The tangled web virginia DeMarce

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Mainz, May 1634

"The campaign was a great success," Botvidsson reported with satisfaction. "General Brahe was expecting a short, victorious war and that's what he got. The king—the emperor, I mean—is delighted and has extended his congratulations on behalf of the USE. According to the best intelligence we have received, the Sickingen family is headed for Bonn to take refuge with the archbishop elector of Cologne."

"I'm sure," Erik Stenbock said, "that dear Ferdinand will be delighted to have even more guests battening on his hospitality."

Buchenland, June 1634

"Who is this 'McDonnell' in the cartoon in the Mainz newspaper?" Geraldin asked. He threw it across the breakfast table in the castle of Karl von Schlitz, imperial knight of Buchenland.

"It's Dennis," Deveroux answered. "Drunk as a skunk. Some damned reporter must have heard about what happened last month. The Swedes can't tell the difference between 'Denis McDonnell' and 'Dennis MacDonald.' "

Geraldin examined his fingernails. "Neither can most Irishmen. He spells it 'McDonnell' sometimes himself."

Deveroux snorted. "We have a perfect right to misspell our own names. I'm sure I've signed mine a half-dozen different ways. Foreigners should be more considerate." He pointed across the table. "It's a pretty good likeness, don't you think, Dennis? The drool? The spittle? The vomit? The—"


"We miscalculated, back in March," Butler groused. "If we'd had any idea that Nils Brahe was going to take his forces haring off into the southern Palatinate and northern Alsace, we could have done a proper raid into Fulda. We wouldn't have run into any serious opposition. That Fulda Barracks Regiment is nothing but a bad joke."

"Spilt milk." Deveroux looked at von Schlitz. "You are sure, really sure, that the up-timers and Schweinsberg are wandering around this territory, with only minimal guards, trying to make the peasants happy?"

Von Schlitz had to do quite a bit of persuasion before the Irishmen were willing to believe it.

Butler shook his head. "If Taaffe and Carew were here, they would be trying to persuade me that this behavior by the up-timers is a dispensation of divine providence. It's almost enough to make me believe them."

Felix Gruyard smirked.

Fulda, June 1634

"So then they sent Duke Ulrich's body home." Derek Utt leaned against the window in the conference room, looking at the other up-timers in Fulda. "At least, they sent it as far as Belfort in Mömpelgard. That will be Montbéliard on the wall map there—that's the way the French spelled it, up-time. The family has a chapel there. It was too warm for them to try to get it across the Rhine to Stuttgart. If they want to bury it in the capital of the duchy, long-term, I guess the procedure is to wait a couple of years. Eberhard's feeling horrible about the whole thing, like it was his fault."

"Damn," Joel Matowski said. "He was just a kid. The youngest of them, I mean. And since we headed off west just a couple of days before the guys were supposed to come up to Fulda, he never did get a look at the American way of life, such as it is out here in the boondocks. He really wanted to do that. I was sort of hoping I'd be able to get some leave and take them on a tour of Grantville."

"Yeah," Jeffie Garand answered. "Too bad. You'd have had an excuse to see Alice again, too. I'm sure you weren't thinking about that. Not at all. On the other hand . . ."


"Gertrud adores me. But she's still a down-timer, and Ulrich of Württemberg was a duke, even if he was only fifteen and it seemed likely that he'd develop the family pot belly if he lived long enough. If they had shown up here in Barracktown, it would've been like having a rock star competition back up-time. I'd have been real happy to see his backside if you'd taken him off to get a taste of West Virginia in Thuringia."

Section Three: Choose some wise, understanding and respected men . . .

Mainz, June 1634

Nils Brahe rapped his genuine up-time souvenir gavel on the table. Since it was a gift from Thomas Price Riddle of Grantville via his granddaughter Mary Kat and then via Derek Utt, to celebrate the acquisition of the Province of the Upper Rhine by the USE, he followed the rapping with a stern, English "Order in the Court."

The rest of the council looked at him blankly.

"The immediate results of the Congress of Copenhagen that concern us today pertain to the Province of the Main and the new Province of the Upper Rhine. Some of the correspondence we've received refers to the latter as the Upper Rhenish Province, but it is the same entity. Basically, for us here in Mainz, there's not much change. The king—the emperor—is keeping the Province of the Main under direct imperial administration, from the Fulda border down to the Rhine. The only real difference is that Frankfurt-am-Main is getting new rights to self-administration. Or, more precisely, Frankfurt is getting back its old privileges as an imperial city and seats in the USE parliament, one each in the House of Lords and House of Commons. We also have some negotiations to complete concerning the status of the former possessions of the archdiocese of Mainz over around Erfurt that now lie in the State of Thuringia-Franconia, and—"

"We do have to be careful," Botvidsson said.

