Friday, 12 February 2010

Raising the Freikorps (1)

On arriving back in Sonnenbad Friedrich immediately contacted Colonel Lowe and informed him of his mission. The Colonel’s aide was immediately set to work organising the recruiting event and getting recruiting posters printed. Friedrich then made his way to the Kriegsakademie where he met with the director of studies Herr Dr Griffin O'Patrick. Once informed of Friedrich’s new role, he congratulated him and offered the some junior cadets to assist with the administration and odd jobs.

By the afternoon preparations were well underway and even the principal salon at the baths had been booked for a recruiting meeting in two days. Posters were placed in all the prominent places where the nobility mingled, the salons, baths, gaming halls and Frau Lunns establishment.

Returning to the Colonels quarters, his aide passed Friedrich a large bundle, “Your new uniform I believe and there are two members of your unit next door. Friedrich entered to find two hussar sergeants dressed in a fine hussar uniform in Frundsberg colours.

Sergeants Rhetz & Specht introduced themselves and Friedrich was glad to find that although they were Gendarmes, they had seen substantial service in the light cavalry.

That evening and throughout the next day he toured all the main venues in the city, introducing himself with his full title and his role. Overall he got a favourable if hesitant response, most gentlemen saying they would consider it and attend the event.

At one point he heard a loud voice ”Major if you please”, he turned to face a rather severe looking woman. “I trust you will be attending my little soiree this evening?”

“And you are Madame?”

“Lady Katherine Von Berg. Everyone who is anyone will be there.”

“I will be delighted milady”

Evening arrived and Friedrich made his way to one of the elegant crescents overlooking the old town of Sonnenbad. That this was the right location was immediately obvious by the number of carriages pulling up outside. He entered and was immediately asked by a footman for his invitation. On stating who he was the footman immediately ushered him to the front of the queue of nobles where he formally announced “Major, the Prince Friedrich Von Wettin”

Friedrich was taken aback by the number of ladies who immediately gazed in his direction, spotting Lady Katherine he immediately headed in her direction. “Ah Major” she expressed “There are a large number of ladies present who would like to make your acquaintance, most have brother or cousins who would be interested in joining your Freikorps”

“Indeed milady” this was far worse than his anticipated fate when meeting Major Von Barner or General Wurst. “I will certainly dance with a number of the ladies this evening. Do you indulge?”

“Regrettably Sir, at my age I now prefer to observe, now please mingle”

Turning Friedrich hoped against hope to see Ilse, but spotted an individual in uniform and headed for it as a point of refuge. It was also unusual as it was a red uniform with yellow facings.
“Welcome Major, I am Vicomte D’Arcy and if I am not mistaken you are looking for a drink, follow me”

The Vicomte then grabbed a drink from a passing tray and handed it to Friedrich “This will calm your nerves, then you need to sign a sufficient number of ladies cards for the evening to show willing and thereby encourage their brothers and suitors to join your unit”

“Thank you for the advice Sir, and why are you here? As I understood your French émigré unit was almost complete”

“That is true, but I might as well enjoy the last of civilised society while I can”

Following the Vicomte’s instructions Friedrich passed the evening dancing with eligible young ladies, all obviously looking for a husband with sufficient means and prepared to offer their brothers as recruits.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Hopefully Lt. Otto von Zendabrau of Saxe-Bearstein will be related to one of the dancing partners.

-- Jeff

Frankfurter said...

It's a hard job, but somebody has to do it