Friday, April 24, 2009

Greeting the Ambassadrix

Louys, the Palace and the People of Monte-Cristo warmly welcome Lady Patronelle d’Anis, the new Cavenderian Representative.

To chose a member of the Fair Sex as Ambassador to the Presipality reveals tact, taste and sagacity. The wisdom of this choice indeed goes deeper than it appears at first. While greatly appreciating many aspects of Monte-Cristan culture, such as the lack of any sexism / machism, foreign women are generally less... mesmerized (and thus made easily influenced) by the atmosphere.
In truth Prince Geoffrey is blessed to have such a sagacious and subtle Counsellor. Unfortunately, when… overexcited His Highness sometimes turns deaf to the voice of Reason.

The timely arrival of the Ambassadrix provides the Palace with an opportunity to prolong the series of subsidied performances, free public concerts, public and private feasts, and banquets organized for the Royal Tourists. Lady Patronelle comes just in time to be the Honour Guest of Victoria’s Secret’, the annual ‘catwalk’ runway show of Victoria Aubade-Chantelle, our famous Lingerie de Haute Couture fashion designer and a Monte-Cristan ambassador in her own way.

A few small-minded ones may point out that the real name of Lady Patronelle is ‘Danis’: a commoner name. The point is meaningless here, so-called ‘blue’ blood doesn’t count much («less than a rabbit’s fart», according to the traditional phrase) for Monte-Cristans - and for us all Daughters of Venus are noble. The spelling is to honour the Lady in the eyes of those foreigners harboring such archaic prejudices. As is the Countess coat-of-arms («Argent, a scorpion sable» - suggested, it is said, by the ‘Service’ to cock a snook at Milady de Winter) granted her by our College d’Heraldique.


abdul666 said...

The ‘Service’ and Milady de Winter are, for some time now, occasionally exchanging ‘practical jokes’. This one is more of an (almost friendly) private joke.
The Gypsies are currently investigating the rumour (dating from the First War of the Saxon Duchies) that her main employer holds Milady on a leash by keeping her secret son as hostage. We *believe* there were also rumours (originating in some Gallia Old School circle?) about Milady’s «evil eye» supposed ‘power’, but cannot find written references:??The sending of Lady Patronelle as official Ambassador will be reciprocated in a way or another, but Monte-Cristo as a rule maintains neither ambassadors nor consuls. The Presipality has neither the means, nor the population, for a Diplomatic Corps (or at least wishes others to believe so). And, without official representatives, you cannot be officially involved, committed or compromised by their declarations or (mis)behaviour. But, chiefly, Monte-Cristo wished to be *ignored*: you don’t develop nefarious intentions towards a country you don’t know to exist! Thus, when asked about the location of their country, Monte-Cristans allude to ‘on the Mediterranean shore, not far from Valerno, San Marco and St Bruno. This salvo of Italian names suggests a location a hundred leagues from the actual peninsula. For the safety of their nation, Monte-Cristans prefer to be thought of as coming from some Contado of Piedmont or Genoa rather than from an independant statelet. For that same reason, before the Cavenderian initiative, they did not feel upset with the absence of any permanent embassy (even from the two Great Neighbours) in the Presipality.

Actually the Presipality, rooted as it is in the border between France and Savoy, has official representatives only in Versailles (actually housed in the ‘Enclos du Temple’, that ‘free town’ hemmed in Paris) and Turin. For some time now, the Legation in France has developped a multi-layered, redundant and partly occult system of correspondance, with carrier pigeons as well as couriers, to insure fast and secure exchanges between Monte-Cristo and Madame de Pompadour / the Secret du Roy -and thus King Louis Himself. It is suspected the Legation was instrumental in the exemplary ‘deception’ of 1733, when Louis le Bien-Aime’s father-in-law , Stanislas Leszczynski, crossed Germany masquerading as ‘Ersnt Bramback’, a merchant’s commissioner, to be re-elected King of Poland by the Wola Diete, while a sosie was diverting the attention by trying to reach –officially in secret- Dantzig by sea. Deemed ‘Italian’, Monti, the French ambassador in Warsaw, was actually Monte-Cristan and communicated with the Legation through purely Monte-Cristan channels.

