King John writes to tell me that I have been given additional powers. I am informed that my opponents in the Capital made barely a squeak as additional prerogatives were bestowed upon me. It is pleasing to learn that my enemies have been discomforted and are in utter disarray, and that there is now little to stop me from undertaking any course of action that I may determine. Were I a man of propriety and modesty I would feel constrained to exercise these powers with wisdom and restraint. I am not that man.
When I grow weary from signing these decrees I have my men take me by sedan chair to the town centre. With one sweep of my hand I am able to consign entire rows of ancient buildings into oblivion. What could be more pleasing to me than to watch the destruction of so many once-fine buildings, while the former occupants stand by in horror, weeping over their misfortune? It does a man good to see the tears of his enemies. For they are all my enemies, each and every one of these peasants. If I were not constantly flanked by men at arms and horsemen they would descend upon me like ravenous dogs and tear me asunder.
The demands made upon me by the peasantry are intolerable. Their cries for the necessities of life have even disrupted my revelry, leaving me displeased and deflated. I have been more than patient with these people, and I fear I must now take firm action to suppress their dissent. If they wish to bemoan their failure to gain access to homes and shops, then let me be the one to ensure their wails have an extra edge to them.
If I were given liberty to do entirely as I pleased I would put them all to the sword, but King John's command is to rule firmly but wisely, so I will let some of them live for the time being.
The town centre is still a broken sight. It offends my eyes, and I grow weary of seeing such vast mounds of rubble. This angers me, and when I am angered I lose my easy manner and poise. It is to my great regret that in a moment of impatience I have had a number of the workmen disposed of. I do not regret their demise so much as the difficulty in replacing them. The rebuilding of this province seems at times to be an insurmountable task, but I regard it as a tests from God, and I am of a mind to ensure that I do the Lord’s work in a most efficient and industrious manner.
A woman came to me this morning, wailing and tearing at her hair. I was inclined to have her head for such insolence, but my chamberlain whispered into my ear that the troubled lady’s husband perished recently due to an act of gross disobedience, and that this had unsettled her mind. Notwithstanding my offer to assist her to join her husband, the woman continued to rail against my rule, accusing me of engaging in acts of cruelty and vice. My punishment of her husband was perfectly just (for how can a failure to abase oneself before your liege ever be justified?), but nevertheless I stayed my hand and instead had her locked away for her own good.
The lady will be all the better for a few years in confinement. Such are the little acts of kindness I perform, though the peasants still despise me.
King John writes to inform me that a number of my fellow peers have been appointed to oversee my administration of this province. The extent of my rage can only be imagined, and I am afraid to say that a number of my servants perished in the conflagration that transpired. Only later was it revealed to me that this council is merely a sop to our enemies, whereas full power in this province will remain in my hands while the illusion of oversight will be maintained in order to appease the peasantry.
That the miserable people of this province have called for any measure of constraint on my powers is a thing I can scarcely regard without flying into one of my infernal tempers. In spite of all I have done they refuse to buckle to my will.
It is unfortunate that I should be prevented from doing all that is needed in this province, and it is my darkest fear that what the populace really seeks is a means whereby my lust and avarice may be contained.
Another night of enjoying the delights of Venus and Bacchus has left me bedridden and unable to attend to official duties. Today I will sleep, for tomorrow I must return to the Capital to further terrify and intimidate my enemies.
(Read the first instalment of the Duc' d'Eglise de Christ's diary here)