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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Thirty Eight

       Last updated: Monday, August 15, 2005 22:58 EDT



Bavaria, south of Ingolstadt

    Leopold Cavriani considered himself a practical man. When the troop of Bavarian cavalry stopped him and confiscated his horse, he made no more protest than an Italian merchant ought reasonably to have made. Demanding a receipt, stating that he would be sending a request for compensation to the duke’s officials.

    The captain, after finding his papers in order, had said, “Be my guest. There’s a long line.” They had left him his purse, so the duke was not yet so desperate for funds that his soldiers were authorized to strip foreign merchants. Nor so desperate for men that his officers had lost control. On this day, there was still discipline in the Bavarian army; a fact to be filed away.

    So he had walked into Hohenkammer, where he now stood fuming. There was not a decent horse for sale in the entire region; the Bavarian troops were taking them all. Plus fodder, plus food. The Bavarian army was foraging all through the duchy between Munich and Ingolstadt. Not just through the duchy, either. They had ended all pretense of respecting the jurisdictional boundary between Bavaria and Pfalz-Neuburg. From what he heard here, Bavarian troops were foraging all over the southern and western portions of the enclave.

    Possibly over more of it than that, but thus far he had only heard reports of what was going on in the southern and western portions. There weren’t a lot of refugees on the roads yet, trying to get south against the stream of troops, but there were a few. They said that the Bavarians were treating Neuburg as enemy territory, enforcing the Brandschatzungen and such that went with foraging. He had the names of three villages that had been burned out already.

    So here he stood in Hohenkammer. Twenty miles in two days. Miserable time, but he had been moving slowly, asking discreet questions, looking for a party of women on foot whom he had not found.

    Where could they be? Which way next? He had planned on going to Reichertshausen, then through Ilmmuenster and Pfaffenhofen to Reichertshofen; from there he could go north to Ingolstadt or northwest to Neuburg as seemed most convenient.

    Suddenly, he laughed. Twenty-five years ago, he would have relished this. What had Ed Piazza’s wife said when she described them to him? He spoke English with Mrs. Piazza. “Middle-aged, middle-class, and middle-brow.” She had laughed; she considered it a joke. He, once she had explained “middle-brow” to him, had found it very apt. Succinct and graphic, an excellent aphorism.

    So here he stood, middle-class, middle-aged, and middle-brow himself, wondering if he should not have stayed home and sent out someone else. He laughed at himself. Ah, no, Leopold my friend. You are not ready to stay home in Geneva. Not yet, not quite yet.

    The inns here had not yet been stripped of their provender. People were walking up and down the street, chewing on sausages. He might as well get something to eat.

    Pork Schnitzel, by a miracle. Nudeln to go with it. Fresh fruit. “No bread today,” the innkeeper apologized. The last group of soldiers had taken it all. Bread kept. Of the things in his larder that spoiled easily, they had only eaten their fill and then moved on. They lieutenant had even given him a chit for the cost, not too bad an estimate, either. If the treasury honored it.

    Leopold took his wooden plate out to the picnic tables at the side of the inn and sat down where he could watch the road.



    Mary Ward stood by the side of the road, frowning, as a cavalry company rode past them on its way north. Thus far, they had not been molested. Older women mainly, poor to judge by their clothing, several of them together, one thin, feeble old man. The passing troops had a goal, to get to Ingolstadt. None had paused to harass them. They had been moving much more slowly than she had thought they would, because they left the road so often to let faster groups go by, to get out of the way of teams pulling cargo wagons.

    To let Mrs. Simpson nurse the blisters that were causing her to limp so badly, to appear so feeble. She did not complain, but the only shoes they had been able to find for her were very poorly fitted and her feet had no calluses at all. Mary Ward had never seen such delicate feet before; even the archduchess-that is, even her niece Maria Anna-had harder feet than the up-time woman. They could not let her wear the shoes she had when she was brought to them. Those, they had to leave in Munich. Sturdy, well-made, but so different; they would have attracted surveillance like a lighthouse beacon.

