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Title: Sidonia, the Sorceress : the Supposed Destroyer of the Whole Reigning Ducal House of Pomerania — Volume 1
Author: Meinhold, Wilhelm, 1797-1851
Language: English
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SIDONIA THE SORCERESS


THE SUPPOSED DESTROYER OF THE WHOLE REIGNING DUCAL HOUSE OF
POMERANIA

TRANSLATED BY LADY WILDE

MARY SCHWEIDLER


THE AMBER WITCH

BY

WILLIAM MEINHOLD DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY

IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. I.

1894



DEDICATION OF THE GERMAN EDITION.

TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS

_LADY LUCY DUFF GORDON,_

THE

YOUNG AND GIFTED TRANSLATOR

OF

_"THE AMBER WITCH,"_

THIS WORK IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED.



PREFACE

Amongst all the trials for witchcraft with which we are
acquainted, few have attained so great a celebrity as that of the
Lady Canoness of Pomerania, Sidonia von Bork. She was accused of
having by her sorceries caused sterility in many families,
particularly in that of the ancient reigning house of Pomerania,
and also of having destroyed the noblest scions of that house by
an early and premature death. Notwithstanding the intercessions
and entreaties of the Prince of Brandenburg and Saxony, and of the
resident Pomeranian nobility, she was publicly executed for these
crimes on the 19th of August 1620, on the public scaffold, at
Stettin; the only favour granted being, that she was allowed to be
beheaded first and then burned.

This terrible example caused such a panic of horror, that
contemporary authors scarcely dare to mention her name, and, even
then, merely by giving the initials. This forbearance arose partly
from respect towards the ancient family of the Von Borks, who
then, as now, were amongst the most illustrious and wealthy in the
land, and also from the fear of offending the reigning ducal
family, as the Sorceress, in her youth, had stood in a very near
and tender relation to the young Duke Ernest Louis von
Pommern-Wolgast.

These reasons will be sufficiently comprehensible to all who are
familiar with the disgust and aversion in which the paramours of
the evil one were held in that age, so that even upon the rack
these subjects were scarcely touched upon.

The first public, judicial, yet disconnected account of Sidonia's
trial, we find in the Pomeranian Library of Dähnert, fourth
volume, article 7, July number of the year 1755.

Dähnert here acknowledges, page 241, that the numbers from 302 to
1080, containing the depositions of the witnesses, were not
forthcoming up to his time, but that a priest in Pansin, near
Stargard, by name Justus Sagebaum, pretended to have them in his
hands, and accordingly, in the fifth volume of the above-named
journal (article 4, of April 1756), some very important extracts
appear from them.

The records, however, again disappeared for nearly a century,
until Barthold announced, some short time since, [Footnote:
"History of Rugen and Pomerania," vol. iv. p. 486.] that he had at
length discovered them in the Berlin Library; but he does not say
which, for, according to Schwalenberg, who quotes Dähnert, there
existed two or three different copies, namely, the _Protocollum
Jodoci Neumarks,_ the so-called _Acta Lothmanni,_ and that
of _Adami Moesters,_ contradicting each other in the most
important matters. Whether I have drawn the history of my Sidonia
from one or other of the above-named sources, or from some
entirely new, or, finally, from that alone which is longest known,
I shall leave undecided.

Every one who has heard of the animadversions which "The Amber
Witch" excited, many asserting that it was only dressed-up
history, though I repeatedly assured them it was simple fiction,
will pardon me if I do not here distinctly declare whether Sidonia
be history or fiction.

The truth of the material, as well as of the formal contents, can
be tested by any one by referring to the authorities I have named;
and in connection with these, I must just remark, that in order to
spare the reader any difficulties which might present themselves
to eye and ear, in consequence of the old-fashioned mode of
writing, I have modernised the orthography, and amended the
grammar and structure of the phrases. And lastly, I trust that all
just thinkers of every party will pardon me for having here and
there introduced my supernatural views of Christianity. A man's
principles, as put forward in his philosophical writings, are in
general only read by his own party, and not by that of his
adversaries. A Rationalist will fly from a book by a
Supernaturalist as rapidly as this latter from one by a Friend of
Light. But by introducing my views in the manner I have adopted,
in place of publishing them in a distinct volume, I trust that all
parties will be induced to peruse them, and that many will find,
not only what is worthy their particular attention, but matter for
deep and serious reflection.

I must now give an account of those portraits of Sidonia which are
extant.

As far as I know, three of these (besides innumerable sketches)
exist, one in Stettin, the other in the lower Pomeranian town
Plathe, and a third at Stargard, near Regenwalde, in the castle of
the Count von Bork. I am acquainted only with the last-named
picture, and agree with many in thinking that it is the only
original.

Sidonia is here represented in the prime of mature beauty--a gold
net is drawn over her almost golden yellow hair, and her neck,
arms, and hands are profusely covered with jewels. Her bodice of
bright purple is trimmed with costly fur, and the robe is of azure
velvet. In her hand she carries a sort of pompadour of brown
leather, of the most elegant form and finish. Her eyes and mouth
are not pleasing, notwithstanding their great beauty--in the
mouth, particularly, one can discover an expression of cold
malignity.

The painting is beautifully executed, and is evidently of the
school of Louis Kranach.

Immediately behind this form there is another looking over the
shoulder of Sidonia, like a terrible spectre (a highly poetical
idea), for this spectre is Sidonia herself painted as a Sorceress.
It must have been added, after a lapse of many years, to the
youthful portrait, which belongs, as I have said, to the school of
Kranach, whereas the second figure portrays unmistakably the
school of Rubens. It is a fearfully characteristic painting, and
no imagination could conceive a contrast more shudderingly awful.
The Sorceress is arrayed in her death garments--white with black
stripes; and round her thin white locks is bound a narrow band of
black velvet spotted with gold. In her hand is a kind of a
work-basket, but of the simplest workmanship and form.

Of the other portraits I cannot speak from my own personal
inspection; but to judge by the drawings taken from them to which
I have had access, they appear to differ completely, not only in
costume, but in the character of the countenance, from the one I
have described, which there is no doubt must be the original, not
only because it bears all the characteristics of that school of
painting which approached nearest to the age in which Sidonia
lived--namely, from 1540 to 1620--but also by the fact that a
sheet of paper bearing an inscription was found behind the
painting, betraying evident marks of age in its blackened colour,
the form of the letters, and the expressions employed. The
inscription is as follows:--

"This Sidonia von Bork was in her youth the most beautiful and the
richest of the maidens of Pomerania. She inherited many estates
from her parents, and thus was in her own right a possessor almost
of a county. So her pride increased, and many noble gentlemen who
sought her in marriage were rejected with disdain, as she
considered that a count or prince alone could be worthy of her
hand. For these reasons she attended the Duke's court frequently,
in the hopes of winning over one of the seven young princes to her
love. At length she was successful; Duke Ernest Louis von Wolgast,
aged about twenty, and the handsomest youth in Pomerania, became
her lover, and even promised her his hand in marriage. This
promise he would faithfully have kept if the Stettin princes, who
were displeased at the prospect of this unequal alliance, had not
induced him to abandon Sidonia, by means of the portrait of the
Princess Hedwig of Brunswick, the most beautiful princess in all
Germany. Sidonia thereupon fell into such despair, that she
resolved to renounce marriage for ever, and bury the remainder of
her life in the convent of Marienfliess, and thus she did. But the
wrong done to her by the Stettin princes lay heavy upon her heart,
and the desire for revenge increased with years; besides, in place
of reading the Bible, her private hours were passed studying the
_Amadis_, wherein she found many examples of how forsaken
maidens have avenged themselves upon their false lovers by means
of magic. So she at last yielded to the temptations of Satan, and
after some years learned the secrets of witchcraft from an old
woman. By means of this unholy knowledge, along with several other
evil deeds, she so bewitched the whole princely race that the six
young princes, who were each wedded to a young wife, remained
childless; but no public notice was taken until Duke Francis
succeeded to the duchy in 1618. He was a ruthless enemy to
witches; all in the land were sought out with great diligence and
burned, and as they unanimously named the Abbess of Marienfliess
[Footnote: Sidonia never attained this dignity, though Micraelius
and others gave her the title.] upon the rack, she was brought to
Stettin by command of the Duke, where she freely confessed all the
evil wrought by her sorceries upon the princely race.

"The Duke promised her life and pardon if she would free the other
princes from the ban; but her answer was that she had enclosed the
spell in a padlock, and flung it into the sea, and having asked
the devil if he could restore the padlock again to her, he
replied, 'No; that was forbidden to him;' by which every one can
perceive that the destiny of God was in the matter.

"And so it was that, notwithstanding the intercession of all the
neighbouring courts, Sidonia was brought to the scaffold at
Stettin, there beheaded, and afterwards burned.

"Before her death the Prince ordered her portrait to be painted,
in her old age and prison garb, behind that which represented her
in the prime of youth. After his death, Bogislaff XIV., the last
Duke, gave this picture to my grandmother, whose husband had also
been killed by the Sorceress. My father received it from her, and
I from him, along with the story which is here written down.

"HENRY GUSTAVUS SCHWALENBERG."

[Footnote: The style of this "Inscription" proves it to have been
written in the beginning of the preceding century, but it is first
noticed by Dähnert. I have had his version compared with the
original in Stargord--through the kindness of a friend, who
assures me that the transcription is perfectly correct, and yet
can he be mistaken? for Horst (Magic Library, vol. ii. p. 246),
gives the conclusion thus: "From whom my father received it, and I
from him, along with the story precisely as given here by H. G.
Schwalenberg." By this reading, which must have escaped my friend,
a different sense is given to the passage; by the last reading it
would appear that the "I" was a Bork, who had taken the tale from
Schwalenberg's history of the Pomeranian Dukes, a work which
exists only in manuscript, and to which I have had no access; but
if we admit the first reading, then the writer must be a
Schwalenberg. Even the "grandmother" will not clear up the matter,
for Sidonia, when put to the torture, confessed, at the seventh
question, that she had caused the death of Doctor Schwalenberg (he
was counsellor in Stettin then), and at the eleventh question,
that her brother's son, Otto Bork, had died also by her means. Who
then is this "I"? Even Sidonia's picture, we see, utters
mysteries.

In my opinion the writer was Schwalenberg, and Horst seems to have
taken his version from Paulis's "General History of Pomerania,"
vol. iv. p. 396, and not from the original of Dähnert.

For the picture at that early period was not in the possession of
a Bork, but belonged to the Count von Mellin in Schillersdorf, as
passages from many authors can testify. This is confirmed by
another paper found along with that containing the tradition, but
of much more modern appearance, which states that the picture was
removed by successive inheritors, first from Schillersdorf to
Stargord, from thence to Heinrichsberg (there are three towns in
Pomerania of this name), and finally from Heinrichsberg, in the
year 1834, was a second time removed to Stargord by the last
inheritor.

This Schillersdorf lies between Gartz and Stettin on the Oder.
WILLIAM MEINHOLD.]


LETTER OF DR. THEODORE PLÖNNIES

TO BOGISLAFF THE FOURTEENTH, THE LAST DUKE OF POMERANIA.

MOST EMINENT PRINCE AND GRACIOUS LORD,--Serene Prince, your
Highness gave me a commission in past years to travel through all
Pomerania, and if I met with any persons who could give me certain
"information" respecting the notorious and accursed witch Sidonia
von Bork, to set down carefully all they stated, and bring it
afterwards into _connexum_ for your Highness. It is well
known that Duke Francis, of blessed memory, never would permit the
accursed deeds of this woman to be made public, or her confession
upon the rack, fearing to bring scandal upon the princely house.
But your Serene Highness viewed the subject differently, and said
that it was good for every one, but especially princes, to look
into the clear mirror of history, and behold there the faults and
follies of their race. For this reason may no truth be omitted
here.

To such princely commands I have proved myself obedient,
collecting all information, whether good or evil, and concealing
nothing. But the greater number who related these things to me
could scarcely speak for tears, for wherever I travelled
throughout Pomerania, as the faithful servant of your Highness,
nothing was heard but lamentations from old and young, rich and
poor, that this execrable Sorceress, out of Satanic wickedness,
had destroyed this illustrious race, who had held their lands from
no emperor, in feudal tenure, like other German princes, but in
their own right, as absolute lords, since five hundred years, and
though for twenty years it seemed to rest upon five goodly
princes, yet by permission of the incomprehensible God, it has now
melted away until your Highness stands the last of his race, and
no prospect is before us that it will ever be restored, but with
your Highness (God have mercy upon us!) will be utterly
extinguished, and for ever. "Woe to us, how have we sinned!"
(Lament, v. 16). [Footnote: Marginal note of Duke Bogislaff
XIV.-"In tuas manus commendo spiritum meum, quia tu me redemisti
fide deus,"]

I pray therefore the all-merciful God, that He will remove me
before your Highness from this vale of tears, that I may not
behold the last hour of your Highness or of my poor fatherland.
Rather than witness these things, I would a thousand times sooner
lie quiet in my grave.



CONTENTS

SIDONIA THE SORCERESS.

BOOK I.

_FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA AT THE DUCAL COURT OF WOLGAST
UNTIL HER BANISHMENT THEREFROM._


CHAPTER I.

Of the education of Sidonia.

CHAPTER II.

Of the bear-hunt at Stramehl, and the strange things that befell
there.

CHAPTER III.

How Otto von Bork received the homage of his son-in-law, Vidante
von Meseritz--And how the bride and bridegroom proceeded
afterwards to the chapel--Item, what strange things happened at
the wedding-feast.

CHAPTER IV.

How Sidonia came to the court at Wolgast, and of what further
happened to her there.

CHAPTER V.

Sidonia knows nothing of God's Word, but seeks to learn it from
the young Prince of Wolgast.

CHAPTER VI.

How the young Prince prepared a petition to his mother, the
Duchess, in favour of Sidonia--Item, of the strange doings of the
Laplander with his magic drum.

CHAPTER VII.

How Ulrich von Schwerin buries his spouse, and Doctor Gerschovius
comforts him out of God's Word.

CHAPTER VIII.

How Sidonia rides upon the pet stag, and what evil consequences
result therefrom.

CHAPTER IX.

How Sidonia makes the young Prince break his word--Item, how Clara
von Dewitz in vain tries to turn her from her evil ways.

CHAPTER X.

How Sidonia wished to learn the mystery of love-potions, but is
hindered by Clara and the young Prince.

CHAPTER XI.

How Sidonia repeated the catechism of Dr. Gerschovius, and how she
whipped the young Casimir, out of pure evil-mindedness.

CHAPTER XII.

Of Appelmann's knavery--Item, how the birthday of her Highness was
celebrated, and Sidonia managed to get to the dance, with the
uproar caused thereby.

CHAPTER XIII.

How Sidonia is sent away to Stettin--Item, of the young lord's
dangerous illness, and what happened in consequence.

CHAPTER XIV.

How Duke Barnim of Stettin and Otto Bork accompany Sidonia back to
Wolgast.

CHAPTER XV.

Of the grand battue, and what the young Duke and Sidonia resolved
on there.

CHAPTER XVI.

How the ghost continued to haunt the castle, and of its daring
behaviour--Item, how the young lord regained his strength, and was
able to visit Crummyn, with what happened to him there.

CHAPTER XVII.

Of Ulrich's counsels--Item, how Clara von Dewitz came upon the
track of the ghost.

CHAPTER XVIII.

How the horrible wickedness of Sidonia was made apparent; and how
in consequence thereof she was banished with ignominy from the
ducal court of Wolgast.



BOOK II.

_FROM THE BANISHMENT OF SIDONIA FROM THE DUCAL COURT OF WOLGAST
UP TO HER RECEPTION IN THE CONVENT OF MARIENFLIESS._

CHAPTER I.

Of the quarrel between Otto Bork and the Stargardians, which
caused him to demand the dues upon the Jena.

CHAPTER II.

How Otto von Bork demands the Jena dues from the Stargardians, and
how the burgomaster Jacob Appelmann takes him prisoner, and locks
him up in the Red Sea.

CHAPTER III.

Of Otto Bork's dreadful suicide--Item, how Sidonia and Johann
Appelmann were brought before the burgomaster.

CHAPTER IV.

How Sidonia meets Claude Uckermann again, and solicits him to wed
her--Item, what he answered, and how my gracious Lord of Stettin
received her.

CHAPTER V.

How they went on meantime at Wolgast--Item, of the Diet at Wollin,
and what happened there.

CHAPTER VI.

How Sidonia is again discovered with the groom, Johann Appelmann.

CHAPTER VII.

Of the distress in Pomeranian land--Item, how Sidonia and Johann
Appelmann determine to join the robbers in the vicinity of
Stargard.

CHAPTER VIII.

How Johann and Sidonia meet an adventure at Alten Damm--Item, of
their reception by the robber-band.

CHAPTER IX.

How his Highness, Duke Barnim the elder, went a-hawking at
Marienfliess--Item, of the shameful robbery at Zachan, and how
burgomaster Appelmann remonstrates with his abandoned son.

CHAPTER X.

How the robbers attack Prince Ernest and his bride in the
Uckermann forest, and Marcus Bork and Dinnies Kleist come to their
rescue.

CHAPTER XI.

Of the ambassadors in the tavern of Mutzelburg--Item, how the
miller, Konnemann, is discovered, and made by Dinnies Kleist to
act as guide to the robber cave, where they find all the
women-folk lying apparently dead, through some devil's magic of
the gipsy mother.

CHAPTER XII.

How the peasants in Marienfliess want to burn a witch, but are
hindered by Johann Appelmann and Sidonia, who discover an old
acquaintance in the witch, the girl Wolde Albrechts.

CHAPTER XIII.

Of the adventure with the boundary lads, and how one of them
promises to admit Johann Appelmann into the castle of Daber that
same night--Item, of what befell amongst the guests at the castle.

CHAPTER XIV.

How the knave Appelmann seizes his Serene Eminence Duke Johann by
the throat, and how his Grace and the whole castle are saved by
Marcus Bork and his young bride Clara; also, how Sidonia at last
is taken prisoner.

CHAPTER XV.

How Sidonia demeans herself at the castle of Saatzig, and how
Clara forgets the injunctions of her beloved husband, when he
leaves her to attend the Diet at Wollin, on the subject of the
courts--Item, how the Serene Prince Duke Johann Frederick beheads
his court fool with a sausage.

CHAPTER XVI.

How Sidonia makes poor Clara appear quite dead, and of the great
mourning at Saatzig over her burial, while Sidonia dances on her
coffin and sings the 109th psalm--Item, of the sermon, and the
anathema pronounced upon a wicked sinner from the altar of the
church.

CHAPTER XVII.

How Sidonia is chased by the wolves to Rehewinkel, and finds
Johann Appelmann again in the inn, with whom she goes away a
second time by night.

CHAPTER XVIII.

How a new leaf is turned over at Bruchhausen in a very fearful
manner--Old Appelmann takes his worthless son prisoner, and
admonishes him to repentance--Of Johann's wonderful conversion,
and execution next morning in the churchyard, Sidonia being
present thereby.

CHAPTER XIX.

Of Sidonia's disappearance for thirty years--Item, how the young
Princess Elizabeth Magdelene was possessed by a devil, and of the
sudden death of her father, Ernest Ludovicus of Pomerania.

CHAPTER XX.

How Sidonia demeans herself at the Convent of Marienfliess--Item,
how their Princely and Electoral Graces of Pomerania, Brandenburg,
and Mecklenburg, went on sleighs to Wolgast, and of the divers
pastimes of the journey.

CHAPTER XXI.

How Sidonia meets their Graces upon the ice--Item, how Dinnies
Kleist beheads himself, and my gracious lord of Wolgast perishes
miserably.

CHAPTER XXII.

How Barnim the Tenth succeeds to the government, and how Sidonia
meets him as she is gathering bilberries--Item, of the unnatural
witch-storm at his Grace's funeral, and how Duke Casimir refuses,
in consequence, to succeed him.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Duke Bogislaff XIII. accepts the government of the duchy, and
gives Sidonia at last the long-desired præbenda--Item, of her
arrival at the convent of Marienfliess.


BOOK III.

_FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS
UP TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST 19TH, 1620._

CHAPTER I.

How the sub-prioress, Dorothea Stettin, visits Sidonia and extols
her virtue--Item, of Sidonia's quarrel with the dairy-woman, and
how she beats the sheriff himself, Eggert Sparling, with a
broom-stick.

CHAPTER II.

How Sidonia visits the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf, and
explains her wishes, but is diverted to other objects by a sight
of David Ludeck, the chaplain to the convent.

CHAPTER III.

Sidonia tries another way to catch the priest, but fails through a
mistake--Item, of her horrible spell, whereby she bewitched the
whole princely race of Pomerania, so that, to the grievous sorrow
of their fatherland, they remain barren even unto this day.



BOOK I.

FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA AT THE DUCAL COURT OF WOLGAST UNTIL
HER BANISHMENT THEREFROM.


SIDONIA THE SORCERESS



CHAPTER I.

_Of the education of Sidonia._


The illustrious and high-born prince and lord, Bogislaff,
fourteenth Duke of Pomerania, Prince of Cassuben, Wenden, and
Rugen, Count of Güzkow, Lord of the lands of Lauenburg and Butow,
and my gracious feudal seigneur, having commanded me, Dr. Theodore
Plönnies, formerly bailiff at the ducal court, to make search
throughout all the land for information respecting the world-famed
sorceress, Sidonia von Bork, and write down the same in a book, I
set out for Stargard, accompanied by a servant, early one Friday
after the _Visitationis Mariæ_, 1629; for, in my opinion, in
order to form a just judgment respecting the character of any one,
it is necessary to make one's self acquainted with the
circumstances of their early life; the future man lies enshrined
in the child, and the peculiar development of each individual
nature is the result entirely of education. Sidonia's history is a
remarkable proof of this. I visited first, therefore, the scenes
of her early years; but almost all who had known her were long
since in their graves, seeing that ninety years had passed since
the time of her birth. However, the old inn-keeper at Stargard,
Zabel Wiese, himself very far advanced in years (whom I can
recommend to all travellers--he lives in the Pelzerstrasse), told
me that the old bachelor, Claude Uckermann of Dalow, an aged man
of ninety-two years old, was the only person who could give me the
information I desired, as in his youth he had been one of the many
followers of Sidonia. His memory was certainly well nigh gone from
age, still all that had happened in the early period of his life
lay as fresh as the Lord's Prayer upon his tongue. Mine host also
related some important circumstances to me myself, which shall
appear in their proper place.

I accordingly proceeded to Dalow, a little town half a mile from
Stargard, and visited Claude Uckermann. I found him seated by the
chimney corner, his hair as white as snow. "What did I want? He
was too old to receive strangers; I must go on to his son Wedig's
house, and leave him in quiet," &c. &c. But when I said that I
brought him a greeting from his Highness, his manner changed, and
he pushed the seat over for me beside the fire, and began to chat
first about the fine pine-trees, from which he cut his
firewood--they were so full of resin; and how his son, a year
before, had found an iron pot in the turf moor under a tree, full
of bracelets and earrings, which his little grand-daughter now
wore.

When he had tired himself out, I communicated what his Highness
had so nobly commanded to be done, and prayed him to relate all he
knew and could remember of this detestable sorceress, Sidonia von
Bork. He sighed deeply, and then went on talking for about two
hours, giving me all his recollections just as they started to his
memory. I have arranged what he then related, in proper order. It
was to the following effect:--

Whenever his father, Philip Uckermann, attended the fair at
Stramehl, a town belonging to the Bork family, he was in the habit
of visiting Otto von Bork at his castle, who, being very rich,
gave free quarters to all the young noblemen of the vicinity, so
that from thirty to forty of them were generally assembled at his
castle while the fair lasted; but after some time his father
discontinued these visits, his conscience not permitting him
further intercourse. The reason was this. Otto von Bork, during
his residence in Poland, had joined the sect of the enthusiasts,
[Footnote: Probably the sect afterwards named Socinians; for we
find that Laelius Socinus taught in Poland, even before
Melancthon's death (1560).] and had lost his faith there, as a
young maiden might her honour. He made no secret of his new
opinions, but openly at Martinmas fair, 1560, told the young
nobles at dinner that Christ was but a man like other people, and
ignorance alone had elevated Him to a God; which notion had been
encouraged by the greed and avarice of the clergy. They should
therefore not credit what the hypocritical priests chattered to
them every Sunday, but believe only what reason and their five
senses told them was truth, and that, in fine, if he had his will,
he would send every priest to the devil.

All the young nobles remained silent but Claude Zastrow, a feudal
retainer of the Borks, who rose up (it was an evil moment to him)
and made answer: "Most powerful feudal lord, were the holy
apostles then filled with greed and covetousness, who were the
first to proclaim that Christ was God, and who left all for His
sake? Or the early Christians who, with one accord, sold their
possessions, and gave the price to the poor?" Claude had before
this displeased the knight, who now grew red with anger at the
insolence of his vassal in thus answering him, and replied: "If
they were not preachers for gain, they were at least stupid
fellows." Hereupon a great murmur arose in the hall, but the
aforesaid Zastrow is not silenced, and answered: "It is
surprising, then, that the twelve stupid apostles performed more
than twelve times twelve Greek or Roman philosophers. The knight
might rage until he was black in the face, and strike the table.
But he had better hold his tongue and use his understanding;
though, after all, the intellect of a man who believed nothing but
what he received through his five senses was not worth much; for
the brute beasts were his equals, inasmuch as they received no
evidence either but from the senses."

Then Otto sprang up raging, and asked him what he meant; to which
the other answered: "Nothing more than to express his opinion that
man differed from the brute, not through his understanding, but by
his faith, for that animals had evidently understanding, but no
trace of faith had ever yet been discovered in them." [Footnote:
This axiom is certainly opposed to modern ontology, which denies
all ideas to the brute creation, and explains each proof of their
intellectual activity by the unintelligible word "instinct." The
ancients held very different opinions, particularly the new
Platonists, one of whom (Porphyry, liber ii. _De
abstinentia_) treats largely of the intellect and language of
animals. Since Cartesius, however, who denied not only
understanding, but even feeling, to animals, and represented them
as mere animated machines (_De passionib. Pars i. Artic. iv. et
de Methodo,_ No. 5, page 29, &c.), these views upon the
psychology of animals produced the most mischievous results; for
they were carried out until if not feeling, at least intellect,
was denied to all animals more or less; and modern philosophy at
length arrived at denying intelligence even to God, in whom and by
whom, as formerly, man no longer attains to consciousness, but it
is by man and through man that God arrives to a conscious
intelligent existence. Some philosophers of our time, indeed, are
condescending enough to ascribe _Understanding_ to animals
and _Reason_ to man as the generic difference between the
two. But I cannot comprehend these new-fashioned distinctions; for
it seems to me absurd to split into the two portions of reason and
understanding one and the same spiritual power, according as the
object on which it acts is higher or lower; just as if we adopted
two names for the same hand that digs up the earth and directs the
telescope to heaven, or maintained that the latter was quite a
different hand from the former. No. There is but one understanding
for man and beasts, as but one common substance for their material
forms. The more perfect the form, so much the more perfect is the
intellect; and human and animal intellects are only dynamically
different in human and animal bodies.

And even if, among animals of the more perfect form, understanding
has been discovered, yet in man alone has been found the innate
feeling of connection with the supernatural, or _Faith_. If
this, as the generic sign of difference, be called _Reason_,
I have nothing to object, except that the word generally conveys a
different meaning. But _Faith_ is, in fact, the pure Reason,
and is found in all men, existing alike in the lowest
superstitions as well as in the highest natures.]

Otto's rage now knew no bounds, and he drew his dagger, roaring,
"What! thou insolent knave, dost thou dare to compare thy feudal
lord to a brute?" And before the other had time to draw his
poignard to defend himself, or the guests could in any way
interfere to prevent him, Otto stabbed him to the heart as he sat
there by the table. (It was a blessed death, I think, to die for
his Lord Christ.) And so he fell down upon the floor with
contorted features, and hands and feet quivering with agony. Every
one was struck dumb with horror at such a death; but the knight
laughed loudly, and cried, "Ha! thou base-born serf, I shall teach
thee how to liken thy feudal lord to a brute," and striding over
his quivering limbs, he spat upon his face.

Then the murmuring and whispering increased in the hall, and those
nearest the door rushed out and sprang upon their horses; and
finally all the guests, even old Uckermann, fled away, no one
venturing to take up the quarrel with Otto Bork. After that, he
fell into disrepute with the old nobility, for which he cared
little, seeing that his riches and magnificence always secured him
companions enough, who were willing to listen to his wisdom, and
were consoled by his wine.

And when I, Dr. Theodore Plönnies, inquired from the old bachelor
if his Serene Highness had not punished the noble for his shameful
crime, he replied that his wealth and powerful influence protected
him. At least it was whispered that justice had been blinded with
gold; and the matter was probably related to the prince in quite a
different manner from the truth; for I have heard that a few years
after, his Highness even visited this godless knight at his castle
in Stramehl.

As to Otto, no one observed any sign of repentance in him. On the
contrary, he seemed to glory in his crime, and the neighbouring
nobles related that he frequently brought in his little daughter
Sidonia, whom he adored for her beauty, to the assembled guests,
magnificently attired; and when she was bowing to the company, he
would say, "Who art thou, my little daughter?" Then she would
cease the salutations which she had learned from her mother, and
drawing herself up, proudly exclaim, "I am a noble maiden, dowered
with towns and castles!" Then he would ask, if the conversation
turned upon his enemies--and half the nobles were so--"Sidonia,
how does thy father treat his enemies?" Upon which the child would
straighten her finger, and running at her father, strike it into
his heart, saying, "_Thus_ he treats them." At which Otto
would laugh loudly, and tell her to show him how the knave looked
when he was dying. Then Sidonia would fall down, twist her face,
and writhe her little hands and feet in horrible contortions. Upon
which Otto would lift her up, and kiss her upon the mouth. But it
will be seen how the just God punished him for all this, and how
the words of the Scriptures were fulfilled: "Err not, God is not
mocked; for what a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The parson of Stramehl, David Dilavius, related also to old
Uckermann another fact, which, though it hardly seems credible,
the bachelor reported thus to me:--

This Dilavius was a learned man whom Otto had selected as
instructor to his young daughter; "but only teach her," he said,
"to read and write, and the first article of the Ten Commandments.
The other Christian doctrines I can teach her myself; besides, I
do not wish the child to learn so many dogmas."

Dilavius, who was a worthy, matter-of-fact, good, simple
character, did as he was ordered, and gave himself no further
trouble until he came to ask the child to recite the first article
of the creed out of the catechism for him. There was nothing wrong
in that; but when he came to the second article, he crossed
himself, not because it concerned the Lord Christ, but her own
father, Otto von Bork, and ran somewhat thus:--

"And I believe in my earthly father, Otto von Bork, a
distinguished son of God, born of Anna von Kleist, who sitteth in
his castle at Stramehl, from whence he will come to help his
children and friends, but to slay his enemies and tread them in
the dust."

The third article was much in the same style, but he had partly
forgotten it, neither could he remember if Dilavius had called the
father to any account for his profanity, or taught the daughter
some better Christian doctrine. In fine, this was all the old
bachelor could tell me of Sidonia's education. Yes--he remembered
one anecdote more. Her father had asked her one day, when she was
about ten or twelve years old, "What kind of a husband she would
like?" and she replied, "One of equal birth." _Ille:_
[Footnote: In dialogue the author makes use of the Latin pronouns,
_Ille_, he; _Illa_, she, to denote the different
characters taking part in it; and sometimes _Hic_ and
_Hæc_, for the same purposes. _Summa_ he employs in the
sense of "to sum up," or "in short."] "Who is her equal in the
whole of Pomerania?" _Illa:_ "Only the Duke of Pomerania, or
the Count von Ebersburg." _Ille:_ "Right! therefore she must
never marry any other but one of these."

It happened soon after, old Philip Uckermann, his father, riding
one day through the fields near Stramehl, saw a country girl
seated by the roadside, weeping bitterly. "Why do you weep?" he
asked. "Has any one injured you?" "Sidonia has injured me," she
replied. "What could she have done? Come dry your tears, and tell
me." Whereupon the little girl related that Sidonia, who was then
about fourteen, had besought her to tell her what marriage was,
because her father was always talking to her about it. The girl
had told her to the best of her ability; but the young lady beat
her, and said it was not so, that long Dorothy had told her quite
differently about marriage, and there she went on tormenting her
for several days; but upon this evening Sidonia, with long
Dorothy, and some of the milkmaids of the neighbourhood, had taken
away one of the fine geese which the peasants had given her in
payment of her labour. They picked it alive, all except the head
and neck, then built up a large fire in a circle, and put the
goose and a vessel of water in the centre. So the fat dripped down
from the poor creature alive, and was fried in a pan as it fell,
just as the girls eat it on their bread for supper. And the goose,
having no means of escape, still went on drinking the water as the
fat dripped down, whilst they kept cooling its head and heart with
a sponge dipped in cold water, fastened to a stick, until at last
the goose fell down when quite roasted, though it still screamed,
and then Sidonia and her companions cut it up for their amusement,
living as it was, and ate it for their supper, in proof of which,
the girl showed him the bones and the remains of the fire, and the
drops of fat still lying on the grass.

Then she wept afresh, for Sidonia had promised to take away a
goose every day, and destroy it as she had done the first. So my
father consoled her by giving her a piece of gold, and said, "If
she does so again, run by night and cloud, and come to Dalow by
Stargard, where I will make thee keeper of my geese." But she
never came to him, and he never heard more of the maiden and her
geese.

So far old Uckermann related to me the first evening, promising to
tell me of many more strange doings upon the following morning,
which he would try to think over during the night.



CHAPTER II.

_Of the bear-hunt at Stramehl, and the strange things that
befell there._


The following morning, by seven o'clock, the old man summoned me
to him, and on entering I found him seated at breakfast by the
fire. He invited me to join him, and pushed a seat over for me
with his crutch, for walking was now difficult to him. He was very
friendly, and the eyes of the old man burned as clear as those of
a white dove. He had slept little during the night, for Sidonia's
form kept floating before his eyes, just as she had looked in the
days when he paid court to her. Alas! he had once loved her
deeply, like all the other young nobles who approached her, from
the time she was of an age to marry. In her youth she had been
beautiful; and old and young declared that for figure, eyes,
bosom, walk, and enchanting smile, there never had been seen her
equal in all Pomerania.

"Nothing shall be concealed from you," he said, "of all that
concerns my foolish infatuation, that you and your children may
learn how the all-wise God deals best with His servants when He
uses the rod and denies that for which they clamour as silly
children for a glittering knife." Here he folded his withered
hands, murmured a short prayer, and proceeded with his story.

"You must know that I was once a proud and stately youth, upon
whom a maiden's glance in no wise rested indifferently, trained in
all knightly exercise, and only two years older than Sidonia. It
happened in the September of 1566, that I was invited by Caspar
Roden to see his eel-nets, as my father intended laying down some
also at Krampehl [Footnote: A little river near Dalow] and along
the coast. When we returned home weary enough in the evening, a
letter arrived from Otto von Bork, inviting him the following day
to a bear-hunt; as he intended, in honour of the nuptials of his
eldest daughter Clara, to lay bears' heads and bears' paws before
his guests, which even in Pomerania would have been a rarity, and
desiring him to bring as many good huntsmen with him as he
pleased. So I accompanied Caspar Roden, who told me on the way
that Count Otto had at first looked very high for his daughter
Clara, and scorned many a good suitor, but that she was now
getting rather old, and ready, like a ripe burr, to hang on the
first that came by. Her bridegroom was Vidante von Meseritz, a
feudal vassal of her father's, upon whom, ten years before, she
would not have looked at from a window. Not that she was as proud
as her young sister Sidonia. However, their mother was to blame
for much of this; but she was dead now, poor lady, let her rest in
peace.

So in good time we reached the castle of Stramehl, where thirty
huntsmen were already assembled, all noblemen, and we joined them
in the grand state hall, where the morning meal was laid out.
Count Otto sat at the head of the table, like a prince of
Pomerania, upon a throne whereon his family arms were both carved
and embroidered. He wore a doublet of elk-skin, and a cap with a
heron's plume upon his head. He did not rise as we entered, but
called to us to be seated and join the feast, as the party must
move off soon. Costly wines were sent round; and I observed that
on each of the glasses the family arms were cut. They were also
painted upon the window of the great hall, and along the walls,
under the horns of all the different wild animals killed by Otto
in the chase--bucks, deers, harts, roes, stags, and elks--which
were arranged in fantastical groups.

After a little while his two daughters, Clara and Sidonia,
entered. They wore green hunting-dresses, trimmed with
beaver-skin, and each had a gold net thrown over her hair. They
bowed, and bid the knights welcome. But we all remained breathless
gazing upon Sidonia, as she lifted her beautiful eyes first on
one, and then on another, inviting us to eat and drink; and she
even filled a small wine-glass herself, and prayed us to pledge
her. As for me, unfortunate youth, from the moment I beheld her I
breathed no more through my lungs, but through my eyes alone, and,
springing up, gave her health publicly. A storm of loud, animated,
passionate voices soon responded to my words with loud vivas. The
guests then rose, for the ladies were impatient for the hunt, and
found the time hang heavily.

So we set off with all our implements and our dogs, and a hundred
beaters went before us. It happened that my host, Caspar Roden,
and I found an excellent sheltered position for a shot near a
quarry, and we had not long been there (the beaters had not even
yet begun their work) when I spied a large bear coming down to
drink at a small stream not twenty paces from me. I fired; but she
retired quickly behind an oak, and, growling fiercely, disappeared
amongst the bushes. Not long after, I heard the cries of women
almost close to us; and running as fast as possible in the
direction from whence they came, I perceived an old bear trying to
climb up to the platform where Clara and Sidonia stood. There was
a ruined chapel here--which, in the time of papacy, had contained
a holy image--and a scaffolding had been erected round it, adorned
with wreaths of evergreen and flowers, from which the ladies could
obtain an excellent view of the hunt, as it commanded a prospect
of almost the entire wood, and even part of the sea. Attached to
this scaffolding was a ladder, up which Bruin was anxiously trying
to ascend, in order to visit the young ladies, who were now
assailed by two dangers--the bear from below, and a swarm of bees
above, for myriads of these insects were tormenting them, trying
to settle upon their golden hair-nets; and the young ladies,
screaming as if the last day had come, were vainly trying to beat
them off with their girdles, or trample them under their feet. A
huntsman who stood near fired, indeed, at Bruin, but without
effect, and the bees assailing his hands and face at the same
time, he took to flight and hid himself, groaning, in the quarry.

In the meantime I had reached the chapel, and Sidonia stretched
forth her beautiful little hands, crying, along with her sister,
"Help! help! He will eat us. Will you not kill him?" But the bear,
as if already aware of my intention, began now to descend the
ladder. However, I stepped before him, and as he descended, I
ascended. Luckily for me, the interval between each step was very
small, to accommodate the ladies' little feet, so that when Bruin
tried to thrust his snout between them to get at me, he found it
rather difficult work to make it pass. I had my dagger ready; and
though the bees which he brought with him in his fur flew on my
hands, I heeded them not, but watching my opportunity, plunged it
deep into his side, so that he tumbled right down off the ladder;
and though he raised himself up once and growled horribly, yet in
a few seconds he lay dead before our eyes. How the ladies now
tripped down the ladder, not two or three, but four or five steps
at a time! and what thanks poured forth from their lips! I rushed
first to Sidonia, who laid her little head upon my breast, while I
endeavoured to remove the bees which had got entangled in her
hair-net. The other lady went to call the huntsman, who was hiding
in the quarry, and we were left alone. Heavens! how my heart
burned, more than my inflamed hands all stung by the bees, as she
asked, how could she repay my service. I prayed her for one kiss,
which she granted. She had escaped with but one sting from the
bees, who could not manage to get through her long, thick,
beautiful hair, and she advanced joyfully to meet her father and
the hunting-train, who had heard the cries of the ladies. When
Count Otto heard what had happened, and saw the dead bear, he
thanked me heartily, praying me to attend his daughter Clara's
wedding, which was to be celebrated next week at the castle, and
to remain as his guest until then. There was nothing in the world
I could have desired beyond this, and I gratefully accepted his
offer. Alas! I suffered for it after, as the cat from poisoned
dainties.

But to return to our hunt. No other bear was killed that day, but
plenty of other game, as harts, stags, roes, boars--more than
enough. And now we discovered what an old hunter had conjectured,
that the dead bear was the father, who had been alarmed by the
growls of his partner, at whom I had fired whilst he was
endeavouring to carry off the honey from a nest of wild bees in a
neighbouring tree. For looking around us, we saw, at the distance
of about twenty paces, a tall oak-tree, about which clouds of bees
were still flying, in which he had been following his occupation.
No one dared to approach it, to bring away the honeycombs which
still lay beneath, by reason of the bees, and, moreover, swarms of
ants, by which they were covered. At length Otto Bork ordered the
huntsman to sound the return; and after supper I obtained another
little kiss from Sidonia, which burned so like fire through my
veins that I could not sleep the whole night. I resolved to ask
her hand in marriage from her father.

Stupid youth as I was, I then believed that she looked upon me
with equal love; and although I knew all about the mode in which
she had been brought up, and many other things beside, which have
now slipped from my memory, yet I looked on them but as idle
stories, and was fully persuaded that Sidonia was sister to the
angels in beauty, goodness, and perfection. In a few days,
however, I had reason to change my opinion.

Next day the two young ladies were in the kitchen, overseeing the
cooking of the bear's head, and, as I passed by and looked in,
they began to titter, which I took for a good omen, and asked,
might I not be allowed to enter. They said, "Yes, I might come in,
and help them to cleave the head." So I entered, and they both
began to give me instructions, with much laughter and merry
jesting. First, the bear's head had to be burned with hot irons;
and when I said to Sidonia that thus she burned my heart, she
nearly died of laughter. Then I cut some flesh off the mouth,
broke the nose, and handed it all over to the maidens, who set it
on the fire with water, wine, and vinegar. As I now played the
part of kitchen-boy, they sent me to the castle garden for thyme,
sage, and rosemary, which I brought, and begged them for a taste
of the head; but they said it was not fit to eat yet--must be
cooled in brine first; so in place of it I asked one little kiss
from each of the maidens, which Sidonia granted, but her sister
refused. However, I was not in the least displeased at her
refusal, seeing it was only the little sister I cared for.

But judge of my rage and jealousy, that same day a cousin arrived
at the castle, and I observed that Sidonia allowed him to kiss her
every moment. She never even appeared to offer any resistance, but
looked over at me languishingly every time to see what I would
say. What could I say? I became pale with jealousy, but said
nothing. At last I rushed from the hall, mute with despair, when I
observed him finally draw her on his knee. I only heard the peal
of laughter that followed my exit, and I was just near leaving the
whole wedding-feast, and Stramehl for ever, when Sidonia called
after me from the castle gates to return. This so melted my heart,
that the tears came into my eyes, thinking that now indeed I had a
proof of her love. Then she took my hand, and said, "I ought not
to be so unkind. That was her manner with all the young nobles.
Why should she refuse a kiss when she was asked? Her little mouth
would grow neither larger nor smaller for it." But I stood still
and wept, and looked on the ground. "Why should I weep?" she
asked. Her cousin Clas had a bride of his own already, and only
took a little pastime with her, and so she must cure me now with
another little kiss.

I was now again a happy man, thinking she loved me; and the
heavens seemed so propitious, that I determined to ask her hand.
But I had not sufficient courage as yet, and resolved to wait
until after her sister's marriage, which was to take place next
day. What preparations were made for this event it would be
impossible adequately to describe. All the country round the
castle seemed like a royal camp. Six hundred horses were led into
the stables next day to be fed, for the Duke himself arrived with
a princely retinue. Then came all the feudal vassals to offer
homage for their fiefs to Lord Otto. But as the description is
well worth hearing, I shall defer it for another chapter.



CHAPTER III.

_How Otto von Bork received the homage of his son-in-law,
Vidante von Meseritz--And how the bride and bridegroom proceeded
afterwards to the chapel--Item, what strange things happened at
the wedding-feast._


Next morning the stir began in the castle before break of day, and
by ten o'clock all the nobles, with their wives and daughters, had
assembled in the great hall. Then the bride entered, wearing her
myrtle wreath, and Sidonia followed, glittering with diamonds and
other costly jewels. She wore a robe of crimson silk with a cape
of ermine, falling from her shoulders, and looked so beautiful
that I could have died for love, as she passed and greeted me with
her graceful laugh. But Otto Bork, the lord of the castle, was
sore displeased because his Serene Highness the Prince was late
coming, and the company had been waiting an hour for his presence.
A platform had been erected at the upper end of the hall covered
with bearskin; on this was placed a throne, beneath a canopy of
yellow velvet, and here Otto was seated dressed in a crimson
doublet, and wearing a hat half red and half black, from which
depended plumes of red and black feathers that hung down nearly to
his beard, which was as venerable as a Jew's. Every instant he
despatched messengers to the tower to see if the prince were at
hand, and as the time hung heavy, he began to discourse his
guests. "See how this turner's apprentice [Footnote: So this
prince was called from his love of turning and carving dolls.]
must have stopped on the road to carve a puppet. God keep us from
such dukes!" For the prince passed all his leisure hours in
turning and carving, particularly while travelling, and when the
carriage came to bad ground, where the horses had to move slowly,
he was delighted, and went on merrily with his work; but when the
horses galloped, he grew ill-tempered and threw down his tools.

At length the warder announced from the tower that the duke's six
carriages were in sight, and the knight spoke from his throne: "I
shall remain here, as befits me, but Clara and Sidonia, go ye
forth and receive his Highness; and when he has entered, the
kinsman [Footnote: This was the feudal term for the next relation
of a deceased vassal, upon whom it devolved to do homage for the
lands to the feudal lord.] in full armour shall ride into the hall
upon his war-horse, bearing the banner of his house in his hand,
and all my retainers shall follow on horses, each bearing his
banner also, and shall range themselves by the great window of the
hall; and let the windows be open, that the wind may play through
the banners and make the spectacle yet grander."

Then all rushed out to meet the Duke, and I, too, went, for truly
the courtyard presented a gorgeous sight--all decorated as it was,
and the pride and magnificence of Lord Otto were here fully
displayed; for from the upper storey of the castle floated the
banner of the Emperor, and just beneath it that of Lord Otto (two
crowned wolves with golden collars on a field or for the shield),
and the crest, a crowned red-deer springing. Beneath this banner,
but much inferior to it in size and execution, waved that of the
Dukes of Pomerania; and lowest of all, hung the banner of Otto's
feudal vassals--but they themselves were not visible. Neither did
the kinsman appear to receive and greet his Highness. Otto knew
well, it seems, that he could defy the Duke (however, I think if
my gracious Lord of Wolgast had been there, he would not have
suffered such insults, but would have taken Otto's banner and
flung it in the mud). [Footnote: Marginal note of Duke Bogislaff,
"And so would I."] Be this as it may, Duke Barnim never appeared
to notice anything except Otto's two daughters. He was a little
man with a long grey beard, and as he stepped slowly out of the
carriage held a little puppet by the arm, which he had been
carving to represent Adam. It was intended for a present to the
convent at Kobatz. His _superintendens generalis_, Fabianus
Timæus (a dignified-looking personage), accompanied him in the
carriage, for his Highness was going on the same day to attend the
diet at Treptow, and only meant to pay a passing visit here. But
Lord Otto concealed this fact, as it hurt his pride. The other
carriages contained the equerries and pages of his Highness, and
then followed the heavy waggons with the cooks, valets, and
stewards.

When the Prince entered the state hall, Lord Otto rose from his
throne and said: "Your Highness is welcome, and I trust will
pardon me for not having gone forth with my greetings; but those
of a couple of young damsels were probably more agreeable than the
compliments of an old knight like myself, who besides, as your
Grace perceives, is engaged here in the exercise of his duty. And
now, I pray your Highness to take this seat at my right hand."
Whereupon he pointed to a plain chair, not in the least raised
from the ground, and altogether as common a seat as there was to
be found in the hall; but his Highness sat down quietly (at which
every one wondered in silence) and took the little puppet in his
lap, only exclaiming in low German, "What the devil, Otto! you
make more of yourself, man, than I do;" to which the knight
replied, "Not more than is necessary."

"And now," continued the old man, "the ceremony of offering homage
commenced, which is as fresh in my memory as if all had happened
but yesterday, and so I shall describe it that you may know what
were the usages of our fathers, for the customs of chivalry are,
alas! fast passing away from amongst us.

When Otto Bork gave the sign with his hand, six trumpets sounded
without, whereupon the doors of the hall were thrown wide open as
far as they could go, and the kinsman Vidante von Meseritz entered
on a black charger, and dressed in complete armour, but without
his sword. He carried the banner of his house (a pale gules with
two foxes running), and riding straight up to Lord Otto, lowered
it before him. Otto then demanded, "Who art thou, and what is thy
request?" to which he answered, "Mighty feudal Lord, I am kinsman
of Dinnies von Meseritz, and pray you for the fief." "And who are
these on horseback who follow thee?" "They are the feudal vassals
of my Lord, even as my father was." And Otto said, "Ride up, my
men, and do as your fathers have done." Then Frederick Ubeske rode
up, lowered his banner (charged with a sun and peacock's tail)
before the knight, then passed on up to the great windows of the
hall, where he took his place and drew his sword, while the wind
played through the folds of his standard.

Next came Walter von Locksted--lowered his banner (bearing a
springing unicorn), rode up to the window, and drew his sword.
After him, Claud Drosedow, waving his black eagle upon a white and
red shield, rode up to the window and drew his sword; then Jacob
Pretz, on his white charger, bearing two spears transverse through
a fallen tree on his flag; and Dieterich Mallin, whose banner fell
in folds over his hand, so that the device was not visible; and
Lorenz Prechel, carrying a leopard gules upon a silver shield; and
Jacob Knut, with a golden becker upon an azure field, and three
plumes on the crest; and Tesmar von Kettler, whose spurs caught in
the robe of a young maiden as he passed, and merry laughter
resounded through the hall, many saying it was a good omen, which,
indeed, was the truth, for that evening they were betrothed; and
finally came Johann Zastrow, bearing two buffaloes' horns on his
banner, and a green five-leaved bush, rode up to the window after
the others, and drew his sword.

There stood the nine, like the muses at the nuptials of Peleus,
[Footnote: The nine muses were present at the marriage of Peleus
and Thetis.--_See Pindar, pyth._. 3, 160] and the wind played
through their banners. Then Lord Otto spoke--

"True, these are my leal vassals. And now, kinsman of Meseritz,
dismount and pay homage, as did thy father, ere thou canst ride up
and join them." So the young man dismounted, threw the reins of
his horse to a squire, and ascended the platform. Then Otto,
holding up a sword, spoke again--

"Behold, kinsman, this is the sword of thy father; touch it with
me, and pronounce the feudal oath." Here all the vassals rode up
from the window, and held their swords crosswise over the
kinsman's head, while he spake thus--

"I, Vidante von Meseritz, declare, vow, and swear to the most
powerful, noble, and brave Otto von Bork, lord of the lands and
castles of Labes, Pansin, Stramehl, Regenwalde, and others, and my
most powerful feudal lord, and to his lawful heirs, a right loyal
fealty, to serve him with all duty and obedience, to warn him of
all evil, and defend him from all injury, to the best of my
ability and power."

Then he kissed the knight's hand, who girded his father's sword on
him, and said--

"Thus I acknowledge thee for my vassal, as my father did thy
father."

Then turning to his attendants he cried, "Bring hither the camp
furniture." Hereupon the circle of spectators parted in two, and
the pages led up, first, Vidante's horse, upon which he sprung;
then others followed, bearing rich garments and his father's
signet, and laid them down before him, saying, "Kinsman, the
garments and the seal of thy father." A third and a fourth bore a
large couch with a white coverlet, set it down before him, and
said, "Kinsman, a couch for thee and thy wife." Then came a great
crowd, bearing plates and dishes, and napkins, and table-covers,
besides eleven tin cans, a fish-kettle, and a pair of iron
pot-hooks; in short, a complete camp furniture; all of which they
set down before the young man, and then disappeared.

During this entire time no one noticed his Highness the Duke,
though he was indeed the feudal head of all. Even when the
trumpets sounded again, and the vassals passed out in procession,
they lowered their standards only before Otto, as if no princely
personage were present. But I think this proud Lord Otto must have
commanded them so to do, for such an omission or breach of respect
was never before seen in Pomerania. Even his Highness seemed, at
last, to feel displeasure, for he drew forth his knife, and began
to cut away at the little wooden Adam, without taking further
notice of the ceremony.

At length when the vassals had departed, and many of the guests
also, who wished to follow them, had left the hall, the Duke
looked up with his little glittering eyes, scratched the back of
his head with the knife, and asked his Chancellor, Jacob Kleist,
who had evidently been long raging with anger, "Jacob, what dost
thou think of this _spectaculo?_" who replied, "Gracious
lord, I esteem it a silly thing for an inferior to play the part
of a prince, or for a prince to be compelled to play the part of
an inferior." Such a speech offended Otto mightily, who drew
himself up and retorted scornfully, "Particularly a poor inferior
who, as you see, is obliged to draw the plough by turns with his
serfs." Hereupon the Chancellor would have flung back the scorn,
but his Highness motioned with the hand that he should keep
silence, saying, "Remember, good Jacob, that we are here as
guests; however, order the carriages, for I think it is time that
we proceed on our journey."

When Otto heard this, he was confounded, and, descending from his
throne, uttered so many flattering things, that his Highness at
length was prevailed upon to remain (I would not have consented,
to save my soul, had I been the Prince--no, not even if I had to
pass the night with the bears and wolves in the forest before I
could reach Treptow); so the good old Prince followed him into
another hall, where breakfast was prepared, and all the lords and
ladies stood there in glittering groups round the table,
particularly admiring the bear's head, which seemed to please his
Highness mightily also. Then each one drained a large goblet of
wine, and even the ladies sipped from their little wine-glasses,
to drink themselves into good spirits for the dance.

Otto now related all about the hunt, and presented me to his
Grace, who gave me his hand to kiss, saying, "Well done, young
man--I like this bravery. Were it not for you, in place of a
wedding, and a bear's head in the dish, Lord Otto might have had a
funeral and two human heads in a coffin." His Grace then pledged
me in a silver becker of wine; and afterwards the bride and
bridegroom, who had sat till then kissing and making love in a
corner; but they now came forward and kissed the hand of the Duke
with much respect. The bridegroom had on a crimson doublet, which
became him well; but his father's jack-boots, which he wore
according to custom, were much too wide, and shook about his legs.
The bride was arrayed in a scarlet velvet robe, and bodice furred
with ermine. Sidonia carried a little balsam flask, depending from
a gold chain which she wore round her neck. (She soon needed the
balsam, for that day she suffered a foretaste of the fate which
was to be the punishment for her after evil deeds.) And now, as we
set forward to the church, a group of noble maidens distributed
wreaths to the guests; but the bride presented one to the Duke,
and Sidonia (that her hand might have been withered) handed one to
me, poor love-stricken youth.

It was the custom then, as now, in Pomerania, for all the
bride-maidens, crowned with beautiful wreaths, to precede the
bride and bridegroom to church. The crowd of lords, and ladies,
and young knights pouring out of the castle gates, in order to see
them, separated Sidonia from this group, and she was left alone
weeping. Now the whole population of the little town were running
from every street leading to the church; and it happened that a
courser [Footnote: A man who courses greyhounds.] of Otto Bork's
came right against Sidonia with such violence, that, with a blow
of his head, he knocked her down into the puddle (she was to lie
there really in after-life). Her little balsam-flask was of no use
here. She had to go back, dripping, to the castle, and appeared no
more at her sister's nuptials, but consoled herself, however, by
listening to the bellowing of the huntsman, whom they were beating
black and blue by her orders beneath her window.

I would willingly have returned with her, but was ashamed so to
do, and therefore followed the others to church. All the common
people that crowded the streets were allowed to enter. Then the
bridegroom and his party, of whom the Duke was chief, advanced up
to the right of the altar, and the bride and her party, of which
Fabianus Timæus was the most distinguished, arrayed themselves on
the left.

I had now an opportunity of hearing the learned and excellent
parson Dilavius myself; for he represented his patron (who was not
present at the feast, but apologised for his absence by alleging
that he must remain at the castle to look after the preparations)
almost as an angel, and the young ladies, especially the bride,
came in for even a larger share of his flattery; but he was so
modest before these illustrious personages, that I observed,
whenever he looked up from the book, he had one eye upon the Duke
and another on Fabianus.

When we returned to the castle, Sidonia met the bridemaidens again
with joyous smiles. She now wore a white silk robe, laced with
gold, and dancing-slippers with white silk hose. The diamonds
still remained on her head, neck, and arms. She looked beautiful
thus; and I could not withdraw my eyes from her. We all now
entered the bridechamber, as the custom is, and there stood an
immense bridal couch, with coverlet and draperies as white as
snow; and all the bridemaids and the guests threw their wreaths
upon it. Then the Prince, taking the bridegroom by the hand, led
him up to it, and repeated an old German rhyme concerning the
duties of the holy state upon which he had entered.

When his Highness ceased, Fabianus took the bride by the hand, who
blushed as red as a rose, and led her up in the same manner to the
nuptial couch, where he uttered a long admonition on her duties to
her husband, at which all wept, but particularly the
bride-maidens. After this we proceeded to the state hall, where
Otto was seated on his throne waiting to receive them, and when
his children had kissed his hand the dancing commenced. Otto
invited the Prince to sit near him, and all the young knights and
maidens who intended to dance ranged themselves on costly carpets
that were laid upon the floor all round by the walls. The trumpets
and violins now struck up, and a band was stationed at each end of
the hall, so that while the dancers were at the top one played,
and when at the lower end the other.

I hastened to Sidonia, as she reclined upon the carpet, and
bending low before her, said, "Beautiful maiden! will you not
dance?" [Footnote: It will interest my fair readers to know that
this was, word for word, the established form employed in those
days for an invitation to dance.] Upon which she smilingly gave me
her little hand, and I raised her up, and led her away.

I have said that I was a proficient in all knightly exercises, so
that every one approached to see us dance. When Sidonia was tired
I led her back, and threw myself beside her on the carpet. But in
a little while three other young nobles came and seated themselves
around her, and began to jest, and toy, and pay court to her. One
played with her left hand and her rings, another with the gold net
of her hair, while I held her right hand and pressed it. She
coquettishly repelled them all--sometimes with her feet, sometimes
with her hands. And when Hans von Damitz extolled her hair, she
gave him such a blow on the nose with her head that it began to
bleed, and he was obliged to withdraw. Still one could see that
all these blows, right and left, were not meant in earnest. This
continued for some time until an Italian dance began, which she
declined to join, and as I was left alone with her upon the
carpet, "Now," thought I, "there can be no better time to decide
my fate;" for she had pressed my hand frequently, both in the
dance and since I had lain reclining beside her.

"Beautiful Sidonia!" I said, "you know not how you have wounded my
heart. I can neither eat nor sleep since I beheld you, and those
five little kisses which you gave me burn through my frame like
arrows."

To which she answered, laughing, "It was your pastime, youth. It
was your own wish to take those little kisses."

"Ah, yes!" I said, "it was my will; but give me more now and make
me well."

"What!" she exclaimed, "you desire more kisses? Then will your
pain become greater, if, as you say, with every kiss an arrow
enters your heart, so at last they would cause your death."

"Ah, yes!" I answered, "unless you take pity on me, and promise to
become my wife, they will indeed cause my death." As I said this,
she sprang up, tore her hand away from me, and cried with mocking
laughter, "What does the knave mean? Ha! ha! the poor, miserable
varlet!"

I remained some moments stupefied with rage, then sprung to my
feet without another word, left the hall, took my steed from the
stable, and turned my back on the castle for ever. You may imagine
how her ingratitude added to the bitterness of my feelings, when I
considered that it was to me she owed her life. She afterwards
offered herself to me for a wife, but she was then dishonoured,
and I spat out at her in disgust. I never beheld her again till
she was carried past my door to the scaffold.

All this the old man related with many sighs; but his
after-meeting with her shall be related more _in extenso_ in
its proper place. I shall now set down what further he
communicated about the wedding-feast.

You may imagine, he said, that I was curious to know all that
happened after I left the castle, and my friend, Bogislaff von
Suckow of Pegelow, told me as follows.

After my departure, the young lords grew still more free and
daring in their manner to Sidonia, so that when not dancing she
had sufficient exercise in keeping them off with her hands and
feet, until my friend Bogislaff attracted her whole attention by
telling her that he had just returned from Wolgast, where the
ducal widow was much comforted by the presence of her son, Prince
Ernest Ludovick, whom she had not seen since he went to the
university. He was the handsomest youth in all Pomerania, and
played the lute so divinely that at court he was compared to the
god Apollo.

Sidonia upon this fell into deep thought. In the meanwhile, it was
evident that his Highness old Duke Barnim was greatly struck by
her beauty, and wished to get near her upon the carpet; for his
Grace was well known to be a great follower of the sex, and many
stories are whispered about a harem of young girls he kept at St.
Mary's--but these things are allowable in persons of his rank.

However, Fabianus Timæus, who sat by him, wished to prevent him
approaching Sidonia, and made signs, and nudged him with his
elbow; and finally they put their heads together and had a long
argument.

At last the Prince started up, and stepping to Otto, asked him,
Would he not dance? "Yes," he replied, "if your Grace will dance
likewise." "Good," said the Prince, "that can be soon arranged,"
and therewith he solicited Sidonia's hand. At this Fabianus was so
scandalised that he left the hall, and appeared no more until
supper. After the dance, his Highness advanced to Otto, who was
reseated on his throne, and said, "Why, Otto, you have a beautiful
daughter in Sidonia. She must come to my court, and when she
appears amongst the other ladies, I swear she will make a better
fortune than by staying shut up here in your old castle."

On which Otto replied, sarcastically smiling, "Ay, my gracious
Prince, she would be a dainty morsel for your Highness, no doubt;
but there is no lack of noble visitors at my castle, I am proud to
say." Jacob Kleist, the Chancellor, was now so humbled at the
Duke's behaviour that he, too, left the hall and followed
Fabianus. Even the Duke changed colour; but before he had time to
speak, Sidonia sprang forward, and having heard the whole
conversation, entreated her father to accept the Duke's offer, and
allow her either to visit the court at Wolgast or at Old Stettin.
What was she to do here? When the wedding-feast was over, no one
would come to the castle but huntsmen and such like.

So Otto at last consented that she might visit Wolgast, but on no
account the court at Stettin.

Then the young Sidonia began to coax and caress the old Duke,
stroking his long beard, which reached to his girdle, with her
little white hands, and prayed that he would place her with the
princely Lady of Wolgast, for she longed to go there. People said
that it was such a beautiful place, and the sea was not far off,
which she had never been at in all her life. And so the Duke was
pleased with her caresses, and promised that he would request his
dear cousin, the ducal widow of Wolgast, to receive her as one of
her maids of honour. Sidonia then further entreated that there
might be no delay, and he answered that he would send a note to
his cousin from the Diet at Treptow, by the Grand Chamberlain of
Wolgast, Ulrich von Schwerin, and that she would not have to wait
long. But she must go by Old Stettin, and stop at his palace for a
while, and then he would bring her on himself to Wolgast, if he
had time to spare.

While Sidonia clapped her hands and danced about for joy, Otto
looked grave, and said, "But, gracious Lord, the nearest way to
Wolgast is by Cammin. Sidonia must make a circuit if she goes by
Old Stettin."

The conversation was now interrupted by the lacqueys, who came to
announce that dinner was served.

Otto requested the Duke to take a place beside him at table, and
treated him with somewhat more distinction than he had done in the
morning; but a hot dispute soon arose, and this was the cause. As
Otto drank deep in the wine-cup, he grew more reckless and daring,
and began to display his heretical doctrines as openly as he had
hitherto exhibited his pomp and magnificence, so that every one
might learn that pride and ungodliness are twin brothers. May God
keep us from both!

And one of the guests having said, in confirmation of some fact,
"The Lord Jesus knows I speak the truth!" the godless knight
laughed scornfully, exclaiming, "The Lord Jesus knows as little
about the matter as my old grandfather, lying there in his vault,
of our wedding-feast to-day."

There was a dead silence instantly, and the Prince, who had just
lifted up some of the bear's paw to his lips, with mustard sauce
and pastry all round it, dropped it again upon his plate, and
opened his eyes as wide as they could go; then, hastily wiping his
mouth with the salvet, exclaimed in low German, "What the devil,
Otto! art thou a freethinker?" who replied, "A true nobleman may,
in all things, be a freethinker, and neither do all that a prince
commands nor believe all that a pope teaches." To which the Duke
answered, "What concerns me I pardon, for I do not believe that
you will ever forget your duty to your Prince. The times are gone
by when a noble would openly offer violence to his sovereign; but
for what concerns the honour of our Lord Christ, I must leave you
in the hands of Fabianus to receive proper chastisement."

Now Fabianus, seeing that all eyes were fixed on him, grew red and
cleared his throat, and set himself in a position to argue the
point with Lord Otto, beginning--"So you believe that Christ the
Lord remained in the grave, and is not living and reigning for all
eternity?"

_Ille_.--"Yes; that is my opinion."

_Hic_.--"What do you believe, then? or do you believe in
anything?"

_Ille_.--"Yes; I believe firmly in an all-powerful and
omniscient God."

_Hic_.--"How do you know He exists?"

_Ille_.--"Because my reason tells me so."

_Hic_.--"Your reason does not tell you so, good sir. It
merely tells you that something supermundane exists, but cannot
tell you whether it be one God or two Gods, or a hundred Gods, or
of what nature are these Gods--whether spirits, or stars, or
trees, or animals, or, in fine, any object you can name, for
paganism has imagined a Deity in everything, which proves what I
assert. You only believe in _one_ God, because you sucked in
the doctrine with your mother's milk." [Footnote: The history of
all philosophy shows that this is psychologically true. Even
Lucian satirises the philosophers of his age who see God or Gods
in numbers, dogs, geese, trees, and other things. But monotheistic
Christianity has preserved us for nearly 2000 years from these
aberrations of philosophy. However, as the authority of
Christianity declined, the pagan tendency again became visible;
until at length, in the Hegelian school, we have fallen back
helplessly into the same pantheism which we left 2000 years ago.
In short, what Kant asserts is perfectly true: that the existence
of God cannot be proved from reason. For the highest objects of
all cognition--God, Freedom, and Immortality--can as little be
evolved from the new philosophy as beauty from the disgusting
process of decomposition. And yet more impossible is it to imagine
that this feeble Hegelian pantheism should ever become the crown
and summit of all human thought, and final resting-place for all
human minds. Reason, whether from an indwelling instinct, or from
an innate causality-law, may assert that something supermundane
exists, but can know nothing more and nothing further. So we see
the absurdity of chattering in our journals and periodicals of the
progress of reason. The advance has been only _formal_, not
_essential_. The formal advance has been in printing,
railroads, and such like, in which direction we may easily suppose
progression will yet further continue. But there has been no
essential advance whatever. We know as little now of our own
being, of the being of God, or even of that of the smallest
infusoria, as in the days of Thales and Anaximander. In short,
when life begins, begins also our feebleness; "Therefore," says
Paul, "we walk by faith, not by sight." Yet these would-be
philosophers of our day will only walk by sight, not by faith,
although they cannot see into anything--not even into themselves.]

_Ille_.--"How did it happen, then, that Abraham arrived at
the knowledge of the _one_ God, and called on the name of the
Lord?"

_Hic_.--"Do you compare yourself with Abraham? Have you ever
studied Hebrew?"

_Ille_.--"A little. In my youth I read through the book of
Genesis."

_Hic_.--"Good! then you know that the Hebrew word for
_name_ is _Shem_?"

_Ille_.-"Yes; I know that."

_Hic_.--"Then you know that from the time of Enos the
_name_ [Footnote: In order to understand the argument, the
reader must remember that the _name_ here is taken in the
sense of the Greek logos, and is considered as referring
especially to Christ.] was preached (Genesis iv. 26), showing that
the pure doctrine was known from the beginning. This doctrine was
darkened and obscured by wise people like you, so that it was
almost lost at the time of Abraham, who again preached the
_name_ of the Lord to unbelievers."

_Ille_.--"What did this primitive doctrine contain?"

_Hic_.--"Undoubtedly not only a testimony of the one living
God of heaven and earth, but also clearly of Christ the Messiah,
as He who was promised to our fallen parents in paradise (Genesis
iii. 15)."

_Ille_.--"Can you prove that Abraham had the witness of
Christ?"

_Hic_.--"Yes; from Christ's own words (John viii.
56):--'Abraham, your father, rejoiced to see My day, and he saw
it, and was glad.' Item: Moses and all the Prophets have witnessed
of Him, of whom you say that He lies dead in the grave."

_Ille_.--"Oh, that is just what the priests say."

_Hic_.--"And Christ Himself, Luke xxvi. 25 and 27. Do you not
see, young man, that you mock the Prince of Life, whom God, that
cannot lie, promised before the world began--Titus i. 2--ay, even
more than you mocked your temporal Prince this day? Poor sinner,
what does it help you to believe in one God?"

"Even the devils believe and tremble," added Jacob Kleist the
Chancellor. "No, there is no other name given under heaven by
which you can be saved; and will you be more wise than Abraham,
and the Prophets, and the Apostles, and all holy Christian
Churches up to this day? Shame on you, and remember what St. Paul
says: 'Thinking themselves wise, they became fools.' And in 1st
Cor. xv. 17: 'If Christ be not risen, than is your faith vain, and
our preaching also vain. Ye are yet in your sins, and they who
sleep in Christ are lost.'" [Footnote: This proof of Christ's
divinity from the Old Testament was considered of the highest
importance in the time of the Apostles; but Schleiermacher, in his
strange system, which may be called a mystic Rationalism,
endeavours to shake the authority of the Old Testament in a most
unpardonable and incomprehensible manner. This appears to me as if
a man were to tear down a building from the sure foundation on
which it had rested for 1000 years, and imagine it could rest in
true stability only on the mere breath of his words.]

So Otto was silenced and coughed, for he had nothing to answer,
and all the guests laughed; but, fortunately, just then the
offering-plate was handed round, and the Duke laid down two
ducats, at which Otto smiled scornfully, and flung in seven
rix-dollars, but laughed outright when Fabianus put down only four
groschen.

This seemed to affront his Highness, for he whispered to his
Chancellor to order the carriages, and rose up from table with his
attendants. Then, offering his hand to Otto, said, "Take care,
Otto, or the devil will have you one day in hell, like the rich
man in Scripture." To which Otto replied, bowing low, "Gracious
Lord, I hope at least to meet good company there. Farewell, and
pardon me for not attending you to the castle gates, but I may not
leave my guests."

Then all the nobles rose up, and the young knights accompanied his
Highness, as did also Sidonia, who now further entreated his Grace
to remove her from her father's castle, since he saw himself how
lightly God's Word was held there. Fabianus was infinitely pleased
to hear her speak in this manner, and promised to use all his
influence towards having her removed from this Egypt.

Here ended all that old Uckermann could relate of Sidonia's youth;
so I determined to ride on to Stramehl, and learn there further
particulars if possible.

Accordingly, next day I took leave of the good old man, praying
God to give him a peaceful death, and arrived at Stramehl with my
servant. Here, however, I could obtain no information; for even
the Bork family pretended to know nothing, just as if they never
had heard of Sidonia (they were ashamed, I think, to acknowledge
her), and the townspeople who had known her were all dead. The
girl, indeed, was still living whose goose Sidonia had killed, but
she was now an old woman in second childhood, and fancied that I
was myself Sidonia, who had come to take away another goose from
her. So I rode on to Freienwald, where I heard much that shall
appear in its proper place; then to Old Stettin; and, after
waiting three days for a fair wind, set sail for Wolgast,
expecting to obtain much information there.



CHAPTER IV.

_How Sidonia came to the court at Wolgast, and of what further
happened to her there._


In Wolgast I met with many persons whose fathers had known
Sidonia, and what they related to me concerning her I have summed
up into connection for your Highness as follows.

When Duke Barnim reached the Diet at Treptow, he immediately made
known Sidonia's request to the Grand Chamberlain of Wolgast,
Ulrich von Schwerin, who was also guardian to the five young
princes. But he grumbled, and said--"The ducal widow had maids of
honour enough to dam up the river with if she chose; and he wished
for no more pet doves to be brought to court, particularly not
Sidonia; for he knew her father was ambitious, and longed to be
called 'your Grace.'"

Even Fabianus could not prevail in Sidonia's favour. So the Duke
and he returned home to Stettin; but scarcely had they arrived
there, when a letter came from the ducal widow of Wolgast, saying,
that on no account would she receive Sidonia at her court. The
Duke might therefore keep her at his own if he chose.

So the Duke took no further trouble. But Sidonia was not so easily
satisfied; and taking the matter in her own hands she left her
father's castle without waiting his permission, and set off for
Stettin.

On arriving, she prayed the Duke to bring her to Wolgast without
delay, as she knew there was an honourable, noble lady there who
would watch over her, as indeed she felt would be necessary at a
court. And Fabianus supported her petition; for he was much
edified with her expressed desire to crucify the flesh, with the
affections and lusts.

Ah! could he have known her!

So the kind-hearted Duke embarked with her immediately, without
telling any one; and having a fair wind, sailed up directly to the
little water-gate, and anchored close beneath the Castle of
Wolgast.

Here they landed; the Duke having Sidonia under one arm, and a
little wooden puppet under the other. It was an Eve, for whom
Sidonia had served as the model; and truly she was an Eve in sin,
and brought as much evil upon the land of Pomerania as our first
mother upon the whole world. Sidonia was enveloped in a black
mantle, and wore a hood lined with fur covering her face. The Duke
also had on a large wrapping cloak, and a cap of yellow leather
upon his head.

So they entered the private gate, and on through the first and
second courts of the castle, without her Grace hearing a word of
their arrival. And they proceeded on through the gallery, until
they reached the private apartments of the princess, from whence
resounded a psalm which her Grace was singing with her ladies
while they spun, and which psalm was played by a little musical
box placed within the Duchess's own spinning-wheel. Duke Barnim
had made it himself for her Grace, and it was right pleasant to
hear.

After listening some time, the Duke knocked, and a maid of honour
opened the door. When they entered, her Grace was so confounded
that she dropped her thread and exclaimed, "Dear uncle! is this
maiden, then, Sidonia?" examining her from head to foot while she
spoke. The Duke excused himself by saying that he had promised her
father to bring her here; but her Grace cut short his apologies
with "Dear uncle, Dr. Martin Luther told me on my wedding-day that
he never allowed himself to be interrupted at his prayers, because
it betokened the presence of something evil. And you have now
broken in on our devotions; therefore sit down with the maiden and
join our psalm, if you know it." Then her Grace took up the reel
again, and having set the clock-work going with her foot, struck
up the psalm once more, in a clear, loud voice, joined by all her
ladies. But Sidonia sat still, and kept her eyes upon the ground.

When they had ended, her Grace, having first crossed herself,
advanced to Sidonia, and said, "Since you arrived at my court, you
may remain; but take care that you never lift your eyes upon the
young men. Such wantons are hateful to my sight; for, as the
Scripture says, 'A fair woman without discretion is like a circlet
of gold upon a swine's head.'"

Sidonia changed colour at this; but the Duke, who held quite a
different opinion about such women, entreated her Grace not to be
always so gloomy and melancholy--that it was time now for her to
forget her late spouse, and think of gayer subjects. To which she
answered, "Dear uncle, I cannot forget my Philip, particularly as
my fate was foreshadowed at my bridal by a most ominous
occurrence."

Now, the Duke had heard this story of the bridal a hundred times;
yet to please her he asked, "And what was it, dear cousin?"

"Listen," she replied. "When Dr. Martin Luther exchanged our
rings, mine fell from his hand to the ground; at which he was
evidently troubled, and taking it up, he blew on it; then turning
round, exclaimed--'Away with thee, Satan! away with thee, Satan!
Meddle not in this matter!' And so my dear lord was taken from me
in his forty-fifth year, and I was left a desolate widow." Here
she sobbed and put her kerchief to her eyes.

"But, cousin," said the Duke, "remember you have a great blessing
from God in your five fine sons. And that reminds me--where are
they all now?"

This restored her Grace, and she began to discourse of her
children, telling how handsome was the young Prince Ernest, and
that he and the little Casimir were only with her now.

Here Sidonia, as the other ladies remarked, moved restlessly on
her chair, and her eyes flashed like torches, so that it was
evident some plan had struck her, for she was strengthening day by
day in wickedness.

"Ay, cousin," cried the Duke, "it is no wonder a handsome mother
should have handsome sons. And now what think you of giving us a
jolly wedding? It is time for you to think of a second husband,
methinks, after having wept ten years for your Philip. The best
doctor, they say, for a young widow, is a handsome lover. What
think you of myself, for instance?" And he pulled off his leather
cap, and put his white head and beard up close to her Grace.

Now, though her Grace could not help laughing at his position and
words, yet she grew as sour as vinegar again immediately; for all
the ladies tittered, and, as to Sidonia, she laughed outright.

"Fie! uncle," said her Grace, "a truce to such folly; do you not
know what St. Paul says--'Let the widows abide even as I'?"

"Ay, true, dear cousin; but, then, does he not say, too, 'I will
that the younger widows marry'?"

"Ah, but, dear uncle, I am no longer young."

"Why, you are as young and active as a girl; and I engage, cousin,
if any stranger came in here to look for the widow, he would find
it difficult to make her out amongst the young maidens; don't you
think so, Sidonia?"

"Ah, yes," she replied; "I never imagined her Grace was so young.
She is as blooming as a rose."

This appeared to please the Princess, for she smiled slightly and
then sighed; but gave his Grace a smart slap when he attempted to
seize her hand and kiss it, saying--"Now, uncle, I told you to
leave off this foolery."

At this moment the band outside struck up Duke Bogislaff's
march--the same that was played before him in Jerusalem when he
ascended the Via Dolorosa up to Golgotha; for it was the custom
here to play this march half-an-hour before dinner, in order to
gather all the household, knights, squires, pages, and even grooms
and peasants, to the castle, where they all received
entertainment. And ten rooms were laid with dinner, and all stood
open, so that any one might enter under the permission of the
Court Marshal. All this I must notice here, because Sidonia
afterwards caused much scandal by these means. The music now
rejoiced her greatly, and she began to move her little feet, not
in a pilgrim, but in a waltz measure, and to beat time with them,
as one could easily perceive by the motion underneath her mantle.

The Grand Chamberlain, Ulrich von Schwerin, now entered, and
having looked at Sidonia with much surprise, advanced to kiss the
hand of the Duke and bid him welcome to Wolgast. Then, turning to
her Grace, he inquired if the twelve pages should wait at table to
do honour to the Duke of Stettin. But the Duke forbade them,
saying he wished to dine in private for this day with the Duchess
and her two sons; the Grand Chamberlain, too, he hoped would be
present, and Sidonia might have a seat at the ducal table, as she
was of noble blood; besides, he had taken her likeness as Eve, and
the first of women ought to sit at the first table. Hereupon the
Duke drew forth the puppet, and called to Ulrich--"Here! you have
seen my Adam in Treptow; what think you now of Eve? Look, dear
cousin, is she not the image of Sidonia?"

At this speech both looked very grave. Ulrich said nothing; but
her Grace replied, "You will make the girl vain, dear uncle." And
Ulrich added, "Yes, and the image has such an expression, that if
the real Eve looked so, I think she would have left her husband in
the lurch and run with the devil himself to the devil."

While the last verse of the march was playing--"To Zion comes
Pomerania's Prince"--they proceeded to dinner--the Duke and the
Princes leading, while from every door along the corridor the
young knights and pages peeped out to get a sight of Sidonia, who,
having thrown off her mantle, swept by them in a robe of crimson
velvet laced with gold.

When they entered the dining-hall, Prince Ernest was leaning
against one of the pillars wearing a black Spanish mantle,
fastened with chains of gold. He stepped forward to greet the
Duke, and inquire after his health.

The Duke was well pleased to see him, and tapped him on the cheek,
exclaiming--

"By my faith, cousin, I have not heard too much of you. What a
fine youth you have grown up since you left the university."

