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cessors. By this theory, also, we escape that incredible doctrine of original sin, and are not called upon, in logical necessity, to damn our infants."

"Master More," exclaimed Noyse, in some real indignation at these sweeping heresies, "I have heard it said, by a worthier man than I, that hell is paved with the skulls of infants."

More lost his temper-an article that he was constantly losing now-at this tremendous affirmation. "They must be infant Calvinists, then," said he; "for I know of no other skulls that would be thick enough for such a purpose."

As soon as he had uttered this uncivil sarcasm, he regretted it; and, as soon as he regretted it, he tried to make amends for it by an act of courtesy. He disliked to invite Noyse into the cabin and into Rachel's presence; yet he did so with an appearance of perfect cordiality. The minister's heart vibrated in one second through many acceptances and refusals; but he yielded to the temptation. We may guess that, however earnest was his zeal for orthodoxy, the shadow of that roof suspended at once, in his mind, every disputatious wind of doctrine. He thought but of Rachel: how he should look her in the face; how he should address her. As he crossed the threshold, she raised her eyes from her ironing, and flushed to a crimson, which was the antipodes of his own paleness. She thought for a moment that her father had been won over to the side of Noyse, and had come with him to present once more that hateful suit. Her self-command partially returned when More's first expressions hinted to her that the visit was the result of accident; and then, like an inexperienced young thing as she was, ignorant of the cruel rights of coquetry, she felt that she owed the elder some amends for having refused his respectable hand and heart. She put her iron on the hearth, with its hot face to the smouldering coals, and sat respectfully down, nearly as hot-faced herself, with folded hands and a look of serious attention. As Noyse marked her gentle though forced smile, and the soft, subdued tremor visible through her eyes, and the beauty which clothed her more exuberantly than he had ever seen it before, all the anger, that he might have harbored against her, died away as if forever. The confi

dence of more than magisterial authority perished from his spirit, and he felt as if he could bend, ay, descend wonderfully, to secure one loving look from that blushing girl. He had to make a violent effort, before he could rally his scattered wits, and get them to charge into the breach of conversation. He did talk, however, and with that feverish animation which often marks the discourse of men distracted by some strong excitement. The master of the house had a pet plan for converting and civilizing the Indians: he proposed to conquer them and hive them by force, in some pleasant island of Barataria; there he would govern them by a system of socialism, as Moses governed the Hebrews and Lycurgus the Spartans; they would quit those disagreeable ways of taking scalps, and so forth, to become industrious, peaceful, and philosophical. Noyse, on the contrary, thought that nothing could be done effectually for the savages, except in the missionary way; and he gave a rather confused account of the pious labors of Eliot and Mayhew, among the decayed aboriginal populations of Massachusetts. Rachel timidly remarked, that it was a pity if the English could not show the Indians to a better world, since they had left them so little room in this. The absent-minded elder highly approved of this observation, and gravely congratulated Rachel that she could see what was most needful for those poor heathens. The interview lasted for half an hour; but it was a stiff, disagreeable one, and all three were more or less glad when it terminated. Yet, Noyse, however relieved for the moment to get out of doors, went away from the cabin more enslaved than he ever had been previously. From that day, too, he began cautiously to resume his visits, much to the annoyance of Rachel, the perplexity of More, and the anguish of Mark Stanton. By the way, it was none of Stanton's business, although he was at the cabin at every spare moment, running backwards and forwards between it and the village in the enchanted haze of summer calms, or the weirdest of wizard winds; sometimes, even, through the demoniac fury and sorrow of rushing, howling, sobbing rains, sweeping on lightning wings from clouds of lofty darkness.


