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her wretched soul to Satan, who certainly would not fulfil those promises in hell which he had made her here upon earth; seeing that “ He was a murderer from the beginning-a liar and the father of it" (John viii.). “Oh!” cried he, “ Mary, my child, who so oft hast sat upon my knees, and for whom I now cry every morning and every night unto my God, if thou wilt have no pity upon thee and me, have pity at least upon thy worthy father, whom I cannot look upon without tears, seeing that his hairs have turned snow white within a few days, and save thy soul, my child, and confess! Behold, thy heavenly father grieveth over thee no less than thy fleshly father, and the holy angels veil their faces for sorrow that thou, who wert once their darling sister, art now become the sister and bride of the devil. Return therefore, and repent! This day thy Saviour calleth thee, poor stray lamb, back into his flock, 'And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound .. be loosed from this bond ? Such are his merciful words (Luke xiii.); item, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful' (Jer. iii.). Return then, thou backsliding soul, unto the Lord thy God! He who heard the prayer of the idolatrous Manasseh when he besought the Lord his God and humbled himself' (2 Chron. axxiii.); who, through Paul, accepted the repentance of the sorcerers at Ephesus (Acts xix.), the same merciful God now crieth unto thee as unto the angel of the church of Ephesus, • Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen and repent (Apocal. ii.). Oh, Mary, Mary, remember, my child, from whence thou art fallen, and repent!”
Hereupon he held his peace, and it was some time before she could say a word for tears and sobs; but at last she answered, “ If lies are no less hateful to God than witchcraft, I may not lie, but must rather declare, to the glory of God, as I have ever declared, that I am innocent.”
Hereupon Dom. Consul was exceeding wrath, and frowned, and asked the tall constable if all was ready, item, whether the women were at hand to undress Rea; whereupon he answered with a grin, as he was wont, “ Ho, ho, I have never been wanting in my duty, nor will I be wanting to-day ; I will tickle her in such wise that she shall soon confess.”
When he had said this, Dom. Consul turned to my daughter and said, “ Thou art å foolish thing, and knowest not the torment which awaits thee, and therefore is it that thou still art stubborn. Now then follow me to the torture-chamber, where the executioner shall show thee the instrumenta, and thou mayest yet think better of it, when thou hast seen what the question is like.”
Hereupon he went into another room, and the constable followed him with my child. And when I would have gone after them, Pastor Benzensis held me back, with many tears, and conjured me not to do so, but to tarry where I was. But I hearkened not unto him, and tore myself from him, and swore that so long as a single vein should beat in my wretched body, I would never forsake my child. I therefore went into the next room, from thence down into a vault, where was the torture-chamber, wherein were no windows, so that those without might not hear the cries of the tormented. Two torches were already burning there when I went in, and although Dom. Consul would at first have sent me away, after a while he had pity upon me, so that he suffered me to stay.
And now that hell-hound the constable stepped forward, and first showed my poor child the ladder, saying with savage glee, “See here ! first of all, thou wilt be laid on that, and thy hands and feet will be tied. Next the thumb-screw here will be put upon thee, which straightway will make the blood to spirt out at the tips of thy fingers; thou mayest see that they are still red with the blood of old Gussy Biehlke, who was burnt last year, and who, like thee, would not confess at first. If thou still wilt not confess, I shall next put these Spanish boots on thee, and should they be too large, I shall just drive in a wedge, so that the calf, which is now at the back of thy leg, will be driven to the front, and the blood will shoot out of thy feet, as when thou squeezest blackberries in a bag.
“ Again, if thou wilt not yet confess-holla !" shouted he, and kicked open a door behind him, so that the whole vault shook, and my poor child fell upon her knees for fright. Before long two women brought in a bubbling cauldron, full of boiling pitch and brimstone. This cauldron the hell-hound ordered them to set down on the ground, and drew forth, from under the red cloak
he wore, a goose's wing, wherefrom he plucked five or six quills, which he dipped into the boiling brimstone. After he had held them awhile in the cauldron he threw them upon the earth, where they twisted about and spirted the brimstone on all sides. And then he called to my poor child again, “ See! these quills I shall throw upon thy white loins, and the burning brimstone will presently eat into thy flesh down to he very bones, so that thou wilt thereby have a foretaste of the joys which await thee in hell."
