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ThaHoward

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National Assembly, prior to the Day of the Civic Martyrs, 1868.

"Monsieur de la Presidente,

In a few days' time, we will mark the 11th of November, that day of remembrance to our great martyrs that enabled this Republic and for France to again live in freedom. Our Civic Martyrs cried "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou la Mort!" once they took to the barricades. We are wise to remember our common struggle against tyranny, and for freedom. We will mark two years since that November of 1866. In these two years, we have not only liberated the French, but also the Italians.

However, our struggle for freedom, for liberty, equality, fraternity, goes back further. Our struggles go back to 1830, 1850, and even 1789. That summer of 1789 is now eight decennia, almost a century past us. It was then our true path toward liberty and freedom, our liberal and democratic republic truly begun. Albeit the road was long and bumpy, this is when it began.

As such I officially petition the Minister of the Interior Domedeaux (@Andre Massena ) and the wider government to look over a date of festivities and parades, banquets and feasts, a National Holiday to commemorate that this is the year all of France stood together and forged our path together for a nation for all French, not the few, bonded together through class considerations as one nationhood under liberty, equality, fraternity. I encourage as many of our Representatives to co-sign this petition.

Let us celebrate somewhere during this spring or summer the end to the Ancien Regime 80 years ago. Our great project began in 1789, the mantle was renewed, albeit with lessons learned, in 1866. Now we must all come together in celebration, and remembrance, to make it so that we never again fall into tyranny, and to create a society for all French.

For the Republic is France, and France is the Republic! Merci M.President.
 
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Father Le Roux stands

"M. Speaker, forgive me if I sound I bit worried about the celebration of such a day, for many of the Clergy still bear the scars lacerated on them as a result of the 1789 Revolution. We mourn the Catholic martyrs who died defending the fate, and I am not talking about those poor souls in the Vendee. Many members of the clergy were executed for simply being clergy, and the Christian faith was made illegal in favor of a cult that Robespierre in his madness forced onto France. The clergy does not remember the 1789 Revolution with as much fondness and joy as the honored Assemblyman does, and many wish not to see the start of over a decade of bloodshed and the beginning of the end for tens of thousands of innocent people be set as a national holiday. If the honored Assemblyman still wishes to ask for such a day, knowing what happened after the Bastille was stormed and the atrocities committed by those who stormed it, then may God have mercy on his misguided soul."
 

ThaHoward

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Father Le Roux stands

"M. Speaker, forgive me if I sound I bit worried about the celebration of such a day, for many of the Clergy still bear the scars lacerated on them as a result of the 1789 Revolution. We mourn the Catholic martyrs who died defending the fate, and I am not talking about those poor souls in the Vendee. Many members of the clergy were executed for simply being clergy, and the Christian faith was made illegal in favor of a cult that Robespierre in his madness forced onto France. The clergy does not remember the 1789 Revolution with as much fondness and joy as the honored Assemblyman does, and many wish not to see the start of over a decade of bloodshed and the beginning of the end for tens of thousands of innocent people be set as a national holiday. If the honored Assemblyman still wishes to ask for such a day, knowing what happened after the Bastille was stormed and the atrocities committed by those who stormed it, then may God have mercy on his misguided soul."


"M.President,

Representative M. le Roux is ought to remember the great deprivations that led to 1789. There was no liberty, no equality, no fraternity. In fact it was illegal to be of any other denomination than the Catholic faith. Illegal! This is the society M. le Roux want us to revert back to, we must remain suspiscious of his arch-conservative ideals and reactionary tendencies. Indeed when war broke out in Italy, his chief concern was the safety of Rome and Vienna, not that of Milan, Venice, or even Paris!

France was necessitated to fulfill the revolutions of 1789, 1830, and 1850; that was the great question that rested upon this century of sickness. Now we will celebrate it is 80 years since 1789, the people have once more reclaimed its legacy, that was lost to France in 1814 and 1853.

