In February 1935 I had a Communist Revolution. In October it was overturned by a reactionary one, just barely in time to prevent me from converting with a Communist government.
We have fought for the God of our Fathers. We have struggled for Dominion over Palm and Pine. Six centuries of combat, and what has been the use? Countless human lives lost, yet the Wicked Warden of the West spreads his dominion over the world, as softly as falling snow and as resistlessly. Prayer has failed, commerce has failed, monarchy has failed, republicanism has failed. But we do not despair. There are means yet untried; in this new century we will turn our trust to Reeking Tube and Iron Shard, and try to win by steam and rail what musket and pike failed to do.
This megacampaign has converted to Victoria! World maps in EU4:
A colourful description of the players (some of them now gone) is here. The game has, to this point, been dominated by England, also known as the Wicked Wardenate of the West. However, the English player is known to be weaker mechanically in Victoria than he is in CK and EU4; it remains to be seen whether the momentum of the first two games will carry him through the era of industrialisation to come out a world power in 1936. It does seem possible that the sheer size of Fox, in North America; or Germany; or the Indian power formally called Peshawar but universally referred to as War, will force a reconsideration of just who is hegemon around here.
However that turns out, Venice is currently not in the running. In 1836 I am at war with Byzantium, largely because just building stuff got a bit boring in the last EU4 session. In our first session, played on the 14th, I mopped the floor with the Byzantine AI as Blayne was unable to be present; unfortunately the Byzantine peace rules of Victoria prevented me from making off with more than three states. For reasons I shall shortly outline, there will be a rematch on the 21st, perhaps against somewhat more formidable opposition.
To create some uncertainty and avoid everyone knowing exactly what regions they need to annex to have coal, we added a custom feature to the EU4 -> Victoria conversion: We scrambled some (not all) of the province resources. Thus everyone gets some coal – for example Ferrara in Italy now produces the black gold. However, in writing the scrambler we neglected to consider the difference between workers and peasants. In particular, the workers are the only truly revolutionary class – no, wait, wrong difference. In particular, Victoria’s engine requires labourers to go in coal mines; if you have farmers, they won’t produce anything. And the scrambler didn’t move the POPs around nor change their type, so Ferrara initially produced exactly zero coal. No, literally. Throughput 0. By the time I became aware of the problem some of the farmers had converted and were actually working, so the production was about 0.08 units a day; but as a basis for running a world-spanning trading empire, it wasn’t quite the thing. Testing during the week confirmed the problem; the GM listened to my appeal, and issued a Vermilion Rescript, majestic in the simplicity of its language and the justice of its verdict:
Rollback is a go.
The scrambler has been repaired (thanks oddman!) and when I re-fight the Balkan War (as I have named it for the location of most of the fighting) I might actually have a functioning economy. (Modulo starting with a laissez-faire party in charge. But testing indicates that I can get to interventionism in one election, and that should tide me over until the first reactionary rising; then it will be no more Mister Oligarchic Republic, we’re restoring the Principate.) Then again, so will my opponent.
A new era, and all the world in play; old certainties shaken, and room for an agile nation with the second navy in the world to make some room for itself. Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet!
February 19th, 1935
A street in the wealthy district of Copenhagen
The mob was singing, raising their spirits for another charge. The sound was a bit ragged, but even at a hundred meters the massed male voices pushed their message clearly enough across the barricades. The song was the homegrown anthem of the Norwegian communists: Say what you will, and think what you can, and call him a thief and a highway man; this praise he shall have, for it’s rightly his due: He steals from the rich and he gives to the poor. Olav had to smile a little; Internasjonalen would surely have been better as a rallying cry – it even had “victory we know is ours” right there in the chorus. But no, even these communists who wanted to break down the barriers of borders and races – when the chips were down, they chose to honour one of their own. And to state their goals plainly, he reminded himself, and returned his attention to the ditch that defended his possessions.