When he had spoken thus far, amid sneers and laughter, I was 80 overcome with rage that I sprang forth out of the corner where I stood leaning my trembling joints against an old barrel, and cried, " Oh, thou hellish dog ! sayest thou this of thyself, or have others bidden thee?” Whereupon, however, the fellow gave me such a blow upon the breast that I fell backwards against the wall, and Dom. Consul called out in great wrath, “You old fool, if you needs must stay here, at any rate leave the constable in peace, for if not I will have you thrust out of the chamber forthwith. The constable has said no more than is his duty; and it will thus happen to thy child if she confess not, and if it appear that the foul fiend have given her some charm against the torture." Hereupon this hell-hound went on to speak to my poor child, without heeding me, save that he laughed in my face: " Look here! when thou hast thus been well shorn, ho, ho, ho! I shall pull thee up by means of these two rings in the toor and the roof, stretch thy arms above thy head, and bind them fast to the ceiling; whereupon I shall take these two torches, and hold them under thy shoulders, till thy skin will presently become like the rind of a smoked ham. Then thy hellish paramour will help thee no longer, and thou wilt confess the truth. And now thou hast seen and heard all that I shall do to thee, in the name of God, and by order of the magistrates."
And now Dom. Consul once more came forward and admonished her to confess the truth. But she abode by what she had said from the first; whereupon he delivered her over to the two
* It was believed that when witches endured the torture with unusual patience, or even slept during the operation, which, strange to say, frequently occurred, the devil had gifted them with insensibility to pain by means of an amulet which they concealed in some secret part of their persons. – Zedler's Universal Lexicon, vol. xliv., art. " Torture.”
women who had brought in the cauldron, to strip her naked as she was born, and to clothe her in the black torture-shift ; after which they were once more to lead her barefooted up the steps before the worshipful court. But one of these women was the Sheriff his housekeeper (the other was the impudent constable his wife), and my daughter said that she would not suffer herself to be touched save by honest women, and assuredly not by the housekeeper, and begged Dom. Consul to send for her maid, who was sitting in her prison reading the Bible, if he knew of no other decent woman at hand. Hereupon the housekeeper began to pour forth a wondrous deal of railing and ill words, but Dom. Consul rebuked her, and answered my daughter that he would let her have her wish in this matter too, and bade the impudent constable his wife call the maid hither from out of the prison. After he had said this, he took me by the arm, and prayed me so long to go up with him, for that no harm would happen to my daughter as yet, that I did as he would have me.
Before long she herself came up, led between the two women, barefooted, and in the black torture-shift, but so pale that I myself should scarce have known her. The hateful constable, who followed close behind, seized her by the hand, and led her before the worshipful court.
Hereupon the admonitions began all over again, and Dom. Consul bade her look upon the brown spots that were upon the black shift, for that they were the blood of old wife Biehlke, and to consider that within a few minutes it would in like manner bei stained with her own blood. Hereupon she answered, “I have considered that right well, but I hope that my faithful Saviour, who hath laid this torment upon me, being innocent, will likewise help me to bear it, as he helped the holy martyrs of old; for if these, through God's help, overcame by faith the torments inflicted on them by blind heathens, I also can overcome the torture inflicted on me by blind heathens, who, indeed, call themselves Christians, but who are more cruel than those of yore; for the old heathens only caused the holy virgins to be torn of beasts, but which have received the new commandment, • That
love one another; as your Saviour hath loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that
ye his disciples' (St. John xiii.); yourselves will act the part of
savage beasts, and tear with your own hands the body of an innocent maiden, your sister, who has never done aught to harm you. Do, then, as ye list, but have a care how ye will answer it to the highest Judge of all. Again, I say, the lamb feareth naughty for it is in the hand of the good Shepherd.”
When my matchless child had thus spoken, Dom. Consul rose, pulled off the black skull-cap which he ever wore, because the top of his head was already bald, bowed to the court, and said, ** We hereby make known to the worshipful court, that the question ordinary and extraordinary of the stubborn and blaspheming witch, Mary Schweidler, is about to begin, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Hereupon all the court rose save the Sheriff, who had got up before, and was walking uneasily up and down in the room. But of all that now follows, and of what I myself did, I remember not one word, but will relate it all as I have received it from my daughter and other testes, and they have told me as follows:
That when Dom. Consul after these words had taken up the hour-glass which stood upon the table, and walked on before, I would go with him, whereupon Pastor Benzensis first prayed me with many words and tears to desist from my purpose, and when that was of no avail my child herself stroked my cheeks, saying, “ Father, have you ever read that the Blessed Virgin stood by when her guileless Son was scourged ? Depart, therefore, from me. You shall stand by the pile whereon I am burned, that I promise you ; for in like manner did the Blessed Virgin stand at the foot of the cross. But, now, go; go I pray you, for you will not be able to bear it, neither shall I !"
And when , this also failed, Dom. Consul bade the constable seize me, and by main force lock me into another room ; whereupon, however, I tore myself away, and fell at his feet, conjuring him by the wounds of Christ not to tear me from my child ; that I would never forget his kindness and mercy, but pray
for him day and night; nay, that at the day of judgment I would be his intercessor with God and the holy angels if that he would but let me go with with my ehild ; that I would be quite quiet, and not speak one single word, but that I must go with my child, &c.
This so moved the worthy man that he burst into tears, and so trembled with pity for me that the hour-glass fell from his