Still we have moved past the violence of the first revolution. Revolution no longer meant mob rule and terror. Must I remind M. le Roux that the only terror came under the rules of the three seperate and ill fated Bourbon Restorations, and a failed coup by Duchess of Berry? Gladly supported by the Clergy. But every government forged in revolution since 1830 have, in the model of Napoleon, not terrorized the Clergy but instead exercised in good faith?

It is le Roux who preach hate, to Lutherans, Calvinists, Jews, Republicans, and every man he do not believe is a true Catholic. It is his partners, the political clergy and the aristocrats, who out of fear to lose their ologarchy who have been behind terror and violence, legal and illegal, ever since 1814.

France and the Republic, le Roux have openly claimed both are his enemies, make under the current regime: moral conquests and wise and legalistic legislature. Europe and the World at large know that France is ready to protect justice and the rule of law where ever we are. Yet we must remember our past, to learn from our mistakes and our victories. The Marseillaise is our National Anthem, what do, I inquire, the Representative in question think of this song?" Jean said and sang it outloud, hoping others to join him. "Indeed, we are now one Nation, we ought to celebrate our history as one people in liberty, equality, fraternity for all, not the few. Tellingly all he could think of in 1789 was Bastille and the trials of the Clergy le Roux think of when 1789 is mentioned. Just as we remember the Civic Martyrs who fell under the cannonballs and bayonets of the so called "forces of order." I must ask this: Citizen and Representative le Roux, do you support the Republic? Do you support liberty, equality, fraternity?

Merci."
 

Andre Massena

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National Assembly, prior to the Day of the Civic Martyrs, 1868.

"Monsieur de la Presidente,

In a few days' time, we will mark the 11th of November, that day of remembrance to our great martyrs that enabled this Republic and for France to again live in freedom. Our Civic Martyrs cried "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou la Mort!" once they took to the barricades. We are wise to remember our common struggle against tyranny, and for freedom. We will mark two years since that November of 1866. In these two years, we have not only liberated the French, but also the Italians.

However, our struggle for freedom, for liberty, equality, fraternity, goes back further. Our struggles go back to 1830, 1850, and even 1789. That summer of 1789 is now eight decennia, almost a century past us. It was then our true path toward liberty and freedom, our liberal and democratic republic truly begun. Albeit the road was long and bumpy, this is when it began.

As such I officially petition the Minister of the Interior Domedeaux (@Andre Massena ) and the wider government to look over a date of festivities and parades, banquets and feasts, a National Holiday to commemorate that this is the year all of France stood together and forged our path together for a nation for all French, not the few, bonded together through class considerations as one nationhood under liberty, equality, fraternity. I encourage as many of our Representatives to co-sign this petition.

Let us celebrate somewhere during this spring or summer the end to the Ancien Regime 80 years ago. Our great project began in 1789, the mantle was renewed, albeit with lessons learned, in 1866. Now we must all come together in celebration, and remembrance, to make it so that we never again fall into tyranny, and to create a society for all French.

For the Republic is France, and France is the Republic! Merci M.President.
MEMORANDUM FROM THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR

The Ministry of the Interior accepts the petition from citizens led by M. Clary and hereby decrees that July 14th shall be celebrated as a national holiday called Bastille Day.

For the Republic,
M. Jean Francois Domadeaux
Minister of the Interior
 
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99KingHigh

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Hello everyone,

I'm placing the game on a sort of hold; I have real life things to deal with now that I'm employed and a fair bit of adjusting to take into account. I will be periodically writing this next update, but until I can settle in a bit more and pass a few more exams for work, its not fair to you all to have the expectation of a punctual GM. I will write updates as inspiration comes, and run the game when I can, but I do need to be on my own writing schedule for a while (and that doesn't always work perfectly with IAARs given the large amount of effort it requires reading all your works, as well as the stack of French history books, plus the forever oscillations in keeping myself at the appropriate level of interest to put out the kind of quality updates I want to produce). It's also possible that I need to burn myself out on other subjects for a bit (and for that, check out Densley's Echoes) until I'm sufficiently settled with this weird work-life balance in the age of coronavirus and a disintegrating America. I hope this was sufficiently ambiguous, as intended, and as always, thanks for your labors in making this game thoroughly enjoyable to run. And take heart, I can never escape from France for long.

