Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good Christian Men Rejoice!

We raise a Yuletide toast to all our noble cousins of the Imaginations of Urope. While challenges and opportunities remain before us, we have been delighted by the support and camaraderie of all our noble cousins in our great common endeavour.

Merry Christmas to all, and all best wishes for the coming year of grace!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waldreck Subversives

24 Dezember, a date of no special significance in Waldreck, finds an anonymous man hard at work in his back workshop in an especially worn and unfashionable quarter of Bruttig, hidden there from the prying eyes of the agents of the Pfalzgraf and the Burgermeister.

From time to time throughout the grey, frigid day, hooded, furtive men masked by their frozen breath would pass by the building, some pausing to regard their reflections and the street behind them in the front shop windows presenting the legitimate face of a snuffshop to the public, and then turn down the winding alleyway leading to the rear entrance, a sober grey-painted and iron-bound door with a narrow sliding-panel peephole. Knocking there, and giving the muttered password "Kringle," they are hurriedly admitted into the back room.

Once inside, the prearranged transaction is swiftly consummated: hard pfalzthalers for assorted banned goods, outlawed for their indolent frivolity: hoops and wands, marbles, knucklebones, dolls, tops, tin soldiers or the exotic bandalore. Avoiding eye contact, the nameless customers finalise their transactions, secret their contraband within their bulky overcoats and melt back into grey, faceless crowds flowing viscously over the frosty and darkening streets.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frohes Chanukkah!


His negotiations and brokerage on behalf of Herzog Ignaz completed, Hoffaktor Abraham Weißenheimer had left his equipage behind at Munich with the arrival of the first winter snows, and hired a sleigh and team to hasten his return to Hunsruck. Now after four days working down the Rhein valley, Weißenheimer promised the driver a handsome bonus to make Hunsruck before sundown. The sleigh team ploughed through the snow throughout the day, stopping only to change horses at a coaching inn at midday. As the sun tracked low across the southern sky, Weißenheimer consulted his pocketwatch with some concern.

As the sun dipped towards the Späterwald Hills beyond the Kernerfluss, the sleigh driver proved his word good, and, with a crack of his whip, directed his team through the gates of the Hunsrucker Judengasse, depositing Weißenheimer, his footmen and effects at the door of his townhouse just minutes before the sun vanished behind the hills, casting long shadows across the narrow street. The sleigh driver made his courtesies, thanking Weißenheimer profusely for the purse of pfalzthalers, and made for the gates, to make his exit before the gates closed at sundown.

Bounding past his old doorman Amschel, up the stairs to the door, Weißenheimer heard the cries of children's voices inside as he turned the doorknob. As he opened the door and entered, he was stampeded by the joyous horde of his children rushing to greet him.

"Papa's home!" cried his littlest daughter Judit.

"Father; you made it in time!" exulted his son Samuel.

"Yes, yes; it's nearly time isn't it?" responded Abraham. "Well, is everything ready?"

"Oh yes, Papa; Mama had us get everything ready earlier today."

"Well then, to the parlour!" ordered Weißenheimer; stopping only to embrace his wife Guttle, who directed the parade of children to the parlour to the left. The smell of latkes and fried pastries, tended by the servants in the dining room, filled the house, reminding Abraham sharply how little he had eaten the past day. But, swept up in the family momentum, Abraham and Guttle found themselves quickly led as well to the parlour.

"Samuel, bring a taper from the fire, then, and we'll begin."

His son obeyed, and Abraham, adjusting his hat, took the taper and turned to face the Menorah.

Bowing his head, Abraham prayed,

"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. Amein"

"Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Chanukkah. Amen."

"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. Amein"

"Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time. Amen."

"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. Amein."

"Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. Amen."

Taking the taper to the shammus candle atop the menorah, Abraham then extinguished the taper and took the shammus to light the rightmost Chanukkah lamp.

"Frohes Chanukkah to us all!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Sinews of War

Hoffaktor Weißenheimer having concluded an innovative arrangement with the factors of the Duchy of Lagerburg-Slobbovia, 640 men recruited in surplus for the recent expansion of the Obersaynische grenadiers find themselves transferred to the arms of Lagerburg-Slobbovia, to bolster the defences of the duchy against recent depredations along the Dalmatian coast of dreaded Bizerccan corsairs.

Here the men make their final parade before the Skt. Cäcilienskirche in Hunsruck before beginning the march to Dalmatia.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Post to Schloß Moritzburg

Prinzessin Maria-Aurora to Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria
Dezember 4


What odd heads some people have!--Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria to be sacrificed in marriage to Pfalzgraf Friedrich von Waldreck!--Astonishing!

I must not, you say, give my advice in favour of this man!--You now convince me, my dear, that you are nearer of kin than I thought you, to the family that could think of so preposterous a match, or you would never have had the least notion of my advising in his favour.

Ask for his picture. You know I have a good hand at drawing an ugly likeness. But I'll see a little further first: for who knows what may happen, since matters are in such a train; and since you have not the courage to oppose so overwhelming a torrent?

You ask me to help you to a little of my spirit. Are you in earnest? But it will not now, I doubt, do you service.--It will not sit naturally upon you. You are your mother's girl, think what you will; and have violent spirits to contend with. Alas! my dear, you should have borrowed some of mine a little sooner;--that is to say, before you had given the management of your estate into the hands of those who think they have a prior claim to it. What though a father's!--Has not the father other children?--And do they not all bear more of his stamp and image than you do?--Pray, my dear, call me not to account for this free question; lest your application of my meaning, on examination, prove to be as severe as that.

Now I have launched out a little, indulge me one word more in the same strain--I will be decent, I promise you. I think you might have know, that Avarice and Envy are two passions that are not to be satisfied, the one by giving, the other by the envied person's continuing to deserve and excel.--Fuel, fuel both, all the world over, to flames insatiate and devouring.

