1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT — snippet 61

1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – Snippet 61:

 

 

PART V

 

December 1634

 

Hovering on wing under the cope of hell

 

 

Chapter 30

 

 

Frankfurt am Main

 

            "The anti-vaccination pamphlets are excellent. Perhaps we should make the effort to find out who Mauger’s informant is. He appears to have some talent." Fortunat Deneau was actually smiling.

 

            "The increased virulence of the criticism of Stearns and his allies by the Crown Loyalists is also opening up marvelous propaganda opportunities. Splendid ones." Ancelin was also smiling as he read the paper. "How opportune of those Grantvillers to defect to Austria at this time."

 

            "How are Vincenz Weitz’s contacts developing?" asked Locquifier.

 

            "He will be able to provide us with sufficient practical assistance," Deneau answered. "He will continue to explore his various contacts until he has, I hope, a few hundred people who are willing to conduct demonstrations and start minor riots whenever and wherever he tells them to. Once he has reached that point, and actually conducted some preliminary agitation in other Thuringian towns – Arnstadt, Badenburg, Stadtilm, Ilmenau – not villages, but small cities – I will be in a position to set up the attack in Grantville itself."

 

            "March fourth, you realize. Coordination is important. It must be the fourth of March, precisely. Weitz is very insistent on that point."

 

            "Yes, Guillaume," Ancelin said. "I know."

 

            Locquifier frowned. There would necessarily be so many people involved in the synagogue attack that there was an extremely high danger of leaks. Still, there were some measures that they could take in advance. It was not as if Weitz were the only anti-Semite in the Germanies. Someone else had written the pamphlets directed against Rebecca Abrabanel. Someone else was producing the worst of the slanders against Francisco Nasi. They were not coming out of Frankfurt. So…

 

            "Robert."

 

            Ouvrard looked up from the newspaper.

 

            "You need to write several pamphlets, short ones, in the style of those attacking the wife of Stearns and the spymaster. Those pamphlets will…" He slowed down a little, thinking on his feet. "…at least make some references, not direct threats but references, to those Jews who have settled within the State of Thuringia-Franconia, even within the Ring of Fire itself, and think themselves secure there. Thus, if there are some leaks from among the people Deneau and Weitz are recruiting, there will be several false leads already out in public. That will divert attention from us."

 

            "What about Antoine and Michel? They might not like us doing that."

 

            Ancelin interrupted before Locquifier could continue. "Don’t say anything about strategy or policy, purposes or goals. Nothing about us. You will be writing in the name of others, making comments that purport to come from others. Antoine can’t complain about that. Well, he can, I suppose, being Antoine. If he finds out. But I don’t see any reason to tell him. If we are lucky, he’ll never need to know that we are the source of these little diversions."

 

            Deneau, who liked to have all of his ducks in a row when he was organizing a riot, asked, "What about the hospital?"

 

            "Mauger has assured de Ron that his agent feels confident of organizing a demonstration against the hospital that, if you give it a couple of hours of advance time, will be large enough draw away the Grantville police – almost all of the police force – before the attack on the synagogue begins."

 

 

Switzerland

 

            Henri de Rohan felt pretty good about the perceptiveness and intelligence of his agent on the scene in Grantville. Although, as he remarked in his next letter to his wife, that does tend to be the reaction when someone agrees with you – especially when that person has been reared in your own household. It only confirmed his belief that talent should be cultivated to its fullest, even when it blossomed in the humblest of worldly circumstances.

 

            Jacques-Pierre Dumais’ father was among the poorest. He still earned his living as a bootblack in La Rochelle; the boy’s mother had worked as a fishmonger on the docks. A Walloon refugee had brought the talented child to the attention of the Rohan family.

 

            To Dumais, he sent an alarm and a warning.

 

            I am preparing to withdraw from my present location- probably to Geneva, but possibly to Besançon – not feeling myself secure any longer in either the Grisons or Sondrio. Richelieu is of a suspicious nature and wary of my enduring friendship with Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar. In spite of the repeated entreaties of the duchess, he refuses absolutely to permit me to return to Venice. Still, never doubting the justice of the Protestant cause, I continue to act in the assured belief that God has predestined me to save his churches, wherefore I will not lose my composure in the face of the greatest adversity.

 

            Have a care. Michel Ducos is a dangerous man and I am having you play a dangerous game for us. Do not become overconfident. Always prepare for a fall when fortune puffs you up, for it is then that peril comes closest.

 

            For the time being, you can reach me through Soubise in Frankfurt; should you hear that he has left the city, through de Ron.

 

 

Chapter 31

 

Grantville, December 1634

 

            "I hadn’t expected Lannie to crash the damned plane."

 

            Victor Saluzzo, elbows on his desk, steepled his fingers. That was pretty much a picture-book perfect Concerned Principal’s pose.

 

            "Well, I hadn’t. This time it’s not my fault that I missed a bunch of school." Denise Beasley stuck her chin out and looked at her father Buster for support.

 

            She hated parent-teacher conferences. Especially when they involved the principal. And the guidance counselor. And…

 

            She looked across the room. The police.

 

            Not that Preston Richards hadn’t been pretty reasonable, but he was still the police.

 

            "I expected that we’d fly down there, following the Saale, try to spot where the defectors were, turn around, and come back. I expected to be here for school the next morning. Honest, I did."

 

            Honest, she hadn’t. She hadn’t thought about school at all. But that didn’t seem to be quite the thing to say, right here and right now.

 

            "They’re giving her a hard time at school."

 

            Saluzzo raised his eyebrows at Buster.

 

            "Lots of hassling, needling, teasing. Even some significantly nasty threats. She’s handled it pretty maturely, I think, for a sixteen-year-old."

 

            Buster could play the game, if he had to. Denise hadn’t killed any of the creeps. Or even done them significant bodily damage.

 

            "Unfortunately," Joe Pallavicino said, "it isn’t the first time that she has missed a block of school." Or the second, or even the fifth, but it didn’t seem he was inclined to bring that up unless he had to. "I’ve been thinking that, perhaps, a mentoring program…"

 

            Denise didn’t stick her tongue out, and gave herself points.

 

            "I have spoken to some of Denise’s friends…"

 

            Denise frowned. She didn’t have any friends, except for Minnie.

 

            "Tom Stone’s youngest boy…"

 

            Denise’s forehead smoothed out. Yeah. Gerry actually was her friend. Unfortunately, he was going to school in Rudolstadt this year. Boarding over there.

 

            "…spoke to his brother. Ron suggested…" Pallavicino looked at Buster. "…since they already know one another, that perhaps Missy Jenkins and Pam Hardesty would be willing to act as big sisters for Denise and Minnie. On a more formal basis."

 

            Denise nodded. That wouldn’t be so bad. She liked Missy.

 

            "…with some adult supervision, of course."

 

            That didn’t sound so good.

 

            "So Gerry talked to Pastor Kastenmayer’s wife …"

 

            Denise grinned. The mental picture of the redoubtable Salome Piscatora dancing in seven veils to get Herod to chop off John the Baptist’s head had amused and occupied her mind through several tedious visits to St. Martin‘s in the Fields in the company of Gerry and Minnie. Even if Frau Kastenmayer did insist she was named for another Salome, the one who had stood at the foot of the cross. She jerked her mind back to this… hearing.

 

            "…who suggested that, in the interest of cross-cultural understanding, it might be best if one of the adult mentors was an up-timer and the other a down-timer."

 

            Principal Saluzzo was nodding.

 

            "I am happy to say that Mrs. Wiley and Mrs. Dreeson have agreed."

 

            Denise stared at him, horror dawning upon her face.

 

            Buster was grinning.

 

            Daddy had known about this. The traitor. Denise resigned herself to her fate. Until she could figure some way to wiggle out of it.

 

 

 

 

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
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