Ir was somewhat remarkable how rapidly Noyse picked up his assurance in consequence of that accidental visit. Within a fortnight thereafter he made three calls at the cabin, and was lucky enough, on the first occasion, to see Rachel alone. At the second trial, he was annoyed at finding Mark Stanton in possession of the field. But he set himself to catechising the youth on the sermons which had lately been delivered in Salem First Church; and he so thoroughly convicted him of inattention, or a slack memory, that poor Mark was fain to steal off in rather crest-fallen fashion. The elder had now discovered Rachel's haunt in the wood; so that she could no longer hope to avoid him by being out of the cabin. He was not in the least embarrassed by timid Margaret Jacobs, whom he could stare out of countenance and out of sight in five minutes. He talked very devoutly to Rachel, partly from a habit of so talking to every one, and partly from a sincere desire to form her character to his purposes. He tried, in particular, to impress upon her the duty of joining the church; or, as he seriously expressed it, of ascending publicly into the assembly of the elect. In these conversations he not only hitched unpleasantly near to her, but now and then grasped one of her hands in both of his. She did not dare to withdraw it frankly; for he was an elder, and his mouth was even then full of sanctity. Thus she sat in the greatest pain of spirit; fearful, perhaps, that Mark might come suddenly upon them-her cheeks burning brighter and brighter every moment-until, at last, she would manage to drop something, and release her hand as if to pick it up. If we will take the trouble to suppose a lamb, with a crocodile's paws endearingly around its neck, and the enormous mouth slavering love and piety close by its little ears, we shall have a rather strong idea of the repugnance with which Rachel bore these affectionate interviews.

One morning she was going alone to the village, on a visit to Aunt Ann, when, glancing ahead into the clearings, she saw the elder coming towards her, on his way, doubtless, to the usual scene of his idyls. It seemed very dishonorable to hide, but she could not resist the temptation of dodging into a copse

of young chestnuts, and thence behind a ledge of rock thick enough to shield her from the most piercing vision. There she remained, very much ashamed of herself, and tremblingly afraid of being discovered, until her reverend lover passed by and disappeared down the bushy pathway in the direction of the cabin. She heard his voice chanting a devotional hymn, and could distinguish the words of one of the verses

"Ejaculations shall ascend

Not seldom from me. I'll attend
Occasional reflections, and

Turn all to gold that comes to hand.'

Leaving him to such ejaculations and occasional reflections as might be suggested by finding the cabin locked, she quitted her hiding place, and hurried on toward the village, which she reached without accident, notwithstanding some spectral, mysterious whispers that followed her through the woodlands. It is worth while to observe here, that of all the ministers in the neighborhood, not one was more famous than Noyse for his spiritual conflicts, sorrows, and ecstasies. His passional, variable temperament, of course, got into his religion; and no professor had warmer fervors of piety, or richer transports of glory. Afterward came a season of devotion to the flesh; of unworthy coldness, at least. in spiritual duties; then remorse, penitence, forgiveness, and another excess of joy.

As Rachel approached her uncle's shop, she saw him come out of it with Justice Hawthorne, and walk away in the opposite direction. He looked more haggard, pale, and anxious than she had ever beheld him before. He had certainly grown thinner, as well as more shabby in his dress, during the month past. She entered the house and found her aunt, glad to see her as always, but with a sober, tearful look, which showed that she had been crying. What ails you, aunt?" asked Rachel, alarmed. "Have they taken up uncle? I saw him go away with Justice Hawthorne."

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"No, child; not so bad as that yet; though, who knows what will come upon us? But I am grieved to tell you that my good man and I have had a difference."

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"We have not exactly quarreled," replied Mrs. Bowson, coloring very slightly. "I do not like that word; still, I must own that I have tried to oppose his will, perhaps too sharply. The devil seems to be uppermost now for a season-that is certain. If he is not actually entangling us in sorceries, he is, at least, bringing much confusion into our village, even among families that were once united. I will tell you what your uncle and I have disagreed about. It is over now, to be sure, and I shall dispute him no more; but you ought to know what it is, so as not to cross him any more on the subject. We have no children, you know; and I am almost thankful for it now. We have, therefore, had no witchcrafts in our house; for hitherto those diableries seem to fasten chiefly on persons under age. But Deacon Bowson has been extremely anxious to watch the workings of these possessions of Satan; and, for that reason, has longed to have some afflicted child in our family. This morning Justice Hawthorne offered him the keeping of one, which he was inclined instantly to accept. I opposed it more strenuously than I ought to have done, which led to some hard words from him. That is all, child."

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Why, aunt. Why, I shall be afraid to come and see you, if you have witches here. Whose child is it?"

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It is Sarah Carrier, the daughter of that strange creature, Martha Carrier." "Sarah Carrier? Why, how can her mother let her go? Her mother spoils her with loving her."

