(Joint IC between Marsch and me - Private)
A Desire for Justice
The Hôtel de Lassay, located right next to the Palais Bourbon, or as the old Prince liked to call it, the Apehouse. It had not taken that long to restore, Condé having made it his home for the time being ensured that plenty of furniture had been moved in the past few weeks.The old Prince had invited the new Minister of Justice, one of the few in the government who he could stomach among people far too moderate in light of what had happened. It would not be long before the Prince would leave for the countryside, but for now he wished to discuss the matter most important to his heart. The punishment for those who murdered his grandson.
The dinner had been good, Condé had treated himself to some good roasted pork, his stomach might punish him later. He never quite knew if tomorrow as going to be a good day or not, but he didn't overly care, if he was to die soon then what's the point of holding back, might as well enjoy himself.
Old Condé was sitting in one of the ornate chairs near a fireplace as the Minister was brought in. It was clear that age had taken its toll on him, yet he was content all the same to finally be home. Servants aplenty around him with their fine clothes and whigs, often told not to smile to hide their hideous teeth. The Prince sat with a wine glass, enjoying the vintage as looked up at the Duke, “Monsieur le duc”
Claude Louis Marie de Beauvilliers, Duc de Saint-Aignan, walked into the spacious rooms of the Hôtel de Lassay. It was rainy outside, and the long lilac cloak, covering the body of the newly minted Minister of Justice from shoulders to knees, was pretty wet, even though he had to walk only for a few minutes, from his carriage to the gates. Quickly freeing himself from the cloak, the Duc de Saint-Aignan passed it to a ceremonious lackey with a powdered wig and, accompanied by the latter, continued his journey through the corridors of the palace. In a pitch-black surcoat, with a sword at his hip, Claude has become even more pale since his appointment, but his eyes now glowed with a sense of grim satisfaction. The long days and hours of waiting, of contacting the right people and making his mark in the Chamber of Peers have proved to be beneficial, and the King has entrusted him with the important responsibilities.
As he walked into the room and saw the Prince of Condé, Saint-Aignan lowered his head respectively, as he advanced him. This man was truly a legend, a patriarch of the royals and the royalists - and he deserved true reverence, unlike some who were titled, but free of true loyalty, virtues and merits. “Monsieur le Prince.” the Duke said, when he was near, and looked at the wine glass his old general was holding. He would not say no to some as well - the weather was hideous. ”The rain is simply raging outside! I hope you are well?”
”I am well, Monsieur, I welcome the rain. Paris is many things, one of them no doubt is beautiful, but it is rarely clean. Every beauty needs a good washing once in awhile, about time that Paris gets one again.” Louis said before he motioned to the chair opposite of him at the fireplace, “I congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Justice, I’m afraid it shall be a position that will leave many disappointed by your action no matter what you do.” Condé said as he looked up at him for a moment before speaking up again, “Forgive me for not standing, but my knees have seen better days.”
"Indeed. If something certainly did not change from the old times - Paris is still as dirty as a hog owned by a lazy farmer!" - the Duc laughed hoarsely, sitting down. Then he for a moment rubbed his hands, in order to chase away the cold. The heat from the fireplace soon made him feel better. Looking at the dancing flames, he said; "Paris! You know, I have the strangest feelings now, when I walk its streets. As if I see a woman I once loved passionately, that was somehow separated from me.. and as if I now see see her near a new husband with a pack of yelling kids. It is still her... but to an extent already not. You never felt the same, Monsieur le Prince?" If the Duke remembered only the eighties and nineties, Condé went far back - and probably had even more shadows and ghosts of the former France inhabiting his memory. "Thank you, Monsieur. I indeed believe that some would be unhappy, thinking me too harsh or too lenient, judging by their views." - when the Prince spoke of his appointment, Saint-Aignan smiled - but without merriness in his eyes. Then he leaned towards Condé. "Some of the nowadays "politicians", be they in the right or in the left, would also surely surprised by my approach towards my office. You see, I see myself as an instrument of the King, first of all. It is of utmost importance to me that the stability of his Throne is guaranteed and that his aims are executed, and I would proceed solely in this direction, even if my private emotions would somehow recommend other measures." He did not elaborate this thought, leaving it for the future, if the Prince would be interested. Instead he flinged his arms up, as Condé apologized for remaining sitted; "Monsieur le Prince, taking into account your deeds and position, I believe that even the Creator would have allowed you this privilege!" Then he moved to another topic: "Have you heard, that a certain young chevalier... that is considered to be of kin to Monsieur le Prince... has sent the King a rather commendable petition regarding the punishment of the foul regicides?"
