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ther he had been again consigned. When Louis succeeded to his estates, he found them so deeply mortgaged that he abandoned them, and emigrated to North America, where he still is (or very lately was) residing, and thus disappears from the more important part of our narrative. Maximilian, who was his mother's favourite, as he grew older gave strong evidence of a violent and vicious temper. His lawless and abandoned pursuits raised frequent altercation between mother and son, which eventually led to his resolution also to quit home for North America. This occurred in the year 1844.
From the inquiries entered upon by the judicial authorities (who turned themselves occasionally into a psychological committee), they inferred that this son Maximilian was not naturally positively vicious and wicked, but that he had a strong predisposition to cultivate low and vulgar companionship, by which he was led into criminal pursuits. His career, from the time he left his home, is represented as being very eventful and errant, and in a certain sense romantic; but it need not be narrated, except, so far as it led him to become acquainted in America with a Creole woman, possessed neither of birth nor wealth, whom he married, and by whom he had a son. She exercised on the whole a beneficial influence over him, and he became more domestic in his habits. He returned home, after a considerable interval, with his wife and child—and a certain Richard Meyer accompanied them as a friend and companion. This person was, after the murder of the princess, sent back at the instance and through the agency of Maximilian, "probably to prevent him being summoned to give evidence of what he had seen and knew of the doings at the residence." The princess welcomed kindly her son, his wife and child, on their return home; and for two years nothing remarkable transpired in the relationship between the different members of the household; but, after the expiration of that time, the old stain showed itself, and a fresh scandal was exposed to view. It appeared that this Prince Maximilian Sulkowski, when on his travels, was always accompanied by a page of the name of Baron Gustavus-who, in fact, was a girl in male
costume, and who, thus disguised, was introduced into his mother's house by the prince. When his wife discovered what was going on, it produced scenes of grief and indignation, and eventually an estrangement between husband and wife. The poor wife soon fell a victim to her grief, or-as suggested to the minds of the judges, from the fact of certain talk current about poison, and a supposed subsequent confession on the part of the prince— was destroyed by the hands of her own husband. After her death, however, all restraint seems to have been lost over Maximilian-he surrendered himself to an utterly dissolute life, plunged into debt deeper and deeper, and extorted violently from his mother, who was often too weak to refuse, her own money, property, and valuables.
Although Prince Maximilian resided at his mother's castle, he had, however, made a sort of establishment for himself, consisting of the lowest characters, male and female, who resorted to his quarters clandestinely. He had appropriated an out-building of the castle for his own use-one side of which stretched towards the river (Przmsa), the other to the mansion. It is to be observed that none of these low associates were Poles.
Besides the Richard Meyer, whom we have before mentioned, certain others should be named who were important persons in this vile household. One named Passy, a sort of master of the household-cunning and sharp in nature—was put in great trust by the prince. Another was Flora Tschaskalek, who was in 1847 his reigning favourite. She was sister-in-law to one Joseph Franke, the treasurer, who plays a very important part in this drama-being suitable thereto, in that he seems to have been a great adept in villany and roguery, which his personal appearance moreover bore out. He, too, stood high in his master's confidence.
Having introduced these worthies to the reader's notice, we may relieve him of further bearing the "Baron Gustavus" in memory. The poor girl-neglected, insulted, and flogged by
VOL. VIII. NO. XV.
her former protector, Maximilian-in a moment of desperation shot herself.
During all this time the wretched man was harassing his mother to obtain money. Twice had the unnatural son raised his hand against his mother to overcome her reluctance to impoverish herself to supply his vices. The interference of third parties alone prevented him on this occasion from murdering his mother; and on a third occasion he had levelled a loaded weapon at her, when Passy interfered and saved her life. But now began consultations, as it is believed, and plans were laid, for the successful and immediate destruction of the aged mother. Poison was provided from Vienna with this object; but the princess received information, and took precautions as to her food. In the presence of Passy (who strove afterwards to deny what he had on one occasion admitted), the prince lamented his mother's still living. Flora suggested in reply, that he should get some one to put her out of the way; and the conspiracy to effect this object was now begun to be projected, Franke being active therein. On one evening in February, 1848, the princess was attacked by two persons, but managed by great effort to escape, and, help arriving, her life this time was saved.
