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were not the son of Milan, such a position is not one to be desired even by the most ambitious aspirant for the throne of a queen.
August 1, 1900.
The King of Italy was shot dead on Sunday night, July 29th, at Monza, by an Italian anarchist, who is said to have crossed the Atlantic expressly to execute the murder. Humbert had lived fifty-six years, and had occupied the Italian throne since he was thirty-four. On two previous occasions his life had been attempted, on each occasion with a dagger. The third and fatal attack was made with a revolver. Three out of four shots fired at point-blank range took effect. The King, who was a fatalist, pooh-poohed the danger of assassination. It was a risk, he said, incidental to the calling of a king. After he was struck by the fatal bullet at Monza, the only words he spoke were "It is nothing." The anarchists, however, exult that they have taken one step nearer their cherished ideal, that of making the position of a ruler so dangerous that no one will care to hold it. No dream can be more absurd. Millions of men would eagerly accept ten times as risky a calling as that of king for a couple of pounds a week. As yet it is doubtful whether all the anarchist attempts have raised the insurance rate on royal lives by as much as one per cent.
The Death of King Humbert.
It will probably be found on an The Marriage examination of the history of Europe King of Servia. that love affairs have been more fatal to monarchs than the dagger or the revolver of the assassin. The Obrenovitches of Servia are singularly unfortunate in this respect. Milan wrecked his throne over an infatuation for a woman neither young nor beautiful, and for her sake divorced one of the most beautiful wives in Europe. And now his son Alexander has provoked a Cabinet crisis, and precipitated his father's retirement from the army by marrying Widow Maschine, a lady who is said to be some eleven years older than the King. The fatal fascination that the woman of fifty per cent. more experience sometimes exercises over the impressionable heart of a young man is a familiar phenomenon, and in its way it is natural enough. When the lady is not only older, but is also a widow, she is apt to become irresistible. But who can look ahead for a dozen years and not tremble for the marital felicity of the Servian King and his Queen? She will be going off just when her husband is beginning to be in his prime; and even if Alexander
The month of July was one of suspense. It is true that the excessive heat which enabled Londoners to understand something of the conditions in which life is endured in the tropics, largely paralysed any active manifestation of excitement. But all through July one question dominated everything. Had the Legations at Pekin been put to the sword, or were they captives in the hands of the Chinese? Each day brought its new story, and the next its contradiction. Circumstantial details were published of universal massacre which appeared to destroy the last foundation of hope. Then belated or misdated telegrams proclaimed that the Envoys. were still alive. A memorial service for the victims of the massacre was being arranged at St. Paul's, when a clotted mass of contradictory and confusing rumour led to its abandonment.
Every morning and evening the newspapers resembled magic lantern discs, across which flitted a fantastic phantasmagoria of confused figures. One day the Emperor was dead, the Empress mad, and Tuan reigning as Emperor in their stead. The next the Emperor was alive, the Empress supreme, and Tuan was in retreat. A pleasant picture of the Legations safe and sound under the protection of the Imperial Court was suddenly substituted for a vision of the Legations in despair under the concentrated fire of the Krupp batteries of the Imperial army. And all the while that allied Europe, America, and Japan chafed and menaced and bribed their best, not one authentic word as to the actual facts reached the outer world. On the last day of July the cloud seemed to lift. There came to the outside world what purported to be authentic messages from Sir Claude MacDonald, Mr. Conger and other Foreign Ministers, bearing date July 21st. They state that news of the failure of the relief column reached Pekin on June 18th. China declared war, on June 20th. After twenty-six days' fierce assault on the British Legation a truce was agreed upon. The defenders are said to have lost 63 killed and 98 wounded, and to have disposed of 2,000 of their assailants. They have
The Rumours from Pekin.