Sidonia The Sorceress V1
Part 3 out of 8
new year, and no one knew what had become of them.
Therefore Ulrich sent for the cheating rogue, and upbraided him
with his profligate courses, also telling him that he must wed the
shoemaker's daughter immediately. But the cunning knave knew
better, and swore by all the saints that he was innocent, and
finally prevailed upon Prince Ernest to intercede for him, so that
Ulrich promised to give him a little longer grace, but then
assuredly he would bring him to a strict account.
And Appelmann drove the Prince that same day to Grypswald, to find
out more musicians for the castle band, as the march of Duke
Bogislaff the Great was to be played by eighty drums and forty
trumpets in the grand ducal hall, to honour the birthday of her
One can imagine what Sidonia felt when the Duchess announced that
as she had refused to learn the catechism, and was neither
obedient to God nor her Grace, she should remain a strict prisoner
in her own room during the festival, as a signal punishment for
her ungodly behaviour. But her maid might bring her food of all
that she chose from the feast.
Sidonia first prayed her Grace to forgive her for the love of God,
and she would learn the whole catechism by heart. But as this had
no effect, then she wept and lamented loudly, and at length fell
down upon her knees before her Grace, who would, however, be
neither moved nor persuaded; and when Sidonia threatened at last
to leave her room, the Duchess went out, locked the door, and put
the key in her pocket. The prisoner howled enough then, I warrant.
But what did she do now, the cunning minx? She gave her maid a
piece of gold, and told her to go up and down the corridor, crying
and wringing her hands, and when any one asked what was the
matter, to say, "That her beautiful young lady was dying of grief,
because the Duchess had locked her up, like a little school-girl,
in her own room, and all for not knowing the catechism of Dr.
Gerschovius, which indeed was not taught in her part of the
country, but another, which she had learned quite well in her
childhood. And so for this, her poor young lady was not to be
allowed to dance at the festival." The maid was to say all this in
particular to Prince Ernest; or if he did not pass through the
corridor, she was to stop weeping and groaning at his
chamber-door, until he came out to ask what was the matter.
The maid followed the instructions right well, and in less than an
hour every soul in the castle, down to the cooks and washerwomen,
knew what had happened, and everywhere the Duchess went she was
assailed by old and young, great and small, with petitions of
pardon for Sidonia.
Her Grace, however, bid them all be silent, and threatened if they
made such shameless requests to forbid the festival altogether.
But when Prince Ernest likewise petitioned in her favour, she was
angry, and said, "He ought to be ashamed of himself. It was now
plain what a fool the girl had made of him. Her maternal heart
would break, she knew it would--and this day would be one of
sorrow in place of joy to her; all on account of this girl."
So the young Prince had to hold his peace for this time; but he
sent a message, nevertheless, to Sidonia, telling her not to fret,
for that he would take her out of her room and bring her to the
dance, let what would happen.
Next morning, by break of day, the whole castle and town were
alive with preparations for the festival. It was now seven
years--that is, since the death of Duke Philip--since any one had
danced in the castle except the rats and mice, and even yet the
splendour of this festival is talked of in Wolgast; and many of
the old people yet living there remember it well, and gave me many
curious particulars thereof, which I shall set down here, that it
may be known how such affairs were conducted in old time at our
In the morning, by ten of the clock, the young princes, nobles,
clergy, and the honourable counsellors of the town, assembled in
the grand ducal hall, built by Duke Philip after the great fire,
and which extended up all through the three stories of the castle.
At the upper end of the hall was the grand painted window, sixty
feet high, on which was delineated the pilgrimage of Duke
Bogislaff the Great to Jerusalem, all painted by Gerard Homer;
[Footnote: A Frieslander, and the most celebrated painter on glass
of his time.] and round on the walls banners, and shields, and
helmets, and cuirasses, while all along each side, four feet from
the ground, there were painted on the walls figures of all the
animals found in Pomerania: bears, wolves, elks, stags, deer,
otters, &c., all exquisitely imitated.
When all the lords had assembled, the drums beat and trumpets
sounded, whereupon the Pomeranian marshal flung open the great
doors of the hall, which were wreathed with flowers from the
outside, and the princely widow entered with great pomp, leading
the little Casimir by the hand. She was arrayed in the Pomeranian
costume--namely, a white silk under-robe, and over it a surcoat of
azure velvet, brocaded with silver, and open in front. A long
train of white velvet, embroidered in golden laurel wreaths, was
supported by twelve pages dressed in black velvet cassocks with
Spanish ruffs. Upon her head the Duchess wore a coif of scarlet
velvet with small plumes, from which a white veil, spangled with
silver stars, hung down to her feet. Round her neck she had a
scarlet velvet band, twisted with a gold chain; and from it
depended a balsam flask, in the form of a greyhound, which rested
on her bosom.
As her Serene Highness entered with fresh and blushing cheeks, all
bowed low and kissed her hand, glittering with diamonds. Then each
offered his congratulations as best he could.
Amongst them came Johann Neander, Archdeacon of St. Peter's, who
was seeking preferment, considering that his present living was
but a poor one; and so he presented her Grace with a printed
_tractatum_ dedicated to her Highness, in which the question
was discussed whether the ten virgins mentioned in Matt. xxv. were
of noble or citizen rank. But Doctor Gerschovius made a mock of
him for this afterwards, before the whole table. [Footnote: Over
these exegetical disquisitions of a former age we smile, and with
reason; but we, pedantic Germans, have carried our modern
exegetical mania to such absurd lengths, that we are likely to
become as much a laughing-stock to our contemporaries, as well as
to posterity, as this Johannes Neander. In fact, our exegetists
are mostly pitiful schoolmasters--word-anatomists--and one could
as little learn the true spirit of an old classic poet from our
pedantic philologists, as the true sense of holy Scripture from
our scholastic theologians. What with their grammar twistings,
their various readings, their dubious punctuations, their
mythical, and who knows what other meanings, their
hair-splittings, and prosy vocable tiltings, we find at last that
they are willing to teach us everything but that which really
concerns us, and, like the Danaides, they let the water of life
run through the sieve of their learning. We may apply to them
truly that condemnation of our Lord's (Matt, xxiii. 24)--"Ye blind
guides; ye strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."]
Now, when all the congratulations were over, the Duchess asked
Prince Ernest if the water-works in the courtyard had been
completed, [Footnote: The Prince took much interest in hydraulics,
and built a beautiful and costly aqueduct for the town of
Wolgast.] and when he answered "Yes," "Then," quoth her Grace,
"they shall run with Rostock beer to-day, if it took fifty tuns;
for all my people, great and small, shall keep festival to-day;
and I have ordered my court baker to give a loaf of bread and a
good drink to every one that cometh and asketh. And now, as it is
fitting, let us present ourselves in the church."
So the bells rung, and the whole procession swept through the
corridor and down the great stairs, with drums and trumpets going
before. Then followed the marshal with his staff, and the Grand
Chamberlain, Ulrich von Schwerin, wearing his beautiful hat (a
present from her Highness), looped up with a diamond aigrette, and
spangled with little golden stars. Then came the Duchess,
supported on each side by the young princes, her sons; and the
nobles, knights, pages, and others brought up the rear, according
to their rank and dignity.
As they passed Sidonia's room, she began to beat the door and cry
like a little spoiled child; but no one minded her, and the
procession moved on to the courtyard, where the soldatesca fired a
salute, not only from their muskets, but also from the great
cannon called "the Old Aunt," which gave forth a deep joy-sigh.
From all the castle windows hung banners and flags bearing the
arms of Pomerania and Saxony, and the pavement was strewed with
As they passed Sidonia's window she opened it, and appeared
magnificently attired, and glittering with pearls and diamonds,
but also weeping bitterly. At this sight old Ulrich gnashed his
teeth for rage, but all the young men, and Prince Ernest in
particular, felt their hearts die in them for sorrow. So they
passed on through the great north gate out on the castle wall,
from whence the whole town and harbour were visible. Here the
flags fluttered from the masts and waved from the towers, and the
people clapped their hands and cried "Huzza!" (for in truth they
had heard about the beer, to my thinking, before the Princess came
out upon the walls). _Summa_: There was never seen such joy;
and after having service in church, they all returned to the
castle in the same order, and set themselves down to the banquet.
I got a list of the courses at the table of the Duchess from old
Küssow, and I shall here set it down, that people may see how our
fathers banqueted eighty years ago in Pomerania; but, God help us!
in these imperial days there is little left for us to grind our
teeth upon. So smell thereat, and you will still get a delicious
savour from these good old times.
_First Course_.--1. A soup; 2. An egg-soup, with saffron,
peppercorns, and honey thereon; 3. Stewed mutton, with onions
strewed thereon; 4. A roasted capon, with stewed plums.
_Second Course_.--1. Ling, with oil and raisins; 2. Beef,
baked in oil; 3. Eels, with pepper; 4. Dried fish, with Leipsic
_Third Course_.--1. A salad, with eggs; 2. Jellies strewed
with almond and onion seed; 3. Omelettes, with honey and grapes;
4. Pastry, and many other things besides.
_Fourth Course_.--1. A roast goose with red beet-root,
olives, capers, and cucumbers; 2. Little birds fried in lard, with
radishes; 3. Venison; 4. Wild boar, with the marrow served on
toasted rolls. In conclusion, all manner of pastry, with fritters,
cakes, and fancy confectionery of all kinds.
So her Grace selected something from each dish herself, and
despatched it to Sidonia by her maid; but the maiden would none of
them, and sent all back with a message that she had no heart to
gormandise and feast; but her Grace might send her some bread and
water, which was alone fitting for a poor prisoner to receive.
The young men could bear this no longer, their patience was quite
exhausted, and their courage rose as the wine-cups were emptied.
So at length Prince Ernest whispered to his brother Bogislaus to
put in a good word for Sidonia. He refused, however, and Prince
Ernest was ashamed to name her himself; but some of the young
pages who waited on her Grace were bold enough to petition for her
pardon, whereupon her Grace gave them a very sharp reproof.
After dinner the Duchess and Prince Bogislaus went up the stream
in a pleasure-boat to try the tame sea-gull, and her Grace
requested Lord Ulrich to accompany them. But he answered that he
was more necessary to the castle that evening than a night-watch
in a time of war, particularly if the young Prince was to have
Rostock beer play from the fountains in place of water.
And soon his words came true, for when the Duchess had sailed away
the young men began to drink in earnest, so that the wine ran over
the threshold down the great steps, and the peasants and boors who
were going back and forward with dried wood to the ducal kitchen,
lay down flat on their faces, and licked up the wine from the
steps (but the Almighty punished them for this, I think, for their
children now are glad enough to sup up water with the geese).
