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Subject: For All Nails #55: Triestine Livers

Trst [1], Kingdom of Carniola-Gorica [2]
German Empire

19 June 1973

Adrian Ramet walked smartly down the promenade, holding the dactylograph
[3] in its plastic carrying case tightly against his side. The
Mediterranean late afternoon sun was hot, and if Ramet looked up to his
right he could see the bleached bare limestone of the Corso shining
brightly. They said that the German scientists who studied sunblindness
in the Antarctic went to Trst, to see what it was like to have to wear
goggles to keep the bright sunlight reflected off the rocks from
blinding them. Ramet had found it hard to believe that people used to
live there, peasants scraping a living from an infertile soil; certainly
none of the Corso's old peasants had protested at the plans to make the
Corso over into a vast complex of warehouses for the crowded port below.

"Hey, Marija," he said with a tip of his chapeau as he turned through
the iron gate into the _Adria_. Slovenes didn't like working in the
cafés in Trst anymore, not unless they were students and fashionably
poor. Marija was hardly a student--she was an immigrant, a Bosnian
Orthodox. _Srpski,_ not _hrvatski,_ [4] she had corrected him nastily
enough when he made the mistake, before she hastily went back to filling
the students' coffee cups with the Ethiopian and New Granadan blends.

"Good afternoon, sir," she said politely in her rough peasant accent.
"Your friends have not arrived yet."

"Thank you," Ramet said politely, "but I'm not planning to meet them."
He gestured, with his left hand, at the speckled plastic. "I'd just like
to spend some time typing."

"Ah, you students," Marija said with a faint smile. "Never know when
people are good for you. Don't worry, sir, " the Bosnian woman
continued, "I've saved your table for you." She pointed, and Ramet
followed her gaze. Just a simple round table, a yard in diametre, and a
simple metal-backed chair, by the iron gate that was all that separated
the café from the promenade in winter.

"My thanks, Marija," Ramet said. He considered giving her a tip but
decided not to, since after all the café wasn't that busy. "I'll just
have black coffee, and a refill when I finish. Last night was a long
night," he grinned wickedly, and he turned away from her to wind through
the crowded tables. When Ramet got to his table, his right arm ached a
bit from the dactylograph's weight, in his elbow and forearm especially.
He had been taking the dactylograph around Trst with him for too long,
at the university for his notes. He'd graduated from university just a
month ago, but he still took his trust dactylograph about town with him.

Ramet knotted his fingers together and stretched them, hearing their
joints crack gratifyingly. Carefully, he placed the spotless white sheet
of cotton paper in the paper feed and began to move the paper through.
When the top was visible, Ramet began to dactyle on the Czech's
marvellous keyboard. [5]

_Ljubljana, Trst, Maribor, not Laibach, Trieste, Marchburg [6],_ Ramet
began to type. He had seen an old atlas, a German imperial atlas from
1900, that hadn't had a single Slavic name for any city anywhere in the
German Empire. It had struck him as odd--there were, now, at least a few
German atlases that had Praha for Prag, if fewer that caleld Ljubljana
by its rightful name. _There are our three cities, the three nervous
centres of the Slovene nation--like lofty Triglav [7]--holding the mind
of the Slovene nation._

_We are a nation of Postojna salamanders [8], becoming whatever others
want--what our environment determines, who the dukes of the day are and
which languages they speak. If Carniola-Gorica had passed to Italy, I do
not doubt that we would describe ourselves as the most Latin of the
Slavs, never mind the Dalmatians; instead, Carniola-Gorica passed to
Germany, and we describe ourselves as the most German of the Slavs,
never mind the Czechs._

"Hello, Adrian!" he heard a deep masculine voice call from the street.
Ramet turned his head to his right and saw Jorg, good Carinthian Wend
[9] Jorg, come south across the Karawanken from Klagenfurt to see what
it was like to be openly unashamedly Slovenian. "Still typing?"

"Of course!" Adrian replied with a thin polite smile, and he
self-consciously straightened his cravate. (Informality, in any café on
Trst's promenade, would be problematic.) "And you're still walking?"

"Ah, I like the sea air. It's a change from Carinthia, you know." They
chatted for a bit, about their friends who had graduated and their
fellow students who had left, and about the recent economic cataclysm in
Lorraine.

"We can be certain," Ramet concluded, "that Slovenia will never go
through that. We're much too disciplined for that, not like the
Croatians."

"Don't remember," Jorg cautioned, "that we wouldn't be anything without
the German Empire. Anyway," he said as he glanced down at the watch on
his wrist, "I have to go. See you later!"

Ramet watched Jorg proceed further down the promenade before he turned
back to the dactylograph--it was beginning to become darker, now--and
placed his fingers on the keys again. _Bless Bruning for our prosperity
[10],_ he began, _since we don't bless ourselves. Oh, no, we praise our
environment--yes, the Empire is so kind to let us exist and use our
country as a corridor for Imperial trade with the Levant, India, distant
Asia. If it was not for the Empire, we Slovenes would only be dirty
illiterate peasants living in mountain hovels. Perhaps we would be
civilized by a good crusade, like the Polabians and Wends and Prussians
[11]._

"Or the French," he muttered as he turned away from the keys to his
coffee. Ramet sipped the sweet coffee as he remembered the book that he
had just read, translated from French into German and published in
Ljubljana despite its recounting of German war atrocities in Paris,
during the silly French uprising in the Global War. Carniola-Gorica's
press censor had overruled the German imperial authorities, citing the
kingdom's privileges He thought for a moment, and went back to typing.

