rheintochter: Liechtenstein wearing a small crown and a robe (canon art) (Principality)
[personal profile] rheintochter
September is a quiet month at home for a nation as small as Liechtenstein. No elections, no particular public events, nothing major for which her boss might need her presence. The summer hikers have gone home; the winter skiers won't arrive for a few months yet. Most of Europe is back at work after the easier days of August. And as nearly all of her friends and family have far busier schedules than she does, she doesn't feel a hint of guilt for slipping away for a quiet hour or two at the bar.

Which is not to say that she doesn't keep occupied with work. In her sewing basket are several of her socks and stockings that need either darning or reinforcing. She has an armchair a slight distance from the fire, and with her sewing and a light snack of a sliced apple and tea, she almost seems to radiate a sense of industrious domesticity amidst the bustle of the bar.

(She may be keeping an eye out for someone. It's hard to tell, because at the moment she seems to be wholly occupied in repairing a worn-down heel.)

Date: 2013-09-06 11:31 pm (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: Enjolras in profile, head bowed, rifle in hand. (marble lover of liberty)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
A young Frenchman -- and he is unmistakeably that, to a nation's senses, even without the tricolor cockade pinned to his distinctly 19th century lapel -- has just risen from his table, collection of newspapers in hand. He returns them to Bar and collects another stack. At his table, an empty coffee cup keeps company with the neglected remnant of a small loaf of bread.

He has not looked over at the young woman by the fire, save for a few glances at the entire room. Industrious feminine domesticity is not among his interests. As such, she has not caught his attention.

Date: 2013-09-07 01:26 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
Enjolras no longer lives under an oppressive monarchy which forbids republican agitating it deems treasonous, and whose policemen would take such a blatant sign of republican sympathies as cause to investigate him and his associates. He will never not wear the cockade.

He had reached his table, but not yet sat down; this spares him the need to rise when the young woman unexpectedly addresses him. (He had noted her approach, distantly, but as is Enjolras's wont with young women, was ignoring her attention until forced to do otherwise.)

"I am," he answers, somewhat taken aback, before the penny drops. She does have a ribbon in her hair, and a certain resemblance to the Swiss man who told him of France's future. The German accent, however, he had not expected. Her French is perfectly intelligible, but it's curious coming from the probable sister of a man who spoke with Zwingli's pure Swiss French and Swiss pride.

"Would you, then, be Mademoiselle Zwingli? I have met your brother, if so."

Tu is not meant as familiarity, nor as condescension; his tone indicates neither. It is, instead, of a piece with the tricolor.

Date: 2013-09-08 05:51 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
Enjolras doesn't notice the choice of verb tense. This is because no other alternative would occur to him. So long as he is himself in any sense, he is of France; death changes nothing of that.

"Yes. It's a strange collection of people to be brought here; I've found no clear pattern in it."

He speaks because he is not so rude as to not make at least some perfunctory conversation back, although he doesn't expect her to be able to shed any light on the subject. No one else has been able to, although some of them have offered philosophies as meaninglessly cynical as any of Grantaire's.

"Still, at times there are benefits. Your brother was able to give me news of France's future, and I'm grateful for it."

Deeply so -- admittedly, in significant part because of the nature of that news.

France is a republic, a true one, at peace with its neighbors and secure in the enfranchisement of its citizenry. Nothing means more to Enjolras than that.

Date: 2013-09-11 05:32 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: Enjolras in profile, head bowed, rifle in hand. (marble lover of liberty)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
The brother is far more of a scholar than the sister. Well, that's only as he expected; it's nothing new. Women who educate themselves in history are rare, and families which give their daughters that education preemptively are rarer.

For some, ignorance is tragedy, or the mewing of a mind which might otherwise seek horizons; Enjolras is distantly aware of that fact, but it's never been his foremost concern. Most women are content with love, frivolity, domesticity, husbands and children.

None of these matters are of any interest to Enjolras.

Still. He has no cause yet to be rude. She's done nothing improper, here in the public space of a café, and she's the sister of an intelligent man to whom Enjolras has cause to be grateful.

"If you wish," he says, courteous over internal and mostly hidden reluctance.

It's nothing against Liechtenstein. The trouble is merely that Enjolras has little experience of young women who are neither flirtatious (with or without true intent) nor expecting him or his companions to be so. She's done nothing of the sort so far, but he doesn't wish to give a misleading impression.

"I confess, however: if your brother told you of my nation's history, I am unsure what further information you would need to understand my joy."

