網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

cessors. By this theory, also, we es dence of more than magisterial aucape that incredible doctrine of ori thority perished from his spirit, and he ginal sin, and are not called upon, in felt as if he could bend, ay, descend logical necessity, to damn our in- wonderfully, to secure one loving look fants."

from that blushing girl. He had to “ Master More," exclaimed Noyse, in make a violent effort, before he could some real indignation at these sweeping rally his scattered wits, and get them heresies, “I have heard it said, by a to charge into the breach of conversaworthier man than I, that hell is paved tion. He did talk, however, and with with the skulls of infants."

that feverish animation which often More lost his temperan article that marks the discourse of men distracted he was constantly losing now—at this by some strong excitement. The mastremendous affirmation. “They must ter of the house had a pet plan for conbe infant Calvinists, then," said he ;“ for verting and civilizing the Indians : he I know of no other skulls that would proposed to conquer them and hive be thick enough for such a purpose." thein by force, in some pleasant island

As soon as he had uttered this un of Barataria; there he would govern civil sarcasm, he regretted it; and, as them by a system of socialism, as soon as he regretted it, he tried to make Moses governed the Hebrews and Lyamends for it by an act of courtesy. curgus the Spartans; they would quit He disliked to invite Noyse into the those disagreeable ways of taking cabin and into Rachel's presence; yet scalps, and so forth, to become indushe did so with an appearance of perfect trious, peaceful, and philosophical. cordiality. The minister's heart vi. Noyse, on the contrary, thought that brated in one second through many ac- nothing could be done effectually for ceptances and refusals ; but he yielded the savages, except in the missionary to the temptation. We may guess

way; and he gave a rather confused that, however earnest was his zeal for account of the pious labors of Eliot orthodoxy, the shadow of that roof sus and Mayhew, among the

the decayed pended at once, in his mind, every dis- aboriginal populations of Massachuputatious wind of doctrine. He thought setts. Rachel timidly remarked, that but of Rachel : how he should look her it was a pity if the English could not in the face; how he should address her. show the Indians to a better world, As he crossed the threshold, she raised since they had left them so little room her eyes from her ironing, and flushed in this. The absent-minded elder to a crimson, which was the antipodes highly approved of this observation, of his own paleness. She thought for and gravely congratulated Rachel that a inoment that her father had been she could see what was most needful won over to the side of Noyse, and had for those pour heathens. The intercome with him to present once more view lasted for half an hour; but it that hateful suit. Her self-command was a stiff, disagreeable one, and all partially returned when More's first three were more or less glad when it expressions hinted to her that the visit terminated. Yet, Noyse, however rewas the result of accident; and then, lieved for the moment to get out of like an inexperienced young thing as doors, went away from the cabin more she was, ignorant of the cruel rights enslaved than he ever had been proof coquetry, she felt that she owed the viously. From that day, too, he began elder some amends for having refused cautiously to resume his visits, much his respectable hand and heart. She to the annoyance of Rachel, the perput her iron on the hearth, with its hot plexity of More, and the anguish of face to the smouldering coals, and sat Marko Stanton. By the way, it was respectfully down, nearly as hot-faced none of Stanton's business, although he herself, with folded hands and a look of was at the cabin at every spare moserious attention. As Noyse marked ment, running backwards and forwards her gentle though forced smile, and between it and the village in tho enthe soft, subdued tremor visible through chanted haze of summer calms, or the her eyes, and the beauty which clothed weirdest of wizard winds ; sometimes, her more exuberantly than ho had even, through the demoniuc fury and ever seen it before, all the anger, that sorrow of rushing, howling, sobbing he might have harbored against her, rains, sweeping on lightning wings died away as if forever. The confi- from clouds of lofty darkness.

CIIAPTER XI.

of young chestnuts, and thence behind

a ledge of rock thick enough to shield It was somewhat remarkable how ra her from the most piercing vision. There pidly Noyse picked up his assurance in she remained, very much ashamed of consequence of that accidental visit. herself, and tremblingly afraid of being Within a fortnight thereafter he inade discovered, until her reverend lover three calls at the cabin, and was lucky passed by and disappeared down the enough, on the first occasion, to see bushy pathway in the direction of the Rachel alone. At the second trial, he cabin. She heard his voice chunting a was annoyed at finding Mark Stanton devotional hymn, and could distinguish in possession of the field. But he set the words of one of the verseshimself to catechising the youth on the sermons which had lately been delivered Ejaculations shall ascend in Salem First Church; and he so tho