But since you ask for my opinion, you must tell me all you know or surmise of their inducements. And if you will not forbid me to make extracts from your letters for the entertainment of my aunt and cousin in the little island, who long to hear more of your affairs, it will be very obliging.

But you are so tender of some people who have no tenderness for any body but themselves, that I must conjure you to speak out. Remember, that a friendship like ours admits of no reserves. You may trust my impartiality. It would be an affront to your own judgment, if you did not: For do you not ask my advice? And have you not taught me that friendship should never give a bias against justice?--Justify them, therefore, if you can. Let us see if there be any sense, whether
sufficient reason or not in their choice. At present I cannot (and yet I know a good deal of your family) have any conception how all of them, your mother and your grandmother in particular, can join with the rest against judgments given. As to some of the others, I cannot wonder at any thing they do, or attempt to do, where self is concerned.

You are all too rich to be happy, child. For must not each of you, by the constitutions of your family, marry to be still richer? People who know in what their main excellence consists, are not to be blamed (are they) for cultivating and improving what they think most valuable?--Is true happiness any part of your family view?--So far from it, that none of your family but yourself could be happy were
they not rich. So let them fret on, grumble and grudge, and accumulate; and wondering what ails them that they have not happiness when they have riches, think the cause is want of more; and so go on heaping up, till Death, as greedy an accumulator as themselves, gathers them into his garner.

Well then once more I say, do you, my dear, tell me what you know of their avowed and general motives; and I will tell you more than you will tell me of their failings! Your grandmother has told you: Why must I ask you to let me know them, when you condescend to ask my advice on the occasion?

We have heard before you wrote, that all was not right between your relations and you at your coming home: that Prinz Friedrich visited you, and that with a prospect of success. But I concluded the mistake lay in the person; and that his address was to Arabella, the daughter of the the Duke of Birkenstock. And indeed had she been as good-natured as your plump ones generally are, I should have thought her too good for him by half. This must certainly be the thing, thought I; and my beloved friend is sent for to adviseand assist in her nuptial preparations. Who knows, said I to my mother, but that when the man has thrown aside his yellow full-buckled peruke, and his broad-brimmed beaver (both of which I suppose were his father's best of long standing) he may cut a tolerable figure dangling to the altar with Prinzessin Bell!--The woman, as she observes, should excel the man in features: and where can she match so well for a foil?

I indulged this surmise against rumour, because I could not believe that the absurdest people in Christendom could be so very absurd as to think of this man for you.

We heard, moreover, that you received no visiters. I could assign no reason for this, except that the preparations for your cousin were to be private, and the ceremony sudden, for fear this man should, as another man did, change his mind. others were with me to inquire what I knew of this; and of your not being in attendance at the parade of the Neuweinsfest after your return from us; to the disappointment of a little hundred of your admirers, to use their words. It was easy for me to guess the reason to be what you confirm--their apprehensions that Prinz Friedrich would intercept you there, and attempt to wait on you home.

My mother takes very kindly your compliments in your letter to her. Her words upon reading it were, 'Prinzessin Sophie is an admirable young lady: wherever she goes, she confers a favour: whomever she leaves, she fills with regret.'--And then a little comparative reflection--'O my Aurora, that you had a little of her sweet
obligingness!'

No matter. The praise was yours. You are me; and I enjoyed it. The more enjoyed it, because--Shall I tell you the truth?--Because I think myself as well as I am--were it but for this reason, that had I twenty sisters, not one of them, nor all of them joined together, would dare to treat me as yours presume to treat you. The person who will bear much shall have much to bear all the world through; it is your own sentiment, grounded upon the strongest instance that can be given in your own family; though you have so little improved by it.

The result is this, that I am fitter for this world than you; you for the next than me:--that is the difference.--But long, long, for my sake, and for hundreds of sakes, may it be before you quit us for company more congenial to you and more worthy of you!

I communicated to my mother the account you give of your strange reception; also what a horrid wretch they have found out for you; and the compulsory treatment they give you. It only set her on magnifying her lenity to me, on my tyrannical behaviour, as she will call it [mothers must have their way, you know, my dear] to the man whom she so warmly recommends, against whom it seems there can be no just
exception; and expatiating upon the complaisance I owe her for her indulgence. So I believe I must communicate to her nothing farther--especially as I know she would condemn the correspondence between us as clandestine and undutiful proceedings, and divulge our secret besides; for duty implicit is her cry.

Yet is this not the right policy neither. For people who allow nothing will be granted nothing: in other words, those who aim at carrying too many points will not be able to carry any.

Now, my dear, I know you will be upon me with your grave airs: so in for the lamb, as the saying is, in for the sheep; and do you yourself look about you; for I'll have a pull with you by way of being aforehand. Hannibal, we read, always advised to attack the Romans upon their own territories.

You are pleased to say, and upon your word too! that your regards (a mighty quaint word for affections) are not so much engaged, as some of your friends suppose, to another person. What need you give one to imagine, my dear, that the last month or two has been a period extremely favourable to that other person, whom it has made an obliger of the daughter for his solicitude for her father.

But, to pass that by--so much engaged!--How much, my dear?--Shall I infer? Some of your friends suppose a great deal. You seem to own a little.

Don't be angry. It is all fair: because you have not acknowledged to me that little. People I have heard you say, who affect secrets, always excite curiosity.

But you proceed with a kind of drawback upon your averment, as if recollection had given you a doubt--you know not yourself, if they be [so much engaged]. Was it necessary to say this to me?--and to say it upon your word too?--But you know best.--Yet you don't neither, I believe. For a beginning love is acted by a subtle spirit; and oftentimes discovers itself to a by-stander, when the person possessed (why should I not call it possessed?) knows not it has such a demon.

