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candle in hand, to the room of Sarah Carrier.
"Get up, Sairy," he said, giving her a rousing shake. "The prince calls. The powers of the air assemble. Don't you hear 'em going by the window? It's time to be stirring. Arise and go with me to the witch-meeting."
He pulled her out of bed, shook her up like a bolster, and dragged her frock over her head in a clumsy attempt to dress her. Sarah was scared, and, after kicking and resisting a while in silence, began to cry piteously. "Come along," he insisted, cuffing her. "You are a witch."
"I ain't," she blubbered. "I'm a confessor."
"A confessor!" he repeated, two or three times. "You are a confessor? Ah. that's true; she's a confessor." Tweaking her ears once more, he left her to take care of herself as she best could in the dark, and stumbled hurriedly out of the room. Half a minute afterward, Teague was waked up by the glare of a candle in his eyes. He tumbled out of bed with the idea that he was in purgatory, if not worse, and that the person who leaned over him was chief tormentor.
Come along," said the deacon, composedly. "I'm going to the witchmeeting. I want you to ride the other broomstick, and carry the victuals. Come, dress up, if you want to dress. I can't wait."
brains out without tellin' him the raysons. Sure an' I'll be glad to follow yez to the world's ind, if it's ownly against me will. Oh, howly Vargin! there's no harrum in that to be sure."
And falling to, he dressed himself with gratifying diligence, while the deacon stood by and covered him with the pistol to insure diligence in the operation.
'There, masther," said Teague; "an' now where's the broomstick ? Oh, howly mother, that iver I should come to ride a broomstick! But, since it's yer honor's ordher, let me besthraddle it as quick as may be."
"Go into the kitchen, then," said Bowson, sidling behind him, and still keeping him covered. Thus persuaded, Teague marched out, hitching up his breeches and buttoning his waistcoat in remarkable consternation. The deacon harnessed him with the basket under one arm, the bottle of rum under the other, and thrust one of the brooms into his hand. He then slung the trumpet and the remaining bottle over his own shoulders, and, with the second broom-handle, proceeded to poke Teague out of doors.
Och, murdher! the divil! what's that?" shouted the Irishman, jumping high into the air and glowering around him.
It was Frisk, who had been waked up from his customary slumber on the hearth, and who had bolted out between his legs with all a little dog's curiosity and love of adventure. A scratching on the roof now startled him, and, looking up, he saw a couple of glittering, glassy optics staring at him ominously. With an abominable caterwauling, the eyes disappeared; and Teague started on again, at a jog of Bowson's broomstick in the small of his back. It was not a cold night for the season, but the wind was awake, and roared dolefully around them as they stepped into Main street. Above them hung a bright semicircle moon, and a multitude of stars, all winking and blinking through gusty clouds which hurried across the sky toward the northwest.
"Mount!" exclaimed the deacon; "ascend! rise! soar! aspire !" And he set the example of volitation by striding his broomstick and clearing a half-frozen mudpuddle with the liveliness of a cow.
"Och, wait a bit, masther!" cried
Teague. "Let me say me prayers. I'm jist a going to ruin meself, body and sowl. Let me raise a bit o' a prayer to heaven first."
"No!" roared the deacon. "Yes! pray to your Virgin and popish saints. They are of our company, and will be there. But don't pray to God."
So, striding a broomstick, on the edge of a mud-puddle, in a windy night of November, the scared Irishman raised a dolorous petition to the Virgin and all recollectible saints. He prayed that they "would save his sowl, which he wasn't able to save himself, but was under a main necessitee to besthraddle the broomstick, which Daycon Bowson 'ud bear witness to, who had the pistol in his hand, and was a pintin' at him that blessed minute, as thrue as Saint Payther was a howly marthyr."
