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sequar, et sponsus meus, Jesus Christus, et mihi miseræ, ut spero, coronam æternam dabit, quamvis eum non minus offendi ob debilitatem carnis ut Maria, et me sontem declaravi, cum insons sum.
Fac igitur, ut valeas et ora pro me apud Deum et non apud Satanam, ut et ego mox coram Deo pro te orare possim.
MARIA S., captiva. When the Sheriff heard this he flung the pitcher which he held in his hand to the ground, so that it flew in pieces, and cried, “ The cursed devil's whore! the constable shall make her squeak for this a good hour longer ;” with many more such things beside, which he said in his malice, and which I have now forgotten ; but he soon became quite gracious again, and said, “She is foolish ; do you go to her and see whether you cannot persuade her to her own good as well as yours; the huntsman shall let you in, and should the fellow listen, give him a good box on the ears in my name; do you hear, reverend Abraham ? Go now forthwith and bring me back an answer as quickly as possible !" I therefore followed the huntsman, who led me into a vault where was no light save what fell through a hole no bigger than a crown-piece; and here my daughter sat upon her bed and wept. Any one may guess that I straightway began to weep too, and was no better able to speak than she. We thus lay mute in each other's arms for a long time, until I at last begged her to forgive me for my letter, but of the Sheriff his message I said nought, although I had purposed so to do. But before long we heard the Sheriff himself call down into the vault from above, “ What (and here he gave me a heavy curse) are you doing there so long? Come up this moment, reverend Johannes !” Thus I had scarce time to give her one kiss before the huntsman came back with the keys and forced us to part; albeit we had as yet scarcely spoken, save that I had told her in a few words what had happened with old Lizzie. It would be hard to believe into what grievous anger the Sheriff fell when I told him that my daughter remained firm and would not hearken unto him ; he struck me on the breast, and said, “Go to the devil then, thou infamous parson !” and when I turned myself away and would have gone, he pulled me back, and said, “ If thou breathest but one word of all that has passed, I will have thee
burnt too, thou grey-headed old father of a witch ; so look to it !" Hereupon I plucked up a heart, and answered that that would be the greatest joy to me, especially if I could be burnt tomorrow with
child. Hereunto he made no answer, but clapped to the door behind me. Well, clap the door as thou wilt, I greatly fear that the just God will one day clap the doors of heaven in thy face !
How I received the Holy Sacrament with my daughter and the old maid
servant, and how she was then led for the last time before the court, with the drawn sword and the outcry, to receive sentence.
Now any one would think that during that heavy Tuesday night I should not have been able to close mine eyes ; but know, dear reader, that the Lord can do more than we can ask or understand, and that his mercy is new every morning. For toward daybreak I fell asleep as quietly as though I had had no care upon my heart; and when I awoke I was able to pray more heartily than I had done for a long time; so that, in the midst of my tribulation, I wept for joy at such great mercy from the Lord. But I prayed for nought save that he would endow my child with strength and courage to suffer the martyrdom he had laid upon her with Christian patience, and to send his angel to me,
woeful man, so to pierce my heart with grief when I should see my child burn, that it might straightway cease to beat, and I might presently follow her.