"About what?"

"Do we have any firm direction from Chancellor Oxenstierna about how to handle the traditional rights of the king's Protestant allies whom he has placed, willy-nilly, into the Province of the Main now that it's a new, permanent entity of the USE? It was one thing for him to set up a temporary military administration of occupied territories. It's a problem of a different dimension for it to become a permanent civil government. Especially, I would point out, since you are still an appointed administrator rather than a man selected or elected by the Estates of the new province. Which we still have to set up—the Estates, I mean. I suppose we need to call one of these 'constitutional conventions' and establish a governmental structure. One that doesn't infringe on the traditional rights of . . ."

Stenbock and Ulfsparre started to chant in unison, imitating Oxenstierna's voice at the Congress of Copenhagen, "Hesse-Darmstadt, Solms, Isenburg, Gelnhausen, Hanau, Usingen, and Rieneck."

"Not to mention," Ulfsparre continued in his normal voice, "the now ex-rulers of each of the above, who aren't going to be anything more than members of a provincial House of Lords, like the one over in the SoTF, with the former count of Isenburg having to share and share alike with the mayor of Gelnhausen. It won't go over very well, I predict."

Brahe frowned at him.


"Five hours," Eberhard said at the Horn of Plenty that evening. "We sat at that table for five whole damn hours."

Hartmann Simrock raised one eyebrow. "Was it information you need to know?"

"Eventually. Not necessarily right this minute. None of what Brahe covered today makes much difference to us, personally." He waved generally in the direction of his brother Friedrich, who was at a different table with Margarethe and Theobald.

"Does that leave some of it or even a little bit of it that makes a difference to you personally?"

"Coming out of the Congress of Copenhagen? Sure." Eberhard reached back and pulled a newspaper off the bar counter. Simrock grabbed it by one corner and waved it around the tap room in the Horn of Plenty.

"This issue has a new cartoon about the Congress of Copenhagen. I think it's one of van de Passe's best. You can identify everyone important easily enough."

Hertling got up and came across the room, leaving Merckel and the others to their dice.

"It's probably by one of his sons," Theo said. "Simon and the younger Crispijn have both been working in Copenhagen the last few years."

Margarethe stuck out her tongue. "Don't be pompous."

"Here's Gustavus with Princess Kristina, here's King Christian with Prince Ulrik, there are Mike Stearns and Rebecca Abrabanel. Oxenstierna's the one with the piles of note cards about to fall over and bury him. Don Fernando in the Netherlands is peeking through one window and the Holy Roman Emperor through the other one. That's the archbishop-elector of Cologne and Duke Maximilian of Bavaria under the table with horns in their ears, eavesdropping." Simrock paused for breath.

"What are they doing?" Tata asked.

"Putting together the pieces of one of the up-timer 'jigsaw puzzles.' It's van de Passe's commentary on the way the emperor and Stearns threw together the new USE provinces. The crowned heads of Europe are playing with the local jurisdictions. But if you look closely, they're forcing the pieces into place, even if they don't fit quite right."

Eberhard nodded. "Like their maybe-it'll-happen-someday Province of Swabia. The pieces that the Swedes and up-timers want to cram in don't really fit at all. Did any of the rest of you read what Oxenstierna said about their 'future Province of Swabia, once it is pacified'?"

Simrock nodded. "A big chunk of the map. All of southwest Germany on the right bank of the Rhine, really, except for whatever Duke Bernhard may manage to slice off in the Breisgau and Baden."

Eberhard raised an eyebrow. "Did you notice the new imperial administrator for Swabia?"

Reichard Donner snorted. "Georg Friedrich—the margrave of Baden-Durlach. He's an old man—past sixty. It's no wonder that van de Passe drew him with white hair and a beard that makes him look like the up-time Santa Claus. He's not exactly an honorary appointment. He'll show up in Augsburg and go through the motions, but everybody expects that for all practical purposes, he'll delegate most of the work. He'll have to."

Friedrich stuck out his mug for another beer. "His heir's busy running their government-in-exile in Basel. And Christoph, his second son, is one hundred percent a soldier who doesn't have the patience to do it—administration and diplomacy and stuff like that."

"Georg Friedrich has a competent son-in-law," Simrock protested. "Count Wilhelm Ludwig of Nassau-Saarbrücken. Picking him as backup would build another bridge over to Frederik Hendrick in the Netherlands, too, since the Dutch stadholders are from the Nassau family."