    She had not let them go to waste, though. She had given them, with many other things, to their cook who worked at the Paradise Street house, days before they left. The cook had agreed to hide it all.

    The cavalrymen were still riding past, not even looking at them. When they got closer to Ingolstadt, though... Ingolstadt was another thirty miles. If, closer to the fortress, the army was already encamped, if the troops were out foraging in small groups? They might not be so indifferent, she thought. She kept worrying. She was far from sure that the plan with which she had left Munich was going to work. She was supposed to find the brother of the cook; he would agree to take them to the left bank of the Danube, the north side, under cover of the fleets of small boats that set out every night to resupply the fortress.

    What was happening at Ingolstadt? Why were all the troops on the move? The siege had been going on for months, now, without reaching a crisis point. Why now?

    The mounted company was past. They might as well go on into Hohenkammer. They would be safer in even a small town than out here, on an open road. They were not vagrants; they would be allowed to spend the night, at least.

    Perhaps she could find bandages, salves.



    Maria Anna took the “old man’s” arm. “Papa,” she said. “Papa, we need to walk on.”

    Veronica pulled her lips back between her bare gums. She missed her teeth, but she couldn’t wear them. No old woman in Bavaria had teeth as perfect as hers. If she wore them, they would attract attention.

    “Papa.” If a “Papa” the size of Mary Simpson had begotten Maria Anna, he would have had to marry a giantess. She started to make up a story to entertain herself, this one of a weakly grocer’s apprentice who successfully courted the oversize daughter of a miller.

    Perhaps, she thought a little grimly, once they managed to return to Grantville, if they did, she would write it down. Sell it to the despised printers of Harlequin Romances. Make some money and send Annalise to college. God knew, nothing else that she had done this summer had made the slightest progress toward that goal. All outgo, no profit. Worse off than she had been to start with.

    At least, the story kept her mind off where she was and what she was doing.

    Another creek. They would have to wade. The ford was churned up, muddy from the horses that had recently crossed. She looked at Mary Simpson. Her feet inside the rough shoes, the open sores. What might be in that water? What “germs” that would lead to what “infection”? She had listened to Dr. Abrabanel just as carefully as anyone in Grantville. More carefully, after she was the mayor’s wife and had to set a good example. It was still at least a mile until they could rest at Hohenkammer. The wet shoes, muddy water squelching inside them, would be rubbing against the open blisters.

    She stopped on the bank. Said, “No.” Stubbornly refused to go on. Until Maria Anna broke the impasse by simply picking “Papa” up and carrying “him” across.

    For the first time since the young woman had joined the group, Veronica said, “thank you.” She did not want to. She had no charity for the nobility. But, “pretty is as pretty does,” so thanks were in order, however grudgingly given.

    Mary Ward sighed. The old Oberpfaelzerin was a problem. One expected village women to be ignorant, superstitious, often poorly instructed in their faith. But this one. Catholic, she said. The wife of a prominent man in this Grantville, of the mayor. Far from ignorant, not at all superstitious. But never, ever, in a half century of life, had Mary Ward met a purportedly Catholic woman who was so poorly instructed in her faith. Or so stubborn in refusing instruction.

    She didn’t even know the rosary.

    She didn’t even have a rosary. They had not noticed, in Munich. There had been plenty of rosaries available in the house on Paradise Street and the two interned women had not participated in the Ladies’ liturgies.

    No rosary. That could be repaired. Not elegantly, right now, but repaired. As they walked, Mary Ward plucked small twigs, sliced them up into bead-sized lengths with her dinner knife, and poked the soft pulp out of the center with one of the large needles from the sewing kit in her pocket. A length of thin grapevine was functioning as the string. One length of twig forced through another for the cross. Unblessed. Good enough, as a teaching tool. Until the instruction began to take hold, perhaps unblessed was preferable. It would avoid any possibility of blasphemy if the old woman treated the beads disrespectfully.



