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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Forty Eight

       Last updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 20:46 EDT




    As soon as Tony Adducci set up the radio before dawn the next day, the messages started coming in. The most urgent was from Frank Jackson in Magdeburg, via Grantville, to Lee Swiger. “Get Diane and the rest of the staff out of there as soon as you can. Reasons to follow.”

    Tony looked out the window. He would pass the message on to Swiger, but none of them were going anywhere any time soon. An “honor guard” of Basel municipal guards surrounded the whole building, as it had since the previous evening.

    There had been more important information to send out the night before, so he hadn’t informed Grantville or Magdeburg about the “honor guard.” Now, on his own initiative, he wrote up a short message describing its presence and sent it out.

    He was sort of glad that Mike or Mr. Piazza would have to tell Frank. He sure wouldn’t want to be the one who did it.

    Every now and then, he wondered whether he should really start thinking of these men he had known all his life, friends of his dad’s, as Mr. Stearns and General Jackson, now that they were important. Mr. Piazza had always been Mr. Piazza, of course. He was the principal.



    The archduchess turned up in the radio office. Tony thought that she seemed to be a pleasant, polite, sort of lady, not at all what he would have expected Emperor Ferdinand II’s daughter to be like. She had authorization to send four messages, signed by Diane. Okay.

    The first one went to Amsterdam, to be given to Don Fernando. “Most honored cousin. Congratulations on new status. What about dispensations? Yours from vows? Mine from Bavarian betrothal? Ours for first cousins to marry? If you have them already, we owe Cardinal Bedmar a favor. Not to mention the pope. Maria Anna.”

    Tony sent it off. Thanks to his Aunt Bernadette’s dinner table conversation, he even pretty much understood it. The archduchess seemed to be a practical sort of lady. In fact, she sort of reminded Tony of Aunt Bernadette. He wondered if Don Fernando knew what he was getting himself into. Pleasant and polite or not, if Tony ever got married, he didn’t intend to pick a wife who reminded him of Aunt Bernadette.

    The second one went to Amberg, to Duke Ernst. “Thank you for your kindness to Dona Mencia. Maria Anna Oe.” No problem there.

    The third one to Amsterdam again, for Dona Mencia de Mendoza. “Where is Susanna? Maria Anna.”

    Tony sent it, wondering who on earth Susanna might be and how she was involved in all of this. Code? None of his business, he told himself sternly.



    Johann Rudolf Wettstein looked at the gathered city council of Basel and thought, “the whole lot of you have gone utterly insane.” What he said was, “Gentlemen, I am not fully persuaded that the course of action suggested by my honored colleague is the most prudent one that the city could adopt. Certainly not without full prior consultation with the other cantons.”

    Of course, he had notified the council of the arrival of Archduchess Maria Anna and her escort after he had safely seen them inside the walls of the USE embassy. He had not expected-really, really, had not expected-that any member of the city council would suggest holding the archduchess hostage as a pawn in negotiations to obtain Austria’s legal recognition of the independence of the Swiss Confederacy from the Habsburgs. Not that it wasn’t a laudable goal. He fully intended to work toward it himself. It was one of the things that, he hoped, could be achieved in any final peace treaty when the current war finally dragged to an exhausted close.

    He had expected even less that once the nitwit had suggested interning the archduchess, or at the very least preventing her from leaving Basel, the council would surround the USE embassy. Nor that now, the next morning, the entire small council with both mayors and the two guild chairmen would actually be sitting here, discussing it seriously rather than immediately dropping it into the cesspit of bad ideas where it belonged. The council had been called into session at dawn. Now, at noon, there was a motion on the floor. The fools were considering trying it. They were actually considering trying it.



    Lee Swiger looked at the special edition of the Basel newspaper. It had what amounted to a glaring black headline by down-time journalistic standards: eighteen point type across two columns of the front page.

    Nobody knew who had leaked. Somebody, without the slightest doubt, had leaked. Suspicion lay in the direction of the Basel city council. It simply had too many members for successful secret-keeping.

