This Troublesome Monk

Fulda, December 1632

“Maybe they should have held the battle of Luetzen last month after all,” Wes Jenkins said. “Just have kept Gustavus Adolphus out of it. Up-time, it seems to have cleared a whole batch of people off the playing board that we could just as well have done without.”

“Pappenheim?” Harlan Stull asked. He was sitting far back in his chair, so his burly chest didn't bump into the table. Before the Ring of Fire, he had been a miner and was the UMWA contact man for the New United States' administrative team in Fulda. He was also a nephew of Dennis Stull who was running the procurement office that the New United States had set up in Erfurt, where Gustavus Adolphus also had his main supply depot in Thuringia. All the rest of them figured that was something which would turn out to be real handy in the long run.

" Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg. The only thing that I love about him is his name. ”˜Barkeep from Pig Hill.' What a beautifully aristocratic name, once you translate that ”˜von' bit, no matter how many centuries the pigs have been sitting on top of their hill.” Wes grinned. “Up-time, he was running around the battlefield, blessing the soldiers and calling for them to fight for the Catholic faith, when he ran into a squadron that wasn't friendly. They shot him neatly. Pistol to the head. So he was killed at Luetzen, just like Pappenheim. Their bodies were carried into the Pleissenburg together to be embalmed, which would be a great thing for them to be, if you ask me and good riddance to the two of them.”

Wes got up and looked out the window. Grantville hadn't had much information to prepare the administrative staff of the New United States for the job they faced in Fulda. Encyclopedia articles and a few tourist brochures from Len Tanner. That was about it. The tourist brochures hadn't been of much use. Up-time, practically the whole town had been redeveloped between 1632 and the twentieth century, it seemed.

The building where they were sitting right now didn't have a picture in any of them. It would have been torn down in the eighteenth century and replaced. The big tan sandstone cathedral with its two tall curvy-topped towers wasn't here yet, either. Now, maybe, it never would be built. Instead, there was a church called the basilica. One of the monks had told him that it was eight hundred years old. That was now, 1632, not in the year 2000.

Wes was willing to believe it—that the basilica was eight hundred years old. There was another one too, one that had survived until the twentieth century. That one had a photo in the brochures. St. Michael's it was called. The oldness of St. Michael's church had practically seemed to press down on his shoulders when he went through it. It was a burial church. Eight hundred years of dead monks. Already, in 1632, eight hundred years of dead monks.

“What's the prince-abbot of Fulda done to you?” Andrea Hill looked at her boss with some worry. His thin face was dominated by a long nose. Wes had always been wiry, but since the Ring of Fire, he had gone down to skin and bones. He would just be annoyed if she acted like a substitute mom, though, so she was careful not to fuss at him about it. “He's been gone since before the king told us to take charge of Fulda.”

“Where's he been?” Fred Pence, Andrea's son-in-law, had just arrived the week before, with the second group sent from Grantville.

“He ran off to the Habsburgs when Gustavus Adolphus and the Hessians came through and took 'Priests' Alley' here and along the Rhine River in the fall of 1631. Fulda gave up without a single shot. We haven't seen hide nor hair of him.”

Wes came back from the window. “At least, with the abbot and chapter monks gone, most of the people seem to prefer us to the Hessians as an occupation force. Even the monks who are still around, at least since we promised to try to get their library back from our noble ally the landgrave of Hesse, who swiped it.”

“Don't get their hopes up. When these brigands swipe stuff, they mostly swipe it for good. Our side just as much as their side.” Roy Copenhaver, the economic liaison, was already thoroughly disillusioned by how little, between them, Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar for Gustavus Adolphus and the Hessian commander Albrecht Thilo von Uslar had left in Fulda in the way of resources for the Grantvillers to work with. Although, he had to admit, the monks who escaped to Cologne had supposedly taken most of the abbey's treasury with them, so he couldn't blame their own new Captain General or his Hessian allies for that.

Andrea stuck her pencil through her graying hair. “Not to mention that they stole their archives themselves. That is, the monks who ran off to Cologne took the records with them and aren't about to send them back. Anita in Wuerzburg and Janie in Bamberg at least have something to work with when they get these disputes about who has a right to what laid in front of them. I'm having to start from scratch.”

Wes sat down again, looking at the letter in front of him. “We have a Christmas present. The abbot's coming back, Ed Piazza says. In all his full glory, waving the banner of the Counter Reformation and claiming that he has the right to do his thing under ”˜freedom of religion' and the constitution of the New United States.”

“From Cologne?” Andrea asked hopefully. “With archives?”

“No, from Prague. He attached himself to Tilly and ran in a different direction, taking what little he had in the way of an army with him. He's been hanging around with Wallenstein since then. He must be fairly tough, though—he's been living like a common soldier. Duke John George of Saxony gave him a safe-conduct through Saxony to come back and an escort to the border of the New United States. They handed him over down by Halle.” Wes sighed. “Good old Duke John George. With friends like that, we really don't need enemies.”

“Is he bringing imperial troops disguised as his personal staff?” Harlan asked.

“God, I hope not. The landgrave of Hesse would be only too happy to send a batch of his troops back into Fulda in the guise of ”˜protecting' the king of Sweden's new allies, given how few of our own people Frank Jackson has been able to spare for us here.” Derek Utt, the military administrator, spent as much of his time keeping a wary eye out for raiding “friendly” troops as he did for raiding “enemy” troops.