"That's enough," shouted Bowson; and, with a hurried Amen, Teague cleared the puddle, and followed his crazy master. Up Main street they went, at as fast a gallop as the deacon could do; the flasks thumping their ribs, and the turkey bobbing about in his basket as if possessed. Frisk trotted ahead of them, sticking his tongue knowingly out of his mouth, turning, occasionally, to see if all was right behind, and then setting off again, as zealously and understandingly as either of his companions. The straggling houses on either side were dark, but their windows shone and glared in the moonlight like great spectral eyes lit up with ghastly astonishment. The street rolled before them, perfectly deserted, and not a sound was abroad except the moaning of the wind, and the tramp of their hob-nailed shoes over the stiffened turf. How we fly! how we soar!" hallooed the deacon, puffing, and waving his free arm aloft, in the firm persuasion that he was shooting through air. As the gallop became slower, from loss of wind, Teague was able to uncork his bottle, and get it to his mouth. The rum was excellent; and he kept on tasting, until he, too, began to imagine that he felt lighter, and would soon be off among the tree-tops. A canter of three miles, with an occasional rest, and, on Teague's part, a good many pulls at the stone-bottle, carried them over the neck, quite into the skirts of the forest. Having spent their last breath in climbing a knoll, crowned by chestnuts and underbrush, which Bowson declared was the assembling-place,
they spread their provender on a flat rock at its summit, and sat down to blow for a few minutes. Then the deacon commenced sounding his trumpet. The awful solitude of trees sent back confused, sepulchral echoes to the discordant notes; and some screech-owls in the swampy distance responded dolefully, with their hollow hoo-hoo-hoorer-hoo! "Do you hear them? See them come! Here they are! Welcome, brothers! Welcome, princes and servants of the powers of the air!" shouted the mad bugler. And toot, toot, brawled the broken-winded trumpet again, in every unimaginable variety of abominable snorts and villainous screechings. "Welcome, brothers," roared Bowson again. "What hosts! what multitudes! what an assembly! sit down; fall to; brothers and sisters, eat your fill!"
The flasks were uncorked, and the turkey was torn into fragments. The deacon fell to devouring, calling loudly on all present to imitate him, and passing the bottle, with incessant hospitality, to dozens of imaginary comrades. Frisk rushed in from the thickets, where he had been disturbing a family of partridges, and seemed to relish a oneo'clock supper as well as any two-legged wizard. Teague did wonders upon the turkey, and so heartened himself by drinks of rum and drinks of canary, that he was ready to join hands with no matter what infernal principalities and pow
He made a speech in Irish, roared volunteer songs, and proposed toasts to Apollyon, Beelzebub, and all the other royalties. After the feast, they struck a light, roused up a fire, and kindled a couple of pine torches. "Dance!" yelled the deacon, waving his flambeau about his head. Dance, brothers and sisters! hurray!"
"Erin go bragh! Satan go bragh!" responded Teague, with a kind of informal patriotism, swinging the other torch, and setting off in a Tipperary reel. The wild deacon danced, and the wild Irishman danced-stamping over fallen branches, bursting through leafless thickets, shouting, laughing, cursing, too, and filling up the clamor with blasts of lunatic brazen dissonance. The trumpet was dreadful to Frisk; it was worse than church-bells or psalm-tunes; it made him throw back his head, and howl in acute despair; he galloped about delightedly, after the two madmen, jumping, barking, and chasing the
foes, he earnestly wished himself back in Andover. The very horses snorted with affright, while the two negroes commenced praying loudly to the great Obie. The figures disappeared in the thicket; dashed out, presently, in another place again vanished, and again reappeared, until it seemed, to the terrified spectators below, that scores, if not hundreds, of wizards were careering and howling about the woody knoll. "Get up," screeched Parris to his horse, as soon as he could loosen his tongue from the roof of his mouth, and spurring like mad, he broke away in headlong gallop through mud and sludge toward Salem. For the night, the strangeness of what he saw, and his natural cowardice, made him, for once, a fervent believer in the close reality of witchcraft. 66 G'long! g'long!" yelled the darkeys, flogging on after the elder, while, close on their heels, half frightening them into fits, thundered the ponderous steed of the magistrate. At this moment the deacon caught sight of the fugitives, and, imagining them to be a belated company of brother wizards, he rushed down the slope, waving his torch, and blowing his trumpet, as signals of welcome. Teague, and the delighted Frisk, followed him close, with an astonishing chorus of Tipperary yells, and canine bow-wows. And now ensued a very pretty race, in which Curwin lost his gold-headed cane, Parris his shovel hat, the darkeys their stirrups, and all of them several pounds of perspiration apiece. But bipeds were no match for quadrupeds, of course; and the pursuers soon lost sight of their supposed followers, down the murky distance. Parris and his comrades never drew bridle nor ceased spurring, not even after those figures and torches had disappeared behind them, until they had reached the thickest of the village. All along Main street, the good people awoke at the furious tramp, and thought that the entire infernal host was riding by.
leaves, but regularly stopping to yell, when the deacon stopped to blow. They were all so tired that they could hardly have played leap-frog with a grass-hopper, when a crash among the boughs above them, followed by a whine of terror from Frisk, bespoke the near approach of some frightful thing, spiritual or temporal. "Be jabers! there's the owld one, sure enough," said Teague, pointing to a couple of great, gleaming eyes, which shone at them from a mass of branches. The deacon raised his trumpet and blew a mighty blast of welcome in the direction of the new comer. There was another rustling, succeeded by the upward sway of a bough, and they saw a catamount leap to the ground, and make off with the stealthy speed of terror. Away went the deacon in clamorous pursuit, and away went Teague and Frisk on the trail of the deacon. But the creature vanished down the forest by-ways, nor showed so much as his cowardly tail in the vicinity during the rest of the meeting. Once more the dance recommenced in all its primitive frenzy; once more the little knoll resounded to an uproar that made night hideous.