    Archduchess Maria Anna in

    USE Embassy in Basel.

    Wife of Admiral Simpson and

    Wife of Grantville Mayor with Her.

    Future Plans Unannounced.

    Since the Basel newspaper had it, that meant that every stringer in the city would have sent out a copy of this, plus whatever gossip he could pick up, to his own paper. Which meant that the shit had hit the fan.

    The other two columns of the front page had a considerably smaller headline.

    Peace Between United States

    of Europe and Netherlands.

    Don Fernando Becomes King.

    Stadholder To Receive

    Position of High Honor.

    Diane had issued a press release the night before. Too bad that the treaty had been demoted to second in importance, but naturally the readers in Basel would be more interested in news with a local focus.




    “I feel,” Margrave Friedrich V of Baden-Durlach said rather stiffly the next afternoon, “that in view of my position as a loyal ally of Emperor Gustavus Adolphus, I should have been provided with this information in a timely manner by the embassy of the United States of Europe. Certainly, I should not have been left to read it in the newspapers.”

    “We sent a note about the treaty,” Diane Jackson answered. “A courier brought it to you yesterday. He got receipt from your doorman. You read it in the paper first only because you read the newspaper before you open your mail.”

    “And in regard to the archduchess?”

    “It was not my news to tell you,” Diane said stubbornly. “They did not told me to tell you. Mike did not told me to tell you. Frank did not tell me. Ed Piazza did not tell me. Nobody telled me to told you.”

    If the margrave had been polite to her this past summer, Diane thought, she would have been nice to him. She would have spoken French, a language that he knew. However, he had been rude, so she spoke English to remind him that she was an up-timer from Grantville.

    In moments of stress, even after all these years, she still tended to lose control over English verb tenses, particularly when the verbs were themselves irregular. At the moment, this was causing the margrave’s translator some confusion. He thought that he grasped the gist of the matter.

    “The ambassadress had not received instructions, Sire,” he said to his employer.

    Margrave Friedrich was fairly sure that whatever the ambassadress had said, it amounted to more than that. There had been several personal names in her statement.

    He cleared his throat. “Ask her,” he said, “if she has received instructions from Gustavus Adolphus in regard to the archduchess.”

    “I have not,” Diane said, “seen any.”

    This was quite true. She had come to the radio room that morning as soon as she heard Tony opening the door, even before he had time to set up the gear. She had been waiting.

    The expression on his face as he read the incoming message had been quite horrified. After he had given her a short verbal summary of Frank’s latest news from Horn about the placement of Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar’s troops and the emperor’s belief that Bernhard would attempt to coerce the Basel city council into turning the embassy’s “guests” over to him, she said, “I do not wish to see this.” Then. “Send it to Mike now. Ask him what to do. Do not tell Mary. Or anybody. Not Lee Swiger. Nobody. You understand me, Tony? Nobody else at all. When you are done sending to Mike, put it in the box.” She pointed to the container where he kept less urgent messages that he would transcribe during the day. “Put it at the bottom. Do not have time to get to it.”

    Tony understood her. He nodded.

    “Do not have time to get to it until Mike sends the answer. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow morning. Not until then.”

    Now she looked back at the margrave. She had spoken with him very little. She was not sure whether he would be friend or foe. But, surely, if it had nothing to do with the archduchess, he would be told about the troops.

    “I did hear from the office of Emperor Gustavus Adolphus,” she said. “Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar is bringing the main strength of his army toward Basel. He has left only the smaller part in Alsace. You can expect him to be on the right bank of the Rhine within a week.”

    Margrave Friedrich nodded. This was good information, so she was not trying to mislead him. He had received the same news from other sources.

    The ambassadress was frowning at him. “This I warn you. I tell you that I warn everyone fair. I tell Herr Wettstein, also, for the city council.”

