1624: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS — snippet 29

 

1634: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS – snippet 29:

 

 

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

 

            The Swede’s regent of the Upper Palatinate was equally puzzled. “Why is she coming? Why not?” Duke Ernst asked. He threw up his hands. “Tell me why I should be surprised.”

 

            In 1628, Duke Maximilian had demanded that all residents of the Upper Palatinate either become Catholic within six months or leave the country. Just in Amberg, the capital city, about ten percent of the citizens had left.

 

            Duke Ernst continued. “Within the past two years, we have received letters from exiles in Regensburg and Nürnberg. That was to be expected, of course. Those are the nearest major Protestant cities. But there have also been letters from Basel and Geneva, from London and Edinburgh. If the former denizens of Amberg have gotten that far from home within the past five years, why should some of them not have gone to this Grantville?”

 

            Turning toward Böcler, he held out his hands, as if in supplication. “But why does it have to be the wife of their mayor? Why does it have to be Hans Richter’s grandmother? Why couldn’t it have been some perfectly ordinary person? And why the admiral’s wife?”

 

            Böcler had no answer. In his heart, however, he could not have been happier. He could hardly wait for his duties to be over so that he could go back to his own room and insert the outline for a new chapter in his projected historia.

 

            This was going to be much more interesting than the originally announced arrival of a trade delegation to discuss iron mining. Not that the economy wasn’t important, of course. But it was hard to narrate economic matters in such a way that they kept the reader’s interest. Intrepid ladies, on the other hand, offered fascinating possibilities.

 

 

Grafenwöhr, Upper Palatinate

 

            Kilian Richter, while not giving a single thought to Mary Simpson, had a pretty clear idea why his sister-in-law Veronica was coming back. The prospect of her return did not make him happy.

 

            During Maximilian of Bavaria’s occupation of the Upper Palatinate, Kilian had collaborated, quite enthusiastically, with the Bavarians. Quite remuneratively, too. Part of that remuneration had consisted of the property of his late, and much older, half-brother, Johann Stephan Richter.

 

            Johann Stephan was most certainly dead, after all. He had died long before the war started. It had been a tragedy that his widow, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren had disappeared without a trace in the turmoil of the war. Truly, a tragedy. Kilian had told everybody so. However, he had pointed out to anyone who would listen, given the nature of mercenary forces, one could only assume the worst, so one could only be grateful for the blessing that they had not died heretics.

 

            As for Johann Stephan’s other children—they were irredentist Calvinists, every one of them. They had gone into exile, all four of Kilian’s nieces, their husbands, and their children.

 

            Clearly, he had been the only proper heir, and Duke Maximilian’s officials had proved to be quite cooperative. Kilian had filed a petition requesting that his nephew Anton’s family be declared dead; the authorities had issued the declaration. Legally, without the slightest doubt, Veronica was dead, as were the rest of them.

 

            Therefore, Kilian had found the furor over the Battle of Wismar distressing. It had upset his digestion quite a lot. It appeared that his nephew’s family was alive. Well, his nephew Anton certainly was dead, killed the day that mercenaries had raided his shop in Amberg. According to the newspapers, no one knew what had become of his wife. That was the only moderately good news in the whole thing—not that, at the time, Kilian had not done his very best to ensure that no one found out what had happened to the woman. He had more than sufficient reasons to be sure that she, too, was dead.

 

            Young Hans was dead now. Spectacularly dead. Good riddance. But Hans’ sisters were alive. So was that shrew Veronica, who was on her way to the Upper Palatinate this very minute.

 

            And the Bavarians were long gone. Probably all gone to hell.

 

            He needed a lawyer. His mind went at once to Augustin Arndt in Amberg, who had served him so well in getting title to the properties in the first place.

 

 

Amberg, Upper Palatinate

 

            At breakfast in the Amberg Collegium, Jakob Balde asked his fellow Jesuits not “Why are they coming?” but, rather, “Why are we here?”

 

            The Amberg Jesuits asked one another that question fairly often these days. They were not suffering from existential Angst. They were quite sincerely bewildered.

 

            During the Bavarian occupation, in 1629 and 1630, Duke Maximilian had taken a whole section of the city of Amberg by the power of eminent domain, razed the existing buildings, and turned the land over to the Jesuits for the building of a huge Collegium. The construction had begun with every expectation of success. There were many Bavarian bureaucrats in the Upper Palatinate who would send their sons to be educated there. The quality of the education would act as a magnet to city councillors and rural nobility alike; within a generation, the re-Catholicization of the rulers would be accomplished and a loyal band of alumni would extend the Catholic Reformation further among the population.

 

            Now, however, the Bavarians were gone. Although there were still some Catholics in the town and the territory, they had lost most of their political influence and many were fighting for their property against claims by Protestant exiles. The Collegium was half-finished, undersubscribed, and nearly bankrupt. They wondered why Duke Ernst had not finished the job and thrown them out. Or, if he happened to be feeling less nice about it, thrown them into prison.

 

            Instead, they were here. Not only those who had been in Amberg when the Swede conquered the Upper Palatinate, but those who had been thrown out of Sulzbach by Count Wolfgang Wilhelm’s brothers.

 

            So why were the Jesuits still there?

 

****

 

            Duke Ernst also sometimes asked himself that question. But, until he made up his mind whether or not he was going to experiment with “religious toleration” at Karl Ludwig’s more or less permanent expense, he was keeping his options open. That involved letting the Jesuits stay until such time as they might realize that their cause was hopeless, pack their bags, and go.

 

****

 

            Balde was the youngest. He had arrived from Munich for the opening of the school in the fall of 1632, all of five weeks before the Swedes came thundering into the Upper Palatinate after Alte Veste. He had been here ever since. With so few students, he had a great deal of time to write. So he wrote poetry, in modern Latin. That was his metier. And did research.

 

            So this morning he added a postscript to the usual question. “It seems possible that we may not be here for much longer.”

 

            “Duke Ernst has decided to expel us?”

 

            “Not as far as I know. But I have been reading the real estate records of the eminent domain proceedings.”

 

            The others looked at him blankly.

 

            “We are eating breakfast on the very site that was once the print shop of a man named Johann Stephan Richter.”

 

            He waved the newspaper at the others. “The rest of the building is on the land of others, but this dining hall, right here, marks the location of the business of Johann Stephan Richter. Whose widow is this Veronica Dreeson. Who, we are told, is coming to Amberg to settle her husband’s estate.”

 

            Balde, although a Jesuit for a decade already, was only thirty. Young enough to laugh about things.

 

            “Not that she will have much use for a half-built collegium on a muddy construction site.”

 

 

Magdeburg, USE

 

            Well—there was one capital that accepted the announced reasons for the journey. His own. Mike Stearns was rather enjoying the reports coming out of the diplomatic pouches, which so clearly demonstrated that the rest of the world did not understand that Veronica Dreeson was a walking embodiment of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Which was a universal. Nor that Mary Simpson embodied the Principle of Single-Minded Fund-Raising. Which was possibly, but not probably, uniquely up-time. Combining the two of them, however, had a remarkably synergistic effect.

 

            He hoped that they had a successful trip.

 

 

About Eric Flint

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Comments

3 Responses to 1624: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS — snippet 29

  1. Thomas Richardson says:

    “Therefore, Kilian had found the furor over the Battle of Wismar distressing. It had upset his digestion quite a lot.”

    Considering that Kilian is a land-stealing POS, I love the understatement here.

  2. Robert Krawitz says:

    Law of Unintended Consequences indeed!

    Veronica’s late husband’s estate has been turned into a Jesuit collegium (well, a small part of one, at any rate).

    The Jesuits are known for advancing education about as much as anyone downtime.

    It’s an interesting question which of Veronica and Mary are more serious about promoting education, although my money’s on Mary simply because she understands the subject better and has had the experience (and money) uptime.

    Veronica really wants her late husband’s estate.

    And so…

  3. Jim Burns says:

    “1624: The Baltic War”?
    A typo, I guess…

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