Rick Parker writes (2/9/03)
> As this historical Marie was born into the
> Wittelsbach royal house of Bavaria,
> far from Lithuania, it doesn't appear to me
> that this line is an actual quote from
> a conversation with Marie and may have
> come from somewhere else.
Or "someone else", not Marie, that is also having coffee at the Hofgarten.
But apart from who's saying the line, what does the line point to?
A translation is:
"I'm not Russian. I'm from Lithuania. Pure German."
Several points can be raised about this line.
First of, historically, Lithuania was conquered by Russia and was part of
the Russian empire by 1850. During World War 1, Germany occupied Lithuania
(starting in 1915). It was not until the war ended that Lithuania achieved
independence from both Russia and Germany.
The shift in control in Lithuania from Russia to Germany directs the
reader to a specific time period. It is 1915 and WW1 is raging. At that time,
the British tried to attack the German/Austria-Hungary/Ottoman alliance by
launching an invasion into Turkey at Gallipoli. It was at the battle of
Gallipoli in May, 1915 that Jean Verdenal was killed. So I think the
reference is intended to "point" to Gallipoli.
Furthermore, the line itself sounds very defensive. The speaker (who may
or may NOT be Marie), is defensively reacting to someone implying that they
are Russian ("I'm not Russian. I'm. . . pure German."). But even this sounds
a bit flustered as a Lithuanian would likely not consider himself to be 'pure
German' (that is, Germany was occupying Lithuania as an invading army during
WW1). So the reader is left to speculate on what sort of a missing
conversation could lead up to this line and what significance it might have.
On your web page, Rick, you have pointed out that the "Starnbergersee"
(mentioned just before the characters enter the Hofgarten) is the historic
site where a royal member of the Hapsberg family, Ludwwig, was found dead
under suspicious circumstances, possibly having been killed by members of his
own royal family. When TWL was written, the Russian revolution has already
happened, and the Tzar (and the family of the Tzar) has been killed by fellow
Russians (the Bolsheviks). So, while they 'drank coffee and talked for an
hour' (that is, they were conversing a long time and there is conversation
missing from the reader) I can imagine a conversation like this:
"Ludwig was killed at the Starnbergersee by his own family -- kind of like
the Russians killing their own Tzar. Say, you're not Russian are you, since
your family seems to act like the Bolsheviks?"
(indignantly) "I'm not Russian. I'm from Lithuania. Pure German."
All this triggers a memory of Ludwig for Marie (who is NOT the speaker from
Lithuania), who continues,
"And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went."
-- Steve --