    “Perhaps,” Margrave Friedrich suggested, “I should be the one to contact the council. They are more likely to accept the authenticity of the warning if it comes from the son of one of the Protestant generals than from...”

    Diane smiled. “Than from a foreign woman about so high?” She held up her hand. It didn’t come far above her seated head. “I say it wrong again. I told him already. Herr Wettstein. It is done.”

    She looked at him. “Now we talk about those guards that the city council put around the embassy, no? We talk about ‘diplomatic immunity.’ If you want to help, I speak French. If not, I speak English.”

    “Let us,” Margrave Friedrich said, “speak French. As a beginning.”



    “They are completely insane,” Wettstein said to Cavriani and Buxtorf. “We are facing invasion by a man who is completely ruthless and who...”

    “Who,” Buxtorf said pragmatically, “can easily overrun Riehen, which is the part of Basel for which you, specifically, are responsible.”

    “Well, yes. That is why, if you have had a chance to look at the bridge for the past several days, the elderly, the women, the children of Riehen have been crossing it onto this bank. In two more days, I believe, only able-bodied men will be in Riehen. I wish that there would be more able-bodied men in Riehen, but the council refuses to send the militia across. Should Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar appear, they are content to meet him at the river. I am not.”

    “Have they authorized you to resist him on the right bank?” Cavriani asked.

    “I have not asked for authorization,” Wettstein admitted. “But that is not what we are talking about. At least, not what I was trying to talk about. Why, in the name of all that is sacred, staring a very real peril in the face, does the council still spend its time talking about this archduchess. If Bernhard comes into the city, believe me, even if they somehow get her into their hands, which I do not believe that they can, she will very rapidly be removed. Bernhard will not care a fig for how she might be used to negotiate the independence of the Swiss Confederacy. He will have his own purposes. There are a half-dozen ways that he could use her as a counter against the Swede or against the Austrians.”

    “A half dozen?” Buxtorf said. “Surely not that many.”

    Cavriani started counting on his fingers. “One. Marry her and through the marriage gain a hereditary claim, or some color of a hereditary claim, to the Habsburg territories here in Swabia, where he is trying to build his power base. Two. Turn her over to the Spanish to hold hostage against Don Fernando, in return for Spain’s recognition of his position in the Franche Comte. Three. Turn her over to Gustavus Adolphus in return for his recognition of Bernhard as an independent ruler in Swabia. Four.”

    “Never mind,” Buxtorf said.

    “All of which,” Wettstein said, “involve his either persuading the council to violate the grounds of the USE embassy and turn her over to him, or his invading the city and removing her by force.”

    “Where,” Cavriani asked, “is General Horn?”

    “I would dearly love to know,” Wettstein answered. “Which is why I am here. I am hoping that you can find out.”

    “The banks are doing all they can,” Cavriani assured him.

    “I’m an academic. A scholar. Not a politician. Certainly not a soldier,” Buxtorf protested.

    “I still think you can assist us in finding out,” Wettstein said. “You do know Professor Wilhelm Schickard, don’t you?”

    “Of Tuebingen in Wuerttemberg? Well, of Tuebingen when the university there was still functioning, before the war closed it down. Yes, of course I do. An excellent mathematician. Also something of a mechanical tinkerer. The late astronomer Kepler used his calculating box in preparing the tables when he published some of his observations. Really, of course, Schickard was professor of Hebrew. His professional association with my father and myself has been in that capacity. We correspond regularly, even though he is Lutheran and I am Reformed. He is in Magdeburg, now, working for...” Buxtorf looked up. “for Duke Hermann of Hesse-Rotenburg, the USE Secretary of State, in regard to the establishment of a mapping service.”

    Leopold Cavriani inclined his head. “I believe that you also know a young man named Johann Heinrich Boecler?”

    Buxtorf thought a little longer. “Yes, or I have heard of him, at least, from Matthaeus Bernegger. Boecler was one of Bernegger’s students. Very promising, he said. Boecler is now, umm, the secretary of Duke Ernst of Saxe-Weimar in the Upper Palatinate. I believe that the duke is in Ingolstadt, isn’t he, arranging for a new city government?”

