1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 29

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 29

“Don’t tell me,” Mike chuckled.

“Yep,” said Morris. “Before you could say ‘hogwash,’ Gribbleflotz had half the nobility in the Germanies and Bohemia hooked on the notion, seems like. He charges a small fortune to show someone his so-called ‘aura,’ and then… well…”

He drifted into an uncomfortable silence. His wife gave him a glance and smiled. “What Morris isn’t telling you is that we’re making quite a bit of money from the side-effects.”

“How so?”

Morris made a face. “Somehow or other — I didn’t do it, I swear I didn’t, and neither did Tom Stone — people got the idea that once someone knew their Kirlian aura they needed to complement it with the proper costume and jewelry. So all of a sudden there’s a booming demand for exotic dyes and exotic gem-cuts. Tom’s dye works supplies most of the former and my jewelry makers provide most of the latter.”

Mike didn’t say anything. He didn’t doubt for a moment that neither Morris nor Tom Stone had tried to take advantage of the new superstition. Tom’s middle son Ron, though…

Ron Stone had become the de facto manager of the Stone chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and had turned out to have an unexpected gift for making money. That talent hadn’t been hurt in the least by his recent marriage to Missy Jenkins, whose father had been one of Grantville’s most successful businessmen before the Ring of Fire. Missy’s own interest was in libraries, but the young woman had a practical streak about as wide as the Mississippi river. Between the two of them, they might very well have come up with the idea of piggy-backing a new line of exotic dyes on the Kirlian craze, and quietly hired someone to do the necessary promotion.

If they had, Mike didn’t object. Down-time noblemen could find the silliest ways imaginable to waste their money, and this one seemed reasonably harmless.

True, it wasn’t doing Wallenstein any good. But that was a lost cause, anyway. The king of Bohemia had been proving for years that no matter how shrewd he was in most respects, he was a sucker for superstitious twaddle. That was especially true when it came to anything bearing on his health. Whatever nostrums he was getting from his new obsession with Kirlian auras, Mike figured it couldn’t be any worse than the medical advice he got from his astrologers.

He said as much, and the Roths both nodded.

“Edith actually prefers the Kirlian crap,” said Morris. “It mostly just leads to the king loading himself down with jewelry — which he can certainly afford — and overheating himself in bed because of the heavy robes he wears. But at least he’s not bleeding himself under the light of a full moon when Sagittarius is rising in Venus.”

“I think it’s the other way around,” said Judith.

Morris sniffed. “Who cares?”

If Wallenstein really was that ill…

“What happens if he dies?” Mike asked.

Morris and Judith looked at each other. “Well…” said Judith. “I don’t think it’ll be too bad.”

“A year ago, things would have probably gotten pretty hairy,” her husband added. “But Wallenstein’s wife finally bore him a son this past February. Karl Albrecht Eusebius is his name. The kid’s pretty healthy and thankfully his mother ignores Wallenstein and listens to Edith when it comes to his medical care.”

Mike had known of the boy’s birth, but he hadn’t really considered all the political ramifications. In light of what he now knew about Wallenstein’s health, he started to do so and almost immediately came to the critical issue.

“How does Pappenheim feel about the kid?”

The expressions on the faces of his host were identical: relief. Vast relief, you might almost say.

“Gottfried is devoted to Wallenstein,” Morris said, “and the man really seems to have no political ambitions of his own.”

“So far as we can tell, anyway,” Judith cautioned.

Morris shrugged. “You never really know until the time comes, of course. But I really do think Pappenheim will be satisfied with remaining the commander of Bohemia’s army — so long as he thinks there’s no danger to Wallenstein’s legitimate heir.”

Mike nodded. “So the task becomes making sure a stable regency gets set up right away. How will Isabella Katharina handle that? I’ve met the queen, but I can’t say I know her at all.”

“Isabella’s not interested in politics herself,” said Judith. “All she’ll really care about is that her son is safe and his inheritance is secure. She’ll be happy as the figurehead of a regency council, as long as we’re getting along with Gottfried and the rest of the council is solid.”

“I take it she’s not an anti-Semite, then?”

Morris shook his head. “She tends to be suspicious of most people, but she’s what you might call an equal-opportunity skeptic. Jews aren’t worth much, in her book, but then neither are goyim.”

“She and I have become a bit close, actually,” said Judith. “And Isabella practically worships the ground under Edith’s feet — and we’re about the only friends Edith has in the whole world.”

