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but he muttered some incoherent reply tains of tears were upspringing in the which he would not repeat, shed a few bygone summer! The evil that threatchildish tears, and told her to go away. ens may not fall; but who shall deliver How sadly changed he was from the us from the evil that is past ? kind, cheerful, jolly uncle who had loved While Aunt Ann was wiping her and petted her a year before! Who eyes, and trying to lift up her heavy would then have better enjoyed such an heart, Elder Higginson pronounced occasion ? How he would have shone Mark and Rachel to be wedded man vut for an entire evening as the most and wife. Then he kissed the bride, talkative, frisky, hilarious old Puritan and received an inaudible kiss in realive ; praising the plum-cake as heart- turn; after which came a row of kisses ily as he ate it, and toasting the bride in from the company, intermixed with the sincerest of brimming bumpers. hand-sbakings of a very energetic char
In those days of Yankeedom, a wed- acter. But people were a little in the ding was usually an occasion of unre- dumps, as Cousin Jehoida Mix phrased strained joviality; the entire day, even it, until the ale and canary had circuin the gravest" families, being often lated pretty freely. These liquors devoted to merry-making, rural games, melted a funny story out of young Mix; eating, and drinking. The spirits of after which Good-wife Stanton related the population, corked up all the year some wedding reminiscences; after round hy grim laws and a steru faith, which several persons related anecdotes naturally burst forth in noisy efferves- in a pleasant chorus; after which Goody cence on every such permissible holiday. Dowson cackled a psalm-tuve, and Clergymen sometimes preached loudly Frisk gave a yell of sympathy; and, ugainst these jubilations; all the louder, generally speaking, folks mado themill-natured people said, because they selves as inerry as could be reasonably were seldom called on to officiate in expected. Sarah Carrier, with a pocket marriages ; for, early in Massachusetts full of raisins, a huge piece of cake in history, the office of joining persons in one hand, and half a glass of canary in wodlock had been taken froin the priest- the other, had evidently quite forgotten hood and conferred on the magistracy. that she was one of the afflicted chilIn 1686, indeed, this restriction was dren. At nine there was a sudden search removed; but fashions changed slowly for cloaks and hats; and, in half au among a grave, simple people; and, for bour thereafter, everybody was at home long afterward, most hymeneal knots and abed. were tied by the justice of the peace. At last, then, at last, Mark! Well.
Mark and Rachel, however, had called wo will not say a word to you about in tbeir kind old pastor and friend, it now, my good fellow.
You have Elder Higginson. There he stood, tall somebody else to tulk to you; or, rather, and dignified, mechanically brushing somebody else to whom you can talk : back the white hair which curled over for the little girl who sits beside you is bis temples, his kindly eyes fixed on strangely silent. But I really wish, the bride, and his faco beautiful with a Mark, that you had lived in our day, so mild solemnity. It was with an evident that you could have read the song of flutter that the two lovers rose and songs—the Bridal of Gerald Masseyfaced bis venerable composure. I declive to countenance the very natural
“His arins her hyacinth head caress,
And fold her fragrant slenderness, suppositiou that they were handsomer
With all its touching tenderness. at this moment than they ever were before or after. I think that Mark was
“And now be trembles to his breast,
To make it aye her happy nest, altogether too red, and Rachel too pale. And proudly crowns his loving quost. To Aunt Ann they were lovely; but
“ Dear God! that he alone hath grace she did not see them very distinctly; her
To light such splendor in her face, cyes were too much blinded by tears. And win the blessing of embrace." Well might she weep; for what had happened since this love-match began ?
