Maximilian and Charlotte of Mexico - Vol. 1

Excerpt

Of all the tragedies in history there is scarce one which has so deeply excited the sympathy of the world as that of the ill-fated Emperor and Empress of Mexico. Their experiences, their efforts and their hopes, their battles and their sufferings, transcend the fate of any other pair of human beings. They are, as it were, the incarnation of that human type ever reappearing under various forms in innumerable individual destinies, which, urged on by an inward fire, by ambition, love of action, and a thirst for honour and glory, strives after things which lie far beyond its powers, far beyond any possibility of attainment by any force or energy at its command. The efforts of such people to take heaven by storm must end in their own ruin; but the world is interested in their destiny, which exalts it even while moving it to pity.

The Emperor Maximilian listened only to the hot blood of his ancestors coursing through his veins. His glowing ambition conjured up fantastic dreams in his soul, and he conceived an idea, Utopian and yet great, the realization of which he attempted, as it were, in the spirit of an amateur, and believed to be possible, if only by reason of his exalted birth and high position in the world. Thus he...

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