Edith Wild had been friendless most of her life. The big woman was taciturn and had a harsh personality. She was one of the people in Grantville for whom the Ring of Fire had proved to be a blessing. She’d gone from being a factory worker scraping by to living in a palace as a king’s nurse and one of the closest confidants of his queen.

Mike had taken off his officer’s hat when he entered the Roth’s mansion, and had it perched on his lap. Now he rose and placed it back on his head.

“I need to get back to the division,” he said. “But I can come back again the day after tomorrow, if you’d like me to.”

Morris rose to usher him out. “Yes, I would. And I know Gottfried would like to have a private word with you also. Can I tell him you’ll come by his headquarters?”

“Yes, please do.” Mike had his own reasons for wanting to stay on good terms with Bohemia’s leading general. But those reasons were almost petty compared to the importance of keeping Bohemia stable and friendly to the USE.

There were enough wars already, he figured.

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24 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 29

  1. Rubbarb1954 says:

    I love the snippets. My concern is that when the full book becomes available that the snippets will not represent the complete text to the point they stop. Thus you will have to find and read the missing passages between the snippets before you can finish the book from where they quit.

  2. G Bayrit says:

    Well, so much for the succession issue. Now we need to here from Austria, I’d say and then perhaps Holland, or rather “The Lowlands” and the new King and Queen — or perhaps we should have a sneaky peak at the area near Switzerland and … Aw nuts, the man will write where he will, who am I to try to second guess him?

  3. Willem Meijer says:

    I’ve tried to access this site from about 08.00 GMT to 15.30 GMT without success. Has the site been down? Or do I have crappy bandwith? Or does my computer not love me any more?

  4. Blackmoore says:

    @G – it’s like talking to G-d but at least in our case we know Eric peeks in occasionally and laughs at us.

    Someone posted a map of the USE for 1635-36 and it looks to me like there’s quite a LOT that is going to have to happen before the year is out.

  5. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Rubbarb1954, to the best of my knowledge, Eric doesn’t “skip” scenes in the snippets.

    Now, since this is the pre-final edit version, he might decide to add scenes later.

    But what we’re seeing is what he’s planning at this time to turn in for publication.

    Oh Willem, I wasn’t able to get on earlier today (USA time).

  6. robert says:

    @5 Drak: I thought that all the snerks on The Eastern Front were redacted.

    @2 & @4 But first, or second, or…there is a Leffertian(?) jailbreak in Rome to be dealt with, some butterflies are flying in the Kremlin, the French are getting fried (sorry) in North America, Sharon and Ruy are propping up the Pope somewhere in Italy and Olivares and Richelieu still lurk.

    Anyone notice the rather odd pejorative used in this snippet? Mike and the Roths must be a lot closer than I thought they were. Or the Roths, justifiably, trust Mike A LOT.

  7. Myra says:

    @ Robert. Of course the Roths trust Mike a lot. In 1632 Morris recounts how Mike’s Grandfather liberated his Grandfather from a concentration camp and then moved to Grantville because no place could be safer than by the side of the man who had delivered him from that hell. Also they gave shelter to Becky when she first got to Grantville so they also have that connection.

  8. Myra says:

    @ Robert. Of course the Roths trust Mike a lot. In 1632 Morris recounts how Mike’s Grandfather liberated his Grandfather from a concentration camp and then he moved to Grantville because no place could be safer than by the side of the man who had delivered him from that hell. Also they gave shelter to Becky when she first got to Grantville so they also have that connection.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, the ‘major’ snerks for Eastern Front have already been shown.

    Also, as for the relationship between Mike and the Roths, back in the first book it was shown as close.

    The Roths lived in Grantville because of the relationship between Mike’s family and the Roth family.

  10. nlf says:

    @6 – I assume you mean ‘goyim’. It’s not necessarily pejorative, just Yiddish (actually Hebrew, but like a lot of Hebrew words it was adopted into Yiddish). In Hebrew, it means ‘nations’ or ‘peoples’. In Yiddish, it means ‘non-Jews’. There are pejorative words for non-Jews in Yiddish, but this isn’t one of them.


  11. stoicheion says:

    IIRC, Mike’s father rescued the Roth’s father (grandfather?) from a Nazi extermination camp.

  12. robert says:

    @7 Thanks for the reminder, Drak. You have a great memory and I need to read the first book again.
    @8 As a “native” user of the term, I respectfully disagree. I understand the Hebrew word’s meaning, but in the USA and in Yiddish, it has a different connotation, even if the technical definition may not make that explicitly clear. Yiddish is a colorful language. Like English, it is a Germanic language (a High German, in fact), and like English it has words and influences from a number of other European languages, and Hebrew, of course.

