Some of my recent pictures from my walks around the pond:
WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly bloghop hosted by K.L. Schwengel. The caveat is that excerpts must be related to the date in some way. I’m sharing 29 lines, for the 29th of the month.
Savva, the 35-month-old firstborn child of Grand Duchess Olga and Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger, is on his deathbed with a cerebral hemorrhage and has just had Extreme Unction performed. Shortly after the ceremony, the palace pediatrician becomes extremely chutzpahdik (impudent; disrespectful) and starts seriously overstepping his bounds and behaving extremely inappropriately.
“Marital hygiene” is an old-fashioned euphemism for birth control.
Prince Konstantin and his seven surviving siblings, circa 1907. I’m at least 90% sure Konstantin is third from the left in the front.
“Please forgive me for broaching such a sensitive subject, Your Highness,” the doctor told Konstantin, “but I really hope your third child is a girl. You don’t want to have three sick boys in a row. And whatever this coming child is, you shouldn’t risk further children after already having two sons stricken with this curse. You know your wife is a carrier, and that this dreaded characteristic wasn’t just a fluke with one child. I’m sure any of your priests will grant you permission to employ marital hygiene with these extenuating circumstances. It’s not like you’re anywhere near to the order of succession and need an heir and some spares.”
“My children are Divine blessings,” Konstantin said softly. “I have seven surviving siblings, and wanted my own family so badly for so many years. My wife and I aren’t having children as some kind of dynastic security blanket. I’d want a lot of children even if I hadn’t been born a prince.”
The doctor turned to Aleksey. “And you, Your Majesty. I really don’t mean to be morbid or disrespectful, but I hope this has moved you to change your mind about heading off to Paris for four years. With your condition, you never know when it’s going to be your time. Even if you don’t reign for very long, at least secure the dynasty by marrying and producing an heir. No one wants to see the succession shift to you-know-whom.”
“This isn’t the time or place to discuss such things,” Mikhail said. “I’m very disappointed in you for even broaching such subjects at a child’s deathbed. If you value your esteemed position, you won’t speak any further on such matters.”
“Yes, Your Imperial Highness. But we must discuss these things as soon as possible.”
“That’s entirely up to my family’s discretion. The dynasty is secure in my hands, and my nephew will take the appropriate measures to keep it secure once it’s his turn on the throne. The particulars aren’t your concern.”
“It should’ve been his turn on the throne since two years ago. Do you really intend to hand over the reins at some point, or do you plan to steal your nephew’s birthright? You may have grown too fond of your position as Regent, and His Majesty is too innocent to understand your scheme. I hope to God you’re not amending the House Laws again, so your morganatic son can inherit the throne and your commoner wife can become Empress. It was bad enough you already revised them once, even if part of those revisions were for an understandable, realistic reason.”