Meanwhile many of the youths sprang up, swearing that they would
free Sidonia; others fell down quite drunk, and knew nothing more
of what happened. Then old Ulrich flew to the corridor, and
marched up and down with his drawn dagger in his hand, and swore
he would arrest them all if they did not keep quiet; that as to
those who were lying dead drunk like beasts, he must treat them
like other beasts--whereupon he sends to the castle fountain for
buckets of cold water, and pours it over them. Ha! how they sprang
up and raged when they felt it; but he only laughed and said--if
they would not hold their peace he would treat them still worse;
they ought to be ashamed of their filthiness and debauchery.
[Footnote: Almost all writers of that age speak of the excesses to
which intoxication was carried in all the ducal courts, but
particularly that of Pomerania.]
But now to the uproar within was added one from without, for when
the fountains began to play with Rostock beer, all the town ran
thither, and drank like leeches, while they begged the
serving-wenches to bring them loaves to eat with it. How the old
shoemaker threw up his cap in the air, and shouted--"Long live her
Grace! no better Princess was in the whole world--they hoped her
Grace might live for many years and celebrate every birthday like
this!" Then they would pray for her right heartily, and the women
chattered and cackled, and the children screamed so that no one
could hear a word that was saying, and Sidonia tried for a long
time in vain to make them hear her. At last she waved a white
kerchief from the window, when the noise ceased for a little, and
she then began the old song, namely, "Would they release her?"
Now there were some brave fellows among them to whom she had given
drink-money, or purchased goods from, and they now ran to fetch a
ladder and set it up against the wall; but old Ulrich got wind of
this proceeding, and dispersed the mob forthwith, menacing
Sidonia, before their faces, that if she but wagged a finger, and
did not instantly retire from the window, and bear her
well-merited punishment patiently, he would have her carried
straightway through the guard-room, and locked up in the bastion
tower. This threat succeeded, and she drew in her head. Meantime
the Duchess returned from fishing, but when she beheld the crowd
she entered through the little water-gate, and went up a winding
stair to her own apartment, to attire herself for the dance.
The musicians now arrived from Grypswald, and all the knights and
nobles were assembled except Zitsewitz, who lay sick, whether from
love or jealousy I leave undecided; so the great affair at length
began, and in the state hall the band struck up Duke Bogislaus'
march, played, in fact, by eighty drums and forty-three trumpets,
so that it was as mighty and powerful in sound as if the great
trumpet itself had played it, and the plaster dropped off from the
ceiling, and the picture of his Highness the Duke, in the north
window, was so disturbed by the vibration, that it shook and
clattered as if it were going to descend from the frame and dance
with the guests in the hall, and not only the folk outside danced
to the music, but down in the town, in the great market-place, and
beyond that, even in the horse-market, the giant march was heard,
and every one danced to it whether in or out of the house, and
cheered and huzzaed. Now the Prince could no longer repress his
feelings, for, besides that he had taken a good Pomeranian draught
that day, and somewhat rebelled against his lady mother, he now
flung the fourth commandment to the winds (never had he done this
before), and taking three companions with him, by name Dieterich
von Krassow, Joachim von Budde, and Achim von Weyer, he proceeded
with them to the chamber of Sidonia, and with great violence burst
open the door. There she lay on the bed weeping, in a green velvet
robe, laced with gold, and embroidered with other golden
ornaments, and her head was crowned with pearls and diamonds, so
that the young Prince exclaimed, "Dearest Sidonia, you look like a
king's bride. See, I keep my word; come now, and we shall dance
together in the hall."
Here he would willingly have kissed her, but was ashamed because
the others were by, so he said, "Go ye now to the hall and see if
the dance is still going on. I will follow with the maiden."
Thereat the young men laughed, because they saw well that the
Prince did not just then desire their company, and they all went
away, except Joachim von Budde, the rogue, who crept behind the
door, and peeped through the crevice.
Now, the young lord was no sooner left alone with Sidonia than he
pressed her to his heart--"Did she love him? She must say yes once
again." Whereupon she clasped his neck with her little hands, and
with every kiss that he gave her she murmured, "Yes, yes, yes!"
"Would she be his own dear wife?" "Ah, if she dared. She would
have no other spouse, no, not even if the Emperor came himself
with all the seven electors. But he must not make her more
miserable than she was already. What could they do? he never would
be allowed to marry her." "He would manage that." Then he pressed
her again to his heart, with such ardour that the knave behind the
door grew jealous, and springing up, called out--"If his Highness
wishes for a dance he must come now."
When they both entered the hall, her Grace was treading a measure
with old Ulrich, but he caught sight of them directly, and without
making a single remark, resigned the hand of her Grace to Prince
Bogislaus, and excused himself, saying that the noise of the music
had made his head giddy, and that he must leave the hall for a
little. He ran then along the corridor down to the courtyard, from
thence to the guard, and commanded the officer with his troop,
along with the executioner and six assistants, to be ready to rush
into the hall with lighted matches, the moment he waved his hat
with the white plumes from the window.
When he returns, the dance is over, and my gracious lady,
suspecting nothing as yet, sits in a corner and fans herself. Then
Ulrich takes Sidonia in one hand and Prince Ernest in the other,
brings them up straight before her Highness, and asks if she had
herself given permission for the Prince and Sidonia to dance
together in the hall. Her Highness started from her chair when she
beheld them, her cheeks glowing with anger, and exclaimed, "What
does this mean? Have you dared to release Sidonia?"
_Ille_.--"Yes; for this noble maiden has been treated worse
than a peasant-girl by my lady mother."
_Illa_.--"Oh, woe is me! this is my just punishment for
having forgotten my Philip so soon, and even consenting to tread a
measure in the hall." So she wept, and threw herself again upon
the seat, covering her face with both hands.
Now old Ulrich began. "So, my young Prince, this is the way you
keep the admonitions that your father, of blessed memory, gave you
on his death-bed! Fie--shame on you! Did you not give your promise
also to me, the old man before you? Sidonia shall return to her
chamber, if my word has yet some power in Pomerania. Speak,
gracious lady, give the order, and Sidonia shall be carried back
to her room."
When Sidonia heard this, she laid her white hand, all covered with
jewels, upon the old man's arm, and looked up at him with
beseeching glances, and stroked his beard after her manner,
crying, with tears of anguish, "Spare a poor young maiden! I will
learn anything you tell me; I will repeat it all on Sunday. Only
do not deal so hardly with me." But the little hands for once had
no effect, nor the tears, nor the caresses; for Ulrich, throwing
her off, gave her such a slap in the face that she uttered a loud
cry and fell to the ground.
If a firebrand had fallen into a barrel of gunpowder, it could not
have caused a greater explosion in the hall than that cry; for
after a short pause, in which every one stood silent as if
thunderstruck, there arose from all the nobles, young and old, the
terrible war-cry--"Jodute! Jodute! [Footnote: The learned have
puzzled their heads a great deal over the etymology of this
enigmatical word, which is identical in meaning with the terrible
"_Zettergeschrei_" of the Reformation era. It is found in the
Swedish, Gothic, and Low German dialects, and in the Italian
_Goduta_. One of the best essays on the subject--which,
however, leads to no result--the lover of antiquarian researches
will find in Hakeus's "Pomeranian Provincial Papers," vol. v. p.
207.] to arms, to arms!" and the cry was re-echoed till the whole
hall rung with it. Whoever had a dagger or a sword drew it, and
they who had none ran to fetch one. But the Prince would at once
have struck old Ulrich to the heart, if his brother Bogislaus had
not sprung on him from behind and pinioned his arms. Then Joachim
von Budde made a pass at the old knight, and wounded him in the
hand. So Ulrich changed his hat from the right hand to the left,
and still kept retreating till he could gain the window and give
the promised sign to the guard, crying as he fought his way
backward, step by step, "Come on now--come on, Ernest. Murder the
old grey-headed man whom thy father called friend--murder him, as
thou wilt murder thy mother this night."
Then reaching the window, he waved his hat until the sign was
answered; then sprang forward again, seized Sidonia by the hand,
crying, "Out, harlot!" Hereupon young Lord Ernest screamed still
louder, "Jodute! Jodute! Down with the grey-headed villain! What!
will not the nobles of Pomerania stand by their Prince? Down with
the insolent grey-beard who has dared to call my princely bride a
harlot!" And so he tore himself from his brother's grasp, and
sprang upon the old man; but her Grace no sooner perceived his
intention than she rushed between them, crying, "Hold! hold! hold!
for the sake of God, hold! He is thy second father." And as the
young Prince recoiled in horror, she seized Sidonia rapidly, and
pushing her before Ulrich towards the door, cried, "Out with the
accursed harlot!" But Joachim Budde, who had already wounded the
Grand Chamberlain, now seizing a stick from one of the drummers,
hit her Grace such a blow on the arm therewith that she had to let
go her hold of Sidonia. When old Ulrich beheld this, he screamed,
"Treason! treason!" and rushed upon Budde. But all the young
nobles, who were now fully armed, surrounded the old man, crying,
"Down with him! down with him!" In vain he tried to reach a bench
from whence he could defend himself against his assailants; in a
few moments he was overpowered by numbers and fell upon the floor.
Now, indeed, it was all over with him, if the soldatesca had not
at that instant rushed into the hall with fierce shouts, and
Master Hansen the executioner, in his long red cloak, with six
assistants accompanying them.
"Help! help!" cried her Grace; "help for the Lord Chamberlain!"
So they sprang to the centre of the hall where he was lying,
dashed aside his assailants, and lifted up the old man from the
floor with his hand all bleeding.
But Joachim Budde, who was seated on the very same bench which
Ulrich had in vain tried to reach, began to mock the old knight.
Whereupon Ulrich asked if it were he who had struck her Grace with
the drumstick. "Ay," quoth he, laughing, "and would that she had
got more of it for treating that darling, sweet, beautiful Sidonia
no better than a kitchen wench. Where is the old hag now? I will
teach her the catechism with my drumstick, I warrant you."
And he was going to rise, when Ulrich made a sign to the
executioner, who instantly dropped his red cloak, under which he
had hitherto concealed his long sword, and just as Joachim looked
up to see what was going on, he whirled the sword round like a
flash of lightning, and cut Budde's head clean off from the
shoulders, so that not even a quill of his Spanish ruff was
disturbed, and the blood spouted up like three horse-tails to the
ceiling (for he drank so much that all the blood was in his head),
and down tumbled his gay cap, with the heron's plume, to the
ground, and his head along with it.
In an instant all was quietness; for though some of the ladies
fainted, amongst whom was her Grace, and others rushed out of the
hall, still there was such a silence that when the corpse fell
down at length heavily upon the ground the clap of the hands and
feet upon the floor was quite audible.
When Ulrich observed that his victory was complete, he waved his
hat in the air, exclaiming, "The princely house of Pomerania is
saved! and, as long as I live, its honour shall never be tarnished
for the sake of a harlot! Remove Prince Ernest and Sidonia to
separate prisons. Let the rest go their ways;--this devil's
festival is at an end, and with my consent, there shall never be
another in Wolgast."