Best,
99


Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
the aristocrats, we'll hang them!

If we don't hang them
We'll break them
If we don't break them
We'll burn them
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
the aristocrats, we'll hang them!

We shall have no more nobles nor priests
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
Equality will reign everywhere
The Austrian slave shall follow him
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
And their infernal clique
Shall go to hell
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
the aristocrats, we'll hang them!
And when we'll have hung them all
We'll stick a shovel up their arse.
 
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((Joint IC with @Michaelangelo and @m.equitum, which we were working on last week and finished after the hiatus announcement.

May as well still post it, just so we can cap things off for now with one last spot of obscene aristocratic luxury. :p))



The stone portal of the Hôtel de Bérancourt.


Passing through the stone portal, the Prince de Polignac entered the courtyard of the Hôtel de Bérancourt. Although the property had been in the family for some generations, it had rested vacant for some years, until the occasion arose once more for the stately home to spring to life. Two weeks prior to arriving upon the threshold of the hôtel, Polignac had given instructions to ready the home to host the Prince de Rohan and the Vicomte de Bessin, who were soon expected to arrive in Paris.

Polignac had always appreciated the sturdy masonry of Bérancourt; simple, durable stonework, without the embellishments of the Crillon -- that residence being readied for the arrival of the Comtesse de la Marche, who was also expected in Paris.

Polignac’s trusted retained, Jacques, had been placed in charge of the household staff at Bérancourt, and he did not disappoint. The staff had assembled in the courtyard to greet the Prince, bowing and curtseying in the customary manner. A maid proffered a familiar bouquet of flowers, which the Prince returned to her, with the typical instruction that the blossoms be placed in a vase with water. Such were the time-honoured traditions, the single variation being the variety of flower that was presented. On this occasion, the bouquet had been of Saint Bernard’s lily, a species native to to Le Puy.

Entering the residence, the Prince made for the music room, where he was pleased to note that the grand piano had been tuned. Of course, Jacques could be relied upon to see to every detail. Polignac requested a glass of water, which was quickly fetched. Draining the glass, he retired to a bedroom for a brief rest before the arrival of Bessin and Rohan.



* * *


His carriage coming to a stop halfway along the Rue Charlot, the Vicomte du Bessin considered that he had not seen Paris for almost two years as he arrived at the Hôtel de Bérancourt. How unfortunate the circumstances of his previous departure had been. Nevertheless, he returned in happier times, and was glad of the chance to catch up with his old friend Polignac.

Being shown into the impressive hôtel particulier, Bessin was escorted towards the salon, where the Prince awaited.

"Monsieur le Vicomte du Bessin," announced a footman as Bessin entered the salon and greeted Polignac warmly.

"It is good to see you once more, mon vieux."


* * *


Meanwhile, Henri de Rohan's carriage rolled its way towards the Hôtel de Bérancourt. He sat across from his secretary, Louis, going over some last minute business details before his meeting with Bessin and Polignac.

"Have you heard back from our contacts in the Papal States or Two Sicilies yet?" Henri said, pushing a curtain aside with his cane to look outside at the streets. He could see the hôtel ahead and began stretching his sore leg in preparation.

"Not yet, but I expect a response any day now."

"Good, good," Henri said as the carriage came to a stop. The driver disembarked to open the door and Henri hobbled out onto the street. He tipped his top hat at the man, a new accessory he had taken to wearing lately. He found the added several inches helped distract from his small stature. Turning back to the carriage, where his secretary remained, he said, "Well make sure to let me know the moment we receive word. If there is any moment to break into the Italian market, now is the time." He smacked the side of the carriage with his cane and the driver went off on his way.

As the carriage pulled away, Henri allowed a servant to escort him into the Hôtel de Bérancourt. He handed over his coat and hat at the door, already missing the latter the moment it left his head. He couldn't help notice the decor, which seemed quite understated considering the host. His cane tapped against the floor, the clacking alerting the others that he had arrived.

"Monsieur le Prince de Rohan," the footman announced as Henri stepped into the salon.

