Thursday, December 08, 2011

A mournful air

Catalonia, 9th October 1713

The second week of October 1713 began under the ominous sign of uncertainty. In Barcelona, the deputies and military authorities were acknowledged about the brilliant results of the battle of Montblanc, while simultaneously news arrived on the huge reinforcement armies King Philip d'Anjou had thrown in the Principality. Meanwhile, no news had yet arrived from abroad, either Versailles (if the Marquis de Vilana had actually arrived in there) or Vienna (where Lady Elisenda had supposedly arrived in).

On their side, Spanish military leaders in Catalonia had a not much better prospect in front of them. The defeat of Montblanc defenders had spread dismay among troops and officers, in spite of the fact that the brilliant situation management by General Vallejo had prevented the loss from turning into a real tragedy beyond repair. The arrival of new reinforcements coming from Sicily had by no means helped improving the Army morale, so that only a military victory on the field would likely turn morale back. However, if delicate was morale among the troops, even worse was among the Army leaders, for...

...for a thick layer of silence had suddenly spread over the Real Alcázar of Madrid --Spanish royal residence. Something really grave had happened behind the walls of that old Arabic palace restored by Charles I long ago, but nobody knew what had actually happened there. As aid, a thick layer of silence reigned at palace -a mournful silence, as occasional visitors would attest. The letters of Marquis of Aitona had received no response yet, either from King Philip V or the Princesse des Ursins. Everywhere reigned uncertainty in the worst possible season of year, when the first colds of winter were about to show their dreadful face.

7 comments:

abdul666 said...

Wish nothing happened to the Queen: as long as she lives, Versailles has an excellent agent in the person of the Princesse des Oursins, whose influence can be decisive.

abdul666 said...

Re Her Highness Elisenda's journey to Versailles, An escort can protect the Lady against any hand-to-hand aggression or short range (pistol, grenade lobbing) attack.
But against a machine infernale (or a wagon loaded with barrels filled with black powder and nails, or dozens of loaded musket barrels braced together &c...) the only safety is to have the Lady, modestly dressed, riding in a modest carriage with the maidservants, and a look alike in the 'noble' carriage. Yet, requires there is no leak from the start.

Btw, are you sure crossing the lower Alps to Italy, then going along the Mediterranean shore and getting to the Rhone valley through Aix en Provence would be more lengthy than your proposed 'Northern' itinerary?

abdul666 said...

Then you can have a rich caravan (with a look alike) ostensibly taking one road, another, modest, unobtrusive one taking the other road…

Soldadets said...

About the event suggested in my post: our end-of-turn dice rolls have marked a really disturbing event to happen. Sadly, young Queen María Luisa de Saboya is dead. No one yet knows outside king Philip's Palace --but the bad news are likely to spread quickly soon...

Soldadets said...

Under Imperial aides-de-camp advice, Princess Elisenda has discarded using an apparently more comfortable route through Northern Italy due to several reasons --some pointed by the Austrian staff, others of her own.

She's been informed that, by late October 1713, king Philip V holds a few remnant strongholds in Lombardy, held by a total force of 2 complete Spanish Regiments of Foot.

Besides, she's aware of the strong Spanish influence among several Italian principalities --Parma particularly--, and she has no doubt where their failed murderers came from...

Sure that some German principalities are on the Two Crowns' side --Bavaria the strongest among them, but not the only one. However, Princess Elisenda's instinct tells her that those principalities would be under French influence, rather than Spanish --so that their journey through these would be safer, as long as king Louis
doesn't change his mind about her...

Soldadets said...

Outstanding protection measures to be taken? Hum... She's still debating with her staff the exact route to follow... ;)

abdul666 said...

"Young Queen María Luisa de Saboya is dead."
Very young to die indeed -and seemingly not in childbirth, the most common cause of women untimely death by then: poison?