Now it so happened that Elder Parris and Justice Curwin, with a negro servant apiece, were journeying that very night, from Andover to Salem. Legal business had detained them late at the former place; but it was necessary that they should reach home before morning, in order to be present at some witch trials. The roads were excessively bad. The elder's horse had cast a shoe, which it took long to replace; and thus it happened that, an hour or two after midnight, they arrived, fagged and sleepy, beneath the knoll on which the deacon held his orgies. The sky was completely overclouded by this time, and the travelers had to flounder on in darkness, through ruts, mud, and thinly frozen puddles. Suddenly a light appeared on the sloping bank above them, and a chorus of screams, barks, and trumpet-blasts, broke on their astonished ears. "Mercy on us! Oh, Lord, have mercy on us!" exclaimed the elder, pulling up his horse, and staring in dismay at a couple of figures which dashed out of the underbrush, leaping, hallooing, and waving handfuls of flame. Bless me! bless me ! the witches are surely upon us," echoed Curwin; and brave as he was to human
The fugitives halted at the Ship tavern, which they beset with such outrageous knockings, that John Stacy, the landlord, poked his head out of the window in a stuttering rage. He was quelled, however, by the well-known voice of Curwin, and tumbled down stairs in an unbuttoned respectfulness of haste to open the door. A candle being lighted, Stacy stared in amaze
ment, to see the two grave gentlemen all in a tremble, their horses in a foam, and their negroes turned to a kind of pepper-and-salt color. An explanation was soon given by the justice, inasmuch as Parris, for once, in his loquacious life, was unable to talk. Curwin's courage so much revived as he spoke, that he ended by saying, they must call out, immediately, all the fighting men in the village, and "make a resolved effort to capture this important hellish brood in the very act of its hideous deviltries." The company, accordingly, scattered to give the alarm from house to house, each one groping stealthily about, in no small trepidation, through the thick darkness, fearful lest the wizards should charge down Main street on ther broomsticks, like a squadron of dragoons, and so make a horrible end of Salem. Presently, Curwin's darkey stole on tip-toe into the tavern, and was scared at finding another black fellow, already nestled in the fire-place, watching the door with eyes like goggles. "Hi 'ou, nigga man," said he, in a stutter ; why 'ou here for frightnin' fella so when he come to warm hisself?"
"Boo, boo!" exclaimed the other. "Oh, dat 'ou, Quash? Wah, wah! 'ou jes' fraid 'ouself."
"Dat true, Cæsar," returned Quash, candidly, as he crept up to the fireplace, and squatted in its vacant corner. "I'se mighty cautious 'bout stirrin' up dem Obie people, dat berry sarten. What 'ou s'pose dey do to nigga man when dey 'have so to white folks?"
Goramanty, Quash," said Cæsar; "boo, boo! don' 'ou tell Mass Parris how I swear; but I'se drefful skeered, too, I'se willin to 'fess. What for dey wanty fight Obie men in 'ee dark? Spose we lock 'ee door and keep everyting out till massas come back 'gen."
While these two colored gentlemen, of nervous temperament, made themselves safe, and discussed the horrors of witchcraft, Curwin and his band raised half the village, and returned with fifty or sixty armed men, to the tavern. John Stacy brought word that he had found Deacon Bowson's house open, and the women-folks fastened into their rooms, while the deacon and Teague were missing. Mrs. Bowson was afraid her husband was murdered; but Sarah Carrier declared that he had gone to a witch-meeting.
Curwin mounted his horse and led off the musketeers toward the scene of the demoniac revels. Parris remained behind, and established a little meeting in the bar-room, which was soon overrun with disheveled good-wives. The moon came out and lighted the valorous Salemites on their way to the field of expected battle; but the infernal troop had apparently fled from the attack, for they found the knoll silent and deserted. Scouring its underbrush, from side to side, they at last discovered Teague in the centre of a spruce thicket, fast asleep, with his head in a greasy basket, a broomstick by his side, and a rummy flask slung over his shoulder. Shakings, slappings with scabbards, and nosetweakings, restored him to a semi-consciousness; but he was as drunk as a dozen lords, and quite unable to give an account of himself or any other matter. Suddenly two or three men called out that they saw a dog, and gave chase. "It is a familiar," said one; and he was about to fire, when Curwin struck up his piece, and bawled: "Surrender !" The creature seemed disposed to obey the summons, for it ran directly towards them, barking and capering in the most vigorous style of canine gratulation. It's Frisk," cried some one; "it's the deacon's dog; he'll lead us to his master."
