A Novel by Jon Presco
When Rudolph Stuttmeister stepped off the Herman on to Manhattan Island, he said a prayer for his Revolutionary Brothers who lost their battle against the Habsburg army. While in Chile, he read about the exploits of his friend, Jane Digby, and was surprised when her carriage came to a halt at the gangplank before he sailed to the Americas. There was a new German colony there. Jane turned over her daughter to the good Doctor’s care.
“Please Rudolph, take my daughter with you to Chile. She is not safe anywhere in Europe!”
Rudolph and his young son, Victor, took in the most beautiful young woman they had ever seen. She was nineteen. She had the most striking blues eyes that she inherited from both her parents. These eyes were the foundation of their bond.
“What is your name?” Rudolph asked as he watched Jane’s carriage speed off to catch a ship to Syria. She was in love again.
“Didi. My best friends prefer to call me this. You may do so because your saved my mother’s life when you delivered me.”
Doctor Rudolph took Didi’s hand, but not before he saw his mortal enemy lurking within. Prince Felix Schwarzenberg had a run in with Rudolph at the University of Berlin when they were eighteen years of age. It was a bitter pill to swallow to stand by helpless as Felix undid all the great things the Revolution of 1848 achieved. The Stuttemiesters fled to all parts of the globe, after the Prince had identified this family as being cladestine leaders of the Bohemian Blues, who at first were known by their blue caps and Mensur scars.
This scarring was a serious case of boys being boys, until a group of young women from Vienna demanded they be admitted. The scarring disappeared, replaced by a seriousness that affected the mood of many young Germans who tried to be copycats. These beautiful women administered a scar to their souls. They made them a new breed of men who were on a mission that requited them to be good lovers, the very best. Prince Felix chose Rudolph to fence with because he was attending the new medical university. The Prince was afraid of bleeding to death.
“Did you bring bandages Herr Doctor?”
“My bandages are reserved for those wounded in love!”
to be continued
Dueling scars (German: Schmisse) have been seen as a “badge of honour” since as early as 1825. Known variously as “Mensur scars”, “the bragging scar“, “smite“, “Schmitte” or “Renommierschmiss“, dueling scars were popular amongst upper-class Austrians and Germans involved in academic fencing at the start of the 20th century. Being a practice amongst university students, it was seen as a mark of their class and honour, due to the status of dueling societies at German and Austrian universities at the time, and is an early example of scarification in European society. The practice of duelling and the associated scars was also present to some extent in the German military.
American tourists visiting Germany in the late 19th century were shocked to see the students, generally with their Studentcorps, at major German universities such as Heidelberg, Bonn, or Jena with facial scars – some older, some more recent, and some still wrapped in bandages.
At age forty-six, Digby traveled to the Middle East, and fell in love with Sheik Medjuel el Mezrab. (The sheik’s name has also been spelled as “Mijwal al Mezrab” and as “Mijwal al-Musrab.” Twentieth-century sources sometimes incorrectly report it as “Abdul Medjuel el Mezrab.”) Medjuel was a sheik of the Mezrab section of the Sba’a, a sub-tribe of “the great Anizzah tribe of Syria.” He was twenty years her junior. The two were married under Muslim law and she took the name Jane Elizabeth Digby el Mezrab. Their marriage was a happy one and lasted until her death twenty-eight years later. It has been written[by whom?] that Jane Digby was referred to as Shaikhah Umm al-Laban (literally sheikha mother of milk) due to the colour of her skin.
Digby adopted Arab dress and learned Arabic in addition to the other eight languages in which she was fluent. Half of each year was spent in the nomadic style, living in goat-hair tents in the desert, while the rest was enjoyed in a palatial villa that she had built in Damascus. She spent the rest of her life in the city, where she befriended Richard and Isabel Burton while the former was serving as the British consul, and Abd al-Kader al-Jazairi, a prominent exiled leader of the Algerian revolution.
Pamela Beryl Harriman (née Digby; 20 March 1920 – 5 February 1997), also known as Pamela Churchill Harriman, was an English-born American political activist for the Democratic Party, diplomat, and socialite. She married three important and powerful men, her first husband being Randolph Churchill, the son of prime minister Winston Churchill. Her only child, Winston Churchill, was named after his famous grandfather.
Beside two additional marriages, Pamela Harriman had numerous affairs with men of prominence and wealth. During her marriage to Randolph Churchill, she had romantic involvements with men such as: W. Averell Harriman, who much later became her third husband; Edward R. Murrow; and John Hay “Jock” Whitney. Notable consorts after her divorce included Prince Aly Khan, Alfonso de Portago, Gianni Agnelli, and Baron Elie de Rothschild.
Considered promiscuous for her times, Digby was first married to Edward Law, 2nd Baron Ellenborough (later Earl of Ellenborough), who became Governor General of India, on 15 October 1824. They had one son, Arthur Dudley Law (15 February 1828 – 1 February 1830), who died in infancy.