But further you say, what preferable favour you may have for him to any other person, is owing more to the usage he has received, and for your sake borne, than to any personal consideration.

This is generously said. It is in character. But, O my friend, depend upon it, you are in danger. Depend upon it, whether you know it or not, you are a little in for't. Your native generosity and greatness of mind endanger you: all your friends, by fighting against him with impolitic violence, fight for him. And St. Germain, my life for yours, notwithstanding all his veneration and assiduities, has seen
further than that veneration and those assiduities (so well calculated to your meridian) will let him own he has seen--has seen, in short, that his work is doing for him more effectually than he could do it for himself. And have you not before now said, that nothing is so penetrating as the eye of a lover who has mystery? And who says St. Germain lacks mystery?

In short, my dear, it is my opinion, and that from the easiness of his heart and behaviour, that he has seen more than I have seen; more than you think could be seen--more than I believe you yourself know, or else you would let me know it.

Already, in order to restrain him from resenting the indignities he has received, and which are daily offered him, he has prevailed upon you to correspond with him privately. I know he has nothing to boast of from what you have written: but is not his inducing you to receive his letters, and to answer them, a great point gained? By your insisting that he should keep the correspondence private, it appears there is one secret which you do not wish the world should know: and he is master of that secret. He is indeed himself, as I may say, that secret! What an intimacy does this beget for the lover! How is it distancing the parent!

Yet who, as things are situated, can blame you?--Your condescension has no doubt hitherto prevented great mischiefs. It must be continued, for the same reasons, while the cause remains. You are drawn in by a perverse fate against inclination: but custom, with such laudable purposes, will reconcile the inconveniency, and make an inclination.--And I would advise you (as you would wish to manage on an occasion so critical with that prudence which governs all your actions) not to be afraid of entering upon a close examination into the true springs and grounds of this your generosity to that happy man.

It is my humble opinion, I tell you frankly, that on inquiry it will come out to be LOVE--don't start, my dear!--Has not your man himself had natural philosophy enough to observe already to you, that love takes the deepest root in the steadiest minds? The deuce take his sly penetration, I was going to say; for this was six or seven weeks ago.

I have been tinctured, you know. Nor on the coolest reflection, could I account how and when the jaundice began: but had been over head and ears, as the saying is, but for some of that advice from you, which I now return you. Yet my man was not half so--so what, my dear--to be sure St. Germain is a charming fellow. And were he only--but I will not make you glow, as you read--upon my word I will not.--Yet, my dear,
don't you find at your heart somewhat unusual make it go throb, throb, throb, as you read just here?--If you do, don't be ashamed to own it--it is your generosity, my love, that's all.--But as the Roman augur said, Caesar, beware of the Ides of March!

Adieu, my dearest friend.--Forgive, and very speedily, by the new found expedient, tell me that you forgive,

Your ever-affectionate,
Aurora

Monday, December 1, 2008

Post to Schloß Veldenz

Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria von Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn, to Prinzessin Maria-Aurora von Sachsen-Veldenz
December 1

I have been hindered from prosecuting my intention. Neither nights nor mornings have been my own. My mother has been very ill; and would have no other nurse but me. I have not stirred from her bedside (for she kept her bed); and two nights I had the honour of sharing it with her.

Her disorder was a very violet colic. The contentions of these fierce, these masculine spirits, and the apprehension of mischiefs that may arise from the increasing animosity which all here have against Prinz Friedrich, and his too well known resenting and intrepid character, she cannot bear. Then the foundations laid, as she dreads, for jealousy and heart-burnings in her own family, late so happy and so united, afflict exceedingly a gentle and sensible mind, which has from the beginning, on all occasions, sacrificed its own inward satisfaction to outward peace. My sisters and grandmother, who used very often to jar, are now so entirely one, and are so much together, (caballing was the word that dropt from my mother's lips, as if at unawares,) that she is very fearful of the consequences that may follow;--to my prejudice, perhaps, is her kind concern; since she sees that they behave to me every hour with more and more shyness and reserve: yet, would she but exert that authority which the superiority of her fine talents gives her, all these family feuds might perhaps be extinguished in their but yet beginnings; especially as she may be assured that all fitting concessions shall be made by me, not only as my obvious due to my grandmother, but for the sake of so excellent and so indulgent a mother.

For, if I may say to you, my dear, what I would not to any other person living, it is my opinion, that had she been of a temper that would have borne less, she would have had ten times less to bear, than she has had. No commendation, you'll say, of the generosity of those spirits which can turn to its own disquiet so much condescending goodness.

Upon my word I am sometimes tempted to think that we may make the world allow for and respect us as we please, if we can but be sturdy in our wills, and set out accordingly. It is but being the less beloved for it, that's all: and if we have power to oblige those we have to do with, it will not appear to us that we are. Our flatterers will tell us any thing sooner than our faults, or what they know we do not like to hear.

Were there not truth in this observation, is it possible that my sisters could make their very failings, their vehemences, of such importance to all the family? 'How will my daughter, how will my niece, take this or that measure? What will she say to it? Let us consult her about it;' are references always previous to every resolution taken by their superiors, whose will ought to be theirs. Well may they expect to be treated with this deference by every other person, when my father himself, generally so absolute, constantly pays it to them; and the more since their grandmother's bounty has given independence to a spirit that was before under too little restraint.--But whither may these reflections lead me!--I know you do not love any of us but my mother and me; and, being above all disguises, make me sensible that you do not oftener than I wish.--Ought I then to add force to your dislikes of those whom I wish you to like?--of my father especially; for he, alas! has some excuse for his impatience of contradiction. He is not naturally an ill-tempered man; and in his person and air, and in his conversation too, when not under the torture of a gouty paroxysm, every body distinguishes the Prince born and educated.

