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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, September 11, 1898, Image 1

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Terrible Deed Con)n)itted
by an Italian at Geneva,
One of the Most Popular and Be
loved Women in Europe Ruth
lessly Cut Down by an
GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 10.— The Empress of
Austria was assassinated near the Hotel Beaurivage this
afternoon by an anarchist named Luigi Laochini, who
was arrested. He stabbed her Majesty with an instru
ment supposed to be a triangular file.
It appears that her Majesty was walking from her
hotel to the landing place of the steamer at about 1
o'clock when an Italian anarchist suddenly approached
and stabbed her to the heart. The Empress fell, got up
again and was carried to the steamer unconscious.
The boat started, but seeing the Empress had not recov
ered consciousness the captain returned and the Em
press was carried to tne notei tseaurivage, where she
The stretcher upon which the Em- |
pr'-M whp carried to the hotel was hast- \
ily improvised with oars and sail cloth. I
Doctors and priests were immediately '
summoned and a telegram was sent to
Emperor Francis Joseph.
All efforts to revive her Majesty were
unavailing, and she expired at 3 o'clock. ;
The rrjedtcal examination shows that ,
the assassin must have us%d a small ,
triangular file. The wound was just
over the left breast. There was hardly
any bleeding.
Aft^r striking the blow he ran along
the Rue dcs Alpes, with the evident in
tention of entering the Square Les
Alpes, but before reaching it he was
seized by two cabmen who had wit
nessed the crime. They handed him
over to a boatman and a gendarme,
who conveyed him to the police sta
The prisoner made no resistance. He
even sang as he walked along, saying,
"I diil it," and "She must be dead."
At the police station he declared that
he was a •starving anarchist, with no
hatred for the poor, but only for the
Later, when taken to the courthouse
and interrogated by a magistrate in
the presence of three members of the
local government and the police offi
cials, he pretended not to know French,
ar.d refused to answer questioi.s. The
police, on searching him, lound a docu
ment showing his name to be Luigi
Laochinl, born in Paris in 1874, and an
Italian soldier.
A great crowd quickly assembled
around the Hotel Beaurivage, where
the officials proceeded after interrogat
ing the prisoner. The police searched
the scene of the crime for- the weapon
and the accomplices of the assassin.
It appears that a boatman noticed
three persons closely following the Em
press, who was making purchases in
the shops.
The local government, immediately
on receiving the news of her Majeßty's
death, half-masted the flag on the
Hotel de Ville, the municipal office, and
proceeded in a body to the Hotel Beau
rivage as a token of respect. The shops
on the Kursaal were closed.
The assassin told the magistrate that
he came to Geneva In order to assassi
nate "another important person," but
h; d been unable to execute the project.
The reason of his failure he did not
give, but he declared that it was only
by accident he had learned of the pres
ence of the Austrian Empress in Ge
The assassin, on being interrogated
by the magistrate, said he came to
Geneva with the intention of killing
the Due d'Orleans, but the latter had
already left. He foKowed the Due to
Evian, about 25 miles north of Geneva,
on the lake, where he was again un
successful. He then returned to Gene
va and learned of the arrival of the
Empress. Yesterday he dogged her
footsteps, but found no opportunity to
carry out his purpone, though he
watched the Hotel Beaurivage all day.
This afternoon about half past 1
o'clock, he said, he saw the valet of the
Empress leaving the hotel and going
toward the landing. He inferred from
this that the Empress "vas going to
take the steamboat and he hid him
self behind a tree on the quay with the
knife concealed in his rigkt hand. In
v f*w minutes the Empress, accompa
nied by her lady of honor, appeared
and the assassin struck the knife home.
Urn coalesced that he has jeen an an
The San Francisco Call
archlst since he was 13 years of age.
"If all anarchists did their duty as
I have done mine," he said, "bourgeoise
society would soon disappear."
He admitted that he" knew the crime
was useless, but said he committed It
for "the sake of example.''
In spite ' of minute searching, the
weapon of the murderer has not been
found. Dense crowds still surround
the Hotel Beaurivage this evening.
BERNE, Switzerland, Sept. 10.—An
other account of the assassination of
the Empress of Austria says: After
having been stabbed from behind the
Empress rose and walked on board the
steamer, where she fell fainting. The
captain did not wish to put off from the
quay, but did so at the request of the
Empress and her suite, there being no
apprehension that she was seriously
hurt. The steamer was turned back,
however, before it reached the open
lake, and the Empress, unconscious,
was carried to the hotel on a stretcher.
The Empress had been stopping at the
Hotel Beaurivage for several days.
The President of Switzerland , and
other members of the Government were
stunned with horror and grief when the
news reached the palace that the Em
press, so beloved by all Europeans, had
fallen a victim to an assassin within
the borders of their country. They im
mediately arranged to hold an extraor
dinary Federal Council on Sunday
morning in order to consider the meas
ures to take against the assassin.