In his increasingly-distant youth, Olav had been an officer in the Indian War, and had seen his share of trenches; and the one currently standing between him and the mob of Copenhagen was not impressive. It had been hastily scratched out of the street using shovels meant for gardening, not war; he had to stoop to get his head below the level of the cobblestones. Pipes for sewer and gas split it into two parts, a deadly explosion hazard if the enemy had any mortars – but then, if either side had had any heavy weapons, the street fighting would not have lasted a week. In any case, it didn’t take much of a trench to form an effective protection against rifle fire; almost anything could be held, if the men defending it were brave. On that score, at least, Olav was comforted. His guards were, by ancient treaty and compact, recruited from the ancestral MacRaghnall lands in Scotland, thus placing them outside Norwegian politics while still giving them a tie of blood and loyalty to the dynasty. The same treaty that gave him the right to recruit in lands ruled by the Britism Empire forbade him to use the men in foreign wars – and so the MacRaghnall Guards were the last formation of regular soldiers in Scandinavia. The demands of the War had stripped every peacetime garrison, conscription and railroads had moved three million young men to fight in the Sahel – and the Communists had seen their chance.
“We’ll not hold if they come again, sir.” The captain of his Guards had been hit a few days earlier, and bits of his brain were still stuck to Olav’s uniform, which he hadn’t had a chance to change. The speaker was named Tam, and had been third in command before the rising. Like his men, he was stocky and broad, built for compact strength rather than athleticism; his beard was the famous red-gold, the same as Olav’s had been before he went grey – or would have been, had it not been liberally splattered with the mud of Copenhagen’s streets.
Olav pressed his lips together, but did not openly disagree with the man in charge of his troops; if his Empire had shrunk down to this bit of street, still there was a right and a wrong way to run it, and undermining your subordinates was never a good idea. “If they come,” he said instead. “They’re not showing much eagerness to run into the rifles again – songs or no songs.”
“They’ll come,” Tam said. “They don’t lack for brave men, at any rate. And they must know we’re running short on bullets.”
The Communists were indeed brave, that was beyond dispute; many of them were veterans of the bloody Nile Campaign – Olav had seen peg legs and hook hands in the last charge, along with grey hairs and not a few women. There were not many unwounded men of fighting age left in Norway, this February of 1935. He addressed the second half of Tam’s argument: “Must they? It’s hard to see the other side of the hill; and they’re not ten feet tall any more than we are.”
“True.” Tam paused, thinking. “Still, no, they’ll come. They won’t give up now, when they’ve almost won. Have you noticed how quiet it’s been lately? No rifle fire. I think we may be the last loyalists still fighting.”
“And the Armee d’Elbe still three days away.” It had galled Olav, to have to support his rule on foreign bayonets – but the French had had the closest available troops, and needs must when Communism drove. Now it seemed that the foreign bayonets wouldn’t even be in time. And what else can you expect from the French? he thought but did not say.
“Yes, sir.” Tam didn’t say the obvious, that three days might as well have been three years; they might hold until nightfall, if they’d cowed the mob sufficiently – but if indeed they were the last holdouts, there was no question of making it through the night. The rebels would send men to infiltrate the houses and gardens around them, and work their way around and in close; then it would all be over except for the bayonetings.
“Very well.” Olav straightened his shoulders and back, then remembered to keep his head below the level of the trench. If there was no rescue coming, then nothing was left except dignity – style, if you liked. He was an old man, and would not have many years left in any case; his sons were leading corps and armies in the Sahel, his wife had died the years before. His decisions would affect only himself, and these last few loyal men that had fought for him literally to the last ditch. He summoned twenty generations of warrior ancestors to his side.
“We’ll attack, then,” he said.
Tam blinked, then looked at the rebels’ barricade. It was a flimsy thing, improvised from furniture and a few trees; laughable on a serious battlefield against modern weaponry – but formidable enough, if stoutly defended, against men armed only with rifles and running out of bullets.
“You plan to break out?” Tam asked, looking back from the barricade to his men – the forty men, many of them wounded, that were left of the whole company that the MacRaghnall Guards assigned to the security of the King. “Get past them, out into the streets, maybe make it to the harbour and take a ship for Sweden?”
“Or England,” Olav half agreed. He hadn’t, in fact, had any such plan in mind; what he wanted was to avoid being captured by the rebels. There was no better guarantee of a dynasty’s end than to have a king executed, even if his heir might later return at the head of an army; once the sanctity of kings was broken it was all over bar the election of a Hereditary President-for-Life. To die in battle was something else entirely; that way, he might even give a new impetus to the MacRaghnall mystique. Blood sacrifices had power, even in these times of aircraft and tanks; there weren’t many people who were really so modern as they thought they were. It was a pity to take the Guards down with him, but after all they had eaten his salt and taken oath to fight for him to the last – and anyway, who knew? Maybe Tam’s idea of the breakout would actually work.