_Our kingdom is home to light-hearted Neapolitans with their Ndrangheta
and dark-eyed brooding Croatians, with their knives and blood vendettas.
They say that during the Global War, Croatians skinned Turks to death,
with the same carving knifes that they used to dress meat. You can't
help but wonder whether they would turn on us [12] -- no, this is false
and slanderous. The Neapolitans and Croatians are good people, happy to
be here, whatever their eccentricities. They speak Slovene, they accept
us as equals. But the Germans? They're hardly used to the idea that we
shouldn't be _müss-Deutschen_. We are a small decent people, safe from
the excesses of emotion of our Germanic and Italian and Slavic
neighbours--We are meant for better things._

_This has to change,_ and he hit the return key with a satisfying
downward jab. The last of the paper edged up through the dactylograph,
and the neatly-fingerwritten sheet quietly slipped onto the table. "Not
a bad few hours' work," he said to himself. Ramet hadn't intended to
write anything political today. It was odd hwo these things just
happened.

Ramet looked up to see that outside the café the sun had descended
beyond the Corso. When he looked out towards the Adriatic, he could see
the bright yellow beams of the harbour navigation beacons, and the
less-intense lights of the passing ships beyond the fog of the
streetlights.

***

[1] Trst is the name for the city known in Italian and in OTL as
"Trieste," located at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea opposite
Venice.

[2] When the Austrian Empire fell apart in the Bloody Eighties, all of
the Empire's Slovene-inhabited provinces--purely Slovene Carniola,
mostly Slovene Gorica, potentially Slovene Trst, and partly
Slovene--were effected. In the end, these territories avoided wholesale
partition, with Italy making only limited gains in western Gorica
(thanks to an 1886 referendum akin to that which gave Italy the
Trentino). The Kingdom of Carniola-Gorica, including the city of Trst
and the Slovene-majority southeast of Styria, was created in 1887 under
Maximilian of Hapsburg.

[3] Typewriter.

[4] Serbian, not Croatian.

[5] Yes, the Dvorak keyboard is popular in at least Slovenia, if not
wider areas.

[6] Laibach is the German name for Carniola-Gorica's largest city of
Ljubljana, Trieste is the Italian name for the kingdom's second-largest
city of Trst, Marchburg is the German name for the kingdom's
third-largest city of Maribor.

[7] Three-headed Mount Triglav, Slovenia's highest mountain at 2 864
metres. Early Slavs believed the mountain to be the home of a
three-headed deity who ruled the sky, the earth and the underworld. In
OTL, Triglav is prominently placed on Slovenia's national flag and is a
national symbol.

[8] Over millions of years, flowing water created a fantastic decor of
stalactites and stalagmites in the 20 km of caves and underground
passages at the famous grottos at Postojna, near Ljubljana. In the
extensive Postojna cave network--incidentally a major tourist
attraction--lives a unique breed of salamander. When temperatures are
relatively warm (above -9 degrees Celsius) the salamander gives birth to
live young; when temperatures are colder, the salamander lays eggs.

[9] To quote from http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=SLV:

"Separated by the Karawanken Mts. from the larger group of Slovenes in
Slovenia. They and their speech are called 'Windisch', an archaic form
of Slovene, heavily influenced by German. The dialects of Slovene,
generally, tend to differ from one another very much. No one has made
any kind of a measured dialect analysis, so it is not possible at this
time (1995) to say how different any of the dialects are from the
standard (T. Priestly, U. of Alberta, personal communication 1995). Some
speakers speak Standard Slovene well; some use it only in church. Some
of the ethnic group are able to speak the dialects, some are losing
their command of them. Many speakers go to church, where they hear
Standard Slovene. Speakers are bilingual or trilingual in the Slovenian
dialect (Windisch), a German regional variety (Kärntnerisch or
Steierisch), or Standard German. Most speakers educated since 1945 speak
Standard German reasonably well. Most do not consider themselves to be
Slovenians, but Carinthians, belonging to the German culture."

There has been somewhat less assimilation of the Carinthian Wends in
FAN.

[10] Chancellor Bruning's decision to plunge the German Empire into the
Global War had, as one of its half-expected side effects, the relocation
of much of Germany's industry from the north and west to the south and
east, including Carniola-Gorica. Too, the destruction of Britain's
preeminent trading position in northern Africa, India, and points east
allowed Trst's energetic shipping companies to emerge dominant in the
Indian Ocean trade. If not for Bruning's eccentrities, Slovenes would
have found themselves rather poorer.

[11] These three peoples--the Slavic Polabians and Wends, and the Baltic
Prussians--were overrun and assimilated by Germany's _drang nach osten_
in the late Middle Ages, although the Prussian language survived as a
spoken tongue into the 18th century and a Wendish (also Sorb) minority
remains in the east German region of Lusatia.

[12] Slovenian _gastarbeitar_ from the Kingdom of Croatia--recruited
disproportionately from old Serbia and Bosnia, as Croatia proper is
almost as prosperous as Carniola-Gorica--aren't held in much higher
esteem in FAN than in OTL.

[Endnote] Compare to Jan Morris' sketch of Trieste in her 1980
_Destinations: Essays from Rolling Stone_ (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1980).