St. Martin's Summer

Publication date: 1909

Text online:

St. Martin's Summer unquestionably begins on Sunday October 15 and ends on Friday November 10; the dating in the text is explicit and completely consistent, with the exception of a typo or two.  (For example, "gazing out into the bright October sky" at the end of Chapter XIV, when it's actually November 8.)  The only difficulty is determining the year.

Garnache has been sent by Marie de Medici, who is named explicitly in Chapter II and is numerous times called the Queen Regent.  So we need only consider those years in which Marie de Medici was Queen Regent and October 15 fell on Sunday.

Unfortunately, there was no such year.

Marie de Medici became regent in May, 1610, upon the assassination of Henry IV.  (Garnache refers to this event in Chapter IV.)  Her regency ended when she was exiled by Louis XIII in 1617.  Of these years, only in 1617 was October 15 on Sunday, but Marie was exiled early in May and by October was in no position to be rescuing anyone.  How can we resolve this difficulty?

One possibility is that the novel occurs at a later period.  Marie de Medici returned from exile in 1621, and was even for a time technically Queen Regent of part of France before her final exile from France in 1630.  But Garnache's complaint to Rebecque in Chapter IV makes it clear that Marie still wields the scepter in the name of her son, who is too young to rule, and we are forced back to the years of her first regency.

The true solution is undoubtedly this:  All the dates above are based on the Gregorian calendar, to which France converted in 1582.  But many other countries did not convert until much later.  England waited until 1752, and more significantly Lorraine, only 200 kilometers from Dauphiny and not at the time part of France, did not convert until 1682.  It seems quite likely that the principles of St. Martin's Summer were still reckoning with the locally-significant Julian calendar, and in that calendar the year 1615 has the necessary characteristics.

Back to the Sabatini Timeline
Copyright © 2007 Larry Denenberg