1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 02

1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 02

Chapter 2: Send Money

June, 1634

Liechtenstein House, outside the Ring of Fire

“It’s a letter from your Uncle Gundaker.” Josef Gandelmo, Karl’s tutor, financial manager, and companion, handed him the letter across the desk.

Karl opened it and read. “The family wants me to increase their allowance.”

“That’s hardly fair, Your Serene Highness.” Josef’s voice held quite a bit of censure, but at least a touch of humor as well. He moved over to the sideboard and gestured to the drink bottles.

Karl shook his head. He still wasn’t happy with the down-time version of Sprite and had never been all that pleased with beer or wine. “I know. But it does seem a bit strange how the world works. Gundaker wants five hundred thousand guilders in silver. Which is insane. Granted, silver is worth more in Vienna. It might even be profitable to ship silver to Vienna and dollars back here. If they had any dollars worth mentioning in Vienna. But they don’t.”

“I suspect His Imperial Majesty is putting considerable pressure on your family and if your family’s access to its wealth is problematical, His Imperial Majesty’s lost two-thirds of his tax base. The wealthier two-thirds,” Josef said.

Karl nodded. “Somehow, I don’t think my neighbors in Grantville are going to be all that thrilled with me if I start sending silver to fund Ferdinand’s armies. For that matter, Wallenstein — who is King Albrecht now — won’t be thrilled and he can cut off access to the better part of my assets. Frankly, it would be better politically if I didn’t have the money . . . at least not in cash.”

Josef snorted. “You should do more business with the Barbie Consortium. I’m sure they would be happy to relieve you of your cash . . . Ken Doll.”

Karl looked at Josef, then leaned back in his swivel chair and grinned. “You know, that’s not a bad idea.”

“I was joking, Your Serene Highness.”

“I know, but I’m not.” Karl gave Josef a serious look. “Josef, that letter was delayed. I didn’t receive it for at least a week from now. A month would be better. Meanwhile, get in touch with both Judy Wendell’s, the younger and the elder.”

Seeing his look, he added: “No, Josef, I don’t intend to defy my family and my emperor. But I’m walking a tightrope here, with Ferdinand II on one side and Wallenstein on the other. I can’t send cash. It would raise too many red flags. If I don’t send anything, it will raise red flags on the other side. I will send an authorization for the family to borrow against family assets in Bohemia and Silesia. Those assets will have considerably more value if they are the planned recipients of up-timer sweet corn, new plows, stamp presses, sewing machines, and anything else I can think of or learn from Mrs. Wendell. For the rest, I can’t send it if I don’t have it, and the Barbies might be just the group to invest those funds in ways that will make them temporarily unavailable. Go, Josef. Make your phone calls.”

Wendell Home, Grantville

Judy the Younger, irrepressible as always, said, “I don’t know how you do it. Somehow that outfit works on you.”

Karl smiled, gave her a little bow, and followed her into the living room where her mother and sister waited. She waved him to the couch. Karl was wearing dark-red calfskin riding boots with a bronze down-time made zipper replacing the laces. Zippers had become all the rage since the Ring of Fire; at least, for those who could afford them. Tucked into the boots were dark brown pants with embroidery in red and gold. A white linen shirt was covered by a gold lamé waistcoat and a dark green morning coat with the same red and gold embroidery. Both the vest and the morning coat had zippers as well. This was all topped with a beaver cowboy hat, which Karl took off and set on the end table once he was seated.

“So, what’s so important, Prince Karl?” asked Sarah Wendell. She was wearing the down-time version of a women’s business suit, a divided calf-length skirt and a matching jacket, with a high-collared blouse, all done in various shades of blue.

“I find myself in an unusual position,” Karl admitted. “For complicated reasons, I find it would be much better if I temporarily had a great deal less cash on hand.”

“I have to ask.” Judy the Younger grinned. “What complicated reasons?”

“My uncle wants me to send him five hundred thousand guilder in silver.”

Judy tut-tutted. “You people don’t know anything about money.”

“Be nice, Judy, or I’ll send you to your room,” Judy the Elder told her daughter.

“I note, however,” Karl said, “that you didn’t disagree with her.”

“Well . . .”

“It’s perfectly all right. I have come to believe that, to a great extent, our knowledge of money is on a par with our knowledge of medicine.” Karl sighed. “The truth is that three years ago my family knew more, or at least as much, about money and finance as anyone in Europe. And Kipper and Wipper were, I believe, less the result of avarice than of ignorance.”

Judy the Elder was giving Karl what he could only describe as a doubtful look.

“It’s true, ma’am,” Karl said. “I’m not saying that avarice played no role, but my family minted money using less silver and after only a short while, no one trusted it. You people mint money out of no silver and everyone trusts it.”