But how Sidonia's eyes sparkled when (for his misfortune) she
found herself seated next him at table. The Duchess now called
upon Sidonia to say the "gratias;" but she blundered and
stammered, which many imputed to modesty, so that Prince Ernest
had to repeat it in her stead. This seemed to give him courage;
for when the others began to talk around the table, he ventured to
bid her welcome to his mother's court.

When they rose from table, Sidonia was again commanded to say
grace; but being unable, the Prince came to her relief and
repeated the words for her. And now the evil spirit without doubt
put it into the Duke's head, who had drunk rather freely, to say
to her Grace--

"Dear cousin, I have introduced the Italian fashion at my court,
which is, that every knight kisses the lady next him on rising
from dinner--let us do the same here." And herewith he first
kissed her Grace and then Sidonia. Ulrich von Schwerin looked
grave at this and shook his head, particularly when the Duke
encouraged Prince Ernest to follow his example; but the poor youth
looked quite ashamed, and cast down his eyes. However, when he
raised them again Sidonia's were fixed on him, and she murmured,
"Will you not learn?" with such a glance accompanying the words,
that he could no longer resist to touch her lips. So there was
great laughing in the hall; and the Duke then, taking his puppet
under one arm and Sidonia under the other, descended with her to
the castle gardens, complaining that he never got a good laugh in
this gloomy house, let him do what he would.

And the next day he departed, though the Prince sent his equerry
to know would his Grace desire to hunt that day; or, if he
preferred fishing, there were some excellent carp within the
domain. But the Duke replied, that he would neither ride nor fish,
but sail away at ten of the clock, if the wind were favourable.

So many feared that his Grace was annoyed; and therefore the
Duchess and Prince Ernest, along with the Grand Chamberlain,
attended him to the gate; and even to please him, Sidonia was
allowed to accompany them. The Pomeranian standard also was
hoisted to do him honour, and finally he bade the illustrious
widow farewell, recommending Sidonia to her care. But the fair
maiden herself he took in his arms, she weeping and sobbing, and
admonished her to be careful and discreet; and so, with a fair
wind, set sail from Wolgast, and never once looked back.



CHAPTER V.

_Sidonia knows nothing of God's Word, but seeks to learn it from
the young Prince of Wolgast._


Next day, Sunday, her Grace was unable to attend divine service in
the church, having caught cold by neglecting to put on her mantle
when she accompanied the Duke down to the water-gate. However,
though her Grace could not leave her chamber, yet she heard the
sermon of the preacher all the same; for an ear-tube descended
from her apartment down on the top of the pulpit, by which means
every word reached her, and a maid of honour always remained in
attendance to find out the lessons of the day, and the other
portions of the divine service, for her Grace, who thus could
follow the clergyman word for word. Sidonia was the one selected
for the office on this day.

But, gracious Heavens! when the Duchess said, Find me out the
prophet Isaiah, Sidonia looked in the New Testament; and when she
said, Open the Gospel of St. John, Sidonia looked in the Old
Testament. At first her Grace did not perceive her blunders; but
when she became aware of them, she started up, and tearing the
Bible out of her hands, exclaimed, "What! are you a heathen?
Yesterday you could not repeat a simple grace that every child
knows by heart, and to-day you do not know the difference between
the Old and New Testaments. For shame! Alas! what an ill weed I
have introduced into my house."

So the cunning wench began to weep, and said, her father had never
allowed her to learn Christianity, though she wished to do so
ardently, but always made a mock of it, and for this reason she
had sought a refuge with her Grace, where she hoped to become a
truly pious and believing Christian. The Duchess was quite
softened by her tears, and promised that Dr. Dionysius Gerschovius
should examine her in the catechism, and see what she knew. He was
a learned man from Daber [Footnote: A small town in Lower
Pomerania.], and her Grace's chaplain. The very idea of the doctor
frightened Sidonia so much, that her teeth chattered, and she
entreated her Grace, while she kissed her hand, to allow her at
least a fortnight for preparation and study before the doctor
came.

The Duchess promised this, and said, that Clara von Dewitz,
another of her maidens, would be an excellent person to assist her
in her studies, as she came from Daber also, and was familiar with
the views and doctrines held by Dr. Gerschovius. This Clara we
shall hear more of in our history. She was a year older than
Sidonia, intelligent, courageous, and faithful, with a quiet,
amiable disposition, and of most pious and Christian demeanour.
She wore a high, stiff ruff, out of which peeped forth her head
scarcely visible, and a long robe, like a stole, sweeping behind
her. She was privately betrothed to her Grace's Master of the
Horse, Marcus Bork by name, a cousin of Sidonia's; for, as her
Grace discouraged all kinds of gallantry or love-making at her
court, they were obliged to keep the matter secret, so that no
one, not even her Grace, suspected anything of the engagement.

This was the person appointed to instruct Sidonia in Christianity;
and every day the fair pupil visited Clara in her room for an
hour. But, alas! theology was sadly interrupted by Sidonia's folly
and levity, for she chattered away on all subjects: first about
Prince Ernest--was he affianced to any one? was he in love? had
Clara herself a lover? and if that old proser, meaning the
Duchess, looked always as sour? did she never allow a feast or a
dance? and then she would toss the catechism under the bed, or
tear it and trample on it, muttering, with much ill-temper, that
she was too old to be learning catechisms like a child.

Poor Clara tried to reason with her mildly, and said--"Her Grace
was very particular on these points. The maids of honour were
obliged to assemble weekly once in the church and once in her
Grace's own room, to be examined by Dr. Gerschovius, not only in
the Lutheran Catechism, which they all knew well, but also in that
written by his brother, Dr. Timothy Gerschovius of Old Stettin; so
Sidonia had better first learn the _Catechismum Lutheri_, and
afterwards the _Catechismum Gerschovii_." At last Sidonia
grew so weary of catechisms that she determined to run away from
court.

But Satan had more for her to do; so he put a little syrup into
the wormwood draught, and thus it was. One day passing along the
corridor from Clara's room, it so happened that Prince Ernest
opened his door, just as she came up to it, to let out the smoke,
and then began to walk up and down, playing softly on his lute.
Sidonia stood still for a few minutes with her eyes thrown up in
ecstasy, and then passed on; but the Prince stepped to the door,
and asked her did she play.

"Alas! no," she answered. "Her father had forbidden her to learn
the lute, though music was her passion, and her heart seemed
almost breaking with joy when she listened to it. If his Highness
would but play one little air over again for her."

"Yes, if you will enter, but not while you are standing there at
my door."

"Ah, do not ask me to enter, that would not be seemly; but I will
sit down here on this beer-barrel in the corridor and listen;
besides, music is improved by distance."

And she looked so tenderly at the young Prince that his heart
burned within him, and he stepped out into the corridor to play;
but the sound reaching the ears of her Grace, she looked out, and
Sidonia jumped up from the beer-barrel and fled away to her own
room.

When Sunday came again, all the maids of honour were assembled, as
usual, in her Grace's apartment, to be examined in the catechism;
and probably the Duchess had lamented much to the doctor over
Sidonia's levity and ignorance, for he kept a narrow watch on her
the whole day. At four of the clock Dr. Gerschovius entered in his
gown and bands, looking very solemn; for it was a saying of his
"that the devil invented laughter; and that it were better for a
man to be a weeping Heraclitus than a laughing Democritus." After
he had kissed the hand of her Grace, he said they had better now
begin with the Commandments; and, turning to Sidonia, asked her,
"What is forbidden by the seventh commandment?"

Now Sidonia, who had only learned the Lutheran Catechism, did not
understand the question in this form out of the Gerschovian
Catechism, and remained silent.

"What!" said the doctor, "not know my brother's catechism! You
must get one directly from the court bookseller--the Catechism of
Doctor Timothy Gerschovius--and have it learned by next Sunday."
Then turning to Clara, he repeated the question, and she, having
answered, received great praise.

Now it happened that just at this time the ducal horse were led up
to the horse-pond to water, and all the young pages and knights
were gathered in a group under the window of her Grace's
apartment, laughing and jesting merrily. So Sidonia looked out at
them, which the doctor no sooner perceived than he slapped her on
the hand with the catechism, exclaiming, "What! have you not heard
just now that all sinful desires are forbidden by the seventh
commandment, and yet you look forth upon the young men from the
window? Tell me what are sinful desires?"

But the proud girl grew red with indignation, and cried, "Do you
dare to strike me?" Then, turning to her Grace, she said, "Madam,
that sour old priest has struck me on the fingers. I will not
suffer this. My father shall hear of it."

Hereupon her Grace, and even the doctor, tried to appease her, but
in vain, and she ran crying from the apartment. In the corridor
she met the old treasurer, Jacob Zitsewitz, who hated the doctor
and all his rigid doctrines. So she complained of the treatment
which she had received, and pressed his hand and stroked his
beard, saying, would he permit a castle and land dowered maiden to
be scolded and insulted by an old parson because she looked out at
a window? That was worse than in the days of Popery. Now
Zitsewitz, who had a little wine in his head, on hearing this, ran
in great wrath to the apartment of her Grace, where soon a great
uproar was heard.

For the treasurer, in the heat of his remonstrance with the
priest, struck a little table violently which stood near him, and
overthrew it. On this had Iain the superb escritoire of her
Highness, made of Venetian glass, in which the ducal arms were
painted; and also the magnificent album of her deceased lord, Duke
Philip. The escritoire was broken, the ink poured forth upon the
album, from thence ran down to the costly Persian carpet, a
present from her brother, the Prince of Saxony, and finally
stained the velvet robe of her Highness herself, who started up
screaming, so that the old chamberlain rushed in to know what had
happened, and then he fell into a rage both with the priest and
the treasurer. At length her Grace was comforted by hearing that a
chemist in Grypswald could restore the book, and mend the glass
again as good as new; still she wept, and exclaimed, "Alas! who
could have thought it? all this was foreshadowed to her by Dr.
Martinus dropping her ring."

Here the treasurer, to conciliate her Grace, pretended that he
never had heard the story of the betrothal, and asked, "What does
your Grace mean?" Whereupon drying her eyes she answered, "O
Master Jacob, you will hear a strange story"--and here she went
over each particular, though every child in the street had it by
heart. So this took away her grief, and every one got to rights
again, for that day. But worse was soon to befall.

I have said that half-an-hour before dinner the band played to
summon all within the castle and the retainers to their respective
messes, as the custom then was; so that the long corridor was soon
filled with a crowd of all conditions--pages, knights, squires,
grooms, maids, and huntsmen, all hurrying to the apartments where
their several tables were laid. Sidonia, being aware of this, upon
the first roll of the drum skipped out into the corridor, dancing
up and down the whole length of it to the music, so that the
players declared they had never seen so beautiful a dancer, at
which her heart beat with joy; and as the crowd came up, they
stopped to admire her grace and beauty. Then she would pause and
say a few pleasing words to each, to a huntsman, if he were
passing--"Ah, I think no deer in the world could escape you, my
fine young peasant;" or if a knight, she would praise the colour
of his doublet and the tie of his garter; or if a laundress, she
would commend the whiteness of her linen, which she had never seen
equalled; and as to the old cook and butler, she enchanted them by
asking, had his Grace of Stettin ever seen them, for assuredly, if
he had, he would have taken their fine heads as models for Abraham
and Noah. Then she flung largess amongst them to drink the health
of the Duchess. Only when a young noble passed, she grew timid and
durst not venture to address him, but said, loud enough for him to
hear, "Oh, how handsome! Do you know his name?" Or, "It is easy to
see that he is a born nobleman"--and such like hypocritical
flatteries.

The Princess never knew a word of all this, for, according to
etiquette, she was the last to seat herself at table. So Sidonia's
doings were not discovered until too late, for by that time she
had won over the whole court, great and small, to her interests.

Amongst the cavaliers who passed one day were two fine young men,
Wedig von Schwetzkow, and Johann Appelmann, son of the burgomaster
at Stargard. They were both handsome; but Johann was a dissolute,
wild profligate, and Wedig was not troubled with too much sense.
Still he had not fallen into the evil courses which made the other
so notorious. "Who is that handsome youth?" asked Sidonia as
Johann passed; and when they told her, "Ah, a gentleman!" she
exclaimed, "who is of far higher value in my eyes than a
nobleman."

_Summa:_ they both fell in love with her on the instant; but
all the young squires were the same more or less, except her
cousin Marcus Bork, seeing that he was already betrothed. Likewise
after dinner, in place of going direct to the ladies' apartments,
she would take a circuitous route, so as to go by the quarter
where the men dined, and as she passed their doors, which they
left open on purpose, what rejoicing there was, and such running
and squeezing just to get a glimpse of her--the little putting
their heads under the arms of the tall, and there they began to
laugh and chat; but neither the Duchess nor the old chamberlain
knew anything of this, for they were in a different wing of the
castle, and besides, always took a sleep after dinner.

However, old Zitsewitz, when he heard the clamour, knew well it
was Sidonia, and would jump up from the marshal's table, though
the old marshal shook his head, and run to the gallery to have a
chat with her himself, and she laughed and coquetted with him, so
that the old knight would run after her and take her in his arms,
asking her where she would wish to go. Then she sometimes said, to
the castle garden to feed the pet stag, for she had never seen so
pretty a thing in all her life; and she would fetch crumbs of
bread with her to feed it. So he must needs go with her, and
Sidonia ran down the steps with him that led from the young men's
quarter to the castle court, while they all rose up to look after
her, and laugh at the old fool of a treasurer. But in a short time
they followed too, running up and down the steps in crowds, to see
Sidonia feeding the stag and caressing it, and sometimes trying to
ride on it, while old Zitsewitz held the horns.

Prince Ernest beheld all this from a window, and was ready to die
with jealousy and mortification, for he felt that Sidonia was gay
and friendly with every one but him. Indeed, since the day of the
lute-playing, he fancied she shunned him and treated him coldly.
But as Sidonia had observed particularly, that whenever the young
Prince passed her in the gallery he cast down his eyes and sighed,
she took another way of managing him.



CHAPTER VI.

_How the young Prince prepared a petition to his mother, the
Duchess, in favour of Sidonia--Item, of the strange doings of the
Laplander with his magic drum._


The day preceding that on which Sidonia was to repeat the
Catechism of Doctor Gerschovius (of which, by the way, she had not
learned one word), the young Duke suddenly entered his mother's
apartment, where she and her maidens were spinning, and asked her
if she remembered anything about a Laplander with a drum, who had
foretold some event to her and his father whilst they were at
Penemunde some years before; for he had been arrested at Eldena,
and was now in Wolgast.

"Alas!" said her Grace, "I perfectly remember the horrible
sorcerer. One spring I was at the hunt with your father near
Penemunde, when this wretch suddenly appeared driving two cows
before him on a large ice-field. He pretended that while he was
telling fortunes to the girls who milked the cows, a great storm
arose, and drove him out into the wide sea, which was a terrible
misfortune to him. But your father told him in Swedish, which
language the knave knew, that it had been better to prophesy his
own destiny. To which he replied, a man could as little foretell
his own fate as see the back of his own head, which every one can
see but himself. However, if the Duke wished, he would tell him
his fortune, and if it did not come out true, let all the world
hold him as a liar for his life long.

"Alas! your father consented. Whereupon the knave began to dance
and play upon his drum like one frenzied; so that it was evident
to see the spirit was working within him. Then he fell down like
one dead, and cried, 'Woe to thee when thy house is burning! Woe
to thee when thy house is burning!'

"Therefore be warned, my son; have nothing to do with this fellow,
for it so happened even as he said. On the 11th December '57, our
castle was burned, and your poor father had a rib broken in
consequence. Would that I had been the rib broken for him, so that
he might still reign over the land; and this was the true cause of
his untimely death. Therefore dismiss this sorcerer, for it is
Satan himself speaks in him."

Here Sidonia grew quite pale, and dropped the thread, as if taken
suddenly ill. Then she prayed the Duchess to excuse her, and
permit her to retire to her own room.

The moment the Duchess gave permission, Sidonia glided out; but,
in place of going to her chamber, she threw herself in a languid
attitude upon a seat in the corridor, just where she knew Prince
Ernest must pass, and leaned her head upon her hand. He soon came
out of his mother's room, and seeing Sidonia, took her hand
tenderly, asking, with visible emotion--

"Dear lady, what has happened?"

"Ah," she answered, "I am so weak that I cannot go on to my little
apartment. I know not what ails me; but I am so afraid----"

"Afraid of what, dearest lady?"

"Of that sour old priest. He is to examine me to-morrow in the
Catechism of Gerschovius, and I cannot learn a word of it, do what
I will. I know Luther's Catechism quite well" (this was a
falsehood, we know), "but that does not satisfy him, and if I
cannot repeat it he will slap my hands or box my ears, and my lady
the Duchess will be more angry than ever; but I am too old now to
learn catechisms."

Then she trembled like an aspen-leaf, and fixed her eyes on him
with such tenderness that he trembled likewise, and drawing her
arm within his, supported her to her chamber. On the way she
pressed his hand repeatedly; but with each pressure, as he
afterwards confessed, a pang shot through his heart, which might
have excited compassion from his worst enemy.

When they reached her chamber, she would not let him enter, but
modestly put him back, saying, "Leave me--ah! leave me, gracious
Prince. I must creep to my bed; and in the meantime let me entreat
you to persuade the priest not to torment me to-morrow morning."

The Prince now left her, and forgetting all about the Lapland
wizard whom he had left waiting in the courtyard, he rushed over
the drawbridge, up the main street behind St. Peter's, and into
the house of Dr. Gerschovius.

The doctor was indignant at his petition.

"My young Prince," he said, "if ever a human being stood in need
of God's Word, it is that young maiden." At last, however, upon
the entreaties of Prince Ernest, he consented to defer her
examination for four weeks, during which time she could fully
perfect herself in the catechism of his learned brother.

He then prayed the Prince not to allow his eyes to be dazzled by
this fair, sinful beauty, who would delude him as she had done all
the other men in the castle, not excepting even that old sinner
Zitsewitz.

When the Prince returned to the castle, he found a great crowd
assembled round the Lapland wizard, all eagerly asking to have
their fortunes told, and Sidonia was amongst them, as merry and
lively as if nothing had ailed her. When the Prince expressed his
surprise, she said, that finding herself much relieved by lying
down, she had ventured into the fresh air, to recreate herself,
and have her fortune told. Would not the Prince likewise wish to
hear his?

So, forgetting all his mother's wise injunctions, he advanced with
Sidonia to the wizard. The Lapland drum, which lay upon his knees,
was a strange instrument; and by it we can see what arts Satan
employs to strengthen his kingdom in all places and by all means.
For the Laplanders are Christians, though they in some sort
worship the devil, and therefore he imparts to them much of his
own power. This drum which they use is made out of a piece of
hollow wood, which must be either fir, pine, or birch, and which
grows in such a particular place that it follows the course of the
sun; that is, the pectines, fibræ, and lineæ in the annual rings
of the wood must wind from right to left. Having hollowed out such
a tree, they spread a skin over it, fastened down with little
pegs; and on the centre of the skin is painted the sun, surrounded
by figures of men, beasts, birds, and fishes, along with Christ
and the holy Apostles. All this is done with the rind of the
elder-tree, chewed first beneath their teeth. Upon the top of the
drum there is an index in the shape of a triangle, from which hang
a number of little rings and chains. When the wizard wishes to
propitiate Satan and receive his power, he strikes the drum with a
hammer made of the reindeer's horn, not so much to procure a sound
as to set the index in motion with all its little chains, that it
may move over the figures, and point to whatever gives the
required answer. At the same time the magician murmurs
conjurations, springs sometimes up from the ground, screams,
laughs, dances, reels, becomes black in the face, foams, twists
his eyes, and falls to the ground at last in an ecstasy, dragging
the drum down upon his face.

Any one may then put questions to him, and all will come to pass
that he answers. All this was done by the wizard; but he desired
strictly that when he fell upon the ground, no one should touch
him with the foot, and secondly, that all flies and insects should
be kept carefully from him. So after he had danced, and screamed,
and twisted his face so horribly that half the women fainted, and
foamed and raged until the demon seemed to have taken full
possession of him, he fell down, and then every one put questions
to him, to which he responded; but the answers sometimes produced
weeping, sometimes laughing, according as some gentle maiden heard
that her lover was safe, or that he had been struck by the mast on
shipboard and tumbled into the sea. And all came out true, as was
afterwards proved.

Sidonia now invited the Prince to try his fortune; and so,
forgetting the admonitions of the Duchess, he said, "What dost
thou prophesy to me?"

"Beware of a woman, if you would live long and happily," was the
answer.

"But of what woman?"

"I will not name her, for she is present."

Then the Prince turned pale and looked at Sidonia, who grew pale
also, but made no answer, only laughed, and advancing asked, "What
dost thou prophesy to me?" But immediately the wizard shrieked,
"Away! away! I burn, I burn! thou makest me yet hotter than I am!"

Many thought these exclamations referred to Sidonia's beauty,
particularly the young lords, who murmured, "Now every one must
acknowledge her beauty, when even this son of Satan feels his
heart burning when she approaches." And Sidonia laughed merrily at
their gallantries.

Just then the Grand Chamberlain came by, and having heard what had
happened, he angrily dismissed the crowd, and sending for the
executioner, ordered the cheating impostor to be whipped and
branded, and then sent over the frontier.

The wizard, who had been lying quite stiff, now cried out (though
he had never seen the Chamberlain before)--"Listen, Ulrich! I will
prophesy something to thee: if it comes not to pass, then punish
me; but if it does, then give me a boat and seven loaves, that I
may sail away to-morrow to my own country."

Ulrich refused to hear his prophecy; but the wizard cried
out--"Ulrich, this day thy wife Hedwig will die at Spantekow."

Ulrich grew pale, but only answered, "Thou liest! how can that
be?" He replied, "Thy cousin Clas will visit her; she will descend
to the cellar to fetch him some of the Italian wine for which you
wrote, and which arrived yesterday; a step of the stairs will
break as she is ascending; she will fall forward upon the flask,
which will cut her throat through, and so she will die."

When he ceased, the alarmed Ulrich called loudly to the chief
equerry, Appelmann, who just then came by--"Quick! saddle the best
racer in the stables, and ride for life to Spantekow, for it may
be as he has prophesied, and let us outwit the devil. Haste,
haste, for the love of God, and I will never forget it to thee!"

So the equerry rode without stop or stay to Spantekow, and he
found the cousin Clas in the house; but when he asked for the Lady
Hedwig, they said, "She is in the cellar." So no misfortune had
happened then; but as they waited and she appeared not, they
descended to look for her, and lo! just as the wizard had
prophesied, she had fallen upon the stairs while ascending, and
there lay dead.

The mournful news was brought by sunset to Wolgast, and Ulrich, in
his despair and grief, wished to burn the Laplander; but Prince
Ernest hindered him, saying, "It is more knightly, Ulrich, to keep
your word than to cool your vengeance." So the old man stood
silent a long space, and then said, "Well, young man, if you
abandon Sidonia, I will release the Laplander."

The Prince coloured, and the Lord Chamberlain thought that he had
discovered a secret; but as the prophecy of the wizard came again
into Prince Ernest's mind, he said--

"Well, Ulrich, I will give up the maiden Sidonia. Here is my
hand."

Accordingly, next morning the wizard was released from prison and
given a boat, with seven loaves and a pitcher of water, that he
might sail back to his own country. The wind, however, was due
north, but the people who crossed the bridge to witness his
departure were filled with fear when they saw him change the wind
at his pleasure to suit himself; for he pulled out a string full
of knots, and having swung it about, murmuring incantations, all
the vanes on the towers creaked and whirled right about, all the
windmills in the town stopped, all the vessels and boats that were
going up the stream became quite still, and their sails flapped on
the masts, for the wind had changed in a moment from north to
south, and the north waves and the south waves clashed together.

As every one stood wondering at this, the sailors and fishermen in
particular, the wizard sprang into his boat and set forth with a
fair wind, singing loudly, "Jooike Duara! Jooike Duara!"
[Footnote: This is the beginning of a magic rhyme, chanted even by
the distant Calmucks--namely, _Dschie jo eie jog_.] and soon
disappeared from sight, nor was he ever again seen in that
country.



CHAPTER VII.

_How Ulrich von Schwerin buries his spouse, and Doctor
Gerschovius comforts him out of God's Word._


This affair with the Lapland wizard much troubled the Grand
Chamberlain, and his faith suffered sore temptations. So he
referred to Dr. Gerschovius, and asked him how the prophets of God
differed from those of the devil. Whereupon the doctor recommended
him to meditate on God's Word, wherein he would find a source of
consolation and a solution of all doubts.

So the mourning Ulrich departed for his castle of Spantekow,
trusting in the assistance of God. And her Grace, with all her
court, resolved to attend the funeral also, to do him honour. They
proceeded forth, therefore, dressed in black robes, their horses
also caparisoned with black hangings, and the Duchess ordered a
hundred wax lights for the ceremony. Sidonia alone declined
attending, and gave out that she was sick in bed. The truth,
however, was, that as Duke Ernest was obliged to remain at home to
take the command of the castle, and affix his signature to all
papers, she wished to remain also.

The mourning cortège, therefore, had scarcely left the court, when
Sidonia rose and seated herself at the window, which she knew the
young Prince must pass along with his attendants on their way to
the office of the castle. Then taking up a lute, which she had
purchased privately, and practised night and morning in place of
learning the catechism, she played a low, soft air, to attract
their attention. So all the young knights looked up; and when
Prince Ernest arrived he looked up also, and seeing Sidonia,
exclaimed, with surprise, "Beautiful Sidonia, how have you learned
the lute?" At which she blushed and answered modestly, "Gracious
Prince, I am only self-taught. No one here understands the lute
except your Highness."

"Does this employment, then, give you much pleasure?"

"Ah, yes! If I could only play it well; I would give half my life
to learn it properly. There is no such sweet enjoyment upon earth,
I think, as this."

"But you have been sick, lady, and the cold air will do you an
injury."

"Yes, it is true I have been ill, but the air rather refreshes me;
and besides, I feel the melancholy of my solitude less here."

"Now farewell, dear lady; I must attend to the business of the
castle."

This little word--"dear lady"--gave Sidonia such confidence, that
by the time she expected Prince Ernest to pass again on his
return, she was seated at the window awaiting him with her lute,
to which she now sang in a clear, sweet voice. But the Prince
passed on as if he heard nothing--never even once looked up, to
Sidonia's great mortification. However, the moment he reached his
own apartment, he commenced playing a melancholy air upon his
lute, as if in response to hers. The artful young maiden no sooner
heard this than she opened her door. The Prince at the same
instant opened his to let out the smoke, and their eyes met, when
Sidonia uttered a feeble cry and fell fainting upon the floor. The
Prince, seeing this, flew to her, raised her up, and trembling
with emotion, carried her back to her room and laid her down upon
the bed. Now indeed it was well for him that he had given that
promise to Ulrich. When Sidonia after some time slowly opened her
eyes, the Prince asked tenderly what ailed her; and she said, "I
must have taken cold at the window, for I felt very ill, and went
to the door to call an attendant; but I must have fainted then,
for I remember nothing more." Alas! the poor Prince, he believed
all this, and conjured her to lie down until he called a maid, and
sent for the physician if she desired it; but, no--she refused,
and said it would pass off soon. (Ah, thou cunning maiden! it may
well pass off when it never was on.)

However, she remained in bed until the next day, when the Princess
and her train returned home from the funeral. Her Grace had
assisted at the obsequies with all princely state, and even laid a
crown of rosemary with her own hand upon the head of the corpse,
and a little prayer-book beside it, open at that fine hymn "Pauli
Sperati" (which also was sung over the grave). Then the husband
laid a tin crucifix on the coffin, with the inscription from I
John iii. 8--"The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy
the works of the devil." After which the coffin was lowered into
the grave with many tears.

Some days after this, being Sunday, Doctor Gerschovius and the
Grand Chamberlain were present at the ducal table. Ulrich indeed
ate little, for he was filled with grief, only sipped a little
broth, into which he had crumbled some reindeer cheese, not to
appear ungracious; but when dinner was over, he raised his head,
and asked Doctor Gerschovius to inform him now in what lay the
difference between the prophets of God and those of the devil. The
Duchess was charmed at the prospect of such a profitable
discourse, and ordered a cushion and footstool to be placed for
herself, that she might remain to hear it. Then she sent for the
whole household--maidens, squires, and pages--that they too might
be edified, and learn the true nature of the devil's gifts. The
hall was soon as full, therefore, as if a sermon were about to be
preached; and the doctor, seeing this, stroked his beard, and he
begun as follows: [Footnote: Perhaps some readers will hold the
rationalist doctrine that no prophecy is possible or credible, and
that no mortal can under any circumstances see into futurity; but
how then can they account for the wonderful phenomena of animal
magnetism, which are so well authenticated? Do they deny all the
facts which have been elicited by the great advance made recently
in natural and physiological philosophy? I need not here bring
forward proofs from the ancients, showing their universal belief
in the possibility of seeing into futurity, nor a cloud of
witnesses from our modern philosophers, attesting the truth of the
phenomena of somnambulism, but only observe that this very Academy
of Paris, which in 1784 anathematised Mesmer as a quack, a cheat,
and a charlatan or fool, and which in conjunction with all the
academies of Europe (that of Berlin alone excepted) reviled his
doctrines and insulted all who upheld them, as witches had been
reviled in preceding centuries, and compelled Mesmer himself to
fly for protection to Frankfort--this very academy, I say, on the
12th February 1826, rescinded all their condemnatory verdicts, and
proclaimed that the wonderful phenomena of animal magnetism had
been so well authenticated that doubt was no longer possible. This
confession of faith was the more remarkable, because the members
of the commission of inquiry had been carefully selected, on
purpose, from physicians who were totally adverse to the doctrines
of Mesmer.

There are but two modes, I think, of explaining these
extraordinary phenomena--either by supposing them effected by
supernatural agency, as all seers and diviners from antiquity,
through the Middle Ages down to our somnambulists, have pretended
that they really stood in communication with spirit; or, by
supposing that there is an innate latent divining element in our
own natures, which only becomes evident and active under certain
circumstances, and which is capable of revealing the _future_
with more or less exactitude just as the mind can recall the
_past_. For _past_ and _future_ are but different
forms of our own subjective intuition of time, and because this
internal intuition represents no figure, we seek to supply the
defect by an analogy. For time exists _within_ us, not
_without_ us; it is not something which subsists of itself,
but it is the form only of our internal sense.

These two modes of explaining the phenomena present, I know, great
difficulties; the latter especially. However, the pantheistical
solution of the Hegelian school adopted by Kieser, Kluge, Wirth,
Hoffman, pleases me still less. I even prefer that of
Jung-Stilling and Kerner--but at all events one thing is certain,
the _facts_ are there; only ignorance, stupidity, and
obstinacy can deny them. The _cause_ is still a subject of
speculation, doubt, and difficulty. It is only by a vast induction
of facts, as in natural philosophy, that we can ever hope to
arrive at the knowledge of a general law. The crown of all
creation is _man_; therefore while we investigate so acutely
all other creatures, let us not shrink back from the strange and
unknown depths of our own nature which magnetism has opened to
us.]

I am rejoiced to treat of this subject now, considering how lately
that demon Lapp befooled ye all. And I shall give you many signs,
whereby in future a prophet of God may be distinguished from a
prophet of the devil. 1st, Satan's prophets are not conscious of
what they utter; but God's prophets are always perfectly
conscious, both of the inspiration they receive and the
revelations they make known. For as the Laplander grew frenzied,
and foamed at the mouth, so it has been with all false prophets
from the beginning. Even the blind heathen called prophesying
_mania_, or the wisdom of _madness_. The secret of
producing this madness was known to them; sometimes it was by the
use of roots or aromatic herbs, or by exhalations, as in the case
of the Pythoness, whose incoherent utterances were written by the
priests of Apollo, for when the fit was over, all remembrance of
what she had prophesied vanished too. In the Bible we find all
false prophets described as frenzied. In Isaiah xliv. 25--"God
maketh the diviners mad." In Ezekiel xiii. 3--"Woe to the foolish
prophets." Hosea ix. 7--"The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man
is mad." And Isaiah xxviii. 7 explains fully how this madness was
produced.

Namely, by wine and the strong drink _Sekar_. [Footnote: It
is doubtful of what this drink was composed. Hieronymus and Aben
Ezra imagine that it was of the nature of strong beer. Probably it
resembled the potion with which the mystery-men amongst the
savages of the present day produce this divining frenzy. We find
such in use throughout Tartary, Siberia, America, and Africa, as
if the usage had descended to them from one common tradition.
Witches, it is well known, made frequent use of potions, and as
all somnambulists assert that the seat of the soul's greatest
activity is in the stomach, it is not incredible what Van Helmont
relates, that having once tasted the root _napellus_, his
intellect all at once, accompanied by an unusual feeling of
ecstasy, seemed to remove from his brain to his stomach.] Further
examples of this madness are given in the Bible, as Saul when
under the influence of the evil spirit flung his spear at the
innocent David; and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal,
who leaped upon the altar, and screamed, and cut themselves with
knives and lancets until the blood flowed; and the maiden with the
spirit of divination, that met Paul in the streets of Philippi;
with many others.

But all this is an abomination in the sight of God. For as the
Lord came not to His prophet Elijah in the strong wind, nor in the
earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still small voice, so does
He evidence Himself in all His prophets; and we find no record in
Scripture, either of their madness, or of their having forgotten
the oracles they uttered, like the Pythoness and others inspired
by Satan. [Footnote: It is well known that somnambulists never
remember upon their recovery what they have uttered during the
crisis. Therefore phenomena of this class appear to belong, in
some things, to that of the divining frenzy, though in others to
quite a different category of the divining life.] Further, you may
observe that the false prophets can always prophesy when they
choose, Satan is ever willing to come when they exorcise him; but
the true prophets of God are but instruments in the hand of the
Lord, and can only speak when He chooses the spirit to enter into
them. So we find them saying invariably--"This is the word which
came unto me," or "This is the word which the Lord spake unto me."
For the Lord is too high and holy to come at the bidding of a
creature, or obey the summons of his will. St. Peter confirms
this, 2 Pet. i. 21, that no prophecy ever came at the will of man.

Again, the false prophets were persons of known infamous
character, and in this differed from the prophets of God, who were
always righteous men in word and deed. Diodorus informs us of the
conduct of the Pythoness and the priests of Apollo, and also that
all oracles were bought with gold, and the answer depended on the
weight of the sack. As Ezekiel notices, xiii. 19; and Micah iii.
8. Further, the holy prophets suffered all manner of persecution
for the sake of God, as Daniel, Elias, Micah, yet remained
faithful, with but one exception, and were severely punished if
they fell into crime, and the gift of prophecy taken from them;
for God cannot dwell in a defiled temple, but Satan can dwell in
no other.

Also, Satan's prophets speak only of temporal things, but God's
people of spiritual things. The heathen oracles, for instance,
never foretold any events but those concerning peace or war, or
what men desire in riches, health, or advancement--in short,
temporal matters alone. Whereas God's people, in addition to
temporal concerns, preached repentance and holiness to the Jewish
people, and the coming of Christ's kingdom, in whom all nations
should be blessed. For as the soul is superior to the body, so are
God's prophets superior to those of the Prince of this world.

And in conclusion, observe that Satan's seers abounded with lies,
as all heathen history testifies, or their oracles were capable of
such different interpretations that they became a subject of
mockery and contempt to the wise amongst the ancient philosophers.
But be not surprised if they sometimes spoke truth, as the Lapland
wizard has done, for the devil's power is superior to man's, and
he can see events which, though close at hand, are yet hidden from
us, as a father can foretell an approaching storm, though his
little son cannot do so, and therefore looks upon his father's
wisdom as supernatural. [Footnote: The somnambulists also can
prophesy of those events which are near at hand, but never of the
distant.] But the devil has not the power to see into futurity,
nor even the angels of God, only God Himself.

The prophets of God, on the contrary, are given power by Him to
look through all time at a glance, as if it were but a moment; for
a thousand years to Him are but as a watch of the night; and
therefore they all from the beginning testified of the Saviour
that was to come, and rejoiced in His day as if they really beheld
Him, and all stood together as brothers in one place, and at the
same time in His blessed presence. But what unanimity and feeling
has ever been observed by the seers of Satan, when the
contradictions amongst their oracles were notorious to every one?

And as the eyes of all the holy prophets centred upon Christ, so
the eyes of the greatest of all prophets penetrated the furthest
depths of futurity. Not only His own life, sufferings, death, and
resurrection were foretold by Him, but the end of the Jewish
kingdom, the dispersion of their race, the rise of His Church from
the grain of mustard-seed to the wide, world-spreading tree; and
all has been fulfilled. Be assured, therefore, that this eternal
glory, which He promised to those who trust in Him, will be
fulfilled likewise when He comes to judge all nations. So, my
worthy Lord Ulrich, cease to weep for your spouse who sleeps in
Jesus, for a greater Prophet than the Lapland wizard has said, "I
am the resurrection and the life, whosoever believeth in Me shall
never die." [Footnote: In addition to the foregoing distinctions
between the Satanic and the holy prophets, I may add the
following--that almost all the diviners amongst the heathen were
_women_. For instance, Cassandra, the Pythia in Delphi,
Triton and Peristhæa in Dodona, the Sybils, the Velleda of
Tacitus, the Mandragoras, and Druidesses, the witches of the
Reformation age; and in fine, the modern somnambules are all women
too. But throughout the whole Bible we find that the prophetic
power was exclusively conferred upon _men_, with two
exceptions--namely, Deborah, Judges iv. 4, and Hilda, 2 Chron.
xxxiv. 22--for there is no evidence that Miriam had a seer spirit;
she was probably only God-inspired, though classed under the
general term prophet. We find, indeed, that woe was proclaimed
against the divining women who prophesy out of their own head,
Ezekiel xiii. 17-23; so amongst the people of God the revelation
of the future was confined to _men_, amongst the heathen to
_women_, or if men are mentioned in these pagan rites, it is
only as assistants and inferior agents, like animals, metals,
roots, stones, and such like. See Cicero, _De Divinatione_,
i. 18.]



CHAPTER VIII.

_How Sidonia rides upon the pet stag, and what evil consequences
result therefrom._


When the discourse had ended, her Grace retired to her apartment
and Ulrich to his, for it was their custom, as I have said, to
sleep after dinner. Doctor Gerschovius returned home, and the
young Prince descended to the gardens with his lute. Now was a
fine time for the young knights, for they had been sadly disturbed
in their carouse by that godly prophesying of the doctor's, and
they now returned to their own quarter to finish it, headed by the
old treasurer Zitsewitz. Then a merry uproar of laughing, singing,
and jesting commenced, and as the door lay wide open as usual,
Sidonia heard all from her chamber; so stepping out gently with a
piece of bread in her hand, she tripped along the corridor past
their door. No sooner was she perceived than a loud storm of
cheers greeted her, which she returned with smiles and bows, and
then danced down the steps to the courtyard. Several rose up to
pursue her, amongst whom Wedig and Appelmann were the most eager.

But they were too late, and saw nothing but the tail of her dress
as she flew round the corner into the second court. Just then an
old laundress, bringing linen to the castle for her Highness,
passed by, and told the young men that the young lady had been
feeding the tame stag with bread, and then jumped on its back
while she held the horns, and that the animal had immediately
galloped off like lightning into the second court; so that the
young knights and squires rushed instantly after her, fearing that
some accident might happen, and presently they heard her scream
twice. Appelmann was the first to reach the outer court, and there
beheld poor Sidonia in a sad condition, for the stag had flung her
off. Fortunately it was on a heap of soft clay, and there she lay
in a dead faint.

Had the stag thrown her but a few steps further, against the
manger for the knights' horses, she must have been killed. But
Satan had not yet done with her, and therefore, no doubt, prepared
this soft pillow for her head.

When Appelmann saw that she was quite insensible, he kneeled down
and kissed first her little feet, then her white hands, and at
last her lips, while she lay at the time as still as death, poor
thing. Just then Wedig came up in a great passion; for the
castellan's son, who was playing ball, had flung the ball right
between his legs, out of tricks, as he was running by, and nearly
threw him down, whereupon Wedig seized hold of the urchin by his
thick hair to punish him, for all the young knights were laughing
at his discomfiture; but the boy bit him in the hip, and then
sprang into his father's house, and shut the door. How little do
we know what will happen! It was this bite which caused Wedig's
lamentable death a little after.

But if he was angry before, what was his rage now when he beheld
the equerry, Appelmann, kissing the insensible maiden.

"How now, peasant," he cried, "what means this boldness? How dare
this tailor's son treat a castle and land dowered maiden in such a
way? Are noble ladies made for his kisses?" And he draws his
poignard to rush upon Appelmann, who draws forth his in return,
and now assuredly there would have been murder done, if Sidonia
had not just then opened her eyes, and starting up in amazement
prayed them for her sake to keep quiet. She had been quite
insensible, and knew nothing at all of what had happened. The old
treasurer, with the other young knights, came up now, and strove
to make peace between the two rivals, holding them apart by force;
but nothing could calm the jealous Wedig, who still cried, "Let me
avenge Sidonia!--let me avenge Sidonia!" So that Prince Ernest,
hearing the tumult in the garden, ran with his lute in his hand to
see what had happened. When they told him, he grew as pale as a
corpse that such an indignity should have been offered to Sidonia,
and reprimanded his equerry severely, but prayed that all would
keep quiet now, as otherwise the Duchess and the Lord Chamberlain
would certainly be awakened out of their after-dinner sleep, and
then what an afternoon they would all have. This calmed every one,
except the jealous Wedig, who, having drunk deeply, cried out
still louder than before, "Let me go. I will give my life for the
beautiful Sidonia. I will avenge the insolence of this peasant
knave!"

When Sidonia observed all this, she felt quite certain that a
terrible storm was brewing for all of them, and so she ran to
shelter herself through the first open door that came in her way,
and up into the second corridor; but further adventures awaited
her here, for not being acquainted with this part of the castle,
she ran direct into an old lumber-room, where she found, to her
great surprise, a young man dressed in rusty armour, and wearing a
helmet with a serpent crest upon his head. This was Hans von
Marintzky, whose brain Sidonia had turned by reading the Amadis
with him in the castle gardens, and as she had often sighed, and
said that she, too, could have loved the serpent knight, the poor
love-stricken Hans, taking this for a favourable sign, determined
to disguise himself as described in the romance, and thus secure
her love.

So when her beautiful face appeared at the door, Hans screamed for
joy, like a young calf, and falling on one knee,
exclaimed--"Adored Princess, your serpent knight is here to claim
your love, and tender his hand to you in betrothal, for no other
wife do I desire but thee; and if the Princess Rosaliana herself
were here to offer me her love, I would strike her on the face."

Sidonia was rather thunderstruck, as one may suppose, and
retreated a few steps, saying, "Stand up, dear youth; what ails
you?"

"So I am dear to you," he cried, still kneeling; "I am then really
dear to you, adored Princess? Ah! I hope to be yet dearer when I
make you my spouse."

Sidonia had not foreseen this termination to their romance
reading, but she suppressed her laughter, remembering how she had
lost her lover Uckermann by showing scorn; so she drew herself up
with dignity, and said, with as grave a face as a chief mourner--

"If you will not rise, sir knight, I must complain to her
Highness; for I cannot be your spouse, seeing that I have resolved
never to marry." (Ah! how willingly, how willingly you would have
taken any husband half a year after.) "But if you will do me a
service, brave knight, run instantly to the court, where Wedig and
Appelmann are going to murder each other, and separate them, or my
gracious lady and old Ulrich will awake, and then we shall all be
punished."

The poor fool jumped up instantly, and exclaiming, "Death for my
adored princess!" he sprung down the steps, though rather
awkwardly, not being accustomed to the greaves; and rushing into
the middle of the crowd, with his vizor down, and the drawn sword
in his hand, he began making passes at every one that came in his
way, crying, "Death for my adored princess! Long live the
beautiful Sidonia! Knaves, have done with your brawling, or I
shall lay you all dead at my feet."

At first every one stuck up close by the wall when they saw the
madman, to get out of reach of his sword, which he kept whirling
about his head; but as soon as he was recognised by his voice,
Wedig called out to him--

"Help, brother, help! Will you suffer that this peasant boor
Appelmann should kiss the noble Sidonia as she lay there faint and
insensible? Yet I saw him do this. So help me, relieve me, that I
may brand this low-born knave for his daring."

"What? My adored princess!" exclaimed the serpent knight. "This
valet, this groom, dared to kiss her? and I would think myself
blessed but to touch her shoe-tie;" and he fell furiously upon
Appelmann.

The uproar was now so great that it might have aroused the Duchess
and Ulrich even from their last sleep, had they been in the
castle.

But, fortunately, some time before the riot began, both had gone
out by the little private gate, to attend afternoon service at St.
Peter's Church, in the town. For the archdeacon was sick, and
Doctor Gerschovius was obliged to take his place there. No one,
therefore, was left in the castle to give orders or hold command;
even the castellan had gone to hear service; and no one minded
Prince Ernest, he was so young, besides being under tutelage; and
as to old Zitsewitz, he was as bad as the worst of them himself.

The Prince threatened to have the castle bells rung if they were
not quiet; and the uproar had indeed partially subsided just at
the moment the serpent knight fell upon Appelmann. The Prince then
ordered his equerry to leave the place instantly, under pain of
his severe displeasure, for he saw that both had drunk rather
deeply.

So Appelmann turned to depart as the Prince commanded, but Wedig,
who had been relieved by Hans the serpent, sprung after him with
his dagger, limping though, for the bite in his hip made him
stiff. Appelmann darted through the little water-gate and over the
bridge; the other pursued him; and Appelmann, seeing that he was
foaming with rage, jumped over the rails into a boat. Wedig
attempted to do the same, but being stiff from the bite, missed
the boat, and came down plump into the water.

As he could not swim, the current carried him rapidly down the
stream before the others had time to come up; but he was still
conscious, and called to Hans, "Comrade, save me!" So Hans,
forgetting his heavy cuirass, plunged in directly, and soon
reached the drowning man. Wedig, however, in his death-struggles,
seized hold of him with such force that they both instantly
disappeared. Then every one sprang to the boats to try and save
them; but being Sunday, the boats were all moored, so that by the
time they were unfastened it was too late, and the two unfortunate
young men had sunk for ever.

What calamities may be caused by the levity and self-will of a
beautiful woman! From the time of Helen of Troy up to the present
moment, the world has known this well; but, alas! this was but the
beginning of that tragedy which Sidonia played in Pomerania, as
that other wanton did in Phrygia.

Let us hear the conclusion, however. Prince Ernest, now being
truly alarmed, despatched a messenger to the church for her
Highness; but as Doctor Gerschovius had not yet ended his
exordium, her Grace would by no means be disturbed, and desired
the messenger to go to Ulrich, who no sooner heard the tidings
than he rushed down to the water-gate. There he found a great
crowd assembled, all eagerly trying, with poles and hooks, to fish
out the bodies of the two young men; and one fellow even had tied
a piece of barley bread to a rope, and flung it into the water--as
the superstition goes that it will follow a corpse in the stream,
and point to where it lies. And the women and children were
weeping and lamenting on the bridge; but the old knight pushed
them all aside with his elbows, and cried--"Thousand devils! what
are ye all at here?"

Every one was silent, for the young men had agreed not to betray
Sidonia. Then Ulrich asked the Prince, who replied, that
Marintzky, having put on some old armour to frighten the others,
as he believed, they pursued him in fun over the bridge, and he
and another fell over into the water. This was all he knew of the
matter, for he was playing on the lute in the garden when the
tumult began.

"Thousand devils!" cries Ulrich; "I cannot turn my back a moment
but there must be a riot amongst the young fellows. Listen! young
lord--when it comes to your turn to rule land and people, I
counsel you, send all the young fellows to the devil. Away with
them! they are a vain and dissolute crew. Get up the bodies, if
you can; but, for my part, I would care little if a few more were
baptized in the same way. Speak! some of you: who commenced this
tavern broil? Speak! I must have an answer."

This adjuration had its effect, for a man answered--"Sidonia made
the young men mad, and so it all happened." It was her own cousin,
Marcus Bork, who spoke, for which reason Sidonia never could
endure him afterwards, and finally destroyed him, as shall be
related in due time.

When Ulrich found that Sidonia was the cause of all, he raged with
fury, and commanded them to tell him all. When Marcus had related
the whole affair, he swore by the seven thousand devils that he
would make her remember it, and that he would instantly go up to
her chamber.

But Prince Ernest stepped before him, saying, "Lord Ulrich, I have
made you a promise--you must now make one to me: it is to leave
this maiden in peace; she is not to blame for what has happened."
But Ulrich would not listen to him.

"Then I withdraw my promise," said the Prince. "Now act as you
think proper."

"Thousand devils! she had better give up that game," exclaimed
Ulrich. However, he consented to leave her undisturbed, and
departed with vehement imprecations on her head, just as the
Duchess returned from church, and was seen advancing towards the
crowd.



CHAPTER IX.

_How Sidonia makes the young Prince break his word--Item, how
Clara von Dewitz in vain tries to turn her from her evil ways._


It may be easily conjectured what a passion her Grace fell into
when the whole story was made known to her, and how she stormed
against Sidonia. At last she entered the castle; but Prince
Ernest, rightly suspecting her object, slipped up to the corridor,
and met her just as she had reached Sidonia's chamber. Here he
took her hand, kissed it, and prayed her not to disgrace the young
maiden, for that she was innocent of all the evil that had
happened.

But she pushed him away, exclaiming--"Thou disobedient son, have I
not heard of thy gallantries with this girl, whom Satan himself
has sent into my royal house? Shame on thee! One of thy noble
station to take the part of a murderess!"

"But you have judged harshly, my mother. I never made love to the
maiden. Leave her in peace, and do not make matters worse, or all
the young nobles will fight to the death for her."

"Ay, and thou, witless boy, the first of all. Oh, that my beloved
spouse, Philippus Primus, could rise from his grave--what would he
say to his lost son, who, like the prodigal in Scripture, loves
strange women and keeps company with brawlers!" (Weeping.)

"Who has said that I am a lost son?"

"Doctor Gerschovius and Ulrich both say it."

"Then I shall run the priest through the body, and challenge the
knight to mortal combat, unless they both retract their words."

"No! stay, my son," said the Duchess; "I must have mistaken what
they said. Stay, I command you!"

"Never! Unless Sidonia be left in peace, such deeds will be done
to-day that all Pomerania will ring with them for years."

In short, the end of the controversy was, that the Duchess at last
promised to leave Sidonia unmolested; and then retired to her
chamber much disturbed, where she was soon heard singing the 109th
psalm, with a loud voice, accompanied by the little spindle clock.

Sidonia, who was hiding in her room, soon heard of all that had
happened, through the Duchess's maid, whom she kept in
pay;--indeed, all the servants were her sworn friends, in
consequence of the liberal largess she gave them; and even the
young lords and knights were more distractedly in love with her
than ever after the occurrences of the day, for her cunning turned
everything to profit.

So next morning, having heard that Prince Ernest was going to
Eldena to receive the dues, she watched for him, probably through
the key-hole, knowing he must pass her door. Accordingly, just as
he went by, she opened it, and presented herself to his eyes
dressed in unusual elegance and coquetry, and wearing a short robe
which showed her pretty little sandals. The Prince, when he saw
the short robe, and that she looked so beautiful, blushed, and
passed on quickly, turning away his head, for he remembered the
promise he had given to Ulrich, and was afraid to trust himself
near her.

But Sidonia stepped before him, and flinging herself at his feet,
began to weep, murmuring, "Gracious Prince and Lord, accept my
gratitude, for you alone have saved me, a poor young maiden, from
destruction."

"Stand up, dear lady, stand up."

"Never until my tears fall upon your feet." And then she kissed
his yellow silk hose ardently, continuing, "What would have become
of me, a helpless, forlorn orphan, without your protection?"

Here the young Prince could no longer restrain his emotions; if he
had pledged his word to the whole world, even to the great God
Himself, he must have broken it. So he raised her up and kissed
her, which she did not resist; only sighed, "Ah! if any one saw us
now, we would both be lost." But this did not restrain him, and he
kissed her again and again, and pressed her to his heart, when she
trembled, and murmured scarcely audibly, "Oh! why do I love you
so! Leave me, my lord, leave me; I am miserable enough."

"Do you then love me, Sidonia? Oh! let me hear you say it once
more. You love me, enchanting Sidonia!"

"Alas!" she whispered, while her whole frame trembled, "what have
I foolishly said? Oh! I am so unhappy."

"Sidonia! tell me once again you love me. I cannot credit my
happiness, for you are even more gracious with the young nobles
than with me, and often have you martyred my heart with jealousy."

"Yes; I am courteous to them all, for so my father taught me, and
said it was safer for a maiden so to be--but----"

"But what? Speak on."

"Alas!" and here she covered her face with her hands; but Prince
Ernest pressed her to his heart, and kissed her, asking her again
if she really loved him; and she murmured a faint "yes;" then as
if the shame of such a confession had killed her, she tore herself
from his arms, and sprang into her chamber. So the young Prince
pursued his way to Eldena, but took so little heed about the dues
that Ulrich shook his head over the receipts for half a year
after.

When mid-day came, and the band struck up for dinner, Sidonia was
prepared for a similar scene with the young knights, and, as she
passed along the corridor, she gave them her white hand to kiss,
glittering with diamonds, thanking them all for not having
betrayed her, and praying them to keep her still in their favour,
whereat they were all wild with ecstasy; but old Zitsewitz, not
content with her hand, entreated for a kiss on her sweet ruby
lips, which she granted, to the rage and jealousy of all the
others, while he exclaimed, "O Sidonia, thou canst turn even an
old man into a fool!"

And his words came true; for in the evening a dispute arose as to
which of them Sidonia liked best, seeing that she uttered the same
sweet things to all; and to settle it, five of them, along with
the old fool Zitsewitz, went to Sidonia's room, and each in turn
asked her hand in marriage; but she gave them all the same
answer--that she had no idea then of marriage, she was but a
young, silly creature, and would not know her own mind for ten
years to come.

One good resulted from Sidonia's ride upon the stag: her
promenades were forbidden, and she was restricted henceforth
entirely to the women's quarter of the castle. Her Grace and she
had frequent altercations; but with Clara she kept upon good
terms, as the maiden was of so excellent and mild a disposition.

This peace, however, was destined soon to be broken; for though
her Grace was silent in the presence of Sidonia, yet she never
ceased complaining in private to the maids of honour of this
artful wench, who had dared to throw her eyes upon Prince Ernest.
So at length they asked why her Highness did not dismiss the girl
from her service.

"That must be done," she replied, "and without delay. For that
purpose, indeed, I have written to Duke Barnim, and also to the
father of the girl, at Stramehl, acquainting them with my
intention."

Clara now gently remonstrated, saying that a little Christian
instruction might yet do much for the poor young sinner, and that
if she did not become good and virtuous under the care of her
Grace, where else could she hope to have her changed?

"I have tried all Christian means," said her Grace, "but in vain.
The ears of the wicked are closed to the Word of God."

"But let her Grace recollect that this poor sinner was endowed
with extraordinary beauty, and therefore it was no fault of hers
if the young men all grew deranged for love of her."

Here a violent tumult, and much scornful laughing, arose amongst
the other maids of honour; and one Anna Lepels exclaimed--"I
cannot imagine in what Sidonia's wonderful beauty consists. When
she flatters the young men, and makes free with them as they are
passing to dinner, what marvel if they all run after her? Any girl
might have as many lovers if she chose to adopt such manners."

Clara made no reply, but turning to her Grace, said with her
permission she would leave her spinning for a while, to visit
Sidonia in her room, who perhaps would hearken to her advice, as
she meant kindly to her.

"You may go," said her Grace; "but what do you mean to do? I tell
you, advice is thrown away on her."

"Then I will threaten her with the Catechism of Doctor
Gerschovius, which she must repeat on Sunday, for I know that she
is greatly afraid of that and the clergyman."

"And you think you will frighten her into giving up running after
the young men?"

"Oh yes, if I tell her that she will be publicly reprimanded
unless she can say it perfectly."

So her Grace allowed her to depart, but with something of a weak
faith.

Although Sidonia had absented herself from the spinning, on the
pretext of learning the catechism quietly in her own room, yet,
when Clara entered, no one was there except the maid, who sat upon
the floor at her work. She knew nothing about the young lady; but
as she heard a great deal of laughter and merriment in the court
beneath, it was likely Sidonia was not far off. On stepping to the
window, Clara indeed beheld Sidonia.

In the middle of the court was a large horse-pond built round with
stones, to which the water was conducted by metal pipes
communicating with the river Peene. In the middle of the pond was
a small island, upon which a bear was kept chained. A plank was
now thrown across the pond to the island; upon this Sidonia was
standing feeding the bear with bread, which Appelmann, who stood
beside her, first dipped into a can of syrup, and several of the
young squires stood round them laughing and jesting.

The idle young pages were wont to take great delight in shooting
at the bear with blunt arrows, and when it growled and snarled,
then they would calm it again by throwing over bits of bread
steeped in honey or syrup. So Sidonia, waiting to see the fun, had
got upon the plank ready to give the bread just as the bear had
got to the highest pitch of irritation, when he would suddenly
change his growling into another sort of speech after his fashion.
All this amused Sidonia mightily, and she laughed and clapped her
hands with delight.

When the modest Clara beheld all this, and how Sidonia danced up
and down on the plank, while the water splashed over her robe, she
called to her--"Dear Lady Sidonia, come hither: I have somewhat to
tell thee." But she answered tartly--"Dear Lady Clara, keep it
then: I am too young to be told everything." And she danced up and
down on the plank as before.

After many vain entreaties, Clara had at length to descend and
seize the wild bird by the wing--I mean thereby the arm--and carry
her off to the castle. The young men would have followed, but they
were engaged to attend his Highness on a fishing excursion that
afternoon, and were obliged to go and see after their nets and
tackle. So the two maidens could walk up and down the corridor
undisturbed; and Clara asked if she had yet learned the catechism.

_Illa_.--"No; I have no wish to learn it."

_Hæc_.--"But if the priest has to reprimand you publicly from
the pulpit?"

_Illa_.--"I counsel him not to do it."

_Hæc_.--"Why, what would you do to him?"

_Illa_.--"He will find that out."

_Hæc_.--"Dear Sidonia, I wish you well; and therefore let me
tell you that not only the priest, but our gracious lady, and all
the noble maidens of the court, are sad and displeased that you
should make so free with the young men, and entice them to follow
you, as I have seen but too often myself. Do it not, dear Sidonia
I mean well by you;--do it not. It will injure your reputation."

_Illa_.--"Ha! you are jealous now, you little pious
housesparrow, that the young men do not run after you too. How can
I help it?"

_Hæc_.--"Every maiden can help it; were she as beautiful as
could be seen, she can help it. Leave off, Sidonia, or evil will
come of it, particularly as her Grace has heard that you are
seeking to entice our young lord the Prince. See, I tell you the
pure truth, that it may turn you from your light courses. Tell me,
what can you mean by it?--for when noble youths demand your hand
in marriage, you reject them, and say you never mean to marry. Can
you think that our gracious Prince, a son of Pomerania, will make
thee his duchess--thou who art only a common nobleman's daughter?"

_Illa_.--"A common nobleman's daughter!--that is good from
the peasant-girl. You are common enough and low enough, I warrant;
but my blood is as old as that of the Dukes of Pomerania, and
besides, I am a castle and land dowered maiden. But who are you?
who are you? Your forefathers were hunted out of Mecklenburg, and
only got footing here in Pomerania out of charity."

_Hæc_.--"Do not be angry, dear lady--you say true; yet I must
add that my forebears were once Counts in Mecklenburg, and from
their loyalty to the Dukes of Pomerania were given possessions
here in Daber, where they have been lords of castles and lands for
two hundred and fifty years. Yet I will confess that your race is
nobler than mine; but, dear child, I make no boast of my ancestry,
nor is it fitting for either of us to do so. The right royal
Prince, who is given as an example and model to us all--who is
Lord, not over castle and land, but of the heavens and the
earth--the Saviour, Jesus Christ--He took no account of His arms
or His ancestry, though the whole starry universe was His banner.
He was as humble to the little child as to the learned doctors in
the temple--to the chiefs among the people, as to the trembling
sinner and the blind beggar Bartimæus. Let us take, then, this
Prince for our example, and mind our life long what He says--'Come
unto Me, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.' Will
you not learn of Him, dear lady? I will, if God give me grace."

And she extended her hand to Sidonia, who dashed it away,
crying--"Stuff! nonsense! you have learned all this twaddle from
the priest, who, I know, is nephew to the shoe-maker in Daber, and
therefore hates any one who is above him in rank."

Clara was about to reply mildly; but they happened now to be
standing close to the public flight of steps, and a peasant-girl
ran up when she saw them, and flung herself at Clara's feet,
entreating the young lady to save her, for she had run away from
Daber, where they were going to burn her as a witch. The pious
Clara recoiled in horror, and desiring her to rise, said--"Art
thou Anne Wolde, some time keeper of the swine to my father? How
fares it with my dearest father and my mother?"

They were well when she ran away, but she had been wandering now
for fourteen days on the road, living upon roots and wild berries,
or what the herds gave her out of their knapsacks for charity.

_Hæc_.--"What crime wast thou suspected of, girl, to be
condemned to so terrible a death?"

_Illa_.--"She had a lover named Albert, who followed her
everywhere, but as she would not listen to him he hated her, and
pretended that she had given him a love-drink."

Here Sidonia laughed aloud, and asked if she knew how to brew the
love-drink?

_Illa_.--"Yes; she learned from her elder sister how to make
it, but had never tried it with any one, and was perfectly
innocent of all they charged her with."

Here Clara shook her head, and wished to get rid of the
witch-girl; for she thought, truly if Sidonia learns the brewing
secret, she will poison and destroy the whole castleful, and we
shall have the devil bodily with us in earnest. So she pushed away
the girl, who still clung to her, weeping and lamenting. Hereupon
Sidonia grew quite grave and pious all of a sudden, and said--

"See the hypocrite she is! She first sets before me the example of
Christ, and then treats this poor sinner with nothing but cross
thorns! Has not Christ said, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they
shall obtain mercy'? But only see how this bigot can have Christ
on her tongue, but not in her heart!"

The pious Clara grew quite ashamed at such talk, and raising up
the wretch who had again fallen on her knees, said--

"Well, thou mayest remain; so get thee to my maid, and she will
give thee food. I shall also write to my father for thy pardon,
and meanwhile ask leave from her Grace to allow thee to remain
here until it arrives; but if thou art guilty, I cannot promise
thee my protection any longer, and thou wilt be burned here, in
place of at Daber."

So the witch-girl was content, and importuned them no further.



CHAPTER X.

_How Sidonia Wished to learn the mystery of love-potions, but is
hindered by Clara and the young Prince._


When Prince Ernest returned home after an absence of some days,
Sidonia had changed her tactics, for now she never lifted up her
eyes when they met, but passed on blushing and confused, and in
place of speaking, as formerly, only sighed. This turned his head
completely, and sent the blood so quickly through his veins that
he found it a hard matter to conceal his feelings any longer. For
this reason he determined to visit Sidonia in her own room as soon
as he could hit upon a favourable opportunity, and bring her then
a beautiful lute, inlaid with gold and silver, which he had
purchased for her at Grypswald.

Now, it happened soon after, that her Grace and Clara went away
one day into the town to purchase a jerkin for the little Prince
Casimir, who accompanied them. Sidonia was immediately informed of
their absence, and sought out Clara's maid without delay, put a
piece of gold into her hand, and said--

"Send the strange girl from Daber to my room for a few minutes;
she can perhaps give me some tidings of my dear father and family,
for Daber is only a little way from Stramehl. But mind," she
added, "keep this visit a secret, as well from her Grace as from
your mistress Clara; otherwise we shall all be scolded."

So the maid very willingly complied, and brought the witch-girl
directly to Sidonia's little apartment, and then ran to Clara's
room to watch for the return of her Grace in time to give notice.

The witch-girl was quite confounded (as she afterwards confessed
upon the rack) when Sidonia began--

"Thou knowest, Anne, that my entreaties alone obtained thee a
shelter here, for I pitied thee from the first; and from what I
hear, it is certain that her Grace means to deal no better with
thee than thy judges at Daber, therefore my advice is--escape if
thou canst."

_Illa_, weeping.--"Where can I go? I shall die of hunger, or
they will arrest me again as an evil-minded witch, and carry me
back to Daber."

"But do not tell them, stupid goose, that thou hast come from
Daber."

_Illa_.--"But what could she say? Besides, she had no money,
and so must be lost and ruined for ever."

"Well, I shall give thee gold enough to get thee through all
dangers. I give it, mind, out of pure Christian charity; but now
tell me honestly--canst thou really make a love-drink?"

_Illa_.--"Yes; her sister had taught her."

"Is the drink of equal power for men and women?"

_Illa_.--"Yes; without doubt, it would make either mad with
love."

"Has it ever an injurious effect upon them? does it take away
their strength?"

_Illa_.--"Yes; they fall down like flies. Some lose their
memory, others become blind or lame."

"Has she ever tried its effects upon any one herself?"

_Illa_.--"But will the lady betray me?"

"Out, fool! When I have promised thee gold enough to insure thy
escape! I betray thee!"

_Illa_.--"Then she will tell the lady the whole truth. She
did give a love-drink to Albert, because he grew cross, and spent
the nights away from her, and complained if she idled a little, so
that her master beat her. Therefore she determined to punish him,
and a rash came out over his whole body, so that he could neither
sit nor lie for six weeks, and at night he had to be tied to a
post with a hand-towel; but all this time his love for her grew so
burning, that although he had previously hated and beaten her, yet
now if she only brought him a drink of cold water, for which he
was always screaming, he would kiss her hands and feet even though
she spat in his face, and he would certainly have died if his
relations had not found out an old woman who unbewitched him;
whereupon his love came to an end, and he informed against her."

That must be a wonderful drink. Would the girl teach her how to
brew it?

But just then our Lord God sent yet another warning to Sidonia,
through His angel, to turn her from her villainy, for as the girl
was going to answer, a knock was heard at the chamber-door. They
both grew as white as chalk; but Sidonia bethought herself of a
hiding-place, and bid the other creep under the bed while she went
to the door to see who knocked, and as she opened it, so there
stood Prince Ernest bodily before her eyes, with the lute in his
hand.

"Ah, gracious Prince, what brings you here? I pray your Highness,
for the sake of God, to leave me. What would be said if any one
saw you here?"

"But who is to see us, my beautiful maiden? My gracious mother has
gone out to drive; and now, just look at this lute that I have
purchased for you in Grypswald. Will it please thee, sweet one?"

_Illa_.--"Alas, gracious Prince, of what use will it be to
me, when I have no one to teach me how to play?"

"I will teach thee, oh, how willingly, but--thou knowest what I
would say."

_Illa_.--"No, no, I dare not learn from your Highness. Now
go, and do not make me more miserable."

"What makes thee miserable, enchanting Sidonia?"

_Illa_.--"Ah, if your Highness could know how this heart
burns within me like a fire! What will become of me? Would that I
were dead--oh, I am a miserable maiden! If your Highness were but
a simple noble, then I might hope--but now. Woe is me! I must go!
Yes, I must go!"

"Why must thou go, my own sweet darling? and why dost thou wish me
to be only a simple noble? Canst thou not love a duke better than
a noble?"

_Illa_.--"Gracious Prince, what is a poor count's daughter to
your princely Highness? and would her Grace ever consent? Ah no, I
must go--I must go!"

Here she sobbed so violently, and covered her eyes with her hands,
that the young Duke could no longer restrain his feelings. He
seized her passionately in his arms, and was kissing away the
crocodile tears, when lo, another knock came to the door, and
Sidonia grew paler even than the first time, for there was no
place to hide the Prince in, as the witch-wench was already under
the bed, and not even quite hidden, for some of her red petticoat
was visible round the post, and one could easily see by the way it
moved that some living body was in it, for the girl was trembling
with the most horrible fear and fright. But the Prince was too
absorbed in love either to notice all this or to mind the knock at
the door.

Sidonia, however, knew well that it was over with them now, and
she pushed away the young Prince, just as the door opened and
Clara entered, who grew quite pale, and clasped her hands together
when she saw the Duke and Sidonia together; then the tears fell
fast from her eyes, and she could utter nothing but--"Ah, my
gracious Prince--my poor innocent Prince--what has brought you
here?" but neither of them spoke a word. "You are lost," exclaimed
Clara; "the Duchess is coming up the corridor, and has just
stopped to look at her pet cat and the kittens there by the page's
room. Hasten, young Prince--hasten to meet her before she comes a
step further."

So the young lord darted out of the chamber, and found his
gracious mother still examining her kittens, whereupon he prayed
her then to descend with him to the courtyard and look also at his
fine hounds, to which she consented.

The moment Prince Ernest disappeared, Clara commenced upbraiding
Sidonia for her evil ways, which could not be any longer
denied--for had she not seen all with her own eyes?--and she now
conjured her by the living God to turn away from the young Duke,
and select some noble of her own rank as her husband. This could
easily be done when so many loved her; but as to the Prince, as
long as her Grace and Ulrich lived, or even one single branch of
the princely house of Pomerania, this marriage would never be
permitted, let the young lord do or say what he chose.

"Ah, thou pious old priest in petticoats," exclaimed Sidonia, "who
told thee I wanted to marry the Prince? How can I help if he
chooses to come in here and, though I weep and resist, takes me in
his arms and kisses me? So leave off thy preaching, and tell me
rather what brings thee spying to my room?"

Then Clara remembered what had really been her errand, although
the love-scene had put everything else out of her head until now,
and replied--"I was seeking the witch-girl from Daber, for when I
went out with her Grace, I left her in charge of my maid; but as
we returned home by the little garden gate, I slipped up to my
room by the private stairs without any one seeing me, and found my
maid looking out of the window, but no girl was to be seen. When I
asked what had become of her, the maid answered she knew not, the
girl must have slipped away while her back was turned, so I came
here to ask if you had seen the impudent hussy, for I fear if her
wings are not clipped she will do harm to some one."

Here Sidonia grew quite indignant--what could she know of a vile
witch-wench? Besides, she had not been ten minutes there in the
room.

"But perchance the bird has found herself a nest somewhere," said
Clara, looking towards the bed; "methinks, indeed, I see some of
the feathers, for surely a red gown never trembled that way under
a bed unless there was something living inside of it." When the
witch-girl heard this her fright increased, so that, to make
matters worse, she pulled her gown in under the bed, upon which
Clara kneeled down, lifted the coverlet, and found the owl in its
nest. Now she had to creep out weeping and howling, and promised
to tell everything.

But Sidonia gave her a look which she understood well, and
therefore when she stood up straight by the bed, begged piteously
that the Lady Clara would not scold her for having tried to
escape, because she herself had threatened her with being burned
there as well as at Daber, so not knowing where to hide, and
seeing the Lady Sidonia's door open, she crept in there and got
under the bed, intending to wait till night came and then ask her
aid in effecting her flight, for the Lady Sidonia was the only one
in the castle who had shown her Christian compassion.

Hereat Sidonia rose up as if in great rage, and said, "Ha! thou
impudent wench, how darest thou reckon on my protection!" and
seizing her by the hand--in which, however, she pressed a piece of
gold--pushed her violently out of the door.

Now Clara, thinking that this was the whole truth, fell weeping
upon Sidonia's neck, and asked forgiveness for her suspicions.
"There, that will do," said Sidonia,--"that will do, old preacher;
only be more cautious in future. What! am I to poke under my bed
to see if any one is hiding there? You may go, for I suppose you
have often hidden a lover there, your eyes turn to it so
naturally."

As Clara grew red with shame, Sidonia drew the witch-girl again
into the room, and giving her a box on the ear that made her teeth
chatter--"Now, confess," said she, "what I said to the young lord
without knowing that you were listening." So the poor girl
answered weeping, "Nothing but what was good did you say to him,
namely, that he should go away; and then you pushed him so
violently when he attempted to kiss you, that he stumbled over
against the bed."

"See, now, my pious preacher," said Sidonia, "this girl confirms
exactly what I told you; so now go along with you, you hussy, or
mayhap you will come off no better than she has done."

Hereupon Clara went away humbly with the witch-girl to her own
room, and never uttered another word. Nevertheless the affair did
not seem quite satisfactory to her yet. So she conferred with her
betrothed, Marcus Bork, on the subject. For when he carried books
for her Highness from the ducal library, it was his custom to
scrape with his feet in a peculiar manner as he passed Clara's
door; then she knew who it was, and opened it. And as her maid was
present, they conversed together in the Italian tongue; for they
were both learned, not only in God's Word, but in all other
knowledge, so that people talk about them yet in Pomeranian land
for these things.

Clara therefore told him the whole affair in Italian, before her
maid and the witch-girl--of the visit of the young Prince, and how
the girl was lying hid under the bed, and asked him was it not
likely that Sidonia had brought her there to teach her how to brew
the love-drink, with which she would then have bewitched the
Prince and all the men-folk in the castle, and ought she not to
warn her Grace of the danger.

But Marcus answered, that if the witch-girl had been at the castle
weeks before, he might have supposed that Sidonia had received the
secret of the love-potion from her, since every man, old and
young, was mad for love of her--but now he must needs confess that
Sidonia's eyes and deceiving mouth were magic sufficient; and that
it was not likely she would bring a vile damsel to her room to
teach her that which she knew already so perfectly. So he thought
it better not to tell her Highness anything on the subject.
Besides, if the wench were examined, who knows what she might tell
of Sidonia and the young lord that would bring shame on the
princely house of Wolgast, since she had been hid under the bed
all the time, and perhaps only kept silence through fear. It were
well therefore on every account not to let the matter get wind,
and to shut up the wench safely in the witches' tower until the
answer came from Daber. If she were pronounced really guilty, it
would then be time enough to question her on the rack about the
love-drink and the conversation between the young lord and
Sidonia.

So this course was agreed on. It is, however, much to be regretted
that Clara did not follow the promptings of her good angel, and
tell all to her Grace and old Ulrich; for then much misfortune and
scandal would have been spared to the whole Pomeranian land. But
she followed her bride-groom's advice, and kept all secret. The
witch-girl, however, was locked up that very day in the witches'
tower, to guard against future evil.



CHAPTER XI.

_How Sidonia repeated the catechism of Dr. Gerschovius, and how
she whipped the young Casimir, out of pure evil-mindedness._


The Sunday came at last when Sidonia was to be examined publicly
in the catechism of Dr. Gerschovius. Her Grace was filled with
anxiety to see how all would terminate, for every one suspected
(as indeed was the case) that not one word of it would she be able
to repeat. So the church was crowded, and all the young men
attended without exception, knowing what was to go forward, and
fearing for Sidonia, because this Dr. Gerschovius was a stern,
harsh man; but she herself seemed to care little about the matter,
for she entered her Grace's closet as usual (which was right
opposite the pulpit), and threw herself carelessly into a corner.
However, when the doctor entered the pulpit she became more grave,
and finally, when his discourse was drawing near to the close, she
rose up quietly and glided out of the closet, intending to descend
to the gardens. Her Grace did not perceive her movement, in
consequence of the hat with the heron's plume which she wore, for
the feathers drooped down at the side next Sidonia, and the other
ladies were too much alarmed to venture to draw her attention to
the circumstance. But the priest from the pulpit saw her well, and
called out--"Maiden! maiden! Whither go you? Remember ye have to
repeat your catechism!"

Then Sidonia grew quite pale, for her Grace and all the
congregation fixed their eyes on her. So when she felt quite
conscious that she was looking pale, she said, "You see from my
face that I am not well; but if I get better, doubt not but that I
shall return immediately." Here all the maids of honour put up
their kerchiefs to hide their laughter, and the young nobles did
the same.

So she went away; but they might wait long enough, I think, for
her to come back. In vain her Grace watched until the priest left
the pulpit, and then sent two of her ladies to look for the
hypocrite; but they returned declaring that she was nowhere to be
seen.

_Summa_.--The whole service was ended, and her Grace looked
as angry as the doctor; and when the organ had ceased, and the
people were beginning to depart, she called out from her closet--

"Let every one come this way, and accompany me to Sidonia's
apartment. There I shall make her repeat the catechism before ye
all. Messengers shall be despatched in all directions until they
find out her hiding-place."

This pleased the doctor and Ulrich well. So they all proceeded to
Sidonia's little room; for there she was, to their great surprise,
seated upon a chair with a smelling-bottle in her hand. Whereupon
her Grace demanded what ailed her, and why she had not stayed to
repeat the catechism.

_Illa_.--"Ah! she was so weak, she would certainly have
fainted, if she had not descended to the garden for a little fresh
air. She was so distressed that her Grace had been troubled
sending for her, of which she was not aware until now."

"Are you better now?" asked her Grace.

_Illa_.--"Rather better. The fresh air had done her good."

"Then," quoth her Grace, "you shall recite the catechism here for
the doctor; for, in truth, Christianity is as necessary to you as
water to a fish."

The doctor now cleared his throat to begin; but she stopped him
pertly, saying--

"I do not choose to say my catechism here in my room, like a
little child. Grown-up maidens are always heard in the church."

Howbeit, her Grace motioned to him not to heed her. So to his
first question she replied rather snappishly, "You have your
answer already."

No wonder the priest grew black with rage. But seeing a book lying
open on a little table beside her bed, and thinking it was the
catechism of Dr. Gerschovius which she had been studying, he
stepped over to look. But judge his horror when he found that it
was a volume of the _Amadis de Gaul_, and was lying open at
the eighth chapter, where he read--"How the Prince Amadis de Gaul
loved the Princess Rosaliana, and was beloved in return, and how
they both attained to the accomplishment of their desires."

He dashed the book to the ground furiously, stamped upon it, and
cried--

"So, thou wanton, this is thy Bible and thy catechism! Here thou
learnest how to make young men mad! Who gave thee this infamous
book? Speak! Who gave it to thee?"

So Sidonia looked up timidly, and said, weeping, "It was his
Highness Duke Barnim who gave it to her, and told her it was a
merry book, and good against low spirits."

Here the Duchess, who had lifted up her hand to give her a box on
the ear, let it fall again with a deep sigh when she heard of the
old Prince having given her such an infamous book, and lamented
loudly, crying--

"Who will free me from this shameless wanton, who makes all the
court mad? Truly says Scripture, 'A beautiful woman without
discretion is like a circlet of gold upon a swine's head.' Ah! I
know that now. But I trust my messengers will soon return whom I
have despatched to Stettin and Stramehl, and then I shall get rid
of thee, thou wanton, for which God be thanked for evermore."

Then she turned to leave the room with old Ulrich, who only shook
his head, but remained as mute as a fish. Doctor Gerschovius,
however, stayed behind with Sidonia, in order to exhort her to
virtue; but as she only wept and did not seem to hear him, he grew
tired, and finally went his way, also with many sighs and
uplifting of his hands.

A little after, as Sidonia was howling just out of pure
ill-temper, for, in my opinion, nothing ailed her, the little
Prince Casimir ran in to look for his mamma--she had gone to hear
Sidonia her catechism, they told him.

"What did he want with his lady mamma?"

"His new jerkin hurt him, he wanted her to tie it another way for
him; but is it really true, Sidonia, that you do not know your
catechism? I can say it quite well. Just come now and hear me say
it."

It is probable that her Grace and the doctor had devised this plan
in order to shame Sidonia, by showing her how even a little child
could repeat it; but she took it angrily, and, calling him over,
said, "Yes; come--I will hear you your catechism." And as the
little boy came up close beside her, she slung him across her
knee, pulled down his hose, and--oh, shame!--whipped his Serene
Highness upon his princely _podex_, that it would have melted
the heart of a stone. How this shows her cruel and evil
disposition--to revenge on the child what she had to bear from the
mother. Fie on the maiden!

And here my gracious Prince will say--"O Theodore, this matter
surely might have been passed over, since it brings a disrespect
upon my princely house."

I answer--"Gracious Lord and Prince, my most humble services are
due to your Grace, but truth must be still truth, however it may
displease your Highness. Besides, by no other act could I have so
well proved the infernal evil in this woman's nature; for if she
could dare to lay her godless hand upon one of your illustrious
race, then all her future acts are perfectly comprehensible.
[Footnote: Note by Duke Bogislaff XIV.--This is true, and
therefore I consent to let it remain; and I remember that Prince
Casimir told me long afterwards that the scene remained indelibly
impressed on his memory. "For," he said, "the wild eyes and the
terrible voice of the witch frightened me more even than her cruel
hand; as if even there I detected the devil in her, though I was
but a little boy at the time."] When the malicious wretch let the
boy go, he darted out of the room and ran down the whole corridor,
screaming out that he would tell his mamma about Sidonia; but
Zitsewitz met him, and having heard the story, the amorous old
fool took him up in his arms, and promised him heaps of beautiful
things if he would hold his tongue and not say a word more to any
one, and that he would give Sidonia a good whipping himself, in
return for what she had done to him. So, in short, her Grace never
heard of the insult until after Sidonia's departure from court."