_How Sidonia is sent away to Stettin--Item, of the young lord's
dangerous illness, and what happened in consequence._
Now the Grand Chamberlain was well aware that no good would result
from having Sidonia brought to a public trial, because the whole
court was on her side.
Therefore he called Marcus Bork, her cousin, to him in the night,
and bid him take her and her luggage away next morning before
break of day, and never stop or stay until they reached Duke
Barnim's court at Stettin. The wind was half-way round now, and
before nightfall they might reach Oderkruge. He would first just
write a few lines to his Highness; and when Marcus had made all
needful preparation, let him come here to his private apartment
and receive the letter. He had selected him for the business
because he was Sidonia's cousin, and also because he was the only
young man at the castle whom the wanton had not ensnared in her
But that night Ulrich had reason to know that Sidonia and her
lovers were dangerous enemies; for just as he had returned to his
little room, and seated himself down at the table, to write to his
Grace of Stettin the whole business concerning Sidonia, the window
was smashed, and a large stone came plump down upon the ink-bottle
close beside him, and stained all the paper. As Ulrich went out to
call the guard, Appelmann, the equerry, came running up to him,
complaining that his lordship's beautiful horse was lying there in
the stable groaning like a human creature, for that some wretches
had cut its tail clean off.
_Ille_.--"Were any of the grooms in the stable lately? or had
he seen any one go by the window?"
_Hic_.--"No; it was impossible to see any one, on account of
the darkness; but he thought he had heard some one creeping along
by the wall."
_Ille_.--"Let him come then, fetch a lantern, and summon all
the grooms; he would give it to the knaves. Had he heard anything
of her Highness recently?"
_Hic_.--"A maid told him that her Grace was better, and had
retired to rest."
_Ille_.--"Thank God. Now they might go."
But as they proceeded along the corridor, which was now almost
quite dark, the old knight suddenly received such a blow upon his
hat that the beautiful aigrette was broken, and he himself thrown
against the wall with such violence that he lay a quarter of an
hour insensible; then he shook his grey head. What could that
mean? Had Appelmann seen any one?
_Hic_.--"Ah! no; but he thought he heard steps, as if of some
one running away."
So they went on to the ducal stables, but nothing was to be seen
or heard. The grooms knew nothing about the matter--the guard knew
nothing. Then the old knight lamented over his beautiful horse,
and told Appelmann to ride next morning, with Marcus Bork and
Sidonia, to the Duke's castle at Stettin, and purchase the piebald
mare for him from his Grace, about which they had been bargaining
some time back; but he must keep all this secret, for the young
nobles were to know nothing of the journey.
Ah, what fine fun this is for the cunning rogue. "If his lordship
would only give him the purse, he would bring him back a far finer
horse than that which some knaves had injured." Whereupon the old
knight went down to reckon out the rose-nobles--but, lo! a stone
comes whizzing past him close to his head, so that if it had
touched him, methinks the old man would never have spoken a word
more. In short, wherever he goes, or stops, or stands, stones and
buffets are rained down upon him, so that he has to call the guard
to accompany him back to his chamber; but he lays the saddle on
the right horse at last, as you shall hear in another place.
After some hours everything became quiet in the castle, for the
knaves were glad enough to sleep off their drunkenness. And so,
early in the morning before dawn, while they were all snoring in
their beds, Sidonia was carried off, scream as she would along the
corridor, and even before the young knight's chamber; not a soul
heard her. For she had not been brought to the prison tower, as at
first commanded, but to her own little chamber, likewise the young
lord to his; for the Grand Chamberlain thought afterwards this
proceeding would not cause such scandal.
But there truly was great grief in the castle when they all rose,
and the cry was heard that Sidonia was gone; and some of the
murderous lords threatened to make the old man pay with his blood
for it. _Item_, no sooner was it day than Dr. Gerschovius ran
in, crying that some of the young profligates had broken all his
windows the night before, and turned a goat into the rectory, with
the catechism of his dear and learned brother tied round his neck.
Then old Ulrich's anger increased mightily, as might be imagined,
and he brought the priest with him to the Duchess, who had got but
little rest that night, and was busily turning her wheel with the
little clock-work, and singing to it, in a loud, clear voice, that
beautiful psalm (120th)--"In deep distress I oft have cried." She
paused when they entered, and began to weep. "Was it not all
prophesied? Why had she been persuaded to throw off her mourning,
and slight the memory of her loved Philip? It was for this the
wrath of God had come upon her house; for assuredly the Lord would
avenge the innocent blood that had been shed."
Then Ulrich answered that, as her Grace knew, he had earnestly
opposed this festival; but as to what regarded, the traitor whose
head he had chopped off, he was ready to answer for that blood,
not only to man but before God. For had not the coward struck his
own sovereign lady the Princess with the drumstick? _Item_,
was he not in the act of rising to repeat the blow, as the whole
nobility are aware, only he lost his head by the way; and if this
had not been done, all order and government must have ceased
throughout the land, and the mice and the rats rule the cats,
which was against the order of nature and contrary to God's will.
But his gracious lady might take consolation, for Sidonia had been
carried from the castle that morning by four of the clock, and, by
God's grace, never should set foot in it again. But there was
another _gravamen_, and that concerned the young nobles, who,
no doubt, would become more daring after the events of last
evening. Then he related what had happened to the priest.
"_Item_, what did my gracious lady mean to do with those
drunken libertines? If her Grace had kept up the huntings and the
fishings, as in the days of good Duke Philip, mayhap the young men
would have been less given to debauchery; but her Grace kept an
idle house, and they had nothing to do but drink and brew
mischief. If her Grace had no fitting employment for these young
fellows, then he would pack them all off to the devil the very
next morning, for they brought nothing but disrespect upon the
princely house of Wolgast."
So her Grace rejoiced over Sidonia's departure, but could not
consent to send away the young knights. Her beloved husband and
lord, Philippus Primus, always kept a retinue of such young
nobles, and all the princely courts did the same. What would her
cousin of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg say, when they heard that
she had no longer knights or pages at her court? She feared her
princely name would be mentioned with disrespect.
So Ulrich replied, that at all events, this set of young
boisterers must be sent off, as they had grown too wild and
licentious to be endured any longer; and that he would select a
new retinue for her Grace from the discreetest and most
sober-minded young knights of the court. Marcus Bork, however,
might remain; he was true, loyal, and brave--not a wine-bibber and
profligate like the others.
So her Grace at last consented, seeing that no good would come of
these young men now; on the contrary, they would be more daring
and riotous than ever from rage, when they found that Sidonia had
been sent away; and that business of the window-smashing and the
goat demanded severe punishment. So let Ulrich look out for a new
household; these gay libertines would be sent away.
While she was speaking, the door opened, and Prince Ernest entered
the chamber, looking so pale and haggard, that her Grace clasped
her hands together, and asked him, with terror, what had happened.
_Ille._--"Did she ask what had happened, when all Pomerania
rung with it?--when nobles were beheaded before her face as if
they were nothing more than beggars' brats?--when the delicate and
high-born Lady Sidonia, who had been entrusted to her care by Duke
Barnim himself, was turned out of the castle in the middle of the
night as if she were a street-girl, because, forsooth, she would
not learn her catechism? The world would scarcely credit such
scandalous acts, and yet they were all true. But to-morrow (if
this weakness which had come over him allowed of it) he would set
off for Stettin, also to Berlin and Schwerin, and tell the princes
there, his cousins, what government they held in Wolgast. He would
soon be twenty, and would then take matters into his own hands;
and he would pray his guardian and dear uncle, Duke Barnim, to
pronounce him at once of age; then the devil might take Ulrich and
his government, but he would rule the castle his own way."
_Her Grace_.--"But what did he complain of? What ailed him?
She must know this first, for he was looking as pale as a corpse."
_Ille_.--"Did she not know, then, what ailed him? Well, since
he must tell her, it was anger-anger that made him so pale and
_Her Grace_.--"Anger, was it? Anger, because the false
wanton, Sidonia, had been removed by her orders from her princely
castle? Ah! she knew now what the wanton had come there for; but
would he kill his mother? She nearly sank upon the ground last
night when he called the impudent wench his bride. But she forgave
him; it must have been the wine he drank made him so forget
himself; or was it possible that he spoke in earnest?"
_Ille_ (sighing).--"The future will tell that." "Oh, woe is
me! what must I live to hear? If thy father could look up from his
grave, and see thee disgracing thy princely blood by a marriage
with a bower maiden!--. thou traitorous, disobedient son, do not
lie to me. I know from thy sighs what thy purpose is--for this
thou art going to Stettin and Berlin."
The Prince is silent, and looks down upon the ground.
_Her Grace_.--"Oh, shame on thee! shame on thee for the sake
of thy mother! shame on thee for the sake of this servant of God,
thy second father, this old man here! What! a vile knave strike
thy mother, before the face of all the court, and thou condemnest
him because he avenged her! Truly thou art a fine, brave son, to
let thy mother be struck before thy face, for the sake of a
harlot. Canst thou deny it? I conjure thee by the living God, tell
me is it thy true purpose to take this harlot to thy wife?"
_Ille_.--"He could give but one answer, the future would
_Her Grace_ (weeping).--"Oh, she was reserved for all
misfortunes! Why did Doctor Martinus let her ring fall? All, all
has followed from that! If he had chosen a good, humble, honest
girl, she would say nothing; but this wanton, this light maiden,
that ran after every carl and let them court her!"
Here the young Prince was seized with such violent convulsions
that he fell upon the floor, and her Grace raised him up with loud
lamentations. He was carried in a dead faint to his chamber, and
the court physician, Doctor Pomius, instantly summoned. Doctor
Pomius was a pompous little man (for my father knew him well), dry
and smart in his words, and with a face like a pair of
nutcrackers, for his front teeth were gone, so that his lips
seemed dried on his gums, like the skin of a mummy. He was withal
too self-conceited and boastful, and malicious, full of gossip and
ill-nature, and running down every one that did not believe that
he (Doctor Pomius) was the only learned physician in the world.
Following the celebrated rules laid down by Theophrastus
Paracelsus, he cured everything with trash--and asses' dung was
his infallible panacea for all complaints. This pharmacopoeia was
certainly extremely simple, easily obtained, and universal in its
application. If the dung succeeded, the doctor drew himself up,
tossed his head, and exclaimed, "What Doctor Pomius orders always
succeeds." But if the wretched patient slipped out of his hands
into the other world, he shook his head and said, "There is an
hour for every man to die; of course his had come--physicians
cannot work miracles."
Pomius hated every other doctor in the town, and abused them so
for their ignorance and stupidity, that finally her Grace believed
that no one in the world knew anything but Doctor Pomius, and that
a vast amount of profound knowledge was expressed, if he only put
his finger to the end of his nose, as was his habit.