The latter must be tried according to
the statutes of the Canton, which for-
bid capital punishment, and makes life
Imprisonment the most severe penalty
which can be imposed. When the Aus
trian Minister, Count Kuerfstein, was
Informed of the tragedy, he hurried to
the palace and was met with expres
sions of the utmost sympathy. So soon
as a special train could be arranged the
Minister started for Geneva, accom
panied by the Deputy Prosecutor Gen
eral, who took up the case at once, his
chief being on a vacation. He will hold
a preliminary inquiry at Geneva to
night or as soon as possible, and re
turn to-morrow in order to report to
the federal council.
The federal authorities had been in
formed of the visit of the Empress,
and they notified the Governors of the
Canton the Empress expected to visit,
instructing them to take special po
lice measures for her comfort and safe
ty if it appeared necessary. They were
not notified of her Majesty's intention
to visit Geneva, nor were the local of
ficials there aware of her presence, as
she was traveling incognito. The po
lice are not blamed, though the circum
stances responsible for the lack of pre
cautions are widely regretted. All
Switzerland is profoundly stirred with
sorrow and indignation. The papers in
all the cities have printed extra edi
tions expressing horror of the crime.
VIENNA, Sept. 10.— The news of the
assassination became known here
shortly before 6 o'clock. It spread like
lightning. The streets were suddenly
filled with multitudes of people, many
of them becoming impassable for vehi
Extra editions were issued by all the
papers. Many Viennese considered the
report incredible until the semi-official
Wiener Abend Post appeared, confirm
ing the statements of the other papers.
All the papers accompanied the an
nouncement with warm tributes to the
Empress. They were eagerly snatched
from the hands of the sellers and were
read aloud to groups of citizens.
An Indescribable grief overpowers the
the people. The performances at the
court theatres and the jubilee exhibi
tion have been canceled.
Emperor Francis Joseph received the
news at Schoenbruhn. His Majesty's
journey to attend the maneuvers at
Zips, Hungary, was, of course, aban
All the theaters here and in the pro
vincial towns are closed.
The extra edition of the Weiner
Abend Post appeared with black bor
ders. It expresses the universal sorrow
felt at the loss of the noble Empress,
whose life was one long case of philan
throphy, adding: "She had gone
abroad in order to obtain fresh strength
but only to become the victim of a
wicked and mad attack."
It concludes with an expression of
"sincere sympathy with the Emperor,
upon whose beloved head such grief
has fallen in the year of his jubilee."
PARIS, Sept. 11.— The Figaro states
that the weapon used by the assassin
of the Empress of Austria was found
in the lake. It was a three-sided file,
very slender and sharp. The postmor
tem examination showed one almost
imperceptible wound, the file having 1
penetrated the heart and not causing
exterior bleeding. The Empress, it
seems, only supposed that she had re
ceived a violent blow. At first she
maintained great coolness. When asked
if she wished to return to the hotel she
replied: "No; he only struck me on the
breast and doubtless wished to steal
my watch."
The assassin made a complete con
fession, adding that he regrets that the
death penalty does not exist in the,
Canton where the tragedy occurred.
The Geneva police believe that they
are on the track of two accomplices of
the assassin.
LONDON, Sept. 10.— Grave fearß are
expressed here regarding the effect
which the assassination of the Empress
of Austria may have upon the Em
peror, whose health has never recov
ered from the blow of Crown Prince
Rudolph's tragic death. It is known
that hiß Majesty has been very feeble
of late.
LONDON, Sept. 11.— A special dis-
patch to the Sunday Times from Paris
says: The assassination of the Em
press Elizabeth of Austria has created
an immense sensation in the French
capital, where the sympathy of the
people is all the greater because it is
remembered that her sister, the
Duchess D'Alencon, perished in the ter
rible charity bazaar fire last year. Her
other sister, the former Queen of Na
ples, has resided in Paris since the
death of her husband, and the mur
dered Empress was a frequent visitor
here and familiar to Parisians. Sym
pathetic crowds gathered near the Aus
trian Embassy soon after the sad news
began to spread through the city.
The Vienna correspondent of the Ob
server says: When Count Goluchow
skl, the Austro-Hungari&n Foreign
Minister, communicated the news to
the Emperor the latter sank speechless
into a chair and remained for a long
time motionless. The remains of th*
Empress will be brought to Vienna at
once for a state funeral. The Emperor
Is reported to have said: "Shall I not
be freed from grief and pain In this
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10.— The fol
lowing message has been received at
the State Department:
"GENEVA, Sept. 10.— The Empress
of Austria has Just been assassinated
here by an Italian anarchist.
