1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 26

1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 26

Vienna, Austria

“They pointed a gun at Julian, Father,” Amadeus von Eisenberg said.

“I don’t need this, Amadeus,” Peter von Eisenberg said. “Karl Eusebius wants to put a railroad up to Teschen. And Sonny Fortney is a qualified surveyor. You and that drunken rabble you run with getting yourselves shot by the emperor’s pet up-timers is not going to make things easier. I will discuss it with the emperor, but in the meantime you and your friends stay away from the up-timers. I don’t need you in drunken brawls with peasants. Especially useful peasants. Leave them to the local peasants.”

“Yes, Father,” Amadeus said resentfully. He wasn’t happy about it but he would do it.

Village of Simmering, Austria

Hertel Faust, the new tutor, smiled as he looked at the carefully preserved insects in the four glass cases. “These are marvelous. You have examples from up-time America?”

“Uh huh,” Brandon agreed. “That’s this one and that one.” He pointed at two of the cases. “The others are from down-time Germany. Well, around the Ring of Fire anyway. Some of ’em are American insects that I caught after the Ring of Fire but–” He pointed. “–that one and that one are maybe crosses between up-time and down-time insects.”

“That would seem unlikely on the face of it,” Doctor Faust said cautiously. “On the other hand, I have never seen ones quite like these.”

Hayley kept her peace. Herr Doctor Hertel Faust was a reasonably handsome young man, well-read and open-minded. If he had the normal male interest in icky, squishy bugs, well, it was unlikely that they were going to find a tutor that didn’t.

After he and Brandon finished ooh-ing and aah-ing over the skeletons of dead bugs, Hayley managed to get Faust back onto something interesting. She showed him an electromagnet and demonstrated the effect of moving a permanent magnet across it.

Dr. Faust looked at the needle on the voltmeter moving and asked, “Please explain to me again why moving a magnet across a coiled wire produces electricity and moving it across a straight wire doesn’t. Does the curve cause the effect?”

“A straight wire does produce electricity when a magnet is moved across it. But it’s just one wire. A coil has lots of strands of wire being affected. You coil them to make the magnetic field produce more electricity.”

“Why not use one big wire? They carry more current, don’t they?”

Hayley wasn’t sure how to explain. “Yes, but the movement of the magnetic field would only produce a little energy no matter how big the wire is. With the coil the magnetic field is acting on lots of separate wires.”

“Then what would happen if you had hundreds of parallel wires, rather than hundreds of coils?”

Hayley started to say something but was stopped by the fact that she didn’t have a clue what would happen. “I don’t know. Maybe you’d get lots of very weak currents of electricity?”

“Perhaps. But assume that all the wires split off from one wire on one side of the magnet’s path and recombined on the other?”

“I don’t know . . . ?”

“Sounds like a neat experiment, though,” Brandon said.

Doctor Faust was going to fit in just fine, Hayley thought.

****

Hertel Faust gave a little half bow to one of the gawkers they passed and Hayley wondered why. She didn’t interrupt, though. She, Brandon, and Dr. Faust continued their walk, identifying tree and birds. Once they were out of earshot of the person Dr. Faust had bowed to she asked, “Who was that you bowed to back there?”

“Herr Weber, you mean? He is of the They of Vienna.”

“What’s that?” Brendan asked. He had clearly heard the emphasis as well as Hayley had.

“The They or the Them of Vienna are . . .” He paused searching for a word. “Elite. Yes, I think that is the word. The elite of Vienna. Not exactly the nobility, more the patrician class of Vienna. It is important that you know the social rules. The They of Vienna run the city. They hold the important posts and are the most important of the merchants and master craftsmen in the city. They are often titled in some way, but not always. Herr Weber, for instance, is simply a very wealthy merchant, but he and members of his family have been involved in the politics of Vienna for the last half century at least. He has influence over which laws and regulations are passed and what exceptions are available.”

“So why the bow?” Hayley asked.

“A lack of respect might cause you trouble.”

“They better not try,” Brandon said belligerently. And Hayley felt tempted to agree with him. But Dr. Faust was shaking his head. “It could cause your parents trouble to show them a lack of respect. It’s better to give them the bow and avoid the trouble.”

****

Bernhard Moser was one of the better qualified applicants to the race track work force. He was a journeyman blacksmith who had been let go when his master had gotten a steam hammer. The master had three journeymen working for him, including his two sons. So Bernhard was the one who got cut when the steam hammer had arranged for them to need one less worker. He was a friendly sort and had the solid muscles expected of a blacksmith. Better yet, he was at least a little familiar with steam hammers. Ron Sanderlin hired him on the spot to work in the shop. Bernhard started out on Fresno scrapers.

Vienna, Austria

“So far, sir,” Bernhard told his contact, “it’s just what you would expect. They are making Fresno scrapers, picks, shovels, all the sorts of things that you would expect to build a road. The up-timers themselves seem friendly and down to earth, but they have a truly horrible accent.” Bernhard shook his head. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

“This is not about the up-timers themselves, but one thing. The housekeeper that the Fortneys hired is Annemarie Eberle, and I am fairly sure she works for Janos Drugeth.”

“Did she recognize you?”

“I don’t think so. It wasn’t that we had ever worked together, but someone pointed her out to me once when she was acting as an under maid in the palace.”

The contact nodded. “Come and see me once a week for now. If anything urgent comes up, you know the signals.”

“Yes, sir.”

 

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Comments

13 Responses to 1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 26

  1. VernonNemitz says:

    “ooh-ing and aah-ing over the skeletons of dead bugs,”

    The more-accurate word is “exoskeletons”

  2. Tweeky says:

    That last part where “Bernard” is contacting his “Contact” i’m wondering which Bernard it is and who’s he working for?

  3. Lyttenstadt says:

    I don’t need you in drunken brawls with peasants. Especially useful peasants. Leave them to the local peasants.”

    What an awful, unrealistic and ham-fisted way of portraying nobles. I pretty much doubt that anyone real would’have talked like that. It’s 17th c. Austria, not medeival backwater.

    • Tweeky says:

      Unfortunately a lot of nobles did look down their noses at the peasants regarding them as vastly socially inferior and often treated them accordingly.

      • Lyttenstadt says:

        I know that. But something tells me that Austrian aristocrats wouldn’t be so dense as to call everyone non-noble “peasant”. And the structure of that sentences… 3rd graders can do better.

    • Stewart says:

      Fast Forward 150 years (our / old time line) — Remember — In this era, and for some time after, The Hapsburgs / Austria-Hungary were/was the big / bad boys on the block. They, along with the rise of Napoleonic France were responsible for the eventual unification of Germany under Bismark and unification of Italy under Garibaldi, and (from an American standpoint) why Britain’s George I / II / III were more interested in their European holdings and influence than the potential of North America.

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