1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 13

Fleischer’s Steak House, Magdeburg

“Well, Sarah, you have a prince on your string for sure,” Heidi Partow told Sarah a few days later. “He’s actually in a hurry to come back to smoky, dirty, Magdeburg just to see you.”

“I don’t know, Heidi.” Sarah jabbed a cherry tomato from her salad. She had been surprised when the Partow’s older sister had arranged to have lunch with her. Now the reason was coming clear. “I think he may be trying to get a connection into the Grantville power structure.”

“Naw. If that were it, he’d be going after one of the Catholic girls in town. Well, maybe a little bit. Your dad’s pretty high in the Stearns administration. So, I guess rank could trump religion, but he was blushing enough when I teased him about it. I figure that means that it’s mostly you, not your position.” Heidi blinked. “Hey, that might make you the top of the list. We have girls marrying grafs and dukes and stuff. But you might just be first to have an actual prince on your string.”

“Brandy Bates is engaged to Prince Vladimir of Russia,” Sarah said. “And I don’t have Karl on my string. We’ve had a couple of dates, that’s all.”

Heidi sniffed. “Is Vladimir a Prince, or just a grand duke? Besides he’s from Russia.” Heidi sliced off a bit of chicken as though it was all of eastern Europe in one tiny bite. She popped it into her mouth, chewed a couple of times, and it was gone, and all the Russian princes in the world gone with it. “And don’t kid yourself, Sarah. You have him hooked and you can reel him in . . . if you don’t blow it.”

“Can we talk about something else? Anything else?”

“Okay . . . we’ll talk about my love life. Which is abysmal. . . . At least you dumped David. Stay away from the dedicated ones. You can never get their noses out of the machines long enough to notice you.”

Over the next hour, Sarah learned that Karl Schmidt was a jerk, but Heidi was determined to catch him anyway. Also about the social relations of the upper middle class to lower upper class of Magdeburg which concentrated on the up-timer connected. And, surprisingly, she had a fairly good time.

By the next week, everyone in Magdeburg knew that Sarah Wendell and Prince Eusebius Karl von Liechtenstein were “an item.”

New Jewish Quarter, outside Vienna

“What is a Sarah Wendell?” Gundaker von Liechtenstein asked.

Moses ignored the phrasing and thought for a moment. They were in the Abrabanel offices outside of Vienna proper. They were here rather than at the palace because Moses was under a political cloud. He had gone to Grantville in late 1631 and had failed to be nearly as adamantly opposed to the up-timers as he should have after they had upset the political and military apple carts of the Holy Roman Empire. Besides, he was Jewish and Ferdinand II might find Jews useful and even necessary, but he didn’t like them. “You know, I think I met her. She is the eldest daughter of Fletcher and Judy Wendell.”

Moses got up and went to a file cabinet. He had seen several in Grantville, and had some made as soon as he got back to Vienna. One whole file cabinet was dedicated to all things Grantville. He selected the third drawer from the left, which included up-timers with last names from U-Z He opened it and found the Wendell’s. “Yes, here she is. Sarah Wendell . . . Oh yes. The sewing machines. She was one of the children with the sewing machine factory.”

Moses returned to his desk, examining the file. “Are you interested in sewing machines?” He flipped over a page “Oh. Someone should have pointed this out to me.” He looked up from the file. “I’m sorry, Prince von Liechtenstein. Someone sent a note about what is going on and it got put in the files, but not brought to my attention.”

Moses looked around the offices trying to find a polite way of phrasing information in the file. “I assume that your interest is due to the fact that Prince Karl and Sarah Wendell are seeing each other socially?”

“You have confirmation of the rumors then?” Gundaker asked. “Is Sarah Wendell anyone important? It wouldn’t be too bad if he had a fling with an unimportant up-timer, though it still shows a disappointing lack of self control.”

Moses looked around the office again. It was no more help than it had been before. “I don’t think that’s the case here. Her father was on the finance subcommittee of the Emergency Committee, the people who wrote the New US Constitution. Just a moment.” Moses went back to his desk and got another file. “Yes, I thought so. Fletcher Wendell, Sarah’s father, is the Secretary of the Treasury for the USE. Essentially the same post that you hold in the Empire.”

“I thought that was someone called Coleman Walker?”

“No, he is the head of their Federal Reserve Bank.” Moses shrugged. “There is no good analogy to the Federal Reserve Bank in the Empire.” It wasn’t the partly government, partly private nature of the Fed that would be hard to explain to Gundaker von Liechtenstein. It was things like the limits on the infinite checkbook. Those things were hard enough for Moses to follow and he had been to Grantville and met the people. Anyway, that was all beside the point so far as Gundaker von Liechtenstein was concerned. “You know that they do not draw the lines of nobility the same way we do. This is not as concrete as I would prefer, but I would have to place the whole family in the upper echelons of the up-timers. In the same category as Mike Stearns, Ed Piazza or Julie Sims.”

“Well, Karl can’t be thinking about marrying the girl. Is she one of those up-timer pseudo-Catholics like that Father Mazzare?”