The Remonstrations- Day 9

Original Diary Entry

On the ninth day, a Monday, the Abbot Cavalli, Maestro di Lingua Sacra, arrived to play his part. He began saying: […] I wish to have the honor to convert you by arguments form your own Law, to show you the truth of our Religion, for the good of your soul […] if you resist, the Prioress, whose words I am now repeating, has given orders that a staffetta be sent at once, who will find a way to pressure [forza] you to convert, if you fail to do so out of your own accord.” At this, he left.

Shortly afterward, three more priests came in, who asked me whether I believe in the God of Israel. […] Arrogantly, they placed their hands almost over my eyes, like men possessed. They made an infernal noise, and jarred by the disturbance, I lost control. I did not know what to say. And when they kept demanding, one of them in particular, whether I believed in the God of David, Solomon, Aaron, and Moses, with me not thinking of the ‘insidious net’ they were casting to ensnare me, the word they were looking for slipped out: , yes. It was no help that I kept telling myself to say nothing. But after so many interrogations, I blurted it out. So that they should see that I was not a disbeliever in my true God, I said, “. Certainly, I believe.” At which, one of the three began yelling desperately, “Quiet you others; with just this one word, è fatta, it is done.”

I froze and became senseless. Still, I gathered my wits and began to scream: “What do you think, that you have persuaded me, that I would leave my holy religion? […] What I am saying now is no different from what I said the first day. […] two hours later, they left in desperation.

(Stow, 35-38)

Audio Transcription

NARRATOR: All day they have been preaching at you. Just as the footsteps of one fade away, three more enter your room. They come right next to you. Their hands hover over your eyes, so all you can see are their fingers. Their bodies surround you.

Footsteps, breathing close to you. Then all three priests roar at you- as if drawing from from some deep well of rage

NARRATOR: Every muscle in your body tenses and your breath comes in hard and fast. You want to leave, you need to get out, everything is too close to you, they are so close to you-

PRIEST ONE (REPEATED): Do you believe in the God of David, Solomon, Aaron, and Moses?

PRIEST TWO (REPEATED): (Layered with Priest One) Do you believe in the God of David, Solomon, Aaron, and Moses?

PRIEST THREE (REPEATED): (Layered with Priests One and Two) Do you believe in the God of David, Solomon, Aaron, and Moses?

NARRATOR: (Layered with the Priests) You tell yourself to say nothing, but their voices are so close- they press against your mind until- Si! You cry out- yes, certainly I believe!

PRIEST ONE: Quiet! With this word, it is done!

All other voices fall silent instantly

NARRATOR: You freeze. You can’t feel anything, and your breath catches in your throat. What have you done? With a rush you come back to yourself. What do you think, you scream at them, that you have persuaded me, that I would leave my holy religion? You are not going to get out of my mouth something I would never dream of saying or being, to get me to do what you believe!

PRIEST TWO: You are a clever girl; you know that-

NARRATOR: It won’t help, you tell him, you just want to go home. After two more hours, they leave.

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