Had her Highness been in her apartment, she must have heard the
child scream; but it so happened that just then she was walking up
and down the ducal gardens, whither she had gone to cool her
anger.

Soon after a stately ship was seen sailing down the river from
Penemunde, [Footnote: A town in Pomerania.] which attracted all
eyes in the castle, for on the deck stood a noble youth, with a
heron's plume waving from his cap, and he held a tame sea-gull
upon his hand, which from time to time flew off and dived into the
water, bringing up all sorts of fish, great and small, in its
beak, with which it immediately flew back to the handsome youth.

"Ah!" exclaimed Clara, "there must be the sons of our gracious
Princess! for to-morrow is her birthday, and here comes the noble
bishop, Johann Frederick of Camyn, and his brother, Duke Bogislaff
XIII., to pay their respects to their gracious mother."

Her Grace, however, would scarcely credit that the handsome youth
who was fishing after so elegant a manner was indeed her own
beloved son; but Clara clapped her hands now, crying, "Look! your
Grace--look! there is the flag hoisted!" And indeed there
fluttered from the mast now the bishop's own arms. So the warder
blew his horn, which was answered by the warder of St. Peter's in
the town, and the bells in all the towers rang out, and the
castellan ordered the cannon in the courtyard to be fired off.

Her Grace was now thoroughly convinced, and weeping for joy, ran
down to the little water-gate, where old Ulrich already stood
waiting to receive the princes. As the vessel approached, however,
they discovered that the handsome youth was not the bishop, but
Duke Bogislaff, who had been staying on a visit at his brother's
court at Camyn, along with several high prelates. The bishop,
Johann Frederick, did not accompany him, for he was obliged to
remain at home, in order to receive a visit from the Prince of
Brandenburg.

When the Duke stepped on shore he embraced his weeping mother
joyfully, and said he came to offer her his congratulations on her
birthday, and that she must not weep but laugh, for there should
be a dance in honour of it, and a right merry feast at the castle
on the morrow.

Then he tumbled out on the bridge all the fish which the bird had
caught; and her Grace wondered greatly, and stroked it as it sat
upon the shoulder of the Prince. So he asked if the bird pleased
her Grace, and when she answered "Yes," he said, "Then, dearest
mother, let it be my birthday gift to you. I have trained it
myself, and tried it here, as you see, upon the river. So any
afternoon that you and your ladies choose to amuse yourselves with
a sail, this bird will fish for you as long as you please, while
you row down the river."

Ah, what a good son was this handsome young Duke!--and when I
think that Sidonia murdered them all--all--even this noble Prince,
my heart seems to break, and the pen falls from my fingers.
[Footnote: Note by Duke Bogislaff XIV.--Et quid mihi, misero
filio? Domine in manus tuas commando spiritum meum, quia tu me
redemisti fide Deus! (And what remains to me, wretched son? Lord,
into Thy hands I commend my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me,
Thou God of truth.)--When one thinks that it was the general
belief in that age that the whole ducal race had been destroyed
and blasted by Sidonia's sorceries, it is impossible not to be
affected by these melancholy yet resigned and Christian words of
the last orphaned and childless representative of the ancient and
illustrious house of Wolgast.]

But to continue. The Duchess embraced the fine young Prince, who
still continued talking of the dance they must have next day. It
was time now for his gracious mother to give up mourning for her
deceased lord, he said.

But her Grace would not hear of a dance; and replied that she
would continue to mourn for her dear lord all the rest of her
life, to whom she had been wedded by Doctor Martinus. However, the
Duke repeated his entreaties, and all the young nobles added
theirs, and finally Prince Ernest besought her Grace not to deny
them permission to have a festival on the morrow, as it was to
honour her birthday. So she at last consented; but old Ulrich
shook his head, and took her Grace aside to warn her of the
scandal which would assuredly arise when the young nobles had
drunk and grew excited by Sidonia. Hereupon her Grace made answer
that she would take care Sidonia should cause no scandal--"As she
has refused to learn her catechism, she must not appear at the
feast. It will be a fitting punishment to keep her a prisoner for
the whole day, and therefore I shall lock her up myself in her own
room, and put the key in my pocket."

So Ulrich was well pleased, and all separated for the night with
much contentment and hopes of enjoyment on the morrow.



CHAPTER XII.

_Of Appelmann's knavery--Item, how the birthday of her Highness
was celebrated, and Sidonia managed to get to the dance, with the
uproar caused thereby._


Before I proceed further, it will be necessary to state what
happened a few days before concerning Prince Ernest's chief
equerry, Johann Appelmann, otherwise many might doubt the facts I
shall have to relate, though God knows I speak the pure truth.

One came to his lordship the Grand Chamberlain--he was a shoemaker
of the town--and complained to him of Appelmann, who had been
courting his daughter for a long while, and running after her
until finally he had disgraced her in the eyes of the whole town,
and brought shame and scandal into his house. So he prayed Lord
Ulrich to make the shameless profligate take his daughter to wife,
as he had fairly promised her marriage long ago.

Now Ulrich had long suspected the knave of bad doings, for many
pearls and jewels had lately been missing from her Grace's
shabrack and horse-trappings, and the groom, who always laid them
on her Grace's white palfrey, knew nothing about them, though he
was even put to the torture; but as Appelmann had all these things
in his sole keeping, it was natural to think that he was not quite
innocent. Besides, three hundred sacks of oats were missing on the
new year, and no one knew what had become of them.

Therefore Ulrich sent for the cheating rogue, and upbraided him
with his profligate courses, also telling him that he must wed the
shoemaker's daughter immediately. But the cunning knave knew
better, and swore by all the saints that he was innocent, and
finally prevailed upon Prince Ernest to intercede for him, so that
Ulrich promised to give him a little longer grace, but then
assuredly he would bring him to a strict account.

And Appelmann drove the Prince that same day to Grypswald, to find
out more musicians for the castle band, as the march of Duke
Bogislaff the Great was to be played by eighty drums and forty
trumpets in the grand ducal hall, to honour the birthday of her
Highness.

One can imagine what Sidonia felt when the Duchess announced that
as she had refused to learn the catechism, and was neither
obedient to God nor her Grace, she should remain a strict prisoner
in her own room during the festival, as a signal punishment for
her ungodly behaviour. But her maid might bring her food of all
that she chose from the feast.

Sidonia first prayed her Grace to forgive her for the love of God,
and she would learn the whole catechism by heart. But as this had
no effect, then she wept and lamented loudly, and at length fell
down upon her knees before her Grace, who would, however, be
neither moved nor persuaded; and when Sidonia threatened at last
to leave her room, the Duchess went out, locked the door, and put
the key in her pocket. The prisoner howled enough then, I warrant.

But what did she do now, the cunning minx? She gave her maid a
piece of gold, and told her to go up and down the corridor, crying
and wringing her hands, and when any one asked what was the
matter, to say, "That her beautiful young lady was dying of grief,
because the Duchess had locked her up, like a little school-girl,
in her own room, and all for not knowing the catechism of Dr.
Gerschovius, which indeed was not taught in her part of the
country, but another, which she had learned quite well in her
childhood. And so for this, her poor young lady was not to be
allowed to dance at the festival." The maid was to say all this in
particular to Prince Ernest; or if he did not pass through the
corridor, she was to stop weeping and groaning at his
chamber-door, until he came out to ask what was the matter.

The maid followed the instructions right well, and in less than an
hour every soul in the castle, down to the cooks and washerwomen,
knew what had happened, and everywhere the Duchess went she was
assailed by old and young, great and small, with petitions of
pardon for Sidonia.

Her Grace, however, bid them all be silent, and threatened if they
made such shameless requests to forbid the festival altogether.
But when Prince Ernest likewise petitioned in her favour, she was
angry, and said, "He ought to be ashamed of himself. It was now
plain what a fool the girl had made of him. Her maternal heart
would break, she knew it would--and this day would be one of
sorrow in place of joy to her; all on account of this girl."

So the young Prince had to hold his peace for this time; but he
sent a message, nevertheless, to Sidonia, telling her not to fret,
for that he would take her out of her room and bring her to the
dance, let what would happen.

Next morning, by break of day, the whole castle and town were
alive with preparations for the festival. It was now seven
years--that is, since the death of Duke Philip--since any one had
danced in the castle except the rats and mice, and even yet the
splendour of this festival is talked of in Wolgast; and many of
the old people yet living there remember it well, and gave me many
curious particulars thereof, which I shall set down here, that it
may be known how such affairs were conducted in old time at our
ducal courts.

In the morning, by ten of the clock, the young princes, nobles,
clergy, and the honourable counsellors of the town, assembled in
the grand ducal hall, built by Duke Philip after the great fire,
and which extended up all through the three stories of the castle.
At the upper end of the hall was the grand painted window, sixty
feet high, on which was delineated the pilgrimage of Duke
Bogislaff the Great to Jerusalem, all painted by Gerard Homer;
[Footnote: A Frieslander, and the most celebrated painter on glass
of his time.] and round on the walls banners, and shields, and
helmets, and cuirasses, while all along each side, four feet from
the ground, there were painted on the walls figures of all the
animals found in Pomerania: bears, wolves, elks, stags, deer,
otters, &c., all exquisitely imitated.

When all the lords had assembled, the drums beat and trumpets
sounded, whereupon the Pomeranian marshal flung open the great
doors of the hall, which were wreathed with flowers from the
outside, and the princely widow entered with great pomp, leading
the little Casimir by the hand. She was arrayed in the Pomeranian
costume--namely, a white silk under-robe, and over it a surcoat of
azure velvet, brocaded with silver, and open in front. A long
train of white velvet, embroidered in golden laurel wreaths, was
supported by twelve pages dressed in black velvet cassocks with
Spanish ruffs. Upon her head the Duchess wore a coif of scarlet
velvet with small plumes, from which a white veil, spangled with
silver stars, hung down to her feet. Round her neck she had a
scarlet velvet band, twisted with a gold chain; and from it
depended a balsam flask, in the form of a greyhound, which rested
on her bosom.

As her Serene Highness entered with fresh and blushing cheeks, all
bowed low and kissed her hand, glittering with diamonds. Then each
offered his congratulations as best he could.

Amongst them came Johann Neander, Archdeacon of St. Peter's, who
was seeking preferment, considering that his present living was
but a poor one; and so he presented her Grace with a printed
_tractatum_ dedicated to her Highness, in which the question
was discussed whether the ten virgins mentioned in Matt. xxv. were
of noble or citizen rank. But Doctor Gerschovius made a mock of
him for this afterwards, before the whole table. [Footnote: Over
these exegetical disquisitions of a former age we smile, and with
reason; but we, pedantic Germans, have carried our modern
exegetical mania to such absurd lengths, that we are likely to
become as much a laughing-stock to our contemporaries, as well as
to posterity, as this Johannes Neander. In fact, our exegetists
are mostly pitiful schoolmasters--word-anatomists--and one could
as little learn the true spirit of an old classic poet from our
pedantic philologists, as the true sense of holy Scripture from
our scholastic theologians. What with their grammar twistings,
their various readings, their dubious punctuations, their
mythical, and who knows what other meanings, their
hair-splittings, and prosy vocable tiltings, we find at last that
they are willing to teach us everything but that which really
concerns us, and, like the Danaides, they let the water of life
run through the sieve of their learning. We may apply to them
truly that condemnation of our Lord's (Matt, xxiii. 24)--"Ye blind
guides; ye strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."]

Now, when all the congratulations were over, the Duchess asked
Prince Ernest if the water-works in the courtyard had been
completed, [Footnote: The Prince took much interest in hydraulics,
and built a beautiful and costly aqueduct for the town of
Wolgast.] and when he answered "Yes," "Then," quoth her Grace,
"they shall run with Rostock beer to-day, if it took fifty tuns;
for all my people, great and small, shall keep festival to-day;
and I have ordered my court baker to give a loaf of bread and a
good drink to every one that cometh and asketh. And now, as it is
fitting, let us present ourselves in the church."

So the bells rung, and the whole procession swept through the
corridor and down the great stairs, with drums and trumpets going
before. Then followed the marshal with his staff, and the Grand
Chamberlain, Ulrich von Schwerin, wearing his beautiful hat (a
present from her Highness), looped up with a diamond aigrette, and
spangled with little golden stars. Then came the Duchess,
supported on each side by the young princes, her sons; and the
nobles, knights, pages, and others brought up the rear, according
to their rank and dignity.

As they passed Sidonia's room, she began to beat the door and cry
like a little spoiled child; but no one minded her, and the
procession moved on to the courtyard, where the soldatesca fired a
salute, not only from their muskets, but also from the great
cannon called "the Old Aunt," which gave forth a deep joy-sigh.
From all the castle windows hung banners and flags bearing the
arms of Pomerania and Saxony, and the pavement was strewed with
flowers.

As they passed Sidonia's window she opened it, and appeared
magnificently attired, and glittering with pearls and diamonds,
but also weeping bitterly. At this sight old Ulrich gnashed his
teeth for rage, but all the young men, and Prince Ernest in
particular, felt their hearts die in them for sorrow. So they
passed on through the great north gate out on the castle wall,
from whence the whole town and harbour were visible. Here the
flags fluttered from the masts and waved from the towers, and the
people clapped their hands and cried "Huzza!" (for in truth they
had heard about the beer, to my thinking, before the Princess came
out upon the walls). _Summa_: There was never seen such joy;
and after having service in church, they all returned to the
castle in the same order, and set themselves down to the banquet.

I got a list of the courses at the table of the Duchess from old
Küssow, and I shall here set it down, that people may see how our
fathers banqueted eighty years ago in Pomerania; but, God help us!
in these imperial days there is little left for us to grind our
teeth upon. So smell thereat, and you will still get a delicious
savour from these good old times.

_First Course_.--1. A soup; 2. An egg-soup, with saffron,
peppercorns, and honey thereon; 3. Stewed mutton, with onions
strewed thereon; 4. A roasted capon, with stewed plums.

_Second Course_.--1. Ling, with oil and raisins; 2. Beef,
baked in oil; 3. Eels, with pepper; 4. Dried fish, with Leipsic
mustard.

_Third Course_.--1. A salad, with eggs; 2. Jellies strewed
with almond and onion seed; 3. Omelettes, with honey and grapes;
4. Pastry, and many other things besides.

_Fourth Course_.--1. A roast goose with red beet-root,
olives, capers, and cucumbers; 2. Little birds fried in lard, with
radishes; 3. Venison; 4. Wild boar, with the marrow served on
toasted rolls. In conclusion, all manner of pastry, with fritters,
cakes, and fancy confectionery of all kinds.

So her Grace selected something from each dish herself, and
despatched it to Sidonia by her maid; but the maiden would none of
them, and sent all back with a message that she had no heart to
gormandise and feast; but her Grace might send her some bread and
water, which was alone fitting for a poor prisoner to receive.

The young men could bear this no longer, their patience was quite
exhausted, and their courage rose as the wine-cups were emptied.
So at length Prince Ernest whispered to his brother Bogislaus to
put in a good word for Sidonia. He refused, however, and Prince
Ernest was ashamed to name her himself; but some of the young
pages who waited on her Grace were bold enough to petition for her
pardon, whereupon her Grace gave them a very sharp reproof.

After dinner the Duchess and Prince Bogislaus went up the stream
in a pleasure-boat to try the tame sea-gull, and her Grace
requested Lord Ulrich to accompany them. But he answered that he
was more necessary to the castle that evening than a night-watch
in a time of war, particularly if the young Prince was to have
Rostock beer play from the fountains in place of water.

And soon his words came true, for when the Duchess had sailed away
the young men began to drink in earnest, so that the wine ran over
the threshold down the great steps, and the peasants and boors who
were going back and forward with dried wood to the ducal kitchen,
lay down flat on their faces, and licked up the wine from the
steps (but the Almighty punished them for this, I think, for their
children now are glad enough to sup up water with the geese).

Meanwhile many of the youths sprang up, swearing that they would
free Sidonia; others fell down quite drunk, and knew nothing more
of what happened. Then old Ulrich flew to the corridor, and
marched up and down with his drawn dagger in his hand, and swore
he would arrest them all if they did not keep quiet; that as to
those who were lying dead drunk like beasts, he must treat them
like other beasts--whereupon he sends to the castle fountain for
buckets of cold water, and pours it over them. Ha! how they sprang
up and raged when they felt it; but he only laughed and said--if
they would not hold their peace he would treat them still worse;
they ought to be ashamed of their filthiness and debauchery.
[Footnote: Almost all writers of that age speak of the excesses to
which intoxication was carried in all the ducal courts, but
particularly that of Pomerania.]

But now to the uproar within was added one from without, for when
the fountains began to play with Rostock beer, all the town ran
thither, and drank like leeches, while they begged the
serving-wenches to bring them loaves to eat with it. How the old
shoemaker threw up his cap in the air, and shouted--"Long live her
Grace! no better Princess was in the whole world--they hoped her
Grace might live for many years and celebrate every birthday like
this!" Then they would pray for her right heartily, and the women
chattered and cackled, and the children screamed so that no one
could hear a word that was saying, and Sidonia tried for a long
time in vain to make them hear her. At last she waved a white
kerchief from the window, when the noise ceased for a little, and
she then began the old song, namely, "Would they release her?"

Now there were some brave fellows among them to whom she had given
drink-money, or purchased goods from, and they now ran to fetch a
ladder and set it up against the wall; but old Ulrich got wind of
this proceeding, and dispersed the mob forthwith, menacing
Sidonia, before their faces, that if she but wagged a finger, and
did not instantly retire from the window, and bear her
well-merited punishment patiently, he would have her carried
straightway through the guard-room, and locked up in the bastion
tower. This threat succeeded, and she drew in her head. Meantime
the Duchess returned from fishing, but when she beheld the crowd
she entered through the little water-gate, and went up a winding
stair to her own apartment, to attire herself for the dance.

The musicians now arrived from Grypswald, and all the knights and
nobles were assembled except Zitsewitz, who lay sick, whether from
love or jealousy I leave undecided; so the great affair at length
began, and in the state hall the band struck up Duke Bogislaus'
march, played, in fact, by eighty drums and forty-three trumpets,
so that it was as mighty and powerful in sound as if the great
trumpet itself had played it, and the plaster dropped off from the
ceiling, and the picture of his Highness the Duke, in the north
window, was so disturbed by the vibration, that it shook and
clattered as if it were going to descend from the frame and dance
with the guests in the hall, and not only the folk outside danced
to the music, but down in the town, in the great market-place, and
beyond that, even in the horse-market, the giant march was heard,
and every one danced to it whether in or out of the house, and
cheered and huzzaed. Now the Prince could no longer repress his
feelings, for, besides that he had taken a good Pomeranian draught
that day, and somewhat rebelled against his lady mother, he now
flung the fourth commandment to the winds (never had he done this
before), and taking three companions with him, by name Dieterich
von Krassow, Joachim von Budde, and Achim von Weyer, he proceeded
with them to the chamber of Sidonia, and with great violence burst
open the door. There she lay on the bed weeping, in a green velvet
robe, laced with gold, and embroidered with other golden
ornaments, and her head was crowned with pearls and diamonds, so
that the young Prince exclaimed, "Dearest Sidonia, you look like a
king's bride. See, I keep my word; come now, and we shall dance
together in the hall."

Here he would willingly have kissed her, but was ashamed because
the others were by, so he said, "Go ye now to the hall and see if
the dance is still going on. I will follow with the maiden."
Thereat the young men laughed, because they saw well that the
Prince did not just then desire their company, and they all went
away, except Joachim von Budde, the rogue, who crept behind the
door, and peeped through the crevice.

Now, the young lord was no sooner left alone with Sidonia than he
pressed her to his heart--"Did she love him? She must say yes once
again." Whereupon she clasped his neck with her little hands, and
with every kiss that he gave her she murmured, "Yes, yes, yes!"
"Would she be his own dear wife?" "Ah, if she dared. She would
have no other spouse, no, not even if the Emperor came himself
with all the seven electors. But he must not make her more
miserable than she was already. What could they do? he never would
be allowed to marry her." "He would manage that." Then he pressed
her again to his heart, with such ardour that the knave behind the
door grew jealous, and springing up, called out--"If his Highness
wishes for a dance he must come now."

When they both entered the hall, her Grace was treading a measure
with old Ulrich, but he caught sight of them directly, and without
making a single remark, resigned the hand of her Grace to Prince
Bogislaus, and excused himself, saying that the noise of the music
had made his head giddy, and that he must leave the hall for a
little. He ran then along the corridor down to the courtyard, from
thence to the guard, and commanded the officer with his troop,
along with the executioner and six assistants, to be ready to rush
into the hall with lighted matches, the moment he waved his hat
with the white plumes from the window.

When he returns, the dance is over, and my gracious lady,
suspecting nothing as yet, sits in a corner and fans herself. Then
Ulrich takes Sidonia in one hand and Prince Ernest in the other,
brings them up straight before her Highness, and asks if she had
herself given permission for the Prince and Sidonia to dance
together in the hall. Her Highness started from her chair when she
beheld them, her cheeks glowing with anger, and exclaimed, "What
does this mean? Have you dared to release Sidonia?"

_Ille_.--"Yes; for this noble maiden has been treated worse
than a peasant-girl by my lady mother."

_Illa_.--"Oh, woe is me! this is my just punishment for
having forgotten my Philip so soon, and even consenting to tread a
measure in the hall." So she wept, and threw herself again upon
the seat, covering her face with both hands.

Now old Ulrich began. "So, my young Prince, this is the way you
keep the admonitions that your father, of blessed memory, gave you
on his death-bed! Fie--shame on you! Did you not give your promise
also to me, the old man before you? Sidonia shall return to her
chamber, if my word has yet some power in Pomerania. Speak,
gracious lady, give the order, and Sidonia shall be carried back
to her room."

When Sidonia heard this, she laid her white hand, all covered with
jewels, upon the old man's arm, and looked up at him with
beseeching glances, and stroked his beard after her manner,
crying, with tears of anguish, "Spare a poor young maiden! I will
learn anything you tell me; I will repeat it all on Sunday. Only
do not deal so hardly with me." But the little hands for once had
no effect, nor the tears, nor the caresses; for Ulrich, throwing
her off, gave her such a slap in the face that she uttered a loud
cry and fell to the ground.

If a firebrand had fallen into a barrel of gunpowder, it could not
have caused a greater explosion in the hall than that cry; for
after a short pause, in which every one stood silent as if
thunderstruck, there arose from all the nobles, young and old, the
terrible war-cry--"Jodute! Jodute! [Footnote: The learned have
puzzled their heads a great deal over the etymology of this
enigmatical word, which is identical in meaning with the terrible
"_Zettergeschrei_" of the Reformation era. It is found in the
Swedish, Gothic, and Low German dialects, and in the Italian
_Goduta_. One of the best essays on the subject--which,
however, leads to no result--the lover of antiquarian researches
will find in Hakeus's "Pomeranian Provincial Papers," vol. v. p.
207.] to arms, to arms!" and the cry was re-echoed till the whole
hall rung with it. Whoever had a dagger or a sword drew it, and
they who had none ran to fetch one. But the Prince would at once
have struck old Ulrich to the heart, if his brother Bogislaus had
not sprung on him from behind and pinioned his arms. Then Joachim
von Budde made a pass at the old knight, and wounded him in the
hand. So Ulrich changed his hat from the right hand to the left,
and still kept retreating till he could gain the window and give
the promised sign to the guard, crying as he fought his way
backward, step by step, "Come on now--come on, Ernest. Murder the
old grey-headed man whom thy father called friend--murder him, as
thou wilt murder thy mother this night."

Then reaching the window, he waved his hat until the sign was
answered; then sprang forward again, seized Sidonia by the hand,
crying, "Out, harlot!" Hereupon young Lord Ernest screamed still
louder, "Jodute! Jodute! Down with the grey-headed villain! What!
will not the nobles of Pomerania stand by their Prince? Down with
the insolent grey-beard who has dared to call my princely bride a
harlot!" And so he tore himself from his brother's grasp, and
sprang upon the old man; but her Grace no sooner perceived his
intention than she rushed between them, crying, "Hold! hold! hold!
for the sake of God, hold! He is thy second father." And as the
young Prince recoiled in horror, she seized Sidonia rapidly, and
pushing her before Ulrich towards the door, cried, "Out with the
accursed harlot!" But Joachim Budde, who had already wounded the
Grand Chamberlain, now seizing a stick from one of the drummers,
hit her Grace such a blow on the arm therewith that she had to let
go her hold of Sidonia. When old Ulrich beheld this, he screamed,
"Treason! treason!" and rushed upon Budde. But all the young
nobles, who were now fully armed, surrounded the old man, crying,
"Down with him! down with him!" In vain he tried to reach a bench
from whence he could defend himself against his assailants; in a
few moments he was overpowered by numbers and fell upon the floor.
Now, indeed, it was all over with him, if the soldatesca had not
at that instant rushed into the hall with fierce shouts, and
Master Hansen the executioner, in his long red cloak, with six
assistants accompanying them.

"Help! help!" cried her Grace; "help for the Lord Chamberlain!"

So they sprang to the centre of the hall where he was lying,
dashed aside his assailants, and lifted up the old man from the
floor with his hand all bleeding.

But Joachim Budde, who was seated on the very same bench which
Ulrich had in vain tried to reach, began to mock the old knight.
Whereupon Ulrich asked if it were he who had struck her Grace with
the drumstick. "Ay," quoth he, laughing, "and would that she had
got more of it for treating that darling, sweet, beautiful Sidonia
no better than a kitchen wench. Where is the old hag now? I will
teach her the catechism with my drumstick, I warrant you."

And he was going to rise, when Ulrich made a sign to the
executioner, who instantly dropped his red cloak, under which he
had hitherto concealed his long sword, and just as Joachim looked
up to see what was going on, he whirled the sword round like a
flash of lightning, and cut Budde's head clean off from the
shoulders, so that not even a quill of his Spanish ruff was
disturbed, and the blood spouted up like three horse-tails to the
ceiling (for he drank so much that all the blood was in his head),
and down tumbled his gay cap, with the heron's plume, to the
ground, and his head along with it.

In an instant all was quietness; for though some of the ladies
fainted, amongst whom was her Grace, and others rushed out of the
hall, still there was such a silence that when the corpse fell
down at length heavily upon the ground the clap of the hands and
feet upon the floor was quite audible.

When Ulrich observed that his victory was complete, he waved his
hat in the air, exclaiming, "The princely house of Pomerania is
saved! and, as long as I live, its honour shall never be tarnished
for the sake of a harlot! Remove Prince Ernest and Sidonia to
separate prisons. Let the rest go their ways;--this devil's
festival is at an end, and with my consent, there shall never be
another in Wolgast."



CHAPTER XIII.

_How Sidonia is sent away to Stettin--Item, of the young lord's
dangerous illness, and what happened in consequence._


Now the Grand Chamberlain was well aware that no good would result
from having Sidonia brought to a public trial, because the whole
court was on her side.

Therefore he called Marcus Bork, her cousin, to him in the night,
and bid him take her and her luggage away next morning before
break of day, and never stop or stay until they reached Duke
Barnim's court at Stettin. The wind was half-way round now, and
before nightfall they might reach Oderkruge. He would first just
write a few lines to his Highness; and when Marcus had made all
needful preparation, let him come here to his private apartment
and receive the letter. He had selected him for the business
because he was Sidonia's cousin, and also because he was the only
young man at the castle whom the wanton had not ensnared in her
toils.

But that night Ulrich had reason to know that Sidonia and her
lovers were dangerous enemies; for just as he had returned to his
little room, and seated himself down at the table, to write to his
Grace of Stettin the whole business concerning Sidonia, the window
was smashed, and a large stone came plump down upon the ink-bottle
close beside him, and stained all the paper. As Ulrich went out to
call the guard, Appelmann, the equerry, came running up to him,
complaining that his lordship's beautiful horse was lying there in
the stable groaning like a human creature, for that some wretches
had cut its tail clean off.

_Ille_.--"Were any of the grooms in the stable lately? or had
he seen any one go by the window?"

_Hic_.--"No; it was impossible to see any one, on account of
the darkness; but he thought he had heard some one creeping along
by the wall."

_Ille_.--"Let him come then, fetch a lantern, and summon all
the grooms; he would give it to the knaves. Had he heard anything
of her Highness recently?"

_Hic_.--"A maid told him that her Grace was better, and had
retired to rest."

_Ille_.--"Thank God. Now they might go."

But as they proceeded along the corridor, which was now almost
quite dark, the old knight suddenly received such a blow upon his
hat that the beautiful aigrette was broken, and he himself thrown
against the wall with such violence that he lay a quarter of an
hour insensible; then he shook his grey head. What could that
mean? Had Appelmann seen any one?

_Hic_.--"Ah! no; but he thought he heard steps, as if of some
one running away."

So they went on to the ducal stables, but nothing was to be seen
or heard. The grooms knew nothing about the matter--the guard knew
nothing. Then the old knight lamented over his beautiful horse,
and told Appelmann to ride next morning, with Marcus Bork and
Sidonia, to the Duke's castle at Stettin, and purchase the piebald
mare for him from his Grace, about which they had been bargaining
some time back; but he must keep all this secret, for the young
nobles were to know nothing of the journey.

Ah, what fine fun this is for the cunning rogue. "If his lordship
would only give him the purse, he would bring him back a far finer
horse than that which some knaves had injured." Whereupon the old
knight went down to reckon out the rose-nobles--but, lo! a stone
comes whizzing past him close to his head, so that if it had
touched him, methinks the old man would never have spoken a word
more. In short, wherever he goes, or stops, or stands, stones and
buffets are rained down upon him, so that he has to call the guard
to accompany him back to his chamber; but he lays the saddle on
the right horse at last, as you shall hear in another place.

After some hours everything became quiet in the castle, for the
knaves were glad enough to sleep off their drunkenness. And so,
early in the morning before dawn, while they were all snoring in
their beds, Sidonia was carried off, scream as she would along the
corridor, and even before the young knight's chamber; not a soul
heard her. For she had not been brought to the prison tower, as at
first commanded, but to her own little chamber, likewise the young
lord to his; for the Grand Chamberlain thought afterwards this
proceeding would not cause such scandal.

But there truly was great grief in the castle when they all rose,
and the cry was heard that Sidonia was gone; and some of the
murderous lords threatened to make the old man pay with his blood
for it. _Item_, no sooner was it day than Dr. Gerschovius ran
in, crying that some of the young profligates had broken all his
windows the night before, and turned a goat into the rectory, with
the catechism of his dear and learned brother tied round his neck.

Then old Ulrich's anger increased mightily, as might be imagined,
and he brought the priest with him to the Duchess, who had got but
little rest that night, and was busily turning her wheel with the
little clock-work, and singing to it, in a loud, clear voice, that
beautiful psalm (120th)--"In deep distress I oft have cried." She
paused when they entered, and began to weep. "Was it not all
prophesied? Why had she been persuaded to throw off her mourning,
and slight the memory of her loved Philip? It was for this the
wrath of God had come upon her house; for assuredly the Lord would
avenge the innocent blood that had been shed."

Then Ulrich answered that, as her Grace knew, he had earnestly
opposed this festival; but as to what regarded, the traitor whose
head he had chopped off, he was ready to answer for that blood,
not only to man but before God. For had not the coward struck his
own sovereign lady the Princess with the drumstick? _Item_,
was he not in the act of rising to repeat the blow, as the whole
nobility are aware, only he lost his head by the way; and if this
had not been done, all order and government must have ceased
throughout the land, and the mice and the rats rule the cats,
which was against the order of nature and contrary to God's will.
But his gracious lady might take consolation, for Sidonia had been
carried from the castle that morning by four of the clock, and, by
God's grace, never should set foot in it again. But there was
another _gravamen_, and that concerned the young nobles, who,
no doubt, would become more daring after the events of last
evening. Then he related what had happened to the priest.
"_Item_, what did my gracious lady mean to do with those
drunken libertines? If her Grace had kept up the huntings and the
fishings, as in the days of good Duke Philip, mayhap the young men
would have been less given to debauchery; but her Grace kept an
idle house, and they had nothing to do but drink and brew
mischief. If her Grace had no fitting employment for these young
fellows, then he would pack them all off to the devil the very
next morning, for they brought nothing but disrespect upon the
princely house of Wolgast."

So her Grace rejoiced over Sidonia's departure, but could not
consent to send away the young knights. Her beloved husband and
lord, Philippus Primus, always kept a retinue of such young
nobles, and all the princely courts did the same. What would her
cousin of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg say, when they heard that
she had no longer knights or pages at her court? She feared her
princely name would be mentioned with disrespect.

So Ulrich replied, that at all events, this set of young
boisterers must be sent off, as they had grown too wild and
licentious to be endured any longer; and that he would select a
new retinue for her Grace from the discreetest and most
sober-minded young knights of the court. Marcus Bork, however,
might remain; he was true, loyal, and brave--not a wine-bibber and
profligate like the others.

So her Grace at last consented, seeing that no good would come of
these young men now; on the contrary, they would be more daring
and riotous than ever from rage, when they found that Sidonia had
been sent away; and that business of the window-smashing and the
goat demanded severe punishment. So let Ulrich look out for a new
household; these gay libertines would be sent away.

While she was speaking, the door opened, and Prince Ernest entered
the chamber, looking so pale and haggard, that her Grace clasped
her hands together, and asked him, with terror, what had happened.

_Ille._--"Did she ask what had happened, when all Pomerania
rung with it?--when nobles were beheaded before her face as if
they were nothing more than beggars' brats?--when the delicate and
high-born Lady Sidonia, who had been entrusted to her care by Duke
Barnim himself, was turned out of the castle in the middle of the
night as if she were a street-girl, because, forsooth, she would
not learn her catechism? The world would scarcely credit such
scandalous acts, and yet they were all true. But to-morrow (if
this weakness which had come over him allowed of it) he would set
off for Stettin, also to Berlin and Schwerin, and tell the princes
there, his cousins, what government they held in Wolgast. He would
soon be twenty, and would then take matters into his own hands;
and he would pray his guardian and dear uncle, Duke Barnim, to
pronounce him at once of age; then the devil might take Ulrich and
his government, but he would rule the castle his own way."

_Her Grace_.--"But what did he complain of? What ailed him?
She must know this first, for he was looking as pale as a corpse."

_Ille_.--"Did she not know, then, what ailed him? Well, since
he must tell her, it was anger-anger that made him so pale and
weak."

_Her Grace_.--"Anger, was it? Anger, because the false
wanton, Sidonia, had been removed by her orders from her princely
castle? Ah! she knew now what the wanton had come there for; but
would he kill his mother? She nearly sank upon the ground last
night when he called the impudent wench his bride. But she forgave
him; it must have been the wine he drank made him so forget
himself; or was it possible that he spoke in earnest?"

_Ille_ (sighing).--"The future will tell that." "Oh, woe is
me! what must I live to hear? If thy father could look up from his
grave, and see thee disgracing thy princely blood by a marriage
with a bower maiden!--. thou traitorous, disobedient son, do not
lie to me. I know from thy sighs what thy purpose is--for this
thou art going to Stettin and Berlin."

The Prince is silent, and looks down upon the ground.

_Her Grace_.--"Oh, shame on thee! shame on thee for the sake
of thy mother! shame on thee for the sake of this servant of God,
thy second father, this old man here! What! a vile knave strike
thy mother, before the face of all the court, and thou condemnest
him because he avenged her! Truly thou art a fine, brave son, to
let thy mother be struck before thy face, for the sake of a
harlot. Canst thou deny it? I conjure thee by the living God, tell
me is it thy true purpose to take this harlot to thy wife?"

_Ille_.--"He could give but one answer, the future would
decide."

_Her Grace_ (weeping).--"Oh, she was reserved for all
misfortunes! Why did Doctor Martinus let her ring fall? All, all
has followed from that! If he had chosen a good, humble, honest
girl, she would say nothing; but this wanton, this light maiden,
that ran after every carl and let them court her!"

Here the young Prince was seized with such violent convulsions
that he fell upon the floor, and her Grace raised him up with loud
lamentations. He was carried in a dead faint to his chamber, and
the court physician, Doctor Pomius, instantly summoned. Doctor
Pomius was a pompous little man (for my father knew him well), dry
and smart in his words, and with a face like a pair of
nutcrackers, for his front teeth were gone, so that his lips
seemed dried on his gums, like the skin of a mummy. He was withal
too self-conceited and boastful, and malicious, full of gossip and
ill-nature, and running down every one that did not believe that
he (Doctor Pomius) was the only learned physician in the world.
Following the celebrated rules laid down by Theophrastus
Paracelsus, he cured everything with trash--and asses' dung was
his infallible panacea for all complaints. This pharmacopoeia was
certainly extremely simple, easily obtained, and universal in its
application. If the dung succeeded, the doctor drew himself up,
tossed his head, and exclaimed, "What Doctor Pomius orders always
succeeds." But if the wretched patient slipped out of his hands
into the other world, he shook his head and said, "There is an
hour for every man to die; of course his had come--physicians
cannot work miracles."

Pomius hated every other doctor in the town, and abused them so
for their ignorance and stupidity, that finally her Grace believed
that no one in the world knew anything but Doctor Pomius, and that
a vast amount of profound knowledge was expressed, if he only put
his finger to the end of his nose, as was his habit.

So, as I have said, she summoned him to attend the young lord; and
after feeling his pulse and asking some questions respecting his
general health, the doctor laid his finger, as usual, to his nose,
and pronounced solemnly--"The young Prince must immediately take a
dose of asses' dung stewed in wine, with a little of the
_laudanum paracelsi_ poured in afterwards--this will restore
him certainly."

But it was all in vain; for the young Prince still continued day
and night calling for Sidonia, and neither the Duchess nor Doctor
Gerschovius could in any wise comfort him. This afflicted her
Grace almost to the death; and by Ulrich's advice, she despatched
her second son, Duke Barnim the younger, and Dagobert von
Schwerin, to the court of Brunswick, to solicit in her name the
hand of the young Princess Sophia Hedwig, for her son Ernest
Ludovicus. Now, in the whole kingdom, there was no more beautiful
princess than Sophia of Brunswick; and her Grace was filled with
hope that, by her means, the influence of the detestable Sidonia
over the heart of the young lord would be destroyed for ever.

In due time the ambassadors returned, with the most favourable
answer. Father, mother, and daughter all gave consent; and the
Duke of Brunswick also forwarded by their hands an exquisite
miniature of his beautiful daughter for Prince Ernest.

This miniature her Grace now hung up beside his bed. Would he not
look at the beautiful bride she had selected for him? Could there
be a more lovely face in all the German empire? What was Sidonia
beside her, but a rude country girl!--would he not give her up at
last, this light wench? While, on the contrary, this illustrious
princess was as virtuous as she was beautiful, and this the whole
court of Brunswick could testify.

But the young lord would give no heed to her Grace, and spat out
at the picture, and cried to take away the daub--into the fire
with it--anywhere out of his sight. Unless his dear, his beautiful
Sidonia came to tend him, he would die--he felt that he was dying.

So her Grace took counsel with old Ulrich, and Doctor Pomius, and
the priest, what could be done now. The doctor mentioned that he
must have been witch-struck. Then more doctors were sent for from
the Grypswald, but all was in vain--no one knew what ailed him;
and from day to day he grew worse.

Clara von Dewitz now bitterly reproached herself for having
concealed her suspicions about the love-drink from her
Grace--though indeed she did so by desire of her betrothed, Marcus
Bork. But now, seeing that the young Prince lay absolutely at the
point of death, she could no longer hold her peace, but throwing
herself on her knees before her Grace, told her the whole story of
the witch-girl whom she had sheltered in the castle, and of her
fears that Sidonia had learned from her how to brew a
love-philtre, which she had afterwards given to the Prince.

Her Grace was sore displeased with Clara for having kept all this
a secret, and said that she would have expected more wisdom and
discretion from her, seeing that she had always counted her the
most worthy amongst her maidens; then she summoned Ulrich, and
laid the evil matter before him. He shook his head; believed that
they had hit on the true cause now. Such a sickness had nothing
natural about it--there must be magic and witchwork in it; but he
would have the whole land searched for the girl, and make her give
the young lord some potion that would take off the spell.

Now the witch-girl had been pardoned a few days before that, and
sent back to Usdom, near Daber; but bailiffs were now sent in all
directions to arrest her, and bring her again to Wolgast without
delay.

So the wretched creature was discovered, before long, in Kruge,
near Mahlzow, where she had hired herself as a spinner for the
winter, and brought before Ulrich and her Grace. She was there
admonished to tell the whole truth, but persisted in asseverating
that Sidonia had never learned from her how to make a love-drink.
Her statement, however, was not believed; and Master Hansen was
summoned, to try and make her speak more. The affair, indeed,
appeared so serious to Ulrich, that he himself stood by while she
was undergoing the torture, and carried on the _protocollum_,
calling out to Master Hansen occasionally not to spare his
squeezes. But though the blood burst from her finger-ends, and her
hip was put out of joint, so that she limped ever after, she
confessed nothing more, nor did she alter the statement which she
had first made.

_Item_, her Grace, and the priest, and all the bystanders
exhorted her in vain to confess the truth (for her Grace was
present at the torture). At last she cried out, "Yes, I know
something that will cure him! Mercy! mercy! and I will tell it."

So they unbound her, and she was going straightway to make her
witch-potion, but old Ulrich changed his mind. Who could know
whether this devil's fiend was telling them the truth? May be she
would kill the young lord in place of curing him. So they gave her
another stretch upon the rack. But as she still held by all her
assertions, they spared her any further torture.

But, in my opinion, the young lord must have obtained something
from her, otherwise he could not have recovered all at once the
moment that Sidonia was brought back, as I shall afterwards
relate.

_Sum total_.--The young Prince screamed day and night for
Sidonia, and told her Grace that he now felt he was dying, and
requested, as his last prayer upon this earth, to be allowed to
see her once more. The maiden was an angel of goodness; and if she
could but close his dying eyes, he would die happy.

It can be easily imagined with what humour her Grace listened to
such a request, for she hated Sidonia like Satan himself; but as
nothing else could satisfy him, she promised to send for her, if
Prince Ernest would solemnly swear, by the corpse of his father,
that he would never wed her, but select some princess for his
bride, as befitted his exalted rank--the Princess Hedwig, or some
other--as soon as he had recovered sufficiently to be able to quit
his bed. So he quickly stretched forth his thin, white hand from
the bed, and promised his dearly beloved mother to do all she had
asked, if she would only send horsemen instantly to Stettin, for
the journey by water was insecure, and might be tedious if the
wind were not favourable.

Hereupon a great murmur arose in the castle; and young Duke
Bogislaus fell into such a rage that he took his way back again to
Camyn, and his younger brother, Barnim, accompanied him. But the
anger of the Grand Chamberlain no words can express. He told her
Grace, in good round terms, that she would be the mock of the
whole land. The messengers had only just returned who had carried
away Sidonia from the castle under the greatest disgrace; and now,
forsooth, they must ride back again to bring her back with all
honour.

"Oh, it was all true, quite true; but then, if her dearest son
Ernest were to die--"

_Ille_.--"Let him die. Better lose his life than his honour."

_Hæc_.--"He would not peril his honour, for he had sworn by
the corpse of his father never to wed Sidonia."

_Ille_.--"Ay, he was quick enough in promising, but
performing was a different thing. Did her Grace think that the
passion of a man could be controlled by promises, as a tame horse
by a bridle? Never, never. Passion was a wild horse, that no bit,
or bridle, or curb could guide, and would assuredly carry his
rider to the devil."

_Her Grace_.--"Still she could not give up her son to death;
besides, he would repent and see his folly. Did not God's Word
tell us how the prodigal son returned to his father, and would not
her son return likewise?"

_Ille_.--"Ay, when he has kept swine. After that he may
return, but not till then. The youngster was as great a fool about
women as he had ever come across in his life."

_Her Grace_ (weeping).--"He was too harsh on the young man.
Had she not sent away the girl at his command; and now he would
let her own child die before her eyes, without hope or
consolation?"

_Ille_.--"But if her child is indeed dying, would she send
for the devil to attend him in his last moments? Her Grace should
be more consistent. If the young lord is dying, let him die; her
Grace has other children, and God will know how to comfort her.
Had he not been afflicted himself? and let her ask Dr. Gerschovius
if the Lord had not spoken peace unto him."

_Her Grace_.--"Ah, true; but then neither of them are
mothers. Her son is asking every moment if the messengers have
departed, and what shall she answer him? She cannot lie, but must
tell the whole bitter truth."

_Ille_.--"He saw the time had come at last for him to follow
the young princes. He was of no use here any longer. Her Grace
must give him permission to take his leave, for he would sail off
that very day for his castle at Spantekow, and then she might do
as she pleased respecting the young lord."

So her Grace besought him not to leave her in her sore trouble and
perplexity. Her two sons had sailed away, and there was no one
left to advise and comfort her.

But Ulrich was inflexible. "She must either allow her son quietly
to leave this miserable life, or allow him to leave this miserable
court service."

"Then let him go to Spantekow. Her son should be saved. She would
answer before the throne of the Almighty for what she did. But
would he not promise to return, if she stood in any great need or
danger? for she felt that both were before her; still she must
peril everything to save her child."

_Ille_.--"Yes, he would be ready on her slightest summons;
and he doubted not but that Sidonia would soon give her trouble
and sorrow enough. But he could not remain now, without breaking
his knightly oath to Duke Philip, his deceased feudal seigneur of
blessed memory, and standing before the court and the world as a
fool."

So after many tears her Grace gave him his dismissal, and he rode
that same day to Spantekow, promising to return if she were in
need, and also to send her a new retinue and household
immediately.

This last arrangement displeased Marcus Bork mightily, for he had
many friends amongst the knights who were now to be dismissed, and
so he, too, prayed her Grace for leave to resign his office and
retire from court. He had long looked upon Clara von Dewitz with a
holy Christian love, and, if her Grace permitted, he would now
take her home as his dear loving wife.

Her Grace replied that she had long suspected this
betrothal--particularly from the time that Clara told her of his
advice respecting the concealment of the witch-girl's visit to
Sidonia; and as he had acted wrongly in that business, he must now
make amends by not deserting her in her greatest need. Her sons
and old Ulrich had already left her; some one must remain in whom
she could place confidence. It would be time enough afterwards to
bring home his beloved wife Clara, and she would wish them God's
blessing on their union.

_Ille_.--"True, he had been wrong in concealing that business
with the witch-girl, but her Grace must pardon him. He never
thought it would bring the young lord to his dying bed. Whatever
her Grace now commanded he would yield obedience to."

"Then," said her Grace, "do you and Appelmann mount your horses
instantly, ride to Stettin, and bring back Sidonia. For her dearly
beloved son had sworn that he could not die easy unless he beheld
Sidonia once more, and that she attended him in his last moments."

It may be easily imagined how the good knight endeavoured to
dissuade her Highness from this course, and even spoke to the
young Prince himself, but in vain. That same day he and Appelmann
were obliged to set off for Stettin, and on their arrival
presented the following letter to old Duke Barnim:--

"MARIA, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, BORN DUCHESS OF SAXONY, &c.

"ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE AND MY DEAR UNCLE,--It has not been concealed
from your Highness how our clear son Ernest Ludovicus, since the
departure of Sidonia, has fallen, by the permission of God, into
such a state of bodily weakness that his life even stands in
jeopardy.

"He has declared that nothing will restore him but to see Sidonia
once more. We therefore entreat your Highness, after admonishing
the aforesaid maiden severely upon her former light and unseemly
behaviour, to dismiss her with our messengers, that they may
return and give peace and health to our dearly beloved son.

"If your Highness would enjoy a hunt or a fishing with a tame
sea-gull, it would give us inexpressible pleasure.

"We commend you lovingly to God's holy keeping.

"Given from our Castle of Wolgast, this Friday, April 15, 1569.

"MARIA."



CHAPTER XIV.

_How Duke Barnim of Stettin and Otto Bork accompany Sidonia back
to Wolgast._


When his Highness of Stettin had finished the perusal of her
Grace's letter, he laughed loudly, and exclaimed--

"This comes of all their piety and preachings. I knew well what
this extravagant holiness would make of my dear cousin and old
Ulrich. If people would persist in being so wonderfully religious,
they would soon become as sour as an old cabbage head; and Sidonia
declared, that, for her part, a hundred horses should not drag her
back to Wolgast, where she had been lectured and insulted, and all
because she would not learn her catechism like a little
school-girl."

Nor would Otto Bork hear of her returning. (He was waiting at
Stettin to conduct her back to Stramehl.) At last, however, he
promised to consent, on condition that his Highness would grant
him the dues on the Jena.

Now the Duke knew right well that Otto wanted to revenge himself
upon the people of Stargard, with whom he was at enmity; but he
pretended not to observe the cunning knight's motives, and merely
replied--

"They must talk of the matter at Wolgast, for nothing could be
decided upon without having the opinion of his cousin the
Duchess."

So the knight taking this as a half-promise, and Sidonia having at
last consented, they all set off on Friday with a good south wind
in their favour, and by that same evening were landed by the
little water-gate at Wolgast. His Highness was received with
distinguished honours--the ten knights of her Grace's new
household being in waiting to receive him as he stepped on shore.

So they proceeded to the castle, the Duke having Sidonia upon one
arm, and a Cain under the other, which he had been carving during
the passage, for the Eve had long since been finished. Otto
followed; and all the people, when they beheld Sidonia, uttered
loud cries of joy that the dear young lady had come back to them.

This increased her arrogance, so that when her Grace received her,
and began a godly admonishment upon her past levities, and
conjured her to lead a modest, devout life for the future, Sidonia
replied indiscreetly--"She knew not what her Grace and her parson
meant by a modest, devout life, except it were learning the
catechism of Dr. Gerschovius; from such modesty and devoutness she
begged to be excused, she was no little school-girl now--she
thought her Grace had got rid of all her whims and caprices, by
sending for her after having turned her out of the castle without
any cause whatever--but it was all the old thing over again."

Her Grace coloured up with anger at this bitter speech, but held
her peace. Then Otto addressed her, and begged leave to ask her
Grace what kind of order was held at her court, where a priest was
allowed to slap the fingers of a noble young maiden, and a
chamberlain to smite her on the face? Had he known that such were
the usages at her court of Wolgast, the Lady Sidonia (such he
delighted to call her, as though she were of princely race) never
should have entered it, and he would now instantly take her back
to Stramehl, if her Grace would not consent to give him up the
dues on the Jena.

Now her Grace knew nothing about the dues, and therefore said,
turning to the Duke--"Dear uncle, what does this arrogant knave
mean? I do not comprehend his insolent speech." Hereupon Otto
chafed with rage, that her Grace had named him with such contempt,
and cried--"Then was your husband a knave, too! for my blood is as
noble and nobler than your own, and I am lord of castles and
lands. Come, my daughter; let us leave the robbers' den, or mayhap
thy father will be struck even as thou wert."

Now her Grace knew not what to do, and she lamented loudly--more
particularly because at this moment a message arrived from Prince
Ernest, praying her for God's sake to bring Sidonia to him, as he
understood that she had been in the castle now a full quarter of
an hour. Then old Otto laughed loudly, took his daughter by the
hand, and cried again, "Come--let us leave this robber hole. Come,
Sidonia!"

This plunged her Grace into despair, and she exclaimed in anguish,
"Will you not have pity on my dying child?" but Otto continued,
"Come, Sidonia! come, Sidonia!" and he drew her by the hand.

Here Duke Barnim rose up and said, "Sir Knight, be not so
obstinate. Remember it is a sorrowing mother who entreats you. Is
it not true, Sidonia, you will remain here?"

Then the cunning hypocrite lifted her kerchief to her eyes, and
replied, "If I did not know the catechism of Doctor Gerschovius,
yet I know God's Word, and how the Saviour said, 'I was sick and
ye visited Me,' and James also says, 'The prayer of faith shall
save the sick.' No, I will not let this poor young lord die, if my
visit and my prayer can help him."

"No, no," exclaimed Otto, "thou shall not remain, unless the dues
of the Jena be given up to me." And as at this moment another page
arrived from Prince Ernest, with a similar urgent request for
Sidonia to come to him, her Grace replied quickly, "I promise all
that you desire," without knowing what she was granting; so the
knight said he was content, and let go his daughter's hand.

Now the good town of Stargard would have been ruined for ever by
this revengeful man, if his treacherous designs had not been
defeated (as we shall see presently) by his own terrible death. He
had long felt a bitter hatred to the people of Stargard, because
at one time they had leagued with the Greifenbergers and the Duke
of Pomerania to ravage his town of Stramehl, in order to avenge an
insult he had offered to the old burgomaster, Jacob Appelmann,
father of the chief equerry, Johann Appelmann. In return for this
outrage, Otto determined, if possible, to get the control of the
dues of the Jena into his own hands, and when the Stargardians
brought their goods and provisions up the Jena, and from thence
prepared to enter the river Haff, he would force them to pay such
exorbitant duty upon everything, that the merchants and the
people, in short, the whole town, would be ruined, for their whole
subsistence and merchandise came by these two rivers, and all this
was merely to gratify his revenge. But the just God graciously
turned away the evil from the good town, and let it fall upon
Otto's own head, as we shall relate in its proper place.

So, when the old knight had let go his daughter's hand, her Grace
seized it, and went instantly with Sidonia to the chamber of the
young lord, all the others following. And here a moving scene was
witnessed, for as they entered, Prince Ernest extended his thin,
pale hands towards Sidonia, exclaiming, "Sidonia, ah, dearest
Sidonia, have you come at last to nursetend me?" then he took her
little hand, kissed it, and bedewed it with his tears, still
repeating, "Sidonia, dearest Sidonia, have you come to nursetend
me?"

So the artful hypocrite began to weep, and said--. "Yes, my
gracious Prince, I have come to you, although your priest struck
me on the fingers, and your mother and old Ulrich called me a
harlot, before all the court, and lastly, turned me out of the
castle by night, as if I had been a swine-herd; but I have not the
heart to let your Highness surfer, if my poor prayers and help can
abate your sickness; therefore let them strike me, and call me a
harlot again, if they wish."

This so melted the heart of my gracious Prince Ernest, that he
cried out, "O Sidonia, angel of goodness, give me one kiss, but
one little kiss upon my mouth, Sidonia! bend down to me--but one,
one kiss!" Her Grace was dreadfully scandalised at such a speech,
and said he ought to be ashamed of such words. Did he not remember
what he had sworn by the corpse of his father at St. Peter's? But
old Duke Barnim cried out, laughing--"Give him a kiss, Sidonia;
that is the best plaster for his wounds; 'a kiss in honour brings
no dishonour,' says the proverb."

However, Sidonia still hesitated, and bending down to the young
man, said, "Wait, gracious Prince, until we are alone."

If the Duchess had been angry before, what was it to her rage
now--"Alone! she would take good care they were never to be
alone!"

Otto took no notice of this speech, probably because he saw that
matters were progressing much to his liking between the Prince and
his daughter; but Duke Barnim exclaimed, "How now, dearest cousin,
are you going to spoil all by your prudery? You brought the girl
here to cure him, and what other answer could she give? Bend thee
down, Sidonia, and give him one little kiss upon the lips--I, the
Prince, command thee; and see, thou needst not be ashamed, for I
will set thee an example with his mother. Come, dear cousin, put
off that sour face, and give me a good, hearty kiss; your son will
get well the sooner for it:" but as he attempted to seize hold of
her Grace, she cried out, and lifted up her hands to Heaven,
lamenting in a loud voice--"Oh, evil and wicked world! may God
release me from this wicked world, and lay me down this day beside
my Philip in the grave!" Then weeping and wringing her hands, she
left the chamber, while the old knight, and--God forgive
him!--even Duke Barnim, looked after her, laughing.

"Come, Otto," said his Grace, "let us go too, and leave this pair
alone; I must try and pacify my dear cousin." So they left the
room, and on the way Otto opened his mind to the Duke about this
love matter, and asked his Grace, would he consent to the union,
if Prince Ernest, on his recovery, made honourable proposals for
his daughter Sidonia.

But his Grace was right crafty, and merely answered--"Time enough
to settle that, Otto, when he is recovered; but methinks you will
have some trouble with his mother unless you are more civil to
her; so if you desire her favour, bear yourself more humbly, I
advise you, as befits a subject."

This the knight promised, and the conversation ceased, as they
came up with the Duchess just then, who was waiting for them in
the grand corridor. No sooner did she perceive that Sidonia was
not with them than she cried out, "So my son is alone with the
maiden!" and instantly despatched three pages to watch them both.

Otto had now changed his tone, and instead of retorting, thanked
her Grace for the praiseworthy and Christian care she took of his
daughter. He did not believe this at first, but now he saw it with
his own eyes. Alas, it was too true, the world was daily growing
worse and worse, and the devil haunted us with his temptations,
like our own flesh and blood. Then he sighed and kissed her hand,
and prayed her Grace to pardon him his former bold language--but,
in truth, he had felt displeased at first to see her Grace so
harsh to Sidonia, when every one else at the castle received her
with rapture; but he saw now that she only meant kindly and
motherly by the girl.

Then the Duke asked, her pardon for his little jest about the
kissing. She knew well that he meant no harm; and also that it was
not in his nature to endure any melancholy or lamentable faces
around him.

So her Grace was reconciled to both, and when the Duke announced
that he and the knight proposed visiting Barth [Footnote: Barth, a
little town; and Eldena was at that time a richly endowed convent
near Greifswald.] and Eldena, from whence they would return in a
few days, to take their leave of her, she said that if her dearest
son Ernest grew any better, she would have a grand _battue_
in honour of his Highness Duke Barnim, upon their return.

Accordingly, after having amused themselves for a little fishing
with the tame sea-gull, the Duke and Otto rode away, and her Grace
went to the chamber of the young Prince, to keep watch there
during the night. She would willingly have dismissed Sidonia, but
he forbade her; and Sidonia herself declared that she would watch
day and night by the bedside of the young lord. So she sat the
whole night by his bed, holding his hand in hers, and told him
about her journey, and how shamefully she had been smuggled away
out of the castle by old Ulrich, because she would not learn the
catechism; and of her anguish when the messengers arrived, and
told of their young lord's illness. She was quite certain Ulrich
must have given him something to cause it, as a punishment for
having released her from prison, for if he could strike a maiden,
it was not surprising that he would injure even his future
reigning Prince to gratify his malice. It was well the old
malignant creature was away now, as she was told, and if his Grace
did right he would play him a trick in return, and set fire to his
castle at Spantekow as soon as he was able to move.

Her Grace endured all this in silence, for her dear son's sake,
though in truth her anger was terrible. The young lord, however,
grew better rapidly, and the following day was even able to creep
out of bed for a couple of hours, to touch the lute. And he taught
Sidonia all, and placed her little fingers himself on the strings,
that she might learn the better. Then, for the first time, he
called for something to eat, and after that fell into a profound
sleep which lasted forty-eight hours. During this time he lay like
one dead, and her Grace would have tried to awaken him, but the
physician prevented her. At length, when he awoke, he cried out
loudly, first for Sidonia, and then for some food.

At last, to the great joy of her Grace, he was able, on the fourth
day, to walk in the castle garden, and arranged to attend the hunt
with his dear uncle upon his return to Wolgast. The Duke, on his
arrival, rejoiced greatly to find the young lord so well, and said
with his usual gay manner, "Come here, Sidonia; I have been rather
unwell on the journey: come here and give me a kiss too, to make
me better!" and Sidonia complied. Whereupon her Grace looked
unusually sour, but said nothing, for fear of disturbing the
general joy. Indeed, the whole castle was in a state of jubilee,
and her Grace promised that she and her ladies would attend the
hunt on the following day.

About this time the castle was troubled by a strange
apparition--no other than the spectre of the serpent knight, who
had been drowned some time previously. It was reported that every
night the ghost entered the castle by the little water-gate,
though it was kept barred and bolted, traversed the whole length
of the corridor, and sunk down into the earth, just over the place
where the ducal coaches and sleighs were kept.

Every one fled in terror before the ghost, and scarcely a
lansquenet could be found to keep the night watch. What this
spectre betokened shall be related further on in this little
history, but at present I must give an account of the grand
_battue_ which took place according to her Grace's orders,
and of what befell there.



CHAPTER XV.

_Of the grand battue, and what the young Duke and Sidonia
resolved on there._


The preparations for the hunt commenced early in the morning, and
the knights and nobles assembled in the hall of fishes (so called
because the walls were painted with representations of all the
fishes that are indigenous to Pomerania). Here a superb breakfast
was served, and pages presented water in finger-basins of silver
to each of the princely personages. Then costly wines were handed
round, and Duke Barnim, having filled to the brim a cup bearing
the Pomeranian arms, rose up and said, "Give notice to the warder
at St. Peter's." And immediately, as the great bell of the town
rang out, and resounded through the castle and all over the town,
his Grace gave the health of Prince Ernest, who pledged him in
return. Afterwards they all descended to the courtyard, and his
Grace entered the ducal mews himself, to select a horse for the
day. Now these mews were of such wonderful beauty, that I must
needs append a description of them here.

First there was a grand portico, and within a corridor with ranges
of pillars on each side, round which were hung antlers and horns
of all the animals of the chase. This led to the pond with the
island in the centre, where the bear was kept, as I have already
described. When Duke Barnim and the old knight emerged from the
portico to enter the stable, they were met by Johann Appelmann,
the chief equerry, who spread before the feet of his Highness a
scarlet horse-cloth, embroidered with the ducal arms, whereon he
laid a brush and a riding-whip; and then demanded his
_Trinkgeld_.

On entering, they observed numerous stalls filled with Pomeranian,
Hungarian, Frisian, Danish, and Turkish horses--each race by
itself, and each horse standing ready saddled and bridled since
the morning. _Item_, all along the walls were ranged enormous
brazen lions' heads, which conveyed water throughout the building,
and cleansed the stables completely every day.

Otto wondered much at all this magnificence, and asked his Grace
what could her Highness want with all these horses.

"They eat their oats in idleness, for the most part," replied the
Duke. "No one uses them but the pages and knights of the
household, who may select any for riding that pleases them; but
her Highness would never diminish any of the state maintained by
her deceased lord, Duke Philip. So there has been always, since
that time, particular attention paid to the ducal stables at
Wolgast."

Now the train began to move towards the hunt, in all about a
hundred persons, and in front rode her Grace upon an ambling
palfrey, dressed in a riding-habit of green velvet, and wearing a
yellow hat with plumes. Her little Casimir rode by her side on a
Swedish pony; then followed her ladies-in-waiting, amongst whom
rode Sidonia, all likewise dressed in green velvet
hunting-dresses, fastened with golden clasps; but in place of
yellow, they wore scarlet hats, with gilded herons' plumes. Duke
Barnim and Prince Ernest rode along with her Grace; and though
none but those of princely blood were allowed to join this group,
yet Otto strove to keep near them, as if he really belonged to the
party, just as the sacristan strives to make the people think he
is as good as the priest by keeping as close as he can to him
while the procession moves along the streets.

After these came the marshal, the castellan, and then the
treasurer, with the office-bearers, knights, and esquires of the
household. Then the chief equerry, with the master of the hounds
and the principal huntsmen. But the beaters, pages, lacqueys,
drummers, coursers, and runners had already gone on before a good
way; and never had the Wolgastians beheld such a stately hunt as
this since the death of good Duke Philip. So the whole town ran
together, and followed the procession for a good space, up to the
spot where blue tents were erected for her Grace and her ladies.
The ground all round was strewed with flowers and evergreens, and
before the tents palisades were erected, on which lay loaded
rifles, ready to discharge at any of the game that came that way;
and for two miles round the master of the hunt had laid down nets,
which were all connected together at a point close to the princely
tent.

When the beaters and their dogs had started the animals, he left
the tent to reconnoitre, and if the sport promised to be
plentiful, he ordered the drums to beat, in order to give her
Highness notice. Then she took a rifle herself, and brought down
several head, which was easily accomplished, when they passed upon
each other as thick as sheep. Sidonia, who had often attended the
hunts at Stramehl, was a most expert shot, and brought down ten
roes and stags, whereon she had much jesting with the young lords,
who had not been half so successful. And let no one imagine that
there was danger to her Highness and her ladies in thus firing at
the wild droves from her tent, for it was erected upon a
scaffolding raised five feet from the ground, and surrounded by
palisades, so that it was impossible the animals could ever reach
it.

On that day, there were killed altogether one hundred and fifty
stags, one hundred roes, five hundred hares, three hundred foxes,
one hundred wild boars, seven wolves, five wild-cats, and one
bear, which was entangled in the net and then shot. And at last
the right hearty pleasure of the day began.

For it was the custom at the ducal court for each huntsman, from
the master of the hunt down, to receive a portion of the game; and
her Grace took much pleasure now in seeing the mode in which the
distribution was made. It was done in this wise: each man received
the head of the animal, and as much of the neck as he could cover
with the ears, by dragging them down with all his might.

So the huntsmen stood now toiling and sweating, each with one foot
firmly planted against a stone and the other on the belly of the
beast, dragging down the ears with all his force to the very
furthest point they could go, when another huntsman, standing by,
cut off the head at that point with his hunting-knife.

Then each man let his dog bite at the entrails of a stag, while
they repeated old charms and verses over them, such as:--

  "Diana, no better e'er track'd a wood;
  There's many a huntsman not half so good."

Or, in Low German:--

  "Wasser, if ever the devil you see,
  Bite his leg for him, or he will bite me."

These old rhymes pleased the young Casimir mightily: if his lady
mother would only lend him a ribbon, he would lead up little
Blaffert his dog to them, and have a rhyme said over him. So her
Grace consented, and broke off her sandal-tie to fasten in the
little dog's collar, because in her hurry she could find no other
string, and left the tent herself with the child to conduct him to
the huntsmen.

Now the moment her Grace had taken her eyes off Sidonia, and that
all the other ladies had left the tent to follow her and the
little boy, who was laughing and playing with his dog, the young
maiden, looking round to see that no one was observing her,
slipped out and ran in amongst the bushes, and my lord, Prince
Ernest, slipped after her. No one observed them, for all eyes were
turned upon the princely child, who sprang to a huntsman and
begged of him to say a rhyme or two over his little dog Blaffert.
The carl rubbed his forehead, and at last gave out his psalm, as
follows, in Low German:--

  "Blaffert, Blaffert, thou art fat!
    If my lord would only feed
  All his people like to that
    'Twould be well for Pommern's need."

 [Footnote: Pomerania.]

All the bystanders laughed heartily, and then the hounds were
given their dinner according to the usage, which was this:--A
number of oak and birch trees were felled, and over every two and
two there was spread a tablecloth--that is, the warm skin of a
deer or wild-boar; into this, as into a wooden trencher, was
poured the warm blood of the wild animals, which the hounds lapped
up, while forty huntsmen played a march with drums and trumpets,
which was re-echoed from the neighbouring wood, to the great
delight of all the listeners. When the hounds had lapped up all
the blood, they began to eat up the tablecloths likewise; but as
these belonged to the huntsmen, a great fight took place between
them and the dogs for the skins, which was right merry to behold,
and greatly rejoiced the ducal party and all the people.

In the meantime, as I said, Sidonia had slipped into the wood, and
the young lord after her. He soon found her resting under the
shadow of a large nut-tree, and the following conversation took
place between them, as he afterwards many times related:--

"Alas, gracious Prince, why do you follow me? if your lady mother
knew of this we should both suffer. My head ached after all that
firing, and therefore I came hither to enjoy a little rest and
quietness. Leave me, leave me, my gracious lord."

"No, no, he would not leave her until she told him whether she
still loved him; for his lady mother watched him day and night,
like the dragon that guarded the Pomeranian arms, and until this
moment he had never seen her alone."

"But what could he now desire to say? Had he not sworn by the
corpse of his father never to wed her?"

"Yes; in a moment of anguish he had sworn it, because he would
have died if she had not been brought back to the castle."

"But still he must hold by his word to his lady mother, would he
not?"

"Impossible! all impossible! He would sooner renounce land and
people for ever than his beautiful Sidonia. How he felt, for the
first time, the truth of the holy words, 'Love is strong as
death.'" [Footnote: Song of Solomon viii. 6.] Then he throws his
arms round her and kissed her, and asked, would she be his?

Here Sidonia covered her face with both hands, and sinking down
upon the grass, murmured, "Yours alone, either you or death."

The Prince threw himself down beside her, and besought her not to
weep. "He could not bear to see her tears; besides, there was good
hope for them yet, for he had spoken to old Zitsewitz, who wished
them both well, and who had given him some good advice."

_Sidonia_ (quickly removing her hands).--"What was it?"

"To have a private marriage. Then the devil himself could not
separate them, much less the old bigot Ulrich. There was a priest
in the neighbourhood, of the name of Neigialink. He lived in
Crummyn, [Footnote: A town near Wolgast.] with a nun whom he had
carried off from her convent and married; therefore he would be
able to sympathise with lovers, and would help them."

"But his Highness should remember his kingly state, and not bring
misery on them both for ever."

"He had considered all that, they should therefore keep this
marriage private for a year; she could live at Stramehl during
that period, and receive his visits without his mother knowing of
the matter. At the end of that year he would be of age, and his
own master."

_Sidonia_ (embracing him).--"Ah, if he really loved her so,
then the sooner the better to the church. But let him take care
that evil-minded people would not separate them for ever, and
bring her to an early grave. Had the priest been informed that he
would be required to wed them?"

"Not yet; but if he continued as strong as he felt to-day, he
would ride over to Crummyn himself (for it was quite near to
Wolgast) the moment Duke Barnim and her father quitted the
castle."

"But how would she know the result of his visit? his mother
watched her day and night. Could he send a page or a serving-maid
to her?--though indeed there were none now he could trust, for
Ulrich had dismissed all her good friends. And if he came himself
to her room, evil might be spoken of it."

"He had arranged all that already. There was the bear, as she
remembered, chained upon the little island in the horse-pond, just
under her window. Now when he returned from Crummyn, he would go
out by seven in the morning, before his lady mother began her
spinning, and commence shooting arrows at the bear, by way of
sport; then, as if by chance, he would let fly an arrow at her
window and shiver the glass, but the arrow would contain a little
note, detailing his visit to the priest at Crummyn, and the
arrangement he had made for carrying her away secretly from the
castle. She must take care, however, to move away her seat from
the window, and place it in a corner, lest the arrow might strike
herself."

But then a loud "Sidonia! Sidonia!" resounded through the wood,
and immediately after, "Ernest! Ernest!"

So she sprang up, and cried, "Run, dearest Prince, run as fast as
you are able, to the other side, where the huntsmen are gathering,
and mix with them, so that her Grace may not perceive you." This
he did, and began to talk to the huntsmen about their dogs and the
sweep of the chase, and as her Grace continued calling "Ernest!
Ernest!" he stepped slowly towards her out of the crowd, and asked
what was her pleasure? So she suspected nothing, and grew quite
calm again.

Duke Barnim now began to complain of hunger, and asked her Grace
where she meant to serve them a collation, for he could never hold
out until they reached Wolgast, and his friend Otto also was
growing as ravenous as a wolf.

Her Grace answered, the collation was laid in the Cisan tower,
close beside them, and as the weather was good, his Grace could
amuse himself with the _tubum opticum_, which a Pomeranian
noble had bought in Middelburg from one Johann Lippersein,
[Footnote: An optician, and the probable inventor of the
telescope, which was first employed about the end of the sixteenth
and the beginning of the seventeenth century.] and presented to
her. By the aid of this telescope he would see as far as his own
town of Stettin. Neither the Duke nor Otto Bork believed it
possible to see Stettin, at the distance of thirteen or fourteen
miles, with any instrument. But her Grace, who had heard of Otto's
godless infidelity, rebuked him gravely, saying, "You will soon be
convinced, sir knight; so we often hold that to be impossible in
spiritual matters, which becomes not only possible, but certain,
when we look through the telescope which the Holy Spirit presents
to us, weak and short-sighted mortals. God give to every infidel
such a _tubum opticum_!" The Duke, fearing now that her Grace
would continue her sermon indefinitely, interrupted her in his
jesting way--"Listen, dear cousin! I will lay a wager with you. If
I cannot see Stettin, as you promise, you shall give me a kiss;
but if I see it and recognise it clearly, then I shall give you a
kiss."

Her Grace was truly scandalised, as one may imagine, and replied
angrily--"Good uncle! if you attempt to offer such indignities to
me, the princely widow, I must pray your Grace to leave my court
with all speed, and never to return!" This rebuke made every one
grave until they reached the Cisan tower. This building lay only
half a mile from the hunting-ground, and was situated on the
summit of the Cisanberg, from whence its name. It was built of
wood, and contained four stories, besides excellent stabling for
horses. The apartments were light, airy, and elegant, so that her
Grace frequently passed a portion of the summer time there. The
upper story commanded a view of the whole adjacent country. At the
foot of the hill ran the little river Cisa into the Peen, and many
light, beautiful bridges were thrown over it at different points.
The hill itself was finely wooded with pines and other trees, and
the tower was made more light and airy than that which Duke Johann
Frederick afterwards erected at Friedrichswald, and commanded a
far finer prospect, seeing that the Cisanberg is the highest hill
in Pomerania.

While the party proceeded to the tower, Sidonia rode along by her
father, and to judge from her animation and gestures, she was, no
doubt, communicating to him all that the young lord had promised,
and her hopes, in consequence, that a very short period would
elapse before he might salute her as Duchess of Pomerania.

When they reached the tower, all admired the view even from the
lower window, for they could see the Peen, the Achterwasser, and
eight or nine towns, besides the sea in the distance. I say
nothing of Wolgast, which seemed to lie just beneath their feet,
with its princely castle and cathedral perfectly distinct, and all
its seats laid out like a map, where they could even distinguish
the people walking. Then her Grace bade them ascend to the upper
story, and look out for Stettin, but they sought for it in vain
with their unassisted eyes; then her Grace placed the _tubum
opticum_ before the Duke, and no sooner had he looked through
it than he cried out, "As I live, Otto, there is my strong tower
of St. James's, and my ducal castle to the left, lying far behind
the Finkenwald mountain." But the unbelieving Thomas laughed, and
only answered, "My gracious Prince! do not let yourself be so
easily imposed upon."

Hereupon the Duke made him look through the telescope himself; and
no sooner had he applied his eye to the glass than he jumped back,
rubbed his eyes, looked through a second time, and then
exclaimed--

"Well, as true as my name is Otto Bork, I never could have
believed this."

"Now, sir knight," said her Grace, "so it is with you as concerns
spiritual things. How if you should one day find that to be true
which your infidelity now presumptuously asserts to be false? Will
not your repentance then be bitter? If you have found my words
true--the words of a poor, weak, sinful woman, will you not much
more find those of the holy Son of God? Yes, to your horror and
dismay, you will find His words to be truth, of whom even His
enemies testified that He never lied--Matt. xxii. 16. Tremble, sir
knight, and bethink you that what often seems impossible to man is
possible to God."

The bold knight was now completely silenced, and the good-natured
Duke, seeing that he had not a word to say in reply, advanced to
his rescue, and changed the conversation by saying--

"See, Otto, the wind seems so favourable just now, that I think we
had better say '_Vale_' to our gracious hostess in the
morning, and return to Stettin."

Not a word did his Grace venture to say more about the wager of
the kisses, for his dear cousin's demeanour restrained even his
hilarity. Otto had nothing to object to the arrangement; and her
Grace said, if they were not willing longer to abide at her
widowed court, she would bid them both Godspeed upon their
journey. "And you, sir knight, may take back your daughter
Sidonia, for our dear son, as you may perceive, is now quite
restored, and no longer needs her nursing. For the good deed she
has wrought in curing him, I shall recompense her as befits me.
But at my court the maiden can no longer abide."

The knight was at first so thunderstruck by these words that he
could not speak; but at last drawing himself up proudly, he said,
"Good; I shall take the Lady Sidonia back with me to my castle;
but as touching the recompense, keep it for those who need it."
Sidonia, however, remained quite silent, as did also the young
lord.

But hear what happened. The festival lasted until late in the
night, and then suddenly such a faintness and bodily weakness came
over the young Prince Ernest that all the physicians had to be
sent for; and they with one accord entreated her Grace, if she
valued his life, not to send away Sidonia.

One can imagine what her Grace felt at this news. Nothing would
persuade her to believe but that Sidonia had given him some
witch-drink, such as the girl out of Daber had taught her to make.

No one could believe either that his Highness affected this
sickness, in order to force his mother to keep Sidonia at the
court; indeed, he afterwards strongly asseverated, and this at a
time when he would have killed Sidonia with a look, if it had been
possible, that this weakness came upon him suddenly like an ague,
and that it could not have been caused by anything she had given
him, for he had eaten nothing, except at the banquet at the Cisan
tower.

In short, the young Prince became as bad as ever; but Sidonia
never heeded him, only busied herself packing up her things, as if
she really intended going away with Otto, and finally, as eight
o'clock struck the next morning, she wrapped herself in her mantle
and hood, and went with her father and Duke Barnim to take leave
of her Grace. She looked as bitter and sour as a
vinegar-cruet--nothing would tempt her to remain even for one day
longer. What was her Grace to do? the young lord was dying, and
had already despatched two pages to her, entreating for one sight
of Sidonia! She must give the artful hypocrite good words--but
they were of no avail--Sidonia insisted on leaving the castle that
instant with her father; then turning to Duke Barnim, she
exclaimed with bitter tears, "Now, gracious Prince, you see
yourself how I am treated here."

Neither would the cunning Otto permit his daughter to remain on
any account, unless, indeed, her Grace gave him a written
authority to receive the dues on the Jena. Such shameless knavery
at last enraged the old Duke Barnim to such a degree that he cried
out--"Listen, Otto, my illustrious cousin here has no more to do
with the dues on the Jena than you have; they belong to me alone,
and I can give no promise until I lay the question before my
council and the diet of the Stettin dukedom: be content,
therefore, to wait until then." One may easily guess what was the
termination of the little drama got up by Otto and his fair
daughter--namely, that Otto sailed away with the Duke, and that
Sidonia remained at the court of Wolgast.



CHAPTER XVI.

_How the ghost continued to haunt the castle, and of its daring
behaviour--Item, how the young lord regained his strength, and was
able to visit Crummyn, with what happened to him there.


So Sidonia was again seated by the couch of the young Prince, with
her hand in his hand; but her Grace, as may well be imagined, was
never very far off from them; and this annoyed Sidonia so much,
that she did not scruple to treat the mourning mother and princely
widow with the utmost contempt; at last disdaining even to answer
the questions addressed to her by her Grace. All this the Duchess
bore patiently for the sake of her dear son. But even Prince
Ernest felt, at length, ashamed of such insolent scorn being
displayed towards his mother, and said--

"What, Sidonia, will you not even answer my gracious mother?"

Hereupon the hypocrite sighed, and answered--

"Ah, my gracious Prince! I esteem it better to pray in silence
beside your bed than to hold a loud chattering in your ears.
Besides, when I am speaking to God I cannot, at the same time,
answer your lady mother."

This pleased the young man, and he pressed her little hand, and
kissed it. And very shortly after, his strength returned to him
wonderfully, so that her Grace and Sidonia only watched by him one
night. The next day he fell into a profound sleep, and awoke from
it perfectly recovered.

In the meantime, the ghost became so daring and troublesome, that
all the house stood in fear of it. Oftentimes it would be seen
even in the clear morning light; and a maid, who had forgotten to
make the bed of one of the grooms, and ran to the stables at night
to finish her work, encountered the ghost there, and nearly died
of fright. _Item_, Clara von Dewitz, one beautiful moonlight
night, having gone out to take a turn up and down the corridor,
because she could not sleep from the toothache, saw the
apparition, just as day dawned, sinking down into the earth, not
far from the chamber of Sidonia, to her great horror and
astonishment. _Item_, her Grace, that very same night, having
heard a noise in the corridor, opened her door, and there stood
the ghost before her, leaning against a pillar. She was
horror-struck, and clapped to her door hastily, but said nothing
to the young Prince, for fear of alarming him.