Not seldom from me. I'll attend

Occasional reflections, and roughly convicted him of inattention,

Turn all to gold that comes to hand.' or a slack memory, that poor Mark was fuin to steal off in rather crest-fallen Leaving him to such ejaculations and fashion. The elder had now discovered occasional reflections as might be sugRachel's haunt in the wood; so that gested by finding the cabin locked, she she could no longer hope to avoid bim quitted her hiding place, and hurried on by being out of the cabin. He was not toward the village, which she reached in the least embarrassed by timid Mar without accident, notwithstanding some garet Jacobs, whom he could stare out spectral, mysterious whispers that folof countenance and out of sight in five lowed her through the woodlands. It minutes. He talked very devoutly to is worth while to observe here, that of Rachel, partly from a habit of so talking all the ministers in the neighborhood, to every one, and partly from a sincero not one was more famous than Noyse desire to form her character to his pur. for his spiritual conflicts, sorrows, and poses. He tried, in particular, to im ecstasies. His passional, variable tempress upon her the duty of joining the perament, of course, got into his relichurch; or, as he seriously expressed gion; and no professor bad warmer it, of ascending publicly into the assem fervors of piety, or richer transports of bly of the elect. In these conversations glory. Afterward came a season of dehe not only hitched unpleasantly near votion to the Aesh ; of unworthy coldto her, but now and then grasped one ness, at least. in spiritual duties; then of her hands in both of his. She did remorse, penitence, forgiveness, and not dare to withdraw it frankly; for he another excess of joy. was an elder, and his mouth was even As Rachel approached her uncle's then full of sanctity. Thus she sat in shop, she saw him come out of it with the greatest pain of spirit; fearful, per- Justice Hawthorne, and walk away in haps, that Mark might come suddenly the opposite direction. He looked more upon them-her cheeks burning brighter haggard, pale, and anxious than she had and brighter every moment-until, at ever beheld him before. He had cerlast, she would inanage to drop some tainly grown thinner, as well as more thing, and release her hand as if to pick shabby in his dress, during the month it up. If we will take the trouble to past. She entered the house and found suppose a lamb, with a crocodile's paws her aunt, glad to see her as always, but endearingly around its neck, and the with a sober, tearful look, which showed enormous mouth slavering love and piety that she had been crying. “What ails close by its little ears, we shall have a you, aunt ?" asked Rachel, alarmed. rather strong idea of the repugnance “ Have they taken up uncle? I saw with which Rachel bore these affection him go away with Justice Hawthorne." ate interviews.

“No, cbild ; not so bad as that yet; One morning she was going alone to though, who knows what will come upon the village, on a visit to Aunt Ann, But I am grieved to tell you that when, glancing ahead into the clearings, my good man and I have had a differshe saw the elder coming towards her, ence." on his way, doubtless, to the usual scene “Why, Aunt Ann, I thought that of his idyls. It seemed very dishonor you and uncle never quarreled," said able to hide, but she could not resist Rachel, with a little laugh of roguishthe temptation of dodging into a copse

us ?

ness.

" We have not exactly quarreled,” hearing it all; of the possibility that be replied Mrs. Bowson, coloring very was now working out a deadly revenge. slightly. “I do not like that word; She questioned her aunt about the comstill, I must own that I have tried to mitment, and found that it was supposed oppose his will, perhaps too sharply to have been made out at the instigation The devil seems to be uppermost now of Parris. It might be, therefore, that for a season—that is certain. If he is Noyse was innocent of any vindictive not actually entangling us in sorceries, intrigue ; and, although she mistrusted he is, at least, bringing much confusion him still, it would clearly be wrong to into our village, even among families malign himn on a mere suspicion; so that that were once united. I will tell you she remained silent. what your uncle and I have disagreed The conversation went on in a wanabout. It is over now, to be sure, and dering, cheerless, absent-minded strain, I shall dispute him no more; but you until voices in the yard interrupted it. ought to know what it is, so as not to The door opened, and John Bowson cross him any more on the subject. entered, with solemn face, leading the We have no children, you know; and pert little Sarah Carrier. The child's I am almost thankful for it now. We black eyes flashed with sun and malice, have, therefore, bad no witchcrafts in although she made her manners very our house ; for hitherto those diableries civilly to Mrs. Bowson and Rachel. “Oh, seem to fasten chiefly on persons under Sarah !" said the latter, what is the age. But Deacon Bowson has been ex- matter with you ?" tremely anxious to watch the workings " I'm a witch," piped the little girl. of these possessions of Satan; and, for “Do you want to hear the dog bark in that reason, has longed to have somo me? Bow-wow, wow." afflicted child in our family. This morn “Where is your mother?" asked ing Justice Hawthorne offered him the Rachel, taking the young imp by the keeping of one, which he was inclined band, and looking in her eyes very instantly to accept. I opposed it more gravely. strenuously than I ought to have done, “I don't know," replied Sarah, stopwhich led to some hard words from him. ping suddenly in her yelps and assumThat is all, child."

