What a marvelous chapter of marital infelicities

What a marvelous chapter of marital infelicities is that furnished by the royal houses of Tuscany and Saxony ! It would seem as though the furies of a perverse misfortune had been let loose upon these unhappy grandees who would surely be willing enough to exchange their high estate for the lot of any farm laborer living in a cottage “where love is.”

The Archduke Leopold Salvator of Tuscany and the former Crown Princess of Saxony are brother and sister. It is now a long time ago, but the society world still finds occasion for a wondering gossip in the unaccountable whim of the Archduke Leopold in deliberately sacrificing his position in order to marry Wilhelmina Adamovics, a vaudeville actress who certainly had a lovely face but very little else that could recommend her to a royal lover. The archduke became Leopold Wolfling and then found that he had made the mistake of his life. Wilhelmina Adamovics is today a wretched maniac in the asylum of Steinhof.

She was of course mad from the beginning. All the world knew that as soon as it knew anything at all about her. Her vagaries in search of the “simple life” became the talk of Europe, for any life less deserving of such a description it would be hard to imagine. She became a vegetarian and nothing would satisfy her but that her husband should do the same. There are different kinds of vegetarians, but Wilhelmina belonged to the extremist section, and she dragged her husband through a career of dietetic absurdities that would ruin the digestion of a healthy shark. The poor man submitted, as men have always done and always will do. Then Wilhelmina determined to throw in her lot with the colony of ascetics at Ascona, in Switzerland, and once more and for a time she persuaded her wretched husband to follow her. Common rumor speaks in whispers about the eccentricities of these people. They are said to include a costume similar to that adopted by the parents of the human race immediately after the fall. Then came the revolt of Leopold, after entreaties and persuasions had failed. He left the colony and his wife, and instituted successful divorce proceedings, soon afterwards marrying again. And now Wilhelmina is in a lunatic asylum. She is still a vegetarian and she wears a costume that is at least ample, but that is far from picturesque. She neither bathes nor combs her hair, and she varies a mood of sulky silence with maniacal outbreaks of rage against her former husband and against the restraints of the asylum. And this is the theatrical star who was once the idol of great audiences and who charmed the heart of an archduke. Assuredly nature gives us all that we ask for – at a price. There is no human ambition that is beyond human attainment – on conditions. The contemptuous gods will give us all that we ask for, absolutely without limit, and if in our greedy haste to snatch at the gift we have no time to glance at the price label, that is our affair and not theirs.

Erschienen in: The Argonaut (San Francisco), 62. Jahrg., 9. Mai 1908, Nr. 1524, S. 316. Online: What a marvelous chapter of marital infelicities.