Otherwise –and even, for a good part, with France and Savoy– ‘diplomatic’ exchanges go through a network of personal relationships. Monte-Cristan merchants / agents of the Presipapal Exports Direction are stationed in all capitols to advertise the new products of Monte-Cristan perfumery, confectionery, distillery, bottled food industry and lingerie. A surprising number (given the size of the Presipality) of our citizens are traveling as students, philosophers, wandering artists, and tourists (including hundreds of Damsels and Ladies under assumed identities). The exchanges of students and teachers with the Hotel-DieuHospital and the Ecole Veterinaire in Lyons, the new Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees, the La Sorbonne University, the Lieutenance de Police in Paris… are officially sanctioned. Many apprentices make their Tour de France to become Compagnons. A fair proportion of young Monte-Cristan males seek adventure as soldiers or sailors in foreign service, before settling back in the Presipality; a few remain (generally successful) soldiers (or capitains) of fortune for their whole active life. Given that Monte-Cristans think of themselves as a ‘community’ with a deep ‘It’s us against the whole world’ ethos rather than as a ‘population’, all Monte-Cristans abroad are potentially agents of the Presipapal Palace (in the same way as, on the Presipality, any Monte-Cristan above 10 is a potential police infomer as soon as a foreigner is concerned). When they establish a deep friendship with a specially reliable ‘native’, they allude to sentences, gestures or token that could later be identified as signs of recognition, then try to maintain this relationship afterwards with letters, small gifts (expenses covered by the State) &c…: the detailed files of all these potential ‘Monte-Cristan sympathisers’ are permanently updated in the Palace –as are those corresponding to *all* persons known to be vulnerable to blackmailing, just in case...

As an exception, Monte-Cristo recently sent an ambassador to Morea (who unfortunately will arrive in a shocked and mourning Palace). With its population of Christians and Musilms living in harmony, its experience of peaceful dealings with both the Turks and the Christian Nations, Morea may be pivotal in the Monte-Cristan plans to better relationships between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire. As always with the Presipapal Palace, the plan is convolted and multi-layered. *The short-term objective is to quiet the recent scimitar rattling in Istanbul (the Capitulations of 1536 with France are already renewed), specially so that the Christian Powers could suppress the recent burst of piracy from the Barbary Coast without the Sublime Porte intervening, or really taking offense. Also, the Divan would keep the rash, unpredicable Neo-Byzantine ‘Empire’ under controL
*The medium-range plan is to allow Austria to concentrate its strenght against Prussia: to Monte-Cristo, the ascending power of the Hohenzollerns is more a threat to peace in Europe than the declining Hapsburg one, and the balance should be tilted in favour of the later so that it keeps neutralizing the former.
*A long-range forecast could be (?) to allow Russia to extend its influence, possibly even send troops, through Persia to the North-West border of India, in order to pin down the britishs there and thus favour the Frenchs in the competition for the control of the Indian sub-continent.

Reality in seemingly hedonist Monte-Cristo is *always* far more complex than it looks first: foreigners residing in the Presipality for some time begin to suspect so when they accidentally discover that, for instance, most of the gentle housewives here are members of (informal) ladies’ clubs of ‘Gardening and fencing’ or ‘Knitting and knife-throwing’

abdul666 said...

"Ambassadrix": 'Never step back in the face of a neologism, it would bite you'.

Prinz Geoffrey said...


What a nice write up. I apologize for not having shipped the ambassadrix physically yet, I have been working in Columbus, Ohio and have returned this evening I will pop her in the mail tomorrow. A couple of friends of mine are in your fair country currently, vacationing in Paris, I should have had the forethought to have her hand delivered by the two gentlemen. However, she will be at your doorstep soon. Even if not an official ambassador I believe she will send the most revealing correspondence of any of the Cavenderian Diplomatic Corp. Reminds me I have six ambassadors that need painted and sent out.