Life After Napoleon

Same as it ever was.

Story illustration

This is a companion piece to the story “Holy.”


Dear America,

You asked how things are faring over here so I will explain with brevity the current state of Europe and its great powers. But first, I would like to get family matters out of the way.

Wales sends her greetings and wants you to know that she has been praying for your safety and prosperity. I was not aware that peculiar crystals were instruments of prayer, but she insisted that she was a “good.l Christian woman” and “not at all a Pagan.” Odd of her to say, as I had not mentioned paganism. When I asked Scotland if he too wanted to send you a message, he inquired about your identity. “Who?” “The United States of America, our estranged son!” Yet he still feigned ignorance. Ireland, a rather new addition to the family, seems to be adjusting well enough. She fears the internal backlash, but it was exactly that backlash that made her feel even stronger the need to unite. Well, she is convinced she has done the right thing, and so am I.

France has sunken into shame and despair since his defeat. After having reinvented himself a new man, he became a formidable conquerer and accumulated tremendous power. So tremendous it was, that it took many coalitions of Europe’s strongest countries to bring him down. However, the higher one rises, the farther one falls. While I do take pity on him, we all understood the necessity to tame his wild ambition before he could destroy Europe any further. I bring France up not just because the wars were so significant, but because I know you have always cared a great deal for him, perhaps even too much at times, and you know very well what I mean by that.

The end of the war has stirred a new resolve in the monarchal powers. Russia, Austria, and Prussia have banded together to form the “Holy Alliance.” They are, without a doubt, reactionary lunatics. Their primary goal is to prevent what happened within France from happening to the rest of us. They have put their religion and their crowns on pedestals far above all else and have promised a crusade against nationalism, all while vowing peace and unity among each other. While their mission sounds noble enough, I have a suspicion that their “sisterhood” is all but ephemeral. Though allies of ours against France they might have been, I certainly do not trust any of them personally or intimately. Our unwillingness to join them and become a, dare I say it, Holy Quintuple Alliance has stung them a great deal. The Ottoman Empire, who as you know practices Islam, has denounced the group. I do not believe they much care about his opinions.

I do not mean to talk much longer about the Holy Alliance so I will share with you a story that should speak for itself.

We happened to come upon them when we were out one evening. They were drinking and being a little rowdy, so it was business as usual. They saw us approaching and started to heckle. It was all harmless and nonsensical, but Wales and Scotland did fight back with their own words, though I urged them not to encourage the monarchs. Just as everyone was beginning to exchange profanities and I felt myself sink into desperation, things took a turn because Austria spotted France hiding behind a tree. He was not cowering, mind, he was simply uninterested in rousing the interest of the Holy Alliance. Russia would not let him have peace, however. “France! Come out, show us your pretty face. I promise we will not give you another thrashing!” Then she would add most coyly, “Unless you want us to.” The other two found that quite humorous, but all it did was upset France’s nerves further. With their attention off us, we slipped away and let France at the mercy of those wolves. I imagine their jeering continued for some time before they got bored and started drinking again. I am sure France made it without getting into a fight, but I have yet to confirm that.

The end of any war will bring about change. Some of us fear this change and will resist it at every turn. Others may try to embrace change to bring about a new era, not just for themselves but for Europe as a whole. I do not believe that it is wrong to fear the loss of oneself. After all, the Holy Alliance is only trying to hold on to tradition, to the comfort and security that they have known for centuries. Yet, I do not necessarily believe it is wrong to seek change either. Before the war, France mentioned you often when he talked about the transformation he felt happening within. The spirit of revolution you felt, my personal feelings toward it aside, stirred within the deeper parts of him the same fervor. And in turn, his passion has lit flames in the hearts of many other Europeans.

As for us, we feel a sense of unrest. While I do not think it will swell much greater, it does worry us nonetheless. However, in times like these we must remind ourselves that this sort of thing is only natural after a war. If we can handle it with a level of skill that falls somewhere between France’s total submission to it and the Holy Alliance’s zealous refutation of it, we will manage.

All the best from a bitter man who is not above admitting that he envies your detachment from Europe and all of its woes,

England, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland


Notes

The wars England is talking about are the Napoleonic Wars. France attained a new level of power through Napoleon’s conquests, but the French Empire was eventually defeated by Coalition powers in 1815. The inner turmoil, backlash, and etc. talked about are all references to revolutions and civil unrest. The French Revolution, which ended with the toppling of the French monarchy and Napoleon’s rise to power, inspired people in many other countries to fight for equality and fairness.

Author: Allison Black

Allison is an international relations major who likes exploring politics through fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys video games, graphic design, and studying Japanese.

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