He had recovered, as I have said, in a most wonderful manner, and
though still looking pale and haggard, yet his love for the maiden
would not permit him to defer his visit to Crummyn any longer;
particularly as it lay only half a mile from the castle, but on
the opposite bank of the river, near the island of Usdom.

Thereupon, on the fourth night, he descended to the little
water-gate, having previously arranged with his chief equerry,
Appelmann, to have a boat there in readiness for him, and also a
good horse, to take across the ferry with them to the other side.
So, at twelve o'clock, he and Appelmann embarked privately, with
Johann Bruwer, the ferryman, and were safely landed at Mahlzow.
Here he mounted his horse, and told the two others to await his
return, and conceal themselves in the wood if any one approached.
Appelmann begged permission to accompany his Highness, which,
however, was denied; the young Prince charging them strictly to
hold themselves concealed till his return, and never reveal to
human being where they had conducted him this evening, on pain of
his severe anger and loss of favour for ever; but if they held
their secret close, he would recompense them at no distant time,
in a manner even far beyond their hopes.

So his Highness rode off to Crummyn, where all was darkness,
except, indeed, one small ray of light that glanced from the lower
windows of the cloister--for it was standing at that time. He
dismounted, tied his horse to a tree, and knocked at the window,
through which he had a glimpse of an old woman, in nun's garments,
who held a crucifix between her hands, and prayed.

"Who are you?" she demanded. "What can you want here at such an
hour?"

"I am from Wolgast," he answered, "and must see the priest of
Crummyn."

"There is no priest here now."

"But I have been told that a priest of the name of Neigialink
lived here."

_Illa_.--"He was a Lutheran swaddler and no priest, otherwise
he would not live in open sin with a nun."

"It is all the same to me; only come and show me the way."

_Illa_.--"Was he a heathen or a true Christian?"

His Highness could not make out what the old mother meant, but
when he answered, "I am a Christian," she opened the door, and let
him enter her cell. As she lifted up the lamp, however, she
started back in terror at his young, pale, haggard face. Then,
looking at his rich garments, she cried--

"This must be a son of good Duke Philip's, for never were two
faces more alike."

The Prince never imagined that the old mother could betray him,
and therefore answered, "Yes; and now lead me to the priest."

So the old mother began to lament over the downfall of the pure
Christian doctrine, which his father, Duke Philip, had upheld so
bravely. And if the young lord held the true faith (as she hoped
by his saying he was a Christian), if so, then she would die
happy, and the sooner the better--even if it were this night, for
she was the last of all the sisterhood, all the other nuns having
died of grief; and so she went on chattering.

Prince Ernest regretted that he had not time to discourse with her
upon the true faith, but would she tell him where the priest was
to be found.

_Illa_.--"She would take him to the parson, but he must first
do her a service."

"Whatever she desired, so that it would not detain him."

_Illa_.--"It was on this night the vigil of the holy St.
Bernard, their patron saint, was held; now, there was no one to
light the altar candles for her, for her maid, who had grown old
along with her, lay a-dying, and she was too old and weak herself
to stretch up so high. And the idle Lutheran heretics of the town
would mock, if they knew she worshipped God after the manner of
her fathers. The old Lutheran swaddler, too, would not suffer it,
if he knew she prayed in the church by nights. But she did not
care for his anger, for she had a private key that let her in at
all hours; and his Highness, the Prince, at her earnest prayers,
had given her permission to pray in the church, at any time she
pleased, from then till her death."

So the old mother wept so bitterly, and kissed his Highness's
hand, entreating him with such sad lamentations to remain with her
until she said a prayer, that he consented. And she said, if the
heretic parson came there to scold her, which of a surety he
would, knowing that she never omitted a vigil, he could talk to
him in the church, without going to disturb him and his harlot nun
at their own residence. Besides, the church was the safest place
to discourse in, for no one would notice them, and he would be
able to protect her from the parson's anger besides.

Here the old mother took up the church keys and a horn lantern,
and led the young Prince through a narrow corridor up to the
church door. Hardly, however, had she put the key in the lock,
when the loud bark of a dog was heard inside, and they soon heard
it scratching, and smelling, and growling at them close to the
door.

"What can that dog be here for?" said his Highness in alarm.

"Alas!" answered the nun, "since the pure old religion was
destroyed, profanity and covetousness have got the upper hand; so
every church where even a single pious relic of the wealth of the
good old times remains, must be guarded, as you see, by dogs.
[Footnote: It is an undeniable fact, that the immorality of the
people fearfully increased with the progress of the Reformation
throughout Pomerania. An old chronicler, and a Protestant, thus
testifies, 1542:--"And since this time (the Reformation) a great
change has come over all things. In place of piety, we have
profanity; in place of reverence, sacrilege and the plundering of
God's churches; in place of alms-deeds, stinginess and
selfishness; in place of feasts, greed and gluttony; in place of
festivals, labour; in place of obedience and humility of children,
obstinacy and self-opinion; in place of honour and veneration for
the priesthood, contempt for the priest and the church ministers.
So that one might justly assert that the preaching of the
evangelism had made the people worse in place of better."

Another Protestant preacher, John Borkmann, asserts, 1560:--"As
for sin, it overflows all places and all stations. It is growing
stronger in all offices, in all trades, in all employments, in
every station of life--what shall I say more?--in every
individual"--and so on. I would therefore recommend the blind
eulogists of the good old times to examine history for themselves,
and not to place implicit belief either in the pragmatical
representations of the old and new Lutherans."] And she had herself
locked up her pretty dog Störteback [Footnote: The name of a
notorious northern pirate.] here, that no one might rob the altar
of the golden candlesticks and the little jewels, at least as long
as she lived."

So she desired Störteback to lie still, and then entered the
church with the Prince, who lit the altar candles for her, and
then looked round with wonder on the silver lamps, the golden pix
and caps, and other vessels adorned with jewels, used by the
Papists in their ceremonies.

The old mother, meanwhile, took off her white garment and black
scapulary, and being thus naked almost to the waist, descended
into a coffin, which was lying in a corner beside the altar. Here
she groped till she brought up a crucifix, and a scourge of
knotted cords. Then she kneeled down within the coffin, lashing
herself with one hand till the blood flowed from her shoulders,
and with the other holding up the crucifix, which she kissed from
time to time, whilst she recited the hymn of the holy St.
Bernard:--

   "Salve caput cruentatum,
   Totum spinis coronatum,
   Conquassatum, vulneratum,
   Arundine verberatum
   Facie sputis illita."

When she had thus prayed, and scourged herself a while, she
extended the crucifix with her bleeding arm to the Prince, and
prayed him, for the sake of God, to have compassion on her, and so
would the bleeding Saviour and all the saints have compassion upon
him at the last day. And when his Highness asked her what he could
do for her, she besought him to bring her a priest from Grypswald,
who could break the Lord's body once more for her, and give her
the last sacrament of extreme unction here in her coffin. Then
would she never wish to leave it, but die of joy if this only was
granted to her.

So the Prince promised to fulfil her wishes; whereupon she
crouched down again in the coffin, and recommenced the scourging,
while she repeated with loud sobs and groans the two last verses
of the hymn. Scarcely had she ended when a small side-door opened,
and the dog Störteback began to bark vociferously.

"What!" exclaimed a voice, "is that old damned Catholic witch at
her mummeries, and burning my good wax candles all for nothing?"

And, silencing the dog, a man stepped forward hastily, but, seeing
the Prince, paused in astonishment. Whereupon the old mother
raised herself up out of the coffin, and said, "Did I not tell
your Grace that you would see the hardhearted heretic here?--that
is the man you seek." So the Prince brought him into the choir,
and told him that he was Prince Ernest Ludovicus, and came here to
request that he would privately wed him on the following night,
without knowledge of any human being, to his beloved and affianced
bride, Sidonia von Bork.

The priest, however, did not care to mix himself up with such a
business, seeing that he feared Ulrich mightily; but his Grace
promised him a better living at the end of the year, if he would
undertake to serve him now.

To which the priest answered--"Who knows if your Highness will be
alive by the end of the year, for you look as pale as a corpse?"

"He never felt better in his life. He had been ill lately, but now
was as sound as a fish. Would he not marry him?"

_Hic_.--"Certainly not; unless he received a handsome
consideration. He had a wife and dear children; what would become
of them if he incurred the displeasure of that stern Lord
Chamberlain and of the princely widow?"

"But could he not bring his family to Stettin; for he and his
young bride intended to fly there, and put themselves under the
protection of his dear uncle, Duke Barnim?"

_Hic_.--"It was a dangerous business; still, if his Highness
gave him a thousand gulden down, and a written promise, signed and
sealed, that he would provide him with a better living before the
year had expired, why, out of love for the young lord, he would
consent to peril himself and his family; but his Highness must not
think evil of him for demanding the thousand gulden paid down
immediately, for how were his dear wife and children to be
supported through the long year otherwise?"

His Highness, however, considered the sum too large, and said that
his gracious mother had scarcely more a year for herself than a
thousand gulden--she that was the Duchess of Pomerania.

However, they finally agreed upon four hundred gulden; for his
Highness showed him that Doctor Luther himself had only four
hundred gulden a year, and surely he would not require more than
the great _reformator ecclesia_.

So everything was arranged at last, the priest promising to
perform the ceremony on the third night from that; "For some
time," he said, "would be necessary to collect people to assist
them in their flight, and money must be distributed; but his
Highness would, of course, repay all that he expended in his
behalf, and further promise to give him and his family free
quarters when they reached Stettin."

After the ceremony, they could reach the boat through the convent
garden, and sail away to Warte. [Footnote: A town near Usdom.]
Then he would have four or five peasants in waiting, with
carriages ready, to escort them to East Clune, from whence they
could take another boat and cross the Haff into Stettin; for, as
they could not reckon on a fair wind with any certainty, it was
better to perform the journey half by land and half by water;
besides, the fishermen whom he intended to employ were not
accustomed to sail up the Peen the whole way into the Haff, for
their little fishing-smacks were too slight to stand a strong
current.

Hereupon the Prince answered, that, since it was necessary, he
would wait until the third night, when the priest should have
everything in readiness, but meanwhile should confide the secret
to no one. So he turned away, and comforted the old mother again
with his promises as he passed out.

The next morning, having written all down for Sidonia, and
concealed the note in an arrow, he went forth as he had arranged,
and began to tease the bear by shooting arrows at him, till the
beast roared and shook his chain. Then, perceiving that Sidonia
had observed him from the window, he watched a favourable
opportunity, and shot the arrow up, right through her window, so
that the pane of glass rattled down upon the floor. In the billet
therein concealed he explained the whole plan of escape; and asked
her to inform him, in return, how she could manage to come to him
on the third night. Would his dearest Sidonia put on the dress of
a page? He could bring it to her little chamber himself the next
night. She must write a little note in answer, and conceal it in
the arrow as he had done, then throw it out of the window, and he
would be on the watch to pick it up.

So Sidonia replied to him that she was content; but, as regarded
the page's dress, he must leave it, about ten o'clock the next
night, upon the beer-barrel in the corridor, but not attempt to
bring it himself to her chamber. Concerning the manner in which
she was to meet him on the third night, had he forgotten that the
old castellan barred and bolted all that wing of the castle by
eleven o'clock, so that she could never leave the corridor by the
usual way; but there was a trapdoor near her little chamber which
led down into the ducal stables, and this door no one ever thought
of or minded--it was never bolted night or day, and was quite
large enough for a man to creep through. Her dear Prince might
wait for her, by that trap-door, at eleven o'clock on the
appointed night. He could not mistake it, for the large basket lay
close behind, in which her Grace kept her darling little kittens;
from thence they could easily get into the outer courtyard, which
was never locked, and, after that, go where they pleased. If he
approved of this arrangement, let him shoot another arrow into her
room; but, above all things, he was to keep at a distance from her
during the day, that her Grace might not suspect anything.

Having thrown the arrow out of the window, and received another in
answer from the Prince, which the artful hypocrite flung out as if
in great anger, she ran to Clara's room, and complained bitterly
how the young lord had broken her window, because, forsooth, he
must be shooting arrows at the bear; and so she had to come into
her room out of the cold air, until the glazier came to put in the
glass. When Clara asked how she could be so angry with the young
Prince--did she not love him any longer?--Sidonia replied, that
truly she had grown very tired of him, for he did nothing but sigh
and groan whenever he came near her, like an asthmatic old woman,
and had grown as thin and dry as a baked plum. There was nothing
very lovable about him now. Would to Heaven that he were quite
well, and she would soon bid farewell to the castle and every one
in it; but the moment she spoke of going his sickness returned, so
that she was obliged to remain, which was much against her
inclination; and this she might tell Clara in confidence, because
she had always been her truest friend.

Then she pretended to weep, and cursed her beauty, which had
brought her nothing but unhappiness; thereupon the tender-hearted
Clara began to comfort her, and kissed her; and the moment Sidonia
left her to get the glass mended, Clara ran to her Grace to tell
her the joyful tidings; but, alas! that very day the wickedness of
the artful maiden was brought to light. For what happened in the
afternoon? See, the nun of Crummyn steps out of a boat at the
little water-gate, and places herself in a corner of the
courtyard, where the people soon gather round in a crowd, to laugh
at her white garments and black scapulary; and the boys begin to
pelt the poor old mother with stones, and abuse her, calling her
the old Papist witch; but by good fortune the castellan comes by,
and commands the crowd to leave off tormenting her, and then asks
her business.

_Illa._--"She must speak instantly to her Grace the princely
widow."

So the old man brings her to her Grace, with whom Clara was still
conversing, and the old nun, after she had kneeled to the Duchess
and kissed her hand, began to relate how her young lord, Prince
Ernest, had been with her the night before, while she was keeping
the _vigilia_ of holy St. Bernard to the best of her ability,
and had urgently demanded to see the Lutheran priest named
Neigialink, and that when this same priest came into the church to
scold her, as was his wont, he and the Prince had retired into the
choir, and there held a long conversation which she did not
comprehend. But the priest's mistress had told her the whole
business this morning, under a promise of secrecy--namely, that
the priest, her leman, had promised to wed Prince Ernest
privately, on the third night from that, to a certain young damsel
named Sidonia von Bork. That the Prince had given him a thousand
gulden for his services, and a promise of a rich living when he
succeeded to the government, so that in future she could live as
grand as an abbess, and have what beautiful horses she chose from
the ducal stables.

"And this," said the nun, "was told me by the priest's mistress;
but as I have a true Pomeranian heart, although, indeed, the
Prince has left the good old religion, I could not rest in peace
until I stepped into a boat, weak and old as I am, and sailed off
here direct to inform your Grace of the plot." She only asked one
favour in return for her service. It was that her Grace would
permit her to end the rest of her days peaceably in the cloister,
and protect her from the harshness of the Lutheran priests and the
fury of the mob, who fell on her like mad dogs here in the castle
court, and would have torn her to pieces if the castellan had not
come by and rescued her. But above all, she requested and prayed
her Grace to permit a true priest to come to her from Grypswald,
who could give her the holy Eucharist, and prepare her for death.
But her Grace was struck dumb by astonishment and alarm, and Clara
could not speak either, only wrung her hands in anguish. And her
Grace continued to walk up and down the room weeping bitterly,
until at last she sat down before her desk to indite a note to old
Ulrich, praying for his presence without delay, and straightway
despatched the chief equerry, Appelmann, with it to Spantekow.

The old nun still continued crying, would not her Grace send her a
priest? But her Grace refused; for in fact she was a stern
upholder of the pure doctrine. Anything else the old mother
demanded she might have, but with the abominations of Popery her
Grace would have nothing to do. Still the old nun prayed and
writhed at her feet, crying and groaning, "For the love of God, a
priest! for the love of God, a priest!" but her Grace drew herself
up stiff and stern, and let the old woman writhe there unheeded,
until at length she motioned to Clara to have her removed to the
courtyard, where the poor creature leaned up against the pump in
bitter agony, and drew forth a crucifix from her bosom, kissed it,
and looking up to heaven, cried, "Jesu! Jesu! art Thou come at
last?" and then dropped down dead upon the pavement, which the
crowd no sooner observed than they gathered round the corpse,
screaming out, "The devil has carried her off! See! the devil has
carried off the old Papist witch!" Hearing the uproar, her Grace
descended, as did also the young lord and Sidonia, who both
appeared as if they knew nothing at all about the old nun. And her
Grace commanded that the executioner should by no means drag away
the body, as the people demanded, who were now rushing to the spot
from all quarters of the town, but that it should be decently
lifted into the boat and conveyed back again to Crummyn, there to
be interred with the other members of the sisterhood at the
cloister.

No word did she speak, either to her undutiful son or to Sidonia,
about what she had heard; only when the latter asked her what the
nun came there for, she answered coldly, "For a Popish priest."
Hereupon the young Prince was filled with joy, concluding that
nothing had been betrayed as yet. And it was natural the old nun
should come with this request, seeing that she had made the same
to him. Her Grace also strictly charged Clara to observe a
profound silence upon all they had heard, until the old
chamberlain arrived, and this she promised.



CHAPTER XVII.

_Of Ulrich's counsels--Item, how Clara von Dewitz came upon the
track of the ghost._


At eleven o'clock that same night, the good and loyal Lord Ulrich
arrived at the castle with Appelmann, from Spantekow, and just
waited to change his travelling dress before he proceeded to the
apartment of her Grace. He found her seated with Clara and another
maiden, weeping bitterly. Dr. Gerschovius was also present. When
the old man entered, her Grace's lamentations became yet
louder--alas! how she was afflicted! Who could have believed that
all this had come upon her because the devil, out of malice, had
made Dr. Luther drop her wedding-ring at the bridal! And when the
knight asked in alarm what had happened, she replied that tears
prevented her speaking, but Dr. Gerschovius would tell him all.

So the doctor related the whole affair, from the declaration of
the old nun to the hypocritical conduct of Sidonia towards Clara
von Dewitz, upon which the old knight shook his head, and said,
"Did I not counsel your Grace to let the young lord die, in God's
name, for better is it to lose life than honour. Had he died then,
so would the Almighty have raised him pure and perfect at the last
day, but now he is growing daily in wickedness as a young wolf in
ferocity."

Then her Grace made answer, the past could not now be recalled;
and that she was ready to answer before God for what she had done
through motherly love and tenderness. They must now advise her how
to save her infatuated son from the snares of this wanton. Dr.
Gerschovius, thereupon, gave it as his opinion that they should
each be placed in strict confinement for the next fourteen days,
during which time he would visit and admonish them twice a day, by
which means he hoped soon to turn their hearts to God.

Here old Ulrich laughed outright, and asked the doctor, was he
still bent upon teaching Sidonia her catechism? As to the young
lord, no admonition would do him good now; he was thoroughly
bewitched by the girl, and though he made a hundred promises to
give her up, would never hold one of them. Alas! alas! that the
son of good Duke Philip should be so degenerate.

But her Grace wept bitterly, and said, that never was there a more
obedient, docile, and amiable child than her dear Ernest; skilled
in all the fine arts, and gifted by nature with all that could
ensure a mother's love. "But how does all this help him now?"
cried Ulrich. "It is with a good heart as with a good ship, unless
you guide it, it will run aground--stand by the helm, or the best
ship will be lost. What had the country to expect from a Prince
who would die, forsooth? unless his mistress sat by his bedside?
Ah! if he could only have followed the funeral of the young lord,
he would have given a hundred florins to the poor that very day!"

"It was not her son's fault--that base hypocrite had caused it all
by some hell magic."

_Ille_.--"That was quite impossible; however, he would
believe it to please her Grace."

"Then let him speak his opinion, if the counsel of Dr. Gerschovius
did not please him."

_Ille_.--"His advice, then, was to keep quiet until the third
night, then secretly place a guard round the castle and at the
wing, and when the bridal party met, take them out prisoners, send
my young lord to the tower, but disgrace Sidonia publicly, and
send her off where she pleased--to the fiend, if she liked."

"Then they would have the same old scene over again; her son would
fall sick, and Sidonia could not be brought back to cure him, if
once she had been publicly disgraced before all the people. So
matters would be worse than ever."

Hereupon old Ulrich fell into such a rage that he cursed and
swore, that her Grace treated him no better than a fool, to bring
him hither from Spantekow, and then refuse to take his advice. As
to Sidonia, her Grace had already brought disgrace upon her
princely house, by first turning her out, and then praying her to
come back before three days had elapsed. All Pomerania talked of
it, and old Otto Bork did not scruple to brag and boast
everywhere, that her Grace had no peace or rest from her
conscience until she had asked forgiveness from the Lady Sidonia
(as the vain old knave called her) and entreated her to return.
Now if she took the advice of Doctor Gerschovius, and first
imprisoned and then turned away Sidonia, no one would believe in
her story of the intended marriage, but look on her conduct as
only a confirmation of all the hard treatment which her Grace was
reported to have employed towards the girl; whereas if she only
waited till the whole bridal party were ready to start, and then
arrested Sidonia, her Grace was justified before the whole world,
for what greater fault could be committed than thus to entrap the
young Prince into a secret marriage, and run away with him by
night from the castle? Let her Grace then send for the
executioner, and let him give Sidonia a public whipping before all
the people. No one would think the punishment too hard, for
seducing a Prince of Pomerania into a marriage with her.

So the princely widow of Duke Philip will be justified before all
the world; and when the young lord sees his bride so disgraced, he
will assuredly be right willing to give her up; even if he fall
sick, it is impossible that he could send for a maiden to sit by
his bed who had been publicly whipped by the executioner. Those
were stern measures, perhaps, but a branch of the old Pomeranian
tree was decayed; it must be lopped, or the whole tree itself
would soon fall.

When the Grand Chamberlain ceased speaking, her Grace considered
the matter well, and finally pronounced that she would follow his
advice, whereupon, as the night waxed late, she dismissed the
party to their beds, retaining only Clara with her for a little
longer.

But a strange thing happened as she, too, finally quitted her
Grace, and proceeded along the corridor to her own little
apartment--and here let every one consider how the hand of God is
in everything, and what great events He can bring forth from the
slightest causes, as a great oak springs up from a little acorn.

For as the maiden walked along, her sandal became unfastened, and
tripped her, so that she nearly fell upon her face, whereupon she
paused, and placing her foot upon a beer-barrel that stood against
the wall not far from Sidonia's chamber, began to fasten it, but
lo! just at that moment the head of the ghost appeared rising
through the trap-door, and looked round, then, as if aware of her
presence, drew back, and she heard a noise as if it had jumped
down on the earth beneath. She was horribly frightened, and crept
trembling to her bed; but then on reflecting over this apparition
of the serpent knight, it came into her head that it could not be
a ghost, since it came down on the ground with such a heavy jump;
she prayed to God, therefore, to help her in discovering this
matter, and as she could not sleep, rose before the first glimmer
of daylight to examine this hole which lay so close to Sidonia's
chamber, and there truly she discovered the trap-door, and having
opened, found that it lay right over a large coach in the ducal
stables; thereupon she concluded that the ghost was no other than
the Prince himself who thus visited Sidonia.

Then she remembered that the ghost had been particularly active
while the young Prince lay sick on his bed watched by his mother;
so to make the matter clearer she went the next evening into the
stables, and observing the coach, which lay just beneath the hole,
sprinkled fine ash-dust all round it. Then returning to her room,
she waited until it grew quite dark, and as ten o'clock struck and
all the doors of the corridor leading to the women's apartments
were barred and bolted, she wrapped herself in a black mantle and
stole out with a palpitating heart into the gallery. Remembering
the large beer-barrel near Sidonia's room, she crouched down
behind it, and from thence had a distinct view of the trap-door,
and also of Sidonia's chamber. There she waited for about an hour,
when she perceived the young Prince coming, but not through the
trap-door. He knocked lightly at Sidonia's door, who opened it
instantly, and they held a long whispering conversation together.
He had brought her the page's dress, and there was nothing to be
feared now, for he had examined the trap and found they could
easily get out through it on the top of the coach, and from thence
into the stables. After that the way was clear. Surely some good
angel had put the idea into her head. Then he kissed her tenderly.

_Illa_.--"What did the old nun come for? Could she have
betrayed them?"

_Hic_.--"Impossible. She did not know a syllable of their
affairs, and had come to ask his lady mother to send her a Popish
priest, as she had asked himself." Then he kissed her again, but
she tore herself from his arms, threw the little bundle into the
room, and shut the door in his face. Whereupon the young Prince
went his way, sighing as if his heart would break.

Now Clara concluded, with reason, that the young lord was not the
ghost, inasmuch as he did not creep through the trap-door, nor did
he wear helmet or cuirass, or any sort of disguise. But when she
heard Sidonia talk with such knowledge of the trap-door, she
guessed there was some knavery in the matter, and though she sat
the night there she was determined to watch. And behold! at twelve
o'clock there was a great clattering heard below, and presently a
helmet appeared rising through the hole, and then the entire
figure of the ghost clambered up through it, and after cautiously
looking round it, approached Sidonia's door, and knocked lightly.
Immediately she opened it herself, admitted the ghost, and Clara
heard her drawing the bolts of the door within.

The pious and chaste maiden felt ready to faint with shame; for it
was now evident that Sidonia deceived the poor young Prince as
well as every one else, and that this ghost whom she admitted must
be a favoured lover. She resolved to watch until he came out. But
it was about the dawn of morning before he again appeared, and
took his hellish path down through the trap-door, in the same way
as he had risen. But to make all certain she took a brush, and
before it was quite day, descended to the stables, where, indeed,
she observed large, heavy footprints in the ashes all round the
coach, quite unlike those which the delicate little feet of his
Highness would have made. So she swept them all clean away to
avoid exciting any suspicion, and crept back noiselessly to her
little room. Then waiting till the morning was somewhat advanced,
she despatched her maid on some errand into the town, in order to
get rid of her, and then watched anxiously for her bridegroom,
Marcus Bork, who always passed her door going to his office; and
hearing his step, she opened her door softly, and drew him in.
Then she related fully all she had heard and seen on the past
night.

The upright and virtuous young man clasped his hands together in
horror and disgust, but could not resolve whether it were fitter
to declare the whole matter to her Highness instantly or not.
Clara, however, was of opinion that her Grace would derive great
comfort from the information, because when the Prince found how
Sidonia had betrayed him, he would give up the creature of his own
accord. To which Marcus answered, that probably the Prince would
not believe a word of the story, and then matters would be in a
worse way than ever.

_Illa_.--"Was he afraid to disgrace Sidonia because she was
his kinswoman? Was it the honour of his name he wished to shield
by sparing her from infamy?"

_Hic_.--"No; she wronged him. If she were his sister, he
would still do his duty towards her Grace. The honour of the whole
Pomeranian house was perilled here, and he would save it at any
cost. But did his darling bride know who the ghost was?"

_Illa_.--"No; she had been thinking the whole night about him
till her head ached, but in vain."

At this moment the Grand Chamberlain passed the room on his way to
the Duchess, and they both went to the door, and entreated him to
come in and give them his advice. How the old knight laughed for
joy when he heard all; it was almost as good news to him as the
death of the young lord would have been. But no; they must not
breathe a syllable of it to her Highness. Wait for this night, and
if the dear ghost appeared again, he would give him and his
paramour something to think of to the end of their lives. Then he
walked up and down Clara's little room, thinking over what should
be done; and finally resolved to open the matter to the young
Prince that night between ten and eleven o'clock, and show him
what a creature he was going to make Duchess of Pomerania. After
which they should all, Marcus included, go armed to the
stables--for the Prince, no doubt, would be slow of belief--and
there conceal themselves in the coach until the ghost arrived. If
he came, as was almost certain, they would follow him to Sidonia's
room, break it open, and discover them together. In order that
witnesses might not be wanting, he would desire all the pages and
household to be collected in his room at that hour; and the moment
they were certain of having trapped the ghost, Marcus should slip
out of the coach, and run to gather them all together in the grand
corridor. To ensure all this being done, he would take the keys
from the castellan himself that night, and keep them in his own
possession. But, above all things, they were to keep still and
quiet during the day; and now he would proceed to her Grace.

But Marcus Bork begged to ask him, if the ghost did not come that
night, what was to be done? For the next was to be that of the
marriage, and unless the Prince was convinced by his own eyes,
nothing would make him credit the wickedness of his intended
bride. Sidonia would swear by heaven and earth that the story was
a malicious invention, and a plot to effect her utter destruction.

This view of the case puzzled the old knight not a little, and he
rubbed his forehead and paced up and down the room, till suddenly
an idea struck him, and he exclaimed--"I have it, Marcus! You are
a brave youth, dear Marcus, and a loyal subject and servant to her
Grace. Your conduct will bring as much honour upon the noble name
of Bork as Sidonia's has brought disgrace. Therefore I will trust
you. Listen, Marcus. If the ghost does not appear to-night, then
you must ride the morrow morn to Crummyn. Bribe the priest with
gold. Tell him that he must write instantly to the young Prince,
saying, that the marriage must be delayed for eight days, for
there was no boat to be had safe enough to carry him and his bride
up the Haff, seeing that all the boats and their crews were
engaged at the fisheries, and would not be back to Crummyn until
the following Saturday. The young lord, therefore, must have
patience. Should the priest hesitate, then Marcus must threaten
him with the loss of his living, as the whole princely house
should be made acquainted with his villainy. He will then consent.
I know him well!

"If that is once arranged, then we shall seat ourselves every
night in the coach until the ghost comes; and, methinks, he will
not long delay, since hitherto he has managed his work with such
security and success."

The discreet and virtuous Marcus promised to obey Ulrich in all
things, and the Grand Chamberlain then went his way.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_How the horrible wickedness of Sidonia was made apparent; and
how in consequence thereof she was banished with ignominy from the
ducal court of Wolgast_.


The night came at last. And the Grand Chamberlain collected, as he
had said, all the officials and pages of the household together in
his office at the treasury, and bid them wait there until he
summoned them. No one was to leave the apartment under pain of his
severe displeasure. _Item_, he had prayed her Grace not to
retire to rest that night before twelve of the clock; and when she
asked wherefore, he replied that she would have to take leave of a
very remarkable visitor that night; upon which she desired to know
more, but he said that his word was passed not to reveal more. So
her Grace thought he meant himself, and promised to remain up.

As ten o'clock struck, the castellan locked, up, as was his wont,
all that portion of the castle leading to the women's apartments.
Whereupon Ulrich asked him for the keys, saying that he would keep
them in his own charge. Then he prayed his Serene Highness Prince
Ernest to accompany him to the lumber-room.

His Highness consented, and they both ascended in the dark. On
entering, Ulrich drew forth a dark lantern from beneath his cloak,
and made the light fall upon an old suit of armour. Then turning
to the Prince--"Do you know this armour?" he said.

"Ah, yes; it was the armour of his dearly beloved father, Duke
Philip."

_Ille_.--"Right. Did he then remember the admonitions which
the wearer of this armour had uttered, upon his deathbed, to him
and his brothers?"

"Oh yes, well he remembered them; but what did this long sermon
denote?"

_Ille_.--"This he would soon know. Had he not given his right
hand to the wearer of that armour, and pledged himself ever to set
a good example before the people committed to his rule?"

_Hic_.--"He did not know what all this meant. Had he even set
a bad example to his subjects?"

_Ille_.--"He was on the high-road to do it, when he had
resolved to wed himself secretly to a maiden beneath his rank.
(Here the young Prince became as pale as a corpse.) Let him deny,
if he could, that he had sworn by his father's corpse, with his
hand upon the coffin, to abandon Sidonia. He would not upbraid him
with his broken promises to him, but would he bring his loving
mother to her grave through shame and a broken heart? Would he
make himself on a level with the lowest of the people, by wedding
Sidonia the next night in the church at Crummyn?"

_Hic_.--"Had that accursed Catholic nun then betrayed him?
Ah, he was surrounded by spies and traitors; but if he could not
obtain Sidonia now, he would wed her the moment he was of age and
succeeded to the government. If he could in no way have Sidonia,
then he would never wed another woman, but remain single and a
dead branch for his whole life long. Her blood was as noble as his
own, and no devil should dare to part them."

_Ille.--"But if he could prove, this very night, to the young
lord, that Sidonia was not an honourable maiden, but a dishonoured
creature----" Here the young Prince drew his dagger and rushed
upon the old man, with lips foaming with rage; but Ulrich sprang
behind the armour of Duke Philip, and said calmly, "Ernest, if
thou wouldst murder me who have been so leal and faithful a
servant to thee and thine, then strike me dead here through the
links of thy father's cuirass."

And as the young man drew back with a deep groan, he
continued--"Hear me, before thou dost a deed which eternity will
not be long enough to repent. I cannot be angry with thee, for I
have been young myself, and would have stricken any one to the
earth who had called my own noble bride dishonoured. Listen to me,
then, and strike me afterwards, if thou wilt." Hereupon the old
knight stepped out from behind the armour, which was fixed upon a
wooden frame in the middle of the apartment, with the helmet
surmounting it, and leaning against the shoulder-piece, he
proceeded to relate all that Clara had seen and heard.

The young Prince turned first as red as scarlet, then pale as a
corpse, and sunk down upon a pile of old armour, unable to utter
anything but sighs and groans.

Ulrich then asked if he remembered the silly youth who had been
drowned lately in consequence of Sidonia's folly; for it was his
apparition in the armour he then wore which it was reported
haunted the castle. And did he remember also how that armour (in
which the poor young man's father also had been killed fighting
against the Bohemians) had been taken off the corpse and hung up
again in that lumber-room?

_Hic_.--"Of course he remembered all that; it had happened
too lately for him to forget the circumstance."

_Ille_.--"Well, then, let him take the lantern himself, and
see if the armour hung still upon the wall." So the young lord
took the lantern with trembling hands, and advanced to the place;
but no--there was no armour there now. Then he looked all round
the room, but the armour with the serpent crest was nowhere to be
seen. He dropped the lantern with a bitter execration. Hereupon
the old knight continued--"You see, my gracious Prince, that the
ghost must have flesh and blood, like you or me. The castellan
tells me that when the ghost first began his pranks, the helmet
and cuirass were still found every morning in their usual place
here. But for eight days they have not been forthcoming; for the
ghost, you see, is growing hardy and forgetting his usual
precautions. However, the castellan had determined to watch him,
and seize hold of him, for, as he rightly conjectured, a spirit
could not carry away a heavy iron suit of armour on him; but his
wife had dissuaded him from those measures up to the present time.
Come now to the stables with me," continued Ulrich, "and let us
conceal ourselves in the coach which I mentioned to you; Marcus
Bork shall accompany us, and let us wait there until the ghost
appears, and creeps through the trapdoor. After some time we shall
follow him; and then this wicked cheat will be detected. But
before we move, swear to me that you will await the issue
peaceably and calmly in the coach; you must neither sigh nor
groan, nor scarcely breathe. No matter what you hear or see, if
you cannot control your fierce, jealous rage, all will be lost."

Then the young Prince gave him his hand, and promised to keep
silence, though it should cost him his life, for no one could be
more anxious to discover the truth or falsehood of this matter
than he himself. So they both descended now to the courtyard,
Ulrich concealing the lantern under his mantle; and they crouched
along by the wall till they reached the horse-pond, where Marcus
Bork stood awaiting them; then they glided on, one by one, into
the stables, and concealed themselves within the coach.

It was well they did so without longer delay, for scarcely had
they been seated when the ghost appeared. No doubt he had heard of
the intended marriage, and wished to take advantage of his last
opportunity. As the sound of his feet became audible approaching
the coach, the Prince almost groaned audibly; but the stout old
knight threw one arm powerfully round his body, and placed the
hand of the other firmly over his mouth. The ghost now began to
ascend the coach, and they heard him clambering up the hind wheel;
he slipped down, however (a bad omen), and muttered a half-curse;
then, to help himself up better, he seized hold of the sash of the
window, and with it took a grip of Ulrich's beard, as he was
leaning close to the side of the coach to watch his proceedings.
Not a stir did the brave old knight make, but sat as still as
marble, and even held his breath, lest the ghost might feel it
warm upon his hand, and so discover their ambuscade.

At last he was up; and they heard him clattering over their heads,
then creeping through the trap-door into the corridor, and a
little after, the sound of a door gently opening.

All efforts were in vain to keep the Prince quiet. He must follow
him. He would rush through the trap-door after him, though it cost
him his life! But old Ulrich whispered in his ear, "Now I know
that Prince Ernest has neither honour nor discretion, and
Pomerania has little to hope from such a ruler." All in vain--he
springs out of the coach, but the knight after him, who hastily
gave Marcus Bork the keys of the castle, and bade him go fetch the
household, down to the menials, here to the gallery. Marcus took
them, and left the stables instantly. Then Ulrich seized the hand
of Prince Ernest, who was already on the top of the coach, and
asked him was it thus he would, leave an old man without any one
to assist him. Let him in first through the trap-door, while the
Prince held the lantern. To this he consented, and helped the old
knight up, who, having reached the trap-door, put his head
through; but, alas! the portly stomach of the stout old knight
would not follow. He stretched out his head, however, on every
side, as far as it could go, and heard distinctly low whispering
voices from Sidonia's little room; then a sound as of the tramp of
many feet became audible in the courtyard, by which he knew that
Marcus and the household were advancing rapidly.

But the young lord, who was waiting at the top of the coach, grew
impatient, and pulled him back, endeavouring to creep through the
hole himself. Praised be Heaven, however, this he failed to do
from weakness; so he was obliged to follow the Grand Chamberlain,
who whispered to him to come down, and they could reach the
corridor through the usual entrance. Hereupon they both left the
stables, and met Marcus in the courtyard with his company.

Then all ascended noiselessly to the gallery, and ranged
themselves around Sidonia's door. Ulrich now told eight of the
strongest carls present to step forward and lean their shoulders
against the door, but make no stir until he gave a sign; then when
he cried "Now!" they should burst it open with all their force.

As to the young Prince, he was trembling like an aspen leaf, and
his weakness was so great that two young men had to support him.
In short, as all present gradually stole closer and closer up to
the door of Sidonia's room, the old knight drew forth his lantern,
and signed to the men, who stood with their shoulders pressed
against it; then when all was ready, he cried "Now!" and the door
burst open with a loud crash. Every lock, and bar, and bolt
shivered to atoms, and in rushed the whole party, Ulrich at their
head, with his lantern lifted high up above them all.

Sidonia and her visitor were standing in the middle of the room.
Ulrich first flashed the light upon the face of the man. Who would
have believed it?--no other than Johann Appelmann! The knight hit
him a heavy blow across the face, exclaiming, "What! thou common
horse-jockey--thou low-born varlet--is it thus thou bringest
disgrace upon a maiden of the noblest house in Pomerania? Ha, thou
shalt be paid for this. Wait! Master Hansen shall give thee some
of his gentle love-touches this night!"

But meanwhile the young Prince had entered, and beheld Sidonia, as
she stood there trembling from shame, and endeavouring to cover
her face with her long, beautiful golden hair that fell almost to
her knees. "Sidonia!" he exclaimed, with a cry as bitter as if a
dagger had passed through his heart--"Sidonia!" and fell
insensible before her.

Now a great clamour arose amongst the crowd, for beside the couch
lay the helmet and cuirass of the ghost; so every one knew now who
it was that had played this trick on them for so long, and kept
the castle in such a state of terror.

Then they gathered round the poor young Prince, who lay there as
stiff as a corpse, and lamented over him with loud lamentations,
and some of them lifted him up to carry him out of the chamber;
but the Grand Chamberlain sternly commanded them to lay him down
again before his bride, whom he had arranged to wed privately at
Crummyn on the following night. Then seizing Sidonia by the hand,
and dashing back her long hair, he led her forward before all the
people, and said with a loud voice, "See here the illustrious and
high-born Lady Sidonia, of the holy Roman Empire, Duchess of
Pomerania, Cassuben, and Wenden, Princess of Rügen, Countess of
Gützkow, and our Serene and most Gracious Lady, how she honours
the princely house of Pomerania by sharing her love with this
stable groom, this tailor's son, this debauched profligate! Oh! I
could grow mad when I think of this disgrace. Thou shameless one!
have I not long ago given thee thy right name? But wait--the name
shall be branded on thee this night, so that all the world may
read it."

Just then her Grace entered with Clara, followed by all the other
maids of honour; for, hearing the noise and tumult, they had
hastened thither as they were, some half undressed, others with
only a loose night-robe flung round them. And her Grace, seeing
the young lord lying pale and insensible on the ground, wrung her
hands and cried out, "Who has killed my son? who has murdered my
darling child?"

Here stepped forward Ulrich, and said, "The young lord was not
dead; but, if it so pleased God, was in a fair way now to regain
both life and reason." Then he related all which had led to this
discovery; and how they had that night been themselves the
witnesses of Sidonia's wickedness with the false ghost. Now her
Grace knew his secret, which he had not told until certain of
success.

As he related all these things, her Grace turned upon Sidonia and
spat on her; and the young lord, having recovered somewhat in
consequence of the water they had thrown on him, cried out,
"Sidonia! is it possible? No, Sidonia, it is not possible!"

The shameless hypocrite had now recovered her self-possession, and
would have denied all knowledge of Appelmann, saying that he
forced himself in when she chanced to open the door; but he,
interrupting her, cried, "Does the girl dare to lay all the blame
on me? Did you not press my hand there when you were lying after
you fell from the stag? Did you not meet me afterwards in the
lumber-room--that day of the hunt when Duke Barnim was here last?"

"No, no, no!" shrieked Sidonia. "It is a lie, an infamous lie!"
But he answered, "Scream as you will, you cannot deny that this
disguise of the ghost was your own invention to favour my visits
to you. Did you not drop notes for me down on the coach, through
the trap-door, fixing the nights when I might come? and bethink
you of last night, when you sent me a note by your maid, wrapped
up in a little horse-cloth which I had lent you for your cat, with
the prayer that I would not fail to be with you that night nor the
next"--Oh, just Heaven! to think that it was upon that very night
that Clara should break her shoe-string, by which means the
Almighty turned away ruin and disgrace from the ancient,
illustrious, and princely house of Pomerania--all by a broken
shoe-string! For if the ghost had remained away but that one
night, or Clara had not broken her shoestring, Sidonia would have
been Duchess of Pomerania; but what doth the Scripture say? "Man's
goings are of the Lord. What man understandeth his own way?"
(Prov. xx. 24).

When Sidonia heard him tell all this, and how she had written
notes of entreaty to him, she screamed aloud, and springing at him
like a wild-cat, buried her ten nails in his hair, shrieking,
"Thou liest, traitor; it is false! it is false!"

Now Ulrich rushed forward, and seized her by her long hair to part
them, but at that moment Master Hansen, the executioner, entered
in his red cloak, with six assistants (for Ulrich had privately
sent for him), and the Grand Chamberlain instantly let go his hold
of Sidonia, saying, "You come in good time, Master Hansen; take
away this wretched pair, lock them up in the bastion tower, and on
the morn bring them to the horse-market by ten of the clock, and
there scourge and brand them; then carry them both to the frontier
out of our good State of Wolgast, and let them both go their ways
from that, whither it may please them."

When Sidonia heard this, she let go her paramour and fell fainting
upon the bed; but recovering herself in a little time, she
exclaimed, "What is this you talk of? A noble maiden who is as
innocent as the child in its cradle, to be scourged by the common
executioner? Oh, is there no Christian heart here to take pity on
a poor, helpless girl! Gracious young Prince, even if all the
world hold me guilty, you cannot, no, you cannot; it is
impossible!"

Hereupon the young lord began to tremble like an aspen leaf, and
said in a broken voice, "Alas, Sidonia! you betrayed yourself: if
you had not mentioned that trap-door to me, I might still have
believed you innocent (I, who thought some good angel had guided
you to it!); now it is impossible; yet be comforted, the
executioner shall never scourge you nor brand you--you are branded
enough already." Then turning to the Grand Chamberlain he said,
that with his consent a hangman should never lay his hands upon
this nobly born maiden, whom he had once destined to be Duchess of
Pomerania; but Appelmann, this base-born vassal, who had eaten of
his bread and then betrayed him like a Judas, let him be flogged
and branded as much as they pleased; no word of his should save
the accursed seducer from punishment.

Notwithstanding this, old Ulrich was determined on having Sidonia
scourged, and my gracious lady the Duchess must have her scourged
too. "Let her dear son only think that if the all-merciful God had
not interposed, he would have been utterly ruined and his princely
house disgraced, by means of this girl. Nothing but evil had she
brought with her since first she set foot in the castle: she had
caused his sickness; item, the death of two young knights by
drowning; item, the terrible execution of Joachim Budde, who was
beheaded at the festival; and had she not, in addition, whipped
her dear little Casimir, which unseemly act had only lately come
to her knowledge? and had she not also made every man in the
castle that approached her mad for love of her, all by her
diabolical conduct? No--away with the wretch: she merits her
chastisement a thousand and a thousand-fold!" And old Ulrich
exclaimed likewise, "Away with the wretch and her paramour!"

Here the young lord made an effort to spring forward to save her,
but fell fainting on the ground; and while the attendants were
busy running for water to throw over him, Clara von Dewitz,
turning away the executioner with her hand from Sidonia, fell down
on her knees before her Grace, and besought her to spare at least
the person of the poor, unfortunate maiden; did her Grace think
that any punishment could exceed what she had already suffered?
Let her own compassionate heart plead along with her words--and
did not the Scripture say, "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."

Hereupon her Grace looked at old Ulrich without speaking; but he
understood her glance, and made answer--"No; the hangman must do
his duty towards the wretch!" when her Grace said mildly, "But for
the sake of this dear, good young maiden, I think we might let her
go, for, remember, if she had not opened out this villainy to us,
the creature would have been my daughter-in-law, and my princely
house disgraced for evermore."

Now Marcus Bork stepped forward, and added his prayers that the
noble name he bore might not be disgraced in Sidonia. "He had ever
been a faithful feudal vassal to her princely house, and had not
even scrupled to bring the secret wicked deeds of his cousin
before the light of day, though it was like a martyrdom of his own
flesh and blood for conscience' sake."

Here old Ulrich burst forth in great haste--"Seven thousand
devils! Let the wench be off, then. Not another night should she
rest in the castle. Let her speak--where would she go to? where
should they bring her to?"

And when Sidonia answered, sobbing, "To Stettin, to her gracious
lord, Duke Barnim, who would take pity on her because of her
innocence," Ulrich laughed outright in scorn. "I shall give the
driver a letter to him, and another to thy father. Perhaps his
Grace will show thee true pity, and drive thee with his horsewhip
to Stramehl. But thou shalt journey in the same coach whereon thy
leman clambered up to the trap-door, and Master Hansen shall sit
on the coach-box and drive thee himself. As to thy darling
stablegroom here, the master must set his mark on him before he
goes; but that can be done when the hangman returns from Stettin."

When Appelmann heard this, he fell at the feet of the Lord
Chamberlain, imploring him to let him off too. "Had he not ridden
to Spantekow, without stop or stay, at the peril of his life, to
oblige Lord Ulrich that time the Lapland wizard made the evil
prophecy; and though his illustrious lady died, yet that was from
no fault of his, and his lordship had then promised not to forget
him if he were but in need. So now he demanded, on the strength of
his knightly word, that a horse should be given him from the ducal
stables, and that he be permitted to go forth, free and scathless,
to ride wherever it might please him. His sins were truly heavy
upon him, and he would try and do better, with the help of God."

When the old knight heard him express himself in this godly sort
(for the knave knew his man well), he was melted to compassion,
and said, "Then go thy way, and God give thee grace to repent of
thy manifold sins."

Her Grace had nothing to object; only to put a fixed barrier
between the Prince and Sidonia, she added, "But send first for Dr.
Gerschovius, that he may unite this shameless pair in marriage
before they leave the castle, and then they can travel away
together."

Hereupon Johann Appelmann exclaimed, "No, never! How could he hope
for God's grace to amend him, living with a thing like that, tied
to him for life, which God and man alike hold in abhorrence?" At
this speech Sidonia screamed aloud, "Thou lying and accursed
stable-groom, darest thou speak so of a castle and land dowered
maiden?" and she flew at him, and would have torn his hair, but
Marcus Bork seized hold of her round the waist, and dragged her
with great effort into Clara's room.

Now the tears poured from the eyes of her Grace at such a
disgraceful scene, and she turned to her son, who was slowly
recovering--"Hast thou heard, Ernest, this groom--this servant of
thine--refuses to take the girl to wife whom thou wast going to
make Duchess of Pomerania? Woe! woe! what words for thy poor
mother to hear; but it was all foreshadowed when Dr. Luther--" &c.
&c.

In short, the end of the infamous story was, that Sidonia was
carried off that very night in the identical coach we know of, and
Master Hansen was sent with her, bearing letters to the Duke and
Otto from the Grand Chamberlain, and one also to the burgomaster
Appelmann in Stargard; and the executioner had strict orders to
drive her himself the whole way to Stettin. As for Appelmann, he
sprung upon a Friesland clipper, as the old chamberlain had
permitted, and rode away that same night. But the young lord was
so ill from grief and shame, that he was lifted to his bed, and
all the _medici_ of Grypswald and Wolgast were summoned to
attend him.

And such was the end of Sidonia von Bork at the ducal court of
Wolgast. But old Küssow told me that for a long while she was the
whole talk of the court and town, many wondering, though they knew
well her light behaviour, that she should give herself up to
perdition at last for a common groom, no better than a menial
compared to her. But I find the old proverb is true for her as
well as for another, "The apple falls close to the tree; as is the
sheep, so is the lamb;" for had her father brought her up in the
fear of God, in place of encouraging her in revenge, pride, and
haughtiness, Sidonia might have been a good and honoured wife for
her life long. But the libertine example of her father so
destroyed all natural instincts of modesty and maidenly reserve
within her, that she fell an easy prey to the first temptation.

In short, my gracious Prince Bogislaus XIV., as well as all those
who love and honour the illustrious house of Wolgast, will
devoutly thank God for having turned away this disgrace in a
manner so truly wonderful.

I have already spoken of the broken shoe-tie, but in addition, I
must point out that if Sidonia had counselled her paramour to take
the armour of Duke Philip, which hung in the same lumber-room, in
place of that belonging to the serpent knight, that wickedness
would never have come to light. For assuredly all in the castle
would have believed that it was truly the ghost of the dead duke,
who came to reproach his son for not holding the oath which he had
sworn on his coffin, to abandon Sidonia. And consequently, respect
and terror would have alike prevented any human soul in the castle
from daring to follow it, and investigate its object. Therefore
let us praise the name of the Lord who turned all things to good,
and fulfilled, in Sidonia and her lover, the Scripture which
saith, "Thinking themselves wise, they became fools" (Rom. i. 21).



END OF FIRST BOOK.



BOOK II.

FROM THE BANISHMENT OF SIDONIA FROM THE DUCAL COURT OF WOLGAST UP
TO HER RECEPTION IN THE CONVENT OF MARIENFLIESS.



CHAPTER I.

_Of the quarrel between Otto Bork and the Stargardians, which
caused him to demand the dues upon the Jena._


MOST EMINENT AND ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE!--Your Grace must be informed,
that much of what I have here set down, in this second book, was
communicated to me by that same old Uckermann of Dalow of whom I
have spoken already in my first volume.

Other important facts I have gleaned from the Diary of Magdalena
von Petersdorfin, _Priorissa_ of the convent of Marienfliess.
She was an old and worthy matron, whom Sidonia, however, used to
mock and insult, calling her the old cat, and such-like names. But
she revenged herself on the shameless wanton in no other way than
by writing down what facts she could collect of her disgraceful
life and courses, for the admonition and warning of the holy
sisterhood.

This little book the pious nun left to her sister Sophia, who is
still living in the convent at Marienfliess; and she, at my
earnest entreaties, permitted me to peruse it.

Before, however, I continue the relation of Sidonia's adventures,
I must state to your Grace what were the circumstances which
induced Otto von Bork to demand so urgently the dues upon the Jena
from their Highnesses of Stettin and Wolgast. In my opinion, it
was for nothing else than to revenge himself upon the burgomaster
of Stargard, Jacob Appelmann, father of the equerry. The quarrel
happened years before, but Otto never forgot it, and only waited a
fitting opportunity to take vengeance on him and the people of
Stargard.

This Jacob Appelmann was entitled to receive a great portion of
the Jena dues, which were principally paid to him in kind,
particularly in foreign spices, which he afterwards sold to the
Polish Jews, at the annual fair held in Stramehl.

It happened, upon one of these occasions, as Jacob, with two of
his porters, appeared, as usual, carrying bags of spices, to sell
to the Polish Jews, that Otto met him in the market-place, and
invited him to come up to his castle, for that many nobles were
assembled there who would, no doubt, give him better prices for
his goods than the Polish Jews, and added that the worthy
burgomaster must drink his health with him that day.

Now, Jacob Appelmann was no despiser of good cheer or of broad
gold pieces; so, unfortunately for himself, he accepted the
invitation. But the knight had only lured him up to the castle to
insult and mock him. For when he entered the hall, a loud roar of
laughter greeted his appearance, and the half-drunk guests, who
were swilling the wine as if they had tuns to fill, and not
stomachs, swore that he must pledge each of them separately, in a
lusty draught. So they handed him an enormous becker, cut with
Otto's arms, bidding him drain it; but as the Herr Jacob
hesitated, his host asked him, laughing, was he a Jesu disciple,
that he refused to drink?

Hereupon the other answered, he was too old for a disciple, but he
was not ashamed to call himself a servant of Jesus.

Then they all roared with laughter, and Otto spoke--

"My good lords and dear friends, ye know how that the Stargard
knaves joined with the Pomeranian Duke to ravage my good town of
Stramehl, so that it can be only called a village now. And it is
also not unknown to you that my disgrace then passed into a
proverb, so that people will still say, 'He fell upon me as the
Stargardians upon Stramehl.' Let us, then, revenge ourselves
to-day. If this Jesu's servant will not drink, then tear open his
mouth, put a tun-dish therein, and pour down a good draught till
the knave cries 'enough!' As to his spices, let us scatter them
before the Polish Jews, as pease before swine, and it will be
merry pastime to see how the beasts will lick them up. Thus will
Stramehl retort upon Stargard, and the whole land will shout with
laughter. For wherefore does this Stargard pedlar come here to my
fairs? Mayhap I shall visit his."

Peals of laughter and applause greeted Otto's speech; but Jacob,
when he heard it, determined, if possible, to effect his escape;
and watching his opportunity, for he was the only one there not
drunk, sprang out of the hall, and down the flight of steps, and
being young then, never drew breath till he reached the
market-place of Stramehl, and jumped into his own waggon.

In vain Otto screamed out to "stop him, stop him!" all his
servants were at the fair, where, indeed, the people of the whole
country round were gathered. Then the host and the guests sprang
up themselves, to run after Jacob Appelmann, but many could not
stand, and others tumbled down by the way. However, with a chorus
of cries, curses, and threats, Otto and some others at last
reached the waggon, and laid hold of it. Then they dragged out the
bags of spices, and emptied them all down upon the street,
crying--

"Come hither, ye Jews; which of you wants pepper? Who wants
cloves?"

So all the Jews in the place ran together, and down they went on
all-fours picking up the spices, while their long beards swept the
pavement quite clean. Hey! how they pushed and screamed, and dealt
blows about among themselves, till their noses bled, and the place
looked as if gamecocks had been fighting there, whereat Otto and
his roistering guests roared with laughter.

One of the bags they pulled out of the waggon contained cinnamon;
but a huntsman of Otto Bork's, not knowing what it was, poured it
down likewise into the street. Cinnamon was then so rare, that it
sold for its weight in gold. So an old Jew, spying the precious
morsel, cried out, "Praise be to God! Praise be to God!" and ran
through Otto Bork's legs to get hold of a stick of it. This made
the knight look down, and seeing the cinnamon, he straightway bid
the huntsman gather it all up again quick, and carry it safely
home to the castle.

But the old Jew would by no means let go his hold of the booty,
and kept the sticks in one hand high above his head, while with
the other he dealt heavy buffets upon the huntsman. An apprentice
of Jacob Appelmann's beheld all this from the waggon, and knowing
what a costly thing this cinnamon was, he made a long arm out of
the waggon, and snapped away the sticks from the Jew. Upon this
the huntsman sprang at the apprentice; but the latter, seizing a
pair of pot-hooks, which his master had that day bought in the
fair, dealt such a blow with them upon the head of the huntsman,
that he fell down at once upon the ground quite dead.

Now every one cried out "Murder! murder! Jodute! Jodute! Jodute!"
and they tore the bags right and left from the waggon, Jews as
well as Christians; but Otto commanded them to seize the
apprentice also. So they dragged him out too. He was a fine young
man of twenty-three, Louis Griepentroch by name. There was such an
uproar, that the men who held the horses' heads were forced away.
Whereupon the burgomaster resolved to seize this opportunity for
escape; and without heeding the lamentations of the other
apprentice, Zabel Griepentroch, who prayed him earnestly to stop
and save his poor brother, desired the driver to lash the horses
into a gallop, and never stop nor stay until the unlucky town was
left far behind them.

Otto von Bork ordered instant pursuit, but in vain. The
burgomaster could not be overtaken, and reached Wangerin in
safety. There he put up at the inn, to give the panting horses
breathing-time; and now the aforesaid Zabel besought him, with
many tears, to write to Otto Bork on behalf of his poor brother,
to which the burgomaster at last consented; for he loved these two
youths, who were orphans and twins, and he had brought them up
from their childhood, and treated them in all things like a true
and loving godfather. So he wrote to Otto, "That if aught of ill
happened to the young Louis Griepentroch, he (the burgomaster)
would complain to his Grace of Stettin, for the youth had only
done his duty in trying to save the property of his master from
the hands of robbers." The good Jacob, however, admonished Zabel
to make up his mind for the worst, for the knight was not a man
whose heart could be melted, as he himself had experienced but too
well that day.

But the sorrowing youth little heeded the admonitions, only seized
the letter, and ran with it that same evening back to Stramehl.
Here, however, no one would listen to him, no one heeded him; and
when at last he got up to Otto and gave him the letter, the knight
swore he would flay him alive if he did not instantly quit the
town. Now the poor youth gnashed his teeth in rage and despair,
and determined to be revenged on the knight.

Just then came by a great crowd leading his brother Louis to the
gallows; and on his head they had stuck a high paper cap with the
Stargard arms painted thereon, namely, a tower with two griffins
(Sidonia, indeed, had painted it, and she was by, and clapping her
hands with delight); and for the greater scandal to Stargard, they
had tied two hares' tails to the back of the cap, with the
inscription written in large letters above them--"So came the
Stargardians to Stramehl!"

And Otto and his guests gathered round the gallows, and all the
market-folk, with great uproar and laughter. _Summa_, when
the poor carl saw all this, and that there was no hope for his
heart's dear brother, neither could he even get near him just to
say a last "good-night," he ran like mad to the castle, which was
almost empty now, as every one had gone to the market-place; and
there, on the hill, he turned round and saw how the hangman had
shoved his dear Louis from the ladder, and the body was swinging
lamentably to and fro between heaven and earth. So he seized a
brand and set fire to the brew-house, from which a thick smoke and
light flames soon rose high into the air. Now all the people
rushed towards the castle, for they suspected well who had done
the deed, particularly as they had observed a young fellow
running, as if for life or death, in the opposite direction
towards the open country. So they pursued him with wild shouts
from every direction; right and left they hemmed him in, and cut
off his escape to the wood. And Otto Bork sprang upon a fresh
horse, and galloped along with them, roaring out, "Seize the
rascal!--seize the vile incendiary! He who takes him shall have a
tun of my best beer!" But others he despatched to the castle to
extinguish the flames.

Now the poor Zabel knew not what to do, for on every side his
pursuers were gaining fast upon him, and he heard Otto's voice
close behind crying, "There he runs! there he runs! Seize the
gallows-bird, that he may swing with his brother this night. A tun
of my best beer to the man who takes him! Seize the incendiary!"
So the poor wretch, in his anguish, threw off his smock upon the
grass and sprang into the lake, hoping to be able to swim to the
other side and reach the wood.

"In after him!" roared Otto; and a fellow jumped in instantly, and
seizing hold of Zabel by the hose, dragged him along with him; but
they were soon both carried into deep water--Zabel, however, was
the uppermost, and held the other down tight to stifle him.
Another seeing this, plunged in to rescue his companion, and from
the bank dived down underneath Zabel, intending to seize him round
the body; but it so happened that the fishermen of Stramehl had
laid their nets close to the place, and he plunged direct into the
middle of the largest, and stuck there miserably; which when Zabel
observed, he let the other go, who was now quite dead, and struck
out boldly for the opposite bank. The fishermen sprang into their
boats to pursue him, and the crowd ran round, hoping to cut off
the pass before he could gain the bank; but he was a brave youth,
and distanced them all, jumped on land before one of them could
reach him, and plunged into the thick wood. Here it was vain to
follow him, for night was coming on fast; so he pursued his path
in safety, and returned to his master at Stramehl.

Otto von Bork, however, would not let the matter rest here, for he
had sustained great loss by the burning of his brew-house (the
other buildings were saved); therefore he wrote to the honourable
council at Stargard--"That by the shameful and scandalous burning
of his brew-house, he had lost two fine hounds named Stargard and
Stramehl, which he had brought himself from Silesia; _item_,
two old servants and a woman; _item_, in the lake, two other
servants had been drowned; and all by the revenge of an
apprentice, because he had justly caused his brother to be
executed. Therefore this apprentice must be given up to him, that
he might have him broken on the wheel, otherwise their vassals on
the Jena should suffer in such a sort, that the Stargardians would
long have reason to remember Otto Bork."

Now, some of the honourable councillors were of opinion that they
should by no means give up the apprentice; first, because Otto had
insulted the Stargard arms, and secondly, lest it might appear as
if they feared he would fulfil his threats respecting the Jena.

But Jacob Appelmann, the burgomaster, who lay sick in his bed from
the treatment he had received at Stramehl, entirely disapproved of
this resolution; and when they came to him for his advice,
proposed to give for answer to the knight that he should first
indemnify him for the loss of his costly spices, which he valued
at one thousand florins, and when this sum was paid down, they
might treat of the matter concerning the apprentice.

The knight, however, mocked them for making such an absurd demand
as compensation, and reiterated his threats, that if the young man
were not delivered up to him, he would punish Stargard with a
great punishment.

The council, however, were still determined not to yield; and as
the burgomaster lay sick in his bed, they released the apprentice
from prison; and replied to Otto, "That if he broke the public
peace of his Imperial Majesty, let the consequences fall on his
own head--there was still justice for them to be had in
Pomerania."

When the burgomaster heard of this, he had himself carried in a
litter, sick as he was, to the honourable council, and asked them,
"Was this justice, to release an incendiary from prison? If they
sought justice for themselves, let them deal it out to others. No
one had lost more by the transaction than he: his income for the
next two years was clean gone, and the care and anxiety he had
undergone, besides, had reduced him to this state of bodily
weakness which they observed. It was a heart-grief to him to give
up the young man, for he had reared him from the baptism water,
and he had been a faithful servant unto him up to this day. Could
he save him, he would gladly give up his house and all he was
worth, and go and take a lodging upon the wall; for this young man
had once saved his life, by slaying a mad dog which had seized him
by the tail of his coat; but it was not to be done. They must set
an honourable example, as just and upright citizens and fearless
magistrates, who hold that old saying in honour--'_Fiat justitia
et pereat mundus_;' which means, 'Let justice be done, though
life and fortune perish.' But the punishment of the wheel was, he
confessed, altogether too severe for the poor youth; and therefore
he counselled that they should hang him, as Otto had hung his
brother."

This course the honourable society consented at last to adopt; but
the knight had disgraced their arms, and they ought in return to
disgrace his. They could get the court painter from Stettin at the
public expense, and let him paint Otto Bork's arms on the back of
the young man's hose.

Here the burgomaster again interfered--"Why should the honourable
council attempt a stupid insult, because the knight had done so?"
But he talked in vain; they were determined on this retaliation.
At last (but after a great deal of trouble) he obtained a promise
that they would have the arms painted before, upon his smock, and
not behind, upon the hose, for that would be a sore disgrace to
Otto, and bring his vengeance upon them. "Why should they do more
to him than he had done unto them? The Scripture said, 'Eye for
eye, tooth for tooth,' and not two eyes for an eye, two teeth for
a tooth." Hereupon the honourable council pronounced sentence on
the young man, and fixed the third day from that for his
execution. But first the executioner must bring him up before the
bed of the burgomaster, who thus spoke--"Ah, Zabel, wherefore
didst thou not behave as I admonished thee in Wangerin?" And as
the young man began to weep, he gave him his hand, and admonished
him to be steadfast in the death-hour, asked his forgiveness for
having condemned him, but it was his duty as a magistrate so to
do--thanked him for having saved his life by slaying the mad dog;
finally, bid him "Good-night," and then buried his face in the
pillow.

So the hangman carried back the weeping youth to the council-hall,
where the honourable councillors had the Bork arms fastened upon
his smock, and out of further malice against Otto (for they knew
the burgomaster, being sick in his bed, could not hinder them),
they placed over them a large piece of pasteboard, on which was
written, "So did the Stargardians with Stramehl." _Item_,
they fastened to the two corners a pair of wolf's ears, because
Bork, in the Wendig tongue, signifies wolf. This was to revenge
themselves for the hares' tails.

Then the poor apprentice was carried to the gallows, amid loud
laughter from the common people. And even the honourable
councillors waxed merry at the sight; and as the hangman pushed
him from the ladder, they cried out, "So will the Stargardians do
to Stramehl!"

Now Otto heard tidings of all these doings, but he feared to
complain to his Highness the Duke, because he himself had begun
the quarrel, and they had only retorted as was fair. _Item_,
he did not dare to stop the boats upon the Jena--for he knew that
although Duke Barnim was usually of a soft and placable temper,
yet when he was roused there was no more dangerous enemy. And if
the Stargardians leagued with him, they might fall upon his town
of Stramehl, as they had done once before.

Therefore he waited patiently for an opportunity of revenge, and
held his peace until Sidonia acquainted him with the love of the
young Prince Ernest. Then he resolved to demand the dues upon the
Jena to be given up to him, and if his wicked desire had been
gratified, I think the good citizens of Stargard might have taken
to the beggar's staff for the rest of their days, for like all the
old Hanseatic towns, their entire subsistence came to them by
water, and all their wares and merchandise were carried up the
Jena in boats to the town. These the knight would have rated so
highly, if he had been made owner of the dues, that the town and
people would have been utterly ruined.

It has been already stated that the Duke Barnim gave an ambiguous
answer to Otto upon the subject; but the knight, after his visit
to Wolgast, was so certain of seeing his daughter in a short time
Duchess of Pomerania, that he already looked upon the Jena dues as
his own, and proceeded to act as shall be related in the next
chapter.



CHAPTER II.

_How Otto von Bork demands the Jena dues from the Stargardians,
and how the burgomaster Jacob Appelmann takes him prisoner, and
locks him up in the Red Sea._ [Footnote: A watch-tower, built
in the Moorish style, upon the town wall of Stargard, from which
the adjacent streets take their name.]


As the aforesaid knight and my gracious lord, Duke Barnim,
journeyed home from Wolgast, the former discoursed much on this
matter of the Jena dues, but his Grace listened in silence, after
his manner, and nicked away at his doll. (I think, however, that
his Grace did not quite understand the matter of the Jena dues
himself.)

_Summa_, while Otto was at Stettin, he received information
that three vessels, laden with wine and spices, and all manner of
merchandise, were on their way to Stargard. So he took this for a
good sign, and went straight to the town and up to the
burgomaster, Jacob Appelmann, would not sit down, however, but
made himself as stiff as if his back would break, and asked
whether he (Appelmann) was aware that the lands of the Bork family
bordered close upon the Jena.

_Ille._--"Yes, he knew it well."

_Hic._--"Then he could not wonder if he now demanded dues
from every vessel that went up to Stargard."

_Ille._--"On the contrary, he would wonder greatly; since by
an Act passed in the reign of Duke Barnim the First, A.D. 1243,
the freedom of the Jena had been secured to them, and they had
enjoyed it up to the present date."

_Hic_.--"Stuff! what was the use of bringing up these old
Acts. His Grace of Stettin, as well as the Duchess of Wolgast, had
now given them over to him."

_Ille_.--"Then let his lordship produce his charter; if he
had got one, why not show it?"

_Hic_.--"No, he had not got the written order yet, but he
would soon have it."

_Ille_.--"Well, until then they would abide by the old law."

_Hic_.--"By no means. This very day he would insist on being
paid the dues."

_Ille_.--"That meant, that he purposed to break the peace of
our lord the Emperor. Let him think well of it. It might cost him
dear."

_Hic_.--"That was his care. The Stargardians should not a
second time hang his arms on the gallows."

_Ille_.--"It was a simple act of retaliation; had he not
read, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'?"

_Hic_.--"Nonsense! was that retaliation, when a set of low
burgher carls took upon themselves to disgrace the lord of castles
and lands; as well might one of his serfs, when he struck him,
strike him in return; that would be retaliation too. Ha! ha! ha!"

_Ille_.--"What did his lordship mean? He was no village
justice, nor were the burghers of this good town serfs or boors."

_Hic_.--"If he knew not now what he meant, he would soon
learn; ay, and take off his hat so low to the Bork arms that it
would touch the ground. Then, too, he might himself get a lesson
in retaliation."

And herewith the knight strode firmly out of the room, without
even saluting the burgomaster; but Jacob knew well how to deal
with him, so he sent instantly for the keeper of the forest, who
lived in the thick wood on the banks of the Jena, and told him to
watch by night and day, and if he observed anything unusual going
on, to spring upon a horse and bring him the intelligence without
delay.

Meanwhile the knight summoned all his feudal vassals around him at
Stramehl, and told them how his Grace had bestowed the Jena dues
upon him, but the sturdy burghers of Stargard had dared to impugn
his rights; therefore let each of them select two trusty
followers, and meet all together on the morrow morn at Putzerlin,
close to the Jena ferry. Then, if there came by any vessels laden
with choice wines, let them be sure and drink a health to
Stargard. So they all believed him, and came to the appointed
place with twenty horsemen, and the knight himself brought twenty
more. There they unsaddled and turned into the meadow, then set to
work to throw a bridge over the river. As soon as the forest
ranger spied them, he saddled his wild clipper, which he himself
had caught in the Uckermund country, and flew like wind to the
town (for the wild horses are much stouter and fleeter than the
tame, but there are none to be found now in all Pomerania).

When the burgomaster heard this tale, he told him to go back the
way he came, and keep perfectly still until he saw a rocket rise
from St. Mary's Tower, then let him loose all his hounds upon the
horses in the meadow, and he and the burghers would follow soon,
and make a quick end of the robber knights and freebooters; but he
would wait for three hours before giving the promised sign from
St. Mary's Tower, that he might have time to get back to the wood.
Still the knight and his followers continued working at the bridge
right merrily. They took the ferryman's planks and poles, and cut
down large oak-trees, and every one that went across the ferry
must stop and help them; but their work was not quite completed,
when three vessels appeared in sight, laden with all sorts of
merchandise, and making direct for Stargard. As soon as Otto
perceived them, he took half-a-dozen fellows with him, and jumped
into a ferry-boat, crying, "Hold! until the dues are paid, you can
go no farther. The river and the land alike belong to me now, and
I must have my dues, as his Grace of Stettin has commanded."

The crew, however, strictly objected, saying that in the memory of
man they had never paid dues upon their goods, and they would not
pay them now; but Otto and his knights jumped on deck, followed by
their squires, and having asked for the bill of lading, decimated
all the goods, as a priest collecting his tithe of the sheaves.
Then he took the best cask of wine, had it rolled on land, and
called out to the crew, who were crying like children, "Now, good
people, you may go your ways."

But the poor devils were in despair, and followed him on land,
praying and beseeching him not to ruin them, but to restore their
property, at which Otto laughed loudly, and bid the strongest of
his followers chase the miserable varlets back to their vessel.

Meanwhile the cask of wine had been rolled up against a tree, and
the knight and his followers set themselves round it upon the
grass, and because they had no glasses, they drank out of kettles,
and pots, and bowls, and dishes, or whatever the ferryman could
give them. Yea, some of them drew off their boots and filled them
with the wine, others drank it out of their caps, and so there
they lay on the grass, swilling the wine, and the different wares
they had seized lay all scattered round them, and they laughed and
drank, and roared, "Thus we drink a health to Stargard!" Hereupon
the crew, seeing that nothing could be got from the robbers, went
their way with curses and imprecations, to which the knight and
his party responded only with peals of laughter.

But the vessel had scarcely set sail, when a woman's voice was
heard crying out loudly from the deck--"Father! father! I am here.
Listen, Otto von Bork, your daughter Sidonia is here!"

When the knight heard this, he felt as if stunned by a blow, but
immediately comforted himself by thinking that no doubt Prince
Ernest was with her, particularly as he could observe in the
twilight the figure of a man seated beside her on a bundle of
goods. "This surely must be the Prince," he said to himself, and
so called out with a joyful voice, "Ah, my dearest daughter,
Sidonia! how comest thou in the merchant vessel?"

Then he screamed to the sailors to stop and cast anchor; but they
heeded neither his cries nor commands, and in place of stopping,
began to crowd all sail. Otto now tried entreaties, and promised
to restore all their goods, and even pay for the wine drunk, if
they would only stop the vessel. This made them listen to him, but
they demanded, beside, a compensation money of one hundred
florins, for all the anxiety and delay they had suffered. This he
promised also, only let them stop instantly. However, they would
not trust his word, and not until he had pledged his knightly
faith would they consent to stop. Some, indeed, were not even
content with this, and required that he should stand bareheaded on
the bank, and take a solemn oath, with his hand extended to
heaven, that he would deal with them as he had promised.

To this also the knight consented, since they would not believe he
held his knightly word higher than any oath; though, in my
opinion, he would have done anything they demanded, such was his
anxiety to behold the Prince and Princess of Pomerania, for he
could imagine nothing else, but that his daughter and her husband
had been turned out of Wolgast by the harsh Duchess and the old
Grand Chamberlain, and were now on their way to his castle at
Stramehl.

Here my gracious Prince will no doubt say, "But, Theodore, why did
she not call on her father sooner, when, as you told me, he was on
board this very vessel plundering the wares?"

I answer--"Serene Prince! your Grace must know that she and her
paramour were at that time crouching in the cabin, through fear of
Otto, for the sailors did not know her, or who she was. They had
taken her and Appelmann in at Damm, and believed this story: that
he was secretary to the Duke at Stettin, and Sidonia was his wife;
they were on their way to Stargard, but preferred journeying by
water, on account of the robbers who infested the high-roads, and
who, they heard, had murdered three travellers only a few days
before."

But when Sidonia had found what her father had done, and heard the
crew cursing and vowing vengeance on him, she feared it would be
worse for her even to fall into the hands of the Stargardians than
into her father's, and therefore rushed up on deck and called out
to him, though her paramour conjured her by heaven and earth to
keep quiet, and not bring him under her father's sword.

_Summa_, as the vessel once more stood still, the knight
sprang quick as thought into the ferry-boat along with some of his
followers, and rowed off to the vessel, where his daughter sat
upon a bundle of merchandise and wept, but Appelmann crept down
again into the cabin. When the knight stepped on board, he kissed
and embraced her--but where was the young Prince whom he had seen
standing beside her?

_Illa_.--"Alas! it was not the Prince; the young lord had
shamefully deceived her!" (weeping.)

_Hic_.--"He would make him suffer for it, then; let her tell
him the whole business. If he had trifled with her, she should be
revenged. Was he not as powerful as any duke in Pomerania?"

_Illa_.--"He must send away all the bystanders first; did he
not see how they all stood round, with their mouths open from
wonder?" Hereupon the knight roared out, "Away, go all, all of ye,
or I'll stick ye dead as calves. The devil take any of you who
dare to listen!" His whole frame trembled meanwhile as an aspen
leaf, and he could scarcely wait till the carls clambered over the
bundles of goods--"What had happened? In the name of all the
devils, let her speak, now that they were alone."

But here the cunning wanton began to weep so piteously, that not a
word could she utter; however, as old Otto grew impatient, and
began to curse and swear, and shake her by the arm, she at last
commenced (while Appelmann was listening from the cabin):--

"Her dearest father knew how the young lord had bribed a priest in
Crummyn to wed them privately; but this was all a trick which his
wicked mother had suggested to him, in order to bring her to utter
ruin; for on the very wedding night, while she was waiting for the
Prince in her little room, according to promise, to flee with him
to Crummyn, the perfidious Duchess, who was aware of the whole
arrangement, sent a groom to her chamber at the appointed hour,
and she being in the dark, embraced him, thinking he was the
Prince. In the self-same instant the door was burst open, and the
old revengeful hag, with Ulrich von Schwerin, rushed in, along
with the young Prince and Marcus Bork, her cousin, amid a great
crowd of people with lanterns. And no one would listen to her or
heed her; so she was thrust that same night out of the castle,
like a common swine-maid, though the young lord, when he saw the
full extent of his wicked mother's treachery, fell down in a dead
faint at her feet."

And here she wept and groaned, as if her heart would break.

"Who, then, was the gay youth who sat beside her there on the
bundle?" screamed Otto.

_Illa_.--"That was the very groom that she had embraced, for
they had sent him away with her, to make their wicked story seem
true."

_Hic_.--"But what was his name? May the devil take her, to
have gone off with a base-born groom. What was his name?"

_Illa_ (weeping).--"What did he think of her, that she should
love a common groom? truly, he had the title of equerry, but then
he was nothing better than a common burgher carl. What could she
do, when they turned her by night and cloud out of the castle? She
must thank God for having had even this groom to protect her, but
that he was her lover--fie!--no; that was, indeed, to think little
of her."

_Hic_.--"He would strike her dead if she did not answer. Who
was the knave? Where did he come from?"

_Illa_.--"He was called Johann Appelmann, and was son to the
burgomaster of Stargard."

Here the knight raved and chafed like a wild beast, and drew his
sword to kill Sidonia, but she fled away down to her paramour in
the cabin. However, he had heard the whole conversation, and flew
at her to beat her, crying, "Am I then a base-born groom? Ha! thou
proud wanton, didst thou not run after me like a common
street-girl? I will teach thee to call me a groom!"

And as the knight listened to all this, the sword dropped from his
hands and fell into the hold, so that he could not get it up
again. Then he was beside himself for rage, and seized a stone of
the ballast, to rush down with it to the cabin.

But, behold! a rocket shot up from St. Mary's Tower, and poured
its clear light upon the deepening twilight, like a starry meteor,
and, at the same instant, the deep bay of ten or twelve
blood-hounds resounded fearfully across the meadow where the
horses were grazing, and the dogs flew on them, and tore some of
them to the ground, and bit others, so that they dashed nearly to
their masters, who were lying round the wine-cask, and others fled
into the wood bleeding and groaning with pain and agony, as if
they had been human creatures.

Then all the fellows jumped up from their wine-cask, and screamed
as if the last day had come, and Otto let the stone fall from his
hand with horror; but still called out boldly to his men to know
what had happened. "Was the devil himself among them that accursed
evening?"

Then they shouted in return, that he must hasten to land, for the
Stargardians were upon them, and had killed all their horses.

"Strike them dead, then; kill all, and himself the last, but he
would go over and help them."

So he jumped into the boat with his companions, but had not time
to set foot on shore, when the Stargardians, horse and foot, with
the burgomaster at their head, dashed forth from the wood,
shouting, "So fall the Stargardians upon Stramehl!"

At this sight the knight could no longer restrain his impatience,
but jumped out of the boat; and although the water reached up
under his arms, strode forward, crying--

"Courage, my brave fellows; down with the churls. Kill, slay, give
no quarter. He who brings me the head of the burgomaster shall be
my heir! His vile son hath brought my daughter to shame. Kill
all--all! I will never outlive this day. Ye shall all be my
heritors--only kill! kill! kill!"

Then he jumps on land and goes to draw his sword, but he has
none--only the scabbard is hanging there; and as the Stargard men
are already pressing thick upon them, he shouts--

"A sword, a sword! give me a sword! My good castle of Stramehl for
a sword, that I may slay this base-born churl of a burgomaster!"

But a blood-hound jumped at his throat, and tore him to the
ground, and as he felt the horrible muzzle closer to his face, he
screamed out--

"Save me! save me! Oh, woe is me!"

And at the same moment, Sidonia's voice was heard from the vessel,
shrieking--

"Father, father, save me! this groom is beating me to death--he is
killing me!" while a loud roar of laughter from the crew
accompanied her cries.