"I know. But damn. The single biggest chunk of land in the new proposed 'Province of Swabia' is Württemberg. We . . ." Eberhard waved at Friedrich again. "Not only weren't we there—it would have been hard for us to travel, that's true—we were not even invited. The Congress of Copenhagen didn't even acknowledge that we exist. They didn't even hold any kind of a memorial for Ulrich's death. Not so much as an eulogy. Sometimes I think that Gustavus Adolphus just stuck us down here in Mainz, forgot about us, and doesn't want to be reminded."

"There's not much you can do about it."

"But there is something else I can do." Eberhard stood up on the bench and waved his good arm for attention. The various conversations dwindled down.

"My friends and colleagues. I have an announcement to make."

Kunigunde Treidelin and Philipp Schaumann kept arguing over their card game.

Reichard Donner rapped on the table. "Attention."

"As you may have noticed, my brother Friedrich is in love with Margarethe Pistora."

There were various shouts, hoots, and squalls of, "We've noticed."

"The rest of you, except Theobald, of course, probably don't know that he's actually offered to marry Margarethe—spoken to her father and all that. Papa Pistor is not impressed—as far as he is concerned, being Lutheran is a negative that far outbalances being a duke."

Friedrich snorted. "Especially a duke with a squashed foot and no lands or income left."

Eberhard ignored him. "That's 'hardly any lands and not much income.' We're still getting some money from the bits and pieces of estates our ancestors picked up in Alsace, or we couldn't pay for our beer, much less the rent for our sisters' townhouse in Strassburg."

"Anyhow!" Friedrich had picked that up from Jeffie Garand and used it whenever he could. It was such a useful word for a teenager. Depending on the tone of voice, it was appropriate for any of a dozen different situations.

"What's left of what used to be the bureaucrats of the duchy of Württemberg are against it, of course. The prospect wasn't so much of a strain for them to swallow before Ulrich was killed, but now there's just one spare, aside from the uncles and cousins. Except . . ."

He paused for dramatic effect.

"There isn't any spare at all any more. I'm the head of the family. I have given Friedrich permission to renounce his title—that's done, by the way, with all the legal paperwork signed, sealed, and filed—and I say that Friedrich and Margarethe can go ahead and get married."

The Mainz Committee of Correspondence, what there was of it, since Ursula Widder had gone back to the kitchen to bank the fires for the night, mostly applauded. Reichard Donner muttered, "Then why don't you go ahead and give yourself permission to marry Tata, you randy little twerp," using a different descriptive adjective, but not loudly enough for anyone but Justina to hear.

Then he sighed. The new universe created by the Ring of Fire was not a world of dreams. What had the up-time book said? Some animals are more equal than others—that was it. Even in this new universe, the daughter of a university-educated clergyman was considerably more equal to a former duke than the daughter of a man who was not the world's most efficient innkeeper was to a still-a-duke. He looked back up. Eberhard was, with some difficulty and a hand from Tata, climbing down off the table.

"So now," Theobald was saying to Simrock, "it's just a matter of sorting out the Lutheran versus Calvinist thing, which is likely to take a while, given the honorable chaplain our father's prejudices."

Simrock was talking to Eberhard. "Very charitable of you. I don't suppose all this has anything to do with your conclusion that you're not very likely to ever get Württemberg back, so why not?"

Hartmann Simrock was even more of a cynic than Donner. A young cynic, but a cynic.


"Umm," Tata snuggled against Eberhard under the duvet in her bed on the third floor of the Horn of Plenty. "You're so nice and warm." It was June, true. This particular June night, though, was not rare, as the English playwright had described a warm, sunny, June day. It was just like most of the rest of them had been—chilly, with drizzle, and penetrating damp rising up off the river. "I like their Major Utt."


"Have you seen his hair?"

"What there is of it," Eberhard admitted. "He's going bald."

"But what there is of it is red. Red red. Really red. If I could go stand next to him, I would look blonde in comparison."

"I like your hair the way it is."

"It's not funny. All the way through school, the other children called me Füchsin."

"Foxy is good. I think you're really foxy."

Eberhard liked Agathe Donner because she told him the truth. She never swore that she adored him passionately. She never declared that he was a great lover, which he was fairly sure that he was not. She never claimed that he was handsome. If she had, he would have doubted her. Among other things, he had been standing near to Major Utt for a good part of the day. What standing next to the up-timer made him feel was "short and dumpy."