Certain truths are self-evident to Enjolras. His perspective is quite specific, like a man who sees the world always from the top of the same hill.

Date: 2013-09-12 12:11 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
He sits after she does, gathering his newspapers and dishes to one side. "You will have to ask another Frenchman to hear praise of Buonaparte, mademoiselle."

He says it without rancor. Such Frenchman exist, after all -- even among his friends, though not his dearest.

The step from republic to empire is across a Rubicon: it requires crossing a fundamental line of principle. To Enjolras, a sacred line. It divides democracy from despotism, and secure borders from conquest. Still, a comprehensible path, to France as to Rome. Even in 1832, there are those who term themselves republicans and see an Emperor as a logical extension of their philosophy.

"I am a republican." He touches his cockade lightly, as another man might touch a cross. "What I believe in, what we fought for, is the right of all citizens to equality before the law, liberty under a government in which they have an enfranchised voice, fraternity as equal and educated citizens of their nation."

Date: 2013-09-12 04:11 pm (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (les amis de l'abaissé)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
She is no historian, no radical, no misérable driven by oppression and poverty to activism; she is a well-bred young lady of means, with her sewing basket and her little industries and courtesies. And yet she says, so simply and easily, that any nation's people should of course be free and equal.

Enjolras is struck once again with this truth: the future is blessed. The future is happy.

All they suffered, all their deaths, were worthwhile, to bring about a future in which the least political of citizens takes republican rights for granted.

"Yes."

"Though not all who fought were. An insurrection -- indeed, any drive towards change -- must have both organization and spontaneity. But yes, I had the honor of knowing many brave and good men, patriots all, who shared my belief in republican ideals, and who gave not only their deaths but their lives to our cause."

He will not name them to a stranger; habit holds, even here where there are unlikely to be police spies who can do anything about loose words. But he will very gladly speak of his friends in all other ways.

Date: 2013-09-30 04:51 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (les amis de l'abaissé)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
He hesitates a moment, but then answers readily enough.

"We met in Paris. Many of us were university students there. The cause was what drew us most truly together into friendship."

This is not entirely true for every member of the society. All of them believed fervently, but some were perfectly and cheerfully capable of friendship without shared political convictions at the root, or friendship in which political convictions were accepted as a given but rarely discussed. Enjolras, however, is not.

Date: 2013-10-02 03:56 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
It's a peculiar turn of phrase, particularly for a sister speaking of her brother. He doesn't comment immediately, but he notes it.

"It isn't that. But it's difficult to begin, when speaking of so many superlative men. And you will understand why I'm reluctant to speak of certain details." Or will she? This young bourgeoise mademoiselle from an era of peaceful republics, with her blithe confidence that of course all citizens deserve equality? "Under the monarchy, our activities and beliefs were quite illegal."

"There are always those who prefer apathy or idleness. I have never understood it. Perhaps in the future, there will be a time when it's defensible: when societies have made such progress as to eliminate miseries, oppression, slavery, ignorance of basic education, disease, in that happy future there may indeed be no need of passion for a cause. But not until then. France is too great -- humanity is too great -- for apathy to be conscionable while the people suffer."

Date: 2013-10-08 04:31 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (time for us all to decide who we are)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
"In that case, you don't speak of overwhelming passion," Enjolras points out.

This seems self-evident to him, although in fact others might disagree.

"If they have passion, it will lead them to act. You mean those who are overwhelmed by the world, or by choices."

That's a state of being Enjolras both doesn't comprehend, and disdains. To be overwhelmed by fear, by pain, by the misery of poverty -- well, he's never felt that, he doesn't fully understand it, but he can encompass the thought, he can allow for it, and the right to freedom from such misery is at the root of their fight. But to have the leisure and the resources to effect change, and to be unable to bring oneself to take useful steps towards that goal: that he can't understand.

(Hi, Grantaire.)

Date: 2013-10-09 04:27 am (UTC)
pro_patria_mortuus: (guide and chief)
From: [personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus
Enjolras, sad to say, doesn't much notice. He's accustomed to men who wrangle tirelessly for hours and entertain themselves thereby. He's not accustomed to women who do so, but he's not accustomed to speaking to women at all, or paying attention to their moods; and he has missed decent conversation, here in this bar full of strangers from strange worlds.

"Conflagration?"

He can't help but miss Combeferre. A dozen times a day, he can't help that.

"Very well. It's a fear that's warranted, under certain circumstances. But the opposite of fire is to freeze."

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Liechtenstein

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