Our sex perhaps must expect to bear a little--uncourtliness shall I call it?--from the husband whom as the lover they let know the preference their hearts gave him to all other men.--Say what they will of generosity being a manly virtue; but upon my word, my dear, I have ever yet observed, that it is not to be met with in that sex one time in ten that it is to be found in ours.--But my father was soured by the cruel distemper I have named; which seized him all at once in the very prime of life, in so violent a manner as to take from the most active of minds, as his was, all power of activity, and that in all appearance for life.--It imprisoned, as I may say, his lively spirits in himself, and turned the edge of them against his own peace; his extraordinary prosperity adding to his impatiency. Those, I believe, who want the fewest earthly blessings, most regret that they want any.

But my sisters! What excuse can be made for their haughty and morose temper? They are really, my dear, I am sorry to have occasion to say it, an ill-temper'd coterie of young ladies; and treat my mother sometimes--Indeed they are not dutiful.--But, possessing every thing, they have the vice of age, mingled with the ambition of youth, and enjoy nothing--but their own haughtiness and ill-temper, I was going to say.--Yet again am I adding force to your dislikes of some of us.--Once, my dear, it was perhaps in your power to have moulded them as you pleased.--Could you have been
my sister!--Then had I friend in a sister.

But no more of this. I will prosecute my former intention in my next; which I will sit down to as soon as breakfast is over; dispatching this by the messenger whom you have so kindly sent to inquire after us on my silence. Mean time, I am,

Your most affectionate and obliged
friend and servant,

Sophie

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Post to Schloß Moritzburg

Prinzessin Maria Aurora von Sachsen-Veldenz,








to

Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria von Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn








November 26.

I am extremely concerned, my dearest friend, for the disturbances that have happened in your family. I know how it must hurt you to become the subject of the public talk: and yet, upon an occasion so generally known, it is impossible but that whatever relates to a young lady, whose distinguished merits have made her the public care, should engage every body's attention. I long to have the particulars from yourself; and of the usage I am told you receive upon an accident you could not help; and in which, as far as I can learn, the instigator was indeed the aggressor.

Be this as it may, every body pities you. So steady, so uniform in your conduct: so desirous, as you always said, of sliding through life to the end of it unnoted; and, as I may add, not wishing to be observed even for your silent benevolence; sufficiently happy in the noble consciousness which attends it: Rather useful than glaring, your deserved motto; though now, to your regret, pushed into blaze, as I may say: and yet blamed at home for the faults of others--how must such a virtue suffer on every hand!--yet it must be allowed, that your present trial is but proportioned to your prudence.

As all your friends without doors are apprehensive that some other unhappy event may result from so violent a contention, in which it seems the families on both sides are now engaged, I must desire you to enable me, on the authority of your own information, to do you occasional justice.

My mother, and all of us, like the rest of the world, talk of nobody but you on this occasion, and of the consequences which may follow from the resentments of a man of Prinz Friedrich's spirit; who, as he gives out, has been treated with high indignity by your family. My mother is a good deal prepossessed by your mother; who occasionally calls upon us, as you know; and, on this rencounter, has represented to her the crime which it would be to encourage a man who is to wade into your favour (this was her expression) through the blood of her country.

Write to me therefore, my dear, the whole of your story from the time that Prinz Friedrich was first introduced into your family; and particularly an account of all that passed after your debut; about which there are different reports: and pray write in so full a manner as may satisfy those who know not so much of your affairs as I do. If anything unhappy should fall out from the violence of such spirits as you have to deal with, your account of all things previous to it will be your best justification.

You see what you draw upon yourself by excelling all your sex. Every individual of it who knows you, or has heard of you, seems to think you answerable to her for your conduct in points so very delicate and concerning.

Every eye, in short, is upon you with the expectation of an example. I wish to heaven you were at liberty to pursue your own methods: all would then, I dare say, be easy, and honourably ended. But I dread your directors and directresses; for your mother, admirably well qualified as she is to lead, must submit to be led. Your sisters will certainly put you out of your course.

But this is a point you will not permit me to expatiate upon: pardon me therefore, and I have done.--Yet, why should I say, pardon me? when your concerns are my concerns? when your honour is my honour? when I love you, as never woman loved another? and when you have allowed of that concern and of that love; and have for years, which in persons so young may be called many, ranked in the first class of your friends,

Your ever grateful and affectionate,

Aurora

Friday, November 21, 2008

Am Neuweinsfest

The second week of November brings the completion of the harvest of the year's grapes throughout the region, and the annual Neuweinsfest to celebrate the harvest and the tapping of the prior decade's vintage.


The debris and damage of the last year's riots have nearly been all cleared away, and the city guilds have been clearing the streets for the parade from the Kernertor to the steps of the Skt. Cäcilienskirche,
where the Bishop of Kognat blesses the first fruits of the area vineyards. While previous Neuweinsfeste often degenerated into drunken brawls between the journeymen of the town's various guilds, the good news brought by couriers from the Main valley of the recent triumph of the Imperium at Steinkreisdorf has brightened the spirits of all...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pfalz-Kognat-Obersaynische Action at Steinkreisdorf

Force-marching to Mainz, the Herzogerheer was able, after some consultation between the Elector Archbishop and Monsignor de Chiaroscuro, to cross the Rhein by means of the Elector's pontoon bridge, and proceed up the Main valley towards Frankfurt.

Near the hamlet of Steinkreisdorf just north of the city, the lead elements of the Herzogerheer encountered the pickets of the Franco-Imperial troops. Germanian forces were moving on Frankfurt through the crossroads village of Steinkreisdorf, and initial battle lines had already been formed as the Herzogerheer marched into the Imperial camp.