"I hope I have not kept you both waiting."

The salon, a generously proportioned room appointed with what appeared to be comfortable seating; its wall adorned with paintings of seascapes and, on the floor, a large rug was spread, presumably sourced from some distant, oriental land. Polignac, bidding welcome to Bessin and Rohan, proceeded to introduce the two men. Although the footman had announced their respective arrivals, to-day, on the instance of their meeting in person, etiquette demanded that some formal greeting be observed.

“Monsieur, Prince de Rohan, may I present to you the honourable Vicomte du Bessin. I believe you have exchanged correspondence.” Polignac, with a slight flick of his hand, gave to the awaiting footman the signal to prepare the tea service.



The salon.

Bessin gave Polignac an obliging nod as he made good on his role as host and introduced him to the Prince de Rohan. With the practiced delicacy of an old diplomat, the Vicomte turned next to Rohan himself.

"I am much obliged, Monseigneur. It is a pleasure to be acquainted in person at last. And, one feels, not a moment too soon! The Republican party will be much buoyed by their exploits in Italy, and no doubt we must brace ourselves for their crowing in the months to come. Knowing one's friends will be of great comfort, I'm sure."

"The pleasure is all mine," Henri said with a nod of his head. "It is not often one receives a request to meet such a distinguished and experience statesman as yourself."

Noting the mention of Italy and the damned war raging on against Austria, Henri shifted his attention to the topic at hand. "Italy will surely prove a thorn in our sides and make critiquing the actions of the government that much more difficult. It will be a delicate balancing act trying to point out the obvious flaws in logic that led to the declaration of war without the Republican Union just calling us all traitors, as some of their members already have begun doing before the troops even left France. Such a tragic waste of life throwing away the lives of good Frenchmen to feed Prussian ambitions."

Henri clutched the handle of his cane hard, his knuckles going white, as a spasm struck his left leg. Wincing ever so slightly, he shifted on his feet and said, "I hope you do not mind if I sit down. I'm afraid my leg has been causing me grief as of late."

After Rohan's lead, Bessin joined the Prince in taking a seat. As welcome as an excuse to stretch his legs had been after having endured the long ride from Calvados, the Vicomte felt keenly aware of his sixty-nine years the longer he remained on his feet.

"It will be delicate work indeed, Sir. Though I am to gather from what little I hear of Paris these days that you have already taken up the mantle of critique quite ably. It is reassuring to know that we can depend upon strong voices in the Chamber, especially when the Bonapartist clique are so quick to pomposity.

"Nevertheless, their conviction will be their undoing. Hardly two years have passed since my own ministry was dragged through the mud by the tabloid presses for its willingness to entertain Bismarck's cause in Schleswig. The Chancellor has torn up every diplomatic convention to have been established since Metternich's day, and no doubt his desired prize takes little account of any interest except Germany's own. That Bonaparte and his men have fallen so obediently in line behind the so-called 'national principle' speaks only of one thing: their veneration of the triumph of arms. Either they shall have to learn how to apply equal enthusiasm to the application of government in peacetime, or they shall soon be consumed by their own need for slaughter." Bessin shifted in his seat and turned towards the young Prince.

"But you must stop me before I consume the entire conversation! Tell me, M. Rohan: do you have any thoughts of your own as to what role the opposition might play in the national life? We cannot spend our whole lives on the defensive, after all!"

Henri listened thoughtfully to what Bessin had to say, hearing much of what he already thought about the Bonapartists' approach to governance. Such inclination to violence would be detrimental to the French nation in the long term, especially now that France was diplomatically isolated. Not to mention that enabling Prussia just strengthened France's greatest rival, something that would surely come back to bite the Bonapartists. However, the consequences could well be felt only after some time, and as Bessin pointed out, action needed to be taken now.

"Indeed, I have thought on the matter of the future of the opposition. We are in a delicate spot, for we lack the energy and unity of the Republican Union. The fall of the monarchy served to weakened the conservative movement, while the Republican Union is able to thrive off the republic's revival. We have been forced to work together out of necessity, while our opponents have managed to unite several disparate factions behind the figure of Bonaparte. We lack a unifying figure, for all possible candidates are either too strongly tied to the previous regime or inexperienced. We also lack a cohesive platform, for we have not been able to effectively organize to form a comprehensive conservative platform."