“How many military, exactly, do we have now?” Wes asked him.

“Besides me? A half-dozen up-timers. Seven, if you count Gus Szymanski, who is the emergency medical technician and nearly sixty years old. Aside from Gus, the most senior person is Mark Early, who's nearly thirty. He's doing most of my administrative stuff. Procurement, quarters, payroll. The next is Johnny Furbee, who is twenty-seven. I'm basically using him to help me train some military police from local town and village militias. The other four are kids. Good kids, and at least they all have high school diplomas, which Johnny doesn't, but they're still kids trying to teach what little they know about modern military procedures to a couple hundred of those ex-mercenary combat veterans that Gretchen picked out from the prisoners. The training that Johnny is giving the militias is ad hoc since he was never an MP himself and neither was I, but it's something, and at least they have a vested interest in keeping the ex-mercenaries from raping their wives and daughters. The kids and the new MPs do good to keep our people from relapsing into looting the locals, to tell the truth. That's it. I don't know whether to hope Frank sends us more down-timers or be glad that we don't have too many to control.”

Wes looked at him, thinking that Derek himself had just turned thirty. But he was not only older in years than the younger men he called “kids.” He was a lot older in experience. Derek was a Gulf War vet. He'd been a member of the active reserves; married, with a kid, just a baby. They were left up-time. Wes understood. His wife Lena had been left up-time too, although his two daughters were in Grantville, Chandra with two kids and Lenore finally going to get married next month, which he would have to miss. Not that he would have chosen Bryant Holloway for her if he had been doing the picking.

Derek had lived in Fairmont. He had just come over to Grantville the afternoon of the Ring of Fire to go to the sport shop with his sister Lisa's husband. He had volunteered the afternoon that Mike Stearns called for people. Once Mike and Frank Jackson had gotten past their first stage of relying so heavily on the United Mine Workers, he had moved up fast in the army of the New United States.

Wes nodded his head. “If he tries to bring in troops disguised as staff, stop them at the border, but I really don't think that Ed and Frank would let him get that far with them. He's free to come back as an abbot. He can walk right in carrying his staff. Hell, he can even ride in, if he wants to. We'll even provide him with an escort from the Thuringian border to the gates of the abbey. But he's not a prince of the Holy Roman Empire any more and he might as well learn it right there as anywhere else. What route is he taking?”

The meeting got down to the nitty gritty.

Grantville, December 1632

“Because you are offering a salary.”

Ed Piazza looked at the down-time woman who was sitting in a straight chair across from his desk. He knew that the chair was hard and remarkably uncomfortable. In his first job, a wise old teacher had showed him that by sawing a quarter of an inch off the front legs of a chair and sanding them, front and back, so they sat flush on the floor, it wasn't enough to notice but anyone using it was constantly sliding toward the front, in the direction of the floor, requiring him to brace his legs. It was remarkably useful for keeping parent-teacher conferences within their assigned time limits and Ed had taken his pair of wooden chairs with him from job to job, defying the advance of metal folding chairs. Even now, the people he motioned toward them rarely stayed in his office any longer than was absolutely necessary.

“How did you hear about the job?”

“Miss Susan Beattie told Mrs. Kortney Pence who told Mrs.” She paused. “Schandra? Sandra? Tsandra? Prickett.”

“Chandra,” Ed said.

“Mrs. Prickett. Who told me, all at a meeting of the League of Women Voters. Miss Beattie thought of me because her father knows Mr. Birdie Newhouse who knows my brother Dietrich.”

Ed sorted it out in his mind. From Orville Beattie's daughter to Andrea Hill's daughter who was married to Fred Pence to Wes Jenkins' daughter. All adult children of members of the NUS administration in Fulda. Grantville had been pretty a small town, after all, before the Ring of Fire.

“”˜Because you are offering a salary.' That is the most forthright reply I have had from anyone applying for this job. When I asked why he wanted it, I mean. Or she. Would you care to explain, Mrs. Stade?”

“My husband went bankrupt. Nobody can blame the Ring of Fire for that. He went bankrupt before it. He died in April 1631. Because of the bankruptcy, he didn't leave me any money to live on. He didn't leave a business for me to fight with the guilds about over whether or not a woman can run it. All of this was in Arnstadt, though he was born in Stadtilm. His father was born in Badenburg, which is how I came to meet him and marry him. I am from Badenburg. I married and went away from my family. Now I am a widow, childless, and do not want to go back and live on the charity of my brothers and sisters. I have used up my dowry. I want work, my own income.”

She nodded emphatically. “I also consider myself qualified. My husband was a councilman before he failed in his business; my father is a councilman. I presume that one of my brothers will succeed him on the council. I know politics—more widely than most, since I have ties in three cities, and through my brother Dietrich and the problems with Herr Newhouse's land, have come to know a fourth, your own. I can also help the administration figure out where the disputes are between the Fulda city council and the abbey, I think. There are bound to be a lot of old grudges.”

She paused and smiled, reaching through the slit in the side of her skirt for her pocket. “And I carry the constitution of the New United States with me, everywhere I go. I have learned it by heart. As well as anyone, I can tell your administrators in Fulda what the abbot can and cannot do, under the down-time law. I will be very happy to tell the abbot of Fulda what he can and cannot do under this constitution.”

