“It was not a dream. No, in truth, it was not. I had gone to bed and could not find sleep, even though darkness engulfed my room, even though everything in the garden outside was calm and silent…
“And so I remained laying during those solitary hours, overcome by thoughts, images and memories. And suddenly, in the midst of this involuntary back-and-forth in my head, I thought I heard the monotone drip drop of water. It must be raining, I thought – as it was never surprising for this place and in this season – and the raindrops are falling on the dead leaves under my window. Hence reassured, I paid no mind to the noise. Until it was replaced by another sound, just as familiar: that of waves breaking on the shore.
“This sound, I had heard it so often while horse riding along the lake…Little by little, it appeared that it came not from the lake but from the inside of my room. And the sound grew, as if coming closer to me. Suddenly I felt the sensation of drowning…I was hiccupping, suffocating, fighting to find air. I was not dreaming, once again; I could hear the water, could feel it filling my lungs…Then, after a moment, the water sensation, the sound, all that stopped. My terror had passed. Not without effort, I managed to sit on my bed and breath calmly.
“In the meanwhile, the moon had risen and its luminosity was pouring through the window as I had not drawn the curtains, when I saw the door handle turning and the casement slowly open. Then he came in. I immediately noticed that his cloth were drenched, to the extent that he left puddles behind him. His hair was stuck by water on his blotchy face. But it was Ludwig. He had reached the foot board and we looked at each other in silence for a very long time.”
Him, Ludwig, Louis II king of Bavaria. Her, Elizabeth of Bavaria, empress of Austria, the famous “Sissi”.
First cousins, they adored each other since infancy. Although she was eight years older than him, they had an unwavering, profound, almost too subtle to be analysed, connection. A link which surpassed friendship, affection or love. A connection bordering on atavism. Both of them were incredibly beautiful and profoundly romantic. Both of them were enthralled by the sublime and chased inaccessible ideals. They had, at a very young age, reached stellar positions; Ludwig had become king of Bavaria at the age of nineteen following his father’s death. Elisabeth had become empress of Austria, and queen of Hungary and Bohemia at the age of seventeen when she had married the emperor Franz Joseph.