Sidonia The Sorceress V1
Part 2 out of 8
_Sidonia knows nothing of God's Word, but seeks to learn it from
the young Prince of Wolgast._
Next day, Sunday, her Grace was unable to attend divine service in
the church, having caught cold by neglecting to put on her mantle
when she accompanied the Duke down to the water-gate. However,
though her Grace could not leave her chamber, yet she heard the
sermon of the preacher all the same; for an ear-tube descended
from her apartment down on the top of the pulpit, by which means
every word reached her, and a maid of honour always remained in
attendance to find out the lessons of the day, and the other
portions of the divine service, for her Grace, who thus could
follow the clergyman word for word. Sidonia was the one selected
for the office on this day.
But, gracious Heavens! when the Duchess said, Find me out the
prophet Isaiah, Sidonia looked in the New Testament; and when she
said, Open the Gospel of St. John, Sidonia looked in the Old
Testament. At first her Grace did not perceive her blunders; but
when she became aware of them, she started up, and tearing the
Bible out of her hands, exclaimed, "What! are you a heathen?
Yesterday you could not repeat a simple grace that every child
knows by heart, and to-day you do not know the difference between
the Old and New Testaments. For shame! Alas! what an ill weed I
have introduced into my house."
So the cunning wench began to weep, and said, her father had never
allowed her to learn Christianity, though she wished to do so
ardently, but always made a mock of it, and for this reason she
had sought a refuge with her Grace, where she hoped to become a
truly pious and believing Christian. The Duchess was quite
softened by her tears, and promised that Dr. Dionysius Gerschovius
should examine her in the catechism, and see what she knew. He was
a learned man from Daber [Footnote: A small town in Lower
Pomerania.], and her Grace's chaplain. The very idea of the doctor
frightened Sidonia so much, that her teeth chattered, and she
entreated her Grace, while she kissed her hand, to allow her at
least a fortnight for preparation and study before the doctor
The Duchess promised this, and said, that Clara von Dewitz,
another of her maidens, would be an excellent person to assist her
in her studies, as she came from Daber also, and was familiar with
the views and doctrines held by Dr. Gerschovius. This Clara we
shall hear more of in our history. She was a year older than
Sidonia, intelligent, courageous, and faithful, with a quiet,
amiable disposition, and of most pious and Christian demeanour.
She wore a high, stiff ruff, out of which peeped forth her head
scarcely visible, and a long robe, like a stole, sweeping behind
her. She was privately betrothed to her Grace's Master of the
Horse, Marcus Bork by name, a cousin of Sidonia's; for, as her
Grace discouraged all kinds of gallantry or love-making at her
court, they were obliged to keep the matter secret, so that no
one, not even her Grace, suspected anything of the engagement.
This was the person appointed to instruct Sidonia in Christianity;
and every day the fair pupil visited Clara in her room for an
hour. But, alas! theology was sadly interrupted by Sidonia's folly
and levity, for she chattered away on all subjects: first about
Prince Ernest--was he affianced to any one? was he in love? had
Clara herself a lover? and if that old proser, meaning the
Duchess, looked always as sour? did she never allow a feast or a
dance? and then she would toss the catechism under the bed, or
tear it and trample on it, muttering, with much ill-temper, that
she was too old to be learning catechisms like a child.
Poor Clara tried to reason with her mildly, and said--"Her Grace
was very particular on these points. The maids of honour were
obliged to assemble weekly once in the church and once in her
Grace's own room, to be examined by Dr. Gerschovius, not only in
the Lutheran Catechism, which they all knew well, but also in that
written by his brother, Dr. Timothy Gerschovius of Old Stettin; so
Sidonia had better first learn the _Catechismum Lutheri_, and
afterwards the _Catechismum Gerschovii_." At last Sidonia
grew so weary of catechisms that she determined to run away from
But Satan had more for her to do; so he put a little syrup into
the wormwood draught, and thus it was. One day passing along the
corridor from Clara's room, it so happened that Prince Ernest
opened his door, just as she came up to it, to let out the smoke,
and then began to walk up and down, playing softly on his lute.
Sidonia stood still for a few minutes with her eyes thrown up in
ecstasy, and then passed on; but the Prince stepped to the door,
and asked her did she play.
"Alas! no," she answered. "Her father had forbidden her to learn
the lute, though music was her passion, and her heart seemed
almost breaking with joy when she listened to it. If his Highness
would but play one little air over again for her."
"Yes, if you will enter, but not while you are standing there at
"Ah, do not ask me to enter, that would not be seemly; but I will
sit down here on this beer-barrel in the corridor and listen;
besides, music is improved by distance."
And she looked so tenderly at the young Prince that his heart
burned within him, and he stepped out into the corridor to play;
but the sound reaching the ears of her Grace, she looked out, and
Sidonia jumped up from the beer-barrel and fled away to her own
When Sunday came again, all the maids of honour were assembled, as
usual, in her Grace's apartment, to be examined in the catechism;
and probably the Duchess had lamented much to the doctor over
Sidonia's levity and ignorance, for he kept a narrow watch on her
the whole day. At four of the clock Dr. Gerschovius entered in his
gown and bands, looking very solemn; for it was a saying of his
"that the devil invented laughter; and that it were better for a
man to be a weeping Heraclitus than a laughing Democritus." After
he had kissed the hand of her Grace, he said they had better now
begin with the Commandments; and, turning to Sidonia, asked her,
"What is forbidden by the seventh commandment?"
Now Sidonia, who had only learned the Lutheran Catechism, did not
understand the question in this form out of the Gerschovian
Catechism, and remained silent.
"What!" said the doctor, "not know my brother's catechism! You
must get one directly from the court bookseller--the Catechism of
Doctor Timothy Gerschovius--and have it learned by next Sunday."
Then turning to Clara, he repeated the question, and she, having
answered, received great praise.
Now it happened that just at this time the ducal horse were led up
to the horse-pond to water, and all the young pages and knights
were gathered in a group under the window of her Grace's
apartment, laughing and jesting merrily. So Sidonia looked out at
them, which the doctor no sooner perceived than he slapped her on
the hand with the catechism, exclaiming, "What! have you not heard
just now that all sinful desires are forbidden by the seventh
commandment, and yet you look forth upon the young men from the
window? Tell me what are sinful desires?"
But the proud girl grew red with indignation, and cried, "Do you
dare to strike me?" Then, turning to her Grace, she said, "Madam,
that sour old priest has struck me on the fingers. I will not
suffer this. My father shall hear of it."
Hereupon her Grace, and even the doctor, tried to appease her, but
in vain, and she ran crying from the apartment. In the corridor
she met the old treasurer, Jacob Zitsewitz, who hated the doctor
and all his rigid doctrines. So she complained of the treatment
which she had received, and pressed his hand and stroked his
beard, saying, would he permit a castle and land dowered maiden to
be scolded and insulted by an old parson because she looked out at
a window? That was worse than in the days of Popery. Now
Zitsewitz, who had a little wine in his head, on hearing this, ran
in great wrath to the apartment of her Grace, where soon a great
uproar was heard.
For the treasurer, in the heat of his remonstrance with the
priest, struck a little table violently which stood near him, and
overthrew it. On this had Iain the superb escritoire of her
Highness, made of Venetian glass, in which the ducal arms were
painted; and also the magnificent album of her deceased lord, Duke
Philip. The escritoire was broken, the ink poured forth upon the
album, from thence ran down to the costly Persian carpet, a
present from her brother, the Prince of Saxony, and finally
stained the velvet robe of her Highness herself, who started up
screaming, so that the old chamberlain rushed in to know what had
happened, and then he fell into a rage both with the priest and
the treasurer. At length her Grace was comforted by hearing that a
chemist in Grypswald could restore the book, and mend the glass
again as good as new; still she wept, and exclaimed, "Alas! who
could have thought it? all this was foreshadowed to her by Dr.
Martinus dropping her ring."
Here the treasurer, to conciliate her Grace, pretended that he
never had heard the story of the betrothal, and asked, "What does
your Grace mean?" Whereupon drying her eyes she answered, "O
Master Jacob, you will hear a strange story"--and here she went
over each particular, though every child in the street had it by
heart. So this took away her grief, and every one got to rights
again, for that day. But worse was soon to befall.
I have said that half-an-hour before dinner the band played to
summon all within the castle and the retainers to their respective
messes, as the custom then was; so that the long corridor was soon
filled with a crowd of all conditions--pages, knights, squires,
grooms, maids, and huntsmen, all hurrying to the apartments where
their several tables were laid. Sidonia, being aware of this, upon
the first roll of the drum skipped out into the corridor, dancing
up and down the whole length of it to the music, so that the
players declared they had never seen so beautiful a dancer, at
which her heart beat with joy; and as the crowd came up, they
stopped to admire her grace and beauty. Then she would pause and
say a few pleasing words to each, to a huntsman, if he were
passing--"Ah, I think no deer in the world could escape you, my
fine young peasant;" or if a knight, she would praise the colour
of his doublet and the tie of his garter; or if a laundress, she
would commend the whiteness of her linen, which she had never seen
equalled; and as to the old cook and butler, she enchanted them by
asking, had his Grace of Stettin ever seen them, for assuredly, if
he had, he would have taken their fine heads as models for Abraham
and Noah. Then she flung largess amongst them to drink the health
of the Duchess. Only when a young noble passed, she grew timid and
durst not venture to address him, but said, loud enough for him to
hear, "Oh, how handsome! Do you know his name?" Or, "It is easy to
see that he is a born nobleman"--and such like hypocritical
The Princess never knew a word of all this, for, according to
etiquette, she was the last to seat herself at table. So Sidonia's
doings were not discovered until too late, for by that time she
had won over the whole court, great and small, to her interests.
Amongst the cavaliers who passed one day were two fine young men,
Wedig von Schwetzkow, and Johann Appelmann, son of the burgomaster
at Stargard. They were both handsome; but Johann was a dissolute,
wild profligate, and Wedig was not troubled with too much sense.
Still he had not fallen into the evil courses which made the other
so notorious. "Who is that handsome youth?" asked Sidonia as
Johann passed; and when they told her, "Ah, a gentleman!" she
exclaimed, "who is of far higher value in my eyes than a
_Summa:_ they both fell in love with her on the instant; but
all the young squires were the same more or less, except her
cousin Marcus Bork, seeing that he was already betrothed. Likewise
after dinner, in place of going direct to the ladies' apartments,
she would take a circuitous route, so as to go by the quarter
where the men dined, and as she passed their doors, which they
left open on purpose, what rejoicing there was, and such running
and squeezing just to get a glimpse of her--the little putting
their heads under the arms of the tall, and there they began to
laugh and chat; but neither the Duchess nor the old chamberlain
knew anything of this, for they were in a different wing of the
castle, and besides, always took a sleep after dinner.
