Monday, October 17, 2016

Facing unrest

Perpignan, 12th April 1714

Coming from south, a cart crosses fast the Castellet gates of Perpignan, capital town of Roussillon province, and climbs to downtown like a shot. It passes fast by Commerce square and gets into Argenteria, or Silversmiths', street. Then it suddenly stops close to a stylish caffè recently open. One single man leaves the cart, a middle-aged chevalier elegantly dressed in a senior military uniform, entirely red. the man steadily crosses the caffè door and gets in.

Other officers are awaiting him in a private lounge, and courteously welcome his arrival: --Ah bonjour, dear Viscount of Galmoy!

--Good evening, Sirs. I should apologize for the delay; the road from Roses was nearly impracticable!

Up to five senior officers of Louis XIV's armies have gathered that day, all them with garrison duties in Roussillon province: Adrien M. Duke of Noailles who owns the Horse regiment bearing his name; Nicolas G. Marquis of Villennes and colonel of Médoc Infantry; Pierce Butler Viscount of Galmoy, who leads the Irish regiment of his name; chevalier Jean-Baptiste F. de Johanne de La Carre, colonel of Royal-Roussillon Cavalry, and Augustin la Brulle de Ximenès, colonel of Royal-Roussillon Infantry. Some faces there are showing curiosity or uncertainty, while others reflect a stern determination.

It is Johanne de la Carre who speaks first: --Sirs, I've been acknowledged that Princess Elisenda is going to land on Collioure harbour next week, with the aim to take charge as Vicereyne of Roussillon. I'm afraid this province is going to fall into her hands now, so that only God knows what is she willing to do from now on.

--Well Sirs, I see no cause for alarm there. Not that prematurely, at least --Ximenès prudently answers.

It's Noailles who speaks now: --Honestly, I can hardly stand too the idea of being given orders by a former enemy; if this is what you meant, Johanne.

--Not just this is what worries me, dear Duke --La Carre replies--, but also the fear to see how that woman deconstructs with impunity all our latter decades efforts for integrating this province into France.

--Perhaps we should stop her feet in advance, I'd say --Marquis of Villennes emphatically states.

--I'm with Ximenès in the inopportuneness of any... er... act of rebellion now, dear Sirs --Galmoy then phlegmatically says--. Please recall that it's King Louis himself who has appointed that Lady for the task you so much blame. So if anyone disobeyed her, he would be disobeying His Royal Majesty too.

--Let's be patient at her for some time still, Sirs. Let's watch and see before deciding what to do --Ximenès insists.

--Maybe you're right, Sirs --La Carre moodily replies-- Have for sure however that some action will be needed to stop her, sooner or later.

It sounded neatly threatening.

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