1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – snippet 35:



            “She’d already baptized us,” the red haired boy was saying. “Right after she married Dad, when she found out that nobody ever had done it.”

            A third of them are heathen rang through Kastenmayer’s brain. That’s what Jonas had said about gathering converts from among the up-timers. A third of them are heathen.

            “And she’s Lutheran, so I guess that she meant to baptize us as Lutherans.”

            “A valid baptism is a valid baptism,” Kastenmayer said firmly. “For any variant of Christianity, whether truth or heresy, orthodox or heterodox.” Some points of doctrine might be in dispute among Germany’s Lutherans, but he would have given that reply if total strangers had roused him from a sound sleep at three o’clock in the morning and demanded to know the answer.

            “She used water. And she said, ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

            “It was Magda,” Ron said grumpily. “In the greenhouse. With the garden hose.”

            Pastor Kastenmayer, whose acquisition of knowledge about up-time culture had not yet reached the game of Clue, ignored him. “That would be quite sufficient. But I really should get it recorded in the church registers. When did this sacramental act take place?”

            The two young men agreed that it had been the spring of 1632. That was before Kastenmayer had been appointed as first pastor of St. Martin’s in the Fields. Before the parish had been established. He would have to get Rothmaler in Rudolstadt to enter the three baptisms into the registers there. He made a note.

            “But after I killed Marius by accident and felt so awful about it, then she told me about all of the rest of it. She had this book with her. It’s called Luther’s Small Catechism.”

            “I’ve heard of it,” Kastenmayer admitted.

            “Through it, I have come to understand the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. To accept all that I owe to the overwhelming mercy of God. I am certain that I have a vocation to the ordained Lutheran ministry.”

            Kastenmayer stared at the boy’s freckles. All of his efforts to obtain “payback” for the up-timer who had married his daughter Andrea by converting other up-timers to Lutheranism paled before this opportunity. This young up-timer, of wealthy family, coming to him. Voluntarily.

            God was humbling him, he knew. Man proposes, God disposes.

            The older of the two cleared his throat. “It’s awfully early for Gerry to be making a final decision. Really, all that we’re sure of is that he wants to go to school this winter in Rudolstadt instead of here. We thought that if, maybe, you could give him a letter of recommendation to the school there…”

            “My mind is made up. All the way.”

            “Look, Gerry. You can’t study to be a Lutheran preacher until, at least, you’re a Lutheran. Magda said that herself. She could baptize you, but she couldn’t confirm you. Theologically, you’re still somewhere out in left field.”

            This was confusing. “Your father does not consent to theological study?”

            “He didn’t say no. He’ll pay for it,” the younger boy said. “Magda thinks it’s a fine idea. And she said that I could get confirmed at the school.”

            “Many men do not make an immediate decision in regard to their life work,” Kastenmayer said soothingly. “Consider Dean Gerhard at Jena. He completed two years of the university medical curriculum before committing himself to another path.” He prudently did not add that the other path had led Gerhard to the deanship of the theological faculty, since that appeared to be a matter of some contention between the two brothers.

            Kastenmayer had spoken, over the past decade and a half, with many decent young men, scarcely more than boys, who had been dragged as soldiers into these incessant wars. Some became brutes. Others could be redeemed, keeping their consciences in the face of the things they had done. This was familiar ground. “Come into my study. I’ll prepare a letter to the rector in Rudolstadt for you.” He paused. “While you,” he said to the other one, “may and will remain out here.”

            God had never promised him that things would be simple.


            Ron was thinking much the same thing, in a more secular manner. Sometimes, since the events of last summer, his younger brother Gerry had seemed more alien to him than Mork from Ork. Before, he’d at least been able to understand adolescent testosterone overload. This religious kick…


            After hearing Kastenmayer’s summary that evening, Jonas Justinus Muselius chuckled and wrote to Pastor Johann Rothmaler in Rudolstadt, with an additional quick note to the rector of the Rudolstadt Latin School along the general lines of “we’ve got us a hot prospect here, so don’t do anything to mess it up.”

            Some days were definitely better than others. Occasionally Jonas felt very tired and started to worry that he was the only person around Grantville who had really faced up to the challenge that assimilating these new immigrants from up-time was going to present for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.

            It would probably be even more difficult, in the long run, than absorbing the Austrian exiles into Bayreuth or the Bohemian exiles into Saxony had been, even though there were far fewer of them. What was the English word? Oh, yes. “Diverse.” They were far more diverse.

            He was so glad that Ronella Koch was already a Lutheran. Not that anyone of her status would ever be allowed to marry a crippled schoolteacher. But nevertheless, he was glad.


            Ron heard motorcycles coming up behind him, which meant Denise and Minnie of course. Or probably. Not many motorcycles appeared on the road out to Lothlorien.

            “Want a ride?”

            “Sure. Thanks.”

            She pulled off her helmet.


            The other girl also. Not Denise and Minnie. Pam Hardesty. Tina Logsden’s half-sister. He’d been in class with Tina until he’d been accelerated. Then he came back and heard that she’d drowned at the graduation party last spring, while he was in Italy. And—of all people to be on a Harley!—Missy Jenkins. Chip’s sister.

            Ron hadn’t seen much of Chip the last few years. He knew in theory that Chip had gotten involved in the Committees of Correspondence and done a bunch of stuff in Jena, but in Ron’s mind he was still a high school jock. Enemy of the people, in so far as the people were geeks, nerds, and hippies–categories which included the three Stone brothers, in varying proportions.

            Not to mention that the Stones had been a family of disreputable hippies and the Jenkins family was about as close as a West Virginia town like Grantville ever got to aristocracy.

            “I’m stopping here, Missy,” Pam said. “I’ve got a cramp in my leg that I need to walk off. Then I’ll go back. I’ll tell Christin that you went on up to Lothlorien, so she’ll know about when to expect you.”

            “Why don’t you wait for me here? I won’t stop; just drop Ron off and do a turnaround. I’m scheduled to work evening shift.”

            Missy pulled her helmet back on. “You’ll have to ride behind. Buster doesn’t think we’ve gotten good enough to try balancing with the sidecars on yet.”


            “Not exactly where I would have expected to see you perched, Dumpling,” Ron said.

            “Call me that again and I’ll put you back down on the ground.” She was noticing, really noticing, that his arms were around her. Not doing anything improper; just there, holding on.

            “All right. You haven’t really deserved to be called ‘Dumpling’ since you were in sixth grade. Whatever you did that summer between sixth and seventh was a big improvement.”

            “It was called puberty and included a waistline.” The same waistline, she thought, that he was holding onto. Not a particularly slender or dainty one, but functional for dividing her body into an upper half and a lower half. “Why don’t these things come equipped with riding whips? Useful for putting impertinent people in their place and things like that.”

            “Why the motorcycle?”

            “I figured it couldn’t hurt to learn. Not since the Ring of Fire. We’re having to stretch a lot, all of us, or there isn’t going to be enough to go around. Horses don’t speak to me. There aren’t that many full-size cycles in town, but maybe some day I can get a dirt bike of my own. And anyway…”


            “It’s the people who are trying to keep things exactly the way they used to be who are having most trouble getting along with the way things are now. And also…”


            “Once I had my first ride, behind Denise, I had to. Talk about a rush!”

            “Do you suppose they would give me lessons? I’m not that fond of horses either. It’s more fun here on the pillion than it was in the sidecar with Minnie. Did you say that dirt bikes are for sale?”

            “You have to keep your eyes peeled, but every now and then there’s one available. Mickey Simmons sold Kevin’s after he died in that horseback riding accident last spring. I didn’t have the money to buy it, though. And it wasn’t the kind of thing I could ask my parents for.”