“Somewhat.” The Prince responded, his eyes clearly betraying his focus, no longer on the conversation but instead in a memory. The Prince shook his head as he took a sip of wine. “If you follow the goodness of the Kingdom, then no poor judgement can come onto your character or reputation. There shall be no doubt that if you place the goodness of the throne before anything else that you shall prosper in your purpose.” As Condé spoke a servant came with a glass, pouring the Duke some wine. “I also believe that the young chevalier you speak of is Henri Jules, an illegitimate grandson of mine who recently stood in election.” The Prince looked down into his cup as he shook his head, “A Bourbon in the Apehouse.” He quietly remarked as he looked back up at the Duke. “What of your own family, have they found France and her once green fields to their liking?”
“I hope so, Monsieur le Prince, for I indeed hope that would be able to execute my office without prejudice or malignancy, only for the good of the Kingdom." - receiving the glass from the servant, Saint-Aignan sipped the wine and then exclaimed "A fine vintage! Is it from the old stock? I am surprised if the sans-cullotes have left us some." Then he drank some more, before commenting on the behavior of the Henri-Jules, the bastard grandson of the Prince. "The young nearly always like everything new. In the 90s even pages at the royal court chattered about the Estates Generales... and look what it led to." Then Claude moved to a more enjoyable topic - his family. "Thank you, they seem to love it here. To be honest, my wife did not like Russia or Poland that much. She was angry with the Russians running her country, you see - even though she spent most of her life in St.Petersburg! And my son was quite happy to see our castle at Saint-Aignan. How are you lands faring, Monsieur le Prince? Did not jacobins pillage them too much?"
“We took some wine with us to England when we left.” The Prince said with a smile before sighing “The young always clamor for change, they wish for a new a different world, a better world.” The Prince sighed, “I do not blame them, I just blame their recklessness as they burned down society in the process. Destroying what made France great, the pillars of civilization. Monarch, nobility and church. Chamber of Deputies.” The Prince snorted. “Assemblies, what do these men know of good governance, spend an hour in their chamber and you should think the savages were in charge of France!” He said, his blood pressure rising before he took a breath and sat back in his chair. “Chantilly was burned down, our seat.” Louis said with sadness before sighing once more “It will be for a future Prince to rebuild, If there shall be one.”
"Some people say that each young generation copies the mistakes of the previous. Other claim that they make their own. But the result is usually the same." - Claude once again took a swig of the drink. it was enjoyable to sit by the fire, savoring the palate of the vintage and talking with the man everything about whom was connected with the old times. It helped to forget about the storms of modernity raging outside - for a moment, at least. "One might consider the Chamber of Deputies as our political kindergarten - they posses the activity to light the march, but hardly the wisdom not to throw it into their mother's wardrobe" - after this joke, Duc de Saint-Aignan finished the wine and put the glass aside. As he heard about Chantilly being burned, he sighed "The bastards... no offense meant to your grandson, of course. In my estate in Saint-Aignan they only damaged the interior rooms. Took ages to launder these сurtains, I do not know what they have poured on them." Here the Duc once again curled his mouth in a quite sulky way "Or rather, I do not want to know, if you know what I mean." After a moment of silence he continued "But who are really in trouble are the small nobles. These poor gentlemen had their manors sold from auctions, they changed hands many times... So they would not be able to get them back in 1814. I recently met one of my petite neighbours, he is dabbling as a fencing master to earn his bread. Something should be done for them."
