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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Forty Two

       Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 19:35 EDT




August-September, 1634


    “We cannot,” Leopold Cavriani said, “even get out of Neuburg on the south side of the river. The city is, at the moment and until something decisive happens at Ingolstadt, more or less completely invested by the Bavarians. Not only can’t we get out, but it would be insane for us to try to go through the lines. The only sensible thing to do is to cross the bridge to the north bank and follow it at least as far as Donauwörth.”

    Maria Anna had no desire at all to be on the north bank of the Danube. Inside the USE. At the mercy of the Swedes, if they should find her. Not even as far as Donauwörth. Not even for twenty miles. She said so emphatically. She would rather risk the Bavarians. Even her will, however, eventually had to bow to reality. They could not get out of Neuburg on the south bank.

    Not, of course, that Leopold had been trying very hard to arrange it. He hadn’t even asked Egli and Mengersdorf to see what might be done. Personally, he had no desire to spend any more time among the Bavarians than he had to and he certainly didn’t want to risk Mary and Veronica inside Bavaria again.

    What the archduchess didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. He hoped. He had done his best to ensure that Banér’s Swedes had no suspicion at all that she was within their grasp.

    Besides, it would be easier for him to get horses on the north shore. Not easy, but easier. The only horses in Neuburg now were military horses. Not that they had necessarily been military horses a few weeks ago, but they were now. Requisitioned. “Contributed,” as the down-timers put it. The former owners, if they were lucky, held chits for reimbursement.



    “You know what?” Mark Ellis asked Dane Kitt that evening.


    “I was over in Neuburg, today, at the bridge. Looking to see the way the down-timers put in those footings. Might be able to learn something from it.

    “Now that the bridge isn’t filled up railing-to-railing with Banér’s soldiers going south, as many people as possible are trying to get out of the city. Get over to this side, find someplace to stay, I guess, away from the siege. Lots of women with children, old people. Don’t want to risk getting penned up, I suppose. At least, I keep thinking that if we managed to cross to the south, what’s to prevent Maximilian from trying a crossing to the north, somewhere to the west, between here and Donauwörth, and trying to pen us up in Neuburg the same way we’ve penned his garrison; then come over and cut Neuburg off from Ingolstadt. He grabbed Donauwörth at one point, you know, even back before this war started. I expect he’s not a bit pleased that the Swedes took it back and are letting it be an imperial city again. Well, sort of, at any rate; they have a pretty big garrison in it and I don’t think that the city council has much right to talk back to the colonel.

    “Anyway, there were a couple of old ladies crossing, with their family, I guess. Them, a couple of men, a younger woman. But if I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that it was Mrs. Simpson and Mrs. Dreeson.”

    “Naaah,” Dane said. “What would they be doing here?”



Between Neuburg and Donauwörth

    Egli had crossed first, to try to find horses. Mengersdorf crossed the bridge with Cavriani and the three women. The two factors would be going back, of course. Business was business and it didn’t stop just because there was a siege going on. Cavriani Freres de Geneve would go out of business fairly promptly if the money from its ordinary commissions ceased to flow into its bank accounts.

    Egli apologized. His best efforts had resulted in the purchase of only two horses. At least, he thought, these two might possibly, just barely, each manage to carry a rider as far as Donauwörth before the knacker had to be called. Even so, the price had been exhorbitant. At Donauwörth, perhaps, Herr Cavriani might have better luck.

    Veronica smiled triumphantly. “I,” she announced, “will walk.” She was feeling much better about life now that she thought it was safe to wear her false teeth again. As long as she kept her mouth closed most of the time so no one started to wonder about their perfection, they were probably safer there than in her pouch.

    Mary, obviously, would ride. Her feet were still very tender, although she had bought new, well-fitting, shoes in Neuburg. Not to mention several pairs of stockings, the softest Veronica could find in the shops. She was shocked by the cost, but Cavriani had insisted that they were a good investment and he was sure that the Herr Admiral would be happy to reimburse Cavriani Freres de Geneve when he had a chance.

    That left the second horse. In the end, Cavriani rode. He had overcome Maria Anna’s will in the matter of an impossibility such as leaving Neuburg to the west on the south bank of the Danube. When there was a possibility, however...and, in all truth, her argument was not bad. His German was far more cultured than the gutter German she had learned from laundresses and gardeners in the Schloss at Graz. If something happened that they had to speak extensively, she would make a far more convincing maidservant than he would make a manservant. So. A merchant traveling with his wife and her two maids. The merchant’s “wife” looked quite a bit older than he did, but that was not uncommon in this day and age.

    The sky was bright blue, with a few feathery white clouds. Herr Egli had insisted that they all wear broad-brimmed pilgrim’s hats.



    Their progress toward Donauwörth was slow. It was only twenty miles, but what should have taken one day was going to take two. The road was clogged with cattle and sheep, their drovers, wagons hauling grain.

    General Banér had decided that his army had to eat. While he had been profanely delighted-as nearly ecstatic as he ever became-to find that a cattle drive from Hungary had arrived at the Ochsenschlacht island in the river south of the fortress only two days before his troops did and several hundred steers were penned up there, next to the slaughtering facilities, when his first troops arrived, that would not feed a regiment for very long. Banér had inspected the earthworks along his “secure supply line” from Neuburg to Ingolstadt. He was far from sure that it was as secure as a prudent commander would want it would be. He was getting as much food inside the earthworks along the old Sandrach channel of the Danube south of Ingolstadt as he could, while he could.

    Within, of course, the limitations of how much fodder was available to keep the animals alive until they were eaten. Sieges were always a problem. Especially when the besiegers themselves were penned in, as his forces on the south bank were. Moreover, there was a limit to how much he could draw from the communities on the north bank, even if he paid for the provisions. Farmers had this habit, nasty and inconvenient from the viewpoint of military leaders, of wanting to feed themselves and their families and save seed grain for the next season.

    As Duke Maximilian was finding out. There was said to be considerable unhappiness in many districts of Oberbayern in regard to the new exactions and contributions associated with his current troop movements.

    Well, Cavriani thought, once they got to Donauwörth, it would just be another two hundred miles to Basel. As the crow flies. In reality, up and down hills, across creeks, along river banks, and trying to get through Swabia without meeting either the Swedes or Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar.

    He wondered if Don Fernando was aware just how limited in size Maria Anna’s escort really was.



    Maria Anna had far too much time to think, walking along like this. She was not even, Herr Cavriani had said, to pray her rosary as she stood at the side of the road waiting for the drovers and shepherds to pass, here on the north shore, in Pfalz-Neuburg. Although there were many Catholics in the region since Wolfgang-Wilhelm had converted in 1613, one did not wish to draw unnecessary attention to oneself. The papers Cavriani was carrying now said that they were from Geneva. All of them. Genevans did not say rosaries.

    It was hard to pray without it. She was accustomed to the beads slipping through her fingers, one by one. A focus of concentration, an aide-memoire. Pray without it, count on her fingers, tapping the nails. An Our Father for Papa, a Hail Mary for Mama. An Our Father for Ferdinand and Ferdinand the Most Recent-he would have grown so much by now. He might even be walking and starting to talk. A Hail Mary each for Mariana and Cecelia. She remembered each member of her family. But then her mind came back to where it had been before.

    Her loyal household. Where were they all? What had happened to them because of her? Had they escaped or had they been caught up in Duke Maximilian’s madness? One of the newspapers had contained a list of those executed. An Our Father for Dr. Donnersberger, who had been a faithful servant. A Hail Mary for Countess Polyxena, who had been a pretty little fool, untrustworthy, but had surely done nothing to earn a beheading in the Schrannenplatz. A whole rosary of thanks for the safety of Dona Mencia.

