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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Fifty

       Last updated: Thursday, November 10, 2005 21:34 EST




    “I simply do not understand,” Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar said, “why all of them seem to be so surprised. I left the service of Gustavus Adolphus when the move seemed advantageous, after all. What caused them to expect that I would remain in French service once a different course of action became more beneficial?”

    Johann F. Freinsheim stood quietly, listening to the duke’s meditations. He sincerely hoped that Duke Bernhard didn’t ask for his opinion. He was not here to give his opinion. He was here to deliver a message from Margrave Friedrich V of Baden-Durlach.

    On the one hand, Duke Bernhard’s analysis seemed to be accurate. As far as Freinsheim could tell, “all of them” did appear to be surprised. They also appeared to be disapproving-most of them, at least. Certainly the French had been very surprised a few weeks earlier when the duke pulled his regiments away from their assigned position across from Mainz. He knew that definitely, having been working in the French chancery when it happened.

    Freinsheim realized that he was in no position to know Gustavus Adolphus’ mind, but the king of Sweden had certainly not hesitated to take advantage of the opportunity that Bernhard had offered to him, whether or not he was surprised by it; whether or not he he approved of it.

    Margrave Friedrich, certainly, was both surprised and disapproving. Freinsheim had come to the margrave at once, as soon as he succeeded in getting out of France. He felt obliged to him as well as to Professor Buxtorf for the timely warning he had received. Warnings in the plural-they had arrived by several ways. If he had stayed much longer, suspicion of collaboration with Duke Bernhard would have been almost certain to fall upon a German working in the translation division of the royal chancery. Under Cardinal Richelieu, it was common for suspicion to be followed by prompt action.

    Whereas, Freinsheim thought righteously, he had not been collaborating with Duke Bernhard at all. With somebody else, but not with Duke Bernhard, who was now looking at him impatiently. “Well?” he asked.

    Apparently the duke did want his opinion. “Margrave Friedrich’s father has been unswervingly loyal to the Protestant cause,” he began a little uncertainly. “Perhaps this has led him to cultivate a certain admiration for steadiness of purpose and for, ah....” His voice trailed off. “Keeping your word once you have given it” might not be the most appropriate thing for an emissary to say to the duke right now. “...consistency in pursuit of one’s goals,” he finished.

    “I have been quite consistent in the pursuit of my goals,” Duke Bernhard said blandly. “From beginning to end. I would advise Margrave Friedrich to devote some to consideration to what my goals are. If he is able to clarify that matter in his mind-which, by the way, I seriously doubt if the letter you just delivered is a typical example of the way he thinks-, then he may be moved to submit some slightly more acceptable proposal to me.”

    Duke Bernhard rose. “You may inform him that I do not regard his suggestions as an acceptable basis for beginning negotiations. If you care to wait, I will have my secretary draft a letter, so you may deliver a signed version, in writing.”

    Freinsheim inclined his head. “Thank you, Your Grace.”


    “The USE embassy is not really under siege,” Diane Jackson said. “That is not the right way to say it. I told Frank so, this morning. I sent a radio. Even though Swiger and Gordon act like we are under siege. We are just as comfortable as we were before the city council’s ‘honor guard’ showed up. They let the grocer and the butcher deliver food every day.” She nodded her head. “Sometimes they even let visitors come, if they have diplomatic credentials. Like you.”

    She nodded at Margrave Friedrich V of Baden-Durlach who was sitting at the foot of the table. There was a member of his staff at his right. The margrave had brought a copy of the note which the duke had sent in response to his suggestion for negotiations.

    Diane read the note, listened to the margrave, and answered rather drily, “Duke Bernhard has a point. It is not normal for the man with the biggest army to go away because someone else tells him that he should play nice. Maybe he did not pay attention to his kindergarten teacher.”

    Margrave Friedrich looked at her, wholly baffled. Then at the others around the table. It made him rather uneasy that he was, other than his secretary and a young up-timer called Tony who was also taking notes, as well as sitting next to Frau Dreeson and whispering in her ear, the only man present. A vague echo of the Scots pastor’s pamphlet First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women drifted through his mind. These four. Frau Simpson’s presence, he could understand. Somewhat. The archduchess, perhaps, although she certainly had no official status among the up-timers, since much of the focus of the negotiations was upon her person. But Frau Dreeson? He had not brought along the wife of the mayor of Basel to the discussion.



