1635: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS – snippet 40:
Augustin Arndt was enciphering his latest report to Landgrave Wilhelm Georg. Usually, he saw no reason to bother. Not that he had a great deal of news. It was the absence of news that bothered him most. He stated frankly that he was afraid that he must be missing something. Even with a woman inside the Schloss itself, he was getting only information to the effect that the women from Grantville appeared to be doing only things that were in accordance with the overtly stated purposes for their being here. Carefully, he reported on their clothing; on their hats. Indeed, thanks to his informant, he reported on Frau Admiral Simpson’s underclothing. He also included a careful description of her jodhpurs. He hoped that the information might be of some use; it was all that he had been able to obtain.
Similarly, he said, the men in the alleged “trade delegation” were, in fact, meeting extensively with those people with whom one would expect them to meet if they were here to investigate the revival of iron mining and the metals industry. According to the under-cook at the inn where they were staying, who had it from one of the waiters, the men, with several citizens of Amberg, had devoted a full evening to discussing how, in the days of their grandfathers, Amberg had broken the Wunsiedel monopoly on coating sheet iron with tin. There was also some discussion of how the Amberger had been able to defy the efforts of the count to channel all exports through one market that he controlled, continuing to use several different ones.
The mentions of tin had included Bohemia as a source for importing tin. Arndt was glad to be able to include that, given the current political excitement surrounding Wallenstein, the new king of Bohemia. It might be of at least some minimal interest to the landgrave. The rest of his report, goodness knows, was dull enough.
He became so involved in thinking about the interesting recent events in Bohemia that he forgot to mention the last item the cook had reported to him. There had been discussion of cartels and the unjust way in which the big owners tried to squeeze the smaller men out of the business, even though the purpose of an Innung was to assure all members a fair share of the trade.
Caspar Hell offered to meet with the woman—Dreeson, the up-timers called her, even though it was her husband’s name, Balde told him—in his office.
She replied, through her lawyer, that she preferred to meet in the dining hall and to have all of the Jesuits in Amberg present to hear her statement.
The Jesuits thought about that for a couple of days. They didn’t have a lot of information on which to proceed. Amberg, isolated as it now was in Swedish-controlled territory, had become something of a backwater in the order. True, the mail arrived. But it did not contain anything that their superiors would mind having fall into the hands of the Swedes, which meant that the contents of the bag were usually quite dull. Welcome, of course. But unexciting.
Private couriers were, for all practical purposes, impossible. The location of the collegium, so advantageous in a Catholic city, meant that in a city with a Protestant government, the regent’s guards were able to observe every single person who came to their doors. Since they did not really wish to endanger any of their students or parishioners, and were quite sure that every one of themselves was watched every time he ventured out into the town, their communications were very limited.
The regent had told them, rather nicely under the circumstances, to give Our Lady’s Church back. It was Lutheran, now; the Lutherans seemed quite happy to hold services in a Frauenkirche, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as long as it had already been a Frauenkirche before the Reformation. The Calvinists were using St. Martin’s. Father Hell was grateful that, only a few weeks before the Swedes arrived, the Bishop of Regensburg had consecrated a chapel for the new collegium. It wasn’t attracting many lay people; those Catholics who remained in Amberg seemed doubtful of the wisdom of public attendance at mass.
The school was still drawing students, though. Lots of them. Poor boys, mostly, from families that could not afford the tuition at the other schools. Quite ordinary boys, mostly. Brilliant boys, a few. All worth the effort of teaching them.
The revenues that Duke Maximilian had assigned to support the collegium had been diverted to other uses by the Swedes. In the absence of tuition-paying students, they would soon be bankrupt.
The library, however, had been left intact. They had managed to purchase a rather nice library while the revenues were still coming in. Wonder of wonders, it had been neither burned nor expropriated to compensate for the books that had been taken from the Protestant schools during the Bavarian occupation. It was housed on the second floor, above the dining hall.
Father Hell didn’t know what the reestablished Calvinist and Lutheran schools were doing for books. Perhaps Duke Ernst had given them money to buy new ones.
At the end of a couple of days, they had no more information than when they started thinking.
Balde urged his superior to meet with the woman on her terms.
The rector refused.
Balde suggested the possibility of bringing to the attention of the woman’s lawyer the fact that the site had been sold to Duke Maximilian’s agents in a manner quite legal at the time, which meant that her grievance in the matter of title should be more properly directed against the seller, who was—he rechecked his notes from the real estate records—one Kilian Richter.
Hell agreed to that.
Balde once more suggested, tentatively, that it might be useful for them to meet with the woman on her terms.
The rector refused again.
On behalf of Frau Veronica Dreeson (geb. Schusterin, verw. Richter), her attorney, Hieronymus Rastetter, filed a title suit simultaneously in the municipal court of Amberg and the courts of the Upper Palatinate against both the Jesuit Order and one Kilian Richter. The filing was accompanied by a cloud of witnesses, or, at least, a very long list of witnesses who should be deposed. Not to mention a cloud of sealed, stamped, and notarized documents.
It was the kind of thing that could drag on for years. If somebody appealed it to the imperial level, it could drag on for generations. Consequently, nobody got very excited.
Arndt reported the filing of the lawsuit to Landgrave Wilhelm Georg of Leuchtenberg. He didn’t bother to encipher this letter. Lawsuits were public documents.
Eric Haakansson Hand was just as glad. It had taken his code specialist several tedious days, during which he could more profitably have been working on something else, to decipher the previous one. Not that Hand hadn’t enjoyed the description of Mary Simpson’s jodhpurs. But, having seen the garment for himself the day the Grantville delegation arrived, being worn by its owner, it hadn’t come as news. The underwear had been more entertaining.
Idly, he wondered why on earth the landgrave wanted to know.
As requested, Böcler prepared a summary of his first impressions of the Grantville delegation.
Practical men. Intrepid women.
Overall, Duke Ernst concurred.
“But,” he added, “we cannot spend all of our time thinking about the up-timers. Take a letter to General Banér, please.”
Eric Haakansson Hand spoke. “Before we adjourn, please, one more thing.”
“Yes?” Duke Ernst raised his eyebrows.
“We should get together all the information we have in regard to the duke of Bavaria’s forthcoming marriage. Just to have it at hand. There’s no reason to expect that the event itself will directly affect the Upper Palatinate in any way. The Austrians will be bringing the archduchess to Passau, we understand. The duke will meet her there and they will make a ceremonial procession to Munich, where the wedding will be held. It may pull a few of Maximilian’s troops away from Ingolstadt, but Banér doesn’t think that he will move many. Munich is far enough inside Maximilian’s borders that he doesn’t need a heavy garrison there.”
The regent nodded. “Just in case. But it’s hardly one of our main problems, right now.” Duke Ernst paused. “Just in case, though. Put the Grenzjaeger on alert, Hand, starting the day that the Austrians are to arrive at Passau. And ask the Danube boatmen to keep an eye out for any suspicious activities. Bavaria is, after all, just across the river.”