/ Language: English / Genre:sf_history / Series: Assiti chards

1634: The Bavarian Crisis

Eric Flint

Eric Flint

1634: The Bavarian Crisis


January, 1634

To Me Alone There Came a Thought of Grief

Munich, Bavaria

Duke Maximilian of Bavaria kneeled by the side of the bier upon which his late wife's body lay in state. "Nobody else remembers," he cried out. "The rest of you only recall how she was these last years-an ill old woman, tired, discouraged and heavy in spirit because she had not given Bavaria an heir."

He banged his forehead against the stone pedestal upon which the bier had been placed; then turned to the chamberlain who was standing behind him. "Only I remember what she was like when she came to Bavaria as a bride. I am the only one who remembers what it was like. She radiated merriment; she was so lovable. Under God, she was the greatest blessing of my life. So virtuous! So pious! I have lost the most wonderful wife that any man ever had. Her price was truly above rubies!"

He turned back to the bier. "O, My God, how have I offended You? In what way has my service to You and to the Church failed, that You have so bereft me? Elisabeth Renata, may God take you directly to paradise. You never did anything that would require you to remain in purgatory. Elisabeth Renata. My wife."

Turning again, he called for a pen and paper-and a knife. The chamberlain moved to the door; a silent servant brought the supplies rapidly. Slashing the ball of his thumb, the duke accumulated a little puddle of blood on the floor, with which he wrote-wrote shakily, with numerous blots, not just because of his agitation but because blood, coagulating so quickly, does not make the best of inks. "To Mary, Queen of Heaven, Patroness of Bavaria," he began. Finished, he turned. "Bring me the golden box on my writing desk-the one with the mirror on the top."

The servant slid away, returning swiftly with the box that the duke had requested. Maximilian opened it and placed the paper inside.

"This is my vow. Take it to the pilgrimage shrine at Altotting. My worldly life is over. Others may shoulder the burden. I shall abdicate and retire to a monastery. Until I am reunited with my duchess, my days will be devoted to fasting and prayer."


Duke Albrecht of Bavaria looked silently at the privy council. The councillors looked back, in equal silence.

"My brother is still at Duchess Elisabeth Renata's bier. There is certain urgent business that cannot wait until he can bring himself to turn his attention to it," Albrecht finally commented. "First, however, let us each say a silent rosary for the peaceful rest of the late duchess. I cannot regret the pneumonia that took her. For more than a year now, the physicians have told us, the crab, the cancer, has been attacking her from within. She was strong. She would have had a hard death, otherwise. As we pray, let us thank God for His infinite mercies."

Part I

January, 1634

The Glory and the

Freshness of a Dream

Chapter 1

Pietas Austriaca

Vienna, Austria

Maria Anna should have been meditating upon the bloody wounds as displayed upon the crucifix. She had just come from early mass. Instead, the archduchess of Austria was humming Edelweiss and thinking about the upcoming morning of birdwatching that she had scheduled with her beloved stepmother. Birdwatching would be followed, inevitably, by being poured into yet another elaborate court dress. Today, however, the afternoon concert promised something special.

She heard a slight protest behind her as she strode down the corridor toward her own quarters and, feeling a twinge of guilt, slowed down. Maria Anna tended to walk in a brisk manner when her attention wandered. She was a young woman and, thanks to that same stepmother, physically vigorous and in better health than most members of European royal families. Female members, for a certainty.

Alas, the same could not be said of her chief attendant, Dona Mencia de Mendoza. Dona Mencia's spirits were certainly perky enough, but her body was that of a woman nearing sixty and she had rheumatic knees, to boot.

Dona Mencia caught up with her. "Sorry," Maria Anna murmured, glancing down at the older woman. "I'm afraid I was quite caught up by that marvelous music."

"There's the whole afternoon to look forward to then, Your Highness," Dona Mencia replied, smiling. "You really don't have to rush to meet it."

"It's not likely to top The Sound of Music," Maria Anna pointed out.

Dona Mencia kept smiling, but didn't argue the point. She'd never say so, but the archduchess was quite sure that her attendant shared her own musical tastes-as unconventional as those tastes might seem, to some people in the Austrian court. Not, of course, that anyone was likely to criticize her for it. There were advantages to being the eldest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, after all.

One of those advantages was the quality of the musicians who appeared in the court. Claudia de Medici, widow of Maria Anna's cousin Leopold and regent of the Duchy of Austria-Tyrol for her minor sons, had sent her troop of musicians (all fourteen of them-Duchess Claudia had been economizing since she was widowed) to Vienna to cheer the spirits of Maria Anna's papa. What with the problems in Bohemia and the ingratitude of Wallenstein, the spirits of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, were currently in dire need of being cheered. Yesterday, Claudia's musicians, with the assistance of many persons borrowed from the Vienna court personnel, had performed the most marvelous commedia that Maria Anna had ever seen.

She had to restrain herself from striding again. Turning her head, she commented to Dona Mencia: "Such beautiful music! How amazing that those American heretics brought along such a magnificent tribute to the Austrian spirit. So morally uplifting. The Baroness Maria was so admirably pious. The marriage must have been morganatic, of course, but that is all right, since the baron had plenty of legally acceptable heirs from his first marriage. Not quite the opera that Mama so loves, but very close. How can they trump it, as they have promised to do?"

Edelweiss, Edelweiss. Maria Anna's hum expanded to a whistle.

Discovering that she had overshot the doorway to her own apartments while meditating on yesterday's play, Maria Anna maintained her dignity by managing to give the impression that she had intended to drop in on her younger sister all along.

Cecelia was eating pancakes topped with fruit preserves, and making no visible progress toward getting into riding clothes. "Up, lazybones!" came the serenely illustrious and highly well-born sisterly admonition.

"I'm not going." Archduchess Cecelia Renata snuggled back down into her pillows. "You may think it's refreshing and invigorating, but I say it's cold out there. If you and Mama want to freeze your ears off, be my guest."

"Sloth is a deadly sin," retorted Maria Anna with a grin.

It was not really said in jest. Not that Cecelia was particularly slothful. It was just that, well, a younger sister ought to follow her older sister's lead. Cecelia's tendency to have a mind of her own-well, to be more than a little pigheaded-and direct her undoubted energy into her own projects was a constant irritant to Maria Anna, if for no other reason than the personal aggravation it often caused her.

An Austrian archduchess couldn't go anywhere unaccompanied, of course. Mama was often occupied with court functions. If Cecelia would only agree with Maria Anna's ideas, sometimes…

"Oh, all right. Stay here, then. But tomorrow morning it's tennis and you are getting up for that. The courts are walled and when the sun shines on the brick, it should be warm enough even for you. No excuses."

Maria Anna headed into her own apartment. There, instead of a maid waiting with her riding habit, she found a dressmaker, with full train of assistants, waiting with the costume she would be wearing this afternoon. Even Maria Anna's good humor sagged a little at the sight.

"It needs one more fitting. Unquestionably! Without any doubt. It must be done, Your Highness!"

Thus spake the redoubtable Frau Stecher, the court's chief seamstress. Maria Anna managed to suppress a sigh. The young archduchess' life had been filled with it must be done! followed by it is your clear duty! or it is God's will! for as long as she could remember. Obediently, she stood for the fitting.

"Ach," said Frau Stecher. "Where are my tack pins? Susanna, go get them. A round box, light blue enamel, with an iris on the top. It should be on the far end of the cutting table." One of the assistants rose from where she had been holding a hem, curtsied, and backed neatly out of the room. The girl was new, Maria Anna remembered, the most junior of Frau Stecher's senior apprentices. She, too, had arrived last week with the group sent from Tyrol by Duchess Claudia, with the highest recommendations-daughter of Claudia's own seamstress, stepdaughter of the head court tailor in the Tyrol. At eighteen, she had already acquired all the fundamentals for a successful career in luxury and couture clothing, but would benefit from two or three more years of experience at an even more distinguished court. All the proper flourishes for a letter of recommendation. The Vienna Hofstaat had been delighted to add her to its personnel roster.

What is her name? the archduchess asked herself. Oh, yes. Allegretti. Susanna Allegretti. Unlike many highborn ladies, Maria Anna was punctilious about knowing the names of all of her staff.

After all the challenges associated with tack pins had been resolved, Maria Anna did manage to get into her habit and out the door, where the empress, Eleonora Gonzaga, was waiting for her. As she curtsied, Maria Anna's mind went back to The Sound of Music. There were probably people who thought that her stepmother wasn't an equal match for her father the emperor, either. When Papa had been simply archduke of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, no one had thought it amiss that he'd married Maria Anna's mother, who was a sister of the duke of Bavaria. That was equal enough. But by the time he'd married Eleonora Gonzaga, he was already Ferdinand II, king of Hungary, king of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperor-and she was just a collateral relative of the duke of Mantua.

But the Jesuits said they were both faithful, virtuous, and religious; that they would be happy together, so the match went through. Lucky for him; lucky for us, Maria Anna mused, not for the first time. She always thought of her stepmother as "Mama," and-now that she had seen that marvelous American play-she knew that Eleonora Gonzaga had blessed the House of Habsburg as much as Maria had blessed the von Trapp household.

Curtsey completed, she gave her stepmother a hug and an enthusiastic kiss on both cheeks. Maria Anna adored the pious, childless, woman who, as that young, orphaned, Mantuan duchess, had come to Austria from a modern education in an Ursuline convent. Eleonora Gonzaga had dug her stepchildren out of the clutches of Spanish-model court protocol, and, in line with the best and most progressive Italian views on bringing up children, took them outdoors to run in sunshine and rain, dig in the gardens, hike, ride, and, yes, birdwatch.

There was no doubt about it, Maria Anna realized. She herself, her brothers, and her sister were now the most abundantly healthy young adults the Habsburgs had produced in a long time. Papa himself proclaimed to anyone who would listen that, "Under God, it is to Eleonora's care that I owe my continued life and such health as I have."

And he was quite right!


Dona Mencia de Mendoza and her rheumatic knees did not join the birdwatching expedition. Dona Mencia had come from Spain three years before, in 1630, in the entourage of the Infanta Mariana, Maria Anna's sister-in-law, wife of Maria Anna's brother Ferdinand.

Almost at once, she and the older of the two archduchesses had liked one another. She had found it no hardship whatsoever to transfer to Maria Anna's household, even though working for that energetic young woman was sometimes strenuous. If she weren't doing it, she thought with some amusement, another equally elderly woman would be. What was the function of a chief attendant if not to squelch, when necessary, the youthful exuberance and ebullience to which even Habsburgs were sometimes prone?

Blessed with two to three hours of quiet time, now, she wrapped those aching knees in tubes of toweling loosely stuffed with dried beans that her maid had warmed in front of the fire and settled in to catch up on her correspondence. First, from her mother in Spain. Dona Elvira was not far from her eightieth birthday. If not immortal, she appeared to be giving immortality a good chase. The contents were predictable: land and finances, estates and household, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not to mention a new recipe for melon relish.

Duty done, Dona Mencia proceeded to a long letter and thick packet of attachments from her brother, Cardinal Bedmar.

Oh, my! Alphonso would be having an interesting year, what with having been assigned to represent the Cardinal-Infante's interests in Venice while the Americans were there! Her next letter should be addressed to him in Venice.

Dona Mencia leaned back, anticipating a good read.


Duchess Claudia's Kapellmeister, Johann Stadelmayr, had just completed reading a short biography of a great Austrian composer named Franz Joseph Haydn. This had been located, the master of musicians explained to the audience, in a great compendium of knowledge called an encyclopedia.

Everybody in the audience realized, without question, that this compendium must have been located by someone who had been sent to visit the pestilential ally of the misbegotten Swedish king and the miserably ungrateful Bohemian rebel. The music master tactfully refrained from saying so, of course. But the dates of birth and death that he had listed for the composer made it impossible to doubt that someone from the court of Tyrol, or hired by the court of Tyrol, had been to this Grantville.

It probably hadn't been the music master himself, however, Maria Anna thought. He didn't speak much German, so he had read the biography in Italian. That was fine with the Viennese Hof. Everybody in the upper levels of Austrian society spoke Italian. In Tyrol, it was the official language of the court. Maria Anna usually spoke Italian herself, by preference. Her German was fluent but it was also an Austrian dialect; it had never been considered necessary to provide her with formal training in the language. She had learned French and Spanish, of course-those were only prudent preparation for the countries into which she would most probably be married. She had a working reading knowledge of Latin, but didn't find it easy to produce Latin compositions.

Most of the music was instrumental. For the final piece, however, the singers who had presented The Sound of Music yesterday-and who, by popular demand, would present it again on Thursday, on Saturday, and three times during the following week-returned to the stage. The manager of Duchess Claudia's musicians was explaining the custom of the "national anthem" as it was called, and that the loyal, outstanding, and pious Haydn had composed such a "national anthem" for Austria. Unfortunately, they had not yet found a copy of the words that were properly sung to this anthem and it appeared that they might not be available. However, they had found a score for "Austria" in which the music had been used as the setting for a Te Deum written, apparently, by an Englishman. In any case, the author was one Christopher Idle. The manager descended from the podium. The music began.

After the introductory measures, the hairs on Archduchess Maria Anna's arms stood up. Halfway through, the hairs on her head were trying to do the same. For the sheer glory of the thing!

Throughout her afternoon eucharistic devotions before the reserved Host, the melody continued to replay itself in her head. Perhaps a bit guiltily, she assured herself that it was, after all, a hymn.


"I want to know," Maria Anna said firmly to Father Wilhelm Lamormaini, S.J., her father's confessor. "It is a reasonable question."

"How can you expect me to find out?"

"There are Jesuits in this Grantville. Write them. Ask them. Do these words in English, set to this music by Haydn, this Te Deum, mean that in those later days, England had been returned to the fold of the Church? And, if so, how? When? By whom? Through what means? And, if not, why was this man writing a Te Deum in English? Using Austrian music?"

Father Lamormaini looked at the archduchess rather cautiously. He understood the political motives that had caused the emperor to delay arranging marriages for his daughters. However…

Maria Anna was twenty-five years old. By this time, she should have long since been transferred from the authority of a father to that of a husband. She should have been too busy bearing and rearing babies to fret her mind about philosophical and political problems. But, having been permitted to reach adulthood and maturity while still unmarried, she was showing an unfortunate tendency to think for herself and to ask disconcerting questions.

Caution was unquestionably the best tactic.

"In this Grantville itself, as I understand it…" Father Lamormaini began.

"Yes?" The undertone was impatient.

So. Speed up the response somewhat. "The origins of this town were from the continent of North America. The settlers who came were from all parts of Europe, and were permitted to retain their faith upon settlement. The country became confessionally mixed, as in the case, for example, of the Imperial City of Augsburg. As we know, there are Catholics there…"

"Considering," interrupted Maria Anna with clear exasperation, "that their priest has been sent as head of the United States of Europe's delegation to Venice, I think we may presume that. Please answer my question. Had England, which is here in Europe, been returned to the Church?"

"To the best of my knowledge…" Father Lamormaini started again.

"Upon what is your knowledge based?"


"Thank you, Father." Maria Anna nodded. "Now, please, what do these reports say about England?"

"The entire country had not, as a unit, been returned to the fold of the Church. However, it had granted freedom of worship with no civil disabilities to Roman Catholics and had a fairly large number of citizens who belonged to the Church." Father Lamormaini's face expressed distaste for the next statement. "However, it was forbidden for the monarch to be Catholic."

"And in this America or United States? Was it also forbidden there for the president to be a Catholic?"

"Well, of course, their president was not properly a monarch. He was elected."

Maria Anna frowned. "What is wrong with that? My father was elected. God willing, my brother will be elected, and my nephew after him. So have all the Holy Roman Emperors been elected. So are bishops and abbots. And abbesses. So is the pope. Since God is omnipotent, He can certainly ensure that the electors follow his will when they make their choice."

Again, the Emperor's confessor found himself wishing Maria Anna had been married off at a much younger age. Wherever the archduchess's train of thought might be going-he could anticipate at least three possible goals-Father Lamormaini found it worrisome. Each of the possibilities he envisioned somehow managed to be more unnerving than the others, which was a remarkable logical achievement.

"Was it forbidden for this president to be a Catholic?" Maria Anna had not lost track of her original thought. As usual. In a way, Father Lamormaini was proud of her tutors. They had been Jesuits, of course.

"Ah, no. It was not forbidden," Father Lamormaini said uncomfortably. "It is my understanding that on one occasion a Catholic had been elected to that office. Once. Out of about forty men chosen over a span of almost two and a quarter centuries. In a country with a population that was almost one-quarter Catholic. Though it is only fair to say that at the level of the provinces, the 'states,' Catholics held a higher proportion of the offices."

By 1634, one of the proudest and most useful possessions of the Jesuit Order was a 1988 World Almanac and Book of Facts. Friedrich von Spee had found it in a box at a yard sale and sent it to Rome immediately.

"Was it forbidden, either in England or this America, for the Church to own property? To hold Corpus Christi and other public processions? To establish religious orders? To instruct children in schools?"

"The Church was permitted to carry on all those functions. Indeed, I understand, in America the constitution was written in such a way that it prohibited the civil administration from interfering in them."

"Do you have a copy of this document?"

Father Lamormaini did. However, he had no intention of corrupting the young archduchess' mind with it. "I am not in a position to provide you with a copy, Your Highness."

Maria Anna appreciated the diplomatic wording of his answer. She'd really just been probing Father Lamormaini, as she often did, to discover the limits she would be officially permitted. As it happened, she already had a copy. In fact, she had read it many times. She wondered if Father Lamormaini realized just how many copies were available in the world as it now was in the year 1634. It seemed like half the presses in Europe were printing them by the thousands. Sometimes spiritual advisors, even Jesuits, were just so… unworldly.

She reminded herself, as firmly as possible, that that was after all their job. To draw people to God, especially those in positions of power. At least, that was what they were supposed to be for.

So, her reply was also carefully worded. "I will not press you to get one for me."

She paused. "I do have another question, though. Father Lamormaini, I know that you were one of Papa's advisors who most strongly supported having him issue the Edict of Restitution four years ago. True, this defended the rights of the Church to its temporal goods, to its worldly property. But by demanding that the princes of Germany restore all of the… things…"

She waved her hand expressively at the top of the table at which they were seated, its golden and bejeweled crucifix, its mother-of-pearl-inlaid box of writing materials, its globe of the world. "By demanding restoration of all of the real estate-which is a form of material things-that the German princes confiscated during the Reformation, back to the way things were in the year 1552, some say that it really caused the intervention of the King of Sweden. He would scarcely have come to defend the free exercise of religion by the Calvinists and sectarians, I should think. The Lutherans like them little more than the Holy Church does. It was the provisions in regard to material things that really, some people say, restarted a war that otherwise might have ended on endurable terms."

She picked up a piece of paper and wrote a line on it: What does it profit a man, if he gains the world and loses his soul?

She handed it to him. "Is it more important that the Church regain all the temporal worldly goods that she once held? Or that she be free to practice her faith unhindered in Protestant territories? If these were placed before a Catholic ruler as a choice, which way should he go?"

Father Lamormaini swallowed. "I am not your confessor," he pointed out.

"I'm not asking you to provide me with guidance, Father," Maria Anna answered impatiently. "I'm just asking a simple question. A question for people who live in a world where you can't have exactly what you want-not all of the time; not even most of the time. That's just as true for emperors and archduchesses as it is for shopkeepers and peasants. So. Which one is more important?"

After the archduchess left, Father Lamormaini heaved a sigh of relief.

"We must get her married off," he muttered to himself. "To the right man. And the sooner the better!"


"Dona Mencia," Maria Anna asked. "Would you do something for me?"

"Of course, if it is within my capacities."

"Would you please write to your brother, Cardinal Bedmar, and ask him this question: 'Is it more important that the Church regain all the temporal worldly goods that she once held? Or that she be free to practice her faith unhindered in Protestant territories? If these were placed before a Catholic ruler as a choice, which way should he go?'"

"Certainly, Your Highness."

Dona Mencia personally saw her letter placed into a diplomatic pouch within the hour.

Not, however, into the diplomatic pouch going out from the imperial chancery to Venice-although that, also, contained a nice, chatty, letter from Dona Mencia to her brother, covering nieces and nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and a new recipe for melon relish. She felt quite sure that the emperor's intelligence agents would try to decipher it. She wished them great joy in their attempts, for it contained nothing other than what she had written on the surface. There was not one veiled reference or cryptic allusion, much less a code. She hoped, with considerable relish that was not made from melons, that someone in the imperial intelligence office wasted hours and hours and hours on it. And on the one she would send the next week. And the week after that.

This other letter, however, went into the pouch that had come in from Brussels and would be returned there by Cardinal-Infante Don Fernando's own courier. Brussels could send it on to Alphonso. Among the attachments to Alphonso's letter had been a sealed certification from the Infante authorizing her to use his pouch at her own discretion.

Chapter 2

Prudentia Politica

Brussels, the Spanish Netherlands

Don Fernando, often known as the "Cardinal-Infante," was the younger brother of King Philip IV of Spain by birth and, by virtue of his own martial accomplishments, the effective ruler of most of the Netherlands. All of it, actually, except Amsterdam and the small rump of less than two provinces still held by the Dutch rebels under the Prince of Orange, Fredrik Hendrik. But the uncertain expression on his face as he lowered the letter made him seem even younger than the twenty-three-year-old that he was. So, at least, it seemed to Pieter Paul Rubens, watching him-but since Rubens was acknowledged throughout Europe as one of the great portraitists of the day, his assessment was reliable.

The young Spanish prince was, indeed, very unsure of himself. All the more so, perhaps, because he knew as a gifted military commander that uncertainty was a deadly thing in the middle of battle. Still, at least for the moment, Don Fernando was uncertain.

"He has a somewhat unsavory-well, certainly interesting-reputation, you know."

Rubens smiled thinly. "I think, were Cardinal Bedmar still here in person, he would urge you to abandon the qualifying 'somewhat'-but would also point out that his reputation is only unsavory among his enemies. Spain's enemies."

The smile broadened. "To almost anyone, of course, he is interesting-including you. Which, may I remind Your Highness, is the very reason you decided to send him as your unofficial envoy to Venice. So why the sudden doubts in his capabilities?"

Don Fernando shook his head, folded up the letter from Bedmar and handed it back to Rubens. Then, leaned back in his chair in the salon of his headquarters. "It's not Alphonso's capabilities that concern me, Pieter. It's… well. His loyalties."

They were now treading on treacherous ground. Rubens paused, while he chose his words carefully. It would be tactless in the extreme to make too much of the fact that Bedmar's loyalty to Spain was precisely what the young Spanish prince was worried about-since his own loyalty was now highly questionable.

Best to avoid terms like "loyalty" altogether, Rubens decided. "Alphonso has grown weary of what he regards as the blind fecklessness of Spain's ministers, Your Highness. I think you may rest assured that his thoughts run in tandem with yours."

A quick smile came and went on the cardinal-infante's face. "That was very nicely put, Pieter. Have you considered taking up a career-just as a sideline from your painting, of course-as a diplomat?"

They shared a soft laugh. When it was over, Rubens shrugged. "What I said remains true. I really do not think that Your Highness needs to entertain any doubts with regard to Cardinal Bedmar's discretion. In any event"-he waggled the letter in his hands-"he has nothing much to report of any interest, beyond the usual machinations of the Venetians. The American delegation hadn't yet arrived in the city when he sent me this."

Now, he smiled a bit ruefully. "I'm afraid you probably have a lot more to fear from my own… well, not indiscretion, exactly. Still, it's not always easy to explain why I'm seeking a portrait of someone like Anna Katharina Konstanze Vasa or Anna de Medici or Claude de Lorraine-to say nothing of the two Austrian archduchesses, Maria Anna and Cecelia Renata. Taken one at a time, I believe my explanations have not aroused any suspicions. But should any competent spy"-what he meant was Spanish spy, but he left that unsaid-"happen to discover that I'm seeking portraits of all of them, I'm afraid… Well, to use that American expression, there will be hell to pay."

"I can imagine! Given that there could be only one plausible reason that you'd be seeking portraits of every eligible Catholic princess in Europe." Don Fernando gave Rubens a sly smile. "Of course, I suppose I could claim that you were obviously intending to do away with your wife Helena and marry one of them yourself."

Again, they shared a soft laugh. And when it was over, Rubens shrugged again. "I don't actually think there's much risk involved, Your Highness. I've been dealing entirely with artists, not diplomats."

"Yes, I imagine they wouldn't be as prone to suspicion."

Rubens burst into much louder laughter. "To the contrary, Your Highness! I can assure you that artists are obsessive about their suspicions-far more so than diplomats. The up-timers even have a word for the attitude. 'Paranoia,' they call it. But the suspicions run along professional channels, not those of matters of state. Each and every one of the artists from whom I've either bought a portrait or commissioned one is absolutely certain that I intend to do one myself based on their work-and then sell the end result for ten times what they would have gotten."

He cleared his throat and added, perhaps a bit smugly: "Which, indeed, I could, were I so inclined."

Don Fernando scratched his chin. "Perhaps that explanation…"

"No, I'm afraid not," said Rubens. "One or two portraits, yes. But seven?" He shook his head. "No capable spy-not one, at least, with any knowledge of art-would believe for a moment that I'd delve that extensively into what is, after all, neither a lucrative nor a prestigious field of portraiture. At the risk of immodesty, I am an artist who gets commissioned by royalty to paint them in person-and turns down far more commissions than I accept. I do not have to paint portraits at second-hand in the hopes that I might be able to sell them at a later date. One or two I could explain, with not much difficulty, as a matter of specific personal interest. For seven portraits, there can be no logical explanation beyond the one that involves affairs of state."

The Spanish prince was still scratching his chin. "Only seven? I'd hoped…"

"You will perhaps recall that I warned you, Your Highness. I'm afraid that today-and this won't change for years-we have a shortage of eligible Catholic princesses who would suit you for a bride. Even that figure of 'seven' is stretching the matter. Two of the ladies involved-Claudia de Medici, the regent of Tyrol, and her older sister Maria Maddalena-are really a bit too old. Maria Maddalena is reported to suffer from very poor health, as well."

Don Fernando finally stopped scratching his chin. "I've met Claudia. She seemed quite capable and she's not that much older than me. Somewhere around thirty, I believe."

"Yes, you're right-and if you were a prince in a different position, with one or two brothers whose children could provide an heir in the event your own wife did not produce one, she'd be quite suitable. But a thirty year old woman-yes, you're right about her age-is really a bit too old, when the entire dynasty will of necessity have to depend entirely on your own offspring."

He cleared his throat again, but before he could speak Don Fernando waved his hand. "Yes, yes, I see the point. Not that my brother Philip wouldn't be delighted to provide me with an heir-but that would rather defeat the whole purpose of the enterprise, wouldn't it?"

His eyes narrowed slightly. "So… I need a wife who's no older than her mid-twenties, and in good health. Of the remaining six, which do you think are the best prospects?"

"Best, in what terms, Your Highness? In an ideal world, there's no question-the two Austrians, especially the older sister. By all accounts, and I've collected quite a few, they are both in good health-even very vigorous health, by the standards of most highborn women-and both of sound mind. The older daughter Maria Anna even has something of a reputation for her intellect, if not the younger. And"-here he suppressed a smile-"they are also quite comely."

Don Fernando scowled. "I don't care about their looks. Well. Not much. I need a wife who'll produce children."

The prince's pronouncement was in the finest tradition of capable royalty. It was also complete nonsense. Don Fernando was a very vigorous young man and he was no more indifferent to the comeliness of women than any other twenty-three year old male in good health. Given his training, of course, he never ogled such women. But Rubens had not failed to notice the prince's rapt interest whenever a woman as beautiful as-to give just one recent example-Rebecca Abrabanel came into his presence.

Don Fernando would never pursue the matter, to be sure. He was far too self-controlled for such foolishness. Leaving aside the fact that the Abrabanel was married, and apparently faithful to her husband, she was a Jewess. So, the prince made no advances, and did not ogle. But he certainly… observed.

Privately, Rubens understood perfectly well that he had to find a bride for Don Fernando who would be sufficiently attractive for the prince to spend enough time in her bed to succeed in his royal duties. Dynasties died out for many reasons, and the ill health or infertility of the wife was only one of them. Lack of interest on the part of the husband would do just as well to wither a royal line.

But Rubens left all that unsaid. Like any vigorous and capable twenty-three-year-old prince, Don Fernando was also sensitive about his youth. He would not take kindly to the suggestion that he was not, actually, a wise old Nestor.

So, he went back to the subject at hand. "As I say, those two-especially the older sister-would be the ideal one from your point of view. However, they are also the daughters of Emperor Ferdinand II. Who is, ah…"

"A religious fanatic," stated the cardinal-infante curtly. "To the point of bigotry."

"Well… yes, unfortunately. So I can see no likelihood that he would ever agree to such a match. Given that, under the best of circumstances, it would cause a severe strain to be put upon the Habsburg dynasty across Europe-to which he also belongs. He'd view it as a capitulation to the Dutch Protestants. Who are not even Lutherans, but Calvinists."

Don Fernando made a face. "I find it hard to see where a marriage to an Austrian Catholic would constitute a 'capitulation' to Dutch Calvinists. But…" He sighed. "Yes, I can see where he would view it that way. By producing a fissure in the solid ranks-not so solid as that!-of the Habsburgs, the premier family of Catholicism, I would indirectly be giving succor to the enemy of the true faith."

He raised his hand and almost clutched his blonde hair, as if he might pull it out by the roots. "Aaaah! Am I the only member of my powerful and widely scattered family who studies those up-time books, and is capable of drawing intelligent conclusions from them? Are all other Habsburgs village idiots accidentally wearing royal finery?"

He lowered the hand and glared up at Rubens-or rather, glared at the world, with Rubens just happening to be in his line of sight. "Is the lesson so difficult to read, in those up-time histories? Every dynasty that survived-some of them even prospered-did so by abandoning the attempt to enforce religious beliefs and behavior. Am I not right?"

"Well… In Europe, certainly." Pieter did not add what he could have, that all those dynasties had also survived because they abandoned their attempts to rule as well, and satisfied themselves with simply reigning. Rubens knew that Don Fernando even understood that himself, somewhere in the recesses of his mind, but was not really prepared to accept it yet. And perhaps never would be, though he lived to the age of eighty.

The prince slapped the armrest of his chair with exasperation. "Yet they won't give it up! No matter the cost!"

He shifted the glare about the room, transferring it momentarily from one portrait to another hanging in the salon. They were all portraits of Habsburgs, and they covered every wall. There had been a lot of Habsburgs, over the centuries.

Then he looked back at Rubens and, with the same exasperation, waved at a nearby chair. "Oh, sit down, Pieter. Surely we can dispense with royal protocol at such moments."

Rubens made no move toward the chair. "Actually, we can't, Your Highness. In the absence of a meal or some such acceptable-"

"There's only the two of us!"

The artist glanced meaningfully at the three servants and two soldiers who stood not so far away; the servants, next to the table holding wine and other refreshments; the soldiers, by the entrance. Except for Don Fernando's last outburst, they'd been speaking softly enough that neither the servants nor the soldiers could have understood the conversation. But they were not blind. And, almost certainly, at least one of them was accepting pay from some foreign spy-including Spain, as they now must, in the category of "foreign."

Understanding the meaning of the glance, the prince sighed and sagged a little in chair. "Damned silliness," he muttered. "And I can assure you that once I-"

But he broke off that line of thought, with the self-discipline to be expected from a grandson of Philip II. Instead, he levered himself erect in his chair. Stiffly erect.

"Very well, Pieter. We'll continue as before. Are you sure your correspondence with Alphonso is in no risk of interception?"

"Not entirely. But the cardinal is a circumspect man, whose letters can always be interpreted innocently. And for those occasions when they can't, he will use his sister in Vienna as his intermediary. She can communicate with us through your aunt Isabella. The archduchess and Dona Mencia are old friends, so no one will think it odd that they have an extensive correspondence."

Don Fernando smiled. "The formidable Dona Mencia. I met her several times, you know? I was very young, at the time. She quite intimidated me."

And that, too, Rubens decided to let pass without comment. As it happened, he maintained his own correspondence with Dona Mencia also. He would not have described her as formidable so much as very shrewd. Of course, he had the advantage of enjoying the same years of age that she did, rather than encountering her as a lad.

It was all he could do not to sigh himself. Dona Mencia was now the close attendant to the older of the two Austrian arch-duchesses, and she seemed to have discerned already-such a canny woman!-Rubens' strategy, even though he had said nothing directly to her at all.

So he presumed, at any rate. For there could only be two explanations for Dona Mencia's constant praises of Maria Anna, archduchess of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire. The young woman's intelligence; her physical vigor; her courtesy and consideration for others; her exceptionally thorough education; even her beauty, if the old woman was to be believed-and she probably could.

The first explanation was that Dona Mencia understood and supported the goal of Rubens and his patron Don Fernando. And felt strongly enough on the subject of her mistress Maria Anna that she pursued the subject despite knowing full well herself, as she must, how impossible such a match would be under the circumstances.

The second explanation was almost frightening. What if Dona Mencia hadn't discerned Rubens' purpose? What if her depictions of Maria Anna were simply those of an enthusiast?

Almost frightening. For Dona Mencia was indeed very astute. As astute and experienced as any elderly and widely traveled noblewoman in Europe. Her assessments of people were generally superb, in Ruben's experience.

In which case…

The continent of Europe actually possessed the closest thing that ever existed in the real world to the silly American notion of a "fairy tale princess"-and there was no chance at all that Rubens' patron Don Fernando could wake her from her sleep. In the real world, if not the up-time fables, the wards and barriers that guarded princesses were far denser and thicker and mightier than paltry magic. At bottom, entire armies stood in the way-real armies-not the spells of witches.

So it was. Rubens was not a man given to whimsy, outside of his art. He put all thoughts of Maria Anna aside. Her sister too, for that matter, since the barriers were the same.

"I think the best possibility is Anna de' Medici. Second best would be the Polish girl, the Vasa, although she's only fifteen. Failing her, the Lorraine."

None of the three were actually very good, in his opinion. The de' Medici was certainly the best, but the drawback was that her father was simply the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Her lineage was suitable, both in terms of blood and faith-but there would be little in the way of a powerful alliance to come with the marriage. The daughter of Henri de Lorraine was rumored to have an attachment to one of her cousins, which, if true, would be awkward at best. As for the Polish princess…

Again, Rubens suppressed a sigh. He suspected he'd be doing a lot of that, in the future, as he pursued this matter.

The one portrait he'd managed to obtain so far of the seven eligible princesses was a portrait of Anna Katharina Konstanze Vasa, half-sister and first cousin of the king of Poland. It was possible that the artist had botched the assignment by making her less attractive than she actually was-but it was not likely. As a rule, artists bent the stick as far as they could in the other direction, when doing portraits of any wealthy patrons, much less royalty.

So, she would be unattractive at best, and possibly downright ugly. She seemed to have inherited the Vasa beak of a nose in addition to the Habsburg lip. Worse still, from what Rubens could glean from the maddeningly spotty historical records of the up-timers, he thought she might have died at the age of thirty-two, in that other universe. That might have been due to an accident, of course, which could be avoided in this separate existence. But there was also the possibility of exceedingly bad health.

Maria Anna lived to the age of fifty-five, long past her child-bearing years, and might well have lived longer given up-time medical…

But that was pointless. "I'll do the best I can, Your Highness. Under the circumstances."

The prince nodded heavily. Then, his expression brightened. "And there's always that, we shouldn't forget. Since whatever other lessons brought by the Americans my family chooses to ignore, there is one that they simply can't."

"I'm not quite following you, Your Highness."

Don Fernando was actually grinning,. now, and quite cheerfully. "Circumstances. They change, you know. That is the one thing you can be absolutely sure and certain that circumstances will do."

Chapter 3

Femella minima

Vienna, Austria

Maria Anna stood patiently as Frau Stecher adjusted a pair of sleeves. Since sleeve adjustment involved the ability to move one's arms, she occasionally got to change position. Sometimes, she was even allowed to tickle the bare toes of her nephew Ferdinand, who was precociously propped up in a little padded chair, carefully watched by both his noble Aja and a more common nursemaid to make sure that the heir of Austria didn't topple over and harm himself.

"Frau Stecher." Dona Mencia entered the room. "Can you please go to the empress. There is a problem with the dress for this afternoon's audience and she is quite determined to wear this one and no other. It appears that the lining is not appropriately attached. This must have been done improperly when the dress was taken apart to be cleaned and then fastened back together. Her maids are with her. Take your seamstresses; it must be repaired and there isn't much time."

"Certainly. But, Susanna, you stay here and hold those sleeves in place." Frau Stecher curtsied and vanished with the remainder of her staff.

Maria Anna looked behind her. Then she looked down. The top of Susanna Allegretti's head barely reached above the archduchess's shoulder-not that the young seamstress was abnormally small. She was short and thin, but no court dwarf. Maria Anna, by contrast, was a stately, unusually well-grown, woman. Her dressmakers truly appreciated this. Gorgeous clothing displayed so much better on a statuesque form. Not to say, a buxom form. It was like the difference, for an artist, between the constraints of a miniature and the opportunities offered by a large canvas.

"This could take the whole time until Mama goes down to the audience. Are you really going to stand there holding sleeves up while they are gone?"

Susanna's eyes sparkled. "Not unless Your Highness truly wishes it. But, if not, we should set a spy in the corridor to tell us when they are coming back"

"Lena," Maria Anna said to the governess. "It's time for our baby to eat, anyway." She stopped, picked up Ferdinand the Most Recent, as her delighted brother called his son and heir, and gave his neck a bit of a nuzzle. "Mariana will be waiting for him."

The archduchess thought, with all due respect to the Blessed Virgin and Her mother Saint Anne, that it would be quite nice if the Habsburgs could more often name their daughters something more-distinctive-than Maria Anna. Or Anna Maria. Or Anna. Or Maria. It had been kind of Ferdinand's wife to retain the Spanish form of her name for written purposes but, spoken, they were still the same. It was confusing. At least, when someone referred to Cecelia Renata, there was only one of them in the family. This had been true with great-aunt Caterina Micaela, too. Surely, a little more imagination in the family nomenclature would do no harm.

But. "Please take him back to the nurseries. And send us a maid to stand behind a statue in the corridor and be our spy. I intend to sit down." Which she did, inviting Dona Mencia to do likewise.

Susanna, of course, remained standing.

"You come to us from Duchess Claudia, don't you?" the archduchess asked.

"Oh, yes," Susanna replied. She had grown up as a court servant, so was less disconcerted by this situation than she otherwise might have been. Still, she realized that nervousness was going to make her talk too much. Everyone, especially her mother, assured her that talking too much was one of her major failings. "I was born in Italy, before she married Duke Leopold. But we came to Tyrol with her and have been there ever since. Except, of course, that my mother sent me back to Ferrara when I was thirteen, for my training. I was at the court there for five years before I came back to Bozen, and was only there for a year when the Duchess was so kind as to send me here, to Vienna."

"So," Maria Anna asked, "do you have any acquaintance among the musicians that the duchess has also sent to us?"

"One of the lute players is my cousin; well, he's the son of my aunt's husband, by his first marriage. My stepsister's husband's younger brother is apprenticed to the music librarian. He isn't here, though; he stayed home. I know all the musicians, though. We make their costumes. And re-make them, alter them, fit them to newly hired musicians. It's a lot easier to make a costume smaller than it is to make it bigger."

"But the musicians are men. Don't the tailors have to do that?"

"Not for the court servants. All of us work on whatever job has to be done. I love to work on velvets, but satins are so slippery. There really should be two people assigned to each satin garment; one just to hold the pieces in place."

"I suppose." Maria Anna sighed. "Do you know which among them went to this Grantville in the Germanies? One of them must have. To get the music." She whistled the first two phrases of the scales from the song in the play.

"It wasn't one of them. It was one of the cloth merchants in Bozen who supplies the duchess' court who sent an agent there. The agent looked around, of course, to find other things that he thought would be profitable or of interest. He thought that the music would be, so he hired one of the Italian musicians in town to copy as much of it as he had time and money for. Now Duchess Claudia has sent a half-dozen people, but they aren't back yet. At least, they weren't back yet, when we left for Vienna."

"Ah. That is too bad. I had thought perhaps that I could speak with someone who had been there."

"You can," Susanna answered cheerfully. "None of the musicians have gone there, but the cloth merchant's agent is in Vienna. He's the regular factor here. The other was just a temporary assignment. Exploratory. Their firm supplies a great deal of the cloth that is used for the imperial household. Not the luxury goods, such as these." Susanna waved the brocade sleeves in the air. "Ordinary cloth, for the servants, or the uniforms the guards wear when it isn't a ceremonial occasion. It comes into Bozen from Augsburg; then they re-ship it all over. A lot goes to Venice and Naples, but it also comes this way."

Maria Anna turned her head. "Dona Mencia. I do not believe that I have ever spoken to a cloth factor. Do I have reason to speak to a cloth factor? Or to visit a cloth warehouse?"

"Not that I know of," she replied.

"But I can probably think of one," she added.

Dona Mencia and Archduchess Maria Anna got along very well, indeed.

The solution occurred to her even before the spy reported the return of Frau Stecher. "Perhaps we would like to put on a pre-Lenten masque to entertain the children. The maids can be the players; we will be part of the audience. You will need to arrange for costumes."

Susanna succumbed to what, in any court, could be a fatal temptation for a servant, resulting in instant disgrace or dismissal-speaking without having been invited to do so. "I saw a good one in Ferrara, at the girls' school in the Ursuline convent. It was about Jesus saying, 'Let the little children come to me.' With songs."

Even such a gross transgression of etiquette could be pardoned for sufficient reason. Archduchess Maria Anna deemed the reason to be sufficient.

Frau Stecher, when she discovered that her apprentice had not continued to hold the sleeves in place throughout her absence, was not happy. Her unhappiness was not ameliorated by the archduchess' interrupting the scolding to say that it had been her own decision to take off the sleeves and sit down. Frau Stecher was even less pleased when she discovered that her apprentice was wanted by the archduchess to accompany her on a visit to a cloth warehouse. Particularly since that specific cloth warehouse was owned by a company that provided major competition to Frau Stecher's brothers.

Maria Anna found that the cloth factor was a very understanding man. When the purpose of the costumes was explained to him, he suggested that they simply be made of draped lengths of cloth, such as were shown in many paintings of the ancient world, worn over the actors' regular clothing; then, after the masque, the archduchess could present the lengths to the maids who took part as their Easter gifts. This had great appeal to a young woman whose allowance was quite limited. It was scarcely surprising that she consulted him several times during the rehearsals for the masque. Everyone agreed that the antique-style costumes were very effective.

Susanna found that being simultaneously highly favored by the archduchess and in deepest disgrace with her mistress required some delicacy in her behavior over the next few weeks.


"Naturally, I know which choice Papa would consider right."

Maria Anna was talking to her one-year-older brother Ferdinand who was, since the unexpected death of their older brother Johann Karl in 1619, heir to Austria.

"Everyone knows the vow he took at Loreto. And that he changed the words of their song, the ones that go, 'and take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife, they yet have nothing won' into, 'so take your bodies, property, honorable reputation, child and wife and get out' as a theme for handling Austria's Lutherans. Papa swore that he would rather rule over a desert, would rather eat bread and water, would rather go begging with his own wife and child, would rather allow his body to be hacked into pieces, than to tolerate heresy. He meant it. He enforced that in his own duchies from the time he came of age in 1598, expelling the Protestant preachers and closing the Protestant schools. He allowed a week for those who would not convert to wind up their affairs and emigrate."

"No one," Ferdinand said rather ruefully, "will ever say that Papa does not have the courage of his convictions. However, I do wish that he could see his way to a sufficient compromise with the Imperial Estates that they would go ahead and elect me as King of the Romans. It's going to be a real mess if Papa dies without that and the whole election is thrown wide open. That hasn't happened since Charles V-and think what that election cost us."

They looked at one another. Whatever his theological intransigence, the Emperor Ferdinand II was, in private, a truly loving father. A father who was by no means well. According to the encyclopedias, a scant four years from now, he would die.

"I don't think that he's going to be willing to compromise on religion to advance your political interests," Maria Anna answered. "Since he became emperor, he has tried to enforce his principles not only in the hereditary lands but also throughout the lands of the Reich, throughout all of the Germanies. You're going to have to decide how to handle it. If you make promises to the electors now that hinge on future contingencies, they could limit what actions you can take later. And there's no guarantee that the electors would keep their word when the time came, either."

In spite of Father Lamormaini's theological views on the proper role of women being entirely domestic, Austrian archduchesses were not trained to be clinging vines. Their education was designed to prepare them to join the long tradition of Habsburg daughters and sisters who served their fathers and brothers as regents in various parts of Europe. They were prepared to carry their share of the family business. Margaret of Austria. Mary of Hungary. Margaret of Parma. Aunt Isabella Clara Eugenia.

Maria Anna found it more than a little annoying that Papa had not gotten on with the rest of the project of qualifying her to be a Formidable Habsburg Regent. He had given her the education, true. Like her brothers, somewhat to Father Lamormaini's distress, she had received formal debate training and all. Papa had also provided her with the political training as well.

But there were a couple more prerequisites. First, she needed to get married. Second, she needed to be widowed. Preferably, to be widowed quite promptly, being childless, if she wished to govern a Habsburg principality. However, a short marriage that produced a surviving son would, in a pinch, do the trick and make her regent of her late husband's lands, although it also would put her in the position of having to govern in the child's name and practically guarantee a forced retirement in middle age, just as she reached the height of her powers. Although, then, she could govern a Habsburg principality.

Maria Anna sighed. Papa was more likely to choose her husband on the basis of current political advantage than the prospect that her groom would die in a timely fashion.

Chapter 4

Bavaria Sancta

Munich, Bavaria

Duke Albrecht of Bavaria, as he fingered his rosary, thanked God for his brother's long and happy marriage. Thirty-nine years it would have been, next month, since Elisabeth Renee of Lorraine came to Bavaria as a bride and accepted the Germanized name of Elisabeth Renata. He, himself, had been not quite eleven years old, then. And it was true. As a new bride, she had brought a light-hearted spirit into the rigid Bavarian court, which had been anything but light-hearted under the rule of their father.

Duke Wilhelm "the Pious" had attended mass every day, when possible several times a day. He had also devoted four hours daily to prayer, one to contemplation, and all his spare time to devotional reading. He had received holy communion every week, and twice a week during Advent and Lent. He had taken part in public devotions, processions, and pilgrimages. One ambassador had called Bavaria a monastery in their father's day. It had not been just the court, or even Munich, either. His father had turned Bavaria itself into a monastery, as far as could be done. In 1634, it was far different from the half-Lutheran society it had been in the 1560s.

In the past half-century, Bavaria had been Catholicized: it was a land of saints and shrines, healing images and miraculous relics, pilgrimages and processions, the daily routine of its people marked by the tolling of church bells and recital of litanies. People who would not conform had been forced to leave. Nearly twenty years ago already, Father Matthaeus Rader, who was still teaching in Munich, had published his Bavaria Sancta -Holy Bavaria. It was a really hefty tome, praising the duchy's historic and sacred destiny, listing its saints and martyrs, its holy monks; its pious rulers, culminating in the current members of the House of Wittelsbach.

The rulers of Bavaria knew, well enough, that making Bavaria a Holy Land was far too important to be left to the church alone. Their intent was to create a Catholic state. In addition to the privy council, which administered secular affairs, and the treasury, which ensured financial stability, the dukes had formed the Geistlicher Rat , the ecclesiastical council. As much as any Lutheran prince's consistory, it supervised and disciplined the duchy's Catholic clergy through regular visitations; it controlled the Catholicism of all the state's officials by issuing certificates documenting annual confession and communion as strictly as the Church of England did under Elizabeth; it funded new Catholic schools, new Catholic colleges, new houses of religious orders, especially the missionary and educational ones, such as the Jesuits and Capuchins for men, the Ursulines for women.

Elisabeth Renata. Maximilian had insisted on having her-no "crook-backed Habsburg bride" for him, he had proclaimed. So she had come, slender and elegant. Not a frivolous spirit, never. Her life had been untiringly devoted to works of charity. But she had performed them out of sheer love of God and others-not from a sense of grim duty. "Hail Mary, full of grace."

Albrecht's mind wandered. Maximilian's marriage had been so ideal-a pattern of that prescribed by God for a Christian couple. Except that there were no children. No pregnancies. After some years, their father, Duke Wilhelm V, concluded that her childlessness was the result of some spell that witches and heretics, and possibly also Jews, had cast upon his oldest son's wife. Perhaps, his father had thought, God had permitted the young duchess to be bewitched because he had not persecuted the heretics zealously enough. Perhaps, even during his great campaign against them in 1590, he had shown too much mercy, had demonstrated too little firmness in exterminating the witches who ruined harvests, who destroyed cattle and crops, and who brought pestilence, plague, and sickness into Bavaria. Or, on the other hand, perhaps, Duke Wilhelm had persecuted the heretics in his realm so zealously, had shown so little mercy in burning the witches, had served the cause of Christ so plainly, that the bitter hatred of the Devil had descended directly on himself and his family. There had been prayers to break the spell; there had been devotional exercises. Duke Wilhelm had brought the general of the Barnabite friars, Michael Marrano, to Munich. He was a celebrated expert in removing spells from princely personages.

All to no avail. Elisabeth Renata had remained childless.

Which turned Duke Albrecht's thoughts to his own marriage. By that time, the Estates of Bavaria had already forced their father to abdicate. That happened two years after Maximilian's marriage. Father had built too much-palaces, churches, Jesuit colleges. He had contributed generously to Catholic missions in China and Japan. There had been accusations of extravagance; threats of an impending state bankruptcy. Maximilian had assumed rule in Bavaria. By then, their father's piety had gotten for Munich the name of the "German Rome" for its advocacy of Counter-Reformation piety. The two brothers between Maximilian and himself had already been placed in the clergy. Philipp Wilhelm, who had been made the bishop of Regensburg the same year that Max married and a cardinal of the Church two years after that, was already dead. Ferdinand had been, and still was, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne.

So. Albrecht must marry. He did. He had been twenty-seven, at the time; his bride Mechthilde, four years younger. The marriage had been followed by-four years of childlessness. He added in a couple of additional prayers for their first child, Maria Renata, who had died at the age of fourteen. Then God's mercy had prevailed. They had four sons; three had survived. Karl Johann Franz was a little rash and reckless at the age of fifteen, but surely he would become steadier. Maximilian Heinrich, twelve; Sigmund Albrecht, ten. Both intensely intelligent and promising; all carefully educated for the responsibilities which, he and Maximilian believed, were due to fall upon them.

Mechthilde was the younger of the two children of Landgrave Georg Ludwig of Leuchtenberg, imperial privy councilor and president of the imperial aulic council. He had been a tireless supporter of the Catholic cause, although his struggle with the tendency of his subjects to sneak across the borders and go to Protestant church services in the Upper Palatinate had worn him thin. He had also been rather well known for demanding and frequently getting a salary three times higher than anyone else would have received for doing exactly the same job.

Leuchtenberg had long been a nuisance, from the viewpoint of Bavaria. Albrecht's marriage to Mechthilde had brought the possibility that, should her brother die without heirs, the last non-Wittelsbach principality in the region of the Upper Palatinate could be incorporated into Bavaria's ever expanding boundaries.

Unfortunately, that eventuality did not appear likely at present. Her brother Wilhelm Georg was still alive, even though his health was very shaky, and he had two surviving sons. Too bad that the youngest Leuchtenberg boy had died at Halberstadt eighteen months ago, but he had died in the service of his emperor and his church. Those were the risks that went with being born into the nobility.

He would need to talk to Mechthilde. To listen to Mechthilde.

Their rosaries completed, the privy councillors were looking at him. He called the meeting to order.



Landgrave Hermann of Hessen-Rotenburg hated politics. Unfortunately for him, however, his older half-brother Landgrave Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel was one of Gustav Adolf's primary allies in Germany. That gave Hesse-Kassel, for all practical purposes, the nomination right to at least one of the cabinet posts under the new prime minister.

So, Wilhelm had nominated his younger brother Herman as Secretary of State. And, of course, Hermann would do his duty, as a good Calvinist should. He was working morning, noon, and night to be an honor to his brother's choice and ensure that the Emperor Gustav Adolf had no regrets about agreeing to find a place for Calvinists in the new government.

But he didn't have to like it. Hermann was only twenty-seven years old. He yearned for his home, for the newly-married wife who had stayed behind to run the place, for his study, and for his project of producing a complete physical geography and topography of Hesse.

The prime minister looked at him impatiently. "Hermann," Mike Stearns said, "will you please sit down?"

Embarrassed, suspecting that this was a concession to the prosthesis that he wore in place of one foot-not because of a respectable wound obtained in war but because of a birth defect-the landgrave sat. He wished that his brother had nominated someone else. But there wasn't anyone else. Of the surviving sons of Moritz of Hesse, he was the oldest after Wilhelm himself.


As he watched his Secretary of State take a seat, Mike Stearns sighed. Arnold Bellamy back home in Grantville; Hermann here. Why did diplomacy seem to produce so many stiff-necked, stiff-backed, and thoroughly uptight types? Not that either of them was dumb, just…

God, how he missed Ed Piazza.

"Let the briefing begin." He hated these third-person down-time formulas of speech, too.

Hermann gestured at Philipp Sattler, who was serving as Gustav Adolf's personal liaison to the prime minister. Sattler, an experienced diplomat, was originally from Kempten, which gave him a considerable advantage in understanding the crazy quilt that was the political geography of the Germanies south of the Main river. Sattler had been brought in mainly to deal with Swabian issues, but was doubling as the Bavarian expert as well.

Sattler started out. "Bavaria has fifty privy councillors, more or less. Most are administrative functionaries, with only minor influence. If you will forgive me, I have prepared summaries only on those whom I consider to be of political importance."

Mike snorted. "You are forgiven. Even better, you are commended. Go on."

"The chancellor is Dr. Joachim Donnersberger. He has been the most important political official in the duchy, the supreme court chancellor, since 1599. That means, naturally, that he isn't by any means a young man any more; he'll be seventy next year. He's a commoner, from a prominent Munich family, with a law degree. It's probably about time for the dukes to put a seal of approval on those long years of service by raising him to the nobility and changing his name to von Donnersberg, but they haven't done it yet. Don't count him out on grounds of age-he's been at Duke Maximilian's right hand ever since he took over the administration of Bavaria from his father."

Mike nodded. "I think that I get the picture."

"Just about equally influential, you have Duke Maximilian's confessor, Father Adam Contzen. He's a Jesuit, in his early sixties, originally from Julich. He's been a Jesuit since 1591. Duke Maximilian places unlimited confidence in the Jesuits, so he tends to push the limits that their order places on them just a little further than he ought to. He requires the Jesuits at his court to provide him not just with spiritual and political advice, but also with diplomatic services."

"What's Contzen's position, then, when he hands out political advice."

Sattler laughed. "Ah, Herr Stearns, you are very lucky. In 1620, Father Contzen wrote a nice long treatise, Ten Books Concerning Politics. Sometimes translated as Ten Books on Political Economy I will, of course, be happy to summarize it for you. Possibly the most famous sentence is, 'Hymni Lutheri animos plures, quam scripta et declamationes occiderunt.'"

He paused, probably recalling the warning he must have received that the up-timers rarely had a decent foundation in the classical languages. "That is, 'Luther has murdered more souls with his hymns than with his writings and sermons.' This does not mean in the least that he doubts the effectiveness of other Protestant writings and sermons in murdering souls. Throughout the 1620s, he was the leading spokesman for the Jesuit extremist party in Bavaria. The zealots, as they were known."

"A delightful man, I am sure," Mike muttered.

"He is a religious bigot. However, I want to be fair. It is no service to you if I show you only a caricature of the men with whom you will be dealing, Herr Stearns."

Mike nodded.

