note: I am having quite a Lola day today. Thought this little piece should come out of hiding —new and improved with some more pictures!
Her name at birth was Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, but by the time she seduced my uncle, everyone knew her as Lola Montez, the Spanish Dancer and Enchantress.
By the time she’d arrived in Bavaria, she’d already danced her way into and out of India, London, Spain, Paris and Dresden, leaving a trail of scandal and fractured hearts in her path.
Having been born in Limerick, and raised in India, young Dolores learned sensual, exotic dancing from her Hindu servants–and as her future as a professional castle-wrecker, her practice of the danse du ventre served her well.
By the time she was fifteen, she was an uncontrollable flirt. Her Indian stepfather, in an attempt to keep her chaste, arranged a marriage for her with a boring old judge. Alas, her “see you next Tuesday” self had no interest in domesticity. Her name was Lola, after all, and she was a show girl! So off she strutted, leapfrogging and belly-dancing her way to notoriety and fortune, and political power.
As soon as he first laid eyes on her, he had her summoned to the Residenz, and within five days he presented her to the court as the love of his life.
Much to Mummi’s horror (not to mention Ludwig wife’s distress), he soon gave the notorious belly dancer the title, Countess of Landsfeld. In short order, he built her a sturdy house, and issued her a pension of twenty thousand florins.
Ah, but she had quite the temper, this passionate Lola Montez. She often flew into unprovoked rages, even sometimes boxing the ears of her nay-sayers. She kept a large, drooling bulldog beside her at all times–even took the dog to opera! Worst of all, she was discourteous to the queen, besides meddling with the politics of the kingdom.
But it wasn’t until she started stirring things up at the University that the camel’s back broke. The residents of Munich drew their daggers against the harlot, and poor, lovesick King Ludwig came to her aid, renouncing the people, his city and, indeed, his country, all for the sake of–dare I say it–lust!
However, there came a day, when she approached the gates of Residenz and was the object of much scorn by a riotous group who’d assembled out front, she turned to the crowd, and drew a pistol, firing it into the mob. Well, that was it, more mobs assembled, demanding a ruling beyond that of the king.
Poor, lovesick Uncle Ludwig stood before the court and lamented that he’d rather lose his crown than give up his mistress.
His royal advisers hung their heads in embarrassment. It was too much, and the next day, a royal decree revoked Lola’s rights as a subject of Bavaria, and still another decree ordered her to be expelled. The rioters jumped for joy and in their celebration burnt her house to ashes. Poor Ludwig watched the commotion by the light of the leaping flames.
You see, my uncle was still madly in love with the half-crazy woman.
Soon thereafter, he fell into a deep depression, and gave his crown up to his son, Maximilian – my much older, wiser, albeit sickly cousin. Naturally, as soon as her old lover was no longer king, Lola moved on, taking her belly dancing to far off lands on all the continents, leaving a splintered trail of hearts and kingdoms all over the world.