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SIDONIA THE SORCERESS
THE SUPPOSED DESTROYER OF THE WHOLE REIGNING DUCAL HOUSE OF
TRANSLATED BY LADY WILDE
THE AMBER WITCH BY WILLIAM MEINHOLD DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY
IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. II.
SIDONIA THE SORCERESS.
_FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS
UP TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST_ 19TH, 1620.
How Dorothea Stettin is talked out of the sub-prioret by Sidonia,
and the priest is prohibited from visiting the convent.
How Sidonia wounds Ambrosia von Guntersberg with an axe, because
she purposed to marry--And prays the convent porter, Matthias
Winterfeld, to death--For these, and other causes, the reverend
chaplain refuses to shrive the sorceress, and denounces her
publicly from the altar.
Dorothea Stettin falls sick, and how the doctor manages to bleed
her--Item, how Sidonia chases the princely commissioners into the
How the assembled Pomeranian princes hold a council over Sidonia,
and at length cite her to appear at the ducal court.
Of Sidonia's defence--Item, how she has a quarrel with Joachim
Wedel, and bewitches him to death.
How a strange woman (who must assuredly have been Sidonia) incites
the lieges of his Grace to great uproar and tumult in Stettin, by
reason of the new tax upon beer.
Of the fearful events that take place at Marienfliess--Item, how
Dorothea Stettin becomes possessed by the devil.
Of the arrival of Diliana and the death of the convent priest--
Item, how the unfortunate corpse is torn by a wolf.
How Jobst Bork has himself carried to Marienfliess in his bed to
reclaim his fair young daughter Diliana--Item, how George
Putkammer threatens Sidonia with a drawn sword.
How my gracious Lord Bishop Franciscus and the reverend Dr. Joel
go to the Jews' school at Old Stettin, in order to steal the Schem
Hamphorasch, and how the enterprise finishes with a sound.
How the Duke Francis seeks a virgin at Marienfliess to cite the
angel Och for him--Of Sidonia's evil plot thereupon, and the
terrible uproar caused thereby in the convent.
Of the death of the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorfin--Item, how
Duke Francis makes Jobst Bork and his daughter, Diliana, come to
Camyn, and what happens there.
Jobst Bork takes away his daughter by force from the Duke and Dr.
Joel; also is strengthened in his unbelief by Dr. Cramer--Item,
how my gracious Prince arrives at Marienfliess, and there
vehemently menaces Sidonia.
Of the fearful death of his Highness, Duke Philip II. of
Pomerania, and of his melancholy but sumptuous burial.
How Jobst Bork and his little daughter are forced at last into the
"Opus Magicum"--Item, how his Highness, Duke Francis, appoints
Christian Ludecke, his attorney-general, to be witch-commissioner
How Christian Ludecke begins the witch-burnings in Marienfliess,
and lets the poor dairy-mother die horribly on the rack.
What Sidonia said to these doings--Item, what our Lord God said;
and lastly, of the magical experiment performed upon George
Putkammer and Diliana, in Old Stettin.
Of the awful and majestic appearance of the sun-angel, Och.
How old Wolde is seized, confronted with Sidonia, and finally
burned before her window.
How Diliana Bork and George Putkammer are at length betrothed--
Item, how Sidonia is degraded from her conventual dignities and
carried to the witches' tower of Saatzig in chains.
Of the execution of Sidonia and the wedding of Diliana.
Mournful destiny of the last princely Pomeranian remains--My visit
to the ducal Pomeranian vault in Wolgast, on the 6th May 1840.
THE AMBER WITCH.
How the Imperialists robbed me of all that was left, and likewise
broke into the church and stole the _Vasa Sacra;_ also what
more befell us.
How our need waxed sorer and sorer, and how I sent old Ilse with
another letter to Pudgla, and how heavy a misfortune this brought
How the old maid-servant humbled me by her faith, and the Lord yet
blessed me, His unworthy servant.
How we journeyed to Wolgast, and made good barter there.
How I fed all the congregation--Item, how I journeyed to the
horse-fair at G�tzkow, and what befell me there.
What further joy and sorrow befell us-Item, how Wittich Appelmann
rode to Damerow to the wolf-hunt, and what he proposed to my
What more happened during the winter--Item, how in the spring
witchcraft began in the village.
How old Seden disappeared all on a sudden--Item, how the great
Gustavus Adolphus came to Pomerania, and took the fort at
Of the arrival of the high and mighty King Gustavus Adolphus, and
what befell thereat.
How little Mary Paasch was sorely plagued of the devil, and the
whole parish fell off from me.
How my poor child was taken up for a witch, and carried to Pudgla.
Of the first trial, and what came thereof.
How Satan, by the permission of the most righteous God, sought
altogether to ruin us, and how we lost all hope.
Of the malice of the Governor and of old Lizzie--Item, of the
examination of witnesses.
_De confrontations testium_.
How the _Syndicus Dom._ Michelson arrived, and prepared his
defence of my poor child.
How my poor child was sentenced to be put to the question.
How in my presence the devil fetched old Lizzie Kolken.
How Satan sifted me like wheat, whereas my daughter withstood him
How I received the Holy Sacrament with my daughter and the old
maid-servant, and how she was then led for the last time before
the court, with the drawn sword and the outcry, to receive
Of that which befell us by the way--Item, of the fearful death of
the sheriff at the mill.
How my daughter was at length saved by the help of the all-merciful,
yea, of the all-merciful God.
Of our next great sorrow, and final joy.
BOOK III. Continued.
FROM THE RECEPTION OF SIDONIA INTO THE CONVENT AT MARIENFLIESS UP
TILL HER EXECUTION, AUGUST 19TH, 1620.
_How Dorothea Stettin is talked out of the sub-prioret by
Sidonia, and the priest is prohibited from visiting the
If Sidonia could not be the pastor's wife, she was determined at
least to be sub-prioress, and commenced her preparations for this
object by knitting a little pair of red hose for her cat. Then she
sent for Dorothea Stettin, saying that she was weak and ill, and
no one took pity on her.
When the good Dorothea came as she was asked, there lay my serpent
on the bed in her nun's robes, groaning and moaning as if her last
hour had come; and scarcely had the sub-prioress taken a seat near
her, when my cat crept forth from under the bed, in his little red
hose, mewing and rubbing himself up against the robe of the
sub-prioress, as if praying her to remove this unwonted constraint
from him, of the little red hose.
After Dorothea had inquired about her sickness, she looked at the
cat, and asked wonderingly, what was the meaning of such a strange
_Illa_.--"Ah, dear friend, it was dreadful to my feelings to see the
little animal going about naked, therefore I knit little hose for
him, as you see; indeed, I am often tempted to wonder how the Lord
God could permit the poor animals to appear naked before us."
_H�c_ (extending her arms for joy, so that she almost tumbled back
off the stool).--"Oh, God be praised and thanked, at last I have
found one chaste soul in this wicked world! (sobs, throws up her
eyes, falls upon Sidonia's neck, kisses her, and weeps over her:)
ah yes, one chaste soul at last, like herself!"
_Illa._--"True, Dorothea, there is no virtue so rare in this
evil world as chastity. Ah, why has the Lord God placed such
things before our eyes? I never can comprehend it, and never will.
What a sight for a chaste virgin these naked animals! What did the
dear sister think on the matter?"
_H�c._--"Ah, she knew not what to think, had asked the priest
_Illa._--"And what did he say?"
_H�c._--"He laughed at her."
_Illa._--"Just like him, the lewd, hypocritical pharisee."
_H�c._--"Eh? she was too hard on the good priest. He was a
pure and upright servant of God."
_Illa._--"Ay, as Judas was. Had not sister Dorothea
_H�c._--"No; for God's sake, what? The dear sister frightened
_Illa._--"First, you confess that the priest laughed when you
talked about chastity?"
_H�c._--"Yes, true, ah, indeed true."
_Illa._--"Then you remember that he preached a sermon lately
upon adul--upon adul--. No, she never could utter the word--the
horrible word. Upon the seventh commandment, to the great scandal
of the entire convent?"
_H�c._--"Ah yes, ah yes, she was there, and had to stop one
ear with her finger, the other with her kerchief, not to hear all
the strange and dreadful things he was saying."
_Illa._--"And yet this was the man that ran in and out of the
cloister daily at his pleasure, sent for or not--a young unmarried
man--though the convent rules especially declared an _old_
man. Ah, if _she_ were sub-prioress, this scandal should
never be permitted."
_H�c_.--"What could be done? it was a blessed thing to live
in peace. Besides, the priest was such a pious man."
_Illa_.--"Pious? Heaven defend us from such piety! Why, had
she not heard?--the whole convent talked about it."
_H�c_.--"No, no; for God's sake, what had happened? tell
her--she had been making sausages all the morning, and had heard
_Illa_.--"Then know, ah God, how it pained her to talk of
it--she had heard a great noise in the kitchen in the morning, as
if all the pots and pans were tumbled about, and when she ran in
to see--there was the priest--oh, her chaste eyes never had seen
such a sight--the _pious_ priest making love to her old maid,
_H�c_.--"Impossible, impossible!--to her old maid, Wolde?"
_Illa_.-"Yea, and he was praying her for kisses, and praising
her fat hand, and extolling her white hair. But as to what more
she had seen----"
_H�c_.--"For God's sake, sister, what more?"
_Illa_ (sighing, and covering her face with both hands).--"No,
no, that she could never bring her chaste lips to utter. Oh, that
such wickedness should be in the world (weeping bitterly). But she
would never enter the chapel again, and that priest there; nor
receive the rites from him. But this was not all; the dear sister
must hear how he revenged himself upon her, because she
interrupted his toying with the old hag. It was truth, all truth!