After a brief consultation with the other general officers of the combined Franco-Imperial force, it was decided to deploy the Herzogerheer to fill a gap in the center of the line, between Steinkreisdorf and the smaller hamlet of Ostburg, with the Obersaynische dragoons, von Bacharach infantry and most of the artillery train held in deep reserve, since the congested state of the animal tracks which served as roads around the tiny town were already jammed by the numerous regiments already deployed.

Immediately to the left of the sector assigned to the Herzogerheer were two Imperial converged grenadier battalions, two battalions of foot, and the Courland Timofievich Cossacks whose commanding general had been rendered hors de combat during an ill-advised reconaissance before the commencement of main action by a lucky sharpshooter of a Germanian Jaeger unit. The now-leaderless units were summarily transferred to the command of Generalmajor vom und zum Riesling, while his grace oversaw the deployment of the Herzogerheer to their right.

When vom und zum Riesling arrived to assume command, the Imperial forces were confronted by a squadron of Germanian cuirassiers, a squadron of dragoons, and two battalions of foot. A shallow stream separated the two armies, which, upon vom und zum Riesling's arrival, began advancing towards each other.

Uncertain of the reliability of the cossack force based upon his experiences of the unreliability of the similar grenzer forces which he had encountered in his service against the Turk, vom und zum Riesling paired one of the two converged grenadier battalions with the cossacks to confront the Germanian horse, while one of the hat battalions was advanced to confront the frontline Germanian infantry.

A sharp exchange of fire commenced between the Imperial hat battalion and the Germanian battalion, including its grenadiers. The superiour numbers and, perhaps, good fortune of the Germanians told from the start, as the initial volley of the Germanians blasted over a third of the Imperial battalion away.

The battered battalion stood to return fire, but the second Germanian volley proved too much, and the unit broke and ran, leaving the second-line Imperial unit, which had commenced a wheel to secure the bridge over the stream with its left flank dangerously exposed. The cossacks found themselves, as well, now confronted with two far heavier cavalry units splashing across the stream to their front, with the converged grenadier unit threatened by Germanian units to either flank.


Making a virtue of necessity, vom und zum Riesling elected to order the cossacks to secure the gap left by the flight of the Imperial infantry. Maneuvering with remarkable celerity, the cossacks wheeled into the gap between the Imperial first and second echelons. This gambit risked disaster if either the Germanian horse or foot advanced on the exposed grenadiers, who could be pushed calamitously into the cossacks as they passed, reducing all to confusion...



But in fact, the Germanian forces, slowed by the stream did not immediately advance. The now somewhat depleted foot unit preferred instead to wheel slightly to take a better angle of fire on the grenadiers, while the Germanian horse paused to reorganise after fording the stream. This gave the cossacks the desperately needed opportunity to complete their advance into the gap left by the broken Imperial infantry, and to begin to envelop the flank of the advanced Germanian foot. The second echelon battalion of converged Imperial grenadiers now commenced a wheel to the left to cover the exposed left of the forward battalion of grenadiers, who were now exchanging murderous fire with the Germanian foot.


The cossacks, unable to wheel to take the first echelon Germanian foot in the flank, elected instead to throw themselves forward to assay the flank of the second echelon Germanian infantry unit, hoping to draw its fire or to bypass it entirely to operate in the rear of the Germanian lines. The Germanian reserve unit stood stolidly as the cossacks galloped by, less than 50 yards from their left flank, but held their fire and watched the light horsemen, yipping and screaming, storm by.


The superiour training and elan of the grenadiers now began to tell in the firefight over the streambed. Even as their numbers dwindled to just over half their original effective strength, the Imperial grenadiers phelgmatically clung to their drill, pouring volley after volley into the forward Germanian infantry battalion. Already bloodied by the earlier exchange with the Imperial hat battalion, the resolve of the grenadiers proved too much for the Germanian foot, who wavered, and then broke.

The second echelon battalion of Imperial grenadiers had by now advanced to secure the first echelon's left, just in time to meet the advance, first of the Germanian dragoons, who had the better of the fight but elected to fall back to permit the Germanian cuirassiers to attempt a second charge. The cuirassiers, though, were thrown into disorder splashing across the stream, and were slashed by a storm of lead from the grenadiers. The charge of the cuirassiers disintegrated into chaotic butchery, and all momentum from the cuirassiers' chargers was lost. The Germanian horse broke and were thrown back, routing back to the Germanian rear, just as the cossacks completed their wheel around the Germanian reserve infantry to the open ground behind them...
The Germanian second echelon infantry now advanced to attempt to finish off the battered Imperial grenadier unit which had routed its first-echelon partner, and the remaining Imperial hat battalion on the Imperial right now splashed into the stream to menace the Germanian foot's left, while the Germanian dragoons wheeled about to attempt to salvage the honour of the Germanian cavalry by charging again into the grenadiers on the Imperial left.
The combined musket and cannister of the fresh, second-echelon Germanian battalion indeed proved too much for the grenadiers in the Imperial center, who broke and fell back before rallying some distance behind the stream. At the same time, though, the withering fire of the Imperial grenadiers on the left raked the Germanian infantry, reducing them to less than half their original numbers, and, most disastrously, the cossacks now rode down the broken remnants of the Germanian cuirassiers, with an easy wheel to come back around and finish off not only the broken Germanian foot fleeing on the Germanian left, but also to dispatch the dragoons if additional fire from the stronger Imperial grenadiers opposite them finally broke them. The situation for the Germanian brigade seemed lost, and the commander ordered his bugler to sound retreat.