Ed got up, walked to the side of the room, and lifted an upholstered office chair from its place near the wall. “Have a more comfortable seat,” he suggested.

****

Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg was not happy. He was nearly fifty years old and had never before heard of such a thing. He glared at Ed Piazza.

“It's ”˜take it or leave it,'” Ed said. “The condition of our permitting you to go back to Fulda is that you take along our appointee to serve as a liaison between you and the NUS administration there.”

“It is wholly inappropriate,” the abbot of Fulda said. “Utterly inappropriate.”

“My name is Clara Bachmeierin,” the woman said. “Widowed Stade. I am from Badenburg. I am Lutheran. We have dealt with the up-timers since they first arrived. You have not. You have been away, among the imperials. We have learned to understand their politics. You have not. Stop making a sour face at me. I have reached an age at which no one will consider my presence scandalous or shocking. I am thirty-six, no girl. I will share the quarters of Mrs. Hill. She has an apartment upstairs. Her son-in-law, Mr. Pence, has an apartment downstairs in the same building, which he shares with two other men. He thinks it is safer for Mrs. Hill to be upstairs.”

“You are a Protestant.”

“That's what I just said,” she answered.

“A Protestant and a female. Not a suitable advisor for a Catholic ruler. Not a suitable advisor for an abbot.”

“Listen, Schweinsberg, at least half of your former subjects were Protestant, when you became abbot in 1623 and began a stronger enforcement of the Counter Reformation.” Ed Piazza interrupted them. “That is, half of them were still Protestant after the last three or four abbots had been using their authority over the past half-century to try to coerce them into becoming Catholic again, using differential tax rates, forbidding Protestants to hold public office, giving them the option of conversion or exile.”

“It is our duty to bring people back into the fold of the church,” Schweinsberg said. “It was our guilt that the Protestant revolt occurred in the first place, damning so many souls to hell. Since you are supposedly Catholic yourself, Herr Piazza, you should be doing the same.”

Ed leaned forward. “You're going to be learning a lot of new lessons. The first one is about separation of church and state. If you want the people of Fulda to be Catholic, you will have to entice them. Persuade them of the rightness of your doctrines. Feed them barbecue at revival meetings, I don't care. But you may not force them to convert. You may not compel them to hear your missionaries. All carrots, no sticks.”

Schweinsberg scowled.

“Remember. They are not your subjects.” Ed paused between each of those words for emphasis. “You no longer exercise legal jurisdiction over them. You are the church; the NUS is the state. I am quite sure that Mrs. Stade will be happy to explain it to you. The two of you will have plenty of time for conversation between here and the border, so she can tell you how the system works.”

Clara Bachmeierin, otherwise known as Mrs. Stade, smiled blandly.

Ed Piazza continued. “There are ways that you can take advantage of our system, no doubt, but only if you work within it. If you try to go around it or subvert it, somebody in authority is going to think about the appropriate penalties for collaborating with the enemy. When you leave here, you're going to be carrying a written notification to that effect, signed by President Stearns.”

Game Board

Fulda, January 1633

“Why can't they all at least be happy Catholics together?” Harlan Stull asked plaintively. He was looking at a complaint from the Franciscan Order that some sixty years before, a former abbot of Fulda had given one of their buildings, which they had abandoned and were no longer using, to the Jesuits, who still had it and were using it for a school. The Franciscans wanted it back now. The Jesuits thought that possession was nine points of the law.

“Why,” Wes Jenkins said, “is not up to us Methodist good old boys to figure out. ”˜Ours not to reason why.' Though I sort of wish that they had sent us a couple of Catholics from Grantville to help us understand it, instead of shipping them all down into Wuerzburg and Bamberg. But I don't think that this is a religious problem. They're all Catholics. I hereby declare officially that it's a land title problem. Put it into Andrea's in-box and let's move on to something else.”

“But.” Harlan was practically wailing. “Why does it make any difference to them that the abbot and these guys who are supposed to be monks here, the chapter, are Benedictines but they squabble with these other monks who are Franciscans and who say they aren't monks but friars and both of them are jealous of the Jesuits? Aren't they all in the same bathtub together?”

“They weren't up-time,” Wes pointed out. “Ed Piazza and Tino Nobili were practically in a boxing match half the time about stuff that went on at Saint Vincent's, with Father Mazzare refereeing. Or trying to.”

Andrea tried to think of something that would be helpful. “Think of the Middle Ages. Before the Reformation. They were all Catholics then, well except for the Jews and Saracens, and they fought each other all the time. Remember what Melissa Mailey said about the Norman Conquest?”

“I think it's this way,” Fred Pence said. “The Yankees and the Dodgers and all those other teams all played baseball, but that didn't mean that they weren't in competition with one another. For one thing, baseball was the way they made their living, so they were competing for the same pot of dough and the same fans. Like these guys. They're all playing the same game, but that doesn't mean that they're all on the same team. Sometimes they hate each other more than they do the people who play football or basketball. That's how I'm laying it out, for voter registration. The Catholics are football; the Lutherans are baseball; the Calvinists up on the border by Hesse are basketball, and the occasional oddballs are soccer and ice hockey.”

Harlan stared at him.

“Well, it works,” Fred protested. “Hey, guys, I'm a Nondenominational Evangelical. Or I was, when there was a church for me to go to. We don't have one in Grantville, even. I've been having to make do with the Baptists. This is even weirder for me than it is for you Methodists. But I think that I'm starting to understand it.”