  13. Maddie says:

    All right, no problem with the sucession…

    Unless Pappenheim dies before Karl Albrecht Eusebius is old enough to rule on his own.

    Unless Austria attacks Bohemia after Wallenstein’s death because they think they’re weak. And Bohemia is still fighting Bavaria, but they can take care of that. Duke Albrecht is in Prague, right? Offer to betroth his older son to Wallenstein’s daughter, then kill crazy Duke Max and put him on the throne,

  14. tim says:

    Speaking of succession and the Netherlands–I’m hoping somebody gives the Austrian and Dutch Hapsburgs a swift slap up the side of the head–all right all right, so you lot have married your cousins, genetically that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for crying out loud don’t push it! Your children however had darned well better marry way outside the family tree– heck get Ferdy the Most Recent engaged to Sepharad, that would be safe enough genetically.

  15. Maddie says:

    @14, OTL, Ferdinand III and Mariana has a daughter in December of 1634. Even if she wasn’t born here, they’ll have a daughter eventually, or Fernando and Maria Anna will. Marry one of them to Wallenstein’s heir, that’s far enough apart genetically and he’s Catholic.

  16. summertime says:

    Speaking of children, Drak you may have an opinion on a question I have. Baruch , now adopted by Mike and Rebecca, was a renowned philosopher in the old time line. Perhaps his brilliance was due, in part, to his upbringing. In the new time line, and his new family circumstance, will he turn out to be great man? This really tests the “nature vs. nurture” argument in a practical way. This same question applies to all the painters, politicians, military officers, churchmen, etc., affected by the Ring of Fire. Will they turn out to be as influential in history as they did in the old time line, or will they fall by the wayside, with others assuming their roles in the new history?

  17. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Summertime, IIRC Eric has implied (via thoughts/words of his characters) that this Baruch isn’t the person Rebecca thinks he is.

    IE this Baruch was born after the Ring Of Fire and might not be geneticly the same person as the historical Baruch.

    On the other hand, one of the minor themes of these stories/books is how historical individuals deal with what the Grantville history books tell about their actions/acheivements in that other time.

    As for the “nature vs nurture” argument, these books would not solve that question as what happens in the stories/novels is only what the writers decide will happen based on their views of the historical characters.

    With historical characters who were adults at the time of the ROF, the changes due to the ROF are more limited but historical characters who were children at the time of the ROF the changes can be greater both for the good and the bad.

  18. Jason says:

    @17 most definatly are the changes to children will be different. I mean I don’t honestly see this Princess Kristina Vasa becoming a Catholic Nun. Also about Baruch thee will be differences how can there not be for ewxample he not being raised in the oppressive Amsterdam Ghetto, but that dosent mean that he wont have the natural intelliegence that he was born with either.

  19. no_one says:

    It there something involved in snippeting that makes them dull reading? Or is it the book itself that is dull reading? None of these have interested me to the point that I would be willing to buy the book, even in paperback.

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    no_one, some people find it hard to read the books in snippets because the snippets are very short.

  21. kwinn says:

    no_one, it may also be that you have to read the entire series from the beginning to see the overall picture and be interested in the snippets. Out of that context they may seem somewhat dull.

  22. Bret Hooper says:

    I’m hoping I will regret reading the snippets, which will happen if I live long enough to read the entire book when it is published. But at 75, I’m not taking the unnecessary chance of not reading any of it. I further hope to survive to learn whether Urban VIII reaches Grantville and establishes a papal seat there, and what becomes of Oliver Cromwell, Bishop Laud, the Kalmar Union, Gus (Captain Gars), Kristina, Ox&sterno, etc. in this greatest of all alternate histories (so far).

  23. robert says:

    @22 Bret, I feel the same way and am almost the same age. All we can do is eat right, exercise regularly as nagged, don’t buy green bananas, and buy the hardcovers (don’t wait the extra 8-12 months). Same goes for the Weber Harrington series and the output of Bujold and Lee & Miller.

    Now I have to go over to the Bar and post to Toni asking why she thinks that Kratman’s latest is science fiction. Do aliens show up later in the book?

  24. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, from what I’ve heard Toni doesn’t think Kratman’s latest is Science Fiction (or Fantasy). She just thinks it’s good enough for Baen to publish. [Wink]

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