She (Sidonia) grew so ill with fright and horror that she was
unable to disrobe, and threw herself on the bed just as she was,
but growing weaker and weaker hour by hour, sent for the priest at
last, to pray with her, and afterwards to offer up general
supplication for her restoration, in the chapel with all the
sisterhood; but only think, the shameless hypocrite refused to
pray with her, because he spied an end of her black robe out of
the bed, declaring she was not ill at all, that she was a base
liar, all because she had lain down in her convent dress, and
finally went his way cursing and swearing, without even saying one
prayer, or uttering one word of comfort, as was his duty. And now,
alas! she must die without priest or sacrament! To what a Sodom
and Gomorrah she had come! But if an old hag like her maid was not
safe from the shameless parson, how could she or any of them be
safe? What was to be done? unless the dear sister, as
sub-prioress, took the matter in her own hands, and brought him to
task about it?"
At this proposal the other trembled like an aspen leaf, and seemed
more dead than alive. She wept, wrung her hands--for God's sake
what could she do? how could she talk on such a matter? Let the
abbess see to it, if she chose.
_Illa_.--"Stuff, the old pussy--the less said of _her_
the better. Why, she was worse than the old maid, Wolde, herself."
_H�c_.--"The abbess? why, the whole convent, and the whole
world too, talked of her piety and virtue."
_Illa_.--"Very virtuous, truly, to have the priest locked up
with her; and when some of the sisters wished to remain,
suspecting that all was not right, the priest pushed them out at
the door with his own hands, and bolted it after them, as many
could testify to her had been done this very day. Oh, what a Sodom
and Gomorrah she had been betrayed into! (weeping, sobbing, and
falling upon Dorothea's neck.) I pray you, sister, for the sake of
our heavenly bridegroom, bring this evil to an end, otherwise fire
and brimstone will assuredly and justly be rained down upon our
Still the other maintained, "That the dear sister must err as
regarded the abbess. It might be her chaste zeal that blinded her.
True enough, probably, what she said of the priest; but the worthy
abbess--no, never could she believe that."
_Illa_.--"Let her have proof then. It was not her custom to
weaken innocence; call her maid, Wolde."
Then as Wolde entered, Sidonia made a sign, and bid her tell the
sub-prioress all that the shameless priest had done.
_Ancilla_.--"He had asked her for little kisses, praised her
hands and hair, and her beautiful limp, and had sat up close to
her on the bench, then run after her into the kitchen, gave her
money (shows the money), asked again for kisses, then----"
"Hold your tongue; no more, no more; enough, enough!"
At this story, Dorothea Stettin nearly went into convulsions--she
wrung her hands, crying--.
"How is it possible? O heaven, how is it possible?"
_Illa_.--"There is something more quite possible also; the
hag shall tell you what she saw at the room door of the abbess."
_Ancilla_.-"When the scandalous priest left her, he went
straight to the abbess, and there was taken with cramps, as she
heard, upon which all the convent ran thither, and she with the
rest. And he was lying stretched out on a bench, like one dead, no
doubt from shame; but the shame soon went off, and then he got up,
and bade them all leave the room. However, good Anna Apenborg did
not choose to go, for she suspected evil. Whereupon he seized her
by the hand, and put her out along with the others. She saw all
this herself, for she was standing in the passage, waiting to
speak to sister Anna. When, behold, she was pushed out, to her
great surprise, in this way by the priest, and they heard the door
bolted inside immediately after."
At this Dorothea Stettin fell upon Sidonia's bed, weeping,
sobbing, and ready to die with grief; but Sidonia bade her not
take on so; for perhaps, after all, the old hag had not told the
truth, at least concerning the dear, worthy abbess; but two
witnesses would be sufficient testimony. Whereupon she bid Wolde
watch for Anna Apenborg from the window, and beckon to her to come
in if she saw her going by.
And scarcely had Wolde stepped to the window, when she laughed and
"Truly, there stands Anna chatting with Agnes Kleist's maid at the
well. Shall I run and call her?"
"Yes," said Sidonia.
In a little while Wolde returned with sister Anna. The girl looked
wildly round at first, stared at the broom-sticks which lay
crosswise under the table, and then asked, with a trembling voice,
what the good sister wanted with her, while she took a seat on a
trunk near the bed.
"My old maid," said Sidonia, "tells me that the reverend chaplain
took you by the hand, and put you out of the abbess's room, after
which he bolted the door. Is this true or not? Speak the whole
So Anna related the whole story as Wolde had done; but, while
talking, the curious damsel lifted up a corner of the quilt to
peep under the bed, upon which my cat in his little red hose crept
forth again, mewing and rubbing himself against Anna, at which she
gave a shriek of horror and sprang out of the room, down the steps
and into the courtyard, without ever once venturing to look behind
her. And many think that this cat was Sidonia's evil spirit Chim.
But Anna Apenborg saw afterwards a pair of terrible fiery eyes
glaring at her from Sidonia's window; so others said, that must
have been Chim. But we shall hear more of this same cat presently.
_Summa_.--Sidonia knew well enough what made the girl scream,
but she turned to Dorothea, and said--
"Ah, see how this wickedness has shocked the poor young nun!
Therefore, dear sister, you must, as sub-prioress, make an end of
the scandal, and prohibit this false priest from visiting the
convent; for, indeed, they who permitted him such freedom amongst
the nuns were more to blame for his sins than he himself."
Poor Dorothea groaned forth in answer--
"Alas, alas! why did I ever accept the sub-prioret? For the couple
of sacks of flour and the bit of corn which she got more than the
others, it was not worth while to be plagued to death. It was all
true about the priest. He must be dismissed. But then she loved
peace. How could she right such matters? Oh, that some one would
relieve her of this sub-prioret!"
_Illa_.--"That can be easily done if you will. Suppose you
ask Anna Apenborg to take it?"
_H�c_.--"No, no; Anna had not sense enough for that; but if
the dear sister herself would take it, how happy she would feel."
_Illa_.--"She was too sick, probably going to die; who could
_H�c_.--"No, no; she would pray for her. The dear sister
could not be spared yet. Let her say yes (falling on her neck and
weeping), only let her say yes."
_Illa_.--"Well, out of love to her she would say yes; and if
the Lord raised her up from this sick bed, order and decorum
should reign again in the convent."
_H�c_ (again embracing her with gratitude).--"No doubt they
would. She knew well that no such pure-minded nun was in the
convent as her dear sister Sidonia."
_Illa_.--"But, good Dorothea, in order to get rid of the
priest as soon as possible, we had better send the porter
immediately to summon the abbess and the entire sisterhood here,
for you to tender your resignation in their presence."
_H�c_.--"But sister Sidonia must promise not to complain of
the priest or the abbess to the Prince."
_Illa_.--"No, no; I can settle the matter quietly, without
laying a complaint before the Prince."
_H�c_.--"All right, then. Everything, if possible, in peace."
Hereupon Sidonia despatched the porter to the abbess with a
request that she and the whole convent would assemble in
half-an-hour at the refectory, as she had somewhat to communicate.
Meanwhile she instructed Dorothea in what she was to say, so as
not to disgrace the poor abbess before the whole convent.
At the end of the half-hour, the abbess and the entire sisterhood
appeared, but all with anger and mistrust depicted on their
countenances. Sidonia then spake--
"Since ye and your priest refused to pray for me, I have prayed
for myself, and the Lord hath heard me in my weakness, and made me
strong enough to listen to the request of this good sister,
Dorothea, and promise to fulfil it. Speak, sister Dorothea, what
was your prayer?"
So Dorothea advanced, weeping and wringing her hands--
"Ah, God! she could no longer be sub-prioress. She loved peace too
much. But there were bad doings in the convent--she would say no
more--only they must end. Therefore she had earnestly prayed her
dear sister Sidonia to relieve her from the duties of office, and
become sub-prioress in her stead."
Here she loosed the veil, which differed from the others, by
having a key embroidered in gold thereon--the abbess had two keys
on her veil--and bound it on Sidonia, who had by this time risen
from bed, taking Sidonia's veil for herself. Then leading the
fatal sorceress forward, she said--
"Good mother and dear sisters--behold your sub-prioress!"
Thereupon the abbess and the whole convent remained quite mute, so
great was their horror.
Then Sidonia asked--
"Have they aught to say against it? If so, let them speak."
But they all remained silent and trembling, till at last the
"Is this done with your free-will, Dorothea?"
"Ah, yes, yes, truly," she answered. "I told you before with what
earnest prayers I besought the dear sister to release me. God be
thanked she has consented at last. Who can keep order and decorum
so well throughout the convent?"
Then the abbess spoke again--
"Sister Sidonia, I have no opposition to make, as you know full
well. So, if the Prince, and the sheriff, our worthy
superintendent, consent, you shall be sub-prioress. Yet first you
must render an account of your strange doings this past night, for
things were seen and heard in your chamber which could not have
been accomplished without the help of the great enemy himself."
Hereat Sidonia laughed as if she would die. She would tell them
the whole trick. They all knew what a trouble to the convent was
this Anna Apenborg from her curiosity--not once or twice, but ten
times a day, running in and out with her chat and gossip. She had
tried all means to prevent her, but in vain. Even in the middle of
her prayers, the said Anna would come in to tell her what one
sister was cooking, and another getting, or some follies even
quite unfit for chaste ears. And that last night being very sick,
she sent for the priest, upon which she heard Anna calling out
from the window to the porter, "Will he come? will he come?"