    Cavriani nodded. “With quite a few soldiers, to the best of my knowledge, although the newspapers indicate that General Banér will be moving his main forces now that the siege has been successfully completed. And with a radio.”

    Buxtorf’s mind was going off on an apparent tangent. “Of course, Bernegger is a good friend of Schickard, also. Bernegger translated Galileo’s work from the Italian vernacular into Latin, so it would be accessible to scholars, and published it at his own expense. Thus frustrating simultaneously both Galileo's effort at one-upmanship and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. It was a great service to the scientific community.”

    “Why is it important that Bernegger is a friend of Schickard?” Wettstein sounded a trifle impatient.

    “Your pardon, Councillor Wettstein. I am thinking like a teacher, I am afraid,” Buxtorf said. “Bernegger has more former students than just Boecler, you know. Many of them will know of the friendship between the two men. Since Schickard is now in the service of the USE, that might predispose them to cooperate with requests they receive from him. Bernegger maintains close touch with the alumni of his department, you know. Almost, as with young Freinsheim, in a fatherly manner.” He smiled. “I believe he has some reason to assume in that particular instance that he may well become the young man’s father. Or, at least, his father-in-law. But that is a digression. Although Strassburg is an imperial city, it is, still, in the midst of Alsace. There must be some concern there, in the city council and at the university, about what would happen-just how long it could maintain its independence-if someone with the temperament of Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar governed all the lands surrounding it and if...”

    “If what?” Wettstein asked.

    “If there were no longer a Holy Roman Empire to be at least the symbol to which it owed its allegiance. If there were no longer a Holy Roman Emperor, which likely there will not be after Ferdinand II dies. Strassburg must be concerned, just as Nürnberg worries whether the city can maintain sovereignty against the State of Thuringia-Franconia and the USE.”

    “So if the Strassburg council is more alert than that of Basel, you are thinking, they may be taking measures?” Cavriani interjected.

    “If not taking measures, at least gathering information.” Buxtorf rested the tips of his fingers against one another. “Bernegger’s students have been placed in chanceries all over the German states. There is at least one, Freinsheim himself, in the French service.”

    “The future son-in-law? That,” Wettstein said, “I did not know. But it is all to the good. Can you give me a list of these students, and where they are?”

    “I don’t want to know precisely what you plan to do with it,” Buxtorf said. “My position, like that of my father, is precarious enough because our academic specialty more or less requires us to stand as intermediaries between Basel’s Jewish community and the council. That introduces a certain element of, shall we say, precariousness into our lives. I was certainly old enough to know what was going on when the council jailed my father for attending the circumcision of the son of one of his linguistic assistants. I do not want to provide it with any more reasons to look at me with doubt, although things have been better these last three years.”

    “I am sure,” Wettstein said, “that having the head pastor of the Reformed churches of Basel as your brother-in-law does provide great spiritual support.”

    Cavriani smiled again. “Though it might have a rather damping effect on the conversations at the family dinner table.”

    “Oh,” Buxtorf said, “Theodor Zwinger is not a difficult man. No older than I am. He came into his office very young after several older pastors died of the plague, one after another. And quite well-traveled you know, Leopold, should you ever need to consult him.”

    “Need to consult him?”

    “In connection with these up-timers,” Buxtorf said. “During his student years, he did not just spend time in Heidelberg, Leiden, and Geneva. He went to England.”




    “Herr Wettstein,” Mary Simpson said. “How kind of you to pass through the barricades out there to come calling upon us here.” She looked out the window. “But was it wise?”

    “Probably not,” Wettstein admitted. “But I do need to speak with Her Excellency if I may. I consider the matter to be rather urgent.”

    Mary took him to Diane’s office.

    “Tony can’t sent your messages now,” Diane Jackson said. “It is technical. Very complicated. It is about bouncing sound off the sky. Tony says it works like this.”