Frisk, on his part, tried every doggish encouragement to inveigle them onward; running into the forest, then back, whining, wagging his tail, and again setting off through the labyrinth of shadows. Twenty or thirty men started in pursuit, bursting through bushes, stumbling over fallen trunks, breaking into frozen puddles, and, all the while, offering up fervent ejaculations for aid and courage. After a run of three or four hundred yards, Frisk halted, and set to barking furiously at the foot of a lonely chestnut, which lifted its bare, solitary height, like a skeleton, against the dull sky. As if in response to his bow-wows, a cracked, woeful trumpeting opened from the dreariness of leafless branches, followed by loud yells and a shout of insane laughter. Looking up, the astonished Puritans beheld the figure of some stout gentleman bestriding a bough, thirty feet from the ground, and seesawing after a most dangerous fashion. They summoned him down, but he only told them to fly up to him, and volunteered another
blast on his outrageous trumpet. of the boldest climbed the tree, and after a long discussion, and a sufficiently perilous scuffle, succeeded in getting the stout gentleman to descend.
It was the deacon. He had flown there, he said, when the meeting broke up; and, to prove it, he showed his broomstick, which he had tied to his coat-tails. In exhaustless wonderment and much thaumatographical disputation, his captors led him to the village, whither, by this time, others of the party had conveyed Teague. When the two worthies awoke, late on the morrow, they found themselves occupying the same corn-shuck bed in a cell of the Salem prison.
ON the sour, sullen morning which followed this wonderful night-adventure, Elder Parris arose from his two hours' sleep with a shocking cold in his head, and the rheumatism in his toe. He would willingly have given up the most exciting witch trial, rather than go out that day; but go he must, if he did not wish to see the course of justice delayed; for Attorney Newton was on pressing legal business at Ipswich; and he had promised to make good the lawyer's absence. So, having eaten his breakfast with many moans and sneezings, he ordered Cæsar to bring old Grizzle to the door. "Laws and testimonies, Elder," remonstrated his wife; now, massy on us, what a morning for a delicut creetur like you to be flying all abroad !”
Spouse," returned Parris, with a complaining groan, and then an illnatured sneeze, "let us not murmur. Doth not God temper the wind to his shorn lambs? I marvel that you should doubt it, spouse."
Well, I don't know," said Mrs. Parris, venturing for once to question one of her husband's positions. "You be a lamb, elder; that you be, if ever there was one. But I don't see as the Lord has tempered the wind to you of any great account, this morning in perticler. I think if he had a tempered it a leetle more, it wouldn't a hurt him; that I do."
The elder made no reply, except by a groan; for he was very much of his wife's thinking, at the moment. this time the girls were cloaked and
hooded for the expedition; and Parris, having struggled into his boots and overclothes, limped to the door; Cæsar, in the meanwhile, calling from the gate, in stentorian bad English, that the horse was ready. This Cæsar, by the way, was a late acquisition to the parsonage property; the notorious John Indian having insolently run away from the frequent applications of the elder's ill-tempered horsewhip.
Parris mounted, grumbling, to the saddle; took Abigail up before, and Elizabeth behind him; and then, by means of various jerks and kicks, started Grizzle into a jumbling canter. A halfhour's ride brought them to the ancient and weather-worn house, in which, for want of room in the prison, Rachel and several other accused persons had been immured. A dull sleet was falling all the while-a damp, drizzly, uncomfortable mixture of rain and snow, highly rheumatic in its tendencies-a mixture which penetrated to the elder's suffering toe, and made it crawl with anguish. It was in a horrible bad humor, therefore, that he entered the old keepingroom, and saluted a party of his fellowinquisitors. He did not dare, indeed, to browbeat Hawthorne and Curwin; on the contrary, he waggled his head, and addressed them most civilly by the titles of esquire and worshipful; but he revenged himself by scowling with magnificent ferocity upon the half-dozen afflicted ones who were present. In fact, his conduct toward this part of the community had always been disrespectful. He seemed to hold them in no sort of veneration, and boxed them about in a style which very few dared imitate. The old rascal knew the emptiness of their pretenses; and, like most great hypocrites, he loved to tyrannize over little ones. He, therefore, now elbowed them out of their corner of the fire-place, and installed himself and his family in front of them, right in the cheeriest glow of the blazing walnut. Elizabeth Hubbard, May Walcott, Mary Lewis, and old Santy, got out of his way, as if he were their chief persecuting devil. A small girl from Ipswich, however, named Sarah Good, who had never seen Parris before, stood her ground, and surveyed him, finger in mouth, with all the energy of youthful curiosity. "Child," said he with a snarl, "make your manners, and cease staring. Am I a sea or a