CHAPTER XXIII. Where was the bride's father-her own and only brother? Was not his face The agony of Noyse at the complewbiter than the face of that girl who tion of this marriage was indescribable. stood there trembling in the last hour and almost puzzles comprehension. It of her maidenhood ? Oh, what foun- was a paroxysm of mingled shame, ro
morse, disappointment, jealousy, re- day, and made her a visit, or got one venge, and hatred, so dreadful that it from her, every evening. They could seemed as if his eternal wailings and talk to each other across the garden, or gpashings had come upon him before help each other draw water at the well; their time. The last struggles of a goad- for Rachel was able to draw water and ed and heavy-laden conscience formed do a great deal of tough household liftno inconsiderable element of his wretch. ing and pulling of other descriptions. edness. He was like those unfortunates Indeed, she had such a Junonian pair of of ancient days, out of whom devils were arms as one does not get by tossing cast, but who were left torn, foaming, fans or lifting champagne glasses. It and wallowing; only in his case it was was a pleasure to see how stoutly they not the evil angel, but the good one, could wash, and how round and sound who, with convulsive struggles and they were through the fragile lacework moanings unspeakable, was dragged of soap-flakes. A thorough good housefrom his soul. His housekeeper, Goody wife she was, as well as a sweet, loving Bibber, who by accident occasionally girl; and Mark was perfectly right for listened at his keyhole, declared that the present in considering himself the she heard him wailing over some lost luckiest follow in Salem. ginner as David wailed over Absaloin. Good-wife Stanton was as proud as a She never could have guessed who that peacock of the girl's beauty, breeding, lost sinner was. It was not many days cleverness, and education. I have ob. before that same reverend sinner had served that mothers are apt to be overoccasion to learn that he was unable to sweet on their daughters-in-law at first, resist the nakedest, the coarsest of and terribly peckish on them afterwards. temptations, and could be persuaded to Ma is delighted to have John marrystick bis head frankly and fairly into vain of his success in winning such a the oollar of the devil.
nice girl as Susan-pleased to think All this while, just as if to spite the tbat Susan will relievo her old self of miserable minister, Mark and Rachel the cares of housewifery. But pretty wero uncommonly happy. Even the soon she finds that Susan is her successgriefs of the past and the anxieties still ful rival in John's beurt; that John will remaining in the present, seemed to stick to his wife, even against his much sail far away and become hazily distunt, wiser and more affectionate mother : like clouds receding in a golden suu- and that Susan is either no houselight. We will not prate much, how- keeper at all, or else wants to manage over, on this subject, because it is apt evorything in her own way. The conto be a sickening one to all but the par- sequence is, that hardly a day passes ties concerned. It rather hurts our without its spat; the two women mutuvanity to think that two people can be ally throw each other into dismal tears, 80 supremely blissful, without any and John's happiness is riddled horribly thought of us, or any need of our good between the opposing broadsides. wishes. I dare say also, that thero inay But of Good-wifo Stanton it could be a young bachelor or so among the never be discovered that she got in the readers of this history, who is disgusted least tired of her daughter-in-law. She that Rachel did not wait and marry him. was not one of your sharp housekeepI bave bad such feelings about various ers, nor one of your astonishingly deunattainable ladies, real or imaginary, cided and strong-minded women, nor and I can readily excuse them in any even one of your stiff, angular, feminine other lord of creation, provided ho is pillars of the Church. Who but a So. still under twenty-five. After that he crates, by the way, would ever desire to ought to have a flesh and blood lady of wedlock himself with one of those Carybis own.
