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- Standard Oil had a father-in-law in the Senate (answer c). The well-placed chairman of banking and financial committees,
Nelson Aldrich, looked like an eagle and acted like a parrot. You may wonder if the bride and groom made as happy a couple as the monopolist and the senator. In apparent defiance of heredity, both Abby Aldrich and John D. Rockefeller Jr. were decent human beings who enjoyed a long and happy marriage.
Did you think that George Washington could afford Mount Vernon on a surveyor's salary? At least he didn't squander Martha's fortune. Thomas Jefferson went through his and his wife's money: Liberals have never been cheap. Warren Harding would have been hurt that
American Gigolo was not about him. Only James Madison deserves a valentine (answer c). A man of means, he married a charming but penniless widow, Dolley Payne Todd.
If Catherine of Aragon had been willing to lie, claiming to be a tramp and the mother of bastards, then an annulment would have been granted. However, Catherine's consent was not necessary. Pope Clement VII certainly thought that Henry VIII was a wicked fornicator. Of course, that wouldn't bother a Medici pope; Clement VII had more sons than Henry VIII. Henry's obstacle was his in-laws: one in particular (answer d). Catherine's nephew
Charles was the king of Spain, Mexico, Peru, Southern Italy, Sicily, the Netherlands and Austria. He certainly was the Pope's most important parishioner. In fact, Charles' army had just conquered central Italy and was holding the Pope prisoner. Under the circumstances, Clement VII felt a passionate loyalty to Charlie's aunt.
You couldn't find your Latin atlas? Yesterday's Dalmatia is today's Croatia, Gallia is France, Iberia is Spain and Italia is obvious. An Iberian Valentine might be macabre; imagine Spanish lovers exchanging the hearts of burned heretics. Croatia would be just as incriminating. A Gallic Valentine would be possible, but the holiday would be limited to adulterers. Valentine lived near Rome, so he didn't have to go far to be martyred (answer d).
The wedding is remembered for the slaughter of its Protestant guests (answer d). The marriage was supposed to be a political union between the Huguenot leader and the Catholic princess. The leading Protestants of France gathered in Paris for the nuptials on St. Bartholomew's Day. In fact, it was a trap to massacre the Huguenots. As an ecumenical gesture, the groom was given the choice of conversion or death; he preferred breathing to Calvinism. Today, the St. Bartholomew's Massacre is routinely reenacted in the French treatment of tourists.
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5 right answers --
Eugene Finerman is a humorist, speechwriter and better-than-average husband. At least, he does dishes and laundry; he also cleans the sink after he shaves. As for his cooking, well ... Eugene is less notorious than a Borgia. While he cannot provide political advice or recommendations, he invites you to
comment on his column.