"RIGLEY, Consul."
Upon receipt of Consul Rigley's noti
fication of the death of the Empress,
President McKinley sent the following
message of condolence:
INGTON, Sept. 10.— To his Majesty, the
Emperor of Austria, Vienna: I nave
heard with profound regret of the as
sassination of her Majesty, the Em
press of Austria, while at Geneva, and
tender to your Majesty the deep sympa
thy of the Government and people of
the United. States.
NEW LONDON, Conn., Sept. 10.— The
news of the assassination of the Em
press of Austria first reached Embas
sador Hengelmuller, who, with his
suite, has been spending the summer
here. The Embassador was seen at
his cottage at Pequot, and when told
of the tragedy was completely over
come. He declined to be interviewed
on. the subject at present.
BUDAPEST, Hungary, Sept. 10—
The news of the assassination of the
Queen of Hungary and Empress of
Austria was received here with con
sternation. Men and women were seen
weeping in the streets. Everywhere
mourning banners were displayed.
The Hungarian Diet will 'be convened
In special session to-morrow.
Staggers Aboard the Boat and Is
Quickly Carried to a
When the Beloved Sovereign Breathed Her
Last Those Present Koelt in
Special Cable to The Call and the sew York Herald. Copyrighted, 1898,
by James Gordon Bennett.
PARIS, Sept. 11.— The Figaro pub
lishes this morning the following from
Geneva: The Tribune de Geneva pub
lished an interview with M. Teisset,
a merchant member of the Chamber
of Commerce at Clermont-Ferrand,
who was an eyewitness of the death
scene of the Empress Elizabeth of
Austria. Accompanied by a party be
went on board the steamer at Geneva
at 20 minutes to 2 o'clock p. m.
He was exchanging a few words
with the captain on deck when a lady
came forward, walking with difficul
ty and supported by another lady. M.
Teisset, without knowing who the
lady was, took her in his arms, carried
her across the deck and seated her on
a bench. The lady then opened her
eyes and gave him a look of grati
tude. M. Teisset left the boat and re
turned to the Hotel Beaurivage. A
short time afterward messengers came
up shouting that the steamer had re
turned and a misfortune happened.
M. Teiaset ran to ask Dr. Golay to
go to the landing 1 stage as his services
would profoably be required. Captain
Roux had already given all attention
to the Empress, who was accompanied
only by one lady In waiting and a
Gebel, the pilot of the boat, had cut
the stays of the Empress and found a
very small wound only one centimeter
In width above the left breast from
which issued only two or three drops
of blood.
The lady in waiting asked the Em
press, who for a moment regained con
sciousness, "Are you suffering?"
The reply was "No."
Captain Roux then brought the ves
sel around and made straight for the
landing place. Gebel had a litter al
ready prepared of two bars, four camp
stools and velvet cushions. The Em
press was laid upon it and carried to
the Hotel Beaurivage by Captain
Roux, M. Teisset and two of the crew.
M. Teisset carried her Majesty in his
arms up the stairs to her apartment on
the first floor, which she had just left,
and laid her on a bed.
Dr. Golay, assisted by M. Teisset and
the lady in waiting, and also by a nurse
who was in the hotel, rapidly undressed
her Majesty and endeavored to induce
artificial respiration by friction and
the application of eau de cologne and
All efforts, however, were in vain.
Golay sent for Dr. Mayer, who has
tened to the hotel at the request of
the lady In waiting. A slight incision
was made in the patient's right wrist,
but all was over in a short time.
Before her Majesty's death a par
ish priest had come and administered
extreme unction. Everything possible,
humanly speaking, was done. The
body was laid out by Mme. Mayer.
M. Teisset believes the Empress
breathed her last at the moment he
laid her head on the bed. When her
Majesty's death was announced all
present knelt down in prayer.
The murderer has finally given some
explanation regarding the crime. He
says he came to Geneva to assassinate
some high personage, and he added
that he chiefly had in view the Due
d'Orleans— probably Prince Henri— but
he could not put his scheme into^exe
cution for reasons which he does not
give. It was quite by chance that he
heard that the Empress of Austria was
in Geneva.
Became a Changed Woman Since the
Suicide of Her Son
Of late Empress Elizabeth had fallen
upon the idea that her end was near
and that she would soon die. Since the
death of her son Rudolnh she has built
memorial chapels and monuments
throughout the empire, and thes"e she
visited from time to time as the fancy
seized her.
Her latest employment in this line
was to arrange for her final resting
place at great expense. She had built
at Corfu, upon plans approved by her
self, a magnificent villa, and had chris
tened it "L'Achilleion." To her will she
added a codicil in which she said:
"I wish to be interred at Corfu, near
the sea, so that the waters can con
tinually break on my tomb."
