Elizabeth, Empress of Austria

Elizabeth, Empress of Austria

Elizabeth, Empress of Austria

Elizabeth, Empress of Austria

Excerpt

My purpose in the present work has been to draw a picture, based upon none but genuine, trustworthy, and hitherto unpublished material, of a woman about whom one of her ladies in waiting, the Landgravine von Fürstenberg, once said: "Neither chisel nor brush can depict her as she really was, or that something about her which had such power to attract and captivate, for it was a thing peculiar to herself. She will live on in legend, not in history . . ."

In these pages my aim has been to bring her forth from the realms of legend into the full light of history, while always endeavoring to keep wholly to the truth. I need hardly insist that I have abstained alike from disparaging criticism and from the "byzantine" adulation of former days. Even when it has been necessary to touch upon delicate subjects, the figures of the Emperor and Empress can stand the full light of truth, and require neither indulgence nor servility. Frau von Ferenczy, a faithful servant of the Empress, was quite right when, in the course of an interview years after the revolution, she said to Hofrat Julian Weiss: "Let all the archives be thrown open! The result will only redound to the honor of the dynasty which is now so often unjustly attacked."

The record of every human creature must contain both light and shadow. In the present work they have been apportioned as my conscience and knowledge of the subject have dictated When a human life does not turn out successfully, its tragedy lies in the frustration of good intentions. It is may to judge such lives, but we must try to understand them.

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