The Prince gave a small chuckle “Hopefully they shall all mature into sensible conservatives to serve France and his Majesty. The estate will survive; most of our lands have been restored; only patches of land here or there remain in the hands of others, the government compensation makes up for it. I simply just lack the energy to take on the project that is rebuilding the Chateau.” He said as he finally took a sip of the wine looking into the fire. “No doubt that they are due compensation. I trust that his Majesty’s newest government shall ensure that they receive it before long, I have been in correspondence with the Foreign Minister and he seemed quite eager that they be properly compensated.” Condé added as he drank the last in his glass before it was refilled by a servant. As he took a small sip once more the Prince looked at the Duke, “The reason I wished to speak with you, that is with the power of your new office, how do you plan to bring justice for my grandson? Talleyrand, Fouché, Savary. What will be done to them after what they did to d’Enghien?” a distinct angry fire in the old Prince’s eyes as he spoke their names.
"I have indeed seen the plans regarding the compensation that have been shared with me by the Marquis de Valence. Hopefully, when the financial situation of the country is more clear to us, we can proceed and remunerate these people for their losses." - the Duc de Saint-Aignan said. He thought much about this question - even though it more related to the department of the Treasury than his own. As the Prince mentioned the death of poor Enghien, Claude nodded in sympathy. He was not a relative to this martyr - but he did wait for punishment of his murderers for a long time. Of all these murderers. "Your Highness, there is no mission to me that I find more important at the moment. The regicide scum, the killers of your grandson, all other butchers... If I could, I would have simply shot them all, like stay dogs.." For a moment Saint-Aignan clinched his fist so hard that his knuckles became white. And then - then he became calm again. "But I am the Minister of Justice and should make sure that it is justice indeed.I have brought a draft ordinance before the King and Council, proposing that a number of criminals, including these who have kidnapped and murdered the Duke of Enghien, would be arrested and stand trial for high treason and murder. Hopefully they would get theirs... even the beast Fouche" For a few seconds Duc de Saint-Aignan did not say anything, pondering on the fact that a regicide has been allowed to head the royal police. He hoped that this time the most evil and disgusting man in all France would not save his head. Lowering his voice, almost to whisper, the Minister looked meaningfully at Condé "Perhaps, if Your Highness has somehow addressed your August kinsman, calling for justice towards ones who spilled the royal blood, it could speed up things." Then he shrugged "However, I am pretty sure justice would be done anyway. But, if I can be of any other service to you, as a Minister or a private person - I am always there."
“Can you promise me that justice will be served? That the guilty shall not walk away for the sake of compromise and soft voices?” The Prince asked. “That weakness shall not once more rule this Kingdom, degrade our honour, our Crown.”
“I can only promise you that I would do my utmost so that is so, Your Highness,” - the Duc de Saint-Aignan answered. He would have liked to give his old commander another answer - but it would be dishonorable to lie to this man, even for good purposes. And Saint-Aignan was never a man of the kind that honeyed somebodies medicine. Nowadays nobody could be sure of such things. After all, the final decision was not up to him - but to a man in the Tuileries Palace. “I can only advise and suggest. But, as an ancient proverb says, the heart of the King is in the hands of God.”
“Then let us pray that God does not abandon France once more.” The Prince simply replied.
“Then let us pray.” - echoed the Duc de Saint-Aignan, and then stood up. Somehow the taste of wine on his tongue now became bitter - should it be that the torturers of France would escape punishment? No, he did not want to believe that. “It seems that the time has come for me to travel back to my Ministry, with all the lovely documents. Monsieur le Prince, I thank you for your hospitality and be happy to see you again one day.”
Condé gave him a nod, “I wish you all the luck you may need in the coming months, for they shall shape this monarchy for the coming decade. Minister.” He seemed like a good man, even if he seemed a bit eager. What awaited him ahead would by no means prove light, and God would judge his actions. Now all that was left for Condé was to decide if he wished to truthfully leave or not and with this in mind he sat down to write a letter.