Meanwhile, his grace Herzog Ignaz faced a somewhat different, if no less determined foe further off to vom und zum Riesling's right. The Leib-Kürassiere and the vom und zum Riesling and the von Bernkastel infantry regiments accompanied by the two new light seven-pound howitzers of von Rebholz's expanded artillery train were deployed against two squadrons of Germanian superiour hussars, a battalion of Jaeger, and two battalions of Germanian infantry.

As vom und zum Riesling had done, Herzog Ignaz's first attentions were to securing the bridge over the stream to permit quick deployment, especially of the howitzers, over the stream. When the enemy hussars ventured too close to the Leib-Kürassiere, though, the impetuosity of their charge quickly altered plans.


Met by a countercharge by the hussars, both the Leib-Kürassiere and hussars splashed into the stream in bloody hand-to-hand. Complete disorder ensued, but the superiour weight and armour of the Leib-Kürassiere first pushed the hussars back up onto the stream banks, and then broke them entirely. The Leib-Kürassiere pursued, running the survivors down in sanguinary punctuation.


The vom und zum Riesling infantry at the same time confronted the Jaeger across the stream. The Jaeger were able to fire first, but their much smaller numbers meant that their fire was almost swallowed up by the Obersaynische foot without visible consequence, while the vom und zum Riesling return volley devastated the Germanian Jaeger, who broke and ran.


Sensing the opportunity for a decisive breakthrough, Herzog Ignaz now sounded the general advance. The howitzers were limbered and advanced to the stream banks, while the vom und zum Riesling and von Bernkastel regiments marched into the stream to press the advantage. The Germanians, though, remained undaunted, and the Germanian first echelon infantry advanced to meet the Obersaynische infantry battalions as they attempted to reorder themselves on the far side of the stream. The first Germanian volley ripped into the vom und zum Riesling battalion, already bloodied by the Jaeger, and the Obersaynische foot broke and fled.


The Germanian second echelon infantry, rather than following its partner into melee with the Obersaynische foot wheeled to its right to confront the Leib-Kürassiere as they thundered in pursuit of stragglers from the butchered hussars. The Germanians loosed their first volley into the Obersaynische horse at moderate range, but the armour of the Leib-Kürassiere proved good and only the flanks of the unit were bloodied. The Jaeger, steadied by the covering fire of the Germanian second-echelon close order unit, now rallied, and attempted to bring fire to bear upon the Leib-Kürassiere as well, but succeeded only in drawing the charge of the Obersaynische heavy horse upon them where they stood in the open, breaking them and scattering them as well.


Now the sector hung in the balance, as the Germanian second-echelon continued to wheel to its right, by now completely facing to the rear of the main line in an attempt to bring fire on the Leib-Kürassiere, while the first-echelon exchanged fire with the disordered von Bernkastel infantry just over the bridge. In a crucial moment of decision, the Oberst of the Germanian first-echelon battalion elected not to charge the von Bernkastelers, preferring instead to continue to exchange fire, not noticing the successful fording of the stream just to the von Bernkasteler right of one of the two seven pound howitzers which, when the initial discharge of the artillery ripped into the Germanian left, sowed panic down the Germanian line. The Germanian battalion broke and fled to the rear, towards the Leib-Kürassiere dispatching the final remains of the Jaeger.

News of the cossacks and Leib-Kürassiere operating in their rear spread like wildfire throughout the Germanian sector, reaching the Germanian Generalmajor just before word of the astonishing storming of the Germanian left by a combined Gallian-Saxe Jungbach brigade led by the prodigious subaltern Fahnrich von Austin. Electing to salvage what he could from the sector, the Germanian commander sounded the retreat, leaving the field in the hands of the forces of the Herzogerheer.

The Leib-Kürassiere have been awarded the battle honour "Steinkreisdorf" for the action above reported, and a further list of honours and decorations will be forthcoming at the Neuweinsfest in Hunsruck this week.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Vices of Peace Are the Vices of Old Men

Touring the grounds at Herzog Kristian's palace, Kanzler Gottfried Graf von Schirnhausen sized up his Waldrecker counterpart with some concern. Although Herzog Kristian had vouched for Baron de Montglace as a sober intermediary and a widow's son on the square, nonetheless, von Schirnhausen still found the ease with which the conference had been arranged troubling; hard experience taught that Prinz Friedrich was not a man to squander any advantage nor long to suffer in his service any man who would.

The preliminary rehearsal of genealogical claims, counterclaims, acts of Imperial Diets and Imperial decress had been accomplished during the morning session. Neither party's opening demarche had presented an obvious avenue to a satisfactory resolution to the current conflict or the status of the Herrenschaft von Dolmen which lay behind it. De Montglace had with particular force emphasized the claims of blood linking the defunct Bishopric of Dolmen with von Waldreck's dynastic linkages with the Wittgensteins, and offered little concession to the significance of the perpetual cession of the Moselzoll, the primary source of Dolmen's revenue, to the Duke of Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn in the Imperial decrees ancillary to the creation of the Duchy in the reign of Leopold.

Meditating upon this genealogical concern, as well as the unpleasant, but ultimately unsubstantiated charges made against him by the Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria the day after her calamitous debut, von Schirnhausen ventured upon a new line of discussion.

"His serene highness is of course correct to emphasise the importance of the claims of blood and birth in the settlement of this unpleasant conflict, but I wonder, perhaps, if Prinz von Waldreck has devoted sufficient thought to the security of his own succession, and the salutary effect of a, ah, matrimonial resolution to many of the questions with which we have had to struggle here this day?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Der Jäger aus Kurpfalz




The Herzogerheer now continues their drills and manoeuvres in the Späterwald outside Hunsruck, preparing to march over the Rhein to the aid of their Imperial confreres now refitting and reorganising near Frankfurt am Main, as soon as His Grace's negotiators can reach acceptable terms in their negotiations with Waldreck diplomats at Zwieback. While the negotiations drag on, we present with you with a small sampling of the popular Obersaynische marching song, "Der Jäger aus Kurpfalz:"

Ein Jäger aus Kurpfalz,
Der reitet durch den grünen Wald,
Er schießt das Wild daher,
Gleich wie es ihm gefällt.