_Item_, she had then crept down to listen at the door. So
after the priest went, notwithstanding all her weakness, she
(Sidonia) determined to give her a good fright, and thus prevent
her from spying and listening any more. Then she called Wolde, and
bid her dance, while she muttered some words out of the
cookery-book. But here Anna called out, "It is not true; there
were _three_ danced. Where is the carl with the deep bass
voice? Who could this be at that midnight hour, but the devil
At this, Sidonia laughed louder than before. It was her cat--her
own cat, who was springing about the room, because for divers
reasons she had put little red hose on him. On this she stoops
under the bed, seizes my cat by the leg, who howls (that was the
deep bass voice), and flings him into the middle of the room,
where all the nuns, when they beheld his strange jumps and springs
in the little hose, burst out into loud laughter, in which the
abbess herself could not refrain from joining. So as there was no
evidence against Sidonia, and Anna Apenborg was truly held of all
as a most troublesome chatterbox and spy, the inquiry ended. And
with somewhat more friendliness, putting the best face on a bad
matter, they accepted Sidonia for their sub-prioress.
_How Sidonia wounds Ambrosia von Guntersberg with an axe,
because she purposed to marry--And prays the convent porter,
Matthias Winterfeld, to death--For these, and other causes, the
reverend chaplain refuses to shrive the sorceress, and denounces
her publicly from the altar_.
Sidonia's first act, as may easily be imagined, was to dismiss the
priest; and for this purpose she wrote him a letter, saying that
he must never more presume to set foot within the cloister, for if
old ice-grey mothers were not safe from him, how could she and the
other maidens hope to escape? If he disobeyed her orders, she
would summon him before the princely consistorium, where strange
things might be told of him.
So the reverend David consented right willingly, and never saw the
nuns except on Sundays in the chapel, but Sidonia herself never
appeared in the nuns' choir. She gave Dorothea many excellent and
convincing reasons for her absence. (But in my opinion, it was
caused by hate and abhorrence of the sacrament and the holy Word
of God; for such are a torment and a torture to the children of
the devil, even as the works of the devil are an abomination to
the children of God.)
When, however, the report came, that the reverend David was indeed
betrothed to Barbara Bamberg, Sidonia presented herself once in
the choir, kneeled down, and was heard to murmur, "Wed if thou
wilt, that I cannot hinder; but a child thou shalt never hold at
the font!" And truly was the evil curse fulfilled.
Meanwhile the fear and the dread of her increased daily in the
convent, for besides old Wolde, two other horrible hags were
observed frequently going in and out of her apartments--true
children of Satan, as one might see by their red, glowing eyes.
With these she practised many horrible sorceries, sometimes
quarrelled with them, however, and beat them out with the
broom-stick; but they always came back again, and were as well
received as ever.
Then she had strifes and disputes with every one who approached
her, and was notorious through all the courts of justice for her
wrangling and fighting, in particular with her brother's son, Otto
of Stramehl, for she sued him for an _alimentum_ pension, and
also demanded that the rents of her two farm-houses in Zachow
should be paid her, according to the sum to which they must have
accumulated during the last fifty years. But he answered, she
should have no money; why did she not live at her farm-houses? He
knew nothing of the rents, the whole matter was past and
forgotten, and she had no claim now on him, and so every month she
wrangled in the courts about this business. _Item_, she
fought with Preslar of Buslar, because, being a feudal vassal of
the Borks', she required him to kiss her hand, which he refused;
then her dog having strayed into his house, she accused him of
having stolen it. _Item_, she fought with the maid who acted
as cook in the convent kitchen, and said she never got a morsel
fit to eat. And the said maid (I forget her name now) having
salted the fish too much one day, she ran after her with a
broom-stick--once, indeed, beat her so severely, that she was lame
her life long after.
But worse than the fish-salting was the white kerchief which the
maid wore. For people, she said, might take her at a distance to
be one of the honourable convent ladies, therefore she must wear a
coloured one. This the maid would not do, so she was soon brought
to an untimely end also, along with all others who displeased her.
These things, and many more, came out upon her trial, but for
divers reasons I must pass them over. All her notes, messages, and
letters, she entrusted to the porter, Matthias Winterfeld, who was
often sent, may be five times a week, by her to Stargard. But he
dared not remonstrate, or she would have struck him with the
However, all this is nothing in comparison with the way she
treated the unfortunate nuns. The younger and prettier they were,
so much the more she boxed, beat, and martyred them, even striking
them with the broom-stick. And if they ever smiled or seemed happy
talking to one another, she abused and reviled them, calling them
idle wantons, who thought of nothing but matrimony. None were
permitted outside the convent gates, not even to visit their
parents: they should not be flying back with their crumbs of
gossip about brides and weddings, forsooth, and such-like improper
thoughts. Neither should they go to the annual fair. She would go
herself and buy everything for them she thought needful, only let
them give her the gold.
And out of deadly fear the poor maidens bore this tyranny long
while silently; even the abbess feared to complain, so that
Sidonia soon usurped the entire government of the convent.
But the powder-mill broke out at last into vivid flames, as I
shall narrate here. It was on this wise:--Amongst the novices was
one beautiful young maiden, Ambrosia von Guntersberg by name. She
was fifth daughter of old Ambrosius of Falkenwald, a little town
near Jacobshagen. One day a young nobleman called Ewald von
Mellenthin beheld her in her cloister habit. Think you he forgot
her? No, he can never forget the maiden! One, two weeks pass over,
but she has sunk deeper and deeper into his heart; at last he rose
up and went to Falkenwald to her father, Ambrosius, asking her
hand in honourable marriage.
Now, the old man was well pleased, for he was poor, and had five
daughters; so he bid the young noble write a letter to his
daughter Ambrosia, which he would inclose in one from himself to
her. But no answer arrived from the maiden (we may guess why, for
Sidonia opened and read all the letters that came to the convent,
before they were handed to their owners. Those that displeased her
she burned; no doubt, therefore, the love-letter was the first in
the flames). But the young noble grew impatient for an answer, and
resolved to ride to Marienfliess. So he ties his good horse to a
cross in the churchyard, walks straight up to the convent, and
rings the bell. Immediately the old porter, Matthias, opened to
him, with his hands covered with blood (for he was killing a fat
ox for the nuns, close by); whereupon the noble lord prayed to
speak a few words to the young novice Ambrosia von Guntersberg, at
the grating; and in a little time the beautiful maiden appeared,
tripping along the convent court (but Sidonia is before her).
Ambrosia advanced modestly to the grating, and asked the handsome
knight, "What was his pleasure?" who answered, "Since I beheld you
in Guntersberg, dearest lady, my heart has been wholly yours; and
when I saw how diligently and cheerfully you ruled your father's
house during his sickness, I resolved to take you for my wife, if
such were possible; for I need a good and prudent spouse at my
castle of Lienke, and methinks no better or more beautiful could
be found than yourself. Therefore I obtained your father's
permission to open the matter to you in writing, and he inclosed
my letter in one of his own; but you have neither answered one nor
the other. Whereupon, in my impatience, I saddled my good horse,
and rode over here to have an answer at once from your own
When Sidonia heard this, she grew black in the face with
rage--"What! in her presence, before her very face, to dare to
hold such language to a young maiden--a mere child--who knew
nothing at all of what marriage meant. He must pack off this
instant, or the devil himself should turn him out of the
Meanwhile the young maiden took heart (for the handsome knight
pleased her), and said, "Gracious Lady Prioress (Sidonia made them
all call her Gracious Lady, as if she were a born princess), I am
no more a child, as you say, and I know very well what marriage
This boldness made the other so wroth that she screamed--"Wait! I
will teach you what marriage is;" and she sprang on her to box
her. But Ambrosia rushed through the side-door out into the court,
Sidonia following; however, not being able to reach her, she
seized up the axe with which the porter had been killing the ox,
and flung it after her, wounding the poor maiden so in the foot
that the red blood poured down over her white stockings, while the
young lover, who could not break the grating, screamed and stamped
for rage and despair. By the good mercy of God the wound was only
slight, still the fair novice fell to the ground; but seeing
Sidonia rushing at her again with the large butcher's knife which
the porter had been using, she sprang up and ran to the grating,
crying out to the noble, "Save me! save me!"
And at her screams all the nuns threw up their windows, right and
left, over the courtyard; but finding the young knight could not
help her, she ran to the old porter, still screaming, "Save me!
save me! she is going to murder me!"
Now the fellow was glad enough to be revenged on Sidonia, for she
had sent him running to Stargard for her late the night before,
and the moment the ox was to be quartered, he was to be off there
again at her command; so he rushed at the vile witch, and seizing
her up like a bundle of old rags, pitched her against the wall
with all his force, adding a right hearty curse; and there she lay
quaking like an old cat, while the handsome young noble laughed
loud from the grating.
But she was up again soon, shook her dry, withered fist at the
porter, and cried, "Ha! thou insolent churl, I will pray thee to
death for this!"
Whereupon she went off to her room, and locked herself up there,
while the fair Ambrosia ran to the grating, and stretching out her
little hands through the bars, exclaimed, "I am yours, dear
knight; oh, take me away from this horrible hell!"
This rejoiced my young noble heartily, and he kissed the little
hands and lamented over her foot--"And was it much hurt? She must
lift it up, and show him if the wound was deep."
So she raised up the dainty foot a little bit, and then saw that
her whole shoe was full of blood; but the old porter, who came by
just then, comforted the handsome youth, and told him he would
stop the blood directly, for the wound was but a trifle. Whereupon
he laid a couple of straws over it, murmured some words, and
behold, in a moment, the blood is staunched! Then the fair novice
thanked him courteously, and prayed him to unlock the wicket, for
she would go and stay a couple of hours with the miller's wife,
while this young noble, to whom she had plighted love and troth,
returned to her father's for a carriage to bring her home. After
what had passed now, never more would she enter the cloister.
