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whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"
Sarah Good courtesied and fell back immediately; thinking, perhaps, that the stout elder was very like a whale. Worshipful Master Curwin," was Parris's next observation, "where is Helder Noyse? Is this a time to stay at 'ome and take one's hease, when God is showing his people 'ard things, and causing them to drink the wine of astonishment? 'Ave I not come 'ere from Salem village through rain and sleet, with a cold in my 'ead and the rheumatics in my great toe, merely that the testimony against the wicked may not fail for lack of a scribe ? I 'ave indeed; and I thank 'eaven which 'ath given me strength for such a duty. Oo is on the Lord's side? 'Oo? Is Helder Noyse? Then he should be
Further remark was prevented by the entrance of Noyse, pale and agitated, yet striving to smile and bow with his usual courtliness. After the ordinary pious salutations had been exchanged, he, of course, inquired about the awful affair of the night previous. "Brother," responded Parris solemnly, "that was a scene to try the believer's soul. Never before did I so feel that a 'orse is a vain thing for safety. Five thousand devils, Brother Noyse-yes, five thousand devils and witches in one 'ellish congregation! These heyes saw them-these 'uman heyes; and it is of the mercies of God that they were not turned into stone at the nefandous spectacle. Ho! then I called for 'elp upon the chariots of the Lord, which are thousands upon thousands; and thanks be unto Him '00 'eareth prayer; for, even as I shouted and roared to Him, the devilish crowd vanished from behind us. Shall we not thank Him! Yea, let us do so directly."
Without further warning he got on his knees, of course, constraining the whole company to do likewise. But we will not trouble ourselves to report his tempestuous supplication. When it was over, he said immediately: "Now then, refreshed by the blessing of 'eaven, let us examine the guilty
"Who shall we have out first?" questioned Curwin, rubbing his freshlyshaven chin.
"I propose," said Noyse from the window, "that we examine first the
He looked a little anxious, however, notwithstanding his ready assent; as if he had already begun to suspect that the mystery in question was too shallow to bear much sounding. Parris also stared about him in some perplexity, but ended by rubbing his painful toe, and nodding a sulky assent. The justice made a sign to Arnold, the subjailer who had charge of the bulding, and the latter marched out with a tramp of ponderous officiality. In a few moments he reëntered, leading in and almost lifting along the pallid, pretty wife of our Mark. She cast a terrified, shrinking glance around the room, tottered as soon as she was left alone, and then made a trembling courtesy to the row of dignitaries. Immediately the whole platoon of witnesses cried out that she courtesied to Satan, and, swept by the diabolical power, fell over each other in howling convulsions. Rachel, with large eyes and clasped hands, gazed, shocked, astonished, and terrified, on this lunatic confusion, this spitting of pins, this rolling against the andirons under pretense of being thrust by demons into the fire. When it was over, Curwin politely bowed to Hawthorne, and said: "Take the examination into your own hands, justice. I give way to you cheerfully, if it so please you.”
"I will not be behind you in civility," returned Hawthorne, with something like a smile of sarcasm. "Do us the favor, and question the prisoner yourself. You were witness of the stir of last night; and you can best put your interrogatories thereupon, if so be you think that Rachel here had aught to do with it."
"You are here accused by six or eight of hurting them," resumed Curwin. "What do you say to it?"
"I never saw some of these persons before, and I never hurt any of them," said Rachel. 66 I never saw the Indian woman before, but once in prison.”
“She have, she have," gabbled Santy, rolling up her eyes after the possessed manner. "She give me drink before Sagamore, he house. Then I take her to ponis her, and she fly in window like bird; but I tare frock to her."
"What does the creature mean?" broke in Hawthorne, with a scowl of no little contempt. "What do you mean, you old drunkard? Are we to take the witness of one who is not understandable?"
"Bless me, Brother 'Awthorne," interposed Parris, smiling his oiliest upon the tall, grand, scornful magistrate, "do not frighten the babes in faith. Are we not commanded not to despise one of these little ones? Surely we are. You remember the text, doubtless, Brother 'Awthorne. Let us 'ave patience with this simple babe."
'I will explain for the poor woman," said Noyse, putting himself forward, but taking care not to face Rachel. "She would say that the apparition of the prisoner once offered her the devil's cup to drink; and that she refused it, trying to seize the prisoner and punish her; whereupon the prisoner flew into her father's window and escaped, but not without a rent in her skirt. I propose that the skirt be examined for such a rent."
Santy went on with some babble about a squirrel that was Rachel's familiar; and her nonsense was duly translated by Noyse, who rendered her into English as glibly as if he had the gift of tongues.
She saith the devil comes to you in the shape of a squirrel," proceeded Curwin. “What answer you to that?"