So, as I have said, she summoned him to attend the young lord; and
after feeling his pulse and asking some questions respecting his
general health, the doctor laid his finger, as usual, to his nose,
and pronounced solemnly--"The young Prince must immediately take a
dose of asses' dung stewed in wine, with a little of the
_laudanum paracelsi_ poured in afterwards--this will restore
But it was all in vain; for the young Prince still continued day
and night calling for Sidonia, and neither the Duchess nor Doctor
Gerschovius could in any wise comfort him. This afflicted her
Grace almost to the death; and by Ulrich's advice, she despatched
her second son, Duke Barnim the younger, and Dagobert von
Schwerin, to the court of Brunswick, to solicit in her name the
hand of the young Princess Sophia Hedwig, for her son Ernest
Ludovicus. Now, in the whole kingdom, there was no more beautiful
princess than Sophia of Brunswick; and her Grace was filled with
hope that, by her means, the influence of the detestable Sidonia
over the heart of the young lord would be destroyed for ever.
In due time the ambassadors returned, with the most favourable
answer. Father, mother, and daughter all gave consent; and the
Duke of Brunswick also forwarded by their hands an exquisite
miniature of his beautiful daughter for Prince Ernest.
This miniature her Grace now hung up beside his bed. Would he not
look at the beautiful bride she had selected for him? Could there
be a more lovely face in all the German empire? What was Sidonia
beside her, but a rude country girl!--would he not give her up at
last, this light wench? While, on the contrary, this illustrious
princess was as virtuous as she was beautiful, and this the whole
court of Brunswick could testify.
But the young lord would give no heed to her Grace, and spat out
at the picture, and cried to take away the daub--into the fire
with it--anywhere out of his sight. Unless his dear, his beautiful
Sidonia came to tend him, he would die--he felt that he was dying.
So her Grace took counsel with old Ulrich, and Doctor Pomius, and
the priest, what could be done now. The doctor mentioned that he
must have been witch-struck. Then more doctors were sent for from
the Grypswald, but all was in vain--no one knew what ailed him;
and from day to day he grew worse.
Clara von Dewitz now bitterly reproached herself for having
concealed her suspicions about the love-drink from her
Grace--though indeed she did so by desire of her betrothed, Marcus
Bork. But now, seeing that the young Prince lay absolutely at the
point of death, she could no longer hold her peace, but throwing
herself on her knees before her Grace, told her the whole story of
the witch-girl whom she had sheltered in the castle, and of her
fears that Sidonia had learned from her how to brew a
love-philtre, which she had afterwards given to the Prince.
Her Grace was sore displeased with Clara for having kept all this
a secret, and said that she would have expected more wisdom and
discretion from her, seeing that she had always counted her the
most worthy amongst her maidens; then she summoned Ulrich, and
laid the evil matter before him. He shook his head; believed that
they had hit on the true cause now. Such a sickness had nothing
natural about it--there must be magic and witchwork in it; but he
would have the whole land searched for the girl, and make her give
the young lord some potion that would take off the spell.
Now the witch-girl had been pardoned a few days before that, and
sent back to Usdom, near Daber; but bailiffs were now sent in all
directions to arrest her, and bring her again to Wolgast without
So the wretched creature was discovered, before long, in Kruge,
near Mahlzow, where she had hired herself as a spinner for the
winter, and brought before Ulrich and her Grace. She was there
admonished to tell the whole truth, but persisted in asseverating
that Sidonia had never learned from her how to make a love-drink.
Her statement, however, was not believed; and Master Hansen was
summoned, to try and make her speak more. The affair, indeed,
appeared so serious to Ulrich, that he himself stood by while she
was undergoing the torture, and carried on the _protocollum_,
calling out to Master Hansen occasionally not to spare his
squeezes. But though the blood burst from her finger-ends, and her
hip was put out of joint, so that she limped ever after, she
confessed nothing more, nor did she alter the statement which she
had first made.
_Item_, her Grace, and the priest, and all the bystanders
exhorted her in vain to confess the truth (for her Grace was
present at the torture). At last she cried out, "Yes, I know
something that will cure him! Mercy! mercy! and I will tell it."
So they unbound her, and she was going straightway to make her
witch-potion, but old Ulrich changed his mind. Who could know
whether this devil's fiend was telling them the truth? May be she
would kill the young lord in place of curing him. So they gave her
another stretch upon the rack. But as she still held by all her
assertions, they spared her any further torture.
But, in my opinion, the young lord must have obtained something
from her, otherwise he could not have recovered all at once the
moment that Sidonia was brought back, as I shall afterwards
_Sum total_.--The young Prince screamed day and night for
Sidonia, and told her Grace that he now felt he was dying, and
requested, as his last prayer upon this earth, to be allowed to
see her once more. The maiden was an angel of goodness; and if she
could but close his dying eyes, he would die happy.
It can be easily imagined with what humour her Grace listened to
such a request, for she hated Sidonia like Satan himself; but as
nothing else could satisfy him, she promised to send for her, if
Prince Ernest would solemnly swear, by the corpse of his father,
that he would never wed her, but select some princess for his
bride, as befitted his exalted rank--the Princess Hedwig, or some
other--as soon as he had recovered sufficiently to be able to quit
his bed. So he quickly stretched forth his thin, white hand from
the bed, and promised his dearly beloved mother to do all she had
asked, if she would only send horsemen instantly to Stettin, for
the journey by water was insecure, and might be tedious if the
wind were not favourable.
Hereupon a great murmur arose in the castle; and young Duke
Bogislaus fell into such a rage that he took his way back again to
Camyn, and his younger brother, Barnim, accompanied him. But the
anger of the Grand Chamberlain no words can express. He told her
Grace, in good round terms, that she would be the mock of the
whole land. The messengers had only just returned who had carried
away Sidonia from the castle under the greatest disgrace; and now,
forsooth, they must ride back again to bring her back with all
"Oh, it was all true, quite true; but then, if her dearest son
Ernest were to die--"
_Ille_.--"Let him die. Better lose his life than his honour."
_Hĉc_.--"He would not peril his honour, for he had sworn by
the corpse of his father never to wed Sidonia."
_Ille_.--"Ay, he was quick enough in promising, but
performing was a different thing. Did her Grace think that the
passion of a man could be controlled by promises, as a tame horse
by a bridle? Never, never. Passion was a wild horse, that no bit,
or bridle, or curb could guide, and would assuredly carry his
rider to the devil."
_Her Grace_.--"Still she could not give up her son to death;
besides, he would repent and see his folly. Did not God's Word
tell us how the prodigal son returned to his father, and would not
her son return likewise?"
_Ille_.--"Ay, when he has kept swine. After that he may
return, but not till then. The youngster was as great a fool about
women as he had ever come across in his life."
_Her Grace_ (weeping).--"He was too harsh on the young man.
Had she not sent away the girl at his command; and now he would
let her own child die before her eyes, without hope or
_Ille_.--"But if her child is indeed dying, would she send
for the devil to attend him in his last moments? Her Grace should
be more consistent. If the young lord is dying, let him die; her
Grace has other children, and God will know how to comfort her.
Had he not been afflicted himself? and let her ask Dr. Gerschovius
if the Lord had not spoken peace unto him."
_Her Grace_.--"Ah, true; but then neither of them are
mothers. Her son is asking every moment if the messengers have
departed, and what shall she answer him? She cannot lie, but must
tell the whole bitter truth."
_Ille_.--"He saw the time had come at last for him to follow
the young princes. He was of no use here any longer. Her Grace
must give him permission to take his leave, for he would sail off
that very day for his castle at Spantekow, and then she might do
as she pleased respecting the young lord."
So her Grace besought him not to leave her in her sore trouble and
perplexity. Her two sons had sailed away, and there was no one
left to advise and comfort her.
But Ulrich was inflexible. "She must either allow her son quietly
to leave this miserable life, or allow him to leave this miserable
"Then let him go to Spantekow. Her son should be saved. She would
answer before the throne of the Almighty for what she did. But
would he not promise to return, if she stood in any great need or
danger? for she felt that both were before her; still she must
peril everything to save her child."
_Ille_.--"Yes, he would be ready on her slightest summons;
and he doubted not but that Sidonia would soon give her trouble
and sorrow enough. But he could not remain now, without breaking
his knightly oath to Duke Philip, his deceased feudal seigneur of
blessed memory, and standing before the court and the world as a
So after many tears her Grace gave him his dismissal, and he rode
that same day to Spantekow, promising to return if she were in
need, and also to send her a new retinue and household
This last arrangement displeased Marcus Bork mightily, for he had
many friends amongst the knights who were now to be dismissed, and
so he, too, prayed her Grace for leave to resign his office and
retire from court. He had long looked upon Clara von Dewitz with a
holy Christian love, and, if her Grace permitted, he would now
take her home as his dear loving wife.
Her Grace replied that she had long suspected this
betrothal--particularly from the time that Clara told her of his
advice respecting the concealment of the witch-girl's visit to
Sidonia; and as he had acted wrongly in that business, he must now
make amends by not deserting her in her greatest need. Her sons
and old Ulrich had already left her; some one must remain in whom
she could place confidence. It would be time enough afterwards to
bring home his beloved wife Clara, and she would wish them God's
blessing on their union.
_Ille_.--"True, he had been wrong in concealing that business
with the witch-girl, but her Grace must pardon him. He never
thought it would bring the young lord to his dying bed. Whatever
her Grace now commanded he would yield obedience to."
"Then," said her Grace, "do you and Appelmann mount your horses
instantly, ride to Stettin, and bring back Sidonia. For her dearly
beloved son had sworn that he could not die easy unless he beheld
Sidonia once more, and that she attended him in his last moments."
It may be easily imagined how the good knight endeavoured to
dissuade her Highness from this course, and even spoke to the
young Prince himself, but in vain. That same day he and Appelmann
were obliged to set off for Stettin, and on their arrival
presented the following letter to old Duke Barnim:--
"MARIA, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, BORN DUCHESS OF SAXONY, &c.
"ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE AND MY DEAR UNCLE,--It has not been concealed
from your Highness how our clear son Ernest Ludovicus, since the
departure of Sidonia, has fallen, by the permission of God, into
such a state of bodily weakness that his life even stands in
"He has declared that nothing will restore him but to see Sidonia
once more. We therefore entreat your Highness, after admonishing
the aforesaid maiden severely upon her former light and unseemly
behaviour, to dismiss her with our messengers, that they may
return and give peace and health to our dearly beloved son.
"If your Highness would enjoy a hunt or a fishing with a tame
sea-gull, it would give us inexpressible pleasure.
"We commend you lovingly to God's holy keeping.
"Given from our Castle of Wolgast, this Friday, April 15, 1569.
