Saturday, May 17, 2014

Henry Shows Us How it was Done

Faithful readers who have completed their Thomas Piketty curriculum for the spring may wish to reward themselves with a brief holiday in Paris and in particular, an easy excursion up to Chantilly, just 20 minutes from the Gare du Nord.  It's a magnificent pike with a gorgeous location on the waterside, and an array of manicured green spaces.

But it would be interesting to know just how antique this piece of history really is, in that the commentary conveys a strong inference that it is largely a reconstruction/recreation Henri Eugène Philippe Louis d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale.

Who? Glad you asked.  He was fifth son of Louis-Philipe, the bourgeois monarch and perhaps of greater practical relevance, he inherited some $200 million (in today's money) from his uncle, Henry II, Peince of Condi.

Yes, but what did he do to earn his moment in the sun, young Henry?   Ah, but that's the thing.   He seems to have gone off to war as a very young man and beat up some Algeriians.  Other than that (and picking the right DNA), he seems not to have comprehended his good fortune.  He spent the latter portion of his life expending this cabinet of curios.  For this he gets memorialized unto the Nth generation.   The descendants of the Duke's scullery maid may wish to savor the irony.  And to reflect on Belle Époque France as one of the most unequal societies in recorded (or, at least, documented) history.

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