Refrain: Juja, Juja, gar lustig ist die Jägerei
Allhier auf grüner Heid',
Allhier auf grüner Heid'.

Auf! Sattelt mir mein Pferd
Und legt darauf den Mantelsack,
So reit' ich hin und her
Als Jäger aus Kurpfalz.
Refrain:

Hubertus auf der Jagd,
Der schoß ein'n Hirsch und einen Has'.
Er traf ein Mägdlein an,
Und das war achtzehn Jahr.
Refrain:

Des Jägers seine Lust
Den großen Herren ist bewußt,
Jawohl, jawohl bewußt,
Wie man das Wildpret schuß.
Refrain:

Wohl zwischen seine Bein,
Da muß der Hirsch geschossen sein,
Geschossen muß er sein,
Auf eins, zwei, drei.
Refrain:

Jetzt reit' ich nimmer heim,
Bis daß der Kuckuck, kuckuck schreit,
Er schreit die ganze Nacht
Allhier auf grüner Heid'!
Refrain:

Friday, October 31, 2008

A New Direction

"But Monsignor, it is beyond belief that His Grace should now seek terms with Prinz Friedrich, after the defenders of Festung Dolmen have put up so stout a defence, holding out until the entire Herzogerheer has been assembled, fully trained and even expanded larger than its size during Herzog Karl Moritz's command during the War of Spanish Succession!"

"Nonetheless, Erlaucht Kanzler, his orders are crystal-clear; and the contents of our commissions as negotiators for a peace conference leave no doubt as to our objectives: peace with Waldreck at nearly any cost to extricate Major Trimbach and his command from Festung Dolmen, permitting the entire Herzogerheer to march at once to the aid of Feldmarschallieutenant von Blei-Sammeln."

"At least Herzog Kristian's mediation and sponsorship of the talks gives the impression that we have Pfalz-Zwieback behind us in the negotiations, and Gallia behind him; does your intelligence give any sense of von Waldreck's terms?"

"My sources inform me that he has been singularly involved with the old Fugger estates to the north of Dolmen, leaving the siege operations at Festung Dolmen to subordinates. It is reasonable to think his terms will include cession of the entire exclave, rather than the mere demilitarisation of the fortress which will be our opening offer. His Grace has already approved the cession if it will buy the peace necessary to aid the Imperium."

"That will be a bitter pill indeed for the Landestände to swallow."

"Nonetheless, if the Imperium were to note our failure to make a contribution to the Reichsarmee, it is certain that we should not long avoid the predations of our larger neighbours without influence and respect in Vienna. Therefore almost any sacrifice is required to be able to aid the Imperium at this critical juncture."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Infantry Standards

At a solemn noontime ceremony at Festung Pfeffernüsse, Herzog Ignaz with his own hand presented the Oberst of Infanterie Regimente vom und zum Riesling, von Bernkastel and von Bacharach with their regimental Leibfahnen and Regimentsfahnen, marched from the Ducal Hall of Honours at Schloß Moritzburg last night in a moving torchlight ceremony.

The Leibfahne.
Regimentsfahne of Infanterie Regiment vom und zum Riesling.
Regimentsfahne of Infanterie Regiment von Bernkastel.

Infanterie Regiment von Bacharach.






Now the entire Herzogerheer is aflame with rumour and speculation. Surely marching orders will come at any time. Word of Imperial withdrawal from Bohemia in pursuit of the Germanian breakthrough north of Frankfurt fuels the fire of barracks wagers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ignatian Images

Our leading nominees for representation of Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J, so far are:

Conquest Miniatures:


and



I incline to the Conquest Miniatures Jesuits, over the melodramatic rendering of Cardinal de Richelieu, but it's not clear whether the Conquest Jesuits are still forthcoming (as one might hope, since they're only shown as greens) or already out of production.

Any insights?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Imago

Sitting in the confessional of the Ducal Chapel after vespers, Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., made use of his privacy by deciphering in the flickering candlelight the dispatch lately sent from Nebbio concerning the movements of a network of agents headed by a darkly mysterious lady lately identified by Nebbio's sources at Versailles.

Reviewing the sketch rendered by Nebbio of the equipage of this black widow, de Chiaroscuro reflected for a moment on the cipher which remained--the face and identity of this dark lady. Nebbio's sources had been unable to provide a likeness or any description of this woman, leaving the imagination to fill in the gaps.
Blonde, brunette, who could say? Her facelessness gave her a certain power of which, de Chiaroscuro felt certain, she took full advantage.

This train of thought brought him, upon reflection, to consider his own public image and appearance. Well known enough in court circles, his position as confessor and tutor to the Ducal Household created a certain image for him independent of his actual appearance. He wondered if his circumstance and public vocation completely overshadowed the man beneath the clerical garb in which he accomplished his tasks both secular and religious. If an image of him were to be cast into bronze or lead, how much would his own countenance matter in conveying that image?

Seen from any distance, would anything of Baldesar even be perceptible? Or would the black robe and Roman collar be all that was seen? De Chiaroscuro had taken several self-portraits of himself both in oil and charcoal over the years, both as a lesson in humility and as a form of discipline in maintaining his skill in rendering likenesses from different angles, but he had only passing experience in his youth with sculpture and the rendering of tangible form in space. He resolved therefore, knowing of several silversmiths who trafficked in such things, to find an image in miniature which could be plausibly supposed to represent a priest of his order, and explore the question further.

