1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 40
Hayley gestured Carla to a bench and came over to sit down next to her. Hayley’s dark brown hair was held back with a scrunchy and there was a grease smudge on her forehead that Carla wanted to wipe away.
“What can I do here to make money?” Carla didn’t mean to say it that way, but it just spilled out of her mouth as soon as she opened it. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blurt it out like that, but I don’t know how things work here. And . . . well, Mom and Dad didn’t exactly ask my opinion before they brought me here.” Though she didn’t know it, that was the right thing to say.
“I’ll try to help,” Hayley said. “What do you know about?”
“I’ve been thinking about that. I was in theater arts at Grantville High, stage setting, some acting. I’ve learned German, of course, and some French and Latin. From before the Ring of Fire, I know tap dancing, though I’m out of practice. Mom and Dad had me taking lessons since I was six, and I didn’t like ballet as much as tap. And I can play the piano. Not real well, but I can play it. They made me take a gymnastics class on Saturdays. I’ve sort of kept that up since the Ring of Fire. Wednesdays were Japanese classes, ’cause Dad said the Japanese are really big in electronics.”
“I doubt Japanese is going to be much use, but maybe the piano.” Hayley paused a minute. “Do you know how a piano is made?”
“Sort of. I know the basics.”
“See if you can find out if anyone owns the patent on pianos. And if someone does, they probably don’t know how to build them. You can probably make some money working with whoever they have trying to build them. I don’t know about the tap dancing or gymnastics. Would the English Ladies think it was a good idea? Maybe you could teach tap or gymnastics at the English Ladies school.”
Carla grimaced at that.
“Well, it’s the school. The students aren’t the children of the washer woman. They’re pretty status conscious and I’m not sure how comfortable they would be with going to school with someone who is being paid by their parents to teach them something.”
“I’m glad we have the tutor,” Hayley said. “Are you doing the correspondence course?”
“No. No one knew we were leaving. I didn’t know we were leaving. We have some course work in the baggage we brought, but not enough. And it’s been turned over to the English Ladies as my tuition to the school.”
“Well, that’s good,” Hayley said. “At least some of it will get to the people here. What courses?”
“We have the textbooks I was using in Grantville, both a copy of the English version and new German version. Biology, comparative history and German lit, also stage dressing and blocking, and studio management. It’s the senior year stuff for theater arts behind-the-scenes program. Before this happened I was going to be the down-time Frank Capra or Busby Berkeley.
“But it’s just the text books, not the course notes and like I said, my parents gave them to the English Ladies, so I have to share them with the whole school. And it’s not like I can write back to Grantville and get another copy. I think the books are hot.”
Carla was trying very hard not to cry. None of this had been her idea, but she was going to be tarred with the same brush as her parents. It wasn’t fair.
“Well, I’ll talk to Herr Doctor Faust and see about getting your school copies of the course outlines.”
Carla choked a laugh. “Your tutor is Dr. Faust? Has he sold his soul yet?”
“No, but he does get teased about his name a lot,” Hayley said repressively. “The stories are over a hundred years old, even in this time. And his taking up natural philosophy rather than theology fit too well with the legends.”
“Sorry,” Carla said.
“It’s okay. He’s a nice guy, and I think he’s sensitive about it, even though he tries to laugh it off. So I thought I should warn you.” Hayley changed the subject. “I can write back to Grantville. Are there any messages you want me to send?”
“Yes, I had some friends who came to the school from Rudolstadt. Not that I have any idea what I’m going to say.”
Carla looked at her watch. It was a down-time-made pocket watch. Those could be had in Grantville and Magdeburg now. “Oh, shoot. The girls from school are watching the emperor. Do you know how long he’s going to be driving around the track?”
“Not long. He generally goes for about ten minutes at a stretch. You should probably get back to them.”
“About that, Hayley. Some of them have made some comments about you being just the daughter of a mechanic. Which they figure is about the same as a groom in the imperial stables. Should I tell them you’re part of the Barbie Consortium and could buy their parents out of pocket change? I don’t know if you’ve been keeping quiet about it on purpose or if they were just being snooty.”
“Well, they are just being snooty.” Hayley smiled. “What’s wrong with a groom, after all? But, no. Don’t tell them, please. I really don’t want them pressuring me, or their parents pressuring my family, about money.”
“I won’t say a thing.” Carla assured her, thinking, Well, that at least gives me an in.
“Thanks,” Hayley said. “And I’ll be thinking about what you can do to earn a bit of extra cash.”
Carla ended up too busy to do much in the way of starting businesses because the English Ladies put her to work teaching algebra to the young ladies of good family. Not on the basis of her owing it to them or anything. Just because she had had algebra and knew more about it than anyone else. About half Carla’s school day was spent as the teacher of this or that up-time discipline, often as not with two or three of the English Ladies as students. It put an uncomfortable distance between her and her fellow students, but the English Ladies didn’t seem to care.