_How Duke Barnim of Stettin and Otto Bork accompany Sidonia back
When his Highness of Stettin had finished the perusal of her
Grace's letter, he laughed loudly, and exclaimed--
"This comes of all their piety and preachings. I knew well what
this extravagant holiness would make of my dear cousin and old
Ulrich. If people would persist in being so wonderfully religious,
they would soon become as sour as an old cabbage head; and Sidonia
declared, that, for her part, a hundred horses should not drag her
back to Wolgast, where she had been lectured and insulted, and all
because she would not learn her catechism like a little
Nor would Otto Bork hear of her returning. (He was waiting at
Stettin to conduct her back to Stramehl.) At last, however, he
promised to consent, on condition that his Highness would grant
him the dues on the Jena.
Now the Duke knew right well that Otto wanted to revenge himself
upon the people of Stargard, with whom he was at enmity; but he
pretended not to observe the cunning knight's motives, and merely
"They must talk of the matter at Wolgast, for nothing could be
decided upon without having the opinion of his cousin the
So the knight taking this as a half-promise, and Sidonia having at
last consented, they all set off on Friday with a good south wind
in their favour, and by that same evening were landed by the
little water-gate at Wolgast. His Highness was received with
distinguished honours--the ten knights of her Grace's new
household being in waiting to receive him as he stepped on shore.
So they proceeded to the castle, the Duke having Sidonia upon one
arm, and a Cain under the other, which he had been carving during
the passage, for the Eve had long since been finished. Otto
followed; and all the people, when they beheld Sidonia, uttered
loud cries of joy that the dear young lady had come back to them.
This increased her arrogance, so that when her Grace received her,
and began a godly admonishment upon her past levities, and
conjured her to lead a modest, devout life for the future, Sidonia
replied indiscreetly--"She knew not what her Grace and her parson
meant by a modest, devout life, except it were learning the
catechism of Dr. Gerschovius; from such modesty and devoutness she
begged to be excused, she was no little school-girl now--she
thought her Grace had got rid of all her whims and caprices, by
sending for her after having turned her out of the castle without
any cause whatever--but it was all the old thing over again."
Her Grace coloured up with anger at this bitter speech, but held
her peace. Then Otto addressed her, and begged leave to ask her
Grace what kind of order was held at her court, where a priest was
allowed to slap the fingers of a noble young maiden, and a
chamberlain to smite her on the face? Had he known that such were
the usages at her court of Wolgast, the Lady Sidonia (such he
delighted to call her, as though she were of princely race) never
should have entered it, and he would now instantly take her back
to Stramehl, if her Grace would not consent to give him up the
dues on the Jena.
Now her Grace knew nothing about the dues, and therefore said,
turning to the Duke--"Dear uncle, what does this arrogant knave
mean? I do not comprehend his insolent speech." Hereupon Otto
chafed with rage, that her Grace had named him with such contempt,
and cried--"Then was your husband a knave, too! for my blood is as
noble and nobler than your own, and I am lord of castles and
lands. Come, my daughter; let us leave the robbers' den, or mayhap
thy father will be struck even as thou wert."
Now her Grace knew not what to do, and she lamented loudly--more
particularly because at this moment a message arrived from Prince
Ernest, praying her for God's sake to bring Sidonia to him, as he
understood that she had been in the castle now a full quarter of
an hour. Then old Otto laughed loudly, took his daughter by the
hand, and cried again, "Come--let us leave this robber hole. Come,
This plunged her Grace into despair, and she exclaimed in anguish,
"Will you not have pity on my dying child?" but Otto continued,
"Come, Sidonia! come, Sidonia!" and he drew her by the hand.
Here Duke Barnim rose up and said, "Sir Knight, be not so
obstinate. Remember it is a sorrowing mother who entreats you. Is
it not true, Sidonia, you will remain here?"
Then the cunning hypocrite lifted her kerchief to her eyes, and
replied, "If I did not know the catechism of Doctor Gerschovius,
yet I know God's Word, and how the Saviour said, 'I was sick and
ye visited Me,' and James also says, 'The prayer of faith shall
save the sick.' No, I will not let this poor young lord die, if my
visit and my prayer can help him."
"No, no," exclaimed Otto, "thou shall not remain, unless the dues
of the Jena be given up to me." And as at this moment another page
arrived from Prince Ernest, with a similar urgent request for
Sidonia to come to him, her Grace replied quickly, "I promise all
that you desire," without knowing what she was granting; so the
knight said he was content, and let go his daughter's hand.
Now the good town of Stargard would have been ruined for ever by
this revengeful man, if his treacherous designs had not been
defeated (as we shall see presently) by his own terrible death. He
had long felt a bitter hatred to the people of Stargard, because
at one time they had leagued with the Greifenbergers and the Duke
of Pomerania to ravage his town of Stramehl, in order to avenge an
insult he had offered to the old burgomaster, Jacob Appelmann,
father of the chief equerry, Johann Appelmann. In return for this
outrage, Otto determined, if possible, to get the control of the
dues of the Jena into his own hands, and when the Stargardians
brought their goods and provisions up the Jena, and from thence
prepared to enter the river Haff, he would force them to pay such
exorbitant duty upon everything, that the merchants and the
people, in short, the whole town, would be ruined, for their whole
subsistence and merchandise came by these two rivers, and all this
was merely to gratify his revenge. But the just God graciously
turned away the evil from the good town, and let it fall upon
Otto's own head, as we shall relate in its proper place.
So, when the old knight had let go his daughter's hand, her Grace
seized it, and went instantly with Sidonia to the chamber of the
young lord, all the others following. And here a moving scene was
witnessed, for as they entered, Prince Ernest extended his thin,
pale hands towards Sidonia, exclaiming, "Sidonia, ah, dearest
Sidonia, have you come at last to nursetend me?" then he took her
little hand, kissed it, and bedewed it with his tears, still
repeating, "Sidonia, dearest Sidonia, have you come to nursetend
So the artful hypocrite began to weep, and said--. "Yes, my
gracious Prince, I have come to you, although your priest struck
me on the fingers, and your mother and old Ulrich called me a
harlot, before all the court, and lastly, turned me out of the
castle by night, as if I had been a swine-herd; but I have not the
heart to let your Highness surfer, if my poor prayers and help can
abate your sickness; therefore let them strike me, and call me a
harlot again, if they wish."
This so melted the heart of my gracious Prince Ernest, that he
cried out, "O Sidonia, angel of goodness, give me one kiss, but
one little kiss upon my mouth, Sidonia! bend down to me--but one,
one kiss!" Her Grace was dreadfully scandalised at such a speech,
and said he ought to be ashamed of such words. Did he not remember
what he had sworn by the corpse of his father at St. Peter's? But
old Duke Barnim cried out, laughing--"Give him a kiss, Sidonia;
that is the best plaster for his wounds; 'a kiss in honour brings
no dishonour,' says the proverb."
However, Sidonia still hesitated, and bending down to the young
man, said, "Wait, gracious Prince, until we are alone."
If the Duchess had been angry before, what was it to her rage
now--"Alone! she would take good care they were never to be
Otto took no notice of this speech, probably because he saw that
matters were progressing much to his liking between the Prince and
his daughter; but Duke Barnim exclaimed, "How now, dearest cousin,
are you going to spoil all by your prudery? You brought the girl
here to cure him, and what other answer could she give? Bend thee
down, Sidonia, and give him one little kiss upon the lips--I, the
Prince, command thee; and see, thou needst not be ashamed, for I
will set thee an example with his mother. Come, dear cousin, put
off that sour face, and give me a good, hearty kiss; your son will
get well the sooner for it:" but as he attempted to seize hold of
her Grace, she cried out, and lifted up her hands to Heaven,
lamenting in a loud voice--"Oh, evil and wicked world! may God
release me from this wicked world, and lay me down this day beside
my Philip in the grave!" Then weeping and wringing her hands, she
left the chamber, while the old knight, and--God forgive
him!--even Duke Barnim, looked after her, laughing.
"Come, Otto," said his Grace, "let us go too, and leave this pair
alone; I must try and pacify my dear cousin." So they left the
room, and on the way Otto opened his mind to the Duke about this
love matter, and asked his Grace, would he consent to the union,
if Prince Ernest, on his recovery, made honourable proposals for
his daughter Sidonia.
But his Grace was right crafty, and merely answered--"Time enough
to settle that, Otto, when he is recovered; but methinks you will
have some trouble with his mother unless you are more civil to
her; so if you desire her favour, bear yourself more humbly, I
advise you, as befits a subject."
This the knight promised, and the conversation ceased, as they
came up with the Duchess just then, who was waiting for them in
the grand corridor. No sooner did she perceive that Sidonia was
not with them than she cried out, "So my son is alone with the
maiden!" and instantly despatched three pages to watch them both.
Otto had now changed his tone, and instead of retorting, thanked
her Grace for the praiseworthy and Christian care she took of his
daughter. He did not believe this at first, but now he saw it with
his own eyes. Alas, it was too true, the world was daily growing
worse and worse, and the devil haunted us with his temptations,
like our own flesh and blood. Then he sighed and kissed her hand,
and prayed her Grace to pardon him his former bold language--but,
in truth, he had felt displeased at first to see her Grace so
harsh to Sidonia, when every one else at the castle received her
with rapture; but he saw now that she only meant kindly and
motherly by the girl.
Then the Duke asked, her pardon for his little jest about the
kissing. She knew well that he meant no harm; and also that it was
not in his nature to endure any melancholy or lamentable faces
So her Grace was reconciled to both, and when the Duke announced
that he and the knight proposed visiting Barth [Footnote: Barth, a
little town; and Eldena was at that time a richly endowed convent
near Greifswald.] and Eldena, from whence they would return in a
few days, to take their leave of her, she said that if her dearest
son Ernest grew any better, she would have a grand _battue_
in honour of his Highness Duke Barnim, upon their return.
Accordingly, after having amused themselves for a little fishing
with the tame sea-gull, the Duke and Otto rode away, and her Grace
went to the chamber of the young Prince, to keep watch there
during the night. She would willingly have dismissed Sidonia, but
he forbade her; and Sidonia herself declared that she would watch
day and night by the bedside of the young lord. So she sat the
whole night by his bed, holding his hand in hers, and told him
about her journey, and how shamefully she had been smuggled away
out of the castle by old Ulrich, because she would not learn the
catechism; and of her anguish when the messengers arrived, and
told of their young lord's illness. She was quite certain Ulrich
must have given him something to cause it, as a punishment for
having released her from prison, for if he could strike a maiden,
it was not surprising that he would injure even his future
reigning Prince to gratify his malice. It was well the old
malignant creature was away now, as she was told, and if his Grace
did right he would play him a trick in return, and set fire to his
castle at Spantekow as soon as he was able to move.
