1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 38
“How are your rabbits?” Thomas Barclay asked Brandon.
“Acting like rabbits.” Brandon grinned. “Velma has another bunch in the oven and we should have more soon. With luck, satins will become a big seller. They have more meat than the local rabbits. I figure I’ll be able to sell a bunch of breeding pairs.”
“Why not sell the meat and keep the breeding pairs?”
“That would be stupid. It would make a lot of folks mad and we don’t need the hassle.” Brandon didn’t say that his original plan had been to do just that and Hayley had jumped on him about it, then gone to Mom, who had made it clear that if he tried it, she would take the rabbits away from him.
“What angle of ramp are you planning on?” Peter Barclay asked.
“About thirty degrees, I think. That’s what they had on NASCAR tracks up-time.” Truthfully, Sonny wasn’t sure. He had seen races up-time but he was hardly a NASCAR buff.
“I’ll calculate the angle that will be needed, assuming you can tell me the average and top speeds that will be used,” Peter Barclay declared.
Sonny shrugged. It wasn’t an issue that he felt was all that important.
Ron said, “Sure. Figure an average of around sixty and a top speed around one twenty, but that could go up in a few years.”
“I will look into it.”
“Well, if you do look into it, we’ll need it fairly quickly. His Majesty doesn’t want the track closed for months while you do your calculations,” Gayleen Sanderlin said. Gayleen wasn’t overly impressed by the new additions to the Viennese up-timer community.
“The track is dangerous as it stands now, and will become even more dangerous if they try to build their bank without the proper calculations,” Peter Barclay explained to Janos Drugeth and Gundaker von Liechtenstein that evening.
Janos wasn’t greatly swayed by Peter Barclay’s pronouncements, but Gundaker was. Gundaker wasn’t all that impressed by the up-timer engineer, but at least he was a scholar of sorts.
Carla Ann Barclay listened to the self-satisfied way that her father and Prince Gundaker decided that whatever the Sanderlins and the Fortneys had done was meaningless and unimportant because they weren’t the right sort of people. She had gotten that her whole life from her parents. Not the right color, not the right education, not the right “sort.” It amazed her how people so unsuccessful could be so full of themselves. Especially after the Ring of Fire, when Mom and Dad had become two of the very few people on earth that had actual up-time college degrees and they had still managed not to get much of anything done. And it wasn’t that they were stupid or incompetent, though her dad was certainly stupid when it came to people.
So was she, Carla knew, as much as she hated to admit it. But, damn, Hayley Fortney was part of the Barbie Consortium and they had gotten rich in less than two years after the Ring of Fire. And Mom and Dad didn’t even notice she was here. Well, Carla sure as hell wasn’t going to tell them.
English Ladies School, Vienna
A few days later, Carla Ann Barclay sat and waited as her parents discussed her future with the Jesuitesses. She felt like a spoiled child’s rag doll. The child would scream and throw a fit if it was taken away, but as soon as it was returned she would casually toss it into a corner. A dirty corner. The English Ladies’ school was the corner she was being tossed into and she had no idea how Jesuitesses would take to up-time knowledge. Honestly, she was a little worried that she would be facing exorcisms or the Inquisition.
It’s bad enough we got thrown back to this time, Carla Ann thought. But then my idiot parents do this to me!
The elite of Vienna came in two categories, townies and court, burghers of Vienna and the Hofbefreiten of the court. The Hofbefreiten included a lot more than Carla Ann had ever thought of as courtiers. Oh, the Hofbefreiten included the courtiers, but also the third assistant dressmaker to the Countess von Nowhere Important. Hofbefreiten were anyone who had some right to serve the court in some way and were therefore excused from the normal fees and rules that the burghers and craftsmen of Vienna had to deal with. Of course, most of Vienna wasn’t in either group. But the daughters of both courtiers and burghers went to the school of the English Ladies. There they mixed, as did their parents. Together they made up the people who mattered and they were busy those first days after Carla Ann joined them, figuring out where she fit in the category. Her parents were hired by the court, which was almost a unique status. Most people who worked for the emperor paid for the privilege and got some set of rights or privileges in exchange. From people like Wallenstein, who raised his army out of his own pocket to the guy who polished the emperor’s boots who paid for the right to do so then made his living selling boots. People who actually got paid by the emperor were few and far between. On the other hand, the Barclays weren’t actually being paid that much in comparison to what a clerk of the court made in bribes.
On the third hand, there was the fact that Carla Ann had actually experienced the Ring of Fire. What it all came down to was that the other girls weren’t at all sure what to do with her and she had the potential to take over the queen bee slot so far as the school hierarchy was concerned.
That status was as obvious to the English Ladies as to the students, and they, in all honesty, were as curious about the Ring of Fire as anyone else. With their leader, Mary Ward, in Grantville at last report, the English Ladies were still more curious.