Nostalgia for the Motherland

In Chapter 6 of Part II (we’re talking War & Peace here), we see Kutuzov and the Russian army falling back towards Vienna. (Kutuzov does a lot of falling back in this novel.) It’s October 23 (!), and the army is crossing the Enns River at Enns.

The day was warm, autumnal, and rainy. The vast prospect that opened out from the height where the Russian batteries stood, defending the bridge, was now suddenly covered by a muslin curtain of slanting rain, then suddenly widened out, and in the sunlight objects became visible and clear in the distance, as if freshly varnished. At one’s feet one could see the little town with its white houses and red roofs, the cathedral, and the bridge, on both sides of which streamed crowding masses of Russian troops. At the bend of the Danube one could see boats and an island, and a castle with a park, surrounded by the waters of the Enns falling into the Danube; one could see the left bank of the Danube, rocky and covered with pine forest, with a mysterious distance of green treetops and bluish gorges. One could see the towers of a convent looming up from the pine forest with its wild and untouched look…

This is, of course, the southernmost corner of Hofvonstein.

It was almost exactly at this time that Carl IV died under the usual Hofvonsteinian circumstances. Evidence points to Queen Mother Therese, Carl’s stepmother and lover, as being somehow responsible. His half-brother Georg took the throne as Georg II.

This is a rather obscure portion of our nation’s history, but perhaps my readers will remember Georg II’s son, Maximilian II. It was Maximilian’s assassination in 1879 that set off his son Leopold III’s liberal reformist tendencies, as well as his grandson Maximilian’s reactionary ones, culminating in that awful night in Vienna, December 31, 1899.

The castle in the Enns, in fact, was property of Karl Magnus von Ludwighof, Leopold’s prime minister and eventually king himself.

I know that there are still some who thrill at hearing this.

5 thoughts on “Nostalgia for the Motherland

  1. Here’s a weird thing. My old external hard drive, which contains all the old NCTC website material, just died. I’m not panicked, because I’ll pay to have it resurrected, and also it’s just a copy of my old G3 which is still sitting three feet from my feet.

    Anyway, I googled Hofvonstein just to see if NCTC’s old site were still floating around out there somewhere, and lo! this post showed up. It had already been indexed, not five minutes after I had posted it! I’m very impressed.

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