1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 50

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 50

Simpson stared at him. “You’re right, you know.” He waved his hand also. “Not about the massacring business, about all of it. Americans have no magic powers. We simply… How to put it? Ignited something that would have erupted on its own anyway. You could put every American in a box and it wouldn’t matter, in the long run.”

“Not… exactly.” Ulrik paused, while he tried to sort out his thoughts. “I think what Mike Stearns has been aiming for all along — from things he let drop in conversations; mostly from watching him — is to produce a Europe much less maimed and distorted than the one that came to be in your world. If so, with respect to his goal if not necessarily his methods, I have no dispute with him. Indeed, I’d be glad to lend a hand. And in that process, I think it’s actually rather important that as many Americans as possible be kept out of boxes.”

He and the admiral suddenly grinned at each other.

“Well!” said Simpson, rubbing his hands. “On that, we see eye-to-eye.”

He leaned back in his chair and looked at the window again, for a few seconds. “All right, Ulrik. I will provide you and the princess with a refuge here. If Oxenstierna snarls at me, I will simply snarl back, point out that the laws involved are completely murky — and that if he pushes me too far, I can make his life a lot more miserable still.”

Ulrik nodded. “Thank you. I take it you’re trying to keep the navy as neutral as possible in the conflict?”

“Yes. Colonel Wood has agreed to do the same with the air force.”

“Quite wise, I think. In any event, you won’t be in this awkward position for more than a few days. Just long enough for us to make suitable arrangements to get to Magdeburg.”

“Ah… Ulrik, I’d make a suggestion.”


“Stay here for a while. A few weeks, possibly even a month or two.”

The prince’s eyes widened. “Why?”

“Hard to explain. Now, I’m the one operating on instinct — and in a situation that doesn’t come naturally to me, to make things worse.” Simpson rose and went over to the window. “Back home, I was very far removed from a radical firebrand. Although I do think the charges of being a hidebound dinosaur leveled at me on occasion were quite unfair. Well, somewhat unfair.”

For a few seconds, his hands clasped behind his back, he stared out the window. “I think you should let the situation unfold on its own, for a while. It’s going to anyway, Ulrik. Even if you pop up in Magdeburg tomorrow, you can’t stop Banér from attacking Dresden and you can’t stop Richter and her people from fighting back. You can’t stop Oxenstierna and Wettin from issuing whatever decrees they plan to issue from Berlin. One of which, by the way, I expect to be a decree that Berlin is henceforth the new capital.”

“Yes, that’s almost certain. Go on.”

“Once those decrees come out, there’ll be eruptions all over the Germanies — and counter-attacks, in many places. The whole nation is soon going to be drowned in chaos and hubbub. Anything you and Kristina try to say will just get lost in the ruckus.”

Ulrik thought about it. The admiral… had a point.

“In a month or so, though, the situation will be a lot clearer. At that point, moving to Magdeburg would have a tremendous impact. Probably not enough it itself to tip the scales. But…”

“But… what?”

Simpson scratched his chin. “There’s one other variable we haven’t talked about. That’s Mike Stearns, sitting in Bohemia with a whole division at hand. And I happen to know — old boys’ network, if you will — that he’s made sure he can get back to Saxony very quickly, if and when the time comes.”

Ulrik felt his face grow a bit pale. A bit paler, rather. He was a Danish prince whom no one would ever mistake for an Italian.

“Dear Lord,” he whispered. “That would…”

He shook his head abruptly. “But do you think he’d do it?”

“Mike?” Simpson’s tone was steely again. “Of all the stupid things Oxenstierna is doing, that’s the stupidest. He’d do better to ask Lennart Torstensson instead of listening to his cronies.”

Ulrik didn’t understand the reference to Torstensson. His puzzlement must have shown.

“Sorry, you weren’t there. I was standing next to Torstensson when the Magdeburg Crisis blew up. Me, Lennart and Mike Stearns. I’ve forgotten Mike’s exact words, but they were something like this.” His voice got that slight singsong that people slide into when they recite something from memory. “‘I’ll compromise, if possible, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t know whose side I’m on.’

“He then pointed to a man standing nearby, in the crowd watching us. I don’t know if the name will mean anything to you, but the man he pointed to was Gunther Achterhof.”

Ulrik shook his head. “No, I’m afraid it doesn’t.”

“Gunther Achterhof is one of the central leaders of the CoC in Magdeburg, which is without a doubt the most radically-inclined CoC in the Germanies. And even in that crowd, he’s considered implacable.”


