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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Forty Five

       Last updated: Monday, September 26, 2005 18:48 EDT




    Marc Cavriani was not sure whether he should be glad or sorry. He was glad, certainly, without any doubt at all, to hear that his father had come safely to Neuburg. He was very sorry that his father was already gone.

    They were staying at Herr Egli’s house. It made Marc a little nervous. He had not let even Egli know that Susanna was a girl. He was afraid that if Egli knew, it would cause him to refuse to let them go on, wherever they decided to go next. He had actually been rather reluctant to let even Egli know that he had someone with him, but he couldn’t leave Susanna by herself at an inn and Egli would get curious if he, himself, did not stay at his house in Neuburg. So they were in the loft of Egli’s house, in two of the “servants’ rooms.” Not that Egli had any servants, other than a cook who came in on a daily basis and a woman who came once a week to clean. He found the loft to be handy, however, for the many couriers who passed through representing the businessmen whom he represented in the city.

    It was too early to get up. Marc sat at the window, drumming his fingers on the window sill. His father had arrived with a dozen women. His father had left with three women. From the descriptions, he assumed that his father had caught up with the English Ladies and taken charge of Frau Simpson and Frau Dreeson. He could not imagine how his father came to be accompanying the archduchess. Egli was no help on that; Herr Cavriani, he said, had not explained the matter.

    At least Marc could stop thinking about the English Ladies; Egli said that they were on their way to Grantville or, perhaps, already there. He had received no news.

    The sensible choice, Marc was inclined to think, would be to cross the river; to head for Nürnberg and Jacob Durre. A short distance, little more than sixty miles, in friendly territory that was reasonably well policed. There wouldn’t be any armies, except, perhaps, some USE troops coming down to reinforce Banér. Friendly troops might be to some extent preferable to hostile troops, at least within the USE’s own boundaries. Durre could advise them what to do next. Marc thought, very, very, strongly, that Nürnberg would be the sensible choice. The other direction, following his father to Basel, was two hundred miles, much of it through territory as chaotic and war-torn as what they had just experienced between Munich and Neuburg. Not something he wanted to repeat, particularly since there was no guarantee that he would catch up with Papa even there.

    It did not make any sense at all for them to try to go to Basel, especially since he was running out of money. Then it occurred to him that he could simply ask Herr Egli for a bank draft. He had a right to. Which lost him one good argument.



    Susanna was crying. Marc could hear her, through the thin boards that partitioned the servants’ rooms in the loft of Herr Egli’s house. Not loudly. Quietly, the way his sister Idelette had cried after old Muffin, their mother’s little dog who had been part of her life since the day she was born, had died. Into her pillow, not wanting anyone to hear.

    He wished that he could go comfort her.

    He did not dare.

    A few weeks before, when he and his father rode to Munich, he had not even known that she existed. He tried to remember what it had been like, living in the world then, before he knew that Susanna Allegretti was in it. Now, he thought, every hair on his head knew that she was alive and in the next room. Separately and individually. Each hair on his arms as well.

    No way did he dare put those arms around a crying Susanna. Not if he was to remain an honorable man.

    And thought that this was the first time he had ever described himself, to himself, as being a man. Not a boy; not a youth. He was a man.



    There were still Catholic churches in Neuburg, just as there were in the Upper Palatinate. Wolfgang Wilhelm had forced them on the people; the counts of the Junge-Pfalz, taking their guidance from Duke Ernst’s policies, had neither confiscated them nor expelled their clergy. They received no revenues other than those voluntarily donated by the parishioners, but some were still there, holding services.

    Susanna said that she had to go to confession. Marc blinked; he had a very unfavorable view of going to confession. Not that one should not confess one’s sins, of course. But not to a priest. Not in the darkness of a Catholic church with candles and graven images and...well, awful, papist, sorts of things.

    But she was a Catholic. He knew that. Maybe she was used to it.

    He went along, anyway. Standing in the entrance, half-way in and half-way out. Waiting.




    “I killed a man, Father.”

    “Do you sincerely repent of this, my child. Do you come to God with contrition?”

    Susanna paused for a moment. She was in the presence of God; she could not lie.