Sattler continued. "The Ten Books also lay out the obligations of a ruler to his subjects. The ideal Christian commonwealth. In the book, he advocated tax reform; freeing the peasants from excessive burdens while placing tax levies on objects of luxury; that the state should itself own certain industries for the purpose of enhancing its revenue. Maximilian invited Contzen to become his confessor largely as a result of that publication. The parts you would consider good as well as those you would not like."

Duke Hermann interrupted. "What about Richel?"

"Bartholomaeus Richel. Also a commoner, a lawyer. He has been Donnersberger's deputy since 1623. Before that, he was chancellor of the diocese of Eichstatt. He left because of a slightly difficult episode. His wife Maria, a member of the patrician Bonschab family, was burned as a witch in December 1620. Richel transferred to the service of Bavaria very quickly after that-not a bad move in view of the fact that six other Bonschab family members were burned as witches in Eichstatt between 1617 and 1627. That included the town's mayor, Lorenz Bonschab, and his wife and daughter. Being related to the Bonschabs, even by marriage, was not exactly a career-enhancing item on a man's resume in Eichstatt."

"No kidding," Mike said. "Why did Duke Maximilian hire him?"

"He's very competent. And his wife was dead." Sattler's expression was sour.

"What is concerning Landgrave Hermann, I think, is that Richel was Maximilian's emissary to Ferdinand II last year. He was right in the middle of the attempt to assassinate Wallenstein, egging Ferdinand on. Richel served Maximilian very well during his term as ambassador in Vienna. From what we have been able to learn, his correspondence supplied Munich with large quantities of very useful information, which Maximilian has been using to gain additional leverage with the pope against the Austrian Habsburgs."

"I keep reminding myself of that," Mike said. "Not to regard the powers that were in the Catholic League as some sort of a monolith against the Protestants. They are just as fractious among themselves as Gustav Adolf's German allies. Okay, Donnersberger, Contzen, Richel. Anyone else I should know about?"

"It's a little questionable, but perhaps Father Johannes Vervaux. Duke Francis II sent him down from Lorraine to Munich just two years ago with a recommendation. He became confessor to Duchess Elisabeth Renata, Duke Francis' sister. I say that it's questionable because now that she is dead, it's hard to tell whether he will be keeping his position on the privy council or will be looking for another job. We will have to wait and see. He is just as much a Jesuit as Contzen, but almost a generation separates the two men. Vervaux is in his mid-forties and he did not join the order until 1618. A full generation separates their spiritual formation. It isn't that he is less devout than Contzen; just that their modes of expressing that piety diverge widely, from what I hear."

Mike looked at Hermann. "Is there anything that we can do about the Bavarian situation, one way or the other?"

"Not barring direct military intervention. Which we cannot possibly afford when everything needs to be focused on the League of Ostend. Diplomatically, not a thing."

"Then, I guess, we just tell Francisco Nasi to keep on top of developments as best he can. And let me know if anything changes."


Munich, Bavaria

Duke Albrecht looked around the table. He had not invited the functionaries this morning; the men facing him would be the ones whose opinions guided the setting of Bavarian policy.

If, indeed, his brother could be brought to think about policy. Duke Albrecht glanced toward the door. A servant silently signaled that Duke Maximilian was again closed away in the chapel.

In the privy council chamber, the discussion rose and fell. Could the duke be persuaded not to abdicate? Should he be? How would an abdication impact the problems in Bohemia? How would it affect the League of Ostend's efforts against the Swede?

Chancellor Donnersberger was inclined to think that the duke should be allowed to abide by his choice. It was far from unprecedented. The Emperor Charles V, himself, had abdicated and spent his last years in a monastery. Every man had the right to take thought for his soul.

It was Contzen, at the last, who was adamant. "An abdication by the man who for so many years has been the general and guiding force of the Catholic League must necessarily have an adverse impact on efforts against the Swedish heretic. It will be perceived as a sign of weakness, and will undermine the church's efforts to reclaim souls. The effect on public relations will also be horrible; we must dissuade him from this at all costs."

Chapter 5

Dux Christianus

Munich, Bavaria

"So you would have me break my vow to God?"

Duke Maximilian looked around the council table. Three weeks after the duchess' death, this was his first return to the chamber.

Contzen's views aside, almost all of the privy council, his staff and advisors, had-after some reflection-been appalled by Maximilian's decision to withdraw from secular life. For Contzen his position was based on a very strong belief that the duke was more valuable to the Church as head of the Catholic League than in a monastery. For most of them, however, the tipping point had been the almost universal perception of bureaucrats that a change in bosses (followed, inevitably, by a change in personnel on the staff) is a catastrophe. They had immediately started to cast around for ways to persuade the duke to abandon his decision.

Within the past two hours, depending on the individual, Maximilian had been told that he had a duty to stand by Ferdinand II against the problems that Wallenstein was causing him in Bohemia, that he had a duty to attempt to expel the heretical Swedes from the Upper Palatinate and once more take up the cause of restoring its population to Catholicism, that various prior treaty obligations could be interpreted as requiring him to defer carrying out the most recent vow until he had completed them; that, in fact, he must not abdicate.

"Albrecht?" Maximilian looked at his brother.

"I will not attempt to constrain your conscience." Duke Albrecht considered himself to be in a very tight spot. He would, after all, from a worldly perspective, be the primary beneficiary of Maximilian's decision to retire.

"Dr. Donnersberger?"

Joachim Donnersberger's decision had not been easy; at heart, he still believed that the duke should follow his conscience. Still, there had been so many occasions over the years when Duke Albrecht had intervened with the privy council on behalf of the less progressive party. Donnersberger was strongly committed to Father Contzen's views on the proper nature of governance. Peace could exist only where there was one universal Catholic faith. But, once that one true faith had been ensured, once there was harmony within a realm, rulers had duties to their subjects. Donnersberger was not yet quite willing to give up the dream of an ideal Christian commonwealth. Reluctantly, he replied, "Your Grace. Bavaria still has need of you."


"You cannot abdicate, Your Grace. Not without taking upon your conscience the guilt of once more plunging the Austrian lands into chaos and permitting the rampant spread of heresy. Wallenstein has proclaimed free exercise of religion; the walls of the ghetto are down. We need your decisiveness, your unswerving dedication, the power of your convictions."

"Father Contzen?"

Adam Contzen laid two pieces of paper upon the table. "Your Grace, if I may. These are copies, sent me from this Grantville, from the encyclopedias of the men from the future."

Duke Maximilian frowned.

Encyclopedias, Duke Albrecht thought, the wondrous encyclopedias.

If the future had learned nothing else from the Jesuits, he mused wryly, it had learned the Art of Extraction that they taught so painstakingly to their students-how to go through a nearly unmanageable body of material, reduce it to its essence, and take notes with marginal indices that enabled one to find the needed reference again without immense waste of time. The books of the up-timers were all very well, but Father Contzen had complained to him more than once that finding something in them was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Which book might have it, if, indeed, any book had it at all? But the encyclopedias, all of them: alphabetically arranged, with cross references at the end of one article indicating where the researcher may find related material in the compendium. Not just the great one, the 1911 Britannica, which they guarded so carefully, but all of them-the later Britannica editions, the World Book and Americana, Columbia, and Funk and Wagnalls, old and new, large and small. Some more useful than others, but each one a treasure trove.

Duke Albrecht had been told that Father Kircher devoted all the time that he could spare to encyclopedias. But more, there were a half dozen other young Jesuits, five of them from the English College and thus able to handle the language more effectively, whom the order was subsidizing to spend their days sitting in Grantville's libraries. Once they translated their valuable discoveries into Latin, of course, the information was available to every man of learning in Europe.

"If I may?" Contzen repeated. Maximilian nodded his head.

"These are two short biographies of the life that you lived in that world. In that world, you did not abdicate."

"Perhaps, in that world, I had not taken a vow to enter a monastery?"

"There is not sufficient detail here to tell us whether you did or not."

"What became of the rest of my life?"

"You took a second wife, who bore you sons. The elder succeeded you as duke and elector. You defended the Catholic cause to the end."

Duke Maximilian bowed his head.

Duke Albrecht sat, his face impassive. Why hadn't anyone brought this to his attention earlier? What would his wife Mechthilde say to this-that all her efforts in bearing and rearing their children are to be made irrelevant to the future of Bavaria?

He wondered if he could get a copy of those biographies from Contzen. Or from someone else.

Duke Maximilian looked up again. "Father Vervaux?"

Johannes Vervaux looked at the duke, making sure that his face hid the pity that he felt. It did not do to pity Maximilian of Bavaria. "Your Grace. Reluctantly, I concur with Dr. Donnersberger. Bavaria still needs you, at whatever sacrifice of yourself."

"Thank you, gentlemen. I shall now retire to my meditations. Please be assured that I will take the advice of each of you into account." The duke rose, the councillors rising with him. As he prepared to withdraw to his oratory, Duke Maximilian asked, "What did I name my sons?"

He did not ask, "Who was my second wife?" That, apparently, was a matter of complete indifference to him.


There was nowhere in Munich that Duke Maximilian's decision to delay his abdication was greeted with more relief than in the convent of the "English Ladies" or "Jesuitesses," formerly the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dozen or so members in the Munich house-forbidden, at present, to designate themselves as nuns or even as sisters-waited for a signal from Mary Ward to begin their after-supper devotions.

Mary Ward- not Mother Mary Ward, they were not a religious order any longer, she had to remember that -waited, her hands folded quietly in her lap. She was nearly fifty. In the almost thirty years since she had left England in pursuit of a religious vocation, she had been as far south as Rome and as far east as Bratislava. She and her sisters had founded schools for girls from Liege to Naples in the Spanish lands, from Cologne to Vienna in those of the Holy Roman Empire, farther east in the Habsburg possessions. She had tried the traditional contemplative convent life of the Colettine Poor Clares and found it not to be her vocation. After a year spent with her family, assisting people in need and people who were experiencing difficulties with their faith, she had returned to the Netherlands with a group of other young Catholic Englishwomen she had gathered around her. She had developed the concept of a new kind of women's religious order whose members would be able to travel, to work and live among the people who needed their services most, wearing not a habit but the ordinary clothing of the laity, living according to the Jesuit rule.

The difficulties, most of them, had arisen there. Since long before the days of Chaucer's pilgrim prioress, the idea of nuns "gadding about" in public had irritated ecclesiastical conservatives. Ideally, for them, not only would a nun never leave the walls of her convent, but no lay person would ever enter within them, either. It was the only way to control the dangerous females of the species: immure them.

The Council of Trent had declared that all religious orders of women must take solemn vows and observe strict enclosure. Pope Pius V had confirmed this resolution. Given how many other declarations of Trent were observed more in the breach than to the letter in the first third of the seventeenth century, it was astonishing how many members of the College of Cardinals, how many officials in the Holy Office, insisted that this one could not be breached in the least.

Mary Ward nodded. "Let us pray. Sister Winifred, please lead us. Sister Frances, please provide the tones for the chant."

Against the background of the familiar evening prayers, her tired mind wandered. In 1615, she had requested papal confirmation of her institute; the hearings process had outlasted two popes and continued into the tenure of a third. The Jesuit rule specifically prohibited them from undertaking the direction of women's orders. But Father Mutio Vitelleschi, General of the Society of Jesus, found that there would be no objection to, and much to be gained from, the establishment of a parallel but unconnected institution. During the next ten years, in spite of the opposition of clergy who objected to the idea of a women's order directly subject to the pope rather than under the authority of the diocesan bishops, she had established several branches in the Spanish Netherlands (with the patronage of Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia), the Germanies (with the approval of the archbishop of Cologne), Naples, and Perugia. In Rome itself, there had been-well, now there was again, thanks to the Barberini-a school for poor girls. But in 1624, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith issued its ruling: accept enclosure or the institute would be dissolved. One by one, the schools in Italy closed; many of her sisters had entered other, more conventional, orders.

In Munich, however, Duke Maximilian and Duchess Elisabeth Renata were among the most sturdy of the Catholic rulers in supporting the idea of unenclosed orders of women who could teach and perform works of charity. In 1627, Mary Ward had come to Munich. The duke assigned them a house, appropriately enough on Paradise Street, and they opened a school. At the duke's recommendation, Ferdinand II invited the English Ladies to Vienna, where they opened a school for girls. Its success had demonstrated that she was right-that this order met a need within the church. The girls' school that they opened in the imperial capital attracted four hundred sixty-five pupils the first year.

On July 7, 1628, the Holy Office had declared the institute disbanded because of its refusal to accept claustration. Mother Mary Ward had met with the nuncio in Vienna, then with the nuncio in Munich. In May of 1629, Pope Urban VIII had granted her an audience; early the next winter, she defended her foundation before a commission of the College of Cardinals-speaking in Latin. She returned to the house on Paradise Street. In the background, the ecclesiastical bureaucracy continued to carry out its assignment to disband the order's houses. The schools in the Netherlands were closed; also the one in Cologne. Because of the efforts of the inspector whom Mary Ward sent to the Netherlands to reopen the school at Liege, the case was transferred to the Inquisition. The charge: disobedience.

Well-it was true. Winifred Wigmore's actions had been imprudent at best and insubordinate at worst. Her own defense of her sister in Christ had been intemperate. In January 1631, Urban VIII issued a bull "definitively" abolishing the institute; she herself had been "imprisoned" by the Inquisition in Munich, albeit that imprisonment consisted of a stay in the infirmary at the Poor Clare convent, with a sister from her own order to keep her company, her meals delivered from outside, and lax enough supervision that the lunch baskets included notes, incoming and outgoing, written on napkins with lemon juice serving the place of invisible ink.

In March of 1632, she went to Rome once more; met with the Pope once more. In that other world, the encyclopedias said, the pope had furnished her with a residence in Rome, where she and her companions lived on a modest income that appeared from somewhere deep in the recesses of the Barberini family's revenues.

In this world, he had sent them back to Munich, where under Duke Maximilian's patronage they had reopened their school, but as lay teachers. It was not what Mary Ward wanted; she wanted recognition that the institute was a religious body. But it appeared to be, for the time being, all that she could get. It certainly appeared that the English Ladies would never become, formally, a Papal Institute.

Cardinal Francesco Barberini had suggested, tentatively, in a private conversation before her return, that they might possibly be reconstituted as a diocesan order that fulfilled the same function. Serving only in those dioceses where the bishops wanted them; not in those where their existence would be an irritant. Yes, he knew that was not what she had wanted. It was not as prestigious as being a papal institute; nor would it provide the leaders of the order with the same independence. But, then, it was widely recognized that humility was good for the soul. One diocese at a time; it would be possible to insert in the document allowing such foundations a clause that the bishop must guarantee to respect their rule and would not subsequently attempt to impose enclosure. Furthermore, should a successor wish to withdraw his approbation of the foundations, the ladies would be allowed to transfer to another diocese-with their property.

Cardinal Francesco had suggested that this experiment might preferably begin with dioceses some distance from Italy and Spain. There was, of course the example of Vincent de Paul and his Sisters of Charity in France. Cardinal Francesco, with whom Mazarini had shared the delightful story of the original name of the Catholic parish in Grantville, had laughed at that point in the conversation. Mary Ward had wondered why.

The murmured litany came to its end. "Now," Mary Ward said, "let us each say an additional rosary for the soul of the Duchess Elisabeth Renata." If her own rosary included a petition that some benefactor might appear to substitute for the generous charity that the late duchess had extended to the English Ladies and their school, she did not say so.


On the other hand, there was nowhere in Munich that Duke Maximilian's decision to delay his abdication was greeted with more disappointment than in the apartments of Mechthilde of Leuchtenberg, Duke Albrecht's wife. Nor anywhere that it was greeted with more fury.

Duke Albrecht had been afraid of that.

What he said was, "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Face it, Tilda. It's as good a principle as any for taking life one day at a time."

"I will not see my sons shunted into insignificance! I have endured for more than twenty years now, living in Bavaria as a dependent of the court. Maximilian has never assigned you an appanage of your own. We have been nothing but upper servants, all our lives. I have endured it for the sake of our children. Who will now be tossed away. Nothing for you, nothing for them!"

"Maximilian has no intention of breaking up Bavaria into something that resembles the absurd little Saxonies and Anhalts. Primogeniture was put in force in 1506. There hasn't been an independent territory for a Bavarian cadet line since Kunigunde of Austria forced her older son to create one for her younger son in 1516, no matter what their father's will said. That was more than a century ago. And Ludwig X had the grace not to marry."

"Don't ever dream that I don't know what she asked the Estates, then. 'Isn't my younger son as nobly born as his brother? Didn't I bring him forth from the same womb, set from the same seed?' The Estates, the Landtag, agreed with her. They awarded him a third of the duchy. You are Maximilian's full brother: same womb, same seed. What is it that brings him to rule and you to be no more than any one of the others on his council-men who have no more nobility than can be garnered by attending a university and getting a law degree?"

"Power," Albrecht answered tersely. "Unified, Bavaria is a strong force within the empire. Break it up, and each part will be no more than, say, one of the pieces of Baden or of Hesse."

"Power," said Mechthilde. "Do not doubt for one moment that this means that our sons will have none."

They looked at one another.

Part II

March, 1634

In a Thousand Valleys,

Far and Wide

Chapter 6

Commoditas Maxima

Vienna, Austria

Maria Anna had not been a party to the discussions in her father's council. Why would she have been? She smiled a little. Was salt ever a party to discussions about tariffs? Did anyone tell a case of wine or bale of silk what the seller and buyer were planning?

She couldn't sit down. There weren't any chairs in the anteroom. Even if there had been, it would be contrary to protocol for her to sit on one of them. She ran her rosary through her fingers. That was acceptable etiquette. Twisting her fingers would not be acceptable. In any case, she wasn't willing to have her ladies-in-waiting observe her uncertainty.

She already knew it would be Bavaria. No one had told her so, but she had observed which diplomats were spending the most time with her father and his advisers. Nothing was happening in the war right now, nor was planned to happen in the war next summer, that would require so much consultation with Uncle Max as head of the Catholic League. So she knew, but not quite in the same way that she would know very soon.

She had not been a party to the negotiations, either. Did it occur to anyone that sheep should be consulted as to their preference when it came to transhumance pasturing that crossed the borders of kingdoms?

She told herself firmly that everything would be well. Well enough. As well as a reasonable person could expect.

Ten Ave Marias. Then, for each large bead, instead of a Pater Noster, count a blessing.

First blessing. Bavaria was Catholic. She was not being sent to marry a heretic and live in a heretical country, as had happened to Henrietta Maria of France. Her husband's subjects would not hate her for her faith. Nor martyr her for it, although, of course, if it proved to be necessary, she would have the duty to glory in martyrdom. Overall, though, she would prefer not to be a martyr. At least not until she was older. Quite a bit older. In any case, it did not now seem that it would be necessary.

Second blessing. She knew from the up-time encyclopedias that she had, in that other world, borne sons. Heirs for the duchy. She was not barren. The marriage would be fruitful. She would not be scorned as a sterile wife. Not, at least, if things occurred in the same way. Of course, the physicians would have ascertained, before the negotiations began, that Uncle Max was still capable of copulation. That wasn't something that could be assumed when a man was sixty years old. He would be sixty-one in a couple of months. A year older than her mother, his sister, would have been if she had not died almost twenty years ago.

She glanced up from the rosary. Dona Mencia was watching her, a concerned expression on her face. Maria Anna smiled reassuringly.

Third blessing. She paused, trying to bring a third blessing to mind.

The door to the council chamber opened. She looked up, expecting to be summoned into the presence of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor and her papa.

It was not the doorman, however. Father Lamormaini emerged, briefly greeted her, Dona Mencia, and the younger ladies-in-waiting, and walked away.

She returned to her rosary. Third blessing. She had not died in childbirth. Or, maybe, she would not die in childbirth? These strange verb tenses. Thanks to this strange miracle of Grantville, she was going-would go?-into marriage knowing that she was capable of giving life to a son without sacrificing her own. This was a great comfort and source of confidence. Something that most prospective brides could not know. Her fingers paused a moment while her busy mind focused on the realities of life. Unless the prospective brides were widows with children, of course. Many brides were widows with children.

Fourth blessing. She drew a deep breath. Uncle Max was sixty years old. Of course, the encyclopedias said that he had lived another eighteen years in that other world of God's creation. But eighteen years was not so bad. In eighteen years she would be in her forties. In her prime. Ready to assume her responsibilities as an adult member of the Habsburg family.

Father Lamormaini returned and re-entered the council chamber. She smiled again, bending her face down so that none of her maids-in-waiting would notice the irreverence. Even Jesuits were not angels and were subject to calls of nature. Another reminder that all men, from the highest in rank to the lowest, were the children of Adam and Eve. Her fingers moved steadily through another decade of the rosary.

Fifth blessing.

The door opened again. This time, it was the doorman.


"It's fine, Sissy. It's fine." Maria Anna hugged her sister.

"But I'll miss you." Cecelia Renata was clinging to her. "I know I haven't been the best sister, and I know I'm stubborn and contrary, and I know I don't always do what you want me to, but we've always been together. Always. We've never been apart, not since I was born."

"Well, then…" Maria Anna paused. "We know that I survived the first eighteen months of my life before I had your company. I have been apart from you, so it should be easier for me to be alone. That is a blessing. And you won't be all by yourself. You get to stay here, with Mama and Papa. With our brothers and Mariana. At least for a while. Until…" Maria Anna didn't need to speak the end of that sentence.

Cecelia Renata nodded. They had read the very little that the encyclopedias had to say about her life, too. At least for a while. Until it was her own turn to become a commodity in trade. A far less fortunate commodity than Maria Anna, if the future remained as it had been. Cecelia Renata's marriage to the Polish king Wladyslaw IV in 1637-only three years from now-had not apparently been a happy one.

And she had died young, too, only six years later-although the encyclopedias did not explain the cause. Perhaps it would all be different in this universe.

Cecelia Renata lifted her chin. "I'm not as brave as you are. But I'm brave enough."

"Oh, Sissy. I'll miss you, too. So much."


"It is certainly time she was married," Father Lamormaini said. "Married to a man with the proper personality to keep her mind from straying along unsuitable paths. Not that I am saying that the archduchess is frivolous or in any way perverse. She is a pious young woman. She is just…" He paused. "Too curious. Too interested in new things."

Ferdinand II leaned back in his chair. "It is a great comfort to me that Duke Maximilian has such a strong mind and will. He can guide her in the direction she should go. She has reached the age where a husband can direct her much more effectively than a father can."

The Bavarian ambassador did not reply at first. Then, slowly, he said, "Your Majesty, I am not sure that you can count on the duke's directing her. Or, from what I have gathered that you hope for, from my earlier conversations with your confessor, controlling her intellectual development."

Lamormaini breathed in sharply. "Can't he?"

The envoy looked out the window. "Say, rather, will he? The death of Duchess Elisabeth Renata has affected him deeply. You already know that the duke was… reluctant… to remarry. I am not betraying any diplomatic confidences by telling you that. He may not take the trouble to provide her with the loving guidance that a wife has a reasonable right to expect from her husband."

Ferdinand II stood up, choleric as usual at being forced to listen to anything he didn't want to hear. "Then an immediate marriage will benefit the duke, as well, in more ways than providing him with sons. Take his mind off his troubles, and all that. I have no patience with melancholia." He leaned over, rubbed his right calf, and limped out of the room, followed by the chancellor.

Lamormaini frowned after him, worried. The emperor's legs had been bothering him for months, aching whenever he sat for too long or tried to move quickly. He turned back to the ambassador. "Were you implying that Maria Anna might come to dominate the duke?"

The Bavarian shook his head slowly. "No. Not precisely."

"What, then? Can't he direct her? Control her?"

The ambassador shrugged. "He could have. If he were still the man he was ten years ago. If he were even still the man he was a year ago. As I said to the emperor, 'Will he?'"

Lamormaini rubbed his temples. He was starting to feel a headache coming on.


"It's all right, Dona Mencia. At least, you will be coming with me. And staying in Munich. Papa insisted on that, so I won't be surrounded by strangers right away. I'm counting that as another blessing." Maria Anna waved her rosary.

"Do you have a full decade of blessings, yet?"

"Almost. Nearly." Maria Anna jiggled her rosary, pulled her skirts up, and sat down on a hassock, dropping them behind her. Frau Stecher had been harping again on the amount of work that was involved in pressing her everyday clothing while the dressers and seamstresses were so busy putting together a new trousseau, so she had been avoiding chairs the last few days. There just wasn't any way to keep from wrinkling fabric if a person sat down in a chair. "I've also added that at least Uncle Max won't ever take a mistress-well, the odds are really against it, since he was faithful to Tante Elisabeth Renata for all their lives. So I won't have that problem to contend with, the way most of the French queens have done."

Dona Mencia de Mendoza nodded.

"Nor mignons, the way Anne of Austria has had to do in France. And the English king's Danish mother did."

Dona Mencia winked. "Is that one blessing or two?"

Maria Anna put on a serious face. "One, I think. At least, I don't know of any kings who have had both mistresses and mignons. That's not the same thing as a king just having a favorite. Nobody has ever accused the Count-Duke of Olivares of being a mignon. Just a really close adviser. I think." She looked across the room. "You know more about the Spanish court than I do. Mariana wouldn't ever say, of course, even if she did. She's very loyal to her brother."

"The count-duke is King Philip's close adviser and favorite. Only." Dona Mencia's tone of voice was firm.

"That's… reassuring."

Dona Mencia decided not to mention Philip of Spain's various mistresses. None of them were quasi-official court figures the way French royal mistresses tended to be.

Maria Anna stretched her arms. "It will be easier in Bavaria, then, from all that I've heard, than it is for some new wives. Strict and formal, of course. Uncle Max has political and military advisers and he's very close to Uncle Albrecht, too, but… not anything else."

"Nothing else. Not even a rumor of anything else."

"And Uncle Max has an excellent library."


"And a wonderful art collection."


"There are beautiful churches in Munich."

Another nod.

"Excellent preachers, too. And I'll have my own confessor. How many is that?"

"How many what?"

"Blessings. 'No mistresses or mignons ' is the fifth. Library is the sixth. Art is the seventh. If I can count churches, preachers, and my own confessor separately, that would make the decade. Is that quite fair? Aren't they really just one, altogether? And don't they really all belong under my first blessing, that Bavaria is Catholic? That at least I am going to a Catholic principality? Maybe these are just… subheadings."

"Don't create unnecessary scruples," Dona Mencia warned.

"I won't." Maria Anna nodded. "I'll try to think of more, different, blessings, though. For instance, since Leopold Wilhelm is bishop of Passau, I will see one of my brothers after my marriage. At least occasionally. That makes an eighth separate blessing. I only need two more."

Chapter 7

Miles Bellicosus

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

Gustav Adolf's regent in the Upper Palatinate and his general assigned to the same principality were having a private discussion.

Duke Ernst's private secretary, Johann Heinrich Bocler, was seated behind his employer and taking meticulous notes. He sat in on all of his employer's meetings, at least those that he knew about, and always took careful notes-perhaps even unnecessarily extensive, given that they included marginal comments. But Bocler had been born in the utterly insignificant little town of Cornheim in Franconia, son of a Lutheran pastor and grandson of a high school principal. Today, in March of 1634, he found himself in a plum post that most twenty-three-year-olds could only dream of obtaining. So, better to err on the side of caution.

Thank you, Professor Bernegger; thank you, historical faculty of the University of Strassburg; I pledge upon my honor to be worthy of your trust. He intended these notes not only for the duke's current use, but also as the basis for a history of the exciting events of this great war which he hoped would, some day, make him as immortally famous as Caesar or Livy, Suetonius or Tacitus.

Bocler pursed his lips primly and invented yet one more shorthand substitute for the… colorful -not to say blasphemous and scatological-terms that peppered General Johan Baner's vocabulary. Bocler was a bit of a prig. His father and grandfather would have been proud of him.

"If I don't get out of this godforsaken Upper Palatinate, my troops will mutiny. They are fighters. I have no talent for keeping the men happy when they are in quarters doing goddamned near nothing. Or, at least, not much." Baner slammed his tankard of beer down on the dual-purpose breakfast and card table in the conference room in Amberg castle, which was serving the regency of the Upper Palatinate as a capitol building.

Duke Ernst of Saxe-Weimar had been serving as Gustav Adolf's regent in the province-the Oberpfalz or Upper Palatinate, as contrasted with the Rhine or Electoral Palatinate-since late the previous summer. Technically, he was governing in the name of young Karl Ludwig, the rightful ruler, who was in polite and comfortable imprisonment in the Spanish Netherlands at the moment. He had been appointed by Gustav Adolf and was, as everyone knew perfectly well, managing the region on behalf of the USE. That he was acting for Karl Ludwig had been retained as a polite fiction, however. It was also a useful one, particularly since the USE did not choose to recognize Ferdinand II's 1628 transfer of the Palatinate's electoral vote to the other branch of the House of Wittelsbach in the person of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. In a pinch, if Ferdinand II summoned a diet for the purpose of getting his son elected as King of the Romans, Duke Ernst could challenge, on behalf of Karl Ludwig, Duke Maximilian's right to vote, which could tie it up in procedural wrangling for a long time. Long enough, perhaps that Ferdinand might die before the electors designated his son as his successor.

Well-a man could always hope.

Duke Ernst knew that Baner had his men constantly practicing innovative tactics involving fighting retreats and winter campaigning. He looked at his colleague reproachfully.

"General, you are fully aware of why you and your regiments must remain stationed in the Upper Palatinate. Your presence here is necessary to guard against any Bavarian incursions across the Danube. Even more, the threat caused by your presence along the Danube keeps Duke Maximilian's troops tied in place, so that he cannot bring them to the assistance of the Austrians against Wallenstein in Bohemia-nor to the League of Ostend against whom our monarch is waging war in the Baltic. Your task here is not the one which you have just described as 'doing nothing.'" His face grew a bit tight. "Accompanied, I fear I must say, by a blasphemy that is not acceptable in polite discourse, and which I do not propose to repeat."

He decided an additional remark was called for here. "Moreover," he added, "your troops are being paid. Not as much as they might like, but regularly. That appreciably reduces the immediate risk of mutiny."

"Appreciably! Immediate! You know, Your Grace, you have some adverb or adjective just dripping with pious cant that puts a condition on everything you say," Baner said, all but sneering openly. "The whole Upper Palatinate is an overused cesspit as far as I am concerned! Particularly since my troops, during this winter of 1633-1634, are neither quartered upon the townspeople, whose stores they could eat up, nor allowed to exact more than very limited and rationed contributions, which my honored regent does not permit them to collect themselves-with whatever supplements they might bring in during the process-but is obtaining through contractors with the souls of stiff-necked, constipated bookkeepers and accountants. Calvinist bookkeepers and accountants. Walloons, most of them. Or Genevans!"

"The honored regent, as you call me, feels obliged to point out that Frederick V of the Palatinate and erstwhile Winter King of Bohemia, whose political ambitions were the immediate trigger of this great war, was a Calvinist-whether you like it or I like it. As is his son Karl Ludwig; so far, at least. It seems only reasonable, therefore, to employ at least a moderate number of Calvinists in the administration of the province. If I engaged only fellow Lutherans in this region, it would cause hard feelings unnecessarily."

He leaned back in his chair and continued, in a somewhat milder tone. "The Upper Palatinate is not only that which you rendered so unacceptably as 'an overused cesspit.' Although there are times that I too have been tempted to consider it almost ungovernable-if only because there are three sets of legal claimants, duly but separately appointed or authorized by its former Lutheran, Calvinist, and Catholic rulers respectively, to almost every piece of property within its borders. Nonetheless, it has industrial resources that are crucial to the technology of the up-timers. That are, therefore, crucial to the war effort being waged by Gustav Adolf. Who is, if I may remind you once more, your king as well as my emperor, the emperor of the USE. The presence and protection of your troops is necessary if we are to restore the mines to full production. Otherwise, a raid from Austria or Bavaria could destroy the infrastructure once more, just as effectively-and just as fast-as Tilly and Mansfeld, between them, destroyed it during this past decade."

Baner, alas, was nothing if not stubborn. He was none too heavily burdened with respect for his superiors, either. "If the king-or, more likely that tight-assed young Torstensson-wants the artillery that might be manufactured from the ore produced by the Upper Palatinate's mines, smelted with the Upper Palatinate's charcoal, and processed in the Upper Palatinate's hammer-mills, then"-here his fist slammed the table-"it should be that fucking Torstensson's troops who get stuck with the hell-designed duties such as protecting mines, assholes, smelters, latrines, hammer-mills, and chamber-pots."

He planted his hands on the armrests of his chair, leaned back, and glared at Duke Ernst. "While real cavalrymen get on with the process of fighting battles."

The two men, odd couple though they might be, had learned a lot from one another in the past several months. They had conducted variations on this conversation so frequently that Duke Ernst didn't even pause.

"We have to consider the problems presented by the other Upper Palatine territories, as well, especially Leuchtenberg. Duke Maximilian's brother is married to the sister of the landgrave of Leuchtenberg. Her brother and nephews fled into Bavaria when we came through on our way to Regensburg."

Baner snorted. "Of course we fucking occupied the whole region! There's really no practical way to conquer part of the squares on a game board and pass by the others."

Duke Ernst ignored him and looked at Bocler. "For your notes. Wolfgang Wilhelm is the duke of Pfalz-Neuburg. He married Duke Maximilian's sister in 1613 and converted to Catholicism in the expedient hope that it would enhance his maternal inheritance expectations in Julich and Cleves. He's been in Dusseldorf for years now. For our purposes, even though his Bavarian duchess has been dead for five years and he has remarried, he's still basically Maximilian's client. Especially since he's got the Bavarian duke's brother, Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne, looking over his shoulder."

The young secretary nodded gratefully. He was learning fast, but he still was nowhere as close to being on top of the political developments of the past quarter century as his employer, who had been born to the job.

Duke Ernst was still dictating. "Wolfgang Wilhelm, seems, for the moment, to have no immediate intentions of undertaking military action to reclaim those parts of his Neuburg lands that are up here, north of the Danube, intermixed with those of the Upper Palatinate. That's probably because Gustav's main theater of military operation this spring and summer will be against the League of Ostend in the north and thus uncomfortably close to Wolfgang's lands on the lower Rhine and Dusseldorf itself. However, his local administrators are still in place in the Neuburg lands south of the Danube and he has filed a complaint against us with the Imperial Supreme Court on grounds that we have 'unjustifiably dispossessed' him of the north-Danubian lands that interpenetrate those of the Upper Palatinate."

Bocler mentally thanked his father for making him learn shorthand, because Duke Ernst wasn't even pausing between sentences.

"And, I expect, whether the acknowledged emperor of the Germanies be Swedish or Austrian, Lutheran or Catholic, in Magdeburg or Vienna, the imperial chamber court will hear the case. But what is immediately important to us as we sit in Amberg is that most certainly, given the slightest chance, Duke Maximilian will seize upon Wolfgang Wilhelm's grievances as an excuse to invade the Upper Palatinate, citing noble defense of the unjustly dispossessed as the casus belli of a just war."

Baner chimed in. "You can add to your notes that Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm of Pfalz-Neuburg is a son of a bitch-or would be, if his mother hadn't been a perfectly respectable woman. Still, he qualifies as a son of a bitch even though his mother was impeccably virtuous. His character has the kind of son-of-a-bitchiness that overrides such minor impediments. He-"

"What do you think of his brothers-the Lutheran dukes of the Junge-Pfalz? August at Sulzbach-well, he died a couple of years ago, so it's his widow as regent-and Johann Friedrich at Hilpoltstein?" Duke Ernst interrupted Baner's spiel with some apparently genuine curiosity. These cadets of the Pfalz-Neuburg ruling house held appanages, independently-administered lands that checkerboarded with those of the Upper Palatinate. Bocler knew that he dealt with them, or, at least, with their officials, on an almost daily basis.

"Honestly?" Baner asked. "I think that the 'ruling high nobility' of all of these crappy bits and pieces of the Palatinate would be a lot improved if someone did to them what the kings of Sweden did to their own nobility two generations ago. Namely, chop off their shitting heads. And keep chopping until the ones left alive become useful servants of the crown instead of hopped-up would-be-independent rulers. The Danes started that bloodbath method, I'll admit, the fucking bastards. They had all four of my great-grandfathers killed for being Swedish patriots. If I have anything to say about the peace settlement after the war, I'd be sending plenty of Danes to the chopping block, believe you me."

The general was in full tirade mode, now. Obviously recognizing the signs, Duke Ernst just settled back in his chair. There'd be no way to interrupt him at this point, until the choleric fellow got it all out.

"But whether it was shithead Danes who came up with the idea or not, it's still a good idea. Our native Vasa dynasty-my kinsmen, mind you-later had all sorts of petty kinglets and would-be kinglets and the like nicely shortened. You herd a hundred or so of these miserable Palatine Freiherren to me and I'll do you the same favor. Turn this running asshole of a place into something that looks like a country instead of this little mini-state here and that little mini-state there."

"Oh," Duke Ernst said. His tone was carefully non-committal.

Bocler had been taking shorthand "a mile a minute" as the up-timers put it. After the, "Oh," there was a pause, during which his mind wandered. He wished he knew what Duke Ernst was thinking. Although the Wettin family were natives of Thuringia and Saxony rather than of the Palatinate, there was little doubt in Bocler's mind that it probably fell into Baner's category of should-be-choppees. Particularly Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, of course, given that he was a traitor who had taken service with the French.

But the other Saxe-Weimar brothers were, more or less voluntarily, serving Gustavus II Adolphus because he appeared to offer the best option available to them as former Protestant rulers. Wilhelm had even abdicated his title as duke and become plain Wilhelm Wettin in order to run for the House of Commons in the USE's new Parliament. Even so, they were still nobles by up-bringing and temperament. This was always clear to Bocler, considering that he himself certainly was not.

While Wilhelm and Ernst had agreed rather gracefully when the up-timers "slid" Saxe-Weimar itself into the New United States, Wilhelm had been more than compensated-from the gritty standpoint of economics-by Gustav's giving him the Eichsfeld to administer. Ernst, through his long-standing betrothal to the little heiress of Saxe-Altenburg, had prospects for a prosperous future as well, presuming that she survived for a few more years and reached marriageable age. Plus, their brother Albrecht had stayed home to cultivate their remaining economic interests and private property in what had once been an independent Saxe-Weimar.

"Oh," the duke said again. Whatever he might have been thinking after Baner's diatribe, he introduced a change of subject-matter. "You asked for this special meeting," he said. "What is the topic?"

Bocler snapped to attention, pencil at the ready.

"I want to take Ingolstadt," Baner said baldly. "Letting the Bavarians keep a garrisoned fortress on the north bank of the Danube is a boil on our rump. And a danger to Horn's flank in Swabia. Which means that it's a threat to the king. I'm sick of it. And my men damned well need something more to do. I'm tired of having half my available men just sitting there, investing it. That bridge, the way the piers are built, is practically indestructible. Even when we manage to get rid of the planking temporarily-which, believe me, is not easy-we know perfectly well that it's being re-provisioned almost every night by those fleets of little boats that run through those multiple channels of the river to the south. And if you want us to keep the Bavarians off Wallenstein's back and make sure Maximilian is too busy to invade the Upper Palatinate this summer, a major campaign at Ingolstadt will give them something else to think about-actually pull Max's troops to the west, probably. A fair number of them, anyway."

"I am sure," Duke Ernst said judiciously, "that the fact that we hold Regensburg is just as much of an irritant to the Bavarians as their possession of Ingolstadt is to us."

Baner glared. He was not by temperament favorably inclined toward an even-handed, fair-minded assessment of the rights and wrongs of the military situation. From his standpoint, the ideal situation would be for Sweden to have every military stronghold in the Germanies firmly within its grasp.

"If you take all the rest of your regulars-or most of them-to Ingolstadt, what do I do about the rest of the borders?" asked the duke. "I'm still not so sure that we were smart to take that neck of hill and forest running down from Regensburg to Passau, just because it was north of the Danube and just because we could, right then, since the Bavarians were in full retreat after we took Regensburg. Admittedly, it's one of the few things that we've done that actually helps Wallenstein-giving him a fairly secure southwestern border against the USE rather than against the Bavarians as far down as Passau. But it's not an easy place to patrol. Plus the whole river, from Donauworth to Passau. That's two hundred fifty miles by itself. Not counting the twists and turns."

Duke Ernst assumed a righteous expression-one that came to him rather easily because of extensive practice.

Baner's countering expression was closer to "Gotcha!"

"Hill and forest, you say? Then use your oh-so-valuable hillbillies and foresters. River bank, you say? Then use your precious river rats and their barges. Don't look so sanctimoniously at me, Duke. I know what you've been doing, training whole squads of non-soldiers to patrol the regions they know best. And you've been doing it because you fucking well believe that the first chance I have, I'm going to pull out of this twice-damned, thrice-cursed, totally-abandoned-by-God place and get my men back to my king and his war in the Baltic, which is where I belong and where I might, just might, have a chance to get a fucking promotion. Which is what I am going to do. For a general, it is a thoroughly career-destroying move to be stuck in a backwater where nothing is going boom. Be grateful that I'm solving Ingolstadt for you first."

Baner drained his tankard and stood up without the regent's permission.

Duke Ernst was used to that.

The general slammed the door on his way out.

Duke Ernst was used to that, too.

As Bocler duly noted in the margin. Of course, the clean copies of the minutes that he submitted to the duke never included his marginal notes.

Chapter 8

Idea Boni Principis

Duke Ernst rested his forehead upon his hands. Being a Lutheran, he did not believe in purgatory. He did, however, suspect that purgatory would not have been a necessity for even a Catholic, presuming that said Catholic was upright and God-fearing otherwise than in the matter of being a Papist, who was assigned to work with Johan Baner. Baner provided purgatory on earth.

Nonetheless, he admonished himself, he could not let his distaste for the man impede him from performing his duties. He had a job to do. Clearly, with young Karl Ludwig being a minor, there had to be a regency. The USE had certainly not wanted to see Ferdinand II establish an imperial regency for the boy. Which he might have tried, if he could have persuaded Don Fernando to transfer custody when he first captured the Winter King's widow and children.

But, worse, Don Fernando might try some version what the Spanish had done to William the Silent's oldest son. They had abducted him to Spain when he was fourteen, converted him to Catholicism, and kept him, basically, as a hostage against his father and brothers for fifty years. Only the mercy of God had granted that his marriage had been sterile-Fredrik Hendrik did not, right now, need to contend with Spanish-sponsored claimants from a senior line of the House of Orange.

If Don Fernando tried hard enough, with tutors, with the insidiously seductive plays and spectacles, with gestures of friendship, feigned or genuine, Karl Ludwig, at sixteen, might actually become a convert to Papistry. God preserve us all. Then how could the king reasonably refuse to reinstate him in his lands?

So, Gustav Adolf had sent him here, telling him to work with the cadet, Protestant, counts of Pfalz-Neuberg to set up a system that would be terribly hard for a hot-headed young count Palatine to mess with if the Spanish and imperials succeeded in converting Karl Ludwig and in a few years sent him to claim his hereditary property.

Lifting his head, he turned. "Just what we don't need," he muttered to Bocler. "A young bigot on the model of Maximilian or Ferdinand II, planted on the north bank of the Danube and both banks of the Rhine."

Bocler seriously wished that he had been able to take notes on whatever train of thought that had led Duke Ernst to that comment. But now the duke was saying, in his normal tone of voice, "Please prepare a memorandum for General Baner, reminding him that John George of Saxony has employed Heinrich Holk. If John George should, for some reason, decide to send Holk's men south toward us, rather than east toward Bohemia, the general and his regular troops will have plenty to do. Especially if, at the same time, Maximilian should decide to come north or Ferdinand should decide to come west."

Then he spoke rather shortly. "Find Zincgref," he ordered.


After a half-dozen false starts-Julius Wilhelm Zincgref was not in his own apartments, not in the breakfast room, had not been seen by the clerical staff, and the like-Bocler finally found him in the exercise room, watching Erik Haakansson Hand work out.

Zincgref spent a fair amount of his time doing that. Hand, or more precisely, Hand's mother, was a cousin of the king of Sweden. Illegitimate, to be sure, an acknowledged daughter of Eric XIV by one of his mistresses. Zincgref, who harbored a passionate desire to produce a best selling neo-Latin epic poem glorifying the Lion of the North, spent a great deal of time trying to learn more about the omens of greatness that must have clustered around the monarch in childhood.

Hand couldn't seem to think of many. He was only a year or so older than the king, about forty, so his memories of the glorious ruler's infancy were, not surprisingly, rather vague. He had grown up in Germany as a page in the court of one of the dukes Mecklenburg; then learned his trade in the lifeguard regiment of Maurice of Nassau; then started as a lieutenant in the Smalands infantry in 1615. Captain in 1617; major in 1628; colonel of the Ostergotland infantry in 1628. In 1631, he had been with the king at Breitenfeld and at the crossing of the Lech; at Alte Veste, he had commanded a full brigade, the Ostgota, Jonkoping, and Skaraborg regiments, against Wallenstein. He had been severely wounded, left behind as dead or dying, in the fall of 1632 when the Swedes swept past Ingolstadt, into the Upper Palatinate, in pursuit of the Bavarians.

He had survived. He spent most of his free time, when he wasn't training the men who were training and would train the Upper Palatinate's local militias, in the exercise rooms, determined to regain as much function as possible. It seemed unlikely that he would serve his king in the field again. Today he was talking to Zincgref about his family and about service: his brother Knut, killed in Russia in 1614; his brother Arvid, killed in action at Riga, in Latvia, in 1621. His brother Jan was still alive, though, as were his three brothers-in-law.

"They haven't managed to do us in yet," Hand was saying.

Bocler had been unable to determine, thus far, whether Hand regarded Zincgref's persistent questioning as a nuisance or a way to pass the time. Surely, Bocler thought, it could not be interesting to spend hour after hour with one's right hand in a grip attached to a heavy bar, suspended from the ceiling on chains, which one was trying to move back and forth. But the curve of the bar, marked upon the wall, was longer this morning that it had been last week. In pulling it toward his chest, Hand had gained an inch; in pushing it away, nearly two. Some day, perhaps, the colonel would be able to straighten his right arm again.


While his secretary was out of the room in search of the elusive Zincgref, Duke Ernst crossed his arms on the table and put his head down. He had already been up for six hours, which equaled the number of hours that he had slept the night before.

There was a lot to do in the Upper Palatinate after a dozen years of war and devastation. He was quite prepared to do it: to reorganize, to reconstruct, to locate settlers for abandoned lands and try to find businessmen who were willing to invest in a place that had proved to offer a very chancy return. He would not do it with the political flair of his brother Wilhelm, perhaps, but he was willing to do it. In fact, he rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to create a model administrative system, without having to deal with co-regents. He and his brothers had governed Saxe-Weimar as a committee.

Even without an outright military invasion going on, he spent a lot of time thinking about how he would cope if Baner and his army weren't there. Basically, Duke Ernst was of the opinion that General Baner tended to be too impatient. The nature of the war, thus far, was such that if a man stayed in one place, particularly in a strategically located place such as the Upper Palatinate, the war would come and find him. He thought that he might be able to manage to hold, at least. Not with the genius of his brother Bernhard-damn his arrogance and ambition-but to hold, long enough for somebody else to come to the rescue. That would have to do. He was willing to try.

His head was pillowed on the printed edition of the full transcript of the minutes of the Rudolstadt Colloquy. He had read it, all of it, several times, along with the C.F.W. Walther speech. The king of Sweden expected him to turn a province full of cynics- people who under the provisions of cuius regio hadn't had a full generation as Catholic, Calvinist, or Lutheran for the past century-back into devout Lutherans. The Peace of Augsburg, made between the Holy Roman Emperor and the German princes in 1555, had established the right of the ruler in each principality of the Germanies to determine the religion of his subjects-well, within the limits of whether that religion would be Catholic or Lutheran. Calvinism had not been included, much less the sectarians. Unquestionably, in the eighty years since then, the rulers of the Palatinate had changed their minds more than most, and several had, contrary to the 1555 agreement, become Calvinists and determined that their subjects should be Calvinist as well.

In the abstract, it would be desirable for all the subjects and residents of the Upper Palatinate to be Lutheran, of course. Duke Ernst had no doubt of that. Lutheranism was right, and the doctrinal positions of other faiths, when they differed from Lutheranism, were wrong. The basic principle was quite clear to him. But accomplishing Gustav Adolf's goal was simply impossible.

At least, it was impossible without employing the ruthlessness that had marked the enforcement of Catholicism by the version of the Counter-Reformation that Maximilian and Ferdinand II had imposed in Bavaria and Austria-Bohemia. Should he quarter Baner's troops on Catholic subjects who were unwilling to become Lutheran, as Maximilian had quartered Bavarian troops on Calvinists who were unwilling to become Catholic? At a minimum, that level of repressive action would seriously interfere with both economic reconstruction and military security. Not to mention that the American up-timers who were so important to Gustav Adolf's plans would be sure to raise a storm of protest.

Ernst asked himself what he was willing to try. After all, everything should be done decently and in order; that was the fundamental principle of existence. What was decent and orderly? The Lutheran counts of the Junge-Pfalz, the younger brothers of Wolfgang Wilhelm, were suggesting a parity arrangement, by which they would tolerate the practice of both Lutheranism and Catholicism, with a shared use of church property.

How did one translate the principle of decency and order into practice without driving even more people out than had already been driven out? Especially when the current rightful ruler, acknowledged to be so by Gustav Adolf, was a Calvinist-a member of a church that had never been included within the provisions of the Peace of Augsburg. In that, the Junge-Pfalz had it easy-they weren't trying to design a polity that would encompass Calvinism. Especially, how did one establish a system of ecclesiastical polity that embodied the principles of decency and order when the rightful, and currently Calvinist, ruler, under the emperor of the USE, might become a Catholic-a member of a church that was one of the signatories to the provisions of the Peace of Augsburg?

Would it be wrong of him to do his experimenting with the up-time "no established church" idea on somebody else's subjects? That is, on those of young Karl Ludwig? There was no point in making a universal principal of it, of course. The king of Sweden would have no reason to institute such an order in his own lands; they were solidly Lutheran. For that matter, until these latest developments, the Wettins would have had no reason to try it with the both solid and stolid population of Lutherans in their Thuringian lands. But should he try it on this inchoate mix of Calvinists, Lutherans, and Catholics, few of whom really knew what they were any more and all too many of whom appeared to be willing to lay claim to any ecclesiastical allegiance that might bolster their wide variety of property claims?

Perhaps he could try it. But not without money. General Baner was constantly nagging him for more money to support the army, but everything else that needed to be done required money, too. The mines, for example, had continuing problems from the destruction wreaked by Tilly and Mansfeld in the 1620s and early 1630s. They needed pumps; they needed to reopen the shafts when the pumps arrived; they needed transportation to bring the ore out. As manager of the elector's very large share of the joint stock company that financed the iron mines, a major part of his economic development work would be to get them back into full production.

There were reasons that Bavaria had been so greedy for the lands of the Upper Palatinate. Always, historically, these hills had furnished the financial basis for the wealth of the Palatine electors. They had produced raw materials-above all, iron. Amberg, the administrative residence, was also the center of a landscape that had, for centuries, been marked by mines and smelters. Before the war, its economic ties had extended not only into Bohemia, but also into the great mercantile cities: Regensburg and Nurnberg prime among them. The principality had traded iron for Bohemian tin; had prepared the ore for export as pig iron; had produced multiple types of wrought iron and cast iron products, as large as ship's anchors, exporting them to Venice and other ports. When he had arrived, these were gone; all gone. Mansfeld's marauders; Tilly's plunderers. Iron production had fallen to almost nothing by 1632.

His first major project had been to find out just what the resources were. It wasn't that the prior rulers hadn't kept records. Most certainly they had. But in the nearly fifteen years of war-driven chaos, they had all become obsolete; many files had been damaged or destroyed, burned or stolen; the men who knew how the indexes worked and what all the symbols meant had been driven out during the years that Maximilian of Bavaria held the country. People listed as landholders were frequently fled or dead. Businesses that were listed on tax assessment lists had been burned or smashed, the walls fallen into the basements; their owners also, very often, fled or dead. He scarcely had enough personnel to keep track of the real estate transactions; every piece of property needed to be reassessed; thousands of titles needed to be cleared. For the past six months, his staff had been crossing the territory; questioning the former Amtmaenner and Bavarian Pfleggerichter when they could be found, distributing questionnaires.


There was a knock on the door. Duke Ernst lifted his head and said, "Enter." Bocler came in with Zincgref. Duke Ernst did not underestimate himself, but he knew his limitations. Hard-working, conscientious, serious, and competent, "willing to do it" and "willing to try," were qualities that some people-in fact, quite a lot of people-found to be ultimately boring. He had hired a public relations man.

Zincgref was having trouble getting with the program. Neo-Latin poetry-that he could furnish almost with a wave of his hand. Admonitions to patriotism and bravery in German-a cinch. A blistering anti-Catholic polemic in either language-be my guest. A product of the late humanist circle at the University of Heidelberg, he had fifteen years of experience as a propagandist for the Palatinate, after all. But…

"Do I understand Your Grace correctly?" he asked carefully. "You want me to write an inspirational poem, in German, by tomorrow? It is to be called Der Fragebogen? It is to persuade the residents of the Upper Palatinate of the value of filling out questionnaires completely and fully? And it is to be amusing, so the people will willingly read it? Will, in fact, recite it out loud to one another in taverns and inns?"

"Precisely," said the regent.

Bocler included a summary of the instructions in his notes.

Chapter 9

Corona Conflagrens

Grantville, State of Thuringia-Franconia

It was Ash Wednesday. Athanasius Kircher, S.J., substituting for Father Larry Mazzare at the parish of St. Mary's, had made a place in his schedule, on one of the busiest days of the church year, for the three women. When Bernadette Adducci had called for an appointment, she had asked specifically that it be on Ash Wednesday. Not, as the up-timers normally asked, for an appointment on a certain day of the month. She had referenced the liturgical calendar.

He had made it his business to find something out about each of the three women who would be coming. Between running the parish, even with three curates to assist, and teaching at the high school, he did not know Father Mazzare's parishioners as well as he should. It had been-impressive. It appeared that among the up-timers, families of the middle classes, ordinary businessmen and sometimes even manual workers, educated their daughters as carefully as the down-time high nobility. Granted the absence of Latin and Greek-one always had to make allowance for the absence of classical languages among the Grantvillers.

He looked out the window. The three women had arrived.


"Miss Adducci, Miss Constantinault, Miss Mastroianni," he said, by way of a greeting.

Kircher noticed that Bernadette Adducci had a book in her hand. Presumably one of her own, that had not been wanted for the state library, or that she had needed for her daily work. Kircher refreshed his mind. In her mid-forties, she worked for the police department as their "juvenile officer" specializing in transgressions by, and against, children. She had an advanced degree, not in any field that was a subject of university study in his day, but she was a magister. Magistra? The word fell strangely on his ears. Her brother, Tony, the state treasurer, he knew fairly well.

She handed him the book. Over a hundred pages. Several entries on each page; for each a picture of a woman in a habit and short description. Women's religious orders as they had existed in the United States of America in-he flipped to the front-the 1950s. A half century before the Ring of Fire occurred. The four women sat quietly while he looked at it.

Finally, Miss Adducci spoke. "I entered the Daughters of Charity founded by Vincent de Paul when I was twenty years old; I left, not because of any scandal, when I was thirty-three."

She had not said, "St. Vincent de Paul." Did she think that Larry Mazzare would not have shared the original name of Grantville's parish with his assistants?

Her next question confused him. "Have you read any of Simon Jones' detective stories?" He assured her that he had read several.

"There was-is-a series that I love. An elderly nun who was a detective. Sister Mary Theresa Dempsey. I can lend you a couple of the books, if you might possibly have time to read them. I mostly borrowed them from the library, when I was working in Pittsburgh, but I bought a few in paperback that the library never got in."