He'd spent quite a bit of his life listening to girls, high-born or low-born, say flattering things to him just because he had been born the oldest son of the duke of Württemberg. They lied. He knew he wasn't tall, dark, handsome, or romantic.

Warm, though? He was willing to accept as strictly factual that he was nice and warm. He snuggled against Tata in return.

Mainz, July 1634

"For another thing, although not directly as a consequence of the actions taken by the archbishop of Cologne in regard to Essen . . ." Brahe paused and took a deep breath before he continued. The various members of his inner council looked at one another. "I have received a formal request from the archbishop of Mainz that he be allowed to return from exile in Bonn to his see here in Mainz."

"He has persuaded the up-timer who is, since last month, the 'cardinal-protector of the United States of Europe,' to get the emperor to give him a salva guardia." Botvidsson's mouth pursed with distaste at the thought of a "cardinal protector" in any political entity of which the king of Sweden was emperor.

Brahe, suppressing his developing personal opinion that any Vasa with a practical interest in some day maybe ruling Poland had better, as Derek Utt would say, "get over it" as far as Catholics, Calvinists, and miscellaneous sectarians were concerned, continued serenely. "Wamboldt von Umstadt expresses that he is willing to reach an accommodation with the Province of the Main similar to that which the authorities of the State of Thuringia-Franconia have reached with Abbot Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg in Fulda. This will involve our sending a delegation to Fulda to gather more detailed information in regard to precisely what that accommodation involves before we commit ourselves to an agreement."

He turned a page over and handed his notes to Botvidsson. "Cover the rest of this, will you, Johan. I have another meeting scheduled."

"The archbishop also indicates that Franz von Hatzfeldt is, or will be, or may be—his phrasing is a bit vague, here—proffering a similar offer to the SoTF authorities in regard to the Diocese of Würzburg."

Botvidsson stuck up one finger. "The emperor has also requested that his administrators in Mainz take a particular interest in the status of the city of Wetzlar, since the Imperial Supreme Court has settled there rather than in Magdeburg."

Everyone realized that this was polite phrasing for, "make sure that the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, however valuable an ally he may be, doesn't get his claws into it."

Botvidsson stuck up a second finger. "And since the deaths of counts Wolfgang Wilhelm and Philipp Wilhelm of Pfalz-Neuburg in the Essen war, with regard to their status as dukes of Jülich-Berg-Cleves-Mark, the ongoing inheritance controversies with Brandenburg, and the new developments in regard to the Republic of Essen . . ."

Duke Eberhard of Württemberg, now seated at the council table in deference to both his own services in the Upper Rhine campaign and his youngest brother's death, asked, "That doesn't have anything directly to do with us here, does it?"

"Not directly. But . . . derivatively. The heir to Jülich and Berg is now an infant, whose mother, Katharina Charlotte of Zweibrücken . . ."

"That's part of the Palatinate family," Eberhard whispered to Ulfsparre. "The French call it Deux Ponts, like that one Württemberg exclave can be either Mömpelgard or Montebéliard, depending on who's talking."

"Damn," Ulfsparre whispered back. "I hate the Rhineland."

"If you hate the upper Rhine, just wait until you get transferred someplace that you have to learn about the lower Rhine."

Ulfsparre frowned. "I already hate Elsass. Alsace, the French call it. It's annoying of them, like calling Lüttich by Liège. The Frenchies even call this city Mayence. They call Aachen Aix-la-Chapelle. They call Köln Cologne."

"The Dutch call it Keulen," Eberhard interrupted. "I saw that in a letter."

"Damn. A man no sooner finishes learning one language than he has to pick up another."

Botvidsson ignored the whispers. ". . . is the half-sister of the wife of Count Palatine Christian of Birkenfeld-Bischweiler, who has just been appointed by the emperor as his administrator of the new Province of the Upper Rhine."

"Different mothers," Duke Eberhard whispered. "Christian's wife's mother was a sister of Duke Henri de Rohan, the French Huguenot leader. He's in exile. He was in Venice, but I think he's in Lausanne now—Rohan, I mean, not Count Christian."

"This half-French, half-German stuff drives me nuts," Ulfsparre whispered back. "You were still sedated when they brought you out, but Sergeant Beyshlag told me that the owner of that farmhouse where the men took your brother Ulrich after he was injured had a French baptismal name and a German family name. His brother-in-law had a German baptismal name and a French family name. I tell you, it's crazy."


Ulfsparre couldn't seem to let it go. "Crazy," he repeated to Erik Stenbock over their beer after the meeting. "The whole Rhineland. With all due respect to Gustavus, why does he even want to include these stupid little patchwork territories down here in the southwest in the USE?"