“How?” Wes asked hopefully.

“I got the pewterer downtown to make some molds and pour me baseball and other players, like little Monopoly markers. Then I've got a big map of Fulda and all its little outliers that are mixed up with Isenburg and Hanau and imperial knights like the von Hutten family and whatever. Not a decent topo map. The places are just little six-sided pieces of paper, like a game board. And I got some paint for the players. So a Lutheran is a baseball player and if he's an independent imperial knight, he's got a blue bat instead of a green one. A Jesuit is a yellow football player; a Franciscan is a red one, and if she's a nun, she's pink. The Benedictines here at the abbey are orange. Stuff like that. And I've got them set down on the spots where they belong. It's all on a table in my office. You should come by and look at it some time. By the time we get around to holding elections, I should know which precinct is what and where the trouble spots will probably be. Andrea's putting her land title markers on it, too.”

Andrea cleared her throat. “Speaking of land titles . . . ”

“Yes?”

“I've made one great discovery. The monks took the archives, but most of the local district administrators and provosts of the abbey's estates kept duplicate copies on the local level, because it would take all day for someone to run over to Fulda and look something up. So if the budget has money for me to hire some clerks, we can reconstitute a working administrative archive. Not the historical papal bulls that were five hundred years old and stuff like that, but land documents and surveys from the last half century or so.”

“The budget,” Harlan said, “is very tight.”

“Consider it an investment.” Andrea reached up and pulled out the pencil she had stuck in her hair earlier in the meeting. “If we don't figure out who owes us how much in the way of taxes and rents and dues, there won't be a budget at all.”

“Anything else?” Wes asked.

“We have a petition from a convent of Franciscan nuns here in the town of Fulda itself, phrased in such a way that it appears to be presented on behalf of the women of the town in general, on the subject of women's property rights. It's rather interesting.” She picked up a piece of paper and started to read. “A laywoman who was a member of their Third Order . . . ” She looked up. “That's sort of like a lodge auxiliary, by the way. Or it would be, if they were Disciples of Christ, like me.” She went back to reading, “made during her lifetime a contingent donation to them that was to take effect after her death. She has since died and her stepson, who does not deny that she had a right to make a gift while living, challenges her right to make a post mortem donation on the grounds that it is equivalent to a bequest . . . ”

Harlan Stull's eyes started to glaze over. His definition of “interesting” rarely involved probate law.

“Andrea,” Wes said. “Hire a lawyer. A local lawyer. Full time. That's an order.”

Variant Visions

Grantville, January 1633

“We ought to give him some kind of a send-off,” Linda Bartolli said, looking at the rest of Grantville's quondam Saint Vincent's and current Saint Mary's worship committee. “After all, he is an abbot and Fulda is really historical. I looked it up in the encyclopedia.”

“It should be your call. You're the organist, so most of the extra work would fall on you,” Denise Adducci said.

“Well, on Brian, too,” Linda said. “And the choir.”

“How's it going for Brian now? Is Tino still making trouble?” Noelle Murphy asked.

Linda sighed. When her brother agreed to take on directing the Saint Mary's choir after the Ring of Fire, its former director having been left up-time, Tino Nobili had made a great big fuss. Brian's wife Debra was Methodist, which in Tino's view disqualified him for exercising anything that might be considered a public office in the church. What with Tino's wife Vivian being the parish secretary and her and Brian's parents now being full-time parish volunteers, things could get a bit touchy now and then.

“Tino seems to have settled down some. It helped that the only other person who volunteered to be choir director was Danielle Kowach. He likes the Kowaches and Mahons even less than he likes us, and having Danielle would have meant that both the organist and director would have been women.”

****

Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg assured himself that he supported the endeavors of the Jesuit Order and favored all its efforts in spreading the faith. The Jesuits were so—what was the English word?—dynamic. Not to mention incredibly numerous. They and the Capuchins—those two orders multiplied like rabbits, these days.

Nonetheless, he still found it somewhat disconcerting that the Jesuits seemed to have thrown themselves so very enthusiastically into the Grantville parish. Plus, of course . . . von Spee came from a respectable family, but . . . Athanasius Kircher was certainly an intelligent man—some people said that he was an outright genius—but by no means was his family upper class. Schweinsberg knew this perfectly well, since Kircher's father had been a minor civil bureaucrat from Geisa who worked for the abbots of Fulda and tried to support a large family on a small salary. Of course, the father had earned a doctorate, but the family's more distant ancestry consisted entirely of commoners. Quite ordinary ones.

“I would point out,” Kircher was saying with some humor, “that it is also something of a stretch for men born into families of ordinary imperial knights to sit in the diet as princes of the empire. You and your predecessors have been there by virtue of your election as abbots, not by right of birth. The church provides this ”˜social mobility' for you, too.”

“But the statutes of Fulda provide that none but men of noble birth may be accepted as members of the chapter.”

“The statutes of Fulda,” Kircher answered gently. “Not the statutes of Saint Benedict, if you would bother to read them, nor even the statutes as established by your founders. Not Saint Boniface; not Saint Sturmius; not Saint Lullus. That provision developed during later history, and can be changed. If you do not want to ossify and have Fulda cease to exist for a lack of recruits, it even should be changed. Even now, it is the conventus of commoners among your monks that serves the parishes of the Stift, not the noble chapter monks. How many parishes are there? Fifty?”

