Augsburg, September 1634

"Horatio Alger Burston, this is totally unlike you!" a rather exasperated Catharina said. She would very much have preferred for her new husband to leave the hiring of staff completely up to her as he always had before. Well, almost always, anyway. For some reason she never understood he had insisted that the head cook had to be French, and that he—yes, it had to be a man—was to be referred to as "the chief," like the Indian leader in the movie they saw at the Higgins Hotel in Grantville the one time he took her to his home town.

Then again, when she chose the carriage driver he wanted an Englishman named James but he hadn't insisted on it like he was doing now. It was well and good that he hadn't insisted on it since there was nary a James to be found. He had nothing to say when she hired the chamber maids and her personal maid. When she hired his valet, his only comment was to laugh when he found out he now had a valet. When he quit chortling all he said was, "Well, that's service for you." She asked what he meant but he never did manage to explain. Sometimes up-timers could be so completely incomprehensible.

But, now, for some completely inexplicable reason, he was insisting on having his own way on the question of hiring a nurse for their youngest child. Little August was Horatio Alger's stepson and he was two and a half years old. She was expecting again so it was time and past to hire a nurse. With the third child coming she would have less time and the children would have completely different needs. She very much remembered the troubles she had when Casimir was jealous of his baby brother.

When she proposed bringing another member on staff Horatio muttered something about a live-in babysitter. Then he smiled that smile that he'd been known to call "a shit-eating grin," and said, "That's fine, dear, as long as she is Irish."

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- The Grantville Gazette Staff