And thus I still prayed when the maid came in all dressed in black, and with the silken raiment of my sweet lamb hanging over her arm; and she told me, with many tears, that the dead-bell had already tolled from the Castle tower, for the first time, and that my child had sent for her to dress her, seeing that the court was already come from Usedom, and that in about two hours she was to set out on her last journey. Moreover, she had sent her word that she was to take her some blue and yellow flowers for a garland; wherefore she asked me what flowers she should take ; and seeing that a jar, filled with fire lilies and forget-me-nots, stood in my window, which she had placed there yesterday, I said, “Thou canst gather no better flowers for her than these, wherefore do thou carry them to her, and tell her that I will follow thee in about half-an-hour, in order to receive the sacrament with her.” Hereupon the faithful old creature prayed me to suffer her to go to the sacrament with us, the which
I promised her. And scarce had I dressed myself and put on my surplice when Pastor Benzensis came in at the door and fell upon my neck, weeping, and as mute as a fish. As soon as he came to his speech again he told me of the great miraculu.n (dæmonis I mean) which had befallen at the burial of old Lizzie. For that, just as the bearers were about to lower the coffin into the grave, a noise was heard therein as though of a carpenter boring through a deal board; wherefore they thought the old hag must be come to life again, and opened the coffin. But there she lay as before, all black and blue in the face and as cold as ice; but her eyes had started wide open, so that all were horror-stricken, and expected some devilish apparition; and, indeed, a live rat presently jumped out of the coffin and ran into a skull which lay beside the grave. Thereupon they all ran away, seeing that old Lizzie had ever been in evil repute as a witch. Howbeit at last he himself went near the grave again, whereupon the rat disappeared, and all the others took courage and followed him. This the man told me, and any one may, guess that this was in fact Satan, who had flown down the hag her throat as an insect, whereas his proper shape was that of a rat: albeit I wonder what he could so long have been about in the carrior. ; unless indeed it were that the evil spirits are as fond of all that is loathsome as the angels of God are of all that is fair and lovely. Be that as it may; Summa: I was not a little shocked at what he told me, and asked him what he now thought of the Sheriff? whereupon he shrugged his shoulders, and said, that he had indeed been a wicked fellow as long as he could remember him, and that it was full ten years since he had given him any first-fruits ; but that he did not believe that he was a warlock, as old Lizzie had said. For although he had indeed never been to the table of the Lord in his church, he had heard that he often went, at Stettin, with his Princely Highness the Duke, and that the Pastor at the castle church had shown him the entry in his communion-book. Wherefore he likewise could not believe that he had brought this misery upon my daughter, if she were innocent, as the hag had said ; besides, that my daughter had freely confessed herself a witch. Hereupon I answered, that she had done that for fear of the torture; but that she was not afraid of death; whereupon I told him, with
many sighs, how the Sheriff had yesterday tempted me, miserable and unfaithful servant, to evil, insomuch that I had been willing to sell my only child to him and to Satan, and was not worthy to receive the sacrament to-day. Likewise how much more steadfast a faith my daughter had than I, as he might see from her letter, which I still carried in my pocket; herewith I gave it into his hand, and when he had read it, he sighed as though he had been himself a father, and said, “ Were this true, I should sink into the earth for sorrow ; but come, brother, come, that I may prove her faith myself.”
Hereupon we went up to the castle, and on our way we found the greensward before the hunting-lodge, item, the whole space in front of the castle, already crowded with people, who, nevertheless, were quite quiet as we went by: we gave our names again to the huntsman. (I have never been able to remember his name, seeing that he was a Polak; he was not, however, the same fellow who wooed my child, and whom the Sheriff had therefore turned off.) The man presently ushered us into a fine large room, whither my child had been led when taken out of her prison. The maid had already dressed her, and she looked lovely as an angel. She wore the chain of gold with the effigy round her neck again, item, the garland in her hair, and she smiled as we entered, saying, “ I am ready!" Whereat the reverend Martinus was sorely angered and shocked, saying, “Ah, thou ungodly woman, let no one tell me further of thine innocence! Thou art about to go to the holy sacrament, and from thence to death, and thou flauntest as a child of this world about to go to the dancing-room.” Whereupon she answered and said, “ Be not wroth with me, dear godfather, because that I would go into the presence of my good King of Heaven in the same garments wherein I appeared some time since before the good King of Sweden. For it strengthens my weak and trembling flesh, seeing I hope that my righteous Saviour will in like manner take me to his heart, and will also hang his effigy upon my neck when I stretch out my hands to him in all humility, and recite my carmen, saying, 'Oh, Lamb of God, innocently slain upon the cross, give me thy peace, oh, Jesu !"" These words softened my dear gossip, and he spoke, saying, “ Ah, child, child, I thought to have reproached thee, but thou hast constrained me to weep