“About that many. Parishes, that is. But no one would dare to challenge the statutes. Why that might lead to a commoner being elected abbot some day.”

“Banz did. That abbey also had these requirements from the middle ages that only nobles could be accepted in the chapter. When so much of Franconia became Protestant, there were no longer enough surplus sons of Catholic nobles to fill the slots. More than half a century ago, they obtained an exemption from the bishop of Wuerzburg that they could accept commoners, both as members of the chapter and students at the school.”

“The bishops of Wuerzburg . . . ” the abbot began.

“Yes, I am entirely aware of the conflict,” Kircher said patiently. “After all, my father was working for Abbot Balthasar von Dernbach when Bishop Echter conspired with the knights and nobles of the Stift to expel him because of his efforts to impose Catholic reform. The commitment of Bishop Echter to Catholic reform was unquestionably genuine. However, if by getting rid of a reforming abbot, he might extend the authority of Wuerzburg over the abbey and its territories . . . with the full intent of reforming them himself, of course . . . Well, bishops are not angels. Echter was a great man, but he is not likely ever to be sainted, I suppose.”

“I will never compromise Fulda's independence by asking the bishop of Wuerzburg to authorize a change in our statutes. Even if I could, as a practical matter, since Hatzfeld has opted to remain under the protection of the archbishop of Cologne rather than to return to his see and come to terms with these allies of the Swede.”

“You could always just ask the pope himself,” Kircher suggested. “That would not affect the legal independence of Fulda from Wuerzburg in any way. Presuming, of course, that you are willing to defy your fellow nobles and their desire to drop extra sons into sinecures with guaranteed incomes.”

****

Brian Grady had given a fair amount of consideration to the music for the special service, had beaten the bushes for people who were willing to sing just this once and scheduled four extra rehearsals. They were using the good choir robes, too. And he had a right to do something Irish, he thought.

A couple of years before, he had gotten a copy of How the Irish Saved Civilization with a medieval-looking dust jacket for Christmas. He suspected that his sister had gotten it out of a discount bin at the grocery warehouse in Fairmont, but, hey, in a family the size of the Gradys, the motto had to be, “Affordable Christmas presents are where you find them.” He'd read it. He agreed with every single word, so he had given it to the new national library. Other people ought to read it, too, and understand the importance of being Irish.

Besides, he didn't intend to read it again. It was sort of out of his field. When he wasn't directing the choir, he taught physical education.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art; Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Basically, he was using the version that appeared in most hymnals, set to the “Slane” melody, which he loved.

Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word,

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;

Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;

Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

He had thought that the abbot might like it, since he came from a family of knights and knights went around fighting in armor. Tournaments and jousts and stuff like that. He'd heard the story, of course, that the only reason that the guy was here in Grantville now, getting a special service, was that he hadn't been killed in the same battle when the king of Sweden was killed, up-time.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;

Be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might; Be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:

O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

So take that, Martin Luther, you blasted German, Brian thought. A good Catholic Irishman wrote a fine Irish Catholic version of “A Mighty Fortress” seven centuries before you were even born.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:

Be thou mine inheritance now and always;

Thou and thou only the first in my heart;

O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

So far, so good. The choir was on key. Brian threw a smile to his sister Linda at the organ, who pulled a few stops. Then for the final verse he broke the choir out into the other arrangement he had, not in the hymnal—John Leavitt's, the one set to “Thaxted” from the Jupiter movement of Gustav Holst's “The Planets.”

Great God of heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision O Ruler of all.

Great God of heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!

Amen!

****

“Outrageous, of course,” Tino Nobili said to Schweinsberg after mass. “I'm sure that you agree with me. A woman as organist and women in the choir! Irish folk music and modern composers rather than plainsong. Trust me, sir, this is not the direction the entire church had gone, not even in the up-time world. I was a member of the Pope Pius X Society. I have their mailings. I will give you some of them to take with you, to read.”

The abbot thanked him gravely. Personally, he had enjoyed the music and no one expected a parish in a small city to follow all of the liturgical prescriptions for the choir of the Sistine Chapel, of course. Or even those for the choir of the Abbey of Fulda.

Fulda, February 1633

“Do you prefer to be called Mrs. Stade or Miss Bachmeier,” Wes Jenkins asked.

Clara thought a moment. “I am a widow, so I am certainly not Mrs. Stade, even though Herr Piazza calls me that. Caspar has been dead for almost two years. How about Ms. Bachmeierin? I understand that Ms. covers every marital status for your people. And I do prefer the feminine form of my family name. I am a woman, after all—not a man. Being called Bachmeier sounds very odd to me.”

“That'll do fine,” Wes said, leaning an elbow on the mantel.

They were all standing up. The cleaning crew had taken the table and chairs out of the conference room so they could mop and wax the floor.

She was leaning against the window sill. The administration building had windows with sills. The immediately past abbot, a guy named von Schwalbach, had torn down some medieval monstrosity about twenty years ago and built a nice little renaissance-style palace with corridors and paved floors and big windows with clear glass panes.

The afternoon sun came in at an angle, making a bright narrow stripe across her hair and face. And body, above the waist. He found himself thinking that whatever she called herself, she was definitely a woman. A fine-looking woman. He hoped that the late Caspar had appreciated his good luck. Then he realized that he hadn't cared what a woman looked like since Lena was left up-time.

