The breeze along the Rhine was beginning to freshen again when Philipp Hainhofer glanced once more towards the gates of Cologne. Where are you Georg? It's been over an hour!
His youngest daughter, Sophie, noticed his look. "He's probably in a beer tavern somewhere with Magnus," Sophie said, nodding her blonde head towards the walls of Cologne. "You really should have sent me with him, Father."
"Too bad you didn't mention that at the time, Sophie," Augusta, his next eldest daughter, said. "Advice comes too late when a thing is done."
Sophie's blue eyes narrowed. "Is that a challenge, my dear sister?" Sophie thought for a moment. "Good advice never comes too late."
Philipp Hainhofer sighed. As a way to get his sons and daughters to read and learn other languages, he had often practiced what he called "the proverb game" with them. His eldest daughters, Barbara and Judith, had enjoyed it so much that he had continued the game with his younger children as well. But with them, especially with Sophie and Augusta, it had turned more into a competitive struggle than a learning game. Sophie had the better memory, but Augusta had inherited both her mother's (god rest her soul) ability to get by with little sleep and her father's knack for languages. While Sophie could often respond in Latin, English or French, Augusta could often reply in Spanish, Dutch, Italian and Hebrew as well.
"Now daughters, please . . . "
Augusta smiled sweetly. "This won't take long, Papa, I promise." She looked at Sophie. "Non dare consigli a chi non li chiede. Would you like a translation, dear?"
Sophie shook her head. "Italian, of course."
Augusta nodded. "You've been studying. Good."
Sophie glared. "I'm not a complete ignoramus. Nor are you . . . "
A powerful gust of wind came from the north and all three of the Hainhofers grabbed their hats or caps to keep them from blowing away. Sophie's eyes widened and her hand flew to her mouth to stifle a scream as the crane transporting the last, large crate from their ship swayed dangerously.
All three watched anxiously. Please, thought Philipp, not the writing desk too! The first crate, which contained the small curiosity cabinet for Rentmeister Cronenburg, had crashed hard on the dock and Philipp knew that he would have to have repairs done to it before delivery. But the writing desk for Hardenrat would be much harder to repair if it broke, given its unique construction.
For several seconds the Hardenrat desk continued to sway in its net, and then the stevedores got it under control.
"That was fortunate," Augusta said. "And look, here comes Georg. That is the fastest I've seen him move in years." Like Augusta, Georg Hainhofer had inherited Philipp's tendency towards plumpness.
A trickle of apprehension ran down Philipp's spine. Why was Georg running?
Georg Hainhofer stopped in front of his father, gasping for breath.
"What's wrong, Georg?" Philipp asked. "Where is Magnus?"
Georg shook his head. "I . . . couldn't . . . find . . . him." He took a deep breath. "So I went to the city council house. He's been arrested! At the request of his own father!"
The next morning it took almost an hour for Philipp and Augusta Hainhofer to walk from the Inn of the Golden Grape in the parish of Saint Kunibert to the intersection of Schildergasse and High Street. To Augusta, Cologne seemed much like Augsburg except for the black slate roofs and more level streets. Like Augsburg, artisans and shoppers filled the streets and women washed clothes near bridges across the streams. But unlike Augsburg, the Catholic cathedral and churches dominated the skylines.
"How many parishes are there again father? Twenty?"
"Nineteen. But Cologne is also a destination for pilgrims. There are over three hundred religious institutions if you count all of the convents, stifts, hospitals, cloisters and abbeys in addition to the typical parish churches."
"But no Lutheran?"
Hainhofer grimaced. "No. Or at least, none that are publicly acknowledged. There are 'secret' congregations of Lutherans and Calvinists in Cave Lane, however. But that will probably change now that Cologne has negotiated an agreement with Gustav Adolph and his allies. According to Hardenrat, the next election in June should see the Pragmatists take control of the city council." Philipp stopped and pointed across the street. "Here we are. Noah's Ark."
Augusta's eyes widened. The store known as Noah's Ark took up two entire floors of the building on the southeast corner of Schildergasse and High.
Her father laughed. "Indeed. Herr Fetzer started it originally as a supply house for apothecaries and physicians, but branched out early in the century to indulge his own interest in curiosities. He was able to take advantage of Cologne's location and trade connections to provide items for all the naturalists and curiosity seekers in Germany, including my own cabinets. I've purchased many an extravagance from him."
As they entered the shop Augusta shook her head in amazement. She had been involved with her father's affairs for almost five years, including assisting him with the Kunstschrank that had been presented to Gustavus Adolphus in Magdeburg in December 1632. Gustavus Adolphus had been delighted to receive the curiosity cabinet and had given her father a substantial bonus. But never had she seen such a wide variety of strange and unusual artifacts as she saw in Noah's Ark. The lower shelves in the shop were filled with shells, porcelain, and aromatic woods. Overhead dried and stuffed fish and mammals hung from the rafters while birds of every color and description lined the top shelf.
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- The Grantville Gazette Staff