    Hohenkammer, finally. An inn ahead, with benches and tables. People were eating. A place to rest.

    And the Oberpfaelzerin was running.

    Actually running to the inn. Mary Ward started after her, then stopped.

    She was running up to a man who sat there, eating. Speaking to him. Not a high-born gentleman, by his dress, but certainly a prosperous merchant.

    Almost, Veronica started to greet him as an equal. Then remembered how she was dressed, where she was. That she had no teeth. Instead, she forced herself to curtsey humbly, as a servant to an employer, or to a friend of her employer. “Herr Cavriani. Ah, I am grateful to have found you at last.”

    All that Leopold could think at first was, “How did they get behind me?”

    Then, when he recognized the younger woman who was assisting the old man, that he had been thinking of putting his adventuring days behind him much, much, too prematurely.



    One of the waiters at the inn saw the old woman run up to the merchant, noted the other women who were following her, and the old man. As requested by a “beggar” who had, for the past several years, paid him a modest weekly sum for providing information on events in the Pfalz-Neuburg enclave to the duke of Bavaria’s bailiff in Schleissheim, he duly noted their presence in Hohenkammer. Two days later, when the “beggar” made one of his regular stops at the inn to request a handout, the waiter sent his weekly report, which the bailiff received the next morning. And put at the bottom of his inbox; he was very busy. Like every other local official north of Munich, his time was fully absorbed right now by the need to move troops to Ingolstadt-demands for forage, fodder, food, supplies, transport, cash; complaints from farmers, complaints from townspeople, edicts from Munich. Schleissheim, since one of Duke Maximilian’s favorite rural hunting lodges was located there, was busier than most. Almost a week after it arrived, the bailiff extracted it, combined it with other reports he had received concerning women moving through the area, and forwarded it to the chancery in Munich.



Munich, Bavaria

    In the Munich chancery, the report from Hohenkammer arrived on the desk of a minor official assigned to collate the various reports in regard to women traveling in Bavaria, where it joined many others. Many, many, others. In a jerky, disjointed, unsystematic manner, greatly complicated by the troop movements, surveillance went on.

    The recipient felt overwhelmed- partly by the reports and partly by his concern that, since he had previously worked under the unfortunate Dr. Donnersberger, neither his tenure in office nor his life would be particularly secure if he did anything to bring his existence to the duke’s attention. It was very hard to be sufficiently inconspicuous when compiling reports for the duke’s own eyes. And there were, certainly, a plenitude of reports. Surely not every woman in Bavaria could be traveling, the hapless bureaucrat thought wearily. Surely, it only seemed that way.

    Of course, one could always count on pilgrims. There were so many shrines and pilgrimage sites. One old woman on a decrepit donkey, accompanied by her son and two nephews, on her way to Altötting to pray for relief from some unspecified physical ailment. Nothing suspicious there. Pile one.

    All groups of two to four women. Possibly suspicious, especially if they appeared to be fairly prosperous. Pile two.

    Groups of more than four women. Unless they contained the same number as the English ladies, pile one. It was, after all, coming on to harvest season. Farmers and estate managers all over Bavaria were hiring seasonal laborers right now; seasonal laborers were out looking for work.

    Discerning just who a suspicious group might be was a different matter. Possibly members of the archduchess’ household? Pile two-A. Possibly members of Duke Albrecht’s household in Munich or possibly people from Duke Albrecht’s rural estates? Pile two-B. Possibly former servants of the late Wilhelm Georg of Leuchtenberg? Pile two-C. Possibly members of the households of various Munich patrician families? Pile two-D.

    Why could the duke not have addressed these problems one at a time? At the moment, there were far too many women whom one could presume to be sharing a single thought: let’s get the hell out of Bavaria.

    He was a cautious man. The times were uncertain. His wife and daughters were currently en route to Tirol.

    He did his best to make his summaries dull.