“Bread and salt,” Tam sighed, perhaps reminding himself of that oath. “Aye, well, it may work. Better than trying to defend this last ditch, anyway. That rarely ends well.”
“Bayonets, then?” Olav suggested, and Tam nodded decisively. “Bayonets it is,” he agreed, going down the line to give the order himself; his leather-lunged sergeant-major had bled out the day before, and anyway, why give the rebels fair warning? Olav busied himself with his pistol; a symbolic weapon, he’d always thought, there to remind people that in the final analysis MacRaghnall rule rested on force. He’d never fired a weapon in anger, he realised; even as a young Kaptein in India, he’d given orders to the artillerymen who served the huge guns, but never personally killed anyone. A first time for everything, he thought, mordantly amused; so there could be new experiences even for men past their three-score and ten.
By the time he’d checked that the bullets rested correctly in the chamber and flicked a piece of mud out of the action, the Guards were ready; Tam nodded. “Give the word, sire, and we’ll follow.”
“Yes.” Olav took a deep breath, then vaulted out of the last ditch, fear and exaltation giving his old limbs a burst of near-youthful strength. “MacRaghnall!” he shouted; and behind him, his Guards followed the last king of that dynasty into the attack.
When the boy is eight days old, he passes through the Hidden Gate for the first time, and in the Inmost Chamber he is cut, very slightly, with a knife, so that three drops of blood trickle from his foreskin. This is done in token of the ancient Covenant of his people with their god, without making a visible and obvious alteration in his penis that might, in later years, betray the secret. When he dies, if the body can be recovered – and the Aiello go to great lengths to ensure that all their men return, in the end, to Venice – the foreskin will be entirely cut off, so that he may tell his god that he has fully met his obligation; the Aiello, like their deity, are great believers in the letter of contracts, and in delivering precisely what is due and not an ounce more.
The second time he enters the Inmost Chamber is around his thirteenth birthday, when three respected elders of the family – who are not his grandparents nor their siblings, nor any closer relation – all separately testify that they believe in his ability to keep the secret. The precise age varies; a few prodigies have been admitted as early as ten years of age, and some clowns and pranksters, or boys who otherwise made themselves unpopular with their elders, have had to wait until sixteen – in one famous case, eighteen. (A later consensus agreed that the elders had been unduly influenced by the episode of the salted wine cask, and should have reconsidered their grudge earlier. The boy in question went on to command the expedition that founded the Venetian colony in Australia, and administered it so ably that the colony was able to hold its own, without help from the motherland, in several sharp wars with the competing English settlements – not to mention sending home regular shipments of gold.) Some, sufficiently dull or careless, never gain the Hidden Gate, and go to their deaths not knowing that the Aiello are anything but what they seem, the foremost family of Venice. These unfortunates are the ones the Aiello send to administer dusty trading posts in minor African ports, or to lead regiments – not armies – in grinding Mideastern wars.
On his second visit the boy is told the great secret, and swears on his life – indeed, on the life of every member of the family down to the unborn child in the womb – never to reveal it; he is taught the words of praise and faith that are to be said every day, and in the hour of his death. He then begins to study the old language, and the sacred law and the centuries’ worth of rulings and commentaries; he learns to make hair-fine distinctions, and the importance of the precise words and the exact meeting of obligation, with not an ounce over or under. When he has learned enough, or when his parents feel it is time that he make his way in the world, he enters the Inmost Chamber for the third time, and his elders examine his knowledge of the law; after this, he is considered an adult, and may participate in all the rituals held beyond the Hidden Gate. It is not possible to formally fail this examination, since it is sufficient to answer a single question correctly and one of the questions is always “what are the words of praise and faith?” But to do well, to answer difficult questions without stumbling, is a point of pride for the boy and his parents, and a source of prestige in later years; those who master obscure areas of the law, or have insights that impress the judges, will find themselves sent to prosperous outports, assigned to important factories, or given preferment in matters of Navy patronage. They are also the ones who, when at home in Venice, are considered “the youngest” for the purpose of asking the four questions on the night different from other nights – sometimes well into their twenties. As for the rest of the liturgical year, all adult men may participate, but it is the clever students and incisive lawyers who lead the rituals and gain prestige and visibility by doing so; the Aiello family, like all large organisations, has its internal politics, and the man whose character happens to be suited for the studies that are officially admired is at an advantage in his struggle for preeminence.