"If it please your worship, I know naught of it," replied Rachel. She shook her head in sad denial, and instantaneously all the afflicted shook their heads with convulsive fury. "I am no witch," she insisted desperately, clasping her hands; and at this natural gesture the possessed twined their accursed fingers together, howling like jackals. The justice, however, seemed to be little impressed by these signs and wonders, for the reason, perhaps, that familiarity breeds contempt, even for the devil. He, on the contrary, seemed to be affected by the poor child's distress, and put his next question in a rather soothing tone: "Well, if you are not a witch--that is, if you have not wrote in the devil's book-yet tell us how far you have gone. Have you not had to do with familiar spirits ?"
"I have no familiarity with the devil," replied Rachel, beginning to cry at that faint intonation of kindness.
"How is it, then, that your appearance seemeth to hurt these ?" continued Curwin, still more softened.
"I am innocent," she simply answered, sobbing and wiping her eyes with her apron.
'Why," broke in Parris, with a roar of savage determination, as if to stiffen up the failing backbone of the justice, 'why, woman, you act witchcraft openly before us by the motion of your body,
"I hope I am not charged of murder," responded Rachel, staring at him with horrified amazement.
You 'ope not, you 'ope not,' repeated the elder, who was powerful at a sneer. Ay, but we know you are charged of it. Some 'ave accused you of it; yea, spectres 'ave been seen who accused you of most bloody murders. Your uncle Bowson 'ath seen them, which drew aside their winding-sheets, showing holes in their throats, and then cried out upon you as their murderess. This he ath freely confessed, being of your party, also, and now in prison for his own witcheries, as you well know."
This was the first allusion that had been made to the crazy deacon; and even the impudent Parris would not have ventured it, had he not been at a loss for accusations. Bowson was so evidently lunatic now, and his confessions so clearly unworthy of any sane attention, that each of our leading inquisitors had already come to a pretty distinct conclusion that it would be best to drop him altogether as a witness. Thus neither Curwin, nor Parris, nor Noyse, had said a word about the deacon's dream, or his mad escapade of the night previous; and thus, too, neither of these remarkable adventures were
brought on to the carpet in any subsequent court of justice.
Returning to Rachel, we must observe that she had not heard of Parris's adventure with the five thousand devils; and so, after staring in much wonderment at that priestly personage, she replied: Sir, I know nothing of my uncle's imprisonment."
"What!" interposed Curwin, "know ye not that he is in jail, and that he hath confessed against himself and against you?"
'If it please your worship, I truly did not know it," said Rachel.
She know it, she know it!" shrieked Santy. "I tell her so, two hour."
Why, look you - you are taken now in a flat lie," said Curwin, severely, for the dignified justice had been annoyed by the reference to Bowson's ridiculous adventure, and by a smile of grim pleasantry from Hawthorne.
"Please you, I did not understand her; truly I did not!" exclaimed the girl, disconsolately. "I thought she was speaking Indian: indeed I did, as true as God lives."
place-truly I can't. I want to see my husband. Where is my husband? Please, good gentlemen, tell me where is my husband?"
He is safe at home, poor thing," said Hawthorne, coming forward and taking her by the hand, with a gentle sympathy which ought to have surprised her.
"Oh, no, he isn't," persisted Rachel. "No, he isn't. Oh, what have you done with him? I know you have seized him, too."
"Good-man Arnold," called Parris, "why don't you take the woman away?"
And the jailer led her off, closing the oaken door on her sobs and be wailings. Then, as if struck by a sudden remembrance, Parris turned round and said, with a delightful smile: "Ho! ha! and what is your opinion concerning the remandment, Brother 'Awthorne ?"
Do as you please. I have other affairs to attend to,' answered that offended and offensive justice; and out of the room he stalked proudly, without vouchsafing a salute to the elder.
Other accused persons were now brought in and examined after the same satisfactory fashion. But it would not be interesting, I suspect, to pause longer over such a monotony of bigoted injustand we will, therefore, skip three or four hours, and see what Elder Parris will do about securing dinner. He did not wish to go home for that purpose, inasmuch as there was a sharp sleet and rain storm driving, which made riding disagreeable; and he also had further business of a private nature in Salem. Noyse had already slipped away, to dine, as he said, with a parishioner. As for Curwin, it was publicly known that, for months past, he had celebrated Saturday as a fast, to atone for his profanity at the arrest of More. Thus the hungry minister was really in a quandary how to find sufficient pasture; unless, indeed, he could remember some abundant board where his uninvited presence was likely to be agreeable. The impudence of his nature was fully shown in the choice that he made; for he actually decided to forage on the bereaved and wretched household of the Bowsons, altogether regardless of the antipathy with which he would be viewed by a family that his infamies had so terribly ravaged; thoughtful only of the fat joints and exhaustless pastries which used to greet
him there when he was the honored guest of the simple deacon.
"A good-morning to you, Mrs. Bowson," said he, as he entered the house with a waggling bow and a smile of many teeth. “Truly you must be sur prised to see me. Well, I 'ave brought myself and these two dear lambs to you, seeking some of the pleasant pastures of old times. Were they not pleasant pastures? Indeed they were, and I never denied it. Yea, I'ave come to dine with you, dear mistressbeing 'ere on the Lord's special business. Shall we not be beholden to the righteous for food? Verily we shall, and with 'igh pleasure.”