    “No, Father. The man was a soldier. He was trying to kill someone, someone whom I, well, someone who is very dear to me. No. I am sorry that I had to kill him. But if I were put there again today, I would do it again. I would make the same choice. So I cannot say that I am sorry. Not truly.”

    She bowed her head, the tears streaming from her eyes, falling on her hands.



    The priest sighed. He had no idea who this penitent was. Not one of his parishioners; anonymity or not, he usually had a fairly clear idea of who was kneeling before him, if only because he usually had a fairly clear idea of what the members of his flock were doing.

    This war, the soldiers. A woman; young, from the sound of her voice. A refugee, possibly. Most of the people from the surrounding Bavarian villages were Catholic; some had come into Neuburg instead of fleeing to the southwest. But her accent was not local; Tirolese, if anything he recognized. The war. Plundering, thieving, raping, both sides alike. Whom had the soldier threatened?

    “Did you plan this in advance, my child. Finding a weapon and concealing it?”

    “No, oh, no. The man who, who was guarding me, was down. I threw rocks. Then I saw the soldier’s helmet. I hit him with it. At the end, though....” She confessed about the ditch. The water. Her premeditated action.

    He believed she was contrite. The tears told him so. Her heart was not hardened. She had told him only the truth. If she had to make the choice again, she would make the same choice. That was not a lack of sorrow. Merely the harsh realism of living in this world. He reminded her that she was shedding tears; asked her if these were the first.

    “Oh, no, Father. Every evening, in my pillow. At least, since we came into Neuburg and have a safe place to stay. While we were still outside the walls, I did not have time to cry.”

    A penance. Not to be performed immediately; probably she could not perform it immediately. A pilgrimage to Maria-Hilf on the Lechfeld, when she had the opportunity. South of Augsburg. Not so far away that an ordinary family could not afford to send her there. Managed by a monastery of his own Franciscan order. New, as pilgrimage centers went; only thirty years old. For now, prayers. And, probably, more nightly tears. He reminded her that we live in a vale of sorrow.

    When the priest left the booth and looked around the half-darkened church, he saw no sign of the penitent to whom he had been speaking. Probably she had gone into one of the side chapels. One of the front doors was half-open, letting a bright oblong streak of sunshine into the vestibule. Outlined against it, at the door, there was a boy, speaking to a young man.

    “I have to go back,” Susanna was saying to Marc. “I forgot something.”


    “I forgot to confess that I have been wearing men’s clothing.”

    “Let it go for this time,” Marc answered. “You’re going to be wearing it for quite a while longer. Might as well take care of it all at once, later on.”



    Susanna was in no mood to listen to sensible arguments about going to Nürnberg. She wanted, she insisted, to follow her mistress the archduchess. She informed Marc that Maria Anna had told her to come to Brussels and rejoin her household there. She had no idea whether, if she went to Nürnberg, she would ever be allowed to go to Brussels. Or how. The Spanish Netherlands were, after all, at war with the Swede. Nürnberg was his ally.

    Listening to her, Marc started to realize that Susanna had not just been an errand girl. She had been one of the archduchess’ confidants in the escape from Munich. When she mentioned going back to see Dona Mencia safe, he started to think that Susanna might actually be in specific rather than just generic danger. That she might really be someone whom not only the Bavarians but also the Swedes would like to interview.

    She pointed out that the archduchess could have gone to Nürnberg, but did not; that the archduchess could have gone to Grantville with the English Ladies, but did not. That, for whatever reason she had chosen not to do so, Marc’s father and Frau Simpson and Frau Dreeson had apparently concurred with her. They spent quite some time talking and speculating. Why hadn’t the others persuaded her? There must, Susanna insisted, have been a good reason.

    He tried to put his foot down on one thing. No way were they going to some pilgrimage church twenty miles south of Augsburg at a dinky little village called Untermeitingen so she could do a penance. Not even if she cried about it. He insisted firmly that she could not possibly have done anything that she needed to be so penitential about; after all, she was just a girl.

    Finally, he heard himself say something strange. He would take her to this place. This Maria-Hilf on the Lechfeld. After all, there was a direct road from Neuburg through Augsburg to the place.