After affairs with her maternal cousin, Colonel George Anson, and Prince Felix Schwarzenberg, she was divorced from Lord Ellenborough in 1830 by an act of Parliament. This caused considerable scandal at the time. Digby had two children with Felix; Mathilde “Didi” (born 12 November 1829 Basel and raised by Felix’s sister) and Felix (born December 1830 Paris) who died just a few weeks after his birth. The affair with Felix ended shortly after the death of their son.
Literary bohemians were associated in the French imagination with roving Romani people (called Bohémiens because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia), outsiders apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. The term carries a connotation of arcane enlightenment (the opposite of Philistines), and carries a less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity.
The title character in Carmen (1876), a French opera set in the Spanish city of Seville, is referred to as a “bohémienne” in Meilhac and Halévy’s libretto. Her signature aria declares love itself to be a “gypsy child” (enfant de Bohême), going where it pleases and obeying no laws.
The term bohemian has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits …. A Bohemian is simply an artist or “littérateur” who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art.— Westminster Review, 1862 )
Felix was born at Český Krumlov Castle (German: Böhmisch Krumau) in Bohemia, the second son of Prince Joseph of Schwarzenberg (1769–1833) and his wife Pauline of Arenberg. The House of Schwarzenberg was one of the most influential Bohemian noble families; his elder brother Prince Johann Adolf II of Schwarzenberg later initiated the building of the Emperor Franz Joseph Railway line from Vienna to Plzeň (Pilsen), while Felix’ younger brother Frederick became Archbishop of Salzburg in 1835 and Archbishop of Prague in 1849.
The nephew of Prince Karl Philipp of Schwarzenberg (1771–1820), commander of the Austrian armies in the last phases of the Napoleonic wars, Schwarzenberg after a short military interlude entered the diplomatic service, where he became a protégé of State Chancellor Prince Klemens von Metternich and served in several Austrian embassies at Saint Petersburg, London, Paris, Turin, and Naples. During his time as a London attaché in 1828 he had an affair with Jane Digby, whom he deserted after causing her then-husband – Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough – to divorce her, and making her pregnant. This episode led to the nickname of “Prince of Cadland” being applied to him in London.
Upon the outbreak of the 1848 Revolutions, he rushed to the Austrian Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia to join Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky defeating the Italian rebel forces of King Charles Albert of Sardinia in Milan. For his role as a close advisor to Radetzky, as well as his status as brother-in-law to Marshal Prince Alfred of Windisch-Grätz, who had suppressed the Czech “Whitsun Riot” in Prague and the Vienna Uprising in October, Schwarzenberg was appointed Austrian minister-president—the sixth within a year—and foreign minister on 21 November 1848. In these offices, which he both held until his premature death, his first step was to secure the replacement of incapacitated Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria by his nephew Francis Joseph. After heir presumptive Archduke Franz Karl had renounced the succession, Ferdinand abdicated in Olomouc on December 2.
Schwarzenberg formed a new government with conservative politicians like Interior Minister Count Franz von Stadion but also liberal allies like Baron Alexander von Bach, Karl Ludwig von Bruck and Anton von Schmerling as well as the Bohemian federalist Education Minister Count Leopold von Thun und Hohenstein. Learning from Metternich’s fate, Schwarzenberg was determined not only to fight, but overcome revolution. Against the perceptions in the Frankfurt Parliament concerning the German question, he advocated the idea of an Austrian-German federation, including all Austrian crown lands in and outside the German Confederation. He delegitimized the Frankfurt assembly by recalling the Austrian delegates and preempted the federalist ideas of the Austrian Kremsier Parliament with the promulgation of the March Constitution in 1849.
Together with the new Emperor, Schwarzenberg called in the Imperial Russian Army to help suppress the Hungarian revolt, and thus give Austria free rein to attempt to thwart Prussia‘s drive to dominate Germany. He undid democratic reforms and re-established monarchist control in Austria, with the 1849 March Constitution that transformed the Habsburg Empire into a unitary, centralized state. In matters of German dualism, he was able to impose the Punctation of Olmütz on Prussia, forcing it to abandon, for the moment, its plan of unifying Germany under its own auspices, and to acquiesce in the reformation of the old German Confederation. At the same time his government initiated substantial administrative, juridical, and educational reforms.
Schwarzenberg died in office at Vienna, suffering a stroke in the early evening of Monday, April 5, 1852.
Mathilde von Schwarzenberg (Selden)
Basel, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
Belec, Općina Zlatar, Krapinsko-zagorska županija, Croatia
|Immediate Family:||Daughter of Prince Felix Johann von Schwarzenberg and Jane Elizabeth Digby
Wife of Baron Bieschin Bieschin
Mother of Baroness Jane Bieschin; Mathilde Elisabeth Maria Von Bieschin; Maria Ludmila Mathilde Von Bieschin and Karl Otto Von Und Zu Schwarzenberg
Half sister of Arthur Dudley Law; Freiherr Fillipo Antonio Herberto von Venningen-Ullner; Bertha Von Venningen; Graf John Henry Theotoky and Felipo Antonio Herberto Digby
|Added by:||George J. Homs on April 19, 2012|
|Managed by:||Jelena Paunović and George J. Hom|