'Oh, sir--why, sir," said sister Ann, stammering and turning red, "I am sure I did not expect you-but—”
'Surely, surely," repeated Parris, "you did not expect us, but we are welcome all the same. Ho! this is a lovely thing, this brotherhood of the saints; is it not, Mistress Bowson? I dine at your table without 'esitation; and you dine at mine when-ahem-when you are at Salem village; and neither of us with doubting, but contrary wise. Is not it a beautiful thing, indeed, this brotherhood and sisterhood? Yes, indeed it is, and none but an unregenerate person would dispute it. You certainly will not, Sister Bowson. And now, since we are to 'ave dinner, let us 'ave it presently, for I 'ave much urgent business to arrange afterward; that is, of the Lord's affairs, Sister Bowson."
The poor lady was fairly caught, and had to submit to the resolute and unwelcome guest. But a little more conversation gave her time to collect her thoughts, and she presently went out with a half smile which foreboded no good to the stomach of the ravening elder. The dinner was a mighty time in preparing; and the kitchen door, when opened, showed an ominous array of tubs and other washing apparatus. Still, the table was set, after a while, and duly mounted with various covered dishes. They took their seats; the minister said an energetic grace; and Hannah, with an ill-concealed grin, removed the covers. What was the dismay, the disappointment, the anguish of Parris, as he gazed on one dish of cold boiled codfish, insufficient for a boy, and one other containing three cold boiled turnips, with not another eatable thing on the table, except tho
At the word feast, he looked as if he could faint; but he proceeded in glum silence to cut up and help the fearfully dry codfish; while Mrs. Bowson, with much show of welcome, distributed to each person half a turnip. The meal was swallowed with wry faces enough; but still it was swallowed, down to the last crumble of the johnnycake, Sister Ann eating more than her share out of deliberate malice, and the others eating from sheer starvation. "Mistress Bowson," said Parris, in about three minutes from the first mouthful, is there not another slice of this fish? It is-hemit is very hexcellent."
Please, mum," interposed Hannah, "there's not another bit in the house, mum;" and Hannah spoke the truth, for, ten minutes before, she had carried every eatable thing over to Good-wife Stanton's.
"Dear me !" said this malicious Sister Ann, "what a thousand pities. I am truly afraid, Elder, that you will not have enough to eat. But it is washingday with me, you know; and, doubtless, even Mistress Parris is modest in her table on washing days."
He was intensely provoked, and had no mind to say anything agreeable; but at that moment an edifying spiritual illustration occurred to him, and his vanity would not permit him to omit it. "Yea, Mistress Bowson," said he, "these washing days are a bad business-a very bad business; but even the worst things are not without their 'oly teachings and himprovings. Thus, on those days when we wash our dirty linen, we eat slim and mean dinners; and also on those days which we devote to a special cleansing of our souls, we do the same—that is, keep a fast. Thus you see washing days, with their short commons, are a type of fast days with their short commons. Ho! what a thrice blessed thing is it to keep a fast!
Is it not? Yes, indeed, and you will not deny it. Nevertheless, when a man has been keeping fasts upon fasts-yea, fasting, as it were, for a year together— in short, Sister Bowson, when a man is in my condition, having, moreover, a bad cold in his 'ead and the rheumatics in his toe-in such a case these washing days are specially 'ard upɔn him— yes, indeed, Sister Bowson. My dear child," he added, turning to Hannah, "could you not bring me another morsel of that savory Hindian corn bread?"
No, please sir," said Hannah. "Fasting is a famous simple for a cold, Elder," said Sister Aun, comfortingly.
Yes, Mistress Bowson, but not too much of it, Mistress Bowson," he responded, glaring around the table in vain search after another crumb of johnnycake, and then rising from his chair with a snort of dissatisfaction. He looked so famished, so desperate, and, in short, so savage, that she grew frightened lest he suspected her trick, and should revenge it upon her husband and Rachel. She, therefore, congratulated him on the flourishing condition of the church of Salem village; its freedom from dissension, and its large accessions of converts. For there was a face of truth in all this; order reigned in Salem village, and various timid sheep had been scared into the fold. She had hit the right chord, and he was mollified; not that he was reconciled to the loss of his dinner, but the hope came upon him of winning a parishioner.
"True, Sister Bowson, true," said he, "Ow wonderfully the Lord 'ath comforted Zion! Since the tares 'ave been rooted out from among us, not less than a dozen remarkables of grace 'ave been vouchsafed. My own dear daughter 'ere, this dear niece of mine, and my faithful servant in the Lord, Cæsar, are among the number of those who newly sing salvation. Surely it is delightful to see 'Eaven thus circumventing the devil, and making use of his own outrageous hatrocities to bring 'ome the lost sheep of Hisrael."