Henri fiddled with his cane that rested against the chair. "While I doubt we will be able to find one figure that is above reproach or acceptable to all those who support us, I do believe that the creation of a single platform built upon shared values and compromise is possible and should be our first goal. The manifesto created by Monsieur Montvicq was a good first step, but it was born out of a hasty need to combat the Republican Union and did not allow time for discussion with all potential supporters of the conservative movement. If we can come up with shared principles we can all agree to, it will allow us to more effectively combat the Republican Union and prevent fragmentation of our movement.

"Until we can achieve that joint vision, I think careful critiquing of government policy and the presentation of more moderate legislation is preferable to a more energetic and aggressive attack. Surely you have heard of Father Le Roux's passionate speeches on the faith in the assembly. While he supports a worthwhile cause, he often becomes the target of much abuse from the Republican Union, who then can paint us all as unreasonable reactionary monarchists whose only goal is restoring the monarchy. If we resort to more hostile and aggressive tactics, we open ourselves to further vilification by the left. I believe it would be more worthwhile to point out the hypocrisy and unsoundness of certain government policies using more logical and reason-based language, such as focusing on the infamous '65' that the government refuses to acknowledge as blatantly undemocratic and solely benefiting their party. This strategy not only makes it more difficult to vilify us, but creates the opportunity for potential cooperation with the more moderate members of the Republican Union, who may be willing to support the more moderate of legislation we present."

Henri paused for a moment, shifting in his seat to a more comfortable position. "But surely you also have thoughts on the matter or you would not have asked."



1870 POLIGNAC'S MUSIC ROOM.png

Polignac's music room.


Bessin nodded while he thought over Rohan's thoughts. He agreed that organising would be a challenge; the taint of the former regime escaped few who may have otherwise lead the movement, he of all people was aware. And while the likes of Montvicq were able enough, they lacked the appeal to rally a broad base that cut across class, being either too wedded to the landlord or the mill-owner. Indeed, Bessin held this as the key problem for any fusionist movement: to remember at all times that one is not in the service of narrow interests, but rather to aim to speak to the country entire.

"I have my intuitions, of course, but I recognise the impossibility of my position. Approaching my eighth decade on God's earth, it cannot fall to me to carry another restoration.

"I do agree with you, however, that the exposition of the current regime should remain of the highest priority. Behind the bluster and the mythologising, this is little but a liberal government that wishes to secure the support of the lower classes through recourse to adventurism. I have no faith that the Republican Union, as it governs, truly cares for the common man – save insofar as he might staff the battalions! As I see it, the conservative opposition must fulfil two functions: the first, to refuse to flatter the mythic histories constructed by the Bonapartists, and indeed to work actively to cut through them; and the second, to give representation to that vast constituency which the Republicans can never satisfy; namely, the provinces. The divide in France is not between right and left; rarely has it ever been thus. Rather, I hold that the problem is as it always has been: that the towns control the country, and that the bourgeoisie direct the peasantry.

"Thus how do we revive the fortunes of those millions who do not live within the boundaries of the Île-de-France? My feelings are only vague, but perhaps they may be instructive: a need for sure moral foundation without recourse to excessive clericalism; a respect for the gentle order of the monarchy without the idolatry of Bonapartism; the safeguarding of artisanal labour and defence of the fields against the tyranny of the factories; the preference for the dignity of the French people above a regard for the profits of the rentiers and the bourgeois industrialists; and, above all, an aspiration for peace in Europe and the vigorous opposition of warmongering and imperialism."

The Vicomte paused to collect his thoughts before continuing.

"I have no doubt that you will disagree with me on certain issues. I am, after all, a man out of his time. Yet I hope, nevertheless, that there is perhaps some room for what I say within the formation of a strong opposition."

