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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Fourteen

       Last updated: Saturday, March 19, 2005 14:38 EST



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.

    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 Banér. 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 retairner. 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 were original, at least. GARS. Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueviae. The king of Sweden, ah, emperor of the USE, meant seriously that he should lend assistance to Hans Richter’s grandmother. Herr 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. 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 Banér had spent a great deal of time looking at the plans. General Banér 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. Banér 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. Boecler came forward with a fist full of drawings.

    “The section on top of your late husband’s lot is . . . hmnn.” 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 had political meetings; Herr Boecler, of course, was with him. They were being hosted by the king’s, um, emperor’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 Haakonsson 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 Herr Hand merited compliments on his appearance. Herr 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 Boecler 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. “It is, after all, really the smallest part of your late husband’s investments. The properties that he inherited around Grafenwöhr 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 Grafenwöhr property.” Veronica nodded her head 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 Grafenwöhr. Things that we can’t find out here in Amberg. The most complete records will be there, in Grafenwöhr itself. We need to check the town’s own books.”

    Rastetter nodded. “They have a new young man as the town clerk, Gerichtsschreiber. 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 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.”

    Elias nodded for her to go on.

    “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, if you don’t mind my saying so. The woman is famous now. I understand that she arrived with a personal letter of introduction from Gustavus Adolphus. Hans Richter is even more famous. He is the reason why she arrived with a personal letter of introduction from Gustavus Adolphus. The allegation would be thrown out as frivolous, inevitably.”

    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 Nürnberg 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 Gustavus Adolphus’ 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, Herr 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 Boecler 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 benefitted greatly from its years as the official residence of the various counts and regents. He sent Mrs. Simpson on a guided tour, conducted by Boecler, 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 Simpson’s underclothing. He also included a careful description of her jodphurs. 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, um, the 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, she was called, although 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 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, her attorney, Herr 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 Haakonsson 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 jodphurs. 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, Boecler 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 Banér, please.”

    Eric Haakonsson 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 Banér 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.” He 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.”

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