Empress Elizabeth was the daughter
of Maximilian Joseph, Duke of Bavarfa.
She was born December 24, 1837, and
wedded the Emperor in 1854.
For five years, since the tragic sui
cide of Prince Rudolph, heir to the
crown of the Hapsburgs, Empress
Elizabeth had been failing both in body
and mind. The decay was so slow as
to be almost imperceptible at ttrst. It
was shown to have grown out of her
grief for the tragic death of her only
son. But the outbreaks of the Em
press and had of late passed the bounds
mere eccentricity, and it was necessary
to keep her in a sense under surveil
lance. She was not crossed or inter
fered with. Her whims were not no
ticed seriously, albeit they were some
times expensive, and she did practically
as she pleased. None the less, she was
lovingly watched and guarded.
Ten years ago the Empress was still
one of the most beautiful women in
Europe, just as her husband, Francis
Joseph, was one of the handsomest men
of his years to be found anywhere. The
Empress was then one of the best
horsewomen of her time. She surprised
even the daring cross-country riders of
England and Ireland when she visited
those countries by her grace, courage
and dash. Of late she was but a
wreck of her former self. Sbe lost her
high spirits, shunned the companion
ship of former favorites and spent her
time in mourning and brooding over the
The case of Empress Elizabeth is
markedly pathetic. It may truthfully
be said of her that she was a good
woman, 'Who had done her duty since
she shared with her husband the ruling
of Austria-Hungary. When they were
married it was said of the royal, bride
groom and bride that they were the
handsomest couple in Europe. He was
(as he is still) broad-shouldered and
tall, handsome and frank of face, and
as courteous as a knight of old. She
was fair, vivacious, brilliant in conver
sation, and at the same time with the
dignity of a Queen.
Many changes have occurred since
the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth
to the ruler of Austria, and some of
these have been such as to sadden the"
lives of the Austrian Emperor and Em
press. First the favorite brother of the
Emperor married a dancer. Stripped of
his honors and offices, he bought a mer
chant vessel — he had been trained for
the nayy — and, taking his bride with
him, started in to make his own living
by trading. His ship is supposed to
have gone down at sea. At any rate it
disappeared, and the Archduke is still
among the missing. Then came the hu
miliation of Austria by Germany, and
the Maximilian episode, and finally the
tragedy in which Prince Rudolph
figured. All of these things have served
to make Francis Joseph a melancholy,
much broken man, and the effect upon
his wife has been much more severe.
Even the influence of her husband, who
was devoted to her, and her one mar
ried daughter, the Princess Valeric,
were lost upon her.
About ten years ago, when Empress
Elizabeth became infatuated with the
English sport of fox-hunting, she was
a striking woman in appearance. She
looked much younger than she really
was, and she created a furore in Eng
land. She spoke English like a native,
was unconventional, cordial in manner
and witty. She speedily became popu
lar. Following the hounds was a pas
sion with her. The Empress of Aus
tria was a familiar figure on the hunt
ing field, and, to use a sporting expres
sion, she rode straight. Thefle was no
fence or hedge too high, and no ditch
or water Jump too broad for her. In
her first season she won more praises
for her good riding and her pluck than
for her accomplishments as Empress of
In her own court Empress Elizabeth
always displayed these same amiable
qualities. In no court in Europe is eti
quette more strict, in none are the
nobles more proud or more jealous of
their rights and privileges. Even Fran
cis Joseph, an amiable, easy-going
man, has been bound as with hooks of
steel to all the old rules and traditions
of the Hapsburgs, the "Austrian
Caesars," as they proudly call them
selves. Empress Elizabeth showed that
she was able to ride roughshod over
old fogy traditions and unwritten rules.
But she did this with such tact, so
quietly, and yet so thoroughly, that the
old court favorites that had ruled the
roost prior to the coming of the clever
young Empress scarcely knew how it
was that they graduallly fell to the
rear and left their places to be filled
by another coterie younger, more lib
eral, more brilliant and more in accord
with the tastes of the Empress.
The young woman went further. The
old court at Vienna had been more cor
rupt than any other in Europe. It was
a hotbed of scandal. Royal names had
been smirched, and even that of the
Emperor himself was not free from
scandal. The young Empress set her
self to the task of working out re
form in this direction. It was a diffi
cult task. Indeed, itlwas one in which
she could hope to suaceed only In part.
But she accomplished* more than it had
been thought she would, and she made
the court at Vienna more healthy as to
morals than it had ever been in the
past. "What is more, she enlisted good
natured, easy-goinsr Francis Joseph in
her work. He, perhaps, had no real
interest in it or sympathy for it. But
he loved his clever wife with a deep
and abiding love that has never waver
ed and that still abides.
Yet it seems a sort of tragic out- "

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