… The huge castle literally vibrated with strain since late in the morning there has been leaked through that a secondment of court physicians had been escorted to the Emperor Rooms to examine the Princess Henriette Adelaide thoroughly. It seemed as if the marriage of her and the young Prince Ferdinand Maria would be imminent…
… In the evening I went to my dear friend Anna of Sautern, one of the old Elector Widow’s gentlewomen. While one of the elder ladies was reading aloud we bowed concentrated over our embroideries. Only the soft voice of the lecturer and the ticking of a daintily grandfather clock broke through the silence…
… “What will gonna happen to her now?” I whispered to Anna. My friend smiled at me. “She will be guided by the colonel hofmeister, his staff and the brother of our Prince into the court chapel where here fiancee and his mother are already waiting. The confessor, Father Vervaux, is going to remind the couple once again on their promise of marriage, and they will change their rings. And then the Princess will leave the Emperors Rooms and move into the Enfilade of her husband. And then they’re gonna share the bed for the first time.” Suddenly she jumped up, hiding her lips with her hand. “Oh, no! Holy heaven! A letter from your parents came, Adelheid, and I did forget to give it to you!” She scurried to her secretary desk, took a small envelope and gave it to me. I broke the seal and read, and my heart got heavy like a millstone, I felt that all blood was going off my face. Anna got scared. “My dear! What happened?” I rejected my friend softly. “I would like to withdraw, dear Lady of Sautern, if you permit, and pray for my mother. She has been pregnant and recently has lost the unborn child.” – “Of course, my dear! I will include her in my evening prayers, too!”…
… The grief and pain and all the worries about my mother had made me nearly senseless, I unconsciously turned towards the old and weathered votive stele in a hidden corner of the court garden. I knelt down in the dark and began to pray, to plead fervently. I laid all my hopes, all my yearning in these prayers, and I whispered them again and again until I slowly collapsed and fell into a kind of twilight sleep…
… I woke up with a start when the fragile silhouette of a maiden rushed to the stele and fell down on her knees. She was dressed only in a transparent white shirt, decorated with lace, she wrapped her arms around her body, rocking back and forth, wildly sobbing in despair. I forgot my own aching heart, got nearer and bowed down. When I recognized the Princess’ face amidst the mussed flood of dark brown hair I deeply concerned sank into a curtsey. But Henriette Adelaide seemed not to notice me. I laid my right arm around her endlessly shaking shoulders. Her whole body shivered so heavy that her teeth beat each other. Bearing her face in her hands she leaned against me.”Oh, God! it has been so horrible! So disgusting! I never had thought before that something could be so ghastly!” I affected stopped breathing when I realized that she was talking about her first matrimonial intercourse. “What a – barbaric – humiliating – hurtful – act! – How can it be that a man shows so much coarseness, is so foolish, so clumsy! Much more worse than the dumbest yokel!”, she poked out between her fingers. I weighed her gently in my arms and tried ungainly to comfort her in Italian as if she where a small child that did hurt her knees while playing…
… The Savoyan Princess looked at me. Her face now didn’t show that gleaming beauty, eyes and nose where red and the eye lids where swollen. “You can speak my mother language?” I nodded. “Yes, I did learn it some years ago in a nearby cloister.” – “My homeland – oh, I miss it so very much. And my mother…” Her voice failed and she started weeping again. My own mother came into my thoughts again, maybe she was already dead and cold and laid out in state in her bedroom, and I groaned in wild pain…
… “If I would have never talked into the marriage with this backward barbarian, this hamfisted person! If I would have never made this long journey to this disgusting country where nobody makes the effort to understand me!” I felt somewhat like anger rising in me. “Royal Highness, until now you never had tried to learn our language, so I think it is absolutely normal that no one can communicate with you – and you are not able to make a connection between you and your people.”, I spoke as soft as possible. But just at this moment I hated and loathed this highly well-born creature that was howling unrestrainedly and full of self pity. But I also could understand so very well what was going on in her heart, in her soul. I felt again the forlorness, the distraction when I was torn away of the comfort of my family when I have been six years old. I thought about the feverish lambent fingers, the slimy tongue of that court painter Herboltz, the lasciviously obstrusiveness of a treasurer some months ago, my fright, my powerlessness, my deep shame in the face of this humiliations. The perception that also the Prince should be one of those dehumanized, animal like creature filled with randiness was egregious. Contempt on the one side and deep concern on the other tore my heart apart…
19 Antworten zu “Shrine – #writephoto…”
What a tragic tale you weave, Martha!
It is not really a tale, dear Sue. In the middle of the seventeenth century the beautiful Princess of Savoy, Henriette Adelaide, had really been married to the Bavarian Prince Ferdinand Maria. Both were thirteen years old, and their marriage took place in procuram in Turin. They first met personally two years later, after Henriette Adelaide had crossed the Alps with a gigantic wedding procession. Ferdinand Maria has not been a very attractive young man, rather on the contrary, he was shy and awkward. So the first sexual intercourse with his wife could have happened the way I tried to describe it.
Children were bartered for politics… women seen as commodities and breeding stock… it is still a tragedy, especially as it is true.
I totally agree with you, dear Sue.
Good read. Sadly, such tales continue today.
Thank you… Mankind seems not to learn from what has been gone wrong in the past times.
Such an intriguing and tragic tale. Well written.
Thank you, dear Iain.
Hat dies auf Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region! rebloggt.
Danke schön! 🙂
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Thank you, dear Sue!
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Wow! Great story and your description of the pain is so well captured. Horrible that it is based on a true story but I think it is important these stories are re-told so that the future can learn from them. Great Job. KL <3
Thank you, dear KL Caley! 🙂
I normally read pretty fast but I had to slow myself down to absorb the detailed language involved in your tale. Well done.
Thank you, dear James! I do hope my English writing is not too bad…
No, it wasn’t that at all. It was a matter of phrasing the English so that it matched the tone of the historical period, which I thought you pulled off brilliantly.