No one, however, came to save the knight; for the Stargardians
were slaying right and left, and Otto's followers were utterly
discomfited. So the knight tried to draw his dagger, and having
got hold of it, plunged it with great force into the heart of the
ferocious animal, who fell back dead, and Otto sprang to his feet.
Just then, however, a tanner recognised him, and seizing hold of
him by the arms, carried him off to the other prisoners.

Now, indeed, might he call on the mountains to fall on him, and
the hills to cover him (Hosea x.); and now he might feel, too,
what a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the living
God (Hebrews x.); for the Jesu wounds, I'm thinking, burned then
like hell-fire in his heart.

_Summa_, as the wretched man was brought before the
burgomaster, who sat down upon a bank and wiped his sword in the
grass, the latter cried out--

"Well, sir knight, you would not heed me; you have worked your
will. Now, do you understand what retaliation means--'An eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth'?"

And as the other stood quite silent, he continued--

"Where is your charter for the Jena dues? Perchance it is
contained in this letter, which I have received to-day from her
Grace of Wolgast, addressed to you. Hand a lantern here, that the
knight may read it! If the charter is not therein, then he shall
be flung into prison this night with his followers, until my lord,
Duke Barnim, pronounces judgment upon him."

The ferryman advanced and held a light; but Otto had scarcely
looked over the letter when he began to tremble as if he would
fall to the ground, and then sighed forth, like the rich man in
hell--

"Have mercy on me, and give me a drink of water!"

They brought him the water, and then he added--

"Jacob, hast thou, too, had any tidings of our children?"

"Alas!" the other answered; "Ulrich has written all to me."

"Then have mercy on me. Listen how your godless son there in the
vessel is beating my daughter to death, and how she is shrieking
for help."

As the burgomaster heard these unexpected tidings, he sent
messengers to the vessel, with orders to bring the pair
immediately before him.

Meanwhile the other prisoners besought the burgomaster to let them
go, for they were feudal vassals of Otto Bork, and must do as he
commanded them. Besides, he told them that Duke Barnim had given
him the dues, and therefore they held it their duty to assist him
in collecting them.

And as Otto confirmed their words, saying that he had indeed
deceived them, the burgomaster turned to his party, and cried--

"How say you then, worthy burghers and dear friends, shall we let
the vassals run, and keep the lord? for, if the master lies, are
the servants to be punished if they believe him? Speak, worthy
friends."

Then all the burghers cried--

"Let them go, let them go; but keep the knight a prisoner."

Upon which all the retainers took to their heels, not forgetting,
though, to hoist the cask of wine upon their shoulders, and so
they fled away into the wood.

Now comes a great crowd from all the vessels, accompanying the
infamous pair, mocking, and gibing, and laughing at them, so that
no one can hear a word for the tumult. But the burgomaster bids
them hold their peace, and let the guilty pair be placed before
him.

He remained a long while silent, gazing at them both, then sighing
deeply, addressed his son--

"Oh, thou lost son, hast thou not yet given up thy dissolute
courses? What is this I hear of thee in Wolgast? Now thou must
needs humble this noble maiden, and bring dishonour on her
house--flinging all thy father's admonitions to the wind--"

Here the son interrupted--

"True; but this noble maiden had thrown herself in his way, like a
common girl, and he was only flesh and blood like other men. Why
did she follow him so?"

Whereupon the father replied--

"Oh, thou shameless child, who, like the prodigal in Scripture,
hast destroyed thy substance with harlots and riotous living, in
place of humbleness and repentance, dost thou impudently tell of
this poor young maiden's shame before all the world? Oh, son! oh,
son! even the blind heathen said, '_Ego illum periisse puto, cui
quidem periit pudor_' [Footnote: Plautus in Bacchid.]--which
means, 'I esteem him dead in whom shame is dead.' Therefore is thy
sin doubled, being a Christian, for thou hast boasted of thy shame
before the people here, and held up the young maiden to their
contempt, besides having beaten her so on board the vessel that
many heard her screams, as if she were only a common wench, and
not a castle and land dowered maiden."

To which Appelmann answered, that she had called him a common
groom and a base-born burgher churl. But his father commanded him
to be silent, and bid his men first bind the knight's hands behind
his back, and then those of his son, and so carry them both to
prison; but to let the maiden go free.

When the knight heard that he was to be bound, his pride revolted,
and he offered any ransom, or to give any compensation that could
be demanded for the injury he had done them. Every one knew his
wealth, and that he had power to keep his word to the uttermost.
But the burgomaster made answer, "Eye for eye, and tooth for
tooth; how say you, sir knight--speak the truth, if you had taken
me prisoner, as I have taken you, would you have bound my hands or
not?" To which the knight replied, "Well, Jacob, I will not speak
a falsehood, for I feel that my end is near;--I would have bound
your hands."

Hereupon the brave burgomaster answered, "I know it well; however,
as you have answered me honestly, I will spare you. Burghers, do
not bind his hands, neither those of my son. Ye have enough to
suffer yet before ye, and God give you both grace to repent. And
now to the town! The crew shall declare to-morrow morn, before the
honourable council, what they have lost by the knight's means; and
he shall make it all good again to them."

So all the people returned with great uproar and rejoicing back to
the town, and the bell from St. Mary's and St. John's rung forth
merry peals, and all the people of the town ran forth to meet
them; but when they saw the knight a prisoner, and his empty
scabbard hanging by his side, they clapped their hands and
huzzaed, shouting, "So fell the Stargardians upon Stramehl." Thus
with merry laughter, and jests, and mockings, they carried him up
the street to the tower called the Red Sea, and there locked him
up, well guarded.

Here again he prayed the burgomaster to accept a ransom, but in
vain. Whereupon he at last solicited pen, paper, and ink, and a
light, that he might indite a letter to his Grace, Duke Barnim;
and this was granted to him.

As for his unworthy son, the burgomaster had him carried to his
own house, and there placed him in a room, with three stout
burghers as a guard over him. And Sidonia was placed by herself in
another little chamber.



CHAPTER III.

_Of Otto Bark's dreadful suicide--Item, how Sidonia and Johann
Appelmann were brought before the burgomaster._


During that night there was a strong suspicion upon every one's
mind that something terrible was going to happen; for a great
storm arose at midnight, and raged fearfully round the Red Sea
tower, so that it seemed to rock, and when the night-watch went
round to examine it, behold three toads crept out, and set
themselves upright upon the parapet like little manikins, as the
hares sometimes make themselves into manikins.

What all this denoted was discovered next morning, for when the
jailer entered Otto's cell in the tower, he saw him lying on the
floor in a pool of blood, with his own dagger sticking in his
heart. On the table stood the lamp which he had asked for, still
burning feebly, and near it a great many written papers.

The man instantly ran for the burgomaster, who followed him with
all speed to the tower. They felt the corpse, but it was already
quite cold. So then a messenger was despatched for the chirurgeon,
to hold a _visum repertum_ over him.

Meantime they examined the papers, and found first my gracious
Lady of Wolgast's letter to the unfortunate father--the same which
had made him tremble so the day before--and therein was related
all the shameful circumstances concerning Sidonia, just as Ulrich
had stated them in the letter to the burgomaster. Then they came
upon his last will and testament; but where the seal ought to have
been, there lay a large drop of blood, with this memorandum
beneath it: "This is my heart's first blood which I have affixed
here, in place of a seal, and may he who slights it be accursed
for evermore, even as my daughter Sidonia."

In this testament he had completely disinherited his daughter
Sidonia, and made his son Otto sole inheritor of all his property,
castles, and lands (for his daughter Clara was already dead, and
had left no children). Nothing should his daughter Sidonia have
but two farm-houses in Zachow, [Footnote: A small town near
Stramehl, a mile and a half from Regenwalde.] just to keep her
from beggary, and to save the ancient, illustrious name of their
house from falling into further contempt. Yet should his son think
proper to give her further _alimentum_, he was at liberty so
to do. Lastly, for the second and third time, he cursed his
daughter, to whom he owed all his misery, from the affair with the
apprentice to that concerning the Jena dues, up to this his most
miserable and wretched death. _Item_, the burgomaster picked
up another letter, which was addressed to himself, and wherein the
knight prayed, first, that his body might not be drawn by the
executioner to burial, as was the custom with suicides, but
conveyed honourably to Stramehl, and there deposited in the vault
of his family; secondly, that his daughter Sidonia might be sent
to Zachow, there to learn how to live humbly as a peasant
maid--for that she might look to being a Duchess of Pomerania,
only when she could keep her evil desires still for even a couple
of days.

Then he cursed her so that it was pitiable to read; and proved
that, if he had been a more God-fearing father, she might have
been a different daughter; for as St. Paul says (Galatians vi.),
"What a man soweth, that shall he also reap." The letter further
said, that, for the good deed done to his corpse, the burgomaster
should take all the gold found upon his person, consisting of
eighty good rose-nobles, and indemnify himself therewith for the
loss of his spices that day in Stramehl when they were scattered
before the Jews. He lastly desired his last will and testament to
be conveyed to his son, along with his corpse; and further, his
son was to send compensation to the crew for the cask of wine and
whatever other losses they had sustained, according to his
knightly word which he had pledged to them.

_Summa_, when the chirurgeon arrived and the body was
examined, there was found upon the unfortunate knight a purse,
embroidered with pearls and diamonds, containing eighty
rose-nobles, which the burgomaster in no wise disdained to
receive, and then laid the whole matter before the honourable
council, with the petition of Otto concerning the corpse. The
honourable council fully justified the burgomaster for all he had
done, and gave their opinion, that as the good town had no
jurisdiction over the knight, so they could have none over his
body, and therefore let it be removed with all honour to Stramehl,
particularly as he had in all things made amends for the wrong he
had done them. As regarded Sidonia, two porters should be sent to
convey her to Zachow.

Meantime Sidonia had heard of her father's horrible death, and lay
on the ground nearly insensible from grief. Just then the
burgomaster returned from the council-hall, and commanded that she
and his profligate son should be brought before him. When they
arrived, he asked how it happened that they were both found in the
vessel, for Ulrich, the Grand Chamberlain, had written to inform
him that Sidonia had been sent away in a coach to Stettin, with
the executioner on the box.

Here Sidonia sobbed so violently that no word could she utter;
therefore the son replied that such had been done, but that he
had been given a horse from the ducal stables, and had followed
the coach; and when they stopped at Uckermund for the night, he
had secretly got speech with Sidonia, and advised her to try and
remove the planks from the bottom of the carriage and escape to
him, for that he would be quite close at hand. And he did what he
could that night to loosen the boards himself. So in the morning
Sidonia got them up easily, and first dropped her baggage out
through the hole, which he picked up; and then, as they came to a
soft, sandy tract where the coach had to go very slowly, she let
herself also down through it, and sinking in the deep sand, let
the coach go over her without any hurt. Then he came to her, and
they fled to the next town, where he bought a waggon from some
peasants, for her and her luggage to proceed into Stargard, for
she was ashamed to appear before Duke Barnim, and wished to get on
from Stargard to Stramehl; but when they reached Damm, they heard
such wild tales of the robbers and partisans who infested the
roads, that Sidonia grew alarmed, and made him go by water for
safety. So he left the horse and waggon at the inn, and took ship
with the merchants who were going to Stargard. These were their
adventures. The rest his father knew as well as himself.

The burgomaster then asked Sidonia had he spoken truth. So she
dried her eyes, and nodded her head for "Yes."

Then he admonished her gravely, for that she, a noble maiden,
could have dishonoured herself with a mere burgher's son, like his
Johann, in whom even he, his own father, must say, there was
nothing to tempt any girl. And now she knew the truth of those
words of St. James: "Lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth
sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Her sin had, indeed, brought forth her father's death;--would that
he could say only his _temporal_ death. This her father had
himself asserted in his testament, which he held now in his hands,
and for this cause had left all his goods, lands, and castles to
her brother Otto--only giving her two farm-houses in Zachow to
save her from the beggar's staff, and their noble name from
falling into yet greater contempt--and, in addition, he had cursed
her with terrible curses; but these might be yet turned away, if
she would incline her heart to God, and lead a pious, honest life
for the rest of her days. And much more the worthy man preached to
her; but she interrupted him, having found her tongue at last, and
exclaimed in wrath, "What! has the good-for-nothing old churl
written this? Let me see it; it cannot be true."

So the burgomaster reached her the paper, and, as she read, her
colour changed, and at last she shrieked aloud and fell down
before the burgomaster, clasping his knees, and praying by the
Jesu cross not to send such a testament to her brother, for that
he was still harder than her father, because he was by nature
avaricious, and would grudge her even salt with her bread. Let him
remember that his son had promised her marriage, and would he
destroy his own children?

Then Jacob Appelmann turned to his profligate son, and asked,
"Does she speak the truth? Have you promised her marriage?"

But the shameless knave answered, "True, I so promised her, when
we were at Uckermund; but now that she has no money, I wash my
hands of her."

Such villainy made the old man flame with indignation. "He would
make him know that he must stand by his word--he would force him
to it, if he could only think it would be for the advantage of
this wretched girl. But he would admonish her to give him up; did
she not see that he was shameless, cruel, and selfish? and how
could she ever hope to turn to God and lead a new life with such
an infamous partner? _Item_, his son should be made to work,
and to feel poverty, so that his evil desires might be stifled;
and as for her, let her go in God's name to Zachow, and there in
solitude repent her sins, and strive to win the favour of God."

But that was no water for her mill; so she continued to lament,
and weep, and pray the burgomaster not to send the will to her
harsh brother; upon which he answered mildly, "Wert thou to lie at
my feet till morning, it would not help thee: the testament goes
this day to Stramehl; but I will do this for thee. Thy father left
me some rose-nobles, in a purse which he carried about with him,
as a compensation for my spices, which he strewed before the Jews
in Stramehl, of which deed thou, too, wert also guilty, as I know;
therefore I was not ashamed to take the money. But of the purse
thy father said naught; so I had it in my mind to keep it--for, in
truth, it is of more worth than the nobles it contained. If I
mistake not, these are true pearls and diamonds with which it is
broidered. Look, here it is. What sayest thou?"

Here she sobbed, and answered, "She knew it well; she had
broidered the purse herself. They were her mother's pearls and
diamonds, and part of her bridal gear; truly they were worth three
thousand florins."

"Then," said the brave old man, "I will give thee this purse,
since it was not named either for me or for thy brother at
Stramehl. Take it to Zachow; thou wilt make a good penny of it. Be
pious, and God-fearing, and industrious, remembering what the Holy
Scripture says (Prov. xxxi.): 'A virtuous woman takes wool and
flax, and labours diligently with her hands. She stretches out her
hands to the wheel, and her fingers grasp the spindle.' Hadst thou
learned this, in place of thy costly broidery, methinks it would
have been better with thee this day."

As he thus spoke, he put the purse in her hands, and she instantly
hid it in her pocket. But the profligate Johann now suddenly
became repentant, for he thought, if I can obtain nothing good
from my father, I may at least get the purse. So he began to weep
and lament, and fell down, too, at his father's feet, saying, if
he would only pardon him this once, he would indeed take this poor
maiden to wife, as he had promised her, for he alone was guilty of
her sin; only would his heart's dearest father forgive him? And so
the hypocrite went on with his lies.

Whereupon his father made answer honourably and mildly--"Such
promises thou hast often made, but never kept. However, I will try
thee yet again. If thou wilt spend each day diligently writing in
the council-office, and return each night to sleep in my chamber,
and continue this good conduct for a few years, to testify thy
repentance, as a brave and upright son, and Sidonia meanwhile
continues to lead a godly and humble life at Zachow, then, in
God's name, ye shall both marry, and make amends for your sin; but
not before that."

As he said this, and bid his son stand up, the hypocrite answered,
yes, he would do the will of his dear father; but then he must
keep back this testament; so would his children be happy.
Otherwise, wherefore should they marry?--what could they live on?
A couple of cabins in Zachow would not be enough.

"Truly," replied the old man, "if I were as great a knave as thou
art, I would do as thou hast said; yet, though the loss of the
spices, which her father wickedly destroyed, did me such injury
that I had to sell my house, to get the means of living and
keeping thee at the University of Grypswald, I will keep my hands
pure from the property of another, even if this property belonged
to my greatest enemy, and the enemy of this good town also.
_Summa_, this day thou shalt go to the council-office, the
testament to Stramehl, and Sidonia to Zachow."

So the knave was silent: but Sidonia still resisted; she would not
go to Zachow--never; but if he would send her to Stettin, she was
certain the good Duke Barnim would be kind to an unfortunate
maiden, who had done nothing more than what thousands do in
secret. And whatever the gracious Prince resolved concerning her,
she would abide by.

When the burgomaster heard this speech, he saw that no amendment
was to be expected from her; and as he had no authority to compel
her to Zachow, he promised, at last, to send her to Stettin on the
following day, for there were two market waggons going, and she
could travel in one, and thereby be more secure against all
danger. And so it was done.



CHAPTER IV.

_How Sidonia meets Claude Uckermann again, and solicits him to
wed her--Item, what he answered, and how my gracious Lord of
Stettin received her._


Sidonia, next morning, got a good soft seat in the waggon, upon
the sack of a cloth merchant; he was cousin to the burgomaster,
and promised to take her with him, out of friendship for him. All
the men in the waggon were armed with spears and muskets, for fear
of the robbers, who were growing more daring every day.

So they proceeded; but had not got far from the town when a
horseman galloped furiously after them, and called out that he
would accompany them; and this was Claude Uckermann, of whom I
have spoken so much in my former book. He, too, was going to
Stettin. Now when Sidonia saw him, her eyes glistened like a cat's
when she sees a mouse, and she rejoiced at the prospect of such
good company, for since the wedding of her sister, never had this
handsome youth come across her, though she was constantly looking
out for him. So as he rode up by the waggon, she greeted him, and
prayed him to alight and come and sit by her upon the sack, that
they might talk together of dear old times.

She imagined, no doubt, that he knew nothing of all that had
happened; but her disgrace was as public at Stargard as if it had
been pealed from the great bell of St. Mary's. He therefore knew
her whole story, and answered, that sitting by her was
disagreeable to him now; and he rode on. This was plain enough,
one would think; but Sidonia still held by her delusion; for as
they reached the first inn, and stopped to feed the horses, she
saw him stepping aside to avoid her, and seating himself at some
distance on a bank. So she put on her flattering face, and
advanced to him, saying, "Would not the dear young knight make up
with her?--what ailed him?--it was impossible he could resent her
silly fun at her sister's wedding. Oh! if he had come again and
asked her seriously to be his wife, in place of there in the
middle of the dancing, as if he had been only jesting, she would
never have had another husband, for from that till now, never had
so handsome a knight met her eyes; but she was still free."

Hereupon the young man (as he told me himself) made answer--"Yes,
she had rightly judged, he was only jesting, and taking his
pastime with her, as they sat there upon the carpet, for he held
in unspeakable aversion and disgust a cup from which every one
sipped."

Still Sidonia would not comprehend him, and began to talk about
Wolgast. But he looked down straight before him in the grass, and
never spake a word, but turned on his heel, and entered the inn,
to see after his horse. So he got rid of her at last.

As the waggon set off again, she began to sing so merrily and
loudly, that all the wood rang with it. And the young knight was
not so stupid but that he truly discerned her meaning, which was
to show him that she cared little for his words, since she could
go away in such high spirits.

_Summa_, when they reached the inn at Stettin, Sidonia got
all her baggage carried in from the waggon, and there dressed
herself with all her finery: silken robes, golden hairnet, and
golden chains, rings, and jewels, that all the people saluted her
when she came forth, and went to the castle to ask for his
Highness the Duke. He was in his workshop, and had just finished
turning a spinning-wheel; he laughed aloud when she entered, ran
to her, embraced her, and cried, "What! my treasure!--where hast
thou been so long, my sugar-morsel? How I laughed when Master
Hansen, whom my old, silly, sour cousin of Wolgast sent with thee,
came in lately into my workshop, and told me he had brought thee
hither in a ducal coach! I ran directly to the courtyard; but when
the knave opened the door, my little thrush had flown. Where hast
thou been so long, my sugar-morsel?"

As his Grace put all these questions, he continued kissing her, so
that his long white beard got entangled in her golden chains; and
as she pushed him away, a bunch of hair remained sticking to her
brooch, so that he screamed for pain, and put his hand to his
chin. At this, in rushed the court marshal and the treasurer (who
were writing in the next chamber) as white as corpses, and asked,
"Who is murdering his Grace?" but his Grace held up his hand over
his bleeding mouth, and winked to them to go away. So when they
saw that it was only a maiden combat, they went their way
laughing.

Hereupon speaks his Grace--"See now, treasure, what thou hast
done! Thou canst be so kind to a groom, yet thy own gracious
Prince will treat so harshly!"

But Sidonia began to weep bitterly. "What did he think of her? The
whole story was an invention by his old sour cousin of Wolgast to
ruin her because she would not learn her catechism (and then she
told the same tale as to her father); but would not his Grace take
pity on a poor forsaken maiden, seeing that Prince Ernest could
not deny he had promised to make her his bride, and wed her
privately at Crummyn, on the very next night to that on which her
Grace had so shamefully outraged her?"

"My sweet treasure!" answered the Duke, "the young Prince was only
making a fool of you; therefore be content that things are no
worse. For even if he had wedded you privately, it would have been
all in vain, seeing that neither the princely widow nor the
Elector of Brandenburg, his godfather, nor any of the princes of
the holy Roman Empire, nor lastly, the Pomeranian States, would
ever have permitted so unequal a marriage. Therefore, what the
priest joined in Crummyn would have been put asunder next day by
the tribunals. My poor nephew is a silly enthusiast not to have
perceived this all along, before he put such absurdities in your
head. That he talked gallantry to you was very natural, and I
wished him all success; but that he should ever have talked of
marriage shows him to be even sillier than I expected from his
years."

Here Sidonia's tears burst forth anew. "Who would care for her now
that her father was dead, and had left her penniless? All because
he believed that old hypocrite of Wolgast more than his own
daughter. Alas! alas! she was a poor orphan now! and all her
possessions would be torn from her by her hard-hearted, avaricious
brother. Yet surely his Grace might at least take pity on her
innocence."

His Grace wondered much when he heard of Otto's death, for the
letters brought by the market waggon from the honourable council,
acquainting him with the matter, had not yet arrived, and he
scratched behind his ear, and said, "It was an evil deed of that
proud devil her father, to claim the Jena dues. He had got his
answer at Wolgast, and ought to have left the dues alone. What
right had he to break the peace of the land, to gratify his lust
and greed? It was well that he was dead; but as concerning his
testament, that must not be interfered with, he had no power over
the property of individuals. Each one might leave his goods as
best pleased him; yet he would make his treasurer write a letter
in her favour to her brother Otto: that was all that he could do."

This threw Sidonia into despair; she fell at his feet, and told
him, that let what would become of her, she would never go a step
to Zachow, and her harsh brother would never give her one
groschen, unless he were forced to it. His Grace ought to remember
that it was by his advice she had gone to Wolgast, where all her
misery had commenced; for by the traitorous conduct of the widow,
there she had been robbed, not only of her good name, but also of
her fortune. So his Grace comforted her, and said that as long as
he lived she would want for nothing. He had a pretty house behind
St. Mary's, and six young maidens lived there, who had nothing to
do but spin and embroider, or comb out the beautiful herons'
feathers as the birds moulted; for he had a large stock of herons
close to the house; and there was a darling little chamber there,
which she could have immediately for herself. As to clothes, they
might all get the handsomest they pleased, and their meals were
supplied from the ducal kitchen.

As his Grace ended, and lifted up Sidonia and kissed her, she wept
and sighed more than ever. "Could he think this of her? No; she
would never enter the house which was the talk of all Pomerania.
If she consented, then, indeed, would the world believe all the
falsehoods that were told of her--of her, who was as innocent as a
child!" Hereupon his Grace answered stiff and stern (yet this was
not his wont, for he was a right tender master), "Then go your
ways. Into that house or nowhere else." (Alas! let every maiden
take warning, by this example, to guard against the first false
step. Amen, chaste Jesus! Amen.)

That evening Sidonia took up her abode in the house. But that same
evening there was a great _scandalum,_ and tearing of each
other's hair among the girls. For one of them, named Trina
Wehlers, was a baker's daughter from Stramehl, and on the occasion
of Clara's wedding she had headed a procession of young peasants
to join the bridal party, but Sidonia had haughtily pushed her
back, and forbid them to approach. This Trina was a fine rosy
wench, and my Lord Duke took a fancy to her then, so that she
looked with great jealousy on any one that threatened to rob her
of his favour. Now when Sidonia entered the house and saw the
baker's daughter, she commenced again to play the part of the
great lady, but the other only laughed, and mockingly asked her,
"Where was the princely spouse, Duke Ernest of Wolgast? Would his
Highness come to meet her there?"

Then Sidonia raged from shame and despair, that this peasant girl
should dare to insult her, and she ran weeping to her chamber; but
when supper was served, the _scandalum_ broke out in earnest.
For Sidonia had now grown a little comforted, and as there were
many dainty dishes from the Duke's table sent to them, she began
to enjoy herself somewhat, when all of a sudden the baker's
daughter gave her a smart blow over the fingers with a fork.
Sidonia instantly seized her by the hair; and now there was such
an uproar of blows, screams, and tongues, that my gracious lord,
the Duke, was sent for. Whereupon he scolded the baker's daughter
right seriously for her insolence, and told her that as Sidonia
was the only noble maiden amongst them, she was to bear rule. And
if the others did not obey her humbly, as befitted her rank, they
should all be whipped. His Grace wore a patch of black plaister on
his chin, and attempted to kiss Sidonia again, but she pushed him
away, saying that he must have told all that happened at Wolgast
to these girls, otherwise how could the baker's daughter have
mocked her about it.

Whereupon my gracious lord consoled her, and said that if she were
quiet and well-behaved, he would take her with him to the Diet at
Wollin, for all the young dukes of Pomerania were to attend it,
and Prince Ernest amongst the number, seeing that he had summoned
them all there, in order to give up the government of the land
into their hands, as he was too old now himself to be tormented
with state affairs.

When Sidonia heard this, hope sprang up within her heart, and she
resolved to bear her destiny calmly.



CHAPTER V.

_How they went on meantime at Wolgast--Item, of the Diet at
Wollin, and what happened there._


With regard to their Serene Highnesses of Wolgast, I have already
related, _libro primo,_ that the young lord, Ernest
Ludovicus, was carried out of Sidonia's chamber like one dead,
when he beheld her abominable wickedness with his own eyes
and all can easily believe that he lay for a long while sick unto
death. In vain Dr. Pomius offered his celebrated specific; he
would take nothing, did nothing day or night but sigh and groan--

"Ah, Sidonia; ah, my beloved heart's bride, Sidonia, can it be
possible? Adored Sidonia, my heart is breaking. Sidonia, Sidonia,
can it be possible?"

At last the idea struck Dr. Pomius that there must be magic and
devil's work in it. So he searched through all his learned books,
and finally came upon a recipe which was infallible in such cases.
This was to burn the tooth of a dead man to powder, and let the
sick bewitched person smoke the ashes. Such was solemnly
recommended by Petrus Hispanus Ulyxbonensis, who, under the name
of John XXII., ascended the papal throne. See his _Thesaurus
Pauperum,_ cap. ult.

But the Prince would neither take anything nor smoke anything, and
the _delirium amatorium_ grew more violent and alarming day
by day, so that the whole ducal house was plunged into the deepest
grief and despair.

Now there was a prisoner in the bastion tower at Wolgast, a carl
from Katzow, who had been arrested and condemned for practising
horrible sorceries and magic--namely, having changed the calves of
his neighbours into young hares, which instinctively started off
to the woods, and were never seen more, as the whole town
testified; and other devil's doings he had practised, which I now
forget; but they were fully proved against him, and so he was
sentenced to be burned.

This man now sent a message to the authorities, that if they
pardoned him and allowed him free passage from the town, he would
tell of something to cure the young lord. This was agreed to; and
when he was brought to the chamber of the Prince, he laid his ear
down upon his breast, to listen if it were witchcraft that ailed
him. Then he spake--

"Yes; the heart beats quite unnaturally, the sound was like the
whimpering of a fly caught in a spider's web; their lordships
might listen for themselves."

Whereupon all present, one after the other, laid their ear upon
the breast of the young Prince, and heard really as he had
described.

The earl now said that he would give his Highness a potion which
would make him, from that hour, hate the woman who had bewitched
him as much as he had adored her. _Item,_ the young lord must
sleep for three days, and when he woke, his strength would have
returned to him; to procure this sleep, he must anoint his temples
with goat's milk, which they must instantly bring him, and during
his sleep the Lady Duchess must, every two hours, lay fresh
ox-flesh upon his stomach.

When her Grace heard this, she rejoiced that her dear son would so
soon hold the harlot in abhorrence who had bewitched him. And the
earl gave him a red syrup, which he had no sooner swallowed than
all care for Sidonia seemed to have vanished from his mind. Even
before the goat's milk came, he exclaimed--

"Now that I think over it, what a great blessing that we have got
rid of Sidonia."

And no sooner were his temples bathed with the milk than he fell
into a deep sleep, which lasted for three days, and when he opened
his eyes, his first words were--

"Where is that Sidonia? Is the wanton still here? Bring her before
me, that I may tell her how I hate her. Oh, fool that I was, to
peril my princely honour for a harlot. Where is she? I must have
my revenge upon the light wanton."

Her Grace could hardly speak for joy when she heard these words;
and she gave the earl, who had watched all the time by the bedside
of the young Prince, so much ham and sausages from the ducal
kitchen, that he finally could not walk, but was obliged to be
drawn out of the town in a car. Then she asked Dr. Pomius how such
a miracle could have been effected. At which he laid his finger on
his nose, after his manner, and replied, such was accomplished
through the introduction of the natural Life Balsam, which the
learned called _confermentationem Mumie_, and so the fool
went on prating, and her Grace devouring his words as if they were
gospel.

_Summa._--After a few days the young lord was able to leave
his bed, and as they kept fresh ox-flesh continually applied to
his stomach, he soon regained his strength, so that, in a couple
of weeks, he could ride, fish, and hunt, and his cheeks were as
fresh and rosy as ever. One day he mentioned "the groom's
mistress," as he called her, and wished he could give her a lesson
in lute-playing, it would be one to make her tremble. But when the
letter arrived from Duke Barnim, declaring that, from his great
age, he proposed resigning the government of Pomerania into the
hands of her Grace's sons, there was no end to the rejoicings at
Wolgast, and her Grace declared that she would herself accompany
them to the Diet at Wollin.

We shall now see what a treat was waiting her at the old castle
there. It was built wholly of wood, and has long since fallen; but
at the time I write of, it was standing in all its glory.

Monday, the 15th May 1569, at eleven in the forenoon, his Grace of
Stettin came with seven coaches and two hundred and fourteen
horsemen into the courtyard. And there, on the steps of the
castle, stood my gracious Lady of Wolgast, holding the little
Casimir by the hand, in waiting to receive his Highness, and all
her other sons stood round her--namely, the illustrious Bishop of
Camyn, Johann Frederick, in his bishop's robes, with the staff and
mitre. _Item,_ Duke Bogislaus, who had presented her Grace
with a tame sea-gull. _Item,_ Ernest Ludovicus, in a Spanish
mantle of black velvet, embossed in gold, and upon his head a
black velvet Spanish hat, looped up with diamonds, from which long
white plumes descended to his shoulder. _Item,_ Barnim the
younger, who wore a dress similar to his brother's. _Item,_
the Grand Chamberlain, Ulrich von Schwerin, and with him a great
crowd of the counsellors and state officers of Wolgast, besides
all the nobles, prelates, knights, and chief burghers of the
duchy. Among the nobles stood Otto von Bork, brother to Sidonia;
and the burgomaster, Jacob Appelmann, held his place among the
citizens.

As Duke Barnim drove up to the castle, the guards fired a salute,
and the bells rang, and the cannon roared, and all the vessels in
the harbour hoisted their flags, while the streets, houses, and
courtyards were decorated with flowers, and all the people of the
little town trotted round the carriage, shouting, "Vivat! vivat!
vivat!" so that the like was never seen before in Wollin.

Now, when the coach stopped, her Grace the Duchess advanced to
meet his Highness; and as old Duke Barnim's head appeared at the
window, with his long white beard and yellow leather cap, her
Grace stepped forward, and said--"Welcome, dearest Un------"

But she could get no farther, and stood as stiff as Lot's wife
when she was turned into a pillar of salt, for there was Sidonia
seated in the carriage beside the Duke! Old Ulrich, who followed,
soon spied the cause of her Grace's dismay, and exclaimed--

"Three thousand devils, what does your Highness mean by bringing
the accursed harlot a third time amongst us?"

But his Highness only laughed, and drew forth his last puppet, it
was a Satan as he tempted Eve, saying--

"Hold this for me, good Ulrich, till I am out of the coach, and
then I shall hear all about it."

To which the other answered--

"If you let me catch hold of this other Satan, whom ye bring with
you, I think it were wiser done!"

Prince Ernest now sprang down the steps, his eye flaming with
rage, and drawing his sword, cried--

"Hold me, or I will stab the serpent to the heart, who so
disgraced me and my family honour. I will murder her there in the
coach before your eyes."

Whereupon old Ulrich flung the little wooden Satan to the ground,
and seized the young man by the arm, while Sidonia screamed
violently. But the old Duke stepped deliberately out of the coach.
Seeing, however, his wooden Satan lying broken on the ground, he
became very wroth, and called loudly for a turner with his
glue-pot. Then he ascended the steps, and when all had greeted him
deferentially, he began--

"Dear niece, worthy cousins, and friends, ye have no doubt heard
of the misfortune which hath befallen Sidonia von Bork, who sits
there in the carriage. Her father has died; and, further, she has
been disinherited. Thereupon she fled to me to seek a refuge. Now
ye all know well that the Von Borks are an ancient, honourable,
and illustrious race--none more so; therefore I had compassion
upon the orphan, and brought her hither to effect a reconciliation
between her and Otto Bork, her brother. Step forward, Otto Bork,
where are you hiding? Step forth, and hand your sister from the
carriage; I saw you amongst the nobles here to-day. Step forth!"

But Otto had disappeared; and as the Duke found he would not
answer to his summons, he bid Sidonia come forth herself.
Whereupon the young Prince swore fiercely that, if she but put a
foot upon the step he would murder her. "What the devil! young
man," said the Duke, laughing; "first you must needs wed her, and
now you will slay her dead at our feet! This is somewhat
inconsistent. Come forth, Sidonia; he will not be so cruel."

But she sat in the coach, and wept like a child who has lost its
nurse. So my gracious lady stepped forward, and commanded the
coachman to drive instantly with the maiden to the town inn; and
so it was done.

Now the old Duke never ceased for the whole forenoon soliciting
Otto Bork to take the poor orphan home with him, and there to
treat her as a faithful and kind brother, in compensation for her
father's harsh and unnatural will; but it was all in vain, as she
indeed had prophesied. "Not the weight of a feather more should
she get than the two farmhouses in Zachow; and never let her call
him brother, for ancient as his race was, never had one of them
borne the brand of infamy till now."

In the afternoon, all the prelates, nobles, and burghers assembled
in the grand hall; then entered the ducal family, Barnim the elder
at their head. He was dressed in a long black robe, such as the
priests wear now, with white ruffles and Spanish frill, and was
bareheaded. He took his seat at the top of the table, and thus
spake--

"Illustrious Princess, dear cousins, nobles, and faithful
burghers, ye all know that I have ruled this Pomeranian land for
fifty years, upholding the pure doctrine of Doctor Martin Luther,
and casting down papacy in all places and at all times. But as I
am now old, and find it hard sometimes to keep my unruly vassals
in order, whereof we have had a proof lately, it is my will and
purpose to resign the government into the hands of my dear
cousins, the illustrious Princes von Pommern-Wolgast, and retire
to Oderburg in Old Stettin, there to rest in peace for the
remainder of my days; but there are four princes (for the fifth,
Casimir, to-morrow or next day shall get a church endowment) and
but two duchies. For ye know that, by the Act passed in 1541, the
Duchy of Pomerania can only be divided into two portions, the
other princes of the family being entitled but to life-annuities.
Therefore I have resolved to let it be decided by lot amongst the
four Pomeranian princes (according to the example set us by the
holy apostles), which of them shall succeed me in Stettin, which
is to rule in Wolgast in the room of my loved brother, Philippus
Primus of blessed memory; and, finally, which is to be content
only with the life-annuity. And this shall now be ascertained in
your presence."

Having ended, he commanded the Grand Marshal, Von Flemming, to
bring the golden lottery-box with the tickets, and beckoned the
young princes to the table. Then, while they drew the lots, he
commanded all the nobles, knights, and burghers present to lift up
their hands and repeat the Lord's Prayer aloud. So every hand was
elevated, even the Duke and my gracious lady uplifting theirs, and
the three young princes drew the lots, but not the fourth, and
this was Bogislaff. So Duke Barnim wondered, and asked the reason.
Whereupon he answered, "That he would not tempt God in aught. To
govern a land was a serious thing; and he who had little to rule
had little to be responsible for before God. He would therefore
freely withdraw his claims, and be content with the annuity; then
he could remain with his dear mother, and console her in her
widowhood. He did not fear that he would ever repent his choice,
for he had more pleasure in study than in the pomp of the world;
and if he took the government, then must his beloved library be
given up for food to the moths and spiders."

All arguments were vain to turn him from his resolve: so the lots
were drawn, and it was found that Johann Frederick had come by the
Dukedom of Stettin, and Ernest Ludovicus by that of Wolgast.

But as Barnim the younger went away empty, he was filled with envy
and mortification, showing quite a different spirit from his meek,
humble-minded brother, Bogislaff. He swore, and cursed his ill
luck. "Why did not that fool of a bookworm give over his chance to
him, if he would not profit by it himself? Why the devil should he
descend to play the commoner, when he was born to play the
prince?" and suchlike unamiable and ill-tempered speeches.
However, he was now silenced by the drums and trumpets, which
struck up the _Te Deum_, in which all present joined. Then
Doctor Dannenbaum offered up a prayer, and so that grand ceremony
concluded. But the feasting and drinking was carried on with such
spirit all through the evening, and far into the night, that all
the young lords, except Bogislaff, had well nigh drowned their
senses in the wine-cup; and Ernest started up about midnight,
declaring that he would go to the inn and murder Sidonia. Barnim
was busy quarrelling with Johann Frederick about his annuity. So
Ernest would certainly have gone to Sidonia, if one of the nobles,
by name Dinnies Kleist, a man of huge strength, had not detained
him in a singular manner. For he laid a wager that, just with his
little finger in the girdle of the young Prince, he would hold him
fast; and if he (the Prince) moved but one inch from the spot
where he stood, he was content to lose his wager.

And, in truth, Prince Ernest found that he could not stir one step
from the spot where Dinnies Kleist held him; so he called a noble
to assist him, who seized his hand and tried to draw him away, but
in vain; then he called a second, a third, a fourth, up to a
dozen, and they all held each other by the hand, and pulled and
pulled away till their heads nearly touched the floor, but in
vain; not one inch could they make the Prince to move. So Dinnies
Kleist won his wager; and the Duke, Johann Frederick, was so
delighted with this proof of his giant strength, that he took him
into his service from that hour. So the whole night Dinnies amused
the guests by performing equally wonderful feats even until day
dawned.

Now, there was an enormous golden becker which Duke Ratibor I. had
taken away from the rich town of Konghalla, in Norway land, when
he fell upon it and plundered it. This becker stood on the table
filled with wine, and as the Duke handed it to him to pledge him,
Dinnies said, "Shall I crush this in my hand, like fresh bread,
for your Grace?" "You may try," said the Duke, laughing; and
instantly he crushed it together with such force, that the wine
dashed down all over the table-cover. _Item_, the Duke threw
down some gold and silver medals--"Could he break them?"

"Ay, truly, if they were given to him; not else."

"Take, then, as many as you can break," said the Duke. So he broke
them all as easily as altar wafers, and thrust them, laughing,
into his pocket.

_Item_, there had been large quantities of preserved cherries
at supper, and the lacqueys had piled up the stones on a dish like
a high mountain. From this mountain Dinnies took handful after
handful, and squeezed them together, so that not a single stone
remained whole in his hand. We shall hear a great deal more of
this Dinnies Kleist, and his strength, as we proceed; therefore
shall let him rest for the present.



CHAPTER VI.

_How Sidonia is again discovered with the groom, Johann
Appelmann._


It was a good day for Johann Appelmann, when his father went to
the Diet at Wollin. For as the old burgomaster held strictly by
his word, and sent him each day to the writing-office, and locked
him up each night in his little room, the poor young man had found
life growing very dull. Now he was his mother's pet, and all his
sins and wickedness were owing to her as much as Sidonia's to her
father. She had petted and spoiled him from his youth up, and
stiffened his back against his father. For whenever worthy Jacob
laid the stick upon the boy's shoulders, she cried and roared, and
called him nothing but an old tyrant. Then how she was always
stuffing him up with tit-bits and dainties, whenever his father's
back was turned; and if there were a glass of wine left in the
bottle, the boy must have it. Then she let him and his brother
beat and abuse all the street-boys and send them away bleeding
like dogs; and some were afraid to complain of them, as they were
sons of the burgomaster; and if others came to the house to do so,
she took good care to send them away with a stout blow or bloody
nose.

And as the lads grew up, how she praised their beauty, and curled
their hair and beards herself, telling them they were not to think
of citizen wives, but to look after the richest and highest, for
the proudest in the land might be glad to get them as husbands. So
she prated away during her husband's absence, for he was in his
office all day and most part of the evening. And God knows, bad
fruit she brought forth with such rearing--not alone in Johann,
but also in his brother Wittich, who, as I afterwards heard, got
on no better in Pudgla, where he held the office of magistrate. So
true it is what the Scripture says, "A wise woman buildeth her
house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands" (Prov.
xiv.) Then, another Scripture, "As moths from a garment, so from a
woman wickedness" (Sirach xlii.)

For what did this fool do now? As soon as her upright and worthy
husband had left the house, forgetting and despising all his
admonitions respecting this son Johann, she called together all
her acquaintance, and kept up a gormandising and drinking day
after day, all to comfort her heart's dear pet Johann, who had
been used so harshly by his cross father. Think of her fine,
handsome son being stuck down all day to a clerk's desk. Ah! was
there ever such a tyrant as her husband to any one, but especially
to his own born children?

And so she went on complaining how she had thrown herself away
upon such a hard-hearted monster, and had refused so many fine
young carls, all to wed Satan himself at least. She could not make
out why God had sent such a curse upon her.

When the brave Johann heard all this, he begged money from his
mother, that he might seek another situation. Now that there was a
new duke in Stettin, he would assuredly get employment there, but
then he must treat all the young fellows and pages about the
court, otherwise they would not put in a good word for him.
Therefore he would give them a great carouse at the White Horse in
the Monk's Close, and then assuredly he would be appointed chief
equerry. So she believed every word he uttered; but as old Jacob
had carried away all the money that was in the house with him, she
sold the spices that had just come in, for a miserable sum, also
her own pearl earrings and fur mantle, that her dear heart's son
might have a gay carouse, to console him for all his father's hard
treatment.

_Summa_.--When the rogue had got all he could from her, he
took his father's best mare from the stable, and rode up to
Stettin, where he put up at the White Horse Inn, and soon scraped
acquaintance with all the idle young fellows about the court. So
they drank and caroused until Johann's last penny was spent, but
he had got no situation except in good promises. Truly the young
pages had mentioned him to the Duke, and asked the place of
equerry for their jovial companion, but his Highness, Duke Johann,
had heard too much of his doings at Wolgast, and would by no means
countenance him.

Then Johann bethought himself of Sidonia, for he had heard from
his boon companions that she was in the Duke's house behind St.
Mary's. And he remembered that purse embroidered with pearls and
diamonds which his father had given her, so he went many days
spying about the house, hoping to get a glimpse of Sidonia; but as
she never appeared, he resolved to gain admission by playing the
tailor. Wherefore, he tied on an apron, took a tailor's measure
and shears, and went straight up to the house, asking boldly, if a
young maiden named Sidonia did not live there? for he had got
orders to make her a garment. Now the baker's daughter, Trim
Wehlers, suspected all was not right, for she had seen my gay
youth spying about the house before, and staring up at all the
windows. However, she showed the tailor Sidonia's room, and then
set herself down to watch. But the wonders of Providence are
great. Although she could not hear a word they said, yet all that
passed in Sidonia's room was made evident--it was in this wise.
Just before the house rose up the church of St. Mary's, with all
its stately pillars, and as if God's house wished in wrath to
expose the wickedness of the pair, everything that passed in the
room was shadowed on these pillars; so when Trina observed this,
she ran for the other girls, crying, "Come here, come here, and
see how the two shadows are kissing each other. They can be no
other than Sidonia and her tailor. This would be fine news for our
gracious lord!" They would tell him the whole story when his
Highness came that evening, and so get rid of this proud, haughty
dragon who played the great lady amongst them, and ruled
everything her own way. Therefore they all set themselves to watch
for the tailor when he left Sidonia's room; but the whole day
passed, and he had not done with his measurement. Whereupon they
concluded she must have secreted him in her chamber.

Now the Duke had a private key of the house, and was in the habit
of walking over from Oderburg after dusk almost every evening; but
as there was no sign of him now, they despatched a messenger,
bidding him come quick to his house, and his Grace would hear and
see marvels. How the young girls gathered round him when he
entered, all telling him together about Sidonia. And when at last
he made out the story, his Grace fell into an unwonted rage (for
he was generally mild and good-tempered) that a poacher should get
into his preserves. So he runs to Sidonia's door and tries to open
it, but the bolts are drawn. Then he threatened to send for Master
Hansen if she did not instantly admit him, at which all the girls
laughed and clapped their hands with joy. Whereupon Sidonia at
last came to the door with looks of great astonishment, and
demanded what his Grace could want. It was bed-time, and so, of
course, she had locked her door to lie down in safety.

_Ille_.-"Where is that tailor churl who had come to her in
the morning?"

_Illa_.-"She knew nothing about him, except that he had gone
away long ago."

So the girls all screamed "No, no, that is not true! She and the
tailor had been kissing each other, as they saw by the shadows on
the wall, and making love."

Here Sidonia appeared truly horrified at such an accusation, for
she was a cunning hypocrite; and taking up the coif-block
[Footnote: A block for head-gears.] with an air of offended
dignity, said, turning to his Grace, "It was this coif-block,
methinks, I had at the window with me, and may those be accursed
who blackened me to your face." So the Duke half believed her, and
stood silent at the window; but Trina Wehlers cried out, "It is
false! it is false! a coif-block could not give kisses!" Whereupon
Sidonia in great wrath snatched up a robe that lay near her on a
couch, to hit the baker's daughter with it across the face. But
woe! woe! under the robe lay the tailor's cap, upon which all the
girls screamed out, "There is the cap! there is the cap! now we'll
soon find the tailor," pushing Sidonia aside, and beginning to
search in every nook and corner of the room. Heyday, what an
uproar there was now, when they caught sight of the tailor himself
in the chimney and dragged him down; but he dashed them aside with
his hands, right and left, so that many got bleeding noses, hit
his Grace, too, a blow as he tried to seize him, and rushed out of
the house.

Still the Duke had time to recognise the knave of Wolgast, and was
so angry at his having escaped him, that he almost beat Sidonia.
"She was at her old villainy. No good would ever come of her. He
saw that now with his own eyes. Therefore this very night she and
her baggage should pack off, to the devil if she chose, but he had
done with her for ever."

When Sidonia found that the affair was taking a bad turn, she
tried soft words, but in vain. His Highness ordered up her two
serving wenches to remove her and her luggage. And so, to the
great joy of the other girls, who laughed and screamed, and
clapped their hands, she was turned out, and having nowhere to go
to, put up once more at the White Horse Inn.

Now Johann knew nothing of this until next morning, when, as he
was toying with one of the maids, he heard a voice from the
window, "Johann! Johann! I will give thee the diamond." And
looking up, there was Sidonia. So the knave ran to her, and swore
he was only jesting with the maid in the court, for that he would
marry no one but her, as he had promised yesterday, only he must
first wait till he was made equerry, then he would obtain letters
of nobility, which could easily be done, as he was the son of a
_patricius_; but gold, gold was wanting for all this, and to
keep up with his friends at the court. Perhaps this very day he
might get the place, if he had only some good claret to entertain
them with; therefore she had better give him a couple of diamonds
from the purse. And so he went on with his lies and humbug, until
at last he got what he wanted.

Sidonia now felt so ashamed of her degradation, that she resolved
to leave the White Horse, and take a little lodging in the Monk's
Close until Johann obtained the post of equerry. But in vain she
hoped and waited. Every day the rogue came, he begged for another
pearl or diamond, and if she hesitated, then he swore it would be
the last, for this very day he was certain of the situation. At
last but two diamonds were left, and beg as he might, these he
should not have. Then he beat her, and ran off to the White Horse,
but came back again in less than an hour. Would she forgive him?
Now they would be happy at last; he had received his appointment
as chief equerry. His friends had behaved nobly and kept their
word, therefore he must give them a right merry carouse out of
gratitude; she might as well hand him those two little diamonds.
Now they would want for nothing at last, but live like princes at
the table of his Highness the Duke. Would she not be ready to
marry him immediately?

Thereupon the unfortunate Sidonia handed over her two last jewels,
but never laid eyes on the knave for two days after, when he came
to tell her it was all up with him now, the traitors had deceived
him, he had got no situation, and unless she gave him more money
or jewels he never could marry her. She had still golden armlets
and a gold chain, let her go for them, he must see them, and try
what he could get for them. But he begged in vain. Then he
stormed, swore, threatened, beat her, and finally rushed out of
the house declaring that she might go to the devil, for as to him
he would never give himself any further trouble about her.



CHAPTER VII.

_Of the distress in Pomeranian land--Item, how Sidonia and
Johann Appelmann determine to join the robbers in the vicinity of
Stargard._


When my gracious lord, Duke Johann Frederick, succeeded to the
government, he had no idea of hoarding up his money in old pots,
but lavished it freely upon all kinds of buildings, hounds,
horses--in short, upon everything that could make his court and
castle luxurious and magnificent.

Indeed, he was often as prodigal, just to gratify a whim, as when
he flung the gold coins to Dinnies Kleist, merely to see if he
could break them. For instance, he was not content with the old
ducal residence at Stettin, but must pull it down and build
another in the forest, not far from Stargard, with churches,
towers, stables, and all kinds of buildings; and this new
residence he called after his own name, Friedrichswald.

_Item_, my gracious lord had many princely visitors, who
would come with a train of six hundred horses or more; and his
princely spouse, the Duchess Erdmuth, was a lady of munificent
spirit, and flung away gold by handfuls; so that in a short time
his Highness had run through all his forefathers' savings, and his
incoming revenue was greatly diminished by the large annuity which
he had to pay to old Duke Barnim.

Therefore he summoned the states, and requested them to assist him
with more money; but they gave answer that his Highness wanted
prudence; he ought to tie his purse tighter. Why did he build that
new castle of Friedrichswald? Was it ever heard in Pomerania that
a prince needed two state residences? But his Highness never
entered the treasury to look after the expenditure of the
duchy--he did nothing but banquet, hunt, fish, and build. The
states, therefore, had no gold for such extravagances.

When his Highness had received this same answer two or three times
from the states, he waxed wroth, and threatened to pronounce the
_interdictum seculars_ over his poor land, and finally close
the royal treasury and all the courts of justice, until the states
would give him money.

Now the old treasurer, Jacob Zitsewitz, who had quitted Wolgast to
enter the service of his Grace, was so shocked at these
proceedings, that he killed himself out of pure grief and shame.
He was an upright, excellent man, this old Zitsewitz, though
perchance, like old Duke Barnim, he loved the maidens and a lusty
Pomeranian draught rather too well. And he foretold all the evil
that would result from this same interdict; but his Highness
resisted his entreaties; and when the old man found his warnings
unheeded and despised, he stabbed himself, as I have said, there
in the treasury, before his master's eyes, out of grief and shame.

The misery which he prophesied soon fell upon the land; for it was
just at that time that the great house of Loitz failed in Stettin,
leaving debts to the amount of twenty tons of gold, it was said;
by reason of which many thousand men, widows, and orphans, were
utterly beggared, and great distress brought upon all ranks of the
people. Such universal grief and lamentation never had been known
in all Pomerania, as I have heard my father tell, of blessed
memory; and as the princely treasury was closed, as also all the
courts of justice, and no redress could be obtained, many
misguided and ruined men resolved to revenge themselves; and this
was now a welcome hearing to Johann Appelmann.

For having given up all hope of the post of equerry, he made
acquaintance with these disaffected persons, amongst whom was a
miller, one Philip Konneman by name, a notorious knave. With this
Konneman he sits down one evening in the inn to drink Rostock
beer, begins to curse and abuse the reigning family, who had
ruined and beggared the people even more than Hans Loitz. They
ought to combine together and right themselves. Where was the
crime? Their cause was good; and where there were no judges in the
land, complaints would do little good. He would be their captain.
Let him speak to the others about it, and see would they consent.
He knew of many churches where there were jewels and other
valuables still remaining. Also in Stargard, where his dear father
played the burgomaster, there was much gold.

So they fixed a night when they should all meet at Lastadie,
[Footnote: A suburb of Stettin.] near the ducal fish-house; and
Johann then goes to Sidonia to wheedle her out of the gold chain,
for handsel for the robbers.

"Now," he said, "the good old times were come back in Pomerania,
when every one trusted to his own good sword, and were not led
like sheep at the beck of another; for the treasury and all the
courts of justice were closed. So the glorious times of
knight-errantry must come again, such as their forefathers had
seen." His companions had promised to elect him captain; but then
he must give them handsel for that, and the gold chain would just
sell for the sum he wanted. What use was it to her? If she gave
it, then he would take her with him, and the first rich prize they
got he would marry her certainly, and settle down in Poland
afterwards, or wherever else she wished. That would be a glorious
life, and she would never regret the young Duke. And had not all
the nobles in old time led the same life, and so gained their
castles and lands?

But Sidonia began to weep. "Let him do what he would, she would
never give the chain; and if he beat her, she would scream for
help through the streets, and betray all his plans to the
authorities. Now she saw plainly how she had been deceived. He had
talked her out of all her gold, and now wanted to bring her to the
gallows at last. No, never should he get the chain--it was all she
had left; and she had determined at last to go and live quietly at
her farm in Zachow, as soon as she could obtain a vehicle from
Regenswald to Labes."

When Johann heard this, he was terribly alarmed, and kissed her
little hands, and coaxed and flattered her--"Why did she weep?
There were plenty of herons' feathers now in the garden behind St.
Mary's, for the birds were moulting. She could easily get some of
them, and they were worth three times as much as the gold chain.
Did she think it a crime to take a few feathers from that old
sinner, Duke Barnim, or his girls? And if she really wished to
leave him, she could sell the feathers even better in Dresden than
here."

It was all in vain. Sidonia continued weeping--"Let him talk as he
liked, she would never give the chain. He was a knave through and
through. Woe to her that she had ever listened to him! He was the
cause of all her misery!" and so she went on.

But the cunning fox would not give up his prey so easily. He now
tried the same trick which he had played so successfully at
Wolgast upon old Ulrich, and at Stargard upon his father; in
short, he played the penitent, and began to weep and lament over
his errors, and all the misery he had caused her. "It was, indeed,
true that he was to blame for all; but if she would only forgive
him, and say she pardoned him, he would devote his life to her,
and revenge her upon all her enemies. The moment for doing so was
nigh at hand; for the young lord, Prince Ernest, who had so
shamefully abandoned her, was coming here to Stettin with his
young bride, the Princess Hedwig of Brunswick, to spend the
honeymoon, and would he not take good care to waylay them on their
journey to Wolgast, and give them something to think of for the
rest of their lives?"

When Sidonia heard these tidings, her eyes flashed like a cat's in
the dark. "Who told him that? She would not believe it, unless
some one else confirmed the story."

So he answered--"That any one could confirm it, for the whole
castle was filled with workmen making preparations for their
reception; the bridal chamber had been hung with new tapestry, and
painters and carvers were busy all day long painting and carving
the united arms of Pomerania and Brunswick upon all the furniture
and glass."

_Illa_.--"Well, she would go into the town to inquire, and if
his tale were true, and that he swore to marry her, he should have
the chain."

_Ille_.--"There was a carver going by with his basket and
tools--let her call him in, and hear what he said on the matter."

So my cunning fellow called out to the workman, who stepped in
presently with his basket, and assured the lady politely, that in
fourteen days the young Duke of Wolgast and his princely bride
were to arrive at the castle, for the Court Marshal had told him
this himself, and given him orders to have a large number of
glasses cut with their united arms ready with all diligence.

When Sidonia heard this, and saw the glasses in his basket, she
handed the golden chain to Johann, and the carver went his way.
Then the aforesaid rogue fell down on his knees, swearing to marry
her, and never to leave her more, for she had now given him all;
and if this, too, were lost, she must beg her way to Zachow.

So the gallows-bird went off with the chain, turned it into money,
drank and caroused, and with the remainder set off for Lastadie,
to meet the ringleaders, near the ducal fishhouse, as agreed upon.

But Master Konneman had only been able to gather ten fellows
together; the others held back, though they had talked so boldly
at first, thinking, no doubt, that when the courts of justice were
reopened, they would all be brought to the gallows.

So Johann thought the number too small for his purposes, and
agreed with the others to send an envoy to the robber-band of the
Stargard Wood, proposing a league between them, and offering
himself (Johann Appelmann, a knight of excellent family and
endowments) as their captain. Should they consent, the said Johann
would give them right good handsel; and on the appointed day, meet
them in the forest, with his illustrious and noble bride; and as a
sign whereby they should know him, he would whistle three times
loudly when he approached the wood.

Konneman undertook to be the bearer of the message, and returned
in a few days, declaring that the robbers had received the
proposal with joy. He found them encamped under a large nut-tree
in the forest, roasting a sheep upon a spear, at a large fire. So
they made him sit down and eat with them, and told him it was a
right jolly life, with no ruler but the great God above them.
Better to live under the free heaven than die in their squalid
cabins. The band was strong, besides many who had joined lately,
since the bankruptcy of Hans Loitz, and there were some gipsies
too, amongst whom was an old hag who told fortunes, and had lately
prophesied to the band that a great prize was in store for them;
they had just returned with some booty from the little town of
Damm, where they had committed a robbery. One of their party,
however, had been taken there.

When Johann heard the good result of his message, he summoned all
his followers to another meeting at the ducal fish-house, gave
them each money, and swore them to fidelity; then bid them
disperse, and slip singly to the band, to avoid observation, and
he would himself meet them in the forest next day.



CHAPTER VIII.

_How Johann and Sidonia meet an adventure, at Alten Damm--Item,
of their reception by the robber-band._


Now Johann Appelmann had a grudge against the newly appointed
equerry to his Highness, for the man had swilled his claret, and
been foremost in his promises, and yet now had stepped into the
place himself, and left Johann in the lurch. The knave, therefore,
determined on revenge; so invented a story, how that his father,
old Appelmann, had sent for him to give him half of all he was
worth, and as he must journey to Stargard directly, he prayed his
friend the equerry to lend him a couple of horses and a waggon out
of the ducal stables, with harness and all that would be
necessary, swearing that when he brought them back he would give
him and his other friends such a carouse at the inn, as they had
never yet had in their lives.

And when the other asked, would not one horse be sufficient,
Johann replied no, that he required the waggon for his luggage,
and two horses would be necessary to draw it. _Summa_, the
fool gives him two beautiful Andalusian stallions, with harness
and saddles; _item_, a waggon, whereon my knave mounted next
morning early, with Sidonia and her luggage, and took the miller,
Konneman, with him as driver.

But as they passed through Alten Damm, a strange adventure
happened, whereby the all-merciful God, no doubt, wished to turn
them from their evil way; but they flung His warnings to the wind.

For the carl was going to be executed who belonged to the
robber-band, that had committed a burglary there, in the town,
some days previously. However, the gallows having been blown down
by a storm, the linen-weavers, according to old usage, came to
erect another. This angered the millers, who also began to erect
one of their own, declaring that the weavers had only a right to
supply the ladder, but they were to erect the gallows. A great
fight now arose between weavers and millers, while the poor thief
stood by with his hands tied behind his back, and arrayed in his
winding-sheet. But the sheriffs, and whatever other honourable
citizens were by, having in vain endeavoured to appease the
quarrel, returned to the inn, to take the advice of the honourable
council.

Just at this moment Johann and Sidonia drove into the middle of
the crowd, and the former leaped off and laughed heartily, for a
miller had thrown down a poor lean weaver close behind the
criminal, and was belabouring him stoutly with his floured fists,
whilst the poor wretch screamed loudly for succour or assistance
to the criminal, who answered in his _Platt Deutsch_, "I
cannot help thee, friend, for, see, my hands are bound." Upon
this, Johann draws his knife from his girdle, and slipping behind
the felon, cuts the ropes binding him.

He straightway, finding himself free, jumped upon the miller, and
turned the flour all red upon his face with his heavy blows. Then
he ran towards the waggon, but the guardsman caught hold of him by
the shoulder, so the poor wretch left the winding-sheet in his
hand, and jumping, naked as he was, on the back of one of the
horses, set off, at top speed, to the forest, with Sidonia
screaming and roaring fleeing with him.

Millers and weavers now left off their wrangling, and joined
together in pursuit, but in vain; the fellow soon distanced them
all, and was lost to sight in the wood.

When he had driven the waggon a good space, and still hearing the
roaring of the people in pursuit, he stopped the horses, and
jumped off, to take to his heels amongst the trees. Whereupon
Konneman threw him a horse-cloth from the waggon, bidding him
cover himself with it; so the carl snapped it up, and rolled it
about his body with all alacrity. Now this horse-cloth was
embroidered with the Pomeranian arms, and the poor Adam looked so
absurd running away in such a garment, that Sidonia,
notwithstanding all her fright, could not help bursting into a
loud mocking laughter.

Whereupon the crowd came up, cursing, swearing, and cursing, that
the thief had escaped them; Johann Appelmann, who was amongst
them, and was just in the act of stepping up to the waggon, when
Prince Johann Frederick and a company of carbineers galloped up
along with the chief equerry and a large retinue, all on their way
to Friedrichswald.

The Duke stopped to hear the cause of the tumult, and when they
told him, he laughingly said, he would soon return with the
gallows-knaves; then, turning to Appelmann, he asked who he was,
and what brought him there?

When Johann gave his name, and said he was going to Stargard, his
Grace exclaimed, with surprise--

"So thou art the knave of whom I have heard so much; and this woman
here, I suppose, is Sidonia? Pity of her. She is a handsome wench,
I see."

Then, as Sidonia blushed and looked down, he continued--

"And where did the fellow get these fine horses? Would he sell
them?"

Now Appelmann had a great mind to tell the truth, and say he got
them from the equerry, who was already turning white with pure
fear; but recollecting that he might come in for some of the
punishment himself, besides hoping to play a second trick upon his
Highness, he answered, that his father at Stargard had made them a
present to him.

The Duke, now turning to his equerry, asked him--

"Would not these horses match his Andalusian stallions perfectly?"

And as the other tremblingly answered, "Yes, perfectly," his Grace
demanded if the knave would sell them.

_Ille_.--"Oh yes; to gratify his Serene Highness the Duke, he
would sell the horses for 3000 florins."

"Let it be so," said the Duke; "but I must owe thee the money,
fellow."

_Ille_.--"Then he would not make the bargain, for he wanted
the money directly to take him to Stargard."

So the Duke frowned that he would not trust his own Prince; and as
Appelmann attempted to move off with the waggon, his Highness took
his plumed cap from his head, and cutting off the diamond agrafe
with his dagger, flung it to him, exclaiming--

"Stay! take these jewels, they are worth 1300 florins, but leave
me the horses."

Now the chief equerry nearly fell from his horse with shame as the
knave picked up the agrafe, and shoved it into his pocket, then
humbly addressing his Highness, prayed for permission just to
leave the maiden and her luggage in Stargard, and then he would
return instantly with both horses, and bring them himself to his
gracious Highness at Friedrichswald.

The Duke having consented, the knave sprang up upon the waggon,
and turning off to another road, drove away as hard as he could
from the scene of this perilous adventure. After some time he
whistled, but receiving no response, kept driving through the
forest until evening, when a loud, shrill whistle at last replied
to his, and on reaching a cross-road, he found the whole band
dancing with great merriment round a large sign-board which had
been stuck up there by the authorities, and on which was painted a
gipsy lying under the gallows, while the executioner stood over
him in the act of applying the torture, and beneath ran the
inscription--

  "Gipsy! from Pomerania flee,
  Or thus it shall be done to thee."

These words the robber crew had set to some sort of rude melody,
and now sang it and danced to it round the sign, the fellow with
the horse-cloth in the midst of them, the merriest of them all.

The moment they got a glimpse of their captain, men, women, and
children ran off like mad to the waggon, clapping their hands and
shouting, "Huzzah! huzzah! what a noble captain! Had he brought
them anything to drink?" And when he said "Yes," and handed out
three barrels of wine, there was no end to the jubilee of
cheering. Then he must give them handsel, and after that they
would make a large fire and swear fealty to him round it, as was
the manner of the gipsies, for the band was mostly composed of
gipsies, and numbered about fifty men altogether.

_Summa_.--A great fire was kindled, round which they all took
the oath of obedience to their captain, and he swore fidelity to
them in return. Then a couple of deer were roasted; and after they
had eaten and drunk, the singing and dancing round the great
sign-board was resumed, until the broad daylight glanced through
the trees.

People may see from this to what a pitch of lawlessness and
disorder the land came under the reign of Duke Johann. For,
methinks, these robbers would never have dared to make such a mock
of the authorities, only that my Lord Duke had shut up all the
courts of justice in the kingdom.

During their jollity, our knave Appelmann cast his eyes upon a
gipsy maiden, called the handsome Sioli; a tall, dark-eyed wench,
but with scarcely a rag to cover her. Therefore he bade Sidonia
run to her luggage, and take out one of her own best robes for the
girl; but Sidonia turned away in great wrath, exclaiming--

"This was the way he kept his promise to her. She had given him
all, and followed him even hither, and yet he cared more for a
ragged gipsy girl than for her. But she would go away that very
night, anywhere her steps might lead her, if only away from her
present misery. Let him give her the Duke's diamonds, and she
would leave him all the herons' feathers, and never come near him
any more."

But my knave only laughed, and bid her come take the diamonds if
she wanted them, they were in his bosom. Then the gipsy girl and
her mother, old Ussel, began to mock the fine lady. So Sidonia sat
there weeping and wringing her hands, while Johann laughed,
danced, drank, and kissed the gipsy wench, and finally threatened
to go and take a robe himself out of the luggage, if Sidonia did
not run for one instantly.

However, she would not stir; so Konnemann, the miller, took pity
on her, and would have remonstrated, but Johann cut him short,
saying--

"What the devil did he mean? Was he not the captain? and why
should Konnemann dare to interfere with him?"

Then he strode over to the waggon to plunder Sidonia's baggage,
which, when she observed, her heart seemed to break, and she
kneeled down, lifted up her hands, and prayed thus:--

"Merciful Creator, I know Thee not, for my hard and unnatural
father never brought me to Thee; therefore on his head be my sins.
But if Thou hast pity on the young ravens, who likewise know Thee
not, have pity upon me, and help me to leave this robber den with
Thy gracious help."

Here such a shout of laughter resounded from all sides, that she
sprang up, and seizing the best bundle in the waggon, plunged into
the wood, with loud cries and lamentation; whilst Appelmann only
said--

"Never heed her, let her do as she pleases; she will be back again
soon enough, I warrant."

Accordingly, scarcely an hour had elapsed, when the unhappy maiden
appeared again, to the great amusement of the whole band, who
mocked her yet more than before. She came back crying and
lamenting--

"She could go no further, for the wolves followed her, and howled
round her on all sides. Ah! that she were a stone, and buried
fathoms deep in the earth! That shameless knave, Appelmann, might
indeed have pitied her, if he hoped for pity from God; but had he
not taken her robe to put it on the gipsy beggar? She nearly died
of shame at the sight. But she would never forgive the beggar's
brat to the day of judgment for it. All she wanted now was some
good Christian to guide her out of the wild forest. Would no one
come with her? that was all she asked."

And so she went on crying, and lamenting in the deepest grief.

_Summa_.--When the knave heard all this, his heart seemed to
relent; perhaps he dreaded the anger of her relations if she were
treated too badly, or, mayhap, it was compassion, I cannot say;
but he sprang up, kissed her, caressed her, and consoled her.

"Why should she leave them? He would remain faithful and constant
to her, as he had sworn. Why should the gown for the beggar-girl
anger her? When they get the herons' feathers on the morrow, he
would buy her ten new gowns for the one he had taken." And so he
continued in his old deceiving way, till she at last believed him,
and was comforted.

Here the roll of a carriage was heard, and as many of the band as
were not quite drunk seized their muskets and pikes, and rushed in
the direction of the sound. But behold, the waggon and horses,
with all Sidonia's luggage, was off! For, in truth, the equerry,
seeing Johann's treachery, had secretly followed him, hiding
himself in the bushes till it grew dark, but near enough to
observe all that was going on; then, watching his opportunity, and
knowing the robbers were all more or less drunk, he sprang upon
the waggon, and galloped away as hard as he could. Johann gave
chase for a little, but the equerry had got too good a start to be
overtaken; and so Johann returned, cursing and raging, to the
band. Then they all gathered round the fire again, and drank and
caroused till morning dawned, when each sought out a good
sleeping-place amongst the bushwood. There they lay till morn,
when Johann summoned them to prepare for their excursion to the
Duke's gardens at Zachan.



CHAPTER IX.

_How his Highness, Duke Barnim the elder, went a-hawking at
Marienfliess--Item, of the shameful robbery at Zachan, and how
burgomaster Appelmann remonstrates with his abandoned son._


After Duke Barnim the elder had resigned the government, he betook
himself more than ever to field-sports; and amongst others,
hawking became one of his most favourite pursuits. By this sport,
he stocked his gardens at Zachan with an enormous number of
herons, and made a considerable sum annually by the sale of the
feathers. These gardens at Zachan covered an immense space, and
were walled round. Within were many thousand herons' nests; and
all the birds taken by the falcons were brought here, and their
wings clipped. Then the keepers fed them with fish, frogs, and
lizards, so that they became quite tame, and when their wings grew
again, never attempted to leave the gardens, but diligently built
their nests and reared their young. Now, though it cost a great
sum to keep these gardens in order, and support all the people
necessary to look after the birds, yet the Duke thought little of
the expense, considering the vast sum which the feathers brought
him at the moulting season.

Accordingly, during the moulting time, he generally took up his
abode at a castle adjoining the gardens, called "The Stone
Rampart," to inspect the gathering in of the feathers himself; and
he was just on his journey thither with his falconers, hunters,
and other retainers, when the robber-band caught sight of him from
the wood. His Highness was seated in an open carriage, with Trina
Wehlers, the baker's daughter, by his side; and Sidonia, who
recognised her enemy, instantly entreated Johann to revenge her on
the girl if possible; but, as he hesitated, the old gipsy mother
stepped forward and whispered Sidonia, "that she would help her to
a revenge, if she but gave her that little golden smelling-bottle
which she wore suspended by a gold chain on her neck." Sidonia
agreed, and the revenge soon followed; for the Duke left the
carriage, and mounted a horse to follow the chase, the falconer
having unloosed a couple of hawks and let them fly at a heron.
Trina remained in the coach; but the coachman, wishing to see the
sport, tied his horses to a tree, and ran off, too, after the
others into the wood. The hawk soared high above the heron,
watching its opportunity to pounce upon the quarry; but the heron,
just as it swooped down upon it, drove its sharp bill through the
body of the hawk, and down they both came together covered with
blood, right between the two carriage horses.

No doubt this was all done through the magic of the gipsy mother;
for the horses took fright instantly, plunged and reared, and
dashed off with the carriage, which was over-turned some yards
from the spot, and the baker's daughter had her leg broken.
Hearing her screams, the Duke and the whole party ran to the spot;
and his Highness first scolded the coachman for leaving his
horses, then the falconer for having let fly his best falcon,
which now lay there quite dead. The heron, however, was alive, and
his Grace ordered it to be bound and carried off to Zachan. The
baker's daughter prayed, but in vain, that the coachman might be
hung upon the next tree. Then they all set off homeward, but Trina
screamed so loudly, that his Grace stopped, and ordered a couple
of stout huntsmen to carry her to the neighbouring convent of
Marienfliess, where, as I am credibly informed, in a short time
she gave up the ghost.

Now, the robber-band were watching all these proceedings from the
wood, but kept as still as mice. Not until his Grace had driven
off a good space, and the baker's daughter had been carried away,
did they venture to speak or move; then Sidonia jumped up,
clapping her hands in ecstasy, and mimicking the groans and
contortions of the poor girl, to the great amusement of the band,
who laughed loudly; but Johann recalled them to business, and
proposed that they should secretly follow his Highness, and hide
themselves at Elsbruck, near the water-mill of Zachan, until the
evening closed in. In order also to be quite certain of the place
where his Grace had laid up all the herons' feathers of that
season, Johann proposed that the miller, Konnemann, should visit
his Grace at Zachan, giving out that he was a feather merchant
from Berlin. Accordingly, when they reached Elsbruck, the miller
put on my knave's best doublet (for he was almost naked before),
and proceeded to the Stone Rampart, Sidonia bidding him, over and
over again, to inquire at the castle when the young Lord of
Wolgast and his bride were expected at Stettin. The Duke received
Konnemann very graciously, when he found that he was a wealthy
feather merchant from Berlin, who, having heard of the number and
extent of his Grace's gardens at Zachan, had come to purchase all
the last year's gathering of feathers. Would his Highness allow
him to see the feathers?

_Summa_.--He had his wish; for his Grace brought him into a
little room on the ground-floor, where lay two sacks full of the
most perfect and beautiful feathers; and when the Duke demanded a
thousand florins for them, the knave replied, "That he would
willingly have the feathers, but must take the night to think over
the price." Then he took good note of the room, and the garden,
and all the passages of the castle, and so came back in the
twilight to the band with great joy, assuring them that nothing
would be easier than to rob the old turner's apprentice of his
feathers.

Such, indeed, was the truth; for at midnight my knave Johann, with
Konnemann and a few chosen accomplices, carried away those two
sacks of feathers; and no one knew a word about the robbery until
the next morning, when the band were far off in the forest, no one
knew where. But a quarrel had arisen between my knave and Sidonia
over the feathers: she wanted them for herself, that she might
turn them into money, and so be enabled to get back to her own
people; but Johann had no idea of employing his booty in this way.
"What was she thinking of? If those fine stallions, indeed, had
not been stolen from him, he might have given her the feathers;
but now there was nothing else left wherewith to pay the band--she
must wait for another good prize. Meantime they must settle
accounts with the young Lord of Wolgast, who, as Konnemann had
found out, was expected at Stettin in seven days."

Now, the daring robbery at Zachan was the talk of the whole
country, and as the old burgomaster, Appelmann, had heard at
Friedrichswald about the horses and waggon, and his son's shameful
knavery, he could think of nothing else but that the same rascal
had stolen the Duke's feathers at So he took some faithful
burghers with him, and set off for the forest, to try and find his
lost son. At last, after many wanderings, a peasant, who was
cutting wood, told them that he had seen the robber-band encamped
in a thick wood near Rehewinkel; [Footnote: Two miles and a half
from Stargard, and the present dwelling-place of the editor.] and
when the miserable father and his burghers arrived at the place,
there indeed was the robber-band stretched upon the long grass,
and Sidonia seated upon the stump of a tree--for she must play the
lute, while Johann, his godless son, was plaiting the long black
hair of the handsome Sioli.

Methinks the knave must have felt somewhat startled when his
father sprang from behind an oak, a dagger in his hand, exclaiming
loudly, "Johann, Johann, thou lost, abandoned son! is it thus I
find thee?"

The knave turned as white as a corpse upon the gallows, and his
hands seemed to freeze upon the fair Sioli's hair; but the band
jumped up and seized their arms, shouting, "Seize him! seize him!"
The old man, however, cared little for their shouts; and still
gazing on his son, cried out, "Dost thou not answer me, thou
God-forgetting knave? Thou hast deceived and robbed thy own
Prince. Answer me--who amongst all these is fitter for the gallows
than thou art?"

So my knave at last came to his senses, and answered sullenly,
"What did he want here? He had done nothing for him. He must earn
his own bread."

_Ille_.--"God forgive thee thy sins; did I not take thee back
as my son, and strive to correct thee as a true and loving father?
Why didst thou run away from my house and the writing-office?"

_Hic._--"He was born for something else than to lead the life
of a dog."

_Ille_.--"He had never made him live any such life; and even
if he had, better live like a dog than as a robber wolf."

_Hic_.--"He was no robber. Who had belied him so? He and his
friends were on their way to Poland to join the army."

_Ille_.--"Wherefore, then, had he tricked his Highness of
Stettin out of the horses?"

_Hic_.--"That was only a revenge upon the equerry, to pay him
back in his own coin, for he was his enemy, and had broken faith
with him."

_Ille_.--"But he had robbed his Grace Duke Barnim, likewise,
of the herons' feathers. No one else had done it."

_Hic_.--"Who dared to say so? He was insulted and belied by
every one." Then he cursed and swore that he knew nothing whatever
of these herons' feathers which he was making such a fuss about.

Meanwhile the band stood round with cocked muskets, and as the
burghers now pressed forward, to save their leader, if any
violence were offered, Konnemann called out, "Give the word,
master--shall I shoot down the churl?"

Here Johann's conscience was moved a little, and he shouted,
"Back! back!--he is my father!"

But the old gipsy mother sprang forward with a knife, crying, "Thy
father, fool?--what care we for thy father? Let me at him, and
I'll soon settle thy father with my knife."

When the unfortunate son heard and saw this, he seized a heavy
stick that lay near him, and gave the gipsy such a blow on the
crown, that she rolled, screaming, on the ground. Whereupon the
whole band raised a wild yell, and rushed upon the burgomaster.

Then Johann cried, almost with anguish, "Back! back! he is my
father! Do ye not remember your oaths to me? Spare my father!
Wait, at least; he has something of importance to tell me."

And at last, though with difficulty, he succeeded in calming these
children of Belial. Then drawing his father aside, under the shade
of a great oak, he began--"Dearest father mine, it was fear of
you, and despair of the future, that drove me to this work; but if
you will now give me three hundred florins, I will go forth into
the wide world, and take honourable service, wherever it is to be
had, during the wars."

_Ille_.--"Had he yet married that unfortunate Sidonia, who he
observed, to his surprise, was still with him?"

_Hic_.--"No; he could never marry the harlot now, for she had
run away from old Duke Barnim, and followed him here to the
forest."

_Ille_.--"What would become of her, then, when he joined the
army?"

_Hic_.--"That was her look-out. Let her go to her farm at
Zachow."

Hereupon the old man held his peace, and rested his arm against
the oak, and his grey head upon his arm, and looked down long upon
the grass without uttering a word; then he sighed deeply, and
looking up, thus addressed Johann:--

"My son, I will trust thee yet again; but it shall be the last
time; therefore take heed to what I say. Between Stargard and
Pegelow there stands an old thorn upon the highway; there,
to-morrow evening, by seven of the clock, my servant Caspar, whom
thou knowest, shall bring thee three hundred florins; but on this
one condition, that thou dost now swear solemnly to abandon this
villainous robber-band, and seek an honourable living far away, in
some other country, where thou must pray daily to God the Lord, to
turn thee from thy evil ways, and help thee by His grace."

So the knave knelt down before his father, wept, and prayed for
his father's forgiveness; then swore solemnly to abandon his
sinful life, and with God's help to perform all that his father
had enjoined. "And would he not give his last farewell to his
dear, darling mother?" "Thy mother!--ah, thy mother!" sighed the
old man; "but rise, now, and let me and mine homewards. God grant
that my eyes have beheld thee for the last time. Come, I will take
this Sidonia back with me."

So they forthwith joined the robber crew again, who were still
making a great uproar, which, however, Johann appeased, and after
some time obtained a free passage for his father and the burghers;
but Sidonia would not accompany them. The upright old burgomaster
admonished first, then he promised to drive her with his own
horses to her farm at Zachow; but his words were all in vain, for
the knave privately gave her a look, and whispered something in
her ear, but no one knew what it was.