In their twenties and thirties the Aiello are rarely in Venice, for the family does not believe in sitting about drawing its dividends and rents; every boy, once he has passed his examination (or when his parents sadly decide that he will never enter the Inmost Chamber) is sent out to take charge of some part of their trading empire – or of Venice’s thalassocratical one; the distinction is not so strictly observed, in this third century of Aiello Doges, as it once was. To rise through the Navy’s ranks, to command an important garrison (or a neglected one, or worst of all, Damietta) in Venezia-oltre-il-Mare, to be the chief factor of a warehouse serving the trade routes across the Indian Ocean, these are the careers of Aiello males. Far-flung, most of them, often somewheres East of Suez, where a man can raise a thirst; the ones who come back – not all do; the Indian Ocean is not noted for its rules on workplace safety – are no longer boys. Most of them have seen action, if only to defend their warehouse in a riot against the foreign merchants; some have fought battles with half a dozen ships on either side, against pirates and privateers and enterprising officers of foreign navies, who are not above supplementing their regular pay with a little plunder. The convention in Europe is that there is no peace beyond Africa; on the Indian Ocean each ship’s captain is a sovereign, and the ones who fail to defend their wooden kingdoms suffer the fate of all doomed dynasties.
When they return to Venice, sometime in their early forties, they are usually wealthy men in their own right; most have lived off their wages, and let their dividends pile up at interest, or invested it into trading on their own account, or in shares in other people’s mercantile ventures. Twenty years of compound interest, operating on a twentieth of a percent of the dividends paid on so vast a trading network as the Aiellos’ – at any given time there are perhaps two thousand adult males with the right to receive a share – tends to produce a fortune impressive even by the standards of a Venetian gentilhuomo. In addition, many men inherit their fathers about this time, getting a share of an estate that has had another forty years of accumulation. The least of the Aiello, the saying goes, can buy a king; and if that is not precisely true, it is only because the market in kings is somewhat overheated, due to all the non-least Aiello striving to get one to show off their wealth! The ones who cannot afford a king often buy, instead, a French noble rank (either from the rump state that the Shrewsburys keep around to administer the wine country, or directly from the English viceroyalty) or a Byzantine peerage – the precise title does not matter so much, nor whether it comes with any actual privileges, just so long as it has a suitably impressive patent, laden with official seals and ringing phrases (“the Senate and the People” is especially popular), that can be hung on the wall to show that its owner is a man of consequence. For this is the time when the Aiello marry; the brown-skinned women they usually acquire on their travels are stashed in a separate wing of the mansion they build or inherit, and they go courting among the notable families of Europe. In Italy it is considered a coup to have your daughter marry an Aiello, and those who intend to go looking inside Venice’s borders often skimp on the noble title; but in Germany, in England, and in Byzantium, where the cosmopolitan Aiello often go looking for wives, mere wealth counts for less – especially if it was made in trade.
It does sometimes occur that an Aiello will insist on marrying the girl he met East of Suez, ignoring what is customary and proper. In so doing he usually gives up his chance of being invited to the very best parties; but Venetian high society has few other means of making its displeasure known. What sanctions can one impose on a man who can buy a king? His relatives, it is true, may snub him with more effect; it is a rare man who will lightly alienate his siblings and parents. But the Aiello judge wives, in the main, by how likely they are to be able to keep the secret, to be admitted within the sanctum and continue the rituals of the secret faith. Cosmopolitan or not, they are not entirely immune to the opinions of their age; there have, no doubt, been some women of Zanzibar and Oman who died ignorant of the Hidden Gate, who would have entered within it if their birthplace had been in Europe. But for a sea wife to sufficiently captivate her man that he will bring her home to marry is unusual, and indicates rare qualities in her; most such women, in the end, will enter the Inmost Chamber. It has even been known for a Jewish woman of the Orthodox sects to marry outside her faith – to the scandal, no doubt, of her family – publicly convert to Christianity, and later sit kaddish in secret, having discovered that her public conversion was a sham and that her husband shared her original faith all along! In truth, most Jews would consider the Aiello as heretics, bordering on apostates, if they were told the precise nature of their observance; but they could, perhaps, agree that their god enjoys irony.