But who could provide the figure he sought?

[Ed. note: Suggestions for figures to represent Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., are hereby solicited; any plausible 25-28mm clerical figure is welcomed for consideration]

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fourier Transformations

Stalking out of the staff meeting, Prinz von Rebholz vented his frustration to his adjutant, Hauptmann Strauss. "Logistics this, logistics that, and yet not one word about the object of our campaign! Chiaroscuro brings news of a Germanian advance on Frankfurt, but we are NOT to pursue discussions with the Frankfurters OR the Gallians to obtain access to Gallian magazines!"

"We have word my lord," replied the harried fourier, "that the ammunition caissons requisitioned for the march from Herren Alter und Ruhm are nearly complete; the demonstration models have been couriered to my desk here."

"Hm, yes. Aren't the colours a bit flat?"

"I've merely blocked the models with an ochre wash to match the Herzogliche paint scheme, and inked the horses to reveal detail. Monsignor de Chiaroscuro has asked to be permitted to add some additional colouring and highlighting before the models are transferred to His Grace's campaign equipment. For my own part, I've added a little detail to mark the ammunition capacity of the caissons and guns using birdshot, 8 gauge for the three and six pounders, and 5 gauge for the 12-pounders and howitzers."

"His Grace will no doubt be pleased with your diligence; do carry on and alert me immediately as soon as any word is heard from the artillery foundry in Dayton as to their estimated delivery date."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Copperplates from the Paradeplatz of Festung Pfeffernüsse

On the drilling grounds outside Festung Pfeffernüsse, the bulk of the Herzogerheer assembled this week to muster in the new recruits and reorganise to incorporate the second grenadier company recently authorised by the Kriegsrat. Additional artillery is on order, as well, and the cannoneers of the Heer eagerly anticipate the heavier guns while honing their skills on the battalion guns.

Word of Germanian and Gallian manoeuvres about Frankfurt to the south have excited all manner of rumours throughout the army, and an hundred different stories have been spun about the bivouac campfires of the last days' marches. Yet the regimental colours remain secured in the fortress citadel, an indication that marching orders have not yet been finalised.


Squadrons of the Leib-Kürassiere, von Schirnhausen and von Kostenwand Dragoner, from right to left, practise close order manoeuvre while breaking in new tack and furniture for their mounts. Regimental fouriers in garrison quarters meanwhile struggle to solve the riddle of arranging remounts and fodder for a march outside of the Kerner valley to unknown points to the southeast.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

OoB for Big Battalions

Completing his report and analysis of intelligence gathered from his sources in Vienna and along the return route, Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., resumed his seat before the assembled Kriegsrat. Generalmajor Gerhard Graf vom und zum Riesling then rose and distributed an aide memoire. "You see, milords, the state in which your latest appropriations will leave the Herzogerheer to address the expected crisis to the south."

Herzogerheer

Unit Name

Type

Training

Base Value

Figures

Total Value

Notes

Herzog Ignaz von Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn

Lt. General

Trained

13

1

13.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

Generalmajor Gerhard Graf vom und zum Riesling, Generalquartiermeister

Maj. General

Elite

11

1

11.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

Oberst Otto Freiherr von Thurgau, Generalinspekteur der Kavallerie

Brigadier

Elite

7

1

7.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

Leib-Kürassiere

Cuirassiers

Trained

2.1

24

50.40

Oberst Jakob Freiherr von Silvaner

Brigadier

Trained

5

1

5.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

Von Schirnhausen Dragoner

Dragoons

Trained

1.9

12

22.80

Von Kostenwand Dragoner

Dragoons

Trained

1.9

12

22.80

0

0.00

Oberst Heinz Graf von Trollinger, Generalinspekteur der Infanterie

Brigadier

Trained

5

1

5.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

(1st) Regiment Infanterie vom und zum Riesling

Line Infantry

Trained

0.9

54

48.60

(2nd) Regiment Infanterie von Bernkastel

Line Infantry

Trained

0.9

54

48.60

(3rd) Regiment Infanterie von Bacharach

Line Infantry

Trained

0.9

54

48.60

Converged Grenadier Battalion

Grenadier Infantry

Trained

1.1

54

59.40

3pdr battery, Regiment vom und Zum Riesling

3pdr

Cannon

3

1

3.00

3pdr crew, vom und zum Riesling Regiment

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

3

5.40

3pdr battery, Regiment von Bernkastel

3pdr

Cannon

3

1

3.00

3pdr crew, Regiment von Bernkastel

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

3

5.40

3pdr battery Regiment von Bacharach

3pdr

Cannon

3

1

3.00

3pdr crew, Regiment von Bacharach

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

3

5.40

0

0.00

Oberst Leopold Prinz von Rebholz, Generalinspekteur der Artillerie

Brigadier

Trained

5

1

5.00

ADC

ADC

Trained

1

1

1.00

6pdr battery

Cannon

6

1

6.00

6pdr crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

6pdr battery

Cannon

6

1

6.00

6pdr crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

7pdr Howitzer

Cannon

7

1

7.00

7pdr Howitzer crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

7pdr Howitzer

Cannon

7

1

7.00

7pdr Howitzer crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

12pdr battery

Cannon

11

1

11.00

Light

12pdr crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

12pdr battery

Cannon

11

1

11.00

Light

12pdr crew

Artillery Crew

Trained

1.8

5

9.00

3 pdr Ammo Cart

1

6 pdr Ammo Cart

10

10

1

10.00

7 pdr Ammo Cart

10

10

1

10.00

12 pdr Ammo Cart

1

Army Totals:

330

492.4