“If you don't mind,” Andrea Hill said, “since we will be sharing an apartment, I will call you Clara. And call me Andrea, please.”

She looked at Wes watch the German woman and thought, chaperone time? Lenore, Wes' older girl, wasn't much younger than her own daughter Kortney. She'd have to ask Kortney, next time she wrote, if Lenore and Chandra had their fingers in whatever pie led up to shipping Ms. Bachmeierin over to Fulda. She knew they had been worried about having their dad walking around like one of the living dead for so long.

Well, she couldn't blame Wes. She'd felt that way herself for quite a while after her husband Harry died back in 1997, but gradually the world had turned itself back right side up. She had felt it worse when her first husband left her in 1965. Harry, at least, had not wanted to go. But if Bob hadn't left, she wouldn't have gone back to school and gotten the A.A. degree that led her to this job, or married Harry, or had her two girls, so . . .

“When's the abbot due?” Harlan Stull asked.

“In about a half an hour. Maybe I should have asked you first, but I thought it was reasonable to agree when he wanted to go to the monastery first, before he came over to meet all of you. He's supposed to be in charge of it, after all,” Clara answered.

“Supposed to be?”

“I'm not sure how much support he has. Neither is he, really. That's one thing he wants to find out.”

“Brief me,” Wes said, thinking he might as well find out sooner than later what caliber of person Ed had picked.

“Well, he was elected abbot in 1623. Three years later, he brought in some reformed Benedictines from someplace in Switzerland to help him reorganize the abbey. The year after that, that was in 1627, after he got their report, he talked the pope into sending the nuncio—that was Pietro Luigi Caraffa back then—as a papal visitor, a kind of inspector to conduct a visitation of the abbey. Caraffa issued a whole batch of reform decrees that pointed out that according to the rule of Saint Benedict, authority belonged to the abbot. They were pretty critical of the way the noble-born monks in the Fulda chapter had encroached on it. After Caraffa left—he couldn't very well stay here permanently—the provosts, the monks who administered the abbey's property, got up a rebellion against the changes.”

She paused for breath.

“I can see,” Fred Pence said, “that I'm going to end up with stripes and checks and spots on my orange helmets.”

Clara looked at him, then ignored him. “The monks who are in Cologne now mostly belonged to the opposition party. The pope confirmed the changes, but it didn't make much impression on them. The chapter seemed to be absolutely dead set on keeping the privilege of only admitting nobles. I didn't get a very clear view from the abbot as to whether they object to praying in the same room as ordinary people or if they just object to sharing the abbey's income with them. If the latter, the New United States has probably solved one problem for him."

“From what I hear,” Orville Beattie said, “the party of his monks that headed off to Cologne probably won't be too enthusiastic about the fact that he's reappeared. The leader of them, a guy named Johann Adolf von Hoheneck, would have been elected as abbot by now if Schweinsberg had gotten himself shot on schedule, so to speak. Hoheneck is feeling a bit deprived, they say. Just gossip, you understand.”

Orville had been sent up from Wuerzburg by Johnnie F.—Johnnie Haun, that was—to run Steve Salatto's brainchild of a “Hearts and Minds” program in Fulda. Up-time, Orville had worked for the state and farmed part time, but he was in the military down-time. “Hearts and Minds” was a military program. Having another up-time military person in Fulda made Derek Utt feel better, even though Orville spent most of his time out of town. Although Orville was Presbyterian, which made the liaison guy from the landgrave of Hesse, a guy named Urban von Boyneburg, feel better about things too, he seemed to be finding his feet pretty fast in dealing with Catholics and Lutherans.

“Okay, Hoheneck in Cologne. Probably one of the bad guys.” Harlan Stull made a note.

“That's where they took the archives,” Andrea said. “Can Schweinsberg get them back?”

“I don't know,” Clara answered honestly. “We can ask him to try. But Hoheneck is on very good terms with Ferdinand of Bavaria, who is the archbishop and elector of Cologne. Through him, of course, he can get support from Duke Maximilian of Bavaria and the Leaguists and the Imperials. That probably means that he isn't going to pay much attention to long-distance instructions from Schweinsberg here in Fulda, vow of obedience or no vow of obedience.”

“You know,” Orville was saying, down at the other end of the room where a different conversation had broken out, “one thing that we really ought to do, when we get a chance, is ask von Boyneburg to come in and give us a briefing about dealing with the imperial knights. Apparently, here in Fulda, they have a legal status that's different from the knights in Hesse. More like the ones in Franconia.”

Harlan Stull sighed. “I'll try to fit it into the agenda one of these days.”

****

“Well, if your supporters followed you when you went off with Tilly's army, and Hoheneck's bunch ran off to Cologne with him, carrying the archives, who were the monks we found at Fulda when we got here?” Wes Jenkins thought this was a reasonable question.

“The Saint Gall monks,” the abbot answered. “In the abbey. The monks who belong to the conventus of commoners don't reside here permanently. They are parish pastors and only come to the abbey for meetings and special events. And, then, some lay brothers, who do things like caring for the gardens, are still here.”

“That means? Saint Gall monks?” Wes wondered if Schweinsberg missed having the administration building as a palace. He was living over in the abbey dormitory these days.

