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A Bohemian Evening

Padraig Rua

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Anna König, a Bohemian aristocrat, was hosting a party in her family estate. She had been looking forward to this event for quite some time. Her drawing-room was gradually filling. The highest of Bohemian Society was assembled there. People differing widely in age and character, but alike in the social circle which they belonged.

Various important figures were present such as, Herzog(Duke) Richter of Liberec, Fürst(Prince) Neumann of Reichenberg, Gräfin(Countess) Krause of Eger and many other members of the Bohemian aristocracy. The Kaisers brother Erzherzog(Archduke) Ludwig was also present.

To each new arrival Anna König said [i]'You have not yet seen my father,'[/i] or [i]'You do not know my father?'[/i] and very gravely conducted him or her to a old but strong looking gentleman, wearing a old uniform which had not been seen since the time of Austro-Hungary. Anna König's father was quite old and had once been a member of one of the various, old, aristocratic families of Austria-Hungary. He had fought in World War 1 and took pride in his uniform, from a bygone era. Anna would slowly turn her eyes from the visitor to her father, mention each one's name and then leave.

Anna's old father would talk to the visitors, commenting on his health and the health of the Kaiser. Each visitor, though politeness prevent his showing impatience, left the old man with a sense of relief having performed a vexatious duty and did not return to him the hole evening.

One of the arrivals was a stout, heavily built young man with close cropped hair, wearing a dark suit. This stout young man was the illegitimate son of Erzherzog Ludwig. The young man had not yet entered military or civil service, and had only just returned from abroad where he had been educated, and this was his first appearance in society. His name was Hans. Anna König greeted him with a simple but effective nod of her head. But all of a sudden she became alarmed, Hans had not approached her father.

[i]'It is very good of you, Herr Hans, to come and visit a poor invalid,'[/i] said Anna, exchanging an alarmed glance with her father as she conducted him to her. Hans murmured something unintelligible, and approached with Anna to her father. Anna was right to be alarmed. Hans shook the hand of Anna's father and turned away without waiting to hear the speech about his Majesty's health.

Anna now kept a close watch on Hans as she resumed her duties as hostess and continued to listen and watch, ready to help at any point where a conversation might happen to flag, which was quite some effort due to the multiple conversations occurring in the drawing-room.

Edited by Chancellor Patrick
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Anna König's reception was in full swing. Chatter hummed steadily and ceaselessly on all sides. Even Anna König's old father was engaged in conversation with a group of older aristocrat's, sometimes even attracting younger members with his intriguing stories of the 'old days'. The whole company had settled into three groups. One, chiefly masculine, had formed round Herzog Richter. Another, of young people, was grouped round Erzherzog Ludwig, and the beautiful Anna König. The third group was gathered round Herr Hans.

The Erzherzog was a nice-looking young man with soft features and polished manners, who evidently considered himself a celebrity, due to his claim to the throne, but out of politeness placed himself at the disposal of the circle in which he found himself. Anna König was obviously serving him up as a treat to her guests. Just as a clever maitre d'hotel serves up a special choice delicacy.

The group about Herr Hans immediately began discussing Bohemia's position in Europe. He mentioned the recent civil war, and the surprising re-emergence of Fascism in Europe. After engaging in a long drawn-out talk on the civil war, Hans changed the subject to the relevance of Bohemian Monarchy. The outcome of the discussion was in favor of the Monarchy, but Hans had stated that the connection with the Austrian Hapsburg's was dangerous, and unpredictable.

Anna König had begun discussing in her circle, with Erzherzog Ludwig, the murder of the Herzog Schneider of Aussig. Anna claimed the Herzog perished due to his own magnanimity, and that there were particular reasons he was killed.

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[i]'And what do you think about the latest tragedy, the war between Germany and Austria?'[/i] asked Anna König, [i]'and of the rather amusing rumors of the Austrian Empress and the Chinese Imperator having a child? Adorable! It is enough to make one's head whirl! It is as if the whole word has gone crazy.'[/i] Erzherzog Ludwig smiled at Anna König and said [i]'And I am supposed to be related to such a family? Adorable is right. If my brother was wise, he would break the connection with those 'open' Austrians.'[/i] Ludwig took a sip of his drink and finished his statement by saying [i]'Bohemians are Bohemians, Germans are Germans, and Austrians are Austrians, not some Austro-Sino race.'[/i]

[i]'Just think of it! An Asian on the Austrian throne!'[/i] shouted Anna König's father, after overhearing his daughters conversation. [i]'Such acts would be intolerable during the old days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Kaiser would have had none of it! The same goes for the aristocracy!'[/i] The members of Anna König's father's group agreed with his statement.[i]'To modern is this world!'[/i] shouted one man 'To tolerable' shouted another. They then returned to their own conversation with bursts of laughter.

[i]'I grow tired of this discussion, speak of something else. What of the feud between Germany and Austria? Brothers against Brothers, or should I say Chinese against Germans!'[/i] chuckled Ludwig, as the rest of the circle joined in with laughter. [i]'Surely the sheer might of Germany will bring only victory, and nothing less'[/i] spoke Fürst Neumann of Reichenberg. [i]'Yes but overwhelming numbers, or perhaps determined resistance will bring success for the Austrians'[/i] said Anna König. [i]'Perhaps but my favor is with Germany'[/i] said Neumann.

Edited by Chancellor Patrick
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