However, old Zitsewitz, when he heard the clamour, knew well it
was Sidonia, and would jump up from the marshal's table, though
the old marshal shook his head, and run to the gallery to have a
chat with her himself, and she laughed and coquetted with him, so
that the old knight would run after her and take her in his arms,
asking her where she would wish to go. Then she sometimes said, to
the castle garden to feed the pet stag, for she had never seen so
pretty a thing in all her life; and she would fetch crumbs of
bread with her to feed it. So he must needs go with her, and
Sidonia ran down the steps with him that led from the young men's
quarter to the castle court, while they all rose up to look after
her, and laugh at the old fool of a treasurer. But in a short time
they followed too, running up and down the steps in crowds, to see
Sidonia feeding the stag and caressing it, and sometimes trying to
ride on it, while old Zitsewitz held the horns.
Prince Ernest beheld all this from a window, and was ready to die
with jealousy and mortification, for he felt that Sidonia was gay
and friendly with every one but him. Indeed, since the day of the
lute-playing, he fancied she shunned him and treated him coldly.
But as Sidonia had observed particularly, that whenever the young
Prince passed her in the gallery he cast down his eyes and sighed,
she took another way of managing him.
_How the young Prince prepared a petition to his mother, the
Duchess, in favour of Sidonia--Item, of the strange doings of the
Laplander with his magic drum._
The day preceding that on which Sidonia was to repeat the
Catechism of Doctor Gerschovius (of which, by the way, she had not
learned one word), the young Duke suddenly entered his mother's
apartment, where she and her maidens were spinning, and asked her
if she remembered anything about a Laplander with a drum, who had
foretold some event to her and his father whilst they were at
Penemunde some years before; for he had been arrested at Eldena,
and was now in Wolgast.
"Alas!" said her Grace, "I perfectly remember the horrible
sorcerer. One spring I was at the hunt with your father near
Penemunde, when this wretch suddenly appeared driving two cows
before him on a large ice-field. He pretended that while he was
telling fortunes to the girls who milked the cows, a great storm
arose, and drove him out into the wide sea, which was a terrible
misfortune to him. But your father told him in Swedish, which
language the knave knew, that it had been better to prophesy his
own destiny. To which he replied, a man could as little foretell
his own fate as see the back of his own head, which every one can
see but himself. However, if the Duke wished, he would tell him
his fortune, and if it did not come out true, let all the world
hold him as a liar for his life long.
"Alas! your father consented. Whereupon the knave began to dance
and play upon his drum like one frenzied; so that it was evident
to see the spirit was working within him. Then he fell down like
one dead, and cried, 'Woe to thee when thy house is burning! Woe
to thee when thy house is burning!'
"Therefore be warned, my son; have nothing to do with this fellow,
for it so happened even as he said. On the 11th December '57, our
castle was burned, and your poor father had a rib broken in
consequence. Would that I had been the rib broken for him, so that
he might still reign over the land; and this was the true cause of
his untimely death. Therefore dismiss this sorcerer, for it is
Satan himself speaks in him."
Here Sidonia grew quite pale, and dropped the thread, as if taken
suddenly ill. Then she prayed the Duchess to excuse her, and
permit her to retire to her own room.
The moment the Duchess gave permission, Sidonia glided out; but,
in place of going to her chamber, she threw herself in a languid
attitude upon a seat in the corridor, just where she knew Prince
Ernest must pass, and leaned her head upon her hand. He soon came
out of his mother's room, and seeing Sidonia, took her hand
tenderly, asking, with visible emotion--
"Dear lady, what has happened?"
"Ah," she answered, "I am so weak that I cannot go on to my little
apartment. I know not what ails me; but I am so afraid----"
"Afraid of what, dearest lady?"
"Of that sour old priest. He is to examine me to-morrow in the
Catechism of Gerschovius, and I cannot learn a word of it, do what
I will. I know Luther's Catechism quite well" (this was a
falsehood, we know), "but that does not satisfy him, and if I
cannot repeat it he will slap my hands or box my ears, and my lady
the Duchess will be more angry than ever; but I am too old now to
Then she trembled like an aspen-leaf, and fixed her eyes on him
with such tenderness that he trembled likewise, and drawing her
arm within his, supported her to her chamber. On the way she
pressed his hand repeatedly; but with each pressure, as he
afterwards confessed, a pang shot through his heart, which might
have excited compassion from his worst enemy.
When they reached her chamber, she would not let him enter, but
modestly put him back, saying, "Leave me--ah! leave me, gracious
Prince. I must creep to my bed; and in the meantime let me entreat
you to persuade the priest not to torment me to-morrow morning."
The Prince now left her, and forgetting all about the Lapland
wizard whom he had left waiting in the courtyard, he rushed over
the drawbridge, up the main street behind St. Peter's, and into
the house of Dr. Gerschovius.
The doctor was indignant at his petition.
"My young Prince," he said, "if ever a human being stood in need
of God's Word, it is that young maiden." At last, however, upon
the entreaties of Prince Ernest, he consented to defer her
examination for four weeks, during which time she could fully
perfect herself in the catechism of his learned brother.
He then prayed the Prince not to allow his eyes to be dazzled by
this fair, sinful beauty, who would delude him as she had done all
the other men in the castle, not excepting even that old sinner
When the Prince returned to the castle, he found a great crowd
assembled round the Lapland wizard, all eagerly asking to have
their fortunes told, and Sidonia was amongst them, as merry and
lively as if nothing had ailed her. When the Prince expressed his
surprise, she said, that finding herself much relieved by lying
down, she had ventured into the fresh air, to recreate herself,
and have her fortune told. Would not the Prince likewise wish to
So, forgetting all his mother's wise injunctions, he advanced with
Sidonia to the wizard. The Lapland drum, which lay upon his knees,
was a strange instrument; and by it we can see what arts Satan
employs to strengthen his kingdom in all places and by all means.
For the Laplanders are Christians, though they in some sort
worship the devil, and therefore he imparts to them much of his
own power. This drum which they use is made out of a piece of
hollow wood, which must be either fir, pine, or birch, and which
grows in such a particular place that it follows the course of the
sun; that is, the pectines, fibræ, and lineæ in the annual rings
of the wood must wind from right to left. Having hollowed out such
a tree, they spread a skin over it, fastened down with little
pegs; and on the centre of the skin is painted the sun, surrounded
by figures of men, beasts, birds, and fishes, along with Christ
and the holy Apostles. All this is done with the rind of the
elder-tree, chewed first beneath their teeth. Upon the top of the
drum there is an index in the shape of a triangle, from which hang
a number of little rings and chains. When the wizard wishes to
propitiate Satan and receive his power, he strikes the drum with a
hammer made of the reindeer's horn, not so much to procure a sound
as to set the index in motion with all its little chains, that it
may move over the figures, and point to whatever gives the
required answer. At the same time the magician murmurs
conjurations, springs sometimes up from the ground, screams,
laughs, dances, reels, becomes black in the face, foams, twists
his eyes, and falls to the ground at last in an ecstasy, dragging
the drum down upon his face.
Any one may then put questions to him, and all will come to pass
that he answers. All this was done by the wizard; but he desired
strictly that when he fell upon the ground, no one should touch
him with the foot, and secondly, that all flies and insects should
be kept carefully from him. So after he had danced, and screamed,
and twisted his face so horribly that half the women fainted, and
foamed and raged until the demon seemed to have taken full
possession of him, he fell down, and then every one put questions
to him, to which he responded; but the answers sometimes produced
weeping, sometimes laughing, according as some gentle maiden heard
that her lover was safe, or that he had been struck by the mast on
shipboard and tumbled into the sea. And all came out true, as was
Sidonia now invited the Prince to try his fortune; and so,
forgetting the admonitions of the Duchess, he said, "What dost
thou prophesy to me?"
"Beware of a woman, if you would live long and happily," was the
"But of what woman?"
"I will not name her, for she is present."
Then the Prince turned pale and looked at Sidonia, who grew pale
also, but made no answer, only laughed, and advancing asked, "What
dost thou prophesy to me?" But immediately the wizard shrieked,
"Away! away! I burn, I burn! thou makest me yet hotter than I am!"
Many thought these exclamations referred to Sidonia's beauty,
particularly the young lords, who murmured, "Now every one must
acknowledge her beauty, when even this son of Satan feels his
heart burning when she approaches." And Sidonia laughed merrily at
Just then the Grand Chamberlain came by, and having heard what had
happened, he angrily dismissed the crowd, and sending for the
executioner, ordered the cheating impostor to be whipped and
branded, and then sent over the frontier.
The wizard, who had been lying quite stiff, now cried out (though
he had never seen the Chamberlain before)--"Listen, Ulrich! I will
prophesy something to thee: if it comes not to pass, then punish
me; but if it does, then give me a boat and seven loaves, that I
may sail away to-morrow to my own country."
Ulrich refused to hear his prophecy; but the wizard cried
out--"Ulrich, this day thy wife Hedwig will die at Spantekow."
Ulrich grew pale, but only answered, "Thou liest! how can that
be?" He replied, "Thy cousin Clas will visit her; she will descend
to the cellar to fetch him some of the Italian wine for which you
wrote, and which arrived yesterday; a step of the stairs will
break as she is ascending; she will fall forward upon the flask,
which will cut her throat through, and so she will die."
When he ceased, the alarmed Ulrich called loudly to the chief
equerry, Appelmann, who just then came by--"Quick! saddle the best
racer in the stables, and ride for life to Spantekow, for it may
be as he has prophesied, and let us outwit the devil. Haste,
haste, for the love of God, and I will never forget it to thee!"
So the equerry rode without stop or stay to Spantekow, and he
found the cousin Clas in the house; but when he asked for the Lady
Hedwig, they said, "She is in the cellar." So no misfortune had
happened then; but as they waited and she appeared not, they
descended to look for her, and lo! just as the wizard had
prophesied, she had fallen upon the stairs while ascending, and
there lay dead.
The mournful news was brought by sunset to Wolgast, and Ulrich, in
his despair and grief, wished to burn the Laplander; but Prince
Ernest hindered him, saying, "It is more knightly, Ulrich, to keep
your word than to cool your vengeance." So the old man stood
silent a long space, and then said, "Well, young man, if you
abandon Sidonia, I will release the Laplander."
