For All Nails #80: Ferdinand the Bull
Sir Francis Burdett  Academy
Cornwallis, Georgia, SC, CNA
14 April 1967
Ferdi was a fourteen-year-old boy with one thing on his
mind -- how to score. He stepped right and broke hard to
his left, freezing one defender. The other three closed
on him. Ferdi broke again straight toward the goal line
and took the hit from two of them. "The Bull" was not going
to score this time.
But his team was. Ferdi no longer had the ball when he went
down -- Ashmead did, there to take Ferdi's blind pass exactly
where he was supposed to be. Ferdi looked up from the ground
to see Ashmead touching the ball down for a try. That was real
football . Teamwork -- counting on other people to be where
they should and do their job.
There was too little of that at this G-ddamned school, Ferdi
thought as he picked himself up. Too little about doing what
you should, and too much about who you were. Brother Francisco
said it was the Anglican heresy and the worship of temporal
power instead of the timeless values. The Franciscan monk was
often boring, but it was good to have another Spaniard around
in this strange country, let alone being able to have a normal
What was he learning here anyway? He supposed the classes were
worth something, particularly history with Powlett-Jones. He
was starting to see how the economic choices of individuals and
of societies shaped the course of events, and Pow-wow had been
happy to suggest extra readings. Pow-wow ran his classes like
he ran the house football team, with everyone working together to
succeed together. Not like most of the masters, unfortunately, a
mixture of bullies and weaklings for the most part. Brother
Francisco said that the Spanish instruction had been a complete
travesty before he'd taken it over, but that the boys were able
to learn quite well if you treated them firmly and knew what you
Treat them with alternating indulgence and severity, though, and
you got rotters like those fifth-formers last fall. They'd decided
that a new Spanish boy should demonstrate bullfighting personally
from the bull's point of view, kept in a ring of boys and pummeled
on each attempt to break out. That had gotten him some bruises, a
nickname, and some grudging respect when he never reported it. The
same boy could be a complete hoke most of the time, like Ashmead,
and then when you got him on the field--
But what was this? Pow-wow blew the whistle as a red-faced first
former puffed towards him.
"What is it, Delderfield, take your time, get it out--"
"Head's-- head's compliments, sir, and could you send Honezone to
him at-- at your earliest con-- convenience, sir?"
"The boy's name is _Hohenzollern_, Delderfield, a name I dare say
you might recognize from last term's Modern History. All right.
Hohenzollern, front and center!"
"Sir?" What was this about?
"That was a fine run and pass, Ferdi -- you too, Bertie, excellent
position for the pass. I think our backfield is shaping up very
nicely. But it seems you're off to see the Head -- he did say 'earliest
"Then you'd best go as you are -- take off your cleats outside the door.
The rest of you, we've got more work to do here..."
The Honourable Ian "Chunky" Gilmore , Head of Sir Francis Burdett
Academy, hated emotional scenes. And dear God, if there were ever
a reason for one, there was now. At least the boy's Papist confessor
would be able to break the news first. Perhaps they could all pray
together or something -- was that legal for an Anglican? Shouldn't
be too bad, our priests seemed to get on all right with this fellow.
Dear God, if the boy and the monk went back, where was he going to
get another Spanish teacher on short notice? A knock on the door
interrupted this unpleasant thought.
"Head, sir? Hohenzollern is here.".
"Ah, thank you. Come in, boy, come in. I'm afraid there is bad
news, very bad--" The boy's eyes went straight to the monk.
"Brother Francisco?" The monk answered in a slow, measured voice.
"There has been a revolt in Madrid. Troops of Senor Puente's movement
took the Palace and the other government buildings. There were many
"The King my father?"
"Is dead, Your Majesty. As is the Queen your mother. And--"
"My _what_? You mean Felipe _and_ Carlos?"
"Yes, Your Majesty. _You_ are the rightful King of Spain."
"My God!" The boy ran to the monk and buried his head in the brown robe.
The heavy cloth muffled the racking sobs. After a moment the boy came up
for air and looked into the monk's eyes. He was still crying, but somehow
now deadly serious.
"Yes, my poor, dear boy?"
"I don't want to a king. I don't think I _can_ be a King."
"I think you could do it if it were the will of God, Your Majesty.
But you are right not to wish such a thing. And I am by no means
sure that such a thing will come to pass..."