    Frau Admiral Simpson smiled kindly. “Diane is referring to an up-time book, Your Grace, about the importance of what children learn during their earliest years. Our schools for small children are called kindergartens, which is a German word, but which does not yet exist in 1634.”

    Margrave Friedrich nodded. Certainly, everyone realized the importance of molding a child. Even the bible spoke of it. “Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

    “You think that Duke Bernhard was badly brought up?” he asked.

    “I understand,” Mary Simpson said, “that he was the youngest of a very large family of boys. He was really just a baby when his father died. Rulers or not, they did not have much money. I have spoken to Wilhelm Wettin, more than once. Duke Bernhard’s allowance from the Saxe-Weimar lands, under their father’s will, was much less than the annual salary of a colonel in one of the regiments that your father commands, Margrave Friedrich. Nor were the sons to have separate lands of their own. They were to govern Saxe-Weimar as a committee, so to speak, with Wilhelm, as the oldest survivor, serving as CEO-chief executive officer, that-or chairman of the board. I am not sure if there is a down-time word quite equivalent.”

    “And why,” Margrave Friedrich asked, “do you see that this has caused Duke Bernhard to betray first one Kriegsherr and now another? ‘War lord?’ Would that be the correct word.”

    “Literally, yes,” Mary answered. “But ‘war lord’ has different connotations for us. It sounds more, well, feudal. Old fashioned. Obsolete. A Kriegsherr is really something more straightforward. A ruler who employs a military contractor. Your problem with the ethics of Duke Bernhard is that he does not fulfill his contracts. Not that he violates some kind of mystical oath of fealty.”

    “He has broken oaths,” Margrave Friedrich said rather stiffly.

    “That is true,” Mary answered. “But what we are talking about this morning, I think, is not that he has broken oaths, but why he has done it. He challenged you to understand why, didn’t he? If I understand this letter correctly?”

    “At first, when he pulled back from Mainz,” Margrave Friedrich said, “my father’s assumption was that it was part of a wider movement of French troops. That some other regiments would move into the Mainz front, and that he was coming back against General Horn here in Swabia, that he would probe through Wuerttemberg against the USE frontier, possibly against Thuringia-Franconia itself at its most vulnerable point.”

    Veronica Dreeson spoke up for the first time. “That was what Henry thought, too, and the other men in Grantville. They sent everyone they could spare down to that point earlier this summer. They called up a lot of the reservists like Jack Whitney. They sent them down to Horn.”

    The young man, Tony, next to her, put her words into spoken French at the same time he was noting them down in the minutes.

    Margrave Friedrich felt obscurely comforted, though why it should be comforting to hear that the opinions of an experienced military leader and diplomat such as his father were shared by the mayor of a small city was not clear to him.

    “But he did not attack there,” Maria Anna pointed out. “He took his troops into Alsace and into the Franche-Comte. Now he has moved into the Breisgau and the rest of the Austrian lands in southern Swabia. He has not, in truth, moved against General Horn this whole summer. If they meet on the battlefield this season, it will be because General Horn seeks him out.”

    “There was another book, up-time,” Mary Simpson said. “I am not sure whether Grantville has a copy any more. I can check with the library after I get home, if anyone is interested. It was written by an Englishwoman. The title was A Room of One’s Own, or something similar. Margrave Friedrich, I think that you might, possibly, ask Duke Bernhard if he intends to obtain a room of his own. I am sure that he would prefer not to hear the option presented in those exact words, of course. It might be more prudent to ask him if all his moves have been calculated to bring him an independent principality of his own.”

    Freinsheim looked up, startled.

    “Perhaps,” she continued, “since he was always the ‘baby brother’ in his own family, a principality larger than any lands that the older Saxe-Weimar sons have any reasonable prospect of ruling.”

    Diane Jackson reached behind her. “Lee Swiger drew me a map,” she said. “It is not big enough, but this is the biggest piece of paper that the printer had. This is three of the biggest pieces of paper the printer had. No tape here, down-time, but I put flour paste from the kitchen on strips of paper and glue them together from behind.” She rolled it out on the table.

    “We are here, in Basel. This is the Rhine River. Here are Becky and Gretchen, in Amsterdam, at the other end. This, on this side, this is what was last year. This, on the other side, this is what is now.”

    Maria Anna understood the implications of the two drawings first. She stood up, pointing with her finger. “Duke Bernhard has occupied a lot of territory on the Upper Rhine. It’s almost as large as the Swiss Confederacy itself, without conflicting in any way with the Confederacy’s cantons. It draws almost equally from what were French lands and what were the lands of the Holy Roman Empire. That is important, yes. A new principality within the empire. Mary’s ‘room of one’s own’. But also,” she pointed, “along here. Your cartographer has not drawn it, Your Excellency, but along here is crucial. If he holds this, maintains his hold on this, he will have broken the Spanish Road from Italy to the Netherlands. That means...”

    Everyone started to chatter at once.



    “Diane,” Maria Anna said. “I will write for you what I see here. It is very important. I will give you a copy. Tony, you must send radio for the whole window tonight, I think, without stopping. I will do this if you agree to send it to Amsterdam, that they give it to my cousin, to Don Fernando, and to the king of Sweden at the same time. Not first one and then the other. Together.”

    She turned to Margrave Friedrich almost fiercely.

    “And both of them must have it before you send your envoy back to the duke and tell him what we have seen. Do you understand that??

    The margrave nodded.

    Maria Anna continued. “Whether he can hold it for long? That is hard to predict. There are so many things which might contribute, both for and against, and I am only starting to think. If my brother and Duke Maximilian combine against him, here in the south, they might be able to drive him out of the lands on the right bank of the Rhine, at least. But there is no way, any more, that they could coordinate with Spanish coming from Italy to create a victory such as Nördlingen was, up-time. Not until after he has been pushed back very far.”

    “You know about Nördlingen?” Mary Simpson asked.

    “Oh, yes,” Maria Anna said with some surprise. “Last winter, before all this began, at home in Vienna, I was thinking about what I had read about the Battle of Nördlingen in that other world of yours, and how proud Papa had been of Ferdinand. I think I have studied all the things that your encyclopedias said about this war. And some of the books. Father Lamormaini did not want me to have all of them, of course, because I am a woman. But I am also a Habsburg. The Jesuits could not refuse to obtain the things for my brothers and they shared them with me. And with my sister Cecelia, of course. We have to be prepared for our responsibilities.”

    Mary nodded.

    “And, of course, there are more problems. First, of course, the way the map is at the moment, General Horn is here.” Maria Anna drew an oval with here forefinger. “That means that my brother and Duke Maximilian could not even reach Duke Bernhard without somehow going through, or around, General Horn’s forces. Going around is not possible, politically.” Her finger draw two quick arrows on the second version of the map. “Not through the Swiss Confederacy; not through the State of Thuringia-Franconia. Either would mean a major escalation of the war. Duke Maximilian cannot afford one, just now. My brother, I believe, although I have not been able to speak with him since last spring, will not want one.”

    “Even if he did,” the archduchess flashed a smile, “somehow, I do not think that the king of Sweden will wish to withdraw General Horn so that others may pass here,” she drew her finger along the northern border of the Swiss Confederacy, “to confront Duke Bernhard, do you? There would be too much of a possibility that they might change the direction of their campaign.” She drew another arrow with her finger, this one curving north through Baden and Wuerttemberg at Mainz and the Rhine Palatinate.

    “No, I suspect-suspect only, you understand-that in the long run, the king of Sweden will find the opening of the gap in the French defenses at Mainz and the cutting of the Spanish Road to be sufficiently great gifts to him that he will swallow his pride and allow Duke Bernhard his independent principality, if he agrees to play nice in his corner of the kindergarten sandbox. Even if he pretends to agree to play nice.”

    Margrave Friedrich nodded. He was thinking, of course, about what this reconfiguration of the map might mean for Baden.

    Maria Anna was looking at the others. “But I will not be his tool, you understand. I will not let that heretic use me against my family. I will not be a brood mare through whom he can strengthen his children’s claims to the lands he has won.”

    Margrave Friedrich nodded.

    The archduchess looked at him fiercely, but phrased her next statement diplomatically. “You will be so kind as to let Herr Wettstein know this, please, as he speaks with the city council. And, if possible for you, Herr Cavriani as well.”

    Freinsheim mumbled something.

    “Don’t mumble,” Diane Jackson said sharply. “It is not polite.”

    Startled, Freinsheim said, “If Wettstein knows it, it’s damned sure that Cavriani will, too.”

    The ambassadress smiled. “Much better. It is not polite to mumble. They teach that in kindergarten, too. I know. I had three sons about your age, before we came here. They were left up-time.”

    Freinsheim looked down at his notes, a little embarrassed.

    Margrave Friedrich was more than a little startled. It had never occurred to him to inquire as to whether or not the up-time general and his exotic wife had children. As to whether the up-timers in general had families, or how they lived among themselves when they were not upsetting the political and confessional map of Europe.




General Horn’s Headquarters, Swabia

    “Overall,” Gustav Horn said, “I preferred commanding Finnish troops in Livonia to commanding USE troops in Swabia. Of course, Christina was alive then. I preferred my life when Christina was part of it, even if it did mean that I had Axel Oxenstierna for a father-in-law.”

    “Perhaps,” Burt Threlkeld said, “you ought to get married again. If you found a really nice wife, maybe she could help your daughter get over her nightmares about the way she was treated three years ago and how her little brother died. My wife Debbie could help match you up with someone, if you don’t think your wife has to be a Swedish noblewoman. You know. A nice child psychologist or something. You’re not like General Banér. You’ve been to the university and everything. It would probably work out fine.”

    General Horn glared at his up-time military adviser.

    “It doesn’t do you any good to ignore it,” Burt persisted. “Shit happens when you’re in the army. They taught us that back when I was in. You thought your wife was getting better, so you went back to the king’s headquarters and then she died. You trusted a junior officer to take care of your kids, but he made off with the money you provided to him and left them to die in a wet cellar. Your son did; the girl was tough enough to live and tell about it. You’re going to have to deal with it. That much, at least, I got out of all the counseling they made us sit through in reserves.

    “But not this minute. The rest of the staff is coming, so you’re facing a meeting and you’ve got to decide what to do.”

    He moved to his customary position behind Horn. Whatever he had expected he might end up doing when he was sent down from Grantville to be the general’s liaison with Grantville, psychological counselor had not been in the job description. He prepared himself for another protracted, indecisive meeting.

    The long and short of it was that General Horn did not like to fight battles. General Horn liked maneuvering around, keeping the other guy off balance. Especially when the other guy was Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, whom he just couldn’t stand anyway. As far as Horn was concerned, having a large, powerful, army available was an important piece on the board, in and of itself. A battle would risk this; especially an all-out battle with Bernhard. Bernhard might smash his pieces, take them off the board. Bernhard really was a damned good general once he managed to close against the other guy in a battle.

    What was more, by refusing to fight a battle, Horn infuriated Bernhard. He seemed to think that scored him points, somehow. So, for two years now, they had been marching and counter-marching, first in one place and then the other, all over the map of Swabia, Baden, Wuerttemberg, leaving disease and destruction in their paths, but never coming to grips.

    Burt gave Horn credit. For most of those two years, he had succeeded in keeping Duke Bernhard occupied. The Swabian front, the way Horn handled things, had been a constant distraction, but never an immediate dire threat to Gustavus Adolphus while he dealt with the League of Ostend and never a big drain on Sweden’s resources. Since the king couldn’t just wave his hand and make Duke Bernhard go away, that was probably a good thing.

    Now, Burt knew, Horn had direct orders to proceed to Rheinfelden as fast as possible and confront Bernhard, who was threatening Basel.

    Would he?

    All he could do, Burt supposed, was wait and find out. Gustavus Adolphus was not likely to fire the man who had been Oxenstierna’s son-in-law. There certainly weren’t enough up-timers here to conduct a mutiny, even if they wanted to. Aside from the two kids, Kyle Bourne, the radio operator, and Bob Barnes, the EMT, who spent most of their time training down-timers to do their jobs at a pinch, there were only four besides himself. Three were veterans; two just reactivated from the reserves when things started to heat up down here-Jack Whitney, who had grown up in Morgantown even though he had relatives in Grantville and had married Jessica Ellis; Johnnie Sloan-Johnnie, like Jack, had been in the Gulf War.

    Then the two who had been here as long as Burt. Gerry Pierpoint, a peace-time warrior. A techie, too. He didn’t sit in on policy sessions; he talked to miners and sappers and artillery guys. Plus Marty Thornton. Marty? Well, as a soldier, he was very good at carrying a clipboard and keeping track of things like schedules for the sentries. Armies needed those, too, although why Horn’s army needed Marty was beyond Burt’s comprehension. Horn had hundreds of down-timers who could keep track of sentry schedules.

    That was all, in an army of eight thousand, plus baggage train and camp followers. Not very much leaven for a very large loaf. The up-timers definitely did not call the tune in Swabia.




    The city council meeting had been very long. The leitmotif of the majority appeared to be a desire to avoid destruction of Basel’s resources. That, naturally, meant that the council would have to avoid having Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar’s army occupy the city’s territory. Definitely avoid having it occupy the lands on the left bank; he must be dissuaded from crossing the Rhine.

    They could, if necessary, sacrifice Riehen. Temporarily, of course.

    Johann Rudolf Wettstein advanced passionate objections to this course of action, on the grounds that if Duke Bernhard ended up in possession of the rest of the right bank of the Rhine, he was unlikely to prove sufficiently accommodating to return Riehen to Basel.

    Someone pointed out that Wettstein, as the Landvogt in Riehen, was possibly not completely dispassionate in his analysis.

    Wettstein replied that the Riehen militiamen, who had stayed to defend Basel’s interests, were, after all, the subjects of the city council. He also mentioned in passing the customs revenues that the right bank holdings generated.

    Unfortunately, someone else commented that Duke Bernhard’s demands could be met fairly easily, thus sparing Riehen from all the anticipated tribulations. The duke was not even asking that Basel itself violate the diplomatic immunity of the USE embassy; merely that the city council not offer opposition to his sending a limited force across the bridge to take custody of an embassy guest. A guest who was not, it should be noted, a citizen of the USE.

    Gustavus Adolphus, someone said, would look rather ridiculous if he tried presenting himself as the appropriate champion of the interests of a Habsburg archduchess.

    Actually, Wettstein thought, that had turned out to sow a nice amount of confusion, since at the mention of the term “Habsburg,” the discussion veered off into the issue of whether the presence of the archduchess might offer sufficient leverage to obtain the legal independence of the Swiss cantons, and and one of the guildmasters pointed out that if they let Duke Bernhard abduct her from the USE embassy, that opportunity would be dry up.

    Margrave Friedrich V of Baden-Durlach requested permission to address the council on behalf of his father.

    The council refused.

    He requested permission to address the council on behalf of the emperor of the USE.

    The council refused.

    They adjourned without a decision. Wettstein talked to Buxtorf.



    Maria Anna tried very hard not to show her exasperation. It was almost dark. Margrave Friedrich V had called, telling Diane that the council had refused to hear his arguments. Pastor Zwinger, the Calvinist, Professor Buxtorf’s brother-in-law, had brought information that the council had decided nothing-and that the date stated in Duke Bernhard’s ultimatum, the date when he would cease to negotiate, was now less than a week away.

    The soldiers inside the embassy would not let her close enough to the windows to get a really good look at what was happening outside. Sergeant Swiger appeared to be afraid that someone would shoot her, which he said was not going to happen on his watch. The ambassadress would not reverse his decision.

    In fact, since the Basel city council was no longer permitting Herr Cavriani and Herr Wettstein to come into the USE Embassy, she was getting almost all the information she received from Mary Simpson, who herself was getting it only second-hand from Diane through Tony Adducci, as well as the radio.

    She was a guest, with no more status than any other guest, she thought with frustration. But-she reached into her pocket.

    Frau Jackson had authorized her to send four messages. The other morning, she had only sent three.

    This was the time of day when Tony sent messages radio messages again. Mentally writing as she walked, Maria Anna headed upstairs to his office.

    Tony confirmed it. Diane had authorized four messages; the archduchess had only sent three, so she could send another. “To Amsterdam,” the archduchess said. “For Don Fernando.”

    “Most honored cousin. Basel trying to hold me hostage. Basel guards around USE embassy no longer permit visitors. Duke Bernhard on the border with army, trying to get permission to abduct me. Would prefer not to become the so-called guest of either. Should I run again? If so, which way? Maria Anna.”

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