Her Grace endured all this in silence, for her dear son's sake,
though in truth her anger was terrible. The young lord, however,
grew better rapidly, and the following day was even able to creep
out of bed for a couple of hours, to touch the lute. And he taught
Sidonia all, and placed her little fingers himself on the strings,
that she might learn the better. Then, for the first time, he
called for something to eat, and after that fell into a profound
sleep which lasted forty-eight hours. During this time he lay like
one dead, and her Grace would have tried to awaken him, but the
physician prevented her. At length, when he awoke, he cried out
loudly, first for Sidonia, and then for some food.
At last, to the great joy of her Grace, he was able, on the fourth
day, to walk in the castle garden, and arranged to attend the hunt
with his dear uncle upon his return to Wolgast. The Duke, on his
arrival, rejoiced greatly to find the young lord so well, and said
with his usual gay manner, "Come here, Sidonia; I have been rather
unwell on the journey: come here and give me a kiss too, to make
me better!" and Sidonia complied. Whereupon her Grace looked
unusually sour, but said nothing, for fear of disturbing the
general joy. Indeed, the whole castle was in a state of jubilee,
and her Grace promised that she and her ladies would attend the
hunt on the following day.
About this time the castle was troubled by a strange
apparition--no other than the spectre of the serpent knight, who
had been drowned some time previously. It was reported that every
night the ghost entered the castle by the little water-gate,
though it was kept barred and bolted, traversed the whole length
of the corridor, and sunk down into the earth, just over the place
where the ducal coaches and sleighs were kept.
Every one fled in terror before the ghost, and scarcely a
lansquenet could be found to keep the night watch. What this
spectre betokened shall be related further on in this little
history, but at present I must give an account of the grand
_battue_ which took place according to her Grace's orders,
and of what befell there.
_Of the grand battue, and what the young Duke and Sidonia
resolved on there._
The preparations for the hunt commenced early in the morning, and
the knights and nobles assembled in the hall of fishes (so called
because the walls were painted with representations of all the
fishes that are indigenous to Pomerania). Here a superb breakfast
was served, and pages presented water in finger-basins of silver
to each of the princely personages. Then costly wines were handed
round, and Duke Barnim, having filled to the brim a cup bearing
the Pomeranian arms, rose up and said, "Give notice to the warder
at St. Peter's." And immediately, as the great bell of the town
rang out, and resounded through the castle and all over the town,
his Grace gave the health of Prince Ernest, who pledged him in
return. Afterwards they all descended to the courtyard, and his
Grace entered the ducal mews himself, to select a horse for the
day. Now these mews were of such wonderful beauty, that I must
needs append a description of them here.
First there was a grand portico, and within a corridor with ranges
of pillars on each side, round which were hung antlers and horns
of all the animals of the chase. This led to the pond with the
island in the centre, where the bear was kept, as I have already
described. When Duke Barnim and the old knight emerged from the
portico to enter the stable, they were met by Johann Appelmann,
the chief equerry, who spread before the feet of his Highness a
scarlet horse-cloth, embroidered with the ducal arms, whereon he
laid a brush and a riding-whip; and then demanded his
On entering, they observed numerous stalls filled with Pomeranian,
Hungarian, Frisian, Danish, and Turkish horses--each race by
itself, and each horse standing ready saddled and bridled since
the morning. _Item_, all along the walls were ranged enormous
brazen lions' heads, which conveyed water throughout the building,
and cleansed the stables completely every day.
Otto wondered much at all this magnificence, and asked his Grace
what could her Highness want with all these horses.
"They eat their oats in idleness, for the most part," replied the
Duke. "No one uses them but the pages and knights of the
household, who may select any for riding that pleases them; but
her Highness would never diminish any of the state maintained by
her deceased lord, Duke Philip. So there has been always, since
that time, particular attention paid to the ducal stables at
Now the train began to move towards the hunt, in all about a
hundred persons, and in front rode her Grace upon an ambling
palfrey, dressed in a riding-habit of green velvet, and wearing a
yellow hat with plumes. Her little Casimir rode by her side on a
Swedish pony; then followed her ladies-in-waiting, amongst whom
rode Sidonia, all likewise dressed in green velvet
hunting-dresses, fastened with golden clasps; but in place of
yellow, they wore scarlet hats, with gilded herons' plumes. Duke
Barnim and Prince Ernest rode along with her Grace; and though
none but those of princely blood were allowed to join this group,
yet Otto strove to keep near them, as if he really belonged to the
party, just as the sacristan strives to make the people think he
is as good as the priest by keeping as close as he can to him
while the procession moves along the streets.
After these came the marshal, the castellan, and then the
treasurer, with the office-bearers, knights, and esquires of the
household. Then the chief equerry, with the master of the hounds
and the principal huntsmen. But the beaters, pages, lacqueys,
drummers, coursers, and runners had already gone on before a good
way; and never had the Wolgastians beheld such a stately hunt as
this since the death of good Duke Philip. So the whole town ran
together, and followed the procession for a good space, up to the
spot where blue tents were erected for her Grace and her ladies.
The ground all round was strewed with flowers and evergreens, and
before the tents palisades were erected, on which lay loaded
rifles, ready to discharge at any of the game that came that way;
and for two miles round the master of the hunt had laid down nets,
which were all connected together at a point close to the princely
When the beaters and their dogs had started the animals, he left
the tent to reconnoitre, and if the sport promised to be
plentiful, he ordered the drums to beat, in order to give her
Highness notice. Then she took a rifle herself, and brought down
several head, which was easily accomplished, when they passed upon
each other as thick as sheep. Sidonia, who had often attended the
hunts at Stramehl, was a most expert shot, and brought down ten
roes and stags, whereon she had much jesting with the young lords,
who had not been half so successful. And let no one imagine that
there was danger to her Highness and her ladies in thus firing at
the wild droves from her tent, for it was erected upon a
scaffolding raised five feet from the ground, and surrounded by
palisades, so that it was impossible the animals could ever reach
On that day, there were killed altogether one hundred and fifty
stags, one hundred roes, five hundred hares, three hundred foxes,
one hundred wild boars, seven wolves, five wild-cats, and one
bear, which was entangled in the net and then shot. And at last
the right hearty pleasure of the day began.
For it was the custom at the ducal court for each huntsman, from
the master of the hunt down, to receive a portion of the game; and
her Grace took much pleasure now in seeing the mode in which the
distribution was made. It was done in this wise: each man received
the head of the animal, and as much of the neck as he could cover
with the ears, by dragging them down with all his might.
So the huntsmen stood now toiling and sweating, each with one foot
firmly planted against a stone and the other on the belly of the
beast, dragging down the ears with all his force to the very
furthest point they could go, when another huntsman, standing by,
cut off the head at that point with his hunting-knife.
Then each man let his dog bite at the entrails of a stag, while
they repeated old charms and verses over them, such as:--
"Diana, no better e'er track'd a wood;
There's many a huntsman not half so good."
Or, in Low German:--
"Wasser, if ever the devil you see,
Bite his leg for him, or he will bite me."
These old rhymes pleased the young Casimir mightily: if his lady
mother would only lend him a ribbon, he would lead up little
Blaffert his dog to them, and have a rhyme said over him. So her
Grace consented, and broke off her sandal-tie to fasten in the
little dog's collar, because in her hurry she could find no other
string, and left the tent herself with the child to conduct him to
Now the moment her Grace had taken her eyes off Sidonia, and that
all the other ladies had left the tent to follow her and the
little boy, who was laughing and playing with his dog, the young
maiden, looking round to see that no one was observing her,
slipped out and ran in amongst the bushes, and my lord, Prince
Ernest, slipped after her. No one observed them, for all eyes were
turned upon the princely child, who sprang to a huntsman and
begged of him to say a rhyme or two over his little dog Blaffert.
The carl rubbed his forehead, and at last gave out his psalm, as
follows, in Low German:--
"Blaffert, Blaffert, thou art fat!
If my lord would only feed
All his people like to that
'Twould be well for Pommern's need."
All the bystanders laughed heartily, and then the hounds were
given their dinner according to the usage, which was this:--A
number of oak and birch trees were felled, and over every two and
two there was spread a tablecloth--that is, the warm skin of a
deer or wild-boar; into this, as into a wooden trencher, was
poured the warm blood of the wild animals, which the hounds lapped
up, while forty huntsmen played a march with drums and trumpets,
which was re-echoed from the neighbouring wood, to the great
delight of all the listeners. When the hounds had lapped up all
the blood, they began to eat up the tablecloths likewise; but as
these belonged to the huntsmen, a great fight took place between
them and the dogs for the skins, which was right merry to behold,
and greatly rejoiced the ducal party and all the people.
In the meantime, as I said, Sidonia had slipped into the wood, and
the young lord after her. He soon found her resting under the
shadow of a large nut-tree, and the following conversation took
place between them, as he afterwards many times related:--
"Alas, gracious Prince, why do you follow me? if your lady mother
knew of this we should both suffer. My head ached after all that
firing, and therefore I came hither to enjoy a little rest and
quietness. Leave me, leave me, my gracious lord."
"No, no, he would not leave her until she told him whether she
still loved him; for his lady mother watched him day and night,
like the dragon that guarded the Pomeranian arms, and until this
moment he had never seen her alone."
"But what could he now desire to say? Had he not sworn by the
corpse of his father never to wed her?"
"Yes; in a moment of anguish he had sworn it, because he would
have died if she had not been brought back to the castle."
"But still he must hold by his word to his lady mother, would he
"Impossible! all impossible! He would sooner renounce land and
people for ever than his beautiful Sidonia. How he felt, for the
first time, the truth of the holy words, 'Love is strong as
death.'" [Footnote: Song of Solomon viii. 6.] Then he throws his
arms round her and kissed her, and asked, would she be his?
Here Sidonia covered her face with both hands, and sinking down
upon the grass, murmured, "Yours alone, either you or death."
The Prince threw himself down beside her, and besought her not to
weep. "He could not bear to see her tears; besides, there was good
hope for them yet, for he had spoken to old Zitsewitz, who wished
them both well, and who had given him some good advice."
_Sidonia_ (quickly removing her hands).--"What was it?"
"To have a private marriage. Then the devil himself could not
separate them, much less the old bigot Ulrich. There was a priest
in the neighbourhood, of the name of Neigialink. He lived in
Crummyn, [Footnote: A town near Wolgast.] with a nun whom he had
carried off from her convent and married; therefore he would be
able to sympathise with lovers, and would help them."
"But his Highness should remember his kingly state, and not bring
misery on them both for ever."
"He had considered all that, they should therefore keep this
marriage private for a year; she could live at Stramehl during
that period, and receive his visits without his mother knowing of
the matter. At the end of that year he would be of age, and his
_Sidonia_ (embracing him).--"Ah, if he really loved her so,
then the sooner the better to the church. But let him take care
that evil-minded people would not separate them for ever, and
bring her to an early grave. Had the priest been informed that he
would be required to wed them?"