ing a rather serious air. Then, turning “Why, aunt. Why, I shall be afraid to the deacon, she said in a sharp, imto come and see you,

if
you

have witches perious tone, as if she already knew her here. Whose child is it?"

power over him: “Where's my moth* It is Sarah Carrier, the daughter of er?" that strange creature, Martha Carrier." "She is in prison," quickly answered

"Sarah Carrier? Why, how can her the deacon, who was staring at her all mother let her go? Her mother spoils the time with as much wonder and awe her with loving her.”

as if she were Beelzebub himself. “Her mother is in prison," said Mrs. “She's in prison," repeated the girl to Bowson. She was committed last Rachel. But she'll come back. I evening as a witch, at the charge of her wouldn't let her go, only she said she'd own child. And with her was com come buck. Granny's gone, too. They mitted her infirm old mother, Goody had to carry her. Somebody tvok away Carrier, who came on here, from nobody the broomstick. I s'pose that's in prisknows where, a month or two ago. Ain't it?" she said, addressing the People find it very strange that the aged deacon. creature should appear here so unex “Yes,” he replied ; " along with the pectedly from parts unknown, just in other documents." these magical times. I fear, indeed, At that moment the sound of a clamthat it will go hard with them both; for orous knocking at the front door swept Elder Noyse says that he considers through the hall into the kitchen. Martha, especially, as a very dangerous “ Hannah-run !" exclaimed Bowson. woman."

" It's the magistrates come to examine “Oh, aunt! what can this mean?" the afflicted one." murmured Rachel, with a look of horror Hannah left off glowering at Sarah, and suspicion, which was entirely mis and started for the hall, but was imme. understood by Mrs. Bowson. The girl diately run down, and run over by the thought of Martha's warning to herself ; deacon, who could not wait for her slow of Noyse standing in the passage and movements. Under the little portiw,

on.

66

which shaded the front door of the ris's rear; and behaved, altogether, in house, stood Elder Parris. Elder Noyse, a manner which must have given Beel. Justice Hawthorne, and Good-man Si. zebub the most humorous satisfaction. mun Willard. "Sirs, enter," cried the The louder she yelled, tho louder her deucon, bowing, grinning, and sidling reverend rival ballooed; determined, as about over everybody's tves in the most he afterwards observed with some littla absurdly disconcerted manner. " This excusable vanity, that no devil in hell is an honor, reverend elders. The should ever outvoice him in his duty. afflicted one is within, Justice Haw. He pounded, he grimaced, he sweated, therne. I trust she is in safe-keeping; he grew scarlet, but he triumphed; and I do, indeed, sirs. I am a thousand- Sarah gave up the contest with a closing fold grateful to you, Master Hawthorne, long-drawn shriek, as diabolical as a for this favor, for being allowed to keep catainount's. tbis afflicted one. Enter, sirs, in the Justice Hawthorne now caught the keeping-room. I trust it will be of child firmly by the arms, stood her up much spiritual benefit to me, sir. Be before him, and commenced the examin. seated, gentlemen, I pray you. I will ation. Parris sat hiinself down to a bring the afflicted one directly." table and wrote out cach question and

He bustled back to the kitchen, hitting answer as it was uttered. Sarah," himself against everything in the pas said the grave, dignified justice, “ how sage, and bawled out: "Wife, niece- loug have you been a witch ?" follow me and the afflicted one." Then, The girl put her finger in her mouth, taking Sarah cautiously by the hand, looked rather sulkily on the door, as if afraid she would bite him and so and replied that she didn't kuow. innoculate him with witchcraft, be led “Child,” cried Perris, sternly, “be her into the awful presence of the ma- careful what thou sayest. Reinember gistrute and the two elders. We will the confession thou didst make at thy pass over the greetings of the morning, grandmother's.” and the chit-chat of news and explana Sarah seemed to remember it; for sho tions. Noyse saluted Rachel courte- answered immediately with a knowing ously, but without saying a word of his smile : “Ever sinco I was six years fruitless visit to the cabin, from whence old.” he must have been now on his return. “How old are you now?" continued The deacon proposed that they should Hawthorno. open the examination with prayer; and “I am near eight years old," she reParris, as the oldest of the two minis- plied. “ Mother says I'll be eight years ters, was requested to officiate. The old next November. I'll be most a loud-voiced eliler of Salem village took woman, then." up the family Bible, and began to read " Who made you & witch ?" asked from the Seventy-ninth Psalm. Of the magistrate. course the devil could not stand this; “ Mother made me. She made mo and Sarah burst out in a succession of sot my hand to a book," said Sarah, in shricks. Parris, not in the least dis a monotonous tone, as if repeating some mayed, read the psalm through, with lesson which had been learned by heart. the energy of a thunder-storm, making *. How did you set your hand to the himself distinctly audible nmid all that book ?" continued the Puritan inquisivixenish accompaniment of indefatigable tor, speaking solemnly, but in shrill wailings. Then, with the pluck slightly official manner, as if executing of a good one, he called on the compa a duty which had to him not even the ny to kneel, and led off in one of the charm of noveliy. most stunning supplications that ever “ I touched it with my hand," made a pretense of scaling the heavens. answered Sarah ; "and the book was

