Letters From Gronow, Episode 4

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Magdeburg

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 

25 March 1635

 

Sunday

Breakfast–

Fasted

Lunch-

1 sausage 2 pfennigs

1 winter apple 1 pfennig

1 wheat roll 3 pfennigs

Supper–

1 cup sauerkraut 2 quartered pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Dreamt last night, but nothing that I remember. Just enough to remember I dreamt.
Attended church today. Music was surprisingly good. Sang with a will. Reading and homily were about like usual.

Must be getting used to rejection. Herr Gronow's letter not a great surprise, not a blow. Disappointing, but not crushing. Pinned it up on the wall next to the others. So, will learn from it. Still determined to see my story in Der Schwarze Kater.

Read four pages from The City of God. St. Augustine uses—used—words well. Plus, my Latin is getting better. I need to learn from him as well as from Martin Luther. Was hoping to see Johann today, because he is supposed to have been back from Jena by now, but no word of his return yet, so spent the evening alone.

I am a writer. From what Herr Gronow says, I am not very good yet, but I will learn. Wonder if Herr Poe and Herr Lovecraft had their stories rejected? Surely not. If they did, wonder how long it took them to sell? How many words did they write?

Will sell something to Herr Gronow someday.

Recited evening prayers. And now to bed.

****

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

28 March 1635

 

Wednesday

Breakfast–

1 cup morning broth 1 pfennig

1 wheat roll 3 pfennigs

Supper–

1 sausage 2 pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Dreams, dark at first. Reminded me of The Ore of the Gods story from Der Schwarze Kater, Issue Three. By Augustus von Hohenberg, I think. Another down-timer writer. Story wasn't bad, but was set in a mine, dark underground. Shivery. Dream woke me at least twice. Then it shifted and Max appeared. Slept easy after that. May be something to this guardian angel thing after all.

Was doing cash entries today, something looked wrong. Entry was linked to a contract, but did not look right. Pulled contract from shelf behind me, read through to the part about payments. Note for payment did not agree with contract terms. Showed to Herr Schiller. He agreed, said he would show to Master Gröning. Gave me an extra two dollars at the end of the day.

Stopped by Syborg's Books on the way back to the rooms. Herr Matthias was there. Asked about the next issue of Der Schwarze Kater. He grinned, told me first part of next month. So, need to save the money for it. Really want to read it now.

Think I have an idea on how to change the story to make it work better. Will not try any more stuff to make it fancy. Should have realized that would not impress Herr Gronow. Stupid idea. Make the story good. Make the copy good. Nothing else matters.

Read The Gold of the Rhine from Issue One again. Another down-timer writer, Herr Klaus Wolfenstein. Meh. Not very scary. Dwarves were more like comedians than evilness. Made notes about making characters.

Recited evening prayers. Now to bed.

****

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 

30 March 1635

 

Friday

Breakfast–

1 cup morning broth 1 pfennig

1 winter apple 1 pfennig

1 barley roll 2 quartered pfennigs

Supper–

1 wurst 2 pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Dreams last night. Didn't wake up. Only thing I remember is Max telling me I'm a good writer and he enjoys being my guardian angel. Dream ended before I said anything, I think.

Herr Schiller had me reviewing the Hamburg contract, the one I found the problem with a couple of days ago, and looking back through the earlier cash entries to see if there were any other problems. Didn't find any today, but not done yet. Master Gröning not happy about the problem, Herr S says, but is happy that I found it. Guess that's good.

Continued work on new version of the story. Is working so far. Considering new title—Portia in Tauris. Lines up with old play someone told me about. We'll see if Herr Gronow likes this one. Long way to go before he sees it.

Weary.

Recited evening prayers. Twice, because fell asleep the first time. Now to bed.

****

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 

1 April 1635

 

Sunday

Breakfast–

Fasted

Lunch-

1 cup sauerkraut 2 quartered pfennigs

1 winter apple 1 pfennig

1 wheat roll 3 pfennigs

Supper–

1 bowl fish stew 3 pfennigs

1 barley roll 2 quartered pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Lord's Day, Lord's work.