    Susanna. What had become of little Susanna? Surely, if Dona Mencia was safe and on her way to Brussels, Susanna was with her. After all, she was with the party that Maria Anna had sent back to see Dona Mencia safe. But why hadn’t Dona Mencia said so? It would have only taken one word, or two. The radio could do that. A rosary for the safety of little Susanna, so bright and perky, so cheerful and chatty. So brilliant a designer. A Hail Mary for Frau Stecher, who had seen this and envied the girl so deeply, realizing that one day, not so far in the future, she would be supplanted.

    Maria Anna jumped back a couple of steps to avoid a sheep that was trying to run off the edge of the path. The golden rose banged against her thigh under her skirts. Prayers for the church.

    Prayers for Papa; prayers for his health; prayers for his recovery. Prayers that, if need be, he would have a good death.

    Three hours on the road from Neuburg, Cavriani called a halt for lunch. They hadn’t even gotten to Rennertshofen. Then they would have to wait to cross the Ussel. It would be amazing if they got to Marxheim before dusk. Then they would have to cross the Lech. Lunch was bread and...olives? Cavriani laughed. “Egli says that the Swedes, apparently, do not care for olives. They were one of the few things that the Neuburg grocer still had in abundance, not marked up.” They had plenty of water; Maria Anna ate olives with abandon.

    While they waited at the Ussel, Mary got down to walk for a short distance. She was trying to toughen her feet again. Maria Anna stood, holding the horse, watching her.



    A man standing near the ford looked up, glanced at her casually. Looked again. Surely not. But so like, so very like the missing archduchess.

    Captain Raudegen was not especially happy to be holding water buckets for horses. A captain of cavalry should have risen well above such a duty. Colonel von Werth had sent him, with five men, to scout north of the river. To find out whatever he could. Not to do it by riding rapidly through the countryside. If such a raid was to come, it would come later. By standing at fords, counting the men and animals going past them. Among other things. Colonel von Werth had not mentioned his intentions, but the possibility of a raid in strength north of the river, against Banér’s camp outside Ingolstadt, was certainly a good one.

    Raudegen did not like Colonel Johann von Werth. He respected his abilities; he did not like him at all. “Von” Werth, to start with. Everyone knew that he had been born a plain “Jan van Wierdt” in a village up around Cologne, about 1591. That the Low German of the region, like Dutch, did not use “van” as a designator of nobility, but just to say that a person was “from” here or there. Albeit that the colonel spread the story of a family tradition that once upon a time, in Friesland, the family had been knights, driven out after the Reformation for its unshakable Catholic faith, he himself admitted that he and his eight brothers and sisters had worked in the fields, that he himself as a boy had herded swine. That after his father’s death, the half-grown Jan had worked as a hired man on farms owned by others.

    So he joined the army when he was nineteen-yes, it was said, starting as a water boy for horses, performing the same service that Raudegen was performing now-and, as he rose from the ranks under General Spinola, modified his name into the High German form. With all of the associated implications. “Von Werth” or, depending upon the document, von Wörth, Werd, Weert, or even, in the French form, de Weerth. Within ten years, he had made captain; in another ten, major in the Bavarian Eynatten regiment.

    A water boy from a village on the lower Rhine. Raudegen was ambivalent. The son of farmers. What did it say about the hierarchy of society? After Pappenheim, von Werth was the second most effective cavalry commander in the service of the imperial forces-certainly the most effective in the service of the Bavarian forces. It was a matter of judgment, at any given time, just how closely the Bavarians and the emperor were allied with one another. At the moment, Werth was in command of Duke Maximilian’s cavalry south of Ingolstadt.

    What did it say about Raudegen’s own prospects? There was no noble predicate preceding his name, either. It was, in fact, a military alias. So who knew how high the son of a village farrier might rise? That Raudegen was the son of a village farrier was the reason von Werth had assigned him to this scout-he knew how to stand at a ford and water horses, with none of the danger that a noble captain might run of breaking out of character.

