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Dutch Travels and Travailles


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Marius de Vries, the Dutch Ambassador to England for the last 20 years, boarded the yacht in Den Haag, the place the English insisted on calling The Hague, or as the locals would grumbling point out .. Scheveningen. That though was a name only the Dutch could pronounce, and that did not include half of court. For court it was in Den Haag, at the Binnenhof castle, even though the Netherlands was a republic since the last century. William of Orange the Third, stadtholder of several Dutch provinces including the most important ones, and thus commander in chief of the armed forces, tried to live in a semblance of grandeur common to his family... Charles Stuart was his uncle. Louis XIV his second cousin. His great aunt the Winter Queen had lived in The Hague for the longest time and he could also claim family relationship, if very far to the new Queen of England, Karoline of the Pfalz.


As Marius watched the yellow sand dunes with their softly swaying grasstops disappear in the distance he reflected that it was not family affinity that had brought William on this path. Since the Disaster Year of 1672, when the Republic was attacked by the join forces of France, England, Munster and Cologne, and nearly succumbed, the Prince had become determined to defend his homeland and become the principle opponent of France in Europe with a doggedness that was most definately Dutch despite his English/German/Italian heritage. Je Maintiendrai* was the motto of the family and it showed. With exemplary military and political strategy he had pushed back the French so that he was now fighting them nearly on their own territory, while Munster and England had already been forced to a peace treaty in the years before.


A salty spray softly covered Marius brown hair, now laced with grey, making his curls more pronounced. Yet he did not botch from the stern, now pointed toward England, not yet visible. The journey would take but 6 hours, especially on such a swift ship, the best that Dutch shipbuilding could offer with its engineering talents. Most of their engineers, like their artists, had fled to London in the aftermath of 1672, seeking to make a living and Charles Rex ever eager to build on the brilliance of his reign in an effort to emulate his cousin Louis XIV. Marius wasn't sure if the Republic would ever be the same again, the Golden age gone, though he would never speak those words out loud. It was his duty to believe in a better future, if God willed it so.


Nijmegen, he promised himself, Nijmegen would be the difference, the shift in power becoming clear. With the merchants of Amsterdam and London quietly aligning themselves and finding William as their unexpected royal champion it would be the beginning of a very exciting future. Let the English revel in their culture, their theft and copying of other nations. It would be the Dutch who struggled against drowning but would survive.



*I will survive

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