The Prince coloured, and the Lord Chamberlain thought that he had
discovered a secret; but as the prophecy of the wizard came again
into Prince Ernest's mind, he said--
"Well, Ulrich, I will give up the maiden Sidonia. Here is my
Accordingly, next morning the wizard was released from prison and
given a boat, with seven loaves and a pitcher of water, that he
might sail back to his own country. The wind, however, was due
north, but the people who crossed the bridge to witness his
departure were filled with fear when they saw him change the wind
at his pleasure to suit himself; for he pulled out a string full
of knots, and having swung it about, murmuring incantations, all
the vanes on the towers creaked and whirled right about, all the
windmills in the town stopped, all the vessels and boats that were
going up the stream became quite still, and their sails flapped on
the masts, for the wind had changed in a moment from north to
south, and the north waves and the south waves clashed together.
As every one stood wondering at this, the sailors and fishermen in
particular, the wizard sprang into his boat and set forth with a
fair wind, singing loudly, "Jooike Duara! Jooike Duara!"
[Footnote: This is the beginning of a magic rhyme, chanted even by
the distant Calmucks--namely, _Dschie jo eie jog_.] and soon
disappeared from sight, nor was he ever again seen in that
_How Ulrich von Schwerin buries his spouse, and Doctor
Gerschovius comforts him out of God's Word._
This affair with the Lapland wizard much troubled the Grand
Chamberlain, and his faith suffered sore temptations. So he
referred to Dr. Gerschovius, and asked him how the prophets of God
differed from those of the devil. Whereupon the doctor recommended
him to meditate on God's Word, wherein he would find a source of
consolation and a solution of all doubts.
So the mourning Ulrich departed for his castle of Spantekow,
trusting in the assistance of God. And her Grace, with all her
court, resolved to attend the funeral also, to do him honour. They
proceeded forth, therefore, dressed in black robes, their horses
also caparisoned with black hangings, and the Duchess ordered a
hundred wax lights for the ceremony. Sidonia alone declined
attending, and gave out that she was sick in bed. The truth,
however, was, that as Duke Ernest was obliged to remain at home to
take the command of the castle, and affix his signature to all
papers, she wished to remain also.
The mourning cortège, therefore, had scarcely left the court, when
Sidonia rose and seated herself at the window, which she knew the
young Prince must pass along with his attendants on their way to
the office of the castle. Then taking up a lute, which she had
purchased privately, and practised night and morning in place of
learning the catechism, she played a low, soft air, to attract
their attention. So all the young knights looked up; and when
Prince Ernest arrived he looked up also, and seeing Sidonia,
exclaimed, with surprise, "Beautiful Sidonia, how have you learned
the lute?" At which she blushed and answered modestly, "Gracious
Prince, I am only self-taught. No one here understands the lute
except your Highness."
"Does this employment, then, give you much pleasure?"
"Ah, yes! If I could only play it well; I would give half my life
to learn it properly. There is no such sweet enjoyment upon earth,
I think, as this."
"But you have been sick, lady, and the cold air will do you an
"Yes, it is true I have been ill, but the air rather refreshes me;
and besides, I feel the melancholy of my solitude less here."
"Now farewell, dear lady; I must attend to the business of the
This little word--"dear lady"--gave Sidonia such confidence, that
by the time she expected Prince Ernest to pass again on his
return, she was seated at the window awaiting him with her lute,
to which she now sang in a clear, sweet voice. But the Prince
passed on as if he heard nothing--never even once looked up, to
Sidonia's great mortification. However, the moment he reached his
own apartment, he commenced playing a melancholy air upon his
lute, as if in response to hers. The artful young maiden no sooner
heard this than she opened her door. The Prince at the same
instant opened his to let out the smoke, and their eyes met, when
Sidonia uttered a feeble cry and fell fainting upon the floor. The
Prince, seeing this, flew to her, raised her up, and trembling
with emotion, carried her back to her room and laid her down upon
the bed. Now indeed it was well for him that he had given that
promise to Ulrich. When Sidonia after some time slowly opened her
eyes, the Prince asked tenderly what ailed her; and she said, "I
must have taken cold at the window, for I felt very ill, and went
to the door to call an attendant; but I must have fainted then,
for I remember nothing more." Alas! the poor Prince, he believed
all this, and conjured her to lie down until he called a maid, and
sent for the physician if she desired it; but, no--she refused,
and said it would pass off soon. (Ah, thou cunning maiden! it may
well pass off when it never was on.)
However, she remained in bed until the next day, when the Princess
and her train returned home from the funeral. Her Grace had
assisted at the obsequies with all princely state, and even laid a
crown of rosemary with her own hand upon the head of the corpse,
and a little prayer-book beside it, open at that fine hymn "Pauli
Sperati" (which also was sung over the grave). Then the husband
laid a tin crucifix on the coffin, with the inscription from I
John iii. 8--"The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy
the works of the devil." After which the coffin was lowered into
the grave with many tears.
Some days after this, being Sunday, Doctor Gerschovius and the
Grand Chamberlain were present at the ducal table. Ulrich indeed
ate little, for he was filled with grief, only sipped a little
broth, into which he had crumbled some reindeer cheese, not to
appear ungracious; but when dinner was over, he raised his head,
and asked Doctor Gerschovius to inform him now in what lay the
difference between the prophets of God and those of the devil. The
Duchess was charmed at the prospect of such a profitable
discourse, and ordered a cushion and footstool to be placed for
herself, that she might remain to hear it. Then she sent for the
whole household--maidens, squires, and pages--that they too might
be edified, and learn the true nature of the devil's gifts. The
hall was soon as full, therefore, as if a sermon were about to be
preached; and the doctor, seeing this, stroked his beard, and he
begun as follows: [Footnote: Perhaps some readers will hold the
rationalist doctrine that no prophecy is possible or credible, and
that no mortal can under any circumstances see into futurity; but
how then can they account for the wonderful phenomena of animal
magnetism, which are so well authenticated? Do they deny all the
facts which have been elicited by the great advance made recently
in natural and physiological philosophy? I need not here bring
forward proofs from the ancients, showing their universal belief
in the possibility of seeing into futurity, nor a cloud of
witnesses from our modern philosophers, attesting the truth of the
phenomena of somnambulism, but only observe that this very Academy
of Paris, which in 1784 anathematised Mesmer as a quack, a cheat,
and a charlatan or fool, and which in conjunction with all the
academies of Europe (that of Berlin alone excepted) reviled his
doctrines and insulted all who upheld them, as witches had been
reviled in preceding centuries, and compelled Mesmer himself to
fly for protection to Frankfort--this very academy, I say, on the
12th February 1826, rescinded all their condemnatory verdicts, and
proclaimed that the wonderful phenomena of animal magnetism had
been so well authenticated that doubt was no longer possible. This
confession of faith was the more remarkable, because the members
of the commission of inquiry had been carefully selected, on
purpose, from physicians who were totally adverse to the doctrines
There are but two modes, I think, of explaining these
extraordinary phenomena--either by supposing them effected by
supernatural agency, as all seers and diviners from antiquity,
through the Middle Ages down to our somnambulists, have pretended
that they really stood in communication with spirit; or, by
supposing that there is an innate latent divining element in our
own natures, which only becomes evident and active under certain
circumstances, and which is capable of revealing the _future_
with more or less exactitude just as the mind can recall the
_past_. For _past_ and _future_ are but different
forms of our own subjective intuition of time, and because this
internal intuition represents no figure, we seek to supply the
defect by an analogy. For time exists _within_ us, not
_without_ us; it is not something which subsists of itself,
but it is the form only of our internal sense.
These two modes of explaining the phenomena present, I know, great
difficulties; the latter especially. However, the pantheistical
solution of the Hegelian school adopted by Kieser, Kluge, Wirth,
Hoffman, pleases me still less. I even prefer that of
Jung-Stilling and Kerner--but at all events one thing is certain,
the _facts_ are there; only ignorance, stupidity, and
obstinacy can deny them. The _cause_ is still a subject of
speculation, doubt, and difficulty. It is only by a vast induction
of facts, as in natural philosophy, that we can ever hope to
arrive at the knowledge of a general law. The crown of all
creation is _man_; therefore while we investigate so acutely
all other creatures, let us not shrink back from the strange and
unknown depths of our own nature which magnetism has opened to
I am rejoiced to treat of this subject now, considering how lately
that demon Lapp befooled ye all. And I shall give you many signs,
whereby in future a prophet of God may be distinguished from a
prophet of the devil. 1st, Satan's prophets are not conscious of
what they utter; but God's prophets are always perfectly
conscious, both of the inspiration they receive and the
revelations they make known. For as the Laplander grew frenzied,
and foamed at the mouth, so it has been with all false prophets
from the beginning. Even the blind heathen called prophesying
_mania_, or the wisdom of _madness_. The secret of
producing this madness was known to them; sometimes it was by the
use of roots or aromatic herbs, or by exhalations, as in the case
of the Pythoness, whose incoherent utterances were written by the
priests of Apollo, for when the fit was over, all remembrance of
what she had prophesied vanished too. In the Bible we find all
false prophets described as frenzied. In Isaiah xliv. 25--"God
maketh the diviners mad." In Ezekiel xiii. 3--"Woe to the foolish
prophets." Hosea ix. 7--"The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man
is mad." And Isaiah xxviii. 7 explains fully how this madness was
Namely, by wine and the strong drink _Sekar_. [Footnote: It
is doubtful of what this drink was composed. Hieronymus and Aben
Ezra imagine that it was of the nature of strong beer. Probably it
resembled the potion with which the mystery-men amongst the
savages of the present day produce this divining frenzy. We find
such in use throughout Tartary, Siberia, America, and Africa, as
if the usage had descended to them from one common tradition.
Witches, it is well known, made frequent use of potions, and as
all somnambulists assert that the seat of the soul's greatest
activity is in the stomach, it is not incredible what Van Helmont
relates, that having once tasted the root _napellus_, his
intellect all at once, accompanied by an unusual feeling of
ecstasy, seemed to remove from his brain to his stomach.] Further
examples of this madness are given in the Bible, as Saul when
under the influence of the evil spirit flung his spear at the
innocent David; and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal,
who leaped upon the altar, and screamed, and cut themselves with
knives and lancets until the blood flowed; and the maiden with the
spirit of divination, that met Paul in the streets of Philippi;
with many others.
But all this is an abomination in the sight of God. For as the
Lord came not to His prophet Elijah in the strong wind, nor in the
earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still small voice, so does
He evidence Himself in all His prophets; and we find no record in
Scripture, either of their madness, or of their having forgotten
the oracles they uttered, like the Pythoness and others inspired
by Satan. [Footnote: It is well known that somnambulists never
remember upon their recovery what they have uttered during the
crisis. Therefore phenomena of this class appear to belong, in
some things, to that of the divining frenzy, though in others to
quite a different category of the divining life.] Further, you may
observe that the false prophets can always prophesy when they
choose, Satan is ever willing to come when they exorcise him; but
the true prophets of God are but instruments in the hand of the
Lord, and can only speak when He chooses the spirit to enter into
them. So we find them saying invariably--"This is the word which
came unto me," or "This is the word which the Lord spake unto me."