"Her mother is in prison,” said Mrs. Bowson. "She was committed last evening as a witch, at the charge of her own child. And with her was committed her infirm old mother, Goody Carrier, who came on here, from nobody knows where, a month or two ago. People find it very strange that the aged creature should appear here so unexpectedly from parts unknown, just in these magical times. I fear, indeed, that it will go hard with them both; for Elder Noyse says that he considers Martha, especially, as a very dangerous


"Oh, aunt! what can this mean?" murmured Rachel, with a look of horror and suspicion, which was entirely misunderstood by Mrs. Bowson. The girl thought of Martha's warning to herself; of Noyse standing in the passage and

hearing it all; of the possibility that he was now working out a deadly revenge. She questioned her aunt about the commitment, and found that it was supposed to have been made out at the instigation of Parris. It might be, therefore, that Noyse was innocent of any vindictive intrigue; and, although she mistrusted him still, it would clearly be wrong to malign him on a mere suspicion; so that she remained silent.

The conversation went on in a wandering, cheerless, absent-minded strain, until voices in the yard interrupted it. The door opened, and John Bowson entered, with solemn face, leading the pert little Sarah Carrier. The child's black eyes flashed with fun and malice, although she made her manners very civilly to Mrs. Bowson and Rachel. “Oh, Sarah!" said the latter, "what is the matter with you "I'm a witch," piped the little girl. "Do you want to hear the dog bark in me? Bow-wow, wow."

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"Where is your mother?" asked Rachel, taking the young imp by the hand, and looking in her eyes very gravely.

"I don't know," replied Sarah, stopping suddenly in her yelps and assuming a rather serious air. Then, turning to the deacon, she said in a sharp, imperious tone, as if she already knew her power over him: "Where's my mother?"

"She is in prison," quickly answered the deacon, who was staring at her all the time with as much wonder and awe as if she were Beelzebub himself.



"She's in prison," repeated the girl to Rachel. "But she'll come back. wouldn't let her go, only she said she'd come back. Granny's gone, too. They had to carry her. Somebody took away the broomstick. I s'pose that's in prisAin't it?" she said, addressing the


deacon. "Yes," he replied; "along with the other documents."

At that moment the sound of a clamorous knocking at the front door swept through the hall into the kitchen. "Hannah-run!" exclaimed Bowson. "It's the magistrates come to examine the afflicted one."

Hannah left off glowering at Sarah, and started for the hall, but was immediately run down, and run over by the deacon, who could not wait for her slow movements. Under the little portico,

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which shaded the front door of the house, stood Elder Parris. Elder Noyse, Justice Hawthorne, and Good-man Simon Willard. Sirs, enter," cried the deacon, bowing, grinning, and sidling about over everybody's toes in the most absurdly disconcerted manner. "This is an honor, reverend elders. The afflicted one is within, Justice Haw. therne. I trust she is in safe-keeping; I do, indeed, sirs. I am a thousandfold grateful to you, Master Hawthorne, for this favor, for being allowed to keep this afflicted one. Enter, sirs, in the keeping-room. I trust it will be of much spiritual benefit to me, sir. Be seated, gentlemen, I pray you. I will bring the afflicted one directly."

He bustled back to the kitchen, hitting himself against everything in the passage, and bawled out: "Wife, niecefollow me and the afflicted one." Then, taking Sarah cautiously by the hand, as if afraid she would bite him and so innoculate him with witchcraft, he led her into the awful presence of the magistrate and the two elders. We will pass over the greetings of the morning, and the chit-chat of news and explanations. Noyse saluted Rachel courteously, but without saying a word of his fruitless visit to the cabin, from whence he must have been now on his return. The deacon proposed that they should open the examination with prayer; and Parris, as the oldest of the two ministers, was requested to officiate. The loud-voiced elder of Salem village took up the family Bible, and began to read from the Seventy-ninth Psalm. Of course the devil could not stand this; and Sarah burst out in a succession of shrieks. Parris, not in the least dismayed, read the psalm through, with the energy of a thunder-storm, making himself distinctly audible amid all that vixenish accompaniment of indefatigable shrill wailings. Then, with the pluck of a good one, he called on the company to kneel, and led off in one of the most stunning supplications that ever made a pretense of scaling the heavens. This was putting another affront on the devil; and Sarah, as might have been expected, redoubled her uproar. Stopping her ears, she screamed with the piercing resonance of childish rage; threw herself violently on the floor; rolled hither and thither among capsizing chairs; executed a powerful diversion, with her stout little shoes, on Par

ris's rear; and behaved, altogether, in a manner which must have given Beelzebub the most humorous satisfaction. The louder she yelled, the louder her reverend rival hallooed; determined, as he afterwards observed with some littlə excusable vanity, that no devil in hell should ever outvoice him in his duty. He pounded, he grimaced, he sweated, he grew scarlet, but he triumphed and Sarah gave up the contest with a closing long-drawn shriek, as diabolical as a catamount's.

