As Ilse left the Landsberg, she alternately felt angry then worried. Why had she been sent away? Did the Baron really want to see her? What for? Who had she upset now? What might happen to Friedrich and her father?
She was so engrossed that she almost rode into a web of ropes stretching across the road and a shouted warning “Watch out miss” Dismounting and walking down the hill she met a large siege gun travelling slowly uphill pulled by the ropes. Shortly after she encountered two large groups of men either side of the road hauling on the ropes obviously pulling the gun up the steep slope of the Landsberg. As she passed she heard her name and turned to see Jens, her sister’s betrothed, hauling the ropes with the others.
“Jens, what is happening?”
“Isn’t it obvious? We are using a pulley system to move the guns to the top of the hill”
“I know it’s not far now, but the battle is about to start”
“Yes but we are working as hard as we can, some assistance would be useful as the men are tiring”
“I’ll find you some help” With that Ilse descended to the nearest houses and began banging on doors. This being one of the wealthy areas of Sonnenbad she was invariably met by a flunky, who she immediately informed that “The Baron needs your immediate assistance, inform your master to met me in the street and then get up the road to help the sailors with as many of the other servants as possible.”
Gradually a mass of people gathered in the road and some servants headed off up the hill. At least a start thought Ilse.
To calls of “What’s going on?”, “who are you?” and various other comments. Ilse projected her voice “Ladies and Gentlemen. On the authority of Baron Wilhelm I am asking for your assistance. Just up the hill are a number of guns that need to get to the top of the Landsberg”.
“The French won’t harm us we are no threat to them”
“Tell that to the inhabitants of Welle, Fromel and various other villages I have met. The French will pick your properties clean of anything of the slightest value”
“It might not work”
“Yes, but it’s worth making the effort to stop the French otherwise you’ll lose everything.”
There was a general murmur of assent, so Ilse continued “Ladies, can you please pass the message onto your neighbours. Gentlemen, please muster your servants and follow me.”
Within 30 minutes Ilse was back and the workforce on the ropes had been tripled.