Statement issued by the Palace of the Grand Duke of Minorca 
11 March 1971
"I, Don Ferdinand Alphonse Philip Charles Hohenzollern, Viscount of
Port Mahon , do today on my eighteenth birthday assume my title and
my station as an adult. On this occasion I reaffirm the declaration made
on my behalf by my beloved uncle Alphonse Robert Philip Charles, Grand
Duke of Minorca, on 24 April 1967, by which I then abdicated and do now
abdicate the title, and abjured and do now abjure the style, of King of
Spain, for myself and any present or future heirs of my body . In
addition, since my homeland of Minorca no longer forms part of the
Spanish State, I hereby reaffirm my renunciation of any citizenship in
that State .
In making this declaration I in no way endorse the present government
of the Spanish State, which bears the primary responsibility for the deaths
of my beloved parents and my two beloved brothers. The individuals directly
and indirectly culpable in those foul murders must eventually face the
Judgement of God and of his Son on that day when we are all judged. For
my part I pray for the Grace and Compassion of God upon their souls and the
souls of their innocent victims. I pray for the same Grace and Compassion
of God upon the noble people of Spain, and for the blessings of God upon
their struggle for freedom and for righteous government. But that struggle
must carry on in my absence. I believe that the will of God is that I serve
my beloved uncle the Grand Duke, and through him the noble people of
Page 4 of _New Orleans Mail and Picayune_ 
New Orleans, Georgia, SC, CNA
25 September 1973
ONCE KING FOR A DAY, NOW PRINCE AMONG MEN
King for ten days, actually, from the time the nihilist
Puentista thugs gunned down his family until he gave up
the crown for good. Ferdi Hohenzollern was a Georgia
boarding school student then, and he remains in Georgia
today, as a third-year student at UNO.
Whether swotting the books for his degree in Economics,
sweating on the football field, or leading the Knights
of the Immaculate to do good works on the mean streets
of Spanish Town, this Fighting Pelican wins admirers at
"He's a fine lad, a real addition to the team," says UNO
football manager Padraig McCafferty. "He's not got the
size or speed to make our starting XII, but he's there at
every practice working to make his teammates better."
"I've never had a better worker," says Dominic DiMaggio,
47, head groundskeeper at UNO. "All the students here have
service jobs of some sort, and most of them just do the
minimum. Ferdi was different from the start. See this
garden? Ferdi planned and planted it himself!"
"He changed my life," says Spanish Town housewife and creche
proprietress Maria Guerrero, 23. "When my 'Nardo got out of
diapers I just sort of had this idea of taking care of
other babies as a business. But I needed a license, and
some repairs to my house, and what bank is going to give a
loan for something like that? But Don Fernando and the
others got me the money from the neighborhood credit union
they started, and he helped me with the paperwork himself.
There are three other people on this street who've started
new businesses the same way, and it's all thanks to Don
Fernando and the Knights of the Immaculate ."
"This 'microcapital' idea is something we're really looking
to support," says provincial MLA Luigi Frecotti (L-Garibaldi) .
"Residents of less prosperous neighborhoods face a lot of barriers
to opening new enterprises, but with the right help they can
pull themselves out of poverty. The government has a lot to
learn from charitable operations like young Mr. Hohenzollern's."
What does the young ex-King say? "I'm very happy to be in
New Orleans and at the University. I want to give as much as
I can back to my host community, so I can return to Minorca and
be the best possible leader for my homeland." 
When he graduates this May, Ferdi is bound for the storybook island
of Minorca, where his uncle the Grand Duke rules over beaches,
elegant casinos, and thousands of adoring subjects. But for now
he's among us in New Orleans, staying out of the limelight but
working hard to make our city and his school a better place.
University of New Orleans
New Orleans, Georgia, SC, CNA
14 October 1973
Manuel Ballesteros was a man on the job, which was all right by him.
He had enjoyed his years as a Madrid police detective, until his close
ties to the royal government forced him into exile in '67. His new
post as bodyguard to Don Fernando  had been blessedly uneventful (Puente
seemed to be satisfied that there was no need to complete his slaughter
of the now ex-royal family) and his extra job was pleasantly diverting.
Only sworn law officers could carry weapons on the UNO campus, but the
university police had been happy to swear him in as a supernumerary.