atides of orthodoxy ? No; Mark's moAside from the pleasures commou to ther was a slow, easy, kind creature ; a brides, Rachel felt a sense of positivo little slip-shod, it inust be owned, in her enjoyment in getting out of the house domestic affairs, but ever ready to watch where she had borne so many sorrows, with a sick person, or lond her best powthe evilest of evil tidings, sickness, the ter to a neighbor. "Everybody has persecutions of Noyse, the teasing of their own way," she used to remark ; her uncle, and the uproarious plague of “and Rachel has hers, naterally, and a Sarah Carrier. She could not miss her pooty nice way it is, a'most always." aunt for she saw her many times every
Sarah Carrier was vory eager to patch
op her modest duds, and move in with the fresh winter wind and their own the newly married people--Rachel and young happiness. Mark were quite willing to receive her, Two or three hours afterward the and Good-wife Stanton consented to the deacon awoke, shrieking from a frightproposal, although she winced a little ful nightmare. A hideous, black visage, when she thought of her great looking- seamed and horny, and blistered, from glass in the keeping-room. * But," said the eternal fires, appeared bending over she, “the looking-glass can be locked his own, its bloody eyes fixed on his, up safe in one of the closets, and there its claw-like hands holding him by ain't much else about the house to hurt. the throut, and its baked lips chattering Also Sairy hain't done a mite of damage in his ear some damning formula which under my roof as yet, and like enough he must repeat or die. Ever the hands she wouldn't be so taken if she could pressed harder, and the diabolical mutgit away from the deacon's, where, to terings grew fiercer, while towards him be sure, she has fits, and breaks things swept a figure like Rachel, bearing in one at a most awful rate."
hand a bowl, and in the other a torch But our unhappy deacon was as per- that flamed high into the heavens. On verse in holding on to Sarah as Pha- the
verge of strangulation he burst away raoh in keeping fast hands on the Israel- from the monster's clutch, and rolled ites. He had an idea that, by ber means, with a loud shriek upon the floor. Misbe should eventually worm out the whole tress Bowson awoke at the noise and plot of the devils for overthrowing re- found her husband in a swoon, under ligion in New England, for which rea- the bedstead. She lighted a candle, son he vetoed the proposition for re- flung some water in his face, and premoving the child, and got quite angry sently saw him open his eyes and glare at the very natural urgings of Mrs. affrightedly round the chamber. The Bowson. Thus Sarah remained when dreadful illusion had vanished from his Rachel left, from which day the devils senses, but not from his belief. He repersecuted her with such vehemence peated Rachel's name with a shudder, that for a week the house was almost and then mutterd some incoherences uninhabitable. The deacon was delight- about a damnned brother-in-law, helled with the new vigor of the manifesta- broth, devil's covenants and witch comtions; they excited him, kept him on munions. He would not be quieted; inthe look-out and filled bim with hopes of sisted upon dressing himself; knocked a discovery. No cat, watching a mouse- Teague up,
and sent him off after Noyse. hole, no puppy, tugging at a root, could In ten minutes the somnolent Irishman be more persevering and eager. Such was banging at the minister's door, ceal, such steadiness of search, obtained swearing in a soliloquy at the poor prosits reward; and this amateur detective pect there was of making anybody hear soon ferreted out a good deal more than him in a hurry.
But Noyse, neither he hoped, or even wanted to. It was asleep nor sleepy, sate alone in his study, on the second Thursday after the wed- cowering over a dim fire, frightful to him ding, at nine in the evening, that he in that its fitful blazes wrought endless returned from a prayer-meeting at the mirages of the lake of brimstone. He parsonage. He was restless, feverish, ran to the door, and, cautiously openmore than commonly-wild in his talk, ing it, peered out on the untimely visitand wanted to sit up by the fire all night, "Be ja—! bless your riverence,” for fear the wizards would steal his said Teague, “Sorry to throuble ye at hospitality by coming in through the this time o' day; but Masther Bowson's keyhole and warming themselves over found the divil at last, an' he wants yer the smouldering coals. His wife coax
riverence right away.
