From the Colorado Springs Gazette, dated February 18, 1912:
“Countess Von Rathlou” Is Farm Girl
“Royal Ancestral Palace” a Shack on the Prairies Near Avon, in Iowa
Claims of Pair Shown Up
Woman Was Formerly Goldie Lang, Says Iowa Farmer, Who Knew Her Parents
The self-styled “Countess Viggo von Holstein Rathlou,” who also unblushingly confesses that she is the “daughter of Crown Prince Rudolph, and therefore a granddaughter of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria,” is known in Polk county, Ia., where she was born and raised, as Goldie Lang.
The “palatial residence” of this “young daughter of royalty” was a small, wooden shack on the prairies near Avon, Ia., and not one of the castles of Austria, as she claims.In fact, all of the “young princesses and princes” of the Lang household were brought up on a farm.Furthermore, it is said that these “young children of the blue blood” had for their playmates such things as calves, dogs and sheep, such as are to be found on any farm home in Iowa, and did not care for freckles nor stone bruises.
Such is the information give to Mayor Avery in a letter from a farmer near Avon, concerning the woman who, with her husband, is booked at the county jail as “Professor and Mrs. Hosltein Rathlou” on charges of larceny as bailee.
The informant wishes his name to be concealed.He does not mention anything about the coat of arms of the Lang family, but says that the father of the “countess” is not above working for a living, and now can be found engaged in manual labor at Kansas City, Mo.
This is not the only information that the police have concerning the pair who conducted a beauty shop at 34 West Bijou street, and who are said to have swindled several Colorado Springs women out of considerable money, by failure to carry out their contracts as alleged beauty instructors.
Paul Nielsen, whom the “count and countess” said left them suddenly, and that they are shy about $1,000 as a result, has turned up.And young Nielsen feels no compunction in telling the authorities where he is.In fact, he has written through Thorvald Orlob, Danish vice consul at Salt Lake City, Chief of Police Burno, asking that he be given assistance in obtaining a grip, cigarette case, collars and socks which the boy’s former associates are now said to have.
Letter of “Countess”
The vice consul also sends some letters from the “countess” which do not look very well in confirmation of her claims.In the letters she refers to him in underscored words as “my dear boy,” and in spite of the fact that she plays the role of a loving wife in jail here, she did not hesitate to send “my dear boy” a kiss or two through the mails.The countess in the letter acknowledges that she had the grip, cigarette case, collars, socks and other wearing apparel too numerous to mention, and wants to forward them.
Furthermore, young Nielsen insists that instead of him leaving the Rathlous enriched by $1,000, illegitimately obtained, he was deserted by them, a stranger in a strange land, with “only 25 cents on him.”
Chief Burno also has a letter from the penitentiary authorities of the state of Oregon, which shows that the “Count and Countess von Holstein Rathlou,” then known as Holstein Rathlou and Nora Rathlou, were convicted in that state and served a portion of one year sentence on charges of larceny.They were released on parole.
“I note in a Colorado paper that had a count and countess in Colorado Springs by the name of Viggo von Holstein Rathlou and wife,” writes the informant of Avon, Ia. to Mayor Avery.“I see in the paper that the Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria is her father.That is a mistake, for I have known her since she was born.I knew her parents before they were married.Her mother died when she was small.Her father is living and is in Kansas City, Mo., at the present time.She was born and raised on a farm in Polk county, Ia., within six miles of Des Moines.The beauty parlor that she was running in Colorado Springs was not the first one that she ever conducted.They left Des Moines between two days, and her maiden name is Goldie Lang.Her father is a poor man, and don’t uphold her in such business.”
Vice Consul’s Letter
Here is what Thorvald Orlob, Danish vice consul at Salt Lake City, has to say in regard to the “count and countess.”Although he comes from Denmark, Rathlou’s acknowledged country, there is not a word said regarding that nation’s “protecting arm.”The letter reads:
Chief of Police:
Dear Sir – A young man, by name of Paul Nielsen, 20 years of age, has requested me to write to you, and I enclose some letters that will probably explain why.He tells me that he formed an acquaintanceship of Mr. and Mrs. Holstein Rathlou on board the S.S. President Lincoln of the Hamburg-American line, from Hamburg, landing in New York, December 13, 1911.
He was to serve these people and to receive for his services $30 per month and expenses.He was to go with them to California with the prospect of earning $3 per day picking fruit, but on arriving in Ogden he was left with 25 cents, enough for a meal and to take care of himself.He had to pawn a $20 overcoat for $1.50 to come to Salt Lake City, where he is now, and has found something to do.
He would like to get his grip and other things now in the possession of these people, and which, through some pretense or other, they have got hold of, and which they promised to send him, as the enclosed letter will prove.You will understand from this statement of his – and which I have no reason to doubt – that he hasn’t $1,000 or any sum belonging to these people.If you can do anything so this young man can get his property back, I shall consider it a favor.
Danish Vice Consul, Salt Lake City
The vice consul encloses three letters signed by Mrs. Nora Rathlou.The police expect to spring them as evidence when the “count and countess” are placed on trial.
“Forget that we ever had unkind words,” is an extract from one of them, addressed to young Nielsen.“Bless you many times, and a good-by kiss, Paul.”
Another one reads: “Dear wherever you are, I will be very good to you if we see each other again.”The “dear” is heavily underscored.Another letter reads: “If you do not care to go, dear, to the west and pick fruit, write and tell me, and then I shall send your grip and things.”
It is the claim made by the self-styled count and countess that they have never been able to locate young Nielsen since he left with the $1,000.The letters were addressed to him since they left Colorado Springs.M.W. Purcell, assistant district attorney, is preparing to file direct information against the two on complaint of Mrs. Alice Lodge, 1231 South Weber street, who was one of the heavy losers, she claims, through the beauty and instruction scheme of the pair.