"Not yet; but if he continued as strong as he felt to-day, he
would ride over to Crummyn himself (for it was quite near to
Wolgast) the moment Duke Barnim and her father quitted the
"But how would she know the result of his visit? his mother
watched her day and night. Could he send a page or a serving-maid
to her?--though indeed there were none now he could trust, for
Ulrich had dismissed all her good friends. And if he came himself
to her room, evil might be spoken of it."
"He had arranged all that already. There was the bear, as she
remembered, chained upon the little island in the horse-pond, just
under her window. Now when he returned from Crummyn, he would go
out by seven in the morning, before his lady mother began her
spinning, and commence shooting arrows at the bear, by way of
sport; then, as if by chance, he would let fly an arrow at her
window and shiver the glass, but the arrow would contain a little
note, detailing his visit to the priest at Crummyn, and the
arrangement he had made for carrying her away secretly from the
castle. She must take care, however, to move away her seat from
the window, and place it in a corner, lest the arrow might strike
But then a loud "Sidonia! Sidonia!" resounded through the wood,
and immediately after, "Ernest! Ernest!"
So she sprang up, and cried, "Run, dearest Prince, run as fast as
you are able, to the other side, where the huntsmen are gathering,
and mix with them, so that her Grace may not perceive you." This
he did, and began to talk to the huntsmen about their dogs and the
sweep of the chase, and as her Grace continued calling "Ernest!
Ernest!" he stepped slowly towards her out of the crowd, and asked
what was her pleasure? So she suspected nothing, and grew quite
Duke Barnim now began to complain of hunger, and asked her Grace
where she meant to serve them a collation, for he could never hold
out until they reached Wolgast, and his friend Otto also was
growing as ravenous as a wolf.
Her Grace answered, the collation was laid in the Cisan tower,
close beside them, and as the weather was good, his Grace could
amuse himself with the _tubum opticum_, which a Pomeranian
noble had bought in Middelburg from one Johann Lippersein,
[Footnote: An optician, and the probable inventor of the
telescope, which was first employed about the end of the sixteenth
and the beginning of the seventeenth century.] and presented to
her. By the aid of this telescope he would see as far as his own
town of Stettin. Neither the Duke nor Otto Bork believed it
possible to see Stettin, at the distance of thirteen or fourteen
miles, with any instrument. But her Grace, who had heard of Otto's
godless infidelity, rebuked him gravely, saying, "You will soon be
convinced, sir knight; so we often hold that to be impossible in
spiritual matters, which becomes not only possible, but certain,
when we look through the telescope which the Holy Spirit presents
to us, weak and short-sighted mortals. God give to every infidel
such a _tubum opticum_!" The Duke, fearing now that her Grace
would continue her sermon indefinitely, interrupted her in his
jesting way--"Listen, dear cousin! I will lay a wager with you. If
I cannot see Stettin, as you promise, you shall give me a kiss;
but if I see it and recognise it clearly, then I shall give you a
Her Grace was truly scandalised, as one may imagine, and replied
angrily--"Good uncle! if you attempt to offer such indignities to
me, the princely widow, I must pray your Grace to leave my court
with all speed, and never to return!" This rebuke made every one
grave until they reached the Cisan tower. This building lay only
half a mile from the hunting-ground, and was situated on the
summit of the Cisanberg, from whence its name. It was built of
wood, and contained four stories, besides excellent stabling for
horses. The apartments were light, airy, and elegant, so that her
Grace frequently passed a portion of the summer time there. The
upper story commanded a view of the whole adjacent country. At the
foot of the hill ran the little river Cisa into the Peen, and many
light, beautiful bridges were thrown over it at different points.
The hill itself was finely wooded with pines and other trees, and
the tower was made more light and airy than that which Duke Johann
Frederick afterwards erected at Friedrichswald, and commanded a
far finer prospect, seeing that the Cisanberg is the highest hill
While the party proceeded to the tower, Sidonia rode along by her
father, and to judge from her animation and gestures, she was, no
doubt, communicating to him all that the young lord had promised,
and her hopes, in consequence, that a very short period would
elapse before he might salute her as Duchess of Pomerania.
When they reached the tower, all admired the view even from the
lower window, for they could see the Peen, the Achterwasser, and
eight or nine towns, besides the sea in the distance. I say
nothing of Wolgast, which seemed to lie just beneath their feet,
with its princely castle and cathedral perfectly distinct, and all
its seats laid out like a map, where they could even distinguish
the people walking. Then her Grace bade them ascend to the upper
story, and look out for Stettin, but they sought for it in vain
with their unassisted eyes; then her Grace placed the _tubum
opticum_ before the Duke, and no sooner had he looked through
it than he cried out, "As I live, Otto, there is my strong tower
of St. James's, and my ducal castle to the left, lying far behind
the Finkenwald mountain." But the unbelieving Thomas laughed, and
only answered, "My gracious Prince! do not let yourself be so
easily imposed upon."
Hereupon the Duke made him look through the telescope himself; and
no sooner had he applied his eye to the glass than he jumped back,
rubbed his eyes, looked through a second time, and then
"Well, as true as my name is Otto Bork, I never could have
"Now, sir knight," said her Grace, "so it is with you as concerns
spiritual things. How if you should one day find that to be true
which your infidelity now presumptuously asserts to be false? Will
not your repentance then be bitter? If you have found my words
true--the words of a poor, weak, sinful woman, will you not much
more find those of the holy Son of God? Yes, to your horror and
dismay, you will find His words to be truth, of whom even His
enemies testified that He never lied--Matt. xxii. 16. Tremble, sir
knight, and bethink you that what often seems impossible to man is
possible to God."
The bold knight was now completely silenced, and the good-natured
Duke, seeing that he had not a word to say in reply, advanced to
his rescue, and changed the conversation by saying--
"See, Otto, the wind seems so favourable just now, that I think we
had better say '_Vale_' to our gracious hostess in the
morning, and return to Stettin."
Not a word did his Grace venture to say more about the wager of
the kisses, for his dear cousin's demeanour restrained even his
hilarity. Otto had nothing to object to the arrangement; and her
Grace said, if they were not willing longer to abide at her
widowed court, she would bid them both Godspeed upon their
journey. "And you, sir knight, may take back your daughter
Sidonia, for our dear son, as you may perceive, is now quite
restored, and no longer needs her nursing. For the good deed she
has wrought in curing him, I shall recompense her as befits me.
But at my court the maiden can no longer abide."
The knight was at first so thunderstruck by these words that he
could not speak; but at last drawing himself up proudly, he said,
"Good; I shall take the Lady Sidonia back with me to my castle;
but as touching the recompense, keep it for those who need it."
Sidonia, however, remained quite silent, as did also the young
But hear what happened. The festival lasted until late in the
night, and then suddenly such a faintness and bodily weakness came
over the young Prince Ernest that all the physicians had to be
sent for; and they with one accord entreated her Grace, if she
valued his life, not to send away Sidonia.
One can imagine what her Grace felt at this news. Nothing would
persuade her to believe but that Sidonia had given him some
witch-drink, such as the girl out of Daber had taught her to make.
No one could believe either that his Highness affected this
sickness, in order to force his mother to keep Sidonia at the
court; indeed, he afterwards strongly asseverated, and this at a
time when he would have killed Sidonia with a look, if it had been
possible, that this weakness came upon him suddenly like an ague,
and that it could not have been caused by anything she had given
him, for he had eaten nothing, except at the banquet at the Cisan
In short, the young Prince became as bad as ever; but Sidonia
never heeded him, only busied herself packing up her things, as if
she really intended going away with Otto, and finally, as eight
o'clock struck the next morning, she wrapped herself in her mantle
and hood, and went with her father and Duke Barnim to take leave
of her Grace. She looked as bitter and sour as a
vinegar-cruet--nothing would tempt her to remain even for one day
longer. What was her Grace to do? the young lord was dying, and
had already despatched two pages to her, entreating for one sight
of Sidonia! She must give the artful hypocrite good words--but
they were of no avail--Sidonia insisted on leaving the castle that
instant with her father; then turning to Duke Barnim, she
exclaimed with bitter tears, "Now, gracious Prince, you see
yourself how I am treated here."
Neither would the cunning Otto permit his daughter to remain on
any account, unless, indeed, her Grace gave him a written
authority to receive the dues on the Jena. Such shameless knavery
at last enraged the old Duke Barnim to such a degree that he cried
out--"Listen, Otto, my illustrious cousin here has no more to do
with the dues on the Jena than you have; they belong to me alone,
and I can give no promise until I lay the question before my
council and the diet of the Stettin dukedom: be content,
therefore, to wait until then." One may easily guess what was the
termination of the little drama got up by Otto and his fair
daughter--namely, that Otto sailed away with the Duke, and that
Sidonia remained at the court of Wolgast.
_How the ghost continued to haunt the castle, and of its daring
behaviour--Item, how the young lord regained his strength, and was
able to visit Crummyn, with what happened to him there.
So Sidonia was again seated by the couch of the young Prince, with
her hand in his hand; but her Grace, as may well be imagined, was
never very far off from them; and this annoyed Sidonia so much,
that she did not scruple to treat the mourning mother and princely
widow with the utmost contempt; at last disdaining even to answer
the questions addressed to her by her Grace. All this the Duchess
bore patiently for the sake of her dear son. But even Prince
Ernest felt, at length, ashamed of such insolent scorn being
displayed towards his mother, and said--
"What, Sidonia, will you not even answer my gracious mother?"
Hereupon the hypocrite sighed, and answered--
"Ah, my gracious Prince! I esteem it better to pray in silence
beside your bed than to hold a loud chattering in your ears.
Besides, when I am speaking to God I cannot, at the same time,
answer your lady mother."
This pleased the young man, and he pressed her little hand, and
kissed it. And very shortly after, his strength returned to him
wonderfully, so that her Grace and Sidonia only watched by him one
night. The next day he fell into a profound sleep, and awoke from
it perfectly recovered.
In the meantime, the ghost became so daring and troublesome, that
all the house stood in fear of it. Oftentimes it would be seen
even in the clear morning light; and a maid, who had forgotten to
make the bed of one of the grooms, and ran to the stables at night
to finish her work, encountered the ghost there, and nearly died
of fright. _Item_, Clara von Dewitz, one beautiful moonlight
night, having gone out to take a turn up and down the corridor,
because she could not sleep from the toothache, saw the
apparition, just as day dawned, sinking down into the earth, not
far from the chamber of Sidonia, to her great horror and
astonishment. _Item_, her Grace, that very same night, having
heard a noise in the corridor, opened her door, and there stood
the ghost before her, leaning against a pillar. She was
horror-struck, and clapped to her door hastily, but said nothing
to the young Prince, for fear of alarming him.
