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manner and heroic postures, especially as he was inclined to sarcasm, which such behaviour could not fail to evoke. He had few friends in his immediate entourage, but found full compensation for this lack within his family circle. He set little store by popularity, less than was wise in a future ruler; and a regrettable pettiness in regard to matters of economy helped still further to make him disliked and to draw upon him the reproach of miserliness. Moreover, his positively morbid passion for the chase, or rather for killing, was not calculated to embellish that portrait of him formed in the public mind, the sinister tones of which, displaying not a single sympathetic feature, were in urgent need of a redeeming ray of light.
Although the general public did not trouble very much about him, because he was too far removed from them, certain officials at the Court and in the Government looked forward to his accession with great anxiety, for they knew that, even during the Emperor's lifetime, a strong breeze blew from Belvedere; what would happen, therefore, when the Emperor was dead and the Belvedere breeze could wander unhindered among the Court and State officials and sweep away the antiquated wigs! Not a few of these officials had already had a foretaste of what was to come. personages whose position might have been regarded as unassailable had experienced the weight of Franz Ferdinand's displeasure. Such was Baron Beck, for many years Chief of Staff, who was in high favour with the Emperor, but had been obliged to give way to Conrad, in whom he had placed absolute confidence. This trial of strength proved conclusively that Franz Ferdinand had sufficient courage and strength to show his disapproval even of those whose persons the Emperor's favour had apparently rendered sacred, if they appeared to him to be incapable of filling their office. The Minister of War, General von Schönaich, also felt the weight of his hand when he coquetted too flagrantly with the Magyars over the Army question. The same fate had already overtaken Count Goluchowski, Aehrenthal's predecessor at the Ballplatz.
Very few people had an intimate knowledge of the Archduke, but these few, although aware of the darker
side of his character, knew his good qualities also, were able to estimate his importance correctly. On these good qualities, and one which would have beer special value to him in the future as ruler, was his like of sycophants and flatterers, who merely strengthe his contempt for men. On the other hand, he could b sharp criticism from those whom he esteemed-th number, it is true, was not great-and, if he T offended at the time, he bore them no grudge for it. contrast to other great personages, he was in the ha of going to the root of matters and did not conte himself with a superficial knowledge; this characterist though praiseworthy, was nevertheless extremely inco venient to his courtiers. Thus, should some event ha aroused in him a desire for information on any questio scientific or otherwise, the lot of the officer on military staff concerned with such matters, and on who this difficult task fell, was not an easy one; for he had acquaint himself as thoroughly and quickly as possib with the subject so as to be able to satisfy his master any point. To deceive him, as other people in hig places are often deceived, was quite out of the question and he who ventured to attempt it inevitably brough about his own downfall. Again, contrary to the usua custom of princes, he required his officials to tell hin not only what was pleasant, but the truth, even if it wer disagreeable and not at all flattering to himself.*
* I may give, from my own experience, a small example of th characteristic of the Archduke's. When he was nearing his fiftieth birth day (Dec. 18, 1913), the editor of the 'Oesterreichische Rundschau,' Baro Chlumecky, a first-rate publicist who was in great favour with the Arch duke, decided to publish a special number in his honour for the occasion In this number Franz Ferdinand's personality was to be shown from various sides, from that of a soldier, promoter of the Navy, patron of Art sportsman, etc. Each of these sections was to be written by a differen author, after the consent of the Archduke had been obtained, for no on would venture upon such an undertaking without his knowledge. These articles were to be prefaced by a biography, and the Archduke decided of his own accord that I was to write it, although my name had not appeared in the list of suggested authors laid before him. This in itself was evidence of an independent judgment unusual in a prince; but the reason which guided his choice was still more significant. Shortly before this I had published, at the request of the firm of Cotta, an article on the Archduke for their new journal 'Der Greif,' which was not by any means in the customary Byzantine manner, but which had met with his approval for this very reason. For the purpose of carrying out this work a number of
When the Emperor Franz Josef became so seriously ill in the spring of 1914 that, in view of his great age, the worst was feared, many at the Vienna Court, in Hungary, and in all the extreme national strongholds of the Monarchy, must have trembled, not because of their affection for the Emperor, but because of their fear of his heir, in whom they recognised their most powerful opponent. Other hearts must have beat high with hope because at last the Habsburg throne was to be occupied by the man who alone was capable of saving from destruction the Empire now rocking on its foundations. But their wish was not destined to be fulfilled; the Emperor recovered, and Franz Ferdinand's enemies could breathe again.