“Lennart believed him. Then, and I imagine still now. I’m pretty sure, in fact, that’s why he’s been content to stay in Poznán, rather than intervene in what’s taking place in Berlin. For somewhat different reasons, he’s probably just as concerned as I am to keep the armed forces neutral and out of the direct fighting. Because he knows that sooner or later, a demon prince is going to come boiling out of Bohemia.”

“Uh… when, would you think?”

The admiral’s smile was now almost seraphic. “Oh, don’t ever mistake Mike Stearns for a hothead. That man knows how to bide his time with the best of them.”

“Ah. I see.” After a while, the smile that came to Ulrik’s face could almost be described as seraphic itself.

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42 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 50

  1. Robert H. Woodman says:

    Waiting a month or two is going to drive Kristina crazy. Which will drive Ulrik, Caroline, Baldur, John Simpson, and everyone else crazy.

    In the meantime, back in Dresden …

  2. Alex says:

    Dag nabbit I want this military neutrality issue settled! These snippets are so aggravating. Before I discovered them for myself I simply waited for each new book and drowned myself for a few days–now I get instant, brief satisfaction. It’s not fair I tells ya!

  3. Peter says:

    LOL – Welcome to the pain of snippet addiction, Alex. It is such a sweet sorrow. :-)

  4. Anonymouse says:

    Snipper addiction. Thank you, Peter. I knew I was suffering from something these last few years. Now it has a name.

  5. ET1swaw says:

    Everyone’s waiting for Axel to step on himself (on a particularly sensitive portion of his anatomy). Simpson is just getting Ulrich to hand him golf shoes (or even sharpened metal baseball cleats). Allowing the political scene to ripen, helping to keep CoC hotheads well reined in, and interim protection of Kristina are the three most helpful things I can think of for an apolitical military in this situation. Berlin issuing unsupported decrees and Baner’s actions (now and near-future) in Saxony are going to kick up a whole lot of dust. The majority of the USE is neither CoC nor reactionary and will be watching closely. Staying at Luebeck (where her father headed the seige and directed the very successful defense) under the protection of the USE Navy and Marine Corps (involved from the beginning (tours of Navy Yards during birth of USE) and militarily successful (destruction/capture of beseiging fleet in Luebeck Bay and surrender of Copenhagen), but still perceived as apolitical (unlike USE Air Force was not even involved in Krystallnacht)) maintains her support, but does –not– encourage political adventurism as might an immediate and headlong race for Magdeburg.
    @1 Robert: Kristina is the next best thing to hyperactive, a month or two is going to be Hell for almost everyone around her. Perhaps they can get her involved in the new ships being developed. She has already sponsored an expedition to the Indian Ocean (to save the dodos).
    And don’t forget Colonel Hand (not only G2A’s cousin, but in charge of the Black Chamber (intelligence gathering and cryptography) in Grantville; conversant with, but not in charge of, his Majesty’s Secret Service; and present in Berlin with strong ties to G2A’s prime bodyguard).
    The reminder of Mike is well timed as well.
    Baner and Axel have not fully crossed the line. Axel and Baner have kin ties to Nils Brahe (both have brothers married to Brahe’s sisters), but he seems to be staying neutral.
    IMO waiting (as hard as it will be for Kristina, and it will be a struggle) in a near-neutral location (but where her father is in very good repute) is an excellant move.

  6. jeff bybee says:

    Alex only 72 hours… 72 long hours till the next snippit arrives

  7. dave o says:

    I would call Kristina impetuous, normal for a 9 year old, rather than hyperactive. So far, she seems to be willing to pay attention WHEN PEOPLE EXPLAIN the situation. And the explanation make sense. This is Caroline’s specialty. And it’s becoming Ulric’s too. Kristina and co. have been rather isolated in Stockholm until now. Lubeck has good communications by radio, land and air with the rest of the USE I don’t think that they’re just going to sit on their hands while they’re in Lubeck. There are people to contact (in Magdeburg,Hesse and elsewhere), and a role to practice. Kristina has crown princess down pat, now she needs to work on ruling queen. Ulric will be a little more help than Caroline for this. By the time comes to move to Magdeburg, they’ll know which way the wind blows, and whose on their side, and what they want to do.

  8. Rob says:

    Shouldn’t there be a mission to ‘extract’ G2A from Ox’s control and reunite him (in body at least) with Christina? Probably in Madgeburg. Then he would become a real ‘figurehead’. All Ox’s supposed ‘moral authority’ – supporting the rightful ruler – would be washed away. . . anyone else wondering about this?