This was putting another affront on the red, and the paper of it was white." devil; und Sarah, as might have been Was there a black man there?" expected, redoubled her upruar. Stop- interposed Parris. ping her ears, she screamed with the "No, there wasn't." piercing resonance of childish rage ; “Where did this happen?" broke in threw herself violently on the floor; Hawthorne, eying the interloping elder rolled bither and thither among capsiz- in a way which signified that the latter's ing chuirs; executed a powerful diver- cross-questioning could be dispensed sion, with ber stout little shoes, on Par with. The child hesitated, as if re

..

volving some invention in her mind, ther, a compound of nonsense too stupid and then said: “It was in Andrew even to excito laughter. Parris wroto Foster's pasture; and Elizabeth John- it all down with as much solemnity as son was there, too-not old Elizabeth, if he wero receiving another gospel. but little Elizabeth, like me.''

When the deposition seemed to be com“And who was there beside ?" con- plete enough for all prosecuting purtinued the magistrate.

poses, Hawthorne proposed that the two Again the girl hesitated before she ministers should attest it." Verily, you answered— Mother was there and must excuse us, dear sir,” replied the granny.

foxy old pastor of Salem village. "It " And when was it?"

were better that some layman should “When I was baptized.”

underwrite his name to the paper. We “Did they promise to give you any elders cannot break upon our little timo thing?"

by running hither and thither as wit. "No, they didn't."

nesses to this and that and the other. “What! didst thou not say yesterday The ministry is a great work, and canthat they promised to give thee a black not bo neglected. I suppose, Squire dog ?" cried Parris, once more rushing Hawthorne, you will not pretend to say in on the justice's official toes.

that it can be neglected. Who would “Oh yes; they promised to give me dare say that? Goodman Willard, will a black dog," replied Sarah.

you put your honored name to this "Did the dog ever come to you ?" paper ?". inquired Hawthorne with severe dig Accordingly, Simon Willard stepped nity.

forward and scrawled his signature at • No. But I think it is in my throat. the bottom of the shameful page. Do you hear? Bow-wow, wow!"

" What a diabolical deed!" observed “But you said that you saw a cat Noyse. "Truly, we seem to be among once, and that it spoke to you," observ. the evil days when the tender and delied the justice. "What did it say to cate women devoured their own chil

dren. Indeed, it is a lesser sin to devour " It said it would tear me in pieces if the body of one's child than to sell it, I would not set my hand to the book. body and soul, to Satan." Then I said I would. Then mother "I understand that this creature has baptized me, and says she, “Thou art had a promise from Satan that she shall mine forever and ever,' says she, be queen of hell,” said Hawthorne. "amen!'"

"Oh, mercy on us,” cried Bowson, " How do you afflict folks ?" inquired "I hope she is not to be queen of SaHawthorne. “ Have you any puppets, lem."

“ Praise God! Salem is not yet a No, I haven't any doll. I wish I part of he'l," observed Parris, with a had one; but mother can't make 'em, look intended to express the very humishe says."

lity of gratitude. It may yet be so; “Yes, but how do you afflict folks ?" things wear an alarming faco. But I

• I pinch 'em," replied Sarah, snap- hope not; my faith is still strong for ping her small fingers.

Salem; I trustfully affirm yct that Salem Do you go to them in the body or will be saved. For, first, the devil proin the spirit ?"

mises when he is not able to perform ; " Mother carries me."

ho is a boastful dunce, and talks big, “How can your mother carry you even when he is at his wit's end. Sewhen she is in prison ?"

cond, he promises when he does not " She comes like a black cat." mean to perform ; for he is a hopeless

“How do you know, then, that it is liar, and cheats his own followers. your mother?"

Therefore, I say, let us hope in God, “ Tho cat tells me so, that she is my and fear not the devil. Ought we to mother."

fear him? Do you say, young damsel Thus the child wandered on, led by (turning to Rachel), that we ought to the questions of these solemn and im- fear him? You are old enough to know posing seniors, through a farrago of better.” baby-talk, tales learned from old gran To those who had ever heard this nies, and recollections of gossip current man speak in public, it was astonishing among her playfellows, making, altoge. how like a vulgar blockhead he could

you ?"

-any dolls ?"

« 上一頁繼續 »