"Fatal Opal, Curse of Spain's Court"
(originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 9 Oct 1898)
A few superstitious Spaniards believe that the long series of misfortunes that has befallen Spain and the present dynasty follows a cursed opal ring that a neglected beauty spitefully bestowed upon poor Alfonso XII  some four-and-twenty years ago. This is the story:
"It is an opal of large size and of most brilliant coloring, with a spark of living fire in its center. It is set in filigree gold, and has no other jewels about it. The ring belonged to that famous beauty and adventuress, the Comtesse de Castiglione , who was the most beautiful woman Europe ever knew, and who was in the glory of her loveliness and power during the reign of Napoleon III . The Emperor was her abject slave and aroused the most violent jealousy on the part of Eugenie . This dazzling woman was present at all the great functions of the Tuileries , and displayed her superb shoulders and bust in bewildering relief by the lowness of her corsages.