Mary Schweidler, by Wilhelm Meinhold


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Amber Witch, by Wilhelm Meinhold

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Title: The Amber Witch

Author: Wilhelm Meinhold

Release Date: August, 2005 [EBook #8743]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on August 8, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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Wilhelm Meinhold

The most interesting trial for witchcraft ever known. Printed from an
imperfect manuscript by her father Abraham Schweidler, the pastor of
Coserow, in the Island of Usedom.

Translated from the German by Lady Duff Gordon.

Original publication date: 1846.


In laying before the public this deeply affecting and romantic trial,
which I have not without reason called on the title-page the most
interesting of all trials for witchcraft ever known, I will first give
some account of the history of the manuscript.

At Coserow, in the Island of Usedom, my former cure, the same which was
held by our worthy author some two hundred years ago, there existed
under a seat in the choir of the church a sort of niche, nearly on a
level with the floor. I had, indeed, often seen a heap of various
writings in this recess; but owing to my short sight, and the darkness
of the place, I had taken them for antiquated hymn-books, which were
lying about in great numbers. But one day, while I was teaching in the
church, I looked for a paper mark in the Catechism of one of the boys,
which I could not immediately find; and my old sexton, who was past
eighty (and who, although called Appelmann, was thoroughly unlike his
namesake in our story, being a very worthy, although a most ignorant
man), stooped down to the said niche, and took from it a folio volume
which I had never before observed, out of which he, without the slightest
hesitation, tore a strip of paper suited to my purpose, and reached it to
me. I immediately seized upon the book, and, after a few minutes' perusal,
I know not which was greater, my astonishment or my vexation at this
costly prize. The manuscript, which was bound in vellum, was not only
defective both at the beginning and at the end, but several leaves had
even been torn out here and there in the middle. I scolded the old man as
I had never done during the whole course of my life; but he excused
himself, saying that one of my predecessors had given him the manuscript
for waste paper, as it had lain about there ever since the memory of man,
and he had often been in want of paper to twist round the altar candles,
etc. The aged and half-blind pastor had mistaken the folio for old
parochial accounts which could be of no more use to any one.[1]

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