Not the divil, I ed him into going to bed, and Rachel, mane to say, but Masther Buwson," he who was there on a visit, set to work added, rubbing his eyes, and blinking at cheerily to brew some herb-tea, potent the minister's candle. for provoking perspiration and killing Several confused questions and anoff colds. The deacon swallowed it, swers made Noyse comprehend that complained that it was bad-tasted, and something extraordinary had happened allowed himself to be gallanted to the at the deacon's house, which made his bedroom. Rachel and Mark then ran pastoral presence there immediately dohome through the garden, and danced sirable. "He put on his cloak, lighted a into Good-wife Stanton's, glowing with tin lantern, bored with holes like a pep
per castor, and rejoined Teague. A come upon me so like a thief in the cold wind furiously shook the bare trees night! I have prayed to God. I have in front of the house, whistled scoffingly sought him lustily with tears, but he among the projecting roofs of the gables, has no pity on me. To think that I and tossed a few wandering snow-flakes shoud marry the sister of a wizard, so in the faces of the two pedestrians. that he could have power to come up The village was dark in slumber, and out of hell and tempt me! It was Henry the night starless and moonless, no light More-I know it-I know it too well
. being anywhere discoverable but the Oh, if I had repeated what he muttered glimmer of the lantern. They reached at me, I would have been lost forever! the house and found Mrs. Bowson, And Racbel, too, with her witch-broth, dressed, in the kitchen.
wbich she wants to have me drink, and “ What is the matter ?" Noyse asked. so drink damnation to myself! Those
" I think my husband has had some were witch-yarbs that she stewed for dream,” she said. “I truly think that me, I know they were. Oh, I wonder is all. But he is feverish, and would if they made me a wizard! I wonder not be quieted without seeing you. I if I am lost!" pray you not to believe there is any- And so he went on, raving, crying, thing serious in the matter."
wringing his hands, and occasionally • Where is he?" inquired the elder, dropping on his knees to mutter inaudi. biting his lips as if vexed at being dis- bly. There was no pity for Rachel in turbed for such a trifle.
what he said-Do doubting of caution “ He is in his bed-chainber," Mrs. or mercy in her favor—no shadow reBowson replied. “I will show you in. maining of the love and pride with whicb But keep on your cloak, sir, for it is he had once regarded her. And now cold."
a fiendish temptation held out its She led him up stairs, and presently evil hand to the bruised, festered spirit returned to crouch in a corner of the of Noyse. Ho might use this semifireplace, while Teague sat at the other madman, use him with perfect safety, to end of the great cavity, watching her work out the most complete vengeance in silence. “ If ye'll plase to excuse that man could desire. He, too, fell on ine, maam,” he finally said, "I am just his knees and prayed; but it was a a thinkin', maam, that it ’ud bo well for crazed, wicked prayer; a supplication yiz to be up there loikewise. I'm afraid half to God, and half to Satan ; and it Masther Bowson has got a good bit was Satan alone who heard and answered ahead of his wits to-night, and wud be, it. When he arose, he dared throw his just as loikely as not to ask somebody arms around that pitiable fanatic, and to chop his head off or do somethin' tell him that Rachel Stanton was a witch else that wasn't raisonable. I hope ye'll dangerous to his soul. He wept copi. plase to excuse me for bein' so bowld." ously as he talked, though from what
“He sent me away, Teague,” replied emotions he could not have told. The Mrs. Bowson. “He said he must talk tempter and the dupe came out of the with the elder alone. But I trust Mas- chamber with the same intention. Both ter Noyse will see his condition, and were nearly frenzied: the one by superknow how to take his wild fantasies." stition acting on a weak intellect, the
Meantime, the reverend visitor ques- other by bad passions acting on a weak tioned Bowsun, who, wrapped in a white moral nature. Noyse made no explanablanket, paced up and down the cham- tions to Mrs. Bowson, but led the deacon ber in a ludicrous agitation. “Oh, what hurriedly away to his own house, and, a dreadful thing, Elder Noyse !" he said putting him to bed there, kept him until at last. “Oh, that I should be a cold morning. Bowson slept a little, holding professor, and follow the world to that fast to the minister's hand; and the extent that Satan could get a grip on latter sat by him inost of the night, me and marry me into a family of dozing now and then, to wake abruptly witches!" He went on to describộ bis from ghastly dreams. He tried to colfrightful dream; the burnt and charred lect himself and mature his plot, but visage ; the clutching hands; the de- his mind remained painfully excited and moniac chatterings; the figure of Rachel confused. It seemed to him as if he with her bowl and torch.“ Oh, Elder, could not answer for what any coming my punishment is greater than I can moment would see him do or say. A bear!" he wbined. “Why should it strange disposition to laugh haunted