“In 1626, I asked the Benedictine Abbey at Saint Gall, that's in Switzerland, to lend us some of their monks to reform us here at Fulda. That is, to show us how to conform more closely to the rule of Saint Benedict. They kindly sent us several, to serve as models for chanting the offices and following the church year, things like that. When the rest of us left for fear of the Swedes and Hessians, they stayed.”

“Reform you?”

“Introduce the Tridentine reforms. The prescriptions of the Council of Trent. That was about, oh, seventy years ago. It went on for years. The council, I mean. The abbots have been trying to bring Fulda into conformity ever since, without a lot of luck. The noble families are thoroughly entrenched in the chapter. The younger sons they send us are usually fairly hard-working when it come to doing things like administering the abbey's estates. That's what nobles do, after all. But they rarely have much enthusiasm about performing specifically monastic duties.”

“What's the problem?” Wes was genuinely curious.

“We've tried, goodness knows. The Jesuit school. The seminar for future priests. And we've made some progress. Getting rid of the concubines, for example.”

“Concubines?”

“Wives, really. Instead of living in little monastic cells, seventy-five years ago the chapter monks mostly lived in their own houses in town with their wives and children. Not that it was legal for them to have wives, of course, which is why they were called concubines by the reformers.”

“Didn't Catholics get a bit uptight about married monks?”

“The laity? No more than they did about married priests in general, really. Not as long as they did the rest of their work okay. It's the hierarchy that disapproves of clerical matrimony, mainly, not the people. At the time of Trent, even the dukes of Bavaria tried hard to get the pope and cardinals to accept married priests.”

Wes shook his head.

****

“The part that is properly in Franconia is called the ”˜Rhön and Werra' canton of the imperial knights.” Urban von Boyneburg looked at the up-timers and pointed to the wall map.

Derek Utt had made a blown-up map on a dozen pieces of paper taped together, from a little one in a down-time atlas. Ortelius, it was called. Ed Piazza had ordered a dozen copies of the atlas and distributed them around. It wasn't a very good map and the original had been made fifty years ago, so it was out of date, but it was better than any other map of Fulda that they had.

“That's basically over here. You do know what an imperial knight is? And where the Werra river runs?”

Wes Jenkins nodded.

Boyneburg continued. “Most of the Franconian imperial knights are Protestant-Lutheran, in fact. Their families accepted that confession almost a century ago and they have been able to maintain it in spite of pressure from the bishops. So are the ones here in the Fulda region, in what we called the Buchenland or, in Latin, Buchonia. Most of the abbot's own family is Protestant, for that matter.”

“What's a ”˜Buchen,'” Fred Pence asked.

Boyneburg looked blank. He could point to a Buchen if they asked him to, but . . .

“A beech tree,” Orville said in English. “This region is heavily wooded with beech trees.”

Boyneburg resumed the lecture. “In October 1631, right after the battle of Breitenfeld, the imperial knights of the Fulda region had a meeting right here in the city and decided that they would like to join with the Franconian knights as the ”˜Buchen Quarter.' Since then, they have negotiated with the king of Sweden. He has been willing to recognize them as immediate, with no territorial lord standing between them and him, as long as they pay him tribute. Which is plenty, by the way. The Ebersburgs are expected to come up with twenty imperial thaler monthly, the von Schlitz have to pay forty thaler a month. Even the Buchenau family, which isn't very prominent or prosperous, is being assessed thirteen thaler monthly by the Swedes, to support the Protestant cause.”

“Where does Hesse-Kassel stand on this?” Derek Utt asked.

“Well, you must know that Hesse does not have any imperial knights within its lands. The lower nobility of Hesse, its Ritterschaft, is subject to the landgrave. Not reichsfrei. They are landsässig, vassals of the landgrave rather than of the emperor. Or of the king of Sweden, since he has now put himself in the emperor's place, for all practical purposes.”

Wes Jenkins nodded.

Boyneburg went on. “I'm afraid that my lord the landgrave rather alienated the imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter last year, by moving to make them landsässig in Fulda. That was before your town's arrival of course, when he hoped to be able to attach Fulda as one of his permanent possessions. Of course, the abbot of Fulda would also like to make the knights within his territory his vassals. Any territorial ruler would, naturally. It's just that Hesse and Wuerttemberg have been more successful at mediatizing them—well, at mediatizing us, since I am a member of the Hessian nobility—than most other principalities.”

He paused. “The imperial knights of Buchen, ah, resist the idea of giving up their freedom and liberties to become the subjects of a territorial ruler very strongly."

“So, at the moment, they are still classified as free knights, but they are paying through the nose for the privilege. A lot more than their taxes would be if they were subjects of the abbot,” Wes Jenkins summed up.

Boyneburg nodded his agreement.

“Clara, since the NUS is sitting in the former chair of the abbot as Fulda's head of state or civil government, where do you think we stand as far as our relations with these guys are concerned?”

“These knights in the Buchen are in a little different position than those in Hesse. They do, most of them, have some lands that are allods. That is, lands that they own in their own right and for which they do not owe any feudal dues. Just taxes to the emperor. Or, now, to King Gustavus Adolphus. But most of them also hold other lands as fiefs from Fulda. So the New United States is, I think, their feudal lord, their Lehensherr, for those lands, as well as being their Landesherr.”

“We don't want to be anybody's f . . . never mind, feudal lord,” Harlan Stull exploded.

“Well,” Andrea Hill said, “until the New United States gets around to changing the land system, we are. Not as individuals, but the administration is. So we are, collectively, as representatives of the government. That's pretty clear from the land title stuff that I've collected.”

