1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 37

1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 37

Chapter 13: The Defectors Arrive
December, 1634

“I heard that they killed someone in Grantville and that’s why they ran,” Gayleen Sanderlin said over coffee and pastries at the still-not-completed pastry shop. The shop was located about a hundred yards from the race track and mostly catered to the race track workers.

“I hadn’t heard that,” Dana Fortney said. “But we’ll know when the next letter from Grantville arrives. Thurn and Taxis are really good. I was surprised at the speed they can deliver mail.”

“Should we invite them over?” Hayley asked. “The up-timers, I mean, not Thurn and Taxis.”

“Let’s wait on that till we have a better handle on what happened,” Ron Sanderlin said. “I don’t know the Barclays, but Jay Barlow was one of that Club 250 bunch. For him to run off to live among down-timers, it would have to be something serious. I’m not sure that they are the sort of people we want to be involved with.” Ron Sanderlin was a reasonably bright guy, however it was the “think with his hands” sort of bright, not the book learning sort of bright. He had made it through high school, but barely. He wasn’t overly fond of the sort of self-important jerks who waved their credentials in everyone’s face. That was one reason he still wasn’t fond of Simpson, even if the guy had sort of reformed. This group, with Club 250 types and college grads who still couldn’t make it in Grantville, didn’t sound like anyone he wanted to meet.

University of Vienna

“No.” Peter Barclay looked around the classroom, and saw the lectern that they called a desk. “I doubt the Fortneys and Sanderlins will be much help. They are no doubt decent enough people of their sort, but they lack the education to be of much help to us. As I understand it, they have but two high school diplomas between them, and no university training at all.” Peter wasn’t in any mood to deal with people from Grantville who would look at him and his companions as traitors in spite of the fact that they were here too.

“That was my impression as well,” Herr Doctor Himmler proclaimed from the lectern. “Craftsmen, useful at their craft, but lacking the understanding needed for higher callings.”

Peter Barclay had no idea why Herr Doctor Himmler was so willing to agree with him. He didn’t know that the doctor had heard about the Fortney family choosing Faust over himself to educate their children. Not, of course, that Herr Doctor Himmler would have taken the post had it been offered . . . but it should have been. All Peter Barclay knew was that Herr Doctor Himmler was clearly pleased to hear anything bad about the up-timers who were already residing in — or rather, near — Vienna. In fact, there were a number of the elite of Vienna who were pleased to hear anything bad about any up-timer. Especially members of the Fortney and Sanderlin clans.

Doctor Himmler asked a question about steam and Peter gave him the formula for the calories needed to turn water into steam. Then another professor asked him another question and he answered it. Peter knew a lot of this stuff of the top of his head as much because of the work he had been doing since the Ring of Fire as because of the engineering degree he had gotten years before. He explained that internal combustion was more efficient, working at higher temperatures, and that because of weight, aircraft engines would have to use internal combustion engines. He knew, but didn’t point out, that up-time there had been at least one steam aircraft that had operated. However, he felt that with down-time tech the only way to make an engine that would work in a flying machine was internal combustion reciprocating engines. A project that he knew he was better qualified to lead than anyone else, even Hal Smith. Smith might be an aeronautical engineer, but Peter Barclay was a mechanical engineer, so knew more about the design of engines.

Fortney House, Race Track City

The mail arrived. There were letters from the Barbies to Hayley, from friends and family to the Sanderlins. Dana had one from her sister Holly, wanting reassurance that the evil Austrians weren’t holding them prisoner, and Sonny had a rather long one from a down-time friend named Cavriani. It was quite a long letter, full of gossip including quite a bit about Istvan Janoszi who had recruited the Sanderlins and him, and apparently had also had a major hand in the recruitment of the defectors. Sonny was more than a little disappointed in Janos Drugeth. He had thought better of the man. Both as spy and as a man.


The first meeting with the defectors was stiffly formal and polite. The Barclays were brought to Race Track City to look over the race track and comment. Comment they did, but later. For now, they made notes.

