Tsesarevich Alexei, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Rasputin.
December 11th 1936: Edward VIII abdicates
On this day in 1936, Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne of Great Britain became effective. The King abdicated due to his intention to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice divorced American socialite. The Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry and thus Edward could not marry Simpson and keep the throne. He abdicated the throne after only 326 days, making him the only British monarch to have voluntarily renounced the throne since the Anglo-Saxon period. Edward VIII was never officially crowned King. Edward was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who became King George VI. George VI’s daughter Elizabeth currently rules as Queen Elizabeth II.
MYTHOLOGY MEME - [1/9] GREEK GODS/GODDESSES: NIKENIKE (or Nicé) was the winged goddess or spirit of victory, both in battle and peaceful competition. When Zeus was gathering allies at the start of the Titan War, Styx brought her four children, Nike (Victory), Zelos (Rivalry), Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force) into the service of the god. Nike was appointed his charioteer, and all four were appointed as sentinels standing beside the throne of the god. (x)
10: accidental baby acquisition
So the baby comes to them by way of Feuilly. He shows up to a meeting one night with a bundle in his arms, one which he says was given to him by a coworker he trusts and supposedly contains illegal revolutionary literature that she needs to get out of her house. Feuilly, of course, accepted the bundle without asking questions and thought it imprudent to open it in public. He is explaining this to a curious Courfeyrac when the bundle suddenly begins shrieking, causing Feuilly to almost drop it in shock. Luckily for everyone he manages to keep his grip and gingerly opens it to reveal an infant who is now wailing at the top of its rather impressive lungs and not hiding a single pamphlet, illegal or otherwise. (“Well,” Courfeyrac says after a moment. “That’s certainly a revolutionary definition of literature. Do you suppose we could teach it to cry in tune?”) Feuilly just kind of blinks down helplessly at the baby, wondering if he can give it back and knowing even as he thinks this that he can’t. The woman already has four children and her husband just lost his job; she can’t feed the mouths she already has, much less one more. If he’d been thinking about it earlier he’d have realized what was going on but he was distracted by a book he’d read earlier and packing up mostly on autopilot and at the time it seemed perfectly natural that this woman would offer him a bundle of books, though thinking about it now he wonders why exactly he didn’t question it further. Still, it’s too late now, and the baby is still crying and he really, really has no idea what to do.
He realizes he’s said that last out loud when Combeferre answers, saying that he knows a good orphanage that’s close enough to let them check in regularly. Before he even quite realizes that he’s doing it Feuilly is shaking his head violently and clutching the baby to his chest, all but glaring at Combeferre. Combeferre acknowledges both his opposition and his right to make that decision with a nod and no more is said of orphanages. Still, that leaves the matter of what to do with the baby, who is still crying, because apparently infants have the lung capacity of giants. Feuilly vaguely remembers that you’re supposed to bounce babies to get them to stop crying, so he awkwardly tries it. This course of action proves decidedly unhelpful, and Feuilly is beginning to wonder, rather uncharitably, if maybe the infant’s mother gave it to him as much because she couldn’t bear the noise as because she didn’t have the money to feed it.
At this point Bahorel, who had previously been lounging in the back of the room playing dominoes with Grantaire, abruptly gets up, strides across to Feuilly, and plucks the baby out of his arms, cradling it expertly and make shushing noises. After a few minutes of this the baby finally, finally stops crying and instead falls back asleep, apparently blissfully unaware of the commotion it had caused. Bahorel sits back down, props his feet on the table, and asks of the room at large who wants to take responsibility for the child. Everyone automatically turns to Combeferre, who crosses his arms and demands to know why, exactly, they think him capable of dealing with an infant. Courfeyrac points out that Combeferre has younger siblings, leading Combeferre to remind Courfeyrac that he has also been so blessed and why doesn’t he volunteer? Courfeyrac, with a completely unapologetic shrug, says that they had servants for that kind of thing when he was growing up and that he never actually interacted with any of his siblings until they were at least old enough to talk, and what exactly is Combeferre’s excuse? (Combeferre’s excuse is that his rooms are full of hazardous materials and that he’s never home. Upon reflection — and vivid recollection of what Combeferre’s rooms look like — everyone agrees that this is an extremely valid excuse indeed.) Prouvaire offers, but Prouvaire has been examining the baby as though it were a particularly fascinating insect for the past half hour and both Bahorel and Feuilly thank him for the offer and refuse it. (Well, Feuilly thanks him. Bahorel gives Prouvaire a frank look and says, “No man who waters his violets as dramatically as you should be given care of a child.” Prouvaire, who has come to know Bahorel quite well by now, catches the approval in the other man’s words and laughs. Courfeyrac remarks in an undertone that Prouvaire isn’t the only one who makes household chores unnecessarily dramatic. Bahorel fixes him with a look and asks if he has anything constructive to offer to this conversation and Courfeyrac wisely stays quiet.) Joly, whose only sibling is a substantially older sister, is obviously half terrified of the baby, while Bossuet quite correctly points out that he really shouldn’t be given charge of anything that can’t move on its own, since agility and the ability to make rapid escapes are necessities when spending time with him. Enjolras, of course, is well known for not bothering with things like eating or changing clothes when he gets swept up in a project, so he’s out. As for Grantaire, Bahorel makes an inquiring noise in his direction and Grantaire just starts laughing wildly and declaring that he would rank alongside the likes of Cronus and Ulysses when it comes to being a parent. Bahorel has to throw half a baguette at him to get him to shut up before he wakes the baby again.
