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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Eleven

       Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 15:28 EST



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, and others, that question.

   The news that the wife of Grantville’s mayor and the wife of Gustavus Adolphus’ 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 was primarily preoccupied with the needs of her own household, family, and business. It was appallingly naive of those up-timers to assert that the admiral would permit his wife 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. “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.

Leipzig, Saxony

    Duke John George was uneasy. He had been uneasy ever since he took Heinrich Holk into his employ. 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. 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 Banér. If the Swede was intending to provide significant reinforcements to Banér, 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 Banér 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.”

    Everyone else in the room looked at her. They begged to differ.

    The grandmother of the Adler, Hans Richter, 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. It portended a major effort of the USE on behalf of Wallenstein; it indicated that the USE feared that Wallenstein’s situation was precarious and this was an effort to persuade the regent to release Banér’s troops for use in Bohemia; 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 Banér, which amounts to the same thing.”

    “There is now,” Duke Albrecht said, “a concentration of Banér’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 Gustavus Adolphus’ part. There was at least one radio operator in Amberg who was willing to transmit information to Bavaria.

    Breaking the codes was another matter altogether.



    The Duchess Mechthilde had a private conversation with her brother. More accurately she tried to, for Georg Wilhelm’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 landgrave’s family had fled from Leuchtenberg, this did not mean that a significant portion of the population was not loyal to them and resentful of the ursurping Swede. 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

    “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, closer to fifteen percent of the total population, had left.

    Duke Ernst continued. “Within the past two years, we have received letters from exiles in Regensburg and Nürnberg. That was to be expected, of course. Those are the nearest major Protestant cities. But also-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 Boecler, 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?”

    Boecler 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.



Grafenwöhr, Upper Palatinate

    Kilian Richter, while not giving a single thought to Mary Simpson, thought that he had a pretty clear idea why 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-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. 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-ot 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.

    Why were the Jesuits 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. 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.

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