During those critical spring days the hour of the Monarchy had struck; Franz Josef's life signified Franz Ferdinand's death. If Franz Josef had died then, instead of two years later, his successor would probably not have gone to Serajevo and would not have been assassinated there; the world war, if inevitable, would have broken out at another time and under different conditions; and the Habsburg Empire might still have been in existence to-day. These are, it is true, fruitless speculations after the event; but they may well be correct, for it is quite probable that, if Franz Ferdinand had ascended the throne he would have endeavoured to arrive at an understanding with Russia, and he would have made a special effort to be on friendly terms with England, for which country he had a special affection and to which he had paid a protracted visit not long before his death. The murderer of Franz Ferdinand did not know that he had killed a man who not only was no enemy to Serbia, but was also one who, when on the
albums at Belvedere were placed at my disposal, in which all the references to the Archduke which had appeared in the papers since the year 1895 had been collected and pasted. Among these-and this is the significant point -were included those in which mention was made of the miserliness of himself and his wife, and even one, from a French newspaper, in which he was described as a crétin. It is obvious that the officials entrusted with the collection of these cuttings would never have dared to show him any of such a nature if they had not had strict orders to include every mention of him, even the most insulting.
It is questionable whether Franz Ferdinand would have escaped his fate in any case. His name had long been on the death-list, not only of the actual conspirators but also on that of the continental Freemasons.
throne, would have restored their rights to the South Slavs. But he did know that in striking him he stru at Austria, for Franz Ferdinand was the embodiment the idea of the Austrian State.
III. KARL THE FIRST AND LAST.
When Archduke Karl, son of Archduke Otto, younger brother of Franz Ferdinand, found hims unexpectedly, through the assassination of the latter, the position of heir apparent, he scarcely realised t difficulty and magnitude of the task which presuma awaited him in the near future, and entered upon office to all appearances without misgiving. All I portraits of this period and of the period immediate following his accession wear a contented, smiling e pression, showing clearly how pleased he was with new and exalted dignity, and how little, in spite of t terrible war which raged around him and shook kingdom to its deepest foundations, he felt as yet t burden he had taken upon his shoulders. Not so mu his youth as the easy-going temperament inherited fro his father prevented him from realising the immen difficulties of his task and the fearful possibilities of b situation. If he is to be blamed at all for this lack perception, a great part of the responsibility must fa on those who encouraged him in his optimism by fooli him with Byzantine flatteries and concealing the dange which threatened him on every side. He was greet with enthusiasm wherever he appeared; and those wh read the daily papers and considered them worthy credence must have thought the young Emperor and b wife the most popular royal couple under the sun. Th Byzantine cult reached its climax on the occasion Karl's coronation as King of Hungary, which w staged with a display of magnificence worthy of th Middle Ages, and, in the 20th century, had the effe of a provoking anachronism, which, moreover, was positive mockery of the terrible gravity of the situatio at that time.* The young Emperor and his conso
As a matter of interest it may be mentioned that the Byzanti manner was extended even to the menu cards for the banquet, whi furnished remarkable examples of servility and bombast.
were the centre of orgies of servility. If he had not possessed so modest and unassuming a nature, these endless panegyrics, these stifling clouds of incense must have completely stupefied him and deluded him into the idea that he was an omnipotent and omniscient being. He was even glorified as a great general, at the expense of the real generals who had carried out the successful offensive in South Tirol in May 1916.
If, in these circumstances, it might almost be called a miracle that the young sovereign did not give way to crazy dreams of his own greatness, it was quite natural, nevertheless, that he should cherish pleasing illusions as to the position of himself and his kingdom, and that he should be quite unable to realise how closely disaster was dogging his footsteps. The glamour of the celebrations, however, was quickly followed by cruel disillusionment; and only a few months later, in the spring of 1917, he knew that his country would not be able to bear the strain of the war much longer, and that the time was approaching when peace would have to be considered, whether it was to be a victorious' peace or not.
When Count Czernin had explained to him the gravity of the situation, he made it clear to the Emperor Wilhelm that Austria-Hungary could only hold out until the autumn of the year 1917. Full of anxious fears for his throne and Empire, no doubt he would have preferred to conclude peace with the Entente at once, especially since co-operation with Germany was growing increasingly difficult to him. He, too, experienced the well-known Prussian arrogance and quarrelsomeness, which must have wounded his self-conceit all the more because, though not naturally excessive, it had become sensitive from constant flattery. He felt most bitterly of all the subordination of the joint armies in the East to the command of Hindenburg and Ludendorff. It can readily be understood, therefore, that he was anxious to be delivered as soon as possible from this oppressive and insulting tutelage.
This state of mind furnishes the explanation of his letters to his brother-in-law Prince Sixtus of Parma, the publication of which were to do him so much harm and to cause Germany to reproach him with treachery. A storm of resentment passed through Austria and