Kircher noted the wryness of her smile. She was continuing. "There was one young nun in that house, among the elderly women. In one book of the series, she remarked that when she entered the order, one of her relatives had commented that she was 'climbing aboard a sinking ship.' The women's religious orders in the United States were a sinking ship. It happened in a half century, between when that was published,"-she gestured at the book in his hand-"and the time the Ring of Fire happened."

He maintained his silence. After a pause, she continued.

"Do you want to know why?"

He nodded.

"I can't answer for everyone. In part, probably, it was that there were other opportunities-the same reason that fewer women were going into elementary school teaching and nursing. But. I entered the order wanting to give a hundred percent of what I was capable, or more. By the early 1980s, though, so few young women were entering that the superiors seemed to be afraid of frightening them away. They never seemed to require more than eighty-five percent. Oh, I might have found it somewhere else. I could have asked for a transfer. In Calcutta, I am sure, Mother Teresa could have found a sufficiently strenuous job for me. But I was American; it was selfish, perhaps, but I didn't want to go so far from my family. So, what did I do? I left the order and went into social work. In social work, I assure you, Father Kircher, a person can give more than a hundred ten percent for a lifetime and still see a gaping black hole of unmet needs before her."

Kircher wondered idly what a "black hole" might be. A pit, perhaps? An abyss? Miss Adducci appeared to have said all that she intended to say. Miss Mastroianni gestured, an understandable request for permission to speak. He had noticed that many of his students used the same one and she was a teacher, a woman about thirty. He nodded.

"We've never had a house of sisters in Grantville, Father Kircher. The town could use one, now. Not the kind you're used to; women enclosed inside walls. Not contemplative. The active kind that Bernadette is talking about. All we're asking is that you think about it. If you could look at the book-see what sisters did? There's so much that we could do."

Kircher's fingers met one another. He placed his chin on them. "And the three of you are doing nothing now?"

One of the other women rose. Miss Constantinault; just appointed the chief of staff of the state court system for all of the state of Thuringia-Franconia, trained as an administrator and, to some limited extent, in the law. She looked at him sharply and said, "Not as a group-not as a unit. And not," she pointed to the "AMDG" motto on the wall of his office, "to the greater glory of God. That's why I came along. Because that is why we should be doing things."

"I will," he heard himself saying, "look at your book. Carefully."

The three women rose. "We know that you have a lot to do today," Bernadette Adducci said. "That is all we ask. Shall we plan to meet again after Easter?"


"There is no reason why I should not go now. There are many reasons that I should go now." Veronica Dreeson looked at her husband. Not mulishly. She did not want to look stubborn. She wished to look calmly determined. She wanted an expression of serene dignity. Her prematurely wizened face strained with the effort of assuming one.

All her life, at need, Veronica Schusterin, verw. Richter, verh. Dreeson, had been willing to argue with others when it was needed. Last fall, in Magdeburg, the Abbess of Quedlinburg's approach to life had struck her as a blinding revelation-the elegance of it. The Abbess almost never argued with anyone, because she simply assumed that no one would contradict her wishes and acted upon that assumption. Even amid the sorrow of her grandson Hans' death, Veronica had filed away in her mind the general usefulness of this approach to getting one's own way. If one could manage it.

Another tactic. "I have a letter of recommendation from the king of Sweden himself. Or," she added conscientiously, "at least one with his signature on it, though that may have been added by one of his secretaries. It introduces me to his regent in the Upper Palatinate. It requests him to assist me in obtaining a resolution of our just claims to Johann Stephan's property. So, clearly, I should go while the regent whom he named is still holding the office."

Then, to clinch the deal. "We need the money." She sat quietly. Henry could not argue with that.

Henry was doing what he called "cogitating." Ronnie let him cogitate. He knew the truth as well as she did. His salary as mayor was not large; before the Ring of Fire, when it had been only what they called a "part time" job, his salary had not existed at all. He once had a pension, a Social Security; it was gone. Fortunately he had saved money for his retirement; like any city councilman down-time, his civic service had been premised on having sufficient income to "get away from the office" and serve the public good.

The savings had come through the Ring of Fire, but they were gone. Oh, if there had been only the two of them, with his salary, her business, and the little coming in here and there from the real estate, there would have been plenty.

There were far more than two of them. Gretchen, amazingly enough, was famous now. But fame, especially fame gained by giving speeches urging other people to revolt against their superiors, did not pay many bills. At the beginning, Jeff and his friends had helped. But Jeff, Gretchen, and, presumably, Jeff's pay from the army, were now in Amsterdam, far away in the Netherlands. If Jeff's pay was not arriving in Amsterdam via letter of credit, Veronica did not have the slightest idea how the two of them were paying for their food, and rooms, and replacing shoes that wore out, and all the other necessities that came with prolonged travel, but it wasn't something that she could do anything about.

Jimmy was in Amsterdam too, presumably with his pay also arriving there. Eddie was a captive in Denmark; she didn't know where his pay was. Not in the Dreesons' bank account, certainly. She hoped that the navy bookkeepers in Magdeburg were saving it for him. Larry and Hans-she blinked quickly-had died bravely. But they weren't being paid any more. Neither of them had had legal dependents.

The other children, from Annalise on down, were still in school. She felt her face tightening into a slightly grimmer expression, in spite of her efforts to remain tranquil. What was more, Annalise would stay in school. Annalise, no matter how much she protested the matter, was going to college. She would be a member of the first class of the new women's college at Quedlinburg. And her grandmother would, somewhere, find the money to pay for it. Veronica had learned a lot, these last months, about the cost of tuition at such a school for the daughters of the elite and wealthy, the patricians, the great merchants, and the nobles. It was only reasonable that her dead husband Johann Stephan's property, if anything were left of it, should pay for his granddaughter's education.

The question of who would pay for the education of the other children as they grew older, and how, could rest for the moment. If Gretchen and Jeff returned from Amsterdam-that was an if; she would not delude herself that it was no more than a when -then she could give that problem back to them. If they did not return…

She looked across the room at Henry. He shifted in his chair. His hip was bothering him again, she could tell. If Gretchen and Jeff did not return, she hoped that the schools would be doing very, very well in another ten years. She would need every Pfennig of the income from her business.

Veronica leaned over the side of her arm chair, reaching into her widely recognized tote bag. Come to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it proclaimed, with a large picture of a harlequin in costume. "I have an answer from the lawyer to whom I wrote earlier. It is going to be complicated. I want to retrieve anything that I can. I want to ensure that whatever is sold is sold for the maximum price. At least, for the most I can get. The economy is recovering very slowly south of the Thueringerwald. After all, Henry, it is peaceful there now. It is likely to remain peaceful there throughout the summer. Everyone says that this year's action will be to the north. In the Baltic. Where the king of Sweden is."



"We will open the normal school next fall." Mary Simpson, sitting in the conference room of the Magdeburg offices of the Leek family's new down-time IBM corporation (manual typewriters and mechanical adding machines), put only the slightest emphasis on the word "will." "Teacher training is a project that we just have to get started."

Vanessa Clements nodded; so did Livvie Nielsen. Carol Ann Washaw, who was trying to acquire a library for the project, looked more doubtful. She was universally addressed as "Tiny" by the Grantvillers, a nickname which derived not from her present comfortable girth but rather from the size of the preemie she had been back in 1934.

"There isn't any money to open the normal school next fall." Carolyn Rush, Ben Leek's daughter and office manager, shook her head. Carolyn brought a lot of perspective to this project-fifteen years as an administrative aide in the Marion County public school system on top of an undergraduate degree in American history. "Normal schools just aren't glamorous. You can excite the upper nobility and rich merchants about opera, about ballet, libraries, even about these new women's colleges at the Damenstifte. Those have eye appeal. What's the prospect of getting them excited about re-treading hundreds or thousands of middle-aged widows and one-legged or one-armed soldiers into grade school teachers? Zilch."

Mary Simpson shook her head. "There are some. I just need to talk to the right ones. Preferably, in person. Look, Carolyn, you have been working on this long enough now to have gotten over the idea that all of the down-time wealthy get their kicks out of being oppressors of the oppressed."

"I still don't think that we're going to get money for this one, Mary. Definitely not any tax money." Carolyn shook her head. "Even a lot of the people back home in Grantville think that it's the wrong way to handle the problem. Once we get past the crunch of these first few years, they're thinking of college-age kids; of full university educations, like the medical school in Jena. A lot of them lived through the years when the school reformers forced women who just had the two-year normal school degree out of the system. There are women in Grantville who were forced out of the system that way. They see it as a step backwards; not just gearing down, but giving up and saying that we're not going to make it; admitting that we really won't be able to make this work."

Vanessa spoke up. "It's not, really, a lot different than the teacher training program they're starting at the middle school, now that they've finally faced up to the fact that their existing teachers aren't immortal and they'd better start getting some new ones into the pipeline."

"Notice that they aren't calling it a normal school. There's a lot in a name," Tiny answered.

"Well, then." Mary smiled sweetly. "Think of another name. That's the next assignment for the marketing department. That's you, Livvie. Community college; teachers' college. Pick it. Just make sure that the curriculum stays aimed at turning out grade school teachers, K-8. And plan to open on a shoestring. Get Otto Gericke to let you use any unfilled space in the new building for the Magdeburg Gymnasium next year. Admit more people than he gives you space for, to show that the demand is there. While you do that, I'm going to find some money. Real money."

"Where do you intend to get it?" Carolyn raised her eyebrows.

Mary smiled. "From the Wettins; or, at least, through the Wettins, since it appears that we can't get it from parliament. Through the right Wettins. I've been talking to Wilhelm Wettin's uncle, Duke Ludwig of Anhalt-Kothen. He's been very much involved with education reform projects for twenty years or more. Some of them went all the way up to the Reichstag, the Imperial Diet."

"And he," Carolyn pointed out, "couldn't ever get any money appropriated for them, either."

"He says that Wilhelm might be some help, at least with the publicity. The two of them can get the members of their Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft -in spite of 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' why does a name like "Fruit-bearing Society" strike me as hopelessly absurd?-to write letters and poems and such. Newspaper articles. Create a favorable attitude among the intellectual elite." Mary Simpson was not easily swayed.

"Intellectual elites are not noted for having large amounts of excess capital to donate to worthy causes." Carolyn smiled, but it didn't take the sting out of her words.

"They're tutors to the children of people with excess capital; private secretaries to people with excess capital. Atmosphere helps, too. It will contribute to creating the milieu in which the normal school becomes a charity with eye appeal."

"Let's create a milieu in which we have enough money to pay the faculty their first month's wages." Carolyn had a relentless sense of the practical.

Mary pulled another letter out of her purse. "Yes, let's. I just heard from Veronica Dreeson. This summer, she is going to the Upper Palatinate to try to retrieve anything that she can from her first husband's estate. The regent there, Duke Ernst, is Wilhelm Wettin's brother. Everything that I've been able to find out about him says pretty much one thing. For all his life long, the slightest whiff of chalk dust acted on him like the aroma of Chanel No. 5. He was attracted to proposals for educational reform the way moths are attracted by mating pheromones."

"Let me guess," Carolyn said. "Ronnie Dreeson is afraid that if she goes on this trip by herself, Duke Ernst will want to keep her in Amberg to discuss early childhood education rather than letting her get on with the project of getting her money back. She has invited you to come along and talk schools."

"Precisely. And I'm going. I told my husband John that there's absolutely no reason to expect any problems. Everybody says that the action this year will be to the north, against the League of Ostend."



There wasn't any more chaos or racket than was customary in a grade school, but it was seven o'clock in the evening rather than the middle of the day. Keith Pilcher paused in the corridor. There were tutoring sessions in the library; after-care in the gym, and some group was holding a meeting in the cafeteria. There were third-quarter parent-teacher conferences going on in some of the classrooms; in the art room, there were high school girls conducting craft projects for the children whose parents had to bring them along to the conferences because they couldn't find, or couldn't afford, sitters. There were no pipe cleaners; no one was manufacturing crayons yet; but the paper mill in Badenburg now collected the water with which the Stones' dye works cleaned out its pots. Colored construction paper had made a comeback and there was plenty of glue.

Maxine's classroom was at the far end. She had left for school before dawn this morning; he had dropped the kids off on his way to work an hour later. Now she was leading a whole squadron of middle-aged German women in… "You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in and then you shake it all about." Traditional methods of teaching foreign languages had been sacrificed to Grantville's acute need. People learned to speak English painfully slowly when presented with books and rules; they learned English, at least enough to function on a daily basis, remarkably fast when put through nursery rhymes, simple songs, children's games, and other group activities in which any one person's occasional mistakes were neither apparent nor humiliating. "And that's what it's all about ." Maxine finished dancing the hokey-pokey, saw Keith at the door, tossed her shocking pink plastic whistle to Dionne Huffman, and said, "take it from here."

Dionne looked like she still had enough energy to keep going for a couple more hours. She washed the whistle with soap and water at the sink, shook off the excess, said, "All right, everybody," and popped it into her mouth. Its shriek quieted the room. "I'm a little teapot

…" The class was back into shape in less than five minutes.

Keith shook his head as he draped his arm around Maxine's shoulder. Unlike Dionne, he thought, his wife looked worn out. They passed through after-care, collected Megan and Joshua, and headed for home. He had stopped at Cora's to pick up something for supper; starting to cook a meal "from scratch" at eight in the evening was not a bright idea when people had to be up by five or six the next morning. Cora was into creative cooking again, but at least it wasn't zucchini quesadillas. It was some kind of whole-grain barley salad with bits and pieces of vegetables in it, marinaded in oil and vinegar. Weird; not bad, though, with the rye bread from the bakery. Cora's results varied.

The kids went to bed right after supper. They got their homework done in after-care, these days. Keith cleared off the dishes; there were rarely any leftovers to worry about. Maxine was still sitting at the table; he walked up behind her and she lifted her head, resting it against the buckle of his belt. He looked down. Maxine had hated it when her favorite "autumn copper" hair coloring had run out and she had discovered that the hair under it wasn't just the plain mousy brown that it had been when she started using the tint back in high school, but had gone at least half gray. Keith didn't mind; he thought that Max looked fine this way. Thelma had given it a cut that was sort of short and perky. That was the best that he could describe it. She was too skinny, though. She'd always been thin, but now she was way too thin. Probably because she danced the hokey-pokey with German housewives for three hours after school every day. She didn't need what was coming next.

"Max," he said. "Ollie's sending me on that trip."

She turned, buried her face in his stomach, and moaned.

"Hey, honey, it's to your credit, 'cause you made me go and sing German nursery rhymes night after night."

Maxine moaned again.

"We've got to have more iron. We've got to. For guns; for rail; for all the other stuff that will help us hold against the League of Ostend. Every machine shop, up-time and down-time, needs more steel than it's getting, and it doesn't matter how much steel-producing capacity we build up unless we have the raw material for the mills. The mines around here are producing just about as much ore as they can, as fast as they can, with the technology we've been able to give them so far. We've got to get some of the old mines that were destroyed in the war back into production, and that means the Upper Palatinate. That's where the next nearest chance to get our hands on more iron is. At least, the nearest that's pretty securely inside the


Maxine squeezed her arms around his substantial waistline.

"Come on, honey. It's just a business trip. We have a lot of stuff to offer them. Pumps and stationary steam engines to run the pumps. A bit of explosive to open the closed shafts. Improved rail design for the carts, to bring it out faster. I won't be running into any trouble."


Ed Piazza started for home, saw who was on the bench outside his office, and grinned. "Leopold. I didn't know that you were in town."

"I wasn't until this afternoon," Leopold Cavriani answered, leaping up to shake hands. "Be flattered; this is my second stop. The first was to entrust my oldest daughter to the Reverend Wiley and his wife. Idelette is almost seventeen, now. This spring and summer, she will learn your language and ways; the next two years, she will go to school. Then, if all is well, she will train in the office of a businessman. Probably with Count August von Sommersburg's factor. The count has a permanent office here in Grantville, now. His factor has been among you Grantvillers long enough that he is willing to have a daughter of a business partner as one of his apprentices. At least, he says so now. If he does not say so then, why, we shall be flexible." He grinned himself.

Flexible. Flexible could be the Cavriani motto, Ed mused. Aloud, he asked, "So what is our friend the noble concrete bandit up to now?" Sommersburg was not only making a mint from the slate quarries that he owned on the Schwarza river above Grantville, but was also up to his neck in cement, concrete, and related construction projects in Magdeburg.

"Diversification," said Cavriani happily. "Quite a lovely word. I like it almost as much as 'facilitator.'"

"Diversification into…?"

"Mining," said Cavriani. "Mines involve moving so much rock, you know. The count is financing one of your entrepreneurs in an effort to obtain more iron supplies from the Upper Palatinate. That will involve a lot of rock, of course. The count hopes to develop ways in which to make a profit from the by-products of a mining enterprise. By-products that the miners themselves find uninteresting. Waste products."

"'Waste' products that down-time miners find uninteresting, but that might, just possibly, find a market in up-time technology."

"Possibly, just possibly."

"Well," Ed said, "come on home with me for dinner. I'm sure Annabelle can find something extra to put on the table."

As they went down the stairs, Ed asked casually, "Which entrepreneur"?

"Ollie Reardon. He is far too busy to go to the Upper Palatinate himself, of course. He will be sending one of his trusted co-workers. A man named Keith Pilcher. I haven't met him yet. I'm looking forward to the trip. We will be stopping in Nurnberg to pick up my son Marc. He is coming with us. This should be an excellent chance to give him his first real experience in negotiations. A routine matter, to be sure, but he will have a chance to meet some influential people, both up-time and down-time. And the Upper Palatinate seems to be settling down very nicely under Duke Ernst. He can get a first-hand view of how rapidly we can hope for economic reconstruction to proceed once a region is no longer a war zone."


"Bernadette," Maxine Pilcher asked, cornering the juvenile officer in a booth at Cora's during lunch. "What is this all about?"

Bernadette looked at the newspaper. Maxine's attention was fixed on a legal notice which stated that Mrs. Veronica Dreeson had appeared before Judge Maurice Tito with a petition for the legal emancipation of her granddaughter, Miss Anna Elisabetha Richter.

"What is that woman up to now?"

"Don't hope for scandal," Bernadette answered. Grantville had been considerably enlivened for the past three years by occasional flare-ups when the divergent educational philosophies of Ronnie Dreeson and Maxine Pilcher came into conflict. "It's no Hardesty-type case. I'd call it a bit risky, but it's perfectly prosaic and she probably knows the girl better than anyone else does. Annalise is going to be running the St. Veronica's schools this spring and summer."

"Annalise is what? Seventeen?"

"She just had her seventeenth birthday. Last week, in fact. Ronnie petitioned to have her emancipated so that she can make binding contracts. And she's providing Annalise with a full power-of-attorney to handle all of her affairs while she's gone."

"Gone where? And why not Henry?"

"As they headed out of the courtroom after Maurice granted the petition, I heard Ronnie say, 'ask Henry if you have any questions, but remember that he's a very busy man, so don't bother him unless you have to.' Which is, I presume, why Henry isn't being stuck with the schools. On top of everything else that he has to do."

"But," Maxine asked, "where is Ronnie going? For so long, anyway? I know that she travels around to visit her 'schools.' They're springing up all over the place, like mushrooms." She grimaced. "Or toadstools." She grinned. "Toad-schools. But she could visit them all and still come back to town, in between. Magdeburg is the farthest away."

"She'll be gone much longer this time. Not day trips, not week trips. She's heading off to the Upper Palatinate to see whether she can get anything from her first husband's estate. There are a whole batch of Grantville people with business there this spring, plus the Voice of America is sending back a batch of newly trained down-time radio operators to Duke Ernst and Mary Simpson is going. There's no reason to expect any trouble, of course, but Admiral Simpson and Mayor Dreeson apparently thought that it would be better for the ladies to travel with some military escort. And, of course, Ollie was just as happy to include…"

Bernadette had been about to add, "Keith and Mr. Cavriani." And to ask, "hasn't Keith mentioned it to you."

Clearly, he hadn't. Bernadette realized why.

"Ooooooh, nooooooo," Maxine howled. "Keith is not traveling with that woman."

Chapter 10

Bella Gerant Alii


"What we need, Prime Minister," Landgrave Hermann of Hesse-Rotenberg began the morning briefing, "is to send someone to Basel. Margrave Georg of Baden-Durlach's son Friedrich is running the government-in-exile there. He requests an envoy from the USE."

"Surely," said Mike Stearns, "this didn't need to come to me. Send him an envoy."

"He specifically requests that the envoy be an up-timer. His father saw, for himself, some of the up-timers at the Rudolstadt Colloquy. The son now wants to see an up-timer, or more than one, perhaps, for himself."

"Remind me why this is worth our while. We don't really have enough up-timers, or at least not enough who can find their way through the protocol of a down-time court, to waste them on the vanity of every minor princeling in Europe."

Hermann gestured at Philipp Sattler, their expert on Germany south of the Main. Which was not quite the same world as Germany north of the Main.

"The location of Baden-Durlach is strategically important for General Horn's campaigns in Swabia. Basel itself is important because…"

Sattler's lengthy, accurate, important, and dull assessment of the importance of Baden-Durlach and Basel droned on for quite some time. Finally it ended.

"Let me think about it," Mike said. "What else?"

"There is little else of significance that I see in today's pouch" Landgrave Hermann said. "There is an official announcement of the planned Austro-Bavarian marriage; that was expected enough, and should not change any alignments."


"Frank," Mike said at dinner that evening. "It's driving me nuts. We absolutely do not have a single up-timer we can spare to soothe the vanity of this guy. But we have to find someone. Someone whose rank won't insult him."

"Yes," said Diane Jackson. "Yes, you have someone. Like you sent Becky, like you sent Rita. Because these dinosaurs see them as related to someone important. I don't need to be here. When do I see Frank? While he is awake? One hour of the day, perhaps twice in the week? French I do speak. The man expects something strange, probably. How is he to know that the rest of you aren't Vietnamese?"

"Diane!" Frank exploded.

"It is true," she answered stubbornly. "You do not need me. In Grantville, I was helping. Here, there are plenty of secretaries to read the letters you get in French. I am," she said firmly, "a fifth wheel. Use me. All you have to do is write out what I should say. I can say it for you."

"Diane," Mike started. "It's just that we don't want to send you into that mess down in Swabia. The front between Horn and Bernhard has been awfully fluid; for nearly two years now, between them, they've been turning the countryside into a wasteland. It's a sideshow, I suppose, to the Baltic, but for somebody in it, it's a damned dangerous sideshow."

"You think," Diane asked, "that I have not seen dangerous?"

Mike and Frank looked at one another. Finally, "Who could we send with her?" Mike asked.

"Tony Adducci-young Tony, that is. That will be another appeasement to their damned rank-consciousness, considering that his father is secretary of the treasury for the State of Thuringia-Franconia. With an up-time radio, since that's his MOS. No radio, no go," Frank said firmly. "And a full company of down-time bodyguards, at least. If things blow up in Swabia, we're pulling you out of there, Diane." Frank reached across the table and took her hand. "I need you more than Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar or Turenne does. Even if you have only been seeing me a couple of hours a week while I'm awake."

Diane blushed.


Officially, Ed Piazza was in Magdeburg for a meeting of Parliament. As a head of one of the component states of the USE, he had a seat in the upper house, and would until they got around to adopting a constitution that provided some other form of representation. He could hardly wait for the elections.

Even though Mike might lose them. Wilhelm Wettin wouldn't be all that bad. Though, of course, Ed thought, grinning as he looked at the decor in the prime minister's office, it would require some redecoration. The incredible paintings of Stearns with Gustavus would be shipped to some outer corridor if Wettin moved into this room.

Mike, who had no qualms whatsoever about maintaining a "kitchen cabinet" with which he felt comfortable alongside his official set of appointees, had set apart two hours.

After providing Mike with a rundown on everything that he had heard from Venice, a lot of it along backchannels, Ed paused. Then, "There's a lot of the Italian peninsula beyond Venice, you know."

Mike nodded.

"Some of it's Spanish."

Mike nodded.

Ed continued. "I don't want to pry, but the general rumor is that you have something bubbling away that involves the Cardinal-Infante in the Spanish Netherlands. Nothing specific, of course."

"Can I nod to half of that? Agreeing only that there is a general rumor to that effect," Mike asked.

"Certainly." Ed suddenly looked a little more serious. "Would you be interested in background on some possible developments-not certain ones, by any means-that might soon drive a wedge, at least temporarily, between the papacy and Spain and, perhaps, provide Urban VIII with a little more room to maneuver?"

"Rumors, of course," Mike said.

"Rumors, certainly," Ed agreed. "Let's start with Naples."

Mike could make one very definite statement. "Naples is a long, long, way from here; the USE hasn't been doing anything in Naples at all."

"That doesn't mean that things aren't happening in Naples that may have an impact on the USE. It's not the good old butterfly effect, again. Call it the 'spaghetti effect,' if you want to think of it that way. You have a pot of water on the stove, simmering away. Drop in one strand of spaghetti-just one-and all of a sudden the pot boils over in a roiling upsurge and you have a mess all over the top of your stove. Sorry, Mike, but we've dropped in the spaghetti, whether we meant to or not."

"So tell me, what is going on."

"First, there's the actual piece of spaghetti, in the form of the Encyclopedia Britannica article about the Portuguese revolt of 1640. I know definitely that at least one copy of that is floating around in Naples. Probably more."

"Definitely?" Mike raised his eyebrows.

"From Leopold Cavriani. Definitely."

"Why is it causing trouble in Naples instead of Portugal?"

"'Instead' probably isn't the right word. Perhaps, 'as well as,' but I don't have anything current on Portugal," Ed answered. "In that world, the world that wrote the encyclopedia, the duke of Osuna-the third one- who was stirring up trouble in Naples died in 1624 and his son, the fourth duke, didn't follow up. In this time, however…"

Mike raised his eyebrows. "Yes."

"Would it give you a clue if I said that the fourth duke's mother is a granddaughter of Hernan Cortes?"

"The Mexico Cortes? Implying a certain inherited adventurousness?"

"Yes, that Cortes. Anyway, through his paternal grandmother, this Osuna the Fourth is also a cousin of Joao of Braganza-the man who will end up on the throne of Portugal six years from now if things go the same way here that they did in our old world. Osuna's somehow gotten hold of the article."

"Heaven forbid," said Mike, "that our friend Leopold should have put a copy in the mail when he was in Grantville last year."

"Heaven forbid," Ed agreed piously. "Anyhow, he's apparently thinking, 'If Joao can do it, why can't I? King of the Two Sicilies? Now that has a nice ring to it.' The Spanish aren't happy, as you can imagine."

"Ed, where do you dig up all these connections?"

"Count Ludwig Guenther's librarian, mostly-royal genealogies are his hobby. With some assistance from Cavriani."

"Okay. That explains a lot. Is this project of Osuna's going anywhere?"

"It probably wouldn't by itself, but when it's combined with all the other factors, it could. Conditions in Naples-not just the city but the whole Spanish viceroyalty-have been wretched for years. Antonio Alvarez de Toledo was there from 1622 to 1629 and actually tried to do something, but the crisis, both commercial and monetary, has kept rolling merrily along. His successor, the duke of Alcala, has taken some measures to try to solve the problem of grain supplies and storage for the city itself. That's been popular enough. However, there have been a series of bad harvests. The famine situation is pretty grim."

Ed grinned suddenly. "But they've recently invented a mechanical pasta machine that is about to make the cost of spaghetti, ziti, and many of the other staffs of life affordable to the average man. SoTF has sent formal enquiries about opening trade relations."

Mike frowned a little. "Now that we have the USE rather than the CPE, a union rather than a confederation, what is the State of Thuringia-Franconia doing conducting its own foreign policy?"

"Foreign policy?" Ed gestured. "Heaven forbid, once more, I assure you. Just a modest venture into a mutually profitable field of economic development. No different at all from the trade relations that we are opening with Genoa. Until such time as the USE adopts a constitution that specifically says we can't, we can."

"Spaghetti diplomacy," Mike groaned. Then, "Why Genoa?"

"Jeans," answered Ed. "Everybody's jeans are wearing out. Genoese sailors wear work pants made of cotton denim. Obviously…"

"I don't," said Mike, "even want to know about this. Really."

"All right, then. Back to Naples. We've covered Osuna, so that brings us to the second guy: Dom Giulio Genoino. He's a priest-a scholar, a political theorist. And, I think, a lawyer. I figure that he's about seventy years old, but he's going strong. He has interesting ideas about equity in taxation. He's been in jail for his ideas, which include wanting the voice of the people on the city council to be equal to that of the patricians. Even without the Committees of Correspondence, there's a lot of agitation going on there. The question is whether it will just be one more rebellion-people rioting, attacking the prisons, attacking the armories, lynching a few unpopular persons, and then being put down by the Spanish military. Or if something actually comes of it… Which it might, if Genoino somehow links his people up with Osuna the Fourth. Anyway, that's part of why the Spanish and the Curia aren't exactly on speaking terms at the moment, because for various reasons, Urban VIII isn't doing anything firm to oppose Osuna the Fourth."

"Why not?"

"I honestly don't know. Then, thirdly, there are the Albanians."

"What are Albanians doing in Naples?"

"They've been there for a hundred fifty years, at least-exiles."

Mike groaned. "Don't tell me about it, please don't. Is there any spot on the map of Europe that isn't harboring exiles from somewhere else?"

"The short answer is, 'No.' Shall I proceed?"

"Yes. But I don't want to hear it."

"Scanderbeg. Famous Albanian hero. His son turned the Albanians' holdout against the Ottomans over to Venice in 1474. Venice turned around and sold it to the Turks. The Albanian nobility took off for refuge in Naples. Some of them, like the Arianiti family, have been very prominent in the Imperial diplomatic service; others have burrowed in. The Kastriotes heiress married into the Orsini, for example, which pulls a whole complex of the Italian nobility into having interest in what the Albanians do. Anyway, the Albanians have decided that this would be a wonderful time to try to get Skopje back, and they're throwing almost all of their resources into mounting a flotilla. Think Cubans in Miami. If it goes out, we'll have a Balkan crisis on our hands, of course."

"We don't need a Balkan crisis," Mike protested.

"You can't avoid having a Balkan crisis," Ed answered quite serenely. "Cavriani tells me that this falls under the rubric of predestination. There is always a Balkan crisis. If we had arrived five hundred years ago, there would have been a Balkan crisis. If we had been thrown five hundred years into the future, there would have been a Balkan crisis, too. It's a given. So, think about what this means."

"It means that there will be a lot of small boats in the Adriatic Sea."

"At the most elementary level, true. But factor in the word, 'crusade.' For the guys down at the Curia, 'crusade' has the same ring as, 'The South will rise again' for the Sons of the Confederacy. It causes emotional reactions in the most improbable sort of people. Think of Pius II, for goodness sake! Aeneas Scipio Piccolomini, the ultimate secular humanist-say 'crusade' and he started to drool. If the curia doesn't excommunicate Osuna or take some kind of action that could give his more wavering supporters a religiously acceptable excuse to leave his camp, the Spanish will have to focus mainly on him, which means that the Albanians will have enough wiggle room to launch their little fleet."

Mike winced. "It doesn't make sense."

"No, it doesn't make sense. Some things don't, but that doesn't make them any the less real."

"We don't need a crusade on top of everything else," Mike protested.

"It will," Ed answered cautiously, "be a small one. I think."

"How is Cavriani involved with the crusade?"

Ed's answer came as something of a relief. "Not at all, I think. He is, after all, a Calvinist. They're having the crusade on their own. Next."


"More," Ed agreed cheerfully. "Now, to move on to the fourth factor, there's Tommaso Campanella. He finally-or, at least, in combination with Dom Genoino-probably gets us to what the Cavrianis are messing about with."

"Who's he? Campanella, I mean. Never heard of him."

"Well, Campanella's a Dominican. He has been for the past fifty years or so. He's a philosopher. He's probably a heretic. At least, the Inquisition has been trying him for heresy of one form or another for the last forty years. You will note, however, that he's still alive to cause trouble. If nothing else, the man has a genius for attracting influential supporters, climbing right up the ladder from local feudal lords in Naples to the Orsini again to the Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany in Florence to Maximilian of Bavaria to the Austrian Habsburgs-the late Rudolf and our beloved Ferdinand II both. At this point in our old world, up-time, he was in Paris under Richelieu's protection."

"Richelieu. All we need is Richelieu. Why is Richelieu supporting a Neapolitan heretic?"

"Supporting is the exact word for it, at the moment. Richelieu is paying Campanella's bills. I think you'll enjoy the reason, but I'm not quite ready to get to it yet. I need to run through some other stuff, first. Unlike Galileo, it isn't Campanella's natural history that has kept him in hot water with the Inquisition. He started thinking about political theory. He wrote things about the authority of the Catholic church. He wrote things about the role of the Spanish monarchy in Italy. He developed all sorts of plans for reforming society. Starting in 1599, he got involved in political conspiracies in Calabria. That's the general area outside the city of Naples itself. This landed him in prison for thirty years, but it didn't keep him from writing. What's more, he got involved with Osuna the Third. Remember Osuna the Third?"

"It was inevitable, I suppose," Mike said.

"Well, of course-once you get to know the people," Ed agreed.

"Ed, how on earth do you keep track of all this? Starting from ground zero, so to speak?"

"It's really no different from being a high school principal-not from being a good one, at least. You have to know the cliques, the inherited animosities, the buzzwords. The main difference is that I don't have the level of personal acquaintance, now, when I'm sorting all these things out. But the principle is the same."

Mike groaned at the pun. Ed grinned and continued.

"Anyhow, in 1626, Campanella was moved to Rome. Urban VIII let him out of prison in 1629. Keep in mind, all this time that Campanella's been in the Inquisition's prisons, he's been living on a church pension and using the money to appeal to important politicians for support, so what did Urban have to lose?"

"Oh, no. Not the Barberinis, too!"

Ed Piazza smiled blithely. "Oh, yes. The Barberinis too. Anyway, as of 1629, Campanella got out. Then, this year, he got himself implicated in the new conspiracy in Naples. He may not actually have been involved to start with-probably wasn't-but the people doing it were certainly inspired by him. It looked like it was back to the comfortably cushioned dungeons for Tommy, but up-time the French ambassador, Noailles, helped him escape from Italy. He stayed for a few months with Peiresc and Gassendi in Aix-en-Provence, doing mathematics, and then he went to Paris under Richelieu's protection. Mike, I tell you, this guy is connected. Up-time, he was received at court by Louis XIII. Down-time, he's just in the French embassy in Rome. Every antenna that I have wiggling out of my head says that pretty soon he'll be publishing books that substitute France for the Spanish Habsburgs as playing the lead role in his grand schemes of political reform."

"Why should the Spanish Habsburgs care?"

"That brings us full circle. Campanella's supporters in Naples have apparently linked up with Osuna the Fourth. That's one thing. However, they've also linked up with simmering popular revolutionary movements in Palermo and Messina. Also with Genoino's people in Naples itself. Osuna's gotten the idea that he can display himself as the strong protector of the common man against the exploiting feudal landlords. The peasants in Bari, Puglia, all over Calabria, in the Abruzzi, the people in Salerno, seem to think the idea has something to be said for it. 'S funny, Mike, how much the history textbooks left out because they needed to arrange things in nice neat units with topic headings like, 'The Rise of Absolutism.' The bits and pieces are almost all in the encyclopedia, once I find out the names and dig them up. This crazy century is full of popular revolts, in Switzerland, in Lisbon, in Russia, in Upper Austria, all over. And just by being here, by demonstrating that one of them succeeded, we're speeding them up. They're coming faster. More spaghetti. Did I think to mention that someone in Sicily has invented the pasta press? Spaghetti's getting cheaper and more abundant, becoming the food of the people… But I digress."

"Have the Committees of Correspondence, the CoCs, gotten that far? To Naples, I mean?"

"It's not just Gretchen's CoCs by any means. Sometimes I think that it isn't her propaganda in favor of revolutions that's having the most effect. No matter how much it may have slipped the minds of the people who wrote the textbooks, the European common people didn't need to be introduced to the idea of revolution. And their rulers know it, since the events of the1580s and 1590s are a bit more recent in their memories than they were in ours. Gretchen and Spartacus don't really have to stir up revolutionary sentiment; it's already there. They're tapping it and molding it, but they're not creating it."

Mike nodded. "The real effect of the Committees of Correspondence is in their practical manuals on how to run a revolution effectively. It's the organizational side where modern ideas are going to make the most difference, I think."

"But, to get back to the topic. The curia doesn't want to oppose Osuna because he's distracting the Spanish from sitting on the Albanians who are going to have a crusade, so they're tacitly letting this revolutionary tie slide through. The Spanish Habsburgs have said furious things in the diplomatic correspondence. At least," Ed said primly, "that is what I am told.

"Do I dare to ask who told you?"

"I would prefer to consider it a privileged communication."

Mike waved his hand. He had heard the same thing himself, from Don Francisco Nasi. But Ed did not have Don Francisco at his disposal. Of course, there were a lot of Don Francisco's cousins in Grantville. Samantha Burka, Ed's good right hand during his tenure in the Department of International Affairs of the New United States before it became the State of Thuringia and then, since the February elections, the State of Thuringia-Franconia in the USE, had just married whom? He'd remembered to send a letter with his felicitations, he was sure. Yeah-she had married Diego Nasi.

"In any case," Ed was saying, "the distractions that Spain has in the southern part of the peninsula, just now, means that they are putting less pressure on the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Which may have some impact on how Urban VIII decides to handle the whole Galileo matter, though nobody can be sure."

"Galileo has a lot of public relations appeal," Mike said, "but that's out of our hands. Grantville isn't going to be involved in it, one way or the other."

"As far as we know at the moment," Ed answered.

"Ed, stop going all diplomatic and cover-your-ass on me."

"I'm holding to my position," Ed said. "But Naples, I think, is the key. The problems in Naples will also mean that the Spanish are in such a pinch that they can't divert any kind of actual force against Don Fernando up in the Netherlands if he decides to try for some kind of appanage. The idea of quasi-independence for the Netherlands isn't something that's going to appeal to Philip IV, or to Olivares in Philip's name, since they 'know' from our encyclopedias that they're staring comparable events in Portugal, Catalonia, and Andalucia in the face, while having one start in Naples right now. Or, at least, pretty soon. But nobody knows which way Don Fernando is going to jump. And, at least, since he's in the church, even if he did decide to carve out a piece of the pie for himself, it would escheat back to Spain eventually."

"Why," Mike asked, "do the Cavrianis care?"

"To be quite honest," Ed answered, "I don't have the vaguest idea."

He drank his cold coffee.

"But at least Leopold is going off to the Upper Palatinate to try to make a profit from rocks this summer. That should keep him safely out of any immediate messes."

The next morning, when it was too late-Ed was already on his way back to Grantville-Mike said out loud over breakfast, "Wait a minute. We got distracted. Ed never got back to saying what Richelieu wants of Campanella."

He found himself juggling twenty-seven different balls that day. He forgot to make a note to ask Ed about Tommaso Campanella.

Part III

April, 1634

And Lovely Is the Rose

Chapter 11

Iuventus Speratus


"It certainly is nice that so many people came to see us off, isn't it?" Veronica Dreeson looked at the crowd with pleasure. "It is a great compliment to Henry, I am sure. And to John, of course."

Mary Simpson, already mounted, looked out over the crowd. She preferred to ride in formal costume-jodphurs, coat, and bowler-even in the seventeenth century. The Grantville tailors were by now used to getting odd orders, but this… Leonhard Kalbacher had just looked at her sketch, sighed, and gone to work with his measuring tape, thanking his lucky stars that the boots and hat were someone else's problem. Mary Simpson's stance on horseback was a tribute to what a young ladies' finishing school could achieve when it deemed a skill to be truly life-essential.

"Mostly people from the city government," she confirmed. "Some from the army; they are probably friends of the men who were being trained as radio operators for Duke Ernst. There are a couple of school classes."

Veronica leaned around Mary's shoulder for a better look. She sat on her mule with all the grace of a sack of rye draped over the back of a donkey for its final trip to the grist mill. Riding was not a skill that seventeenth century urban women ordinarily needed. She was less than happy about the decision that the group would go on horseback. Overall, she would much prefer to have walked. It wasn't so far to Amberg, after all-certainly less than two hundred of the up-time miles. She had told them that she would rather walk.

It was much too far, they said.

"I walked from Amberg coming here," she had replied, "and to many other places in between, when we were with the mercenaries."

They had tried to put her on a horse in spite of it; the mule was a compromise. True, they had offered the use of a wagon, but that would have been just as uncomfortable and even slower, not to say, more expensive. It would have been cheaper to walk. And probably, given the personality of this mule, just as fast. This was one animal that would never die of overwork.

"They are the classes that Keith Pilcher's children are in," she identified them for Mary. "And the class taught by his wife. She is the thin woman, if you haven't met her. The shorter woman next to her is Lena Buehlerin. She is married to Lambert Felser. He is a tinsmith from the Upper Palatinate. His apprenticeship was interrupted by the war. Ollie Reardon hired him. He is going with Keith, to assist him. To translate, if it is needed. They have married since they came to Grantville. Before, they did not know one another. She is from Baden-Durlach. Her first husband was a mercenary. One of those killed at Badenburg."

"Can you identify everyone in town?" Mary asked.

"Oh, no, probably not all. But because Henry is the mayor, I have come to know most, certainly. That is Mary Lou Snell. Her son Toby is with us. She is very glad that he is being sent on this duty. Because there is no fighting. She was afraid that they would send him to Swabia."

A tall boy, one of Jeff's friends, was waving from the back of the crowd. She waved back. "Off to Amberg," he yelled. "Have a nice time in your home town."

" Ach," she called back. "Amberg is just where we were living; where Johann Stephan had his business. My real home town is several miles beyond there. An easy day's walk, farther up into the hills."

"What's it called?"

The boy was closer now and she remembered his name. "Oh, Matt," she said. "It is just a little, tiny place. No American would ever have heard of it. It is called Grafenwohr."

She had no idea why half of the crowd, especially the middle-aged men, broke out laughing so hard that they threw their heads back. A couple of them howled. But it was nice to have everyone in such a fine mood for the start of their trip. It was a good omen.


Veronica marked off the days of the trip; from Grantville to Badenburg to Arnstadt, that was one day; from Arnstadt to Suhl, a second. They stopped there for two nights and a day, so that the men could talk to the gun manufacturers; she had been grateful for the rest. Then the only part that might have problems, from Suhl to Coburg; through Lichtenfels to Bamberg. Franconia was uneasy; the upcoming elections were an object of concern. But, no problems; they spent the morning in Bamberg, since some of the men had business with the people in the Grantville administrative offices there. Veronica rested. Mary wanted to go see the cathedral and a statue called the Bamberger Reiter; she said that they were very famous. The administrator sent two men to go with her. In the afternoon they made a very easy day to near Forchheim. The next day, even before the midday meal, Nurnberg came in sight. The road was busy all the way, full of horses, wagons, and people. After all, it was a main trade route. But none of them were fleeing, so it was quite different from what she remembered from three years ago. There were no wandering troops of mercenaries. She noticed that some of the burned villages were even being rebuilt.



The bottom half of the door was closed, to keep wandering cats and dogs out of the shop, but the top half was open to the morning sun. Standing at the clerk's counter, Marc Cavriani was bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet.

Jacob Durre smiled at the boy's impatience. He had enjoyed having this one to train. He knew the family well. His own wife was a cousin of Marc's mother. The boy looked like his mother's family rather than like the Cavrianis. That meant black hair, with a curl that fell into the middle of his forehead if not strictly restrained, and the bright blue eyes of northern Italy. Marc's face was a little full, rather than thin like his father's; his nose was slightly pug rather than aquiline like his father's; his build was generally rather more square than angular. He had great endurance for such things as distance hiking, but he was never going to be a sprinter-his legs were too short.

They were expecting Leopold to arrive today. This would mark the end of Marc's two years in Nurnberg. Now, for the first time, he would be going with his father on a trading expedition, even if only a very short one, no farther than Amberg. His pere wanted him to observe the negotiations between the up-timers and men who controlled the iron cartel. Jacob knew that Marc was looking forward to this, very much. Negotiations were a valuable skill.

"Boy," he called. "Get back to work. There is no point in going out to look. You could miss them on any street or block. Your father knows where you are. Wait. Exercise patience. If you do not, I will send you out to the mill on the Pegnitz to weigh spools of wire for the shipment going to Ulm, and you will not see him until tonight."

Marc went back to work quite cheerfully.

That was a good thing about him, Durre reflected. Marc not only worked quite hard and conscientiously, most of the time-at least as much of the time as anyone could expect from a boy of eighteen-but he also displayed irrepressible good temper while doing it, even in the face of balances that refused to be reconciled for hours and shipments that did not arrive on schedule but rather were delayed for weeks and nobody knew just where they were.

Which was just as well, because it was past the noon sun before Leopold arrived. Marc ran out into the street, Jacob following him more sedately. He kneeled properly, as a son should kneel to his father; then leaped up and kissed him on both cheeks. The two started to chatter in French; then switched to Italian; then back to French.


That evening, Leopold Cavriani sat back to assess his son.

Marc was right at the end of the bumptious stage of development, when young men have amounts of energy that are seemingly inexhaustible and utterly exhausting to everyone around them-amounts of energy they manifest by making noise, jumping up and down, digging their elbows into one another's ribs, and overturning the furniture. That would, however, be cured with time. He had been in Nurnberg, in training with Durre, a metals broker who also had considerable skills as a metallurgist, ever since he finished secondary school when he was sixteen. He was a commercial trainee, not a craft apprentice. His time had been focused on mining and metals-with specific attention to the items in those areas that could be most profitably sold to people who were tinkering with up-time technology. Instrument-makers in Augsburg, for example. Or Venetians. Or, of course, to the up-timers themselves.

"Well, Jacob," he asked over their wine. "What do you think of him?"

Durre pursed his lips. "He will take after your cousin Giuseppe, I believe, in his willingness to try almost anything that might be legal somewhere, under some interpretation of the statutes, if it appears that there might be a profit in it. He is not averse to risk."

Leopold considered this silently. He was not really surprised. Marc had the ability to charm the gold out of a miser's safe when he put his mind to it. If that could be channeled constructively, it should prove invaluable to Cavriani Freres in the future. If. Marc had been an irresistibly cute child-not to mention the oldest child and the only boy in a family of four sisters. But he didn't try to slide through life on that basis. Almost all of the reports from his tutors had commended him for effort. Somewhere underneath his veneer of adulthood, Leopold suspected, Marc still had the casual-not vain, but just "never needed to think about it"-assumption that, for all practical purposes, to see him was to love him. For all of Marc's life, anyone he really cared about had loved him dearly, cherished him carefully, valued him highly, instructed him conscientiously, and maybe even indulged him just a bit. But not excessively. Cavriani prided himself on that. It had been hard to resist the temptation to spoil Marc.

Durre waved his hand. "Do not worry that he will use his charm to defraud a widow out of her mite. As far as two years of observation can reasonably inform me, I am prepared to say that Marc is equipped with a conscience."

Leopold's lips quirked. "You know me all too well, Jacob."

"I've been very pleased with his conduct. Also his acquaintances. The best friend that he has made is some years his elder. The man is a Lutheran, named Georg Philipp Harsdorffer. He has ambitions to write epic poetry, but aside from that, the contact is a very good one. The family is patrician; very old and solid. He is an academic; he studied first at Altdorf; then at the University of Strassburg under Professor Matthaeus Bernegger."

Leopold considered this. It was not the custom of their family, usually, to attend a university. Only if someone didn't seem really suited for the work and the elders felt that he should be found a somewhat more sheltered vocation. Therefore Marc did not have the kind of education that would make him a natural associate for a classicist. He had fairly decent Latin from his secondary school training, but very little Greek-scarcely more than the alphabet and a memorized proverb, here and there. A would-be epic poet seemed an improbable choice of friend.

Modern languages were a different story. He had grown up speaking French and Italian, of course. These two years in Nurnberg, he had become reasonably proficient in the local Franconian dialect of High German. His Swietzerdietsch was fine, but in Spanish, he could barely get by. No Dutch at all, yet. Leopold had originally planned to send him to the Netherlands next, but then decided to postpone that posting until matters settled down somewhat. Marc had no English, either. England did not seem to be a good idea right now, so it would probably be Grantville. Leopold wasn't certain, though, now that Idelette was there. Commercially, the town was an exciting opportunity, to be sure. But scarcely exciting enough for him to place two children there at once.

"Harsdorffer is valuable how?" he asked.

Durre smiled. "You are looking for contacts for working with Duke Ernst?"

"Yes, of course."

"Of course. Nurnberg is also interested in seeing the mines in the Upper Palatinate return to production. The shortage of raw materials is handicapping a lot of the city's industry: many of the mills along the Regnitz and Pegnitz rivers are running at far under capacity, not because they do not have orders, but because they do not have the raw material to fill the orders. As I have said, Harsdorffer studied with Bernegger at Strassburg. As did Duke Ernst's private secretary Bocler. As did Duke Ernst's publicist Zincgref. Marc has personal letters of introduction to both of them in his hands already."

Leopold smiled cherubically; Durre smiled back.



It was a Lenten breakfast, of course. The map of Europe might be littered with churches that had their "butter towers," built from the money that the wealthy and self-indulgent paid for dispensations to eat dairy products during Lent, but the imperial court observed the fast meticulously.

Maria Anna slowly finished her first slice of dry bread. Next to her, Cecelia Renata was eying a bowl of porridge without milk. No eggs. No bacon. No cheese. For six weeks, the courtiers of Vienna would eat no better than ordinary farmers. More amply, undoubtedly, than farmers would eat in times of war and high taxes, but no more luxuriously.

She glanced toward the center of the table. Papa had been to mass before breakfast. He always went to mass before breakfast, so he could take communion. He had taken only one slice of bread. In his own person, he observed Lent not only meticulously but rigorously. Until the feast of Easter arrived, he would not eat more amply than an ordinary farmer, even.

There wasn't any conversation. Mama had warned them. Papa needed peace and quiet while he read diplomatic despatches. A courier had arrived very early this morning and his secretary had brought the most urgent ones to the breakfast room immediately.

Maria Anna took the first bite of her second slice of dry bread, chewing slowly. Hearing a sputter, she looked up. Mama was on her feet, pushing against Papa's back. His glass of water-there was never wine in his water during Lent-was tipped over on the table.

The secretary dashed forward from his position behind Papa's chair and snatched the despatches out of the path of the spilled water. Maria Anna and Cecelia Renata both jumped up to help Mama, each taking hold of one of Papa's upper arms and supporting him as he leaned forward. The butler who served breakfast was running out of the room, screaming for help, screaming for the emperor's personal physician.

Mama kept pushing against Papa's back. He coughed and spat a chunk of unchewed bread onto his plate; then collapsed into his chair.

By the time the physician arrived, the Holy Roman Emperor had recovered, although he was still red-faced. Ferdinand II had not choked to death at breakfast. Not today.


"What happened, Mama?" Cecelia Renata asked anxiously, as soon as the footman closed the door to the empress' private apartments.

Eleonora Gonzaga sighed and dropped into the chair that Dona Mencia pushed forward for her. "Your father was so startled at some of the news in the despatches that he strangled on his food."

"What news?" Maria Anna was standing with her arm around her sister-in-law Mariana's shoulder. "What was there that upset him so badly? Has something major gone wrong? Has the League of Ostend lost a battle?"

The empress shook her head. "In some ways, it may be worse than that."

"How could it be?"

"In the Spanish Netherlands-"

Both of the archduchesses perked up with interest.

"-we are informed that the Cardinal-Infante has not only been negotiating with Fredrik Hendrick-"

"Everybody knows that," Maria Anna pointed out. "At least, everybody who cares."

"-but has also held a personal meeting with Gretchen Richter," the empress finished, ignoring the interruption.

"There had been rumors of that, already, so it shouldn't have upset Papa so much to hear it again."

"This time there is more. There is a reliable report that the regent herself, Isabella Clara Eugenia, has asked that a meeting be arranged between her and this… young woman."

"Young agitator," Mariana said. "Young revolutionary."

"She is that," the empress agreed. "But your Tante Isabella has expressed a wish to meet her, nevertheless. According to the despatch, she is coming to Brussels, with her husband."

"The man who torpedoed a Spanish warship and sank it?" Mariana frowned.


"Mariana was very displeased." Maria Anna crossed her arms in front of her chest and leaned against the mantel.

Cecelia Renata plopped down into the pillows on her bed.

"You can scarcely blame her," Dona Mencia replied.

"Do you have to be so reasonable?"

"It's part of my job. I note that you have just pointed out that your sister-in-law was displeased. With whom, do you think? With the young man Higgins, for destroying the ship. Or with her brother and aunt, for meeting with the destroyer's wife? Or with the wife for upsetting the political order of things, first in the Germanies and now in Amsterdam? Now that you are to be the duchess of Bavaria, you must accustom yourself to being precise in your analysis of political events."

"Mariana was probably somewhat displeased with all of those things. And very displeased by the combination of them."

Cecelia Renata stretched. "Oh, please do sit down, Dona Mencia. Your knees must be killing you. I think it would be fascinating to meet die Richterin."

"Papa would be unlikely to agree with you, Sissy. You're old enough to remember how much trouble the Fadinger revolt caused him, just a couple of years ago."

"Probably not. But it sounds like Tante Isabella agrees with me."

That brought the conversation to a temporary halt.

"She must be very different from Papa," Maria Anna said a few moments later. "It would be interesting to meet her." Then, shaking her head, she threw up her arms in a dramatic gesture. "What? What? Did I just agree with my sister about something?" She brought the back of one hand to her forehead. "What have I done?"

Dona Mencia smiled.

"But…" Maria Anna paused. "But it was the Cardinal-Infante, Don Fernando, who met with her first." She looked at Dona Mencia. "Did you ever meet him? What is he like?"

"I saw him quite frequently when I was at the court in Madrid. He is a clever young man. Although I have not seen him for nearly four years, I have not been… surprised… by his successes in the Netherlands."

Maria Anna hopped up onto the bed next to her sister. "Tell us more."

Chapter 12

Exercitium Religionis Privatum

Mary and Veronica begged off from going to church on the perfectly valid grounds that neither of them was at present of the Reformed, or Calvinist, religious persuasion. Mary wanted to go sight-seeing; Toby Snell, who was not a church member of any variety, said that he would be delighted to escort her. Veronica wanted to lie down in her room. Preferably on her stomach.

Keith decided to go with the guys. He had a vague recollection that his own denomination, the Disciples of Christ, had split off from the mainstream of Calvinism somewhere along the line, and thought it might be interesting to see the service. He didn't mind that this involved getting up at five o'clock in the morning. He got up at five o'clock every morning. By six, they were outside the gates of Nurnberg.

"I don't deny that there have been tensions," Durre was saying. "To be perfectly honest, both the Lutheran city council of Nurnberg and the relatively few Reformed whom they have accepted as citizens of the city over the past seventy-five years or so were used to Calvinists who were prosperous businessmen. Very prosperous businessmen from the Netherlands and France, for the most part; merchants, silk manufacturers, dyers, goldsmiths and bankers, other businessmen with substantial fortunes. That was what made them acceptable as citizens of a Lutheran polity." He shrugged expressively. "The city council has always been cautious, of course. It is responsible to a Catholic emperor, who could use any toleration of 'sects' not permitted by the Peace of Augsburg to deprive the city of its independence. It's not paranoia-think of what Maximilian of Bavaria did to Donauworth on a similar pretext. So Nurnberg hasn't permitted a Calvinist congregation to be founded in the city."

"Isn't that a bit inconvenient?" Keith Pilcher asked.

"In the last century, it was a three-day trip to places in the Upper Palatinate where we could worship. Not legally, of course. And if Nurnberg's Calvinists had their children baptized by Reformed clergy in the Oberpfalz, they were fined."

Keith contemplated a three day trip to church while Durre kept talking. Keith thought that the man could have probably made his fortune as a tour bus guide if he'd been born up-time.

