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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Thirty Three

       Last updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 22:15 EDT



Banér’s Camp, outside Ingolstadt

    “He rode up to a sentry, holding his hands out,” Mark Ellis said. “All weapons sheathed. Said that he had important messages to send to the USE and needed permission to use General Banér’s radio.”

    “And you are telling me,” Dane Kitt asked, “that he’s just been sitting in your tent ever since?”

    “Well, I tried to get him in to see Banér’s adjutant, but I haven’t had any luck. I thought that maybe you would do better. And he doesn’t speak English.” Mark Ellis shrugged.

    “I’ll see what I can do.” The two of them paced across the camp toward the adjutant’s shelter.

    Dane had managed to talk their way into the adjutant’s tent. Not without promising, on his parents’ behalf, a few things about weapons that he was not by any means sure that they could come up with on the proposed time schedule.

    “Look,” Mark was saying with frustration. “He’s not going to sabotage the radio. We can make sure of that. He’s not even going to lay hands on the thing. He’s going to be saying the message out loud. The operator-our operator-is going to be putting it into Morse code. The operator-our operator-is going to be sending it to some other USE government operator. Someone at that end will be deciding whether or not the information is good. What’s the damned hang-up?”

    Finally, the adjutant agreed to see the man.

    “Look on the bright side,” Dane said. “At least, he came into the camp at noon. This is as fast as the operator would have had a window to transmit, even if he’d been welcomed right away. Good thing that it didn’t drag out any longer, though; we’d have had to wait until tomorrow morning.”

    Once in the presence of the person who could authorize use of the famous radio, the messenger started to talk.

    He had been sent by Herr Veit Egli, who was a merchant’s factor in Neuburg. He was authorized to say that.

    The merchant for whom Herr Egli was a factor was Herr Leopold Cavriani. He was authorized to say that.

    “Hey, wait a minute,” Dane said.

    Mark nodded. “Cavriani. That’s the guy who was in Amberg this spring with Keith Pilcher and them, negotiating about iron. He really is as thick as thieves with a lot of the people up in Grantville, and that includes Ed Piazza. This could be for real. Let’s just hope that our dear old principal is awake and around.”

    The adjutant nodded to the radio operator, who started transmitting.

    The messenger wished to make it known that he was merely delivering this information and did not take any personal responsibility for its content.


Grantville, State of Thuringia-Franconia

    Ed Piazza intervened personally in the transmission. “Kitt, Ellis, are you there?”

    “Yup, both of us.”

    “Is there somebody standing over this man with a sword and a threatening expression, looking like he might carve his guts out any minute?”

    “Two of them, actually. But one has a pistol.”

    “Well, tell them to back off and let the man talk. I have a feeling that he’s afraid that they’re inclined to kill the messenger. Which makes me hope that the news isn’t bad.”



    Ed got home, took his shoes off, grabbed a sandwich, and went upstairs to sit on the bed with his feet up, so he could undertake his analysis of the transmission at leisure. First, four quick phone calls, to two sets of parents, a wife, and a fiancee, with assurances that Dane and Mark had been on the radio from Ingolstadt two hours ago and they were both just fine as of that date. Then, try to make sense of the message from Ingolstadt in a little more comfort than his office provided.

    (1) In Munich, the English ladies had left their house. Nobody knew why, or whether they were elsewhere in the city or had left it. This was generally known and would probably appear in the newspapers and diplomatic despatches within one or two more days.

    Ed mentally corrected “ladies” to “Ladies.” They weren’t directly relevant to Grantville, so why had Cavriani’s factor listed them first? Mary and Veronica had been interned in their house in Munich, but . . . Wait a minute. Back when he took that adult class in church history, when he first took over the CCD classes at St. Mary’s, St. Vincent de Paul as it had been then, something about English Ladies.

    “Annabelle,” he called.

    His wife trotted up the stairs from the kitchen where, finally, at nine o’clock at night, she had started to wash the dishes.

    “Do you remember anything about English Ladies from that ‘how to run a CCD program’ class that we took?”

    “Just that they were mentioned. Why?”

    “Not sure. But I think that this could be important. Could you try to find out something about them for me?”

    “I could call Elaine Bolender and see if she could meet me at the State Library.”

    “They exist in the here and now. You might try the rectory, too.”

