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  Transgression 11 In the early eighteenth century, no one stood higher in English society than the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The duk...


Transgression 11 In the early eighteenth century, no one stood higher in English society than the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The duke, having led successful campaigns against the French, was considered Europe's premier general and strategist. And his wife, the duchess, after much maneuvering, had established herself as the favorite of Queen Anne, who became ruler of England in 1702. In 1704 the duke's triumph at the Battle of Blenheim made hirn the toast of England, and to honor hirn the queen awarded hirn a large plot of land in the town of Woodstock, and the funds to create a great palace there. Calling his planned horne the Palace of Blenheim, the duke chose as his architect the young John Vanbrugh, a kind of Renaissance man who wrote plays as weIl as designed buildings. And so construction began, in the summer of 1705, with much fanfare and great hopes. Vanbrugh had a dramatist's sense of architecture. His palace was to be a monument to Marlborough's brilliance and power, and was to include artificial lakes, enormous bridges, elaborate gardens, and other fantastical touches. From day one, however, the duchess could not be pleased: She thought Vanbrugh was wasting money on yet another stand of trees; she wanted the palace finished as so on as possible. The duchess tortured Vanbrugh and his workmen on every detail. 

She was consumed with petty maUers; although the government was paying for Blenheim, she counted every penny. Eventually her grumbling, about Blenheim and other things too, created an irreparable rift between her and Queen Anne, who, in 171 1, dismissed her from the court, ordering her to vacate her apartments at the royal palace. When the duchess left (fuming over the loss of her position, and also of her royal salary), she emptied the apartment of every fixture down to the brass doorknobs. Over the next ten years, work on Blenheim would stop and start, as the funds became harder to procure from the government. The duchess suspicion of robbing the disciple of his soul. People who say, 'I take nothing, ' may be found to take away the vo/ition of their victim. " THE DERMIS PROBE, IDRIES SHAH, 1 970 TIIE �IA[\ \nw LOVED \!O'iEY IlETTEH THA" L1n: In ancient times there was an old woodcutter who went to the mountain almost every day to cut wood. It was said that this old man was a miser who hoarded his silver until it changed to gold, and that he ca red more for gold than anything else in all the world. One day a wilderness tiger sprang at him and though he ran he could not escape, and the tiger carried him off in its mouth. The woodcutter's son saw his father's danger, and ran to save him il possible. He carried a long knife, and as he could run faster than the tiger, who had a man to carry, he .\"Oon overlOok them. His father was not much hurt, for the tiger held him by his cloth es. When the old woodclItter saw his son abollt to stab the tiger he called Ollt in great alarm: "Do not spoil the tiger's skin! Do not 5poil the tiger\' skin! II you can kill him withOllt cllfting holes in his LAW 40 337 skin we can get man y pieces ofsilver je)r it. Kill hirn, but da not cut his body. " While the son was listening to his father's instructions the tiger suddenly dashed off into the forest, carrying the old man where the son could not reach hirn, and he was soon killed. "CIlINFSE fAHLE," VARIOI)S FAULES FROM VARIOI)S PLACES, DIANE DI PRIMA, ED., 1 960 '11 1 1': S'IOIlY OF \1 0SI:S -\.'m I'I IAHA(>l 1 It is wrirten in the historie.l' ofthe prophe!s that Moses was sent to Pharaoh wirh many miracles, wonders and honors, Now the daily ration for Pharaoh ,- tahle was 4,000 sheep, 400 co ws, 200 camels. anti a corresponding amoun! oI chickens, fish.

 he verages, fried meats, sweets, anti other things. All (he people of Egyp( and all his army used to eat a! his table every day. For 40() years he had claimed divinity arul never ceased providing this food. When Moses prayed, saying, "0 Lord, destroy Pharaoh, " God answered his prayer arul said. "I shall destroy hirn in water. and I shall bestow al! his wealth and that of his soldiers on you ami your peoples. " Several 338 LAW 40 thought Vanbrugh was out to ruin her. She quibbled over every carload of stone and bushel of lime, counted every extra yard of iron railing or foot of wainscot, hurling abuse at the wasteful workmen, contractors, and surveyors. Marlborough, old and weary, wanted nothing more than to settle into the palace in his last years, but the project became bogged down in a swamp of litigation, the workmen suing the duchess for wages, the duchess suing the architect right back. In the midst of this interminable wrangling, the duke died. He had never spent a night in his beloved Blenheim. After Marlborough's death, it becarne clear that he had a vast estate, worth over .E2 million-more than enough to pay for finishing the palace. But the duchess would not relent: She held back Vanbrugh's wages as weIl as the workmen's, and finally had the architect dismissed. The man who took his place finished Blenheim in a few years, following Vanbrugh's designs to the letter. Vanbrugh died in 1726, locked out of the palace by the duchess, unable to set foot in his greatest creation. Foreshadowing the romantic movement, Blenheim had started a whole new trend in architecture, but had given its creator a twenty-year nightmare. 

Interpretation For the Duchess of Marlborough, money was a way to play sadistic power games. She saw the loss of money as a symbolic loss of power. With Vanbrugh her contortions went deeper still: He was a great artist, and she envied his power to create, to attain a farne outside her reach. She may not have had his gifts, but she did have the money to torture and abuse hirn over the pettiest details-to ruin his life. This kind of sadism, however, 

be ars an awful price. It made construction that should have lasted ten years take twenty. It poisoned many a relationship, alienated the duchess from the court, deeply pained the duke (who wanted only to live peacefully in Blenheim), created endless lawsuits, and took years offVanbrugh's life. Finally, too, posterity had the last word: Vanbrugh is recognized as a genius while the duchess is forever remembered for her consummate cheapness. The powerful must have grandeur of spirit-they can never reveal any pettiness. And money is the most visible arena in which to display either grandeur or pettiness. Best spend freely, then, and create a reputation for generosity, which in the end will pay great dividends. Never let financial details blind you to the bigger picture of how people perceive you. Their resentment will cost you in the long run. And if you want to meddle in the work of creative people under your hire, at least pay them weIl. Your money will buy their submission better than your displays of power.

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