By this point Feuilly has already started running the numbers in his head, trying to figure out how the hell he’s going to manage to take care of a child, running through all the people he knows who might be willing to take care of the baby while he’s at work if he pays them, calculating how many more hours he can work to make enough money to feed them both. He’s so caught up in his thoughts that he almost misses Bahorel, infant still gently cradled in hands that dwarf it, declaring with the air of one making a supreme sacrifice that he and Feuilly will just have to share parental duties until his mother can get up to Paris. When the words do penetrate Feuilly’s thoughts though he jerks his head up and stares at Bahorel, who is still sitting with his chair tipped back onto two legs and looking as though nothing strange is happening at all.
After the initial shock wears off arrangements are made remarkably quickly. Bahorel, in deference to Feuilly’s more demanding schedule, assigns himself nights and weekdays during working hours. He also takes charge of finding a temporary wet-nurse and supplying the infant with a decent wardrobe. (“No charge of mine will appear badly dressed,” he declares, and Feuilly doesn’t bother arguing the point.) Feuilly, in return, gets weekends and evenings and has to promise, in writing, that he will check the contents of mysterious bundles before accepting them next time. Agreement reached, Bahorel sets about writing to his mother asking her to come get the baby and take it home with her to raise it properly. When Feuilly asks what will happen if Bahorel’s mother refuses, Bahorel gives him such an affronted look that Feuilly retracts the question and apologizes for insulting her character.
It takes two and a half weeks for Bahorel’s mother to get to Paris. During that time Feuilly finds his horizons expanded considerably further than he ever expected with regards to children and suddenly has more respect than ever for people who do this all the time, especially the ones who do it by choice. It’s exhausting even with the help of the hired wet-nurse (Bahorel’s mistress’ friend’s sister, who coos alarmingly at the baby and tends to giggle when Enjolras is nearby, though he, thankfully, doesn’t notice) and when Bahorel casually drops that he has five younger siblings Feuilly has to take a moment and wonder if his mother is even human. Bahorel, upon hearing this, chuckles heartily and tells Feuilly to say that to her face because she’ll appreciate the compliment.
When she arrives in Paris Bahorel takes her to the back room of the Musain and all but dares Enjolras to object; he doesn’t. Bahorel’s mother is tiny, with white hair and an all too familiar glint in her eyes. She takes the baby — a girl, as they learned on the first night — from Feuilly and examines her closely, then looks up and wants to know what her name is. Bahorel and Feuilly look at each other a little guiltily — well, Feuilly looks guilty; Bahorel is trying and failing to hide a grin — and admit that they haven’t actually named her. Bahorel just calls her la gamine and everyone else picked it up and they never got around to finding a real name. Bahorel’s mother clucks in exasperation and announces that her name will be Enfant-de-la-patrie, that she’ll be christened Justine-Aurore, and that they’ll celebrate her birthday on the 14th of July like any proper citizen should. At this pronouncement Enjolras all but gives her a standing ovation, while everyone else is looking between her and Bahorel as rather a lot about their friend suddenly becomes clear. Bahorel, seeing their surprise, laughs and goes to fetch his mother a drink.
Bahorel’s mother stays in the city for nearly a week, during which time Bahorel proudly introduces her to all his friends and, surprisingly, doesn’t punch anyone who says anything about it. Instead he lets his mother deal with it, which is how everyone learns that she rivals Combeferre for biting sarcasm and cutting remarks. (Combeferre, upon witnessing such a confrontation, is nearly as taken with her as Enjolras. “I shall be sure to tell all of your prospective friends that this is the way to your heart,” Courfeyrac says, to which Combeferre replies that if they’re interested in being friends with him they could probably have guessed as much on their own.) Bahorel she treats with affectionate briskness which he accepts cheerfully. It’s the first time any of them have seen him actually defer to someone, and it’s all the more impressive because Bahorel has never been the type to accord someone respect just because they demand it.
Finally the time comes for her to leave with the baby. Bahorel declares himself very much looking forward to getting a proper night’s sleep for the first time in weeks, but Feuilly is oddly reluctant to let the girl go. He knows, objectively, that he can’t keep her, and it’s not like he thinks Bahorel’s mother won’t take care of her or provide for her appropriately, but that doesn’t stop the pang in his heart as he holds her for the last time. Bahorel’s mother pats his shoulder — he’s learned over the past week that she’s as carelessly physical in her affection as her son — and says she’ll write him regularly with news and updates. She also adds that he is welcome to visit them at any time, announced or not, because after all, any family of Bahorel’s is family of hers and he’s Enfant-de-la-patrie’s uncle. Then she gives him a hug, takes the baby, tells him to make sure Bahorel remembers to write home more often, and gets into the carriage that will take her and the baby back to the country, leaving Feuilly staring after her not entirely certain what just happened but happier than he’s been in a long time.
i’m gonna cry