But what happened? Scarcely had the good old porter unfastened the
grating, and the young knight taken the fair girl in his arms,
kissing her and pressing her to his heart (well Sidonia did not
see him), when Matthias screamed out, "My God, what ails me?" and
fell flat on the ground. At this the young knight left his bride,
and flew to raise him up. "What could ail him?" But the poor old
man can hardly speak, his eyes are turned in his head, and he
gasped, "It was as if a man were sitting inside his breast, and
crushing him to death. Oh, he could not breathe--his ribs were
The alarmed young noble then helped the poor creature to reach his
room, which lay close by the wicket; and having laid him on the
bed in care of his wife, and recommended him to the mercy of God,
he returned to his own fair bride, to carry her off from this
murder-hole, and place her in safety with the miller's wife. I may
as well mention here that he and the beautiful Ambrosia were
wedded in due time, and lived long in peace and happiness, blessed
with many lovely children; for all the evil which Sidonia tried to
bring upon them, as we shall hear, came to nought, through the
mercy of the great God.
But to return to the porter-on the third day he died; and during
that time, day and night, Sidonia prayed, and was never seen but
once. This was at the dividing of the salmon, when she threw up
her window, and shaking her withered clenched hand at them, and
her long white locks, threatened the nuns on their peril to touch
the tail-piece-the tail-piece was hers.
A general horror pervaded the convent now, in truth, when the
death of the porter was known. Anna Apenborg shut herself up,
trembling, in her cell, and even good Dorothea began somewhat to
doubt the virtues of the vile sorceress; for the corpse had a
strange and unnatural appearance, so that it was horrible to look
upon, by which signs it was easy to perceive that he had been
prayed to death, as the fearful night-hag had threatened.
I must notify these symptoms, for the corpses of many of Sidonia's
victims presented the same appearances; as the corpse of the
reverend David--_item_, Joachim Wedeln of
Cremzow--_item/_, Doctor Schwalenberg of Stargard, and Duke
Philip II., and lastly, the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorf.
Whether her brother's son, Otto of Stramehl, whom she was
suspected also of having prayed to death, presented the like, I
cannot say with certainty. At this same time also his princely
Grace Duke Bogislaff XIII. expired, many say bewitched to death;
but of this I have no proof, as the body had quite a natural
aspect after death. Still he had just arranged to journey to
Marienfliess himself, and turn out Sidonia, in consequence of the
accusations of Sheriff Sparling and the convent chaplain, so that
his sudden death looks suspicious; however, as the _medicus_,
Dr. Nicolaus Schulz, pronounced, "Quod ex ramis ven� port� Epatis
et lienis exporrectis, iste adustus sanguis eo prosiliiset" (for
he died by throwing up a black matter like his brothers); and
further, as the manikin on the three-legged hare did not appear
this time at the castle, I shall not lay the murder on Sidonia, to
increase her terrible burden at the last day, though I have my own
thoughts upon the matter.
_Summa._-My gracious Prince died _suddenly_. Alas, woe!
exactly like all his brothers; he was just sixty-one years old,
seven months, and fifteen days, and a more God-fearing prince
never sat on a throne. But my grief over the fate of this great
Pomeranian house has carried me away from the corpse of the old
porter. The appearances were these:--
1. The face brown, green, and yellow, particularly about the
_musculi frontales et temporales._
2. The _musculi pectorales_ so swelled, and the _cartilago
ensiformis_ so singularly raised, that the chest of the corpse
touched the mouth.
3. From the _patella_ of the left leg to the _malleolus
externus_ of the foot, all brown, green, and yellow, blended
And on examination of the said corpse, Dr. Kukuck of Stargard
affirmed and was ready to swear, that no one tittle of the
signature of Satan was wanting thereupon.
_Summa_.--The poor carl was buried with great mourning on the
following Friday; and the reverend David preached a sermon
thereupon, in which he plainly spoke of his strange and unnatural
death, so that every one knew well whom he suspected. My hag heard
of this instantly, and therefore determined to attend the
sacrament on the following Sunday; for this end she despatched
Wolde to the priest, bidding her tell him she had a great desire
to attend the holy rite, and would go to confession that day after
noon. At this horrid blasphemy a cold shudder fell upon the priest
(and I trust every Christian man will feel the like as he reads
this), for he now saw through her motive clearly, how she wanted
to blind the eyes of the people as to the death of the porter, by
this mockery of the holiest rites of religion. Besides, amongst
the horrible abominations practised by witches, it is well known
that having received the sacred bread, they privately take the
same again from their mouth and feed their familiar therewith. And
one day when the convent was quite still, Anna Apenborg, having
crept down to peep through the key-hole of the refectory door, saw
enough to confirm this general belief.
No wonder then if the good priest stood long silent from horror;
then he spake--"Tell the prioress it is well;" but when Wolde was
gone, he threw himself upon his knees in his closet before God,
and wrestled long in prayer, with tears and wringing of hands,
that He would open to him what was his path of duty.
About noon he became more composed, through the great mercy of the
Lord; and bid his wife, Barbara, come to him, with whom he had
lived now a year and a half in perfect joy, though without
children. To her he disclosed the proposition of the horrible
sorceress, and afterwards spake thus:--
"And because, dear Barbara, after earnest prayer to God, I have
come to the resolution neither to shrive nor to give the Lord's
body to this daughter accursed of hell, do not be surprised if a
like death awaits me as happened to the porter, Matthias. When I
die, therefore, dear wife, take thee another spouse and bear
children. 'For the woman,' says the Scripture, 'shall be blessed
through childbearing, so as she continues in faith, and love, and
in holiness with sobriety' (I Tim. ii.). Thus thou wilt soon
But the poor wife wept, and besought him to turn from his resolve,
and not incur the vengeance of Sidonia. So he answered, "Weep not,
or our parting will be more bitter; this poor flesh and blood is
weak enough, still never will I blaspheme the holy rite of our
Church, and 'cast pearls before swine' (Matt. vii.). And wherefore
weep? At the last day they would meet again, to smile for ever in
an eternity of joy. But could he hope for this if he were an
unfaithful steward of the mysteries of God? No; but it was
written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is thy
sting? Hell, where is thy victory? God be thanked who giveth us
the victory through Christ our Lord' (I Cor. xv.). In God
therefore he trusted, and in His strength would go now to the
She must let him go; the sexton would soon ring the bell, and he
wished to pray some time alone in the church. Her tears had again
disturbed his spirit, and made him weak. But he would use the holy
keys of his office, which his Saviour had entrusted to him, to His
glory alone, even if this accursed sorceress were to bring him to
the grave for it. If the Lord will, He could protect him, but he
would still do his duty. Will she not let him go now, that he may
And when she unwound her arms, he took her again in his, kissed
her, sobbed, and wept; then tearing himself away, went out into
the church by the garden entrance.
Then the poor wife flung herself on a seat, weeping and praying,
but in a little while in came Dorothea Stettin, saying, "That she
was going to confession, and had no small silver for the
offertory. Could she give her change of a dollar?"
Then she asked about the other's grief; and having heard the
cause, promised to go to the priest herself, and beseech him not
to break the staff "Woe" over Sidonia. She went therefore
instantly to the church, and found him on his knees praying behind
the altar. Whereupon she entreated him, after her fashion, not to
break the blessed peace--peace above all things.
Meanwhile the sexton rung the bell, and Sidonia entered, sweeping
the nave of the church to the altar, followed by seven or eight
nuns. But when she beheld Dorothea come out at one side, and the
priest at the other, and that not another soul had been in the
church, she laughed aloud mockingly, and clapped her hands--"Ha!
the pious priest, would he tell them now what he and Dorothea were
doing behind the altar? The sisters were all witnesses how this
shameless parson conducted himself." Though she spoke this quite
loud for every one to hear, yet not one of the nuns made answer,
but stood trembling like doves who see the falcon ready to pounce
upon them. Yea, even as Dorothea came down the altar steps to take
her place in the choir, my hag laughed loud again like Satan, and
cried, "Ah! the chaste virgin! who meetest the priest behind the
altar! Thou shameless wanton, the prioress shall teach thee fitter
Poor Dorothea turned quite pale with fright, and began--"Ah! dear
sister, only listen!"
But the dragon snapped at her, with--"Dear sister, forsooth!
What!--was she to bear this insolence? Let her know that the
gracious Lady Prioress was not to be talked to as 'dear sister '!"
Here the organ struck up the confession hymn; and the whole
congregation being assembled in the church, Sidonia and the seven
nuns ascended the steps of the altar, bowed to the priest, and
then took their seats, whereupon the organ ceased playing.
After a brief silence, the poor minister sighed heavily, and then
spake--"Sidonia, after all that has been stated concerning you,
particularly with regard to the death of the convent porter within
these last few days, I cannot, as a faithful servant of God, give
you either absolution or the holy rite of the Lord's Supper, until
you clear yourself from such imputations before a princely
At this my hag laughed loud from the altar, crying, "Eh?--that was
a strange story. What had she done to the convent porter?"
_Ille_.--"Prayed him to death, as every one believed, and his
_H�c_ (still laughing).--"He must have lost his senses. Let
him go home and bind asses' milk upon his temples; he would soon
_Ille_.--"She should remember where and what she spoke. Had
she not herself said, she would pray the porter to death?"