Henri nodded his head, acknowledging the legitimate concerns Bessin had brought up. "You have brought up some valid points, especially your view on the Republican Union's intentions. I too have sensed this exaggerated desire for glory that fuels a dangerous predisposition towards jingoist adventures that will needlessly spill French blood." He leaned forward and tightened his grip on the handle of his cane. "For God's sake, they even want young boys, barely even teenagers, to perform military exercises in school. It's a ludicrous and dangerous idea they are instilling in the populace that they're only worth something if they are willing to bleed to fulfill the ambitions of the egotistical maniacs in power."

After taking a deep breath to calm himself down, Henri relaxed his grip and leaned back in his chair. "Their warmongering aside, you are right that the true divide is between the cities and the provinces. Despite my occupation, I knew going into the election that it was the rural population that we had to cater to, much as my father understood during the Second Republic. Too often they are ignored at the expense of the urban population, despite being in the majority. They are the silent majority, and perhaps the only ones capable of holding back the Bonapartist tide."

Henri paused for a moment, his mind catching on one word that Bessin had said: monarchy. It brought up many thoughts and opinions that would likely offend those present, but was a topic that needed to be broached no matter how delicate. It could not be dodged forever, and it was better to deal with it before it became a problem.

"Monsieurs," Henri said, eyeing both Bessin and Polignac, "I hope you will allow me to be blunt for a moment." He paused a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face, briefly interrupted by a wince as he went to cross his legs, felt a sudden twinge in his left, and immediately went back to sitting up straight. "I consider myself a practical man, preferring solutions that provide the most benefit with the fewest drawbacks. I conduct politics much like I conduct business in that I seek what is most practical. I do not allow myself to be tied down by unflinching loyalty to any one side of key issues, nor do I support solely what benefits me. If that was the case, I would be incapable of compromise and would surely damage the conservative cause. Some may consider this capricious or even immoral, not being able to commit to set values or beliefs, but I find that such flexibility allows for greater cooperation and unity, where members of slightly differing views can work together to pursue a joint course more beneficial to the greater population. It is a process of placing what is practical above personal opinions." Henri stopped for a few seconds, letting out a faint sigh before looking up at the other two men. "The restoration of the monarchy is not practical."

Henri raised his hands, knowing there may well be objections to his statement. "Before you speak, please let me explain my reasoning. Even if a restoration is not feasible any time soon, and I would argue it will not be as long as King Henri lives, pursuing it as our long term goal will just doom us to repeating the failures of the Second Republic. We will end up turning this republic into a mere vehicle for restoration, something that will only further instability and thus create shaky groundwork for any monarchy formed out of it. Not to mention we only provide ammunition to our opponents who can rightly claim that we are undermining the republic. We must abandon the restoration as a goal and accept it as merely a possibility. Instead we should focus on transforming this current government into a stable conservative republic, a functioning state in its own right. Through commitment to the republic, we can dash aside the claims of our opponents and legitimize our movement as an effective counter to the Republican Union, earning support from the French people as an actual governing party instead of as mere stepping stones to a monarchy. Only then can a restoration be pursued, and only if desired by the people. Forcing it or pursuing it in its own right will cripple us as credible opposition to the Republican Union and doom any chance we have of transforming this republic into a functioning state that serves all French people and not just the sycophants that latch on to Bonaparte's coattails."

With a deep exhalation of air, Henri slumped back in his seat. "I hope my words did not offend you, monsieurs, but it needed to be said. Pursuing the restoration will doom us before we can even get our movement off the ground."

The question of the monarchy was bound to come up at some point, and with it out in the open there was no use in fighting its arrival. Bessin listened carefully to Rohan's statement, acknowledging the soundness of his argument and giving him room to chase his ideas to their fullest conclusion. After he had finished speaking, the Vicomte paused in momentary reflection before offering his response.

"It may surprise you, Sir, but I do not disagree with your argument. Indeed, you must understand my position. I was born in 1799, nine months before the first Bonapartist coup of 18 Brumaire. I have spent forty years in the service of the French Crown, and I was a Senator of the Second Republic. For sure, my fortunes are intimately linked to the House of France – but they are not uniquely sustained by it. To cast my back on the monarchy now would be to reject my entire life's work, but to cling doggedly to the hope of its renewal would be to deny the possibility of any work yet to achieve.