In their retirement from active trading and military careers, the pastime of the Aiello tends to be politics – Venetian, family, and – if they play the first two well enough – international. It is not, by any means, an invariable rule; in a group that over three centuries has included ten thousand men, there are bound to be many exceptions to any trend. There have been Aiello who preferred to garden, or gamble, or raise their children; even a few eccentrics who built mansions in quiet mainland cities, and spent the rest of their lives being big Aiello frogs in tiny Italian ponds. But most Aiello make at least a pro-forma attempt at election, appointment, or lottery to the Senate, the Council of One Hundred and Twenty-Three, the Guildmasters’ Committee, or one of the many other civic bodies Venice has accumulated over the centuries. Most have lost any formal power they once had, or can legally command only narrow technical subjects such as sewers or canal-dredging; but formal power is not everything. Men have launched successful bids for the Dogeship, or been grey eminences within the city, while their only formal powerbase has been a seat on the zoning committee. Conversely, election to the Senate has sometimes proved an empty honour, for though you can give every Senator equal rights to speak, you cannot make them equally compelling orators.
For most, Venetian politics is a hobby, a social club which, though it may occasionally drive a new canal through a poor district or rezone a social rival’s warehouse as residential, exists mainly as an excuse to fill rooms with smoke and stories of “when I was East of Suez”. Those who really master the skills, however, may rise to treat as equals with European nobles; at the very top, the Doge of Venice is not considered the least among the world’s sovereigns. Although the position is in principle open to anyone who wishes to stand for election, even (in abstract legal theory) to the confessed Jews of the ghetto, it has been many centuries since any but an Aiello was elected; and longer still since any of them announced his candidature without first receiving the gift of the knife. The family politics of the Aiello, therefore, become magnified into geostrategic significance; and where Venetian politics tend, for lack of high stakes, to be laid-back and genteel, the scramble for internal status within the family has at times been literally cutthroat.
Most men will eventually tire of this; those who do not reach the pinnacle of power generally retire from the fray sometime around their sixtieth birthday. If they reach their allotted threescore and ten, they most often spend their final decade studying the sacred law, sitting within the Inmost Chamber where they can discuss it freely with others of a like mind. It is these elder Aiello who form most of the congregation when the old rituals are upheld, and who sit in judgment over the young boys to decide whether to tell them the secret.
Child, student, scholar; trader, lover, politician, elder: These are the seven ages of the Aiello.
Our final Europa session is more than a month ago as I write, and my memory of it is somewhat dimmed. Two things stand out: I build a lot of buildings in the hope of converting well, and I started a war with Byzantium partly to pick up some more Mideastern land (I hoped to connect my Suez holdings to my Persian ones) and partly because finding new places to put buildings is not that inspiring, considered as gameplay. The Byzantine war soon became a grinding attritional affair through the Balkan mountains, which, however, I’m reasonably sure I could have won by the simple expedient of using my navy to outflank successive defensive lines, if not for the intervention of 1836 and conversion time. The war continues into Victoria, which will give me something to do other than build factories in my first session; on the other hand it will also absorb sorely-needed investment capital. Perhaps a compromise peace can be reached; on the other hand, perhaps it is time to reunite the two successor states to the glory that was Rome. There’s a lot of cheap labour in the Balkans, in Anatolia, and in Persia that is not being exploited efficiently; corvees and conscription, if you can believe it! I may have to drag them kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century; everyone knows that factory jobs, with taxes so you can pay for mercenaries, is a much more efficient way to run an extractive state.
World map, 1834. Not 1836 because the Hound has corrupted our hosts and GMs and their raddled brains, lost to love and truth, are no longer capable of posting the dang endsave – this is also why no screenshots of the Greek war, it has only just started in the latest save I have – but the borders won’t have changed in those two years.
The armies of Islam are in retreat.