Today his primary job had brought something unusual. The two South
Americans had come to him directly and asked to see Don Fernando. They'd
submitted to a search (the bigger one had volunteered his holdout knife
beforehand) and were now quietly following him up the dormitory staircase
to the ex-King's room.
"Don Fernando? These two gentlemen have asked to see you, on what they
say is important business. I'm fairly confident they aren't reporters."
"Well, that's certainly mysterious. Come in, gentlemen, and let's hear it."
The smaller man stepped forward and began in Spanish. "Don Fernando, it
is a pleasure to meet you at last. My name is Alexander Elbittar. Permit
me also to introduce my personal assistant, Serjeant Gomez."
"That's funny, there's a South American dictator named Alexander Elbittar."
"I must admit to being South American, Don Fernando, so it is possible that
I am the same man of whom you speak. As to the word 'dictator', I trust
you are familiar with its original Roman meaning?"
"An official given absolute power during a crisis for a fixed period of
time -- six months or a year."
"Precisely. I have chosen the official title of 'Maximum Temporary Leader'--"
"But the Romans had a constitutional pro-- Wait a minute, I can't believe
I'm talking to you. Manuel, do you think these guys are for real?"
"Hard to say for certain, Don Fernando. They're both clearly experienced
soldiers, and their accents match the story. 'Serjeant Gomez' grew up in
Bogota and 'Colonel Elbittar' in Caracas, unless they've trained very hard
to change their voices. I'm afraid I don't know where the real Colonel
Elbittar is supposed to be today, though I hadn't heard he was in the CNA.
They have New Granadan passports with different names, but that also fits
the incognito story."
"So you think they're for real?"
"It's easy enough to confirm later, so why not hear them out?"
"Hmm. All right, 'Colonel', why should I be interested in talking to a
man who took over a country by force and murdered the head of state? I
have a bad personal history with that sort of person."
"Of course, Don Fernando, within your own family. A most tragic event,
and quite different from what happened in New Granada."
"You deny that your men murdered the President?"
"The official determination was that he was killed attemping to escape,
of course. But he died while in the custody of forces under my command,
so I accept full responsibility. I did not seek his death, and I regret
it to some extent, but I cannot say that it was undeserved. For years
President Hermion ruined my country, stripping its vast resources for his
own personal gain. He ordered hundreds, no, thousands of deaths himself,
not to mention those who died as a result of his mismanagement. He was
the center of a web of corruption, Don Fernando, a direct participant.
Your family, by contrast, were killed because of who they were and what
they represented, not for anything they actually did. It was a way for
Senor Puente to demonstrate his will and resolve, and it was an act of
pure barbarism. I extend my sincerest condolences for your loss."
"Thank you. So why are you here? Some sort of plan to get me the crown
back? I was serious about renouncing it, you know -- all I want is to
do my job on Minorca, the job I've been preparing for all my life."
"Alas, Don Fernando, no. I have not the power to offer you the throne
of Spain. But your speculation is closer to the mark than you might think.
I _have_ the power to offer you the throne of New Granada."
"You're not serious. No, I suppose you are. It makes as much sense as
anything else. Well, I'll humor you. Why do you think New Granada needs
a King, and what sort of King to you have in mind? Not a Maximum Permanent
Leader, I trust?"
"No, Don Fernando, I want a King to reign and not rule. But I could promise
you a more interesting position than that of King Henry or your Imperial
cousin in Berlin. I want a King first of all to act as a symbol for the
new vigor of our nation, a young, vigorous, educated King with a reputation
for personal interest in the welfare of his people."
"While you retain all actual power for yourself."
"To some degree, and for some time, yes. But I do sincerely consider myself
to be only the Temporary Leader. As soon as I can establish some sort of
stable constitutional structure, and the nation has passed the crisis of
transition from the former government, I intend to become a more conventional
head of government, under a more conventional head of state such as a King."
"An _elected_ head of government?"
"Ah yes, popular election certainly has its place. But I think we see in
this country, in Mexico, in Britain, even in Germany that it has its limits.
A nation consists of many different constituencies with many different
interests. Some of them are well served by popular election -- it ensures
some responsiveness to the opinion of the general populace, and to the wealthy
interests who can sway that opinion with advertisements and even outright
payment. But a nation is not only its general populace and its business
sector -- there is the military that guards its security, the church that
guides its moral development, and perhaps other clearly identifiable interests.