"But that was in the last century. The last twenty years, it got easier for us. Jacob Geuder, a member of one of Nurnberg's patrician families, had a fight with the city council. He renounced his citizenship, bought a couple of little estates called Neunhof and Heroldsberg that conveyed him the status of an imperial knight, and took service with the Elector Palatine. He and his wife Sabina Welser accepted the Reformed faith. Their palace, Neunhof bei Lauf, which is where we are headed, is only four hours northeast of the city. Since Geuder died, his son has maintained a Calvinist minister and held services in his palace at Heroldsberg as well. He's not home right now, however. He's serving in the Swedish army. Frau Sabina continued to host them at Neunhof as well, until she died two years ago. She was tenacious in defending the right of her 'guests from elsewhere' to take part in them, insisting that as members of the free imperial knighthood, they had the right to private exercise of religion."

Durre smiled reminiscently at his memories of Frau Sabina's tenacity. Her defense of exercitium religionis privatum had been a wonder to behold. Then he added, reluctantly, "Of course, it could be said that the Geuder family has been less than generous in allowing the same privilege to their Lutheran subjects. We'll be able to see the castle from just around this bend. It's still quite a long distance by road from here, though."

Keith looked up at the castle with interest. When he heard "castle," he still thought, automatically, "pile of dank gray stone." This was a three-story house. Big, all right, but a house. The bottom floor was painted red, with the shutters trimmed with red and pink zigzag stripes; the middle floor was painted pink, with the shutters ditto; the top floor was a positive explosion of gables and Fachwerk beams painted red, with the stucco in between them painted pink. There was a lost commercial opportunity for Grantville right in front of him. Whoever built this place would have paid a fortune for pink plastic lawn flamingos.

In a way, he was sorry that Mrs. Simpson had missed it. If she wanted to see sights, this was certainly a sight to see.

"The city council protested, of course," Durre was continuing. "But considering that in 1609 it had entered the Protestant Union along with the Calvinist Elector Palatine, it's position was not as strong as it might have been. Considering that the elector's regent in Amberg was Geuder's boss. But with this business in the Upper Palatinate these last few years, things have changed. Most of the people who took exile were professionals: administrators, clergy, teachers, physicians, apothecaries. Not independently wealthy, most of them. People who gain their livelihood, primarily, through being paid by someone else. They brought some money with them, true. Most of the Palatines who had no money at all couldn't even afford to emigrate. Plus, there's a limit to the ability of other Protestant territories to absorb refugees. Bayreuth took some; so did Ansbach; a few, mostly clergy, went to Leiden. Most stayed where they were and accepted Maximilian's forced conversions. But I don't mind saying-it's been a challenge for those of us who make money to make enough of it to support the refugees who did arrive in Nurnberg until they could find some way to support themselves. Sometimes there have been four hundred or more on our charity rolls. And, because they have little money, the council has been very sparing with granting them citizenship rights, which makes it even harder for them to find work."

Durre gestured exuberantly.

"So that's where we are. Still no proper congregation with elders and presbyters in the city or its outlying villages; no minister of our own. And," he smiled, "a refreshing four-hour trip to church. Isn't it nice that it's spring?"


"Herr Durre," Keith asked rather cautiously, a while later. "Did you say that the boss guy who authorizes these church services is away from home?"


"It looks to me like there's a bunch of bully-boys in the road who think that going to a Calvinist church is the wrong idea."

Durre looked. "Oh," he said. "That has to be Georg Seyfried Koler von Neunhof. Or his men, to be more precise. It's not likely that he's with them. He's a Lutheran, and the co-possessor of patronage rights over the churches in Beerbach and Neunhof. That means, he thinks that he ought to have the right to appoint a clergyman of his choice rather than the Geuders' appointing a clergyman of their choice. He would not dare to try this if Frau Sabina were still alive."

"Do they normally duke these things out on the public roads?" Keith asked.

"There's no duke involved here," Durre said. "What's important jurisdictionally is that these are imperial knights, directly subject to the emperor, with no intervening authority. That's why the landlord of something that looks like an estate of a few hundred acres with a small village on it can exercise the cuius regio principle."

"Jurisdictionally," Leopold Cavriani added, "they are independent of Grantville's administrators in Franconia. Because the knights are mostly Protestant, this region near Nurnberg was not included in the king of Sweden's assignment of authority, any more than Nurnberg itself or Ansbach and Bayreuth were."

Lambert Felser, who had garnered his English vocabulary on the floor of Ollie Reardon's machine shop rather than from literary works or books on political theory, intervened with an explanation of the alternative meaning of "duke." Once he had managed to convey the essential meaning of "duke it out," Durre averred that they did indeed "duke it out" on the roads and in the streets. Unless, of course, they had resorted to lawsuits. Normally, however, people employed both methods.

To Keith's relief, the party had paused during this discussion rather than proceeding onward toward the manor house. He noticed that the riders securing the road had already pulled a couple of wagons containing families to the side, barring them from going any farther.

However, the riders-armed riders-were now coming toward them. Durre started to move forward slowly. Like everyone else, Keith felt obliged to follow.

Except, apparently, the Cavriani kid. Rather than moving along the track-it could scarcely be dignified with the name of a road, being two ruts with grass growing between them-he kept sidling his horse a little towards the right, while holding the reins in his left hand. Not much, with any step.


Marc didn't like the idea of the families in the wagons being here. Not when two bunches of men, one that had all of them with guns and the other of which had several of them with guns, were looking at one another belligerently. As the group with Durre advanced, Marc managed to move a few feet to the side of the road. With his right hand, which Koler's oncoming men could not see because it was hanging down at his side, obscured by his body and the saddle, he made urgent scooping motions, as if he were dipping water. One of the drivers got the idea. With the guards away from the boundary stone, it was time to leave for church. What were a few more hoofbeats when a dozen mounted men were riding toward another dozen or so mounted men? The two wagons started to creep slowly forward. Slowly, at least, until they were past the border and onto the Geuder land; then their pace became quite brisk. Not to say expeditious. From the back of one, a boy turned around and waved.

Marc started side-stepping back towards the rest of the group, carefully not looking toward the departing wagons. He didn't keep a horse of his own, of course. There was no need to, in Nurnberg. This was a rental; an elderly gelding of no particular distinction who now demonstrated that he didn't like sidling to the left. He tossed his head; snorted; turned his head; tossed his head again. Marc started to control him; then realized that something could be gained from this. He assumed the nervous expression of a city man who put very little trust in even the best of horses. He also slipped his feet almost out of the stirrups, loosened his grip on the reins, and gave the stupid beast a sharp pinch with his right hand.

He landed hard. Koler's men guffawed. Rubbing his seat dramatically, Marc gestured for permission to go catch his horse. The lead rider, noting that the young idiot from Nurnberg wasn't carrying anything more threatening than a dirk, waved him on.

The horse, now that nobody was asking him to side-step to the left was just standing there, looking dumb. He was that kind of horse. Marc remounted and requested that he step to the left again. The horse demurred. Marc and the horse fussed at one another.

By this time, everyone was laughing. Except, of course, Jacob Durre and Leopold Cavriani, both of whom were just smiling with considerable satisfaction, since they knew perfectly well that the money that Marc's father had laid out for expensive riding-masters had not gone to waste. By this time, the wagons were out of sight, around a bend in the road. Marc made a demonstration of getting the nag under control and moved back toward the rest of the group by turning him around to the right and ceremoniously riding him all the way around the back of the others, wearing a chagrined expression as he did it.

Inwardly, he was much relieved that he had gotten away with it. At eighteen, he still had in some ways the mind set of the younger Marc who had gotten his growth spurt considerably later than many of his contemporaries. From thirteen to sixteen, he had found himself obliged to outwit the school bullies rather than outfight them. Oh, he had read stories, just like anyone else, in which the smaller man won the fight. The problem with those stories was that somehow, always, most conveniently, the larger man was a slow, awkward, clumsy, poorly trained oaf, while the smaller man was deft, quick, and much more skilled.

How convenient this arrangement must be for the authors! In the real world of the armsmaster's studio in which he had learned to fight, he had learned by way of the scientific method that if one man was four inches taller and twenty pounds heavier, while both were more or less equally skilled, the smaller guy would get whomped nine times out of ten. And, based on his observations of the sad example of his classmate Franco Neri, if the smaller guy was the one of the pair who was awkward and slow, he would get whomped ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Overall, therefore, Marc's preferred response to oncoming batches of muscle was still to evade them, if possible. He had no illusions. He had received the amount of training in personal arms that any young middle-class merchant would receive-which meant, basically, that he owned, and knew how to use, a sword and pistol as well as the dirk that he usually carried, and could probably take care of the average mugger. That was what the armsmaster had been hired to teach the students at his school, so that was what he taught them. Purveyors of copper wire and undyed fustian were rarely called upon to display more martial skill than that, nor would they have the time to maintain a higher level if they did learn it. Effective swordsmanship took a lot of continuous practice.

Marc knew perfectly well that he could not withstand a professionally trained fighter for any length of time-especially not when the fighter was wearing armor and carrying a gun. Koler's men were doing both. Marc was wearing his best doublet, suitable for a church service. He had a distinct feeling that this was not the best place to undertake heroic actions, if they could possibly be avoided.


Marc would have been surprised to learn that the sergeant in command of Koler's guards brought a rather different perspective to what he had observed. He was feeling rather glad that the kid was such a dolt; otherwise, he could have been a problem, as large and well-built as he was.

Marc wasn't given to spending much time either at the gym or looking into the mirror; his apprenticeship with Jacob Durre had kept him very busy the past two years. His only real awareness that he had changed quite a bit between sixteen and eighteen was derived from Frau Durre's constant complaints that he kept outgrowing his clothes. He hadn't thought about it much.

Not, at least, until he had gotten off his knees outside Herr Durre's shop last week and discovered that he had to lean down a bit to kiss his father's cheeks rather than going on tiptoe and reaching up to him.


Leopold Cavriani looked up the road, behind Koler's men. He cleared his throat and said, quite politely, "Excuse me, sir."

The sergeant looked at him. "We have our orders from Ritter Koler. We don't want trouble. Just turn around and go back to Nurnberg. That would suit us nicely. This is a local problem, between the two knights. No problem of yours. No need for you to get involved."

"We have recently come through the Catholic sections of Franconia," Cavriani remarked. "As you may have heard, there is a certain amount of unrest among the peasants, there."

He might as well have been commenting on the splendid weather.

The sergeant nodded.

"I get the impression," Cavriani continued casually, "that the unrest may be spreading into this portion of Franconia as well."

The sergeant knew better than to be tricked into looking away, but he motioned for one of his men to take a glance in the direction in which Cavriani was looking.

"About two hundred men coming, Sir, at a fast guess."

Cavriani would have estimated fifty. But they did have guns, and a dozen or so were mounted. On clodhopping draft horses, but mounted, which would give them some momentum in a pinch. It wasn't as if the sergeant and his men were riding the pick of the breed, either.

The sergeant wheeled his horse with a curse.

"Damn. They're from right around here. I recognize several of them-the ones who are close enough. Odds are, I'll recognize all of them. Ritter Koler didn't give us any warning of this."

Durre motioned his whole party to move to the side. This wasn't their fight.

The leader of the oncoming peasants announced that they had a petition to present to Ritter Koler in regard to the annoyance that this silly dispute between the Lutheran and the Calvinist lords was causing the residents of the affected villages.

"I have no authority to receive such a petition," the sergeant replied.

"Don't expect that you do. Hadn't really planned to rebel today, anyway."

Cavriani caught that "today." He found it very interesting.

The farmer continued. "But the weather's nice for it. Just take us to Ritter Koler. Take us inside the castle. You can do that. Tell him that we've got an honest complaint that he needs to listen to. We'll give him the petition and go home, if he agrees to look at it and give us an answer next court day."

"What's your gripe, this time?"

"You are." The farmer waved at the riders. "It's a big nuisance having soldiers on the road. Another bunch have gone up to talk to Geuder's steward. All we want is for them to use a little common sense. Instead of sticking guards at the boundary stone, the Geuders should let their Lutheran subjects walk to the nearest Lutheran church and Koler should let the Calvinists in his villages go up to the church on Geuder's land. It's Sunday, anyway. It's not as if we would be working if we didn't go to church."

He paused.

"They are our lords, but they do not control our consciences."

Leopold Cavriani smiled cherubically, fingering the toy ram he now carried in the inside pocket of his doublet.


Marc had the nervous thought that if another group of unhappy farmers was up at the Geuder's castle, he might not have done the families in the wagons much of a favor by motioning them go on. But no-there they were, coming back down the track, none the worse for wear. The wagons plodded past the boundary unhindered. He looked at his father.

"I think," Leopold said, "that it might be excusable to skip church today." As the sergeant and the farmers argued, Durre's party turned around and followed the wagons back toward Nurnberg.

Chapter 13

Familia Restorata

The three women been debating the matter for several months. Their late brother, unlike themselves and their husbands, had remained in Amberg during the Bavarian occupation. He had converted, at least nominally, to Catholicism, as had his wife and children. As had their stepmother. After the plundering of Amberg, when they never heard from any of their brother's family again, they had assumed that they were dead. And mourned.

Until the Battle of Wismar. When the newspapers reported the family and relationships of the dead hero, Hans Richter. Then they had mourned Hans again. And argued with one another, what to do.

Now, she was in the same city. Their stepmother, whom they had long thought to be dead.

"Do you think," Hanna asked, "that she will think that we come to see her now only because we, too, can claim a share of Papa's property if she gets it?

"Why are we going, if not for that?" Margaretha asked. She was the oldest.

"Because our nephew and niece are suddenly famous, so we know who she is?" Clara suggested.

"Or," Hanna interjected, "because sister Elisabetha's widower, Elias Brechbuhl, is an accountant. Here in Nurnberg, he has barely eked out a living, that is true. But he knows where a lot of the Upper Palatinate's bodies are buried. Financially speaking, that is. I still think that it would be a good idea if Elias went with her. We can try to persuade her of that. Lorenz is willing that we should take Elisabetha's children, if Elias goes."

Her sisters looked at her. Once upon a time, before the war, Hanna's husband Lorenz Mossberger had served as chief clerk to an Amtmann. As an exile, he barely made enough to feed his children as a private notary, serving mainly the Calvinist community. His offer to take in three more children was very generous.

Margaretha looked down uncomfortably. Her second husband, a prosperous shopkeeper and Nurnberg native, would have been much better placed to make such an offer. But he hadn't made it. Nor had she suggested it to him.

As the wagons headed back towards Nurnberg, their debate continued.

Eventually, they reached consensus. This very evening, before she left the city, they would attempt to contact the woman who had once been married to their father, Johann Stephan Richter, and who was now married to the mayor of the notorious Grantville. She should at least be given the opportunity to meet her namesakes, the three little Veronicas. Only three, not four. There had been four little Veronicas once, but half of Elisabetha's children had died.

At worst, Hanna pointed out, she could only refuse to see them.


By supper time, Veronica felt considerably restored. Naps were excellent things. She joined the rest of the Grantvillers for supper in the public room of the inn. Keith Pilcher was making a good story of the day's adventures. Especially of his thoughts about plastic flamingoes.

Veronica still thought that Maxine Pilcher's philosophy of education was the height of foolishness. She was rather getting to like the woman's husband, though.

The host approached the table. "Gracious lady," he said, addressing himself to the grandmother of the famous Hans Richter. He paused, waiting for her permission to continue. He had already expressed, several times, how profoundly he was honored by having the heroic pilot's grandmother lodge at his establishment. Was he going to do it again? Veronica was on the verge of becoming annoyed.

"There are three women here who ask to speak to you. They say that they are your stepdaughters. That they live as exiles in Nurnberg."

Veronica grasped the edge of the table with both hands. She needed the support. It was never safe to hope.

"Please," she said. "Please." She was not sure whether she was addressing the petition to the innkeeper or to God. "Please ask them to come in."

Chapter 14

Exercitia Futilitatis

Vienna, Austria

"What can it mean, that they are undertaking this mission?" Lamormaini was not the only political advisor in Europe asking himself that question.

The news that the wife of Grantville's mayor and the wife of Gustav Adolf's up-time admiral were on their way to the Upper Palatinate had caused great consternation in many European capitals, not only Vienna. There wasn't a city in Europe in which the policymakers believed that Veronica Richter was primarily preoccupied with the needs of her own household, family, and business. It was appallingly naive of those up-timers to assert that Admiral Simpson would permit his wife Mary to undertake such a journey for the purpose of getting money to open an institution for the training of teachers for village schools.

What a manifest absurdity! It would have been utterly simpleminded of any responsible man to accept such transparently ridiculous reasons at face value. Which left, of course, the problem of deducing the real significance of the trip.

The only capitals where the trip received minimal attention were those of the north and west. The ladies were, after all, traveling in the opposite direction. In the dispatches from London and Copenhagen, Stockholm and Paris, it rated scarcely more than a passing mention. In those from Spain and Italy, it was barely noted.

Lamormaini himself believed that the visit by the wife of Grantville's mayor might portend a renewed attack on Bavaria, given the instability that Duke Maximilian's misguided attempt to abdicate had introduced into the political situation there. Although, in that case, it was not clear why the admiral's wife was included in the mission. Bavaria, after all, like Thuringia and the Upper Palatinate, was land-locked.

He started to cast around for alternative explanations.


"Isn't it frustrating?" Archduchess Cecelia Renata asked her older sister. "Two of the women from the up-time are going to be so close to us, really. It isn't that far from Vienna to Amberg. And yet, we won't get to see them for ourselves."

"They are scarcely zoo exhibits, imported from Asia or Africa for you to view," Dona Mencia de Mendoza said dryly.

"Your Highness," said Frau Stecher. "If you would be so kind as to raise your left arm to shoulder height."

"Well, yes." Cecelia pretended to pout as she lifted her arm. "But really, aren't you even curious?"

"It is hard not to be. Yet, really, they are not our proper concern," Dona Mencia answered.

"Thank you, Your Highness. That will be sufficient," Frau Stecher said. "Now, Archduchess Maria Anna, if you would be so kind."

"If the up-timers keep changing the world," Maria Anna commented as Susanna Allegretti helped her slip into an inside-out-bodice that was bristling with pins, "they may be. Our proper concern, that is. Because we, Papa and Ferdinand, of course, Uncle Max, and whoever it may be that you marry, are the ones who must keep control of the changes, if they are not to destroy everything. So Ferdinand says. Bavaria is even closer to the Upper Palatinate. Maybe, some day…"

Turning to Dona Mencia, Maria Anna continued, "Cecelia is not alone, you know. I also wish, sometimes, that I could see them for myself."

"Remember your proverbs, Your Highness. Remember your proverbs. Beware of what you wish for. You may get your wish."


"Both of the archduchesses," Frau Stecher reported. "Both of them, I found, displayed a most unseemly interest in the up-timers."

Her contact thanked her gravely.

Father Lamormaini, upon reading the report, sighed. Whoever it may be that you marry. Thank goodness, Maria Anna was to be married soon, and to Germany's most reliable supporter of the Catholic cause. That was a relief. He could stop worrying about her. She would be someone else's responsibility. Now to think about Cecelia Renata's marriage. To the right man.


Brussels, the Spanish Netherlands

"We are, after all, in the middle of a war," Don Fernando mused to his advisers. "I suppose it is too much to hope for that the lovely Grantville ladies who are now in Amsterdam would be willing to explain the significance of this trip to us."

There was general consensus that it was far too much to hope for.

He tried asking the delegation that came from Grantville to discuss the disposition of the funds in the Wisselbank. But they said only that, as far as they knew, Veronica Dreeson was going to settle her first husband's estate and Mary Simpson was looking for funding for the normal school in Magdeburg.

That was no help at all.

Don Fernando and his advisers didn't spend much time considering the matter, though. At the moment, they were far more interested in the doings of Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, down in the Franche-Comte.

"And you're certain about this?" Don Fernando asked his advisers. "Bernhard took his forces no further north than Schwarzach on the Rhine?"

Miguel de Manrique waggled his hand back and forth. "Well, not quite. Bernhard himself went no further than Schwarzach, true. But he did send three of his cavalry companies toward Mainz."

One of the other officers snorted. "Amounts to the same thing. They're still in no position to come to the aid of the French and Danish armies outside Luebeck."

Manrique shrugged. "True enough. The gist of it all, Your Highness-and, yes, we believe our reports are accurate-is that it appears Bernhard plans nothing more than a token gesture. Just barely enough to deflect his employer Richelieu's wrath."

Don Fernando nodded. Then, rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "There's another interpretation, you know. Perhaps Bernhard is acting according to secret orders from Richelieu. The cardinal might be planning to betray his Danish allies, the same way he did the Dutch at Dunkirk."

The cardinal-infante and his officers contemplated the possibility for a moment. Then, almost simultaneously, they all shook their heads.

"No, too complicated," said Don Fernando. "Even for Richelieu."


Leipzig, Saxony

Duke John George was uneasy. He had been uneasy ever since he took Heinrich Holk into his employ after Holk and his army had been driven out of Prague. He needed Holk's troops as a barrier against Wallenstein, but they were all too likely to turn against his own people. He had felt the need to hold them along his own borders with Bohemia; however, the people of those borders were sending petitions against their presence-and the petitions were becoming increasingly sullen in tone.

He had considered sending Holk south-not authorizing him to operate in the Upper Palatinate, of course. Authorizing him to do something about Leuchtenberg might work. It would involve crossing part of the Upper Palatinate, of course. During the crossing, Holk and his men could forage there. Not in Saxony.

The discussion continued around the conference table. Now this. The woman-the wife of Grantville's mayor. If they were sending her to Amberg, it could only mean that the Swede was intending to provide significant reinforcements to Baner. If the Swede was intending to provide significant reinforcements to Baner, it must mean that he was very confident of success in the north. If he was very confident in the north, he must have data that John George did not. If he had that confidence, where would he turn next? To the south? To the east? Which way would Baner move, if he were reinforced? Against Ferdinand? Or north, against Saxony?

May it please God in heaven, to the east; not to the north. Not toward or through his poor Saxony. Not again.

They had best hold most of Holk's troops where they were for the time being. And deal with those increasingly sullen petitions the best they could. Perhaps with just a few companies to make a feint towards Leuchtenberg?


Prague, Bohemia

"One thing I am sure of," Judith Roth said, "is that if Veronica Dreeson says that she's going to Amberg to settle her first husband's estate, then she's going to Amberg to settle her first husband's estate."

She made that pronouncement in the great salon of the mansion that she and her husband Morris owned in Bohemia's capital. Being as Don Morris was one of King Wallenstein's central advisers, the salon was frequently occupied, of an evening, with a significant percentage of Bohemia's movers and shakers.

Everyone else in the room begged to differ.

The grandmother of Hans Richter, the hero of Wismar, would not go on so insignificant a mission.

The grandmother of the revolutionary, Gretchen Richter, would not go on so insignificant a mission.

The wife of the up-time admiral really could not be so concerned about the education of teachers that she would leave the national capital of the USE and devote three months of the year to a trip to a much less significant regional capital.

The speculation continued. There must, certainly, be a deeper underlying significance to this trip. Perhaps it portended a major effort of the USE on behalf of Wallenstein; perhaps it indicated that the USE feared that Wallenstein's situation was precarious and this was an effort to persuade the regent to release Baner's troops for use in Bohemia; perhaps there was to be a coordinated revolutionary uprising in Bavaria and Austria, led by the Committees of Correspondence.

Judith raised her eyebrows and sighed. She thought that she had an advantage over the others. She had actually met both Veronica Dreeson and Mary Simpson. Numerous times, in fact.

"They are," she said, "really quite single-minded. Both of them. Trust me."

The others shook their heads pityingly.


Munich, Bavaria

"Why," Joachim Donnersberger asked, "are they coming? Clearly, it can scarcely be about a bit of property in the Upper Palatinate. There is no way that they can expect us to believe that. The Dreeson woman's first husband had a small printing business, not a great mercantile concern."

Contzen and Vervaux looked at one another. The willingness of the Jesuit Order to draw its recruits from all social classes gave many of them a perspective on property rather different from that of the urban patriciate or the nobility. "It may be," Vervaux suggested, "that the amount is not insignificant to her."

The remainder of the privy counselors sublimely ignored this absurd idea.

"At least," Richel interjected, "we do have observers in place. We will know, as soon as can be, what she really spends her time doing. What both of them spend their time doing. If we can get someone else into the household of the Swede's cousin, we really should. The true intent must be that they are bringing instructions for him. Or for Baner, which amounts to the same thing."

"There is now," Duke Albrecht said, "a concentration of Baner's troops around Ingolstadt. Whatever the instructions the women are bringing, clearly they are so private that the Swede is unwilling to risk the possibility of a disloyal operator of their 'radio.'" Not, he thought, that this was excessive caution on Gustav Adolf's part. There would soon be at least one radio operator in Amberg who was willing to transmit information to Bavaria on the rare occasions that he was alone in the room.

Breaking the codes was another matter altogether.


Duchess Mechthilde had a private conversation with her brother, the landgrave of Leuchtenberg. More accurately she tried to, for Wilhelm Georg's mind was no longer fully reliable. She would have liked to have called in his sons, but one was at Ingolstadt and the other in Vienna. Or should have been in Vienna, if he had not been sent to accompany Ferdinand II's heir on a tour of inspection of fortifications in Hungary.

Although the family had fled from Leuchtenberg and the Swede's regent in the Upper Palatinate was now administering it, this did not mean that a significant portion of the population was not loyal to the landgrave and resentful of the usurper. Mechthilde thought that something ought to be done. Duke Maximilian had clearly lost his edge; Bavaria was being run in his name by the privy council. The privy council had no more nerve than the average committee. If something was to be done in the Upper Palatinate, it would be up to Leuchtenberg, but she had no way to do anything. It was frustrating.


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

The Swede's regent of the Upper Palatinate was equally puzzled. "Why is she coming? Why not?" Duke Ernst asked. He threw up his hands. "Tell me why I should be surprised."

In 1628, Duke Maximilian had demanded that all residents of the Upper Palatinate either become Catholic within six months or leave the country. Just in Amberg, the capital city, about ten percent of the citizens had left.

Duke Ernst continued. "Within the past two years, we have received letters from exiles in Regensburg and Nurnberg. That was to be expected, of course. Those are the nearest major Protestant cities. But there have also been letters from Basel and Geneva, from London and Edinburgh. If the former denizens of Amberg have gotten that far from home within the past five years, why should some of them not have gone to this Grantville?"

Turning toward Bocler, he held out his hands, as if in supplication. "But why does it have to be the wife of their mayor? Why does it have to be Hans Richter's grandmother? Why couldn't it have been some perfectly ordinary person? And why the admiral's wife?"

Bocler had no answer. In his heart, however, he could not have been happier. He could hardly wait for his duties to be over so that he could go back to his own room and insert the outline for a new chapter in his projected historia.

This was going to be much more interesting than the originally announced arrival of a trade delegation to discuss iron mining. Not that the economy wasn't important, of course. But it was hard to narrate economic matters in such a way that they kept the reader's interest. Intrepid ladies, on the other hand, offered fascinating possibilities.


Grafenwohr, Upper Palatinate

Kilian Richter, while not giving a single thought to Mary Simpson, had a pretty clear idea why his sister-in-law Veronica was coming back. The prospect of her return did not make him happy.

During Maximilian of Bavaria's occupation of the Upper Palatinate, Kilian had collaborated, quite enthusiastically, with the Bavarians. Quite remuneratively, too. Part of that remuneration had consisted of the property of his late, and much older, half-brother, Johann Stephan Richter.

Johann Stephan was most certainly dead, after all. He had died long before the war started. It had been a tragedy that his widow, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren had disappeared without a trace in the turmoil of the war. Truly, a tragedy. Kilian had told everybody so. However, he had pointed out to anyone who would listen, given the nature of mercenary forces, one could only assume the worst, so one could only be grateful for the blessing that they had not died heretics.

As for Johann Stephan's other children-they were irredentist Calvinists, every one of them. They had gone into exile, all four of Kilian's nieces, their husbands, and their children.

Clearly, he had been the only proper heir, and Duke Maximilian's officials had proved to be quite cooperative. Kilian had filed a petition requesting that his nephew Anton's family be declared dead; the authorities had issued the declaration. Legally, without the slightest doubt, Veronica was dead, as were the rest of them.

Therefore, Kilian had found the furor over the Battle of Wismar distressing. It had upset his digestion quite a lot. It appeared that his nephew's family was alive. Well, his nephew Anton certainly was dead, killed the day that mercenaries had raided his shop in Amberg. According to the newspapers, no one knew what had become of his wife. That was the only moderately good news in the whole thing-not that, at the time, Kilian had not done his very best to ensure that no one found out what had happened to the woman. He had more than sufficient reasons to be sure that she, too, was dead.

Young Hans was dead now. Spectacularly dead. Good riddance. But Hans' sisters were alive. So was that shrew Veronica, who was on her way to the Upper Palatinate this very minute.

And the Bavarians were long gone. Probably all gone to hell.

He needed a lawyer. His mind went at once to Augustin Arndt in Amberg, who had served him so well in getting title to the properties in the first place.


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

At breakfast in the Amberg Collegium, Jakob Balde asked his fellow Jesuits not "Why are they coming?" but, rather, "Why are we here?"

The Amberg Jesuits asked one another that question fairly often these days. They were not suffering from existential Angst. They were quite sincerely bewildered.

During the Bavarian occupation, in 1629 and 1630, Duke Maximilian had taken a whole section of the city of Amberg by the power of eminent domain, razed the existing buildings, and turned the land over to the Jesuits for the building of a huge Collegium. The construction had begun with every expectation of success. There were many Bavarian bureaucrats in the Upper Palatinate who would send their sons to be educated there. The quality of the education would act as a magnet to city councillors and rural nobility alike; within a generation, the re-Catholicization of the rulers would be accomplished and a loyal band of alumni would extend the Catholic Reformation further among the population.

Now, however, the Bavarians were gone. Although there were still some Catholics in the town and the territory, they had lost most of their political influence and many were fighting for their property against claims by Protestant exiles. The Collegium was half-finished, undersubscribed, and nearly bankrupt. They wondered why Duke Ernst had not finished the job and thrown them out. Or, if he happened to be feeling less nice about it, thrown them into prison.

Instead, they were here. Not only those who had been in Amberg when the Swede conquered the Upper Palatinate, but those who had been thrown out of Sulzbach by Count Wolfgang Wilhelm's brothers.

So why were the Jesuits still there?


Duke Ernst also sometimes asked himself that question. But, until he made up his mind whether or not he was going to experiment with "religious toleration" at Karl Ludwig's more or less permanent expense, he was keeping his options open. That involved letting the Jesuits stay until such time as they might realize that their cause was hopeless, pack their bags, and go.


Balde was the youngest. He had arrived from Munich for the opening of the school in the fall of 1632, all of five weeks before the Swedes came thundering into the Upper Palatinate after Alte Veste. He had been here ever since. With so few students, he had a great deal of time to write. So he wrote poetry, in modern Latin. That was his metier. And did research.

So this morning he added a postscript to the usual question. "It seems possible that we may not be here for much longer."

"Duke Ernst has decided to expel us?"

"Not as far as I know. But I have been reading the real estate records of the eminent domain proceedings."

The others looked at him blankly.

"We are eating breakfast on the very site that was once the print shop of a man named Johann Stephan Richter."

He waved the newspaper at the others. "The rest of the building is on the land of others, but this dining hall, right here, marks the location of the business of Johann Stephan Richter. Whose widow is this Veronica Dreeson. Who, we are told, is coming to Amberg to settle her husband's estate."

Balde, although a Jesuit for a decade already, was only thirty. Young enough to laugh about things.

"Not that she will have much use for a half-built collegium on a muddy construction site."


Magdeburg, USE

Well-there was one capital that accepted the announced reasons for the journey. His own. Mike Stearns was rather enjoying the reports coming out of the diplomatic pouches, which so clearly demonstrated that the rest of the world did not understand that Veronica Dreeson was a walking embodiment of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Which was a universal. Nor that Mary Simpson embodied the Principle of Single-Minded Fund-Raising. Which was possibly, but not probably, uniquely up-time. Combining the two of them, however, had a remarkably synergistic effect.

He hoped that they had a successful trip.

Chapter 15

Rosa Mystica

Rome, Italy

Easter would be on April 16 in this year of 1634. The penitential routines of Lent were already upon them. The Golden Rose, the Rose of Virtue, had been blessed and dedicated, as always, on Laetare, the fourth Sunday in Lent.

Laetare. If you looked at it another way, it was the third Sunday before Easter: the Sunday during Lent when the penitential purple was replaced by rose-colored vestments, signaling hope and joy. The Sunday during Lent when the Mass opened with the command, "Rejoice." Laetare : rejoice that there is love after hate, joy after sorrow, and fullness after famine.

When the jeweler to the curia had delivered this year's rose, Cardinal Antonio Barberini the younger had looked at it, phrases from Isaiah floating through his mind There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse. And: A flower shall rise up out of his root.

"Lo! How a rose e'er blooming." The hymn of Marian devotion had been sung in the Germanies for well over a century, at least. Some of the printed versions had more than twenty verses. In Antonio's view, Michael Praetorius's modern arrangement from his 1609 Musae Sionae was the most magnificent setting of the tune:

Das Roeslein, das ich meine,

Davon Jesias sagt,

Ist Maria, die reine,

Die uns das Bluemlein bracht;

Aus Gottes ew'gem Rat

Hat sie ein Kind geboren

Und blieb ein' reine Magd.

The rose that I am thinking of,

Of which Isaiah speaks.

Is Mary, the pure,

Who bore the little flower.

By God's eternal counsel,

She bore a child

And yet remained a virgin.

The rose was truly golden-an ornament of the purest gold that could be made to hold the shape the artisans gave it-a thorny branch with leaves and several flowers. The largest rose sprang from the top of the stem; the others clustered around it. There was also a ruby at the center of the rose, its color reminding the observer of Christ's blood. Depending upon the state of the Curia's exchequer, the rose blessed in any given year might be larger or smaller, more or less bejeweled with diamonds, but always beautifully made. If no one was deemed worthy to receive it, it was kept in Rome. The blessing ceremony occurred every year, but the same rose was re-used until it was given away. Then a new one was made.

Originally, the rose had been given to men and women, cities and monasteries, persons and institutions, without distinction. Since the beginning of the century, the rose had been sent only to queens and princesses. A militant church had started to bestow blessed swords on kings and princes. The duty of carrying the rose and giving it to recipients who were not in Rome at the time of the ceremony fell to cardinal legates, to nuncios, and to other high church officials.

Now, nearly a month later, Cardinal Francesco asked, "Who's getting it this year?"

"The Austrian archduchess, Maria Anna," Antonio the younger answered. "Uncle Maffeo recognizes quite clearly that marrying Maximilian of Bavaria represents a service to the church that is far beyond the ordinary call of duty."

Everybody else in the room stared at him.

Part IV

May, 1634

There Hath Past Away a Glory from the Earth

Chapter 16

Quaestiones Diplomaticae


"Half of Don Fernando's tercios only? And only as far as Grol?" Maria Anna raised her eyebrows. "That's in Gelderland. Eastern Gelderland, but they still haven't moved very far toward the Elbe."

"The chancery can safely rely on the reports it has received-as far as they go. It is hard to disguise troop movements. In the nature of things, large bodies of armed men on their way from one place to another are easy to see. Not to mention to hear. And to smell."

Dona Mencia's late father had been a soldier as well as governor of the Canary Islands. Her brother, Cardinal Bedmar, had been a soldier as well before turning to an ecclesiastical career.

"Particularly in a country as densely populated as the Netherlands," she continued. "Just as we knew very rapidly that Admiral Simpson had moved the king of Sweden's ironclads down the Elbe and passed Hamburg successfully. I am sure Don Fernando knew about it several days sooner than the news reached Vienna. It just was not something that the USE could hide. So he moved his troops toward the theater of war."

"But not into it. I need to know more." Maria Anna turned around impatiently. "Not just what Papa chooses to tell me. When he has time. Of course, he's very busy now."

Dona Mencia nodded. Important-looking men, dressed all in black, with solemn faces, had been hurrying in and out of the emperor's audience chamber for a week.

"And Father Lamormaini won't tell me anything at all."

Cecelia Renata propped her feet up on a hassock. "Why do we need to know more?"

Maria Anna frowned. "Why hasn't he sent them beyond Grol? Is it really because the archbishop of Cologne is refusing reasonable terms for letting him pass through Muenster…?"

Her voice trailed off and then picked up again. "I know that it's Ingolstadt that has to be Uncle Max's main concern right now, but…"

She was thinking on her feet. "The archbishop…"

" Nota bene." Cecelia Renata made a face. "Our uncle Ferdinand, as distinguished from our papa Ferdinand and our brother Ferdinand and our nephew Ferdinand. And those are just the ones who are still alive. It doesn't count our great-uncle Ferdinand, our great-grandfather Ferdinand, or the original Isabella's husband Ferdinand of Aragon, way back when they caused all these problems with the up-timers to start with by sending Columbus off to America."

"… is Uncle Max's brother," Maria Anna continued, sturdily ignoring the interruption. "Uncle Max is the head of the Catholic League. So Uncle Ferdinand should be a pillar of support for the League of Ostend in northwestern Germany. It's unlikely that he would refuse to cooperate with Don Fernando without Bavaria's tacit consent, at the very least. One of the best things for Bavaria, I would think-"

She looked at Dona Mencia quizzically, "-would be a huge victory for the League of Ostend in the North, so the Swede would have to pull Baner and Horn out of the south with their armies. Away from Ingolstadt. Away from Swabia. So why won't the archbishop grant passage to Don Fernando's troops?"

Cecelia Renata digressed again. "Given how badly Uncle Ferdinand wants to become a cardinal, it's unlikely that he would refuse to cooperate without Urban VIII's tacit consent, either. Not unless he's arrogant enough to think he can make the pope angry and still end up wearing a red hat."

"He is well known for his contentiousness and prickly pride," Dona Mencia commented mildly.

"In any case…" Maria Anna looked down at her sister. "Given that I will very soon be the duchess of Bavaria, I need to understand what is happening." She paused. "That's need, not just want, Sissy."

"We could buy some newspapers," Cecelia Renata suggested. "They might have more information. Especially if we can find some that Papa's censors haven't approved of."

"How are we going to manage that? Do you know how to buy a newspaper? Or where? Neither of us can scarcely wander out into the streets alone looking for one."

Dona Mencia leaned back. She had her own confidential sources of information in the Netherlands, but she wanted to see if the archduchesses could make satisfactory progress without her help.


"It came to me while I was standing there for a fitting," Maria Anna said to Dona Mencia a while later. "That I didn't know how to buy a newspaper and neither did Sissy, since merchants usually bring the things we might want to purchase to us. But Susanna Allegretti probably does, and she's able to move about in the city. I thought about asking her to stay behind a few moments when Frau Stecher was ready to leave, but that would just have made more trouble for her. So if you could tell your maid Guiomar to find Susanna and ask her to get us some newspapers? When she has the chance, of course. She won't be staying with us in Bavaria. She's employed by the imperial court. She will have to come back and work with Frau Stecher for a year or two more. So I don't want to get her in a lot of trouble."

Maria Anna reached through the slit in her skirt for the pocket that was tied around her waist. "Here's some money. Will that be enough? What do newspapers cost?"

"It should be enough." Dona Mencia thought it would be quite a bit more than enough, but then she had never personally purchased a newspaper, either. She had bought books, though. Right in the shops that sold them, rather than having them delivered. But that was many years ago, when she was visiting her brother Alphonso in Venice.


"Your Ladyship?"

Dona Mencia blinked. The May sun reflecting from the rosy brick walls of the empress' private garden had led her-misled her?-into a brief nap on the marble bench. She looked around quickly. Maria Anna was safe on the other side of the enclosure, digging in the dirt next to the empress and dropping flower seeds into the trenches she made.

"Your Ladyship?"

"Yes, Susanna."

The girl held out several items rolled up like ancient scrolls. "I have the newspapers."

"Ah. Oh, yes. Thank you."

"And the change."

"I think…" Dona Mencia glanced at the empress. "I think it would be better if you brought them to the archduchess' apartments privately. There is a formal dinner this evening. So-tomorrow morning, please, right after breakfast.


"Salt water isn't good for the seeds, you know," Eleonora Gonzaga said gently.

Maria Anna put her spade down. "I know, Mama. I didn't mean to drip on them. I just thought, all of a sudden, that this would be the first time that I won't be with you here, in the summer, to see our flowers bloom."


Susanna Allegretti stood quietly in Archduchess Maria Anna's bedroom, her face blank. She wasn't wincing. That, she assured herself, meant that she was getting better at being a court seamstress. She wanted to wince. The two archduchesses had newspapers spread out all over the tapestry coverlet on the bed. Smearing ink on it. Undoubtedly smearing ink on it.

She had gotten some of the newspapers she had brought them at the Thurn und Taxis post office. But the others, the uncensored ones, she'd obtained through unofficial sources-two apprentices of the cloth factor who had provided costumes for the play they put on before Lent. Those, especially, had smeared all ink over her fingers. Not, luckily, on her clothing, although it was on the inside of the tote bag she had used to carry them back to the palace. As soon as she could, she would have to turn the bag inside out and clean it if she didn't want to ruin other things.

The archduchesses weren't even thinking that someone would have to clean that tapestry coverlet.

Why would they? It would be a maid or laundress who cleaned it, not either of them.

If it could be cleaned at all. That ink had boiled linseed oil in it and was nasty stuff to get off.

She opened her mouth nervously and then closed it firmly. It wasn't her place to ask two archduchesses of Austria to take the newspapers off the coverlet.

It wouldn't do any good to put the newspapers on the floor, anyway. It was covered with a Turkey carpet, just as expensive and just as hard to clean.


"There's nothing in the papers about the negotiations between Don Fernando and the archbishop." Maria Anna twisted her mouth with annoyance. "Well, nothing except guesses. What they call these 'opinion pieces.'"

"Duke Bernhard has not sent his troops to the Elbe to join with the rest of the French army, either. Like Don Fernando, he has moved out some of his units. Three cavalry regiments. Some distance. But only part way north from Swabia, along the left bank of the Rhine toward Mainz." Cecelia Renata looked up. "How do the newspapers get all this information so fast, now?"

"Radio, I expect," Maria Anna answered.

"It would be nice to have a radio," Cecelia Renata said wistfully. "I've read about them, these 'crystal sets.' Ordinary villagers in the USE have them now and can listen to the Voice of America."

"You're not going to get one." Maria Anna, ever practical, squelched that hope as soon as it was born. "Not, at least, unless someone smuggles one into Austria for you. You'd have to hide it. Papa would have apoplexy and your confessor would have a stroke."

"I'm not sure how far a person can hear with them, anyway. But I'd be willing to try." Cecelia Renata, as usual, was not repentant. "There is a radio in Amsterdam, although it belongs to the USE embassy and not Fredrik Hendrik. They use towers. Tall towers. From Amsterdam, reports go to Magdeburg, I assume. And to the Swede, wherever he is at the moment. That is rapid. Almost at once, or at least as fast as the operator can send this 'Morse Code.' I need to learn more about how that works."

"What is this 'Morse code'? A cypher?"

"I suppose it could send something that had been cyphered." Cecelia Renata looked thoughtful. "But from the encyclopedia, it seems just a way of sending the letters of the alphabet by way of these radios. Maybe it is not always encyphered. Stearns' administration does not seem to be as obsessed as some regimes I will not mention with keeping everything a secret."

"Don't say that to Mariana. She loves our brother Ferdinand and is very loyal to him, but she still will not listen to a word against Philip IV."

"Magdeburg is crawling with spies. Grantville is, too. So then just a courier from Magdeburg or Grantville to here? A week once the newspaper reporter learns the information?" The tone of Cecelia Renata's voice made the statement into a question.

Dona Mencia shook her head. "There is radio in Nurnberg, too, now. Even in Amberg. Although the one in Nurnberg belongs to the city council and the one in Amberg to Duke Ernst. Still, your father has agents there, so the newspapers do too, I am sure."

"Agents?" Cecelia Renata giggled. "Say 'spies.' I said 'spies.' You mean 'spies.'"

"Agents," Dona Mencia said firmly. "Especially in Amberg. Not that it probably makes much difference how loose Stearns' people are, since obsessively-secretive administrations tend to be leaky as sieves also. Just think of the French. I was astounded that they managed to keep the League of Ostend a secret until the Battle of Dunkirk last year. So… it really just needs a courier from Amberg to Vienna. Much less than a week, by way of Passau."

Dona Mencia bit her upper lip. Should she or shouldn't she? "I have received letters from Brussels, also."

"Isn't your brother, Cardinal Bedmar, still in Venice?"

"Yes. Alphonso writes regularly. He has been observing the USE embassy with great interest. The ambassadress is a Moor, you know. But I have letters from Brussels, as well. When we were both much younger than we are now, before the infanta's marriage to Archduke Albrecht, I had the honor to serve as her lady-in-waiting for several years. She was gracious enough to give me her friendship."

Maria Anna narrowed her eyes. She had not been told about that part of her chief attendant's past.

Dona Mencia continued. "We do correspond regularly. She wrote me a very interesting description of her interview with Gretchen Richter. Gretchen Higgins as those up-timers would have it. Ridiculous thing, to call a woman by the name of her husband! Absurd, even. A person's surname is properly determined by the provisions in her parents' marriage contract."

"And you didn't read it to us?" Cecelia Renata wailed.

"I relent. Now that you know I have it, I will share it with you."

"Dona Mencia, you're an angel on earth."

"No, Your Highness," that lady replied after a brief, meditative, pause. "No, I am not. Not an angel. But…"

"But what?"

"Because of that old friendship, with Isabella Clara Eugenia's approval, I receive letters from some of her close advisers as well. Occasionally from Rubens. More recently from Alessandro Scaglia."

"The Savoyard? She has taken him into her confidence?"

"Not without questions from some other members of her circle, but yes. He tells me that Don Fernando received Senora Rebecca Abrabanel-please observe that she is not sufficiently stupid to call herself Rebecca Stearns; indeed, she is not stupid at all, from what I hear-for a formal dinner at his quarters. That was two days after the tercios moved out to Grol. Rubens was there also. So was Scaglia himself. And…"

"Tell!" Cecelia Renata jumped off the bed, scattering newspapers. "Tell!"

"Gretchen Richter and her husband also."

"Splendid," Maria Anna said. "Yes. Tell. But what I really need to know is why those tercios have only moved as far as Grol."


Susanna Allegretti was quite certain that she should not have been present at this conversation. It wasn't just that she was small and standing quietly. It was that she was a servant. Great lords and ladies tended to forget that servants were there.

The archduchesses were lucky that she was trustworthy.

She took a private vow to be worthy of their trust. Forever. Even though, really, they did not realize that they were trusting her.

Chapter 17

Honoris Causa

General Baner's siege lines, outside Ingolstadt

Dane Kitt and Mark Ellis understood one another very well. They had started kindergarten together and graduated from high school together. Both of them were solid students, but not brilliant. Both came from the kind of family in which reasonably good behavior and reasonably good grades were not regarded as negotiable. Both of them had decided to live at home and commute to Fairmont State to save money. Dane had majored in mechanical engineering and Mark in civil engineering. They were both third year students when the Ring of Fire hit. They had even talked, sometimes, of starting their own firm some day-one that would specialize in projects for rural areas and small towns, the kind of things that the big boys turned up their noses at.

Neither of them wanted to be here, attached to Baner. All the more so since the Swedish commander of Gustav Adolf's military forces in the Upper Palatinate had recently decided to bring most of his army out of their billets in order to besiege the Bavarian fortified town of Ingolstadt. Boring and unpleasant garrison duty might be, but at least it was reasonably safe. This probably wouldn't be, as time went on.

No high-flying heroics for them, thank you; no dramatic romances with down-time women. The previous year, Dane had married Jailyn Wyatt, one of the WVU girls who had been at Rita Stearns' wedding. Mark was engaged to Stephanie Elias, the younger daughter of Grantville's second dentist. What they really, really, wanted was for Gustav Adolf to win this stupid war, so they could go back home and live a normal life.

For which reason they were throwing themselves heart and soul into the winning of it. Mark just had more trouble getting the down-time military types to pay attention to him. Terry Johnson, his mother, had been ingesting all sorts of things that she shouldn't while she was producing him and his twin sister Mackenzie out of wedlock. No one knew for sure if that was the reason, but in spite of everything that his Aunt Amanda and her husband Price Ellis had done after they adopted them, the twins had ended up being pretty unimpressive physically.

Dane's folks, on the other hand, had chosen his name because he looked like a Viking when he was born. He still looked like a Viking-a sort of thin and weedy one, not a Hagar the Horrible type. Dane had played basketball. So, people around the camp paid more attention to him than they did to Mark. Even if General Baner had once remarked, "Why did they have to name you fucking Dane? Why not Swede?"

Hearing some sort of ruckus outside their tent, Dane unwound himself from where he was sitting, which was a gray metal folding chair with thin yellow vinyl cushions on the seat and back and a matching card table with a yellow vinyl top. He had liberated both from his late Grandma Sadie's bridge club supplies, packed them into his baggage when he was sent to Amberg, brought them along to Ingolstadt, and insisted that he couldn't possibly fight this war without them.

Given the kind of fighting that he did most of the time, he might have been right. Back home in Grantville, his parents were working frantically on aviation and associated things, sort of but not exactly parallel to what Jesse Wood and Hal Smith were doing. He was supposed to figure out whether anything they had developed so far might give Baner just that little edge that he needed to bring this siege off successfully.

To this point, the answer was "no." By seventeenth century standards, Ingolstadt's fortifications were quite impressive. Any reasonably sized fleet of World War II era bombers could have reduced it to rubble in half an hour. For that matter, if Admiral Simpson's ironclads could somehow be brought down to the Danube, he could have done much the same in the course of a single day's bombardment, with those absurdly powerful ten-inch guns. Dane and Mark had once reduced themselves to a fit of semi-hysterical laughter conjuring up ways that might be done. The least implausible scheme had involved using giant fleets of dirigibles to hoist the ironclads out of the Elbe and drop them into the Danube. Some of the same dirigibles could then be used to keep the ironclads from running aground in the Danube.

Remembering that conversation, Dane muttered to himself. "Blue Danube, my ass." He'd never seen the Danube, back up-time-he'd never traveled anywhere outside the United States-but whatever state of pristine blue riverness it had enjoyed in the late twentieth century, it enjoyed none of it in the here and now.

It wasn't really even "a" river, to begin with. At least in this stretch of its course, the Danube was usually divided into several branches. It meandered across southern Germany like a watery braid, not a single well-defined stream. Each and every one of which braids-tributaries, branches, whatever they were called-was muddy brown.

"What was that?" asked Mark, getting up from his own folding chair. He'd brought one also, of course.

Dane was moving toward the tent entrance. "Blue Danube, my ass," he repeated. "We ought to be doing something useful, like re-inventing the Army Corps of Engineers."

Mark smiled. "Isn't that the truth? A lot of American rivers were just as messed up, originally. So much for the glories of pristine nature, huh?"

Dane had now reached the entrance and was moving the flap aside. "What's the commotion out there?" he wondered.

Mark came up to join him. The sound of General Baner's unlovely voice raised in anger was clearly audible. Clearly recognizable, too. They'd both gotten very familiar with that sound.

Outside, in the distance, they could see the walls of Ingolstadt. In the foreground, standing in front of some sort of bizarre apparatus, they could see Baner hollering at Duke Ernst and waving his arms about.

If the Swedish general's normal state of mind was choleric, that of the German administrator of the Upper Palatinate was serene. He was responding to Baner's protest with his usual expression of imperturbability.

Well… "serene" wasn't quite the right word. It just had the advantage of brevity. Dane and Mark had both gotten to know Duke Ernst rather well since they'd arrived. This particular one of the four Wettin brothers who had once been the rulers of Thuringia was almost diametrically the opposite of the youngest brother Bernhard, by all accounts they'd heard, so far as his personality and view of life were concerned. Where Bernhard was driven by personal ambition, Ernst was driven by duty. Where Bernhard's ego required constant personal gratification, Ernst's seem to require nothing beyond his sense that God approved of his actions. Where Bernhard did not suffer fools gladly and suffered personal insult not at all, Ernst seemed oblivious to such issues.

Not exactly "serene," but awfully close. And the word was a lot handier to use than calm and unruffled in the face of adversity, certain that he was doing his duty both in the eyes of Lawful Authority and the Creator.

"What the hell…" Mark was giving most of his attention to the weird contraption, not the two men quarreling. "Jesus, Dane, that's a catapult. "

Dane looked. Sure enough, that very moment, the contraption went into operation. What he'd taken at first glance for an earth-moving scoop turned out to be the propulsive arm-whatever that was called-of the artillery device. A moment later, the arm whanged into a restraining crossbar and a small crate of some sort was flung over the walls of Ingolstadt.

"Damned impressive range," Mark murmured. "Hey, Mike and his guys used something like this to toss napalm onto the Wartburg. D'you think…"

Dane frowned, considering the idea. "Well… I don't know. The Wartburg was a real castle. Lots of stuff in it that could catch fire." He gestured with his chin toward Ingolstadt. "I suppose we could burn the town itself down, but I can't see where napalm would do much good against stone and earth berms. And the duke wants the town kept as intact as possible. So does Baner, for that matter. He wants to be able to station his troops in Ingolstadt, when and if he takes it. Can't do that if the place is all in cinders. Still…"

He and Mark looked back at the Swedish general. Baner was still in full protest mode. Arm-waving, red faced, voluble, the works.

Such an unlovely sight. Not to mention sound.

Dane shrugged. "Let's think about it some. Beats getting in the middle of that. "

He led the way back inside the tent.


"-the king hears about this-"

"His Majesty gave me clear instructions to foster the true Lutheran doctrine here," Ernst interrupted Baner. He gestured toward Ingolstadt. "Since it will obviously take you months to reduce the will of yonder Catholics, I see no reason I shouldn't see to their souls and their moral conduct in the meantime."

"-be royal hell to pay- Vasa hell, I remind you-"

"Oh, nonsense. And what do you care if I fling some religious tracts and self-improvement pamphlets into Ingolstadt?" A bit uncharitably, Ernst added: "It's not as if either you or your soldiers have been clamoring for the items."

"-beside the fucking point! Catapults are military equipment-"

"I had them made myself, out of my purse, not yours."

"-in charge of all military affairs, not you-"

"Spiritual uplift is a military concern?" Ernst finally had something of an expression on face, with his eyebrows climbing. "In that case, General Baner, I must regretfully inform you that you and your officers have been sadly remiss-"

"-last time the Vasa temper cut loose, noble heads rolled!"

The Duke shrugged. "Send a letter to the Emperor in Luebeck, then, if you will. I will await his response quite calmly, be assured."

All the more so, he thought but did not say aloud, since I have already sent Gustav Adolf several letters myself, warning him of your plans for an independent campaign against Ingolstadt.

In one thing, if nothing else, all four of the Saxe-Weimar brothers had imbibed the same milk. They were all experienced practitioners in the art of political maneuver.

"-could probably have paved the streets of Stockholm with the skulls, if the king's grandfather had been a pagan."

"Which he certainly wasn't," concluded Ernst firmly. "Gustav Vasa was a good Lutheran. Hence-"

He gestured a command. The catapult fired again.


Two days later, in the chambers of a nearby tavern that Baner had sequestered as his headquarters for the duration of the siege, the Swedish general was in a much calmer mood. In fact, he was as close to "serene" as the man ever got.

Which was not close at all, of course. Still, Duke Ernst knew the signs. Now that the energetic and very-difficult-to-repress if not exactly irrepressible Baner was finally back in action in the field, he was a lot more content than he had been as what amounted to a garrison commander in Amberg. Furthermore, despite appearances, the Swedish general was very far from a buffoon. There was actually quite a keen military mind in there somewhere, beneath the choler and the dramatics.