    There were all sorts of stories going around in the army. Coming from the books of this Grantville. That in another world than this, in May of this very year, von Werth had played a significant part in a great Catholic victory at Nördlingen; that as a reward, Ferdinand II really had made him a Freiherr, whatever ambiguities his social status may have had before. That Maximilian had promoted him. Feldmarschalleutnant und Generalwachtmeister. Lieutenant Field Marshall and Major General.

    In this far less favorable world, von Werth was in a stinking camp south of Ingolstadt. Champing at the bit, wanting to do something, anything, to move against Banér.

    Raudegen finished his task and walked downstream to where five other Bavarian cavalrymen in plain clothes were waiting for him. The rest of his group of scouts. They had expected nothing more exciting from this day’s work than a count of sheep and oxen being driven toward Neuburg and Ingolstadt. Only one went back across the Danube, carrying a message to von Werth and to the commander, General Franz von Mercy, whom Duke Maximilian had borrowed from the Lorrainers. Raudegen himself took the others and headed back to Rennertshofen, profoundly wishing that they had horses. They had left their horses on the south bank. If he was wrong, he was making a laughing stock of himself. If he was right....



    They were across the ford. Walking again, next to Mary’s horse, Maria Anna thought that she might as well start now. She would begin a novena, for the salvation of Mary Simpson’s Socinian soul.

    She told her so, as they ate their supper. There were no rooms to be had in Marxheim. Cavriani had bought a salad of peas from a vendor and fresh bread; they had a place to camp and tether the two horses in the fenced courtyard behind the bakery.

    “Oh, into guilt tripping, are you?”

    Some explanation followed. What a lovely concept, Maria Anna thought. She rested her chin upon her knee, meditatively. “To think,” she said, “that I have been ‘guilt tripped’ all my life and no one ever told me. I am not embarrassed to ‘guilt trip’ you. People do it all the time.” She gestured at Veronica, who was pulling a bucket of water for the horses from the cistern on the other side of the yard. “Just as Mother Superior Ward’s making the rosary of twigs was to give Frau Dreeson one. Which it did.”

    They had a rather nice discussion of tactics and techniques. Not, Mary pointed out, manipulation. It was nicer to consider it under, well, some other word. But it had to be done. Otherwise, if one did not bring people to some common focus of purposes, there would be no schools, no operas.

    “Opera? You like opera?” Opera had not entered the conversation as long as they were traveling with the English Ladies. “Have you ever heard this?” Maria Anna started humming; Mary laughed and started singing along.

    “I saw the original production of The Sound of Music.”

    In the back courtyard of a bakery in Marxheim, plans for the expansion of Europe’s commitment to opera, generously defined, began to arise; then spread to ballet. In the course of it, Maria Anna and Mary each discovered that the other would really rather converse on these matters in excellent literary Italian, or in French, rather than in somewhat fractured German. Their conversation rapidly became more voluble. The discussion moved to contemporary artists of the Netherlands. Interior decoration of state buildings in national capitals.

    Veronica, who did not know a word of either Italian or French and had no desire to learn, looked at them sardonically, curled up, and went to sleep.

    Leopold Cavriani smiled into the dark. “Culture vultures,” Annabelle Piazza had called such people. Idly, he wondered for a while about the best way to put the phrase into Latin. When he had a chance, he would have to ask Marc’s friend Boecler back in the Upper Palatinate. Then he went to sleep as well.



    Raudegen was uncertain. The younger woman certainly had an uncanny resemblance to the archduchess. But he could scarcely believe that an archduchess of Austria would walk while permitting another woman to ride. There could be no other woman in this part of the Germanies who outranked her. But now that he had seen the other two women with her, he was nearly sure. He had been there, that day in Freising, when the “witches” were dumped out of the barrels. Possibly, just possibly, an archduchess might walk and permit the wife of the up-time admiral to ride, given the way that the war between the Swede and the League of Ostend was going.

