Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Waldrecker Proxy

After a lengthy, early-morning consultation in the confessional with Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, a subdued Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria, accompanied by the monsignor, made her entrance into the salon nearest the chapel where she was awaited by her father, the Comte de Mazan, the Dowager Duchess, three of her ladies-in-waiting and Ritter von Trimbach.

Without ceremony, de Mazan presented the sealed and witnessed proxy of Prinz Friedrich, and the appended oath to respect the commitment of the Prinzessin and her female children to the Catholic faith, for the inspection of the Duke and Msgr. de Chiaroscuro. Herzog Ignaz in turn presented for the witnesses the dispensation permitting the Prinzessin to marry outside the Church, signed by Georg Franz, Bishop of Kognat.

Satisfied of the validity of the documents, Msgr. de Chiaroscuro opened his breviary and, carefully avoiding eye contact with the Prinzessin, began to read out the wedding service...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inheritance Powder

The Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria sat at her vanity for some time after the polterabend dinner party hosted by her father in honour of the young and dashing Comte de Mazan, arrived in Hunsruck as the proxy of Prinz Friedrich at the wedding ceremony over which Msgr. de Chiaroscuro would preside tomorrow prior to the departure of the wedding party for Waldreck. De Mazan and a company of Waldrecker dragoons would accompany the company of her father's Kürassiere under the command of the departing Oberst Ritter von Trimbach to her intended's capital of Bruttig for the official wedding ceremony at the Kaiser-Friedrich-Gedächtnis-Kirche the next day.

The Prinzessin was entirely at a loss at what to make of the Comte; seated next to her--sitting in her mother's place upon her mother's continuing indisposition--as the guest of honour at dinner his conversation had been completely correct and obsequious, but something in his gaze at her had at all times savoured of impudence. The manner with which he had rendered his baise-main at the end of the evening would have raised a blush had her complexion not been properly whitened and rouged beforehand, and now provoked a lingering discomfort as she contemplated the imminent, four-day carriage procession to Bruttig.

Rousing herself from her reverie, the Prinzessin reached for the sponge and warm water prepared for her to remove her blanche and rouge. Moving the bowl and candle closer to the looking glass, she noticed an unobtrusive white packet bound with a white ribbon which had been propped between the bowl and the glass.

While her dressing maids professed ignorance as to its arrival there, the Prinzessin opened the parcel addressed only "To the Prinzessin." Inside she found a smaller envelope labeled "pour la succession," containing an odourless white powder, and an essay of several pages in an elegant French hand entitled "De l'Assassinat Considéré comme Un des Beaux-Arts." Astonished, the Prinzessin reached for her quizzing glass and began to read...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

Oberst Andreas Ritter von Trimbach, just informed of his New Year's commission as the new commander of the Tradgardland Regiment in the service of the Duke of Tradgardland, proceeds with the execution of his final honorific commission in the service of Herzog Ignaz by reviewing the parade route of the Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria's nuptial procession through the Herzogerpark quarter of Hunsruck, along with the Leib company of the Kürassiere who will serve as the Prinzessin's honour guard during her journey to Waldreck for the official ceremony after the Octave of Epiphany.

Oberst von Trimbach is somewhat troubled by the refusal of the Prinzessin to consult on her security requirements during the procession and subsequent journey; indeed, it would seem she has had as little as possible to do with any planning, other than insisting upon a private Catholic wedding service prior to the official ceremony. Von Trimbach knew that such reticence is not out of the ordinary for such political alliances, and, indeed, significantly simplified the process, but the Prinzessin's behaviour on the crucial day remained a troubling cipher in Oberst Trimbach's logistical calculations.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epiphany Announcements

Following time-honoured tradition, The Most Reverend Georg Franz, Bishop of Kognat, this morning celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Epiphany. After the homily, the Dean of the Kognatdom noted:

"Dearly beloved brethren, you shall know that as we have rejoiced in the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, so there is announced to you by the mercy of God the joyous observance of the Resurrection of the same our Savior:

February 18th is Septuagesima Sunday.

On March 7th Ash Wednesday begins the most holy season of Lent.

On April 15th we shall celebrate with great rejoicing the holy Easter Festival of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May 24th is the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

June 3rd is the Feast of Pentecost.

December 2nd is the First Sunday in the Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and glory, world without end. Amen."

[Ed. Note: Those planning other important activities throughout the year of grace 1759 may find a full calendar of the year useful.]

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Star in the Heavens

Astronomers at the Universität Achselfraktur have been electrified by their confirmation of the report from Saxony of Johann Georg Palitzsch's Christmas sighting of a new star in the firmament, believed to be that predicted by the calculations of the Britannian natural philosopher Dr. Halley in 1705. While the star is currently only visible as a point, it is believed that it will resolve itself into a comet in the coming months, and may even become visible in daylight, as in the speculative painting provided by our artists above.

What portent this conveys for its terrestrial observers remains to be seen. While the last appearance of the comet, if this is indeed proven to be the same one, augured the Ottoman campaign culminating in the siege of Vienna, Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., Tutor and Confessor to the Ducal Household, strongly condemns any attempts to cast horoscopes--particularly those of members of the Ducal Household, which remains punishable by death--or to divine by similar means the fate of individuals, the Duchy or Christendom at large from such celestial phenomena.