Justice Hawthorne now caught the child firmly by the arms, stood her up before him, and commenced the examination. Parris sat himself down to a table and wrote out each question and answer as it was uttered. Sarah," said the grave, dignified justice, "how long have you been a witch ?"


The girl put her finger in her mouth, looked rather sulkily on the floor, and replied that she didn't know. "Child," cried Parvis, sternly, "be careful what thou sayest. Reinember the confession thou didst make at thy grandmother's."

Sarah seemed to remember it; for sho answered immediately with a knowing smile: Ever since I was six years old."

"How old are you now?" continued Hawthorne.

"I am near eight years old,” she replied. "Mother says I'll be eight years old next November. I'll be most a woman, then.”

"Who made you a witch?" asked the magistrate.

"Mother made me. She made me set my hand to a book," said Sarah, in a monotonous tone, as if repeating some lesson which had been learned by heart.

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How did you set your hand to the book?" continued the Puritan inquisitor, speaking solemnly, but in a slightly official manner, as if executing a duty which had to him not even the charm of novelty.

"I touched it with my hand," answered Sarah; "and the book was red, and the paper of it was white."

Was there a black man there?" interposed Parris.

"No, there wasn't."

"Where did this happen?" broke in Hawthorne, eying the interloping elder in a way which signified that the latter's cross-questioning could be dispensed with. The child hesitated, as if re

volving some invention in her mind, and then said: "It was in Andrew Foster's pasture; and Elizabeth Johnson was there, too-not old Elizabeth. but little Elizabeth, like me."

"And who was there beside ?" continued the magistrate.

Again the girl hesitated before she answered-" Mother was there and granny."

"And when was it?" "When I was baptized." "Did they promise to give you anything?"

"No, they didn't."

"What! didst thou not say yesterday that they promised to give thee a black dog?" cried Parris, once more rushing in on the justice's official toes.

"Oh yes; they promised to give me a black dog," replied Sarah.

"Did the dog ever come to you?" inquired Hawthorne with severe dignity.

"No. But I think it is in my throat. Do you hear? Bow-wow, wow!"

"But you said that you saw a cat once, and that it spoke to you," observ ed the justice. What did it say to you?"


It said it would tear me in pieces if I would not set my hand to the book. Then I said I would. Then mother baptized me, and says she, 'Thou art mine forever and ever,' says she, 'amen!'"

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ther, a compound of nonsense too stupid even to excite laughter. Parris wrote it all down with as much solemnity as if he were receiving another gospel. When the deposition seemed to be complete enough for all prosecuting purposes, Hawthorne proposed that the two ministers should attest it. " Verily, you must excuse us, dear sir," replied the foxy old pastor of Salem village. "It were better that some layman should underwrite his name to the paper. We elders cannot break upon our little time by running hither and thither as witnesses to this and that and the other. The ministry is a great work, and cannot be neglected. I suppose, Squire Hawthorne, you will not pretend to say that it can be neglected. Who would dare say that? Goodman Willard, will you put your honored name to this paper?"

Accordingly, Simon Willard stepped forward and scrawled his signature at the bottom of the shameful page.

"What a diabolical deed!" observed Noyse. "Truly, we seem to be among the evil days when the tender and delicate women devoured their own children. Indeed, it is a lesser sin to devour the body of one's child than to sell it, body and soul, to Satan."

"I understand that this creature has had a promise from Satan that she shall be queen of hell," said Hawthorne.

"Oh, mercy on us," cried Bowson, "I hope she is not to be queen of Salem."

"Praise God! Salem is not yet a part of hell," observed Parris, with a look intended to express the very humility of gratitude. "It may yet be so; things wear an alarming face. But I hope not; my faith is still strong for Salem; I trustfully affirm yet that Salem will be saved. For, first, the devil promises when he is not able to perform; he is a boastful dunce, and talks big, even when he is at his wit's end. Second, he promises when he does not mean to perform; for he is a hopeless liar, and cheats his own followers. Therefore, I say, let us hope in God, and fear not the devil. Ought we to fear him? Do you say, young damsel (turning to Rachel), that we ought to fear him? You are old enough to know better."

To those who had ever heard this man speak in public, it was astonishing how like a vulgar blockhead he could

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