For the Lord is too high and holy to come at the bidding of a
creature, or obey the summons of his will. St. Peter confirms
this, 2 Pet. i. 21, that no prophecy ever came at the will of man.
Again, the false prophets were persons of known infamous
character, and in this differed from the prophets of God, who were
always righteous men in word and deed. Diodorus informs us of the
conduct of the Pythoness and the priests of Apollo, and also that
all oracles were bought with gold, and the answer depended on the
weight of the sack. As Ezekiel notices, xiii. 19; and Micah iii.
8. Further, the holy prophets suffered all manner of persecution
for the sake of God, as Daniel, Elias, Micah, yet remained
faithful, with but one exception, and were severely punished if
they fell into crime, and the gift of prophecy taken from them;
for God cannot dwell in a defiled temple, but Satan can dwell in
Also, Satan's prophets speak only of temporal things, but God's
people of spiritual things. The heathen oracles, for instance,
never foretold any events but those concerning peace or war, or
what men desire in riches, health, or advancement--in short,
temporal matters alone. Whereas God's people, in addition to
temporal concerns, preached repentance and holiness to the Jewish
people, and the coming of Christ's kingdom, in whom all nations
should be blessed. For as the soul is superior to the body, so are
God's prophets superior to those of the Prince of this world.
And in conclusion, observe that Satan's seers abounded with lies,
as all heathen history testifies, or their oracles were capable of
such different interpretations that they became a subject of
mockery and contempt to the wise amongst the ancient philosophers.
But be not surprised if they sometimes spoke truth, as the Lapland
wizard has done, for the devil's power is superior to man's, and
he can see events which, though close at hand, are yet hidden from
us, as a father can foretell an approaching storm, though his
little son cannot do so, and therefore looks upon his father's
wisdom as supernatural. [Footnote: The somnambulists also can
prophesy of those events which are near at hand, but never of the
distant.] But the devil has not the power to see into futurity,
nor even the angels of God, only God Himself.
The prophets of God, on the contrary, are given power by Him to
look through all time at a glance, as if it were but a moment; for
a thousand years to Him are but as a watch of the night; and
therefore they all from the beginning testified of the Saviour
that was to come, and rejoiced in His day as if they really beheld
Him, and all stood together as brothers in one place, and at the
same time in His blessed presence. But what unanimity and feeling
has ever been observed by the seers of Satan, when the
contradictions amongst their oracles were notorious to every one?
And as the eyes of all the holy prophets centred upon Christ, so
the eyes of the greatest of all prophets penetrated the furthest
depths of futurity. Not only His own life, sufferings, death, and
resurrection were foretold by Him, but the end of the Jewish
kingdom, the dispersion of their race, the rise of His Church from
the grain of mustard-seed to the wide, world-spreading tree; and
all has been fulfilled. Be assured, therefore, that this eternal
glory, which He promised to those who trust in Him, will be
fulfilled likewise when He comes to judge all nations. So, my
worthy Lord Ulrich, cease to weep for your spouse who sleeps in
Jesus, for a greater Prophet than the Lapland wizard has said, "I
am the resurrection and the life, whosoever believeth in Me shall
never die." [Footnote: In addition to the foregoing distinctions
between the Satanic and the holy prophets, I may add the
following--that almost all the diviners amongst the heathen were
_women_. For instance, Cassandra, the Pythia in Delphi,
Triton and Peristhæa in Dodona, the Sybils, the Velleda of
Tacitus, the Mandragoras, and Druidesses, the witches of the
Reformation age; and in fine, the modern somnambules are all women
too. But throughout the whole Bible we find that the prophetic
power was exclusively conferred upon _men_, with two
exceptions--namely, Deborah, Judges iv. 4, and Hilda, 2 Chron.
xxxiv. 22--for there is no evidence that Miriam had a seer spirit;
she was probably only God-inspired, though classed under the
general term prophet. We find, indeed, that woe was proclaimed
against the divining women who prophesy out of their own head,
Ezekiel xiii. 17-23; so amongst the people of God the revelation
of the future was confined to _men_, amongst the heathen to
_women_, or if men are mentioned in these pagan rites, it is
only as assistants and inferior agents, like animals, metals,
roots, stones, and such like. See Cicero, _De Divinatione_,
_How Sidonia rides upon the pet stag, and what evil consequences
When the discourse had ended, her Grace retired to her apartment
and Ulrich to his, for it was their custom, as I have said, to
sleep after dinner. Doctor Gerschovius returned home, and the
young Prince descended to the gardens with his lute. Now was a
fine time for the young knights, for they had been sadly disturbed
in their carouse by that godly prophesying of the doctor's, and
they now returned to their own quarter to finish it, headed by the
old treasurer Zitsewitz. Then a merry uproar of laughing, singing,
and jesting commenced, and as the door lay wide open as usual,
Sidonia heard all from her chamber; so stepping out gently with a
piece of bread in her hand, she tripped along the corridor past
their door. No sooner was she perceived than a loud storm of
cheers greeted her, which she returned with smiles and bows, and
then danced down the steps to the courtyard. Several rose up to
pursue her, amongst whom Wedig and Appelmann were the most eager.
But they were too late, and saw nothing but the tail of her dress
as she flew round the corner into the second court. Just then an
old laundress, bringing linen to the castle for her Highness,
passed by, and told the young men that the young lady had been
feeding the tame stag with bread, and then jumped on its back
while she held the horns, and that the animal had immediately
galloped off like lightning into the second court; so that the
young knights and squires rushed instantly after her, fearing that
some accident might happen, and presently they heard her scream
twice. Appelmann was the first to reach the outer court, and there
beheld poor Sidonia in a sad condition, for the stag had flung her
off. Fortunately it was on a heap of soft clay, and there she lay
in a dead faint.
Had the stag thrown her but a few steps further, against the
manger for the knights' horses, she must have been killed. But
Satan had not yet done with her, and therefore, no doubt, prepared
this soft pillow for her head.
When Appelmann saw that she was quite insensible, he kneeled down
and kissed first her little feet, then her white hands, and at
last her lips, while she lay at the time as still as death, poor
thing. Just then Wedig came up in a great passion; for the
castellan's son, who was playing ball, had flung the ball right
between his legs, out of tricks, as he was running by, and nearly
threw him down, whereupon Wedig seized hold of the urchin by his
thick hair to punish him, for all the young knights were laughing
at his discomfiture; but the boy bit him in the hip, and then
sprang into his father's house, and shut the door. How little do
we know what will happen! It was this bite which caused Wedig's
lamentable death a little after.
But if he was angry before, what was his rage now when he beheld
the equerry, Appelmann, kissing the insensible maiden.
"How now, peasant," he cried, "what means this boldness? How dare
this tailor's son treat a castle and land dowered maiden in such a
way? Are noble ladies made for his kisses?" And he draws his
poignard to rush upon Appelmann, who draws forth his in return,
and now assuredly there would have been murder done, if Sidonia
had not just then opened her eyes, and starting up in amazement
prayed them for her sake to keep quiet. She had been quite
insensible, and knew nothing at all of what had happened. The old
treasurer, with the other young knights, came up now, and strove
to make peace between the two rivals, holding them apart by force;
but nothing could calm the jealous Wedig, who still cried, "Let me
avenge Sidonia!--let me avenge Sidonia!" So that Prince Ernest,
hearing the tumult in the garden, ran with his lute in his hand to
see what had happened. When they told him, he grew as pale as a
corpse that such an indignity should have been offered to Sidonia,
and reprimanded his equerry severely, but prayed that all would
keep quiet now, as otherwise the Duchess and the Lord Chamberlain
would certainly be awakened out of their after-dinner sleep, and
then what an afternoon they would all have. This calmed every one,
except the jealous Wedig, who, having drunk deeply, cried out
still louder than before, "Let me go. I will give my life for the
beautiful Sidonia. I will avenge the insolence of this peasant
When Sidonia observed all this, she felt quite certain that a
terrible storm was brewing for all of them, and so she ran to
shelter herself through the first open door that came in her way,
and up into the second corridor; but further adventures awaited
her here, for not being acquainted with this part of the castle,
she ran direct into an old lumber-room, where she found, to her
great surprise, a young man dressed in rusty armour, and wearing a
helmet with a serpent crest upon his head. This was Hans von
Marintzky, whose brain Sidonia had turned by reading the Amadis
with him in the castle gardens, and as she had often sighed, and
said that she, too, could have loved the serpent knight, the poor
love-stricken Hans, taking this for a favourable sign, determined
to disguise himself as described in the romance, and thus secure
So when her beautiful face appeared at the door, Hans screamed for
joy, like a young calf, and falling on one knee,
exclaimed--"Adored Princess, your serpent knight is here to claim
your love, and tender his hand to you in betrothal, for no other
wife do I desire but thee; and if the Princess Rosaliana herself
were here to offer me her love, I would strike her on the face."
Sidonia was rather thunderstruck, as one may suppose, and
retreated a few steps, saying, "Stand up, dear youth; what ails
"So I am dear to you," he cried, still kneeling; "I am then really
dear to you, adored Princess? Ah! I hope to be yet dearer when I
make you my spouse."
Sidonia had not foreseen this termination to their romance
reading, but she suppressed her laughter, remembering how she had
lost her lover Uckermann by showing scorn; so she drew herself up
with dignity, and said, with as grave a face as a chief mourner--
"If you will not rise, sir knight, I must complain to her
Highness; for I cannot be your spouse, seeing that I have resolved
never to marry." (Ah! how willingly, how willingly you would have
taken any husband half a year after.) "But if you will do me a
service, brave knight, run instantly to the court, where Wedig and
Appelmann are going to murder each other, and separate them, or my
gracious lady and old Ulrich will awake, and then we shall all be
The poor fool jumped up instantly, and exclaiming, "Death for my
adored princess!" he sprung down the steps, though rather
awkwardly, not being accustomed to the greaves; and rushing into
the middle of the crowd, with his vizor down, and the drawn sword
in his hand, he began making passes at every one that came in his
way, crying, "Death for my adored princess! Long live the
beautiful Sidonia! Knaves, have done with your brawling, or I
shall lay you all dead at my feet."
