Anniversaries & Events in Academia & Elsewhere
[with apologies for the slight lateness of publication]
All of which is how the Treaty of Calais came into being, John’s son wishing to get his dad back, by ransom if needs be. Which was set at a staggering three million gold crowns, John to be released once the first million had been handed over. It was in order to pay this ransom that the franc was first coined. As guarantee that he would come up with the outstanding amount, John handed over hostages that included several princes and nobles and two of his own sons, the deal being signed and sealed on 24 October 1360. Two years later, one of those sons, Louis I, Duke of Anjou, escaped from captivity, at which point John finally lived up to his name by doing the honourable thing and turning himself in instead. He would die in imprisonment in 1364.
The next one wasn’t long in coming along, turning up on 24 September 1483, when the portreeve and seven aldermen met an identical fate, this one being sometimes known, for some obscure reason, as the One-and-a-Halfth Defenestration. The last recorded one was on 10 March 1948, Jan Masaryk, murdered either by the Communist government or else Soviet secret services but, whichever, it goes to show that dabbling in Bohemian politics just ain’t worth it.
Come the great day and in climbs our plucky heroine, complete with lucky heartshaped pillow, for the lid to be screwed down and then a bicycle pump used to compress the air inside, after which a cork was used to plug the hole and the entire thing set adrift south of Goat Island. After a trip of less than twenty minutes, she was picked up safe, though with her head gashed too (bet the cat was dying to say, Told You So) and a statement for the press:
“If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat... I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.”
Sadly, all did not end on a happy note. For one thing, her manager, Frank M. Russell, made off with her barrel and she used up most of her savings hiring private detectives to get it back. Which they eventually did, when it turned up in Chicago, but then it disappeared for good and all some while later. She ended up working as, amongst other things, a clairvoyant, though she couldn’t have been much good at that lark, otherwise she would have seen Frank M. Russell coming, wouldn’t she?
By Anonymous (Paris) Formerly attributed to Girard d'Orléans (www.louvre.fr: Home - info - pic) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Treaty of Westphalia: After Gerard ter Borch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Defenestration: Matthäus Merian the Elder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Edward III: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AKing_Edward_III_from_NPG.jpg
King Matthias: Lucas van Valckenborch (1535 or later–1597) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Queen of the Mist: By GG Bain News Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons