1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 28

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 28

Mike had just come from a meeting with Wallenstein. This had been a private meeting, unlike the formal and well-attended affair that had been held a week earlier when the Third Division arrived in the city.

In the intervening week, Mike had been busy enough seeing to the needs of his soldiers. They’d set up a temporary camp just south of the horse market that would eventually become Wenceslaus Square in another universe. Still, he hadn’t been that busy. He had an excellent staff and most of the work was routine. So he’d expected to be summoned to Wallenstein’s palace within a day or two after the division’s arrival and had been a little surprised by the long delay.

He’d assumed the delay was just petty maneuvering by the king of Bohemia; the same sort of let-him-cool-his-heels-in-the-anteroom silliness that was such a frequent part of office politics up-time. But when Mike had finally been ushered into Wallenstein’s presence, he’d realized the more likely cause was the king’s health. To use one of his mother’s expressions, Wallenstein looked like death warmed over. They’d met in his bedroom, because the king could barely manage to sit up. His American nurse Edith Wild had him propped up on pillows in his bed and fussed over him the whole time Mike was there except for the quarter of an hour Wallenstein had shooed her away so he could discuss the most delicate matters with his visitor in private.

Those delicate matters had involved Mike’s somewhat eccentric logistical requests and proposals. “Eccentric” being the discreet way of describing the creation of a string of supply depots that made very little sense for an army that was planning to take up positions near the southern Czech city of České Budějovice in order to bolster Bohemia’s position against Austria. Whatever might be the state of his physical health, there was clearly nothing wrong with Wallenstein’s brain. Before his self-elevation to the throne of Bohemia, the man had been one of the premier military contractors of Europe. He understood perfectly well that what Mike was setting up was the necessary supply chain in case he had to leave Bohemia in a hurry in order to take his army back into Saxony.

It hadn’t taken the king long to make clear that he had no objection. Obviously, Wallenstein understood that the main reason Mike and his Third Division had been sent to Bohemia was to get him out of the USE for political reasons, not to satisfy Wallenstein’s request for military support.

“Meaning no offense, Michael,” the king had rasped, “but I don’t need foot soldiers — nor did I ask for them. What I could use, and did ask for, was air support so I could keep an eye on Austrian troop movements.”

He shifted uncomfortably in his bed. “Which I didn’t get, even though I’ve built two of the best airfields in Europe — one right here in Prague, the other in České Budějovice. And now I don’t have the use of the Jew’s plane either, since his idiot pilot crashed the thing in Dresden. Your man Nasi tells me it’ll be months before the plane is repaired and able to fly again.”

Mike saw no point in arguing the matter of whether or not Francisco Nasi was “his man.” In some ways, that description was still accurate, he supposed. His former spymaster was now operating his own independent business as what amounted to a contract espionage agency, but he’d made clear to Mike that he would be glad to provide him whatever assistance he could. Given that Francisco was now residing in Prague himself, Mike had every intention of taking him up on the offer. He’d already met with him twice, in fact, since he arrived the week before.

“I may be able to assist you there,” he said. “I’m having an airfield built in Děčín” — he used the Czech pronunciation for Tetschen — “to provide air support for Colonel Higgins and his regiment, in the event Holk launches a surprise attack.”

Both he and Wallenstein maintained completely straight faces. Perhaps Mike rushed the next sentence just a little bit.

“But I see no reason that whatever plane Colonel Wood can free up from the air force to come down here can’t also overfly the Austrian lines.”

Wallenstein had been satisfied with that, and no further mention was made of Mike’s convoluted logistics. The king had wrung the little bell next to his bed and Edith had practically rushed back into the room. She’d become quite devoted to the man, by all accounts — which included gunning down the assassins who’d tried to murder Wallenstein shortly before he seized power, in addition to tending to his medical needs.

****

“Edith thinks he’s dying, Mike,” said Judith. “Wallenstein just won’t listen to her medical advice.”

“God-damned astrologers were bad enough,” Morris growled. “Now he’s got these new Kirlian aura screwballs whispering in his ear.”

Mike cocked his head quizzically. “Which screwballs? I can’t keep track of all these seventeenth century superstitions.”

“I’m afraid this one’s our doing, Mike,” said Judith. “It’s based on Kirlian photography, which was developed up-time. Nobody in Grantville ever took seriously the idea that Kirlian images showed a person’s life force — the ‘aura,’ to use the lingo. Unfortunately, Doctor Gribbleflotz stumbled across some references to it in one of the Grantville libraries and…”

“The rest was a foregone conclusion,” said Morris.

Herr Doctor Phillip Theophrastus Gribbleflotz — a great-grandson of Paracelsus, or so he claimed — was an alchemist who had an uncanny knack for reinterpreting up-time science in a down-time framework, and making a bundle of money in the process. He’d made his first fortune with baking soda, which he renamed Sal Aer Fixus. A little later he’d made aspirin, which he dyed blue on the grounds that blue was the color of serenity. Much to Tom Stone’s disgust, Doctor Gribbleflotz’s brand had outsold the straight-forward and cheaper stuff produced by Stone’s pharmaceutical works. Eventually, when his father got distracted by something else, Ron Stone quietly ordered the chemists to start dying their own aspirin blue as well. Sales picked up right away, even though Ron raised the price a bit at the same time.

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23 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 28

  1. Bluemax says:

    Medical scientists examined Wallensteins bones lately and are pretty sure that he got the pox. So I wonder whether Edith Wild is able to determine the source of W. sickness.
    The historical sources decribe an anguished man, suffering from convulsions, plagued by gout (gout also was the main reason for Torstenson dying 1651 in the age of 47) and in the last months of his life in OTL the pox might even had influenced his mental state (Neurosyphilis). So the drug of choice to treat syphilis would be the still unavailable penicillin, though there are reported cases (patients allergic to penicillin) where chloramphenicol was successfully applied. Can W. be cured/saved? Should W. die, whoever will be his successor, Austria will challenge him, even more so when USE is occupied with its internal struggles.

  2. Virgil says:

    Yeah my question also, who’s his heir, this is very important.

  3. MikeyMikeMikey says:

    A VERY important question, I’d say. With all the crap about to go down in the USE, a nasty succession crisis in one of their biggest neighbors and allies would be the last thing they’d need.

  4. JENN says:

    Would Pappenheim be able to hold Bohemia for ~12 years? From my brief search, Wallenstein’s daughter should be 7 or 8 now. And didn’t the matchmaking chapter of Bavarian Crisis say that Wallenstein’s wife was pregnant again?

  5. Jason says:

    His heir should be currently his daughter by his current wife. Problem one is she should be at best 18 years old and thats if she was born the year he married his second wife in 1617.

  6. Bluemax says:

    As already stated in snippet 27 by Dave O, Bohemia is an elective monarchy, so its quite uncertain, whether W. changed Bohemia enough in a few years to establich a heriditary monarchy. In addition W.’s reign is based on his grip on the army, his personal abilities and the wealth he was granted by/extorted from the Austrian emperor.
    I dont think W’s line is ingrained enough in the bohemian population or the estates of the realm. The noblemen will certainly oppose a heir as successor as they supported the Austrian emperor prior to the inital start of the 30 Years War in opposition to the prospering middle classes. We dont know much about the attitude of the lower or middle classes in Bohemia right now, but even the Jews threw in their lot with W because they saw him fit to be a “fair” ruler and the best choice they had.
    Right now, the whole kingdom is held together by the person hinself. Without him, it will fall apart.

  7. Jan B says:

    Most Elective Monarchies (Sweden was one until the begining of the 16th century) and Denmark still is one in 1636 tend to always elect the eldest son to the King, given that he is reasonably sane and of age (or close to it).
    Given that W’s son is either dead or very young things will get intersting.

  8. Dennis says:

    Great snippet but it’s the mentions of Edith Wild and Ron Stone that most interested me. The 1632 series is such a sprawling epic that — even with the magazine and the anthologies — not every supporting character can come to the forefront. These little name drops and comments in passing help shed light on certain people and keep us appraised of their development/actions.

    Eric has the wonderful gift of doing this without it dragging down or interrupting the main narrative.

  9. robert says:

    I assume that the electors are/were some sort of local nobility and not, say, the Holy Roman Emperor nor the general (male) population. Did Wallenstein keep them around when he ordered the defenestration or were they “purged” so he could have a free hand? I never saw anything in the GGs about that.