"Thus while in my heart I may always champion the cause of the French king, I recognise that my head may not always have the luxury of such romanticism. Since the events 1868, I have been in close contact with the Comte de Paris, who remains invested in the French situation without becoming preoccupied by it. The House of Orléans is alive and well in Spain, and God willing after having suffered tortuous government for so long Spain will yet know stability for some years to come. But even M. Paris knows that the primary work of the opposition, whether royalist or not, must be to construct a firm base of social support. This cannot be achieved through restoration alone – as no doubt the Bonapartists will soon discover.

"Hence we are, in many ways, as one. For my part, I will continue to carry out the work of the legitimacy under the Republican regime, knowing certainly that I will not live to see a French king restored to the throne. Yet I am sustained by the knowledge that the cause outlives us all, and it is in essence more than the sum of all of our efforts. We can devise a programme that respects the intent of the monarchist principle without making a grand spectacle of its necessity."

Conscious that he had been speaking for a great deal of time, Bessin turned to his friend Polignac

"What's more," he addressed Rohan, "I venture that your words might find a sympathetic audience with Polignac also! Rarely can one find a man more aggrieved by the House of France, and not for lack of good service." Bessin allowed himself a smile, not without sadness, at the thought of his friend's recent history with the royal family. "Or perhaps we should let you speak your own mind? After all, we have imposed ourselves upon you in your own home, and we have been most discourteous in making a monopoly of the conversation!"

Polignac had been quietly taking in the conversation, sipping his tea and indulging in perhaps a biscuit too many as he listened to Bessin and Rohan.

“Indeed, the former regime gave me great cause to resent it,” Polignac began to speak at a slow pace, carefully considering his words, “I provided the sovereign every diligent service he requested and gave my counsel on any matter when consulted. For my part, I asked only that the King intercede to effect some private reconciliation between myself and Lévis. But this petition was, it would seem, too great a supplication for our sovereign to entertain. Yet, now, Lévis has flow, and the King dethroned; to this I say: good riddance.”

Polignac, drawing the cup of tea to his lips, took another sip. “Gentlemen, having served the Crown with fervour, and for it being so unjustly treated, I shall not give to the cause of legitimacy the boundless assistance which, in days of old, the monarch could command. On the contrary, I should very much wish to see what is on offer to attract my efforts of support.”




La brioche.


"Good riddance indeed," Henri said with a chuckle. "While I had the pleasure of never making Lévis's acquaintance, my father was always quite vocal about his opinion of that man. I dare not repeat his words in present company so as to not offend anyone's ears"

"As to this matter of requiring something in return for support for the monarchy," Henri said, "I much suspect that the only way a restoration will happen, if at all, is through the creation of a constitution, one limiting the powers of any future monarch so the abuses by both him and his ministers that we have seen in the past cannot be repeated. Every monarchy has been brought down either through the corrupt practices of its cabinet ministers, the tyranny of its monarch, or sometime both. A limit must be instituted to provide the people of assurances that their monarch reigns and their government governs in their best interests. Anything less is doomed to failure."

Bessin listened carefully to the responses of Rohan and Polignac, not unexpected. He considered how Henri's final days, harmful in so many ways, had harmed above all the possibility of a revival of the Fusion, which remained in Bessin's mind the paramount goal for French unity, but which now had much work to do in restoring the faith of the people in it.

"The final days of M. Henri's reign were grievous indeed," the Vicomte began, "and, truth be told, I was relieved not to have been issued summons to serve in his final, fateful ministry." Still holding the attention of the room, Bessin paused to take a sip of his tea, much neglected in the face of the present conversation.

"As M. Polignac well knows, I have long been partial to the English mode of statecraft, and thus I have no ties to the fancy that it is wise to allow a monarch to rule without adherence to a strict convention or charter. Alas, where England had generations of German princes unbothered by the affairs of Parliament – and more recently a German prince altogether greatly excited by the necessity of upholding Parliament's primacy – France has no such attributes. Its politicians on the whole lack the vision, coupled necessarily with a certain humility, to operate within anything other than their present circumstance; they are bound to urgency, and singularly fail to grasp the need for lasting settlement." Bessin preempted his next thought with a chuckle. "Such are the dangers of supporting one's preferred head of state as if backing a favoured jockey!"