"Merckweiler-Pechelbronn," Stenbock suggested mildly. "Jeffie Garand taught me a song from a 'musical play' performed once in their high school. The diva sings, "Oil. Oil! OIL!" getting louder and louder and louder. Most of the play makes bad jokes about small European countries, though. His best guess was that 'Lichtenberg' was supposed to be a combination of a couple of real small duchies. He didn't know which ones."

Ulfsparre was not to be diverted from his main complaint. "Look at Duke Eberhard's little CoC whore. The Donners came to Mainz from somewhere in the Pfalz."

"That's 'Palatinate' to the up-timers, my friend."

"They spell her name 'Agathe' like the French, but they pronounce it 'Agata' as if it was German. She is German." He winked. "Oooh, what a build."

"I wouldn't let Eberhard hear you call her a whore," Stenbock warned. "Her father's a halfway respectable innkeeper. She's not just an 'available' and the duke is fond of her, I think."

"Not saying it in his hearing doesn't keep me from thinking it." Ulfsparre shook his head. "He could do a lot better. It's not as if he'll be able to escort her to any of the social events that General Brahe will host once his wife and sister join him. Almost any family of the Mainz patriciate would be happy and honored for one of their daughters to serve as the duke of Württemberg's favored companion for as long as he is stationed in the city."


Nils Brahe's other meeting featured wine rather than beer, and a sumptuous lunch that had stretched well into the afternoon.

The longer he lived in the Rhineland, the more he appreciated wine rather than beer.

Derek Utt leaned back. "What do you think of this business with Wamboldt von Umstadt and Calixtus, by the way? Is it anything we'll have to worry about up in Fulda, since we've already worked things out with Schweinsberg? Do I need to bring it up with Wes?"

Nils Brahe stretched his lanky legs out somewhat farther under the table. "As Duke Ernst explains it to me—we correspond extensively—you are all sectarians. You have embraced 'universal sectarianism' as a way of life, the Catholics and Calvinists as wholeheartedly as the sectarians themselves, there not being enough Lutherans or adherents of the Church of England among you to make a significant difference. And, yes, I have heard that your wife's grandmother is a most fervent adherent of the Church of England."

"So's Mary Kat, actually." Derek Utt laughed. "Not quite as gung-ho as her grandma, who is busily restoring the abandoned Episcopalian church building and recruiting for a priest, but definitely pretty much committed. There were more of them up-time. More of them in the United States of America, I mean, not just in the whole world. Millions of them, Lutherans and Episcopalians. Several million of each. Maybe four, five, six million of each."

"In an overall population that was how large?"

"Umm. About two hundred eighty million, I think. They were just starting to take the new census the year of the Ring of Fire, but that's somewhere in the range of what they were predicting."

"Sects," Nils Brahe said firmly. "They were sects. Our best estimate of the population of the USE now is somewhere between twelve and fifteen million. It should be toward the larger end since the emperor's campaigns of last month in the northwest. Using a fifteen-million population base for the USE, proportionally, that would mean that we would have . . ." He paused for mental calculations. ". . . somewhere between two hundred thousand and a quarter million Lutherans in the USE, rather than, probably, eight to nine million. Up-time, Lutherans and Episcopalians were sects as much as your Methodists and your Baptists just as much as your Mormons and your Pentecostals. Just as much as our Mennonites and Socinians. Muselius in Grantville sent Duke Ernst a fascinating book by an up-time German named Ernst Troeltsch, found in the library of the Baptist pastor named Green. It's being reprinted in Jena and Muselius managed to get an advance copy. I've ordered one myself. Troeltsch maintained . . ."

Derek cocked his head to one side. "Just exactly how has Duke Ernst come to define the concept of 'universal sectarianism'? It's not something I've ever heard of."

"I believe he formulated it himself, based on various comments by Troeltsch," Brahe admitted. "Also after multiple readings of the proceedings of the Rudolstadt Colloquy. It doesn't just involve your concepts of separation of church and state—though, as a good Swedish Lutheran myself, I have to say that's drastic enough. Rather, there is the ingrained cultural concept—cultural, not a matter of constitutional law—as the up-time Lutheran speaker Gary Lambert phrased it at one point in the discussions, that 'everybody has the right to go to hell in his own way.' Which seems to be the fundamental religious belief among you—that you bear no responsibility for the salvation of anyone beyond the bounds and borders of your own 'denomination.' Which defines you all as sectarians, from his perspective, and mine, and the emperor's, no matter how you think of yourselves."