Sarah cleared her throat. “Ah . . . why does your family want you to send them eighteen to twenty million dollars in silver? I mean, well, extravagant lifestyle or not, that’s a lot of money.”

“It’s not lifestyle,” Karl said. “It’s politics. Most of my family’s lands are in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. When Albrecht von Wallenstein declared himself the king of Bohemia, he effectively conquered my family’s lands. We hold those lands in fief from the king of Bohemia.


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12 Responses to 1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 02

  1. zak ryerson says:

    Note I am assuming that the first bus was in operation in 1964.

    Round trip bus from where I am typing this to where I used to live: $0.40
    Recent Fare increase Round Trip Cost. $3.20.
    Old fare was in silver coin.
    New fare is on stored value, tap on target card.

  2. Greg Noel says:

    The link to the previous snippet should be to The Savior – Snippet 15.

  3. daveo says:

    Wouldn’t field corn be a more valuable crop, for animal feed than sweet corn? And how much effort would it take to manufacture zippers down time. I guess the brass parts could be stamped out fairly easily, if someone wanted to. But it seems like a lot of work when buttons are perfectly practical. I suppose as a fashion trend, it would be worth it for somebody to try.

    • Vikingted says:

      I only read about 19 before my subscription ran out, so maybe someone has written a story about the zipper revolution of the wealthy classes. The Zipper, the new mark of the upper class.

    • Stanley Leghorn says:

      Animal feed they have right now, uptime derived sweet corn will be a FAR more valuable cash crop. As would most uptime livestock or plants. So many people argueing against GMO foods have NO idea how modified the food they have been eating since childhood is. Pocahantas would not recognize todays corn or potatoes. In the Gazettes, people are being killed over Angora bunnies and uptime sheep…

      • Joel says:

        This is an interesting argument, but unless I misunderstand how those modifications were made in the past, it was all through selective breeding…essentially, working with the existing genetic makeup to express different features that were within the DNA already. What they’re doing now is to actually change the DNA.

        I’m actually not fundamentally against any genetic tinkering you want to try, I just want to be fully informed about anything I put in my body. The current genegineers, though, have captured the regulatory bodies to the point where we’re not getting the information we need, and all dissent is getting stifled by corporate interests. I’m always suspicious about ANY corporate/government collusion.

        • YABOFH says:

          Sigh… How does the following scenario differ from dreaded GM? Several thousand years ago a wild species got domesticated. That wild species had several alleles in some locus; during the original selection all but one got lost. Maybe because of pure drift, maybe there had been a selection on a locus nearby, but one way or another that one got fixed – all domesticated forms are homozigous there. Moreover, the wild form got displaced by the domesticated one everywhere except a few areas e.g. in Ethiopia.

          Now, some of the alleles still surviving in the wild varieties would give far better resistance to cold. So we pull the following trick:
          1) breed a line of wild variety bearing the allele we want.
          2) cross it with the domesticated one, select the hybrids that bear that allele. They’ll have all kinds of alleles we do *not* want, of course.
          3) repeat the previous step, each time crossing the domesticated form with the hybrids of previous generation that have the desired allele. With each step we’ll get the gene frequencies closer and closer to the domesticated form – after all, more and more ancestors will be domesticated ones. Except for the locus we are working with and ones right next to it (eventually torn away by crossovers). There we’ll get the allele we want pinned down.
          Eventually you’ll get lines that differs from the original domesticated form only in that locus, where we’llhave the allele fixed in domesticated form + the allele we wanted to bring over. At that point all that is left is to start crossing them with each other, selecting hybrids that bear two copies of desired allele.

          Result: new domesticated variety, hopefully more cold-resistant and hopefully not losing the results of earlier selection. Does the fact that we used normal crossovers for splicing make it more acceptable?

          PS: The fact that allele in question is “natural” isn’t worth much – it occurs in mountain grass growing around Arsehole, Ethiopia and had never been seen around the trailer parks of Shitpile, Minnesota. So we don’t really know if, in addition to making the grain survive the cold snaps, it will somehow affect the precious body fluids of the good folks there, making them sing The Lumberjack Song a-capella. Or something. But… we don’t know that for _any_ new variety…

  4. daveo says:

    If memory serves, in the 17th century, most animals bred for meat were slaughtered when winter arrived and the meat salted. I would have to look up when some root crops began to be used as winter feed. I think hay and grains are the principal winter feeds. It’s improbable that grains yielded enough to make them practical. A century later, Sam Johnson defined oats: A grain eaten by animals in England, by men in Scotland. Not an exact quote, so no comments, please.

    Sweet corn doesn’t keep at all well. And it has a brief season.

    • Jason says:

      The Sweet corn is being grown for human consumption also Sweet corn is more disease resistant than downtime corn. ALso Sweet corn is just something that didnt exist untill well after the time period the first introdice to Europeans by Indians in 1779

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