_H�c_ (laughing yet louder).--"Oh! in truth, his little bit
of mother-wit was quite gone. When and where had it been ever
heard that one person could pray another to death? Then they might
pray them to life again. Shall she try it with the porter?"
_Ille_.--"Why then had she threatened it?"
_H�c_ (still laughing).--"Ah! poor man! she saw now he was
quite foolish. Why had she threatened? Why, in anger, of course,
because the vile churl had flung her against the wall. Had he
never heard the poor people say to each other, 'May the devil take
you;' but if one happened to die soon after, did people really
think the devil had taken him? Why, he was as superstitious as an
_Ille_.--"She had heard his resolve. This was no place to
argue with her; therefore she might go her ways, for he would
verily not give her absolution."
So Sidonia rose up raging from the confessional, clenched her
hand, and screamed out in the still church, so that all the people
shuddered with horror--"Ye are all my witnesses that this
worthless priest has denied me absolution, because, forsooth, he
says I killed the convent porter. Ha! ha! ha! Where is it said in
your Scriptures that one man can pray another to death? But the
licentiousness of the vile priest has turned his brain, and he
wallows in all most senseless superstitions. Did he not run after
my old hag of a servant, as I myself saw; and this was not enough,
but he must take Dorothea Stettin (the hypocritical wanton) behind
the altar alone; and because I and these seven maidens discovered
his iniquity, he refuses me the rites, and must have me before a
princely consistorium to revenge himself. But wait, priest, I will
drag the sheep's clothing from thee. Wait, thou shalt yet repent
After the horrible sorceress had so blasphemed, she departed as
quickly as possible from the church, muttering to herself. The
congregation remained silent from fear and terror; and the poor
priest, who seemed more dead than alive, prayed the sexton to
fetch him a cup of water, which he drank; and then being in some
degree recovered, he stepped forth, and addressed the congregation
"Dear brethren and friends, after what ye have just heard, ye will
not wonder if I am unable to receive confessions this day, or to
administer the holy communion. Ye all know Dorothea Stettin,
neither is my character unknown to you; therefore remember the
words of St. Peter, 'The devil goeth about as a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.' But we will resist him, steadfast in
the faith. Meet me, then, tomorrow here at the altar, and ye shall
hear my justification. After which, I will shrive those who desire
to be partakers of the holy sacrament."
And on the following morning, the holy minister of God preached
from Matthew v. 11--"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and
persecute you, and say all manner of evil falsely against you, for
My sake; be glad and comforted, for ye shall be well recompensed
in heaven." And in this powerful sermon he drew a picture of
Sidonia from her youth up; so that many trembled for him when they
remembered her power, though they glorified God for the mighty
zeal and courage that burned in his words. But when Sidonia heard
of this sermon, she became almost frantic from rage.
_Dorothea Stettin falls sick, and how the doctor manages to
bleed her--Item, how Sidonia chases the princely commissioners
into the oak-forest._
Such a public humiliation the good virgin Dorothea Stettin found
it impossible to bear. She fell sick, and repented with bitter
tears of the trust and confidence she had reposed in Sidonia;
finally, the abbess sent off a message to Stargard for the
_medicus_, Dr. Schwalenberg.
This doctor was an excellent little man, rather past middle age
though still unmarried, upright and honest, but rough as
bean-straw. When he stood by Dorothea's bed and had heard all
particulars of her illness, he bid her put out her hand, that he
might feel her pulse. "No, no;" she answered, "that could she
never do; never in her life had a male creature felt her pulse."
At this my doctor laughed right merrily, and all the nuns who
stood round, and Sidonia's old maid, Wolde, laughed likewise; but
at last he persuaded Dorothea to stretch out her hand.
"I must bleed her," said the doctor. "This is _febris
putrida_; therefore was her thirst so great: she must strip her
arm till he bleed her." But no one can persuade her to this--strip
her arm! no, never could she do it; she would die first: if the
doctor could do nothing else, he may go his ways.
Now the doctor grew angry. Such a cursed fool of a woman he had
never come across in his life; if she did not strip her arm
instantly, he would do it by force. But Dorothea is inflexible;
say what he would, she would strip her arm for no man!
Even the abbess and the sisterhood tried to persuade her.
"Would she not do it for her health's sake; or, at least, for the
sake of peace?"
They were all here standing round her, but all in vain. At last
the doctor, half-laughing, half-cursing, said--
"He would bleed her in the foot. Would that do?"
"Yes, she would consent to that; but the doctor must leave the
room while she was getting ready."
So my doctor went out, but on entering again found her sitting on
the bed, dressed in her full convent robes, her head upon Anna
Apenborg's shoulder, and her foot upon a stool. As the foot,
however, was covered with a stocking, the doctor began to scold.
"What was the stocking for? Let him take off the stocking. Was she
making a fool of him? He advised her not to try it."
"No," Dorothea answered, "never would she strip her foot for him.
Die she would if die she must, but that she could never do! If he
could not bleed her through the stocking, he may go his ways."
_Summa_.--As neither prayers nor threatening were of any
avail, the doctor, in truth, had to bleed her through the
stocking; and scarcely had he finished, when Sidonia sent, saying.
"That she, too, was ill, and wished to be bled."
And there lay my hag alone, in bed, as the doctor entered. She was
"And was it indeed true, that absurd fool Dorothea did not choose
to be bled? Now he saw himself what a set of simpletons she had to
deal with in the convent. No wonder that they all blackened her
and belied her. She was sick from very disgust at such malice and
absurdity. Ah, she regretted now not having married when she had
the opportunity; it would have been better, and she had many
offers. But she always feared she was too poor. However, her
fortune was now excellent, for her sister had died without
children, and left her everything--a very large inheritance, as
she heard. But the dear doctor must taste her beer; she had tapped
some of the best, and there was a fresh can of it on the table."
But my doctor was too cunning not to see what she was driving at;
besides, he had heard of her beer-brewing, so he answered--
"He never drank beer; but what ailed her?"
"Ah, she didn't know herself, but she had a trembling in all her
limbs. Would he not take a glass of mead, or even water? Her old
servant should bring it to him."
"No. Let her just put out her hand for him to feel her pulse."
Instantly she stretched forth, not her hand alone, but her whole
naked, dry, and yellow arm from the bed. Whereupon the doctor
"Eh? What should I bleed you for? The pulse is all right. In fact,
old people never should be bled without serious cause; for at
seventy or so, mind ye, every drop is worth a groschen."
"What!" exclaimed Sidonia, starting up; "what the devil, do ye
think I am seventy? Why, I am hardly fifty yet."
"Seventy or fifty," answered the doctor, "it is all much the same
with you women-folk."
"To the devil with you, rude churl!" screamed Sidonia. "If you
will not bleed me, I'll find another who will. Seventy indeed! So
rude a knave is not in the land!"
But my doctor goes away laughing; and as the ducal commissioners
had arrived to try Sidonia's case, with the convent chaplain, he
went down to meet them at Sheriff Sparling's, and these were the
1. Christian Ludeck, state prosecutor; a brother of the priest's.
2. Johann Wedel of Cremzow.
3. Eggert Sparling, sheriff of Marienfliess.
4. Jobst Bork, governor of Saatzig.
This Jobst was son to that upright Marcus whose wife, Clara von
Dewitz, Sidonia had so miserably destroyed. For his good father's
sake, long since dead, their Graces of Stettin had continued him
in the government of Saatzig, for he walked in his father's steps,
only he was slow of speech; but he had a lovely daughter, yet more
praiseworthy than her grandmother, Clara of blessed memory, of
whom we shall hear more anon.
_Summa_.--The doctor found all the commissioners assembled in
the sheriff's parlour. _Item_, Anna Apenborg and the abbess
as witnesses, who deposed to all the circumstances which I have
heretofore related; also, the abbess set forth the prayer of the
sick Dorothea Stettin, that she might be restored to the
sub-prioret out of which the false Sidonia had wickedly talked
her, and now for thanks gave her insolent contempt and mocking
Anna Apenborg further deposed, that, looking through the key-hole
of the refectory door one day, she spied the wicked witch boring a
hole in the wall; in this she placed a tun-dish, and immediately
after, a rich stream of cow's milk flowed down into a basin which
Sidonia held beneath, and that same day the best cow in the
convent stopped giving milk, and had never given one drop since.
And because the dairymaid, Trina Pantels, said openly this was
witchcraft, and accused Sidonia and the old hag Wolde of being
evil witches--for she was not a girl to hold her tongue, not
she--her knee swelled up to the size of a man's head, and day and
night she screamed for agony, until another old witch that visited
Sidonia, Lena of Uchtenhagen, for six pounds of wool, gave her a
plaster of honey and meal to put on the knee, and what should be
drawn out of the swelling, but quantities of pins and needles; and
how could this have been, but by Sidonia's witchcraft? [Footnote:
However improbable such accusations may seem, numbers of the like,
some even still more extraordinary, may be found in the witch
trials of that age, by any one who takes the trouble of referring
Many witnesses could prove this fact; for Tewes Barth, Dinnies
Koch, and old Fritz were by, when the plaster was taken off.
Then Sheriff Sparling deposed, that having smothered his bees
lately, he sent a pot of pure honey to each of the nuns, as was
his custom; but Sidonia scolded, and said her pot was not large
enough, and abused him in a cruel manner about his stinginess in
not sending her more. So, some days after, as he was riding
quietly home to his house, across the convent court, suddenly the
whole ground before him became covered with the shadows of
bee-hives, and little shadows like bees went in and out, and
wheeled about just as real bees do. Whereupon, he looked in every
direction for the hives, for no shadows can be without a body, but
not a hive nor a bee was in the whole place round; but he heard a
peal of mocking laughter, and, on looking up, there was the wicked
witch looking out at him from a window, and she called out--
"Ho! sir sheriff, when you smother bees again, send me more honey.
