From the assembled manuscripts left by Isabella Cortese in Hradčany Castle in the late 16th century. Translated from Italian.
It has always been clear to me that those quacks were good for nothing. Why does the Emperor still find it appropriate to rely on their services? To me it is more than apparent that these self-styled physicians and chemists have not mastered the crafts they claim to have cultivated if any craft at all for that matter. I might be a woman, yet I could teach them a thing or two about potions and elixirs.
Rudolf is a quaint man and he might not be the sort of person for whom one can easily be swayed to feel sympathy, but I have to admit that I do – occasionally.
What a scene it was! What folly possesses the Emperor to subject himself to the dubious concoctions brewed by his assembly of rogues? So, in order to cure himself of his bouts of Melancholy, he risks his life. Well, it was not quite his life that was being challenged yesterday…
I’ll attempt to put into words what cannot (and perhaps should not) be described:
When the summer sun was starting to give way to twilight, the court chamberlain came into my room and informed me that my presence at the Emperor’s side was instantly required. I was already aware that it could very well be those qualities that are so specific to the female kind that was being called upon. In order to be able to conduct my experiments under the Emperor’s patronage, I have had to accept a role as some sort of courtesan: it is the only thing I can offer in return for his generosity. The fruits which mother nature has endowed me with have proven to be more interesting to the Emperor than the fruits of my labor.
Thus, as I had somewhat suspected, I found the Emperor in a state of great sexual exhilaration. Yet, as I soon found out, the situation was quite different then what I had become accustomed to. He was naked from the waist down and I could see that in these circumstances, he was not able to dress. His erection was unbelievable, utterly preposterous, perhaps almost one and a half times as large as I had ever seen it. The Emperor explained to me that he had been this way for a considerable amount of time and that he was at a loss what to do as he was soon expected to entertain a couple of eminent foreign guests. I beheld the monstrosity between his legs in awe. What an extraordinary amalgam of events had made this absurdity possible?!
Notwithstanding that the Emperor was not able to answer me in anything but erratic staccato stuttering I managed to surmise that he had been taking a supposed cure for his Melancholy (based on a formula concocted by the infamous Paracelsus), and though this potion had indeed succeeded in altering his mood, it had certainly not brought about the desired effect. I understood what role I had to play in all of this and quickly began to disrobe.
It hardly needs to be stressed that the spectacle had not left me unmoved. But as much as my nether regions were willing to participate in relieving the Emperor of his burden, there was no way to fix this anomaly inside of me. I concluded that my mouth would be more suitable to accomplish the task. When the Emperor’s abomination was so near my face I was even more impressed by its grotesque features: a dark red, purple ellipsoidal baton – I could hardly fit my poor lips around it! And though I applied as much force as if I were a daughter of the mighty Boreas himself, it was to no avail.
Then, Wolfgang, the chamberlain returned and announced that the guests were waiting and that the Emperor’s nonattendance could no longer be suffered.
The Devil take me! The Emperor shouted and ordered a maidservant to dress him. The girl did as she was told, though it was clear that she was bewildered by the situation and her cheeks were quite crimson when she got up and left.
The emperor had ordered a bucket of ice water. He drank some and splashed his face with the rest of it. Then, with one hand placed strategically in front of him, he strode into the great hall adjoining his private quarters. He invited me to come along.
You might find that my guests and you have a great deal in common, he said.
He led me to one of the minor dining rooms, where, to his (and also to my) surprise only two guests were awaiting his presence: two lavishly dressed young ladies.
We were promptly introduced to each other and I was informed that these dashing wenches were the ladies Isabella Andreini and Mary Sidney. The latter told the Emperor that her brother and her husband had not yet made it back from a hunting trip and she ostentatiously apologized for their absence.
The emperor waved his (left) hand (semi-) casually and spoke:
Not often in the annals of history have three such astute damsels, such as yourselves, shared one epoch, let alone one room. Now let us dine and delight in each other’s company.
The meal started off, not unlike any other, with the four of us exchanging pleasantries and enjoying our hors-d’oeuvres. The Emperor’s guests displayed a quite astonishing level of eloquence and I was surely enchanted by their company, yet I was distracted by concerns regarding the Emperor.’s disposition. I noticed that he was still not himself and only I knew why he was so absent-minded and occasionally produced distressed noises.
Then, all of a sudden the Emperor jumped up like a man possessed and cried: I can’t stand this any longer! Which exclamation was followed by wild grunting and then the words: Please, relieve me!
He proceeded to tear his pants asunder so that the unruly monster was once more unleashed. The Ladies gasped and nearly fainted. Mary – the English noblewoman – fell from her chair and began to crawl towards the door. At the very same moment, my eyes met Lady Isabella’s and I couldn’t suppress a giggle. Then we both looked at the Emperor’s impossible baton and I suggested that we might just as well attempt to do something for the poor man, who was so undeniably in such great need. In hindsight, it is hard to say what possessed me to pursue such a capricious scheme, but I even managed to convince Lady Mary to abort her attempt to flee the room.
And thus the most obscene spectacle unfolded. We had abandoned all forms of decorum and the three of us ladies stripped bare and mounted the prancing beast in turns. Lady Isabella was the first to actually accomplish this and after her, I followed suit. An indescribable sensation permeated the entire lower and central regions of my body; it was a divine ecstasy that was brought about by the actions of some vile demon who was poking a flaming rod from between my legs deep into my chest. I screamed for mercy and I begged for more. Similar violent scenes unfolded when it was Mary’s turn to be manhandled by the savage ogre.
All of this went on for a considerable amount of time; we had all beseeched the Emperor to stop, and just as many times pleaded him to continue. We were in such a frenzy that perhaps not one of us would ever have regained the sovereignty of our reason had not finally the moment arrived that the Emperor reached the crescendo he had so desperately been trying to effectuate. ‘Twas between the bosom of Lady Isabelle that this feat occurred.
The three of us quickly retreated to our own quarters, flustered, disheveled and confused. I’ve been told by Wolfgang that the Emperor had to be carried to his bed by four strong men.
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