    Even that, though, did not move her to agree to do something as sensible as agree to go to Nürnberg. She pointed out that Untermeitingen was in the opposite direction from Nürnberg. She managed to argue that from there, it would make more sense to go to Ulm. In the upshot, Marc and Susanna agreed that they would go to Ulm, not that Marc thought it was a good idea, at all.

    Herr Egli, somehow, was left with the impression that Marc and the boy were going to Nürnberg. He fully concurred with this decision. He saw them across the bridge to the north bank of the Danube. After he went back, they returned and left Neuburg again through the southern gate. At least, now that Ingolstadt had fallen, a person could get in and out of Neuburg again. There were a lot of perfectly ordinary people going in the general direction of Augsburg. Very few soldiers, however, which was a considerable relief to Marc.





    To think that he had been considering settling down; becoming staid and middle aged. It was all a matter of predestination, of course, Leopold Cavriani realized. Clearly, God did not want him to become a respectable Genevan homebody yet.

    He gave the ladies a summary of what he had heard. Ulm, he reminded them, was a really beautiful city. Yes, they could go sight-seeing and shopping for lightweight items for which they felt an impelling need. Not, however, until he arranged for them to have a couple of husky escorts, which he could and would arrange. The city was packed with refugees, which meant that there would also be a good supply of criminals hoping to prey upon shoppers. Tourists were, under the circumstances, in very short supply.

    He was going to take a few days to plan. That had been the whole problem with the escape from Munich: no one had given him a chance to plan it; he had no opportunity to coordinate it, which had resulted in blisters and the absurd possibility that an archduchess might contract blood poisoning and die from pushing a wheelbarrow without gloves on her hands. He was still indignant about that, when he stopped to think. What was a facilitator for, if not to facilitate the projects of others? No, they had all made their own plans, leaving him to chase after them, without Marc.

    He worried briefly about Marc. Reminded himself firmly that these things were in the hands of a just and merciful God.

    This time, though....

    The old pilgrim route to Santiago da Compostella in Spain, the Jakobsweg, would be a possibility. Going south from Ulm; Oberdischingen, Biberach, Bad Waldsee, Weingarten, to Constance; seventy-five miles, more or less. They could cross the lake by boat and then continue on the pilgrimage route to Basel. It had certain advantages, the main one being that it was forty or so miles further east of Bernhard and Horn’s current theaters of operation than either of the others. The disadvantage, of course, was that it was also that many miles closer to Bavaria. Although Duke Maximilian was probably focused on Ingolstadt at the moment, he was undoubtedly capable of thinking about more than one thing at the same time.


    Leopold started with the thought that Ulm was packed with refugees and travelers, many of whom undoubtedly, like himself, would rather be somewhere else because they had relatives, or business, or.... Many of whom, undoubtedly, the Ulm city government would rather have go somewhere else, so that the city’s granaries would not have to feed them during a siege, to reduce the risks of disease that came with overcrowding.

    Surely, it should be possible to bring these common interests together. Not himself, of course. One did not wish to be conspicuous. But if one just mentioned something, here and there. He set out on another set of visits to his business colleagues. There were a few lunches and suppers at which possibilities were mentioned. Common interests emerged. Occasionally, he would insert a concrete suggestion.

    Sunday, of course, was a day of rest. A day for attending church; for family dinners to which, of course, men might invite their friends. If their friends were also business associates, why, that was only natural. If some of those business associates held positions on the city council, that was how city government worked.

    By noon on Monday, Cavriani was feeling much better.

    The convoy left on Tuesday morning, with an ultimate goal of Strassburg. It included approximately three hundred civilians who had found themselves in Ulm but who really wanted to be in various locations to the west and south of Ulm. Civilians, many of them well-armed, who could afford to pay to get there. There were approximately two hundred more refugees who could not afford to pay, but whose departure was aided by a generous grant from the city council, which also gave each of them three days’ worth of rations. Not generous or luxurious rations, but adequate, and certainly far less than those people would have eaten if they had remained in the city all winter. About fifty commercial freight wagons with their drivers, some with private guards. Safe-conducts from the imperial city for everyone concerned. Three full, reliable, companies of professional guards-those had been the largest expense, the reason why the fee for each paying civilian was comparatively high. They were not all trained to work with one another, but the men were experienced. Overall, it was a sufficiently large group that occasional small military companies moving through Swabia to forage would not be inclined to attack it.

