Monday, September 06, 2010

Turmoil in Parliament

Barcelona, 27th July 1713

General Prado finally arrived to the Parliament section he had been assigned and took a seat. He was by no means fond of such boring duty, but he'd been expressly designed by General Villarroel to attend a session he had provided as a complicated one. Someone ought to be there in behalf of the Army Headquarters, albeit without voting rights, for their oppinion might be required at any moment.

Once all the deputies had finally taken a seat too, the President of the General Deputation asked for silence, and started explaining the latest war events. A deep silence spread as he started accounting the terrible retaliations performed on Igualada and Girona civilian population: -We have also learnt that the Spaniards will apply Diezmo de Horca on all loyalist towns, following orders of Their Majesty Philip, Duke of Anjou.

Such revealings made outrage spread across the Chamber like a wildfire, and one representative of the Barcelona Municipality started an impassioned speech in demand of similar retaliations to be performed on the Two Crowns prisoners and collaborationists. -...take those prisoners in hold right now, and let's execute all them! -he finished. The intervention caused a great shouting and applause from the People's Arm, and even some members of the Nobiliary Arm also endorsed the ovation.

Then it was Antoni Peguera, a reputed Nobiliary deputy, who stood up to speak, this time to energically reject such retaliations: -Ours is a legitimate and noble war, so we must attain to its principles face to God and the Nations.

-Chivalryhood is a victors' privilege, Peguera! This war is not determined yet, and if the Enemy wants it to be total, total must it be! -he was promptly replied by another Nobleman.

The President of the General Deputation was Francesc Antoni de Solanell, a clergyman as prescribed by an old tradition. As a Visitor of the Benedictines Order, Prior of Àger and Abbot of St. Peter Galligants, he was reputed for being a moderate man -openly opposite to continuing the war. He had been listening with great concern the session development, and at this point he made a discreet gesture to the banks of the Ecclesiastical Arm, so that a Jesuit priest stood up for addressing to the latest speaking deputy: -You've told so, sir. Perhaps is true that Chivalryhood is a victors' privilege but, in case we also started such a mad cycle of retaliations and murderings, what kind of grace might we expect from the Enemy, if they finally prevail? This war is not decided, as you said, and we have victory by no means guaranteed. Otherwise, do you really think it can beaten the joint force of two major powers of the Catholic world?

Uproars then increased to become deafening, as many members of the People's Arm accused the speaker of being a pro-Bourbon: -Traitor! Defeatist! Jesuit you had to be! -As General Prado could clearly observe, big sweat drops were running along the President's face, that had turned so pale than one could expect him to fall swoon at any moment. He was just about to lose control on the assembly, when suddenly an energic voice sounded above the general shouting -It's ENOUGH!! STOP - YOU - ALL!!

Following that energic speech, to the suprise of many, the solitary figure of a lady stood towering with great dignity among the seats of the Nobiliary Arm. -That's enough, gentlemen! -she repeated in an even stronger voice, simultaneously discharging a soundly punch on a wooden bench. -Are the legitimate representatives of a sovereign people what I'm seeing when looking around? Are these, or is it no more than a couple of suburban teenagers' mobs disputing for a ball by throwing stones to each other?

Not less taken by surprise than the rest of the Chamber, General Prado payed attention to the lady who was so energically admonesting them. In spite of being a magnetically beautiful young woman, she offered by no means any impression of fragility, but the strong authority shared by those accustomed to commanding and being listened. And she had got being listened by a so troubled Parliament. General Prado then recognized in her Lady Elisenda Folc de Cardona, member of one of the most ancient and powerful lineages in the former Crown of Aragon, in past times only surpassed by the King himself. She did not belong to the main branch of the lineage because it had fallen time ago, through a pityful marriages policy, into hands of the Fernández de Córdoba's Spanish lineage, along with their most preciated title -that of Dukes of Cardona. Despite this circumstance, she still was one the last native descendants of the Catalan-Aragonese High Nobility -and so was respected and even feared.

The attendance of a woman to the Parliament in full membership had been ill tolerated by many members of the Chamber, but no one would ever dare to lodge any objection to this, for she was directly appointed by King Charles himself, who had openly kept a close friendship to Lady Elisenda, since long before His marriage to Elisabeth-Christine of Brunswick in 1708, and long after it. Many rumours spread over a so unusually close relationship, but Lady Elisenda had always kept an irreproachable attitude so that, in spite of such malicious rumours, she also earned the friendship of the Queen, who was a similar age.

She had involuntarily collected the bulk of enemies among the Ecclesiastical Arm, who considered her as corrupting and pernicious after being learnt she had spent her teenage years at a Monte-Cristan Lyceum. Moreover, when Lady Elisenda was back in the Principality at the age of 18, she was admitted into the illustrated Acadèmia dels Desconfiats (=Academy of the Distrustful) -a supplementary cause of scandal for Church around this institution.