At first every one stuck up close by the wall when they saw the
madman, to get out of reach of his sword, which he kept whirling
about his head; but as soon as he was recognised by his voice,
Wedig called out to him--
"Help, brother, help! Will you suffer that this peasant boor
Appelmann should kiss the noble Sidonia as she lay there faint and
insensible? Yet I saw him do this. So help me, relieve me, that I
may brand this low-born knave for his daring."
"What? My adored princess!" exclaimed the serpent knight. "This
valet, this groom, dared to kiss her? and I would think myself
blessed but to touch her shoe-tie;" and he fell furiously upon
The uproar was now so great that it might have aroused the Duchess
and Ulrich even from their last sleep, had they been in the
But, fortunately, some time before the riot began, both had gone
out by the little private gate, to attend afternoon service at St.
Peter's Church, in the town. For the archdeacon was sick, and
Doctor Gerschovius was obliged to take his place there. No one,
therefore, was left in the castle to give orders or hold command;
even the castellan had gone to hear service; and no one minded
Prince Ernest, he was so young, besides being under tutelage; and
as to old Zitsewitz, he was as bad as the worst of them himself.
The Prince threatened to have the castle bells rung if they were
not quiet; and the uproar had indeed partially subsided just at
the moment the serpent knight fell upon Appelmann. The Prince then
ordered his equerry to leave the place instantly, under pain of
his severe displeasure, for he saw that both had drunk rather
So Appelmann turned to depart as the Prince commanded, but Wedig,
who had been relieved by Hans the serpent, sprung after him with
his dagger, limping though, for the bite in his hip made him
stiff. Appelmann darted through the little water-gate and over the
bridge; the other pursued him; and Appelmann, seeing that he was
foaming with rage, jumped over the rails into a boat. Wedig
attempted to do the same, but being stiff from the bite, missed
the boat, and came down plump into the water.
As he could not swim, the current carried him rapidly down the
stream before the others had time to come up; but he was still
conscious, and called to Hans, "Comrade, save me!" So Hans,
forgetting his heavy cuirass, plunged in directly, and soon
reached the drowning man. Wedig, however, in his death-struggles,
seized hold of him with such force that they both instantly
disappeared. Then every one sprang to the boats to try and save
them; but being Sunday, the boats were all moored, so that by the
time they were unfastened it was too late, and the two unfortunate
young men had sunk for ever.
What calamities may be caused by the levity and self-will of a
beautiful woman! From the time of Helen of Troy up to the present
moment, the world has known this well; but, alas! this was but the
beginning of that tragedy which Sidonia played in Pomerania, as
that other wanton did in Phrygia.
Let us hear the conclusion, however. Prince Ernest, now being
truly alarmed, despatched a messenger to the church for her
Highness; but as Doctor Gerschovius had not yet ended his
exordium, her Grace would by no means be disturbed, and desired
the messenger to go to Ulrich, who no sooner heard the tidings
than he rushed down to the water-gate. There he found a great
crowd assembled, all eagerly trying, with poles and hooks, to fish
out the bodies of the two young men; and one fellow even had tied
a piece of barley bread to a rope, and flung it into the water--as
the superstition goes that it will follow a corpse in the stream,
and point to where it lies. And the women and children were
weeping and lamenting on the bridge; but the old knight pushed
them all aside with his elbows, and cried--"Thousand devils! what
are ye all at here?"
Every one was silent, for the young men had agreed not to betray
Sidonia. Then Ulrich asked the Prince, who replied, that
Marintzky, having put on some old armour to frighten the others,
as he believed, they pursued him in fun over the bridge, and he
and another fell over into the water. This was all he knew of the
matter, for he was playing on the lute in the garden when the
"Thousand devils!" cries Ulrich; "I cannot turn my back a moment
but there must be a riot amongst the young fellows. Listen! young
lord--when it comes to your turn to rule land and people, I
counsel you, send all the young fellows to the devil. Away with
them! they are a vain and dissolute crew. Get up the bodies, if
you can; but, for my part, I would care little if a few more were
baptized in the same way. Speak! some of you: who commenced this
tavern broil? Speak! I must have an answer."
This adjuration had its effect, for a man answered--"Sidonia made
the young men mad, and so it all happened." It was her own cousin,
Marcus Bork, who spoke, for which reason Sidonia never could
endure him afterwards, and finally destroyed him, as shall be
related in due time.
When Ulrich found that Sidonia was the cause of all, he raged with
fury, and commanded them to tell him all. When Marcus had related
the whole affair, he swore by the seven thousand devils that he
would make her remember it, and that he would instantly go up to
But Prince Ernest stepped before him, saying, "Lord Ulrich, I have
made you a promise--you must now make one to me: it is to leave
this maiden in peace; she is not to blame for what has happened."
But Ulrich would not listen to him.
"Then I withdraw my promise," said the Prince. "Now act as you
"Thousand devils! she had better give up that game," exclaimed
Ulrich. However, he consented to leave her undisturbed, and
departed with vehement imprecations on her head, just as the
Duchess returned from church, and was seen advancing towards the
_How Sidonia makes the young Prince break his word--Item, how
Clara von Dewitz in vain tries to turn her from her evil ways._
It may be easily conjectured what a passion her Grace fell into
when the whole story was made known to her, and how she stormed
against Sidonia. At last she entered the castle; but Prince
Ernest, rightly suspecting her object, slipped up to the corridor,
and met her just as she had reached Sidonia's chamber. Here he
took her hand, kissed it, and prayed her not to disgrace the young
maiden, for that she was innocent of all the evil that had
But she pushed him away, exclaiming--"Thou disobedient son, have I
not heard of thy gallantries with this girl, whom Satan himself
has sent into my royal house? Shame on thee! One of thy noble
station to take the part of a murderess!"
"But you have judged harshly, my mother. I never made love to the
maiden. Leave her in peace, and do not make matters worse, or all
the young nobles will fight to the death for her."
"Ay, and thou, witless boy, the first of all. Oh, that my beloved
spouse, Philippus Primus, could rise from his grave--what would he
say to his lost son, who, like the prodigal in Scripture, loves
strange women and keeps company with brawlers!" (Weeping.)
"Who has said that I am a lost son?"
"Doctor Gerschovius and Ulrich both say it."
"Then I shall run the priest through the body, and challenge the
knight to mortal combat, unless they both retract their words."
"No! stay, my son," said the Duchess; "I must have mistaken what
they said. Stay, I command you!"
"Never! Unless Sidonia be left in peace, such deeds will be done
to-day that all Pomerania will ring with them for years."
In short, the end of the controversy was, that the Duchess at last
promised to leave Sidonia unmolested; and then retired to her
chamber much disturbed, where she was soon heard singing the 109th
psalm, with a loud voice, accompanied by the little spindle clock.
Sidonia, who was hiding in her room, soon heard of all that had
happened, through the Duchess's maid, whom she kept in
pay;--indeed, all the servants were her sworn friends, in
consequence of the liberal largess she gave them; and even the
young lords and knights were more distractedly in love with her
than ever after the occurrences of the day, for her cunning turned
everything to profit.
So next morning, having heard that Prince Ernest was going to
Eldena to receive the dues, she watched for him, probably through
the key-hole, knowing he must pass her door. Accordingly, just as
he went by, she opened it, and presented herself to his eyes
dressed in unusual elegance and coquetry, and wearing a short robe
which showed her pretty little sandals. The Prince, when he saw
the short robe, and that she looked so beautiful, blushed, and
passed on quickly, turning away his head, for he remembered the
promise he had given to Ulrich, and was afraid to trust himself
But Sidonia stepped before him, and flinging herself at his feet,
began to weep, murmuring, "Gracious Prince and Lord, accept my
gratitude, for you alone have saved me, a poor young maiden, from
"Stand up, dear lady, stand up."
"Never until my tears fall upon your feet." And then she kissed
his yellow silk hose ardently, continuing, "What would have become
of me, a helpless, forlorn orphan, without your protection?"
Here the young Prince could no longer restrain his emotions; if he
had pledged his word to the whole world, even to the great God
Himself, he must have broken it. So he raised her up and kissed
her, which she did not resist; only sighed, "Ah! if any one saw us
now, we would both be lost." But this did not restrain him, and he
kissed her again and again, and pressed her to his heart, when she
trembled, and murmured scarcely audibly, "Oh! why do I love you
so! Leave me, my lord, leave me; I am miserable enough."
"Do you then love me, Sidonia? Oh! let me hear you say it once
more. You love me, enchanting Sidonia!"
"Alas!" she whispered, while her whole frame trembled, "what have
I foolishly said? Oh! I am so unhappy."
"Sidonia! tell me once again you love me. I cannot credit my
happiness, for you are even more gracious with the young nobles
than with me, and often have you martyred my heart with jealousy."
"Yes; I am courteous to them all, for so my father taught me, and
said it was safer for a maiden so to be--but----"
"But what? Speak on."
"Alas!" and here she covered her face with her hands; but Prince
Ernest pressed her to his heart, and kissed her, asking her again
if she really loved him; and she murmured a faint "yes;" then as
if the shame of such a confession had killed her, she tore herself
from his arms, and sprang into her chamber. So the young Prince
pursued his way to Eldena, but took so little heed about the dues
that Ulrich shook his head over the receipts for half a year
When mid-day came, and the band struck up for dinner, Sidonia was
prepared for a similar scene with the young knights, and, as she
passed along the corridor, she gave them her white hand to kiss,
glittering with diamonds, thanking them all for not having
betrayed her, and praying them to keep her still in their favour,
whereat they were all wild with ecstasy; but old Zitsewitz, not
content with her hand, entreated for a kiss on her sweet ruby
lips, which she granted, to the rage and jealousy of all the
others, while he exclaimed, "O Sidonia, thou canst turn even an
old man into a fool!"
And his words came true; for in the evening a dispute arose as to
which of them Sidonia liked best, seeing that she uttered the same
sweet things to all; and to settle it, five of them, along with
the old fool Zitsewitz, went to Sidonia's room, and each in turn
asked her hand in marriage; but she gave them all the same
answer--that she had no idea then of marriage, she was but a
young, silly creature, and would not know her own mind for ten
years to come.
One good resulted from Sidonia's ride upon the stag: her
promenades were forbidden, and she was restricted henceforth
entirely to the women's quarter of the castle. Her Grace and she
had frequent altercations; but with Clara she kept upon good
terms, as the maiden was of so excellent and mild a disposition.
This peace, however, was destined soon to be broken; for though
her Grace was silent in the presence of Sidonia, yet she never
ceased complaining in private to the maids of honour of this
artful wench, who had dared to throw her eyes upon Prince Ernest.
So at length they asked why her Highness did not dismiss the girl
from her service.