  9. Ed T. says:

    Snippet addiction, indeed! I put myself out of my misery by getting the e-book. Now I am torn between satisfaction and sorrow at having lost the joy of speculating on what is coming next!

  10. summertime says:

    Snippet addiction is better managed when one has several books being snippeted, rather than just one. Surely someone among our prolific writers has a new book ready to introduce! Surely?

  11. Ed T. says:

    Well stated, summertime! I thought the next Safehold book is supposed to come out later this year and I am waiting for snippets from it with bated breath!

  12. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Rob, such an extraction would be very hard to carry out and could only be done with the support of GA2’s bodyguards and GA2’s cousin.

    You’re talking about “kidnapping” GA2 as he has been awake if not knowing anybody around him.

    He’s likely would resist any future movement of himself and any trouble he gives you will make the discovery of your attempt more likely.

    Remember you’re talking about removing somebody who is tightly guarded.

    Of course, even if you got him out of the palace, you got the problem of getting him out of Berlin and getting him to Madgeburg without him being “rescued” by Oxen.

    Also, Oxen could very easily turn your “rescue” into a “kidnapping” and you’d be the villain not the hero.

    Also, if such a rescue was a “good idea”, GA2’s cousin would have already thought of the idea and he has the advantage of being “in place” unlike you who would have to get into the palace.

  13. WCG says:

    Snippet addiction. Yes, that’s my problem. To be honest, I’d enjoy the book more if I just waited until it was published. But I still can’t stay away from these snippets.

    Admittedly, this site has kept me from making a mistake in buying some books – mostly those by other authors, but at least one by Flint (“The Dreeson Incident,” which I thought read like a parody of the series). But I still consider this to be an addiction, something that’s probably harmful, but I just can’t quit.

    Maybe the rest of you don’t feel this way – probably, you don’t – but by the time I get these books, I feel like I’ve already read them. So they don’t have the same impact they’d otherwise have. Well, that’s how it seems to me, anyway.

  14. summertime says:

    WCG: Yes, DREESON was a little dull in spots, ditto THE TANGLED WEB and a few others. Those set in Italy always seemed somewhat removed from the general thrust of the series. However, I have found that there is no unimportant book in the 163x series. All have something valuable to add, even if you have to search for it. Otherwise, two or three books down the line you will read something and think, “Now where in the heck did that come from; I don’t remember it!” As for me, I do not remember that political writer in Holland who is being quoted as talking about the transition from autocracy to democracy and is supposed to be a model to follow in political evolution. Was he in BALTIC WAR or one of the other books? Anyway, we should read ALL of them, and read carefully, lest we miss an important point and be left in the lurch.

  15. robert says:

    Re: more books to be snippeted. No more for some while is my guess (sob). That is why we are still having Eric’s snippets even though the eARC has been out for a few weeks now. Weber’s site says he has written (so far) 180,000 words of the next Safehold book. So that isn’t done yet, even though it is nearly enough for two Liaden novels. And Buckley has had to resurrect a dormant snippet to give us some reason to visit the site other than Sluggy.
    It is a bleak, nearly snippet-free winter except for Eric.

  16. Pul Ess says:

    Soft landing: Alessandro Scaglia, The Baltic War, chapter 23.

  17. ET1swaw says:

    @14 summertime: Scaglia was in ‘Baltic War’, ‘Bavarian Crisis’, and GG (‘Ounce of Prevention’ and possibly others).

  18. Vikingted says:

    Ed T., It is better to wait with bated breath than Bait Breath. I think Caroline will be really tested in her abilities to control Kristina.

    Why can not we call Ulrik Ulrik? I see Ulrich and Ulrick in many of the comments, what is sooooo hard about Ulrik’s name. Classic scandahoven “KAY” sounds are usually “K” and until the French influence in Denmark and Norway, next to never a “C”. What gives with a “ch”. Just a Nordski’s pet pevee

  19. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Vikingted, just tell yourself that some people can’t spell right. [Wink]

  20. Bret Hooper says:

    @18-Vikingted: I agree with you. Except when I deliberately mangle a name, e.g. Ox&Sterno, I try to spell and pronounce people’s names correctly, and I have taught my sons to do likewise. That proved highly beneficial to my youngest son, who asked a classmate who had been using an American name (to save Americans the trouble of using a name that was strange to them) for her REAL name, and thereafter used it. At the end of the semester, she invited him to her home in Beijing to meet her parents, and before the fall, 2007 semester started, they were married.

  21. It is 1635.

    This year, Cardinal Richelieu is scheduled to create France’s most important organ of national defense, the Academy Francaise, whose glorious mission is the protection of the purity of the French language. Mindful of the Academy’s historical progress through 2010, Richelieu may choose to give it tighter deadlines for finishing its work.

  22. Terranovan says:

    I’ve been wondering – What language has G2A been babbling in? Which ones does he know, and which does he use to say – almost nothing, so far. Does he change languages for the preference/knowledge of the person he’s talking to?
    Also, I’m wondering – is there a dynastic split in the Vasa future – one branch in Sweden (with G2A) and another (with Kristina) in the USE? Although United States of Germany is more accurate, the way I see it.

  23. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Terranovan, considering that Kristina is G2A’s only legimate child how can there be a split?

    For that matter, a recovered G2A wouldn’t ‘spend his time’ ruling Sweden while letting his daughter rule the USE.

    Now it may be possible that the adult Kistina might be given the job of ruling Sweden as long as her father is still alive.

    As for what language G2A is speaking at this time, IMO it is not relevent to the story.

  24. Pul Ess says:

    #22: Unless his multilingual reflex has been damaged, the king would respond in the recipients best language, if he knows it. That would make his babblings Swedish or German; possibly English when with the doctor – don’t know if his English is fluent enough for that.

    Regarding what languages he knows, searching the web I haven’t been able to find a single reference to any first hand documents, but lots of unsupported declarations:

    Gustav II Adolf corresponded in German with his mother, who was a German princess.

    Gustav II Adolf learned five languages in addition to his mother tongue, they were Latin, French, Italian, German and Dutch.

    As a Prince … he learned to speak five foreign languages.

    …he learned to master Latin, German, Dutch, French and Italian.

    …spoke 6-7 languages: German, Italian, French, Dutch, Latin, Spanish and English.

    He spoke two languages fluently from the start since his mother Kristina, was German. Eventually he learned nine more languages!

  25. Bret Hooper says:

    @21 George: A century ago, the international language of diplomacy was French. Now it is English, which is also the ONLY language used in communications between pilots and ground control at international airports, INCLUDING those in France, much to the annoyance, I am sure, of French chauvinists. The French Academy’s stupid enforcement of French “linguistic purity” has been blamed, with at least some justification, for this. Fortunately for the English language, several attempts to create a similar English Academy have all failed. And fortunately for the German language, during my lifetime Germans have also taken to freely adopting foreign words, just as we do. English and German are ALIVE! the French Academy has made the French language moribund.

  26. robert says:

    @24 Except as spoken by the French people. Le Weekend is nowhere to be found in any historical French texts, after all and for example. Language is what people speak, not what an academy dictates. German being a synthetic language, will adopt and invent new words as required. But English does indeed seem to be driving change in nearly all other languages. Thank you, Hollywood! Thank you, cable TV! And I hate to say it, but British colonialism, dumb as it was, did spread the mother tongue.

  27. Stanley Leghorn says:

    22: Interesting question as to the language. I suspect it is Swedish as that would be the one most ingrained, but it would be an interesting situation to find he can shift languages based on who he is talking to. That implies a lot more control than just staying with one or randomly changing languages. I wonder if he will be ALLOWED to recover as Ox must have a pretty good idea what G2A’s opinion of his actions will be. That might have been the core of the conversation between Hand and G2A’s guard.

  28. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @21 (George Phillies), @24 (Bret Hooper), @25 (Robert) —

    As a scientist, I find it interesting that English is now THE language of science. For quite a long time, and up until just a few decades ago, to be a scientist of any real seriousness and stature (metaphorically speaking), one needed to know Latin, Greek, French, and German. Looking through old chemistry and biology papers, it is common to see the texts of the papers written in French or German. Moreover, to enter graduate school, I not only had to pass the GRE but I also had to demonstrate proficiency in French or German (I chose German) (also, I realize that I’m dating myself a bit here).

    Today, for the most part, the language requirement on students today is that they know ENGLISH. Why? Quite simply because two world wars and several decades of American domination on the global economic, scientific, and technical fronts made English THE language of science. As American dominance in science very slowly fades and Asian (particularly Chinese and Indian) dominance rises, I wonder if my grandchildren (should they enter the field of science) will be required to know Chinese or Hindi.

    Kind of off-topic, but still, I wonder.