Baner laid down the report he'd just summarized for Ernst and leaned back in his chair at the table. "So. Duke Bernhard did not send his regiments north to join de Valois at Luebeck. In my assessment"-he waved a contemptuous hand at the report-"unlike that of this over-intellectual spy, this only signifies that the man isn't stupid."

Duke Ernst nodded. "Over time, people have called my youngest brother Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar a lot of things. Arrogant. Inconsiderate. Ambitious. Rude. 'Stupid' was never one of them."

Baner grunted. "Nobody ever called him 'incompetent' either."

Ernst leaned back in his chair also, and contemplated the situation. To the best intelligence that Sweden and the USE had been able to collect, Bernhard had responded to Richelieu's repeated prodding by sending part of his troops sort of halfway toward the north. He had left most of his infantry in the Franche-Comte and taken himself, Friedrich von Kanoffski, and their picked companies north through the Breisgau, settling for the past couple of weeks into the monastery buildings at Schwarzach on the Rhine-not that he wouldn't be heading back to Besancon pretty soon, most likely. He'd set up his administrative headquarters there. Bernhard had sent Caldenbach, Ohm, and Rosen, with the rest of his cavalry, toward Mainz, apparently to provide a screen against any moves that Gustav might be contemplating there. Or, possibly, to make the USE nervous about the possibility that he might launch raids in the direction of Thuringia.

He spoke that last aloud. "It certainly isn't impossible that Bernhard's men could get as far as Fulda, or do a razzia against the towns in the Werra valley on the south face of the Thuringerwald."

Baner scowled. Not in displeasure; that was simply his usual expression when he was thinking. "I've worked with those captains of his, Duke. All three of Bernhard's cavalry units facing Mainz have something in common. They can move very fast when they need to. Maybe Bernhard does intend to send at least a token force to support the French regiments outside Luebeck. But then again-maybe that isn't what he intends. Fast is fast, no matter what direction it might be headed."

The general was tactful, for a wonder. He did not add the obvious coda. Since your brother has proven himself to be a traitor, who's to say he's not planning to betray Richelieu as well?

Ernst was thankful for Baner's courtesy in leaving all that unsaid. Not because he really cared about the issue of family honor, though. He and Wilhelm and Albrecht, by their own unswerving loyalty to Gustav Adolf since he landed his Swedish army in the Germanies in 1630, had done more than enough to still any suspicious that the Saxe-Weimars as a whole were untrustworthy.

He simply didn't want to get into another argument with Baner. The Swedish general didn't really understand Ernst's youngest brother. True, Bernhard was almost satanically ambitious. But he was not actually that quick to treason, nor was he the conscienceless and amoral man that most people took him to be. From Bernhard's viewpoint, he had not betrayed Gustav Adolf in the first place. Rather, the Swedish king had betrayed him.

Ernst did not agree with that viewpoint, but he had no trouble understanding its logic. There were times, now and then, in the darker places of his soul, when the same resentment surfaced. Between them, the Swedish king and the American up-timers had dealt roughly with the Saxe-Weimar dukes. With their status and prestige, at least, if not their personal selves.

Yes, Bernhard could be ruthless. And, yes, he had the sort of arrogance that made it very easy for him to interpret events in a way that satisfied his personal code of honor and ethics. But that was not the same thing as the absence of honor and ethics altogether. Once satisfied that his course of action was acceptable-to himself, at any rate-Bernhard would proceed according to that same code. The youngest of the four Saxe-Weimar dukes was not only competent and capable, he was no more prone to pointless cruelty or gratuitous misconduct than any of his older brothers were. He was quite a devout Lutheran, actually, in his own way.

All that said…

Ernst looked out of the second-story window of the tavern onto the landscape below. Already, Baner's engineers and soldiers had turned the once-fertile fields surrounding Ingolstadt into a nightmarish landscape of trenches and fieldworks.

There was no report, anywhere, that Bernhard had ever sworn an oath of loyalty to the French. Not, at least, the sort of personal oath he had once sworn to Gustav Adolf. He had simply agreed to accept employment from them as the commanding general of a mercenary army.

Ernst was reminded of an American witticism of sorts he'd once heard, from one of the UMWA men who still provided Mike Stearns with the backbone of his regime. One coal miner explaining to another the words he'd spoken to an employer who had angered him. Fuck you, buddy. I was looking for work when I walked in this door, so it's not as if I'm any worse off on my way out.

Yes. It was quite possible that his brother was planning to betray Richelieu. He wouldn't think of it that way, of course.

Hearing movement, Ernst looked back into the room. Baner had sat back upright and was leafing through some of the other reports on the table.

"But Bernhard's not my problem," he said. "He's Horn's problem, and the problem of Nils Abrahamsson Brahe in Mainz. So let's get back to the siege here at Ingolstadt. I've got a report that just came in from one of my cavalry units. It seems that some of Maximilian's troops are-"

Chapter 18

Dramatis Nuptialis


There had been a great spate of diplomatic activity, Maria Anna knew. Requests for the issuance of ecclesiastical dispensations for multiple lines of consanguineal and affinal relationships between the prospective bride and groom had gone from Vienna to Rome by the fastest post possible, accompanied by letters from the nuncio. Undoubtedly, similar requests and letters had been sent from Munich. After some very brief vacillation on the part of the pope-or, possibly on the part of the cardinals and other curial officials, which had scarcely been surprising, since Cousin Philip's ambassador would almost certainly have been pressuring for a delay-they had received word. The pope would do all that was necessary and would do it as quickly as possible.

Thus, today's audience, for Papa to announce a wedding date: July


Thus, today's mass, to give due thanks to God.

Papa upon his throne in the Hofburg was far more impressive than Papa at the breakfast table with crumbs in his beard. The principal public audience chamber, which went under the name of the Ratstube, which made it sound rather like a cozy little room, was really quite large. The throne was at one end, with a canopy or pavilion above it. This had curtains, which were withdrawn to reveal Papa's presence. The court marshal, holding the sword of state, stood on his right. The chamberlain stood to his left, reading out the items on the agenda. He carried the symbols and introduced foreign representatives; it was his right to determine the sequence of the audiences. The right to determine the order in which those present would be heard gave him great power.

Also on Papa's right, but on the side wall, was a smaller throne with a smaller canopy. The heir to the throne sat there when he was present, but Ferdinand was not present. He was inspecting fortifications against the Turks. There was a chair for Cardinal Dietrichstein. He was old, he was not well, and once the protocol people were persuaded to think of it the right way, being a Prince of the Church, he was a prince. So he got to sit.

Everyone else in the room stood, the men bare-headed in deference to the emperor. They also all wore heavy cloaks over their formal court dress. May or not, the high-ceilinged room was as cold as a wit… Oh, no. We don't think those words.

If Papa looked impressive, the palace at Vienna was truly not very grand. The geographer Merian, in his book that described the Germanies, had said that it was "not particularly splendidly constructed, and rather small for such a mighty and supreme potentate." Long ago, Maximilian I, the founder of Habsburg greatness, had preferred to reside at Innsbruck and even at Augsburg. Of course, so long ago, the Vorlande, the scattered Habsburg possessions in southwestern Germany, had been comparatively more important. That was before Hungary and Bohemia had come to the family. More recently, Rudolf II had preferred Prague. Vienna was, really, a provincial capital that Papa had pressed into service as an imperial seat of government-not that he still did not travel, to Linz and to Graz, to Pressburg and to Prague, taking the court and its major officials with him. Sometimes he took all of the court. With family, officials, councillors, chaplains, choristers, and pages, that was about five hundred people to move from one residence to another. The high steward supervised the people, but the master of the horse controlled the horses, wagons, and carriages, which sometimes made travel an interesting experience.

Maria Anna waited. The family members were to accompany Papa on a procession from the audience chamber to church. The Hofburg was not like the Spanish Escorial, with the great church as the center of the palace. In Vienna, unless using a small private chapel, the imperial family walked to church in public, just like anyone else.

In Munich, things would be much more grand. Uncle Max was only a duke, not an emperor, but he kept a court almost twice as large as that of Vienna. The Residenz in Munich was far more modern and elegant than the imperial palace in Vienna.

It was too bad that Uncle Max could not come to Vienna for the wedding, she thought. The more of her time that had been taken up with wedding preparations, the less opportunity she had for study. It had become more and more difficult for her to obtain information. If it hadn't been for Dona Mencia, she would have had miserably little.

Dona Mencia, however, somehow, was obtaining copies of material from the up-time encyclopedias. Things were not the same; truly they were not. In some ways, it was the small things, rather than the great ones, that made this most real. In that other world, true, she had married Uncle Max. But in that world, Tante Elisabeth Renata had lived for one more year. In that world, the Cardinal-Infante had not gone to the Netherlands and defeated the heretic house of Orange there. In that other world, he had brought an army from Spain, via Italy, and had joined with the Austrian army led by her brother Ferdinand. Outside of the imperial city of Nordlingen, they had won a great victory over the Swedes. Papa had been so proud of Ferdinand that he had cried tears of joy.

Here, of course, no one had defeated the Swedes, yet. Their king, who led the armies of the heretics to achieve impossibilities, was not dead. Ferdinand had not achieved a great victory; Papa was not angry with him, but not especially proud of him, either-no more so than usual. The Catholic cause was not ascendant and secure.

Therefore, Uncle Max refused to come to Vienna for the wedding. He must, the Bavarians had said, remain at home, ensuring the security of the Danube frontier against the Swede's regent and general who were occupying the Upper Palatinate and actively besieging his jewel fortress at Ingolstadt. The Bavarian diplomatic correspondence said that the duke had decided that he should not go so far from his army. He must remain available if needed to defend the cause of the Catholic League.

So Maria Anna would be married in Munich, not Vienna. If all was well at Ingolstadt, the duke would meet her at Passau and escort her from there to the Bavarian capital. Somehow, she mused, it would have been a little easier to be married at home. Turning her head slightly, she smiled at Dona Mencia, who was standing just behind her.


Dona Mencia had also, as it chanced, been thinking of the differences between the was and the is. Thank God for the dispatches from Brussels. She had quite deliberately been focusing the archduchess' attention on the interesting discrepancies between the broader history narrated in the encyclopedias and what had happened since the spring of 1631.

She hoped that no one else had filled Maria Anna's ears full of the disturbing reports from Munich. The ones about Duke Maximilian's indifference to the marriage, and his plain statement to his privy council that if they wanted him to marry the girl, they could bring her here, because he saw no reason to take the trouble to go there. The ones which said that Duke Maximilian was not concentrating his attention on the threats from Duke Ernst and Baner; the ones which said that he left his chambers only to go to the chapel, and the chapel only to go to his chambers.


Another man moved forward to present his petition. Mentally, Maria Anna called up the wreath of blessings upon which she was still focusing her morning devotions. She hadn't added any new roses to it for quite some time. She thought hard about blessings.


Munich, Bavaria

Although Duke Maximilian showed no interest in the arrangements for his forthcoming marriage, numerous other people were quite determined that Bavaria should not be disgraced by a shabby welcome for its new duchess. Many of the interests coalesced: Duchess Mechthilde, the city council, the Jesuit collegium. Among the various other items offered to celebrate her arrival in the city, there would be a play.

A play in Munich was not a modest undertaking. Long since, they had spilled out of the confining space of the courtyard of the Jesuit college and took place in the huge Schrannenplatz in front of the cathedral. It was not uncommon for a play to have one hundred fifty or two hundred actors with speaking parts; the costumed extras for crowd scenes could range from a thousand to more than fifteen hundred. They had huge painted sets; multiple special effects with waves and shipwrecks, guardian angels descending from heaven, music, and fireworks. They were in Latin, of course. For more than fifty years, however, it had been the custom to print German-language programs for the spectators that summarized the plot development of each act, pointed out the moral of the story, and sometimes even translated crucial passages of the major speeches. It was Father Matthaeus Rader, still teaching at the collegium, who had had that idea. The first such program had been printed in 1597 for the dedication of St. Michael's church. Although for the past fifteen or more years he had been concentrating on a three-volume collection of the lives of Bavaria's saints, he agreed to accept responsibility for the overall supervision of one more event.

There wouldn't be time to commission an entirely new play for the wedding and have new music composed and rehearsed. Why, the wedding celebration this year between the son of the king of Denmark and the daughter of the elector of Saxony (heretics all) had required two years of preparation. Three months was quite hopeless for that. They would need to revive an existing play.

Of all the well-known Jesuit playwrights, one had taught for a time in Munich before being called to Rome to serve as a papal censor-Jakob Bidermann. Bidermann, like Father Drexel, the court preacher, was one of Rader's former students. Rader suggested one of his works with, perhaps, a new and topical poetic introduction and


The whole committee agreed that this would work. But which play? The most famous was the Cenodoxus. It was powerful, undoubtedly. When it was first performed, the actor who portrayed the protagonist had been moved to join the Jesuit order and more than a dozen Bavarian court officials had taken leave from their ordinary duties in order to make a retreat and perform St. Ignatius Loyola's Exercises.

Mary Ward, who had been drawn into the committee on the presumption that her school would supply the many flower-petal-scattering girl children who constituted part of any celebration, remarked that this was not, perhaps, precisely the effect that one wished to achieve during a wedding celebration.

Josephus? Not quite right. Philemon the Martyr? Umm, no, not this time. Jacob the Usurer? Off-topic.

Patiently, Duchess Mechthilde let the discussion proceed along its inconclusive way until everyone was getting tired and would welcome a decisive intervention. They should make the play a compliment to Duke Maximilian, she suggested. A compliment to his generalship of the troops of the Catholic League. Of all of Bidermann's plays, the best for this purpose would be…

Of course! Why hadn't they thought of it in the first place. Some time during the week before the wedding, Munich would put on a spectacular performance of Belisarius, Christian General.

However, Father Rader had insisted, there should be a new poetical prologue and epilogue that specifically referenced the wedding. That could certainly be achieved within the allotted time. Who? Well, young Balde would be the best choice.

"But," one of the city councilmen sputtered, "he's in Amberg. In the Upper Palatinate. Imprisoned by the heretics."

"He isn't imprisoned," Rader answered. "And the mails are going through. By somewhat roundabout routes, at times, but going through. The house of Thurn and Taxis is most ingenious. It shall be Balde."

Once this had been decided, all of the committee members took up their tasks with little additional discussion; most of them had taken part in the staging of a dozen or more plays of this type. There are many advantages to fielding a veteran team.

Duchess Mechthilde saw no reason to remind them of the play's full title. Not that her brother-in-law deserved to experience derision or misery. As far as Mechthilde could find out, based on the information she received from servants and various other informants she had placed judiciously here and there among the court personnel, Maximilian truly did wish to retire to a monastery. So, he clearly deserved all the assistance that she could give him in attaining his desire.

The misfortune was that there were others who were hindering his pursuit of that laudable and praiseworthy goal. Those others-yes, they did deserve whatever adverse fate could be brought to bear upon them. Munich would be performing A Tragi-Comedy of the Rise and Fall of Belisarius, Christian General, who Fell from the Highest Happiness of Fame into the Extreme Mockery of Misfortune under Emperor Justinian, about the Year of Christ 530.

Chapter 19

Disciplina Militaris


Gustav Adolf, King of Sweden and Emperor of the United States of Europe was in a very good mood this day. Word had just come from General Torstensson that he and his army had reached the Wardersee, thereby cutting off the French line of retreat from the siege of Luebeck. And Admiral Simpson's flotilla of ironclads would be entering the Bay of Luebeck very soon now.

That was perhaps just as well for General Johan Baner, reflected the emperor's aide, Colonel Nils Ekstrom. Had Gustav Adolf been in a bad mood, he might well have reacted to the dispatches sent from the Upper Palatinate by Duke Ernst quite differently.

Baner could be… aggravating. Even at a distance, much less in person. At least, at a distance, you could pretend he was sober most of the time. And you didn't have to listen to his constant profanity and blasphemy.

Gustav laid the despatches down on the desk in his office in the city's Rathaus. "Well, why not? Johan's capable in the field. He might even reduce Ingolstadt, which would be a very nice development."

Ekstrom cleared his throat. Before he could utter words of caution, however, the emperor waved his hand. "Yes, yes, I know," he said. "The odds of that happening are not so good. But they're not impossible, either, and simply the attempt will keep the Bavarians pre-occupied. Which is all I really need at the moment."

"The Austrians-"

"Are not likely to take advantage of Baner's withdrawal of troops from the border," Gustav interrupted. "Not with Wallenstein allied to us and sitting close to their northern territories. Relax, Nils. It's safe enough, I think."

Ekstrom felt compelled to complete his duties. "That still leaves Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar."

The emperor thought for a moment, and then shrugged. "Yes, but I can't see where that's a problem either. General Horn has enough men in Swabia to keep Bernhard from doing anything prodigious, so to speak-a term which would certainly qualify any attempt on his part to march into the Upper Palatinate. Horn's not perhaps the most imaginative and daring commander you could ask for, but he's never careless. Besides…"

For a moment, Gustav tapped his big fingers on the desktop. "Besides," he continued, "I think Bernhard is now looking mainly to his own purposes. If that's the case, why would he undertake such a risky gamble? Even if it were successful, he might advance the interests of France and Bavaria-but only at the expense of half-destroying his own army. No, I can't see it, Nils. Everything we can determine about Bernhard's actions leads me to believe his principal motive, at least for the time being, is simply to keep his army intact, and in place."

He left off his finger-tapping and picked up the despatches. "So, we'll allow Johan his independent campaign at Ingolstadt. Send a reply to that effect to the duke, if you please."

"He'll be somewhat exasperated, you realize."

Gustav Adolf grinned. "Well, of course. It's in Ernst's nature to be exasperated, just as it is in Johan Baner's to be exasperating. That's part of the reason I thought they'd make a good match."


The Breisgau

Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar was in a foul mood, as he had been for days. What made the situation all the worse for his officers was that the young Saxe-Weimar duke's irritation had nothing to do with the general political and military situation, which was developing quite favorably. It was simply due to indigestion.

Bernhard, unfortunately, had a rather delicate stomach, perhaps inherited from his mother. It often flared up when he was on campaign and making do with field provisions. To make things more difficult for his aides and adjutants, his pride usually got in the way. What sort of daring cavalry commander can't go on campaign without getting an upset stomach? Any expression of sympathy was likely to trigger off an explosion of rage.

So, Friedrich and his associates had been treading carefully of late, around the duke. They'd been riding back and forth across the countryside for weeks. Not because they were trying to accomplish anything but simply because Bernhard had thought it prudent to act as if they were. Perhaps, after getting reports of their activities, Cardinal Richelieu might be fooled into thinking that Bernhard was contemplating-energetically, most energetically-a daring mission to come to the aid of the French army outside Luebeck.

Not likely, of course. It was exceedingly hard to fool the canny prelate who was the effective ruler of France. But, if nothing else, Bernhard had calculated that those reports would go unquestioned by Richelieu, however much they might cause him to seethe inwardly-for the good and simple reason that the cardinal's own position was now precarious. Very soon, in Bernhard's estimate, the French army at Luebeck would be coming to a disaster-and when it did, France's simmering factional disputes would come to a boil. Outright civil war was by no means impossible, and major unrest was a certainty.

The king's younger brother Monsieur Gaston and his sycophants would be laying many charges at Richelieu's feet-nailing them to his door, more like. One of them was sure to be the accusation that he had squandered money on that useless Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar and his mercenary army in the Franche-Comte, which had played no role at all in the Ostend war.

Under the circumstances, Richelieu could hardly admit that his opponents were quite right!

Which, indeed, they were. The last thing Bernhard and his close associates intended was to see their preciously assembled army battered into pieces in an all-out campaign against the Swede and the American technical wizards who had provided him with such a fearsome array of weaponry.

No, no. They'd have a much better use for that army soon enough.



There had been a time when Johann Philipp Cratz von Scharffenstein had been thankful to have the position of the commander of the Ingolstadt garrison bestowed upon him by the duke of Bavaria. Unfortunately, through no fault of his own-Wallenstein's malice was to blame, as well as the fecklessness of the authorities of Lorraine-the Rhenish count's military record as a professional soldier was…

Well. Undistinguished.

His enemies, of which he had many, would no doubt have used a less neutral term. But they were motivated by spite and envy, usually combined with ignorance.

It was hardly Cratz von Scharffenstein's fault that, while he'd been in Wallenstein's service, his troops had committed some depredations upon the populace. Mercenary troops were always rough on civilians, including those they were hired to protect. Any professional officer knew that perfectly well. Wallenstein's anger had simply been the naivete of a man who was really just a lowly merchant who'd applied his talent for avarice to military affairs. And a nasty bastard to boot. He was not a genuine soldier, like Cratz himself.

The complaints of the Lorraines had been even more absurd. Was Cratz a baker or a tailor or a saddler, obliged to keep meticulous and finicky financial books because he lived on the edge of destitution? An officer and a nobleman, by nature of the very temperament that made him suited to his position in life, of necessity had a sanguine attitude toward these things.

They'd been incredibly unreasonable. Had even dissolved his regiment!

Thereafter, there'd been almost two years of penury, while the imperials dilly-dallied about employing him. That was Wallenstein's malevolence at work, of course. And didn't it serve the Emperor right, that in the end it would be Wallenstein who betrayed him? While Cratz von Scharffenstein took his services to the Bavarians.

Even with Tilly's recommendation, before the old man's blunder at the Lech that cost him his life, the best Cratz had managed to get was a garrison post. Still, by then he'd been thankful enough. If nothing else, being the military commander of a walled and fortified city like Ingolstadt made it exceedingly difficult for his creditors to pester him.

Cratz von Scharffenstein was no longer thankful, however. Garrison duty was boring, and provided little opportunity as a rule for an officer to distinguish himself. On the positive side, there were many avenues for enrichment that were far superior to the measly salary his Bavarian commission brought in-and it was usually not dangerous work.


Alas, "usually" was a term that could be quickly buried when an enemy commander like Johan Baner was in the vicinity, damn the drunken Swedish pig. How did a man who consumed as much liquor as his reputation said he did manage to be so energetic at the same time?

Gloomily, Cratz pushed aside the scout reports on the desk in his headquarters. It was just more of the same. Baner's men here, Baner's men there, the Swedes seemed to be everywhere.

That done, he eyed another little stack of papers on the desk. Even more gloomily. Those were the latest despatches from General Franz von Mercy, the man whom Duke Maximilian-God knows what he could have been thinking-had chosen to place in command of Bavarian field forces in the vicinity of Ingolstadt.

Cratz was tempted to shove those aside as well, but…

Cavalry scouts and their captains could be ignored, safely enough. Generals couldn't, even if-there was this small ray of light-Maximilian had not been mad enough to place von Mercy in command of the garrison as well.

So, sighing, he picked up the first one. As he expected, it was… vigorous… in tone. Urging Cratz to do this and do that and do the other. And who was to pay for all this? Even assuming there were enough hours in a day, days in a weeks, and weeks in a month.

He set that despatch aside, for the moment. Picked up the next.

This one was even worse. Beneath a short note from von Mercy "strongly recommending" that the measures in the attached report be applied, the report itself had been penned by von Mercy's subordinate, Colonel Johann von Werth.

Cratz von Scharffenstein lapsed into the vulgar patois of his Rhenish upbringing for a moment. Of all the officers in Bavarian service in or near Ingolstadt, the one he detested the most was Johann von Werth.

Jan van Wierdt, to call the arrogant ass by his right name. He was no more of a genuine nobleman than the simpleton corporal standing guard just outside the door. Unfortunately, by sheer good fortune, van Wierdt had "distinguished" himself in the recent wars. Much the way a peasant might blunder across a buried treasure.

Von Mercy thought most highly of the bastard. Still worse, so did Duke Maximilian. Cratz had even heard that the duke had once remarked that van Wierdt was as good a cavalry commander as Pappenheim. Which was absurd on the face of it, of course.

Reluctantly, Cratz began reading the report. His gloom grew by the minute.

The Swedes are doing this and that and this and that and the other.

We must do this and that and this and that and the other and yet another.

Just reading the damn thing was exhausting.


Brussels, the Spanish Netherlands

Stiffly, in the manner of a stern young prince bound and determined to be faithful to his duty, Don Fernando resumed his seat. Then, stone-faced, gave the portraits one last quick examination.

"Anna de' Medici, then?"

Rubens inclined his head. "All things considered, Your Highness, I think she would make the best choice. Now that the rumors of Claude of Lorraine's involvement with her cousin have been confirmed, she's obviously out of the question. Claudia de' Medici and her sister Maria Maddalena, as we already discussed, are too old. The Polish girl is only fifteen, and… ah…"

"Ugly," the prince grunted. He gave her portrait a glance. Then, gave the portrait of Anna de' Medici a glance that was only slightly less brief.

That was odd, in a way, since the de' Medici girl was actually quite attractive, even if you allowed for a certain amount of artistic license by the artist who'd done the portrait.

Rubens knew the reason, and had to suppress a sigh. As impossible as it might be, for political reasons, Don Fernando had concluded that either of the Austrian archduchesses would make a good match. Especially the older one, Maria Anna. The arrival of their portraits had simply solidified his opinion. Both young women were very attractive.

It was true enough-had the world been other than it was. A marriage with one of the Austrian Habsburgs would bring real power and influence, unlike a match with the Tuscan girl. But with Ferdinand II still on the throne in Vienna, there was no chance that he'd agree. Not even to a match with Cecelia Renata, who was still at liberty, so to speak.

With Maria Anna, of course, there was no chance at all. She was already betrothed to Maximilian of Bavarian, and the wedding was supposed to take place in July.

"Shall I begin the negotiations with the Tuscans?" he asked the prince.

After perhaps half a minute, the answer was "Not yet."

Rubens was not surprised. Nor was there any point in arguing the matter for a while. Don Fernando could do "stubborn" as well as any Habsburg who ever lived, when he was of a mind.

"Very well, Your Highness."

On his way out of the cardinal-infante's chamber, Rubens made a mental note to himself. As soon as possible, hide the portraits of the Austrian archduchesses.

Chapter 20

Et Ferrum Ferentes

On the Golden Street

By the second day, they were about thirty miles northeast of Nurnberg.

"It's enough to make you sick." Marc was looking at the smashed ruins of a hammer mill. His time with Jacob Durre had provided him with some sense of the effort and money it would take to rebuild it.

Mansfeld and Tilly, the Bavarians and the Swedes. Every army that came through the Upper Palatinate for the past dozen years had been acting on the same presumption. If they could not keep a grasp on the wealth of the region themselves, they would at least destroy as much of it as possible, so the enemy could not benefit from it either.

"There must have been really a lot of iron being processed," Keith commented. "It's one thing for someone to tell Ollie so, and for him to send me off to see about getting the place back into production. It's something else to see these wasted smelters for myself. How much were they turning out, annually, before the war?"

"Before the war?" Leopold Cavriani looked reflective. "I wish that Durre could have come with us. He would know better than I do. A geographer with a sense of the poetic described the smelters and hammer-mills as 'strung along every stream in the Upper Palatinate, like pearls on a necklace'. Especially, in addition to the Pegnitz here, along the Vils and the Naab."

"Funny way to describe the mess and pollution that they must have made," Mary Simpson commented. "Look at the size of those slag piles."

"Iron was pearls," Leopold answered. "Pearls in the sense of wealth. How many? More than two hundred fifty, I am sure. But no matter how carefully they have managed these forests-the peasants of the Upper Palatinate are forbidden to keep goats, you know, because they are so destructive of the wood if they get loose-there have been constant shortages of charcoal. Without fuel, the smelters have to stand down."

"Why didn't they use coal?" That was Toby Snell, with a question that just came naturally to a Grantville boy.

"I don't think there's any around here," Keith answered. "None suitable for metalworking, anyway. If they could get a railroad through, from here to Grantville…"

Leopold resumed his interrupted lecture. "The Emperor Charles IV's Goldene Strasse, his 'Golden Street' from Prague to Nurnberg, the one we are riding on and will continue riding on as far as Sulzbach, was built because of iron, too, not gold. Not by Charles IV, originally. It existed long before. He just improved it, and rerouted parts of it through his own lands."

Cavriani looked thoughtful. "It should have been the Eisenstrasse , the 'Iron Street.' For four hundred years, at least, it has been iron, in this region. Probably for much longer than that; I don't know, but that is when the records that I have seen begin. About four centuries ago. Occasionally, however, farmers find pots and iron tools along here that are far, far, older-things from the time of ancient Rome and even before. Look around you. God never meant the thin soil on these hills to grow grain. It is the ore beneath them that made the fortune of the Electors Palatine. The up-timers speak of the Ruhr. Throughout the middle ages, the Upper Palatinate was for the Holy Roman Empire what the Ruhr became for the German Empire so much later."

He grinned. "Oh, the Rhine Palatinate is a fine place. Lovely, scenic, civilized. But the wealth that supported that culture, that ancient university, the great library that was stolen from Heidelberg and taken to Rome a few years ago, was wrested out of these hills by men with picks and shovels. This second part of the Palatinate was the center of the south German iron trade. Mining and processing, both. If the iron isn't brought back into production, nothing else that Duke Ernst can do will help in the long run. In these hills, it is iron or poverty. The proverb runs, 'Dig iron or eat stones.'"

He gestured. "It goes on far beyond what we can see here. The Montanbereich. It is about a hundred of your up-time miles long, from Sulzbach and Rosenberg in the west, it runs northeast almost all the way to the border of Bohemia. These little towns, even those no bigger than a large agricultural village in other parts of Germany, received their city charters in the fourteenth century because of iron."

"You can pretty much tell that," Keith commented. "Everyone in Grantville keeps talking about the importance of industrializing. Around Thuringia, I've not seen anything like this. Some around Suhl and Schleusingen, Schmalkalden, but that's on the south side of the mountains. Just how much of the work force was already out of agriculture down here? Before the war, I mean?"

Cavriani thought for a moment. "It isn't like northern Italy or the Netherlands, of course, so it's hard to compare. It isn't 'urbanized,' as you say. Mining is a rural occupation and so is ore processing. Only the producers of finished goods live mainly in the towns. Or near them, since the forges also benefit from having a source of power from the streams. But probably, of adult men, one out of five; in some places, such as along the Pegnitz River here, or along the Naab, which flows south into the Danube, one out of four, worked in mining or metals."

"Looking at this, I can see why Herr Durre and the other metalworkers in Nurnberg are so worried." Marc was returning to his first thought. "It isn't just that they are short of materials for making wire and such. Even though, if they can't get raw materials for the metals trades, it will soon no longer be a proud and wealthy city. It's the arsenal, too. It's a manufacturing arsenal. Without iron, without enough iron…"


Approaching Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

"It was not an easy time," Elias Brechbuhl said Mary Simpson. The widower of Veronica's step-daughter Elisabetha shook his head. "Nor did the Bavarians intend to allow any Protestants who remained in the city an easy time." He had been talking about the year 1626. "In September-I recall very well that it was the fifteenth of the month-they held a Catholic mass, a Te Deum, in the main parish church of Amberg to celebrate the Catholic victory over the Danes. And the school children were forced to attend it. That was the day that I decided to go into exile. Whatever the hardships it would bring upon Elisabetha and the children. For in only two more years, my oldest son would start school. And they would have schooled him into a Catholic. I could not permit it, not on my conscience."

He reined his horse in, pausing to look up at the walls of Amberg.

Veronica drew up her mule next to him. "Yes, I remember that day. Hans was at that service. He was in the Jesuit school. The damned Bavarians had closed the Padagogium, the Calvinist school, already, three years before that. It was the year before he started his apprenticeship with his father." She sat, looking up at the walls.

Brechbuhl looked startled.

Veronica glowered. "I will say it. Die verdammten Bayer. If you don't want to hear it, you don't have to listen."

Brechbuhl turned back to Mary Simpson. "This is the first time that I have been back. Margaretha's first husband was already dead; he was killed by Bavarian troops almost three years before that day. She came with us, as did Lorenz and Hanna. Clara and Matthias weren't married yet and she was living with Margaretha. So she came with us, as well." He smiled. "A year later, there was Matthias at our door in Nurnberg. I think she had given up hope, but by waiting longer, he was able to salvage more money from the sale of his father's house and business than if he had left so quickly. But then, a bachelor is not as constrained as the head of a household. It is easier for him to take some risks."

Keith Pilcher frowned. He wasn't Catholic, but he had gotten to know some of the Jesuits who were working at St. Mary's in Grantville and liked them. "What do you mean by 'schooled into a Catholic'?" he asked.

"The Jesuits in Amberg accepted any boy who turned up at their door, without a charge in money. That," Brechbuhl said, "I will grant them. Protestants as well as Catholics. Oh, yes, they wanted the Protestant families to send their sons. Not just pupils whose parents could not pay the full fees. They accepted boys with no coats, boys with no shoes, and gave them bread to eat. But there are other ways to impose a cost. On the soul, if not upon the purse. The year that Gustav Adolf landed, 1630, that would have been, I received a letter from a friend who had stayed. He said that the schools had been dismissed in the morning, the day before he wrote, so that the children could attend the burning of the books that the Bavarians had confiscated from the Lutherans. 'So that they could some day tell their descendants about it.'"

"You were right, you know," Veronica said. "To leave, if it was so important to you that your children not be schooled as Catholics. Somehow, it did not make that much difference to us. The first time we were plundered, by Mansfeld's 'Protestant' troops in support of the Calvinist Winter King, we were still good little Calvinists ourselves, just as the elector declared that his subjects should be. So, my stepson Anton figured, how could becoming Catholic make it worse? We delayed as long as we could; that's true. We did not leap enthusiastically into the arms of the damned Bavarians, the way Johann Stephan's brother Kilian did. He threw himself upon their breasts, practically, when they first occupied Amberg in 1621. But in 1628, when Duke Maximilian declared that we must become Catholic or leave, we became Catholic."

Nodding at him, she continued. "It isn't as if Johann Stephan brought up his children the way your father brought you up. He didn't suffer fools gladly. Even though he died long before this war started, he had more than enough of the back and forth between the Lutherans and the Calvinists. I can only think what he would have said about adding Catholics to the stew. After one of the changes, when the ecclesiastical visitor complained of his apparently minimal familiarity with the doctrines and teachings covered on the questionnaire, he replied, 'It may be that I do know the answer. I'm just not sure which one you are looking for this time.'"

"Ah," Brechbuhl said. "Yes. I do believe that I heard that story from my father." He smiled. "And many others about Johann Stephan. The various religious changes generated a lot of jobs for printers. Just think of how many copies of the Mandatum de Non Calumniendo were needed when one of the electors decided that the Lutherans and Calvinists had taken their theological disputes to a far from genteel level of rhetoric. 'Thou shalt not insult one another.' Indeed, think of all the pamphlets that led to the issuance of the mandate. Such controversies must be very profitable for the printing trade."

Veronica also smiled. More grimly. "Gretchen had not been confirmed as a Calvinist. The ministers and teachers were exiled first; she wasn't old enough for confirmation when they left. Although she accepted the conversion like the rest of us, she was no longer exactly a child, so she has never really been instructed in the teachings of any church at all. Hans was confirmed as a Catholic. He was obliging enough about it, but he was, I think, a little too old when they started teaching him. He was ten. He didn't really take it all very seriously." She blinked. "He reminded me of Johann Stephan, in many ways."

Then she looked directly at Brechbuhl. "Annalise has no clear memory of having been a Calvinist, ever. She is Catholic, Elias-truly a Catholic, instructed as one and content to be one. So few years, barely six, between the oldest and the youngest, to make such a difference. The years of childhood are very short. We are working in common, now. Someday, maybe, you will have to decide if you will let your children know a cousin who is truly a Catholic. But it isn't something that we need to face today. Or even tomorrow."

Brechbuhl looked down.

She shook her head. "In 1628, we were plundered again. As Catholics. This time by some of Tilly's 'Catholic' troops in a land that was now 'Catholic.' Nor did our obedient change of confession move Duke Maximilian to protect us from his allies. That is when Anton was killed and his wife taken. And we were taken."

She looked directly at her stepdaughter's widower. "I intend to get Johann Stephan's property back, Elias. I will get it. Enough to send the Catholic granddaughter of a Calvinist publisher to a down-time college teaching up-time subjects headed by a Lutheran abbess. That much, the damned Bavarians owe Anton's family. Do not expect me to handle things the way I would have done ten years ago. I am not the respectable widow of an established printer any more. Nor am I entirely the wife of the mayor of Grantville. I have seen and done things that even Elisabetha and her sisters, with all the hardships of exile, have not and did not. I am an old hag of a camp follower also, Elias. You will do well not to forget that. Just as people will do well, as time goes on, to remember that Gretchen was a young camp follower. These things do not leave a person the same."


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

Duke Ernst had been polite about making the acquaintance of most of the party from Grantville. Not that he wasn't interested in seeing the up-timers for himself, but he was, after all, a very busy man, with many demands on his time. He suspected that he faced extended conversations with Mary Simpson and Veronica Dreeson. The appointments were on his calendar. He would do his duty. But after their first conversation, he had been utterly enchanted to make the acquaintance of Keith Pilcher. If they were not kindred spirits, they had, at least, a common appreciation of straightforward facts.

"Bocler," he said. "Get me my notes."


"Buckler?" Keith asked, looking after the secretary's retreating form.

"No," Duke Ernst said absently, following the direction of his guest's gaze. "Bocler."

Keith made a note to himself to ask the kid how to spell his name.

Turning back to Keith, Duke Ernst said, "We do, of course, have the materials from before the war. The Palatinate has been very well-governed. We have plenty of inventories and surveys. But they are terribly obsolete, because of the destruction. My first project has been to determine just what the current status is. However, here is what there was before the war."

Keith nodded. "It's always good to have a base line for comparison."

"You do realize," Duke Ernst asked, "that not all of this area properly belongs to the Upper Palatinate?"

"I didn't know it," Keith answered. "But I think that I could have guessed. We've seen a lot of that sort of thing since we landed in Thuringia. It really complicates life."

Duke Ernst, obviously proud of his increasing command of modern English, said "Tell me about it," and beamed. "The Upper Palatinate proper, the lands of the young Elector Karl Ludwig, is in two main sections, northern and southern. Between them are part of Pfalz-Neuburg, then Amt Vilseck, which belongs to the bishop of Bamberg and is a great nuisance to your administrators there since it is quite detached from the remainder of the diocese, and, of course, Leuchtenberg. Although we are, currently, administering Leuchtenberg, since the landgrave fled from Pfreimd into Bavaria when the Swedish army arrived in the vicinity."

He cocked his head. "You will have become used to the word Amt, I think, for a local administrative district. Here, though, it is called a Pfleggericht. There is very little difference in the functions. Amberg is in the southern main part of the Upper Palatinate, along with Pfaffenhofen, Haimburg, Rieden, Freudenberg, Hirschau, Nabburg, Neunburg vor dem Wald, Wetterfeld, Bruck, Retz, Waldmunchen, Murach, and Treswitz-Tenesberg. In the northern part, you have the districts of Bernau, Eschenbach, Grafenwohr, Holnberg, Kirchentumbach, Auerbach, and Hartenstein. Plus, just so things don't become too neat, the treasury Amt of Kemnat, the Landgericht Waldeck and a little free lordship called Rothenberg. Which is not the imperial city of a similar name, which is in Franconia. Plus, there are little exclaves to the west, intermixed with the jurisdictions subject to Nurnberg."

As all the place names went rattling past his ears, Keith recognized one familiar word. "Mrs. Dreeson says that she comes from Grafenwohr. We all caught that. God, that was funny. In our day, it was a huge center for army maneuvers; Americans by the hundreds of thousands trained at Graf. Does this mean that if she wants to go up there, she actually has to go through some spot that doesn't belong to the Upper Palatinate? That isn't under your control?"

"There are some Pfleggerichte belonging to Pfalz-Neuburg in between. Pfalz-Neuburg was set up by the Emperor Maximilian in 1505; it belongs to a cadet line of the Palatinate. The mother of the first counts was the daughter and heiress of Duke Georg of Landshut and most of it was taken from his lands, not those of the Palatinate. It's divided currently into three parts. Like Gaul. The largest belonged to Wolfgang Wilhelm-the one who married Maximilian of Bavaria's sister and turned Catholic for the sake of an inheritance on the lower Rhine. Then there are two smaller sections belonging to his younger brothers, who remained Lutheran, August and Johann Friedrich. Well, August's widow, now that he's dead. On behalf of Gustav Adolf, I have been working quite closely with Johann Friedrich and his widowed sister-in-law. And fairly successfully. The king, ah, emperor, decided that they should co-administer Wolfgang Wilhelm's former lands, since they are both Lutheran. Gustav Adolf doesn't wish to seem greedy."

Duke Ernst grinned. It made him look like a leprechaun. "Also, it is really more convenient in a way, since there is a nice Pfalz-Neuburg enclave on the south side of the Danube which Maximilian would most certainly gobble up if the king, ah, emperor, claimed it, since General Baner is currently besieging Ingolstadt. It makes a rather nice base of operations for some things. From our perspective, that is. From Maximilian's viewpoint, I'm sure that Neuburg and its hinterland are as great an irritant to him as Ingolstadt is to us. Except that they are not half as well-fortified. Few places are as well-fortified as Ingolstadt."

Duke Ernst looked up, an idea seeming to strike him. "I don't suppose that your administration in Franconia would be interested in trading Vilseck to the Upper Palatinate in exchange for something that we may have that is closer to their administrative center? I would certainly be happy to explore the possibility."

Keith was a bit taken aback. This was out of his league. But they had come through Bamberg on the way down, so he had a name handy. "You could always drop a note to Vince Marcantonio. He's the administrator there. He'll have to buck it up, through Steve Salatto to Ed Piazza. But I expect that they would be willing to talk about it." That, he thought, should be safe enough. "Don't expect an answer right away, though. Steve and Vince sort of have their hands full at the moment, what with…"

"Oh, yes," Duke Ernst answered serenely. "The peasants and their ram. Peasant revolts are always time consuming while they are happening, but things eventually settle down. Bocler, draft a letter please, for my signature, to Herr Marcantonio. I'll expect to have it in the morning."

He returned his attention to the statistical survey of the Upper Palatinate. "According to the survey done in 1609, the Montanbereich had four hundred twenty-eight employers in industries connected with mining and related industries. The mining was mainly iron, but also tin, lead, and calamine, the ore that you call zinc. The related industries were ore processing, and the manufacture of metal goods, mostly wrought iron up to and including something the size of ship anchors."

He paused. "And, of course, transporting these. It takes certain specialized wagons, heavy horses, and skilled drivers to get something the size of a ship's anchor from here to Venice."

"I can see that," Keith agreed.

Duke Ernst continued. "These businesses directly employed 10,550 miners and other metal workers. With dependent family members, this meant that 36,400 people out of a population of 180,000 in the region were directly supported by mining and metalworking."

Keith did some rapid calculations in his head. Dividing 428 employers into 10,550 employees did not come out to a bunch of little one-master shops with a journeyman and a couple of apprentices. Assuming that there had been some little shops, and there were bound to have been, the rest had been big businesses by down-time standards.

Duke Ernst was marching through the statistics. "That does not include those who worked in transport, with a network that ran into Hungary, northern Italy, and all through Germany. The Upper Palatinate's teamsters were widely known. The exemptions from toll and tariffs that the emperors granted to them go back to the 14th century in many cases. Back to the time when the Goldene Strasse received its privileges."

Keith wished that he could have brought the guy a battery-operated laptop. With a spreadsheet program. He'd love one. "Must have given them a bit of an advantage, trade wise, getting their stuff to market without all those add-ons."

"Oh." Duke Ernst smiled a little smile. "Yes, of course. It was much resented by the robber barons. And not always enforced during times of turmoil. But the principle was well established."

He leaned over, turning a few more pages in the ledger. "A lot of the 'agricultural' workers were also doing things other than growing food, such as working in the charcoal industry that supported the metal processing industry. Again, according to the 1609 survey, 310,000 measured meters of wood were cut in the Montanbereich that year; there were 1,460 charcoal burners who were counted as industrial workers, but also the 1,100 woodcutters and 1,950 people working in 'side jobs' associated with charcoal manufacture who were counted as agricultural. The regulations for managing the forests to maintain the supply of charcoal go back to the late 1300s: replanting, banning of goat-keeping, and the like."

He stood up. "Then the war came."

Keith nodded. It always seemed to come back to the war.

Chapter 21

Mulieres Intrepidae

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

The trade delegation had taken quarters in an inn, at Cavriani's urgent recommendation. Over the past century, there had been numerous episodes of serious tension between the metals cartel, the Hammerinnung comprised of the owners of the mining enterprises, smelters and mills, and the various other businesses that transformed metal into finished products, and the rulers and their officials. Episodes caused, largely, by the suspicion of the owners that the rulers of the Palatinate would be quite happy to impose monopolistic controls on the iron trade, to their own profit. Which, indeed, they would have been. The counts of the Palatinate had been mercantilists before mercantilism, so to speak. It would be bad, Cavriani insisted, to give a first impression that the Grantville delegation was directly sponsored by the regent.

Moreover, the innkeeper subscribed to several newspapers. Everybody in the delegation waited anxiously for the latest installment of the eagerly expected, distant but very important, spring season soap opera that Keith Pilcher called, "How to Squash the League of Ostend Like a Bug," starring Gustav Adolf, Lennart Torstensson, and John Simpson with supporting roles to be taken by Mike Stearns and… well, who knew. Perhaps the USE would have some new heroes in the next couple of months.

The ladies were another matter. Duke Ernst had naturally insisted on providing them with quarters in the Amberg Schloss. At his own expense. And, when he discovered that they had somehow managed to travel without a bevy of maids, with attendants suitable to their station. Chambermaids. Ladies' maids.

Mary Simpson thanked him very graciously.

While Mary was thanking him, Veronica managed to put on her Abbess of Quedlinburg face. Then she did the same, thinking dourly that she was going to have to use that face and voice more often than she wanted to this summer. She had practiced, since that reception in Magdeburg. She had watched the way that women such as Mary and the Abbess did it. She was not dumb; she was not yet too old to learn new tricks. If they were useful.


One of the chambermaids at the Schloss, Afra Forst, still had family in Pfreimd. Augustin Arndt, Landgrave Wilhelm Georg of Leuchtenberg's agent in Amberg, was able to use this leverage to persuade her to report to him everything that she observed about the up-time women.

It was no secret that Arndt was the landgrave's agent in Amberg, of course. He was a lawyer. His function was to represent the financial and political interests of the exiled ruler to the current government. That was quite normal. It would be peculiar only if Landgrave Wilhelm Georg had not employed an agent. That would have created a great deal of suspicion, indeed.

The regent and his officials assumed that Arndt spied when he could and sent reports to the landgrave. What else could one expect? He watched them. They watched him-when they had time, of course. The gathering of intelligence on the level of the local bureaucracy tended to be a business in which the two operative sentences were "That's not my job; that's his job" and "Who's paying for this, anyway?"

Several of the people who had been watching Arndt when they had time were now at Ingolstadt with General Baner. Keeping an eye on Herr Arndt was fairly low on the regent's priority list.

Right now, Arndt was operating on the basis of old instructions from the landgrave. For the past eighteen months, all he had received were the payments on his retainer. Those came more or less regularly, transmitted by a steward. As long as they kept coming, he would continue to send reports.

Kilian Richter's ties to Arndt were not of any interest to the Amberg authorities. Richter was not a citizen or resident of Amberg, nor did he any longer own property there. The man had entered some, not much, a few years back, but promptly sold it. His interests lay miles to the north. His connection with Arndt was not the obvious one of employer and agent that linked Arndt to Leuchtenberg. Who cared now that Richter had used the attorney's services once before, for a short time, several years ago. Every practicing lawyer had multiple clients.

Arndt was not especially happy that Richter, when he had first read the newspaper reports of "that harridan Veronica's" planned trip to Amberg, had contacted him again. But it shouldn't involve any adverse consequences for Arndt, himself. It was only natural, after all, that Richter would be hiring a lawyer in the capital to defend his property claims.


Duke Ernst was more impressed by Veronica Dreeson's letter of introduction than she had been herself. That was, indeed, an original signature. Or the initials, at least, had not been scribbled by an adjutant. GARS. Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueciae. The king of Sweden, emperor of the United States of Europe and the prospective head of the renewed Union of Kalmar meant seriously that he himself, Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, should personally lend assistance to the grandmother of Hans Richter, the hero of Wismar. A postscript indicated that Prime Minister Stearns agreed that it would be a good idea.

The woman was chatting along. "… and the town is so changed that I scarcely recognize it. My stepson-in-law Elias and I have walked around some, and we actually lost our way twice. We had to take a line of sight on Our Lady's to get back on streets that we recognized. That huge half-finished building on the former site of St. George's church-why, it spills way over the boundaries of the original lot. They've even moved one of the city gates to make room for it. There must have been at least a dozen houses along the wall, there. All gone. Including…"

Duke Ernst nodded politely.

"Including our house. The one where Johann Stephan had his print shop. We lived upstairs." Temporarily losing her Abbess of Quedlinburg face and voice, Veronica glared at him.

Duke Ernst winced. That "huge half-finished building" was the Jesuit collegium. He knew a great deal about it. The moving of one of the city gates in 1630 had serious technical implications for the defense of the city of Amberg. He and Baner had spent a great deal of time looking at the plans. General Baner had been, profanely and blasphemously, of the opinion that, from a military standpoint, a bastion of Catholicism directly adjacent to the city wall was a really bad thing. Baner had been right, but political considerations had prevailed. He had, thus far, allowed the Jesuits to stay in the building next to the wall. Under careful surveillance, of course.

He looked back at Veronica. Perhaps Job had a point when he asked God why he did these things to people. Surely, of all the houses in Amberg, the Jesuits could have chosen to build where some other owner had his lot. Almost any other owner.

"Ah, Mrs. Dreeson. It is the Jesuit school."

"When I left Amberg," Veronica said firmly, "the Jesuits were holding masses at Our Lady's. They had Latin school in the St. George's Pfarrhof until 1626, but in 1627 they had just closed down the Calvinist school at St. Martin's and the Jesuits moved their school into it. That was far more convenient, I'm sure, right in the center of town."

"Perhaps it was more convenient. Nevertheless, the year after you left Amberg, the Jesuits traded the St. Martin's site again, for St. George's. I understand that the trade involved considerable debate at the time. There was a great deal of building activity during the last years of the Bavarian occupation. They meant for Amberg to be the center of a mission effort for the reconversion of the entire Upper Palatinate to Catholicism. There were visitations by high officials of the order. By early 1631, the Jesuits were running seventeen missions out of Amberg. They hired an Italian architect from Passau to complete a design. One of the-ah, results-of the Ring of Fire was that Duke Maximilian interpreted it as a signal that he should redouble his conversion efforts. In Amberg, that meant his construction efforts. In May of 1631, that spot by the wall was a construction site; the demolition had been completed, but little had been built. When we, the Swedes, took Amberg at the end of 1632, we found what you now see-unfinished, but the start of a great collegium on the model of those in Bavaria, half-completed."

"And the section on top of Johann Stephan's lot is?"

Duke Ernst glanced behind him. Bocler came forward with a fist full of drawings.

"The section on top of your late husband's lot is…" Duke Ernst leafed through a couple of pages, then put his finger down. "The dining hall."


"So," Veronica said at lunch, "it seems that I must beard the Jesuits in their den. In the company of Elias and my lawyer, of course."

Keith and Cavriani were off somewhere, talking about iron at what was undoubtedly tedious length. A very high percentage of Amberg's male population appeared to be interested in discussing iron.

Duke Ernst was tied up at the moment with administrative affairs, and Herr Bocler, of course, was with him and tied up as well. So, they were being hosted by Gustav Adolf's cousin, Colonel Hand, and the public relations man, Zincgref.

Veronica glanced at the cousin. She almost wished that she could have brought Annalise along. Even with the injured arm, exposure to this man might distract her from that silly infatuation with Heinrich Schmidt. Too old for her, of course, but distracting. Tall, blond, lanky. Well… Swedish. Mary's comment had been that Erik Haakansson Hand would have looked right at home on a ski jumping team at the winter Olympics. Veronica had no idea what either ski jumping or the winter Olympics might be, but she did get the general idea that Mary, also, thought that Hand merited compliments on his appearance. Zincgref did not, but, then, he was also married, so it made little difference.

Hand offered to accompany her to visit the Jesuits. Veronica accepted graciously.

"I suppose I need to arrange an appointment first, rather than just dropping in. I'll send a note. Herr Bocler kindly furnished me the name and address of the rector."

"Who is he?" Mary asked.

"Father Hell. Father Caspar Hell."

Mary looked at her, almost choked on a bit of salad, and collapsed into helpless laughter."


"Why are you so concerned with the Amberg property?" Hieronymus Rastetter, Veronica's lawyer, asked her. "It is, after all, really the smallest part of your late husband's investments. The properties that he inherited around Grafenwohr are considerably larger."

"And they are," Elias Brechbuhl added pointedly, "still bringing in an income. Unlike a lot from which the building has been razed. Uncle Kilian just took the one-time payment for that and ran with it, so to speak."

"I have no intention of forgetting the Grafenwohr property," Veronica said forcefully. "Nor, do I intend to forget what you"-she nodded at Brechbuhl-"have discovered about the way that Kilian has handled it."

Elias Brechbuhl had been very busy amid the tax records of the Upper Palatinate for the past several days.

"But, I think, we need to know more before we make any definite moves in Grafenwohr. Things that we can't find out here in Amberg. The most complete records will be there, in Grafenwohr itself. We need to check the town's own books."

"They have a new young man as the town clerk, Gerichtsschreiber," Rastetter said. "You may know him, Brechbuhl, or at least his father. Nicholas Moser, the name of father and son alike. His father is settled in Bayreuth; that is where they went into exile. The boy has only been there a few months, but he seems very competent and conscientious, not to say clever as well."

Elias nodded. The older Nicholas Moser was a prominent man among the Palatine exiles.

Veronica ignored the interruption. "And we need to talk to people, Elias. The way my brother-in-law Kilian had your Elisabetha and her sisters excluded from the inheritance was straightforward enough. He declared on oath that they were heretics who had chosen to go into exile, and that he was the next heir. Which they were; which he was."

Brechbuhl nodded. So did Rastetter.

"But us. Anton's children and their mother and I."

She paused for a moment.

"I have read the copy of his petition, the one that you"-she waved toward the lawyer-"got for me from the chancery. The one in which he petitioned to have us declared dead."

Rastetter stroked his beard.

"It says nothing to the effect that we disappeared in the turmoil of war and that our whereabouts were unknown. It should have. He filed that petition less than a year after we were taken from Amberg. Why was Kilian so sure that we were dead?"

"Yes," Rastetter said gravely. "Yes. That question has occurred to me too, on occasion, since I received your first letter from Grantville. It is not as if mercenaries always kill their captives. Often, true, but it is not universally the case. It concerns me."


Kilian Richter was also meeting with his lawyer. "You could," he suggested, "file an allegation that the woman and her alleged step-grandchildren are imposters."

Augustin Arndt just looked at his client. "If she had appeared two years ago, I could have done that. Immediately after they surfaced in this Grantville. I could even have made it sound plausible. Camp followers from nowhere, emerging in a town that claimed to be from the future. At a minimum, it would have caused a significant delay in the proceedings. A delay during which you could have continued to collect all the income from the property."

"So why can't you do it now?"

"Because I have no desire to look stupid. The woman is famous now. I understand that she arrived with a personal letter of introduction from Gustav Adolf. Hans Richter is even more famous. He is the reason why she arrived with a personal letter of introduction from Gustav Adolf. The allegation would be thrown out as frivolous."

Kilian gave him a sour look.