"That must be done," she replied, "and without delay. For that
purpose, indeed, I have written to Duke Barnim, and also to the
father of the girl, at Stramehl, acquainting them with my
Clara now gently remonstrated, saying that a little Christian
instruction might yet do much for the poor young sinner, and that
if she did not become good and virtuous under the care of her
Grace, where else could she hope to have her changed?
"I have tried all Christian means," said her Grace, "but in vain.
The ears of the wicked are closed to the Word of God."
"But let her Grace recollect that this poor sinner was endowed
with extraordinary beauty, and therefore it was no fault of hers
if the young men all grew deranged for love of her."
Here a violent tumult, and much scornful laughing, arose amongst
the other maids of honour; and one Anna Lepels exclaimed--"I
cannot imagine in what Sidonia's wonderful beauty consists. When
she flatters the young men, and makes free with them as they are
passing to dinner, what marvel if they all run after her? Any girl
might have as many lovers if she chose to adopt such manners."
Clara made no reply, but turning to her Grace, said with her
permission she would leave her spinning for a while, to visit
Sidonia in her room, who perhaps would hearken to her advice, as
she meant kindly to her.
"You may go," said her Grace; "but what do you mean to do? I tell
you, advice is thrown away on her."
"Then I will threaten her with the Catechism of Doctor
Gerschovius, which she must repeat on Sunday, for I know that she
is greatly afraid of that and the clergyman."
"And you think you will frighten her into giving up running after
the young men?"
"Oh yes, if I tell her that she will be publicly reprimanded
unless she can say it perfectly."
So her Grace allowed her to depart, but with something of a weak
Although Sidonia had absented herself from the spinning, on the
pretext of learning the catechism quietly in her own room, yet,
when Clara entered, no one was there except the maid, who sat upon
the floor at her work. She knew nothing about the young lady; but
as she heard a great deal of laughter and merriment in the court
beneath, it was likely Sidonia was not far off. On stepping to the
window, Clara indeed beheld Sidonia.
In the middle of the court was a large horse-pond built round with
stones, to which the water was conducted by metal pipes
communicating with the river Peene. In the middle of the pond was
a small island, upon which a bear was kept chained. A plank was
now thrown across the pond to the island; upon this Sidonia was
standing feeding the bear with bread, which Appelmann, who stood
beside her, first dipped into a can of syrup, and several of the
young squires stood round them laughing and jesting.
The idle young pages were wont to take great delight in shooting
at the bear with blunt arrows, and when it growled and snarled,
then they would calm it again by throwing over bits of bread
steeped in honey or syrup. So Sidonia, waiting to see the fun, had
got upon the plank ready to give the bread just as the bear had
got to the highest pitch of irritation, when he would suddenly
change his growling into another sort of speech after his fashion.
All this amused Sidonia mightily, and she laughed and clapped her
hands with delight.
When the modest Clara beheld all this, and how Sidonia danced up
and down on the plank, while the water splashed over her robe, she
called to her--"Dear Lady Sidonia, come hither: I have somewhat to
tell thee." But she answered tartly--"Dear Lady Clara, keep it
then: I am too young to be told everything." And she danced up and
down on the plank as before.
After many vain entreaties, Clara had at length to descend and
seize the wild bird by the wing--I mean thereby the arm--and carry
her off to the castle. The young men would have followed, but they
were engaged to attend his Highness on a fishing excursion that
afternoon, and were obliged to go and see after their nets and
tackle. So the two maidens could walk up and down the corridor
undisturbed; and Clara asked if she had yet learned the catechism.
_Illa_.--"No; I have no wish to learn it."
_Hæc_.--"But if the priest has to reprimand you publicly from
_Illa_.--"I counsel him not to do it."
_Hæc_.--"Why, what would you do to him?"
_Illa_.--"He will find that out."
_Hæc_.--"Dear Sidonia, I wish you well; and therefore let me
tell you that not only the priest, but our gracious lady, and all
the noble maidens of the court, are sad and displeased that you
should make so free with the young men, and entice them to follow
you, as I have seen but too often myself. Do it not, dear Sidonia
I mean well by you;--do it not. It will injure your reputation."
_Illa_.--"Ha! you are jealous now, you little pious
housesparrow, that the young men do not run after you too. How can
I help it?"
_Hæc_.--"Every maiden can help it; were she as beautiful as
could be seen, she can help it. Leave off, Sidonia, or evil will
come of it, particularly as her Grace has heard that you are
seeking to entice our young lord the Prince. See, I tell you the
pure truth, that it may turn you from your light courses. Tell me,
what can you mean by it?--for when noble youths demand your hand
in marriage, you reject them, and say you never mean to marry. Can
you think that our gracious Prince, a son of Pomerania, will make
thee his duchess--thou who art only a common nobleman's daughter?"
_Illa_.--"A common nobleman's daughter!--that is good from
the peasant-girl. You are common enough and low enough, I warrant;
but my blood is as old as that of the Dukes of Pomerania, and
besides, I am a castle and land dowered maiden. But who are you?
who are you? Your forefathers were hunted out of Mecklenburg, and
only got footing here in Pomerania out of charity."
_Hæc_.--"Do not be angry, dear lady--you say true; yet I must
add that my forebears were once Counts in Mecklenburg, and from
their loyalty to the Dukes of Pomerania were given possessions
here in Daber, where they have been lords of castles and lands for
two hundred and fifty years. Yet I will confess that your race is
nobler than mine; but, dear child, I make no boast of my ancestry,
nor is it fitting for either of us to do so. The right royal
Prince, who is given as an example and model to us all--who is
Lord, not over castle and land, but of the heavens and the
earth--the Saviour, Jesus Christ--He took no account of His arms
or His ancestry, though the whole starry universe was His banner.
He was as humble to the little child as to the learned doctors in
the temple--to the chiefs among the people, as to the trembling
sinner and the blind beggar Bartimæus. Let us take, then, this
Prince for our example, and mind our life long what He says--'Come
unto Me, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.' Will
you not learn of Him, dear lady? I will, if God give me grace."
And she extended her hand to Sidonia, who dashed it away,
crying--"Stuff! nonsense! you have learned all this twaddle from
the priest, who, I know, is nephew to the shoe-maker in Daber, and
therefore hates any one who is above him in rank."
Clara was about to reply mildly; but they happened now to be
standing close to the public flight of steps, and a peasant-girl
ran up when she saw them, and flung herself at Clara's feet,
entreating the young lady to save her, for she had run away from
Daber, where they were going to burn her as a witch. The pious
Clara recoiled in horror, and desiring her to rise, said--"Art
thou Anne Wolde, some time keeper of the swine to my father? How
fares it with my dearest father and my mother?"
They were well when she ran away, but she had been wandering now
for fourteen days on the road, living upon roots and wild berries,
or what the herds gave her out of their knapsacks for charity.
_Hæc_.--"What crime wast thou suspected of, girl, to be
condemned to so terrible a death?"
_Illa_.--"She had a lover named Albert, who followed her
everywhere, but as she would not listen to him he hated her, and
pretended that she had given him a love-drink."
Here Sidonia laughed aloud, and asked if she knew how to brew the
_Illa_.--"Yes; she learned from her elder sister how to make
it, but had never tried it with any one, and was perfectly
innocent of all they charged her with."
Here Clara shook her head, and wished to get rid of the
witch-girl; for she thought, truly if Sidonia learns the brewing
secret, she will poison and destroy the whole castleful, and we
shall have the devil bodily with us in earnest. So she pushed away
the girl, who still clung to her, weeping and lamenting. Hereupon
Sidonia grew quite grave and pious all of a sudden, and said--
"See the hypocrite she is! She first sets before me the example of
Christ, and then treats this poor sinner with nothing but cross
thorns! Has not Christ said, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they
shall obtain mercy'? But only see how this bigot can have Christ
on her tongue, but not in her heart!"
The pious Clara grew quite ashamed at such talk, and raising up
the wretch who had again fallen on her knees, said--
"Well, thou mayest remain; so get thee to my maid, and she will
give thee food. I shall also write to my father for thy pardon,
and meanwhile ask leave from her Grace to allow thee to remain
here until it arrives; but if thou art guilty, I cannot promise
thee my protection any longer, and thou wilt be burned here, in
place of at Daber."
So the witch-girl was content, and importuned them no further.
_How Sidonia Wished to learn the mystery of love-potions, but is
hindered by Clara and the young Prince._
When Prince Ernest returned home after an absence of some days,
Sidonia had changed her tactics, for now she never lifted up her
eyes when they met, but passed on blushing and confused, and in
place of speaking, as formerly, only sighed. This turned his head
completely, and sent the blood so quickly through his veins that
he found it a hard matter to conceal his feelings any longer. For
this reason he determined to visit Sidonia in her own room as soon
as he could hit upon a favourable opportunity, and bring her then
a beautiful lute, inlaid with gold and silver, which he had
purchased for her at Grypswald.
Now, it happened soon after, that her Grace and Clara went away
one day into the town to purchase a jerkin for the little Prince
Casimir, who accompanied them. Sidonia was immediately informed of
their absence, and sought out Clara's maid without delay, put a
piece of gold into her hand, and said--
"Send the strange girl from Daber to my room for a few minutes;
she can perhaps give me some tidings of my dear father and family,
for Daber is only a little way from Stramehl. But mind," she
added, "keep this visit a secret, as well from her Grace as from
your mistress Clara; otherwise we shall all be scolded."
So the maid very willingly complied, and brought the witch-girl
directly to Sidonia's little apartment, and then ran to Clara's
room to watch for the return of her Grace in time to give notice.
The witch-girl was quite confounded (as she afterwards confessed
upon the rack) when Sidonia began--
"Thou knowest, Anne, that my entreaties alone obtained thee a
shelter here, for I pitied thee from the first; and from what I
hear, it is certain that her Grace means to deal no better with
thee than thy judges at Daber, therefore my advice is--escape if
_Illa_, weeping.--"Where can I go? I shall die of hunger, or
they will arrest me again as an evil-minded witch, and carry me
back to Daber."
"But do not tell them, stupid goose, that thou hast come from
_Illa_.--"But what could she say? Besides, she had no money,
and so must be lost and ruined for ever."
"Well, I shall give thee gold enough to get thee through all
dangers. I give it, mind, out of pure Christian charity; but now
tell me honestly--canst thou really make a love-drink?"
_Illa_.--"Yes; her sister had taught her."
"Is the drink of equal power for men and women?"
_Illa_.--"Yes; without doubt, it would make either mad with
"Has it ever an injurious effect upon them? does it take away
_Illa_.--"Yes; they fall down like flies. Some lose their
memory, others become blind or lame."
"Has she ever tried its effects upon any one herself?"
_Illa_.--"But will the lady betray me?"