"And we are talking about this because?"

Brahe refilled his wine glass. "It's terribly Mennonite, really—it's a quintessentially sectarian perspective. There is the question of what we are going to do about it. No one can doubt that it is arising in everyone's mind."

"Perhaps not everyone's," Derek said. "Only consider Sergeant Garand."

Brahe snorted. "In the mind of every aware politician, let us say then. No matter how influential Michael Stearns is at present, the fact remains—there are only about three thousand of you up-timers in the USE's new population of fifteen million or so, and your three thousand are divided into multiple sects. There are three or four million more people at the emperor's disposal if one adds in all of Scandinavia, which it is only reasonable to presume that we may do since Ahrensbök and the revived Union of Kalmar, all Lutheran, add weight to the several million in Germany. So. Given that Wettin, also, is Lutheran and may become prime minister after the upcoming election, what is to prevent the establishment of Lutheranism as a state church throughout the USE? Please do not say, 'Larry Mazzare.' "

Derek laughed and reached for the bottle. "Did someone say that? Stearns is willing to live with Gustav's insistence on some kind of a Lutheran state church in the USE, if it's nothing more than a bow in the direction of 'first among equals.' The sort of thing that the Church of England had turned into, up-time, or the Lutherans in Denmark. They're writing that into the constitution, knowing perfectly well that he handles it differently in Sweden and probably won't ever change the way he handles it in Sweden."

Brahe nodded. "As far as Sweden goes, and will continue to go for that matter, 'co-terminous church and society' might describe it quite well."

"It's not that anyone thinks that the Lutherans and the rest of them here in the USE are going to learn to 'love one another, right now.' You might say that religious intolerance falls into the category of an undoubted fact. It might be more reasonable for you to ask exactly what Stearns thinks is going to prevent that state church, once the constitution establishes it, from going ahead and persecuting the rest of the religions in the USE no matter what the written constitution says. Ask me what's likely to happen in a real world situation, so to speak. Did you read that book that Mary Kat sent?"

Brahe smiled. "What were the motives for persecution? Professor Roland H. Bainton, clearly a most learned man among the up-timers and a sectarian of the Quaker persuasion himself, gives three prerequisites: '(1) The persecutor must believe that he is right; (2) that the point in question is important; (3) that coercion will be effective.' Personally, I am inclined to think that the third point will turn out to be the USE's saving grace from the perspective of you up-timers. Not toleration as a matter of conviction, for most people, but rather as a matter of sheer practicality, as I have learned, sometimes rather painfully, during these last eighteen months of administering a Catholic archdiocese. Duke Ernst has made it quite clear, in his letters, that his analysis is taking him in that direction. Whether or not he can persuade his older brother is, or course, another question."

"I have admit to some curiosity as to why we're discussing the problem right at the moment."

"That goes back to your first question of this conversation—about whether your people in Fulda need to be concerned about Wamboldt von Umstadt."

Utt nodded. "Starting point. When the Swedes took Mainz in 1632, the archbishop of Mainz, Anselm Casimir Wamboldt von Umstadt, chose exile in Cologne."

"In Bonn, to be more precise. Under the protection of the archbishop-elector of Cologne, Or, in other words, under the protection of Ferdinand, the younger brother of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. He is now reconsidering. I have a letter. Preliminary. Exploratory. Tentative, so to speak. Considering the circumstances under which he might be allowed to return to Mainz."

"Ah, considering, perhaps, such circumstances as those under which we permitted Schweinsberg to come back to Fulda? You might want to talk to Wes Jenkins. He was more in on the discussions between Piazza and Schweinsberg than I was. To be honest, I wasn't in on them at all. The army doesn't make policy. It just carries it out."

"If you say so." Nils Brahe was far from fully convinced on that point.

Botvidsson appeared at the door, giving the kind of wave that meant "your next appointment is waiting." They both stood up.

"Thanks for everything," Utt said. "I'll be heading back to Fulda tomorrow. I'll see you again one of these days, I guess."

"Taking those boys with you," Brahe stipulated.

"Taking them with me, not to mention their entourage. That was an interesting idea of yours, appointing Duke Eberhard to investigate Grantville's arrangement with Schweinsberg. I could have just had Ed Piazza send you a copy of the agreement, you know."

"Oh, yes. I know. I most definitely know."


"So the archbishop-elector of Mainz is really willing to drop the 'prince' part of his title in order to come back," Simrock announced. "At least, that's what the newspapers are reporting."

Eberhard knew perfectly well that it was true, since he had been at the council meeting at which General Brahe had discussed it, but he couldn't say that, since it hadn't been announced. "I guess," he said, "that I should have held my breath."

"I get confused every time I look at that picture of him," Joel Matowski grabbed the paper. "Wamboldt von Umstadt, I mean. See."

Reichard Donner looked across the bar at the Horn of Plenty. "Why?"

"I'm Catholic myself."

Theo Pistor opened his mouth; then closed it again after Eberhard and Tata both gave him a good glare.

Joel caught it though. "Didn't know that, did you? Thought I was human, maybe? What's your beef? Simrock's Catholic and you're friends with him. Jeffie doesn't belong to any church at all, if that makes you feel better."

From Theo's expression, it clearly didn't.

Jeffie yawned and looked at him. "I think the CoC still has quite a way to go with you, boy."

Joel made a "stuff it" motion at him and looked back at Reichard. "I guess I think of archbishops looking sort of like the pictures of John Paul II that were in our CCD classroom when Ed Piazza taught us. I don't think of them as looking like leprechauns."


"The little Irish critters. Finian's Rainbow. It's the little pointy face, the little pointy goatee. The little pointy points on his moustache. Really—I have trouble getting my mind around an archbishop with a moustache at all. The little pointy points on his collar. Most of all, the big widow's peak point where his hair is receding."

"CCD? Who was John Paul II?"

Joel decided that Herr Donner was likely to have a very informative evening. He opened his mouth.

Joel had a very informative evening, too. He had never heard of the synergistic controversy.

"Well, I hadn't either," Theo said cheerfully, "considering that it hasn't happened yet. But Papa has been collecting everything he can afford to buy about what will be happening—would have been happening—you know what I mean—in the churches for the next twenty-five years or so. For as long as he's likely to live. He wants to do whatever he can to make sure that things he doesn't like don't happen. Won't happen here. Does that make sense?"

Jeffie nodded. "Call in the cavalry and head them off at the pass."

"There's not a lot he'll be able to do about Calixtus, probably, considering that he's teaching at a Lutheran university in Brunswick, while Papa's a Calvinist. But he'll see if he can get Landgrave Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel to talk to the Brunswickers and see if they'll put pressure on the Helmstedt faculty to fire the man. If any of the dukes can be brought to see the dangers of this 'Pietism' movement that's going to develop . . . Calixtus is a natural target for the Flacians. Without a university base, he'll have a lot less prestige if he keeps going around spouting this stuff about ecumenism. Papa has written to his former teacher, Gomar, to see if he'll intervene with Fredrik Hendrik in the Netherlands."

"Gomar," Reichard muttered. "He's as old as the hills. He must be seventy if he's a day. Can't you deal with modern writers?"

"Donner, you're the one who keeps quoting Althusius at us. He's just as old." Jeffie grinned. "I looked him up. Wes spent some of Fulda's stingy budget on a set of reprint encyclopedias. Bet you weren't sure that I can read and write."

"More to the point," Theo said, "Gomar opposes toleration for Catholics. And for Jews. And for Protestants who don't follow Calvin. And for Calvinists who aren't supralapsarians."

"Papa's even right-wing for a Gomarist," Margarethe added, as cheerily as if she were saying that Chaplain Pistor liked ice cream.

"Papa sticks to his principles."

"Hey, Theo," Jeffie slapped him on the shoulder. "You're in the CoC. You're supposed to be in favor of religious tolerance. That sounds more like you agree with your father."

"Well, I do agree with Papa—at least about some things. I guess I can learn to tolerate toleration, if I have to, but that doesn't mean I'm going to compromise my own beliefs. I can put up with the fact that some people are obstinate in their errors, but I don't have to like it."

"Papa can't even put up with it," Margarethe said. "That's where he and Theo are different."

"The Flacians can't put up with it, either," Eberhard said, "when it comes to Lutherans. Württemberg has enough problems right now without another knockdown, drag out, theological battle over Calixtus and his ideas."

"Write to Count Ludwig Guenther," Joel recommended. "Maybe he can give you some pointers." He turned a page. "See the new cartoon?"

Sure enough, it was another van de Passe. This time, the scene involved a three-branched hall of mirrors showing endless past and potential future Lutheran theological colloquies in one direction, endless past and future Catholic councils in another, and endless to infinite ecumenical conversations in the middle. At the juncture stood Count Ludwig Guenther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, wearing the backwards baseball cap that had become his trademark in the various illustrations, even though the dignified middle-aged nobleman had only donned the item upon one brief occasion in real life.