    On the twentieth of July, the district administrator in Vilsbiburg reported that a group of women representing themselves to be pilgrims returning from the shrine at Altötting had transversed his district. According to the innkeeper in Mühlburg, there were seven in the group; they were said to reside in Landshut and to have letters of approval from their own parish priest. There was no indication that this group of women were of interest to the inquisition. In any case, since both their purported place of origin and the destination of their pilgrimage were outside of his own jurisdiction, he did not consider it a judicious use of his budget to expend monies to observe them farther.

    The city clerk of Landshut, upon inquiry by the chancery, sent confirmation that a group of local women had indeed left two weeks earlier to undertake a pilgrimage to Altötting; this group included the wives of the baker Adolf Blum and the sausage maker Veit Haller; all of the women regularly attended their local parish church and none of them were delinquent in their annual obligation to receive Easter communion. The city clerk does not understand why this pilgrimage is of interest to the Holy Office, particularly since the distance to Altötting from Landshut is less than forty miles.

    The chancery sent a query to the city clerk in Landshut asking him to ascertain, when the women return home, whether they had at any time during their pilgrimage deviated from the route they had been expected to take, or whether, at the time they returned, there were more people in their party than when they had left.

    The city clerk in Landshut reported that when the group returned home, there was one less person in their party than when the left on the pilgrimage; they assert that this is because one of the women, an unmarried sister of the teamster Adalreich Pfister, remained behind temporarily to visit her grandmother in Dingolfing.

    The mayor in Dingolfing reported that a woman who could be the missing individual from the Landshut pilgrimage to Altötting has been observed in Dingolfing; on the prior Sunday, according to the nephew of the priest, she accompanied to mass a woman whom she asserts is her grandmother. Local informants confirm the identity of the grandmother and state that she did indeed have an unmarried granddaughter residing in Landshut. It is said that the visitor intends to return to Landshut within a fortnight.

    The bureaucrat rubbed his aching temples. “The district administrator in Vilshofen reports that four women were staying as guests in the household of Count von Ortenburg, which is not, of course, under his jurisdiction. He is told that prior to arriving in Ortenburg on the previous Wednesday, these women had supposedly made a trip to Freising, in order to see the duke’s wedding procession. They have a carriage and are accompanied by a driver and a footman. He has not been able to confirm that they had indeed visited Freising, nor where they intend to go upon leaving Ortenburg. In a tavern in Ortenburg, the driver indicated that they intended to take their leave on Tuesday next and proceed to Passau. Thus far, however, they have not left Ortenburg.” Pile two-A, with follow-up.



    The chancery clerk anxiously requested further details on the four visitors to Ortenburg, particularly as to whether these might possible be some of the English Ladies who had left Munich and who were of interest to the Inquisition.

    The district administrator in Vilshofen replied that he did not believe that these were English ladies, since they had been overheard speaking German to one another.

    The frustrated clerk replied that he was not asking about English ladies but rather about English Ladies, members of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious order that has been dissolved by papal decree and whose members were of interest to the Holy Office.

    The district administrator from Vilshofen replied that he did not think so, because one of the ladies was advanced in pregnancy and was accompanied by a ladies’ maid and a laundress; the fourth appeared from her clothing to be a gentlewoman of high standing.

    The chancery clerk wrote, “Why didn’t you say that one of them was pregnant before?”

    The district administrator answered, “Nobody asked me.”



    More summaries. Dull, think dull. Very, very, dull.

    The district administrator in Vohburg reported that three women in religious habits had passed through his district two weeks before. They stated that they were beguines from a house in the city of Cologne; they were traveling on passports issued by the archbishop-elector of Cologne. They presented papers indicating that they were traveling to Salzburg. Pile one.

    The district administrator in Vohburg added in passing that during the past week, two or three groups of women had been observed traveling toward Neuburg, and one to Reichartshofen. Pile two.



    The district administrator in Mühldorf reported that three women in religious habits had passed through his district a week before. They professed to be beguines from Cologne. He does not know where they went after they left Mühldorf, although they had stated that they were on their way to Salzburg.