"Out, fool! When I have promised thee gold enough to insure thy
escape! I betray thee!"
_Illa_.--"Then she will tell the lady the whole truth. She
did give a love-drink to Albert, because he grew cross, and spent
the nights away from her, and complained if she idled a little, so
that her master beat her. Therefore she determined to punish him,
and a rash came out over his whole body, so that he could neither
sit nor lie for six weeks, and at night he had to be tied to a
post with a hand-towel; but all this time his love for her grew so
burning, that although he had previously hated and beaten her, yet
now if she only brought him a drink of cold water, for which he
was always screaming, he would kiss her hands and feet even though
she spat in his face, and he would certainly have died if his
relations had not found out an old woman who unbewitched him;
whereupon his love came to an end, and he informed against her."
That must be a wonderful drink. Would the girl teach her how to
But just then our Lord God sent yet another warning to Sidonia,
through His angel, to turn her from her villainy, for as the girl
was going to answer, a knock was heard at the chamber-door. They
both grew as white as chalk; but Sidonia bethought herself of a
hiding-place, and bid the other creep under the bed while she went
to the door to see who knocked, and as she opened it, so there
stood Prince Ernest bodily before her eyes, with the lute in his
"Ah, gracious Prince, what brings you here? I pray your Highness,
for the sake of God, to leave me. What would be said if any one
saw you here?"
"But who is to see us, my beautiful maiden? My gracious mother has
gone out to drive; and now, just look at this lute that I have
purchased for you in Grypswald. Will it please thee, sweet one?"
_Illa_.--"Alas, gracious Prince, of what use will it be to
me, when I have no one to teach me how to play?"
"I will teach thee, oh, how willingly, but--thou knowest what I
_Illa_.--"No, no, I dare not learn from your Highness. Now
go, and do not make me more miserable."
"What makes thee miserable, enchanting Sidonia?"
_Illa_.--"Ah, if your Highness could know how this heart
burns within me like a fire! What will become of me? Would that I
were dead--oh, I am a miserable maiden! If your Highness were but
a simple noble, then I might hope--but now. Woe is me! I must go!
Yes, I must go!"
"Why must thou go, my own sweet darling? and why dost thou wish me
to be only a simple noble? Canst thou not love a duke better than
_Illa_.--"Gracious Prince, what is a poor count's daughter to
your princely Highness? and would her Grace ever consent? Ah no, I
must go--I must go!"
Here she sobbed so violently, and covered her eyes with her hands,
that the young Duke could no longer restrain his feelings. He
seized her passionately in his arms, and was kissing away the
crocodile tears, when lo, another knock came to the door, and
Sidonia grew paler even than the first time, for there was no
place to hide the Prince in, as the witch-wench was already under
the bed, and not even quite hidden, for some of her red petticoat
was visible round the post, and one could easily see by the way it
moved that some living body was in it, for the girl was trembling
with the most horrible fear and fright. But the Prince was too
absorbed in love either to notice all this or to mind the knock at
Sidonia, however, knew well that it was over with them now, and
she pushed away the young Prince, just as the door opened and
Clara entered, who grew quite pale, and clasped her hands together
when she saw the Duke and Sidonia together; then the tears fell
fast from her eyes, and she could utter nothing but--"Ah, my
gracious Prince--my poor innocent Prince--what has brought you
here?" but neither of them spoke a word. "You are lost," exclaimed
Clara; "the Duchess is coming up the corridor, and has just
stopped to look at her pet cat and the kittens there by the page's
room. Hasten, young Prince--hasten to meet her before she comes a
So the young lord darted out of the chamber, and found his
gracious mother still examining her kittens, whereupon he prayed
her then to descend with him to the courtyard and look also at his
fine hounds, to which she consented.
The moment Prince Ernest disappeared, Clara commenced upbraiding
Sidonia for her evil ways, which could not be any longer
denied--for had she not seen all with her own eyes?--and she now
conjured her by the living God to turn away from the young Duke,
and select some noble of her own rank as her husband. This could
easily be done when so many loved her; but as to the Prince, as
long as her Grace and Ulrich lived, or even one single branch of
the princely house of Pomerania, this marriage would never be
permitted, let the young lord do or say what he chose.
"Ah, thou pious old priest in petticoats," exclaimed Sidonia, "who
told thee I wanted to marry the Prince? How can I help if he
chooses to come in here and, though I weep and resist, takes me in
his arms and kisses me? So leave off thy preaching, and tell me
rather what brings thee spying to my room?"
Then Clara remembered what had really been her errand, although
the love-scene had put everything else out of her head until now,
and replied--"I was seeking the witch-girl from Daber, for when I
went out with her Grace, I left her in charge of my maid; but as
we returned home by the little garden gate, I slipped up to my
room by the private stairs without any one seeing me, and found my
maid looking out of the window, but no girl was to be seen. When I
asked what had become of her, the maid answered she knew not, the
girl must have slipped away while her back was turned, so I came
here to ask if you had seen the impudent hussy, for I fear if her
wings are not clipped she will do harm to some one."
Here Sidonia grew quite indignant--what could she know of a vile
witch-wench? Besides, she had not been ten minutes there in the
"But perchance the bird has found herself a nest somewhere," said
Clara, looking towards the bed; "methinks, indeed, I see some of
the feathers, for surely a red gown never trembled that way under
a bed unless there was something living inside of it." When the
witch-girl heard this her fright increased, so that, to make
matters worse, she pulled her gown in under the bed, upon which
Clara kneeled down, lifted the coverlet, and found the owl in its
nest. Now she had to creep out weeping and howling, and promised
to tell everything.
But Sidonia gave her a look which she understood well, and
therefore when she stood up straight by the bed, begged piteously
that the Lady Clara would not scold her for having tried to
escape, because she herself had threatened her with being burned
there as well as at Daber, so not knowing where to hide, and
seeing the Lady Sidonia's door open, she crept in there and got
under the bed, intending to wait till night came and then ask her
aid in effecting her flight, for the Lady Sidonia was the only one
in the castle who had shown her Christian compassion.
Hereat Sidonia rose up as if in great rage, and said, "Ha! thou
impudent wench, how darest thou reckon on my protection!" and
seizing her by the hand--in which, however, she pressed a piece of
gold--pushed her violently out of the door.
Now Clara, thinking that this was the whole truth, fell weeping
upon Sidonia's neck, and asked forgiveness for her suspicions.
"There, that will do," said Sidonia,--"that will do, old preacher;
only be more cautious in future. What! am I to poke under my bed
to see if any one is hiding there? You may go, for I suppose you
have often hidden a lover there, your eyes turn to it so
As Clara grew red with shame, Sidonia drew the witch-girl again
into the room, and giving her a box on the ear that made her teeth
chatter--"Now, confess," said she, "what I said to the young lord
without knowing that you were listening." So the poor girl
answered weeping, "Nothing but what was good did you say to him,
namely, that he should go away; and then you pushed him so
violently when he attempted to kiss you, that he stumbled over
against the bed."
"See, now, my pious preacher," said Sidonia, "this girl confirms
exactly what I told you; so now go along with you, you hussy, or
mayhap you will come off no better than she has done."
Hereupon Clara went away humbly with the witch-girl to her own
room, and never uttered another word. Nevertheless the affair did
not seem quite satisfactory to her yet. So she conferred with her
betrothed, Marcus Bork, on the subject. For when he carried books
for her Highness from the ducal library, it was his custom to
scrape with his feet in a peculiar manner as he passed Clara's
door; then she knew who it was, and opened it. And as her maid was
present, they conversed together in the Italian tongue; for they
were both learned, not only in God's Word, but in all other
knowledge, so that people talk about them yet in Pomeranian land
for these things.
Clara therefore told him the whole affair in Italian, before her
maid and the witch-girl--of the visit of the young Prince, and how
the girl was lying hid under the bed, and asked him was it not
likely that Sidonia had brought her there to teach her how to brew
the love-drink, with which she would then have bewitched the
Prince and all the men-folk in the castle, and ought she not to
warn her Grace of the danger.
But Marcus answered, that if the witch-girl had been at the castle
weeks before, he might have supposed that Sidonia had received the
secret of the love-potion from her, since every man, old and
young, was mad for love of her--but now he must needs confess that
Sidonia's eyes and deceiving mouth were magic sufficient; and that
it was not likely she would bring a vile damsel to her room to
teach her that which she knew already so perfectly. So he thought
it better not to tell her Highness anything on the subject.
Besides, if the wench were examined, who knows what she might tell
of Sidonia and the young lord that would bring shame on the
princely house of Wolgast, since she had been hid under the bed
all the time, and perhaps only kept silence through fear. It were
well therefore on every account not to let the matter get wind,
and to shut up the wench safely in the witches' tower until the
answer came from Daber. If she were pronounced really guilty, it
would then be time enough to question her on the rack about the
love-drink and the conversation between the young lord and
So this course was agreed on. It is, however, much to be regretted
that Clara did not follow the promptings of her good angel, and
tell all to her Grace and old Ulrich; for then much misfortune and
scandal would have been spared to the whole Pomeranian land. But
she followed her bride-groom's advice, and kept all secret. The
witch-girl, however, was locked up that very day in the witches'
tower, to guard against future evil.
_How Sidonia repeated the catechism of Dr. Gerschovius, and how
she whipped the young Casimir, out of pure evil-mindedness._
The Sunday came at last when Sidonia was to be examined publicly
in the catechism of Dr. Gerschovius. Her Grace was filled with
anxiety to see how all would terminate, for every one suspected
(as indeed was the case) that not one word of it would she be able
to repeat. So the church was crowded, and all the young men
attended without exception, knowing what was to go forward, and
fearing for Sidonia, because this Dr. Gerschovius was a stern,
harsh man; but she herself seemed to care little about the matter,
for she entered her Grace's closet as usual (which was right
opposite the pulpit), and threw herself carelessly into a corner.
However, when the doctor entered the pulpit she became more grave,
and finally, when his discourse was drawing near to the close, she
rose up quietly and glided out of the closet, intending to descend
to the gardens. Her Grace did not perceive her movement, in
consequence of the hat with the heron's plume which she wore, for
the feathers drooped down at the side next Sidonia, and the other
ladies were too much alarmed to venture to draw her attention to
the circumstance. But the priest from the pulpit saw her well, and
called out--"Maiden! maiden! Whither go you? Remember ye have to
repeat your catechism!"