The Morocco Offensive, patiently prepared in the year-long retreat to the Atlas mountains, carefully supplied with guns and ammunition sorely needed against the Russians, ruthlessly kept secret until almost the hour of the preliminary bombardment – the offensive that was to break the armies of the infidel and sweep from Gibraltar to the sources of the Nile, winning the Great War on the way – has failed. The Sahel cannot be conquered thus; its vastness dwarfs all human ambition, deadens fanaticism, swallows enthusiasm, destroys elan. The Sultan’s soldades drove their enemies back and back, from Casablanca to the Gold Coast – but no further; and in spite of the thousands and tens of thousands that left their bones in the desert, they failed to break the armies of Norway, of England, or of Russia. They made western Africa a charnel house; but they did not end the war. And when their hoarded ammunition was gone and the bravest of the faithful had paid the price of the aggressive courage that leads from the front – then their enemies were still there, battered as regiments but intact as armies, ready to fight with dogged determination and hard-learned skill a third time over the same ground they had taken the year before. The Spanish regiments that reached the Atlas again were as badly shattered as those that fought in the Winter of the Faith; this time, even the mountain redoubts did not hold. Only Iberia remains, now – the final stronghold of Islam against the infidel. And though Spain is not without friends, and though the peasant soldiers of the peninsula have carried the Crescent Banner through disaster and defeat many times, still, of the Muses only Calliope is impressed by the plight of a beleaguered garrison. Her sister Clio is a heartless bitch, and favours only the big battalions; and, in this year of grace 1936, all the armies of Europe are, at last, ranged against Islam. Not even the European Jihad saw that happen; and united Christendom is in no mood to show mercy to its ancient foe. This time there will be no peace, not even a bear’s peace, negotiated from the mountain fortress of the Alps. This time the long retreat of the Sultan’s armies will end when the Spanish state can fight no more.
But if the ancient strife of Christian and Moslem is – perhaps! – about to reach its end, still, history is not over. Behind Spain loom the shadows of its puppet-masters, the nations for whom three million European dead are only a good beginning: Wealthy India, enigmatic China, blood-stained Inca of the thousand sacrifices. What will the real victors of the War, the ones whose industries have grown fat on delivering guns to both sides of the front, do when the war is over? The unity of Europe is a fragile thing, papered over ancient quarrels. It cannot outlast the war; and when it ends, will not the wolves of Asia pick a weakened victim and fall upon it openly? The subterfuge by which Spain and Greece were ground to dust will no longer be required against a Europe that has bled itself white.
Ah, but perhaps these are only night fears, to be dispelled by the coming of peace. Perhaps the beginning of the War was what it looked like, nations stumbling into conflict because they were led by mediocrities (*) when statesmen were needed; perhaps the appearance of a deep-laid plan to finally destroy the nations that once threatened to conquer all of Asia is only that – an appearance, a shadow. Perhaps, when the last gun falls silent in the shattered streets of Granada, there will be peace in our time. Perhaps humans can finally learn the hard lessons of machine gun and trench, and send no more young men to their deaths in the blood-stained mud.
And perhaps the horse will learn to sing.
(*) With myself as the chief mediocrity. I did not in fact intend to kick off a Great War when I accepted Russia’s call to arms; nor did I intend to lose 100 prestige when I neglected to support Russia in the crisis. Both things happened because I was paying attention to industry, not diplomacy.
Will last until early August.
The game events: The Spanish counteroffensive eventually petered out with vast casualties – almost matching what happened in the Winter of the Faith, though with rather more fighting in place of attrition.
leading to the fall of their defensive position in the Atlas range and the occupation of almost all of Africa:
I feel the need to give myself some credit here; oddman and Fivoin, playing Russia and England respectively, apparently felt content with taking up positions in the foothills of the Atlas again. It was Norwegian troops who blasted a path through the passes, as you can see from the occupation colours, and led the alliance to the Pillars of Hercules. From there we rolled up the Spanish line going east. This was too late, however, to force a peace in Victoria.
The heavy fighting drew in all my armies from Europe, and I had nothing on the spot when yet another Communist rebellion came up – this time with a stack in my capital. Leading to this:
Dreadful-looking thing, isn’t it? At any rate this did give me the opportunity to share the little joke I put in the localization files when we converted from EU3. What else would a Communist dictatorship in Norway call itself?
Nonetheless, I wasn’t very happy at converting Communist; the MacRaghnalls are the only dynasty from CK times that are still around and in power, and it was a pity to lose them just to the horrible Victoria rebels. So I was excited when the Counter-Revolution, a Jacobin revolt, started in late 1935. The question was, would they be in time?
The hour was very late, but it had not yet struck. The 15th of December, two weeks before conversion time, saw the success of the counter-coup:
I thought I was going to write a narrative of the fighting in the streets of Copenhagen here; but it’s been a day of interruptions, and I haven’t been able to get properly started. I’ll mark it as “I owe you one narrative” and go write an intro to the HoI section instead.