    He would risk following them for another day, at least. He had come up through the ranks; he had not gained his commission through mental timidity any more than he had gained it through physical cowardice.



From Donauwörth to Ulm

    Egli had been right in both of his predictions. The two horses he had bought at Neuburg had reached retirement age by the time they got to Donauwörth. But there, more horses were to be found, not to mention another factor employed by Cavriani Freres de Geneve and, thereby, access to more money. Cavriani bought four decent horses, whether Veronica wanted to ride or not. He obtained clean clothing, not new, but of good enough quality to justify the horses, from a second-hand dealer. They kept Egli’s broad-brimmed hats.

    Four horses. That meant that the group had the money, obviously, to purchase them. Plus different clothing. The younger woman’s stance on horseback was very like that of Archduchess Maria Anna. Raudegen sent a second man back to Ingolstadt with another, more urgent, message.

    The next day they made Höchstädt by noon. The town had plenty of amenities, naturally, since the counts of Pfalz-Neuburg had a residence there and the customary service businesses had grown up around the palace; they had a pleasant lunch.

    Cavriani bypassed Dillingen; no reasonable Calvinist wanted to go near the seat of Heinrich von Knoeringen, prince-bishop of Augsburg. Lauingen was Pfalz-Neuburg again, another residence of the counts; a short day, but a safe place to spend the night. The southerly road that forked off before Lauingen would have been easier, but Gundremmingen and Offingen were subject to the prince-bishop of Augsburg; he preferred to avoid them, just as he had avoided Dillingen.



    Captain Raudegen was seriously disappointed by this. He sent the third of his five men back, this time to Dillingen and then to continue to Ingolstadt. He told the man to get a horse from the lieutenant and come back, with information on what Werth said. He was becoming concerned; he should have received some response from Werth before this.



    They could have made Gundelfingen today easily enough, just another mile and a half. But that was just over the border into another jurisdiction. Better, Cavriani thought, to stay where they were. Going through Gundelfingen and its check points in the morning would suffice. After that, Günzburg and an unavoidable crossing to the south bank; there were no more passable roads on the north shore of the Danube along here. Günzburg. Voerderoesterreich. Austrian. One of the widely strewn Habsburg possessions in Swabia. Günzburg; one of the archdukes, Karl, Cavriani thought, had actually resided there twenty or so years ago, for quite a while. He checked with Maria Anna.

    “Yes,” she said. “It was Archduke Karl. The son of the one who obstinately married the Augsburg girl, Philippine Welser. She was rich and beautiful, but not noble. Her two sons, therefore, were not eligible to inherit any hereditary Habsburg titles.” She smiled. “We are, though, sufficiently proud of ourselves that we did not leave them commoners, but gave them others. This Karl first married an Italian commoner who bore him children; he had none by his second wife, a Cleves duchess who was of equal birth. He died in 1618; his sons are called von Hohenberg.”

    The vagaries of Habsburg genealogy were not Cavriani’s concern. Before they started out the next morning, he asked, “Is there anyone in Günzburg who would be likely to recognize you?”

    Maria Anna pursed her lips. “I don’t think so. It is a long way away from Vienna or Prague; Günzburg has been administered from Tirol since Archduke Karl died. If any official stationed here has ever seen me, it would have been when I was a child or young girl, probably.” She frowned. “Unless, of course, it might be one of the military officers. Or even an ordinary soldier. They come and go.”

    Leipheim; good enough. Nersingen and a thorough examination of their travel papers by officials of the prince-abbey of Elchingen. They were passed through. So were Raudegen and the two men he still had with him.


    Ulm. Beautiful, beautiful, Ulm. Cavriani had never been so happy to see an imperial city in his life. This had been their longest day since leaving Neuburg, and an uneasy one.