He had recovered, as I have said, in a most wonderful manner, and
though still looking pale and haggard, yet his love for the maiden
would not permit him to defer his visit to Crummyn any longer;
particularly as it lay only half a mile from the castle, but on
the opposite bank of the river, near the island of Usdom.
Thereupon, on the fourth night, he descended to the little
water-gate, having previously arranged with his chief equerry,
Appelmann, to have a boat there in readiness for him, and also a
good horse, to take across the ferry with them to the other side.
So, at twelve o'clock, he and Appelmann embarked privately, with
Johann Bruwer, the ferryman, and were safely landed at Mahlzow.
Here he mounted his horse, and told the two others to await his
return, and conceal themselves in the wood if any one approached.
Appelmann begged permission to accompany his Highness, which,
however, was denied; the young Prince charging them strictly to
hold themselves concealed till his return, and never reveal to
human being where they had conducted him this evening, on pain of
his severe anger and loss of favour for ever; but if they held
their secret close, he would recompense them at no distant time,
in a manner even far beyond their hopes.
So his Highness rode off to Crummyn, where all was darkness,
except, indeed, one small ray of light that glanced from the lower
windows of the cloister--for it was standing at that time. He
dismounted, tied his horse to a tree, and knocked at the window,
through which he had a glimpse of an old woman, in nun's garments,
who held a crucifix between her hands, and prayed.
"Who are you?" she demanded. "What can you want here at such an
"I am from Wolgast," he answered, "and must see the priest of
"There is no priest here now."
"But I have been told that a priest of the name of Neigialink
_Illa_.--"He was a Lutheran swaddler and no priest, otherwise
he would not live in open sin with a nun."
"It is all the same to me; only come and show me the way."
_Illa_.--"Was he a heathen or a true Christian?"
His Highness could not make out what the old mother meant, but
when he answered, "I am a Christian," she opened the door, and let
him enter her cell. As she lifted up the lamp, however, she
started back in terror at his young, pale, haggard face. Then,
looking at his rich garments, she cried--
"This must be a son of good Duke Philip's, for never were two
faces more alike."
The Prince never imagined that the old mother could betray him,
and therefore answered, "Yes; and now lead me to the priest."
So the old mother began to lament over the downfall of the pure
Christian doctrine, which his father, Duke Philip, had upheld so
bravely. And if the young lord held the true faith (as she hoped
by his saying he was a Christian), if so, then she would die
happy, and the sooner the better--even if it were this night, for
she was the last of all the sisterhood, all the other nuns having
died of grief; and so she went on chattering.
Prince Ernest regretted that he had not time to discourse with her
upon the true faith, but would she tell him where the priest was
to be found.
_Illa_.--"She would take him to the parson, but he must first
do her a service."
"Whatever she desired, so that it would not detain him."
_Illa_.--"It was on this night the vigil of the holy St.
Bernard, their patron saint, was held; now, there was no one to
light the altar candles for her, for her maid, who had grown old
along with her, lay a-dying, and she was too old and weak herself
to stretch up so high. And the idle Lutheran heretics of the town
would mock, if they knew she worshipped God after the manner of
her fathers. The old Lutheran swaddler, too, would not suffer it,
if he knew she prayed in the church by nights. But she did not
care for his anger, for she had a private key that let her in at
all hours; and his Highness, the Prince, at her earnest prayers,
had given her permission to pray in the church, at any time she
pleased, from then till her death."
So the old mother wept so bitterly, and kissed his Highness's
hand, entreating him with such sad lamentations to remain with her
until she said a prayer, that he consented. And she said, if the
heretic parson came there to scold her, which of a surety he
would, knowing that she never omitted a vigil, he could talk to
him in the church, without going to disturb him and his harlot nun
at their own residence. Besides, the church was the safest place
to discourse in, for no one would notice them, and he would be
able to protect her from the parson's anger besides.
Here the old mother took up the church keys and a horn lantern,
and led the young Prince through a narrow corridor up to the
church door. Hardly, however, had she put the key in the lock,
when the loud bark of a dog was heard inside, and they soon heard
it scratching, and smelling, and growling at them close to the
"What can that dog be here for?" said his Highness in alarm.
"Alas!" answered the nun, "since the pure old religion was
destroyed, profanity and covetousness have got the upper hand; so
every church where even a single pious relic of the wealth of the
good old times remains, must be guarded, as you see, by dogs.
[Footnote: It is an undeniable fact, that the immorality of the
people fearfully increased with the progress of the Reformation
throughout Pomerania. An old chronicler, and a Protestant, thus
testifies, 1542:--"And since this time (the Reformation) a great
change has come over all things. In place of piety, we have
profanity; in place of reverence, sacrilege and the plundering of
God's churches; in place of alms-deeds, stinginess and
selfishness; in place of feasts, greed and gluttony; in place of
festivals, labour; in place of obedience and humility of children,
obstinacy and self-opinion; in place of honour and veneration for
the priesthood, contempt for the priest and the church ministers.
So that one might justly assert that the preaching of the
evangelism had made the people worse in place of better."
Another Protestant preacher, John Borkmann, asserts, 1560:--"As
for sin, it overflows all places and all stations. It is growing
stronger in all offices, in all trades, in all employments, in
every station of life--what shall I say more?--in every
individual"--and so on. I would therefore recommend the blind
eulogists of the good old times to examine history for themselves,
and not to place implicit belief either in the pragmatical
representations of the old and new Lutherans."] And she had herself
locked up her pretty dog Störteback [Footnote: The name of a
notorious northern pirate.] here, that no one might rob the altar
of the golden candlesticks and the little jewels, at least as long
as she lived."
So she desired Störteback to lie still, and then entered the
church with the Prince, who lit the altar candles for her, and
then looked round with wonder on the silver lamps, the golden pix
and caps, and other vessels adorned with jewels, used by the
Papists in their ceremonies.
The old mother, meanwhile, took off her white garment and black
scapulary, and being thus naked almost to the waist, descended
into a coffin, which was lying in a corner beside the altar. Here
she groped till she brought up a crucifix, and a scourge of
knotted cords. Then she kneeled down within the coffin, lashing
herself with one hand till the blood flowed from her shoulders,
and with the other holding up the crucifix, which she kissed from
time to time, whilst she recited the hymn of the holy St.
"Salve caput cruentatum,
Totum spinis coronatum,
Facie sputis illita."
When she had thus prayed, and scourged herself a while, she
extended the crucifix with her bleeding arm to the Prince, and
prayed him, for the sake of God, to have compassion on her, and so
would the bleeding Saviour and all the saints have compassion upon
him at the last day. And when his Highness asked her what he could
do for her, she besought him to bring her a priest from Grypswald,
who could break the Lord's body once more for her, and give her
the last sacrament of extreme unction here in her coffin. Then
would she never wish to leave it, but die of joy if this only was
granted to her.
So the Prince promised to fulfil her wishes; whereupon she
crouched down again in the coffin, and recommenced the scourging,
while she repeated with loud sobs and groans the two last verses
of the hymn. Scarcely had she ended when a small side-door opened,
and the dog Störteback began to bark vociferously.
"What!" exclaimed a voice, "is that old damned Catholic witch at
her mummeries, and burning my good wax candles all for nothing?"
And, silencing the dog, a man stepped forward hastily, but, seeing
the Prince, paused in astonishment. Whereupon the old mother
raised herself up out of the coffin, and said, "Did I not tell
your Grace that you would see the hardhearted heretic here?--that
is the man you seek." So the Prince brought him into the choir,
and told him that he was Prince Ernest Ludovicus, and came here to
request that he would privately wed him on the following night,
without knowledge of any human being, to his beloved and affianced
bride, Sidonia von Bork.
The priest, however, did not care to mix himself up with such a
business, seeing that he feared Ulrich mightily; but his Grace
promised him a better living at the end of the year, if he would
undertake to serve him now.
To which the priest answered--"Who knows if your Highness will be
alive by the end of the year, for you look as pale as a corpse?"
"He never felt better in his life. He had been ill lately, but now
was as sound as a fish. Would he not marry him?"
_Hic_.--"Certainly not; unless he received a handsome
consideration. He had a wife and dear children; what would become
of them if he incurred the displeasure of that stern Lord
Chamberlain and of the princely widow?"
"But could he not bring his family to Stettin; for he and his
young bride intended to fly there, and put themselves under the
protection of his dear uncle, Duke Barnim?"
_Hic_.--"It was a dangerous business; still, if his Highness
gave him a thousand gulden down, and a written promise, signed and
sealed, that he would provide him with a better living before the
year had expired, why, out of love for the young lord, he would
consent to peril himself and his family; but his Highness must not
think evil of him for demanding the thousand gulden paid down
immediately, for how were his dear wife and children to be
supported through the long year otherwise?"
His Highness, however, considered the sum too large, and said that
his gracious mother had scarcely more a year for herself than a
thousand gulden--she that was the Duchess of Pomerania.
However, they finally agreed upon four hundred gulden; for his
Highness showed him that Doctor Luther himself had only four
hundred gulden a year, and surely he would not require more than
the great _reformator ecclesia_.
So everything was arranged at last, the priest promising to
perform the ceremony on the third night from that; "For some
time," he said, "would be necessary to collect people to assist
them in their flight, and money must be distributed; but his
Highness would, of course, repay all that he expended in his
behalf, and further promise to give him and his family free
quarters when they reached Stettin."
After the ceremony, they could reach the boat through the convent
garden, and sail away to Warte. [Footnote: A town near Usdom.]
Then he would have four or five peasants in waiting, with
carriages ready, to escort them to East Clune, from whence they
could take another boat and cross the Haff into Stettin; for, as
they could not reckon on a fair wind with any certainty, it was
better to perform the journey half by land and half by water;
besides, the fishermen whom he intended to employ were not
accustomed to sail up the Peen the whole way into the Haff, for
their little fishing-smacks were too slight to stand a strong
Hereupon the Prince answered, that, since it was necessary, he
would wait until the third night, when the priest should have
everything in readiness, but meanwhile should confide the secret
to no one. So he turned away, and comforted the old mother again
with his promises as he passed out.
The next morning, having written all down for Sidonia, and
concealed the note in an arrow, he went forth as he had arranged,
and began to tease the bear by shooting arrows at him, till the
beast roared and shook his chain. Then, perceiving that Sidonia
had observed him from the window, he watched a favourable
opportunity, and shot the arrow up, right through her window, so
that the pane of glass rattled down upon the floor. In the billet
therein concealed he explained the whole plan of escape; and asked
her to inform him, in return, how she could manage to come to him
on the third night. Would his dearest Sidonia put on the dress of
a page? He could bring it to her little chamber himself the next
night. She must write a little note in answer, and conceal it in
the arrow as he had done, then throw it out of the window, and he
would be on the watch to pick it up.
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