Began the day with church. Music was good again. Two Sundays in a row. Unusual, but enjoyable. Sang with a will. Reading was good, Pastor Gruber did the homily. He spoke on the young boy who gave the loaves and fish to the Savior for the feeding of the five thousand. Everyone talks about the miracle of the feeding, but what about the miracle of the boy being right there, right then, with just that much food, and being willing to give up all that he had? From the smaller miracle came the larger one. Small things come first. No one does great things without doing small things first, not even the saints. Must think on that. Think that's true about lots of things.

Still haven't heard from or about Cousin Johann. Though he was supposed to be back from Jena by now. Starting to get worried.

Five pages read from The City of God. Beginning to love St. Augustine's words. Not sure I understand them all, but the way they flow, the way he can say such grand things, makes a chill run up my backbone sometimes.

Spent some time reading in Kings in the Bible, finished the story of Elijah and the priests of Baal. Glad that he won. Think I'm glad he killed them. Had to be a bloody mess, though. But it wasn't enough. Elijah wasn't the king's favorite then. Should have been. Should have won the fight with that. But didn't. Had to run for his life. So sometimes the story doesn't end up the way that people think it should. Sometimes the story is dark, or hard. How do I apply that to my life? How do I apply that to my writing? Think about that, too.

Oh, no dreams last night.

Recited evening prayers. Three times. Needed that many to be calm for some reason. So now to bed.

****

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 

3 April 1635

 

Tuesday

Breakfast–

1 winter apple 1 pfennig

1 wheat roll 3 pfennigs

Supper–

1 sausage 2 pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Dreamt I was sitting at the Green Horse and Herr Poe was sitting across from me and we were talking about writing. Wish I could remember what we said. I'd write it down.

Finished reviewing cash entries at work that tied to the Hamburg contract. Found a couple of other entries that didn't look right to me. Showed them to Herr Schiller. Could tell he wasn't happy that I'd found them, but he said he'd show them to Master Gröning. Gave me an extra dollar at the end of the day.

Stopped at Syborg's Books. Herr Johann was there. Asked him about the next issue of Der Schwarze Kater. He said maybe in a month it will be in their store. Showed him my extra dollar from today, told him I had my money ready. He laughed and promised I would have a copy.

Worked on Portia in Tauris tonight. New opening is done. Think it works better at getting reader's attention. Think I know where the story is going next. Will work on that tomorrow evening. Must remember to get some more candle stubs.

Recited evening prayers, and now to bed.

****

 

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 

6 April 1635

 

Friday

Breakfast–

1 cup morning broth 1 pfennig

1 barley roll 2 quartered pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

Supper–

1 bowl fish stew 3 pfennigs

1 mug beer 1 pfennig

 

Dreamt I was listening to Herr Lovecraft and Herr Poe talking. Some about life, some about writing, remember that much. Really wish I could remember everything they said. Stupid dreams. What good are they if you can't remember anything from them?

Herr Schiller told me today that Master Gröning was very pleased that I had found the other problems with the Hamburg contract. Proves that the bastards in Hamburg, as the master put it, have been cheating for some time. He was ready to sue for breach of contract before, but his regular lawyer died, and he wasn't happy with any of the regular lawyers in Magdeburg. But there is a new lawyer who has opened offices in the city now, and the master is impressed with him, so they will probably act on this.

Hope the master wins, and hope it doesn't affect me.
More work on Portia in Tauris tonight. Seems to be going well—but then, I thought that about the first three versions of the story. Only time and Herr Gronow will tell.
Recited evening prayers. Now to bed.

****

From the Journal of Philip Fröhlich

 


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About David Carrico

David 2013-03-03 small

David Carrico made his first professional SF sale to The Grantville Gazette e-magazine in 2004. His stories have also appeared in the Grantville Gazette and Ring of Fire anthologies from Baen Books and in Jim Baen’s Universe e-magazine. Baen Books has published a story collection by David entitled 1635: Music and Murder, and two novels written in collaboration with Eric Flint: 1636: The Devil’s Opera, and The Span of Empire, which was nominated for the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Military SF or Fantasy novel. David is currently working on a solo project.