  29. Tweeky says:

    @21, @24, @25 and @27 I hear every so often a new for of German-“Amidideutch” is developing as a result of the collective influences of 17th century Swedish, strong influence of Modern English (specifically American English), quite possibly 17th century Scots from Scottish mercenaries too and the simplifying of German grammar as the result of many different German dialects interacting. Along the lines of how Anglo-Saxon (aka Old English or Englisc) dramatically simplified in terms of grammar (with some strong Old Norse influence too) as a result of the interactions between the various dialects of Angle, Jutish and Saxon, is this is what is happening in Germany? Also has anyone over at Baen’s bar written a non-fiction GG article on what Amidideutch is and how it’s forming?

  30. Tweeky says:

    @28 I meant to say “I hear every so often a new reference for a new variant of German called Amidideutch”.

  31. Dahigi says:

    “We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” — Booker T. Washington

  32. Jluke says:

    @25 Except that the Academy goal has never been to maintain purity as you say.

    the role is indeed to fixate the language, because when it was created, there was still 3 major variants of french, hundreds of “patois” , non even speaking of radically different languages like basque or breton.

    For this the main tool is the dictionary which gives what is the “bon usage” as they see it in litteracy. Their dictionary is a linguist tool, not a general usage one. But that dont mean it cannot evolve and they are quite good at adopting foreign terms in french if they are sanctionned by usage or crafting good substitutes like ordinateur for computer. Of course, the privatly published dictionaries are quicker to match usage, but it is largely a matter of pace of publication. They are only at the 9th edition since 1694.

    the grammar and ortograph reform proposals they did some 20 years ago were going so far in simplificating french that it drawed quite an upset and was put aside very quickly.

    Now, they participate to the govt sponsored terminology groups since some years, and yes those had (and some still have) a stance which at least bordered on the ridiculous when dealing with english terms. Frenchs in general laughed louder at them than foreigners, and either used the terms coined by our Quebec cousins (like courriel for email) or simply ignored the silly buggers.

  33. robert says:

    @31 Jluke, that is quite true with respect to French. For an excellent treatment of how fractured French was up until WWI, I recommend “The Discovery of France” by Graham Robb (Norton,2007).

    @28 Robert, I understand what you are saying, being of an age myself. In 1967 I was doing a project at the Euratom facility in northern Italy. The scientists would meet to deliver their research papers for critique prior to publication. All the scientists from the various countries presented their papers in English…except the French scientists, who would only speak French. Everyone found that to be humorous.
    Times change…

  34. Jluke says:

    Dont forget that if a french national spoke any foreign language up to 25 years ago, it was most likely either german or italian. German because it was chosen by the best students (with latin), italian because it was at the time the immigrant country of those who had stayed and assimilated but kept their language at home. Spaniards returned home, and Polish were quick to speak only french.

    This has changed and english is the main foreign language now.

    As for patois, one of my grandfathers spoke only that. He could write and read french, but would only speak in the village variant, different from the one of the village 50km further. And I would not have understood a word of that. Patois are fully dead now with very few locutors, his generation was the last one to be fluent (born before WWI).

  35. @21

    Apparently several people did not quite recognize the tone of Gallic sarcasm in your remarks.

  36. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @35 – George Phillies

    Are you talking to yourself???

  37. John Cowan says:

    J. Luke: The other French langues d’oil may be dead, but in the South there are still more than half a million French/Occitan native speakers.

  38. Willem Meijer says:

    @22 and @24 Did Gustav Adolf use different signatures when he wrote in different languages? William of Orange (William the Silent/Guillaume le taciturne) wrote in German and French, and his Wilhelm-signature differed widely from his Guillaume. Not just in lettering, but in the style of handwriting as well.

  39. Jluke says:

    Occitan is not a patois, but a full regional language like Breton. Patois, by definition, have no written form, and Mistral got a Nobel prize for his provencal writings, one of the 6 occitans, not his french ones.

    In north Queyras Patois is (was) the same on the italian side than on the french one, and that was a region where Provencal/vivaro-alpine was also spoken.

  40. Captain Button says:

    Dahigi @31:

    Actually that quote is from James Nicoll in 1990.



  41. Bret Hooper says:

    @32 Jluke: Your claim to the contrary notwithstanding, I stand by what I wrote @25 above. Below is a comment by Robert on Snippet 54 with a link to a story in the Los Angeles Times headlined “French groups struggle to beat back English” which includes the following:

    “Reporting from Paris — For the best part of 376 years, the Academie Francaise has fought to keep the French language as pure as the driven neige.”

    A funny news story:

    Comment by robert — February 4, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  42. Bret Hooper says:

    Oops, typo: Robert’s comment was on snippet 53, not 54.

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