Arndt went on. "Additionally, she is here with Elias Brechbuhl, who will undoubtedly be filing claims on behalf of his children and sisters-in-law. We can scarcely allege that the Nurnberg exiles are imposters. The paperwork already on file indicates that you have known where they were all along and that you merely based your possession of the properties upon the provisions of Duke Maximilian's various edicts in regard to landholding by Protestants. It is my duty as counsel to bring to your attention that these provisions are no longer in force. Although Gustav Adolf's regent has not automatically invalidated all claims to property made by Catholics, he does not give them precedence over claims by Lutherans. Or by Calvinists."

"You know," Kilian said. "This could get to be a problem."

"You are understating the dimensions of what you are facing, Richter," Arndt replied.

Kilian looked at him. "If you do not come up with a way to manage this, it will not be what I am facing, but rather what we are facing. Remember that, Arndt. I do. You were there. If I go down, I will certainly take you with me."

Arndt flinched, remembering the "mercenaries" he had employed on Richter's behalf, several years before. His life would have been so much simpler now if another group of mercenaries, real ones, had not interrupted their work.


Duke Ernst found his first conversation with Mary Simpson considerably more relaxing than that with Veronica Dreeson. They talked about education. They talked about cultural patronage. They talked about the cost of education and cultural patronage. Finally, they talked about money. Most of it was quite familiar ground. Any member of the higher nobility was constantly besieged by requests to extend patronage.

The concept of a normal school was not familiar. It was a fascinating idea, that of training teachers specifically for village schools, rather than leaving them to be taught, catch as catch can, by a miscellaneous patchwork of junior pastors, sextons, widows, impecunious students who had run out of money half way through the university, former shoemakers with good intentions and a little learning, failed theological students, or any combination of the above.

What would the curriculum for such an institution be?

The appointment ran overtime.

He had Bocler schedule several more appointments.

Money would be a problem. He was not, personally, a wealthy man. He would have to think about money.

Art and culture, however, he could provide at very little cost. Amberg was really a quite beautiful town. It had benefited greatly from its years as the official residence of the various counts and regents. He sent Mrs. Simpson on a guided tour, conducted by Bocler, and settled down to work his way through his inbox.


Augustin Arndt was enciphering his latest report to Landgrave Wilhelm Georg. Usually, he saw no reason to bother. Not that he had a great deal of news. It was the absence of news that bothered him most. He stated frankly that he was afraid that he must be missing something. Even with a woman inside the Schloss itself, he was getting only information to the effect that the women from Grantville appeared to be doing only things that were in accordance with the overtly stated purposes for their being here. Carefully, he reported on their clothing; on their hats. Indeed, thanks to his informant, he reported on Frau Admiral Simpson's underclothing. He also included a careful description of her jodhpurs. He hoped that the information might be of some use; it was all that he had been able to obtain.

Similarly, he said, the men in the alleged "trade delegation" were, in fact, meeting extensively with those people with whom one would expect them to meet if they were here to investigate the revival of iron mining and the metals industry. According to the under-cook at the inn where they were staying, who had it from one of the waiters, the men, with several citizens of Amberg, had devoted a full evening to discussing how, in the days of their grandfathers, Amberg had broken the Wunsiedel monopoly on coating sheet iron with tin. There was also some discussion of how the Amberger had been able to defy the efforts of the count to channel all exports through one market that he controlled, continuing to use several different ones.

The mentions of tin had included Bohemia as a source for importing tin. Arndt was glad to be able to include that, given the current political excitement surrounding Wallenstein, the new king of Bohemia. It might be of at least some minimal interest to the landgrave. The rest of his report, goodness knows, was dull enough.

He became so involved in thinking about the interesting recent events in Bohemia that he forgot to mention the last item the cook had reported to him. There had been discussion of cartels and the unjust way in which the big owners tried to squeeze the smaller men out of the business, even though the purpose of an Innung was to assure all members a fair share of the trade.


Caspar Hell offered to meet with the woman-Dreeson, the up-timers called her, even though it was her husband's name, Balde told him-in his office.

She replied, through her lawyer, that she preferred to meet in the dining hall and to have all of the Jesuits in Amberg present to hear her statement.

The Jesuits thought about that for a couple of days. They didn't have a lot of information on which to proceed. Amberg, isolated as it now was in Swedish-controlled territory, had become something of a backwater in the order. True, the mail arrived. But it did not contain anything that their superiors would mind having fall into the hands of the Swedes, which meant that the contents of the bag were usually quite dull. Welcome, of course. But unexciting.

Private couriers were, for all practical purposes, impossible. The location of the collegium, so advantageous in a Catholic city, meant that in a city with a Protestant government, the regent's guards were able to observe every single person who came to their doors. Since they did not really wish to endanger any of their students or parishioners, and were quite sure that every one of themselves was watched every time he ventured out into the town, their communications were very limited.

The regent had told them, rather nicely under the circumstances, to give Our Lady's Church back. It was Lutheran, now; the Lutherans seemed quite happy to hold services in a Frauenkirche, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as long as it had already been a Frauenkirche before the Reformation. The Calvinists were using St. Martin's. Father Hell was grateful that, only a few weeks before the Swedes arrived, the Bishop of Regensburg had consecrated a chapel for the new collegium. It wasn't attracting many lay people; those Catholics who remained in Amberg seemed doubtful of the wisdom of public attendance at mass.

The school was still drawing students, though. Lots of them. Poor boys, mostly, from families that could not afford the tuition at the other schools. Quite ordinary boys, mostly. Brilliant boys, a few. All worth the effort of teaching them.

The revenues that Duke Maximilian had assigned to support the collegium had been diverted to other uses by the Swedes. In the absence of tuition-paying students, they would soon be bankrupt.

The library, however, had been left intact. They had managed to purchase a rather nice library while the revenues were still coming in. Wonder of wonders, it had been neither burned nor expropriated to compensate for the books that had been taken from the Protestant schools during the Bavarian occupation. It was housed on the second floor, above the dining hall.

Father Hell didn't know what the reestablished Calvinist and Lutheran schools were doing for books. Perhaps Duke Ernst had given them money to buy new ones.

At the end of a couple of days, they had no more information than when they started thinking.

Balde urged his superior to meet with the woman on her terms.

The rector refused.

Balde suggested the possibility of bringing to the attention of the woman's lawyer the fact that the site had been sold to Duke Maximilian's agents in a manner quite legal at the time, which meant that her grievance in the matter of title should be more properly directed against the seller, who was-he rechecked his notes from the real estate records-one Kilian Richter.

Hell agreed to that.

Balde once more suggested, tentatively, that it might be useful for them to meet with the woman on her terms.

The rector refused again.

Balde shrugged.


On behalf of Frau Veronica Dreeson (geb. Schusterin, verw. Richter), her attorney, Hieronymus Rastetter, filed a title suit simultaneously in the municipal court of Amberg and the courts of the Upper Palatinate against both the Jesuit Order and one Kilian Richter. The filing was accompanied by a cloud of witnesses, or, at least, a very long list of witnesses who should be deposed. Not to mention a cloud of sealed, stamped, and notarized documents.

It was the kind of thing that could drag on for years. If somebody appealed it to the imperial level, it could drag on for generations. Consequently, nobody got very excited.


Arndt reported the filing of the lawsuit to Landgrave Wilhelm Georg of Leuchtenberg. He didn't bother to encipher this letter. Lawsuits were public documents.

Eric Haakansson Hand was just as glad. It had taken his code specialist several tedious days, during which he could more profitably have been working on something else, to decipher the previous one. Not that Hand hadn't enjoyed the description of Mary Simpson's jodhpurs. But, having seen the garment for himself the day the Grantville delegation arrived, being worn by its owner, it hadn't come as news. The underwear had been more entertaining.

Idly, he wondered why on earth the landgrave wanted to know.


As requested, Bocler prepared a summary of his first impressions of the Grantville delegation.

Practical men. Intrepid women.

Overall, Duke Ernst concurred.

"But," he added, "we cannot spend all of our time thinking about the up-timers. Take a letter to General Baner, please."

Eric Haakansson Hand spoke. "Before we adjourn, please, one more thing."

"Yes?" Duke Ernst raised his eyebrows.

"We should get together all the information we have in regard to the duke of Bavaria's forthcoming marriage. Just to have it at hand. There's no reason to expect that the event itself will directly affect the Upper Palatinate in any way. The Austrians will be bringing the archduchess to Passau, we understand. The duke will meet her there and they will make a ceremonial procession to Munich, where the wedding will be held. It may pull a few of Maximilian's troops away from Ingolstadt, but Baner doesn't think that he will move many. Munich is far enough inside Maximilian's borders that he doesn't need a heavy garrison there."

The regent nodded. "Just in case. But it's hardly one of our main problems, right now." Duke Ernst paused. "Just in case, though. Put the Grenzjaeger on alert, Hand, starting the day that the Austrians are to arrive at Passau. And ask the Danube boatmen to keep an eye out for any suspicious activities. Bavaria is, after all, just across the river."

Chapter 22

Ferrum Redux

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

"The production levels were?" Keith asked.

Lambert Felser was assisting his boss and Duke Ernst's secretary Bocler with translations. Keith's German was not bad, but he apparently found Bocler's accent, which was Frankish modified by study in Alsace, difficult to follow. For his part, Bocler was devoting some time every day to the study of English, rising an hour earlier than was customary for him, but he found that his progress was slow.

Bocler pulled out a copy of the 1609 survey. Everything appeared to go back to the 1609 survey.

"It is all listed by the individual Amter or Pfleggerichte, of course. But for the general area that was administered from Amberg and Sulzbach combined, that is, the whole Montanbereich and not just the part in the Upper Palatinate proper, this lists eighty-eight thousand five hundred tons of iron ore that year. Of course, that doesn't count the lead and the tin."

Bocler turned. "Herr Pilcher, if you don't mind-I am by way of being a historian. There is something that is important, I think, if you wish to hear it."

"Go ahead."

"There are those who will tell you that the mines are nearing exhaustion. I do not believe that this is true. The 1609 production levels for ore were not as high as those of 1475; that is accurate. But, neither were the levels in the past century. In 1545, there were eighty-eight thousand tons mined; in 1581, eighty-six thousand tons. In 1609, production was holding steady. More importantly…"

"That's fine, go on."

"For those years, the production of the Sulzbach region was going down, but the production of the Amberg region was going up. From forty thousand tons to forty-four thousand tons to forty-seven thousand tons. The remainder was accounted for by other administrative jurisdictions. The production of sheet-iron was also holding steady: twenty-six thousand tons in 1581; the same in 1609. If we can trust the figures, the production of rolled iron was also holding steady. Even though the number of mills had gone down somewhat from 1545, the production was stable. And the number of rolling mills went up again between 1581 and 1609. Only by three, but it went up. The number of sheet mills remained the same. And the number of masters whose shops produced finished products was going up steadily."

Bocler swallowed hard. "That is what the 1609 survey tells us. Then production dropped. Dramatically. In the next decade. By 1618, there were only a third as many hammermills in operation as there had been in 1609."

Keith looked at him sharply. "By 1618? But… everyone I've talked to so far, including Duke Ernst, blames the production drop on the war. That was before the war seriously affected the Upper Palatinate."

Bocler nodded, almost anxiously. "I doubted it, at first. Because everybody is starting with the 1609 survey and saying that the decline has been caused by the armies marching through. And that certainly hasn't helped; the various armies have destroyed a great deal of the infrastructure. But I went back and checked, over and over. We don't have anything for 1618 as convenient as the 1609 survey. I had to look at lots and lots of different records. I've gone over the numbers, again and again. Many of the mills and forges that the armies destroyed had already been abandoned; many of the mine shafts that they collapsed were no longer being worked."

"You are telling me," Keith said, "that no matter how the cartel-masters badmouth the situation, the problem is not with the invasions. It is with the system. Do you have any idea why this happened?"

"No. But I can tell you one thing. I have tried to get more information. The masters of the Hammerinnung don't want to talk about it."

Keith rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. "They certainly didn't mention it to me, I can tell you that. So. They were already cutting production back then. And they do not want to make serious investments now. I've just been assuming that they've been frightened off by the destruction that the war brought, and that they were going to keep telling me that the investment wasn't likely to be worthwhile until there appears to be some prospect of a durable peace. You are saying, basically, that the main drop came before the war? And that you can prove it?"

Bocler nodded.

Keith clapped Bocler on the shoulder. "You're a good man, Charlie Brown."

Bocler made a note to himself. Identify Charlie Brown.


Leopold Cavriani was reaching the same conclusion as Bocler, but on a different basis. He had spent the past weeks, when they weren't actually in negotiations, riding through the countryside with Marc, looking at the local dog mines, or opencast mines (better described as holes in the ground), and forges. The active mines were still producing ore; good ore, some of it; twenty percent iron ore. Few of the big smelters had been rebuilt; fewer of the mills. But Marc could smell iron. That was one thing he had learned from Jacob Durre. Up the valley of a little side-stream, they had found a local landowner with a half-dozen employees, water held by a home-made dam turning a home-made wheel, and a forge with seven hearths.

"Little things," the head smith said apologetically. "Not like it was when I was an apprentice. But men still need tools and nails; women still need spits and skillets. I can't do anchors, and wouldn't have a way to ship them to Venice if I could. But I can do chains. Everybody needs chains. Everybody needs shovels. We peddle our things; take them to the fairs."

"If you wanted to expand, what would you need?" That question was from Marc.

"What could we use? Let me tell you, we could use a pump. Not just to pull the water out of the shafts, though that would be a help. Even more, to pull water upstream when the creek is running low. Run the same water over the wheel three or four times and keep the trip hammer moving faster. Not waste it by the bucket."

The smith pointed to a spot in the stream, just below the mill. "That's where our pond was, with the creek dammed up. We had a pump, before the war. Brought in from Nurnberg. It's one thing that I haven't been able to figure out how to rebuild, and I sure can't afford to buy another one."

Marc asked a question.

"Ore?" The man laughed. "There's plenty of ore. If we had the men to mine it and work it. Not endless ore, of course. Sometimes a seam runs out. But there's enough ore on this one little creek to keep ten forges the size of mine busy for ten of my lifetimes."


Cavriani had been to Sulzbach, too. Sulzbach, on the Pegnitz, was more closely tied to Nurnberg than Amberg was. Jacob Durre had contacts there.

"The main problem?" The old man had repeated his question. "I'll tell you the main problem, all right. The larger masters in the Hammerinnung made their money before the war. Enough money that they rose into the lower nobility and married the daughters of imperial knights. Had sons whose mothers taught them that working with their hands was beneath their station."

He snorted and held out his own hands. Burned and scarred, sometimes one scar partly on top of another. "I rolled sheet iron all my life and took the wounds from it. As many as the average cavalryman will ever take. But it is less honorable to take wounds in making something than destroying it. So they think, in any case. As my wife taught my sons. Much to my regret. If I had my life to live over, Herr Cavriani, that's the first thing I would do differently. When my father chose a knight's daughter for my wife, I would tell him no."

He winked. "Just a word to the wise, you know. If you're thinking of marrying off that fine son of yours over here"-he nodded at Marc, who blushed a little-"don't pick a daughter of the nobility for him. Don't even pick the daughter of a merchant who wants to buy a title of nobility. Not unless you want useless grandsons. Take it from an old iron man. They've built themselves fine castles, a lot of them. But soon they will find that without the money coming in from iron, they will be eating stones off their expensive tableware. And not even be able to blame it on the armies, if Gustav Adolf manages to bring this war to an end. They could have rebuilt most of it by now. If they had the will."

"So iron could be as profitable as before?" Marc asked.

The old man frowned. "The profits-how much you gained on the basis of how much you had to spend-were changing, even before the war. I wasn't in the mining end of it, but I heard the mine owners complaining. It was becoming more expensive to get the ore out of the ground. More digging, deeper shafts; that meant more pumping, more transport costs to bring the ore up. They were still making profits, but not at the rate they had a century earlier. But if you can't get the mines back into operation, there's not much point in asking the mills and forges to rebuild. That's where you have to start."

"Presuming that someone could provide the ore, do you know," Cavriani asked, "of any smelters or hammer masters of an age that they would be willing to risk the effort to rebuild? Or would they be held back by the other cartel masters?"

The old man's laughter was like a bark. "Hell, man, I'm not dead yet. If you could break the Innung and find me some capital, I'd rebuild my own mill during the time that God has left to me."

He picked up his mug, drank deeply, and put it down again. "And leave it to the men who built it with me. Not to the fools who are my sons."


"Is he alone?" Keith asked. "Or are there others who think like him? That may be crucial."

When Ollie answered Keith's letter, he put it a little differently.

Even if you break the cartel, they aren't thinking about the tonnages that we'll be needing for major industries if we go for nineteenth century technology. Not the amounts of raw iron that we'll need for the railroads. Not even for the telegraph lines. But if, with just basic help with things such as pumps, they can get back to their 1609 capacity pretty quickly and supply the needs that they were supplying then-after that, the production from any new mines that we open up can be directed to new industrial development. We won't be backpedaling, trying to meet the old requirements as well as the new ones.

Once they've gotten to that point, using what they know and using men who already know how to do it the old way, we can talk to them about immense increases in production.

But, right now, see if you can get them back to supplying Nurnberg and Venice with what they need. Right now, both cities are our allies. They're starving, economically, because of the iron shortage, and we don't have any miracles for them. Twenty years from now, maybe. They need the iron yesterday. See if you can get it for them tomorrow.

If production goes up beyond that level, Grantville and Magdeburg will be happy to take the surplus. If any. Struve-Reardon Gunworks could certainly use an expanded supply. That's why I sent you. But, the more I think about it, talking to Mike, we just can't afford, politically, to grab every bit of iron in sight for ourselves. Not even if we pay for it. See about setting up partnerships, if you can, that run from Amberg through Nurnberg up to us. Tie these border regions of the USE into our network."

Keith hadn't been just been sitting while he waited for Ollie to answer his report. He looked at the pile of notes he had taken. Five years ago, if anyone had told him that he would be sitting here-sitting anywhere at all, up-time or down-time-feeling happy about something he had read in a law book, he would have laughed directly in the guy's face.

With Bocler's help, he had been digging into the laws that covered mining in the Upper Palatinate. Bocler had given him a good start and a capsule history. The earliest sets of laws that covered mining around here-at least, the earliest that anybody had kept-were in Amberg's collection of city ordinances, the Bergrechtssatze. They'd been there for at least a couple of centuries; then were dropped out in the 1550s. Bocler said that they'd basically been superseded, so he hadn't taken time to look at them. Some of them had been taken over into the rules and regulations of the Hammerinnung itself; that was basically a government-licensed, ah, something. Not a corporation, because it wasn't incorporated. But the counts had approved the rules and regulations, so it must have had some kind of legal status. Finally, there were several codifications of the Bergordnungen, the mining laws that the counts themselves had issued, with changes and amendments. The latest of those was the 1594 edition, so that's what Keith had been reading.

It had been real nice of them to write these in German rather than Latin. German, Keith could pretty well handle now. As far as he was concerned, Latin just sat there on the page and looked pretty. If they'd been in Latin, he'd have been dependent on Bocler's having free time, or would have had to find someone else to write out a translation. As it was, reading the laws sort of gave him a grasp on how things worked. Or, at least, on how things were supposed to work. There was almost always a considerable difference between a bunch of regulations and the way they got implemented. Safety rules, for example. As it was, he thought it might have been helpful to have a lawyer looking over his shoulder. On one side. And someone who had been there and knew how it really worked looking over his shoulder. On the other side.

And they might even owe old Duke Maximilian the Horrible of Bavaria one vote of thanks. Even a small cheer. In 1626, he had dissolved the Hammerinnung. Mainly, of course, because so many of the owners had been Protestants who had gone into exile. Partly, because he'd been pretty pissed to discover that where he was expecting to annex a wealthy territory, a money mine, which really it had been shortly before the 1620s, he had gotten a poor one.

Plus, of course, he had gotten the Palatine's electoral vote. Maybe that had made it worthwhile for the old man, but he had still been pretty pissed. He'd followed up the 1626 edict by nationalizing the Amberg mines in 1628; a conquered province was a conquered province, after all. At that point, production had plummeted to just about nothing. The Bavarian officials had all sorts of excuses-wood shortages, local unrest. Duke Ernst was still trying to sort through the fall-out from that one.

The Hammerinnung had been a real, honest-to-goodness, cartel. Keith would never classify himself as the world's greatest brain but, by golly, he knew conspiracy in restraint of trade when he saw it, and he saw it right here. It had tried to set up a monopoly. It had done a pretty effective job. It wasn't any guild; it was an organization of owners. Mine owners, smelter owners, hammer mill and rolling mill owners, covering the process, top to bottom. The regulations really focused on how all of those interacted with one another. Officially, nobody was required to join. It just wasn't possible to do business successfully unless you did. It was intended to restrict competition. Well, the guilds did that too, but you had guilds of weavers and dyers, cloth finishers, and the like. No single guild, as far as he knew, had ever really tried to control every step of fabric manufacture from the time the sheep was born until the finished piece of wool cloth was shipped out.

Presuming that nobody had been dumb enough to revoke Duke Max's edict since 1626-nothing that anyone had said so far indicated that it had been revoked-then, legally, the cartel was gone, no matter how often the cartel men appealed to its sacred regulations when he talked to them. Which meant that it would be a lot easier to open a path for the few masters who wanted to rebuild and start over than he and Cavriani had been expecting.

He would have to check, though, about whether or not it had been revoked. Nothing that anyone had said to him before today had even given him a clue that the edict had ever been issued, either.

As for rebuilding the mills and hammers whose former owners weren't interested, not to mention the fact that not one of those laws really contained any provisions that protected the workers… The best way to manage that would take some thinking about.

Preferably by Duke Ernst and Ollie, or even Mike; not by Keith Pilcher.

He closed the book. It was about time that he got some supper and went to bed.

Chapter 23

Difficultas Laborque Discendi


Maria Anna rested her chin on the heel of her hand, her elbow on the table, while she watched her younger brother.

Leopold Wilhelm had collected a half-dozen different chess sets and spread them out. On the basis of the latest news, he was replaying what had happened. At Hamburg. At Luebeck Bay. At Copenhagen. At Ahrensbok. Since his ambitions were not nautical, he was devoting at least eighty percent of his time to Ahrensbok, proclaiming to anyone who would listen that even he, at the age of twenty, with no practical military experience, could have done better than the French generals.

She smiled. Leo had made it very clear that, in his opinion, de Valois had learned nothing by living an additional thirty years.

Then there was the Wietze raid. Turenne.

He grumbled something along the lines of, if only Papa would let me into the field…

"Yes, Leo," Maria Anna murmured soothingly, for the fourteenth or fifteenth time. She knew as well as the rest of them that the youngest of the family had minimal interest in the ecclesiastical career for which Papa had destined him when he was only five years old. Leo's enthusiasms ran in the direction of armies. And art.

In practice, of course, a "career in the church" meant that he already held a lot of bishoprics, but had not taken any vows. The family was reserving the right to change its collective mind, in case Ferdinand did not produce surviving male heirs.

Sometimes great families did change their collective minds. Think of Claudia de' Medici in Tyrol, who had sent them the wonderful music from up-time. Could that have only been in January? It seemed so long ago. Much more than four months.

Claudia's father had been a cardinal before he resigned and married. Her second husband, Uncle Leopold, Papa's younger brother, had been a bishop before he resigned and married. In fact, he had been Leo's predecessor as bishop of Passau and Strassburg. Now Uncle Leopold was dead, but he and Claudia had given the world four young Habsburg heirs.

There was nothing to say that, some day, Leo might not be called upon to marry and take up a secular life.

Still, she knew, at present he found his circumstances-constricting. Not that he wasn't pious. Not that he didn't live in such a manner as to avoid scandal. At least, in another year, he would enter the Teutonic Order. Some day, after the death of the incumbent and coadjutor, he would become Grand Master. That had been agreed upon when he was eleven, the same year, 1625, that he succeeded to Uncle Leopold's two dioceses.

Looked at one way, the Teutonic Order was just another ecclesiastical benefice, among the pluralities he was accumulating. Looked at in another, it would give him a reasonable chance at military action. But it hadn't happened yet.

Maria Anna frowned, considering the frustrating difficulties of learning what one needed to know from the libraries in Grantville. It was a lot of work, even for Jesuits who were used to doing that sort of thing, and often very slow to produce results.

The encyclopedias said that in 1639, another five years, Ferdinand had entrusted Leo with command of the imperial army and he hadn't done a shabby job of it, either. At least, he'd had enough sense to listen to more experienced advisers. Plus he had become regent of the Netherlands after Don Fernando. Not to mention that he had been in charge of the ceremony when Queen Kristina of Sweden converted to the Catholic church after her abdication.

All of which she-and he, and Ferdinand, and Dona Mencia-knew, not because the world had remembered Leopold Wilhelm von Habsburg as an archduke of Austria, not because the world had remembered him as a general, not because the world had remembered his efforts to advance the counter-reformation and support the Jesuits, but… Leo was remembered only because he had-would have?-the sense to employ a painter named David Teniers, whom its encyclopedias did remember, as the purchasing agent for his art collection. The author of the article about Teniers had been gracious enough to include a paragraph about his patron.

It had taken the researcher they employed a really long time to find any information at all about her younger brother's future.

She shifted her position a little. She had been watching Leo for quite a while and was starting to get stiff.

Teniers had made a career of painting peasants. That was the source of his lasting fame. A humbling thought. She should ask Dona Mencia to ask her brother Cardinal Bedmar to find out more about Teniers. He lived in Antwerp, after all.

She looked back at Leo. Actually, that other world had not done too badly by him.

He nodded his head in response to her most recent soothing murmur and returned his attention to the chess sets.


"Right before your wedding, too," Cecelia Renata contributed that evening. "I can hardly believe it. Such a terrible defeat. Such horrible, absolutely disastrous, omens for a marriage. Have you checked your horoscope?"

Maria Anna grimaced. She had a horoscope, of course. A very elaborate one. It had been drawn up immediately after her birth and updated regularly. No important person would attempt to go through life without the guidance provided by a horoscope. Astrologers were among the better-paid court personnel, once one got below the ranks of the nobility.

"I don't need a horoscope to tell me that the Habsburgs came through it all relatively unscathed," she answered. "Spain was not directly involved this time. At least, not heavily. Perhaps our cousin in Madrid learned something from the way Richelieu sacrificed Admiral Oquendo's fleet the last time. And Don Fernando…"

She stopped. They were alone. As alone as they ever were most of the time. Papa had returned to his audience chamber after supper, the constant parade of solemn-faced men dressed all in black having redoubled since the news of the League of Ostend's various disasters in the north reached Vienna two days earlier. Mama had gone to her apartments to rest. But. Not only Dona Mencia was here, but also Cecelia Renata's chief attendant. And also. She glanced at the servants who stood by the door.

She was not certain that it would be entirely prudent to continue. Rephrase that. She was certain that it would not be prudent to continue. Father Lamormaini knew too much about what occurred in her private chambers. Someone-someone close to her retinue-was reporting to Papa's intelligence officers.

At least her trousseau was finished. Finally. Frau Stecher and the seamstresses had gone into packing mode. Which meant, unfortunately, that she hadn't seen little Susanna for several days.

She would discuss Don Fernando's astonishing level of non-participation with Dona Mencia when they were in private. They actually were in private, sometimes. Dona Mencia slept in her room, after all. An Austrian archduchess did not spend her nights unchaperoned.

Of course, a maid slept on a cot at the foot of her bed, also, in case she should need something during the night. She could always need something during the night and send Magdalena on an errand.

So she looked back at her sister, grinning, "The only thing my horoscope predicts that I will make a splendid marriage. That's safe enough, of course. If a daughter of the Habsburgs survives long enough, and does not become a nun, it's the only kind of marriage she's likely to make. Yours says the same thing." She pursed her lips. "Of course, it does not say that I will be marrying Uncle Max six weeks from now. Or anyone else, specifically, at any precise time. No more than yours predicts exactly who you will marry. I sometimes suspect that the motto of court astrologers is, 'Vague is your friend.'"


"It's obvious that the up-timers had better libraries." Maria Anna was afraid that the tone of her voice was a little sulky. So be it. "The books that they do have in Grantville mention them. The Library of Congress, in their own United States of America. The British Museum. The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. There was a great library in Florence." She paused a moment and glared at Dona Mencia. "A great library in Vienna."

"If God had chosen to send Vienna back from up-time, we would not be here ourselves, but somewhere else," Dona Mencia pointed out.

"I wish you didn't have to be so reasonable." Maria Anna tossed her head. "At least, not reasonable all the time. Perhaps God could just have sent the library. Right here, next door to the Hofburg, where we could use it ourselves instead of depending on the Jesuits."

Somewhere under her breath, Dona Mencia muttered something about spoiled brats who wanted eggs in their beer. Aloud, though, she said, "There was a great library in Munich, also. Since a certain archduchess will be leaving Vienna in less than a week, while she is wishing for the moon, she might devote her efforts to expressing a desire that God had chosen to transfer the Munich library, instead. Or send up a prayer that he had deigned to move all the libraries she listed to Munich, conveniently close to the Residenz. While she is coveting the possession an up-time library that exists nowhere in this world, she might as well make a thorough job of her exercise in futility."

While it was not a direct reproach, it had that effect. Maria Anna apologized.

Dona Mencia accepted the apology gracefully.

As she said her final rosary of the evening, Maria Anna was glad that Dona Mencia had not been offended. The terrible news in regard to the League of Ostend had burdened everyone's spirits, but that gave her no right to be rude to her attendants.

Of course, it was the terrible news about the League of Ostend that so burdened her, she assured herself. Not the thought that in six weeks she would be married to Uncle Max. That was just one of the duties that went with her station in life. One of the unvarying duties. Even if the League of Ostend had won a great victories at Hamburg, at Luebeck Bay, at Copenhagen, and at Ahrensbok, in six weeks she would still have become duchess of Bavaria.

Some circumstances did not change. She submitted herself to the will of God.

Part V

June, 1634

Those Shadowy


Chapter 24

Tempora Jucunda


Every item that had personalized her apartments, made them her own, was gone. Packed, some of them. The rest placed into storage. Some day, a daughter of her brother Ferdinand and his wife Mariana would live in these rooms. Until then, they would stand empty except for the bed, chests, and chairs.

Maria Anna walked over to the window and stood watching as the carriages that would take the court to Passau for the ceremony transferring her to Bavaria lined up on the streets below. The wagons were waiting outside the walls. The servants had finished the job of loading the baggage the day before, but things were moving slowly. A woman, the wife of a chancery official from the place of her carriage in the cortege, lost control of a wiggling lapdog. A groom grabbed it before it could spook the horses, thank goodness. A team out of control could have delayed everything for hours. It seemed that every additional minute since breakfast just made her more melancholy.

She turned back in toward the room, fingering her rosary. "Did you manage to get any news this morning?"

Dona Mencia reached into her satchel. "No newspapers. I suppose that Frau Stecher has kept little Susanna too busy to go find any for us. The private secretary to the ambassador from the Spanish Netherlands sent me correspondence that arrived in the diplomatic pouch yesterday evening. Someone delivered it while we were at mass. It doesn't contain much that we didn't already know. There's a list of all the prominent people who are or will be taking part in the Congress of Copenhagen called by Gustavus Adolphus. The official sessions have started. The preliminary official sessions, at least. There's a lot of discussion of Prince Ulrik's heroic actions. They've caused a great deal of excitement."

"It must be nice for the nobles to be able to find and talk about at least one heroic prince among all the heroic commoners in this campaign." Maria Anna's voice was flat. "What do they say about the Norwegian whose designs and ideas let the prince be heroic? Or what Oxenstierna thinks about the Swedish king's agreement to negotiate with the Danes?"

"As for the Norwegian, it depends upon who is writing the despatch. Oxenstierna is said to be less than pleased. Both with heroic Danish princes and heroic commoners." Dona Mencia paused, trying to think of something that would distract the archduchess. "Many of the participants were brought in the up-timers' airplanes. Scaglia is there as an observer and was able to observe the planes land and take off again."

"Don Fernando sent an observer to Copenhagen? Was permitted to send one? Isn't that a little… odd?"

"He was invited to do so by the USE ambassadress. By Rebecca Abrabanel."

"With the Swede's permission?"

"Presumably. Although one hears that the Stearns administration often acts on the maxim that it is easier to ask for forgiveness after a fait accompli than to obtain permission in advance. We live in very interesting times."

"But Don Fernando himself is not going to be in Copenhagen?"

"That would be a little… excessive… under the circumstances. Whatever people expect, whatever people speculate, he has not yet made a formal break with Spain. Although-it is said that Rubens has collected portraits of all the eligible Catholic princesses. Not, it is to be presumed, just on a whim."

"Before my betrothal to Uncle Max, I would have been among the eligible ones."

"Indeed, your portrait is among those in Brussels. Presumably, Rubens ordered one before your betrothal became official. Which is interesting, since it indicates that Don Fernando must have been contemplating his next move for several months before the rumors began to circulate."

Maria Anna went back to the window. She wished that the steward would send someone to summon her. There was nothing left for her in the Hofburg. She might as well leave right now. But people entered the carriages in a certain order, defined by protocol. It would never do for the emperor's daughter, much less the emperor, to sit waiting while lesser mortals ran back into the palace for forgotten items or grooms repaired a bit of harness that broke at the last minute. She would be called third from the last. Then Mariana, baby Ferdinand, and her ladies in waiting. Then Papa and Mama and their personal attendants. After that, her wedding procession could start on its way.

She placed one hand on the drapery. "Talk to me, Dona Mencia. Tell me a story. 'Once upon a time…'" She laughed softly. "But leave out the fairy tale ending, please."

Besancon, in the Franche-Comte

By the time Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar ended his faked maneuvering in the Breisgau and brought his forces back to his administrative center at Besancon, there was more news from Paris. Some of his aides thought Bernhard had acted precipitously, even rashly, to have ended the maneuvers immediately after receiving the first reports of Torstensson's crushing defeat of de Valois' army at Ahrensbok. But the newspaper accounts from Paris that awaited them at Besancon made it obvious that he'd gauged the situation correctly. Bernhard was basking in the sunshine of a bold move that had turned out quite well, and all but sneering at his more timid associates.

Richelieu had summoned Marshal Turenne and his cavalry to Paris. That was a sure sign that the cardinal was now completely pre-occupied with France's internal situation. Well…

Mostly pre-occupied. Richelieu was quite capable of handling several matters at once, and doing them all very competently. But it really didn't matter if he did manage to devote some time to gauging the situation with Bernhard in the Franche-Comte. What could he do about it, really, beyond sending stern missives? The only capable army he could rely upon at the moment was Turenne's, and he needed Turenne guarding Paris and the royal palace at the Louvre.

Bernhard clapped his hands. The gesture was simply one of satisfaction; indeed, exuberant satisfaction. Not only was the political situation developing very nicely, but his indigestion had ceased as well.

"Who says plans never work the way they're supposed to?" he demanded, smiling slyly at his chief aide, Friedrich von Kanoffski.

"Not I," replied von Kanoffski. Unlike some others, Friedrich had had the sense to keep his mouth shut.

Bernhard nodded. Then, after a moment, said: "I believe I've been a little testy of late." He cocked an inquisitive eyebrow.

Friedrich shook his head, making sure to maintain a solemn expression. "I can't say I noticed, Your Grace."


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

"I suppose there's no way to restrain General Baner now," said Duke Ernst. He leaned back in the chair in his office and studied the mass of papers on his desk. "As if I didn't have enough to worry about already."

Colonel Erik Haakansson Hand chuckled and shook his head. "After the news of Ahrensbok? Not a chance. Johan was champing at the bit already. He's jealous by nature, and of no other of my cousin's generals is he more jealous than Lennart Torstensson. Johan Baner is looking at his thirty-eighth birthday, in a couple of weeks, and Lennart just turned thirty-one. Now, the upstart Torstennson has the great victory at Ahrensbok under his belt-and to make things worse, he was the commander-in-chief at the battle, not simply serving under my cousin. So now Johan is determined to match the feat-come as close as he can, at least-by seizing Ingolstadt from the Bavarians."

"But it's silly, Erik, even in those terms. Ahrensbok was a decisive victory, one of the very few such in the annals of war. Even if Baner succeeds in reducing Ingolstadt, it wouldn't come even close. To be sure, having a Bavarian enclave north of the Danube is a nuisance to us, but that's all it is. Especially since we have our own enclave south of the river at Neuburg."

Colonel Hand shrugged. "What difference does it make? For good or ill, Gustav Adolf made it clear that Johan could operate as an independent commander down here. You simply can't restrain him, any longer."

Duke Ernst sighed. "True enough. What do you recommend I do?"

"Since you can't stop him, you may as well do what you can to see that Baner succeeds. I don't quite agree with you, anyway, that Ingolstadt is simply a nuisance. So long as the Bavarians have a bridgehead north of the Danube, they'll pose a continual military threat to the USE. Seizing Ingolstadt would improve our strategic situation considerably."

As the chief administrator of the Upper Palatinate for Gustav Adolf and the USE, Duke Ernst was not inclined to argue the point. In truth, he'd be a lot happier himself if he didn't always have to keep a wary eye on Ingolstadt. These things were unpredictable. Sooner or later, Duke Maximilian was bound to dismiss the fortress' garrison commander, Cratz von Scharffenstein, and replace him with someone who was less slothful, if not necessarily less avaricious. An energetic and aggressive commander of Ingolstadt's forces, combined with the already-aggressive Bavarian cavalry under the command of von Mercy and von Werth, could present a real problem.

So… Colonel Hand was undoubtedly right. If Johan Baner was determined to press the matter, best to give him all the assistance possible.

"There are the mercenary units in Franconia," he mused. "I know for a certainty that Steve Salatto and Scott Blackwell would like to get rid of them. Given the situation with the Ram Rebellion, mercenary units of that nature are more trouble than they're worth. Ten times better at stirring up animosity among the populace than they are at squelching it."

"True. And what's better still, after Ahrensbok I think it's quite likely the emperor would agree to freeing up some of Torstensson's units and sending them down here."

The duke winced. "They'll be CoC regiments, Erik. CoC-influenced, at the very least. Hardly the sort of troops that would please Johan Baner."

"Fuck Baner," said Colonel Hand bluntly. "That's simply the price of his own ambition. He can't take Ingolstadt unless he can neutralize the Bavarian cavalry-and he doesn't have cavalry as good as that commanded by von Mercy and von Werth. He doesn't have captains who can match them, either. The regiments from Torstensson's army could make the difference, especially if you can persuade my cousin to release one of the flying artillery regiments. By all accounts, they were quite effective against the French cavalry."

Duke Ernst thought about it, for perhaps a minute. Then, nodded. "As you say… Well." He was not about to repeat the crude expression aloud, even if in the privacy of his own mind the sentiment fuck Baner came quite frequently. Even easily.

"We'll do as you recommend," he said. "Would you do me the favor of composing the message to the emperor? I'll have it sent out over the radio this evening."

"It would be my pleasure, Ernst. The truth is, I'm tired of those Bavarian bastards at Ingolstadt myself."


Mary Simpson had had an appointment to see Duke Ernst today, right after breakfast, to further discuss the prospects of fund raising for the normal school. She'd been looking forward to it, since Ernst Wettin was a man who positively loved the subject of education. In a happier world, he'd have been the Secretary of the USE's department of education-which still didn't exist, unfortunately-instead of the administrator of a province under military occupation. He was certainly competent at the task, but it was not one that really suited his temperament.

But the meeting had had to be cancelled. Just when the flurry of political and military activity triggered off by the news of Ahrensbok had seemed to be dying down, news came to Amberg from Dusseldorf of an event that was probably even more important to the Upper Palatinate, if not to the world as a whole. It seemed that Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm and his son and heir, Philip, had gotten themselves killed in the course of a stupid attack on the Republic of Essen while the duke was pushing his claims to his maternal inheritance of Julich, Berg, and parts of Ravensburg.

Westphalia would have to take care of itself now that Torstensson had so thoroughly trounced the French at Ahrensbok, but it would make a huge difference right here in the Upper Palatinate that the heir to Pfalz-Neuburg was no longer a nephew of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, but rather an infant. Duke Ernst and most of his advisers, including Colonel Erik Haakansson Hand, had been closeted for two days discussing the matter.

So be it. Mary would see to re-scheduling the meeting with the duke in due time. Meanwhile, she could relax in the comfort of the inn, savoring the knowledge that her husband John had come through the hard-fought naval campaign in the Baltic. Without so much as a scratch, so far as she could determine from the newspaper reports. He was certainly alive and not seriously injured. All the accounts agreed on that.

Her companion at the breakfast table did not share her insouciance, however. Veronica Dreeson slapped the newspaper down on the table. "Arrested! What was that idiot boy thinking?

She glared at Mary. It was one of those glares that was not simply rhetorical. Ronnie wanted an answer.

What to say…?

Reading between the lines of the newspaper stories-and all the newspapers were dwelling on this one; no, slobbering over it-the situation seemed clear enough. It was obvious that Eddie Cantrell had been nabbed in flagrante delicto -by the girl's father himself, to make things perfect-while engaged in activities with the daughter of the Danish king that the newspaper did not precisely delineate but were not hard to imagine.

"I suspect he wasn't thinking much at all, Ronnie," Mary said, as mildly as possible.

It was going to be a long day.


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

"Elbow room," Keith Pilcher exclaimed.

Leopold Cavriani raised his eyebrows.

Keith put his newspaper down. "Did anyone ever tell you about Daniel Boone?"

Leopold nodded a yes; Marc nodded a no. Keith turned toward the boy.

"He was a frontiersman. Not to start out with. His father was a settler in Pennsylvania, a weaver, with a big, comfortable house. All the amenities, like Huddy Colburn puts in the ads when he's trying to sell a house. A spring for fresh water, a cold room for keeping food fresh. Plastered walls. It's a park, now. Well, it was a park, then. Daniel Boone's birthplace, that is. Maxine dragged me to see it once."

Leopold raised his eyebrows again.

Keith looked back toward the older man. "I do have a point, here. Well, George Boone's little boy Daniel didn't take to amenities. He headed out to the frontier and he pretty much kept moving. Western North Carolina. Kentucky. Missouri. That's where he died, out in Missouri, on the other side of the Mississippi River. As far away from where he was born as… oh, as Muscovy, where Bernie Zeppi has gone, is from here. Maybe even farther. And when I was in fourth grade, we had to memorize a poem for a school program. I've forgotten most of it. Heck, I never learned most of it-I was just in the chorus that recited the refrain after the soloists went out front and gave a verse.

"Every time he made a move, it went: 'Elbow room,' said Daniel Boone."


"So that's what Gustav has gotten for us. He's bought us a year, Cavriani. You and Count August, Duke Ernst, Ollie and me, and all the iron people here. He probably thinks that's what is important is that he beat Denmark and got his little girl betrothed to that prince, but I know better. We've got a year of elbow room before the next crunch comes down. A year to get things going again.

"Now we've got to get these guys to roll up their sleeves and show some elbow."

Chapter 25

Enchiridion Chirurgicum

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

Breakfast at the inn was usually when the men talked over what they had read in the newspapers-the war in the north, what Wallenstein was doing in Bohemia, anything that had been heard from Venice or Rome. Supper at the inn was when they compared notes on the day's work. What each of them learned separately was of far more use after it had been combined with the information that the others had collected. The reluctance of the mine owners to invest, for example, which they had made very clear, made a lot more sense in the light of what the Cavrianis had learned about cost/profit ratios and what Keith had found out about Bavaria's nationalization of the mines and the resulting uncertain legal status.

"But," Keith summed up, "I think it can be done. Not as fast or as easily as we were hoping. Duke Ernst is going to have to cut some knots. And hit some kind of a balance between total control and letting the entrepreneurs run wild with no supervision at all. It's not as if our-the SoTF's, I mean-laws are in effect here, covering labor relations and pollution and such. He's going to have to think about that, and some of it may have to go all the way up to the king, ah, emperor, for approval. I just hope that won't drag out too long. Otherwise, new technology will help a lot-stationary steam pumps for the big operations. Capital will help a lot, too-low cost loans for the smaller operations to buy the traditional pumps."

Marc started to open his mouth; then closed it again.

Keith waved at him. "Go ahead, kid. If you've got something to say, then say it."

Marc looked at his father. "I'm, ah, here to watch. To observe. To learn. Not to say things."

"Say it, and I'll decide whether it was worth saying." Keith wasn't entirely joking.

"Well, sir, I don't think you're going to get younger men for the rebuilding of the metals trades once you have the ore. Not skilled workers, I mean. Oh, you can get plenty of unskilled workers. Ex-soldiers. Servants, even, from farms and towns, if they're strong enough for the work. Especially if they want to get married. The mines and mills and smelters never tried to limit their men's marriages, the way towns and farmers do. Oh, they had barracks for the unmarried guys. But there's no need for miners to "live in" the way servants do. And it's out in the country, not short on space the way walled towns always are. So the men can marry, build cottages; their wives can garden, keep chickens, cook for the unmarried men, do laundry. It works fine for them, as a system. They'll find that kind of worker. But skilled? I don't think so."

"Why not?" Keith was listening a little harder now.

"The whole Montanbereich has not really been working for fifteen years. That's… well, it's almost as long as I've been alive. The conditions described in the 1609 survey-that's several years longer than I've been alive. That's too long for a man to wait for a new job. They've left, if they could. I bet, if you look, you'll find them in mines and forges all over Germany, all the way to Silesia and Lusatia. In Austria and Bohemia. In northern Italy. Which means that they haven't been training apprentices here in the Upper Palatinate for that long, almost. So you're not going to find many younger masters and hardly any trained journeymen. Not even apprentices about to become journeymen-not except for just a few places, like the one Papa and I found out in the country. Plus, Duke Maximilian forced out a bunch more of the skilled workers who were Protestant, mostly grown men who naturally took their sons with them. Some have come back, but not many to stay. They've just come to get what they can and cut their losses. Then, of the ones who stayed in the 1620s, others have died of the plague and other epidemics since then. No, Herr Pilcher. I think, I really think-for the processing and finishing, it will be old men and untrained boys, at least to start with. That will slow things down. People may start to come back when things get going, but not… not right away."

Keith pursed his lips. "I'll file that away to think about. And mention it to Ollie."

Leopold Cavriani smiled to himself. His son had noticed this, thought about it, presented it clearly. Ahhhh! He would have to compliment Jacob Durre.

The waiter appeared with food. Quite a lot of it. They dropped business for eating. Especially Marc. His capacity for food astonished the rest of them.

Toby Snell was with them, for a change. Like Mary and Veronica, he was living in the Schloss. Not, by any means, in such luxurious quarters. He was sleeping in a cot in a small room on the top floor, next to the array of large blue bottles and annexed wires and stuff that constituted a down-time radio room.

He started talking about his girlfriend, back home. Dawn. Not, he pointed out, his fiancee. Half-seriously, he lamented that even if she did agree to marry him, he was never going to be able to live up to the images on the romance novels that she read by the jillion.

"You'd think," he finished, "that fate would have done us guys a favor. That eventually, after the Ring of Fire, the things would have worn out. But no. What do the down-timers do? Reprint them! Complete with woodcuts of all the hunks on the covers."

"If you get her to say 'yes'," Keith answered, "the rest of it is easy. If, that is, she's romantic enough."

Toby was inclined to listen. Keith's wife was a member of the same book club that Dawn had joined a while back.

"The hard part is having a wife who sees you the way you are. Hey, having one of those and keeping her in love with you is something of a challenge. If she notices that your hair is sort of thin on top" -he pointed to his own head- "and you're sort of sloppy about pruning the weigela bushes and sometimes you don't get around to taking out the garbage when she asks you to, how do you explain it? If she compares the waist size on your last set of briefs with the waist size on your new set of briefs, how are you supposed to persuade her that things aren't settling, so to speak? A realistic wife-that would be a problem."

Marc was listening with fascination.

"But a member of the Romance Readers book club. Hey, Toby, it's a cinch, if you do the husband business at a sort of minimum level. Basically, I mean, don't get hauled home sodden drunk very often. Usually get there for supper on time and call when you can't. Remember her birthday and anniversary with flowers. Which isn't that hard, in spite of all the jokes. I keep Max's birthday and our anniversary written on a note card on my machine. So, you see, just do that much. Your wife's imagination will take care of all the rest. You see, she really wants to have a romantic, hunky, husband. So she'll festoon you with all sorts of desired heroic qualities that you… ummn… may not actually have, like tinsel on a Christmas tree, and cheerfully ignore the fact that middle age is not just creeping up on you but has already arrived and taken up squatters' rights on your midsection."

Marc would have been happy to listen all evening, this being completely beyond anything he had thus far encountered in his rather sheltered Calvinist existence.

"You mean?" Toby was asking.

"Yup. Just don't deliberately disillusion the little thing, and she'll do all the rest of the work that needs to be done so she can have a Great Romance. Happily ever after. Guaranteed recipe, the old 'Pilcher special.'"

Toby pulled a little spray bottle and soft cloth out of his breast pocket and started to polish his glasses.

"Where did you get the cleaning fluid," Keith asked.

"Just vinegar. Like everything else. Some vinegar manufacturer in Badenburg must be making a fortune out of Grantville, the amount of the stuff that we use. That's where the crocks full of it come from. McNally says it won't hurt the lenses and these little spray bottles last and last." Toby cocked his head. "Speaking of lasting, how long have you and Max been together, anyway?"

Keith thought about it. "Well, Mom brought Lyman and me back from Detroit the summer after she and Dad divorced. That would have been, um, '83. I started high school in Grantville as a sophomore. And I took Max to the Halloween dance that year. That was our first date. We got married the summer of '89. So it sort of depends on how you figure it, I guess."

"You really never dated anyone else?"

Keith shook his head. "We pretty much figured out that we'd be getting married some day on the second date. But Max was a year behind me in school and we didn't want to frazzle her folks. Old man Maddox was an okay guy, but Max's mom could be a real PITA sometimes. Plus, I knew that when I turned eighteen, Dad would stop the child support, just as soon as he legally could. So I graduated and moved over to Fairmont, got a factory job and started on my A.A. in night classes. Kept right on, summers and all, so it only took me three years. Max graduated the next year and commuted to State; we got married between her sophomore and junior years."

Keith grinned. "Want some advice from a wise old man, Toby? Ninety percent of marriages that go on the rocks land there because of that 'first you say you do and then you don't' business like the song says. Pretty soon it's 'gloom, despair, and agony on me.' He's down at Tip's having one too many and she's at the county seat talking to a divorce lawyer. If you want to be married to Dawn, just make up your mind that you're married to her, and then stick to it. And if you don't really want to be married to her for good, don't marry her in the first place."

Toby thought that this sounded altogether too simple. Leopold Cavriani, though, was nodding in approval; Marc was watching his father.

The conversation meandered on. Eventually, Lambert Felser asked if anyone else had heard mention that there was a lot of sickness going around.

"Not a lot," Keith answered. "But Tanzflecker didn't show for the meeting today. Nadelmann said that one of his children died last night."

"One of the radio techs is sick," Toby contributed. "He didn't feel well enough to get up this morning. I mentioned it to Mrs. Simpson and she came upstairs. Then she went and talked to Jake Ebeling and hauled Bill Hudson upstairs to look at him."

Jake was the military liaison from the up-time contingent in the USE military to Duke Ernst. Here to teach and to learn. Spent most of his time with Hand, the Swede. Bill was Willie Ray Hudson's grandson, trained since the Ring of Fire as an emergency medical technician. He was teaching and learning, too. Those two, with Dane Kitt and Mark Ellis, made up the whole body of up-time military assigned to Duke Ernst. The trade delegation had scarcely seen them since they'd been here. Kitt and Ellis weren't even in town. They had gone to Ingolstadt with Baner. Plus three "civilian advisors," one of whom, Bozarth, the UMWA man, was down in Regensburg schmoozing the city council, while the other two, Glazer and Fisher, were someplace out of sight doing something that no one had bothered to tell the trade delegation about. Probably something that no one was going to tell a trade delegation about.

"Plague?" Leopold Cavriani asked. It was the first thing that always came to mind. There had been plague in the entire Upper Palatinate since February 1632, when a passing army unit left a couple hundred infected soldiers behind; Amberg had been particularly hard-hit the previous winter.

Keith shook his head. "The local doctors say that it isn't. And, honestly, they ought to know. They can't cure plague, but they sure see enough of it to recognize it when it comes along."


Mary Simpson made the diagnosis first, long before Bill Hudson had finished leafing through his manuals. Through the admiral's old friendships in the Netherlands, she knew people at the World Health Organization who had worked for the international center for vaccination when the disease made its way through the former Soviet republics in the early 1990s.


The down-time physicians concurred. It was the "strangling angel of children." They had, all of them, seen it before. All too often.


"It's a kid's disease," Toby said, when Bill told him. "You get your DPT shots and that's that."

"They don't have DPT shots here," Bill pointed out. "And we don't have any magic bullet to cure it. Oh, yes, it's bacterial rather than viral. My little pamphlet says that it can be treated with penicillin. Or with erythromycin. Neither of which I happen to have available."


"Try to get through to Grantville tonight, will you, Toby? I know that reception in these hills has been driving you guys, crazy, but please try. If not tonight, then tomorrow morning. Keep trying. Get me one of the doctors. What I have is chloramphenicol, and not much of that. Ask them if it works on diphtheria. If it doesn't, there's no point in wasting what we have; I'll save it for something it does work on. If it does work, well… ask them if they can send some more. Please."

"People don't really die of it, do they?"

"According to what I have here, it was a major killer, right up through the end of the nineteenth century. There aren't going to be DPT shots for a long, long, time. I've put your tech into quarantine. Let's hope that it doesn't spread too fast. What about you. Are your shots up to date? When did you get your last DT shot?"

Toby didn't have the slightest idea. "Last time that I had to get one, I suppose. That would have been, uh, when I started high school, maybe?"

"And you're twenty-five now? So, about ten years. Well, let's hope that you still have antibodies." Bill stomped off, looking glum.

He was feeling frightened. That's about how old his shots were, too. He was just a year younger than Toby. Of all the up-timers in Amberg, only two had their immunizations up to date when the Ring of Fire hit. Keith Pilcher was one of them, because of the nature of his job He had to have tetanus shots, being a machinist, and diphtheria vaccine came with it. Mrs. Simpson was the other one, partly because she traveled so much; and partly because she was just naturally one of those super-picky people who kept everything up to date. Jake's last shot was before his and Toby's.

And there were a lot of down-timers who had never had diphtheria. Including, he found out, Mrs. Dreeson. She'd had a lot of stuff, but no diphtheria. Duke Ernst, yes; Bocler, no; Zincgref, yes; Hand, no; Brechbuhl, yes; Leopold Cavriani, no; Lambert Felser, no; Marc Cavriani, no. The "no" list went on and on. Not a virgin field, but bad enough.

Like the out-of-date immunizations, he hoped that the immunity gained from childhood exposure would last for the ones who had already had it. Diphtheria was one of those things you could get again, once the antibodies wore off. Strangling on the swollen membranes in your own throat wasn't a pretty way to die. Not that there were very many pretty ways. It hit children hardest, mainly because their windpipes were smaller, more quickly closed off by the membranes.

The pamphlet talked about complications, too. Severe heart and nervous system complications which develop after two to six weeks and can lead to collapse, paralysis, coma and death in about five percent of the cases. He guessed that real doctors found that sort of information fascinating. And stuff about possible long-term complications for people who survived. He'd worry about those later.

And how was he supposed to identify carriers? Not! At least, he could tell the down-timers that there were carriers and ask them to look for patterns. If person X's visit to a household is regularly followed by an outbreak, quarantine him, too. And tell them what the incubation period was. If he could convince them that it was contagious and that's how it was spread.

Oh, damn.

If he ever got out of the army, he was going back to Grantville. And going to work for Tom Stone. Let the other guys go to med school. He was going to make the medicines. Somebody else could deliver the doses.


Caspar Hell's voice was steady. "I have closed the school because of the epidemic. Too many children are quarantined, or their parents are afraid to let them come, for us even to try to hold classes."

None of the other Jesuits disputed that.