Nor did the old man omit to admonish the whole band likewise,
telling them that if they did not now look up to the high God,
they would one day look down from the high gallows, for all
thieves and robbers came to dance in the wind at last: ten hung in
Stargard, and he had seen twenty at Stettin, and not even the
smallest town had its gallows empty. Hereat Konnemann cried out,
"Ho! ho! who will hang us now? We know well the courts of justice
are closed in all places." And as the old man sighed, and prepared
to answer him, the whole band set up such a shout of laughter that
he stood silent a space; then turning round, trod slowly out of
the thick wood with all his burghers, and was soon lost to view.

The next evening Johann received the three hundred florins at the
thorn-bush, along with a letter from his father, admonishing him
yet again, and conjuring him to fulfil his promise speedily of
abandoning his wicked life. Upon which, my knave gave some of the
money to a peasant that he met on the highway, and bid him go into
the town, purchase some wine and all sorts of eatables, and fetch
them to the band in the wood, that they might have a merry carouse
that same night. This very peasant had been one of their
accomplices, and great was his joy when he beheld them all again,
and, in particular, the gipsy mother. He told her that all her
prophecy had come out true, for his daughter had been deserted,
and her lover had taken Stina Krugers to wife; could she not,
therefore, give him something that would make Stina childless, and
cause her husband to hate her?

"Ay, if he crossed her hand with silver."

This the peasant did. Whereupon she gave him a padlock, and
whispered some words in his ear.

When Sidonia heard that the man could be brought to hate his wife
by some means, her eyes flashed wildly, and she called the
horrible old gipsy mother aside, and asked her to tell her the
charm.

_Illa_.--"Yes; but what would she give her? She had two
pretty golden rings on her finger; let her give them, and she
should have the secret."

_Hæc_.--"She would give one ring now, and the other if the
charm succeeded. The peasant had only given her a few groschen."

_Illa_.--"Yes; but she had only given him half the charm."

_Hæc_.--"Was it anything to eat or drink?"

_Illa_.--"No; there was no eating or drinking: the charm did
it all."

_Hæc_.--"Then let her teach it to her, and if it succeeded by
the young Lord of Wolgast, she would have both rings; if not, but
one."

_Illa_.--"It would succeed without doubt; if his young wife
had no promise of offspring as yet, she would remain childless for
ever."

_Summa_.--The old gipsy taught her the charm, the same with
which she afterward bewitched the whole princely Pomeranian race,
so that they perished childless from off the face of the earth;
[Footnote: Marginal note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.--"O ter quaterque
detestabilem! Et ego testis adfui tametsi in actis de industria
hand notatis. (Oh, thrice accursed! And I, too, was present at
this confession, although I am not mentioned in the protocol.)"]
and this charm Sidonia confessed upon the rack afterwards, in the
Great Hall of Oderburg, July 28, A.D. 1620.



CHAPTER X.

_How the robbers attack Prince Ernest and his bride in the
Uckermann forest, and Marcus Bork and Dinnies Kleist come to their
rescue._


The young Lord of Wolgast and his young bride, the Princess Sophia
Hedwig, arrived in due time at the court of Stettin, on a visit to
their illustrious brother, Duke Johann Frederick. During the ten
days of their stay, there was no end to the banquetings, huntings,
fishings, and revellings of all kinds, to do honour to their
presence.

The young lord has quite recovered from his long and strange
illness. But the young bride complains a little. Whereupon my Lord
of Stettin jests with her, and the courtiers make merry, so that
the young bride blushes and entreats her husband to take her away
from this impudent court of Stettin, and take her home to his
illustrious mother at Wolgast.

Prince Ernest consents, but as the wind is contrary, he arranges
to make the journey with a couple of carriages through the
Uckermann forest, not waiting for the grand escort of cavaliers
and citizens which his lady mother had promised to send to
Stettin, to convey the bride with all becoming honour to her own
future residence at Wolgast.

His brother reminded him of the great danger from the robber-band
in the wood, now that the courts of justice were closed, and that
Sidonia and Johann were hovering in the vicinity, ready for any
iniquity. Indeed, he trusted the states would soon be brought to
reason by the dreadful condition of the country, and give him the
gold he wanted. These robbers would do more for him than he could
do for himself. And this was not the only band that was to be
feared; for, since the fatal bankruptcy of the Loitz family,
robbers, and partisans, and freebooters had sprung up in every
corner of the land. Then he related the trick concerning his two
Andalusian stallions. And Duke Barnim the elder told him of his
loss at Zachan, and that no one else but the knave Appelmann had
been at the bottom of it. So, at last, Prince Ernest half resolved
to await the escort from Wolgast. However, the old Duke continued
jesting with the bride, after his manner, so that the young
Princess was blushing with shame every moment, and finally
entreated her husband to set off at once.

When his Grace of Stettin found he could prevail nothing, he bade
them a kind farewell, promising in eight days to visit them at
Wolgast, for the wedding festivities; and he sent stout Dinnies
Kleist, with six companions, to escort them through the most
dangerous part of the forest, which was a tract extending for
about seven miles.

Now, when they were half-way through the forest, a terrible storm
came on of hail, rain, thunder, and lightning; and though the
Prince and his bride were safe enough in the carriage, yet their
escort were drenched to the skin, and dripped like rivulets. The
princely pair therefore entreated them to return to Falkenwald,
and dry their clothes, for there was no danger to be apprehended
now, since they were more than half through the wood, and close to
the village of Mutzelburg.

So Dinnies and his companions took their leave, and rode off.
Shortly after the galloping of a horse was heard, and this was
Marcus Bork; for he was on his way to purchase the lands of
Crienke, previous to his marriage with Clara von Dewitz, and had a
heavy sack of gold upon his shoulder, and a servant along with
him. Having heard at Stettin that the Prince and his young bride
were on the road, he had followed them, as fast as he could, to
keep them company.

By this time they had reached Barnim's Cross, and the Prince
halted to point it out to his bride, and tell her the legend
concerning it; for the sun now shone forth from the clouds, and
the storm was over. But he first addressed his faithful Marcus,
and asked, had he heard tidings lately of his cousin Sidonia? But
he had heard nothing. He would hear soon enough, I'm thinking.

Then seeing that his good vassal Marcus was thoroughly wet, his
Grace advised him to put on dry clothes; but he had none with him.
Whereupon his Grace handed him his own portmanteau out of the
coach window, and bid him take what he wanted.

Marcus then lifted the money-bag from his shoulder, which his
Grace drew into the coach through the window--and sprang into the
wood with the portmanteau, to change his clothes. While the Prince
tarried for him, he related the story of Barnim's Cross to his
young wife, thus:--

"You must know, dearest, that my ancestor, Barnim, the second of
the name, was murdered, out of revenge, in this very spot by one
of his vassals, named Vidante von Muckerwitze. For this aforesaid
ancestor had sent him into Poland under some pretence, in order
the better to accomplish his designs upon the beautiful Mirostava
of Warborg, Vidante's young wife. But the warder of Vogelsang, a
village about two miles from here, pleasantly situated on the
river Haff, and close to which lay the said Vidante's castle,
discovered the amour, and informed the knight how he was
dishonoured. His wrath was terrible when the news was brought to
him, but he spoke no word of the matter until St. John's day in
the year----"

But here his Grace paused in his story, for he had forgotten the
year; so he drove on the carriage close up to the cross, where he
could read the date--"St John's day, A.D. MCCXCII."--and there
stopped, with the blessed cross of our Lord covering and filling
up the whole of the coach window.

Ah, well it is said--Prov. xx. 24--"Each man's going is of the
Lord, what man is there who understandeth his way?"

Now when the Princess had read the date for herself, she asked,
what had happened to the Duke, his ancestor? To which the Prince
replied--

"Here, in these very bushes, the jealous knight lay concealed,
while the Duke was hunting. And here, in this spot, the Duke threw
himself down upon the grass to rest, for he was weary. And he
whistled for his retinue, who had been separated from him, when
the knight sprang from his hiding-place and murdered him where he
lay. His false wife he reserved for a still more cruel death.

"For he brought a coppersmith from Stettin, and had him make a
copper coffin for the wretched woman, who was obliged to help him
in the work. Then he bade her put on her bridal dress, and forced
her to enter the coffin, where he had her soldered up alive, and
buried. And the story goes, that when any one walks over the spot,
the coffin clangs in the earth like a mass-bell, to this very
day." Meanwhile Marcus had retreated behind a large oak, to dress
himself in the young Duke's clothes; but the wicked robber crew
were watching him all the time from the wood, and just as he drew
the dry shirt over his head, before he had time to put on a single
other garment, they sprang upon him with loud shouts, Sidonia the
foremost of all, screaming, "Seize the knave! seize the base spy!
he is my greatest enemy!" So Marcus rushed back to the coach, just
as he was, and placing the cross as a shield between him and the
robbers, cried out loudly to his Highness for a sword.

The Prince would have alighted to assist him, but his young bride
wound her arms so fast around him, shrieking till the whole wood
re-echoed, that he was forced to remain inside. Up came the
robber-band now, and attacked the coach furiously; musket after
musket was fired at it and the horses, but luckily the rain had
spoiled the powder, so they threw away their muskets, while
Sidonia screamed, "Seize the false-hearted liar, who broke his
marriage promise to me! seize his screaming harlot! drag her from
the coach! Where is she?--let me see her!--we will cram her into
the old oak-tree; there she can hold her marriage festival with
the wild-cats. Give her to me!--give her to me! I will teach her
what marriage is!" And she sprang wildly forward, while the others
flung their spears at Marcus. But the blessed cross protected him,
and the spears stuck in the wood or in the body of the carriage,
while he hewed away right and left, striking down all that
approached him, till he stood in a pool of blood, and the white
shirt on him was turned to red.

As Sidonia rushed to the coach, he wounded her in the hand, upon
which, with loud curses and imprecations, she ran round to the
other coach window, calling out, "Come hither, come hither,
Johann! here is booty, here is the false cat! Come hither, and
drag her out of the coach window for me!" And now Marcus Bork was
in despair, for the coachman had run away from fear, and though
his sword did good service, yet their enemies were gathering thick
round them. So he bade the Princess, in a low voice, to tear open
his bag of money, for the love of heaven, with all speed, and
scatter the gold out of the windows with both hands; for help was
near, he heard the galloping of a horse; could they gain but a few
moments, they were saved. Thereupon the Princess rained the gold
pieces from the window, and the stupid mob instantly left all else
to fling themselves on the ground for the bright coins, fighting
with each other as to who should have them. In vain Johann roared,
"Leave the gold, fools, and seize the birds here in this cage; ye
can have the gold after." But they never heeded him, though he
cursed and swore, and struck them right and left with his sword.

But Marcus, meanwhile, had nearly come to a sad end; for the old
gipsy hag swore she would stab him with her knife, and while the
poor Marcus was defending himself from a robber who had rushed at
him with a dagger, she crept along upon the ground, and lifted her
great knife to plunge into his side.

Just then, like a messenger from God, comes the stout Dinnies
Kleist, galloping up to the rescue; for after he had ridden a good
piece upon the homeward road, he stopped his horse to empty the
water out of his large jack-boots, for there it was plumping up
and down, and he was still far from Falkenwald. While one of his
men emptied the boots, another wandered through the wood picking
the wild strawberries, that blushed there as red as scarlet along
the ground.

While he was so bent down close to the earth, the shrieks of my
gracious lady reached his ear, upon which he ran to tell his
master, who listened likewise; and finding they proceeded from the
very direction where he had left the bridal pair, he suspected
that some evil had befallen them. So springing into his saddle, he
bade his fellows mount with ail speed, and dashed back to the spot
where they had left the carriage.

Marcus was just now fainting from loss of blood, and his weary
hand could scarcely hold the sword, while his frame swayed back
and forward, as if he were near falling to the ground. The gipsy
hag was close beside him, with her arm extended, ready to plunge
the knife into his side, when the heavy stroke of a sword came
down on it, and arm and knife fell together to the ground, and
Dinnies shouting, "Jodute! Jodute!" swung round his sword a second
time, and the head of the robber carl fell upon the arm of the
hag. Then he dashed round on his good horse to the other side of
the carriage, hewed right and left among the stupid fools who were
scraping up the gold, while his fellows chased them into the wood,
so that the alarmed band left all this booty, and ran in every
direction to hide themselves in the forest. In vain Johann roared,
and shouted, and swore, and opposed himself single-handed to the
knight's followers. He received a blow that sent him flying, too,
after his band, and Sidonia along with him, so that none but the
dead remained around the carriage.

Thus did the brave Dinnies Kleist and Marcus Bork save the Prince
and his bride, like true knights as they were; but Marcus is
faint, and leans for support against the carriage, while before
him lie three robber carls whom he had slain with his own hand,
although he fought there only in his shirt; but the blessed cross
had been his shield. And there, too, lay the gipsy's arm with the
knife still clutched in the hand, but the hag herself had fled
away; and round the brave Dinnies was a circle of dead men, seven
in number, whom he and his followers had killed; and the earth all
round looked like a ripe strawberry field, it was so red with
blood.

One can imagine what joy filled the hearts of the princely pair,
when they found that all their peril was past. They alighted from
the coach, and when the Princess saw Marcus lying there in a dead
faint, with his garment all covered with blood, she lamented
loudly, and tore off her own veil to bind up his wounds, and
brought wine from the carriage, which she poured herself through
his lips, like a merciful Samaritan; and when he at last opened
his eyes, and kissed the little hands of the Princess out of
gratitude, she rejoiced greatly. And the Prince himself ran to the
wood for the portmanteau, which they found behind the oak, and
helped to dress the poor knight, who was so weak that he could not
raise a finger.

Then they lifted him into the coach, while the Prince comforted
him, saying, he trusted that he would soon be well again, for he
would pray daily to the Lord Jesus for him, whose blessed cross
had been their protection, and that he should have all his gold
again, and the lands of Crienke in addition. So faithful a vassal
must never be parted from his Prince, for inasmuch as he hated
Sidonia, so he loved and praised him. They were like the two
Judases in Scripture, of whom some one had said, "What one gave to
the devil, the other brought back to God."

And now he saw the wonderful hand of God in all; for if it had not
rained, the powder of the robber-band would have been dry, and
then they were all lost. _Item_, the knight would not have
stopped to empty his boots, and they never would have heard the
screams of his dear wife. _Item_, if he had himself not
forgotten the date, he would never have driven up close to the
cross, which cross had saved them all, but, in particular, saved
their dear Marcus, after a miraculous manner. "Look how the
blessed wood is everywhere pierced with spears, and yet we are all
living! Therefore let us hope in the Lord, for He is our helper
and defender!"

Then the Duke turned to the stout Dinnies, and prayed him to enter
his service, but in vain, for he was sworn vassal to his Highness
of Stettin. So his Grace took off his golden collar, and put it on
his neck, and the Princess drew off her diamond ring to give him,
whereupon her spouse laughed heartily, and asked, Did she think
the good knight had a finger for her little ring? To which she
replied, But the brave knight may have a dear wife who could wear
it for her sake, for he must not go without some token of her
gratitude.

However, the knight put back the ring himself, saying that he had
no spouse, and would never have one; therefore the ring was
useless. So the Princess wonders, and asks why he will have no
spouse; to which he replied, that he feared the fate of Samson,
for had not love robbed him of his strength? He, too, might meet a
Delilah, who would cut off his long hair. Then riding up close to
the carriage, he removed his plumed hat from his head, and down
fell his long black hair, that was gathered up under it, over his
shoulders like a veil, even till it swept the flanks of his horse.
Would not her Grace think it a grief and sorrow if a woman sheared
those locks? In such pleasant discourse they reached Mutzelburg,
where, as the good Marcus was so weak, they resolved to put up for
the night, and send for a chirurgeon instantly to Uckermund. And
so it was done.



CHAPTER XI.

_Of the ambassadors in the tavern of Mutzelburg--Item, how the
miller, Konnemann, is discovered, and made by Dinnies Kleist to
act as guide to the robber cave, where they find all the
women-folk lying apparently dead, through some devil's magic of
the gipsy mother._


When their Highnesses entered the inn at Mutzelburg, they found it
filled with burghers and peasants out of Uckermund, Pasewalk, and
other adjacent places, on their way to Stettin, to petition his
Grace the Duke to open the courts of justice, for thieves and
robbers had so multiplied throughout the land, that no road was
safe; and all kinds of witchcraft, and imposture, and devil's work
were so rife, that the poor people were plagued out of their
lives, and no redress was to be had, seeing his Grace had closed
all the courts of justice. Forty burghers had been selected to
present the petition, and great was the joy to meet now with his
Grace Prince Ernest, for assuredly he would give them a letter to
his illustrious brother, and strengthen the prayer of their
petition. The Prince readily promised to do this, particularly as
his own life and that of his bride had just been in such sore
peril, all owing to the obstinacy of his Grace of Stettin in not
opening the courts.

Meanwhile the leech had visited good Marcus Bork, who was much
easier after his wounds were dressed, and promised to do well, to
the great joy of their Graces; and Dinnies Kleist went to the
stable to see after his horse, there being so many there, in
consequence of this gathering of envoys, that he feared they might
fight. Now, as he passed through the kitchen, the knight observed
a man bargaining with the innkeeper; and he had a kettle before
him, into which he was cramming sausages, bread, ham, and all
sorts of eatables. But he would have taken no further heed, only
that the carl had but one tail to his coat, which made the knight
at once recognise him as the very fellow whose coat-tail he had
hewed off in the forest. He sprang on him, therefore; and as the
man drew his knife, Dinnies seized hold of him and plumped him
down, head foremost, into a hogshead of water, holding him
straight up by the feet till he had drunk his fill. So the poor
wretch began to quiver at last in his death agonies; whereupon the
knight called out, "Wilt thou confess? or hast thou not drunk
enough yet?"

"He would confess, if the knight promised him life. His name was
Konnemann; he had lost his mill and all he was worth, by the Loitz
bankruptcy, therefore had joined the robber-band, who held their
meeting in an old cave in the forest, where also they kept their
booty." On further question, he said it was an old, ruined place,
with the walls all tumbling down. A man named Muckerwitze had
lived there once, who buried his wife alive in this cave,
therefore it had been deserted ever since.

Then the knight asked the innkeeper if he knew of such a place in
the forest; who said, "Yes." Then he asked if he knew this fellow,
Konnemann; but the host denied all knowledge of him (though he
knew him well enough, I think). Upon which Konnemann said, "That
he merely came to buy provisions for the band, who were hungry,
and had despatched him to see what he could get, while they
remained hiding in the cave." The knight having laid these facts
before their Graces and the envoys, it was agreed that they should
steal a march upon the robbers next morning, and meanwhile keep
Konnemann safe under lock and key.

Next morning they set off by break of day, taking Konnemann as
guide, and surrounded the old ruin, which lay upon a hill buried
in oak-trees; but not a sound was heard inside. They approached
nearer--listened at the cave--nothing was to be heard. This
angered Dinnies Kleist, for he thought the miller had played a
trick on them, who, however, swore he was innocent; and as the
knight threatened to give him something fresh to drink in the
castle well, he offered to light a pine torch and descend into the
cave. Hardly was he down, however, when they heard him
screaming--"The robbers have murdered the women--they are all
lying here stone dead, but not a man is to be seen."

The knight then went down with his good sword drawn. True enough,
there lay the old hag, her daughter, and Sidonia, all stained with
blood, and stiff and cold, upon the damp ground. And when the
knight asked, "Which is Sidonia?" the fellow put the pine torch
close to her face, which was blue and cold. Then the knight took
up her little hand, and dropped it again, and shook his head, for
the said little hand was stiff and cold as that of a corpse.

_Summa_.--As there was nothing further to be done here, the
knight left the corpses to moulder away in the old cellar, and
returned with the burghers to Mutzelburg, when his Highness
wondered much over the strange event; but Marcus rejoiced that his
wicked cousin was now dead, and could bring no further disgrace
upon his ancient name.

But was the wicked cousin dead? She had heard every word that had
been said in the cave; for they had all drunk some broth made by
the gipsy mother, which can make men seem dead, though they hear
and see everything around them. Such devil's work is used by
robbers sometimes in extremity, as some toads have the power of
seeming dead when people attempt to seize them. It will soon be
seen what a horrible use Sidonia made of this devil's potion.

Wherefore she tried its effect upon herself now, I know not--I
have my own thoughts upon the subject--but it is certain that the
innkeeper, who was a secret friend of the robbers (as most
innkeepers were in those evil times), had sent a messenger by
night to warn them of their danger. So, while the band saved
themselves by hiding in the forest, perhaps the old hag
recommended this plan for the women, as they had got enough of
cold steel the day before; or perhaps the robbers wished to have a
proof of the power of this draught, in case they might want to
save themselves, some time or other, by appearing dead. Still I
cannot, with any certainty, assert why they should all three
choose to simulate death.

Further, just to show the daring of these robber-bands, now that
his Highness had closed the courts, I shall end this chapter by
relating what happened at Monkbude, a town through which their
Highnesses passed that same day, and which, although close to the
Stettin border, belongs to Wolgast.

It was Sunday, and after the priest had said Amen from the pulpit,
the sexton rung the kale-bell. This bell was a sign throughout all
Pomerania land, to the women-folk who were left at home in the
houses, to prepare dinner; for then, in all the churches, the
closing hymn began--"Give us, Lord, our daily bread." So the maid,
at the first stroke of the bell, lifted off the kale-pot from the
fire, and had the kale dished, with the sausages, and whatever
else was wanting, by the time that the hymn was over, and father
and mother had come out of church. Then, whatever poor wretch had
fasted all the week, and never tasted a morsel of blessed bread,
if he passed on a Sunday through the town, might get his fill; for
when the hymn is sung, "Give us, Lord, our daily bread," the doors
lie open, and no stranger or wayfarer is turned away empty.

Just before their Highnesses had entered the town, this kale-bell
had been rung, and each maid in the houses had laid the kale and
meat upon the table, ready for the family, when, behold! in rush a
troop of robbers from the forest, Appelmann at their head--seize
every dish with the kale and meat that had been laid on the
tables, stick the loaves into their pockets, and gallop away as
hard as they can across into the Stettin border.

How the maids screamed and lamented I leave unsaid; but if any one
of them followed and seized a robber by the hair, he drew his
knife, so she was glad enough to run back again, while the
impudent troop laughed and jeered. Thus was it then in dear
Pomerania land! It seemed as if God had forsaken them; for the
nobles began their feuds, as of old, and the Jews were tormented
even to the death--yea, even the pastors were chased away, as if,
indeed, they had all learned of Otto Bork, these nobles saying,
"What need of these idle, prating swaddlers, with their prosy
sermons and whining psalms, teaching, forsooth, that all men are
equal, and that God makes no difference between lord and peasant?
Away with them! If the people learn such doctrine, no wonder if
they grow proud and disobedient--better no priests in the land."
And such-like ungodly talk was heard everywhere.



CHAPTER XII.

_How the peasants in Marienfliess want to burn a witch, but are
hindered by Johann Appelmann and Sidonia, who discover an old
acquaintance in the witch, the girl Wolde Albrechts._


At this time, one David Grosskopf was pastor of Marienfliess. He
was a learned and pious man, and like other pious priests, was in
the habit of gathering all the women-folk of the parish in his
study of a winter's evening, particularly the young maidens, with
their spinning-wheels. And there they all sat spinning round the
comfortable fire, while he read out to them from God's Word, and
questioned them on it, and exhorted them to their duties. Thus was
it done every evening during the winter, the maidens spinning
diligently till midnight without even growing weary; or if one of
them nodded, she was given a cup of cold water to drink, to make
her fresh again. So there was plenty of fine linen by each New
Year's day, and their masters were well pleased. No peasant kept
his daughter at home, but sent her to the priest, where she
learned her duties, and was kept safe from the young men. Even old
mothers went there, among whom Trina Bergen always gave the best
answers, and was much commended by the priest in consequence. This
pleased her mightily, so that she boasted everywhere of it; but
withal she was an excellent old woman, only the neighbours looked
rather jealously on her.

This same priest, with all his goodness and learning, was yet a
bad logician; for by his careless speaking in one of his sermons,
much commotion was raised in the village. In this sermon he
asserted that anything out of the usual course of nature must be
devil's work, and ought to be held in abhorrence by all good
Christians: he suffered for this after-wards, as we shall see. On
the Monday after this discourse, he journeyed into Poland, to
visit a brother who dwelt in some town there, I know not which.

Then arose a great talking amongst the villagers concerning the
said Trina Bergen; for the cocks began to sit upon the eggs in
place of the hens, in her poultry-yard, and all the people came
together to see the miracle, and as it was against the course of
nature, it must be devil's work, and Trina Bergen was a witch.

In vain the old mother protested she knew nothing of it, then runs
to the priest's house, but he is away; from that to the mayor of
the village, but he is going out to shoot, and bid her and the
villagers pack off with their silly stories.

So the poor old mother gets no help, and meanwhile the peasants
storm her house, and search and ransack every corner for proofs of
her witchcraft, but nothing can be found. Stay! there in the
cellar sits a woman, who will not tell her name.

They drag her out, bring her up to the parlour, while the old
mother sits wringing her hands. Who was this woman? and how did
she come into the cellar?

_Illa_.--"She had hired her to spin, because her daughter was
out at service till autumn, and she could not do all the work
herself."

"Why then did she sit in the cellar, as if she shunned the light?"

_Illa_.--"The girl had prayed for leave to sit there, because
the screaming of the young geese in the yard disturbed her;
besides, she had been only two days with her."

"But who in the devil's name was the girl? It was easy to see she
had bewitched the hens, for everything against the course of
nature must be devil's work."

_Illa_.--"Ah, yes! this must be the truth. Let them chase the
devil away. Now she saw why the girl would not sit in the light,
and had refused to enter the blessed church with her the day
before."

"What was her name? They should both be sent to the devil, if she
did not tell the girl's name."

_Illa_.--"Alas! she had forgotten it, but ask herself. Her
story was, that she had been married to a peasant in Usdom, who
died lately, and his relations then turned her out, that she was
now going to Daber, where she had a brother, a fisher in the
service of the Dewitz family, and wanted to earn a travelling
penny by spinning, to convey her there."

Now as the rumour of witchcraft spread through the village, all
the people ran together, from every part, to Trina's house. And a
pale young man pressed forward from amongst the crowd, to look at
the supposed witch. When he stood before her, the girl cast down
her eyes gloomily, and he cried out, "It is she! it is the very
accursed witch who robbed me of my strength by her sorceries, and
barely escaped from the fagot--seize her--that is Anna Wolde. Now
he knew what the elder sticks meant, which he found set up as a
gallows before his door this morning--the witch wanted to steal
away his manhood from him again--burn her! burn her! Come and see
the elder sticks, if they did not believe him!"

So the whole village ran to his cottage, where he had just brought
home a widow, whom he was going to marry, and there indeed stood
the elder sticks right before his door in the form of a gallows,
upon which the sheriff was wroth, and commanded the girl to be
brought before him with her hands bound.

But as she denied everything, Zabel Bucher, the sheriff, ordered
the hangman to be sent for, to see what the rack might do in
eliciting the truth. Further, he bade the people make a fire in
the street, and burn the elder sticks therein.

So the fire is lit, but no one will touch the sticks. Then the
sheriff called his hound and bade him fetch them; but Fixlein, who
was acute enough at other times, pretended not to know what his
master wanted. In vain the sheriff bent down on the ground,
pointing with his finger, and crying, "Here, Fixlein! fetch,
Fixlein!" No, Fixlein runs round and round the elder sticks till
the dust rises up in a cloud, and yelps, and barks, and jumps, and
stares at his master, but never touches the sticks, only at last
seizes a stone in his mouth, and runs with it to the sheriff.

Now, indeed, there was a commotion amongst the people. Not even
the dog would touch the accursed thing. So at last the sheriff
called for a pair of tongs, to seize the sticks himself and fling
them into the fire. Whereupon his wife screamed to prevent him;
but the brave sheriff, strengthening his heart, advanced and
touched them; whereupon Fixlein, as if he had never known until
now what his master wanted, made a grab at them, but the sheriff
gave him a blow on the nose with the tongs which sent him away
howling, and then, with desperate courage and a stout heart,
seizing the elder twigs in the tongs, flung them boldly into the
fire.

Meanwhile Peter Bollerjahn, the hangman, has arrived, and when he
hears of the devilry he shakes his head, but thinks he could make
the girl speak, if they only let him try his way a little. But
they must first get authority from the mayor. Now the mayor had
not gone to the hunt, for some friends arrived to visit him, whom
he was obliged to stay at home and entertain, so the whole crowd,
with the sheriff, Zabel Bucher, at the head, set off to the
mayoralty, bringing the witch with them, and prayed his lordship
to make a terrible example of her, for that witchcraft was
spreading fearfully in the land, and they would have no peace
else.

Whereupon he came out with his guests to look at the miserable
criminal, who, conscious of her guilt, stood there silent and
glowering; but he could do nothing for them--did they not know
that his Highness had closed all the courts of justice, therefore
he could not help them, nor be troubled about their affairs? Upon
which the sheriff cried out, "Then we shall help ourselves; let us
burn the witch who bewitches our hens, and sticks up elder sticks
before people's doors. Come, let us right ourselves!" So the mayor
said they might do as they pleased, he had no power to hinder
them, only let them remember that when the courts reopened, they
would be called to a strict account for all this. And he went into
his house, but the people shouted and dragged away the witch, with
loud yells, to the hangman, bidding him stretch her on the rack
before all their eyes.

When the girl saw and heard all this, and remembered how the old
Lord Chamberlain at Wolgast had stretched her till her hip was
broken, she cried out, "I will confess all, only spare me the
torture, for I dread it more than death."

Upon this, the sheriff said, "He would ask her three questions,
and pronounce judgment accordingly." (Oh! what evil times for dear
Pomerania land, when the people could thus take the law into their
own hands, and pronounce judgment, though no judges were there.
Had the bailiff given her a little twist of the rack, just to get
at the truth, it would at least have been more in accordance with
the usages, although I say not he would have been justified in so
doing; but without using the rack at all, to believe what this
devil's wretch uttered, and judge her thereupon, was grossly
improper and absurd.) _Summa_, here are the three
questions:--

"First, whether she had bewitched the hens; and for what?"

_Respond_.--"Simply to amuse herself; for the time hung heavy
in the cellar, and she could see them through the chinks in the
wall." (Let her wait; Master Peter will soon give her something to
amuse her.)

"Second, why and wherefore had she stuck up the elder twigs?"

_Respond_.-"Because she had been told that Albert was going
to marry a widow; for he had promised her marriage, as all the
world knew, and even called her by his name, Wolde Albrechts, and
therefore she had put a spell upon him of elder twigs, that he
might turn away the widow and marry her." (Let her wait; Master
Peter will soon stick up elder twigs for her.)

"Third, whether she had a devil; and how was he named?"

Here she remained silent, then began to deny it, but was reminded
of the rack, and Master Peter got ready his instruments as if for
instant use; so she sighed heavily, and answered, "Yes, she had a
familiar called Jurge, and he appeared always in the form of a
man."

Upon this confession the sheriff roared, "Burn the witch!" and all
the people shouted after him, "Burn the witch! the accursed
witch!" and she was delivered over to Master Peter.

But he made answer that he had never burned a witch; he would,
however, go over to Massow in the morning, to his brother-in-law,
who had burned many, and learn the mode from him. Meanwhile the
peasants might collect ten or twelve clumps of wood upon the
Koppenberg, and so would they frighten all women from practising
this devil's magic. Would they not burn Trina Bergen likewise--the
old hag who had the witch in her cellar? It would be a right
pleasant spectacle to the whole town.

This, however, the peasants did not wish. Upon which the carl
asked what he was to be paid for his trouble? Formerly the state
paid for the criminal, but the courts now would have nothing to do
with the business. What was he to get? So the peasants consulted
together, and at last offered him a sack of oats at Michaelmas,
just that they might have peace in the village. Whereupon he
consented to burn her; only in addition they must give him a free
journey to Massow on the morrow.

_Summa_.--When the third morning dawned, all the village came
together to accompany the witch up the Koppenberg: the
schoolmaster, with all his school going before, singing, "Now pray
we to the Holy Ghost;" then came Master Peter with the witch, he
bearing a pan of lighted coal in his hand. But, lo! when they
reached the pile on the Koppenberg, behold it was wet wood which
the stupid peasants had gathered.

Now the hangman fell into a great rage. Who the devil could burn a
witch with wet wood? She must have bewitched it. This was as bad
as the hen business.

Some of the people then offered to run for some dry wood and hay;
but my knave saw that he might turn the matter to profit, so he
proposed to sack the witch in place of burning her; "for," said
he, "it will be a far more edifying spectacle and example to your
children, this sacking in place of burning. There was a lake quite
close to the town, and, indeed, he had forgotten yesterday to
propose it to them. The plan was this. They were to tie her up in
a leathern sack, with a dog, a cock, and a cat. (Ah, what a pity
he had killed the wild-cat which he had caught some weeks before
in the fox-trap.) Then they would throw all into the lake, where
the cat and dog, and cock and witch, would scream and fight, and
bite and scratch, until they sank; but after a little while up
would come the sack again, and the screaming, biting, and fighting
would be renewed until they all sank down again and for ever.
Sometimes, indeed, they would tear a hole in the sack, which
filled with water, and so they were all drowned. In any case it
was a fine improving lesson to their children; let them ask the
schoolmaster if the sacking was not a far better spectacle for the
dear children than the burning."

"Ay, 'tis true," cried the schoolmaster; "sacking is better."

Upon which all the people shouted after him, "Ay, sack her! sack
her!"

When the knave heard this, he continued--

"Now, they heard what the schoolmaster said, but he could not do
all this for a sack of oats, for, indeed, leather sacks were very
dear just now; but if each one added a sack of meal and a goose at
Michaelmas, why, he would try and manage the sacking. The lake was
broad and deep, and it lay right beneath them, so that all the
dear children could see the sight from the hill."

However, the peasants would by no means agree to the sack of meal,
whereupon a great dispute arose around the pile, and a bargaining
about the price with great tumult and uproar.

Now the robber-band were in the vicinity, and Sidonia, hearing the
noise, peeped out through the bushes and recognised Anna Wolde;
then, guessing from the pile what they were going to do to her,
she begged of Johann to save the poor girl, if possible; for
Sidonia and the knave were now on the best of terms, since he had
chased away the gipsy hag and her daughter for robbing him.

So Johann gives the word, and the band, which now numbered one
hundred strong, burst forth from the wood with wild shouts and
cries. Ho! how the people fled on all sides, like chaff before the
wind! The executioner is the first off, throws away his pan of
coals, and takes to his heels. _Item_, the schoolmaster, with
all his school, take to their heels; the sheriff, the women,
peasants, spectators-all, with one accord, take to their heels,
screaming and roaring.

The witch alone remains, for she is lame and cannot run; but she
screams, too, and wrings her hands, crying--

"Take me with you; oh, take me with you; for the love of God take
me with you; I am lame and cannot run!"

_Summa_.--One can easily imagine how it all ended. The
witch-girl was saved, and, as she now owed her life a second time
to Sidonia, she swore eternal fidelity and gratitude to the lady,
promising to give her something in recompense for all the benefits
she had conferred on her. Alas, that I should have to say to
Christian men what this was! [Footnote: Namely, the evil spirit
Chim. See Sidonia's confession upon the rack, vol. iv. Dahnert's
Pomeranian Library, p. 244.]

And when Sidonia asked how things went on in Daber, great was her
joy to hear that the whole castle and town were full of company,
for the nuptials of Clara von Dewitz and Marcus Bork were
celebrated there. And the old Duchess from Wolgast had arrived,
along with Duke Johann Frederick, and the Dukes Barnim, Casimir,
and Bogislaff. _Item_, a grand cavalcade of nobles had ridden
to the wedding upon four hundred horses, and lords and ladies from
all the country round thronged the castle.

Now Johann Appelmann would not credit the witch-girl, for he had
seen none of all this company upon the roads; but she said her
brother the fisherman told her that their Graces travelled by
water as far as Wollin, for fear of the robbers, and from thence
by land to Daber.

When Sidonia heard this she fell upon Johann's neck, exclaiming--

"Revenge me now, Johann! revenge me! Now is the time; they are all
there. Revenge me in their blood!"

This seemed rather a difficult matter to Johann, but he promised
to call together the whole band, and see what could be done. So he
went his way to the band, and then the evil-minded witch-girl
began again, and told Sidonia, that if she chose to burn the
castle at Daber, and make an end of all her enemies at once, there
was some one hard by in the bush who would help her, for he was
stronger than all the band put together.

_Illa_.--"Who was her friend? Let her go and bring him."

_Hæc_.--"She must first cross her hand with gold, and give a
piece of money for him; [Footnote: According to the witches, every
evil spirit must be purchased, no matter how small the price, but
something must be given-a ball of worsted, a kerchief, &c.] then
he would come and revenge her."

Sidonia's eyes now sparkled wildly, and she put some money in the
woman's hand, who murmured, "For the evil one;" then stepped
behind a tree, and returned in a short time with a black cat
wrapped up in her apron.

"This," she said, "was the strong spirit Chim. [Footnote:
Joachim.] Let her give him plenty to eat, but show him to no one.
When she wanted his assistance, strike him three times on the
head, and he would assume the form of a man. Strike him six times
to restore him again to this form."

Now Sidonia would scarcely credit this; so, looking round to see
if they were quite alone, she struck the animal three times on the
head, who instantly started up in the form of a gay young man,
with red stockings, a black doublet, and cap with stately heron's
plumes.

"Yes, yes," he exclaimed, "I know thy enemies, and will revenge
thee, beautiful child. I will burn the castle of Daber for thee,
if thou wilt only do my bidding; but now, quick! strike me again
on the head, that I may reassume my original form, for some one
may see us; and put me in a basket, so can I travel with thee
wheresoever thou goest."

And thus did Sidonia with the evil spirit Chim, as she afterwards
confessed upon the rack, when she was a horrible old hag of
eighty-four years of age.

And he went with her everywhere, and suggested all the evil to her
which she did, whereof we shall hear more in another place.
[Footnote: Dahnert.--This belief in the power of evil spirits to
assume the form of animals, comes to us from remotest
antiquity--example, the serpent in Paradise. In all religions, and
amongst all nations, this belief seems firmly rooted; but even if
we do not see a visible devil, do we not, alas! know and feel that
there is one ever with us, ever pre-sent, ever suggesting all
wickedness to us, as this devil to Sidonia?-even our own evil
nature. For what else is the Christian life, but a warfare between
the divine within us and this ever-present Satan?--and through
God's grace alone can we resist this devil.]



CHAPTER XIII.

_Of the adventure with the boundary lads, and how one of them
promises to admit Johann Appelmann into the castle of Daber that
same night-Item, of what befell amongst the guests at the
castle._


When Johann and Sidonia proposed to the band that they should
pillage the castle of Daber, they all shouted with delight, and
swore that life and limb might be perilled, but the castle should
be theirs that night. Nevertheless my knave Johann thought it a
dangerous undertaking, for they knew no one inside the walls, and
Anna Wolde, the witch, could not come with them, seeing that she
was lame. So at last he thought of sending Konnemann disguised as
a beggar, to examine the courtyard and all the out
offices--perchance he might spy out some unguarded door by which
they could effect an entrance.

Then Sidonia said she would go too, and although Johann tried hard
to persuade her, yet she begged so earnestly for leave that
finally he consented. Yes, she must see the very spot where the
viper was hatched which had stung her to death. Ah, she would brew
something for her in return; pity only that the wedding was over,
otherwise the little bride should never have touched a
wedding-ring, if she could help it; but it was too late now.

So the three Satan's children slipped out upon the highway from
the wood, and travelled on so near to the castle that the noise,
and talking, and laughing, and barking of dogs, and neighing of
horses, were all quite audible to their ears.

Now the castle of Daber is built upon a hill which is entirely
surrounded by water, so that the castle can be approached only by
two bridges--one southwards, leading from the town; the other
eastwards, leading direct through the castle gardens. The castle
itself was a noble, lofty pile, with strong towers and
spires--almost as stately a building as my gracious lord's castle
at Saatzig.

When Johann observed all this, his heart failed him, and as he and
his two companions peeped out at it from behind a thorn-bush, they
agreed that it would be hard work to take such a castle,
garrisoned, as it was now, by four hundred men or more, with their
mere handful of partisans.

But Satan knows how to help his own, for what happened while they
were crouching there and arguing? Behold, the old Dewitz, as an
offering to the church at Daber upon his daughter's marriage, had
promised twenty good acres of land to be added to the glebe. And
he comes now up the hill, with a great crowd of men to dig the
boundary. So the Satan's children behind the thorn-bush feared
they would be discovered; but it was not so, and the crowd passed
on unheeding them.

Old Dewitz now called the witnesses, and bid them take note of the
position of the boundary. There where the hill, the wild
apple-tree, and the town tower were all in one line, was the
limit; let them keep this well in their minds. Then calling over
six lads, he bid them take note likewise of the boundary, that
when the old people were dead they might stand up as witnesses;
but as such things were easily forgotten, he, the priest, and the
churchwarden would write it down for them, so that it never, by
any chance, could escape their memory.

Upon which the good knight, being lord and patron, took a stout
stick the first, and cudgelled the young lads well, asking them
between terms--

"Where is the boundary?"

To which they answered, screaming and roaring--

"Where the hill, the apple-tree, and the town tower are all in one
line."

Then the knight, laughing, handed over the stick to the priest,
saying--

"It was still possible they might forget; they better, therefore,
have another little memorandum from his reverence."

"No! no!" screamed the boys, "we will remember it to eternity."

However, his reverence just gave them a little touch of the stick
in fun, till they roared out the boundary marks a second time.

But now stepped forth the churchwarden, to take his turn with the
stick on the boys' backs. This man had been a forester of the old
Baron Dewitz, and had often taken note of one of the young fellows
present, how he had poached and stolen the buck-wheat, so he
gladly seized this opportunity to punish him for all his misdeeds,
and laying the cudgel on his shoulders, thrashed and belaboured
him so unmercifully, that the lad ran, shrieking, cursing,
howling, and roaring, far away in amongst the bushes to hide
himself, while the churchwarden cried out--

"Well! if all the other lads forget the boundary, I think my fine
fellow here will bear the memorandum to the day of judgment."

And so they went away laughing from the place, and returned to the
castle.

But the devil drew his profit from all this, for where should the
lad run to, but close to the very spot where the robbers were
hiding, and there he threw himself down upon the grass, writhing
and howling, and swearing he would be revenged upon the
churchwarden. This is a fine hearing for my knave in the bush, so
he steps forward, and asks--

"What vile Josel had dared to ill-treat so brave a youth? He would
help him to a revenge upon the base knave, for injustice was a
thing he never could suffer. The tears really were in his eyes to
think that such wickedness should be in the world;" and here he
pretended to wipe his eyes. So the lad, being quite overcome by
such compassionate sympathy, howled and cried ten times more--

"It was the forester Kell, the shameless hound; but he would play
him a trick for it."

_Ille_.--"Right. He owed the fellow a drubbing already
himself, and now he would have a double one, if he could only get
hold of him."

_Hic_.--"He would run and tell him that a great lord wanted
to speak to him here in the forest."

_Ille_.-"No, no; that would scarcely answer; but where did
the fellow live?"

_Hic_.-"In the castle, where his father lived likewise."

_Ille_.-"Who was his father?"

_Hic_.--"His father was the steward."

_Ille_.--"Ah, then, he kept the keys of the castle?"

_Hic_.--"Oh yes, and the key of the back entrance also, which
led through the gardens. His father kept one key, and the gardener
the other."

_Ille_.--"Well, he would tell him a secret. This very Kell
had deceived him once, like a knave as he was, and he was watching
to punish him, but he daren't go up to the castle in the broad
daylight, particularly now while the wedding was going on. How
long would it last?"

_Hic_.--"For three days more; it had lasted three days
already, and the castle was full of company, and great lords from
all the country round, a great deal grander even than old Dewitz,
were there."

_Ille_.--"Well, then, it would be quite impossible to go up
to the castle and flog the churchwarden before all the company--he
could see that himself. But supposing he let him in at night
through the garden door, couldn't they get the knave out on some
pretence, and then drub him to their heart's content?"

So the lad was delighted with the plan, particularly on hearing
that he was to help in the drubbing; but then if the forester
recognised him, what was to be done? he would be ruined. To which
Johann answered--

"Just put on an old cloak, and speak no word; then, neither by
dress nor voice will he know thee; besides, the night will be
quite dark, so fear nothing. We'll teach him, I engage, how to
beat a fine young fellow again, or to rob me of my gold, as he
did, the base, unworthy knave."

Here the lad laughed outright with joy. "Yes, yes, that would just
do; and he could put on his father's old mantle, and bring a stout
crab-stick along with him."

_Hic_.--"All right, young friend; but how was he to get into
the castle garden? Was there not a drawbridge which was lifted
every night?"

_Hic._--"Oh yes; but his father very often sent him to draw
it up, and he could leave it down for tonight; then he would get
the forester, by some means, into the shrubbery, where it was dark
as pitch, and they could thrash the dog there without any one
knowing a word about it."

_Ille._-"Good! Then when the tower-clock struck nine, let him
come himself and admit him into the garden--time enough after to
run for the forester, while he was hiding himself in the
shrubbery, for no one must know a word about his being there."
Then he gave the lad a knife, and told him if all turned out well
he should have a piece of gold in addition. "Ah! they would give
him a warm greeting, this dog of a forester! But after he had
called him out, the lad must pretend as if he had nothing to do
with the matter, and go back to the house, or slip down some
by-path."

So the lad jumped with joy when he got hold of the knife, and
skipped off to the castle, promising to be at the drawbridge when
nine o'clock struck from the tower, to admit his good friend into
the garden.

Meanwhile my gracious Lady of Wolgast was making preparations for
her departure on the morrow from the castle, for she had been
attending the wedding festivities with her four sons, and Ulrich,
the Grand Chamberlain; but previous to taking leave of her dear
son, Duke Johann Frederick, she wished to make one more attempt to
induce him to take off the interdict from the country, and allow
the courts of justice to be re-opened, for thus would the land be
freed from these wild hordes who haunted every road, and filled
all hearts with fear.

For this purpose she went up to his own private chamber in the
castle, bringing old Ulrich along with her; and when they entered,
old Ulrich, having closed the door, began--"Now, gracious lady,
speak to your son as befits a mother and your princely Grace to
do."

Upon which he took his seat at the table, looking around him as
sour as a vinegar-cruet.

So the Duchess lifted up her voice with many tears, and prayed his
Highness of Stettin to stem all this violence that raged in the
land, as a loving Prince and father towards his subjects. He had
resisted all her entreaties until now, with those of his dear
brothers and old Ulrich; and had not even his host and the whole
nobility tried to soften his heart towards his people, who were
suffering by his hard resolve? But surely he would not refuse her
now, for she had come to take her leave of him, and had brought
his old guardian and his brothers to plead along with her;
besides, who knew what might happen next? For she heard, to her
astonishment, that Sidonia was not dead at all, as they supposed,
but roaming through the country with her accursed paramour. Had
she known this, never would she have permitted this long journey,
dear even as the bride was to her heart, but would have stayed at
Wolgast to watch over her heart's dear son, Ernest, and his young
spouse, who rightly feared to put themselves in danger again,
after the sore peril they had encountered in the Stettin forest;
and who knew what might happen to her on the journey homeward? for
if she encountered Sidonia, what could she expect from her but the
bitterest death? (weeping.) Ah, this all came upon them because
the young Duke had despised the admonitions of his blessed father
upon his death-bed, and thought not of that Scripture which saith,
"The father's blessing buildeth the children's houses, but the
curse of the mother pulleth them down." [Footnote: Sirach iii.
II.] She had never cursed him yet, but that day might come.

Then Duke Johann answered, "He was sad to see his darling mother
chafe and fret about these same courts of justice, but his
princely honour was pledged, and he could not retract one word
until the states came back to their duty, and gave him the gold he
demanded. For how could he stand before the world as a fool? He
had begun this castle of Friedrichswald, and had ordered all kinds
of statues, paintings, &c., from Italy, for which gold must be
paid. How, then, if he had none?"

"But those were idle follies," his mother answered, "and showed
how true were the words of Solomon--'When a prince wanteth
understanding, there is great oppression.'" [Footnote: Prov.
xxviii. 16.]

Here the Duke grew angry. "It was false; he did not want
understanding. Well it was that no one had dared to say this to
him but his mother."

But my gracious lady could not hear him plainly; for his Serene
Highness, Barnim the younger, who had drunk rather freely at
dinner, began to snore so loudly, that he snored away a paper
which lay before old Ulrich, upon which he had been sketching a
list of _propositions_ for the reconciliation of the Duke and
the estates of the kingdom.

Hereupon the old chamberlain cursed and swore--"May the seven
thousand devils take them! One snarls at his mother, and the other
snores away his paper! Did the Prince think that Pomerania was
like Saxony, when he began these fine buildings at Friedrichswald?
His Grace had a house at Stettin; what did he want with a second?
Was his Grace better than his forefathers? And would not his Grace
have Oderburg when old Duke Barnim died? and castles and towns all
round the land?"

But the Duke answered proudly, "That Ulrich should remember his
guardianship had ended. He knew himself what to do and what to
leave undone."

Herewith the young Lord Bogislaff broke in--"Yet, dearest brother,
be advised by us. Bethink you how I resigned my chance of the
duchy at the Diet of Wollin, and now I am ready to give you up the
annuity which I then received, if it will help your necessities,
and that you promise thereupon to release the land from the
interdict, that all this fearful villainy and lawlessness which is
devastating the country may have an end."

_Ille_.--"Matters were not so bad as he thought; besides, why
cannot the people defend themselves, and take care of their own
skin?"

_Hic_.--"So they do; but this only increased injustice and
lawlessness." Then he related many examples of how the despairing
people of the different towns had executed justice, after their
own manner, upon the robbers who fell into their hands. In
Stolpschen, for instance, three fellows had been caught plundering
the corn, and the peasants nailed them up to a tree, and whipped
them till they dropped down dead. Well might Satan laugh over the
sin and wickedness that reigned now in poor Pomerania.

_Item_, he related how the peasants in Marienfliess were
going to burn a witch, without trial or sentence. _Item_, how
many peasants and villagers had hung up their own bailiffs, or
strangled them. _Item_, how the priests had been chased away
from many places, so that they now had to beg their bread upon the
highway; and in such towns God's service was no more heard, but
each one lived as it pleased him, and the peasants did as they
chose. And now he would ask his heart's dear brother, which would
be more upright and honourable in the sight of the great God--to
build up this castle of Friedrichswald, or to let it fall, and
build up the virtue and happiness of his people? He could not
build the castle without money, and he had none; but he could
restore his land to peace and happiness by a word. Let him, then,
open these long-closed courts of justice, for this was his duty as
a Prince; and let him remember that every prince was ordained of
God, and must answer to Him for his government.

Hereupon the Stettin Duke made answer--"Pity, good Bogislaff, thou
wert not a village priest! Hast thou finished thy sermon? Truly
thou wert never meant for a prince, as we heard from thy own lips,
the day of the Diet at Wollin. Thou hast no sense of princely
honour, I see, but I stand by mine; and now, by my princely
honour, I pledge my princely word, that, until the states give me
the money, the land shall remain in all things as it is."

Here old Ulrich sprang to his feet (while my gracious lady sobbed
aloud), clapped the table, and roared--"Seven thousand devils, my
lord! are we to be robbed and murdered by those vile cut-throats
that infest the land, and your Grace will fold your hands and do
nothing, till they drive your Grace yourself out of the land, or
run a spear through your body, as they would have done to your
princely brother of Wolgast, only he had faithful vassals to
defend him? If it is so to be, then must the nobles make their
petition to the Emperor, and we shall see if his Imperial Majesty
cannot bring your Grace to reason, though your mother and we all
have failed to move you."

Here the little Casimir, who was playing with the paper which his
brother had snored away, ran up to his mother, and pulling her by
the gown, said, "Gracious lady mamma, what ails my brother, the
Stettin Duke? Is he drunk, too?"

At which they all laughed, except Duke Johann, who gave a kick to
his little brother, and then strode out of the room, exclaiming,
"Sooner my life than my honour; I shall stay here no longer to be
tutored and lectured, but will take my journey homewards this very
night." And so he departed, but by a small side-door, for old
Ulrich had locked the chief door on entering.

Now, indeed, her Grace wept bitterly: ah! she thought the evil had
left her house, which the fatal business at her wedding had
wrought on it, when Dr. Martinus dropped the ring; but, alas! it
was only beginning now; and yet she could not curse him, for he
was her son, and she had borne him in pain and sorrow.

_Summa_.--If many were displeased at these proceedings of his
Grace, so also was the Lord God, as was seen clearly by many
strange signs; for on that same night Duke Barnim the elder died
at Oderburg, and all the crosses, knobs, and spires throughout the
whole town turned quite black, though they had only been newly
gilded a year before, and no rain, lightning, or thunder had been
observed. [Footnote: The Duke died 29th September 1573, aged 72
years.--_Micraelius_. 369.]

But this was all clearly to show the anger of God over the sins of
the young Duke, and by these signs He would admonish him to
repentance, as a father might gently threaten a refractory child.
As to what further happened his Grace when he went out by the
little door, and the danger that befell him there, we shall hear
more in another chapter.



CHAPTER XIV.

_How the knave Appelmann seizes his Serene Eminence Duke Johann
by the throat, and how his Grace and the whole castle are saved by
Marcus Bork and his young bride Clara; also, how Sidonia at last
is taken prisoner._


The castle was now almost quite still, for as the festival had
already lasted three days, the guests were pretty well tired of
dancing and drinking, and most of them, like young Prince Barnim,
had lain down to snore. Yet still there were many drinking in the
great hall, or dancing in the saloon, for the fiddles fiddled away
merrily until far in the night.

And it was a beautiful night this one; not too dark, but starry,
bright, and soft and still, so that Marcus and his young bride
glided away from the dancing and drinking, to wander in the cool,
fresh air of the shrubbery, before they retired to their chamber.
So they passed down the broad path that led from the garden to the
drawbridge by the water-mill, and seating themselves on a bank
under the shade of the trees, began to kiss and caress, as may
well become a young bridal pair to do.

Soon they heard nine o'clock strike from the town, and immediately
after, stealthy footsteps coming along the shrubbery towards them.
They held their breath, and remained quite still, thinking it was
some half-drunken guest from the castle wandering this way; but
then the drawbridge was lowered, and three persons advanced to a
youth, as they could see plainly. One said, "Now?" to which
another answered, "No, when I whistle!" He who had so asked, then
went back again, but Sidonia and my knave came on with the
boundary lad over the bridge (for, of course, every one will have
guessed them) and entered the shrubbery where the young bridal
pair were seated, but perfectly hidden, by reason of the darkness.

The boundary lad would now have drawn up the bridge, but the knave
hindered him--"Let him leave it down; how would he escape else, if
the carl roared, and all came running out of the castle to see
what was the matter?" Then Sidonia asked the boy, if he thought
the castle folk would hear him? To which he answered, no. They
could thrash the hound securely, and he had brought a short cudgel
with him for the purpose. Upon which my knave murmured to him,
"Lead on, then; I must get out of this dark place to see what I am
about. And when we get to the end of it, do you run and bring him
out here. Then we shall both pay him off bravely."

So they crept on in the darkness towards the castle, but the young
wedded pair had plenty of time to recognise both Sidonia and
Appelmann by their voices. Therefore Marcus argued truly that the
knave and his paramour could be about no good, for the whole land
rang with their wickedness. And, no doubt, the band was in the
vicinity, because Appelmann had answered, "No, when I whistle!"

So the good Marcus grew wroth over the villainy of this shameless
pair, who had evidently resolved on nothing less than the
destruction of the whole princely race, and even this castle of
Daber was not to be spared, which belonged to his dear bride's
father, so that their wicked purposes might be fulfilled. Then he
whispered, did his dear wife know of any byway that led to the
castle? as she was born here, perhaps some such little path might
be known to her, so that she would escape meeting the villain. And
as she whispered in return, "Yes, there was such a path," he bid
her run along it quick as thought, have all the bells rung when
she reached the castle, and even the cannon fired, which was ready
loaded for the farewell salute to the Lady of Wolgast on the
morrow; and to gather as many people together, of all stations and
ages, as could be summoned on the instant, and let them shout
"Murder! murder!" Meanwhile he would run and draw up the bridge,
then track the fellow along the shrubbery, and seize him if
possible.

How Clara trembled and hesitated, as a young girl might; but soon
collecting herself, she said, although with much agitation, "I
will trust in God: the Lord is my strength, of whom then should I
be afraid?" and plunged alone into the darkest part of the
shrubbery.

Marcus instantly ran down to the garden door, and began to draw up
the bridge with as little noise as possible. "What are you doing?"
called out a voice to him from the other side. "I hear steps," he
answered, "and perchance it is the castellan on his rounds; he
would discover all." So he draws up the bridge, and then glided
along the shrubbery after my knave.

Meanwhile Appelmann and Sidonia, with the boundary lad, had
reached the door of the castle, through which he was determined to
make good his entrance after the lad by any means.

But at that very instant it opened, and my gracious lord Duke
Johann Frederick stood before them. For it has been already
mentioned, that he left the chamber in which the family council
was held, by a small private door which led down to this portion
of the castle. Here he was looking about for his court-jester,
Clas Hinze, to bid him order the carriages to convey him and his
suite that very night to Freienwald, and by chance opened this
very door which led out to the shrubbery.

Seeing no one from the darkness, the Duke called out, "Is Clas
there?" to which Appelmann answered, "Yes, my lord" (for he had
recognised the Duke by his voice), and at the same time he
retreated a few steps into the shrubbery, hoping the Duke would
follow him.

But the Duke called out again, "Where art thou, Clas?" "Here!"
responded Appelmann, retreating still further. Whereupon the
boundary lad whispered, "That is not him!" His Grace, however,
heard the whisper, and called out angrily, while he advanced from
the door, "What meanest thou, knave? It is I who call! Art thou
drunk, fool? If so, thou must have a bucket of water on thy head,
for we ride away this night."

So speaking, his Highness went on still further into the
shrubbery, upon which my knave makes a spring at his throat and
hurls him to the ground, while he gives a loud, shrill whistle
through the fingers of his other hand. Now the boundary lad
screamed in earnest; but Sidonia threatened him, and bade him hold
his tongue, and run for the other fellows, and not mind them. But
she screamed yet louder herself, when a powerful arm seized her
round the waist, and she found herself in the grasp of Marcus
Bork.

Appelmann, who had stuffed his kerchief into the Duke's mouth to
stifle his cries, and placed one knee upon his breast, now sprang
up in terror at her scream, while at the same instant the bells
rang, the cannon was fired, and all the court was filled with
people shouting, "Murder! murder!" So he let go his hold of the
Duke, and without waiting to release Sidonia, darted down the
shrubbery, reached the bridge, and finding it raised, plunged into
the water, and swam to the other side.

And here we see the hand of the all-merciful God; for had the
bridge been down, the band would have rushed over at their
captain's whistle, and then, methinks, there would have been a sad
end to the whole princely race, for, as I have said, half the
guests were drunk and half were snoring, so that but for Marcus
this evil and accursed woman would have destroyed them all, as she
had sworn. True, they were destroyed by her at last, but not until
God gave them over to destruction, in consequence of their sins,
no doubt, and of the wickedness of the land.

_Summa_.--When my gracious lord felt himself free, he sprang
up, crying, "Help! help!" and ran as quick as he could back into
the castle. Marcus Bork followed with Sidonia, who drew a knife to
stab him, but he saw the glitter of the blade by the light of the
lanterns (for one can easily imagine that the bells and the cannon
had brought all the snorers to their legs), and giving her a blow
upon the arm that made her drop the knife, dragged her through the
little door, after the Duke, as fast as he was able.

So the whole princely party stood there, and great and small
shouted when the upright Marcus appeared, holding Sidonia firmly
by the back, while she writhed and twisted, and kicked him with
her heels till the sweat poured down his face.

But when old Ulrich beheld her, he exclaimed, "Seven thousand
devils!--do my eyes deceive me, or is this Sidonia again?" Her
Grace, too, turned pale, and all were horrified at seeing the evil
one, for they knew her wickedness.

Then Marcus must relate the whole story, and how he came to bring
to nought the counsel of the devil.

And when Duke Johann heard the whole extent of the danger from
which he had been saved, he fell upon the neck of the loyal
Marcus, and, pressing him to his heart, exclaimed, "Well-beloved
Marcus, and dear friend, thou hast saved my brother of Wolgast in
the Stettin forest, so hast thou saved me this night, therefore
accept knighthood from my hands; and I make thee governor of my
fortress of Saatzig."

To which the other answered, "He thanked his Grace heartily for
the honours; but he had already promised to remain in the service
of his princely brother of Wolgast; and for that object had made
purchase of the lands of Crienke."

But his Highness would hear of no refusal. Only let him look at
Saatzig; it was the finest fortress in the land. What would he do
in a miserable fishing village? The castle was almost grander than
his own ducal house at Stettin; and the knights' hall, with its
stone pillars and carved capitals, was the most stately work of
architecture in the kingdom. Where would he find such a dwelling
in his village nest? Old Kleist, the governor, had just died, and
to whom could he give the castle sooner than to his right worthy
and loyal Marcus?

When old Dewitz heard this (he was a little, dry old man, with
long grey hair), he pressed forward to his son-in-law, and bade
him by no means refuse a Prince's offer; besides, Saatzig was but
two miles off, and they could see each other every Sunday. Also,
if they had a hunt, a standard erected on the tower of one castle
could be seen plainly from the tower of the other, and so they
could lead a right pleasant, neighbourly life, almost as if they
all lived together.

Still Marcus will not consent. Upon which his mother-in-law can no
longer suppress her feelings, and comes forward to entreat him.
(She was a good, pious matron, and as fat as her husband was
thin.) So she stroked his cheeks--"And where in the land, as far
as Usdom, could he find such fine muranes and maranes [Footnote:
The great marana weighs from ten to twelve pounds, and is a
species of salmon-trout. The murana is of the same race, but not
larger than the herring. It must not be confounded with the
_murana_ of which the Romans were so fond, which was a
species of eel.]--this fish he loved so much?--and where was such
fine flax to be had, for his young wife to spin?--no flax in the
land equalled that of Saatzig!--since ever she was a little girl,
people talked of the fine Saatzig flax. Let her dear daughter
Clara come over, and see could she prevail aught with her stern
husband. Why, they could send pudding hot to each other, the
castles were so near."

And now the mild young bride approached her husband, and taking
his hand gently, looked up into his eyes with soft, beseeching
glances, but spake no word; so that the princely widow of Wolgast
was moved, and said, "Good Marcus, if you only fear to offend my
son of Wolgast by taking service at Saatzig, be composed on that
head, for I myself will make your peace. Great, indeed, would be
my joy to have you and your young spouse settled at Crienke,
which, you know, is but half a mile from Pudgla, my dower-castle,
where I mean to reside; yet these beseeching glances of my little
Clara fill my heart with compassion, for do I not read in her
clear eyes that she would love to stay near her dear parents, as
indeed is natural? Therefore, in God's name accept the offer of
your Prince. I myself command you."

Hereupon Marcus inclined himself gracefully to the Duchess and
Duke Johann, and pressed his little wife to his heart. "But what
need, gracious Prince, of a governor at Saatzig, when all the
courts are closed and no justice can be done? I shall eat my bread
in idleness, like a worn-out hound. But, marry, if your Grace
consents to open the courts, I will accept your offer with thanks,
and do my duty as governor with all justice and fidelity." Then
his Grace answered, "What! good Marcus, dost thou begin again on
that old theme which roused my wrath so lately, and made me fall
into that peril? But I bethink me of thy bravery, and will say no
bitter word; only, thou mayest hold thy peace, for I have sworn by
my princely honour, and from that there is no retreating. However,
thou hast leave to hold jurisdiction in thy own government, and
execute justice according to thy own upright judgment."

So Marcus was silent; but the Duchess and the other princes took
up the subject, and assailed his Highness with earnest
petitions--"Had he not himself felt and seen the danger of
permitting these freebooters to get such a head in the land? Had
not the finger of God warned him this very night, in hopes of
turning him back to the right path? Let him reflect, for the peace
of his land was at stake." But all in vain. Even though old Ulrich
tumbled into the argument with his seven thousand devils, yet
could they obtain no other answer from his Highness but--"If the
states give me gold, I shall open the courts; if they give no
gold, the courts shall remain closed for ever. Were he to be
brought before the Emperor, or Pontius Pilate himself, it was all
alike; they might tear him in pieces, but not one nail's breadth
of his princely word would he retreat from, or break it like a
woman, for their prayers."

Then he rose, and calling his fool Clas to him, bid him run to the
old priest, and tell him he would sleep at his quarters that
night, for he must have peace; but the merry Clas, as he was
running out, got behind his Highness, and stuck his fool's cap
upon the head of his Grace, crying out, "Here, keep my cap for
me."

However, his Highness did not relish the joke, for every one
laughed; and he ran after the fool, trying to catch him, and
threatening to have his head cut off; but Clas got behind the
others, and clapping his hands, cried out, "You can't, for the
courts are closed. Huzza! the courts are closed!" Whereupon he
runs out at the door, and my gracious lord after him, with the
fool's cap upon his head. Nor did he return again to the hall, but
went to sleep at the priest's quarters, as he had said; and next
morning, by the first dawn of day, set off on his journey
homeward.

All this while no one had troubled himself about Sidonia. My
gracious lady wept, the young lords laughed, old Ulrich swore,
whilst the good Marcus murmured softly to his young wife, "Be
happy, Clara; for thy sake I shall consent to go to Saatzig. I
have decided."

This filled her with such joy that she danced, and smiled, and
flung herself into her mother's arms; nothing was wanting now to
her happiness! Just then her eyes rested upon Sidonia, who was
leaning against the wall, as pale as a corpse. Clara grew quite
calm in a moment, and asked, compassionately, "What aileth thee,
poor Sidonia?"

"_I am hungry!_" was the answer. At this the gentle bride was
so shocked, that the tears filled her eyes, and she exclaimed,
"Wait, thou shalt partake of my wedding-feast;" and away went she.

The attention of the others was, by this time, also directed to
Sidonia. And old Ulrich said, "Compose yourself, gracious lady; I
trust your son, the Prince, will not be so hard and stern as he
promises; now that the water has touched his own neck, methinks he
will soon come to reason. But what shall we do now with Sidonia?"

Upon which my Lady of Wolgast turned to her, and asked if she were
yet wedded to her gallows-bird? "Not yet," was the answer; "but
she would soon be." Then my gracious lady spat out at her; and,
addressing Ulrich, asked what he would advise.

So the stout old knight said, "If the matter were left to him, he
would just send for the executioner, and have her ears and nose
slit, as a warning and example, for no good could ever come of her
now, and then pack her off next day to her farm at Zachow; for if
they let her loose, she would run to her paramour again, and come
at last to gallows and wheel; but if they just slit her nose, then
he would hold her in abhorrence, as well as all other men-folk."

During this, Clara had entered, and set fish, and wild boar, and
meat, and bread, before the girl; and as she heard Ulrich's last
words, she bent down and whispered, "Fear nothing, Sidonia, I hope
to be able to protect thee, as I did once before; only eat,
Sidonia! Ah! hadst thou followed my advice! I always meant well by
thee; and even now, if I thought thou wouldst repent truly, poor
Sidonia, I would take thee with me to the castle of Saatzig, and
never let thee want for aught through life."

When Sidonia heard this, she wept, and promised amendment. Only
let Clara try her, for she could never go to Zachow and play the
peasant-girl. Upon which Clara turned to her Highness, and prayed
her Grace to give Sidonia up to her. See how she was weeping;
misfortune truly had softened her, and she would soon be brought
back to God. Only let her take her to Saatzig, and treat her as a
sister. At this, however, old Ulrich shook his head--"Clara,
Clara," he exclaimed, "knowest thou not that the Moor cannot
change his skin, nor the leopard his spots? I cannot, then, let
the serpent go. Think on our mother, girl; it is a bad work
playing with serpents."

Her Grace, too, became thoughtful, and said at last--

"Could we not send her to the convent at Marienfliess, or
somewhere else?"

"What the devil would she do in a convent?" exclaimed the old
knight. "To infect the young maidens with her vices, or plague
them with her pride? Now, there was nothing else for her but to be
packed off to Zachow."

Now Clara looked up once again at her husband with her soft,
tearful eyes, for he had said no word all this time, but remained
quite mute; and he drew her to him, and said--

"I understand thy wish, dear Clara, but the old knight is right.
It is a dangerous business, dear Clara! Let Sidonia go."

At this Sidonia crawled forth like a serpent from her corner, and
howled--

"Clara had pity on her, but he would turn her out to starve--he,
who bore her own name, and was of her own blood."

Alas! the good knight was ashamed to refuse any longer, and
finally promised the evil one that she should go with them to
Saatzig. So her Grace at last consented, but old Ulrich shook his
grey head ten times more.

"He had lived many years in the world, but never had it come to
his knowledge that a godless man was tamed by love. Fear was the
only teacher for them. All their love would be thrown away on this
harlot; for even if the stout Marcus kept her tight with bit and
rein, and tried to bring her back by fear, yet the moment his back
was turned, Clara would spoil all again by love and kindness."

However, nobody minded the good knight, though it all came to pass
just as he had prophesied.



CHAPTER XV.

_How Sidonia demeans herself at the castle of Saatzig, and how
Clara forgets the injunctions of her beloved husband, when he
leaves her to attend the Diet at Wollin, on the subject of the
courts--Item, how the Serene Prince Duke Johann Frederick beheads
his court fool with a sausage._


Summa.--Sidonia went to the castle of Saatzig, and her worthy
cousin Marcus gave her a little chamber to herself, in the third
story, close to the tower. It was the same room in which she
afterwards sat as a witch, for some days ere she was taken to
Oderburg. There was a right cheerful view from the windows down
upon the lake, which was close to the castle, and over the little
town of Jacobshagen, as far even as the meadows beyond. Here, too,
was left a Bible for her, and the _Opera Lutheri_ in
addition, with plenty of materials for spinning and embroidery,
for she had refused to weave. _Item_, a serving-wench was
appointed to attend on her, and she had permission to walk where
she pleased within the castle walls; but if ever seen beyond the
domain, the keepers had orders to bring her back by force, if she
would not return willingly.

In fine, the careful knight took every precaution possible to
render her presence as little baneful as could be, for, truth to
say, he had no faith whatever in her tears and seeming repentance.

First, he strictly forbade all his secretaries to interchange a
word with her, or even look at her. They need not know his reason,
but any one who transgressed his slightest command in this
particular, should be chased away instantly from the castle.

Secondly, he prayed his dear wife to let Sidonia eat her meals
alone, in her own little room, and never to see her but in the
presence of a third person.

Also, never to accept the slightest gift from her hand--fruit,
flower, or any kind of food whatsoever. These injunctions were the
more necessary, as the young bride had already given hopes of an
heir. Sidonia's rage and jealousy at this prospect of complete
happiness for Clara may be divined from her words to her maid,
Lene Penkun, a short time after she reached the castle--

"Ha! they are talking of the baptism already, forsooth; but it
might have been otherwise if I had come across her a little
sooner!"

This same maid also she sent to Daber for the spirit Chim, which
had been left behind at the last resting-place of the robbers,
never telling her it was a spirit, however, only a tame cat, that
was a great pet of hers. "It must be half dead with hunger now,
for it was four days since she had left it in the hollow of an old
oak in the forest, the poor creature! So let the maid take a flask
of sweet milk and a little saucer to feed it. She could not miss
her way, for, when she stepped out of the high-road at Daber into
the forest, there was a thorn-bush to her left hand, and just
beyond it a large oak where the ravens had their nests; in a
hollow of this oak, to the north side, lay her dear little cat.
But she must not tell any one about the matter, or they would
laugh at her for sending her maid two miles and more to look for a
cat. Men had no compassion or tenderheartedness nowadays to each
other, much less to a poor dumb animal. No; just let her say that
she went to fetch a robe which her mistress had left in the oak.
Here was an old gown; take this with her, and it would do to wrap
up the poor little pussy in it after she had fed it and warmed it,
so that no one might see it, for what a mock would all these
pitiless men make of her, if they heard the object of her message;
but she was not cruel like them."

Now, after some time, it happened that the states of the duchy
assembled at Wollin, to come to some arrangement with his Highness
respecting the opening of the courts of justice; and Marcus Bork,
along with all the other nobles, was summoned to attend the Diet.
So, with great grief, he had to leave his dear wife, but promised,
if possible, to return before she was taken with her illness. Then
he bid her be of good courage, and, above all things, to guard
herself, against Sidonia, and mind strictly all his injunctions
concerning her.

Alas! she too soon flung them all to the winds! For, behold,
scarcely had the good knight arrived at Wollin, when Clara was
delivered of a little son, at which great joy filled the whole
castle. And one messenger was despatched to Marcus, and another to
old Dewitz and his wife, with the tidings; but woe, alas! the good
old mother was going to stand sponsor for a nobleman's child in
the neighbourhood, and could not hasten then to save her dear
daughter from a terrible and cruel death. She cooked some broth,
however, for the young mother, and pouring it into a silver flask,
bid the messenger ride back with all speed to Saatzig, that it
might not be too cold. She herself would be over in the morning
early with her husband, and let her dear little daughter keep
herself warm and quiet.

Meanwhile Sidonia had heard of the birth, and sent her maid to
wish the young mother joy, and ask her permission just to give one
little kiss to her new cousin, for they told her he was a
beautiful infant.

Alas, alas! that Clara's joy should make her forget the judicious
cautions of her husband! Permission was given to the murderess,
and down she comes directly to offer her congratulations; even
affecting to weep for joy as she kissed the infant, and praying to
be allowed to act as nurse until her mother came from Daber.

"Why, she had no one about her but common serving-women! How could
she leave her dearest friend to the care of these old hags, when
she was in the castle, who owed everything to her dear Clara?"

And so she went on till poor Clara, even if she did not quite
believe her, felt ashamed to doubt so much apparent affection and
tenderness.

_Summa_.--She permitted her to remain, and we shall soon see
what murderous deeds Sidonia was planning against the poor young
mother. But first I must relate what happened at the Diet of
Wollin, to which Marcus Bork had been summoned.

His Highness Duke Johann had become somewhat more gracious to the
states since they had come to the Diet at their own cost, which
was out of the usage; and further, because, as old Ulrich
prophesied, he himself had felt the inconveniences resulting from
the present lawless state of the country.

Still he was ill-tempered enough, particularly as he had a fever
on him; and when the states promised at last that they would let
him have the money, he said, "So far good; but, till he saw the
gold, the courts should not be opened. Not that he misdoubted
them, but then he knew that they were sometimes as tedious in
handing out money as a peasant in paying his rent. The courts,
therefore, should not be opened until he had the gold in his pot,
so it would be to their own profit to use as much diligence as
possible." At this same Diet his Grace related how he first met
Clas, his fool, which story I shall set down here for the reader's
pastime.

This same fool had been nothing but a poor goose-herd; and one day
as he was on the road to Friedrichswald with his flock, my
gracious lord rode up, and growing impatient at the geese running
hither and thither in his path, bid the boy collect them together,
or he would strike them all dead.

Upon which the knave took up goose after goose by the throat, and
stuck them by their long necks into his girdle, till a circle of
geese hung entirely round his body, all dangling by the head from
his waist.

This merry device pleased my lord so much, that he made the lad
court-jester from that day, and many a droll trick he had played
from that to this, particularly when his Highness was gloomy, so
as to make him laugh again. Once, for instance, when the Duke was
sore pressed for money, by reason of the opposition of the states,
he became very sad, and all the doctors were consulted, but could
do nothing. For unless his Grace could be brought to laugh (they
said to the Lady Erdmuth), it was all over with him. Then my
gracious lady had the fool whipped for a stupid jester, who could
not drive his trade; for if he did not make the Duke laugh, why
should he stay at all in the castle?

What did my fool? He collected all the princely soldatesca, and
got leave from their Graces to review them; and surely never were
seen such strange evolutions as he put them through, for they must
do everything he bid them. And when his Highness came forth to
look, he laughed so loud as never had fool made him laugh before;
and calling the Duchess, bid him repeat his _experimentum_
many times for her. In fine, the fool got the good town of
Butterdorf for his fee, which changed its name in honour of him,
and is called Hinzendorf to this day (for his name was Hinze).

But Clas Hinze had not been able to cure my Lord Duke of his
fever, which attacked him at the Diet at Wollin, nor all the
doctors from Stettin, nor even Doctor Pomius, who had been sent
from Wolgast by the old Duchess, to attend her dear son; and as
the doctor (as I have said) was a formal, priggish little man, he
and the fool were always bickering and snarling.

Now, one day at Wollin, the weather being beautiful, his Grace,
with several of the chief prelates, and many of the nobility, went
forth to walk by the river's side, and the fool ran along with
them; _item_, Doctor Pomius, who, if he could not run, at
least tried to walk majestically; and he munched a piece of sugar
all the time, for he never could keep his mouth still a moment.
Seeing his Grace now about to cross the bridge, the doctor started
forward with as much haste as was consistent with his dignity, and
seizing his Highness by the tail of the coat, drew him back,
declaring, "That he must not pass the water; all water would give
strength to the fever-devil." But his Highness, who was talking
Latin to the Deacon of Colberg, turned on the doctor with--"Apage
te asine!" and strode forward, whilst one of the nobles gave a
free translation aloud for the benefit of the others, saying, "And
that means: Begone, thou ass!"

When the fool heard this, he clapped the little man on the back,
shouting, "Well done, ass! and there is thy fee for curing our
gracious Prince of his fever."

This so nettled the doctor that he spat out the lump of sugar for
rage, and tried to seize the fool; but the crowd laughed still
louder when Clas jumped on the back of an old woman, giving her
the spur with his yellow boots in the side, and shaking his head
with the cap and bells at the little doctor in mockery, who could
not get near him for the crowd. So the woman screamed and roared,
and the people laughed, till at last the Duke stopped in the
middle of the bridge to see what was the matter. When the fool
observed this, he sprang off the old woman's back, and calling out
to the doctor--"See how I cure our gracious lord's fever," ran
upon the bridge like wind, and, seizing the Duke with all his
force, jumped with him into the water.

Now the people screamed from horror, as much as before from mirth,
and thirty or forty burghers, along with Marcus Bork, plunged in
to rescue his Highness, whilst others tried to seize the fool,
threatening to tear him in pieces. This was a joyful hearing to
Doctor Pomius. He drew forth his knife--"Would they not finish the
knave at once? Here was a knife just ready."

But the fool, who was strong and supple, swung himself up to the
bridge, and crouched in between the arches, catching hold of the
beams, so that no one dared to touch him there, and his Highness
was soon carried to land. He was in a flaming rage as he shook off
the water.

"Where is that accursed fool? He had only threatened to cut off
his head at Daber, but now it should be done in earnest."

So the fool shouted from under the bridge--"Ho! ho! the courts are
all closed! the courts are all closed!" At which the crowd laughed
so heartily, that my Lord Duke grew still more angry, and
commanded them to bring the fool to him dead or alive.

Hearing this, the fool crept forward of himself, and whimpered in
his Low Dutch, "My good Lord Duke, praise be to God that we've
made the doctor fly. I'll give him a little piece of drink-money
for his journey, and then I'll be your doctor myself. For if the
fright has not cured you, marry, let the deacon be your fool, and
I will be your deacon as long as I live."

However, my gracious lord was in no humour for fun, but bid them
carry off the fool to prison, and lock him up there; for though,
indeed, the fever had really quite gone, as his Highness perceived
to his joy, yet he was resolved to give the fool a right good
fright in return.

Therefore, on the third day from that, he commanded him to be
brought out and beheaded on the scaffold at Wollin. He wore a
white shroud, bordered with black gauze, over his motley jacket,
and a priest and melancholy music accompanied him all the way; but
Master Hansen had directions that, when the fool was seated in the
chair with his eyes bound, he should strike the said fool on the
neck with a sausage in place of the sword.

However, no one suspected this, and a great crowd followed the
poor fool up to the scaffold; even Doctor Pomius was there, and
kept close up to the condemned. As the fool passed the ducal
house, there was my lord seated at a window looking out, and the
fool looked up, saying, "My gracious master, is this a fool's jest
you are playing me, or is it earnest?"