    She reached into her pocket and pulled out a tiny ball. “Here, I am a radio. The ball is the sound. The ceiling is the sky. I throw the ball to the ceiling. It bounces down to you. At least, if you are in the right place to catch it.” She gave the little ball a toss toward the ceiling; Wettstein caught it.

    “Me, I do not understand radio. But I believe what they tell me about it, just as religious people have faith in things they do not see. Can you come back just before the sun has set? Will set?”

    Wettstein shook his head. “I have to attend a special meeting of the small council.” He was examining the little ball carefully and bounced it once or twice on the floor. “Can I just leave the messages here? Can this ‘radio’ send them without my presence, if I write them down? Or must I be with them, just as I must be in a room to sign a letter?”

    “Tony can send them and say that they are from you. But I will ask him questions. Who do they go to? What do they say? And he will tell me. See, I tell you the truth.”

    Wettstein nodded absentmindedly. “What,” he asked, “is this ball made of?”

    “Oh,” Diane said. “That is rubber. It is not just for toys. Very useful. Lots of things are made of rubber. You can borrow it, if you want. Bounce it at your city council to impress them.”



    “Wettstein sent what?” Mary Simpson asked.

    “A half-dozen messages,” Tony Adducci said. “The main one was to a guy named Boecler. I put out that to two locations, Duke Ernst’s radio in Amberg and General Banér’s, if he’s still around Ingolstadt. No way to tell which one will reach him first. Just a short message, no outgoing information, so to speak. It was a couple of questions with a list of a dozen or so more men to whom he was to send them on. Same message to Grantville, to be forwarded to Professor Schickard. Him I met before we left Magdeburg this year. Another half-dozen names to send the questions on to. A couple to Amsterdam, to be sent on to guys at the university in Leiden. A couple more to Mainz, to go to the university of Heidelberg. They’re to get the answers back here, somehow, preferably by way of any radio set-up they can reach, with copies of everything to General Horn and a plea for him to get himself down to Rheinfelden just as fast as he can scamper. Plus, anybody who can is supposed to notify a guy named Freinsheim-I never heard of him-to get out of France.”



    “I can’t go into the USE embassy, now” Wettstein said a couple of days later. “Given the position the council is taking, if I went in, it would be interpreted as a declaration that I am changing my allegiance from Basel to Gustavus Adolphus. I can’t do that. I have to stay to organize the defense of Riehen. That is where my duty lies. I have done all that I can to assist the ambassadress.”

    “The last time I tried to go in,” Cavriani said, “the council’s guards told me that I was not authorized, because I have no diplomatic credentials.”

    Johann Buxtorf fingered his beard. “I will see what I can manage.”



    Theodor Zwinger delivered Wettstein’s final warning about the city council’s intentions. Not even the guards posted by the council itself would turn back Basel’s head pastor if he chose to call upon a foreign embassy.

    The embassy staff already had armaments in place, even before the warning. The ambassadress herself was occupied; Frau Admiral Simpson received him. He gave her Herr Wettstein’s letter. She offered him a cup of the novel “coffee” beverage; he accepted. After his first sip, she mentioned that some people preferred it with cream and sugar. These were on the tray. He accepted again, although he noticed that she drank hers without them.

    They discussed potatoes for some time; Zwinger’s father had been one of the earliest European scientists to provide a thorough description of this new world plant and its medicinal properties, particularly in the prevention of scurvy. Zwinger had heard that in this “up-time” it had become a staple food, almost as much in use as grains?

    The Frau Admiral introduced him to Frau Dreeson. They discussed the ecclesiastical policies of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria in the Upper Palatinate during the 1620s and found themselves to be of one accord, which was quite gratifying, although he found her frequent use of the phrase “damned Bavarians” somewhat distasteful in a woman.

    Thus he stayed long enough to be polite. He did not see the Austrian archduchess, but then he had not expected to. The city council’s guards closed their barricades behind him when he left.

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