February 4, 1889
Another "sensational story" concerned the death of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria has been published in Brussels, reports the New York Times. This report asserts that the Crown Prince "became entangled in an affair of honor with a high Austrian family, and that it was decided that the Prince and the son of the family in question should fight a duel on the so-called American plan."
This involves throwing dice to see which of the duelists will commit suicide. Rudolf lost the toss. The loser has three months to take his own life. It was at the expiration of this time period that the Crown Prince killed himself.
This report is just one of several accounts of the Crown Prince's death that is being reported outside Austria, as Viennese correspondents are finding their reports censored. A letter from one Viennese reporter to a British newspaper alleges that the door to the Crown Prince's room had to be forced open, where the Crown Prince's valet found the "body of a beautiful Bohemian lady." This reporter asserts the Crown Prince first killed her and then "shot himself." The body of the young woman was "conveyed secretly" to her family in Bohemia.
There are said to be two similar versions of this account that have been cabled abroad, which is giving further credence to the truth of how the Crown Prince died.
The Crown Prince's body is on view and "enormous crowds " are waiting their turn to pay their respects.
For more information about the Mayerling tragedy, Greg King's book, Twilight of Empire, is excellent.