The quest for authenticity
Posted on 2 March, 2014
There’s a short phrase in my previous email that caused me considerable anguish. It read:
Would they then be caught by a footman?
Would they be reported to the Chamberlain?
Would he whip them, soundly?
‘Chamberlain’. You see, in my first draft, I’d written ‘butler’ – but it struck me that the head of the Viennese imperial household would have a title far more prestigious than that. I had to put out a plea to Violet for a little local Austrian knowledge. ”Obersthofmeister”, it appears. Hence, “Chamberlain”.
It may be a small detail to you. But it would so have stressed me to have published something knowingly, wilfully, incorrect!
A footnote in her email, quoting from a book in German, also rather entertained:
Not that you want to hear this, but it even seems that corporal punishment was generally forbidden at the Viennese Court and could only be administered after a thorough investigation.
Most people would shrug their shoulders. “Hey, they didn’t use c.p. So the post’s not realistic. But we can fantasise, right?” But my mind works differently. It was generally forbidden. Only administered after a thorough investigation? So it was allowed, and the girls would have had to have been questioned thoroughly first?
Actually, that makes the whole thing even hotter. Especially since the interrogation would have revealed to a far wider audience than already knew, as per the blog entry prior to that one, that they’d been listening to a young lady from a noble family being whipped….