"We will offer the collegium to the city as a quarantine hospital. It is the largest suitable building. Those diagnosed can be brought here and we will nurse them. That may offer some hope, at least, that uninfected members of their families will escape exposure. Otherwise, the young medic, as they call him, tells us that whole families will die, one after another."

None of the other Jesuits disputed that, either. Most of them had seen it happen, when families, the sick and the well alike, were quarantined together in their own houses.

Duke Ernst accepted the offer of a lazarette with gratitude.

Hand crossed "espionage centered at the collegium " off his list of things to worry about for the time being.


Bill Hudson's hopes sank. He had kept wishing for a magic bullet. That someone could dispatch a 4x4 from Grantville with a batch of a lifesaving drug. Instead… as best the medical personnel in Grantville knew, chloramphenicol would not work on diphtheria. They didn't know just why. Diphtheria was a gram positive bacilli, which chloramphenicol was effective against as a class. In short, it did work on the class of bacteria but they couldn't find anything in their searching that specifically said that it would work on C. diphtheria -on this specific organism. It probably wouldn't hurt someone, if he tried it on them as an experiment, Doc Adams had radioed. But they didn't have any evidence that it would help.


Jakob Balde found it odd, having so many strangers inside the private portions of the collegium. There were usually students, of course. The few boarding students, however, had now been confined to their own quarters on the other side of the building, where the infection had not entered yet, and to the care of one of the cooks.

The Jesuits were not the only ones who volunteered to nurse. The older up-time man had been here, almost from the start. He wasn't squeamish, either. An up-time woman had volunteered to come, but Father Hell had drawn the line at having that. So she worked in the city, with the young medic, who insisted that he was not a full-fledged physician. Doing something that she called triage. The arriving patients were marked: those who, God willing, would benefit from nursing; those who, barring a miracle of God, probably would not.


The other men who assisted the Jesuits in caring for the sick had only one thing in common. Chosen by Duke Ernst and the up-timers, they had all had the disease before and survived it. And, of course, a second thing: they were willing to come. Duke Ernst had not forced them, other than some of his own direct subordinates and some of the city employees. A few Catholics-there were not many Catholics in Amberg any more. Several Lutherans, several Calvinists. A Jew, just a peddler passing through the city. Two Swiss men who listed no religion when they arrived, which probably meant that they deserved burning for heresy. Jakob Balde, now in charge of the hospital, had chosen not to ask them for details.

Duke Ernst had not closed off the city; which was the reason the Jew and the two Swiss were here. One could not quarantine a city for every little disease that came along. For plague, yes, but not for diphtheria. Life had to go on.

Three deaths; five deaths; nine deaths. The count went up every day.

Father Hell among them. Also Oswald Kaiser, one of the lay brothers, a cabinetmaker who had been working on finishing the interiors of some of the rooms.

Balde, in the company of the regent, continued his tour of the sickbeds. And pulled the sheet over the face of another child.


None of the rest of them would have believed that Keith Pilcher could stand up to Veronica Dreeson until he did it. Over his dead body, he announced, was Veronica going to be involved in the care of the sick.

"Because," he said, "you never had diphtheria and if you die on us here, everybody back home will blame it on Maxine's not liking you. They'll say that because the two of you don't agree about whether four-year-olds ought to learn conversational Latin, I didn't take care of the old woman. And I'm not going to put Max through that. You've got Henry waiting, you've got Annalise to send to school, you've got a dozen of Gretchen's kids who depend on you. So you're not going to go out and die of something on my watch. Like it or lump it."

He might not have made it stick by himself, but Mary Simpson agreed with him. As did Bill Hudson, Duke Ernst, and just about everybody else. Hand volunteered to keep an eye on her.

They couldn't precisely lock her up. She continued to investigate the situation with the Grafenwohr properties. Elias couldn't help her; he was one of those at the hospital, caring for the sick. She continued to meet occasionally with Rastetter, her lawyer. Until his family became ill and he closed his office temporarily.


"Hey, Toby," one of the down-time radio techs asked. "Why aren't you eating."

"I don't really feel like it, Franz. I'm getting a sore throat."


"Where's Lambert Felser?" Marc Cavriani asked. "I don't think that I've seen him the last couple of days. Is he taking time off because Keith is busy at the hospital?"

"I'm not sure," Eric Haakansson Hand answered. "I don't think that I've seen him around, either."

"I'd better," Marc said, "check his room."

Felser wasn't there. The chambermaid at the inn said that, the morning before, she had come to clean and found him sick. So, according to the instructions that had been given to all the innkeepers, she told Hans from the stables to take him to the quarantine hospital. Had she told anybody? Well, no. She hadn't known whom to tell. Herr Pilcher, his master, was, like the others who cared for the sick, sleeping at the hospital.


Balde made his rounds. More than seven hundred people were lying ill in the collegium, today. They were calling for more volunteers to care for them. For more people who had already survived the disease.

Three more of the Jesuits were among the ill.

There had been only about seventy deaths, though, so far. Most of them children.

A recurrence of the plague would have been far worse.


By the end of the week, the tide seemed to be turning. The patient count was under five hundred. Not, of course, all the same people who had been there the week before. The acute period of the disease did not last long; many of those still in the hospital were clearly recovering. Those who had family to care for them had already returned to their homes for convalescence.

Balde completed the day's entries in his ledger. The death toll stood at ninety-three, including one of the sick Jesuits. However, no more of the brothers had sickened. So far.

During the plague epidemic the previous year, there had been nearly five hundred deaths in Amberg. God had been very merciful this time.


Franz looked at his friend Toby. Then, had one of the stablemen load him into a cart and take him to the hospital.

Toby was likely to recover, though, Franz thought. He was a strong young man.

Franz, like the chambermaid at the inn, wasn't sure whom he should tell. Toby had been more or less the boss of the other radio techs. Franz wasn't really sure who Toby's boss was.

It wasn't as if he could just drop into the regent's office, even though he was living in the Schloss. Nor could he leave the radio room for a long time to go running around town looking for someone to tell. Finally, he just left a note on Bocler's desk and returned to the top floor. Someone had to watch the radio, now that Toby was no longer there to do it.

He looked at the familiar, comforting, scene with its blue Leyden jars. Tiptoeing across the room so as not to jar them, he lay down on his cot.


Keith Pilcher was the first of the up-timers to learn that Toby was in the hospital, when he came to bathe him. Of the radio techs who had come with them from Grantville, this left how many on duty? Keith racked his brain. One of the down-timers, the first one who had become ill, was dead. Three more had been here and recovered enough to be sent over to the convalescent ward, because there wasn't anyone to take care of them at the Schloss. Now Toby. That left one more. What was his name? Oh, yes. Franz. He ought to remind somebody that they were down to one functional radio tech.


Bill Hudson climbed up to the top floor of the Schloss and started to cuss a blue streak. It was one thing to say that the geeks were married to their work, but that didn't mean that all six of them had needed to have their cots crowded into one little room next to the array of Leyden jars. Not eight inches between them; they must have walked sideways to get into bed. Plus they worked together and ate together. No wonder they had infected one another.

He asked Franz whether he had diphtheria before. Franz went on the "no" list.


Two days later, Bill ordered Franz to the hospital. Until one of the recovering techs was well enough to come back to work, Amberg would be on a radio blackout. No one else had the vaguest idea how to work the thing.

He notified Jake Ebeling. And Duke Ernst.

Chapter 26

Occasio Rarissima

Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

Veronica sat in her room in the Schloss, looking out the window and tapping her fingers on the table. She had just finished breakfast, eating by herself, and reading the newspapers. It was old news, of course, by the time it reached Amberg. A week old, at least; more often two weeks old. Not that it would benefit her a great deal to have more recent news. She wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

Useless, useless. Of no use to anyone. Everybody else was busy. Useless old woman, shunted to the sidelines. Useless old woman, bossed around by the husband of that idiotic woman Maxine. Useless old woman, told what she could and could not do by the father of those two ungovernable children. He had it right, that old man in the Bible. Vanitas, vanitas. Everything was useless. She was useless.

She not only couldn't help others; she couldn't even help herself. Elias was busy; Rastetter's office closed. Useless, useless.

Until she got the wonderful idea.

What did they need next, in order to file suit for the rest of Johann Stephan's property? They needed affidavits from several people in Grafenwohr. Since none had arrived at Rastetter's office, even though she knew that he had requested them using all the proper forms, and since everybody else in the city of Amberg was too focused on the diphtheria epidemic to pursue the matter, that was something she could do. She could go to Grafenwohr and get the affidavits herself, or at least find out why they hadn't arrived. Kilian being the kind of man he was, she wouldn't put it past him to be either intimidating or suborning the witnesses, or both, or worse.

Things looked different, once she had made up her mind. She packed a few essentials into the trusty and capacious canvas tote bag that had served her so well since her arrival in Grantville three years before, put on her sturdiest boots, and marched down the stairs. On her way to the gate, she stopped at a shop and bought a walking stick; at another and bought some bread and sausage. It wasn't as if it were far to Grafenwohr; less than twenty-five miles, with a decent road to travel. It was a nice summer day, early in June. She was starting early and she could easily reach the town before dark.

And it was her home town. She had relatives there-relatives besides her detestable brother-in-law Kilian Richter. Her own family. Schusters and Kleins; Herders and Rothwilds. None of her brothers or sisters were there; she had written long ago to find out. Two nieces, Jakobaea's daughters, Magdalena and Margaretha. No one knew what had become of Hans Florian and his wife; they had left already in 1623. Casimir had died in Bayreuth in 1629. The family believed that his widow had still been alive a year later, and some of the children. Hanna Schreiner, Matthias' sister, had remarried last year to Wilhelm Bastl.

The Rothwilds were almost all fine people. Oddly, the only one who had gone to the bad, just about as far to the bad as a man could go, was Johann Stephan's own nephew, Johann, his sister Sara's son. He had gone all the way to the bad long before the war started. He wouldn't be around, though. The Grafenwohr authorities had exiled him for good and sufficient reasons. She was surprised that they had not hanged him.

Sara's daughter, Magdalena, had been Wilhelm Bastl's first wife. Cousins. The comfort of kin. She wouldn't run into any trouble on a visit to her own home town.

She did leave a note. She put it under Mary's hair brush.


Afra the chambermaid noticed that Frau Dreeson was carrying the bulging tote bag. It bulged much more than it usually did when Frau Dreeson left the Schloss to talk to her lawyer. She quickly checked the room to see what the old lady had taken. More than just papers. She slipped out the side entrance and followed the old woman, saw her buy the walking stick, saw which gate she left by, and ran to Augustin Arndt. More accurately, she had intended to run, but she wasn't feeling very well this morning. She had a bad sore throat, and it was getting worse. So she walked, but she did get to Arndt's office. For one thing, she believed in earning her money honestly. For another, her family had worked for the landgraves of Leuchtenberg for a long, long, time. Since the days of her father's grandfather, at least. The landgrave was her lord.


Arndt was feeling uneasy. Really uneasy. He wasn't sure, any more, just what Kilian Richter's limits were, and Richter had threatened him about revealing that… mess. He wasn't, thank goodness, dependant upon Richter, but he thought that he had better keep an eye on the old woman. He didn't want any fatalities-any more fatalities, at least. He could justify a billing to Richter for having Veronica Dreeson watched, especially if he didn't explain that in his own mind the observation was for the purpose of trying to tell whether his employer might be planning something that was not at all prudent.

Maybe he could kill two birds with one stone. Even three birds. It was always nice to have three different clients paying for the same investigation. It improved his profit margin quite a bit.

He sent a note to a couple of men working in Amberg, Leuchtenberg loyalists like the chambermaid Afra Forst. Valentin Forst was the woman's cousin and Emmeram Becker was also from Pfreimd. He sent them instructions and money for expenses.

Follow the Dreeson woman to Grafenwohr. Keep an eye on what she does and who she contacts. Keep me informed. Also, while you're there, see old Karl Hanf the cooper about ore barrels-he is trying to overcharge; see the barge builder Wilhelm Bastl about an order that he hasn't completed (specifics from Herr Troeschler enclosed with this note). I'll pay you at the usual rate.

There was no need to tell them that neither of those tasks was a job commissioned by the landgrave. That would have been a lie. If the two men got the impression, however, that the landgrave took an interest in Frau Dreeson and that Troeschler's delayed deliveries were interfering with the landgrave's interests, well, that would not be a problem. Those two were zealous Catholics. They always worked hardest when they thought they were serving Landgrave Wilhelm Georg.

After all, Arndt assured himself, he had been sending reports on Frau Dreeson to the landgrave and no one had told him to stop. Not that the landgrave had directly asked for them, but a man had to do something to keep earning his retainer. Arndt had no way of knowing, any more than Forst and Becker did, that nothing was of interest to the landgrave any longer and that the steward's remittances were just a standing order.


By early evening, Afra really was not feeling well at all. The head housekeeper at the Schloss noticed and sent her to the hospital.


Hand assumed that Frau Dreeson was having supper in her room. This did not surprise him. Those who had never had diphtheria were eating separately from those involved with the sick, on Duke Ernst's orders. He found Bocler rather tedious as a conversational companion himself. The young man would probably footnote a funeral sermon and attach notarized copies of the original documents on which he based his statements about the dates upon which the deceased had been baptized and confirmed.

Hand resigned himself to listening to a discourse on neo-Latin poetry. A quite extended one. It appeared that several of Bocler's friends practiced the art. Harsdorffer in Nurnberg. There was also Balde, right here in Amberg.

Hand perked up. "The Jesuit? The one running the hospital?"

"Yes, that one. Did you know that he was asked to write a new prelude for the play that will be performed for Duke Maximilian's wedding?"

It took only the most minimal display of interest to encourage Bocler; his latest information dump was off and running.


Grafenwohr, the Upper Palatinate

It was good to be home. Very good to be home.

Veronica's arrival in Grafenwohr caused a lot of excitement. For a change, not because she was Hans Richter's grandmother, but because she was one of the many who had been lost and was now found. Grafenwohr had lost a third of its people in the past decade, and it did not expect to find many of them. Each one was a small miracle.

Especially one who brought news from the larger world outside. She was staying with her nieces, Magdalena and Margaretha Herder. Who, in turn, kept house for their stepfather, Karl Hanf, and Jakobaea's two boys, their half-brothers. Barbara had died as a baby, of course. Jakobaea and the two youngest children had died during the horrible Schreckensjahr of 1621, when Mansfeld's armies came through the Upper Palatinate. In private, the girls told her that they had no expectation that Hanf, the old skinflint, would ever dower them. Magdalena was nearly thirty; Margaretha a year and a half younger. They made the best of it. Anything they might have had coming from their own father had vanished in the confusion of the war and occupation.

"Damned Bavarians," Veronica snorted. She settled in to talk about Grantville. Gretchen and Jeff. Annalise.

Hans, of course. They wanted to hear about Hans. And airplanes. Magdeburg. The little Princess Kristina. Veronica had actually seen her? With her own eyes? What did she look like?

Nurnberg? She had come through Nurnberg? She had actually seen Margaretha, Hanna, and Clara to talk to? Tell us about their children. Is Matthias well? You mean that Elias is actually with you, in Amberg? Is he planning to come up?

The entire town of Grafenwohr was buzzing with excitement.


There were some exceptions. Forst and Becker, Augustin Arndt's two agents, found it very, very dull in Grafenwohr. They didn't ask Hanf and Bastl the questions themselves, of course-just delivered Arndt's message about Troeschler to a local lawyer and let him ask the questions. They needed to be inconspicuous, if they were to find out what lay behind the answers. Hanf protested that his charges were accurate. Bastl had a thousand excuses why Troeschler's barges were not finished. Business as usual.

Neither of them could understand why the landgrave would be interested in any of this, but since Arndt had deliberately omitted to explain to them that Troeschler's problems were distinct from those of Landgrave Wilhelm Georg, they had, just as Arndt hoped, gained the impression that there was a connection. And they were loyal Leuchtenberger. If their lord wanted to know, they would do their best to find out.

They also had to manufacture reasons to keep hanging around to watch Frau Dreeson for the landgrave, they thought, so they started to take an even deeper look into the manufacture of barges and barrels than they ordinarily would have done. After a couple of days, they took jobs as casual laborers at Bastl's barge-yard, which allowed them to spend a fair amount of time talking to some of the local boatmen.


It was a lovely visit, of course. But it wasn't getting her any farther in seeing about the affidavits. On the third day, Veronica went to the city clerk's office. Young Nicolas Moser was very cooperative, just as Rastetter had assured her that he would be. Very informative, as well.

On the fifth day, she called on her brother-in-law Kilian, wearing her very best Abbess of Quedlinburg face. He did not seem excessively pleased by her presence. His wife hardly spoke; part of the time, she appeared to doze off. She didn't even ask about her relatives in Nurnberg, which was odd, considering that her brother Lorenz was Hanna Richter's husband and the third of Veronica's stepsons-in-law. She must have known that Veronica had seen them. In spite of her dereliction of interest, Veronica brought her up to date conscientiously.

Their daughter Dorothea sat, her hands folded in her lap. She didn't say a word. The boy, Hermann, was seventeen; a big young oaf. Oaf was the proper word. The youngest of the three children who survived, another boy, was a boarding student at the Jesuit collegium in Amberg and was being kept isolated with the other boarders because of the epidemic.

Veronica was very satisfied with how well she had controlled her tongue. She did mention a couple of her thoughts about intimidation and suborning of witnesses, along with the legal penalties for such activities. Just in passing, of course. Also that she was finding her research at city hall very rewarding, indicating that since her lawyer, Hieronymus Rastetter, and Elias Brechbuhl had laid the foundation with their work in Amberg, she had a clear idea of what to look for and was not wasting her time. She let him know that she would be resuming it the next morning. In another two or three days, she should have found everything that the lawyer needed. It had been a pleasure to combine work with a family visit.

It was nice to see Kilian squirm. Veronica was not even a little bit ashamed of herself. He sold Johann Stephan's print shop, didn't he? Not to mention some of the things that she had found here. Elias would be very interested.


Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

The day after Veronica's visit, Kilian went down to Amberg first thing in the morning, taking Hermann with him. He did not find Arndt particularly helpful. The man appeared to be seriously distracted.

He did manage to find his nephew Johann Rothwild, Sara's son. That was no problem, really. Rothwild worked as a bouncer at a really rough tavern in an old mining settlement a couple of miles outside the city walls and had for years. Johann could be a really helpful man in a pinch, Kilian knew. He had demonstrated that several years before. Johann and Hermann between them could probably take care of the worst of Kilian's current problems.

One of which, increasingly, appeared to be Augustin Arndt. He could just be afraid of what Kilian held over his head, but he could be starting to have a case of bad conscience, which was always dangerous. Kilian had checked his old records the night before. He had enough on Arndt to ruin him professionally, with rumors, if nothing else-but not, probably, enough to control him. He had no clear documentation that Arndt had anything to do with the group of "mercenaries" that night in 1628, much less that he had organized it and that Rothwild had dragged Anton's wife back to his office. The lawyer was wily. He had covered his tracks well.


Grafenwohr, the Upper Palatinate

Dorothea watched her father and brother leave. Her mother was starting on her daily drinking, of course. She started at breakfast and finished when she went to bed, if she could get enough beer. Or if she could make it all the way to the bed. She had been like this for seven or eight years, now. Dorothea usually tried to limit what Mama could get. This morning, feeling guilty, she poured her a large stein of the strongest that Clara Schreiner brewed.

Last week, she thought that she had no hope. Yesterday, with Papa's strange sister-in-law's visit, she had started to hope again. She washed herself carefully, even her hair. First soft soap in the basin; then a rinse with rose water. A clean shift under her dress; a clean apron over it. She picked up a market basket; then put it down again. It was not market day. What reason did she have to be seen anywhere near the Rathaus, much less in it? Young women, unmarried women, rarely had business at the city hall. She opened the chest where Papa kept his business records and pulled out a handful of the ones right on top at random. They weren't in neat piles; she could certainly put them back before he and Hermann got home. He would never notice.

Mama was well on her way to being mentally out for the day. Dorothea refilled her stein with the strong beer.


Veronica was well on her way to tracking the handling of Johann Stephan's share of old Abraham Richter's land; Kilian's share was his own business. But Kilian been mucking around with Sara's portion also. How did he manage that? Sara had left children. Magdalena was dead, to be sure, and her only baby had been born dead. But Karl Hanf had told her that Johann Rothwild was still alive, she thought. Frowning, she moved to another ledger and lifted it to take it to the standing pedestal where she was working. When she heard voices in the outer office, she started to eavesdrop quite unashamedly.

Nicholas Moser was one of them. Well, he should be here. He was the city clerk, after all. The other? Who? Dorothea? Kilian's daughter?

"What on earth are you doing here, Thea? Your father…."

"He's gone to Amberg with Hermann, Nicol. Mama isn't going to notice anything today."

"You can't come here. Not here. Not while I'm at work."

"I need to talk to her, Nicol. Papa's sister-in-law. Please. She told Papa yesterday that she was going to be here today. I brought papers, see. So anyone who saw me come in might think that I was bringing something for Papa. I have to talk to her. If anyone asks, you can say that I was here to see her. There's no reason that anyone should think that I am here to see you."


Veronica sauntered out. "If she wants to see me, Herr Moser, please do let her come in. She is, after all, my niece by marriage."

Eyeing the physical tension between the two of them, she asked herself, "And what is she to you?"

Moser stepped aside from where he had been blocking the door to the back room where the records were stored.

Veronica looked at him. "You now. If you're worried because she's here, just open that front door to your office and do something where anybody who happens to glance in can see that you are busy doing what you are supposed to do. If anyone saw Dorothea come in, the gossip will be about the fascinating dissension among the Richter heirs and not" -her glance swept across both of them-"whatever the two of you have been up to that leads to desperate whispering when you should know perfectly well that someone else is close enough to hear even whispers." She pulled Dorothea into the back room.

Question one. She had been away from Grafenwohr for a long time, and she had a lot of relatives. "How old are you?"

Dorothea looked a little startled. "Twenty-one, Tante Veronica. In May."

"Oh, yes. You're the one who was born the same year as Hans, then. Not a child, any more than he was a child."

At the word "child," Dorothea winced.

Veronica looked again. The crystal clarity of the complexion; the little brown rings under the eyes. She saw no reason to mince words.

"How far along are you?"

Dorothea's eyes opened wide.

Veronica, from the back room, had been able to hear a whispered front-room conversation between two young people who called one another Nicol and Thea. Nicholas Moser was therefore perfectly capable of hearing a back-room conversation conducted in a normal tone of voice, even though he was supposed to be concentrating on his work in the front room,. He came plunging through the door, abandoning all pretense of indifference to Richter family business.


"Nicol, please. Go back. Do your work. Please. I need to talk to my aunt."

"But if…"

Veronica tilted her head. It was, at any rate, perfectly clear that neither of them had the slightest doubt who the father was. That was always a real advantage when it came to managing these things.

She did have to ask herself how they had managed it, though. Especially in a town this small. It couldn't have been easy for a newly hired town clerk, son of an inflexible and well-known Calvinist exile, a university graduate and possibly at the moment the most eligible bachelor inside the walls of Grafenwohr, to avoid the eyes of Protestant parents of eligible daughters long enough to impregnate the Catholic daughter of an equally well-known Bavarian collaborator. It must mean that they had more ingenuity than either of them had demonstrated so far today.

Of course, it was only two hours past breakfast. Perhaps they "just weren't morning people," as Mary Simpson said of some of her acquaintances.

She looked at Moser gimlet eyed. "And just how old are you?" she asked.

"Twenty four."

"Old enough, in other words, to know better. The pair of you."

"We didn't," Moser protested defensively, "know that it was going to happen right then. It's not as if…" His voice trailed off.

Veronica made up her mind on the spot. The instant she got back to Grantville, she would see to it that Annalise adopted up-time underwear, even though she did normally prefer to wear down-time clothing. Certainly by the time that Heinrich Schmidt got back from Amsterdam. If nothing else, it did require an amorous couple to pause in their pursuits long enough to deliberately remove the drawers. Which might, just possibly, give them time to think that they were about to proceed to a new stage in the expression of their mutual affection. And stop, if they were reasonably prudent people.

To Moser she said, "Close the front door." He did.

Back to the original question. "How far along are you?"

Simultaneously, they answered, "March fourth." From the expressions on their faces as they looked at one another, this must have been an epic day in their lives, roughly equivalent to the collapse of the walls of Jericho or the recent eruption of the volcano in Italy.

Oh, blast it. If they were that certain of the date of conception, it probably meant-just once. Recent ex-virgins, both of them. Just what every woman who is peacefully trying to collect affidavits for a property title lawsuit needs to have on her hands. A Pair of Star-Crossed Lovers, one of whom is a little bit pregnant. And, of course, likely to become more so in the immediate future.

Definitely likely to become more so in the immediate future. It was past the usual time when a woman might miscarry her fruit.

"You," Veronica said firmly, "are both utter and total fools."


Moser stepped farther into the room and put his arm protectively around Dorothea's shoulders. Then, got a little distracted by the scent of rose water in her hair. He remembered that scent…

Reorganizing his mind, he looked at her terrifying aunt. Aunt-by-marriage. Terrifying wouldn't be a familial trait. That was a good thing, he thought. Women were supposed to be gentle and compliant. Everybody knew that.

The frightening old lady was holding her canvas tote bag out at them. It had a picture of a harlequin on it. And words. "Mardi Gras." That he knew; a Catholic superstition. Orleans he had heard of; it was in France. Where might New Orleans be?

"This does not," the formidable old lady was saying, "mean that I have much sympathy-any sympathy-with those stupid 'Harlequin Romance novels' that have become such a fad."

"I have one of the books," Dorothea said. "It is quite lovely to read. This girl is traveling alone on a road in Spain…"

" Fools," Veronica snapped. "I would not have believed that one of those pernicious books had traveled as far as Grafenwohr. Stupid, stupid books. Infecting even my Annalise with ideas about romance. Sit down."

They sat.

"Can you boil water here?"

Moser blinked. "Yes, I have a small brazier."

"Do you have cups?"

"I have four cups."

Veronica reached into the tote bag. She should not be too hard on Annalise about her romances. All of them had learned vices in Grantville. "Very well. What all of us need right now is a good cup of coffee. Which, with your brazier and cups, I can prepare."

She made it black and she made it strong. It was clear that neither of the others cared for it much, which made no difference to her whatsoever. She wanted them awake and paying attention.

First things first. "Do you want to get married? I am quite prepared to list all the problems that it will bring for both of you, if you haven't bothered to think about them. And don't think that you have to say that you do, either of you. If you don't, either one of you, I can see to it that Dorothea and her child are taken care of. Family is family, after all, and she's not the first girl to find herself in this fix and won't be the last."

They wanted to get married. Problems and all. So they said.

"What you need, then," she said, "is money. How much do you have?"

Dorothea didn't have any. Moser still had most of his most recent month's pay.

"You'll need more. And a map of how to get to Grantville from Amberg. You do know how to get to Amberg, I presume? Grantville doesn't have any laws against Calvinists and Catholics marrying one another. Henry, my husband, is a Calvinist. I am, owing to the damned Bavarians, Catholic. And likely to remain one; changing again at my age would be more trouble than it's worth."

"And one final thing. You're not leaving Grafenwohr until after I do. Do you understand me? Not! I'm willing to help Dorothea, but being left behind to deal with Kilian when he finds out that you have eloped is way above and beyond any duty I may have to her." Veronica glared at them fiercely. "Do you understand that?"

They understood.

"Go home, now." That was to Dorothea. "Go back to work."

Moser shuddered slightly. There had to be words that were more, well, descriptive, than just "terrifying."

Veronica walked back to the pedestal where she had left the ledger she was using. On top of the ledger lay the packet of papers that Dorothea had been holding when she came in. Without the slightest sense of shame, she started thumbing through them. Paused. Read more slowly. Decided that she had better consult Rastetter again, as soon as possible. Hopefully, by the time she returned to Amberg, his family would have recovered. She tucked the papers into her tote bag, inside one of her greatest treasures-a semitransparent blue plastic expanding pocket folder, somewhat larger than the average sheet of paper, with a flap that fastened with a snap. She really loved that envelope; she had no idea how she would manage St. Veronica's Academies without it. Rain or snow, she could go anywhere and the ink on her papers never smeared or ran.

She should, perhaps, have left it in Grantville for Annalise to use.

But she hadn't. It was too useful.

She turned back to the ledger.

Chapter 27

Optiones Ineptae

Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

They had collectively kicked themselves. Mary had been so tired when she got back to the Schloss the night after Veronica left that she hadn't brushed her hair-just washed her face, brushed her teeth and then collapsed into bed. So she hadn't found the note until the next morning. It had been an object lesson on the dire consequences of sloppiness.

The other Grantvillers, Duke Ernst, Erik Haakansson Hand, her lawyer Rastetter-any of them or, if necessary, all of them combined-would normally have managed to stop her from taking off on her own, but they had been too distracted by the epidemic. Those who knew her personally were not really surprised that she had gone. She just wasn't accustomed to thinking of herself as a person of national, much less international, significance, even if the rest of them realized her importance. Her symbolic importance, at least. To some extent, as the wife of the mayor of Grantville, she even had actual importance.

Spilt milk. And, according to the report that the mayor of Grafenwohr had provided to Duke Ernst, she was having an enjoyable visit with her family. So, as Keith said, they might as well relax a little. At least, there were no reports that the diphtheria had spread to Grafenwohr.


The epidemic in Amberg was definitely tapering off. Balde made his entries. Only two deaths yesterday. One a child. The other, Afra Forst, a chambermaid from Pfreimd who had worked at the Schloss. Catholic. No family in Amberg, poor girl. Frau Simpson, although not Catholic herself, had generously provided a stipend for a funeral mass. She said that the maid had cleaned her rooms, and those of Frau Dreeson.


Grafenwohr, the Upper Palatinate

Kilian Richter and his son Hermann came back to Grafenwohr together. Johann Rothwild came separately, bringing an associate remarkably like himself. Kilian had to find them a place to stay in a cottage outside the town. Johann was, unfortunately, persona non grata with the Amberg authorities.

That didn't mean, of course, that the two men couldn't enter the town during the day. Johann's face wasn't that well-known after several years of absence. Day laborers, looking for a bit of work; transients, perhaps. Those were common enough sights in any town. If they didn't stay too long, it shouldn't be a problem, Kilian thought.

What he did think was a problem was the disappearance of quite a few of his business papers from his chest. The last ones that he would want anyone else looking at. The old ones that he had pulled out to refresh his memory about just how much pressure he could put on Arndt.

So, not even papers he could explode about. He couldn't shout and slap his wife. She was scarcely the model of the frugal and prudent housewife. The odds were high that she had been so drunk that a military company could have marched through the house playing their fife and drum and she wouldn't have noticed them. Nor could he scream at his daughter. Why hadn't she been home?

He did ask her where she had been. She answered that she had gone to her godmother's house at mid-morning and remained there the rest of the day. So much for the possibility that she might have noticed someone lurking around. Who in hell might have known about those papers?

His daughter Dorothea's reply had the advantage of being perfectly true. No matter that Tante Veronica had told her to go home, she hadn't wanted to spend the rest of the day hearing her mother snore. When she left the city hall, she had gone to her godmother's and had stayed there until it began to get dark. Kilian didn't think anything about it. Dorothea had spent a lot of time at her godmother's these past few years.

It had been a relief to Dorothea, although a little undermining to her general sense of self-importance, that apparently no one in town had taken any notice of her visit to the city hall. Not even the mayor and aldermen who, naturally, had offices in the building. And she spent so much time thinking of Nicol and their planned elopement that she forgot entirely that she had left her father's papers there.

If Dorothea had grown up in Grantville, her classmates would have been of the opinion that her head wasn't screwed on too tight. Or that she was a ditz. There were a lot of ways a person might describe Dorothea Richter, such as "sort of cute." No one would have included, "Really, really smart."


Nicholas Moser was working really, really, hard at not paying any attention to Dorothea Richter in public. This was in order not to arouse suspicion. He certainly did not want her father to guess about their planned elopement. This meant that whenever she was in sight, on the streets or in the marketplace of the town, he carefully looked somewhere else.

He had no idea who Johann Rothwild was. Rothwild had been banned from Grafenwohr years before Moser was hired. He naturally had no idea who Rothwild's companion was, since the man had never been in town before. However, when he looked at places where Dorothea wasn't, he kept seeing them.

Seeing them, sometimes, in places where a couple of casual laborers had no business being. Sometimes near Dorothea.

Horrible visions crept into his mind. He was, after all, a Calvinist. Could Dorothea's father have guessed, in spite of all his precautions? The man was Catholic. Was he going to have Moser's beloved kidnapped and-the terms came with capital letters-Immured in a Convent? Being Immured in a Convent was, in Moser's mind, roughly equivalent to being Chained in a Dungeon. Or worse than being chained in a run-of-the-mill dungeon, since it would involve a Papist Plot.

The two men disappeared from the streets of Grafenwohr for a couple of days. Moser relaxed a little. They must have moved on.

Then they came back. All of Moser's fears returned. They must have been making arrangements with a Wicked Abbess to deliver Dorothea as a prisoner.

Unlike Dorothea, Moser was "really, really smart" in the sense of book learning. Clever, conscientious, and competent in his work, just as Rastetter had said to Veronica. Cooperative and helpful to the people who came to city hall needing to receive or file documents. He was, however, somewhat deficient in the ordinary common sense department. Not to mention being, in this matter, a victim of his upbringing, complicated by a bad case of hormones.

In any case, he sat down and wrote a letter to Herr Hieronymus Rastetter, the Amberg lawyer who was working for Dorothea's terrifying aunt, expressing all his fears. He was a little doubtful about the wisdom of this. The aunt was, as she had admitted, Catholic herself. She might be in on the Papist Plot, however improbable that seemed on the face of it.

The lawyer, however, was not Catholic. He was a Calvinist, and a friend of Moser's father. He would be fully reliable. Moser told him everything he knew of the matter, without reservation.


Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

Rastetter had just reopened his office the day Moser's letter arrived. His family, thankfully, were all recovering. He had a huge backlog, so he put the letter on the bottom of his correspondence pile. When he did read it, ignoring all the nonsense about Immuring in Convents, the words Dreeson, Kilian Richter, and "two dangerous-looking men" practically shouted off the page at him. He grabbed his hat and headed for the Schloss.

Frau Simpson was there. He gave it to her. She took it to Duke Ernst. Or, more precisely, to Bocler, who took it to Duke Ernst. That didn't matter; the delay was approximately five minutes by her watch.

While they were waiting, Rastetter asked her if she had heard the news about Augustin Arndt-the lawyer representing Frau Dreeson's opponent in the lawsuit.

Mary shook her head. She had never even known the man's name.

"He was found dead two days ago."

"Will this epidemic never end?" she asked. "I had thought that it was pretty much over. I hope that a new chain of infection isn't starting up."

"He didn't die of diphtheria, Frau Simpson. He was found by a man who works for him, more or less regularly, as an agent and had come to the city to consult with him about some matter of business he had been handling on his behalf in Grafenwohr. Arndt's throat was cut."

Mary looked at him. "Grafenwohr?"

Rastetter never utilized profane or blasphemous expressions. He wished, right now, that he did.

After they had presented their concerns to the regent, Duke Ernst also commented, "I do wish that General Baner were here this very instant. He could say what I am thinking."

Hand did question Arndt's agent, Valentin Forst, the one who had found the body. However, there seemed to be no connection. The man was quite forthcoming about the matter he had been working on, involving ore barrels and barges, disputed payments and delayed deadlines-the ordinary routine work of a practicing lawyer. So Hand let him go back to Grafenwohr.

Forst had, of course, omitted any reference to the landgrave of Leuchtenberg from his narrative. They hadn't asked him about Leuchtenberg. There was certainly no reason for him to volunteer the information.


Mary Simpson had been right. The epidemic was almost over, at least the part of it on which she had been working. There had been no new infections yesterday or today. There were still people sick in the hospital, of course, and numerous convalescents.

So, she said, she was going up to Grafenwohr herself to see what was going on. At the very least, she could keep Veronica company and then make sure that she didn't walk back to Amberg alone. This was, Duke Ernst thought, basically a good idea. Naturally, she should not go alone.

"I wouldn't," Mary assured him, "even dream of it."

"Take Bocler. I will give him a letter of authorization, under my own signature, to investigate whatever is going on. A personal representative of the regent. Otherwise, talk to Hand. He'll find you someone else."

He turned and told Bocler to draft the letter.

Mary thanked him and went looking for Hand. Who, in turn, was talking to the Cavrianis.

Marc Cavriani knew perfectly well that he should stay in Amberg. Herr Pilcher had returned to the inn; the epidemic was tapering off; the negotiations were resuming. But at the thought of getting to go on a trip to Grafenwohr with Mrs. Simpson and Bocler, he started to look wistful. Marc did "wistful" very well. He had, ever since he was three or four years old. Which his father knew perfectly well, but still found it hard to resist. So Marc didn't have to progress to "wheedle." Leopold actually suggested that his son be included. Marc went off to talk to Bocler about it.

Unlike a lot of people, Marc did not find Bocler boring. They were on first-name terms by now. Or second-name terms, or nickname terms, to be precise, since Bocler was named Johann Heinrich. Marc called him Heinz. Or, if he deliberately wanted to be annoying, when Bocler was being just a tad too meticulous, Heinzerl. It really annoyed a Franconian to have someone stick a Bavarian diminutive on the end of his name.

Who else? Well, Rastetter, of course. And his clerk. And Elias Brechbuhl. Anyone else? No, that was enough.

Hand didn't see any reason why they shouldn't go ahead and leave tomorrow morning. He thought that he would come himself, as soon as he worked through some of the things on his desk. Let him know if they actually found anything behind this-send a messenger and get a company of Grenzjaeger in return. It would be that simple.


It was a little awkward that Veronica was staying with family. She apologized that the Hanf house really was not large enough to receive six more guests. Nor could she, really, extend hospitality in someone else's home, even if it was.

Mary said that was fine. They would take rooms at the inn. Could Veronica recommend the best one in town?

The best was not by any means first class. Except, perhaps, from the perspective of the fleas.

Veronica joined them for supper. The inn's food was not gourmet. That was why she brought a basket with her in a laudable effort to ward off the danger that her friends might come down with food poisoning. The residents of the town were well-acquainted with the facilities available at their local inns. She recommended that they buy food at the market and live on sandwiches and fruit. Bread for breakfast at the inn should be all right; however, the butter was often found to be rancid.

All in all, the five down-time men concluded, Grafenwohr offered fairly typical small-town lodgings for travelers-nothing comparable to the well-appointed establishments in cities such as Amberg and Nurnberg.

Two men watched them from a corner table at the back of the little dining room. One of them stayed.

The other went out after he had eaten, to see Kilian Richter, who was not happy to have Johann Rothwild show up at his house. If someone saw the two of them together, it might trigger memories about just who Rothwild was and why he wasn't supposed to be in Grafenwohr. That would completely ruin his usefulness from his Uncle Kilian's point of view. Since he was already here, however… He called Hermann in to his Stube as well and began to explain his views on the best way to eliminate the nuisance that his sister-in-law Veronica had made of herself by coming to town.

By the time Kilian had finished talking to them, it was well after dark, which meant that the city gates were closed. Rothwild had to spend the night in town. Since he had told his companion to wait for him at the inn, that man had to stay the night in town, also. He begrudged the money for a straw mattress on the floor of the inn's common sleeping room, even if it would be covered by the expense money Rothwild had gotten from someone. "Blame it on the old lady," Rothwild said. "The guy holding the purse says that she's been making a nuisance of herself for quite a while."


In the morning, Rastetter and his clerk, Brechbuhl, and Bocler headed for city hall to talk to the town officials. And, just in passing, while they were there anyway, to the town clerk. Marc went to talk to a shipping company about the sources of the iron ore they sent out.

The basket that Veronica had taken to the inn the night before had given her an idea during supper. She had decided to show Mary some of the places where she and her brothers and sisters had played when they were children. She wouldn't bother with a basket, though; a basket would be stiff and awkward to carry around all day. She stuffed their lunch into her trustworthy tote bag and they headed out into the country.

Veronica had her walking stick. Mary declined her offer to stop by the Hanf house on their way out of town and borrow another one. She was mildly embarrassed by her own refusal but, well, she had always prided herself on staying in shape. At her age, canes would become a fact of life soon enough; no sense in hurrying the inevitable.


Johannes Rothwild, his associate, and Hermann Richter followed the two women out the gate. Rothwild was rather looking forward to the day. He liked being paid to follow his natural inclinations.


Forst and Becker were long out of the gate. Arndt might be dead, but they still hadn't used up all the expense money he had advanced them. Even without Arndt, they could get the information to Landgrave Wilhelm Georg. When they got back to Amberg, they would just drop it in the mail.

It wasn't a problem that Bavaria was "enemy territory." The mail went out from the Upper Palatinate to Bavaria just as easily as the Jesuits in Amberg received communications from those in Munich. A person rather had to admire the House of Thurn und Taxis. Wars might come and wars might go, but the imperial postal system kept right on going. "Public, Regular, Reliable, and Rapid,"as its advertising broadsheets read. Now that the USE had its own postal system, the bags just changed hands at the borders. The USE was, after all, using the same routes and methods, not to mention a lot of the same personnel. The Thurn und Taxis postmaster in Frankfurt am Main, feeling that he had been ill-treated by the Habsburgs because he was a Protestant, had defected to Gustav Adolf and was still running the postal system.

But there had also been Arndt's job for Troeschler. Which had led them to some rather interesting information about graft, corruption, and kickbacks in the timber business. Arndt might be dead, but Troeschler would pay. They had both been boatmen in their younger days, which wasn't unusual. They had hired on with Bastl's barge-yard, representing themselves as casual laborers on their return from a seasonal job, happy to work for a few days and then punt a barge down the river in order to make some money on their way back home.


Mary and Veronica were thinking about having lunch in a pretty clearing by a big creek. At least, Mary thought it was a creek. It would have been a creek, up-time.

Veronica said that it was a river. The tiny stream that ran by Grafenwohr itself was a brook, but they had followed the road about three miles south from the town and now they were looking at the river.

Just downstream, there was sawing and hammering.

"That's Wilhelm Bastl's barge-yard. His first wife was Johann Stephan's niece. Just below it is Karl Hanf's cooperage. That's where I'm staying, at his house. He makes ore barrels. Or made them, exclusively, back when iron production was higher. Now he'll make any kind of keg that anybody wants. Business is really off for both of them since mining collapsed."

Veronica turned around. "That's why there's a clearing here. They build the shallow-draft barges and rafts here, upstream, to float ore and pig iron downstream. They don't bother to bring them back-just sell them when they get to Regensburg or wherever they are headed. It was far busier when I was a girl." She pointed at the creek. "Look, you can see for yourself. The water is running practically clear. When I was a child, it was red-orange with the rust from the mines and slag piles."

"I really would not have imagined," Mary said, "that a creek this small could be used for navigation."

"This is the river," Veronica answered stubbornly. "There is an elaborate system of locks and dams, all the way down the river. There had to be, since the water was also used to power the trip-hammers, which meant that the barges had to navigate past the mill wheels and mill ponds. If you don't want to stop and eat right now, we can go further down, below the cooperage, I can show you the first lock that takes the barges over the rapids. It must still be working, since they're still building barges here."

It had been a lot easier for a child of ten or eleven years old to get out to the lock than it was for a woman of fifty-nine. It wasn't the fairly well prepared path that the workmen used. It was the back way that kids had used when she was growing up. Veronica was starting to wonder if this had been a good idea. After all, they would have to climb back up.

They did make it down, at which time they decided by consensus to sit with their feet dangling over the water and eat lunch before they climbed back up. Alas, they weren't as young as they used to be.

The lock was filling up, gradually. A barge loaded with full barrels was tied up at the side of the stream, ready to go. Next to it, waiting for cargo, was an empty one. Thirty or forty years ago, Veronica said, the lock would have been crowded. They wouldn't have even bothered to open the gates for one barge.

They couldn't stay to watch the gates open, though. Veronica suggested rather firmly that when the lock got filled to three fourths, they should start to climb back up. Men would be coming down to untie the barge and punt it out. She remembered very well from her childhood that people at the barge-yard got really mad if they caught unauthorized people sitting down here dangling their feet over the water on a fine summer day. It would be rather embarrassing for the wife of Admiral Simpson and the wife of Mayor Dreeson to be hauled into court for trespassing on private property.


Johann Rothwild could hardly believe his luck. Because of the hammering and sawing upstream, the two old women were out of sight and out of hearing of anyone else. The one old lady had actually put her walking stick down while she ate. That had been the only thing that either of the fool women might have used as a weapon.

So. Knife them. Take anything valuable. Toss the bodies into the lock. Everybody would put it down to beggars or vagabonds or unemployed mercenaries, which amounted to pretty much the same thing.

Motioning his henchman and Hermann Richter to follow him, he started down the back way to the lock, which turned out to be just as awkward for them as it had been for Mary and Veronica. It was, after all, just a deer path. One of the branches that he had grasped to keep his balance broke with a crack and he slipped a couple of feet.


Mary heard the men first, but by the time she turned, they were already down to the bottom of the path. With their knives out. Running. She got off two shots. Both missed. Aiming at running men with a short-barreled revolver was a chancy thing.


Rothwild cursed. Those shots would have been heard, even with all the sawing and hammering upstream. Someone was bound to come and investigate. They had to get this over and get out of here fast. Damn Uncle Kilian!


Veronica, contrary to masses of good advice and lectures delivered by Henry, Gretchen, Dan Frost, and a wide variety of other people, did not carry a gun. By this time, though, she was on foot with the walking stick in her hands. It was a long one, a shepherd's crook. Her grip was not scientific-two hands desperately grabbing the straight end. Against someone trained to fight with a cudgel, she wouldn't have delivered a single blow. It did, however, have a considerably longer range than knives. She got in one hard thwap against the shoulder of one of the men attacking them

Unfortunately, it was the man's left shoulder; and he was obviously a brawler, used to taking blows. He didn't drop his knife. The weight of walking stick, held out awkwardly as it was, slid it from his shoulder down to the ground. As she struggled to bring it back up, entirely by accident, she caught one of the other men's legs with it-she recognized him suddenly; it was Hermann: what on earth was Hermann doing here?-and dumped him into the lock.

The third man kept coming. With a shock, she recognized him also. Sara's boy; Rothwild. The one who had gone to the bad. He had apparently stayed there, once he arrived. That was her last thought for the time being.


Mary scrambled to her feet and looked over. The biggest man, with his left hand, grabbed the walking stick about a third of the way down, pulled it from Veronica's grip and knocked her out.

After those first two shots, Mary had stopped herself from shooting again. No point in wasting the bullets. At closer range, she had better luck. Not, however, good enough luck. The first two of the four remaining bullets still seemed to have missed. She accidentally bloodied one man's hand; the bullet went on to scratch the side of his neck. The last one landed in his upper arm, breaking it just below where Veronica had smacked him on the shoulder. He stopped, bent over, looking nauseated.

The other man kept coming. She threw her gun into his face. He lost his balance, slipping on the slick grass, and fell forward heavily against her. He was tall; his knife went over her shoulder. Both fell. Mary, closer to the edge, went over into the lock, striking her head on a piling on the way down.


Forst and Becker, since they were supposed to float Bastl's barge full of barrels out, had already been half-way down the good path when the shooting started. They started to run. They saw the end of the picnic and panicked. Three attackers, counting the one who was now floundering his way over toward the edge of the lock. Only one really appeared to be out of the fight. They were unarmed themselves.

And the women. Foreign women.

Their own connections with the landgrave of Leuchtenberg would show up if there was an investigation. What if someone had intercepted Arndt's reports to the landgrave? They were Leuchtenberger. If they were caught at the scene, the Swedes would blame their lord for this assault on the two women. It would give the Swedes a chance to defame his character. And he hadn't had a thing to do with it. Neither had they. It wasn't their fault.

They didn't stop to talk. Becker disposed of the big man who had fallen on his face after knocking the one woman into the water, using the man's own knife. Just a simple stab through the neck while he was still half-stunned from the collision. Forst frantically wrestled two empty barrels from the waiting barge to the loaded one. Becker fished Mary out of the lock and dropped her into one of the barrels, bunging on the lid. Forst picked up Veronica, dropped her into the other barrel, and did the same.

They untied the barge and punted it out into the middle of the lock, waiting for the gate.

By the time the men from the cooperage got there, they were standing on the barge, not precisely calmly, but looking no more excited than men should who had just witnessed a fight. They waved urgently, motioning toward the two men on the bank and the one in the water.

"Fight," they yelled. "There was a fight."

At the far end of the lock, the gates opened.

Chapter 28

Maleficiae Abditae Atque Perfidiosae

Grafenwohr, the Upper Palatinate

Karl Hanf, who was not as young as he used to be, came huffing down the path from the cooperage after his men.

"What happened?"

"Two guys from Bastl's were already out on the barge. They yelled that there had been a fight."

Hanf took in the scene.

Two of his men, holding a very wet one. Who was Hermann Richter.

One of his men standing over another, who was injured. Seen him hanging around town lately.

Two more, rolling a very dead one from his face to his back. Familiar. Oh, God. That beast Johann Rothwild, the brother of Bastl's first wife.

"Go up the path. Bar it and don't let Bastl's men from the barge-yard come down here." That was to the two men who had turned Rothwild over.

He wished he had more men. It was taking two to hang on to Hermann. He'd have to risk the third man staying down. From the looks of the wound in his arm, that wouldn't be a problem. Not for a while, anyway.

"Run up and get some rope, as fast as you can. We're going to have to truss that one. Hurry."

Hanf moved; he would stand over the third man himself. And just in case…

He picked up a walking stick that was lying near the corpse. Veronica's walking stick?

He looked around. He saw something in the lock, floating next to the empty barge, which had kept it from going downstream when the lock opened. He fished it out, grabbing the handles with the crook. Veronica's tote bag.

And, on the grass, the remains of a picnic lunch.

He stood over the injured man, thinking. All they could get him for would be systematic overcharging on the barrels-pegging his costs at what they would have been if he were buying lumber at the set prices rather than stolen lumber. It was Bastl who was directly involved in the timber thefts, which was why he was behind deadline on Troeschler's barges. His main supplier had recently been arrested. And Bastl's former brother-in-law was lying here dead.

All they could get him for was overcharging. That would just be a fine. A stiff fine, hard to pay in bad times, but still just a fine. And he had an obligation of hospitality; Veronica had been staying at his own house.

The guy came back with the rope.

Hanf came to a decision.

"Tie them both up. The one with the bad arm, just tie it to his body; then tie his feet. When that's done, you two go up and help keep Bastl's men from coming down the path and trampling everything. And you "-he pointed to the man who had gotten the rope-"get into town as fast as you can and notify the authorities. I'll watch here."


The proper authorities, consisting of the bailiff, Thomas von Wenzin, and two of his men, came in a hurry. As did Bocler, Marc Cavriani, Rastetter, and Brechbuhl. The proper authorities had not been enthusiastic about this. However, it did make a significant difference to von Wenzin's thought processes that Bocler had a letter signed by the regent, with all appropriate formalities.

Bocler had drafted it himself. It said exactly what the regent had directed. He was fully authorized to investigate, in the regent's name, "whatever is going on." Bocler had already internalized one of the fundamental rules of the successful bureaucrat. Unless there is some compelling reason to be specific, be vague. He hadn't expected this, of course. But he was fully authorized to investigate it, now that it had happened. Before they left town, he had sent a courier to Hand. Now…

Marc picked up a piece of metal, half-buried in the grass. "This is an up-time pistol. I don't think that pistol is the right word for it, precisely. But it is a gun to hold in the hand. Easy to handle, for a small woman like Frau Simpson. Also, easy to hide."

Bocler nodded. He had seen a similar one. The up-timers had given it to Duke Ernst, who kept it inside his doublet. Always.


The Grafenwohr bailiff looked dubious. The "handgun" was very small. It was hard to believe that it would shoot anything, but there had, indubitably, been shots.

Karl Hanf was singing a song about timber theft. Von Wenzin thought that its verses would tie Wilhelm Bastl to a man who had been recently arrested in Weiden. The bailiff would have to write the Pfleggerichter there. He didn't think that it probably had anything to do with what had been going on here.

The injured man was swearing that he didn't know a thing. Rothwild had hired him and he didn't know who had hired Rothwild. Von Wenzin thought that might possibly be true.

That left Kilian Richter's son. They'd better take him back to town.

Bocler and the bailiff agreed that they had probably seen everything that was to be seen here. Von Wenzin sent a couple of his men up to arrest Bastl. He'd worry about the paperwork when he got back to town. If he gave the man time, he would start destroying records as soon as he heard what had happened.


Hermann Richter, upon being interviewed under some duress, admitted that he, Rothwild, and the third man had attacked Frau Dreeson and Frau Simpson. He even admitted that his father had put them up to it.

He denied that the three of them had attacked the women with the intent of killing them. Von Wenzin thought that the judge could take that for what it was worth.

The utter absurdity was that Hermann insisted that, while he was in the water, two men whom he had never seen before, with whom he was in no way acquainted, and of whom he had no knowledge whatsoever had shown up in the middle of the attack, picked up the two women, dropped them into barrels on the barge, and taken them away.

"That's ridiculous on the face of it," Von Wenzin told him emphatically.

On the other hand…

The two women were not to be found. And, by Hanf's statement, not much time had passed between when the first two shots were fired and the men from the cooperage arrived on the scene. Plus, Hanf's men said that there had been a barge in the lock.

The absurdity was that Hermann Richter denied knowing anything about the other two. Questioning, duly authorized by the Pfleggerichter, resumed.


Kilian Richter, hauled before the forces of justice on the basis of his son's statement, reluctantly-very reluctantly-admitted to hiring Rothwild and his henchman to attack Veronica, and to having sent his son with Rothwild. He swore that he had no intention of any kind to cause damage to Frau Simpson. He also swore that he knew nothing at all about any other men or any barge.

The bailiff didn't believe a word of it.


The third man, re-interviewed rather emphatically, insisted that he didn't know anything at all about what Kilian Richter may have told Rothwild. He insisted that he had never seen Richter before in his life, did not even know his name, and had been recruited for the job down near Amberg by Rothwild only. He only knew that there was someone in the background who held the purse.

He did say that originally, when they started out in the morning, they had only expected to attack Frau Dreeson and not necessarily that very day. They had attacked when the second woman was there only because it was such a conveniently isolated spot. Upon being pressed, he said, "well, there was so much hammering and sawing upstream, no one would be likely to hear screams. Rothwild thought it was just sort of convenient to do it there."

The bailiff, fingering his beard, asked just why they had expected screams.

"Well, it was just in case. Actually, once we took a look, we hoped we could stab the old ladies in their backs while they were sitting down eating their lunch, without any trouble."

On the basis of that, the bailiff started re-interviewing Hermann. It was a long night in the Grafenwohr city hall basement.


The only consistency between Hermann's version and the henchman's story was that they absolutely did not know anything about the barge or the bargemen.

Wilhelm Bastl, questioned without duress, knew a little about both, none of it involving any plans to kidnap women and put them on the barge. The two men were just casual laborers, he said-boatmen when they were younger, on their way home. They had only been at the yard a short time.

The bailiff did ask for the precise date when Bastl hired them. He didn't immediately identify as significant that it was a few days after Veronica Dreeson had arrived in Grafenwohr.

Did Bastl know where they were going?

Not exactly, but he had heard one of them mention that he had been born in Pfreimd and had a cousin who worked as a chambermaid in Amberg.

That meant nothing to von Wenzin, either.


Bocler, Marc, and Brechbuhl were upstairs with Rastetter. They had all courteously declined von Wenzin's invitation to be present at the interrogations. As soon as they got back to Grafenwohr, Rastetter had sent his clerk to Hanf's house to collect all the papers Veronica had there. The oldest niece, a mulish look on her face, had come back to the city hall with him, demanding to be given an itemized receipt on her aunt's behalf; staying until she got one; standing behind the clerk as he went through each item to make sure that he didn't leave anything out. Marc thought that Frau Dreeson must have looked a lot like that when she was thirty years younger.