him, even when he thought of the court, the house of Justice Hawthorne. The or of his sermons; for, in comparison magistrate had just built a fire in his with his huge misery, with his deformed keeping-room, and set himself down beconscience, every other grave thing fore a table strewed with legal papers. seemed trivial and ludicrous. What He stared immensely when hi minister were they worth, these oaths and testi- and one of his deacons asked him to monies, and solemn judgments, and write a commitment for Rachel Stanton. long prayers, and pious discourses? He was evidently about to remonstrate, He was about to make a mock of them but Noyse commenced the story of last all now; to render them a matter of night's adventures; Bowson broke in laughter to devils; to show that there with piteous whinings and endless repe. was nothing serious in the world but titions; and Hawthorne, dumbfounded, his own enormous wickedness. At the almost angry, was obliged to listen. same time he felt, by comparing the When the pair had ended their statepresent with particular hours of a month ment, he seemed still undecided; said or two months before, that remorse had it was strange, passing strange ; Rachel less power on him than formerly, in pro- had borne a blameless character; she portion to his guilt. It was no longer so was young, and a sweet lass to look terrible to look back upou slow aposta- upon; not a soul among the afflicted bad sy; to look down into a hateful beart; to cried out upon her. The elder sternly look forward into the mysterious future. replied that he might be at ease in doing He was growing hardened to it, he his duty; for that full evidence of the thought; his conscience was as an eеl woman's guilt should be forthcoming. that was getting used to skinning; and “Well, Master Noyse," said tho jushe laughed here, for it struck him that tice, “I can but commit her. If she is the comparison was very amusing. His not culpable, I hope it will be proved. merriment was increased, perhaps, by a The Lord have mercy on all innocent quantity of rum, which he took in fre
persons." quent sips from a stone flask.
The He made out the necessary papers, liquor, too, steadied his brain, and gave and said he would hand them that mornhim a boldness of thought beyond his ing to Herrick. The accusers then nature. Indeed, as be drank on, his retired, leaving the magistrate to a more speculations in theology and ethics be- unpleasant reverie than had fallen to the camo decidedly skeptical. Who could lot of his clear, cool, self-possessed tell whether, after all, there was not a nature for many days previous. Noyse great deal of exaggeration in the com- instructed his puppet to keep silence on mon opinions about holiness, sin, the the occurrences of the morning, as he reward of one and the punishment of wished to see justice done on the guilty, the other ? IIo had surely been a and to disentangle himself from the Christian, if there was such a thing, and toils of the wicked one.
Bowson promwhat was he now? He had been fool- ised all, with a faith which would have ing himself; that was as clear as the held good at the stake. broadest noontide ; and it was more than The first act of the minister, on findprobable that his brother professors ing himself alone in his study, was, to were fooling themselves also; only they take another draught from the stone unlike him, had not yet trampled hard fask. Then, after eating a hearty enough on the thin crust of deception breakfast, he had family service, as to burst through it.
usual, and, returning to the study, sat Well, he mused a long time; came to down in a moody meditation. In half no conclusion ; had cat-naps occasion- an hour or so, he seemed to have settled ally; took fresh sips of ruin after each on some plan; for he put the stone bottle waking; laughed at the poor fool who in his pocket, ordered his horse, and lay before him ; laughed several times as rode rapidly away.
Dismounting at he remembered the trials and the convul- the door of a lonely, dilapidated hovel sions of the witnesses; stamped his feet in the outskirts of the town, he entered and clenched his fist, as he thought of without knocking, and stood face to face Mark and Rachel in innocent slumber; with a woman, apparently half Indian and started up at the first whiteness of
and half negro.
She was a ragged daylight, excited still. but resolute, vig. wretch, short and squnt in form, with a orous, unrelenting. He roused the dea- broad, heavy visage, bloated and carcon, und hurried hiin off immediately to buncled by liquor. The single room of