Then Sidonia grew quite pale, for her Grace and all the
congregation fixed their eyes on her. So when she felt quite
conscious that she was looking pale, she said, "You see from my
face that I am not well; but if I get better, doubt not but that I
shall return immediately." Here all the maids of honour put up
their kerchiefs to hide their laughter, and the young nobles did
So she went away; but they might wait long enough, I think, for
her to come back. In vain her Grace watched until the priest left
the pulpit, and then sent two of her ladies to look for the
hypocrite; but they returned declaring that she was nowhere to be
_Summa_.--The whole service was ended, and her Grace looked
as angry as the doctor; and when the organ had ceased, and the
people were beginning to depart, she called out from her closet--
"Let every one come this way, and accompany me to Sidonia's
apartment. There I shall make her repeat the catechism before ye
all. Messengers shall be despatched in all directions until they
find out her hiding-place."
This pleased the doctor and Ulrich well. So they all proceeded to
Sidonia's little room; for there she was, to their great surprise,
seated upon a chair with a smelling-bottle in her hand. Whereupon
her Grace demanded what ailed her, and why she had not stayed to
repeat the catechism.
_Illa_.--"Ah! she was so weak, she would certainly have
fainted, if she had not descended to the garden for a little fresh
air. She was so distressed that her Grace had been troubled
sending for her, of which she was not aware until now."
"Are you better now?" asked her Grace.
_Illa_.--"Rather better. The fresh air had done her good."
"Then," quoth her Grace, "you shall recite the catechism here for
the doctor; for, in truth, Christianity is as necessary to you as
water to a fish."
The doctor now cleared his throat to begin; but she stopped him
"I do not choose to say my catechism here in my room, like a
little child. Grown-up maidens are always heard in the church."
Howbeit, her Grace motioned to him not to heed her. So to his
first question she replied rather snappishly, "You have your
No wonder the priest grew black with rage. But seeing a book lying
open on a little table beside her bed, and thinking it was the
catechism of Dr. Gerschovius which she had been studying, he
stepped over to look. But judge his horror when he found that it
was a volume of the _Amadis de Gaul_, and was lying open at
the eighth chapter, where he read--"How the Prince Amadis de Gaul
loved the Princess Rosaliana, and was beloved in return, and how
they both attained to the accomplishment of their desires."
He dashed the book to the ground furiously, stamped upon it, and
"So, thou wanton, this is thy Bible and thy catechism! Here thou
learnest how to make young men mad! Who gave thee this infamous
book? Speak! Who gave it to thee?"
So Sidonia looked up timidly, and said, weeping, "It was his
Highness Duke Barnim who gave it to her, and told her it was a
merry book, and good against low spirits."
Here the Duchess, who had lifted up her hand to give her a box on
the ear, let it fall again with a deep sigh when she heard of the
old Prince having given her such an infamous book, and lamented
"Who will free me from this shameless wanton, who makes all the
court mad? Truly says Scripture, 'A beautiful woman without
discretion is like a circlet of gold upon a swine's head.' Ah! I
know that now. But I trust my messengers will soon return whom I
have despatched to Stettin and Stramehl, and then I shall get rid
of thee, thou wanton, for which God be thanked for evermore."
Then she turned to leave the room with old Ulrich, who only shook
his head, but remained as mute as a fish. Doctor Gerschovius,
however, stayed behind with Sidonia, in order to exhort her to
virtue; but as she only wept and did not seem to hear him, he grew
tired, and finally went his way, also with many sighs and
uplifting of his hands.
A little after, as Sidonia was howling just out of pure
ill-temper, for, in my opinion, nothing ailed her, the little
Prince Casimir ran in to look for his mamma--she had gone to hear
Sidonia her catechism, they told him.
"What did he want with his lady mamma?"
"His new jerkin hurt him, he wanted her to tie it another way for
him; but is it really true, Sidonia, that you do not know your
catechism? I can say it quite well. Just come now and hear me say
It is probable that her Grace and the doctor had devised this plan
in order to shame Sidonia, by showing her how even a little child
could repeat it; but she took it angrily, and, calling him over,
said, "Yes; come--I will hear you your catechism." And as the
little boy came up close beside her, she slung him across her
knee, pulled down his hose, and--oh, shame!--whipped his Serene
Highness upon his princely _podex_, that it would have melted
the heart of a stone. How this shows her cruel and evil
disposition--to revenge on the child what she had to bear from the
mother. Fie on the maiden!
And here my gracious Prince will say--"O Theodore, this matter
surely might have been passed over, since it brings a disrespect
upon my princely house."
I answer--"Gracious Lord and Prince, my most humble services are
due to your Grace, but truth must be still truth, however it may
displease your Highness. Besides, by no other act could I have so
well proved the infernal evil in this woman's nature; for if she
could dare to lay her godless hand upon one of your illustrious
race, then all her future acts are perfectly comprehensible.
[Footnote: Note by Duke Bogislaff XIV.--This is true, and
therefore I consent to let it remain; and I remember that Prince
Casimir told me long afterwards that the scene remained indelibly
impressed on his memory. "For," he said, "the wild eyes and the
terrible voice of the witch frightened me more even than her cruel
hand; as if even there I detected the devil in her, though I was
but a little boy at the time."] When the malicious wretch let the
boy go, he darted out of the room and ran down the whole corridor,
screaming out that he would tell his mamma about Sidonia; but
Zitsewitz met him, and having heard the story, the amorous old
fool took him up in his arms, and promised him heaps of beautiful
things if he would hold his tongue and not say a word more to any
one, and that he would give Sidonia a good whipping himself, in
return for what she had done to him. So, in short, her Grace never
heard of the insult until after Sidonia's departure from court."
Had her Highness been in her apartment, she must have heard the
child scream; but it so happened that just then she was walking up
and down the ducal gardens, whither she had gone to cool her
Soon after a stately ship was seen sailing down the river from
Penemunde, [Footnote: A town in Pomerania.] which attracted all
eyes in the castle, for on the deck stood a noble youth, with a
heron's plume waving from his cap, and he held a tame sea-gull
upon his hand, which from time to time flew off and dived into the
water, bringing up all sorts of fish, great and small, in its
beak, with which it immediately flew back to the handsome youth.
"Ah!" exclaimed Clara, "there must be the sons of our gracious
Princess! for to-morrow is her birthday, and here comes the noble
bishop, Johann Frederick of Camyn, and his brother, Duke Bogislaff
XIII., to pay their respects to their gracious mother."
Her Grace, however, would scarcely credit that the handsome youth
who was fishing after so elegant a manner was indeed her own
beloved son; but Clara clapped her hands now, crying, "Look! your
Grace--look! there is the flag hoisted!" And indeed there
fluttered from the mast now the bishop's own arms. So the warder
blew his horn, which was answered by the warder of St. Peter's in
the town, and the bells in all the towers rang out, and the
castellan ordered the cannon in the courtyard to be fired off.
Her Grace was now thoroughly convinced, and weeping for joy, ran
down to the little water-gate, where old Ulrich already stood
waiting to receive the princes. As the vessel approached, however,
they discovered that the handsome youth was not the bishop, but
Duke Bogislaff, who had been staying on a visit at his brother's
court at Camyn, along with several high prelates. The bishop,
Johann Frederick, did not accompany him, for he was obliged to
remain at home, in order to receive a visit from the Prince of
When the Duke stepped on shore he embraced his weeping mother
joyfully, and said he came to offer her his congratulations on her
birthday, and that she must not weep but laugh, for there should
be a dance in honour of it, and a right merry feast at the castle
on the morrow.
Then he tumbled out on the bridge all the fish which the bird had
caught; and her Grace wondered greatly, and stroked it as it sat
upon the shoulder of the Prince. So he asked if the bird pleased
her Grace, and when she answered "Yes," he said, "Then, dearest
mother, let it be my birthday gift to you. I have trained it
myself, and tried it here, as you see, upon the river. So any
afternoon that you and your ladies choose to amuse yourselves with
a sail, this bird will fish for you as long as you please, while
you row down the river."
Ah, what a good son was this handsome young Duke!--and when I
think that Sidonia murdered them all--all--even this noble Prince,
my heart seems to break, and the pen falls from my fingers.
[Footnote: Note by Duke Bogislaff XIV.--Et quid mihi, misero
filio? Domine in manus tuas commando spiritum meum, quia tu me
redemisti fide Deus! (And what remains to me, wretched son? Lord,
into Thy hands I commend my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me,
Thou God of truth.)--When one thinks that it was the general
belief in that age that the whole ducal race had been destroyed
and blasted by Sidonia's sorceries, it is impossible not to be
affected by these melancholy yet resigned and Christian words of
the last orphaned and childless representative of the ancient and
illustrious house of Wolgast.]
But to continue. The Duchess embraced the fine young Prince, who
still continued talking of the dance they must have next day. It
was time now for his gracious mother to give up mourning for her
deceased lord, he said.
But her Grace would not hear of a dance; and replied that she
would continue to mourn for her dear lord all the rest of her
life, to whom she had been wedded by Doctor Martinus. However, the
Duke repeated his entreaties, and all the young nobles added
theirs, and finally Prince Ernest besought her Grace not to deny
them permission to have a festival on the morrow, as it was to
honour her birthday. So she at last consented; but old Ulrich
shook his head, and took her Grace aside to warn her of the
scandal which would assuredly arise when the young nobles had
drunk and grew excited by Sidonia. Hereupon her Grace made answer
that she would take care Sidonia should cause no scandal--"As she
has refused to learn her catechism, she must not appear at the
feast. It will be a fitting punishment to keep her a prisoner for
the whole day, and therefore I shall lock her up myself in her own
room, and put the key in my pocket."
So Ulrich was well pleased, and all separated for the night with
much contentment and hopes of enjoyment on the morrow.
_Of Appelmann's knavery--Item, how the birthday of her Highness
was celebrated, and Sidonia managed to get to the dance, with the
uproar caused thereby._
Before I proceed further, it will be necessary to state what
happened a few days before concerning Prince Ernest's chief
equerry, Johann Appelmann, otherwise many might doubt the facts I
shall have to relate, though God knows I speak the pure truth.
One came to his lordship the Grand Chamberlain--he was a shoemaker
of the town--and complained to him of Appelmann, who had been
courting his daughter for a long while, and running after her
until finally he had disgraced her in the eyes of the whole town,
and brought shame and scandal into his house. So he prayed Lord
Ulrich to make the shameless profligate take his daughter to wife,
as he had fairly promised her marriage long ago.
Now Ulrich had long suspected the knave of bad doings, for many
pearls and jewels had lately been missing from her Grace's
shabrack and horse-trappings, and the groom, who always laid them
on her Grace's white palfrey, knew nothing about them, though he
was even put to the torture; but as Appelmann had all these things
in his sole keeping, it was natural to think that he was not quite
innocent. Besides, three hundred sacks of oats were missing on the
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