The White Lady from the Capuchin Crypts
Love, what is there left to say? Those who’ve never felt its power will never understand this story.
It’s already been a fair few years since I first saw him. He was a strapping man, handsome, brave, and educated. He could even strike up a tune on the fiddle. The world was his oyster, but he ended up a soldier. His name was Trenck, Baron Franz von der Trenck, and he could have had any woman he wanted. But I was his favourite. He wasn’t the marrying kind, but every time he came back from the war, he would come and find me first. How happy I was.
In the never-ending war against the Prussians he commanded the Pandurs, a wild bunch of irregulars, notorious for their ruthlessness. Turning up wherever least expected, the Pandurs would generally give the enemy a good dusting. But they often took things too far. In search of loot they started to steal from villagers and townsfolk, a habit Empress Maria Theresa quickly lost patience with.
The empress had always been fond of Trenck, but the law is the law. She issued an arrest warrant for the baron, after which events came thick and fast. He was brought before the court-martial and tried for all the robberies and murders he’d committed: the sentence was death. How I wept and begged for mercy. Finally, they commuted the sentence and spared his life. They imprisoned him instead in Špilberk Castle, where he was to remain until the end of his days. But escape is possible from every prison.
I soon received word from Trenck and another message followed. Before long, a plan had been hatched. But instead of escape, the baron became ill, and shortly after made peace with his maker. He was buried at the Capuchin Monastery, where he still lies today. Grief drove me quickly to despair.
After my death I became the ‘White Lady’, and every All Saints’ Day I go and see my beloved Trenck.
Why not go and visit him, too? Cheer up the old rascal.