Fulda, February 1633

“I'm it, I think,” Mark Early said. “The whole Special Commission on the Establishment of Freedom of Religion in the Franconian Prince-Bishoprics and the Prince-Abbey of Fulda. At least as far as Fulda is concerned. That's what my orders say. It's what my wife Susan says, too, and since she's working directly for Mike Stearns, I guess it's for real.”

“How do you intend to do it, on top of all the rest of your work?”

“If you want me to do it, Wes, Derek's just going to have to make someone else bookkeeper and paymaster. Either pull one of the kids into the job or use a down-timer.”

“Derek, do you see any options to that?”

“No, to tell the truth. They say that they'll send Joel Matowski out to help Mark, but he can't be freed up until late summer or early fall, probably. And when he does get here, he'll have a steep learning curve.”

“That's the down side. Is there an up side?”

“Fulda's a lot smaller than Wuerzburg or Bamberg, so maybe one guy can do it,” Andrea offered.

“I don't think so,” Wes said. “Even if we free up Mark, he's going to need help and it obviously isn't going to be an up-timer. Do we have any down-time staff who could lend a hand, at least with scheduling the hearings and taking the minutes. Filing the records. Stuff like that.”

Harlan Stull shook his head.

“What about Clara?” Derek asked.

“Clara?”

“Well, it looks to me like a lot of what this Special Commission is going to be doing is trying to get the Lutheran imperial knights and the Catholic abbot and chapter at the monastery to co-exist and leave the ordinary people who belong to each other's religion alone. She's already been working with the abbot, so she should have a head start, so to speak. Then if we can get someone local . . . Andrea, did you ever hire a lawyer full time?”

“I did. But the Special Commission can't have him. I'm not just paying him full time. I'm using him full time. Maybe he can recommend someone else.”

“Oh, sure, they always can,” Harlan said. A younger brother or a nephew or their cousin's brother-in-law.”

Roy Copenhaver shook his head. “Aren't we supposed to avoid nepotism?”

“Hey, until we get an actual civil service, it works as well as any other hiring system. The trick is to make sure that we fire the incompetents who don't work out, and even with a civil service they didn't manage that, up-time. Neither West Virginia nor the feds.”

“Are you a cynic?”

“I'm a realist. Okay, I'll ask Clara about it; see if she'd be willing to,” Harlan said. In addition to his other duties, he was personnel manager.

****

“How about Herr von Boyneburg?” Clara asked.

“But he doesn't even work for us,” Mark Early protested. “He works for the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.”

“But it would be a good idea for someone who works for the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel to learn about separation of church and state. Wouldn't it?”

“Yeah, I guess so. When you put it that way,” Harlan answered. “Seems weird, though.”

“They have their own problems,” Clara said. “People in the border villages along the Werra who even now walk over into neighboring Lutheran territories to take communion, after all these years and in spite of the fact that they've made it illegal. Maybe they could learn just to let them do it in peace. Plus there's an occasional Calvinist imperial knight with lands well inside Fulda territory, so they could learn to make it a trade-off. The abbot stops hassling the Calvinists and Lutherans. The Calvinists stop hassling the Lutherans. Then the Lutherans could stop hassling the Calvinists, too, maybe. Or at least stop calling one another crypto-Calvinists.”

She smiled. “Are you sending an observer to the Rudolstadt Colloquy?” she asked.

“H . . . that is, heck no!” Harlan answered.

****

“Do we need a pilgrimage church up on top of a hill?” Andrea asked.

Roy Copenhaver winced. “You know, sometimes I ask myself if this place is worth all the grief that it's causing us. There can't be more than fifty thousand people in Stift and town of Fulda, combined. Total. If that many. Maybe forty thousand if you count out all the subjects of somebody else who are just living here.”

“We did get Fulda as sort of an appendage to Wuerzburg and Bamberg, I think. An afterthought. It's nowhere near as big. Nowhere near as exciting. But if Mike hadn't taken it on, it would have gone to Hesse-Kassel, like Paderborn and Corvey did. And the landgrave would have done the same sort of stuff to the folks here as he's doing to the folks there, so maybe it's worthwhile,” Andrea answered.

“What's he doing?”

“The longer he manages to hang on to them, the tighter he's squeezing the Catholics. He started out in 1631 just swiping valuable stuff, but being pretty generous about letting the ordinary people keep their religion. But as time goes on, first one church and then another gets handed over to the Protestants; first one and then another Catholic priest gets exiled, till there's just one little church in each town where he allows Catholic services. He fires the Catholic schoolteachers. Then the Jesuits have to go; then the Franciscans and Benedictines and the other religious orders. Then he introduces a religious test for holding public office. So far, he hasn't made it illegal to be Catholic, but it's definitely creeping Calvinism, now that he sees some prospect that Gustavus Adolphus will grant them to him as permanent possessions. SOP, pretty much, for seventeenth-century Germany when a ruler who has one religion takes over a territory that has another.”

We're really sorry, but this is only available to up-to-date paid subscribers.

Our columns and editorials are free, along with a few other items, but almost all stories and all downloads are paid only.

If you want to read the entire gazette, you need to either subscribe here, or purchase a download of any single issue at the Baen Books e-book store  or at Amazon.com.

- The Grantville Gazette Staff