    Raudegen was now the captain of one of these guard companies. He still believed that he recognized the archduchess. He still did not understand why he had received no replies to his urgent messages. His military experience, however, indeed, even part of it, more than qualified him for this simple job when he outlined it to the caravan organizer. He merely omitted his latest employment under Duke Maximilian from the resume he supplied.

    Cavriani was not the organizer of the convoy. All that he had done, as far as the public was concerned, was pay the necessary fee for himself and his relatives to travel with it. This, he thought to himself with great satisfaction, was precisely as it should be.

    He paid their way to Donaueschingen. They might need to continue on to Strasbourg, if it turned out not to be feasible to reach Basel, but, if so, he could pay the extra later. He could always ascribe a change in plan to news received in Donaueschingen.

    He intended to spend those travel days thinking about the next stage of the trip. The time spent in Ulm had delayed them, certainly, but in the long run, planning was almost always a good investment. Improvisation could sometimes bring quite flashy results. His cousin Giuseppi was good at improvisation. Leopold preferred advance planning, given the chance. It was a matter of temperament, perhaps.



    Cavriani was feeling reasonably pleased with himself when the convoy moved out of Ulm. Five miles down the road, less than half way to Ehingen, he was less so. Maria Anna, drawing her horse near to his, spoke softly. And in Italian.

    “Herr Cavriani. I am concerned about the captain of one of the guard companies. The one riding foremost now. He looks very much like a Bavarian military officer I saw several times during the wedding procession, between Passau and Freising. I cannot guarantee that it is the same man. I am by no means certain. And I believe that I have seen him before, since we left Neuburg. Once in Rennertshofen. Once since then. It may be coincidence; he may just be traveling in the same direction that we are. But I thought that I would at least mention it.”

    Cavriani had no way of knowing. At Ehingen, however, shortly before noon, he advised Maria Anna, Mary, and Veronica to drop back towards the rear. Then, in the midst of the town, they turned into a side street. By that time, the front of the procession, with the captain of whom Maria Anna was suspicious, was well out of sight in the turns and twists of the streets. Circling a few blocks within the walls of the town to let the remainder of the convoy clear out, they left by the southern rather than the western gate, cut down to Biberach, and stayed there for the night.

    From Biberach, they followed the valley of the Riss, the old pilgrim route, to Constance. Passing through Weingarten, they spent the second night in Ravensburg. Cavriani was developing a positive affection for well-fortified imperial cities. Although a sincere Genevan patriot himself, he had often tended to regard other city-states as nuisances, impeding trade as much as they advanced it with their stubborn guildsmen and obstreperous city councils. For travelers, though, a conveniently located series of cities was certainly a blessing in these troubled times.

    The third day, in the afternoon, they sold the horses and caught a fishing boat. The fishermen agreed to take them across Lake Constance, not directly, but to Kreuzlingen. Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, the man who bargained with them joked: “fisher’s Fritz fishes fresh fishes,” a classic tongue twister of the Bodensee. From Kreuzlingen, they walked along the south shore of the lake via Ermatingen, then cut over toward Schaffhausen, where Mary and Maria Anna greatly admired the waterfalls of the Rhine.

    They were not hurrying; they had to take Mary’s feet into consideration. It was, basically, just a matter of walking the rest of the way to Basel, along the Rhine, through the cantons of the Swiss Confederacy. The route was not strenuous; the remaining distance was only sixty miles. Cavriani heaved a sigh of relief.



    In Donaueschingen, Raudegen was swearing mightily to himself. The woman who was, he thought, the archduchess had disappeared from sight the first day out; he did not know precisely when or where she and her companions had turned away, or which direction they had taken.

    And the news, brought by courier from Ulm, was that Ingolstadt had fallen. His only choice was to go on with the convoy. It was, at least, a paying job; it might eventually lead him to another, more lucrative, one.

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