    “I’ll do what I can.” Annabelle abandoned the dishes. They could wait. They had already waited for two days. Not that there were many-she had been so busy that they were living on sandwiches and fruit. She had been sturdily resisting the idea of getting a maid, but one of these days, she was going to have to give in. There were just too many other things to do for her to keep this house in shape.

    Upstairs, Ed moved on to the next point.

    (2) The two Grantville women who had been interned with the English Ladies were also gone. It was not known whether they had left with the Ladies or separately; it was not known whether they had left the city or remained inside it. There was no indication that they were in the hands of either the duke or the inquisition.

    Ed looked at that. He was really glad that Stearns had this. And Nasi, which amounted to the same thing. He had it sent on as soon as it came in. Stearns could tell Simpson. Simpson hadn’t been taking all of this very well. In his world, men were supposed to go out and fight wars, leaving their wives safe and secure at home. Mary had been turning his whole world topsy-turvy this summer. Ed couldn’t really blame him-he knew how he would feel if Annabelle were out there, somewhere, in trouble, and he couldn’t do a thing about it.

    So what was he supposed to tell Henry and Annalise? In a way, it had been more comforting to have Mary and Ronnie locked up with the English Ladies guarding them. Even if it was a polite kind of being in prison, at least people here had known where they were. Now they were back to not knowing.

    (3) Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, who had come to Munich to marry Duke Maximilian, had disappeared from her quarters in the Residenz, along with about half of her household.

    Ed’s mind filed that away as potentially important political information, but not directly relevant to the matter at hand.

    (4) Most of this will be publicly known within a matter of two or at most three days. I was instructed by Herr Cavriani to make every effort to inform you that you might have the most timely notice possible. I am doing this upon my own authority, since I do not currently know where Herr Cavriani is, other than probably in Bavaria. Sincerely yours, etc. Egli.

    Ed picked up the phone, about to dial Henry Dreeson. He heard the front door open.

    “Ed, Honey, can you come down?” That was Annabelle.

    He pattered down the stairs in his foam-lined, utterly decrepit, brown corduroy house slippers. Annabelle was at the door with Father Kircher and-yes, the Englishman. Smithson.

    “Father Kircher met Elaine and me at the library. I’ve got quite a bit of stuff about the English Ladies. They were the ones that wanted to be Jesuitesses-I remembered once he mentioned it. They were suppressed in our world, well, here, too. The ones who wanted to run schools for girls. But that’s not what is so exciting.”

    Ed smiled. Annabelle was bubbling. He loved it when Annabelle bubbled.

    “Father Smithson actually knows Mary Ward. Their superior. And they are coming here. To Grantville.”

    Father Kircher was smiling, too. Annabelle did that to people.

    Ed raised his eyebrows.

    Kircher explained. “In this world, the pope has seen fit to revoke the suppression of the English Ladies’ order. He has directed them to come to the USE and operate under the protection of Cardinal-Protector Mazzare. We have been instructed by Father General Vitelleschi to make them welcome. According to the latest information that we have, they should be somewhere between Munich and the Danube.”

    Ed’s ears pricked up. “Between?”

    Father Smithson nodded. “Yes. We received a letter from Father Rader in Munich in this afternoon’s mail bag. The Ladies left Munich early in the morning the day that the play was performed; they should be well on their way by now. And, I suppose it would interest you to know, Frau Dreeson and Frau Simpson left Munich with them.”

    Ed thanked them profoundly. And put his shoes back on. If the radio was still up, this needed to go to Stearns. If not, it would have to wait until morning and there wouldn’t be a thing that he could do about it.

    And he had to ask Mike whether or not he could tell this last bit to Henry and Annalise.

    Mike said not to tell them. Not that Mary and Ronnie were with the English Ladies and out of Munich. It was okay to pass the rest on, since Egli said that it was going to be in the papers in a couple of days, anyhow.




    Mike Stearns looked around the room with some exasperation. For one thing, insofar as it was possible for him, Francisco Nasi was in a snit. He had been scooped. Rumors that Duke Maximilian was not entirely pleased with his prospective bride-yes, he had received those, and had passed them on. But nothing that would have escalated the difference of opinion to the point that the bride returned to Austria. After all, nobody required the spouses in important political marriages to be personally compatible.

    He was not made happier by Landgrave Hermann’s question. “Do we know that she is returning to Austria?”

    Sattler said, “Presumably. Where else would she go?”

    That led to a long and meandering discussion. Don Francisco was not happy that he could not provide a definitive answer to the question. He was in a mad scramble to get more intelligence and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the diplomatic pouches.


    Finally, Mike interrupted. “The answer is, we don’t know. Let’s just table it until we do know something. Now, as to Mary and Ronnie.”

    Don Francisco was also not happy that the Jesuits had known more about their whereabouts than his agents did. Overall, Don Francisco was not happy with the state of his operations in Bavaria. He expressed his exasperation that two such important, but unrelated, events had happened more or less simultaneously, so the few informants whom he did have in the duchy were having their attention pulled in two different directions.

    “Are you sure,” Landgrave Hermann asked, “that they are unrelated?”

    “At present, I do not see any reasonable causational relationship. Nor any clear link. In the reports on the archduchess’ daily activities,” -he paused and thumbed through them- “she did pay one formal courtesy visit. The English Ladies paid one formal courtesy visit to her apartments. That is all.” Don Francisco sighed. “Of course, I may be missing something. I certainly do not have enough agents in Bavaria that I could have her entire household observed.”

    “Is there anything,” Hermann asked, “that we should be doing in regard to Frau Simpson and Frau Dreeson. And the nuns?”

    “Well, at a minimum, if they really are headed for Grantville-which we do not know for a certainty, but have only the Jesuit’s word for it-we should notify Duke Ernst and Banér of the possibility that they may attempt to cross the Danube into the Upper Palatinate. But we have no idea where.”

    Just in case somebody might be getting fancy ideas, Philipp Sattler warned, “And there’s no point in having us send somebody to look for them. Not in a territory as large as Bavaria.”

    “Damn,” Mike said. “I wish that I had some idea what Cavriani is doing.”



    [NOTE TO ERIC: INSERT REACTION BY SIMPSON, if he’s not off on a naval expedition for the Baltic War?]




    Veit Egli had underestimated the growing German press corps. A daredevil reporter left Munich the morning after the news of the disappearances became known there, made it to Ingolstadt in a remarkably short time, bribed the owner of a small boat to ferry him across the Danube, and hitched a ride north on an army truck. The special edition came out in a day and a half. The reporter deposited his very large bonus in his bank account and had the nerve and energy to go back to Bavaria.

    The disappearances made the papers in Magdeburg and Frankfurt am Main two days after that-with the stories datelined Nürnberg. The publisher gleefully informed the public that the court in Vienna had attempted to suppress one entire issue of the Vienna newspaper, but that the “entirety” had not been fully successful. The edition had been reprinted in Prague and smuggled into Austria in large quantities.


Grantville, State of Thuringia-Franconia

    Ed Piazza inspected the collection of newspapers in front of him with some bemusement. The news articles, per se, weren’t that bad. The reporters didn’t know much, so kept them short and stuck to what they did know. The Case of the Disappearing Archduchess got the most play, with Mary and Veronica a close second. The English Ladies were barely on the horizon. The paper from Frankfurt am Main gave their departure from their house in Munich a two inch notice at the bottom of a column on page three.

    The editorials were another matter. Speculation, on a level that amounted to fantasy, was running rampant, especially in France and Venice. Ed’s personal favorite was the one which stated that the archduchess, forbidden from following a true religious vocation by the depraved political ambitions of her father, had been saved by the personal intervention of the Virgin Mary, who had transported her to a cloistered convent on the borders of Transylvania, where her diligent prayers would henceforth prove to be a bulwark of Christian civilization against the marauding Turk.

    Not bad. Maybe a bit hard to reconcile with the more succinct version which asserted that the archduchess had secretly converted to Calvinism and was known to be making her way to Geneva, but not bad.

    A batch of them were sentimental-the archduchess had eloped with, take your pick, a valiant Austrian revolutionary, a member of the lesser nobility who was not of equal birth, or a former tutor. Alternatively, one could have a bit of gruesome. This writer considered it likely that the archduchess had been murdered by Duke Albrecht and Duchess Mechthilde in order to prevent a marriage that would bar their sons from the Bavarian succession.

    Ed folded up the pile and wrote “archives” on a piece of paper he put on top of it. Historical documentation. Not of what had happened, but good primary evidence for what people were guessing.

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