From the Oregonian, dated February 6, 1911:
Portland Woman Near To Throne?
“Countess” von Holstein Rathlou Prepares to Battle for Rights
Castle is Now in Shack
Husband, Whom Court Life Wearies and Who Desires To Do Things Worth While, Makes Living Sharpening Shears
That she is the daughter of Archduke Rudolph, of Austria, Crown Prince and son of the present Emperor, is the assertion of “Countess” Viggo von Holstein Rathlou, who will be remembered as the wife of Dr. Roy A. Miles Collins, who was shot in Portland more than a year ago, and from whose home she eloped with Count Rathlou, member of one of the oldest and wealthiest families of Denmark.
It was the Count who insisted on divulging the secret of his wife’s life, which she herself was loth to tell, when the two were being interviewed in their home on the East Side.
“The Crown Prince Rudolph was supposed to have been shot,” proceeded the Count, “but instead he fled from the country to escape a scandal. He was married secretly in Austria to my wife’s mother, who is dead, and the Prince is now practicing medicine in America under the name of Hoffman. Several times he has been traced and identified, when he would suddenly drop out of sight.”
Rights Will Be Asserted
“When I get my money we are going to fight for my wife’s rights. Her mother’s brother lives in Hamburg, and he will probably help us.”
The couple live in a small crude-looking shack of two rooms in the Mount Scott district, where the Count ekes out a living by sharpening saws and doing odd jobs of painting, while he hopes daily to gain the good graces of his family and get some financial aid from his proud and aristocratic parents.
Strikingly different from the surroundings in which he was brought up is the Count’s present mode of living. He was reared in luxury, received a good education both in English and the language of his own country, has associated with noblemen and paid homage to beautiful women of royalty. Now he has donned the garb of a workingman and does menial labor by which he manages to make a scanty living for himself, his American wife and step-son.
Couple Happy, They Say
Yet the three are happy, they say, because they love one another and because they know that some day Count Rathlou will get a good slice of his father’s wealth. The father is old and feeble and on his death, while the title and estate will go to the oldest son, Count Viggo will inherit a small fortune.
The laws of Denmark are unlike those of the United States. Count Rathlou’s father cannot disinherit him and on the old man’s death, the young man will receive his share. Neither can the estate meet with ruin or become mortgaged, as it is backed by the Government and cannot be mortgaged.
Count Rathlou makes a striking appearance in his working clothes with his sleeves rolled up, displaying his white, well-shaped arms. He has a fair complexion and refined features and his manner bespeaks culture and education. He does not wish to go by the title of County while in America, and prefers being unknown and unnoticed as Mr. Rathlou.
“When I get my money,” he said, “I shall reside in Europe. There my name means a great deal to me, while here it is only a detriment. They have an idea in America that when a man of nobility comes here it is because he is in disgrace and is running away from something, or that he has had trouble with his family. That was not the case with me. I was simply tired of the conditions there.”
Noble Life Distasteful
“My mother insisted that I should move in society. I was allowed so much a month and expected to be a dandy. I felt like a little lap dog and wanted to get away where I could do something worth while. Neither did I take kindly to the idea of having to serve a certain length of time in the army, as they all have to do in that country.”
“I had several places in view where I wanted to go, and told my parents of my intention. My mother preferred that I should come to America, as she thought it would be a better place for me. When I married an American woman without wealth or station, it almost broke my mother’s heart. She is a proud woman and had great ambitions for me.”
“To me, it seems a crime to bring children up as we of the nobility are reared. We are taught that it is a disgrace to work; nothing is expected of us but to dangle around in society. Nothing worth while is ever looked for from us; we are not supposed to have any ambition and are not taught a trade or business. We are not even supposed to think for ourselves.”
Count Enjoys Work
“I have no way of making a good living. I just manage to keep the wolf from the door by doing little odd jobs. I don’t mind work; in fact I like it. When I was back home recently, I asked my father to let me work on the estate and be independent, but he refused, saying it would be a disgrace to the family if I should work.”
Count Rathlou says that if he and his wife would consent to live in his father’s home and follow the regime laid out for them, a living would be allowed them. “But,” says Mrs. Rathlou, “I am an American and accustomed to doing as I please; I could never give up my independence and be a molly-coddle. My husband’s parents are good in their way, but they are proud and have some old-fashioned ideas.”
The Count’s father is Hoffegmester (Baron) C.F.E. von Holstein Rathlou, and lives on a large estate in a dignified-looking, white, castle-shaped house.
Little Billy, Mrs. Rathlou’s boy, a sturdy little chap of five, will soon be legally adopted by the Count.
Count and Countess Rathlou left Portland soon after the Collins’ shooting. Later, however, they returned and opened “beauty parlors” on the East Side. Subsequently, they were arrested in Tacoma, charged with larceny by bailee, in appropriating goods bought under lease from Ford Bros. of Portland. They were paroled.
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