Taking a moment to consider how best to continue, Bessin finished his tea and poured a fresh cup. Rohan and Polginac were, it seemed, willing to humour his extended pause, though he was keen not to impose too greatly upon their generosity. This was not theatre.

"As I have said, I am in correspondence with His Royal Highness the Comte de Paris. M. le Comte is, coming from the junior line, far more readily predisposed towards the sorts of constitutionalism you gentlemen describe, and I should be happy to convey your feelings to him if you felt it prudent. I am sure that M. le Comte would appreciate some report of how sentiments lie within what might be considered his 'natural constituency'. From here, we may perhaps move to effect any necessary reconciliations?"

"If you feel it worth contacting the Comte de Paris on the matter, then by all means do so," Henri said, his fingers once more fiddling with the handle of his cane. "It may be worth presenting the idea of a constitution early, for I dare say there shall not be another restoration without one, and even then it may never happen. The memories of those in Paris are still fresh and they will remain ill-disposed towards the royal family as long as they remember the butchery of the November Revolution."

"As for me, I personally wish to remain detached from the former royal house of France. Any such ties will be detrimental to my political career and jeopardize any attempts I make to provide a credible opposition to the Republican Union. I was already harassed in the National Assembly about the actions of my idiotic brother that are outside my control, and even the rumour of being involved in discussions with the House of Orleans would destroy my credibility. I will thus leave the matter of reconciliation with the Comte de Paris and his family to others, while my attention shall be focused on creating a functioning opposition, and perhaps one day a stable conservative government."

"You will have to forgive me," Bessin began. "I forget that mine is a unique privilege, no longer having to worry about constructing a political career. Naturally, I will keep names out of things – you may count on me for discretion – but I will certainly communicate to the Comte certain practical measures that his cause may wish to consider adopting going forward."

The Vicomte finished his second cup of tea and replaced it on its saucer. Clapping his hands on his knees in a purposeful sort of way, he returned his attention to the Prince de Polignac.

"You must not let us detain you hospitality with business for too long, my friend. Perhaps we may conclude our affairs with some resolution to action and move on to other, more enjoyable diversions?"

“Gentlemen, it is always a delight to spend time in your company,” Polignac remarked as he swallowed a delicious slice of sponge cake. “I should be most pleased to invite you, if your busy schedules permit, to dine at Crillon Friday next, when we are expecting Lady de la Marche.”


"Ah, it is good to hear she will be in Paris soon," Henri said as he rose slowly from his chair, his left leg protesting the sudden disruption. "I know that my dear sister-in-law has been looking forward to seeing her relatives."

Grabbing his cane with a flourish, Henri nodded respectfully towards Polignac. "As always, you have proven a most gracious host, and I thank you for allowing us to meet in your lovely home today." Then turning towards the other guest, Henri said, "And Monsieur du Bessin, if you ever find yourself in Paris again, feel free to stop by the hôtel de Rohan-Montbazon. Thank you for your time, gentlemen."
 
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Gai had been elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the gaggle of 'conservatives', although his political branding made him a Cygne Noir within the movement, his rallied populism not quite the fit to the Bonapartist regime. Indeed, he had taken quite ill with a bout of gout, in part due to his heavy consumption of Côte du Rhone since the fall of the monarchy. Never drunk in public, he was known to his fraternities to have taken to become a bit of a dour Dionysus. From the backrooms, leg propped on multiple pillows, he ran the OFRT with dedication although a lost luster, only making his way to the Chamber for crucial votes. Included of which was a vote for war, seeing a chance to secure Italian freedoms and Prussian alliances as good for France as a whole.

He knew a new era was dawning, one where OFRT would be the leading light against the socialist menace, and Les Hommes again ideologically adrift. Mayhaps they would find roost in the army, and the many exotic locales Bonaparte would bring them.