shipped in a milk train to a private vault, However the foolish and thoroughly unprepared Austrians used the event to start World War I, and the deaths of about 20 million people.
Great granddaughter Sophie just filed a petition for the return of Konopiste Castle near Benesov, Bohemia, it's furnishings, and all surrounding lands because
when the Austrian government confiscated the royal properties of The Hapsburgs that castle was owned by her decidedly non-royal great grandmother. And, in a "what comes around, goes around" type of thing, maybe Sophie Chotek won't feel so humiliated, finally.
I managed to get of my telegram supporting the claim before I collapsed and was taken home in Ditmar's armored carriage where I proceed to vomit all day. Radiation poisoning is not a pretty way to go; those Russians will stop at nothing. On the other hand, since I'm feeling a little sassy right now, maybe it was just the hangover.