A couple of pounds of the best--good weight!"
And this he did to have peace for the future.
Now the commissioners noted all this down diligently; but the
state prosecutor shook his head, and asked the abbess--
"Wherefore she had not long ago brought this vile witch before the
To which she answered, sighing--.
"What would that help? She had already tasted the vengeance of the
wicked sorceress, and feared to taste it again. Well, night and
day had she cried to God to free the convent from this she-devil,
and often resolved to unfold the whole Satan's work to his
Highness, though her own life would be perilled surely by so
doing. But she was ready, as a faithful mother of the convent, to
lay it down for her children, if, indeed, that could save them.
But how would her death help these poor young virgins? For
assuredly the moment Sidonia had brought her to a cruel end, she
would make herself abbess by force, and this was such a dread to
the sorrowing virgins, that they themselves entreated her to keep
silence and be patient, waiting for the mercy of God to help them.
For truly the power of this accursed sorceress was as great as her
Here answered Dr Schwalenberg--
"This power can soon be broken; he knew many receipts out of
Albertus Magnus, Raimundus Lallus, Theophrastus, Paracelsus, &c.,
against sorcery and evil witches."
This was a glad hearing to the state prosecutor, and he answered
with a joyful mien and voice--
"Marry, doctor, if you know how to get hold of this evil hag, do
it at once; we shall then bind her arms, so that she can make no
signs to hurt us, and clap a pitch-plaster on her mouth, to stop
the said mouth from calling the devil to her help; after which, I
can easily bring her with me to Stettin, and answer for all
proceedings to his Grace. Probably she is a-bed still; go back,
and pretend that, upon reflection, you think it will be better to
bleed her. Then, when you have hold of her arm, call in the
fellows, whom the sheriff will, I am sure, allow to accompany
"Yes, yes," cried the sheriff, "take twenty of my men with you, my
good doctor, if you will."
"Well, then," resumed the state prosecutor, "let them rush in,
bind the dragon, clap the pitch-plaster on her mouth, and she is
ours in spite of all the devils."
"Right, all right," cried the doctor; "never fear but I'll pay her
for her matrimonial designs upon me."
And he began to prepare the plaster with some pitch he got from a
cobbler, when suddenly the state prosecutor screamed out--
"Merciful God! see there! Look at the shadow of a toad creeping
over my paper, whereon I move my hand!"
He springs up--wipes, wipes, wipes, but in vain; the unclean
shadow is there still, and crawls over the paper, though never a
toad is to be seen.
What a commotion of horror this Satan's work caused amongst the
bystanders, can be easily imagined. All stood up and looked at the
toad-shadow, when the abbess screamed out, "Merciful God! look
there! look there! The whole floor is covered with toad-shadows!"
Hereupon all the women-folk ran screaming from the room, but
screamed yet louder when they reached the door, and met there
Sidonia and her cat face to face. Round they all wheeled again,
rushed to the back-door, out into the yard, over the pond, and
into the oak-wood, without daring once to look behind them. But
the men remained, for the doctor said bravely, "Wait now, good
friends, patience, she can do us no harm;" and he murmured some
But just as they all made the sign of the cross, and silently put
up a prayer to God, and gathered up their legs on the benches, so
that the unclean shadows might not crawl upon their boots, the
horrible hag appeared at the window, and her cat in his little red
hose clambered up on the sill, mewing and crying (and I think
myself that this cat was her spirit Chim, whom she had sent first
to the sheriff's house to hear what was going on; for how could
she have known it?).
_Summa_.--She laid one hand upon the window, the better to
look in, and clenching the other, shook it at them, crying out,
"Wait, ye accursed peasant boors, I, too, will judge ye for your
sins!" But seeing her cousin, Jobst Bork, present, she screamed
yet louder--"Eh! thou thick ploughman, hath the devil brought thee
here too? Art thou not ashamed to accuse thy own kinswoman? Wait,
I will give thee something to make thee remember our
And as she began to murmur some words, and spat out before them
all, the state prosecutor jumped up and rushed out after the
women, and Sheriff Sparling rushed out after him, and they never
stopped or stayed till both reached the oak-wood.
But Jobst said calmly, "Cousin, be reasonable; it is my duty!" My
doctor, however, wanted to pay her off for the marriage business,
so he seized a whip with which Sheriff Sparling had been thrashing
a boor, and hurrying out, cried, "I will make her reasonable! Thou
old hag of hell! here is the fit marriage for thee!" and so whack,
whack upon her thin, withered shoulders.
Truly the witch cried out now in earnest, but began to spit at the
same time, so that the doctor had given but four strokes when the
whip fell from his hand, and he tottered hither and thither,
crying, "O Lord! O Lord!" At this the sorceress laughed
scornfully, and mocking his movements, cried out likewise, "O
Lord! O Lord!" and when the poor doctor fell down flat upon the
earth like the old porter and others, she began to dance, chanting
her infernal psalm:--
"Also kleien und also kratzen,
Meine Hunde und meine Katzen"
And the cat in his little red hose danced beside her. After which,
she returned laughing to the convent to pray him to death, while
the poor fellow lay groaning and gasping upon the pavement. None
were there to help him, for the state prosecutor and Wedeln had
made off to Stargard as quick as they could go, and Sheriff
Sparling was still hiding in the bush. However, Jobst and the old
dairy-woman helped him up as best he could, and asked what ailed
him? to which he groaned in answer, "There seemed to be some one
sitting inside his breast, and breaking the _cartilago
ensiformis_ horribly asunder. Ah, God! ah, God! he was weak
indeed! his hour was come; let them lay him in a coach, and carry
him directly to Stargard."
This was done as soon as the sheriff could be found; but my
doctor's screams never ceased for three days, after which he gave
up the ghost, and the corpse had the same appearance as that of
the convent porter, which I have already noticed. Thus it happened
with the wise!
But Johann Wedeln fared little better, as we shall see; for after
the doctor's strange death, he said openly everywhere, he would
never rest till the accursed witch was burned. Anna Apenborg
repeated this in the convent, and to Sidonia's maid, upon which
the witch sent for Anna, and asked was the report true? And when
the other did not deny it, she exclaimed, "Now for this shall the
knave be contracted all his life long, and twist his mouth
_thus_." Whereupon she mimicked how his shoulders would be
drawn up to his ears, and twisted her mouth in horrible
contortions, so that it was a shame and sin to look at her. And
truly this misfortune fell upon him from that hour. And afterwards
when he heard of her wickedness, from Anna Apenborg and others,
and brought her to an account for her sorcery in Stettin, she made
him bite the dust and lie in his coffin ere long, out of malice
and terrible revenge, as we shall hear further on.
_How the assembled Pomeranian princes hold a council over
Sidonia_ [Footnote: Note of Bogislaff XIV.--I was not present
at this council, for I was holding my espousals at the time. (The
Duke married the Princess Elizabeth von Schleswig Holstein in
1615, but left no heirs.)] _and at length cite her to appear at
the ducal court._
When the state prosecutor, Christian Ludeck, reached Stettin with
his appalling news, the Duke was seriously troubled in mind as to
how he could best save the holy sisterhood, and indeed the whole
land, from the terrible Satanic power and murderous malice of this
cruel sorceress. So he summoned all the princes of his family to a
convocation on a certain day, at Old Stettin; but when they
arrived, his Grace was absent, for he had gone to Coblentz on some
business, and here was the matter.
His steward, Jeremias Schroter, was an unworthy agent, as his
Grace heard; and when the time came for the poor people to get
their oats or corn, he sent round and made them all give their
receipts first, saying "They should have their corn after;" but
when they went to bring it home, he beat them, and asked what they
meant--he had their receipts: they were cheats, and should get no
more corn from him.
Now, a poor parson's widow came up all the way to Stettin, to
complain of the steward to his Highness, who was shocked at such
knavery, and determined to go down himself to Coblentz and make
inquiries; for the steward swore that the people were liars, and
had defamed him.
The Duke therefore bid the chancellor, Martin Chemnitz, entertain
his princely brothers until his return, which would not be before
evening, and to show them his painting and sculpture galleries,
and whatever else in the castle might please them. And now to show
the good heart of his Grace, I must mention that, seeing the poor
widow was tired with her six miles' walk, he bid her get up beside
the coachman on the box of his carriage, and he would drive her
himself to her own place.
Meanwhile the young princes arrived, and the court marshal, the
chancellor, the aforesaid state prosecutor, and other high
officials, received them on behalf of his Highness. Doctor Cramer,
_vice-superintendens_, my esteemed father-in-law, was also
present--_item_, Doctor Constantius Oesler.
They were first led into the picture-gallery by the chancellor
(although Duke George cared little about such matters), where
there was a costly collection of paintings by Perugino, Raphael,
Titian, Bellini, &c.--_item_, statues, vases, coins, and
medals, all of which his Grace had brought lately from Italy. Here
also there was a large book, covered with crimson velvet, lying
open, in which his Grace the Duke had written down many extracts
from the sermons of Doctor Cramer and Mag. Reutzio, with marginal
Latin notes of his own; for the Duke had a table in his oratory or
closet in St. Mary's Church, that he might write down what pleased
him, and a Greek and Latin Bible laid thereon. This book was,
therefore, a right pleasing sight to Doctor Cramer, who stood and
read his own sermons over again with great relish, while the
others examined the paintings.
When they grew weary, the chancellor conducted them to the
library, which contained ten thousand books. But Duke Ulrich said,
"Marry, dear brothers, what the devil is there to see here? Let us
rather go down to the stables, and examine my new Danish horses;
then come up to my quarters (for his Grace lived with his brother,
Duke Philip), and have a good Pomeranian carouse to pass away the
time; for as to these fooleries, which have cost our good brother
such a mint of money, I would not give a dollar for them all."
So they ran down the steps leading to the stables; but first he
brought them into the hunting-hall, belonging to his quarter,
which was decorated, and covered all along the walls with
hunting-horns, rifles, cross-bows, and hunting-knives and pouches,
with the horns of all sorts of animals killed in the chase.
Whereupon Duke George said, "He was content to remain here--the
horses he could see on the morrow."
So he sat down by the wine-flask, which lay there already upon the
table; and while Duke Ulrich was trying to persuade him to come to
the stables, saying he could have the wine-flask after, the door
opened, and his Highness Duke Philip unexpectedly entered the
He embraced all his dear brothers, and then, turning to Duke
Francis, the bishop, said, "Tell me, dear Fra (so he always called
him, for his Grace spoke Italian and Latin like German), is there
any hope of a christening at thy castle? Oh, say yes, and I will
give thee a duchy for my godchild."
But Bishop Francis answered mournfully, "No!" Then Duke Philip
turned to another--"How say you, brother--mayhap there is hope of
an heir to Wolgast?"
"None, alas!" was the answer.
"No, no!" exclaimed the Duke, "and there is no hope for me
either--none!" Then he walked up and down the hall in great
agitation, at last stopped, and lifting up his hands to heaven,
cried, "Merciful God, a child, a child! Is my whole ancient race
to perish? Wilt Thou slay us, as Thou didst the first-born of
Egypt? Oh! a child, a child!"
Here Doctor Cramerus advanced humbly, and said, "Your Highness
should have faith. Remember what St. Paul says (Rom. iv.)
concerning the faith of Abraham and Sarah; and Abraham was a
hundred years old, whereas your Highness is scarce forty,
therefore why despair of the mercy of God? Besides, many of his
brothers were still unwed."
Hereat his Grace stood silent, and looked round at his dear
brothers; but Duke George exclaimed, "You need not look at me,
dear brother, for I mean never to marry" (which, indeed, was the
truth, for he died some short time after at Buckow, whether
through Sidonia's witchcraft I know not, at the age of thirty-five
years, and unmarried. One thing, however, is certain, that his
death was as strange as the others; for in seven days he was well,
sick, dead, buried). [Footnote: There was formerly a Cistercian
monastery at Buckow, in the chapel of which still hangs a picture
of this Prince. Like most of his race, the face is in the highest
degree unmeaning; indeed, nothing more can be said of him than
that he was born and died.]
_Summa_.--His Highness first excused himself to his
illustrious brothers for his absence, and related the cause, how
his knave of a steward had been oppressing the poor, whereupon he
determined to go himself and avenge their injuries; for a prince
should be the father of his people, and it was a blessed work, the
Scripture said, to visit the fatherless and widows in their
affliction (James i. 27). So he hid himself in a little closet,
where he could hear everything in the widow's house, and then bid
her send for the steward; and when he came, the widow asked for
her corn, as usual, but he said, "She must give him the receipt
first, and then she might have it;" upon which she gave him the
receipt, and he went away. Then the Duke bid the widow send a
peasant and his cart for the corn; however, the old answer came
back--"She was a cheat--what did she mean? He had her receipt in
Upon this the Duke drove himself to the knave, and made him, in
his presence, pay down all the arrears of corn to the widow; then
he beat him black and blue, for a little parting remembrance, and
dismissed him ignominiously from his service. After this he had
thoughts of driving round to visit Prechln of Buslar, for the
rumour was afloat that Sidonia had bewitched his little son
Bartel, scarcely yet a year old, and made him grow a beard on his
chin like an old carl's, that reached down to his little stomach.
But as his dear brothers were waiting for him, his Grace had given
up this journey, particularly as he wished to hear their opinions
without delay as to what could be done to free the land from this
evil sorceress Sidonia. Hereupon he bade Christian Ludeck, the
state prosecutor, to read the proceedings at Marienfliess from his
As he proceeded to read the Acta, the listeners crossed and
blessed themselves; at last Duke Francis, the bishop, spake--"Did
I not say well, when years ago, in Oderkrug, I prayed our father
of blessed memory to burn this vile limb of Satan for a terrible
example? But my good brother Philip sided against me with my
father, and he was deemed the wiser. Who is the wiser now, I
Then Duke Philip asked Dr. Cramer, "What he thought of the matter
as _theologus_?" who answered, "Your Grace must spare me; I
will accuse no one, not even Sidonia, for though such things
appear verily to be done by the help of the devil, yet had they no
proof, seeing that no _medicus_ had hitherto dissected any
one of the _cadavera_ which it was avowed Sidonia had
bewitched to death."
Hereupon Dr. Constantius spake that he had already, by legal
permission, dissected the body of his colleague, Dr. Schwalenberg,
and delivered over the _visum repertum_ to his Grace's
chancellor. Then he described the appearances, which were truly
singular, particularly that of the _cartilago ensiformis_.
_Item_, concerning the _valvulae tricuspidales_, through
which the blood falls into the heart. They were so powerfully
contracted that the blood was forced to take another course, for
which reason, probably, the corpse seemed so dreadfully
discoloured. _Item_, the _vena pulmonalis_ had burst,
from which cause the doctor had spit blood to the last. And
lastly, the _glandulae sublinguales_ were so swollen that the
tongue could not remain in the mouth. Such a death was not
natural; that he averred. But whether Sidonia's sorcery had caused
it, or it were sent as a peculiar punishment by God, that he would
not say; he agreed with the excellent Dr. Cramer, and thought it
better to accuse no one.
"Now by the cross!" cried Duke Francis, "what else is it but
devil's work? But the lords were very lukewarm, and resolved not
to peril themselves; _that_ he saw. However, if his brother,
Duke Philip, permitted the whole princely race to be thus
bewitched to death, he would have to answer for it at the day of
judgment. He prayed him, therefore, for the love of God, to send
for the hag instantly, and drag her to the scaffold."
Hereat Duke Philip sank his head upon his arm, and was silent a
long space. But the state prosecutor gave answer--"Marry! will
your Episcopal Highness then take the trouble to tell us, who is
to seize the hag? I will do it not, and who else will? for,
methinks, whoever touches her must needs be sore tired of life."
"If no one else will," returned the bishop, "my Camyn executioner,
Master Radeck, will surely do it, for he never feared a witch;
besides, he knows all their _arcana_."
Meanwhile, as Duke Philip still sat in deep thought, and played
with a quill, the door opened, and a lacquey entered with a
message from the noble Prechln of Buslar, requesting an
_audienza_ of his Grace. He had an infant in his arms which a
wicked witch had prayed to death, and the child had a beard on it
like an old man, so that all in the castle were terrified at the
His Grace Duke Philip instantly started up. "Merciful God! is it
true?" waved his hand to the lacquey, who withdrew, and then
walked up and down, exclaiming still, "Merciful God! what can be
"Torture! burn! kill!" cried Duke Francis, the bishop "and
to-morrow, if it be possible. I shall send this night for my
executioner! trust to him. He will soon screw the soul out of the
vile hag; take my word for it."
"Ay! torture! burn! kill!" cried also the state prosecutor, "and
the sooner the better, gracious master. For God's sake, no mercy
Here the door opened, and Prechln of Buslar entered, pale as the
infant corpse that lay upon his arms. This corpse was dressed in
white with black ribbons, and a wreath of rosemary encircled the
little head; but, what was strange and horrible, a long black
beard depended from the infant's chin, which the wind, as the door
opened, blew backward and forward in the sorrowing father's face.
After him came his wife, wringing her hands wildly from grief, and
an old serving-maid.
Truly the whole convocation shuddered at the sight, but Bishop
Francis was the first to speak--
"And this is no devil's work?" he exclaimed. "Now, by my faith, ye
and your wise doctors are fools if ye deny this evidence. Come
nearer, poor fellow; set the corpse of your child down, and tell
us how it came to pass. We had heard of your strange affliction,
and just spoke thereon as you entered. Ha! the sorceress cannot
escape us now, methinks."
Now, when the mourning father began to tell the story, his wife
set up such a weeping and lamentation, and the old nurse followed
her example after such a lugubrious fashion, that their lordships
could not hear a word. Whereupon his Grace Duke Philip was obliged
earnestly to request that the women should keep silence whilst
Prechln of Buslar spoke.
I have already mentioned what grudge Sidonia had against him,
because he refused to acknowledge himself her feudal vassal by
kissing her hand; also, how she accused him afterward of stealing
her dog. This the poor knight related now at length, and with many
tears, and continued--
"During the strife between them, she one day spat upon both his
little sons, and the eldest, Dinnies, a fine fellow of seven years
old, who was playing with a slipper at the time under the table,
died first. But the accursed witch had stepped over to the cradle
where his little Bartholomew lay sleeping, while this old nurse,
Barbara Kadows, rocked him, and murmuring some words, spat upon
him, and then went away, cursing, from the house. So the spell was
put upon both children that same day, and Dinnies took sick
directly, and in three days was a corpse; but on his little Memi
first grew this great black beard which their lordships all saw,
and then he likewise died, after crying three days and three
nights in horrible torture." The old nurse confirmed all this, and
"That when the horrible hag knelt down by the cradle to blow upon
the child, she turned up her eyes, so that nothing but the whites
could be seen. Ah! what a wicked old hag that could not spare a
child like that, and could put such an old man's beard on its
Then Duke Philip asked the knight if he had accused Sidonia of the
witchcraft, and what had she answered?