To which the Duke answered, "You see it is earnest."

Then answered the fool, "Well, if I must, I must; yet I crave one
boon!"

When the promise was granted, the knave, who could not give up his
jesting even on the death-road, said, "Then make Doctor Pomius
herewith to be fool in my place, for look how he is learning all
my tricks from me--sticking himself close up to my side."

Hereat a great shout of laughter pealed from the crowd, and the
Duke motioned with the hand to proceed to the scaffold.

Still the poor fool kept looking round every moment, thinking his
Grace would send a message after them to stop the execution, but
no one appeared. Then his teeth chattered, and he trembled like an
aspen leaf; for Master Hansen seized hold of him now, and put him
down upon the chair, and bound his eyes. Still he asked, with his
eyes bound, "Master, is any one coming?"

"No!" replied the executioner; and throwing back his red cloak,
drew forth a large sausage in place of a sword, to the great
amusement of the people. With this he strikes my fool on the neck,
who thereupon tumbles down from the stool, as stone dead from the
mere fright as if his head and body had parted company--yea, more
dead, for never a finger or a muscle did the poor fool move more.

This sad ending moved his Grace even to tears; and he fell into a
yet greater melancholy than before, crying, "Woe! alas! He gave me
my life through fright, and through fright I have taken away his
poor life! Ah, never shall I meet with so good and merry a fool
again!"

Then he gave command to all the physicians to try and restore him,
and he himself stood by while they bled him and felt his pulse,
but all was in vain; even Doctor Pomius tried his skill, but
nothing would help, so that my lord cried out angrily--

"Marry, the fool was right. The fools should be doctors, for the
doctors are all fools. Away with ye all, and your gibberish, to
the devil!"

After this he had the said fool placed in a handsome black coffin,
and conveyed to his own town of Hinzendorf, there to be buried;
and over his grave my lord erected a stately monument, on which
was represented the poor fool, as large as life, with his cap and
bells, and staff in his hand; and round his waist was a girdle,
from which many geese dangled, all cut like life, while at his
side lay his shepherd's bag, and at his feet a beer-can. The
figure is five feet two inches long, and bears a Latin inscription
above it, which I forget; but the initials G. H. are carved upon
each cheek. [Footnote: His original name was Gürgen Hinze, not
Clas. The Latin inscription is nearly effaced, but the beginning
is still visible, and runs thus: "Caput ecce manus gestus que;"
from which Oelrichs concludes that the whole was written in
hexameters. (See his estimable work, "Memoirs of the Pomeranian
Dukes," p. 41.)]

Shortly after the death of the fool a messenger arrived from
Saatzig to Marcus Bork, bringing him the joyful tidings that the
Lord God had granted him the blessing of a little son. So he is
away to my Lord Duke, to solicit permission to leave the Diet and
return to his castle. This the Duke readily granted, seeing that
he himself was going away to attend the funeral of the poor fool
at Hinzendorf. Then he wished Marcus joy with all his heart, which
so emboldened the knight that he ventured to make one more effort
about the opening of the courts, praying his Grace to put faith in
the word of his faithful states, and open the courts and the
treasury without further delay.

But his Grace is wroth: "What should he be troubled for? The
states could give the money when they chose, and then all would be
right. Let the nobles do their duty. He never saw a penny come out
of their pockets for their Prince."

"But his Highness knew the poor peasants were all beggared; and
where could the nobles get the money?"

"Let them go to their saving-pots, then, where the money was
turning green from age; better for them if they had less avarice.
Why did not he himself bring him some gold, in place of dressing
up his wife in silks and jewels, finer than the Princess Erdmuth
herself, his own princely spouse? Then, indeed, the courts might
be soon opened," &c. So the sorrowing knight took his leave, and
each went his different way.



CHAPTER XVI.

_How Sidonia makes poor Clara appear quite dead, and of the
great mourning at Saatzig over her burial, while Sidonia dances on
her coffin and sings the 109th psalm--Item, of the sermon and the
anathema pronounced upon a wicked sinner from the altar of the
church._


I must first state that this horrible wickedness of Sidonia, which
no eye had seen nor ear heard, neither had it entered into the
heart of man to conceive (for only in hell could such have been
imagined), never would have come to light but that she herself
made confession thereof to Dr. Cramero, thy well-beloved
godfather, in her last trial. And he, to show how far Satan can
lead a poor human creature who has once fallen from God, related
the same to my worthy father-in-law, Master David Reutzio, some
time superintendent at the criminal court, from whose own lips I
received the story.

And this was her confession:--That when the messenger returned
from Daber with the broth, he had ridden so fast that it was
still, in truth, quite hot, but she (the horrible Sidonia), who
was standing at the bed of the young mother, along with the other
women, pretended that it was too cold for a woman in her state,
and must just get one little heating on the fire.

The poor Clara, indeed, showed unwillingness to permit this, but
she ran down with it, and secretly, without being seen by any of
the other women, poured in a philtrum that had been given her by
the gipsy hag, and then went back again for a moment. This
philtrum was the one which produced all the appearance of death.
It had no taste, except, perhaps, that it was a little saltish.
Therefore Clara perceived nothing wrong, only when she tasted it,
said, "My heart's dearest mother, in her joy, has put a little too
much salt into her broth; still, what a heart's dearest mother
sends, must always taste good!" However, in one hour after that,
Clara lay as stiff and cold as a corpse, only her breath came a
little; but even this ceased in a short time, and then a great cry
and lamentation resounded through the whole castle. No one
suspected Sidonia, for many said that young women died so often;
but even the old mother, who arrived a few hours after, and
hearing the cries from the castle while she was yet far off, began
to weep likewise; for her mother's heart revealed the cause to her
ere she had yet descended from the carriage.

But it was a sadder sight next evening, when the husband arrived
at the castle from Wollin. He could not take his eyes from the
corpse. One while he kissed the infant, then fixed his eyes again
upon his dead wife, and sighed and groaned as if he lay upon the
rack. He alone suspected Sidonia, but when she cried more than
they all, and wrung her hands, exclaiming, who would have pity on
her now, for her best friend lay there dead! and flung herself
upon the seeming corpse, kissing it and bedewing it with her
tears, and praying to have leave to watch all night beside it, for
how could she sleep in her sore grief and sorrow? the knight was
ashamed of his suspicions, and even tried to comfort her himself.

Then came the physicians out of Stargard and other places, who had
been summoned in all haste, and they gabbled away, saying, "It
could not have been the broth, but puerperal fever." This at least
was Dr. Hamster's opinion, who knew all along it would be a bad
case. Indeed, the last time he was at the castle visiting the
mower's wife, he was frightened at the look of the poor lady.
Still, if they had only sent for him in time, this great evil
could not have happened, for his _pulvis antispasmodicus_ was
never known to fail; and so he went on chattering, by which one
can see that doctors have always been the same from that time even
till now.

_Summa_.--On the third day the poor Clara was laid in her
coffin, and carried to her grave, with such weeping and
lamentation of the mourners and bearers as never had been heard
till then. And all the nobles of the vicinage, with the knights
and gentlemen, came to attend her funeral at Saatzig Cathedral,
for she was to be buried in this new church just finished by his
Grace Duke Johann, and but one corpse had been laid in the vaults
before her. [Footnote: The beautifully painted escutcheon of Duke
Johann and his wife, Erdmuth of Brandenburg, is still to be seen
on the chancel windows of this stately staircase.]

But what does the devil's sorceress do now? She knew that the poor
Clara would awake the next day (which was Sunday) about noon, and
if any should hear her cries, her plans would be detected.
Therefore, about ten of the clock she ran to Marcus, with her hair
all flowing down her shoulders, saying, that he must let her away
that very day to Zachow, for what would the world say if she, a
young unmarried thing, should remain here all alone with him in
his castle? No; sooner would she swallow the bitter cup her father
had left her than peril her name. But first, would he allow her to
go and pray alone in the church? Surely he would not deny her
this.

Thereupon the simple knight gave her instant leave--"Let her go
and pray, in God's name. He himself would soon be there to hear
the Reverend Dr. Wudargensis preach the funeral sermon over his
heart's dear wife. And after service he would desire a carriage to
be in readiness to convey her to Zachow."

Then he called to the warder from the window, bidding him let
Sidonia pass. So she went forth in deep mourning garments, glided
through the castle gardens, and concealing herself by the trees,
slipped into the church without any one having perceived her; for
the sexton had left the door open to admit fresh air, on account
of the corpse. Then she stepped over to the little grated door
near the altar, which led down into the vault, and softly lifting
it, stepped down, drawing the door down again close over her head.
Clara's coffin was lying beneath, and first she laid her ear on it
and listened, but all was quite still within. Then removing the
pall, she sat herself down upon the lid. Time passed, and still no
sound. The sexton began to ring the bell, and the people were
assembling in the church above. Soon the hymn commenced, "Now in
peace the loved one sleepeth," and ere the first verse had ended,
a knocking was heard in the coffin, then a cry--"Where am I? What
brought me here? Let me out, for God's sake let me out! I am not
dead. Where is my child? Where is my good Marcus? Ah! there is
some one near me. Who is it? Let me out! let me out!" Then (oh!
horror of horrors!) the devil's harlot on her coffin answered, "It
is I, Sidonia! this pays thee for acting the spy at Wolgast. Lie
there and writhe till thou art stifled in thy blood!" Now the
voice came again from the coffin, praying and beseeching, so that
many times it went through her stony heart like a sword. And just
then the first verse of the hymn ended, and the voice of the
priest was heard asking the lord governor whether they should go
and sing the remainder over the vault of his dear spouse, for it
was indeed sung in her honour, seeing she had been ever a mother
to the orphan, and a holy, pious, and Christian wife; or, since
the people all knew her worth, and mourned for her with bitter
mourning, should they sing it here in the nave, that the whole
congregation might join in chorus? [Footnote: These interruptions
were by no means unusual at that period.]

To this the governor, in a loud yet mournful voice, gave answer--

"Alas, good friends, do what you will in this sad case; I am
content."

But Sidonia, this devil's witch, was in a horrible fright, lest
the priest would come up to the altar to sing the hymn, and so
hear the knocking within the coffin. However, the devil protects
his own, for, at that instant, many voices called out--

"Let the hymn be sung here, that we may all join to the honour of
the blessed soul of the good lady."

And mournfully the second verse was heard pealing through the
church, from the lips of the whole congregation, so that poor
Clara's groans were quite smothered. For, when the voice of her
dear husband reached her ear, she had knocked and cried out with
all her strength--

"Marcus! Marcus! Alas, dear Lord, will you not come to me!" Then
again--"Sidonia, by the Jesu cross, I pray thee have pity on me.
Save me--save me--I am stifling. Oh, run for some one, if thou
canst not lift the lid thyself!"

But the devil made answer to the poor living corpse--

"Dost thou take me for a silly fool like thyself, that I should
now undo all I have done?"

And as the voice went on from the coffin, but feebler and
fainter--

"Think on my husband--on my child, Sidonia!"

She answered--

"Didst thou think of that when, but for thee, I might have been a
Duchess of Pomerania, and the proud mother of a prince, in place
of being as I now am."

Then all became still within the coffin, and Sidonia sprang upon
it and danced, chanting the 109th psalm; [Footnote: Superstition
has found many sinful usages for this psalm. The Jews, for
example, took a new vessel, poured a mixture of mustard and water
therein, and after repeating this psalm over it for three
consecutive days, poured it out before the door of their enemy, as
a certain means to ensure his destruction. In the middle ages
monks and nuns were frequently obliged to repeat it in
superstitious ceremonies, at the command of some powerful
revengeful man. And that its efficacy was Considered as something
miraculously powerful, even by the evangelical Church, is proved
by this example of Sidonia, who made frequent use of this terrible
psalm in her sorceries, as any one may see by referring to the
records of the trial in Dähnert. And other interesting examples
are found in the treatise of Job. Andreas Schmidii, _Abusus
Psalmi 109 imprecatorii_; vulgo, _The Death Prayer_,
Helmstadt, 1708.] and as she came to the words, "Let none show
mercy to him; let none have pity on his orphans; let his posterity
be cut off and his name be blotted out," there was a loud knocking
again within the coffin, and a faint, stifled cry--"I am dying!"
then followed a gurgling sound, and all became still. At that
moment the congregation above raised the last verse of the hymn:--

  "In the grave, with bitter weeping,
    Loving hands have laid her down;
  There she resteth, calmly sleeping,
    Till an angel lifts the stone."

But the sermon which now followed she remembered her life long. It
was on the tears, the soft tears of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ. And as her spirit became oppressed by the silence in the
vault, now that all was still within the coffin, she lifted the
lid after the exordium, to see if Clara were indeed quite dead.

It was an easy matter to remove the cover, for the screws were not
fastened; but--O God! what has she beheld? A sight that will never
more leave her brain! The poor corpse lay all torn and disfigured
from the writhings in the coffin, and a blood-vessel must have
burst at last to relieve her from her agony, for the blood lay yet
warm on the hands as she lifted the cover. But more horrible than
all were the fixed glassy eyes of the corpse, staring immovably
upon her, from which clear tears were yet flowing, and blending
with the blood upon the cheek; and, as if the priest above had
known what was passing beneath, he exclaimed--

"Oh, let us moisten our couch with tears; let tears be our meat
day and night. They are noble tears that do not fall to earth, but
ascend up to God's throne. Yea, the Lord gathers them in His
vials, like costly wine. They are noble tears, for if they fill
the eyes of God's chosen in this life, yet, in that other world,
the Lord Jesus will wipe away tears from off all faces, as the dew
is dried by the morning sun. Oh, wondrous beauty of those eyes
which are dried by the Lord Jesus! Oh, blessed eyes! Oh, sun-clear
eyes! Oh, joyful and ever-smiling eyes!"

She heard no more, but felt the eyes of the corpse were upon her,
and fell down like one dead beside the coffin; and Clara's eyes
and the sermon never left her brain from that day, and often have
they risen before her in dreams.

But the Holy Spirit had yet a greater torment in store for her, if
that were possible.

For, after the sermon, a consistorium was held in the church upon
a grievous sinner named Trina Wolken, who, it appeared, had many
times done penance for her unchaste life, but had in no wise
amended. And she heard the priest asking, "Who accuseth this
woman?" To which, after a short silence, a deep, small voice
responded--

"I accuse her; for I detected her in sin, and though I besought
her with Christian words to turn from her evil ways, and that I
would save her from public shame if she would so turn, yet she
gave herself up wholly to the devil, and out of revenge bewitched
my best sheep, so that it died the very day after it had brought
forth a lamb. Alas! what will become of the poor lamb? And it was
such a beautiful little lamb!"

When Marcus Bork heard this, he began to sob aloud; and each word
seemed to run like a sharp dagger through Sidonia's heart, so that
she bitterly repented her evil deeds. And all the congregation
broke out into loud weeping, and even the priest continued, in a
broken voice, to ask the sinner what she had to say to this
terrible accusation.

Upon which a woman's voice was heard swearing that all was a
malignant lie, for her accuser was a shameless liar and open
sinner, who wished to ruin her because she had refused his son.

Then the priest commanded the witnesses to be called, not only to
prove the unchastity, but also the witchcraft. And after this, she
was asked if she could make good the loss of the sheep? No; she
had no money. And the people testified also that the harlot had
nothing but her shame. Thereupon the priest rose up, and said--

"That she had long been notorious in the Christian communion for
her wicked life, and that all her penance and repentance having
proved but falsehood and deceit, he was commissioned by the
honourable consistorium to pronounce upon her the solemn curse and
sentence of excommunication. For she had this day been convicted
of strange and terrible crimes, on the testimony of competent
witnesses. Therefore he called upon the whole Christian
congregation to stand up and listen to the words of the anathema,
by which he gave over Trina Wolken to the devil, in the name of
the Almighty God."

And as he spoke the curse, it fell word by word upon the head of
Sidonia, as if he were indeed pronouncing it over herself--

"Dear Christian Friends,--Because Trina Wolken hath broken her
baptismal vows, and given herself over to the devil, to work all
uncleanness with greediness; and though divers times admonished to
repentance by the Church, yet hath stiffened her neck in
corruption, and hardened her heart in unrighteousness, therefore
we herewith place the said Trina Wolken under the ban of the
excommunication. Henceforth she is a thing accursed--cast off from
the communion of the Church, and participation in the holy
sacraments. Henceforth she is given up to Satan for this life and
the next, unless the blessed Saviour reach forth His hand to her
as He did to the sinking Peter, for all things are possible with
God. And this we do by the power of the keys granted by Christ to
His Church, to bind and loose on earth as in heaven, in the name
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

And now Sidonia heard distinctly the screams of the wretched
sinner, as she was hunted out of the church, and all the
congregation followed soon after, and then all was still above.

Now, indeed, terror took such hold of her that she trembled like
an aspen leaf, and the lid fell many times from her hand with
great clatter on the ground, as she tried to replace it on the
coffin. For she had closed her eyes, for fear of meeting the
ghastly stare of the corpse again. At last she got it up, and the
corpse was covered; but she would not stay to replace the screws,
only hastened out of the vault, closing the little grated door
after her, reached the church door, which had no lock, but only a
latch, and plunged into the castle gardens to hide herself amongst
the trees.

Here she remained crouched for some hours, trying to recover her
self-possession; and when she found that she could weep as well as
ever when it pleased her, she set off for the castle, and met her
cousin Marcus with loud weeping and lamentations, entreating him
to let her go that instant to Zachow. Eat and drink could she not
from grief, though she had eaten nothing the whole morning. So the
mournful knight, who had himself risen from the table without
eating, to hasten to his little motherless lamb, asked her where
she had passed the morning, for he had not seen her in the church?
To which she answered, that she had sunk down almost dead on the
altar-steps; and, as he seemed to doubt her, she repeated part of
the sermon, and spoke of the curse pronounced upon the girl, and
told how she had remained behind in the church, to weep and pray
alone. Upon which he exclaimed joyfully--

"Now, I thank God that my blessed spouse counselled me to take
thee home with us. Ah! I see that thou hast indeed repented of thy
sins. Go thy ways, then; and, with God's help, thou shalt never
want a true and faithful friend while I live."

He bid her also take all his blessed wife's wardrobe with her,
amongst which was a brocaded damask with citron flowers, which she
had only got a year before; _item_, her shoes and kerchiefs:
_summa_, all that she had worn, he wished never to see them
again. And so she went away in haste from the castle, after having
given a farewell kiss to the little motherless lamb. For though
the evil spirit Chim, which she carried under her mantle,
whispered to her to give the little bastard a squeeze that would
make him follow his mother, or to let him do so, she would not
consent, but pinched him for his advice till he squalled, though
Marcus certainly could not have heard him, for he was attending
Sidonia to the coach; but then the good knight was so absorbed in
grief that he had neither ears nor eyes for anything.



CHAPTER XVII.

_How Sidonia is chased by the wolves to Rehewinkel, and finds
Johann Appelmann again in the inn, with whom she goes away a
second time by night._


When Sidonia left Saatzig, the day was far advanced, so that the
good knight recommended her to stop at Daber that night with his
blessed wife's mourning parents, and, for this purpose, sent a
letter by her to them. Also he gave a fine one-year-old foal in
charge to the coachman, who tied it to the side of the carriage;
and Marcus bid him deliver it up safely to the pastor of
Rehewinkel, his good friend, for he had only been keeping the
young thing at grass for him, and the pastor now wished it
back--they must therefore go by Rehewinkel. So they drove away;
but many strange things happened by reason of this same foal; for
it was so restive and impatient at being tied, that many times
they had to stop and quiet it, lest the poor beast might get hurt
by the wheel.

This so delayed their journey, that evening came on before they
were out of the forest; and as the sun went down, the wolves began
to appear in every direction. Finally, a pack of ten or twelve
pursued the carriage; and though the coach-man whipped his horses
with might and main, still the wolves gained on them, and stared
up in their faces, licking their jaws with their red tongues. Some
even were daring enough to spring up behind the carriage, but
finding nothing but trunks, had to tumble down again.

This so terrified Sidonia that she screamed and shrieked, and,
drawing forth a knife, cut the cords that bound the foal, which
instantly galloped away, and the wolves after it. How the carl
drove now, thinking to get help in time to save the poor foal! but
not so. The poor beast, in its terror, galloped into the town of
Rehewinkel; and as the paddock is closed, it springs into the
churchyard, the wolves after it, and runs into the belfry-tower,
the door of which is lying open--the wolves rush in too, and there
they tear the poor animal to pieces, before the pastor could
collect peasants enough to try and save it.

Meanwhile Sidonia has reached the town likewise; and as there is a
great uproar, some of the peasants crowding into the churchyard,
others setting off full chase after the wolves, which had taken
the road to Freienwald, Sidonia did not choose to move on (for she
must have travelled that very road), but desired the coachman to
drive up to the inn; and as she entered, lo! there sat my knave,
with two companions, at a table, drinking. Up he jumps, and seizes
Sidonia to kiss her, but she pushed him away. "Let him not attempt
to come near her. She had done with such low fellows."

So the knave feigned great sorrow--"Alas! had she quite forgotten
him--and he treasured her memory so in his heart! Where had she
come from? He saw a great many trunks and bags on the carriage.
What had she in them?"

_Illa_.--"Ah! he would, no doubt, like to get hold of them;
but she would take care and inform the people what sort of robber
carls they had now in the house. She came from Saatzig, and was
going to Daber; for as old Dewitz had lost his daughter, he
intended to adopt her in the place of one. Therefore let him not
attempt to approach her, for she was now, more than ever, a castle
and land dowered maiden, and from such a low burgher carl as he
was, would cross and bless herself."

But my knave knew her well; so he answered--"Woe is me, Sidonia!
do not grieve me by such words; for know that I have given up my
old free courses of which you talk; and my father is so pleased
with my present mode of life, that he has promised to give me my
heritage, and even this very night I am to receive it at
Bruchhausen, and am on my way there, as you see. Truly I meant to
purchase some land in Poland with the money, and then search
throughout all places for you, that we might be wedded like pious
Christians. Alas! I thought to have sold your poor cabins at
Zachow, and brought you home to my castle in Poland; but for all
my love you only give me this proud answer!"

Now Sidonia scarcely believed the knave; so she called one of his
comrades aside, and asked him was it true, and where they came
from. Upon which he confirmed all that Johann had said--"The devil
had dispersed the whole band, so that only two were left with the
captain--himself and Konnemann; and they came from Nörenburg,
where the master had been striking a bargain with Elias von Wedel,
for a town in Poland. The town was called Lembrowo, and there was
a stately castle there, as grand almost as the castle of old
Dewitz at Daber. They were going this very night to Bruchhausen,
to get gold from the old stiff-neck of Stargard, so that the
bargain might be concluded next day."

This was a pleasant hearing for Sidonia. She became more friendly,
and said, "He could not blame her for doubting him, as he had
deceived her so often; still it was wonderful how her heart clung
to him through all. Where had he been so long? and what had
happened since they parted?"

Hereupon he answered, "That he could not speak while the people
were all going to and fro in the inn; but if she came out with him
(as the night was fine), they could walk down to the river-side,
and he would tell her all."

_Summa_.--She went with him, and they sat down upon the green
grass to discourse, never knowing that the pastor of Rehewinkel
was hid behind the next tree; for he had gone forth to lament over
the loss of his poor foal, and sat there weeping bitterly. He had
got it home to sell, that he might buy a warm coat for the winter,
which now he cannot do; therefore the old man had gone forth
mournfully into the clear night, thrown himself down, and wept.

By this chance he heard the whole story from my knave, and related
it afterwards to the old burgomaster in Stargard. It was as
follows:--

Some time after his flight from Daber, a friend from Stettin told
him that Dinnies von Kleist (the same who had spoiled their work
in the Uckermund forest) had got a great sum of gold in his
knapsack, and was off to his castle at Dame, [Footnote: A town
near Polzin, in Lower Pomerania, and an ancient feudal hold of the
Kleists.] while the rest were feasting at Daber. This sum he had
won by a wager from the Princes of Saxony, Brandenburg, and
Mecklenburg. For he had bet, at table, that he would carry five
casks of Italian wine at once, and without help, up from the
cellar to the dining-hall, in the castle of Old Stettin. Duke
Johann refused the bet, knowing his man well, but the others took
it up; upon which, after grace, the whole noble company stood up
and accompanied him to the cellar. Here Dinnies took up a cask
under each arm, another in each hand by the plugs, and a fifth
between his teeth by the plug also; thus laden, he carried the
five casks up every step from the cellar to the dining-hall. So
the money was paid to him, as the lacqueys witnessed, and having
put the same in his knapsack, he set off for his castle at Dame,
to give it to his father. And the knave went on--"After I heard
this news from my good friend, I resolved to set off for Dame and
revenge myself on this strong ox, burn his castle, and take his
gold. The band agreed; but woe, alas! there was one traitor
amongst them. The fellow was called Kaff, and I might well have
suspected him; for latterly I observed that when we were about any
business, particularly church-robbing, he tried to be off, and
asked to be left to keep the watch. Divers nights, too, as I
passed him, there was the carl praying; and so I ought to have
dismissed the coward knave at once, or he would have had half the
band praying likewise before long.

"In short, this arrant villain slips off at night from his post,
just as we had all set ourselves down before the castle, waiting
for the darkest hour of midnight to attack the foxes in their den,
and betrays the whole business to Kleist himself, telling him the
strength of the band, and how and when we were to attack him, with
all other particulars. Whereupon a great lamentation was heard in
the castle, and old Kleist, a little white-headed man, wrung his
hands, and seemed ready to go mad with fear; for half the
retainers were at the annual fair, others far away at the
coal-mines, and finally, they could scarcely muster in all ten
fighting men. Besides this, the castle fosse was filled with
rubbish, though the old man had been bidding his sons, for the
last year, to get it cleared, but they never minded him, the idle
knaves. All this troubled stout Dinnies mightily; and as he walked
up and down the hall, his eyes often rested on a painting which
represented the devil cutting off the head of a gambler, and
flying with it out of the window.

"Again and again he looked at the picture, then called out for a
hound, stuck him under his arm, and cut off his head, as if it had
been only a dove; then he called for a calf from the stall, put it
under his arm likewise, and cut off the head. Then he asked for
the mask which represented the devil, and which he had got from
Stettin to frighten his dissolute brothers, when they caroused too
late over their cups. The young Johann, indeed, had sometimes
dropped the wine-flask by reason of it, but Detloff still ran
after the young maidens as much as ever, though even he had got
such a fright that there was hope for his poor soul yet. So the
mask was brought, and all the proper disguise to play the
devil--namely, a yellow jerkin slashed with black, a red mantle,
and a large wooden horse's foot.

"When Dinnies beheld all this, and the man who played the devil
instructed him how to put them on, he rejoiced greatly, and
declared that now he alone could save the castle. I knew nothing
of all this at the time," said Johann, "nor of the treason,
neither did the band. We were all seated under a shed in the wood,
that had been built for the young deer in the winter time, and had
stuck a lantern against the wall while we gamed and drank, and our
provider poured us out large mugs of the best beer, when, just at
midnight, we heard a report like a clap of thunder outside, so
that the earth shook under us (it was no thunder-clap, however,
but an explosion of powder, which the traitor had laid down all
round the shed, for we found the trace of it next day).

"And as we all sprang up, in strode the devil himself bodily, with
his horse's foot and cocks' feathers, and a long calf's tail,
making the most horrible grimaces, and shaking his long hair at
us. Fire came out of his mouth and nostrils, and roaring like a
wild boar, he seized the little dwarf (whom you may remember,
Sidonia), tucked him under his arm like a cock--and just as he was
uttering a curse over his good game being interrupted--and cut his
head clean off; then, throwing the head at me, growled forth--

  "'Every day one,
  Only Sundays none"

and disappeared through the door like a flash of lightning,
carrying the headless trunk along with him.

"When my comrades heard that the devil was to carry off one of
them every day but Sunday, they all set up a screaming, like so
many rooks when a shot is fired in amongst them, and rushed out in
the night, seizing hold of horses or waggons, or whatever they
could lay their hands on, and rode away east and west, and west
and east, or north and south, as it may be.

"_Summa_.--When I came to my senses (for I had sunk down
insensible from horror, when the head of the dwarf was thrown at
me), I found that the said head had bit me by the arm, so that I
had to drag it away by force; then I looked about me, and every
knave had fled--even my waggon had been carried off, and not a
soul was left in the place of all these fine fellows, who had
sworn to be true to me till death.

"This base desertion nearly broke my heart, and I resolved to
change my course of life and go to some pious priest for
confession, telling him how the devil had first tempted me to sin,
and then punished me in this terrible manner (as, indeed, I well
deserved).

"So next morning I took my way to the town, after observing, to my
great annoyance, that the castle could have been as easily taken
as a bird's nest; and seeing a beer-glass painted on a sign-board,
I guessed that here was the inn. Truth to say, my heart wanted
strengthening sorely, and I entered. There was a pretty wench
washing crabs in the kitchen, and as I made up to her, after my
manner, to have a little pastime, she drew back and said,
laughing, 'May the devil take you, as he took the others last
night in the barn!' upon which she laughed again so loud and long,
that I thought she would have fallen down, and could not utter a
word more for laughing.

"This seemed a strange thing to me, for I had never heard a
Christian man, much less a woman, laugh when the talk was of the
bodily Satan himself. So I asked what there was so pleasant in the
thought? whereupon she related what the young knight Dinnies
Kleist had done to save his castle from the robbers. I would not
believe her, but while I sat myself down on a bench to drink, the
host comes in and confirmed her story. _Summa_, I let the
conversion lie over for a time yet, and set about looking for my
comrades, but not finding one, I fell into despair, and resolved
to get into Poland, and take service in the army there--especially
as all my money had vanished."

Here the old parson said that Sidonia cried out, "How now, sir
knave, you are going to buy castle and lands forsooth, and have no
money? Truly the base villain is deceiving me yet again."

But my knave answered, "Alas! woe that thou shouldst think so
hardly of me! Have I not told thee that my father is going to give
me my heritage? So listen further what I tell thee:--In Poland I
met with Konnemann and Stephen Pruski, who had one of my waggons
with them, in which all my gold was hid, and when I threatened to
complain to the authorities, the cowards let me have my own
property again, on condition that I would take them into my
service, when I went to live at my own castle. This I promised;
therefore they are here with me, as you see. And Konnemann went
lately to my father at my request, and brought me back the joyful
intelligence that he would assign me over my portion of his goods
and property."

So far the Pastor Rehewinkelensis heard. What follows concerning
the wicked knave was related by his own sorrowing father to my
worthy father-in-law, along with other pious priests, and from him
I had the story when I visited him at Marienfliess.

For what was my knave's next act? When he returned to the town,
and heard from his comrades that the coachman of Saatzig was
snoring away there in the stable with open mouth, he stuffed in
some hay to prevent him screaming, and tied him hands and feet,
then drew his horses out of the stall, yoked them to the carriage,
and drove it himself a little piece out of the town down into the
hollow, then went back for Sidonia, telling her that her stupid
coachman had made some mistake and driven off without her, but he
had put all her baggage on his own carriage, which was now quite
ready, if she would walk with him a little way just outside the
town. Hereupon she paid the reckoning, mine host troubling himself
little about the affair of the waggon, and they set off on foot.

When they reached the carriage, Sidonia asked if all her baggage
were really there, for she could not see in the darkness. And when
she felt, and reckoned all her bundles and trunks, and found all
right, my knave said, "Now, she saw herself that he meant truly by
her. Here was even a nice place made in the straw sack for her,
where he had sat down first himself, that she might have an easy
seat. _Item_, she now saw his own carriage which he had
fished up in Poland and kept till now, that he might travel in it
to Bruchhausen to receive his heritage, and he was going there
this very night. She saw that he had lied in nothing."

Whereupon Sidonia got into the carriage with him, never
discovering his knavery on account of the darkness, and about
midnight they reached the inn at Bruchhausen.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_How a new leaf is turned over at Bruchhausen in a very fearful
manner--Old Appelmann takes his worthless son prisoner, and
admonishes him to repentance--Of Johann's wonderful conversion,
and execution next morning in the churchyard, Sidonia being
present thereby._


My knave halted a little way before they reached the inn, for he
had his suspicions that all was not quite right, and sent on the
forenamed Pruski to ascertain whether the money was really come
for him. For there was a bright light in the tap-room, and the
sound of many voices, which was strange, seeing that it was late
enough for every one to be in bed. Pruski was back again
soon--yes, it was all right. There were men in there from
Stargard, who said they had brought gold for the young
burgomaster.

Marry! how my knave jumped down from the carriage, and brought
Sidonia along with him, bidding Pruski to stay and watch the
things. But, behold, as my knave entered, six men seized him,
bound him firmly, and bid him sit down quietly on a bench by the
table, till his father arrived. So he cursed and swore, but this
was no help to him; and when Sidonia saw that she had been
deceived again, she tried to slip out and get to the carriage, but
the men stopped her, saying, unless she wished a pair of handcuffs
on, she had better sit down quietly on another bench opposite
Johann. And she asked in vain what all this meant. _Item_, my
knave asked in vain, but no one answered them.

They had not long been waiting, when a carriage stopped before the
door, more voices were heard, and, alas! who should enter but the
old burgomaster himself, with Mag. Vito, Diaconus of St. John's.
And after them came the executioner, with six assistants bearing a
black coffin.

My knave now turned as white as a corpse, and trembled like an
aspen leaf; no word could he utter, but fell with his back against
the wall. Then a dead silence reigned throughout the chamber, and
Sidonia looked as white as her paramour.

When the assistants had placed the coffin on the ground, the old
father advanced to the table, and spake thus--"Oh, thou fallen and
godless child! thou thrice lost son! how often have I sought to
turn thee from evil, and trusted in thy promises; but in place of
better, thou hast grown worse, and wickedness has increased in
thee day by day, as poison in the young viper. On thy infamous
hands lie so many robberies, murders, and seductions, that they
cannot be reckoned. I speak not of past years, for then truly the
night would not be long enough to count them; I speak only of thy
last deeds in Poland, as old Elias von Wedel related them to me
yesterday in Stargard. Deny, if thou darest, here in the face of
thy death and thy coffin, how thou didst join thyself to the
Lansquenets in Poland, and then along with two vile fellows got
entrance into Lembrowo, telling the old castellan, Elias von
Wedel, that thou wast a labourer, upon which he took thee into his
service. But at night thou (O wicked son!) didst rise up and beat
the old Elias almost unto death, demanding all his money, which,
when he refused, thou and thy robber villains seized his cattle
and his horses, and drove them away with thee. _Item_, canst
thou deny that on meeting the same old Elias at Norenberg by the
hunt in the forest, thou didst mock him, and ask, would he sell
his castle of Lembrowo in Poland, for thou wouldst buy it of him,
seeing thy father had promised thee plenty of gold?

"_Item_, canst thou deny having written me a threatening
letter, declaring that if by this very night a hundred dollars
were not sent to thee here at Bruchhausen, a red beacon should
rise up from my sheepfolds and barns, which meant nothing else
than that thou wouldst burn the whole good town of Stargard, for
thou knowest well that all the sheepfolds and barns of the
burghers adjoin one to the other? Canst thou deny this, O thou
lost son? If so, deny it now."

Here Johann began again with his old knavery. He wept, and threw
himself on the ground, crawling under the table to get to his
father's feet, then howled forth, that he repented of his sins,
and would lead a better life truly for the future, if his hard,
stern father would only forgive him now.

But Sidonia screamed aloud, and as the burgomaster in his sorrow
had not observed her before, he turned his eyes now on her, and
exclaimed, "Woe, alas! thou godless son, hast thou this noble
maiden with thee yet? I thought she was at Saatzig; or perchance
thou hast made her thy wife?"

_Ille_.--"Alas, no; but he would marry her soon, to make
amends for the wrong he had done her."

_Hic_.--"This thou hast ten times promised, but in vain, and
thy sins have increased a hundredfold; because, like all
profligates, thou hast shunned the holy estate of matrimony, and
preferred to wallow in the mire of unchastity, with any one who
fell in the way of thy adulterous and licentious eyes."

_Ille_.--"Alas! his heart's dearest father was right; but he
would amend his evil life; and, in proof of it, let the reverend
deacon, M. Vitus, here present, wed him now instantly to Sidonia."

_Hic_.--"It is too late. I counsel thee rather to wed thy
poor soul to the holy Saviour, like the repentant thief on the
cross. See--here is a priest, and there is a coffin."

Here the executioner broke in upon the old, deeply afflicted
father, telling him the coffin was too short, as, indeed, his
worship had told him, but he would not believe the young man was
so tall. Where could he put the head? It must be stuck between his
feet, or under his arm, cried out another. So some proposed one
thing and some another, till a great uproar arose.

Upon which the old mourning father cried out--"Do you want to
break my heart? Is there not time enough to talk of this after?"

Then he turned again to his profligate son, and asked him--

"Would he not repent, and take the holy body and blood of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, as a passport with him on this long
journey? If so, let him go into the little room and pray with the
priest, and repent of his sins; there was yet time."

_Ille_.--"Alas, he had repented already. What had he ever
done so wicked that his own bodily father should thirst after his
blood? The courts were all closed, and law or justice could no man
have in all Pomerania. What wonder then if club-law and the right
of the strongest should obtain in all places, as in the olden
time?"

_Hic_.--"That law and justice had ceased in the land was,
alas! but too true. However, he was not to answer for this, but
his princely Grace of Stettin. And because they had ceased in the
land, was he, as an upright magistrate, called upon to do his duty
yet more sternly, even though the criminal were his own born son.
For the Lord, the just Judge, the Almighty and jealous God, called
to him daily, from His holy Word--'Ye shall not respect persons in
judgment, nor be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is
God's.' [Footnote: Deut. i. 17.] Woe to the land's Prince who had
not considered this, but compelled him, the miserable judge, to
steep his father's hands in the blood of his own son. But
righteous Abraham conquered through faith, because he was obedient
unto God, and bound his own innocent son upon the altar, and drew
forth his knife to slay him. Therefore he, too, would conquer
through faith, if he bound his _guilty_ son, and drew out the
sword against him, obedient to the words of the Lord. Therefore
let him prepare himself for death, and follow the priest into the
adjoining little chamber."

When Johann found that his father could in no wise be softened, he
began horribly to curse him and the hour of his birth, so that the
hair of all who heard him stood on end. And he called the devil to
help him, and adjured him to come and carry away this fierce and
unnatural father, who was more bloodthirsty than the wild beasts
of the forest--for who had ever heard that they murdered their own
blood?

"Come, devil," he screamed; "come, devil, and tear this
bloodthirsty monster of a father to pieces before my eyes, so will
I give myself to thee, body and soul! Hearest thou, Satan! Come
and destroy my father, and all who have here come out to murder
me, only leave me a little while longer in this life to do thy
service, and then I am thine for eternity!"

Now all eyes were turned in fear and horror to the door, but no
Satan entered, for the just God would not permit it, else,
methinks, he would have run to catch such a morsel for his supper.
However, the old man trembled, and seemed dwindling away into
nothing before the eyes of the bystanders as his son uttered the
curse. But he soon recovered, and laying his quivering hands upon
the head of the imprecator, broke forth into loud weeping, while
he prayed thus--

"O Thou just and Almighty God, who bringest the devices of the
wicked to nought, close Thine ears against this horrible curse of
my false son; remember Thine own word--'Into an evil soul wisdom
cannot enter, nor dwell in a body subject unto sin.' [Footnote:
Wisdom i. 4.] Thou alone canst make the sinful soul wise, and the
body of sin a temple of the Holy Ghost. O Lord Jesus Christ, hast
Thou no drop of living water, no crumb of strengthening manna for
this sinful and foolish soul? Hast Thou no glance of Thy holy eyes
for this denying Peter, that he may go forth and weep bitterly?
Hast Thou no word to strike the heart of this dying thief--of this
lost son, who, here bound for death, has cursed his own father,
and given himself up, body and soul, to the enemy of mankind? O
blessed Spirit, who comest and goest as the wind, enter the
heavenly temple, which is yet the work of Thy hands, and make it,
by Thy presence, a temple of the Most High! O Lord God, dwell
there but one moment, that so in his death-anguish he may feel the
sweetness of Thy presence, and the heaven-high comfort of Thy
promise! O Thou Holy Trinity, who hast kept my steps from falling,
through so much care and trouble, through so much shame and
disgrace, through so much watching and tears, and even now through
these terrible curses of my son, come and say Amen to this my last
blessing, which I, poor father, give him for his curse.

"Yes, Johann; the Lord bless thee and keep thee in the death hour.
The Lord shed his grace on thee, and give thee peace in thy last
agonies!

"Yes, Johann; the Lord bless thee and keep thee, and give thee
peace upon earth, and peace above the earth! Amen, amen, amen!"

When the trembling old man had so prayed, many wept aloud, and his
son trembled likewise, and followed the priest, silently and
humbly, into the neighbouring chamber.

Then the old man turned to Sidonia, and asked why she had left her
worthy cousin Marcus of Saatzig?

Upon which she told him, weeping, how his son had deceived her, in
order to get her once more into his power, in order that he might
rob her, and all she wanted now was to be let go her way in peace
to her farm-houses in Zachow.

But this the old man refused.

"No; this must not be yet. She was as evil-minded as his own son,
and needed an example to warn her from sin. Not a step should she
move till his head was off."

And, for this purpose, he bid two burghers seize hold of her by
the hands, and carry her to the scaffold when the execution was
going to take place. The grave must be nearly ready now, which he
bade them dig in a corner of the churchyard close by, and he had
ordered a car-load of sand likewise to be laid down there, for the
execution should take place in the churchyard.

Meanwhile the poor criminal has come out of the inner chamber with
M. Vitus, and going up to the bench where the poor father had sunk
down exhausted by emotion, he flings himself at his feet,
exclaiming, with the prodigal son in the parable--

"Father, I have sinned before heaven and in thy sight, and am no
more worthy to be called thy son."

Then he kissed his feet, and bedewed them with his tears.

Now the father thought this was all pretence, as formerly, so he
gave no answer. Upon which the poor sinner rose up, and reached
his hand to each one in the chamber, praying their forgiveness for
all the evil he had done, but which he was now going to expiate in
his blood. _Item,_ he advanced to Sidonia, sighing--

"Would not she too forgive him, for the love of God? Woe, alas!
She had more to forgive than any one; but would not she give him
her pardon, for some comfort on this last journey; and so would he
bear her remembrance before the throne of God?"

But Sidonia pushed away his hand.

"He should be ashamed of such old-womanish weakness. Did he not
see that his father was only trying to frighten him? For were he
in earnest, then were he more cruel even than her own unnatural
father, who, though he had only left her two cabins in Zachow, out
of all his great riches, yet had left her, at least, her poor
life."

Hereupon the poor sinner made answer--

"Not so; I know my father; he is not cruel; what he does is right;
therefore I willingly die, trusting in my blessed Saviour, whose
body will sanctify my body in the grave. For had I committed no
other sin, yet the curse I uttered just now is alone sufficient to
make me worthy of death, as it is written--'He that curseth father
or mother shall surely be put to death.'" [Footnote: Exodus xxi.
17.]

When the old man heard such-like words, he resolved to put his
son's sincerity to the test, for truly it seemed to him impossible
that the Almighty God should so suddenly make the crooked
straight, and the dead to live, and a child of heaven out of a
child of hell. So he spake--

"Thy repentance seemeth good unto me, my son, what sayest thou?
will it last, think you, if I now bestow thy life on thee?"

Hereat Sidonia laughed aloud, exclaiming--

"Said I not right? It was all a jest of thy dear father's." But
the poor sinner would not turn again to his wallowing in the mire.
He sat down upon a bench, covering his face with his hands, and
sobbed aloud. At last he answered--

"Alas! father, life is sweet and death is bitter; but since the
Holy Spirit hath entered into me with the body of our Lord, I say,
death is sweet and life is bitter. No; off with my head! 'I find a
law in my members warring against the law of my spirit, and making
me a prisoner under the law of sin;' [Footnote: Romans vii. 23.]
for if I see my neighbour rich and I am poor, then the demon of
covetousness rises in me, and my fingers itch to seize my share.
Or, if the foaming flask is before me, how can I resist to drain
it, for the spirit of gluttony is within me? Or, if I see a
maiden, the blood throbs in my veins, and the demon of lust has
taken possession of me. 'Oh, wretched man that I am, who will
deliver me from the body of this death?' You will, dearest father.
You will release me from this life, as you once gave it to me, for
it is now a life in death. Ah! show mercy! Come quickly, and
release me from the body of this death!"

When he ceased, the old man sprung up like a youth, and pressing
his lost son to his heart, sobbed forth like him of the Gospel--

"O friends, see! 'This my son was dead, but is alive again; he was
lost, and is found.' Yea, yea, see all that nothing is impossible
with God. O Thou Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now I
have nothing more to ask, but that I too may soon be released from
the body of this death, and go forth to meet my new-found son
amidst the bright circle of the Holy Angels."

Then the son answered--

"Let me go now, father. See, the morning dawn shines already
through the window; so hath the loving mercy of my God come to me,
who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. Farewell, father; let
me go now. Away with this head in the clear early morning light,
so that my feet be fixed for evermore upon the path to peace."

And so speaking, he seized M. Vitus by the hand, who was sobbing
loudly, as well as most of the burghers, and the executioner with
his assistants bearing the coffin were going to follow, when the
old man, who had sunk down upon a bench, called back his son,
though he had already gone out at the door, and prayed the
executioner to let him stay one little while longer. For he
remembered that his son had a welt upon his neck, and he must see
whether it would interfere with the sword. Woe, woe! if he should
have to strike twice or thrice before the head fell!

So the executioner removed the neck-cloth from the poor sinner
(who, by the great mercy of God, was stronger than any of them),
and having felt the welt, said--

"No; the welt was close up to the head, but he would take the neck
in the middle, as indeed was his usual custom. His worship may
make his mind quite easy; he would stake his life on it that the
head would fall with the first blow. This was his one hundred and
fiftieth, and he never yet had failed."

Then the unhappy criminal tied his cravat on again, took M. Vitus
by the hand, and said--

"Farewell, my father; once more forgive me for all that I have
done!"

After which he went out quickly, without waiting to hear a word
more from his father, and the executioner followed him.

Meanwhile the afflicted father was sore troubled in mind. Three
times he repeated the text--"Ye shall not respect persons in
judgment, nor be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is
God's." Then he called upon God to forgive the Prince who, by
taking away law and justice from the land, had obliged him to be
the judge and condemner of his son. How the Lord dealt with the
Prince we shall hear farther on. One while he sent mine host to
look over the hedge, and tell him if the head were off yet. Then
he would begin to pray that he might soon follow this poor son,
who had never given him one moment of joy but through his death,
and pass quickly after him through the vale of tears.

The son, however, is steadfast unto the end. For when they reached
the churchyard, he stood still a while gazing on the heap of sand.
Then he desired to be led to the spot where his grave was dug; and
near this same grave there being a tombstone, on which was figured
a man kneeling before a crucifix, he asked--

"Who was to share his grave bed here?"

Whereupon M. Vitus replied--

"He was a _rector scholæ_ out of Stargard, a very learned
man, who had retired from active life, and settled down here at
Bruchhausen, where he died not long since."

Whereat the poor sinner stood still a while, and then repeated
this beautiful distich, no doubt by the inspiration of the Holy
Ghost, to warn all learned sinners against that demon of pride and
vain-glory which too often takes possession of them.

  "Quid juvat innumeros scire atque evolvere casus
   Si facieuda fugis et fugienda facis?"

   ["What is the use of knowledge and all our infinite learning,
    If we fly what is right and do what we ought to fly?"]

Then he looked calmly at his grave, and only prayed the
executioner not to put his head between his feet; after which he
returned to the sand-heap and exclaimed--

"Now to God!"

Upon which, M. Vitus blessed him yet again, and spake--

"O God, Father, who hast brought back this lost son, and filled
this foolish soul with wisdom; ah! Jesus, Saviour, who, in truth,
hast turned Thy holy eyes on him as on the denying Peter and on
the dying thief. O Holy Spirit, who hast not scorned to make this
poor vessel a temple for Thyself to dwell in, that in the
death-anguish this sinner may find the sweetness of Thy presence
and the heaven-high comfort of Thy promises! O Thou Holy
Trinity--to Thee--to Thee--to Thee--to Thy grace, Thy power, Thy
protection, we resign this dying mortal in his last agonies. Help
him, Lord God! _Kyrle Eleison!_ Give Thy holy angels command
to bear this poor soul into Abraham's bosom. O come, Lord Jesus;
help him, O Lord our God. _Kyrie Eleison!_ Amen."

And hereupon he pronounced a last blessing over him. And when the
executioner took off his upper garment and bound the kerchief over
his eyes, M. Vitus again spake--

"Think on the holy martyrs, of whom Basilius Magnus testifies that
they exclaimed, when undressing for their death--_Non vestes
exuimus, sed veterem hommem deponimus." [Footnote: "We lay not off
our clothes, but the old man."--Basil the Great, Archbishop of
Caesarea, A.D. 379.]

Upon which he answered from under the kerchief something in Latin,
but the executioner had laid the cloth so thickly even over his
mouth and chin, that no one could catch the words. Then he kneeled
down, and while the executioner drew his sword, M. Vitus chanted--

  "When my lips no more can speak,
     May Thy Spirit in me cry;
   When my eyes are faint and weak,
     May my soul see Heaven nigh!

   When my heart is sore dismayed,
     This dying frame has lost its strength,
   May my spirit, with Thy aid,
     Cry--Jesu, take me home at length!"

And all who stood round saw, as it were, a wonderful sign from
God; for as the executioner let the sword fall, head and sun
appeared at the same moment--the head upon the earth, the sun
above the earth; and there was a deep silence. Sidonia alone
laughed out loud, and cried, "So ends the conversion!" And while
the psalm was singing, "Now, pray we to the Holy Ghost," the
executioner acting as clerk, she disappeared, and for thirty
years, as we shall hear presently, no one could ascertain where
she went to or how she lived; though sometimes, like a horrible
ghost, she was seen occasionally here and there.

_Summa_.--The miserable criminal was laid in his coffin, and
as, in truth, it was too short for the corpse, and the poor sinner
had requested that his head might not be placed between his feet,
so it was laid upon his chest, with his hands folded over it, and
thus he was buried.

The old father rejoiced greatly that his son remained steadfast in
the truth until the last, and thanked God for it. Then he returned
to Stargard; and I may just mention, to conclude concerning him,
that the merciful God heard the prayer of this His faithful
servant, for he scarcely survived his son a year, but, after a
short illness, fell asleep in Jesus. [Footnote: For further
particulars concerning this truly worthy man, who may well be
called the Pomeranian Manlius, see Friedeborn, "Description of Old
Stettin," vol. ii. p. 113; and Barthold, "Pomeranian History," pp.
46, 419.]



CHAPTER XIX.

_Of Sidonia's disappearance for thirty years--Item, how the
young Princess Elizabeth Magdelene was possessed by a devil, and
of the sudden death of her father, Ernest Ludovicus of
Pomerania._


I have said that Sidonia disappeared after the execution at
Bruchhausen, and that for thirty years no one knew where she lived
or how she lived. At her farm-house at Zachow she never appeared;
but the _Acta Criminalia_ set forth that during that period
she wandered about the towns of Freienwald, Regenwald, Stargard,
and other places, in company with Peter Konnemann and divers other
knaves.

However, the ducal prosecutor, although he instituted the
strictest inquiries at the period of her trial, could ascertain
nothing beyond this, except that, in consequence of her evil
habits and licentious tongue, she was held everywhere in fear and
abhorrence, and was chased away from every place she entered after
about six or eight o'clock. Further, that some misfortune always
fell upon every one who had dealings with her, particularly young
married people. To the said Konnemann, she betrothed herself after
the death of her first paramour, but afterwards gave him fifty
florins to get rid of the contract, as she confessed at the
seventeenth question upon the rack, according to the _Actis
Lothmanni_. Meantime her brother and cousins were so completely
turned against her, that her brother even took those two
farm-houses to himself; and though Sidonia wrote to him, begging
that an annuity might be settled on her, yet she never received a
line in answer--and this was the manner in which the whole
cousinhood treated her in her despair and poverty.

I myself made many inquiries as to her mode of life during those
thirty years, but in vain. Some said that she went into Poland and
there kept a little tavern for twenty years; some had seen her
living at Riigen at the old wall, where in heathen times the
goddess Hertha was honoured. Some said she went to Riiden, a
little uninhabited island between Riigen and Usdom, where the wild
geese and other birds flock in the moulting season and drop their
feathers. Thence, they said, she gathered the eggs, and killed the
birds with clubs. At least this was the story of the Usdom
fishermen, but whether it were Sidonia or some other outcast
woman, I cannot in strict verity declare. Only in Freienwald did I
hear for certain that she lived there twelve years with some earl
whom she called her shield-knight; but one day they quarrelled,
and beat each other till the blood flowed, after which they both
ran out of the town, and went different ways.

_Summa._--On the 1st of May 1592, when the witches gather in
the Brocken to hold their Walpurgis night, and the princely castle
of Wolgast was well guarded from the evil one by white and black
crosses placed on every door, an old wrinkled hag was seen about
eight o'clock of the morning (just the time she had returned from
the Blocksberg, according to my thinking), walking slowly up and
down the great corridor of the princely castle. And the providence
of the great God so willed it that at that moment the young and
beautiful Princess Elizabeth Magdalena (who had been betrothed to
the Duke Frederick of Courland) opened her chamber-door and
slipped forth to pay her morning greetings to her illustrious
father, Duke Ernest, and his spouse, the Lady Sophia Hedwig of
Brunswick, who sat together drinking their warm beer, [Footnote:
Before the introduction of coffee or chocolate, warm beer was in
general use at breakfast] and had sent for her.

So the hag advanced with much friendliness and cried out, "Hey,
what a beautiful young damsel! But her lord papa was called 'the
handsome' in his time, and wasn't she as like him as one egg to
another. Might she take her ladyship's little hand and kiss it?"
Now as the hag was bold in her bearing, and the young Princess was
a timid thing, she feared to refuse; so she reached forth her
hand, alas! to the witch, who first three times blew on it,
murmuring some words before she kissed it; then as the young
Princess asked her who she was and what she wanted, the evil hag
answered, "I would speak with your gracious father, for I have
known him well. Ask his princely Grace to come to me, for I have
somewhat to say to him." Now the Princess, in her simplicity,
omitted to ask the hag's name, whereby much evil came to pass, for
had she told her gracious father that SIDONIA wished to speak to
him, assuredly he never would have come forth, and that fatal and
malignant glance of the witch would not have fallen upon him.

However, his Serene Grace, having a mild Christian nature, stepped
out into the corridor at the request of his dear daughter, and
asked the hag who she was and what she wanted. Upon this, she
fixed her eyes on him in silence for a long while, so that he
shuddered, and his blood seemed to turn to ice in his veins.
[Footnote: This belief in the witchcraft of a glance was very
general during the witch period. And even the ancients notice it
(Pliny, Hist. Nat. vii. 2), also Aul. Gell. Noct. Attic, ix. 4;
and Virgil, Eclog. in. 103. The glance of a woman with double
pupils was particularly feared.] At last she spake: "It is a
strange thing, truly, that your Grace should no longer remember
the maiden to whom you once promised marriage." At this his Grace
recoiled in horror, and exclaimed, "Ha, Sidonia! but how you are
changed." "Ah!" she answered, with a scornful laugh, "you may well
triumph, now that my cheek is hollow, and my beauty gone, and that
I have come to you for justice against my own brother in Stramehl,
who denies me even the means of subsistence--you, who brought me
to this pass."

Upon which his Grace answered that her brother was a subject of
the Duke of Stettin. Let her go then to Stettin, and demand
justice there.

_Illa._--"She had been there, but the Duke refused to see
her, and to her request for a _proebenda_ in the convent of
Marienfliess had returned no answer. She prayed his Grace,
therefore, out of old good friendship, to take up her cause, and
use his influence with the Lord Duke of Stettin to obtain the
_proebenda_ for her, also to send a good scolding to her
brother at Stramehl under his own hand."

Now my gracious Prince was so anxious to get rid of her, that he
promised everything she asked. Whereupon she would kiss his hand,
but he drew it back shuddering, upon which she went down the great
castle steps again, murmuring to herself.

But her wickedness soon came to light; for mark--scarcely a few
days had passed over, when the beautiful young Princess was
possessed by Satan; she rolls herself upon the ground, twists and
writhes her hands and feet, speaks with a great coarse voice like
a common carl, blasphemes God and her parents; and what was more
wonderful than all, her throat swelled, and when they laid their
hand on it, something living seemed creeping up and down in it.
Then it went up to her mouth, and her tongue swelled so, that her
eyes seemed starting from their sockets, and the gracious young
lady became fearful to look at.

_Item,_ then she began to speak Latin, though she had never
learned this tongue, whereupon many, and in particular Mag.
Michael Aspius, the court chaplain (for Dr. Gerschovius was long
since dead) pronounced that Satan himself verily must be in the
maiden. [Footnote: The ancients name three distinguishing marks of
demoniacal possession:--

1st, When the patient blasphemes God and cannot repeat the leading
articles of his Christian belief.

2nd, When he foretells events which afterwards come to pass.

3rd, When he speaks in a strange tongue, which it can be proved he
never learned.

Now the somnambulists of our day fulfil the second and third
conditions without dispute; and some account for the divining
power by saying it is the effect of the increased activity of the
soul. They also assert that the patient speaks in a strange tongue
only when the magnetiser with whom he is in _en rapport_
understands the tongue himself, and the patient speaks it because
all the thoughts, feelings, words, &c., of the operator become
his--in short, their souls become one. This explanation, however,
is very improbable, and has not been confirmed by facts; for the
phenomenon of speaking in a strange tongue often appears before a
perfect _rapport_ has been obtained between the patient and
the operator. Indeed, Psellus gives an instance to show that it is
not even at all necessary. (Psellus lived about the eleventh
century, and wrote _De Operatione Doemonum,_ also _De
Mysteriis AEgyptiorum,_ his works are very remarkable, and well
worth a perusal.) He states that a sick woman all at once began to
speak in a strange and barbarous tongue no one had ever heard
before. At last some of the women about her brought an Armenian
magician to see her, who instantly found that she spoke Armenian,
though she had never in her life beheld one of that nation.
Psellus describes him as an old lean wrinkled man. He acted quite
differently from our modern magnetisers, for he never sought to
place himself in sympathetic relation with her by passes or
touches; on the contrary, he drew his sword, and placing himself
beside the bed, began tittering the most harsh and cruel words he
could think of in the Armenian tongue _(acriter conviciatus
est)_. The woman retorted in the Armenian tongue likewise, and
tried to get out of bed to fight with him. Then the barbarian grew
as if mad, and endeavoured to stab her, upon which she shrunk back
terrified and trembling, and soon fell into a deep sleep. Psellus
seems to have witnessed this, for he says the woman was wife to
his eldest brother. As further regards demoniacal possession, the
New Testament is full of examples thereof; and though in the last
century the reality of the fact was assailed, yet Franz Meyer has
again defended it with arguments that cannot be overthrown.
Remarkable examples of possession in modern times we find in the
_Didiskalia,_ No. 81, of the year 1833, and in Berner's
"History of Satanic Possession," p. 20.] This was fully proved on
the following Sunday; for during divine service in the Church of
St. Peter, the young Princess was carried in on a litter and laid
down before the altar, whereupon she commenced uttering horrible
blasphemies, and mocking the holy prayer in a coarse bass voice,
while she foamed and raged so violently, that eight men could
scarcely hold her in her bed. Whereat the whole Christian
congregation were admonished to pray to the Lord for this poor
maiden, that she might be freed from the devil within her; and
during the week all priests throughout the land were commanded to
offer up prayers day and night for her princely Grace. But on
Sundays all the people were to unite in one common supplication to
the throne of grace for the like object.

And it seemed, after some weeks, as if God had heard their
prayers, and commanded Satan to leave the body of the young
maiden, for she had now rest for fourteen days, and was able to
pray again. Also her rosy cheeks began to bloom once more, so that
her parents were filled with joy, and resolved to hold a
thank-festival throughout the land, and receive the Holy Sacrament
in St. Peter's Church with their beloved daughter.

But what happened? For as the godly discourse had ended, and their
Graces stepped to the altar to make a rich offering on the plate
which lay upon the little desk, free of approach from all sides,
my knave Satan has again begun his work. Truly, he waited with
cunning till her Grace had swallowed the Sacrament, that his
blasphemies might seem more horrible. And this was the way he
manifested himself.

After the court marshal and the castellan had laid down a black
velvet carpet, embroidered in gold with the Pomeranian and
Brandenburg arms, for their Graces to kneel upon, they took
another black velvet cloth, on which the Holy Supper was
represented embroidered in silver, to hold before their Graces
like a serviette, while they received the blessed elements. Then
advanced the priest with the Sacrament, but scarcely had the
gracious young Princess swallowed the same, when she uttered a
loud cry and fell backwards with her head upon the ground, while
Satan raged so in her that it might have melted the heart of a
stone.

So M. Aspius bade the organ cease, and then placed the young lady
upon a seat, after which he called upon their Graces and the whole
congregation to join him in offering up a prayer. Then he solemnly
adjured the evil spirit to come out of her; it, however, had grown
so daring that it only laughed at the priest; and when asked where
it had been for so long, and in particular where it had lain while
the Jesu bride was wedded to her Holy Saviour in the Blessed
Sacrament, it impatiently answered that it had lain under her
tongue; many knaves might lie under a bridge while an honourable
seigneur passed overhead, and why should not it do the like? And
here, to the unspeakable horror of the whole congregation, it
seemed to move up and down in the chest and throat of the young
Princess, like some animal.

But the long-suffering of God was now at an end, for while the
Reverend Dr. Aspius was talking himself weary with adjurations,
and gaining no good by it, for the evil spirit only mocked and
jeered him, crying, "Look at the fat parson how he sweats, maybe
it will help as much as his chattering over the wine," who should
enter the church (sent no doubt by the all-merciful God) but the
Reverend Dr. Joel, Professor at Grypswald, for he had heard how
this lusty Satan had taken possession of the princely maiden. When
the devil saw him, he began to tremble through all the limbs of
the young Princess, and exclaimed in Latin, _"Consummatum
est."_ [Footnote: "It is over."] For this Dr. Joel was a
powerful man, and learned in all the cunning shifts of the
arch-enemy, having many times disputed de Magis. [Footnote: Of
Witchcraft; see Barthold, iv. 2, 412.]

Now when he advanced to the young Princess, and saw how the evil
spirit ran up and down her poor form, like a mouse in a net, he
was filled with horror, and removing his hat, exclaimed, without
taking much heed of his Latin, _"Deus misereatur
peccatoris."_ Upon which the devil, in a deep bass voice,
corrected him, crying, _"Die peccatricls, die peccatricls."_
[Footnote: Peccatoris is masculine, Peccatricis feminine.]

However, Satan himself felt that his hour had come; for when
Doctor Joel laid his hand upon the maiden, and repeated a powerful
adjuration from the _Clavilcula Salomonis,_ Satan immediately
promised to obey if he were allowed to take away the
oblation-cloth which lay upon the desk.

_Ille._--"What did he want with the oblation-cloth?"

_Satanas._--"There was a coin in it which vexed him."

_Ille._--"What coin could it be, and wherefore did it vex
him?"

_Satanas._--"He would not say."

_Ille._--(Adjures him again.)

_Satanas._--"Let him have it, or he would tear the young
maiden to pieces." And here he began to foam and rage so horribly,
that her eyes turned in her head, and she gnashed with her teeth,
so that father and mother had to cover their eyes not to see her
great agony. Whereupon Doctor Joel bent down and wrote with his
finger upon her breast the Tetragrammaton, crying out-- [Footnote:
The four letters which compose the name Jehovah ( [Hebrew Text]).
It was employed by the Theurgists in all their most powerful
conjurations.]

"Away, thou unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost!"

Upon which the young maiden sank down as quiet as a corpse, and
the oblation-cloth, which lay upon the desk, whirled round of
itself in the middle of the church with great noise and clatter,
as if seized by a storm-wind, and the money therein was all
scattered about the church, so that the old wives who sat upon the
benches fell down upon the floor, right and left, to try and catch
it. Great horror and amazement now filled the whole congregation;
yet as some had expressed an opinion that the young Princess was
only afflicted by a sickness, and not possessed at all, Doctor
Joel thought it needful to admonish them in the following words:--

"Those wise persons who, forsooth, would not credit such a thing
as Satanic possession, might see now of a truth, by the
oblation-cloth, that Satan bodily had been amongst them. He knew
there were many such wise knaves in the church; therefore let them
hold their tongue for evermore, and remember that such signs had
been permitted before of God, to testify of the real bodily
presence of the devil. Example (Matt. viii.), where, on the
command of Christ, a legion of devils went into the swine of the
Gergasenes; so that these animals, contrary to their nature, ran
down into the sea and were drowned. But the wise people of this
day little heed these divine signs; so he will add two from
historical records which he happened to remember.

"First, the Jew Josephus relates that, in presence of the
world-renowned Roman captain Vespasian, of his son Titus, also of
all the officers and troops of the army, an acquaintance of his,
by name Eleazer, adjured the devil out of one possessed by means
of the ring of Solomon, repeating at the same time the powerful
spell which, no doubt, the great king himself employed to control
the demons, and which, probably, was the very one he had just now
exorcised the devil with, out of the _Clavicula Salomonis._
And to show the bystanders that it was indeed a devil which he had
exorcised out of the nose of the patient, the said Eleazer bid
him, as he was passing, to overturn a vessel of water that lay
there, which indeed was done, to the great wonderment of all
present. Thus even the blind heathen were convinced, though the
would-be wise of the present day ignorantly doubted.

"But people might say this happened in old times, and was only
told by a stupid Jew; therefore he would give a modern example.

"There was a woman named Kronisha (she was still well remembered
by the old people of Stralsund), who was sorely given to pomp and
vanity, wherefore a devil was sent into her to punish her; and
after the preacher at St. Nicholas had exorcised him to the best
of his power, the wicked spirit said, mockingly, that he would go
if they gave him a pane of glass out of the window over the tower
door; and this being granted, one of the panes was instantly
scattered with a loud clang, and the devil flew away through the
opening. [Note: See Sastrowen, his family, birth, and adventures.
Edited by Mohnike, part i. 73.]

"So the Christian congregation might now see what silly fools
these wise people were who presumed to doubt," &c. Then Doctor
Joel admonished the Prince himself to keep a diligent eye over
this Satan, who, day by day, was growing more impudent in the
land--no doubt because the pure doctrine of Dr. Luther vexed him
sorely.

And indeed his Highness, to show his gratitude for the recovery of
his dear daughter, did not cease in his endeavours to banish
witches from the land, knowing that Sidonia had brought all the
evil upon the young Princess. Fifteen were seized and burned at
this time, to the great joy of the country; but, alas! these truly
princely and Christian measures little helped among the godless
race, for evil seemed still to strengthen in the land, and many
wonderful signs appeared, one of which I would not set down here,
as it was only seen by the court-fool, but that events confirmed
it.

I mean that strange thing, along with a three-legged hare, which
appeared eighty years before at the death of Duke Bogislaus the
Great, and since at the death of each Duke of his house. By a
strange whim of Satan's, this apparition was only visible to
fools; until indeed (as we shall hear anon) it appeared to the
nuns at Marienfliess, who bore witness of it.

_Summa._--On the very day wherein the devil's brides were
burned at Wolgast, the fool was walking at evening time up and
down the great corridor, when a little manikin, hardly three hands
high, started out from behind a beer-barrel, riding on a
three-legged hare. He was dressed all in black, except little red
boots which he had on, and he rides up and down the corridor--hop!
hop! hop!--stares at my fool and makes a face at him; then rides
off again--hop! hop! hop!--till he vanished behind the barrel.

No one would believe the fool's story; but woe, alas! it soon
became clear what the little manikin Puck denoted. For my gracious
Prince, who had grown quite weak ever since this horrible
witch-work, which had been raging for some weeks--so that
Pomerania never had seen the like--became daily worse, and not
even the fine Falernian wine from Italy, which used to cure him,
helped him now. So he died on the 17th July 1591, aged forty-six
years, seven months, and fifteen days, leaving his only son,
Philippus Julius, a child of eight years old, to reign in his
place. Whereupon the deeply afflicted widow placed the boy under
the tutelage and guardianship of his uncle, the princely Lord of
Stettin; but, woe! woe! the guardian must soon follow his dear
brother! and all through the evil wickedness of Sidonia, as we
shall hear in the following chapters.



CHAPTER XX.

_How Sidonia demeans herself at the Convent of
Marienfliess--Item, how their Princely and Electoral Graces of
Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg, went on sleighs to
Wolgast, and of the divers pastimes of the journey._


After this, Sidonia disappeared again for a couple of years, and
no man knew whither she had flown or what she did, until one
morning she appeared at the convent of Marienfliess, driving a
little one-horse waggon herself, and dressed no better than a
fish-wife. On driving into the court, she desired to speak with
the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf; and when she came, Sidonia
ordered the cell of the deceased nun, Barbara Kleist, to be got
ready for her reception, as his Highness of Stettin had presented
her to a _præbenda_ here.

So the pious old abbess believed the story, and forthwith
conducted her to the cell, No. 11; but Sidonia spat out at it,
said it was a pig-sty, and began to run clattering through all the
cells till she reached the refectory, a large chamber where the
nuns assembled for evening prayer. This, she said, was the only
spot fit for her to put her nose in, and she would keep it for
herself. Meanwhile, the whole sisterhood ran together to the
refectory to see Sidonia; and as most of them were girls under
twenty, they tittered and laughed, as young women-folk will do
when they behold a hag. This angered her.

"Ha!" she exclaimed, "the flesh and the devil have not been
destroyed in them yet, but I will soon give them something else to
think of than their lovers."

And here, as one of them laughed louder than the rest, Sidonia
gave her a blow on the mouth.

"Let that teach the peasant-girl more respect for a castle and
land dowered maiden."

When the good abbess saw and heard all this, she nearly fainted
with shame, and had to hold by a stool, or she would have fallen
to the ground. However she gained fresh courage, when, upon asking
for Sidonia's documents, she found that there were none to show.
Without more ado, therefore, she bade her leave the convent; and,
amidst the jeers and laughter of all the sisterhood, Sidonia was
obliged to mount her one-horse cart again, or the convent porter
had orders to force her out.

By this all may perceive that, in place of repenting, Sidonia had
fallen still further in the mire, wherein she wallowed yet for
many years, as if it were, indeed, her true and natural element,
like that beetle of which Albertus Magnus speaks, that died if one
covered it with rose-leaves, but came to life again when laid in
dung.

Hardly had she left the convent-gate when the old abbess bade a
carl get ready a carriage, and flew in it to Stettin herself, to
lay the whole case before my gracious Prince, and entreat him,
even on her knees, not to send such a notorious creature amongst
them; for what blessing could the convent hope to obtain if they
harboured such an infamous sinner? So his Grace wonders much over
the daring of the harlot; for he had given her no
_proebenda,_ though she was writing to him constantly
requesting one. Nor would he ever think of giving her one; for why
should he send such a hell-besom to sweep the pious convent of
Marienfliess? The good abbess might rise up, for as long as he
lived Sidonia should never enter the convent.

And his Grace held by his word, though it cost him his life, as I
shall just now relate with bitter sighs.

It happened that, A.D. 1600, there was a terribly hard winter, so
that the fresh Haff [Footnote: The river Haff] was quite frozen
over, and able to bear heavy beams. Now, as the ice was smooth and
beautiful as a mirror, my Lord of Stettin proposed to his
guests--Joachim Friedrich, Elector of Brandenburg, his
brother-in-law, and old Duke Ulrich of Mecklenburg, his uncle, to
go over the Haff in sleighs, and pay a visit to the princely widow
and her little son.

Their Graces were well pleased at the idea. Whereupon his Highness
of Stettin gave orders to have such a procession formed as never
had been seen in Pomerania before for magnificence and beauty, and
therefore I shall note down some particulars here.

There were a hundred sleighs, some drawn by reindeer caparisoned
like horses, and all decorated gaily. The three ducal sleighs in
particular were entirely girded and lined with sable skin; each
was drawn by four Andalusian horses; and my Lady Erdmuth, who was
a great lover of show and pomp, had hers hung with little tinkling
bells and chains of gold, so that no one to look at them could
imagine how very little of the dear gold her gracious lord and
husband had in his purse, by reason of the hardness of the times.

The adornments of the other sleighs were less costly. Upon them
came the ministers, the officials, and others pertaining to the
retinue of the three princes: _item_, the ladies-in-waiting,
and divers of the reverend clergy; last of all came the Duke's
henchman, with a pack of wolf-dogs in leash: _item,_ several
live hares and foxes; a live bear, which they purposed to let
slip, for the pleasure and pastime of their Graces. But the young
men out of the town, fifty head strong, and many of the knights,
ran along on skates, headed by Dinnies Kleist, that mighty man,
who bore in one hand the blood-banner of Pomerania, and in the
other that of Brandenburg. Barthold von Ramin ran by his side with
the Mecklenburg standard. He was a strong knight too. But ah! my
God! how my Ramin, with his ox-head, was distanced by the wild men
of Pomerania, as they ran upon the ice over the Haff! [Footnote:
The blood-standard was granted by the Emperor Maximilian II. to
Duke Johann Friedrich of Pomerania because he carried the imperial
banner during the Turkish war of 1566. It only differed from the
old banner by having a red ground--from thence its name. Both
Pomerania and Brandenburg had wild men in their escutcheon, while
Mecklenburg bore an ox's head.] Two reserve sleighs, drawn by six
Frisian horses, finished the procession; they were laden with
axes, planks, ropes, and dry garments, both for men and women.

When their Graces mounted the sleighs amidst the ringing of bells
and roaring of cannon, great was their astonishment to see their
own initials stamped into the hard ice by Dinnies Kleist, as thus:
F. U. J. E. J. F., which, however, afterwards caused much dismay
to the honest burghers, for one of them--M. Faber, _a
præceptor_--mistaking the J. for a G., read plainly upon the
ice: "Fuge, J. F."--that is, "Fly, Johann Frederick!"

Ah! truly has the gracious Prince flown from thence; but it is to
a bitter death.

During the journey, Duke Johann had much jesting with his
brother-in-law, the Elector, who was filled with wonder at the
strength of Dinnies Kleist, for he kept ahead even of the
Andalusian stallions, and waved aloft the two banners of Pomerania
and Brandenburg, while his long hair floated behind him; and
sometimes he stopped, kissed the banners, and then inclined them
to their Serene Princely Graces. Whereupon Duke Johann exclaimed,
"Ay, brother, you might well give me a thousand of your
wide-mouthed Berliners for this carl; though, methinks, if he had
his will, he would make their wide mouths still wider." At this,
his Electoral Grace looked rather vexed, and began to uphold the
men of Cologne. Upon which his Highness cut him short, saying,
"Marry, brother, you know the old proverb--

   'The men of Cologne
   Have no hues of their own,
   But the men of Stettin
   Are the true ever-green.'

For where truly could your fellows find the true green in their
sandy dust-box? Marry, cousin, one Pomerania is worth ten
Margravates; and I will show your Grace just now that my land in
winter is more productive than yours even in autumn."

His Grace here alluded to the fisheries; for along the way, for
twelve or fourteen miles, the fishermen had been ordered to set
their nets by torchlight the night before, in holes dug through
the ice, so that on the arrival of the princely party the nets
might be drawn up, and the draught exhibited to their Graces.

Now, when they entered the fresh Haff, which lay before them like
a large mirror, six miles long and four broad, his Grace of
Pomerania called out--

"See here, brother, this is my first storeroom; let us try what it
will give us to eat."

Upon which he signed to Dinnies Kleist to steer over to the first
heap of nets, which lay like a black wood in the distance. These
belonged to the Ziegenort fishermen, as the old schoolmaster,
Peter Leisticow, himself told me; and as they had taken a great
draught the day before, many people from the towns of Warp,
Stepenitz, and Uckermund were assembled there to buy up the fish,
and then retail it, as was their custom, throughout the country.
They had made a fire upon a large sheet of iron laid upon the ice,
while their horses were feeding close by upon hay, which they
shook out before them. And having taken a merry carouse together,
they all set to dancing upon the ice with the women to the
bagpipe, so that the encampment looked right jovial as their
Graces arrived.

Now when the grand train came up, the peasants roared out--

"Donnerwetter, [Note: A common oath.] look at the plötz-eaters!
See the cursed plötz-eaters! Donnerwetter, what plötz-eaters!"
[Note: Plötz-eaters was a nickname given by the Pomeranians to the
people of the Margravates. For the plötz (_Cyprinus
Exythrophthalmus_) is a very poor tasteless fish, while the
rivers of Pomerania are stocked with the very finest of all kinds.
In return, the men of the Marks called the Pomeranians
"Feather-heads," from the quantity of moor-palms (_Eriophorum
vaginatum_) which grow in their numerous rich meadows.]

And now they observed, during their shouting, that the water had
risen up to their knees; and when the ducal procession rushed up,
the abyss re-echoed with a noise like thunder, so that the foreign
princes were alarmed, but soon grew accustomed thereto. Then the
pressure of such a crowd upon the ice caused the water to spout
out of the holes to the height of a man. So that by the time they
were two bowshots from the nets, all the folk, the women and
children especially, were running, screaming, in every direction,
trying to save themselves on the firm ice, to the great amusement
of their Graces, while a peasant cried out to the sleigh drivers--

"Stop, stop! or ye'll go into the cellar!"

Hereupon his Grace of Pomerania beckoned over the Ziegenort
schoolmaster, and asked him what they had taken, to which he
answered--

"Gracious Prince, we have taken bley; the nets are all loaded;
we've taken seventy schümers, [Footnote: A schümer was a measure
which contained twelve bushels.] and your Grace ought to take one
with you for supper."

Now his Highness the Elector wished to see the nets emptied, so
they rested a space while the peasants shovelled out the fish, and
pitched them into the aforesaid schümers. But ah! woe to the
fish-thieves who had come over from Warp and other places; for the
water having risen up and become all muddy with fish-slime, they
never saw the great holes, and tumbled in, to the great amusement
of the peasants and pastime of their Graces.

How their Highnesses laughed when the poor carls in the water
tried to get hold of a net or a rope or a firm piece of ice, while
they floundered about in the water, and the peasants fished them
up with their long hooks, at the same time giving many of them a
sharp prod on the shoulder, crying out--

"Ha! will ye steal again? Take that for your pains, you robbers!"

Now when their Graces were tired laughing and looking at the fish
hauled, they prepared to depart; but the schoolmaster prayed his
Highness of Stettin yet again to take a schümer of fish for their
supper, as their Graces were going to stop for the night in
Uckermund.

"But what could I do with all the fish?" quoth the Duke.

To which the carl answered in his jargon--

"Eh! gracious master, give them to the plotz-eaters; that will be
something new for them. Never fear but they'll eat them all up!"

Hereupon his Highness the Elector grew nettled, and cried out--

"Ho! thou damned peasant, thinkest thou we have no bley?"

"Well, ye've none here," replied the man cunningly.

So their Graces laughed, and ordered a couple of bushels of the
largest to be placed upon the safety sleigh.

Now when they had gone a little farther and found the ice as
smooth as glass, the henchman let loose the bear and the wolf-dogs
after it. My stout Bruin first growls and paws the ice, then sets
himself in earnest for the race, and, on account of his sharp
claws, ran on straight for Uckermund without ever slipping, while
the hounds fell down on all sides, or tumbled on their backs,
howling with rage and disappointment.

Yet more pleasant was the hare-hunt, for hounds and hares both
tumbled down together, and the hares squeaked and the hounds
yelped; some hares indeed were killed, but only after infinite
trouble, while others ran away after the bear.

After the hunt they came to another fishery, and so on till they
reached Uckermund, passing six fisheries in succession, whereof
each draught was as large as the first, so that his Grace the
Elector marvelled much at the abundance, and seeing the nets full
of zannats at the last halting-place, cried out--

"Marry, brother, your storeroom is well furnished. I might grow
dainty here myself. Let us take a bushel of these along with us
for supper, for zannat is the fish for me!"