    Never so happy until the next morning. Leaving the women at the inn where they had slept, he went to look up some businessmen of his acquaintance, bought a newspaper, and checked with the money changer who served as the firm’s banker here.

    All of them were unanimously in agreement. Going farther into Swabia now would be the act of an insane man. Even if Herr Cavriani had urgent business at home in Geneva, he should plan to stay in Ulm for quite some time. No one knew precisely what Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar had done, nor, above all, why, but the rumors were running wild. Earlier in the summer, he had taken his troops north to confront Gustavus Adolphus on the Rhine.

    Shortly before, though, he had turned, leaving a long section of the Rhine undefended, creating a gateway through which the Swedes could pour themselves. Gustavus Adolphus was rolling over the French. A small sector, under General Turenne, was holding, but he was being pushed back; retreating in good order, but retreating.

    Bernhard had come south. Half of his army was in Alsace and the Sundgau, arrayed against the French. The other half was marching into southern Swabia. No one knew why. Certainly, however, he had cut the Spanish Road.

    Horn had thrown a strong garrison into Ehingen, a dozen miles or so up the Danube; the roads were secure that far, at least, although there were foraging parties throughout the countryside collecting “contributions” from the villages.

    Past Ehingen, tomorrow? Or the next day? Who knew? No one had heard from Munderkingen for three days; the great monastery at Obermarchtal had burned already in the spring of 1633, each side, Bernhard’s troops and Horn’s troops, accusing the other of having done it. Either seemed equally probable, the way the war in Swabia had been conducted. The magnificent organ had been a great loss; even a Lutheran city councillor in Ulm would admit that. In any case, he would be well-advised not to try the south route. The northern road, however, past Lauterach and Reichenstein, was in very poor repair for at least five miles before it intersected the main road again, and there were reports of attacks on travelers.

    In any case, Horn had occupied Riedlingen, one of the five Austrian cities along the Danube. That was five days ago. Anywhere Herr Cavriani went, past Ulm, he would be in the presence of troop movements. Which meant that, almost certainly, some of those troops would confiscate his horse.

    Nobody had reliable information on the current situation beyond Riedlingen. The monastery at Inzigkofen, too, had been burned, the previous fall. That, it was fairly certain, had been done by Bernhard. After all, he and his troops, although in the service of France, were mainly Protestants. In many villages that before the war had sixty or seventy households, there were perhaps six or seven remaining. The other farmers had fled, some into the walled cities with which they had sanctuary contracts, some into Switzerland. At one point, Horn had invested the Austrian towns of Mengen and Sigmaringen, which he would have to pass, but he might have pulled those troops away to face the new threat from Bernhard. There was no way to tell. The monastery at Beuron had also gone up in flames last fall; the abbot and monks had fled into Switzerland.

    The valley of the upper Danube had suffered greatly since the autumn of 1632, everyone said. Mühlheim had been repeatedly occupied by the opposing forces, first Bernhard’s and then the Swedes. In one attack there in 1632, two hundred Swedes had been killed; he would see the mass grave as he passed by. The little town was no longer really significant since the moving of the road from Lake Constance to Rottweil to run through Tuttlingen, but still, before the war, it had nearly a hundred households. The last Cavriani’s informant had heard, there were less than thirty. The rest had fled, starved, or fallen victim to the plague. All of which meant that if he insisted on leaving Ulm, he would find no safe stopping point before Tuttlingen, at the earliest.

    Cavriani came back to the inn in full sympathy with Duke Ernst. He sincerely wished that General Banér were available to say what he was thinking. They had been lucky, thus far. Now he was facing ninety miles between Ulm and Donaueschingen. More if they had to detour around scenes of military action. Through nearly two dozen different official political jurisdictions, none of which had any authorities effectively in charge because of the war, on insecure roads in the midst of major troop movements. In the company of three women who would make extremely valuable hostages for Bernhard or, in the case of the archduchess, possibly for Horn also.

    If, of course, anybody bothered to identify them and did not simply kill them first.

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