I would like to somehow knit all of these interests into a common structure
to represent them all."
"Like the Romans, with tribunes of the people and so forth?"
"Perhaps. Another model is the parliaments of the early European monarchies.
If all the 'estates' of society are represented in the deliberations, then
all the estates can unite behind a common policy and a common leader. They
can work together like the various units of an army."
"Or the players on a football team."
"Precisely. I admire the brand of football they play here -- perhaps as
King you could popularize it along with the kicking game we play already."
"What about the Jeffersonista rebels?"
"Of course a nation cannot tolerate armed opposition to its rule, but as a
fighting man I know better than anyone the limits of military force in
coercing the unwilling. I am trying to reconcile both the peasant rebels and
the planter militias to a peaceful resolution of their differences, even as
I work to limit their ability to kill each other and various third parties.
Again, a respected symbol of national unity, with the wit to negotiate
personally between the sides and gain the respect of both, could be enormously
"I'd be a member of the cabinet, or whatever you called it?"
"Privy Council, I think -- _your_ Privy Council, though we would operate more
by consensus than by any kind of medieval obedience to your sole command.
The German cabinet is not a bad model in that respect -- each member is
responsible for airing the views of his or her own constituency, and the
whole body stands behind the decisions of the whole. Yes, you would be
at that table, and free to implement other projects of your own. This
credit union idea, for example -- it seems to be succeeding quite well
here and I would be interested in your advice in implementing it in New
Granada, whether you became the King or not."
"The basic idea's not new -- I took it from the _caisses populaires_ that
the Church started in Quebec. But the point is to have the implementors
really go among the people who are going to use them -- find out what they
really need and show them how to get it themselves--"
"This is the very spirit that New Granada needs in its King, Don Fernando.
You have trained to be a wise and learned leader of a small island. Will
you consider applying those same talents on a somewhat larger stage? Do
not answer me just yet. Only promise me that on your next school holiday,
you will visit New Granada as my guest, and meet some of the people I am
asking you to serve. Perhaps we might even arrange to go among them
incognito, with the help of Serjeant Gomez here."
Was Don Fernando buying it? Manuel thought he might be -- _should_ he be
buying it?. He considered himself an experienced judge of character, but
this Elbittar was hard to read. All this talk of teamwork was just what Don
Fernando would want to hear. But of course Elbittar would know that and
tailor his sales pitch appropriately, wouldn't he. You didn't get to be
a colonel, much less a Maximum Temporary Leader, without knowing what people
wanted to hear.
On the other hand, if you wanted a King for your country, you couldn't do
any better than Don Fernando, could you? Maybe this proposal was exactly
what it appeared to be -- a man forced to take the leadership of his country
and looking for a way to start sharing the burden. Well, they would probably
find out soon enough. What was New Granada like, he wondered?
 Sir Francis Burdett was born a knight in 1770 (both timelines).
In OTL he married Sophia Coutts in 1793 and used her father's
money to launch a political career, first as a radical and
later as a conservative, dying in 1844. In this timeline,
who knows -- perhaps he moved to North America but somehow he
got a school named after him. Further details of his career
I leave to his shwi namesake, whom I also thank for considerable
inspiration here. I have taken the liberty of either retconning
away the 1926 admission of girls that "Sir Francis" mentioned, or
rescinding it well before 1967 -- Ferdi attends a boys' school.
 CNA football is rather like OTL Rugby Union ("rugby") -- somewhat more
violent but still with no pads. Walt MacAnuff (FAN #72) was crippled
for life by a late hit from a much larger player. Like cricket,
football has both fall and spring seasons at schools and universities.
 Brother of the late Horace, Lord Gilmore (FAN #41) and uncle of Evangeline
Gilmore (FAN #21a _et seq._). Seventeen-year-old Evie visited her
uncle earlier this school year and made quite an impression on the
students, including Ferdi (cf. "boys' school", above).
 Strategic Minorca remained British after the Trans-Oceanic War, and
when its sovereignty was transferred to the Spanish Hohenzollerns in
1843 it remained a separate territory rather than a part of Spain.
The title of Grand Duke has passed through the family by a combination
of election and adoption, with one Duke selecting a likely younger son
or nephew as his heir. The Grand Dukes have taken an active leadership
role, essentially operating the island as a business rather like the
Princes of OTL Monaco. Grand Duke Alfonso had Ferdi in mind as his
heir from a very young age, and fought aggressively within the family
to secure him a good education.
