Schloss Neuhaus

Schloss Neuhaus
Seat of the Margrave

Thursday, 25 June 2009

'Twixt Fire and Water?

"Your pardon, Herr Hauptmann, I know you did not wish to be disturbed, but this letter has just arrived for you."

"And?"

"Herr Hauptmann, it is marked 'urgent', and was delivered by a lackey from the De Zwarte Adelaar - Der Schwarze Adler."

"I see. Very well, I'll take it! Thank you!"

"H'mm, 'My Very Dear Erich...'. Von Rabensthal! Von Rabensthal!"

"Yes, Herr Hauptmann?"

"A message to the stables, if you please! My bay horse to be saddled and outside my quarters within the next ten minutes! If His Highness enquires for me, I am going to my quarters to shift my dress, and then I am going out! I am not quite certain at what time I shall return. In the meantime, here are the orders for tomorrow. Please check them for accuracy and then have six copies made and on my desk to await my return!"

"Of course, Herr Hauptmann. But if His Highness should enquire for your whereabouts, what shall I tell hi... Herr Hauptmann! Herr Hauptmann!"

- - - - - - - - - - -

"Erich! How very pleasant to see you again!"

"Madam, I wish I could say the same! Are you mad!? What are you doing here!? I had supposed you to be snug in Potsburgh!"

"Unfortunately, Erich, Potsburgh is such a bore! All those Pommerschen, all so very serious. 'Pon rep, Erich 'twas dull beyond belief!"

"Dull? I had supposed you to be enjoying the Pommersche society!"

"Oh, tol-lol, Erich. One endeavours to enjoy one's work, otherwise 'tis so tedious!"

"So. You abandon your task because you were bored!? I had thought better of you madam!"

"Oh, Erich!... and I had thought that you would be pleased to see me!"

"I would have been better pleased if you had stayed where I had sent you!"

"Erich, I protest! 'Tis prodigiously unkind in you! Upon my soul, I do believe you are become as tedious as those benighted Pommerschen! I am quite put out by your reception! I am of a mind not to give you the gift which I brought especially for you!"

"Gift? What gift?"

"Oh, 'tis merely a manuscript in which I had thought you might be interested. I know how you love to gather knowledge! Here."

"A manuscipt? What nonsense is this, madam?"

"Read it and find out!"

"Very well... God above! Isabelle, do you know what this is!?"

"Of course I do. I would hardly bring you something the nature of which was unknown to me!"

"Isabelle, this is a memorandum from the Pommerschen War Ministry. It gives details of every single regiment, their station, their Inhabern and their strength! How, in the name of all that's holy did it come into your possession?"

"Oh, quite easily, my dear. I had established, er... cordial relations, with one of the deputy ministers in Potsburgh..."

"Cordial relations?"

"Just so, my dear. I confess, sadly, that he was not the most exciting lover I have had. That however, is bye the bye. But really my dear Erich, read on, I pray you."

"But... but... this is incredible. It is the Pommerschen war plans! Look: what regiment is to carry out what task, when the task is to be completed, what date the regiments are to move! Isabelle, this is a master stroke! But, how shall you to conceal this... acquisition, and how shall you now return to Potsburgh?"

"I am afraid Erich, that my return to Potsburgh is now entirely ineligible! You see, I had to find some reason to leave Pommersche, and to that end I, ah..., engineered... a violent quarrel with my protector and left Potsburgh toute de suite! Quite simply, my dear, I did not think it expedient to entrust that package to a common carrier, and believed that we would both be best served were I to convey it in person. My return there now would cause a great deal of eyebrow rasing, and 'tis not impossible, that dull dogs though they are, some Pommersche with more than the average intellect may have connected my disappearance with the disappearance of that document which you are so fervently clutching! Which brings me to my next topic: I found Pommersche to be so dreary that I positively yearn for laughter, gaiety and music. I am of a mind to seek solace in Paris. 'Tis a city the which I have always been enamoured, and I am sure that I can be of some value to you while I take my ease there!"

"Paris! No, no...ah... wait! Perhaps so... What have you in mind?"

"Ah, Erich, you no longer see before you Witwe Isabelle Fischer, but rather Mademoiselle Eloise de Chardonnay, a single lady of independent mind and means, a native of Strasburgh and travelling to Paris on the qui vive for an eligible parti! Oh, and some new gowns! My wardrobe, my dear is positively dowdy! I fear that I must look a perfect quiz!""

"Yes, yes, of course, Strasburgh will serve, It shall excuse any slight accent that might betray your origins. Do you have the necessary papers?"

"How ungallant 'tis in you! You should never let pass the opportunity to compliment and reassure a lady on her looks! But, I thank you, Erich, yes I do have the necessary papers! However, as I have proposed, I am to be a lady of independent means, and sadly, means are severely lacking at the moment."

"Yes?"

"I thought, dear Erich, that you might be so good as to..."

"Unfortunately, Isabelle, or Eloise, specie is in markedly short supply at the present. However, I can probably furnish you with sufficient funds to reimburse your travel from Potsburgh and to enable you to complete your journey in comfort."

"Oh, Erich, dearest Erich, is not that parcel worth just a teeny little bit more than subsistence?"

"For my part, Isabelle, in return for such a document as this, I would empty the Schloss treasury! But, I cannot make such a decision without weighing carefully the benefits and consequences. Are you in great haste to reach Frankland?"

"I confess, it shall be much easier to reach Paris, if it could be managed, before the outbreak of open hostilities."

"So, a delay of day or two shall not weigh heavily in the scales?"

"No... this Inn, primitive 'though 'tis, is not so markedly uncomfortable. But 'tis an inn for travellers, how shall I explain my inexplicable delay in departing this place?"

"Let me think a minute. Ah! I have it! Unless you should think the scheme ineligible?"

"Yes, go on, my dear"?

"By receiving me here in a private parlour, you are already somewhat compromised. We shall offer explanations to none, but let people think what they will - and 'tis bound to be the worst! We shall pretend to be lovers!"

"Oh Erich! 'Tis positively brilliant. No one shall think it strange that you visit me here! But... pretend...?"

2 comments:

Bluebear Jeff said...

I believe that this is truly a coup . . . but who has counted coup on who?


-- Jeff

Byrhthelm said...

"truly a coup... but who has counted coup on who?"

Sir,

I forgive your lapse of grammar for the sheer metre and rythm of that sentence!

For further developments, watch, as they say, this space!