Verily the two would never

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Twas easily done,” replied the physician, for in their fits the children cried out the names of those who 25were tormenting them. They spoke of Tituba, an Indian servant in the same house with them, and of one, Marie de Guilfort, a maid, living not far off. These two, they said, had appeared to them, and thrust pins and needles into their bodies.”

And what was done with the two thus accused?” said I.

What would you have?” interposed Willis. The law of our Colony prescribes death for all who, whether male or female, practice witchcraft.”

Even so,” went on Dr. Clarke. These two, having been named as witches, and Mistress Parris, affirming on oath, for the children, the witches were seized by the constables, and now lie in Salem gaol. To-morrow is the trial day in the Oyer and Terminer Court. And, if further proof was needed that the two were witches, this scarlet snow is more than enough.”

That will pass,” I said, yet I wondered, with a strange feeling in my heart, what evils might portend. Little did I guess what perilous times were ahead; when no man’s nor no woman’s life was safe. When the false fear of witchcraft stalked abroad in the land like a horrid spectre, slaying, burning, hanging and crushing.

See!” cried Hobbs, the wheelwright, pointing to the window.

The red glow outside was fading away, and the moon shone peacefully on the fast whitening snow. Slowly the 26angry red died out, seeming to sink down into the earth, and with it went some of the fears of those in the room.

’Tis wonderful! Never before did my eyes behold such a feat of witchcraft,” said the inn keeper.

Then, as we watched, the scarlet covering disappeared entirely, leaving the scene as peaceful as the day had been stormy. It was close on to nine o’clock now, and Dr. Clarke and the wheelwright began to make plans for going home.

I suppose, Hobbs, that you do not mind going around by the mill with me?” suggested the physician. ’Tis at best a lonesome place, and, though I have no fears, still one man may be no proof against witches. What say you, Hobbs?”

If I go by the mill with you,” protested the wheelwright, I will have to pass alone over the bridge whereon, only to-day, Tituba was taken. Nay, Dr. Clarke, I’ll go by the back road to my home, if it please you.”

But, Hobbs,” urged the man of physic, the road over the bridge is bathed in moonlight, besides----”

Enough, I’ll not go,” replied the other. Was it not near the mill that the other witch was observed to be plucking flowers last summer? Who knows but she has cast a spell over the place?”

Verily the two would never have screwed up courage to go home, had not Willis urged that he was about to close his tavern. So they were forced to make a start.

27I peered out of the window to see which ways they took. Dr. Clarke continued in his endeavor to convince Hobbs that the road by the mill was the best, but the wheelwright was stubborn. Suddenly he turned and ran across the snow toward his home. Left there alone in the night, the physician faced about also, and, glancing behind him, as if he feared to see the Devil, he sped on toward the mill.

I was tired and sleepy after my ride, so, with a word to Willis I lost no time seeking my chamber; one of the few that the tavern boasted of. My head was filled with plans for leading men once more to battle. For I loved the strife of war, the clash of steel on steel, the smell of powder, and the shouts of foes and comrades. Well, I was soon to have my fill of it, though I dreamed not that I would have to fight with such foes as presently beset me.


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