This greatly rejoiced his Grace of Stettin, who ordered the fish
to be laid on the sumpter sleigh, and in good time they reached
the ducal house at Uckermund, Dinnies Kleist still keeping
foremost, and waving his two banners over his head, while Barthold
Barnim and the other skaters hung weary and tired upon the backs
of the sleighs.



CHAPTER XXI.

_How Sidonia meets their Graces upon the ice--Item, how Dinnies
Kleist beheads himself, and my gracious lord of Wolgast perishes
miserably._


The next morning early the whole train set off from Uckermund in
the highest spirits, passing net after net, till the Duke of
Mecklenburg, as well as the Elector, lifted their hands in
astonishment. From the Haff they entered the Pene, and from that
the Achterwasser. [Footnote: A large bay formed by the Pene.] Here
a great crowd of people stood upon the ice, for the town of
Quilitz lay quite near; besides, more fish had been taken here
than had yet been seen upon the journey, so that people from
Wolgast, Usdom, Lassahn, and all the neighbouring towns had run
together to bid for it. But what happened?

Alas! that his Grace should have desired to halt, for scarcely had
his sleigh stopped, when a little old woman, meanly clad, with
fisher's boots, and a net filled with bley-fish in her hand,
stepped up to it and said--

"My good Lord, I am Sidonia von Bork; wherefore have you not
replied to my demand for the _proebenda_ of Barbara von
Kleist in Marienfliess?"

"How could he answer her? He knew nothing at all of her mode of
living, or where she dwelt."

_Illa._--"She had bid him lay the answer upon the altar of
St. Jacob's in Stettin. Why had he not done so?"

"That was no place for such letters, only for the words of the
Holy Spirit and the Blessed Sacrament of his Saviour; therefore,
let her say now where she dwelt."

_Illa._--"The richest maiden in Pomerania could ill say where
the poorest now dwelt," weeping.

"The richest maiden had only herself to blame if she were now the
poorest; better had she wept before. The _proebenda_ she
could never have; let her cease to think of it; but here was an
alms, and she might now go her ways."

_Illa_.--(Refuses to take it, and murmurs.) "Your Grace will
soon have bitter sorrow for this."

As she so menaced and spat out three times, the thing angered
Dinnies Kleist (who held her in abhorrence ever since the
adventure in the Uckermund forest), and as he had lost none of his
early strength, he hit her a blow with the blood-standard over the
shoulder, exclaiming, "Pack off to the devil, thou shameless hag!
What does the witch mean by her spittings? The _proebenda_ of
my sister Barbara shall thou never have!"

However, the hag stirred not from the spot, answered no word, but
spat out again; and as the illustrious party drove off she still
stood there, and spat out after them.

What this devil's sorcery denoted we shall soon see; for as they
approached Ziemitze, and the ducal house of Wolgast appeared in
sight, Dinnies Kleist started on before the safety sleigh; and as
soon as the high towers of the castle rose above the trees, he
waved the two banners above his head, and brought them together
till they kissed. Having so held them for a space, he set forward
again with giant strides, in order to be the first to
arrive--although, indeed, the town was aware of the advance of the
princely train, for the bells were ringing, and the blood-standard
waved from St. Peter's and the three other towers.

But woe, alas! Dinnies, in his impatience, never observed a
windwake direct in his path, and down he sank, while the sharp ice
cut his head clean off, as if an executioner had done it; and the
head, with the long hair, rolled hither and thither, while the
body remained fast in the hole, only one arm stuck up above the
ice--it was that which held the Brandenburg standard, but the
blood-banner of Pomerania had sunk for ever in the abyss.
[Footnote: A windwake is a hole formed by the wind in the thawing
season, and which afterwards becomes covered with a thin coating
of ice by a subsequent frost.]

When his Grace of Stettin beheld this, he was filled with more
sorrow than even at the death of his fool; and, weeping bitterly,
commanded seven sleighs to return and seize the evil hag; then
with all speed, and for a terrible example, to burn her upon the
Quilitz mountain.

But when many present assured his Grace that such-like accidents
were very common, and many skaters had perished thus, whereof even
Duke Ulrich named several instances, so that his Grace of Stettin
need not impute such natural accidents to witchcraft or the power
of the hag, he was somewhat calmed. Still he commanded the seven
sleighs to return and bring the witch bound to Wolgast, that he
might question her as to wherefore she had spat out.

So the sleighs returned, but the vile sorceress was no longer on
the ice, neither did any one know whither she had gone; whereupon
the sleighs hastened back again after the others.

Now it was the Friday before Shrove Tuesday, about mid-day, when
the princely party arrived at Wolgast; and Prince Bogislaff of
Barth was there to receive them, with his five sons--namely,
Philip, Franz, George, Ulrich, and Bogislaff. [Footnote: Marginal
note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.--"This is not true; for I had a fever
at the time, and remained at home."] And there was a great uproar
in the castle--some of the young lords playing ball in the castle
court with the young Prince, Philip Julius, others preparing for
the carnival mummeries, which were to commence next evening by a
great banquet and dance in the hall. Indeed, that same evening
their Graces had a brave carouse, to try and make Duke Johann
forget his grief about his well-beloved Dinnies Kleist: and his
Grace thus began to discourse concerning him:--

"Truly, brothers, who knows what the devil may have in store for
us? for it was a strange thing how my blood-standard sunk in the
abyss, while that of my brother of Brandenburg floated above it.
Think you that our male line will become extinct, and the heritage
of fair Pomerania descend to Brandenburg? For, in truth, it is
strange that, out of five brothers, two of us only have
heirs--Bogislaff and Ernest Ludovicus, who has left indeed but one
only son."

Then Duke Bogislaff (whom our Lord God had surely blessed for his
humility in resigning the government, and also because of his
dutiful conduct ever towards his mother, even in his youth having
brought her a tame seagull) made answer, laughingly: "Dear
brother, I think Herr Bacchus has done more to turn Frau Venus
against our race than Sidonia or any of her spells, therefore ye
need not wonder if ye have no heirs. However, if my five young
Princes listen to my warnings and shun the wine-cup, trust me the
blood-standard will be lifted up again, and our ancient name never
want a fitting representative."

Meanwhile, as they so discoursed, and the gracious ladies looked
down for shame upon the ground, young Lord Philip began a Latin
argument with the Rev. Dr. Glambecken, court chaplain at Wolgast
_de monetis;_ and pulled out of his pocket a large bag of old
coins, which had been presented to him by Doctor Chytraeus,
professor of theology at Rostock, with whom his Grace interchanged
Latin epistles. [Foonote: See the Latin letters of the talented
young Prince in Oelrich's "Contributions to the Literary History
of the Pomeranian Dukes," vol. i. p. 67. He fell a victim to
intemperance, though his death was imputed likewise to Sidonia,
and formed the subject of the sixth torture examination.]

This gave the conversation a new turn, and the ladies particularly
were much pleased examining the coins; but the devil himself
surely must have anagrammatised one of them, for over the letters,
Pomerania, figures were scratched  356412789
--thus--Pomerania--giving the terrible meaning, _rape omnia_
(rob all); and many said that this must have been the very coin
which the devil took that time he rent the oblation-table, at the
exorcism of the young Princess.

This discovery filled the Pomeranian Duke with strong
apprehensions, and young Prince Franz handed over the coin to the
Elector of Brandenburg, saying bitterly, "Yes, rob all! Doctor
Joel of Grypswald has long since told me that it would all end
this way--even as Satan himself has scratched down here--but my
lord father will not credit him, he is so proud of his five sons.
Doctor Joel, however, is a right learned man, and no one knows the
mysteries of the black art better; besides, who reads the stars
more diligently each night than he?"

And behold, while he is speaking, the fool runs into the hall,
pale, and trembling in every limb.

"Alas! Lord Franz," he exclaimed, "I have seen the manikin again
on his three-legged hare, which appeared at the death of Duke
Ernest Ludovicus."

But the young lord boxed him, crying, "Away, thou knave! must thy
chatter help to make us more melancholy?"

However Duke Bogislaff bid the fool stay, and tell them when and
where he had seen the imp.

My fool wiped his eyes, and began: "The young Lord Franz had bid
him put on his best jacket (that which had been given him as a
Christmas-box) for the carnival mummings on Shrove Tuesday; so he
went up to the garret to get it himself out of the trunk, but,
before he had quite reached the trunk, the black dwarf, with his
little red boots, rode out from behind it on his three-legged
hare--hop! hop! hop!--made a frightful face at him, and after a
little while rode back again--hop! hop! hop! behind his old boots,
which stood in a corner, and disappeared!"

What the malicious Puck denoted we shall soon see--Oh, woe! woe!

Next day all sorts of amusements were set on foot, to chase away
gloomy thoughts out of the hearts of the illustrious guests--such
as tilting with lances, dancing upon stilts, wrestling,
rope-dancing. _Item,_ pickleherring and harlequins. Amongst
these last the fool showed off to great advantage, for who could
twist his face into more laughable grimaces? _Item,_ in the
evening there was a mask of mummers, in which one fellow played
the angel, and another dressed as Satan, with a large horse's foot
and cock's plume, spat red fire from his mouth, and roared
horribly when the angel overcame him (but withal I think the
gloomy thoughts stayed there yet).

And mark what in truth soon happened! When the drums and trumpets
struck up the last mask dance in the great Ritter Hall, which
every one joins in, old and young, his Grace, Duke Johann, went to
the room of his dear cousin Hedwig, the princely widow, and prayed
her to tread the dance with him; but she refuses, and sits by the
fire and weeps.

"Let not my dear cousin fret," said the Duke, "about the chatter
of the fool."

To which she replied, "Alas! wherefore not? For surely it betokens
death to my darling little son, Philip Julius."

"No," exclaimed the Duke quickly, "it betokens mine!" and he fell
flat upon the ground.

One can easily imagine how the gracious lady screamed, so that all
ran in from the Knight's Hall in their masks and mumming-dresses,
to see indeed the mumming of the true bodily Satan; and Doctor
Pomius, who was at the mask likewise, ran in with a
smelling-bottle, but all was in vain. His Grace lingered for three
days, and then having received the Holy Sacrament from Doctor
Glambecken, died in the same chamber in which he was born, having
lived fifty-seven years, five months, twelve days, and fourteen
hours. How can I describe the lamentations of the princely
company--yea, indeed, of the whole town; for every one saw now
plainly that the anger of God rested upon this ancient and
illustrious Pomeranian race, and that He had given it over
helplessly to the power of the evil one.

_Summa._--On the 9th February the princely corse was laid in
the very sleigh which had brought it a living body, and, followed
by a grand train of princes, nobles, and knights, along with a
strong guard of the ducal soldatesca, was conveyed back to
Stettin; and there, with all due and befitting ceremonies, was
buried on Palm Sunday in the vault of the castle church.



CHAPTER XXII.

_How Barnim the Tenth succeeds to the government, and how
Sidonia meets him as she is gathering bilberries. Item, of the
unnatural witch-storm at his Grace's funeral, and how Duke Casimir
refuses, in consequence, to succeed him._


Now Barnim the Tenth succeeded to that very duchy about which he
had been so wroth the day of the Diet at Wollin, but it brought
him little good. He was, however, a pious Prince, and much beloved
at his dower of Rügenwald, where he spent his time in making a
little library of all the Lutheran hymn-books which he could
collect, and these he carried with him in his carriage wherever he
went; so that his subjects of Rügenwald shed many tears at losing
so pious a ruler.

_Item,_ the moment his Grace succeeded to the government, he
caused all the courts to be reopened, along with the treasury and
the chancery, which his deceased Grace had kept closed to the
last; and for this goodness towards his people, the states of the
kingdom promised to pay all his debts, which was done; and thus
lawlessness and robbery were crushed in the land.

But woe, alas!--Sidonia can no man crush! She wrote immediately to
his Grace, soliciting the _proebenda,_ and even presented
herself at the ducal house of Stettin; but his Grace positively
refused to lay eyes on her, knowing how fatal a meeting with her
had proved to each of his brothers, who no sooner met her evil
glance than they sickened and died.

Therefore his Highness held all old women in abhorrence. Indeed,
such was his fear of them, that not one was allowed to approach
the castle; and when he rode or drove out, lacqueys and squires
went before with great horsewhips, to chase away all the old women
out of his Grace's path, for truly Sidonia might be amongst them.
From this, it came to pass that as soon as it was rumoured in the
town, "His Grace is coming," all the old mothers seized up their
pattens, and scampered off, helter-skelter, to get out of reach of
the horsewhips.

But who can provide against all the arts of the devil? for though
it is true that Sidonia destroyed his two brothers, also his Grace
himself, along with Philip II., by her breath and glance, yet she
caused a great number of other unfortunate persons to perish,
without using these means, as we shall hear further on; whereby
many imagined that her familiar Chim could not have been so weak a
spirit as she represented him, on the rack, in order to save her
life, but a strong and terrible demon. These things, however, will
come in their proper place.

_Summa._--After Duke Barnim had reigned several years, with
great blessing to his people, it happened that word came from
Rügenwald how that his brother, Duke Casimir, was sick. This was
the Prince whom, we may remember, Sidonia had whipped with her
irreverent hands upon his princely _podex,_ when he was a
little boy.

Now Duke Barnim had quarrelled with the estates because they
refused funds for the Turkish war; however, he became somewhat
merrier that evening with the Count Stephen of Naugard, when the
evil tidings came to him of his beloved brother (yet more bitter
sorrow is before him, I think). So the next morning the Duke set
off with a train of six carriages to visit his sick brother, and
by the third evening they reached the wood which lies close beside
Rügenwald. Here there was a large oak, the stem of which had often
served his Grace for a target, when he amused himself by
practising firing. So he stopped the carriage, and alighted to see
if the twenty or thirty balls he had shot into it were still
there.

But alas! as he reached the oak, that devil's spectre (I mean
Sidonia) stepped from behind it; she had an old pot in her hand
filled with bilberries, and asked his Grace, would he not take
some to refresh himself after his journey.

His Highness, however, recoiled horror-struck, and asked who she
was.

She was Sidonia von Bork, and prayed his Grace yet once more for
the _proebenda_ in Marienfliess.

Hereat the Duke was still more horrified, and exclaimed, "Curse
upon thy _proebenda,_ but thou shalt get something else, I
warrant thee! Thou art a vile witch, and hast in thy mind to
destroy our whole noble race with thy detestable sorceries."

_Illa._--"Alas! no one had called her a witch before; how
could she bewitch them? It was a strange story to tell of her."

_The Duke._--"How did it happen, then, that he had no
children by his beloved Amrick?" [Footnote: Anna Maria, second
daughter of John George, Elector of Brandenburg.]

_Illa_ (laughing).--"He better ask his beloved Amrick
herself. How could she know?"

But here she began to contort her face horribly, and to spit out,
whereupon the Duke called out to his retinue--"Come here, and hang
me this hag upon the oak-tree; she is at her devil's sorceries
again! And woe! woe! already I feel strange pains all through my
body!"

Upon this, divers persons sprang forward to seize her, but the
nimble night-bird darted behind a clump of fir-trees, and
disappeared. Unluckily they had no bloodhounds along with them,
otherwise I think the devil would have been easily seized, and
hung up like an acorn on the oak-tree. But God did not so will it,
for though they sent a pack of hounds from Rügenwald, the moment
they arrived there, yet no trace of the hag could be found in the
forest.

And now mark the result: the Duke became worse hour by hour, and
as Duke Casimir had grown much better by the time he arrived, and
was in a fair way of recovery, his Grace resolved to take leave of
him and return with all speed to his own house at Stettin; but on
the second day, while they were still a mile from Stettin, Duke
Barnim grew so much worse, that they had to stop at Alt-Damm for
the night. And scarcely had he laid himself down in bed when he
expired. This was on the 1st of September 1603, when he was
fifty-four years, six months, sixteen days, and sixteen hours old.

But the old, unclean night-bird would not let his blessed Highness
go to his grave in peace (probably because he had called her an
accursed witch). For the 18th of the same month, when all the
nobles and estates were assembled to witness the ceremonial of
interment, along with several members of the ducal house, and
other illustrious personages, such a storm of hail, rain, and
wind, came on just at a quarter to three, as they had reached the
middle of the service, that the priest dropped the book from his
hands, and the church became so suddenly dark, that the sexton had
to light the candles to enable the preacher to read his text.
Never, too, was heard such thunder, so that many thought St.
Jacob's Tower had fallen in, and the princes and nobles rushed out
of the church to shelter themselves in the houses, while the most
terrific lightning flashed round them at every step.

Yet truly it must have been all witch-work, for when the funeral
was over, the weather became as serene and beautiful as possible.

And a great gloom fell upon every one in consequence, for that it
was no natural storm, a child could have seen. Indeed, Dr. Joel,
who was wise in these matters, declared to his Highness Duke
Bogislaff XIII. that without doubt it was a witch-storm, for the
doctor was present at the funeral, as representative of the
University of Grypswald. And respecting the clouds, he observed
particularly that they were formed like dogs' tails, that is, when
a dog carries his tail in the air so that it forms an arc of a
circle. And this, indeed, was the truth.

_Summa._--As by the death of Duke Barnim the government
devolved upon Duke Casimir of Rügenwald, the estates proceeded
thither to offer him their homage, but the Prince hesitated, said
he was sickly, and who could tell whether it would not go as ill
with him as with his brothers? But the estates, both temporal and
spiritual, prayed him so earnestly to accept the rule, that he
promised to meet them on the next morning by ten of the clock, in
the great Rittersaal (knights' hall), and make them acquainted
with his decision.

The faithful states considered this a favourable answer, and were
in waiting next morning, at the appointed hour, in the Rittersaal.
But what happened? Behold, as the great door was thrown open, in
walked the Duke, not with any of the insignia of his princely
station, but in the dress of a fisherman. He wore a linen jacket,
a blue smock, a large hat, and great, high fisher's boots,
reaching nearly to his waist. _Item,_ on his back the Duke
carried a fisherman's basket; six fishermen similarly dressed
accompanied him, and others in a like garb followed.

All present wondered much at this, and a great murmur arose in the
hall; but the Duke threw his basket down by his side, and leaned
his elbow on it, while he thus went on to speak: "Ye see here, my
good friends, what government I intend to hold in future with
these honest fishers, who accompanied me up to my dear brother's
funeral. I shall return this day to Rügenwald. The devil may rule
in Pomerania, but I will not; if you kill an ox there is an end of
it, but here there is no end. Satan treats us worse than the poor
ox. Choose a duke wheresoever you will; but as for me, I think
fishing and ruling the rudder is pleasanter work than to rule your
land."

And when the unambitious Prince had so spoken, he drew forth a
little flask containing branntwein [Footnote: Whisky] (a new drink
which some esteemed more excellent than wine, which, however, I
leave in its old pre-eminence; I tasted the other indeed but once,
but it seemed to me to set my mouth on fire--such is not for my
drinking), and drank to the fishers, crying, "What say you,
children--shall we not go and flounder again upon the Rügenwald
strand?" Upon which they all shouted, "Ay! ay!"

His Grace then drank to the states for a farewell, and leaving the
hall, proceeded with his followers to the vessel, which he
ascended, singing gaily, and sailed home directly to his new
fishing-lodge at Neuhausen.

Such humility, however, availed his Grace nothing in preserving
him from the claws of Satan; for scarcely a year and a half had
elapsed when he was seized suddenly, even as his brothers, and
died on the 10th May 1605, at the early age of forty-eight years,
one month, twenty-one days, and seventeen hours.

But to return to the states. They were dumb with grief and despair
when his Grace left the hall. The land marshal stood with the
staff, the court marshal with the sword, and the chancellor with
the seals, like stone statues there, till a noble at the window
called out--

"Let us hasten quickly to Prince Bogislaff, before he journeys
off, too, with his five sons, and we are left without any ruler.
See, there are the horses just putting to his carriage!"

Upon this, they all ran out to the coach, and the chancellor
asked, in a lamentable voice, "If his Grace were indeed going to
leave them, like that other gracious Prince who owned the dukedom
by right? The states would promise everything he desired--they
would pay all his debts--only his Grace must not leave them and
their poor fatherland in their sore need."

Hereat his Grace laughed, and told them, "He was not going to his
castle of Franzburg, only as far as Oderkrug, with his dear sons,
to look at the great sheep-pens there, and drink a bowl of ewe's
milk with the shepherds under the apple-tree. He hoped to arrive
there before his brother Casimir in his boat, and then they might
discuss the _casus_ together; indeed, when he showed him the
sheep-pens, it was not probable that he would refuse a duchy which
had a fold of twenty thousand sheep, for his brother Casimir was a
great lover of sheep as well as of fish."

Upon this, the states and privy council declared that they would
follow him to Oderkrug to learn the result, but meanwhile begged
of his Grace not to delay setting off, lest Duke Casimir might
have left Oderkrug before he reached it.



CHAPTER XXIII.

Duke Bogislaff XIII. accepts the government of the duchy, and
gives Sidonia at last the long-desired
_proebenda_--_Item,_ of her arrival at the convent of
Marienfliess.


Now my gracious Lord Bogislaff had scarcely alighted at Oderkrug
from his carriage, and drunk a bowl of milk under the apple-tree,
when he spied the yellow sails of his brother's boat above the
high reeds; upon which he ran down to the shore, and called out
himself--

"Will you not land, brother, and drink a bowl of ewe's milk with
us, or take a glance at the great sheep-pen? It is a rare wonder,
and my lord brother was always a great lover of sheep!"

But Prince Casimir went on, and never slackened sail. Whereupon
his Highness called out again, "The states and privy councillors
are coming, brother, and want to have a few words with you."

Hereat Prince Casimir laughed in the boat, and returned for
answer--"He knew well enough what they wanted; but no--he had no
desire to be bewitched to death. Just give him the lands of
Lauenburg and Butow as an addition to his dower, and then his dear
Bogislaff might take all Pomerania to himself if he pleased."

After which, doffing his hat for an _addio,_ he steered
bravely through the _Pappenwasser_.

When young Prince Franz heard this, he laughed loud, and said,
"Truly our uncle is the wisest--he will not be bewitched to death,
as he says--but what will my lord father do now, for see, here
come the states already in their carriages over the hill!"

Duke Bogislaff answered, "What else remains for me to do but to
accept the government?"

_Ille._--"Yes, and be struck dead by witchcraft, like my
three uncles! Ah, my gracious lord father, before ever you accept
the rule of the duchy, let the witch be seized and burned. Doctor
Joel hath told me much about these witches; and believe me, there
is no wiser man in all Pomerania than this magister. He can do
something more than eat bread." Then he fell upon his father's
neck, and caressed him--"Ah, dear father, do not jump at once into
the government; burn the witch first: we cannot spare our dear
lord father!"

And the two young Princes George and Ulrich prayed him in like
manner; but young Philip Secundus spake--"I think, brothers, it
were better if our dear father gave this long-talked-of
_proebenda_ to the witch at once; then, whether she bewitches
or not, we are safe at all events."

Hereupon his Highness answered--"My Philip is right; for in truth
no one can say whether your uncles died by Sidonia's sorceries or
by those of the evil man Bacchus. Therefore I warn you, dear
children, flee from this worst of all sorcerers; not starting at
appearances, as a horse at a shadow, for appearance is the shadow
of truth. Be admonished, therefore, by St. Peter, and 'gird up the
loins of your spirit: be sober, and watch unto prayer.' Then ye
may laugh all witches to scorn; for God will turn the devices of
your enemy to folly."

Meanwhile the states have arrived; and having alighted from their
coaches at the great sheep-pen, they advanced respectfully to the
Duke, who was seated under the apple-tree--the land marshal first,
with the staff, then the court marshal with the sword, and lastly
the chancellor with the seals.

The had seen from the hill how Duke Casimir sailed away without
waiting to hear them, and prayed and hoped that his Highness would
accept the insignia which they here respectfully tendered, and not
abandon his poor fatherland in such dire need. The devil and
wicked men could do much, but God could do more, as none knew
better than his Highness.

Herewith his Grace sighed deeply, and taking the insignia, laid
staff and sword beside him; then, taking up the sword hastily
again, he held it in his hand while he thus spake:--

"My faithful, true, and honourable states, ye know how that I
resigned the government, out of free will, at the Diet at Wollin,
because I thought, and still think, that nothing weighs heavier
than this sword which I hold in my hand. Therefore I went to my
dower at Barth, and have founded the beautiful little town of
Franzburg to keep the Stralsund knaves in submission, and also to
teach our nobles that there is some nobler work for a man to do in
life than eating, drinking, and hunting. _Item,_ I have
encouraged commerce, and especially given my protection to the
woollen trade; but all my labours will now fall to the ground, and
the Stralsund knaves be overjoyed; [Footnote: The apprehension was
justified by the event; for on the departure of Duke Bogislaff,
Franzburg fell rapidly to a mere village, to the great joy of the
Stralsunders, who looked with much envy on a new town springing up
in their vicinity.] however, I must obey God's will, and not kick
against the pricks. Therefore I take the sword of my father,
hoping that it will not prove too heavy for me, an old man;
[Footnote: The Duke was then sixty.] and that He who puts it into
my hand (even the strong God) will help me to bear it. So let His
holy will be done. Amen."

Then his Highness delivered back the insignia to the states, who
reverently kissed his hand, and blessed God for having given so
good and pious a Prince to reign over them. Then they approached
the five young lords, and kissed their hands likewise, wishing at
the same time that many fair olive-branches might yet stand around
their table. This made the old Duke laugh heartily, and he prayed
the states to remain a little and drink ewe's milk with them for a
pleasant pastime; the shepherds would set out the bowls.

Duke Philip alone went away into the town to examine the library,
and all the vases, pictures, statues, and other costly works of
art, which his deceased uncle, Duke Johann Frederick, had
collected; and these he delivered over to the marshal's care, with
strict injunctions as to their preservation. But a strange thing
happened next day; for as the Duke and his sons were sitting at
breakfast, and the wine-can had just been locked up, because each
young lord had drunk his allotted portion, namely, seven glasses
(the Duke himself only drank six), a lacquey entered with a note
from Sidonia, in which she again demanded the _proebenda,_
and hoped that his Highness would be more merciful that his dead
brothers, now that he had succeeded to the duchy. Let him
therefore send an order for her admission to the cloister of
Marienfliess. The answer was to be laid upon St. Mary's altar.

Here young Lord Francis grew quite pale, and dropped the fork from
his hands, then spake--"Now truly we see this hag learns of the
devil, for how else could she have known that our gracious father
had accepted the government, unless Satan had visited her in her
den? But let his dearest father be careful. In his opinion, the
Duke should promise her the _proebenda;_ but as soon as the
accursed hag showed herself at the cloister (for the devil now
kept her concealed), let her be seized and burned publicly, for a
terrible warning and example."

This advice did not please the old Duke. "Franz," he said, "thou
art a fool, and God forbid that ever thou shouldst reign in the
land; for know that the word of a Prince is sacred. Yes, Sidonia
shall have the _proebenda;_ but I will not entrap my enemy
through deceit to death, but will try to win her over by
gentleness. The chancellor shall answer her instantly, and write
another letter to the abbess of Petersdorf; and Sidonia's shall be
laid upon the altar of St. Mary's this night, as she requested, by
one of my lacqueys."

Then Duke Philip kissed his pious father's hand, and the tears
fell from the good youth's eyes as he exclaimed--

"Alas, if she should murder you too!"

And here are the two letters, according to the copies which are
yet to be seen in the princely chancery. _Sub. Hit. Marienfliess
K, No. 683._

"WE, BOGISLAFF, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, DUKE OF STETTIN, POMERANIA,
CASSUBEN, AND WENDEN; PRINCE OF RUGEN; COUNT OF CUTZKOW, OF THE
LANDS OP LAUENBURG AND BUTOW; LORD, &c.

"In consequence of your repeated entreaties for a _proetenda_
in the cloister of Marienfliess, We, of our great goodness, hereby
grant the same unto you; hoping that, in future, you will lead an
humble, quiet life, as beseems a cloistered maiden, and, in
especial, that you will always show yourself an obedient and
faithful servant of our princely house. So we commit you to God's
keeping!

Signatum, Old Stettin, the 2oth October 1603. "BOGISLAFF."

The other letter, to the abbess of Petersdorf, was sent by a
salmon lad to the convent, as we shall hear further on, and ran
thus:--

"WE, BOGISLAFF, &c.

"WORTHY ABBESS, TRUSTY AND WELL-BELOVED FRIEND!

"Hereby we send to you a noble damsel, named Sidonia von Bork, and
desire a cell for her in your cloisters, even as the other nuns.
We trust that misery may have softened her heart towards God; but
if she do not demean herself with Christian sobriety, you have our
commands to send her, along with the fish peasants and others, to
our court for judgment.

"God keep you; pray for us! Signatum, &c. "BOGISLAFF."

The letter to Sidonia was, in truth, laid that same night upon the
altar of St. Mary's, by a lacquey, who was further desired to hide
himself in the church, and see what became of it. Now, the fellow
had a horrible dread of staying alone in the church by night, so
he took the cook, Jeremias Bild, along with him; and after they
had laid the letter down upon the altar, they crept both of them
into a high pew close by, belonging to the Aulick Counsellor,
Dieterick Stempel.

Now mark what happened. They had been there about an hour, and the
moon was pouring down as clear as daylight from the high altar
window; when, all at once, the letter upon the altar began to move
about of itself, as if it were alive, then it hopped down upon the
floor, from that danced down the altar steps, and so on all along
the nave, though no human being laid hands on it the while, and
not a breath or stir was heard in the church. [Footnote: Something
similar is related in the _Seherin of Prevorst_, where a
glass of water moved of its own accord to another place.]

Our two carls nearly died of the fright, and solemnly attested by
oath to his Highness the truth of their relation. Thereby young
Lord Franz was more strengthened in his belief concerning
Sidonia's witchcraft, and had many arguments with his father in
consequence.

"His lord father might easily know that a letter could not move of
itself without devil's magic. Now, this letter had moved of
itself; _ergo_," &c.

Whereupon his Highness answered--

"When had he ever doubted the power of Satan? Ah, never; but in
this instance who could tell what the carls in their fright had
seen or not seen? For, perhaps, Sidonia, when she observed them
hiding in the pew, had stuck a fish-hook into the letter, and so
drawn it over to herself. He remembered in his youth a trick that
had been played on the patron--for this patron always went to
sleep during the sermon. So the sexton let down a fish-hook
through the ceiling of the church, which, catching hold of the
patron's wig, drew it up in the sight of the whole congregation,
who afterwards swore that they had seen the said wig of their
patron carried up to the roof of the church by witchcraft, and
disappear through a hole in the ceiling, as if it had been a bird.
Some time after, however, the sexton confessed his knavery, and
the patron's flying wig had been a standing joke in the country
ever since."

But the young lord still shook his head--

"Ah, they would yet see who was right. He was still of the same
opinion."

But I shall leave these arguments at once, for the result will
fully show which party was in the right.

_Summa._--Sidonia, next day, drove in her one-horse cart
again to the convent gate at Marienfliess, accompanied by another
old hag as her servant. Now the peasants had just arrived with the
salmon, which the Duke despatched every fortnight as a present to
the convent, and the letter of his Grace had arrived also. So,
many of the nuns were assembled on the great steps looking at the
fish, and waiting for the abbess to divide it amongst them, as was
her custom. Others were gathered round the abbess, weeping as she
told them of the Duke's letter, and the good mother herself nearly
fainted when she read it.

So Sidonia drove straight into the court, as the gates were lying
open, and shouted--

"What the devil! Is this a nuns' cloister, where all the gates lie
open, and the carls come in and out as if it were a dove-cot?
Shame on ye, for light wantons! Wait; Sidonia will bring you into
order. Ha! ye turned me out; but now ye must have me, whether ye
will or no!"

At such blasphemies the nuns were struck dumb. However, the abbess
seemed as though she heard them not, but advancing, bid Sidonia
welcome, and said--

"It was not possible to receive her into the cloister, until she
had command from his Grace so to do, which command she now held in
her hand."

This softened Sidonia somewhat, and she asked--

"What are the nuns doing there with the fish?"

"Dividing the salmon," was the answer.

Whereupon she jumped out of the cart, and declared that she must
get her portion also, for salmon was a right good thing for
supper.

Whereupon the sub-prioress, Dorothea von Stettin, cut her off a
fine large head-piece, which Sidonia, however, pushed away
scornfully, crying--

"Fie! what did she mean by that? The devil might eat the
head-piece, but give her the tail. She had never in her life eaten
anything but the tail-piece; the tail was fatter."

So the abbess signed to them to give her the tail-end; after
which, she asked to see her cell, and, on being shown it, cried
out again--

"Fie on them! was that a cell for a lady of her degree? Why, it
was a pig-sty. Let the abbess put her young litter of nuns there;
they would be better in it than running up and down the convent
court with the fish-carls. She must and will have the refectory."

And when the abbess answered--

"That was the prayer-room, where the sisters met night and morning
for vespers and matins," she heeded not, but said--

"Let them pray in the chapel--the chapel is large enough."

And so saying, she commanded her maid, who was no other than Wolde
Albrechts, though not a soul in the convent knew her, to carry all
her luggage straight into the refectory.

What could the poor abbess do? She had to submit, and not only
give her up the refectory, but, finding that she had no bed, order
one in for her. _Item,_ seeing that Sidonia was in rags, she
desired black serge for a robe to be brought, and a white veil,
such as the sisterhood wore, and bid the nuns stitch them up for
her, thinking thus to win her over by kindness. Also she desired
tables, stools, &c., to be arranged in the refectory, since she so
ardently desired to possess this room. But what fruit all this
kindness brought forth we shall see in _liber tertius_.


END OF SECOND BOOK.



BOOK III.


FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS UP
TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST 19th, 1620.



CHAPTER I.

_How the sub-prioress, Dorothea Stettin, visits Sidonia and
extols her virtue--Item, of Sidonia's quarrel with the dairywoman,
and how she beats the sheriff himself, Eggert Sparling, with a
broom-stick._


MOST EMINENT AND ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE!--Your Serene Highness will
surely pardon me if I pass over, in _libra tertio_, many of
the quarrels, bickerings, strifes, and evil deeds, with which
Sidonia disturbed the peace of the convent, and brought many a
goodly person therein to a cruel end; first, because these things
are already much known and talked of; and secondly, because such
dire and Satanic wickedness must not be so much as named to gentle
ears by me.

I shall therefore only set down a few of the principal events of
her convent life, by which your Grace and others may easily
conjecture much of what still remains unsaid; for truly wickedness
advanced and strengthened in her day by day, as decay in a rotting
tree.

The morning after her arrival in the convent, while it was yet
quite early, and Wolde Albrechts, her lame maid, was sweeping out
the refectory, the sub-prioress, Dorothea Stettin, came to pay her
a visit. She had a piece of salmon, and a fine haddock's liver, on
a plate, to present to the lady, and was full of joy and gratitude
that so pious and chaste a maiden should have entered this
convent. "Ah, yes! it was indeed terrible to see how the convent
gates lay open, and the men-folk walked in and out, as the lady
herself had seen yesterday. And would sister Sidonia believe it,
sometimes the carls came in bare-legged? Not alone old Matthias
Winterfeld, the convent porter, but others--yea, even in their
shirt-sleeves sometimes--oh, it was shocking even to think of! She
had talked about it long enough, but no one heeded her, though
truly she was sub-prioress, and ought to have authority. However,
if sister Sidonia would make common cause with her from this time
forth, modesty and sobriety might yet be brought back to their
blessed cloister."

Sidonia desired nothing better than to make common cause with the
good, simple Dorothea--but for her own purposes. Therefore she
answered, "Ay, truly; this matter of the open gates was a grievous
sin and shame. What else were these giddy wantons thinking of but
lovers and matrimony? She really blushed to see them yesterday."

_Illa._--"True, true; that was just it. All about love and
marriage was the talk for ever amongst them. It made her heart die
within her to think what the young maidens were nowadays."

_Hæc._--"Had she any instances to bring forward; what had
they done?"

_Illa._--"Alas! instances enough. Why, not long since, a nun
had married with a clerk, and this last chaplain, David Grosskopf,
had taken another nun to wife himself."

_Hæc._--"Oh, she was ready to faint with horror."

_Illa _ (sobbing, weeping, and falling upon Sidonia's
neck).--"God be praised that she had found one righteous soul in
this Sodom and Gomorrah. Now she would swear friendship to her for
life and death! And had she a little drop of wine, just to pour on
the haddock's liver? it tasted so much better stewed in wine! but
she would go for some of her own. The liver must just get one turn
on the fire, and then the butter and spices have to be added. She
would teach her how to do it if she did not know, only let the old
maid make up the fire."

_Hæc_.--"What was she talking about? Cooking was child's play
to her; she had other things to cook than haddocks' livers."

_Illa_ (weeping).--"Ah! let not her chaste sister be angry;
she had meant it all in kindness."

_Hæc_.--"No doubt--but why did she call the convent a Sodom
and Gomorrah? Did the nuns ever admit a lover into their cells?"

_Illa_ (screaming with horror).--"No, no, fie! how could the
chaste sister bring her lips to utter such words?"

_Hæc_.--"What did she mean, then, by the Sodom and Gomorrah?"

_Illa_.--"Alas! the whole world was a Sodom and Gomorrah,
why, then, not the convent, since it lay in the world? For though
we do not sin in words or works, yet we may sin in thought; and
this was evidently the case with some of these young things, for
if the talk in their hearing was of marriage, they laughed and
tittered, so that it was a scandal and abomination!"

_Hæc_.--"But had she anything else to tell her--what had she
come for?"

_Illa_.--"Ah! she had forgotten. The abbess sent to say, that
she must begin to knit the gloves directly for the canons of
Camyn. Here was the thread."

_Hæc_.--"Thousand devils! what did she mean?" _Illa_
(crossing herself).--"Ah! the pious sister might let the devils
alone, though (God be good to us) the world was indeed full of
them!"

_Hæc_.--"What did she mean, then, by this knitting--to talk
to her so--the lady of castles and lands?"

_Illa_.--"Why, the matter was thus. The reverend canons of
Camyn, who were twelve in number, purchased their beer always from
the convent--for such had been the usage from the old Catholic
times--and sent a waggon regularly every half-year to fetch it
home. In return for this goodness, the nuns knit a pair of thread
gloves for each canon in spring, and a pair of woollen ones in
winter."

_Hæc_.--"Then the devil may knit them if he chooses, but she
never will. What! a lady of her rank to knit gloves for these old
fat paunches! No, no; the abbess must come to her! Send a message
to bid her come."

And truly, in a little time, the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf,
came as she was bid; for she had resolved to try and conquer
Sidonia's pride and insolence by softness and humility.

But what a storm of words fell upon the worthy matron!

"Was this treatment, forsooth, for a noble lady? To be told to
knit gloves for a set of lazy canons. Marry, she had better send
the men at once to her room, to have them tried on. No wonder that
levity and wantonness should reign throughout the convent!"

Here the good mother interposed--

"But could not sister Sidonia moderate her language a little? Such
violence ill became a spiritual maiden. If she would not hold by
the old usage, let her say so quietly, and then she herself, the
abbess, would undertake to knit the gloves, since the work so
displeased her."

Then she turned to leave the room, but, on opening the door,
tumbled right against sister Anna Apenborg, who was stuck up close
to it, with her ear against the crevice, listening to what was
passing inside. Anna screamed at first, for the good mother's head
had given her a stout blow, but recovering quickly, as the two
prioresses passed out, curtsied to Sidonia--

"Her name was Anna Apenborg. Her father, Elias, dwelt in
Nadrensee, near Old Stettin, and her great-great-grandfather,
Caspar, had been with Bogislaff X. in the Holy Land. She had come
to pay her respects to the new sister, for she was cooking in the
kitchen yesterday when the lady arrived, and never got a sight of
her, but she heard that this dear new sister was a great lady,
with castles and lands. Her father's cabin was only a poor thing
thatched with straw," &c.

All this pleased the proud Sidonia mightily, so she beckoned her
into the room, where the aforesaid Anna immediately began to stare
about her, and devour everything with her eyes; but seeing such
scanty furniture, remarked inquiringly--

"The dear sister's goods are, of course, on the road?"

This spoiled all Sidonia's good-humour in a moment, and she
snappishly asked--

"What brought her there?"

Hereupon the other excused herself--

"The maid had told her that the dear sister was going to eat her
salmon for her lunch, with bread and butter, but it was much
better with kale, and if she had none, her maid might come down
now and cut some in the garden. This was what she had to say. She
heard, indeed, that the sub-prioress and Agnes Kleist ate their
salmon stewed in butter, but that was too rich; for one should be
very particular about salmon, it was so apt to disagree. However,
if sister Sidonia would just mind her, she would teach her all the
different ways of dressing it, and no one was ever the worse for
eating salmon, if they followed her plan."

But before Sidonia had time to answer, the chatterbox had run to
the door and lifted the latch--

"There was a strange woman in the courtyard, with something under
her apron. She must go and see what it was, but would be back
again instantly with the news."

In a short time she returned, bringing along with her Sheriff
Sparling's dairy-woman, who carried a large bundle of flax under
her apron. This she set down before Sidonia--

"And his worship bid her say that she must spin all this for him
without delay, for he wanted a new set of shirts, and the thread
must be with the weaver by Christmas."

When Sidonia heard this, she fell into a right rage in earnest--

"May the devil wring his ears, the peasant carl! To send such a
message to a lady of her degree!"

Then she pitched the flax out of the door, and wanted to shove the
dairy-woman out after it, but she stopped, and said--

"His worship gave all the nuns a bushel of seed for their trouble,
and sowed it for them; so she had better do as the others did."

Sidonia, however, was not to be appeased--

"May the devil take her and her flax, if she did not trot out of
that instantly."

So she pushed the poor woman out, and then panting and blowing
with rage, asked Anna Apenborg to tell her what this boor of a
sheriff was like?

_Illa_.--"He was a strange man. Ate fish every day, and
always cooked the one way, namely, in beer. How this was possible
she could not understand. To-day she heard he was to have pike for
his dinner."

_Hæc_.--"Was she asking the fool what he ate? What did she
care about his dinners? But what sort of man was he, and did all
the nuns, in truth, spin for him?"

_Illa_.--"Ay, truly, except Barbara Schetzkow; she was dead
now. But once when he went storming to her cell, she just turned
him out, and so she had peace ever after. For he roared like a
bear, but, in truth, was a cowardly rabbit, this same sheriff. And
she heard, that one time, when he was challenged by a noble, he
shrank away, and never stood up to his quarrel."

But just then in walked the sheriff himself, with a horse-whip in
his hand. He was a thick-set, grey-headed fellow, and roared at
Sidonia--

"What! thou old, lean hag--so thou wilt spin no flax? May the
devil take thee, but thou shalt obey my commands!"

While he thus scolded, Sidonia quietly caught hold of the broom,
and grasping it with both hands, gave such a blow with the handle
on the grey pate of the sheriff, that he tumbled against the door,
while she screamed out--

"Ha! thou peasant boor, take that for calling me a hag--the lady
of castle and lands!"

Then she struck him again and again, till the sheriff at last got
the door open and bolted out, running down the stairs as hard as
he could, and into the courtyard, where, when he was safely
landed, he shook the horsewhip up at Sidonia's windows, crying
out--

"I will make you pay dear for this. Anna Apenborg was witness of
the assault. I will swear information this very day before his
Highness, how the hag assaulted me, the sheriff, and
superintendent of the convent, in the performance of my duty, and
pray him to deliver an honourable cloister from the presence of
such a vagabond."

Then he went to the abbess, and begged her and the nuns to sustain
him in his accusation--

"Such wickedness and arrogance had never yet been seen under the
sun. Let the good abbess only feel his head; there was a lump as
big as an egg on it. Truly, he had had a mind to horsewhip her
black and blue; but that would have been illegal; so he thanked
God that he had restrained himself."

Then he made the abbess feel his head again; also Anna Apenborg,
who happened to come in that moment. But the worthy mother knew
not what to do. She told the sheriff of Sidonia's behaviour as she
drove into the convent; also how she had possessed herself of the
refectory by force, refused to knit or spin, and had sent for her,
the abbess, bidding her come to her, as if she were no better than
a serving-wench.

At last the sheriff desired all the nuns to be sent for, and in
their presence drew up a petition to his Highness, praying that
the honourable convent might be delivered from the presence of
this dragon, for that no peace could be expected within the walls
until this vagabond and evil-minded old hag were turned out on the
road again, or wherever else his Highness pleased. Every one
present signed this, with the exception of Anna Apenborg and the
sub-prioress, Dorothea Stettin. And many think that in
consideration of this gentleness, Sidonia afterwards spared their
lives, and did not bring them to a premature grave, like as she
did the worthy abbess and others.

For the next time that she caught Anna at her old habit of
listening, Sidonia said, while boxing her--

"You should get something worse than a box on the ear, only for
your refusal to sign that lying petition to his Highness."

_Summa_.--After a few days, an answer arrived from his Grace
the Duke of Stettin, and the abbess, with the sheriff, proceeded
with it to Sidonia's apartment.

They found her brewing beer, an art in which she excelled; and the
letter which they handed to her ran thus, according to the copy
received likewise by the convent:--

"WE, BOGISLAFF, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, DUKE OF STETTIN, &c.

"Having heard from our sheriff and the pious sisterhood of
Marienfliess, of thy unseemly behaviour, in causing uproars and
tumults in the convent; further, of thy having struck our worthy
sheriff on the head with a broom-stick--We hereby declare, desire,
and command, that, unless thou givest due obedience to the
authorities, lay and spiritual, doing this well, with humility and
meekness, even as the other sisters, the said authorities shall
have full power to turn thee out of the convent, by means of their
bailiffs or otherwise, as they please, giving thee back again to
that perdition from which thou wast rescued. Further, thou art
herewith to deliver up the refectory to the abbess, of which We
hear thou hast shamefully possessed thyself.

"Old Stettin, 10th November, 1603.

"BOGISLAFF."

Sidonia scarcely looked at the letter, but thrust it under the pot
on the fire, where it soon blazed away to help the brewing, and
exclaimed--

"They had forged it between them; the Prince never wrote a line of
it. Nor would he have sent it to her by the hands of her enemies.
Let it burn there. Little trouble would she take to read their
villainy. But never fear, they should have something in return for
their pains."

Hereupon she blew on them both, and they had scarcely reached the
court, after leaving her apartment, when both were seized with
excruciating pains in their limbs; both the sheriff and the abbess
were affected in precisely the same way--a violent pain first in
the little finger, then on through the hand, up the arm, finally,
throughout the whole frame, as if the members were tearing
asunder, till they both screamed aloud for very agony. Doctor
Schwalenberg is sent for from Stargard, but his salve does no
good; they grow worse rather, and their cries are dreadful to
listen to, for the pain has become intolerable.

So my brave sheriff turns from a roaring ox into a poor cowardly
hare, and sends off the dairy-woman with a fine haunch of venison
and a sweetbread to Sidonia: "His worship's compliments to the
illustrious lady with these, and begged to know if she could send
him anything good for the rheumatism, which had attacked him quite
suddenly. The Stargard doctor was not worth the air he breathed,
and his salve had only made him worse in place of better. He would
send the illustrious lady also some pounds of wax-lights; she
might like them through the winter, but they were not made yet."

When Sidonia heard this she laughed loudly, danced about, and
repeated the verse which was then heard for the first time from
her lips; but afterwards she made use of it, when about any evil
deed:--

  "Also kleien und also kratzen,
  Meine Hunde und meine Katzen."

  ["So claw and so scratch,
    My dogs and my cats."]

The dairy-woman stood by in silent wonder, first looking at
Sidonia, then at Wolde, who began to dance likewise, and
chanted:--

  "Also kleien und also kratzen,
   Unsre Hunde und unsre Katzen."

  ["So claw and so scratch,
    Our dogs and our cats."]

At last Sidonia answered, "This time I will help him; but if he
ever bring the roaring ox out of the stall again, assuredly he
will repent it."

Hereon the dairy-mother turned to depart, but suddenly stood quite
still, staring at Anne Wolde; at length said, "Did I not see thee
years ago spinning flax in my mother's cellar, when the folk
wanted to bring thee to an ill end?"

But the hag denied it all--"The devil may have been in her
mother's cellar, but she had never seen Marienfliess in her life
before, till she came hither with this illustrious lady."

So the other seemed to believe her, and went out; and by the time
she reached her master's door, his pains had all vanished, so that
he rode that same day at noon to the hunt.

The poor abbess heard of all this through Anna Apenborg, and
thereupon bethought herself of a little embassy likewise.

So she bid Anna take all sorts of good pastry, and a new kettle,
and greet the Lady Sidonia from her--"Could the dear sister give
her anything for the rheumatism?" She heard the sheriff was quite
cured, and all the doctor's salves and plasters were only making
her worse. She sent the dear sister a few dainties--_item_, a
new kettle, as her own kettle had not yet arrived. _Item_,
she begged her acceptance of all the furniture, &c., which she had
lent her for her apartment.

At this second message, the horrible witch laughed and danced as
before, repeating the same couplet; and the old hag, Wolde, danced
behind her like her shadow.

Now Anna Apenborg's curiosity was excited in the highest degree at
all this, and her feet began to beat up and down on the floor as
if she were dying to dance likewise; at last she exclaimed, "Ah,
dear lady! what is the meaning of that? Could you not teach it to
me, if it cures the rheumatism? that is, if there be no devil's
work in it (from which God keep us). I have twelve pounds of wool
lying by me; will you take it, dear lady, for teaching me the
secret?"

But Sidonia answered, "Keep your wool, good Anna, and I will keep
my secret, seeing that it is impossible for me to teach it to you;
for know, that a woman can only learn it of a man, and a man of a
woman; and this we call the doctrine of sympathies. However, go
your ways now, and tell the abbess that, if she does my will, I
will visit her and see what I can do to help her; but, remember,
my will she must do."

Hereupon sister Anna was all eagerness to know what her will was,
but Sidonia bade her hold her tongue, and then locked up the
viands in the press, while Wolde went into the kitchen with the
kettle, where Anna Apenborg followed her slowly, to try and pick
something out of the old hag, but without any success, as one may
easily imagine.



CHAPTER II.

_How Sidonia visits the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf, and
explains her wishes, but is diverted to other objects by a sight
of David Ludeck, the chaplain to the convent._


When Sidonia went to visit the abbess, as she had promised, she
found her lying in bed and moaning, so that it might have melted
the heart of a stone; but the old witch seemed quite
surprised--"What could be the matter with the dear, good mother?
but by God's help she would try and cure her. Only, concerning
this little matter of the refectory, it might as well be settled
first, for Anna Apenborg told her the room was to be taken from
her; but would not the good mother permit her to keep it?"

And when the tortured matron answered, "Oh yes; keep it, keep it,"
Sidonia went on--

"There was just another little favour she expected for curing her
dear mother (for, by God's help, she expected to cure her). This
was, to make her sub-prioress in place of Dorothea Stettin; for,
in the first place, the situation was due to her rank, she being
the most illustrious lady in the convent, dowered with castles and
lands; secondly, because her illustrious forefathers had helped to
found this convent; and thirdly, it was due to her age, for she
was the natural mother of all these young doves, and much more
fitted to keep them in order and strict behaviour than Dorothea
Stettin."

Here the abbess answered, "How could she make her sub-prioress
while the other lived? This was not to be done? Truly sister
Dorothea was somewhat prudish and whining, this she could not
deny, for she had suffered many crosses in her path; but, withal,
she was an upright, honest creature, with the best and simplest
heart in the world; and so little selfishness, that verily she
would lay down her life for the sisterhood, if it were necessary."

_Illa_.--"A good heart was all very well, but what could it
do without respect? and how could a poor fool be respected who
fell into fits if she saw a bride, particularly here, where the
young sisters thought of nothing but marriage from morning till
night."

_Hæc_.--"Yet she was held in great respect and honour by all
the sisterhood, as she herself could testify."

_Illa_.--"Stuff! she must be sub-prioress, and there was an
end of it, or the abbess might lie groaning there till she was as
stiff as a pole."

"Alas! Sidonia," answered the abbess, "I would rather lie here as
stiff as a pole--or, in other words, lie here a corpse, for I
understand thy meaning--than do aught that was unjust."

_Illa_.--"What was unjust? The old goose need not be turned
out of her office by force, but persuaded out of it--that would be
an easy matter, if she were so humble and excellent a creature."

_Hæc_.--"But then deceit must be practised, and that she
could never bring herself to."

_Illa_.--"Yet you could all practise deceit against me, and
send off that complaint to his Highness the Prince."

_Hæc_.--"There was no falsehood there nor deceit, but the
openly expressed wish of the whole convent, and of his worship the
sheriff."

_Illa_.--"Then let the whole convent and his worship the
sheriff make her well again; she would not trouble herself about
the matter."

Whereupon she rose to depart, but the suffering abbess stretched
out her hands, and begged, for the sake of Jesus, that she would
release her from this torture! "Take everything--everything thou
wishest, Sidonia--only leave me my good conscience. Thy dying hour
must one day come too; oh! think on that."

_Illa_.--"The dying hour is a long way off yet" (and she
moved to the door).

_Hæc _(murmuring):--

  "Why should health from God estrange thee?
  Morning cometh and may change thee;
  Life, to-day, its hues may borrow
  Where the grave-worm feeds to-morrow."

_Illa_.--"Look to yourself then. Speak! Make me sub-prioress,
and be Cured on the instant."

_Hæc _ (turning herself back upon the pillow).--"No, no,
temptress; begone:--

  "'Softest pillow for the dying,
  Is a conscience void of dread.'

Go, leave me; my life is in the hand of God. 'For if we live, we
live unto the Lord; and if we die, we die unto the Lord. Living,
therefore, or dying, we are the Lord's.'"

So saying, the pious mother turned her face to the wall, and
Sidonia went out of the chamber.

In a little while, however, she returned--"Would the good mother
promise, at least, to offer no opposition, if Dorothea Stettin
proposed, of her own free will, to resign the office of
sub-prioress? If so, let her reach forth her hand; she would soon
find the pains leave her."

The poor abbess assented to this, and oh, wonder! as it came, so
it went; first out of the little finger, and then by degrees out
of the whole body, so that the old mother wept for joy, and
thanked her murderess.

Just then the door opened, and David Ludeck, the chaplain, whom
the abbess had sent for, entered in his surplice. He was a fine
tall man, of about thirty-five years, with bright red lips and
jet-black beard.

He wondered much on hearing how the abbess had been cured by what
Sidonia called "sympathies," and smelled devil's work in it, but
said nothing--for he was afraid; spoke kindly to the witch-hag
even, and extolled her learning and the nobility of her race;
declaring that he knew well that the Von Borks had helped mainly
to found this cloister.

This mightily pleased the sorceress, and she grew quite friendly,
asking him at last, "What news he had of his wife and children?"
And when he answered, "He had no wife nor children," her eyes lit
up again like old cinders, and she began to jest with him about
his going about so freely in a cloister, as she observed he did.
But when she saw that the priest looked grave at the jestings, she
changed her tone, and demurely asked him, "If he would be ready
after sermon on Sunday to assist at her assuming the nun's dress;
for though many had given up this old usage, yet she would hold by
it, for love of Jesu." This pleased the priest, and he promised to
be prepared. Then Sidonia took her leave; but scarcely had she
reached her own apartment when she sent for Anna Apenborg. "What
sort of man was this chaplain? she saw that he went about the
convent at his pleasure. This was strange when he was unmarried."

_Illa_.--"He was a right friendly and well-behaved gentleman.
Nothing unseemly in word or deed had ever been heard of him."

_Hæc_.--"Then he must have some private love-affair."

_Illa_.--"Some said he was paying court to Bamberg's sister
there in Jacobshagen."

_Hæc_.--"Ha! very probable. But was it true? for otherwise he
should never go about amongst the nuns the way he did. It was
quite abominable: an unmarried man; Dorothea Stettin was right.
But how could they ascertain the fact?"

_Illa_.--"That was easily done. She was going next morning to
Jacobshagen, and would make out the whole story for her. Indeed,
she herself, too, was curious about it."

_Hæc_.--"All right. This must be done for the honour of the
cloister. For according to the rules of 1569, the court chaplain
was to be an old man, who should teach the sisters to read and
write. Whereas, here was a fine carl with red lips and a black
beard--unmarried too. Did he perchance ever teach any of them to
read or write?"

_Illa_.--"No; for they all knew how already."

_Hæc_.--"Still there was something wrong in it. No, no, in
such matters youth has no truth; Dorothea Stettin was quite right.
Ah, what a wonderful creature, that excellent Dorothea! Such
modesty and purity she had never met with before. Would that all
young maidens were like her, and then this wicked world would be
something better."

_Illa_ (sighing).--"Ah, yes; but then sister Dorothea went
rather far in her notions."

_Hæc_.--"How so? In these matters one could never go too
far."

_Illa_.--"Why, when a couple were called in church, or a
woman was churched, Dorothea nearly fainted. Then, there was a
niche in the chancel for which old Duke Barnim had given them an
Adam and Eve, which he turned and carved himself. But Dorothea was
quite shocked at the Adam, and made a little apron to hang before
him, though the abbess and the whole convent said that it was not
necessary. But she told them, that unless Adam wore his apron,
never would she set foot in the chapel. Now, truly this was going
rather far. _Item_, she has been heard to wonder how the Lord
God could send all the animals naked into the world; as cats,
dogs, horses, and the like. Indeed, she one day disputed sharply
on the matter with the chaplain; but he only laughed at her,
whereupon Dorothea went away in a sulk."

Here Sidonia laughed outright too; but soon said with grave
decorum, "Quite right. The excellent Dorothea was a treasure above
all treasures for the convent. Ah, such chastity and virtue were
rarely to be met with in this wicked world."

Now Anna Apenborg had hardly turned her back, to go and chatter
all this back again to the sub-prioress, when Sidonia proceeded to
tap some of her beer, and called the convent porter to her,
Matthias Winterfeld, bidding him carry it with her greetings to
the chaplain, David Ludeck. (For her own maid, Wolde, was lame,
ever since the racking she got at Wolgast. So Sidonia was in the
habit of sending the porter all her messages, much to his
annoyance.) When he came now he was in his shirt-sleeves, at which
Sidonia was wroth--"What did he mean by going about the convent in
shirt-sleeves? Never let him appear before her eyes in such
unseemly trim. And was this a time even for shirt-sleeves, when
they were in the month of November? But winter or summer, he must
never appear so,"

Hereupon the fellow excused himself. He was killing geese for some
of the nuns, and had just put off his coat, not to have it spoiled
by the down; but she is nothing mollified--scolds him still, so
the fellow makes off without another word, fearing he might get a
touch of the rheumatism, like the abbess and his worship the
sheriff, and carries the beer-can to the reverend chaplain; from
whom he soon brings back "his grateful acknowledgments to the Lady
Sidonia."

Two days now passed over, but on the third morning Anna Apenborg
trotted into the refectory full of news. She was quite tired from
her journey yesterday; for the snow was deep on the roads, but to
pleasure sister Sidonia (and besides, as it was a matter that
concerned the honour of the convent) she had set off to
Jacobshagen, though indeed the snow lay ankle-deep. However, she
was well repaid, and had heard all she wanted; oh, there was great
news!

_Illa_.--"Quick! what? how? why? Remember it is for the
honour and reputation of the entire convent."

_Hæc_.--"She had first gone to one person, who pretended not
to know anything at all of the matter; but then another person had
told her the whole story--under the seal of the strictest secrecy,
however."

_Illa_.--"What is it? what is it? How she went on chattering
of nothing."

_Hæc_.--"But will the dear sister promise not to breathe it
to mortal? She would be ruined with her best friend otherwise."

_Illa_.--"Nonsense, girl; who could I repeat it to? Come, out
with it!"

So Anna began, in a very long-winded manner, to explain how the
burgomaster's wife in Jacobshagen said that her maid said that
Provost Bamberg's maid said, that while she was sweeping his study
the other morning, she heard the provost's sister say to her
brother in the adjoining room, that she could not bear the
chaplain, David Ludeck, for he had been visiting there off and on
for ever so long, and yet never had asked her the question. He was
a faint-hearted coward evidently, and she hated faint-hearted men.

Sidonia grew as red as a lire-beacon when she heard this, and
walked up and down the apartment as if much perturbed, so that
Anna asked if the dear sister were ill? "No," was the answer. "She
was only thinking how best to get rid of this priest, and prevent
him running in and out of the convent whenever he pleased. She
must try and have an order issued, that he was only to visit the
nuns when they were sick. This very day she would see about it.
Could the good Anna tell her what the sheriff had for lunch
to-day?"

_Illa_.--"Ay, truly, could she; for the milk-girl, who had
brought her some fresh milk, told her that he had got plenty of
wild fowl, which the keeper had snared in the net; and there was
to be a sweetbread besides. But what was the dear sister herself
to eat?"

_Hæc_.--"No matter--but did she not hear a great ringing of
bells? What could the ringing be for?"

_Illa_.--"That was a strange thing, truly. And there was no
one dead, nor any child to be christened, that she had heard of.
She would just run out and see, and bring the dear sister word."

_Illa_.-"Well then, wait till evening, for it is near noon
now, and I expect a guest to lunch."

_Hæc_.--"Eh? a guest!--and who could it be?"

_Illa_.--"Why, the chaplain himself. I want to arrange about
his dismissal."

So, hardly had she got rid of the chatterbox, when Sidonia called
the porter, Matthias, and bid him greet the reverend chaplain from
her, and say, that as she had somewhat to ask him concerning the
investiture on Sunday, would he be her guest that day at dinner?
She hoped to have some game with a sweetbread, and excellent beer
to set before him.

When the porter returned with the answer from his reverence,
accepting the invitation, she sent him straight to the sheriff
with a couple of covered dishes, and a message, begging his
worship to send her half-a-dozen brace or so of game, for she
heard that a great many had been taken in his nets; and a
sweetbread, if he had it, for she had a guest to-day at dinner.

So the dishes came back full--everything just ready to be served;
for the cunning hag knew well that he dare not refuse her; and
immediately afterwards the priest arrived to dinner. He was very
friendly, but Sidonia caught him looking very suspiciously at a
couple of brooms which she had laid crosswise under the table. So
she observed, "I lay these brooms there, to preserve our dear
mother and the sheriff from falling again into this sickness. It
is part of the doctrine of sympathies, and I learned it out of my
Herbal, as I can show you." Upon which she went to her trunk and
got the book for the priest, whose fears diminished when he saw
that it was _printed_; but he could not prevail on her to
lend it to him.

_Summa_.--The priest grew still more friendly over the good
eating and drinking; and she, the old hypocrite, discoursed him
the while about her heavenly bridegroom, and threw up her eyes and
sighed, at the same time pressing his hand fervently. But the
priest never minded it, for she was old enough to be his mother,
and besides, he remembered the Scripture--"No man can call Jesus
Lord, except through the Holy Ghost." So as her every third word
was "Jesus," he looked upon her as a most discreet and pious
Christian, and went away much satisfied by her and the good
dinner.



CHAPTER III.

_Sidonia tries another way to catch the priest, but fails
through a mistake--Item, of her horrible spell, whereby she
bewitched the whole princely race of Pomerania, so that, to the
grievous sorrow of their fatherland, they remain barren even unto
this day._ [Footnote: Note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.--"Ay, and
will to the last day, _vaeh mihi_."]


As soon as the pious abbess was able to leave her bed, she sent
for the priest, for she had strange suspicions about Sidonia, and
asked the reverend clerk, if indeed her cure could have been
effected by sympathy? and were it not rather some work of the
bodily Satan himself? But my priest assured her concerning
Sidonia's Christian faith; _item_, told, to the great
wonderment of the abbess, that she no longer cared for the
sub-prioret (we know why--she would sooner have the priest than
the prioret), but was content to let Dorothea Stettin keep it or
resign it, just as she pleased.

After this, the investiture of Sidonia took place, and the priest
blessed her at the altar, and admonished her to take as her model
the wise virgins mentioned Matt. xxv. (but God knows, she had
followed the foolish virgins up to that period, and never ceased
doing so to the end of her days).

Even on that very night, we shall see her conduct; for she bid her
maid, Wolde, run and call up the convent porter, and despatch him
instantly for the priest, saying that she was very ill, and he
must come and pray with her. This excited no suspicion, since she
herself had forbade the priest entering the convent, unless any of
the sisters were sick. But Anna Apenborg slipped out of bed when
she heard the noise, and watched from the windows for the porter's
return. Then she tossed up the window, though the snow blew in all
over her bed, and called out, "Well, what says he? will he come?
will he come?"

And when the fellow grunted in answer, "Yes, he's coming," she
wrapped a garment round her, and set herself to watch, though her
teeth were chattering from cold all the time. In due time the
priest came, whereupon the curious virgin crept out of her garret,
and down the stairs to a little window in the passage which looked
in upon the refectory, and through which, in former times,
provisions were sometimes handed in. There she could hear
everything that passed.

When the priest entered, Sidonia stretched out her meagre arms
towards him, and thanked him for coming; would he sit down here on
the bed, for there was no other seat in the room? she had much to
tell him that was truly wonderful. But the priest remained
standing: let her speak on.

_Illa_.--"Ah! it concerned himself. She had dreamt a strange
dream (God be thanked that it was not a reality), but it left her
no peace. Three times she awoke, and three fell asleep and dreamt
it again. At last she sent for him, for there might be danger in
store for him, and she would turn it away if possible."

_Hic_.--"It was strange, truly. What, then, had she dreamed?"

_Illa_.--"It seemed to her that murderers had got up into his
room through the window, and just as they were on the point of
strangling him, she had appeared and put them to flight,
whereupon--" (here she paused and sighed).

_Hic _(in great agitation).--"Go on, for God's sake go
on--what further?"

_Illa_.--"Whereupon--ah! she must tell him now, since he
forced her to do it. Whereupon, out of gratitude, he took her to
be his wife, and they were married" (sighing, and holding both
hands before her eyes).

_Hic_ (clasping his hands).--"Merciful Heaven! how strange! I
dreamt all that precisely myself." [Footnote: The power of
producing particular dreams by volition, was recognised by the
ancients and philosophers of the Middle Ages. _Ex._ Albertus
Magnus relates (_De Mirabilibus Mundi_ 205) that horrible
dreams can be produced by placing an ape's skin under the pillow.
He also gives a receipt for making women tell their secrets in
sleep (but this I shall keep to myself). Such phenomena are
neither physiologically nor psychologically impossible, but our
modern physiologists are content to take the mere poor form of
nature, dissect it, anatomise it, and then bury it beneath the
sand of their hypotheses. Thus, indeed, "the dead bury their
dead," while all the strange, mysterious, inner powers of nature,
which the philosophers of the Middle Ages, as Psellus, Albertus
Magnus, Trithemius, Cardanus, Theophastus, &c., did so much to
elucidate, are at once flippantly and ignorantly placed in the
category of "Superstitions," "Absurdities," and "Artful
Deceptions."]

Upon which Sidonia cried out, "How can it be possible? Oh, it is
the will of God, David--it is the will of God" (and she seized him
by both hands).

But the priest remained as cold as the snow outside, drew back his
head, and said, "Ah! no doubt these absurdities about marriage
came into my head because I had been thinking so much over our
young Lord Philip of Wolgast, who was wedded to-day at Berlin."

Sidonia started up at this, and screamed in rage and anger--"What!
Duke Philip married to-day in Berlin? The accursed prioress told
me the wedding was not to be for eight days after the next new
moon."

The priest now was more astonished at her manner than even at the
coincidence of the dreams, and he started back from the bed.
Whereupon, perceiving the mistake she had made, the horrible witch
threw herself down again, and letting her head fall upon the
pillow, murmured, "Oh! my head! my head! She must have locked up
the moon in the cellar. How will the poor people see now by
night?--why did the prioress lock up the moon? Oh! my head! my
head!" Then she thanked the priest for coming--it was so good of
him; but she was worse--much worse. "Ah! her head! her head!
Better go now--but let him come again in the morning to see her."
So the good priest believed in truth that the detestable hag was
very ill, and evidently suffering from fever; so he went his way
pitying her much, and without the least suspicion of her wicked
purposes.

Scarcely, however, had he closed the door, when Sidonia sprang
like a cat from her bed, and called out, "Wolde, Wolde!" And as
the old witch hobbled in with her lame leg, Sidonia raged and
stamped, crying out, "The accursed abbess has lied to me. Ernest
Ludovicus' brat was married to-day at Berlin. Oh! if I am too late
now, as on his father's marriage, I shall hang myself in the
laundry. Where is Chim--the good-for-nothing spirit?--he should
have seen to this." And she dragged him out and beat him, while he
quaked like a hare.

Whereupon Wolde called out, "Bring the padlock from the trunk."
The other answered, "What use now?--the bridal pair are long since
wedded and asleep." To which the old witch replied, "No; it is
twelve o'clock here, but in Berlin it wants a quarter to it yet.
There is time. The Berlin brides never retire to their apartment
till the clock strikes twelve. There is time still."

"Then," exclaimed Sidonia, "since the devil cannot tell me on what
day they hold bridal, I will make an end now of the whole accursed
griffin brood, in all its relationships, branch and root, now and
for evermore, in Wolgast as in Stettin; be they destroyed and
rooted out for ever and for ever." Then she took the padlock, and
murmured some words over it, of which Anna Apenborg could only
catch the names, Philip, Francis, George, Ulrich, Bogislaff, who
were all sons to Duke Bogislaff XIII., and, in truth, died each
one without leaving an heir. And, during the incantation, the
light trembled and burned dim upon the table, and the thing which
she had beaten seemed to speak with a human voice, and the bells
on the turret swung in the wind with a low sound, so that Anna
fell on her knees from horror, and scarcely dared to breathe. Then
the accursed sorceress gave the padlock and key to Wolde, bidding
her go forth by night and fling it into the sea, repeating the
words:--

   "Hid deep in the sea
   Let my dark spell be,
   For ever, for ever!
   To rise up never!"

Then Wolde asked, "Had she forgotten Duke Casimir?" Whereat
Sidonia laughed and said, "The spell had long been on him." And
immediately after, Anna Apenborg beheld _three_ shadows, in
place of two, thrown upon the white wall opposite the little
window. So she strengthened her heart to look in, and truly there
was _another_ form present now. And the three danced
together, and chanted strange rhymes, while the shadows on the
wall danced up and down likewise. Then a deep bass voice called
out, "Ha! there is Christian flesh here! Ha! there is Christian
flesh!" Whereupon Anna, though nearly dead with fright, crept up
to her garret on her knees, while loud laughter resounded behind
her; and it seemed as if old pots were flung up the stairs after
her. [Footnote: Note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.--Incredibile sane, et
tamen verum. Cur, mi Deus?--(It seems impossible, and yet how
true. Wherefore, my God?)

The spell by knotting the girdle is noticed by Virgil, 8th
eclogue:

  "Necte tribus nodis ternos Amarylli colores;
  Necte Amarylli modo, et Veneris die vincula necto."

  [In three knots Amaryllis weaves three different colours;
  Amaryllis knots and says: I knot the girdle of Venus.]

The use of the padlock is not mentioned until the Middle Ages,
when it seems to have been so much employed that severe ordinances
were directed against its use.] For the rest of that night she
could not close her eyes.

Next morning, one can easily imagine with what eagerness she
hurried to the abbess, to relate the past night's horrible tale.
Sidonia likewise is astir early, for by daybreak she despatched
her old lame Wolde to the chaplain (the porter was not up yet)
with a can of beer for his great trouble the night before, and
trusted it would strengthen his heart. In this beer she had poured
her detestable love-philtrum, to awaken a passion for herself in
the breast of the reverend David, but it turned out quite
otherwise, and ended after the most ludicrous fashion, no doubt
all owing to the malice of the spirit Chim, in revenge for the
blows she had given him the night previous; for, behold, as soon
as the priest had swallowed a right good draught of beer, he began
to stare at the old hag and murmur; then he passed his hand over
his eyes, and motioned her to remain. Again he looked at
her--twice, thrice--put some silver into her hand, and at last
spake--"Ah! Wolde, what a beautiful creature you are! Where have
my eyes been, that I never discovered this before?"

The cunning hag saw now plainly what the drink had done, and which
way the wind blew. So she sat herself down simpering, by the
stove, and my priest crept up close beside her; he took her
hand--"Ah! how fat and plump it was--such a beautiful hand."

But the old hag drew it back, saying, "Let me go, Mr. David!" To
which he answered, "Yes, go, my treasure! I love to see you walk!
What an exquisite limp! How stupid are men nowadays not to see all
the beauty of a limp! Ah! Venus knew it well, and therefore chose
Vulcan, for he, too, limped like my Wolde. Give me a kiss then,
loveliest of women! Ah! what enchanting snow-white hair, like the
purest silver, has my treasure on her head."

No wonder the old lame hag was tickled with the commendations,
for, in all the sixty years of her life, she never had heard the
like before. But she played the prude, and pushed away the priest
with her hand, just as, by good fortune, a messenger from the
abbess knocked at the door, with a request that the chaplain would
come to the good mother without delay. So the old hag went away
with the maid of the abbess, and the priest stopped to dress
himself more decently.

But in some time the abbess, who was on the watch, saw him
striding past her door; so she opened the window and called out to
know "Where was he going? Had he forgotten that she lived there?"
To which he answered, "He must first visit Sidonia." At this the
worthy matron stared at him in horror; but my priest went on; and
as he cared more for the maid than the mistress now, ran at once
into the kitchen, without waiting to see Sidonia in the refectory;
and seizing hold of Wolde, whispered, "That she must give him the
kiss now--she need not be such a prude, for he had no wife. And
what beautiful hair! Never in his life had he seen such beautiful
white hair!" But the old hag still resisted; and in the struggle a
stool, on which lay a pot, was thrown down.

Sidonia rushed in at the noise; and behold! there was my priest
holding Wolde by the hand. She nearly fainted at the sight. What
was he doing with her maid? Then seizing a heavy log of wood, she
began to lay it on Wolde's shoulders, who screamed and roared,
while my priest slunk away ashamed, without a word; and as he ran
down the steps, heard the blows and the screams still resounding
from the kitchen.

As he passed the door of the abbess's room, again she called him
in; but as he entered, she exclaimed in terror, "My God, what ails
your reverence? You look as black and red in the face as if you
had had a fit, and had grown ten years older in one night!"

"Nothing ails me," he answered; then sighed, and walked up and
down the room, murmuring, "What is the world to me? Why should I
care what the world thinks?" Then falls flat on the ground as if
he were dead, while the good abbess screams and calls for help. In
runs Anna Apenborg--_item_, several other sisters with their
maids, and they stretch the priest out upon a bench near the
stove, where he soon begins to foam at the mouth, and throw up all
the beer, with the love-philtrum therein, which he had drunk
(Sidonia's power effected this, no doubt, since she saw how
matters stood).

Then he heaved a deep sigh, opened his eyes, and asked, "Where am
I?" Whereupon, finding that his reason and clear understanding had
been restored to him, he requested the sisterhood to depart (for
they had all rushed in to hear what was going on) and leave him
alone with the abbess, as he had matter of grave import to discuss
with her. Whereupon they all went out, except Anna Apenborg, who
said that she, too, had matter of grave import to relate. So
finding she would not stir, the priest took her by the hand, and
put her out at the door along with the others.

Now when they were both left alone, we can easily imagine the
subject of their conversation. The poor priest made his
confession, concealing nothing, only lamenting bitterly how he had
disgraced his holy calling; but he had felt like one in a dream,
or under some influence which he could not shake off. In return,
the abbess told him of the horrible scene witnessed by Anna
Apenborg the night before; upon which they both agreed that no
more accursed witch and sorceress was in the world than their poor
cloister held at that moment. Finally, putting all the
circumstances together, the reverend David began to perceive what
designs Sidonia had upon him, particularly when he heard of Anna
Apenborg's visit to Jacobshagen, and the news which she had
brought back from thence. So to destroy all hope at once in the
accursed sorceress, and save himself from further importunity and
persecution on her part, he resolved to offer his hand the very
next day to Barbara Bamberg, for, in truth, he had long had an eye
of Christian love upon the maiden, who was pious and discreet, and
just suited to be a pastor's wife.

Then they agreed to send for the sheriff, and impart the whole
matter to him, he being cloister superintendent; but his answer
was, "Let them go to him, if they wanted to speak to him; for, as
to him, he would never enter the convent again--his poor body had
suffered too much there the last time."

Whereupon they went to him; but he could give no counsel, only to
leave the matter in the hands of God the Lord; for if they
appealed to the Prince, the sorceress would surely bewitch them
again, and they would be screaming day and night, or maybe die at
once, and then what help for them, &c.

Sidonia meanwhile was not idle; for she sent messages throughout
the whole convent that she lay in her bed sick unto death, and
they must needs come and pray with her, along with the priest,
before they assembled in the chapel for service. At this open
blasphemy and hypocrisy, a great fear and horror fell upon the
abbess, likewise upon the priest, since the witch had specially
named him, and desired that he would come _before_ service to
pray with her. For a long while he hesitated, at last promised to
visit her _after_ service; but again bethought himself that
it would be more advisable to visit her before, for he might
possibly succeed in unveiling all her iniquities, or if not, he
could pray afterwards in the church, "that if indeed Sidonia were
really sick, and a child of God, the just and merciful Father
would raise her up and strengthen her in her weakness; but if she
were practising deceit, and were no child of God, but an accursed
limb of Satan, then he would give her up into the hands of God for
punishment, for had He not said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will
repay, saith the Lord'? (Romans xii. 19.)"

This pleased the abbess, and forthwith the reverend David
proceeded to the refectory.

Now Sidonia had not expected him so early, and she was up and
dressed, busily brewing another hellish drink to have ready for
him by the time he arrived; but when his step sounded in the
passage, she whipped into bed and covered herself up with the
clothes, not so entirely, however, but that a long tail of her
black robe fell outside from under the white sheet--this,
unluckily for herself, she knew nothing of. The priest, however,
saw it plainly, and had, moreover, heard the jump she gave into
bed just as he opened the door; but he made no remark, only
greeted her as usual, and asked what she wanted with him.

_Illa.--"Ah! she was sick, sick unto death--would he not pray
for her? for the night before she was too ill to pray, and no
doubt the Lord was angry with her, by reason of the omission. This
morning, indeed, she had crept out of bed, just to scold her
awkward maid for breaking all the pots and pans, as he himself
saw, but had to go to bed again, and was growing weaker and weaker
every quarter of an hour. But the good priest must taste her beer;
let him drink a can of it first to strengthen his heart. It was
the best beer she had made yet, and her maid had just tapped a
fresh barrel."

Here the reverend David made answer--"He thanked her for her beer,
but would drink none. He could not believe, either, that she was
as ill as she said, and had been lying in bed all the morning."

But she persisted so vehemently in her falsehoods that the very
boards under her must have felt ashamed, if they had possessed any
consciousness. Whereupon the priest shuddered in horror and
disgust, bent down silently, and lifted up the piece of her robe
which lay outside.

"What did this mean? did she wear her nun's dress in bed? or was
she not rather making a mock of him, and the whole convent, by her
pretended sickness?"

Here Sidonia grew red with shame and wrath; but, ere she could
utter a word, the priest continued with a holy and righteous
anger--

"Woe to thee, Sidonia! for thou art a byword amongst the people.
Woe to thee, Sidonia! for thou hast passed thy youth in wantonness
and thy old age in sin. Woe to thee, Sidonia! for thy hellish arts
brought thy mother the abbess, and thy father the superintendent,
nearly to their graves. Woe to thee, Sidonia! for this past night
thou hast taken a horrible revenge upon the whole princely race,
and cursed them by the power which the devil gives thee. Woe to
thee, Sidonia! for by thy hellish drink thou didst seek to destroy
me, the servant of the living God, to thy horrible maid still more
horribly attracting me. Woe to thee, Sidonia! accursed witch and
sorceress, blasphemer of God and man! Behold, thy God liveth, and
thy Prince liveth, and they will rain fire and brimstone upon thy
infamous head. Woe to thee! woe to thee! woe to thee! thou false
serpent--thou accursed above all the generations of vipers--how
wilt thou escape eternal damnation?"

When the righteous priest of God had ended his fearful
malediction, he started at himself, for he knew not how the words
had come into his mouth; then turned from the bed and went out,
while a peal of laughter followed him from the room. But no evil
happened to him at that time, as he had fully expected, from
Sidonia (probably she feared to exasperate the convent and the
Prince against her too much); but she treasured up her vengeance
to another opportunity, as we shall hear further on.


END OF VOL. I.





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