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Sidonia The Sorceress V1 by William Mienhold

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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 Dhnert, fourth
volume, article 7, July number of the year 1755.

Dhnert 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 Dhnert, 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 Dhnert. 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 Dhnert.

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 PLNNIES

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 prbenda--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 Gzkow, Lord of the lands of Lauenburg and Butow,
and my gracious feudal seigneur, having commanded me, Dr. Theodore
Plnnies, 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 Mari_, 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 Plnnies, 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
_Hc_, 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
Timus (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 Timus 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 Timus, 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.

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