  10. Doug Lampert says:

    Does it really matter who the electors are? I predict that they elect whoever the army commander tells them to elect. Because one of the things elective monarchy’s generally lack is any sort of secret ballot. (And if you did have a secret ballot then imagine the arguments over who gets to run the counting).

    Thus elective is in fact another way of saying “whoever Papenhiem and/or Wallenstein picks”. We KNOW these people will throw someone who argues with them about who’s in charge out of high windows onto cobblestones, and then check to make sure they are dead.

    Odd how often people with the power and will to do that and no ballot secrecy win by 99.9% majorities (at least by the second ballot…).

    Papenhiem could pick himself and marry the daughter. (Or send her to a convent, but marriage is safer.)
    He can pick the son if alive and make himself or W’s wife the regent.
    He can pick W’s wife.

    These are basically the choices whether or not its elective. And it’s the same people making the choices whether or not it’s elective.

  11. jeff bybee says:

    hope 2011 is a golden year with at least half a dozen new novels and anthologys …. of corse I also hope for world peace and the end of the IRS

  12. dave o says:

    I haven’t read anything about the political structure of Bohemia under Wallenstein. I don’t think anything has been written, except a little about the Jews in the ghetto, and the Unity of Brethren. The jews will have nothing to say about the succession. At one time the Unity was quite strong, but they were heavily suppressed by Ferdinand II, so their influence is uncertain. It’s unlikely that a minor child will be chosen to replace W., given the international situation. I guess we’ll have to see what Eric comes up with. How about Prince Rupert for King? It should be easy to pass over his older brother.

    Does anyone have ideas about how to get aviation fuel to Tetschen? Higgins can construct an airfield, but if planes can’t refuel there, it will be of limited use. Maybe W. or Nasi will be the supplier.

  13. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Dave (and everybody)

    It has been reported in 1632Tech (on Baen’s Bar) that Eric has decided on a regency council in the event of Wallenstein’s death (no names mentioned).

    So Wallenstein’s infant son is his heir.

  14. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @11: My, you do think big.

  15. Wallenstein is a war lord , not a King. Its any thing goes when he dies. The move is for Mike to get Wally to bring Bohemia into the U.S.E. as a republic so as make Wallys place in history.
    Mikes loalty is to the 3,000 americans that travelled through time with him.To make whats left of there lives the best it could.The best way to do this is go for a reall U.E not a Germany at war with everyone.

  16. Maddie says:

    Honestly, it would almost have been better if the baby had been a girl. That way, the older daughter could suceed, and there would be less time to for the nobles to take power from the throne. Even if Bohemia doesn’t fall apart when Wallenstein dies, the country has to make it until the kid can rule on his own. A lot can happen in 18 or so years.

    Also, how much of the Anaconda Plan has been completed? And how are the conquered areas doing under Bohemian rule? They’d probably be the first to split if the government gets shaky.

  17. robert says:

    @16 Not with Pappenheim looming over them. His loyalty is to Wallenstein and it will pass on to W’s son.

  18. Maddie says:

    Yes, but Pappenheim can’t be everywhere at once,and he leads from the front. He could very easily be killed.

  19. John Moreno says:

    @15 Mike’s ultimate loyalty isn’t to the 3,000 Americans that were in the Ring of Fire. It’s to the general welfare of the people of the world. That was made clear when he was initially signing up with Gustav and his fear of American “hildago’s”. So, whether he wants Germany at war with everyone depends upon what he thinks the war would would accomplish: 3,000 kings living high on the hog, no way. Millions of kids not dying each year, then go for it.

  20. robert says:

    @18 And in fact he died (in real life) at the same battle, Lutzen, in which Gustav was killed, in November 1632. But he was on the other side.

  21. Maddie says:

    @19 I know, and look what happened to Gustav. If that happens to Pappenheim, Bohemia is screwed.

  22. Peter says:

    Bohemia’s in an unstable position anyway, with a struggle with Austria on one side, and overreaching ambitions by a sickly king on the other. Their best hope may well be for them to become a protectorate of USE, if not a full-fleged province.

  23. ET1swaw says:

    I screwed up: Wallenstein’s daughter Maria Elisabeth was born 1626 not 1622 as I thought. Both she and her mother (Wallenstein’s 2nd wife m.:1623) lived into the 1650s OTL. http://worldroots.com/foundation/personages/wallensteindesc.htm

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