"He's a Mennonite, you know," Simrock said.

"Not Count Ludwig Guenther," Eberhard protested.

"No, not the count. Van de Passe is a Mennonite."

Jeffie perked up. "I thought they were all farmers who wear funny, flat hats."

"That was up-time, in the United States and Canada, after they'd been put through the wringer for another three hundred fifty years or so. Hey, the University of Mainz bought a reprint of the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, too." Simrock thought a minute. "Or maybe those were Amish. Anabaptist sectarians, anyway. In the here and now, the Mennonites are mostly pretty urban and pretty uppity."

Tata clapped. "Uppity like 'uppity women'?"

"You got it. Uppity. Van de Passe has moved around a lot. He left Antwerp when they expelled the Protestants. He left Aachen when they expelled the Protestants. He managed about twenty years in Cologne before they expelled the Protestants. He did engravings and his wife ran a book and print shop to help support the family."

Joel winced. "Expelled, expelled, expelled. That sounds like a liturgy. I apologize on behalf of my church."

"Why?" Theo wrinkled his forehead. "If the Calvinists had expelled him, I wouldn't apologize for it."

"I think you should," Margarethe said, "if they had. But as it happened, they didn't get a chance. The Catholics beat them to it."

Joel didn't feel exactly like leading a cheer for the Counter-Reformation. Thank God for the USE's newly hatched cardinal protector—once known as Father Mazzare.


Friedrich looked at the morning edition with delight. "It's the first time I've ever been in the newspaper," he exclaimed.

"Father saw it too," Margarethe said. "He went off to file a complaint with General Brahe."

Eberhard snatched it away. "The quality of the cartoon doesn't quite measure up to a van de Passe."

"Hey, a person has to be really influential, politically, to earn a van de Passe cartoon. How many people outside of our family will really care that I have renounced my title? Or that you let me?"

"More than you would dream," Theo predicted. "Papa had Georg Wulf von Wildenstein in tow. He intends to get the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel involved on the grounds that Margarethe is one of his subjects."

"How did the newspaper find out?" Justina asked. "That's a better question."

"I like it," Reichard said. "Good publicity for the Horn of Plenty. Good example in regard to the equality of all men. The image of Margarethe as leading Brillo on a leash is particularly good, given the current events in Franconia. But who drew the cartoon?"

Every head in the taproom turned toward Hartmann Simrock.


"If it will make you feel better, you may consider their transfer to the Fulda Barracks Regiment in the SoTF forces as a disciplinary measure," Brahe said. "It is my sincere belief that the newspapers will make less furor about the title renunciation and morganatic marriage if they appear to have taken place under the aegis of the up-timers."

Colonel von Zitzewitz had not enjoyed having the young dukes of Württemberg under his command, but losing them was a considerable blow to his prestige, so on balance he was not happy.

"Mainz will be more tranquil without their presence, right now. Fulda will do very well and Utt has agreed that he will take them." Since von Zitzewitz didn't know, Brahe saw no reason to mention that he had been trying to palm this particular simmering pot of trouble off on Fulda for three months.

Zitzewitz inclined his head.

"Just think," Botvidsson added. "There is some consolation. Their friends Simrock and Pistor have patriotically volunteered for the army also, as a gesture of solidarity with Friedrich the ex-duke, since neither of them has a title to renounce. You might have had two more radical CoC sympathizers among your junior officers."

The colonel began to perceive the benefits that would compensate for his losses. He inclined his head again and backed out of the room.

Botvidsson mentioned that he needed a draft memo for communicating the information about the transfer of the young dukes to the king. To the emperor, that was. They were, after all, dukes. Or, in one case, had been a duke just yesterday.

"Bury it," Brahe said. "Bury it somewhere between a list of statistics on how many improved latrines we have constructed and a report on how many of the draft horses have gone down with colic. In front of the latrine statistics, put a memo on the training of city gate guards. Behind the horse colic, attach a discussion of how we are handling the directive that we are to get rid of the train of camp followers when the army is moving. Do not include anything about the renunciation of titles, and I see no real reason to pester the king with Pistor's complaints about the marriage. The chaplain is a Calvinist, after all, and so is his daughter, so what concern is her marriage to Gustavus Adolphus?

"I understand."

"Make sure the communications center is aware that this information in these reports is not urgent and that far from having a courier ride hard, much less utilizing the radio or any other innovative modern technology, definitely not going to the expense of railways or planes, this is the type of material that best travels by way of what Major Utt calls 'a slow boat to China.' "

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