    The district administrator in Aichach reported the arrest of four vagrant prostitutes, one a young girl. One of the older women asserted that the girl was her daughter; two profess to have been born in Tirol; the woman and her daughter in Augsburg. There is no indication that they are heretics, although all four are very poorly instructed in the tenets of the Catholic faith. They have been remanded to a Spinnhaus for repentant magdalens, from which the girl has already made an effort to flee.

    The district administrator in Abbach reported that he was keeping close watch on all efforts made by groups of women to enter the portions of the Imperial City of Regensburg that are on the south side of the Danube.

    The bailiff in Griesbach reported that his wife, while shopping in Vilshofen the previous week, saw three well-dressed women whom she did not know. Since his wife was personally acquainted with every woman in Vilshofen who could afford to dress well, he believed that he should report this, although nobody had asked him about it. The women were wearing dresses in the current style, one green, one blue, and one deep red. These dresses were trimmed with silk and made in the modern style with wide arms. Two of the women wore broad collars in the French style. All of the women wore caps, embroidered with silk, and hats. They claimed to be on their way to a spa, where they intended to take the curing waters. The Amtmann reports that he does not know of any popular spas in the general direction in which they were traveling until one reaches Karlsbad in Bohemia.



    Frantically, the chancery clerk requested follow-up to this sighting. Four days later, the bailiff reported that he had ascertained that this party of women, which was on horseback and accompanied by two grooms, had passed the border into the diocese of Passau.

    On behalf of the prince-bishop, an administrator in Passau replied to the Bavarian inquiries that he had not seen such a party of women. This was quite literally true, which did not mean that he did not know who they were, one of them being both his own cousin and a former lady in waiting of Archduchess Maria Anna. It also did not mean that he had not issued orders to expedite their travel through Passau to their homes in Austria.

    A low-level clerk in the Passau chancery sent duplicate copies of these orders to Munich, accompanied by an invoice for his services.

    The Bavarian chancery clerk did not know whether or not to hope that this meant that the archduchess and the two witches were out of Bavaria and out of his hair. Pile two, though; definitely pile two.



    He kept reading reports, of which those he had already extracted and summarized were only a small sample. The unsummarized pile, no matter how steadily he worked, grew inexorably. They kept coming in daily.

    The bailiff in Schleissheim reported that one of his informants stated that a group of about a dozen women and one man, dressed in the ordinary clothing of rural workers, had come into Hohenkammer, where they had been met by a merchant, presumably their employer, who was waiting for them at an inn. The group had continued north, walking, in the company of the merchant, who was also walking. This was not a suspicious circumstance, since the man had eaten at the inn and complained to the host that a cavalry troop had confiscated his horse that very morning. The informant assumed that these were migrant laborers, hired for the harvest season. The Schleissheim bailiff concurred. Pile one.

    The official sighed. He wished that he had received more reports from the region between Munich and Ingolstadt, but with the troop movements there, it was probably too much to hope for.

    In any case, he had received a letter from his wife. His family was safe in Tirol. He closed up his desk. Times were very uncertain in Bavaria. Someone else would have to deal with the rest of the reports. He was leaving for Tirol.



    Salmading. So far, so good. Reichertshausen. The whole town in chaos because of Bavarian foraging parties. Ilmmuenster. The flow of refugees heading south was becoming a stream. Pfaffenhofen. Only ten miles again today, but they would have to stop. There was no possibility that Mrs. Simpson could walk farther.

    Refugees. Sources of information.

    Banér’s army was pouring across the Danube at Neuburg. Some had forded, but the great majority was crossing on the bridge. First, he had sent across scouts; then squads that secured the perimeter of the town on the west and south; then they had secured a route to south of Ingolstadt.

    From Neuburg to Ingolstadt, no one could reach the Danube without crossing a well-secured line of Swedish regulars.

    Refugees. Carrying with them as much of their worldly goods as they possibly could. Willing to sell some of them for hard cash. Not a lot, from any one group. Plus, the English Ladies still had some things in their satchels. Others, he had traded for them.

    Miss Ward was a reasonable woman. When he explained what he had discovered, she agreed readily enough that crossing at Ingoldstadt would be impossible. They would try for Neuburg. They could all stay with Veit Egli until the southward traffic on the bridge slacked off. Then they could cross and go on to Grantville.

    Refugees. One sold him a sedan chair. Mary Simpson was no longer a crippled old man but rather an old woman, her short hair hidden by an old-fashioned, capacious, matron’s cap, her shoeless feet swathed in bandages. Sores from gout, they could tell anyone who asked. Two day-laborers, happy enough to find paid work that would take them away from the presence of Bavarian troops, were carrying her.

    Leopold felt considerably relieved. He considered himself an enlightened enough man, but the bible itself forbade women to wear men’s clothing. He understood that in Grantville, certain forms of trousers were defined as women’s clothing; so be it. Undoubtedly, however, when the women found him in Hohenkammer, she had been wearing men’s clothing. Down-time men’s clothing. The kind of thing for which the Catholics would burn a woman, if they discovered it.

    Be fair, Leopold. The kind of thing for which the Calvinists of Geneva would burn a woman, if they discovered it.

    He looked at Mary Ward. Mrs. Simpson had been dressed in those male clothes with the consent of a Catholic. A nun, the superior of a Catholic religious order, no matter how troublesome a one. It was all very disturbing.

    In any case, he was far happier now that Mrs. Simpson was dressed as a woman again.



    Pfaffenhofen. Several days in Pfaffenhofen. It was as secure as Neuburg and refugees were still coming south steadily. There was little point in trying to move farther north. Leopold had not spotted anyone observing them. He was rather surprised that the surveillance, thus far, appeared to have been so lax. Happily surprised, but surprised.

    Pfaffenhofen and, at the end of the week, a Neuburg newspaper. “Dramatic Flight of the Heir of Bavaria and His Family.” How providential. That might account for some of the surprisingly thin surveillance. No clue, however, as to the goal of their flight. Or, for that matter, the reason for their flight.

    Another day. Another newspaper, a week old, carried by a refugee, who sold it to the innkeeper. Who wouldn’t let it out of his hands, although, for a fee, he would read it out loud to people in his dining room.

    “Duke Ernst and General Banér Mount Intense Attack on Ingolstadt.”

    “Gee, whiz. As if we hadn’t guessed,” Mary Simpson said later that evening. It was safe enough to speak English in their own rooms, Leopold thought.

    Well, it was a Nürnberg newspaper. But it scarcely came as new information to people who were sitting here in Pfaffenhofen in the middle of a region that was not just ankle deep in military types but, by now, practically neck deep.

    Two more days. A special edition of the Augsburg newspaper, brought in by a runner who was risking his neck to make a lot of money. Between the arrival of the last newspaper and this one, Duke Maximilian had issued a proclamation forbidding the importation of all foreign printed matter. “Duchess Mechthilde and Duke Karl Killed During Escape from Bavaria. Mysterious Disappearance of the Younger Bavarian Dukes.” The innkeeper wasn’t reading the papers out loud any more, but he had bought a half dozen and resold them surreptitiously and for a highly inflated price.

    The reporter whose despatch had reached Augsburg had apparently based his lead story on talking to the man who provided the wagon and coffins to transport their bodies to Leuchtenberg. The story only went that far. There was no information as to whether Duke Albrecht had reached Bohemia.



    Maria Anna read though the meager information in the Augsburg paper over and over, as if she could force the printed columns to provide her with more information than they contained.

    The only consolation she had found was what was not there. No headlines saying that Dona Mencia had been captured. No headlines saying that Father Vervaux was dead. Not even the most minute notice at the bottom of the sixth column on the fourth page.

    No news from Austria. Why was there no news from Austria? Never had she been in more need of the School of Patience.

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