Rastetter had gone through the papers from the house, sorting them into several piles. He found about what he expected, but nothing really exciting. At the moment, he was systematically investigating the contents of Veronica's tote bag. Most of it was damp. Not wet, because the canvas was sufficiently waterproof to have floated for some time, but damp. He spread the various papers out to dry; then turned to the more protected contents of the blue plastic envelope.

He wondered how she had gotten hold of Kilian Richter's private papers from years ago. Dealings with the lawyer Arndt. Not particularly flattering to Arndt's professional ethics, but now the man was dead.


Two things happened the next morning. Beyond, of course, the fact that most of the residents of Grafenwohr ate breakfast and started work. And talked to one another; the whole town was buzzing with excitement about Veronica again.

Bocler, on the assumption that Hand would soon be arriving with a company of troops and could take charge, left at dawn to follow the barge down the river. There were, after all, only so many places that a barge could go. It was unlikely to grow feet and walk. He had a letter from the regent authorizing him to investigate "whatever is going on," which would be of great use in getting information from possibly reluctant local authorities.

Being more or less local himself, even though most of the residents of the Upper Palatinate would certainly have defined Cornheim in Franconia as a strange town in a foreign country, he had the ability to both understand the people who were answering his questions and to move about comparatively inconspicuously. The last thing they wanted to do was start a panic. The mining and metallurgical communities of the Upper Palatinate were accustomed to having officious and comparatively youthful apprentice electoral bureaucrats with the seventeenth-century equivalent of clipboards wandering around the locks and tollbooths, poking their noses into everybody else's business and counting things. One more would not even rise to the level of, "what's he doing here?" One more customs official would just be a part of the scenery. Especially since they were all busy filling out Duke Ernst's Fragebogen.

Unlike any of the up-timers; unlike, even, Hand himself. Extremely tall Swedish colonels with obvious war injuries rarely manifested an interest in ore barges; nosy customs officials often did.


Nicholas Moser and Dorothea Richter eloped. They had, after all, only promised to delay until after Veronica left town, and Moser, by virtue of his job, had gained a pretty clear awareness that she had now left town. After all, he has spent the night in the basement recording the protocol of the questioning under torture. Thea's aunt had not specified how she was to have left town when she instructed them not to elope until after that. Moser didn't want to stay for the next stage, when von Wenzin took the evidence he already had and set out to get a confession from Thea's father. That could get sort of grisly.

Moser shuddered. Von Wenzin was just so matter of fact about it. He looked at the executioner and asked, "Wilhelm, are the tongs ready?" in the same dry as dust tone of voice as he usually asked, "Nicolas, have you finished the record copy of that affidavit?"


The elopement threw a red herring of major and distracting dimensions into the deliberations of everyone else, since none of them knew that it was one. Owing to his paranoia about Immuring in Convents, Moser had insisted that they not leave notes that might aid in a pursuit, so the Grafenwohr officials wasted a great deal of time discussing the possible implications and potential ramifications of the disappearances of the town clerk and Richter's daughter. Rastetter finally made the connection, but it took a while. He was not inside the city government loop.

It slipped the lovers' minds, as they fled, that upon leaving Grafenwohr, they were supposed to meet Dorothea's Tante Veronica in Amberg, where she would furnish them with a bank draft, because they didn't have enough money to get to Grantville. They forgot about it because they spent most of their time along the way discussing such things as Thea's noble effort to break their non-existent engagement because of her family's appalling disgrace compounded by Nicol's equally noble determination to permit no such action. So, they didn't realize that they were running out of money until they got to Nurnberg.


Several things also happened that afternoon. Or didn't happen that afternoon, depending upon how one looked at it.

Leopold Cavriani, having left Amberg at first light, arrived. He didn't stay; just hired a couple of fresh horses, collected Marc, and started down-river, following the path that Bocler had taken.

Hand, who was supposed to be two hours behind them, didn't arrive at all. He hadn't even tried to get a company of regulars for this purpose. Baner had almost all of them over around Ingolstadt and there was no way he was going to strip the rest out of Amberg, leaving the regent himself with no decent security. He was bringing a company of Grenzjaeger, boatmen, and other competent trackers. They came up the road just in time to run into a party of foreign soldiers near Freihung and, not surprisingly, became distracted from their original aim.

A lively time was had by all. Hand sent a messenger to Grafenwohr to let Bocler know that he was turning back to Amberg because of an unexpected emergency.


Kilian Richter's wife appeared at the city hall. She was feeling terribly hung over, but she was sober. Once the first clerk ascertained that she hadn't shown up to try to bail her husband out, she was shunted from room to room. She couldn't find anyone in authority to talk to. Finally, she stood in the corridor and shouted, "I want to tell someone what happened!"

Hieronymus Rastetter came out of the back room of the city clerk's office. He looked very official in his standard bureaucrat's robe and hat. He was followed by his clerk. She started to talk.

The clerk started to take notes.


"Kilian was terribly angry when Anton decided that his family would convert to Catholicism. With Anton's sisters gone, only his nephew had been standing between Kilian and Johann Stephan's share of their father's property. He'd been biding his time, waiting for Anton to go into exile also. When he heard that Anton had conformed, he swore fiercely. Oh, how he cursed and blasphemed."

"What about Augustin Arndt?"

Kilian's wife frowned. "I known the name, but not much else. Except I know he hired most of the bullies for Kilian. But I don't think he was there himself when it happened."

"Was where? When what happened?"

"Why, at Anton's shop, that night. The night that Amberg was plundered, Kilian sent a party of men disguised as mercenaries to Anton's shop. They were going to kill him, and his whole family, and make it look like the soldiers did it. They would have killed all of Anton's family. Him and his wife; Veronica; the three children. Except that they were interrupted by a group of real mercenaries and had to run away. They took Anton's wife with them when they ran."

She paused for a moment. "I guess it was real mercenaries who took Veronica and the children."

The questioning continued, faithfully recorded by the clerk.

No, she didn't know who all was involved. That Johann Rothwild had been there, she did know; Kilian had promised him a share of the Johann Stephan's property, since he was Sara's son; later, Kilian somehow kept it all. She wasn't sure how that happened, but she thought that it had to do with the case that caused him to be permanently exiled from Grafenwohr. They could look it up. Magdalena and Wilhelm Bastl should have gotten part of it, too, since Magdalena was a niece. But they didn't get any, either. Maybe they decided that they would rather be alive and didn't push it.

In any case, the men disguised as mercenaries had gone back to Arndt's office, where Kilian was waiting. It may not have been Johann Rothwild who had killed Anton Richter. But it was Johann who killed Anton's wife. She was sure of that. How come? Oh, because Kilian told her so. That was after the men had all come back to Grafenwohr. Kilian told her that Anton's wife had been struggling and threatening Johann while he dragged her through the streets. How did Kilian know that, if he had been waiting in Arndt's office? She wasn't sure; she had never thought about that. But after they got to Arndt's office, Johann did kill her, right there. Arndt hid the body for a couple of days. Then, when the worst was over, he just brought it out and added it to the others that the cart was taking to the mass grave.

She sat there long enough to initial the rough copy of the notes that Rastetter's clerk had taken. She initialed every page. Then she said, "I guess I feel better now." Then, after fidgeting a bit: "Are you really sure that they aren't going to let Kilian out?"

Rastetter looked down at her statement, smiling very thinly. "You may rest assured that Kilian Richter will not be 'let out.'"

"All right," she said. "I guess, then, that I will go home."

"I think," Rastetter said, "that you had better stay until I can find the bailiff."

Bocler had gone; Hand had not arrived. It was all back in the Grafenwohr bailiff's lap. Business as usual. He strode out.

Richter's wife was still sitting on the bench, her hands in her lap, rotating her thumbs around each other, when they came back with von Wenzin.


Amberg, the Upper Palatinate

By the time Hand wiped up the mess resulting from the skirmish by Freihung, he determined that these were a detachment of Holk's men, who claimed to be making a diversionary move through the Upper Palatinate on their way to cause some trouble in Leuchtenberg.

It only made sense for him to take his captives back to Amberg; it would have made no sense at all to take them to Grafenwohr. He turned back, sending a messenger to tell Bocler that he would be delayed. In the ensuing discussions over the next couple of days, he and Duke Ernst reached the not particularly surprising conclusion that the second set of villains in the kidnapping, the ones who disposed of Kilian Richter's thugs, were probably employed by Holk in the service of John George of Saxony. It would only make sense, after all, that John George might be looking for hostages to hold against the USE.

The captured soldiers denied entirely any connection with ore barges or kidnapped women, but that was only to be expected. So Hand and the regent devoted extensive analysis to a mistaken premise and sent quite a number of their Grenzjaeger and other scouts to the north and east rather than to the south.

The whole episode left Duke Ernst, after he had interviewed a couple of the captured officers, feeling decidedly miffed with John George of Saxony. Which, in fact, John George deserved, even though he didn't have anything at all to do with the kidnapping.


On the Naab River, Upper Palatinate

Bocler thought that he had a good identification of the barge. He would have loved to have it stopped, but, unfortunately, it was well ahead of him and nobody else could catch up to it any faster than he could. He was gaining a little, but not much, and was beginning to wonder if the damned barge was ever going to stop. It passed through every lock it came to. Where could it possibly be going?


On the barge in question, Forst and Becker were feeling increasingly out of their depth. They didn't want the old ladies to die. They took the lids off the barrels every now and then, so they could get air. Once the women recovered consciousness, they dropped water into their mouths with a spoon. But when they came to locks and populated areas, they had to stuff up their mouths and put the lids back on or they'd scream. They'd tried that, several times.

The Naab was coming to an end. They were going to have to make up their minds pretty soon. They hadn't done anything, but nobody would believe that. The ladies had been out cold; they weren't going to testify that the men on the barge had valiantly rescued them from an attack by bandits, even if it happened to be true. One thing was sure, though. They did know that Arndt had been collecting information about the one lady for their lord, Landgrave Wilhelm George of Leuchtenberg. If they didn't want their heads cut off, they only had one choice. They would take the ladies to the landgrave, let him worry about it, and hope that he would provide them with Schutz und Schirm in return for their loyal service. Protection and defense; that was what a good lord owed his subjects.

They passed through another lock. And another.


The Cavrianis caught up with Bocler fairly quickly, since they hadn't had to stop and ask questions of tollkeepers or gate attendants. The three of them continued south as fast as the condition of the Naab's banks allowed them to. They couldn't go any faster on the river. If they were on a barge themselves, they would have to wait for the locks to open and close. Past Pfreimd. Why in hell, if the men were Leuchtenberger, hadn't they stopped in Pfreimd?

Past Schwandorf.

Past Burglengenfeld.

All the way to the mouth of the Naab, where it ran into the Danube. Where they found out that two idiotic bargemen, just a few hours before, had, without stopping at customs, shot their barge out of the river and crossed the Danube, presumably beaching themselves on the right bank above Regensburg. The barge had not appeared in Regensburg's waters.

All three of the pursuers, being stronger on brain cells than on biceps, sensibly refrained from doing anything really stupid, like trying to swim the Danube after it.


Bocler entirely agreed that his first duty was to Duke Ernst. He would take the information back to Amberg.

When he arrived, his news caused great frustration among those intelligence analysts who had been assuming that John George of Saxony was the villain in the piece.

They realized now that it must have been Duke Maximilian. They start to develop new scenarios. Scenarios that involved Ingolstadt. Did Maximilian actually think that holding Veronica Dreeson and Mary Simpson hostage would get Baner to call off the siege? If not that, then what?

Hand called back the scouts he had sent to the north and east. Not that they hadn't gathered quite a bit of useful information while they were out. Taking a calculated risk, he practically stripped the border facing Bohemia of Grenzjaeger, sending them north to face against Saxony. He wished that he had more soldiers. If the king sent a regular regiment, though, Baner would appropriate it. In General Baner's world, internal security ran a very distant second to active campaigning.

"So where did the Cavrianis go?" the Swedish colonel asked Bocler.


Bocler's mouth fell open. Somehow, Cavriani had kept him so busy discussing all the things that he needed to bring to the regent's attention that he had forgotten to ask what the two of them planned to do next. He made a note to himself to be more thorough, next time.


Duke Ernst shrugged. The Cavrianis were not his problem: not his officials, not his subjects, not, really, even official members of the Grantville trade delegation. They were representing whom? Oh yes, Count August von Sommersburg. He could not be held responsible for every foreign merchant who passed through the Upper Palatinate.


Leopold and Marc followed the Danube upstream for some distance. Crossing right away, so close to Regensburg, Leopold explained, would most certainly have brought them to the attention of the Bavarian authorities, which would not have been a good idea at all. As it was, they would simply cross openly into the Pfalz-Neuburg enclave rather than into Bavaria proper, in their own names and as exactly what they were: merchants from Geneva, bringing their horses, and an appropriate amount of baggage.

Cavriani Freres had a factor stationed in Neuburg, another in Pfaffenhofen. Veit Egli was originally from Constance and was a Catholic. Considering the location of this branch, it was far easier for a Swiss Catholic to go back and forth into Bavaria more or less freely than it would have been for a either a Genevan Calvinist or a local resident. Not that local residents did not make useful employees, Leopold pointed out. The factor in Paffenhofen, a man named Brunner, had relatives in Hohenwart and Reichertshofen; the cousin in Hohenwart had a brother-in-law in Schrobenhausen.

In any case, since they got to Neuburg first, Egli got the job of notifying a livery stable owner in Grafenwohr that he had just de facto sold two of his horses (fair payment enclosed, see independent appraisal obtained by my employer; please send receipt). Marc had time to write to Frau Durre in Nurnberg and ask her to send him the clothes he had left in his room there, because they were taking a different route home. He included an entertaining, if rather sharply edited, version of their stay in Amberg with the request.

Using the firm's various resources, Leopold set his mind to two immediate projects. First, locating Mary and Veronica; second, getting them out of Bavaria. Those seemed rather obvious to him. For the time being, somebody else could worry about why they were there at all. Leopold Cavriani was a practical man.

Chapter 29


Prufening, Bavaria

When Forst and Becker contacted Landgrave Wilhelm Georg of Leuchtenberg's steward, Petrus Sartorius, in Prufening, which was directly across from the mouth of the Naab as one could get and still avoid Swedish-occupied Regensburg. When they asked him for instructions, he told them that their lord was lying on his deathbed at the estate of Freiherr von Horwarth at Planegg outside Munich and both his sons were both still away serving in the army.

"I know nothing at all about the landgrave's having taken any interest in anyone named Veronica Dreeson," Sartorius insisted.

Not that he would, of course, he thought to himself; he had never been involved in any way with the landgrave's collection of intelligence data or foreign activities, not even when the landgrave did such things. He no longer did such things. The landgrave's health had been shaky for the past several years; extremely bad for the past year; serious for the past six months. Sartorius' presence in Prufening was for the purpose of looking out for the landgrave's surviving economic interests in his Swedish-occupied lands. Also, of course, to transmit money and occasional messages back and forth. And to keep an eye on Regensburg. Almost everyone in Prufening was keeping an eye on Regensburg these days.

But still, he did not believe that the landgrave had been interested in Frau Dreeson. He was very firm about that. By now, he had decided Forst and Becker were hare-brained idiots.


Unfortunately for the best laid plans of Forst and Becker-which were not, it had to be admitted, very good-the landgrave's mind was not well; he had become senile. All of his stewards knew that he had not taking an interest in anything or anyone for a long time. Sartorius made it plain that he wanted nothing to do with them.

This, of course, presented a problem for the bargemen. They still had the barrels.

Well, only two of the barrels. Sartorius had at least been happy to take charge of the ones filled with iron ore. He could find a use for it one of these days, he said.


Sartorius was also a cautious man. Although it did not seem probable on the basis of his reports, it was possible that the landgrave might recover his health. Divine miracles were never to be discounted. Should he recover, it might also be possible that he had indeed instructed his agent in Amberg-what was the man's name? Oh yes, Arndt. It might be possible that the landgrave had instructed Arndt to procure these women as hostages. If that did turn out to be the case-well, it couldn't do any harm for him to offer facilities to the women that they might relieve themselves. And, ah, clean themselves.

Sartorius assisted them to stand up; they were very cramped and stiff. He provided clean water; cold porridge left over from breakfast. The odd-looking one with her hair cut like a man's had a bruise and small cut on her temple; he provided the other woman with cloths to clean it, and a salve. He told a stableboy to clean the barrels.


Veronica cleaned Mary's wound from hitting her head on the piling. Then she took out her false teeth, washed them, and tucked them into the pouch gathered onto a heavy string that she wore around her neck, beneath her clothing. For the last two days, she had been afraid that one of the times when the guard pushed the rag back into her mouth to gag her, he would push them out of place and cause her to choke.

"This really sucks," Mary muttered. Then, half-giggled. "When I heard my son Tom use that expression as a teenager, I gave him quite the talking-to, believe you me! But I squirreled it away in my memory. It's got a certain catchy flair, and you never know."

Gingerly, she probed her head. "Yes, indeed. This really sucks."


Sartorius assured himself that this much assistance was all that anyone could possibly expect of him. He gagged the women and tied their hands again before he led them back down to the warehouse, which opened on one side to the river and on the other side to the street. In spite of the gags, they managed to make it quite plain that they did not want to be put back in the barrels. He had to assist the other two by holding the smaller one while they tied the legs of the one with short hair. It took all three of them to retie the second woman's legs; they used an extra length of rope on her.

Forst and Becker insisted on the extra rope. By this time, both of them felt that they needed a lord's protection badly. Sartorius' obvious nervousness had only reinforced their own suspicions. They, in fact, had concluded during the journey down the Naab that they had two unusually powerful witches on their hands; or, at least, one powerful witch and her assistant. Why else would the landgrave have been concerned about a little old lady? They were not sure about the other, but they intended to take no chances.

Particularly not since the steward had taken away the iron ore. Everybody knew that witchy powers did not work well in the presence of iron. Perhaps that was what had kept the witch under control on the trip down the Naab. Without that…

On the other hand, there was no way that they could possibly have hauled a cart heavy with iron ore over land. It had been hard enough to persuade the steward to advance them money to buy a donkey cart.

"Why do you want the donkey cart?" Sartorius asked.

"Well," Forst said, "if our lord is not available, then we need the protection of a lady."

"The landgrave's sister was in Bavaria," said Becker. "Somehow, we'll take these women all the way to Munich, and consult Landgravine Mechthilde.

Rather stiffly, Sartorius said: "Landgravine Mechthilde-who is known in Bavaria as Duchess Mechthilde, if you please, since she is the wife of Duke Albrecht-is not in Munich to begin with. As the sister-in-law of Duke Maximilian and, until his remarriage, the first lady of Bavaria, she is taking a very important part in the wedding procession for the duke and Archduchess Maria Anna, which this very day will welcome the archduchess in Passau. When the ceremonies there are completed, the procession will start on its way back from Passau to Munich. With, of course, the duchess continuing to play an important part."

Forst and Becker found this to be good news. This meant that their very own Landgravine Mechthilde would soon be much, much, closer than Munich. Which meant much, much, less hauling. If they could haul the barrels south to the Isar, they ought to be able to intercept the procession.

Even simple bargemen knew one thing. All formal processions moved very slowly. Their purpose was to let the people take a good look at the ruler.

Chapter 30

Conjurationes Atque Consilia

Besancon, The Franche-Comte

Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar smiled at Friedrich Kanoffski von Langendorff. "Not only has Cardinal Richelieu formally accepted my explanation that recent troop movements on the part of General Baner in Swabia made it impossible for me to send any significant forces as far north as Holstein-and no matter how furious he is after the catastrophe at Ahrensbok-he will have to acknowledge that it would have had no effect at all for me to send them, anyway. Not given that d'Angouleme had overall command."

Kanoffski shook his head. "The cardinal will eventually have to acknowledge it. That doesn't mean he is doing so right now, Your Grace. He is also, very soon, going to realize that aside from Turenne's cavalry, which is tied down in Paris, your troops in Alsace are the only intact body of effective soldiers under French command. Nominally under French command. He will have to wonder how long that will last."

Bernard tapped his fingers on the table. "In regard to de Guebriant. I think that we can go beyond making it clear to him that my offer of employment still stands. I think that we can afford to pay his ransom-anonymously, of course-without jeopardizing any of our other projects." Bernhard raised his eyebrows. Impressive, thick, bushy, eyebrows. "Don't you?"

"I'm sure of it. It would certainly be a pity for him to languish in USE captivity for years." Kanoffski rubbed his cheek. "Do you suppose that anyone has mentioned to Werth just how long the Imperials left him to languish in French captivity in that other world?"

"I doubt it. But there's no reason that someone shouldn't mention it to him. Just in passing, of course. And leaving out the fact that I'm the one who captured him in the first place."

"Of course."

Bernhard was still tapping his fingers on the table. "The fact that we have some more time, however, requires us to consider some possible future problems. I'm thinking in particular of the plague that is 'scheduled' for next year."

Kanoffski nodded, immediately understanding the reference. The previous winter, Duke Bernhard had sent a recruiter to Tuebingen, in hopes of acquiring the services of the mathematics professor, Schickard, for his projects in Besancon. After all, Schickard's father had been, and his brother was, public works director. The dukes of Wurttemberg were not, at present, in any position to construct public works and the university was not holding sessions.

Unfortunately, Schickard had gone off to work for the landgraves of Hesse. However, the recruiter had spoken to one of the other professors who had commented a little pompously, "Well, at least, since he's in Landgrave Hermann's castle in Rotenberg, Wilhelm won't die prematurely in the great plague epidemic that will sweep Alsace, Swabia, and Wurttemberg in 1635. That's a blessing, since we expect many great things from that brilliant mind."

The recruiter had come home talking plague. A quick examination of the up-time encyclopedia possessed by the duke revealed that the good professors at Tuebingen had the right of it. If all went as it did in that other universe, they would be faced with a major outbreak of the plague next year.

Duke Bernhard had perceived that such a medical emergency-right in his area of interest-might well have disastrous consequences for his plans. He had also heard that the up-timers had methods for combating plague that were measurably more effective than simple quarantine and movement restriction. He had been agreeable to Kanoffski's suggestion of attempting to hire an expert. The recruiter went to Grantville.

"We've gotten a response to our discreet queries in Grantville, Your Grace," said Kanoffski. "Do you recall the 'Suhl Incident' in January of last year?"

Duke Bernhard frowned. "Yes, although I can't recall many of the details. A mutiny by the local garrison, suppressed by the up-timers in alliance with the gun merchants of the city."

Kanoffski issued a soft, somewhat sarcastic grunt. "Whether it was a 'mutiny' or not could be debated. Indeed, it has been debated, and by the up-timers themselves. But the relevant item, from our point of view, is that one of the ringleaders of the so-called mutiny was himself an up-timer. A certain Lt. Johnny Lee Horton, who was killed in the course of the affair-and reportedly at the direct order of the American officer who led the suppression of the garrison."

Bernhard was still frowning. "And your point is…"

"Lt. Horton left behind a widow-also an up-timer, by the name of Kamala Horton-and their children. What's relevant is that, first, Frau Horton is quietly seething over the matter; secondly, she is now in straightened financial circumstances; and last but not least, she is herself a trained medical expert. What the up-timers call a 'nurse,' although the term has little in common with our own notions of such persons. She will have more medical knowledge than almost any doctor we could find, anywhere in Europe."

Bernhard's expression cleared, replaced by a thin smile. "In other words, by their treatment of this mutineer's widow, the up-timers in Grantville have created their own willing defector."

"Precisely. Our recruiting agent has spoken with her at some length, and she has agreed to move to Besancon and transfer her services-and her allegiance-to Your Grace. She and her children are expected to arrive here sometime next month. 'After school is out,' Mrs. Horton told our recruiter. 'I want them to finish up the spring semester.'"

Bernhard rose, clapping his hands. "Well, that's splendid. Well done, Friedrich."

Kanoffski nodded solemnly, being careful to hide any trace of a smile. There was an added benefit to the matter, but not one that he could raise directly with the duke. Bernhard's pride was even more sensitive than his stomach, and he would take offense at any suggestion that he was less than completely hale and hearty. But the fact remained that his health was not and never had been as good as he liked to think. So…

If Wallenstein could have an up-time nurse watching over his health, why not Duke Bernhard? Particularly if the duke did not have to publicly acknowledge-or even acknowledge to himself-that watching over him would be one of the Horton woman's other responsibilities.

Kanoffski was rather pleased with himself. After all, when a man has decided to hitch his wagon to a star, it behooves him to make sure that the star continues to shine.


Amberg, Upper Palatinate

"You don't expect General Baner to make any serious protest at all ?" asked Duke Ernst, his eyebrows raised. "Not even when he learns that some of the reinforcements the emperor has agreed to send him to reduce Ingolstadt will be regiments from Torstensson's army? Which is to say, CoC regiments, for all practical purposes."

The duke's eyebrows climbed still further. "Erik, I must point out that Johan's expressed opinion of the Committees of Correspondence-very pungently and profanely expressed, I might add, right here in my office, and on more than one occasion-can be boiled down to the proposition that the most suitable use for a CoC agitator's head is to serve as an adornment for a pike head."

"Oh, he'll issue a squawk or two, certainly. But I don't expect any worse than that." Colonel Erik Haakansson Hand grinned. "Ernst, I'm afraid your own modest degree of ambition-a very admirable personal trait, I'll be the first to say it-blinds you to certain realities. Johan Baner was already deeply jealous of General Torstensson's triumph at Ahrensbok. The news that recently arrived concerning General Brahe's successes have him positively spitting with fury."

Ernst frowned, trying to make sense of the matter. Gustav Adolf's commander in charge of the Swedish forces near Lorraine was Nils Brahe. He was not a general to miss an advantageous opportunity. Once the news arrived of the French defeat at Ahrensbok, he'd placed his forces on full alert. Then-probably as he'd expected, since Brahe was quite shrewd enough to gauge the complicated politics that fractured the French enemy-no sooner did he learn that Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar had withdrawn his forces facing Mainz back into Alsace and the Breisgau, than he'd made a dash to the border of Lorraine. Grabbing, in the process, much of the region that would now be incorporated into the expanding United States of Europe as the new Upper Rhenish Province.

But why-

"Oh," he said. Then, shook his head at the mentality involved. Leave it to Johan Baner to react with greater spite at a success by his own side in a war, than he would to one gained by the enemy-provided, of course, the enemy's triumph came at the expense of a different general than him.

There were at least three of the seven deadly sins at work here-Wrath, Pride and Envy. A good case could be made for adding Greed to the list, for that matter. Duke Ernst would fear greatly for Baner's soul, if he hadn't pretty much concluded that the general's incessant blasphemy had already condemned him.

So be it. He and Colonel Hand had decided to support Baner in his determination to seize Ingolstadt. Whatever this latest development might portend for the Swedish general's eternal fate, it boded well for the immediate future. At the very least, Ernst wouldn't be constantly distracted from his own duties by the need to play peace-maker between Baner and the reinforcements that would soon be arriving.



And now this insult!

Johann Philipp Cratz von Scharffenstein barely managed to keep from snarling openly at the insufferable man standing before his desk in the commandant's office, smiling down upon him.

The smile was perhaps the most insufferable thing about Colonel Wolmar von Farensbach, too, outside of the so-obviously-false "von" he was now adding to his name. The smile exuded a certain sort of smug condescension, barely this side of derision.

Still not confident of his ability to speak in a normal tone of voice, the commandant of the Ingolstadt garrison spent a few more seconds in a pointless study of the document Farensbach had handed to him upon being ushered into the office.

Document. Document. Cratz von Scharffenstein forced himself to use the simple and neutral term, in his own mind. Far better that, than to use any one of several other phrases which might have been equally well applied to the damned thing. Such as "veiled reprimand" or "insinuation of incompetence-possibly even disloyalty."

"I see." He finally managed that much. Then, waited a new more seconds before adding, "Well, then." A few more seconds, before adding: "Welcome to Ingolstadt, Colonel von Farensbach. I'm sure our officers will be glad to assist you in your… ah. Project."

The insufferable smile thinned, just slightly. Farensbach leaned over the desk and retrieved the document from Cratz's loose grip. "I don't object to 'project,' commander-so long as it is clearly understood that my authorization comes from Duke Maximilian himself. Make sure your subordinates understand that they will co-operate with my investigations."

With every stressed word, the bastard's smile flickered just that little bit more insufferably. Farensbach straightened up and looked down his nose at the garrison commander. "The duke was most emphatic in his orders. Which he gave to me personally, you understand, not simply in written form. Ingolstadt must not fall into the hands of the heretics-and I was the one he charged with the responsibility to see to it that all necessary security precautions have been taken."

He bowed, if such a miniscule movement of the head and shoulders could be graced with the term. "And now I'll be off. I must see to my duties immediately, you understand."

After he left, Cratz von Scharffenstein spent several minutes muttering curses, as many of them heaped upon Maximilian of Bavaria as his Farensbach creature. The duke's discourtesy to his loyal subordinates was positively outrageous!


Once he left the commandant's office, the smile vanished from Farensbach's face. True, the interview just passed had gone quite well. And, true also-his new commission from the duke himself as the chief of Ingolstadt's security was certain proof of it-Farensbach's embezzlements from certain of the Bavarian military accounts had gone undetected.

Well… embezzlements was an absurd way to put it, really. Farensbach had simply lent himself money, unofficially, from accounts under his immediate control. With the full intention of paying them back, soon enough. Unfortunately, "soon enough" had not allowed for the possibility that the duke might send him out of Munich on this fool's errand to Ingolstadt.

Undetected-so far. But that wouldn't last, not with Farensbach no longer on the scene to oversee the keeping of the books. If he could return within a month, perhaps even two, things would work out well enough. But given the tense situation at Ingolstadt, with that maniac Swedish general Baner so obviously determined to press the siege, Farensbach might be stuck here for months and months. Eventually, the discrepancies were bound to turn up.

He'd have to think of something. If he didn't, the day would come when new soldiers would arrive at Ingolstadt bearing new orders-and that fat swine Cratz von Scharffenstein would be smiling evilly at him instead of the other way around. When he was led back to Munich in chains.

As he paced down the hall of the military headquarters, Farensbach's scowl was enough to keep anyone from approaching him while he chewed on the problem. Word had gotten out, obviously, concerning the nature of his assignment-and no garrison soldier in his right mind wanted to draw attention to himself.

All the better, all the better. No one, and certainly not the lazy garrison commandant, would be paying much attention to Farensbach's movements. More precisely, they'd be paying attention-but only from a distance. That would probably give Farensbach the leeway he needed, no matter what he decided to do.

And by the time he exited the headquarters and passed into the outer fortress, the decision had already been made. It wasn't as if Farensbach really had any other workable option.

So. Hopefully, the Swedish general's mania extended to his purse, as well. Safe and financially well-off was a far better prospect than simply being safe, after all.


Brussels, Spanish Netherlands

"No problems with the cease fire, then?" asked Don Fernando. "Not even from CoC irregular units?"

The Spanish prince's chief political adviser, Pieter Paul Rubens, smiled in response to that. His chief military adviser, Miguel de Manrique, chuckled aloud.

"No, Your Highness," he said. "Not any. From all accounts, the Richter woman maintains a ferocious discipline over her people. I'm quite envious, actually. I wish my troops were that obedient."

Don Fernando was not actually that pleased by the news. True, the absence of any incidents with Dutch CoC hotheads was an immediate blessing. But he could foresee a time in the not-so-distant future when he would find that same Richterian discipline a monstrous nuisance. Even now that he'd met the woman personally, it was sometimes hard not to think of her as a she-devil. She'd almost certainly maintain the same rigorous control over the CoCs when they entered the political arena.

But, that was a problem for a later day. For now…

One of Miguel's many pleasing qualities was his ability to sense when the prince needed a private moment. He bowed and excused himself, with some vague comments about business he needed to attend to.

After he was gone, Don Fernando slouched back in his chair. "Any word yet from the pope?"

"No, Your Highness," said Rubens. "But I really didn't expect to hear anything yet. You need to keep in mind-always-that once such a missive arrives in Rome, it's impossible to keep its contents really secret. By now, any number of Urban's advisers will be aware that you have presented the pope with a petition requesting his permission to relinquish your position as a cardinal of the church. No priest stays for long in such a position in Rome if he lacks brains. They will understand immediately that there can only be one logical reason for your petition-and at least one of those priests is certain to be in the pay of the Spanish crown."

He cleared his throat. "And at least one other will be in the pay of the Holy Roman Emperor. Who is not actually stupid, once you look past his stubborn bigotry."

The prince nodded. "Yes, yes, I understand. Soon enough, my brother will be seething with fury-and Ferdinand II is likely to be congratulating himself for having already married off his oldest daughter. That only leaves the younger, Cecelia Renata, as a cause for him to be caught in a Habsburg crossfire."

"You're most likely right, Your Highness. And what's to the immediate point is that Pope Urban is bound to hesitate himself, for a time. In the end, I'm confident he'll grant the petition-at which point he will be caught in the crossfire."

The prince grunted. "Why are you so confident he will? It would seem to me that if he refused, he'd get the best bargain of all. On the one hand, he avoids bringing down enmity on his own head-but he also must know that I'll go ahead and resign the cardinalship without or without his agreement to the petition. So he gains that benefit, as well."

Don Fernando sat erect. "I don't actually need his permission, after all. I never took major vows. I am not a priest, nor even a deacon."

Rubens shook his head. "You're thinking like a prince of a realm, Your Highness, not a prince of the church. In the end, the pope's power rests on his moral authority far more than it does on the dubious merits of that small army he maintains in the papal territories. That's been true for sixteen centuries. It would be worth far more to Urban to have it known that the newest branch of the Habsburgs asked-and received-his permission to found a dynasty than whatever temporary gains he might make from evading the issue."

He shrugged. "Besides, the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs are already angry with him for having appointed Mazzare the cardinal-protector of the USE. This way, at least he gains the friendship of a new third branch of Europe's most powerful family."

The young prince pondered the matter, for a moment, and then sighed. "Yes, of course you're right. I suppose I'm just impatient."

He sighed again. "I don't know why, really. It's not as if I'm impatient to marry! Not given the choices left. It's too bad that…"

Almost hastily, he rose from the chair. "But that's pointless. What news from Scaglia, in Copenhagen?"

Chapter 31

Pompa Introitus

At the Passau Border, Bavaria

Maria Anna stood passively, submitting to the protocol that required her to be undressed in public. Why flinch at this? After all, when they reached Munich, she would be married. Her wedding night would have witnesses who would take proofs of her virginity; she would give birth to her children with fifty or sixty people in the room, taking official notice of the event. Which was certainly not as bad as the long-ago Constance, who had given birth to the future Emperor Frederick II in a tent with its walls up in the city's market square, just to make certain that those who might claim that she was too old for childbearing and assert that her child was an imposter could be confuted. The life of a ruler's wife was by its very nature a public one.

Mama stood behind her, receiving the Austrian garments in her arms. That did not mean, of course, that the glorious dress she had been wearing to cross the border would go to waste. Or even that it would be given to Cecelia Renata as a hand-me-down. The ceremony was largely a symbolic one. The seamstresses would check that the dress was still in good repair and pack in back into her trunks with the rest of her trousseau. Dona Mencia was standing behind Mama, waiting to take the discarded clothing from her hands when this part of the ceremony was over. Frau Stecher was standing inconspicuously behind Dona Mencia, waiting to remove it from the pavilion.

There would be other occasions for her to wear the dress, she hoped. Duchess Mechthilde was starting to reclothe her. The new dress was also quite luxurious, the bodice covered with lace and pearls. It was very beautiful, if you liked black brocade embroidered in black.

She wished, with one last flicker of nostalgia, that Papa had chosen to marry her into the Spanish Netherlands. Then, she could have traveled a long way, seeing new things. Conditions in the Germanies being what they were at the moment, through Tyrol and Switzerland; then France and Luxembourg, she supposed. She would have gotten to see something different. Marrying into Bavaria was just like, well, moving next door.

Possibly Cecelia Renata would get to travel to the Spanish Netherlands. It was an open secret now, within the diplomatic community, that Don Fernando had privately written to Urban VIII asking whether a petition for laicization would be looked upon with favor. Maria Anna assured herself that she would not be envious of her sister if that happened. Envy was a mortal sin. She would not commit it. If she did unthinkingly commit it, she would repent of her error, confess it with contrition.

She had learned her German from the servants. She had no difficulty in understanding the ribald cries and shouts coming from the crowd outside the pavilion.

She was supposed to stand with her eyes modestly downcast throughout the reclothing. Quickly, she flicked them up. Uncle Max was not watching her.

What would she call him when he was no longer her uncle, but rather her husband?


Although Duke Maximilian was maintaining a passive indifference to the proceedings, this was not the case with any other person within the court pavilion. This marriage represented a crisis for every member of the Bavarian nobility, male or female; for every Bavarian government official, all male. If the Austrian managed to get pregnant, it would result in a shuffling of power structures and relationships at the Bavarian court that people had been setting up for nearly two decades. There was a great deal of curiosity; the courtiers pressed forward to view her.


The next stage of the proceedings began. First, the prince-bishop of Passau stepped forward. Maria Anna looked at him affectionately. That was natural enough; he was her younger brother Leopold Wilhelm, just twenty years old. He had been a bishop since he was eleven. Like his older brother and sisters, he was the product of a Jesuit education. The pluralistic ecclesiastical offices that he held were a burden to his conscience already; more, undoubtedly, would be heaped upon him in the future in the interest of maintaining Habsburg political power. Papa's plans for him included the dioceses of Strassburg, Halberstadt, Magdeburg, Olmuetz, Breslau, the headship of the order of the Teutonic Knights. Although he was devout, determined to conduct himself in a manner that would cause no personal scandal, he would be more than delighted if he could get rid of them and go into a secular, military or diplomatic, career.

The canonical scandal of plurality itself was one that he could scarcely avoid. The lands, Maria Anna thought. So much of what we do, that we call "defending the church," is directed at controlling the lands, the secular power and wealth that are in the hands of the church.

Father Lamormaini had never really answered her question. If there must be a choice, was it more important for the church to hold its property or to care for the souls of its flock? The lands had not always been there. In the days of the early church, there had been no lands.

… the birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head. The apostles had not been prince-bishops.

The prince-bishop of Freising stepped forward. Veit Adam von Gepeckh. He could scarcely have been excluded, no matter how furious Duke Maximilian had been in 1618 when the cathedral chapter elected him instead of one of the duke's brothers. Duke Maximilian had no qualms at all about violating canon law by heaping up a plurality of benefices when it came to his brothers, although he had presented himself as extremely concerned by the allegations that Gepeckh had fathered more than one child. He had brought charges; initiated investigations. The papal investigator, the Bishop of Augsburg, had issued a finding that there was no bar to Gepeckh's consecration. Eventually, he had sworn to lead a model life henceforth if confirmed, admitting only by implication that his conduct thus far had not been ideal. Reluctantly, the duke had consented to the papal confirmation of his election. As far as anyone knew, Gepeckh had done as he had promised and become the very model of an energetic and reforming Catholic Reformation bishop, not to mention introducing major measures of economic reform into his territories.

It had been a lovely scandal while it lasted, though. And everybody present knew that Duke Maximilian had no intention of ever accepting the election of another prince-bishop of Freising who was not a member of his own immediate family.

Bishop Gepeckh was accompanied by the papal nuncio, Carlo Carafa. Maria Anna smiled at him. He had served as nuncio in Vienna in 1621; she had known him since she was a child.


The nuncio smiled back. He moved steadily. Scheduled events went on, even when the morning's despatches, delivered by a non-stop relay of couriers and horses from Rome to Passau, brought news of an attempt to assassinate the pope. That was not public yet, here in Bavaria. He assumed that the duke had received a message from his Roman agent Crivelli, also, since a special courier had arrived for him this morning.


Father Johannes Vervaux, S.J., was standing behind his two charges. Within a month of Duchess Elisabeth Renata's death, his position in the Bavarian court had changed rather significantly. From being the confessor of an elderly woman, he was now the tutor of two very, very, lively boys; of three, on the comparatively rare occasions when the eldest was in a mood to receive some academic instruction. Karl Johann Franz was fifteen; he was far more interested in fencing and riding, gymnastics and other "knightly arts" than in intellectual matters. He was aching for the day that he received permission to serve in Bavaria's army. He would be sixteen in November; there would probably be no holding him back from a cavalry regiment once he passed that milestone.

The two younger boys showed much more promise, in Vervaux's opinion. Duke Albrecht and his wife had lost a child between Karl and the two younger boys; when he was nine years old, which often ached far more than losing an infant. Maximilian Heinrich was twelve; Sigmund Albrecht, ten. Both, whether Duke Maximilian's new marriage proved fruitful with a quiver of sons or whether Karl did eventually succeed to the duchy, would be destined to lives in the highest offices of the Catholic church. The elder, almost certainly, would follow the in the sequence of Wittelsbachs who had become Archbishop-Electors of Cologne; for the younger, there was a wider range of possibilities.

Freising, perhaps. Duke Maximilian really wanted Freising in the family. Regensburg or Passau would be possible; if Bavaria managed a real coup, Salzburg.

It was, in any case, Vervaux's assignment to form and mold them in such a way that they would be a credit to their vocations. All too many political appointees to high church office were not, nor had been since the earliest historical records of the Church. Consequently, he did not consider his new post to be a demotion. He would grant that it might be so in the eyes of worldly men; it certainly was not so in the eyes of God. Nor, if he succeeded in his task of providing them a good spiritual formation, in the eyes of the Jesuit Order.

At the moment, however, his task was to see that they did not stand on tiptoe; neither squirmed nor wiggled, craned their heads, nor in other ways acted like boys. They were in the middle of a formal court ceremony. Their father, Duke Albrecht, ignored them, focused entirely on his role in the welcoming ceremony for Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. Duchess Mechthilde, although carrying out an equally important part in the ceremony, flashed occasional glances their way, anxious to confirm that they were behaving themselves.

This was not surprising, considering that they were boys, and at the moment their mother was occupied with stripping Archduchess Maria Anna down to her shift, in order to re-clothe her in garments of Bavarian manufacture. It was difficult to keep boys from displaying an unseemly interest in something like that.

Vervaux smiled inwardly. It was difficult to keep even a middle-aged Jesuit from displaying an unseemly interest in something like that. The ceremony by which the archduchess was being transferred from the custody of her father to that of her future husband required a public change of clothing. The crowds who were attending, beyond the limits of the enclosure for court personnel, were making no effort to refrain from unseemly interest. He gathered his errant thoughts up and disciplined them. Surely, there were more edifying topics to which he could devote his consideration than the degree of dress, or undress, of the future duchess of Bavaria as she stood surrounded by her ladies in waiting.

Ladies. Yes. He would think about other ladies. Mary Ward's English Ladies. The Ladies who were "not Jesuitesses," since the Jesuit rule forbade it to accept the direction of women's orders. The Ladies who, nonetheless, were shielded from the Inquisition by Father General Vitelleschi, even in the face of a papal bull dissolving them.

Since Duchess Elisabeth Renata's death, Duchess Mechthilde had assumed her role as their patron and benefactor in Bavaria. Well, officially, of course, Duke Maximilian was their patron. Effectively, however, it had been the duchess. Just as, in Vienna, the Emperor Ferdinand II was officially their patron and benefactor, but effectively it was Empress Eleonora whose interest and support had shielded them, thus far, from publication of the papal edict dissolving their order. In almost every place where the Ladies had established a foundation, they had received very extensive patronage from women of the highest nobility. In England, Queen Henrietta Maria herself protected their activities in a Protestant land. In the Netherlands, they had been under the sponsorship of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia herself for as long as anyone could remember. That was in the face of the situation created by the fact that the court physician, Andrea Trevigi, had been a bitter opponent of the Jesuits and had tried for years to use the order's support for the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring them down. Vervaux reminded himself that he should not be thankful that the man died last year (he would confess this thought).

That conflict had pulled in Carlo Carafa when he was nuncio in Cologne. Vervaux glanced up again. Carafa, now nuncio in Munich, was here today, awaiting his role in the ceremony. In Naples, great noblewomen had exercised enough influence on the Spanish viceroy that he had, supposedly, pressured Cardinal Buoncompagni into consenting to the reopening of the Ladies' school, in spite of the opposition of the Holy Office. It might be interesting to investigate what that constant support by great noblewomen signified. What was the attraction that the English Ladies exercised on them?

Would Archduchess Maria Anna, as duchess of Bavaria, continue her predecessor's interest in their endeavors? Her stepmother's interest was a promising omen, but was not, of course, a guarantee.

Would the new duchess be able to gain enough influence with her husband that she could establish a strong position at the court in her own right? Would her position enable her to provide such patronage? Almost involuntarily, Vervaux glanced up to see how the ceremony was progressing. Then he glanced back down again, placing his left hand rather firmly on Maximilian Heinrich's shoulder. He hoped that this was about as far as they intended to go in the matter of unclothing the archduchess in public.

That was really a very impressive bosom. Vervaux glanced at Duke Maximilian. He was standing next to his brother, richly clothed in brocade. Black brocade, embroidered with black. He had refused to put off his mourning for the Duchess Elisabeth Renata. For all the interest he was displaying in his intended and at the moment largely unclothed bride, he might as well have stayed in Munich.

Which he had wanted to do. It had taken the collective pressure of the entire privy council to persuade him to come to the border at Passau. Vervaux knew that he had risen before dawn, attended mass, devoted some time to private devotions, and then read despatches that had been delivered by a special courier until it had been time for him to prepare for the ceremony.

From Ingolstadt, Vervaux presumed. He didn't know of anything else that was happening at the moment that would require a special messenger. The regular couriers delivered information to the duke twice a day.


Maria Anna had known that she was to receive the rose. She had not realized that it would be so beautiful. It was lying on a white satin cushion edged with braided gold thread; there were gold tassels dangling from the corners.

She kneeled for the nuncio's blessing; rather, for the pope's blessing, delivered by the nuncio. Urban VIII had, for years, been a strong supporter of Uncle Max's efforts to see that the Catholic church should be restored in the Germanies. Sometimes, even, perhaps, the pope had supported Uncle Max so strongly that he hadn't shown enough appreciation of Papa's efforts. Not because Papa was less zealous than Uncle Max, but because Papa was a Habsburg and Urban VIII had quite a lot of conflicts with the Habsburgs in Italy. Even though those were Spanish Habsburgs such as Cousin Philip. There were layers upon layers of diplomatic complexity, even when it came to things such as restoring the church.

Maria Anna kneeled and bowed her head. She would continue to study hard, she promised God silently. She would master all of these complications. When her time came to be a regent, she would be prepared to serve Him to the fullest extent that lay within the capacity of the gifts of mind and body that He had given her.

Carafa prayed.

Maria Anna rose. Bishop Gepeckh placed the rose in her hands.

She held it out for Duke Maximilian to see. Waited. Prayed that he would not turn his face away from her in the presence of Papa and Mama, of the nuncio, of all these people.

Maximilian turned to Carafa, thanking the pope for bestowing this high honor on the Duchy of Bavaria and expressing his hope that Bavaria in turn would never fail in its duty to the church.

Involuntarily, contrary to protocol, Maria Anna clutched the rose against her body, hugging it against the black brocade dress. It gleamed in the sunlight.

Dona Mencia came forward and placed it back on the cushion.


The excitement of the day was not limited to the courtiers. Assigned a place as far away from the archduchess as a person could get and still be inside the roped-off enclosure, Susanna Allegretti stood on tiptoe. She had never been so thrilled in her life.

Behind her, a captain in Duke Maximilian's bodyguard, assigned to ensure the safety of the archduchess' household during the procession, checked his horse as it shifted restlessly. He glanced down, automatically noting the shape of the head, neck, and shoulders of the people inside the pavilion. He would not have risen to his present rank if he was not conscientious about his work.

Chapter 32

Festae Miraculique


Papa and Mama, Cecelia and Mariana, were gone, back to Vienna. The wedding procession moved slowly toward Munich, the days punctuated by the ringing of bells calling people to prayer, the dismounting of everyone in the procession in response to the bells, and the recital of the liturgical offices. In between, it moved through villages that offered pantomimes in honor of the marriage and towns that had decorated their market squares. Every mayor welcomed her; every Latin school had a teacher who had written a poem in her honor; some towns had organists or choir directors who had set the poems to newly composed music. There were allegorical pageants, some classical and some biblical. Always, there were children with flowers; always, there were prayers that this marriage might prove fruitful.

Every evening, they stopped as guests of one or another prominent nobleman. Maria Anna was beginning the process of learning all the names and connecting the names to the proper faces. Making polite conversation, she commented on the beauty of Bavaria's children, elegantly comparing it to the beauty of the flowers they gave her.

The courtier to whom she was speaking at the moment was Don Diego Saavedra Fajardo, a Spanish diplomat and literary figure who had been in residence at the Bavarian court for some time.

"I am most glad that the future duchess duly appreciates that children are one of God's greatest gifts," he said. "You know, perhaps, that one of the most severe of the witch burnings in Bavaria in the preceding generation occurred when it dawned on Duke Maximilian's father that his son's first marriage was going to be permanently barren."

Maria Anna stared at him. The Spanish courtier nodded solemnly. "Oh, yes. Duke Wilhelm decided that witches had hexed his daughter-in-law and set out to make them sorry. Which he certainly did."

The court chancellor, Johann Christoph Abegg, was standing next to Saavedra. Quickly, she reviewed what she knew about the man. Another jurist-Uncle Max, like Papa, gave positions of great honor to the nobility but tended to rely upon his academically trained advisers when it came to administration. Abegg had been in his position since 1625; he could probably stay as long as he wanted to, if he didn't go too near to the edge. For a couple of years, he had teetered on that brink. In 1626, a relative of his wife, married to the town clerk of Eichstatt, had been executed as a witch. Many considered him to be an enemy of dealing firmly with the witch problems. On most matters, however, he was now neutral.

Casually, quite matter-of-factly, Abegg assured her that if she was not fertile, he expected that the pyres would burn again.


The geography of Bavaria made it somewhat difficult to go from Passau to Munich by land. True, the procession generally followed the course of the Vils, and would then cut across to the Isar at Landau. Still, the route involved crossing a number of small streams. Everything had been prepared in advance at the fords. For those that could not be conveniently forded by a procession of elaborately dressed people, ferries had been procured, but every ferry crossing ensured that the procession moved slowly. First a group of guards crossed; then the duke and his entourage, which, of course, included his brother's family; then the nuncio and the bishop with theirs; then Maria Anna and her attendants; then the courtiers and officials who were not in the duke's own entourage, with their wives; higher servants; lesser servants with the baggage; finally stablemen with remounts, followed by another troop of guards. Then the procession would re-form and move to the next village or town where a reception had been arranged.

By the time they reached Freising, of course, everybody was talking about the attempt to assassinate the pope. And that the pope had appointed an up-time priest, an Italian by the name of Mazzare as cardinal-protector of the usurping United States of Europe. Cardinal-protector of a principality ruled by a heretic, by the Swede! How infuriating.

Duke Maximilian was not in a good mood. The privy council met every evening, cutting the ceremonial banquets short. Each meeting began with a rosary, thanking God for preserving the pope's life. No matter how-it appeared that it was a Scots Calvinist who had interposed himself between His Holiness and the gunman. Which was quite embarrassing.

Richel, it appeared, had successfully infiltrated an informant into St. Mary's in Grantville, in the guise of an apothecary who had come to learn from one of the up-time parishioners. The parishioner was another Italian, one Agostino Nobili. It was difficult to account for the presence of so many Italians in this up-time community; but, of course, Italians went everywhere. For the past three and a half centuries the peninsula had provided all of Europe with an unending stream of artists, architects, engineers, scientists, teachers, jurists, not to mention military commanders and common soldiers. If this town truly came from the future, there was no reason to presume that Italians would have ceased to be the intellectual leaders of the world three and a half centuries from now.

That aside, according to Richel's informant, this up-timer had a phrase that he used to describe himself. "More Catholic than the pope."

"It is possible, My Lord Duke," Richel commented, "that this is a signal to us. We may be entering an era in which the work of God must be carried out by the secular rulers who serve Him. In these last days, it may be, the papacy itself will be corrupted by demonic forces."

Duke Maximilian stroked his goatee. At the next evening's meeting, he omitted the rosary.

The council members were treading very lightly in the duke's presence. Each day, he rose well before dawn and withdrew to his oratory, heard mass, then withdrew to his oratory again before reading the despatches and preparing for the procession.

Father Contzen heard the duke's confessions, of course. Anxiety showed on Contzen's face, no matter how he tried to control it. That made everyone else uneasy.

And the news from Ingolstadt was not good. General Mercy and Colonel Werth had made it very plain in their communications to the duke and his council that they expected that the Swede, now that he had achieved his great victories in the north, would be diverting additional resources to the support of General Baner. They urged Duke Maximilian to do his utmost.



Forst and Becker felt a profound sense of relief. When they arrived at Freising, the procession had not passed yet. It was due the following day, when there would be the most magnificent of all the receptions yet held.

Freising was not officially part of the duchy of Bavaria. It was merely surrounded and enclosed by the duchy of Bavaria. Its bishop was a prince-bishop, legally, if not de facto, an independent ruler. De facto, if not legally, dependent upon the duke, yet to some extent capable of conducting an independent foreign policy and exercising jurisdiction within his own lands.

Festivals and receptions were always chaotic, with too much going on for the local inspectors to keep track of. The two Leuchtenberger found out where the procession would pass. Placed the barrels on a corner. The landgrave's steward had given them a little money toward expenses. They bought some decorative bunting from a vendor who had set up his shop early, and flowers from a peasant woman with an apron full of nosegays. They bought all the nosegays, to re-sell; the peasant woman, delighted, made another trip to where she had parked her cart outside the walls and refilled her apron. By the time the men were done, they thought that their little flower stand looked fairly pretty.

The second man stopped a passing artist carrying his charcoals and chalks, ready to sketch visitors; had him write "Long Live Leuchtenberg" on the bunting. They would jump up and down; yell the slogan at the top of their lungs. If they were lucky, Landgravine Mechthilde would slow her pace and wave; maybe even pull up her horse. That would be their chance.

They sold nosegays for two hours, at quite inflated prices. By mid-morning, they had recouped their investment and made a little money. Nobody had asked to see their vendor's license. So far, so good.


The procession was here. The duke had already passed. That meant that the main attention of his guards was directed ahead, at whatever dangers might be coming next; not at what was already safely behind them. Becker gathered the rest of the nosegays into a small pile; Forst pulled the tacks that held the bunting from blowing off the barrels, reached underneath, and loosened the lids. Duke Albrecht was coming; the crowd was yelling his name. With his wife, their lord's sister, Landgravine Mechthilde herself.

Forst and Becker waved and yelled. "Long Live Leuchtenberg!"

She pulled up her horse and smiled at them graciously.

They tipped the barrels and rolled them in front of her.

The guards coming behind started to advance; people in the crowd started to scream; Duke Maximilian's guards half-turned to get a look at the disturbance.

So did the duke; then he turned his horse. The iron general of the Catholic League was not likely to be frightened by a minor disturbance during a civil festivity.

The two bargemen dumped the barrels out at the feet of Mechthilde's horse.


Maria Anna, quite aware of both the possibility that barrels sometimes held explosives and the certainty that not all subjects adored their rulers, had prudently reined in when the men started to roll them. Now, she pushed forward. What on earth? Two old women?

She and Duke Maximilian arrived on either side of Albrecht and Mechthilde simultaneously.


Forst and Becker started to explain. It was, from Mechthilde's perspective, a total farrago of nonsense. Her brother, an agent in Amberg, overcharges for ore barrels, delayed deliveries of ore barges, a mysterious attack on the two women when they were picnicking. The men said they knew that their lord had paid them to watch the one old lady,