"Ah yes, he had done so, but by letter, for he feared to go to
Marienfliess, lest it might happen to him as to others who met her
face to face, and his messenger brought back a letter in answer,
by which their lordships could see how her arrogance equalled her
wickedness," and he drew forth her letter from his bosom, and
handed the same to his Highness. Now Bishop Francis would have
prevented his brother touching the letter, but Duke Philip had a
brave heart, and taking it boldly, read aloud as follows:--
"SIDONIA, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, PRIORESS OF THE NOBLE CONVENT OF
MARIENPLIESS, LADY AND HEIRESS OP THE LANDS AND CASTLE OF
STRAMEHL, LABES, REGENWALD, WANGERIN, AND OTHERS--GREETING."
"GOOD FRIEND AND VASSAL,"
"Touching your foul accusation respecting your two brats, and my
bewitching them to death, I shall only say you must be mad. I have
long thought that pride would turn your brain: now I see it has
been done. If Bartel has got a beard, send for soap and shave him.
As to yourself, I counsel you to come to Marienfliess to old
Kathe, she knows how to turn the brain right again with a wooden
bowl. Pour hot water therein, three times boiled, set the bowl on
your head, and over the bowl an inverted pot; then, as the water
is drawn up into the empty pot, so will the madness be drawn up
out of your brain into the wooden bowl, and all will be right
again. It is a good receipt; I counsel you to try it. She only
desires you to kiss her hand in return. Such is the advice of your
feudal lady and seigneuress,
His Highness had hardly finished reading the letter, when Bishop
Francis cried out--
"What the devil, brother, hast thou made the murderous dragon a
But his Highness knew nothing of it, and wondered much likewise.
Whereupon the state prosecutor told them how it came about, and
that poor Dorothea Stettin had been talked out of her situation by
the dragon, as was all here to be seen set down in full in the
indictment; but, as the case was not now under discussion, he
would pass it over, although great quarrels and scandal prevailed
in the convent in consequence, and poor Dorothea lay sick,
earnestly desiring to be restored to her prioret.
Bishop Francis now grew yet more angry--
"Give the witch a prioret in hell," he cried. "What would his dear
brother do, now that the proofs were in his hands?"
To which Duke Philip answered mildly--
"Dear Fra, think on my symbol, C. & R." (that is, _Christo et
Reipublicae_, for Christ and the State). "Let us not be
over-hasty. Suppose that Dr. Constantinus should first dissect
this poor infant, and see what really caused its death."
Thereat the doctor plunged his hand in his pocket, to draw forth
his case of instruments, but the mother screamed out, and ran to
tear the child from him--"No, no; they should never cut up her
little Memi!" _Item_, the maid screamed out, "No, no; she
would lose her life first!" _Item_, the father stood still
and trembled, but said never a word.
What was to be done now? His Grace repented of his hastiness, and
at last said--
"Well, then, friends, let the doctor examine the infant
externally, look into its mouth, &c."
And when the parents consented to this, his Grace prayed them
gently to withdraw with him into another apartment while the
examination was made, as such a sight might give them pain. To
this also they consented, and his Grace led the way to another
hall (giving a sign privately to the doctor to do his business
properly), where a splendid collation was served. After which,
just to detain them longer, his Grace brought them to visit the
_Summa_.--When they returned, the dissection had been
accomplished, at which sight the parents and the maid screamed;
but his Grace confuted them, saying--
"That the ends of justice required it. He would now take the case
into his own hands, and they might return quietly to their own
castle and bury their infant, who would sleep as well dissected as
Having at last calmed them somewhat, they kissed his hand and took
Meanwhile the two young Dukes, Ulrich and George, finding the time
hang heavy, had slipped away from the council-board, and gone down
to the ducal stables.
When his Highness noticed their absence, he sent a page bidding
them return and give their opinion in council as to what should be
done next. But they sent back an answer--"Let the lords do what
they pleased; as for them they were off to the chase, seeing it
was pleasanter to hunt a hare than a witch."
Now Bishop Francis stormed in earnest.
"Marry, some folk would not believe in witchcraft, till they stood
with their heels turned toward heaven; and here these idle
younkers must needs ride off to the chase when the life and death
of our race hangs in the balance. I say again, brother, torture,
burn, kill, and as soon as may be."
But Duke Philip still answered mildly--
"Dear Fra, the _medicus_ hath just pronounced that the corpse
of the poor child presents no unnatural appearances; and as to the
beard, this may just as well be a _miraculum Dei_ as a
_miraculum damonis_, therefore I esteem it better to cite
Sidonia to our court, and admonish her strenuously to all good."
This course had little favour from Bishop Francis; but when the
state prosecutor agreed with his Highness, and Dr. Cramerus
praised so Christian and merciful a resolve, he was at last
content, particularly as some one said (I forget who, but I rather
think it was the chancellor, Martinus Chemnitz), that Mag. Joel of
Grypswald gave it as his opinion that it would be a matter of
trouble and danger to seize the witch, seeing that her familiar,
the spirit Chim, was a mighty and strong spirit, and capable of
taking great revenge on any who laid hand upon her; but that he,
Mag. Joel, would do for him easily if he came in his way.
This intelligence gave the bishop great comfort, and he instantly
despatched a letter to Mag. Joel, bidding him come forthwith to
Stettin, whilst the chancellor prepared a _Citationem realem
sive personalem_ for Sidonia, which contained the following:--
"WE, PHILIP, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, &c.,
"Command thee, Sidonia von Bork, conventual and not prioress of
the noble convent of Marienfliess, to appear before us, at our
court of Stettin, on the 15th day of July, at three of the clock,
to answer for the evil deeds whereof thou art accused, under
punishment of banishment, forfeiture, and great danger to thy body
and life. Against such, therefore, take thou heed.
"Signatum, Old Stettin, 10th July 1616.
"PHILIPPUS, _manu sua_."
_Of Sidonia's defence--Item, how she has a quarrel with Joachim
Wedel, and bewitches him to death_.
At three of the clock on the appointed day, the grand Rittersaal
(knights' hall) of the stately castle of Old Stettin was crowded
with ministers, councillors, and officials, who had met there by
command of their illustrious mightinesses, Duke Philip, Prince and
Lord of Stettin, and Francis, Bishop of Camyn. Amongst the nobles
assembled were Albert, Count of Eberstein, Lord of Neugarten and
Massow; Eustache Flemming, hereditary Grand Marshal; Christoph von
Mildenitz, privy councillor and dean of the honourable chapter of
Camyn; Caspar von Stogentin, captain at Friedrichswald; Christoph
von Plate, master of the ceremonies; Martin Chemnitz, Chancellor
of Pomerania; Dr. Cramer, my worthy lord father-in-law,
_vice-superintendens_; Dr. Constantius Oesler,
_medicus_; Christian Ludeck, attorney-general; Mag. Joel of
Grypswald, and many others. These all stood in two long rows,
waiting for their princely Graces. For it was rumoured that
Sidonia had already arrived with the fish-sellers from Grabow,
which, indeed, was the case; and she had, moreover, packed seven
hogsheads of her best beer on the waggon along with her, purposing
to sell it to profit in the town; but the devil truly got his
profit out of the said beer, for by it not only our good town of
Stettin, but likewise the whole land, was nearly brought to ruin
and utter destruction, as we shall hear further on.
_Summa_.--When all the afore-named were ranged in rank and
order, the great doors of the hall were flung wide open, and Duke
Philip entered first. Every one knows that he was small, delicate,
almost thin in person, pale of face, with a moustache On his upper
lip, and his hair combed _� la Nazarena_. [Footnote: Divided
in the centre, and falling down straight at each side, as in the
pictures of our Saviour.] He wore a yellow doublet with
silver-coloured satin sleeves, scarlet hose trimmed with gold
lace, white silk stockings, and white boots, with gold spurs;
round his neck was a Spanish ruff of white point lace, and by his
side a jewel-hilted sword; his breast and girdle were also
profusely decorated with diamonds. So his Highness advanced up the
hall, wearing his grey beaver hat, from which drooped a stately
plume of black herons' feathers, fastened with an aigrette of
diamonds. This he did not remove, as was customary, until all
present had made their obeisance and deferentially kissed his
hand. Duke Francis followed in his episcopal robes, with a mitre
upon his head, and a bishop's crook of ivory in his hand. The
other young dukes, Ulrich, George, and Bogislaus, remained
cautiously away. [Footnote: Note of Bogislaff XIV.--Yes; but not
out of fear. I was celebrating my espousals, as I have said.]
And the blood-standard waved from the towers, and the princely
soldatesca, with all the officers, lined the castle court, so that
nothing was left undone that could impress this terrible sorceress
with due fear and respect for their illustrious Graces.
And when the order was given for Sidonia to be admitted, the two
Princes leaned proudly on a table at the upper end of the hall,
while the assembled nobles formed two long lines at each side.
Three rolls of the drum announced the approach of the prisoner.
But when she entered, accompanied by the lord provost, in her
nun's robes and white veil, on which the key of her office was
embroidered in gold, a visible shudder passed over her frame;
collecting herself, however, quickly, she advanced to kiss their
Graces' hands, but Bishop Francis, after he had drawn his
_symbolum_ with chalk before him on the table, namely, H, H,
H, that is, "Help, helper, help," cried out, "Back, Satan! stir
not from thy place; and know that if thou shouldst attempt any of
thy diabolical sorceries upon my dear lord and brother here (as