At the end of the month, Prince Maximilian travelled to Vienna and staid there; so too, Franke had, a few weeks before, procured a passport, and arranged to travel to Austria. The former actually did depart to Vienna, the latter only feigned it.
On the 3rd of March, 1848, about nine o'clock, the princess was in her bed-chamber. With her was her lady of the chamber, Rosalie Reindel by name, and her adopted daughter Julia Welzig. The princess feeling unwell, was retiring thus early to bed, though the window-shutters were not yet closed, and one Polizer (the factor on the estate) having completed some business with her, had just quitted her presence. Rosalie was placing her mistress's shawls in the wardrobe, whilst Julie had retired for the moment out of the room. At the princess's request, Rosalie was about to close the shutters when a flash was seen at the window, and the poor princess, who was standing in the middle of the
room, exclaimed, "I am killed!" Rosalie rushed to support her; felt the warm blood trickling, and screamed for help. The first who answered her screams was Gerstenberg, the secretary, and Polizer. They found the princess dying. "This has my son Max done," she said. When reminded that he was not at home, she replied with great distinctness, "Yes, he has threatened me;" and in less than an hour from the time of the shot being fired, she was dead. On the post mortem examination, it appeared that two bullets had penetrated the right shoulder-blade in an upward direction, and passed through the neck and upper portions of the breast, wounding the lung. Both bullets were found near the stove, but widely apart from each other.
Now, it is to be observed, that the window through which the shot passed was too high to admit of any one firing into the room unless he had raised himself on a stool, or something of the like nature. One hole only being made in the window (although two balls were fired), proved, to those experienced in fire-arms, that it was one piece which had been fired, and that its mouth was close to the sash. Although rumour confidently affirmed that the murderer was, as the princess had said, her son, yet it was clearly demonstrated that he was at the time present in Vienna, nor could he personally have clandestinely crossed the frontier; yet the authorities were "morally certain " that he was the originator of the murder. But the revolutionary period already referred to had set in, and the extraordinary condition of affairs interfered with the usual order of proceedings and investigations. Max Sulkowski mingled in the vehement political movement of the day, joining the revolutionary party at Vienna, and acting with them during the eventful period extending from March to October, 1848. On the 6th of October, however, during the siege of Vienna, he was killed at one of the barricades by a cannon-ball striking his head—at least, this was believed to have been so. A corpse was there found, which a Dr. Mankowski and Flora Tschaskalek (who had accompanied Max to Vienna) identified as that of Max Sulkowski; but only by the clothes, for the countenance had been destroyed by the wound. Dr. Mankowski,
however, affirmed, that on the very day—viz., the 6th of October, he met Max in the street, who said "I am, indeed, glad to see you; I must now confess that I am the real cause of my mother's death. I have no more peace or desire of life. I am responsible, too, for my wife's death, and that of Augusta (Baron Gustavus). Protect my son.'
Over this piece of evidence, which, if true, was conclusive, some doubt appears to hang. While, on the one hand, the scene of danger and horror on which Max Sulkowski was entering, might have extorted from him the above confession whilst he contemplated his immediate violent death in the bloody conflict then raging in the streets; yet, on the other, the demeanour of the witness was not altogether satisfactory, and a suspicion had sprung up that the prince was really still living, and that it was part of a conspiracy to put his clothes on the body of one whose features could not be recognized. Nevertheless, the inquiry would probably have dropped; and it would have been assumed, in default of fresh evidence, that the chief miscreant was dead, had not other circumstances arisen in connection with it which reopened the investigation.
It had so happened that, two days after the murder, a gun was found in the river close by the castle; and in the bushes, also hard by, was discovered a common block, which would have been adapted for raising any one to the level of the window through which the fatal shot was fired. On the very same day occurred an incident very curious, both in itself and in relation to the criminal jurisprudence of the locality to which our story relates. It came to the knowledge of the authorities-how will be presently explained-that Charles Obst, formerly a saddler, but now a "navvy," was proceeding along a road, accompanied by a woman named Dziedzitz, towards a neighbouring village; on the way they turned into a dram-shop, where the talk naturally was of nothing but the murder, and the gun which had been just found. The woman says she observed her companion hereupon grow dumb, "perhaps turn pale," appear uncomfortable, and leave the place earlier than they had arranged. Very different from