Sonny showed them the race track and told them about his idea to bank the track on either end.

Ron showed them the 240Z and the garage. Peter and Marina Barclay made notes and asked questions.

The adults mostly ignored the children who were carefully doing the “seen and not heard” bit, partly because the kids on both sides were aware that there were politics involved and didn’t want to be involved. And also because the kids — Hayley, Carla Ann, Brandon, and Thomas — knew each other from Grantville, having been in the same grades in the same schools.


“What are you guys doing about school?” Carla Ann asked. “I hate that we moved here before I graduated.”

“There is a school here for young ladies,” Hayley Fortney told her. “It’s run by the Jesuitesses, the English Ladies. But I’m being tutored and taking correspondence courses.”

“Why aren’t you in the school?”

“I think I may not be high class enough.” Hayley grinned. “After all, my dad’s just the assistant auto mechanic for the emperor’s car. Besides, I like having a tutor better.”

Carla Ann nodded. Of course Hayley Fortney of the Barbie Consortium has her own tutor. I’ll be lucky to get tuition to the English Ladies’ school.

This entry was posted in 1632Snippet, Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top


12 Responses to 1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 37

  1. Will Hayley pay Herr Faust to let Carla attend her classes? i.e. is Hayley wise enough to know that if she has to help Carla, Hayley will learn the subject matter better?

    • Cobbler says:

      Why should Hayley have to pay Faust extra?

      I doubt he contracted to teach according to class size.

      Faust appears to be a good teacher. He may understand that another intelligent student—presuming that Carla Ann is intelligent—will keep his lessons interesting.

      He certainly understands who is signing his pay check.

      • Grading the work of two students is about twice as much work as grading the work of one student. Preparing lectures or otherwise preparing for the class is the same amount of work for a class of 2 or 200 as for a class of 1. Therefore, Herr Faust will do more work, but not twice as much, with 2 students, so it is only reasonable to pay him more, but less than twice as much.

  2. Oops! I goofed. Carla Ann graduated from the English Ladies School in 1637 and went on to the University of Prague.

    • Vikingted says:

      Who told you! I need to know…. What about Brandon and Thomas? Do they get thrown into the Austria army, captured by the Turks, die in their clutches?

  3. Johnny says:

    An engineer disparaging others for lack of education rings false to me. R&D is still so much trial and error that design skill is less useful than enthusiasm and patience. R&D using old timey materials to make old timey products would, honestly, be better under an older mechanic type. You generally don’t learn outdated methods and materials, or at least you only get them as a 15 minute intro.

    • Randomiser says:

      Except that the extract is full of hints that this engineer is ‘not a nice person’ and rather full of himself. Putting ‘our heroes’ down is his way of bigging himself up.

    • Vikingted says:

      I would have thought an engineer would have thought a fellow with great mechanical skills would be a great person to have at his side. Plus engineers tend not to be scientists, they like to figure out how something works but not necessarily why it should work. I R 1…

    • Robert Krawitz says:

      I’ve known plenty of arrogant engineers…

      • Johnny says:

        Arrogant, sure. But this isn’t arrogant to type. He’s acting like an ivory tower scientist or a high-up finance or business exec. The defining feature of engineering is that if it works, it’s golden. That brings respect for people who can “make it work”, no matter if they went to school or where. All engineers have worked with (and pretty much all respect) some form of tech, be they draftsman, surveyors, material testers, shop workers… etc.

        He could be an obnoxious arrogant a$$, but he wouldn’t be one in this manner if he really is an engineer.

        • Robert H. Woodman says:

          I agree that this isn’t arrogant to type, but the other clues in this snippet suggest that he isn’t a typical engineer. He’s more of a snob with pretensions to intellectual greatness who just happens also to have an engineering degree. This is by no means typical of engineers (I know plenty of them, including my father), but I could see how such a person, with a warped personality to boot, might behave like this. I’m willing to along with it for the sake of the story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *