1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – Snippet 45

"Holloway's hooking up with some pretty nasty types, Jason. I think maybe you ought to clue Nathan Prickett in."

Jason Waters grinned. "Nasty types by my standards or nasty types by your standards? Don't forget I'm a newspaper reporter."

Ernie Haggerty grinned back. "Both. But the second variety is the one you need to worry about. Not just rough characters. Any town that has a main highway going through it and a river port is going to have plenty of those. Not just stevedores and roustabouts and freighters. A half dozen or so of Vincenz Weitz's cronies, to start with."

"Weitz? I don't think I know the name."

Ernie shook his head. "Too much time in high society, man. Last month – the ghetto thing?"

The newspaper reporter came sharply to attention.

"The militia had enough companies to march on just so many taverns without splitting them up, so that's how many they marched on. It doesn't mean they marched on every single place that guys sit and mutter about Jews and Nasi and Becky Stearns and stuff. They missed some. This Weitz, I think, might be the biggest fish they missed."


Dear Don Francisco,

Nathan paused a minute, trying to decide which piece of information he had would be more important to the don.

A man has recently arrived in Frankfurt who might be doing something important here. His name is William Curtius and he is staying with Benjamin de Rohan -they call him Soubise, not Rohan – who is a brother of the duke of Rohan. He, the brother that is, could be a duke himself. I'm not sure how these things work with noble titles, but I've at least figured out that it isn't like England. All four of those Saxe-Weimar brothers are dukes. Or were, until the oldest one stopped duking it out and ran for the House of Commons. So Rohan's brother could be a duke, too.

Anyway, Benjamin de Rohan has rented a town house and Curtius is staying with him. He's maybe thirty-five years old, or so. Curtius, that is (Rohan's about fifty, I'd say). He went to college in Germany for several years and speaks the language like a native. Jason Waters found out from a newspaper guy he's met here that Curtius studied at a place called Herborn and his professor was named Johann Heinrich Alstedt. Alstedt is still alive. Curtius is a diplomat, or wants to be, at least. He's angling for a job with Gustavus Adolphus, so you might want to keep an eye on him. Maybe warn Nils Brahe down in Mainz, since he's the one doing the hiring for Gustav around here. Well, the hiring for Mr. Oxenstierna, I suppose. The emperor probably doesn't spend his time reading resumes.

He stopped a minute. The nib on the damned quill was going blunt. He pulled out his pocket knife. Now he understood why some of the old people used to call them pen knives.

As soon as he got his new paycheck, he was going to buy one of the new pens. Not a fountain pen – he couldn't afford that. But the other day, over at Neumann's, he'd seen Merga using one of the new steel-nibbed dipping pens, which looked to be a mile and a half more practical.

Not to mention that they had plain stems and you wouldn't have to feel foolish watching a feather wiggle while you wrote. The stupid quill always made him feel like he was an illustration in a book about Benjamin Franklin or something. He'd had to do a report about Benjamin Franklin, back in sixth grade.

Like they'd say in Star Wars, I have a really bad feeling about what Bryant Holloway is getting up to. Even though he's from Grantville and is married to my wife's sister Lenore and is staying with me here while he's doing training exercises with the Frankfurt fire department.

The report on Holloway took up all the rest of the piece of paper. Right at the bottom, he squeezed in:

I'm sending this to you by Martin Wackernagel, the courier. If you have any more questions, ask him. His brother-in-law is a printer here in town and knows a lot of the people involved, including a lot of the Jews.

With all best wishes,

Nathan Prickett


Joachim Sandrart wasn't on corresponding terms with Don Francisco Nasi – not that he wouldn't have liked to be. So, in addition to reporting to Soubise, he sent a letter to Ron Stone. The son of such a prominent merchant house was bound to have contacts in the intelligence community.

Sandrart had every intention of cultivating his connection to the Stones, now that he had established it. The Rohan commissions were good, true – very, very good. But an artist in search of patronage should never put all his eggs in one basket. Ron's father undoubtedly had the most important quality that any potential patron could possess.

Money. Lots and lots of money.