 The title of Viscount of Port Mahon (Visconde de Maon) is assumed by
the heir to the Grand Duchy on his attaining his majority at eighteen,
along with the title "Don".
 Ferdi almost certainly has no heirs of the body at present, but he is
well past the age where any lawyer would think it prudent to omit the
possibility in a legal document. Ferdi was briefly King Ferdinand IX,
succeeding his father Philip VI and his brother Charles IX. (Crown
Prince Philip predeceased his father according to the somewhat
cursory coroner's examination conducted by the Puentistas.) Note that
all these people have parallel Spanish and English names -- the English
text of Ferdi's statement uses the latter.
 Puente issued a reciprocal declaration renouncing any claim on Minorca
and affirming Alphonso's sovereignty over it. This was not universally
popular among his followers, but it made the Germans _much_ happier and
seemed like a good idea at the time. (In OTL we might call this an
"Elba solution", but this has lasted much longer so far.) There is,
by the way, almost no support in Spain for a restoration of the monarchy,
which has been on-again off-again since the Bloody Eighties. Large
segments of Spanish society, starting in Catalunya and the Basque regions,
would like to terminate Puente and his government with extreme prejudice.
But this would most likely result in some sort of republic or federation
 The tabloid _Mail and Picayune_ is the fourth or fifth most respectable
of New Orleans' seven English-language daily newspapers. (There are also
two Spanish-language and two Italian-language city-wide dailies, and many
neighborhood papers as well.) The _M&P_ always has a pretty young woman
on Page 3, but she is usually wearing a bathing suit or low-cut party
dress. The paper tends toward a Liberal editorial line.
 The Knights of the Immaculate is a sodality (combined lay/ordained
Catholic organization of both sexes) founded in New York in 1921 by
Blessed Raymond Kolbe (1893-1949), a Polish emigrant and Franciscan
priest, with the assistance of the nun and mystic Venerable Theodosia
Kowalska (1899-1934). Its members dedicate themselves to Christ through
the Blessed Virgin and manifest this "Total Consecration" through social
service in the world. Associated with the Franciscans, it is based at
a monastery in Marytown, Indiana (near Michigan City) but has many
branches outside the CNA including "The Garden of the Immaculate" in
Hiroshima, Japan. Blessed Raymond was a leading figure in 20th-century
CNA Catholicism, with a vitavision ministry similar to that of OTL's
The OTL Knights of the Immaculata, also known as the Militia Immaculata,
were founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe (birth name Raymond) in Poland in
1917. They exist today and number among their lay members Matt Alderman
of South Bend, Indiana, to whom I am indebted for this footnote.
 An MLA is a member of Georgia's Legislative Assembly (OTL "state rep").
Garibaldi is a middle-class mostly-Italian suburb of New Orleans,
named after the Italian patriot (b. 1807). Since Austria did not
gain control of Lombardy and Venetia (as they did in OTL after the
Napoleonic Wars) the unification of Italy proceeded differently in
the FANTL. Pope Pius VIII (same guy as OTL's Pius IX) was the leading
_liberal_ figure -- he and Garibaldi were allies in establishing a
federation of kingdoms led by the Pope, and this evolved into the unitary
Kingdom of Italy after the Bloody Eighties. As in OTL, Garibaldi had
his first military and naval experience in Latin America in the 1830's,
where he helped secure the independence of Santa Catarina, Rio Grande,
and Cisplatina (in OTL the two southernmost states of Brazil and the
nation of Uruguay, respectively.)
 Ferdi declined to be interviewed by the _M&P_, and this quote was
lifted from one of his rare public statements. The rest of the
reporting is fairly accurate -- the CNA has reasonable journalistic
 As it happens, I was an Amherst College classmate (1981) of Albert
Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, on whom I have in part modeled Ferdi's
seriousness of purpose. (If my country were electing a constitutional
monarch I would vote for Albert in a minute.) If Albert had a bodyguard
at Amherst, we other students never saw evidence of it. He did have a
coterie of loyal friends among his follow students who helped to protect
his privacy. Ferdi, of course, offers a higher-stake target to an
assassin or kidnapper. The notion of a nobleman having a personal
retainer is also considerably less obsolete in the FANTL.