The Lady continued her speech: -Some of you openly talk of applying to our prisoners the same punishment their fellows are applying to theirs, to their everlasting dishonor and disgrace among the Nations of Christendom. True that the Old Testament speaks of eye for an eye and tooth for tooth but, nevertheless please keep your minds cold, gentlemen! What are we to gain, reducing ourselves to their same moral category?

-What do you pretend us to do instead? Turning the other cheek perhaps?

-No I don't, by no means. -she coldly replied- However, it would be foolish to pay them the same coin, because we would be showing them our weakness. Contrary to this, let's respect the rules of war, let's show ourselves strong and confident in the final victory. And I bet that not only our current prisoners will gladly volunteer to dress our uniforms in a short time, but even the Enemy's rank and file will soon turn their bayonets against their tyrannic leaders! Gentlemen, please remember the whole world is watching us. Let their embarrassment to arise and grow strong enough to break their guilty passivity, let's the world hold their breath until we prevail... or we die. And by this gentlemen, have for sure we shall prevail. WE SHALL!

Some members of the Nobiliary Arm stood up and started to soundly ovation her speech, being soon followed by other deputies from the other Arms -even some of those formerly defending the opposite view. Even a wide part of the Ecclesiastical deputies also begun a quiet applauding, albeit keeping notoriously seated.

Then it was General Prado who stood up and firmly spoke: -Lady Elisenda, I am pleased to formally acknowledge this Chamber that the Army Headquarters are fully agreeing your points of view, as General Villarroel instructed me this morning. The lady gave back to him a warm smile, and then stared at the President. She said nothing, but her eyes were speaking for her: "I've saved your skin this time. Do not forget". The Benedictine Abbot imperceptibly nodded, his face still deprived of colour.

9 comments:

Capt Bill said...

Nothing like a bold lass with connectiions...

abdul666 said...

A striking character, a woman of the kind Monte-Cristans enjoy to admire. She will be extremely popular as soon as reports of this session reach the Presipality (carrier pigeons fly fast) -and the hostility of the clergy will only enhance her repute, here.

abdul666 said...

When Monte-Cristan fashion designers were asked for possible uniforms for the Galatan Volunteer Women reputedly to be recruited by Lady Elisenda Folc de Cardona, their initial projects, while indeed not cumbersome, would probably look... unladylike outside the Presipality (even the colors may be too gaudy?).
A 'manly' cut would probably more acceptable?

Soldadets said...

We'll have to deal this matter of the uniforms later, when I finally get the minis. It largely depends on the appearance and dressing of the figures themselves. However, I imagine their rain-coats as painted in leather tone, although this actually conditions the undercoat dressings colours. I figure that, under such conditionings, it would be better using a quite simple palette, primarily based in white and/or black. For example, leather or black breeches, and white for shirts/waistcoats and trousers. Or alternately, black trousers keeping a clear leather colour for breeches. There is also some uncertainty about what kind of undercoat dressing they are wearing, for I imagine that waistcoats would allow some more variety than shirts...

Jeroen72 said...

Lady Elisenda is a striking lady indeed!

Salvador said...

But gentlemen, it is doubtful that catalan fighters, be they women or men, regulars or mountain fusileers, will be able to forget bourbon attrocities. After all, it's their homes which are being burnt and their families who are being murdered. Can somebody put any guilt on them?
I expect whole columns of bourbon soldiers being ambushed and cut to pieces by sometents, hanged and beheaded by miquelets and put to the knife or bayonet by regular troopers. And be their bodies defiled by the populace!
A carn! No quarter given! This is a war fot survival!

Soldadets said...

Hi Salvador,

Here is when fiction comes to ameliorate History (and not only in possible aftermaths).

True that historically the Gallows Tithe started a vicious spiral of violence, with no quarter given to fallen enemy by both sides. But it is not less true that Catalan Command tried to stop infair retaliations -it is known for example that General Nebot prohibited a pro-bourbons' estates storming that several officers had suggested.

Thus, I decided to try and further explore an even more energic refusal of such practices -not only for moral reasons but for pragmatic motivations, just as Lady Elisenda explained in my scene...

Soldadets said...

opsssss... I meant 'unfair' by 'infair'

Salvador said...

Yep, mine is not a suggestion but a hope for blood and guts getting out of some people's bodies... You know, I'm a field officer, and so many carnages tend to turn people a little callous... And there's also the fact that a dead enemy is one enemy less to fight to or care for. And instilling fear in badly paid bourbon spanish soldiers can be an excellent deterrent for their fighting prowess... Which is not very high neither! :-D