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All for Love by Dan Jacobson

By Dan Jacobson

She used to be a princess, daughter of probably the main hated king in Europe. He was once only a lowly hussar. Their love affair in turn-of-the-century Vienna used to be to scandalize a continent. the tale of Princess Louise of Belgium and Géza Mattachich, stepson of a minor Croatian count number, begun without greater than an exchanged look in a park. but the princess and her soldier, divided via wealth and standing, pursued their devotion to each other via scandal, destroy, insanity and imprisonment. Dan Jacobson's great imagining of this forgotten episode of the Hapsburg courtroom brings to existence one of many century's nice love tales.

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He gestured with his head. ‘Dad runs the carriages for the Balcombes. ’ ‘Me neither. ’ She nodded. ’ ‘That’s good. ’ ‘Why not? ’ Gracie leaned her cheek against the horse’s neck. ’ ‘Boney gets to know everyone. ’ When he laughed, his eyes disappeared and his crinkly hair danced as if it were on springs. ‘I talk to Toby too,’ said Gracie. ‘I bet he hasn’t given you a key to his precious garden. ’ So Bonaparte wasn’t a thief! ‘Toby trusts him,’ said Gilbert. ’ ‘Toby says no. It’s too long since he was brought here as a slave.

34 Gracie & the Emperor-pp 31/3/03 3:13 PM Page 35 Five Though Gracie’s work didn’t start until 8 o’clock, she chose to walk to The Briars each afternoon in daylight. Most evenings, she came upon the Malay gardener finishing his day’s work near the grape arbour. He was careful to lock the gate into his vegetable garden. Nobody was allowed there without his consent. This day she found him tending his special patch of lawn. A chair stood beside the crown in the grass. ‘Boney sit here,’ he told Gracie.

And you can walk miles and miles through bluebell woods,’ said Hester. ’ ‘A ... ’ Jess stared at Hester. ’ ‘My mother tells me. ’ She glanced at Gracie and a shadow flicked across her eyes. ‘I’m sorry. ’ ‘It’s all right. My mother never lived in a place like that. ’ Gracie pushed damp hair out of her eyes and turned her face to the sea. 48 Gracie & the Emperor-pp 31/3/03 3:13 PM Page 49 ‘In Mother’s village, there were swans, and houses with thatched roofs,’ said Peggy. She saw the puzzle in Gracie’s eyes.

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